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Paris-EUROTRASH-Tours Monday!

Youth won in Tours, but not in Emilia! We have all the week-end’s cycling news, plus reports, results and video from: Paris-Tours, Giro dell’Emilia, Tour of Beijing, GP Bruno Beghelli, Paris-Bourges, GP Città di Peccioli and Bpost Bank Trofee in Ronse. Big EuroTrash coffee time.

TOP STORY: Self Suspension for Astana
In the end Maxim Iglinskiy decided not to have his B sample tested and as such admits his guilt to the finding of EPO in the A sample. When he did this, the Astana team had to suspend its self from October the 10th to the 17th, which meant they missed the last WorldTour event; the Tour of Beijing, plus the Giro dell’Emilia, Paris-Tours and the GP Bruno Beghelli. The suspension is part of the MPCC rules, which Astana is part of, but goes against the WorldTour rule that all WorldTour team must ride all WorldTour races. The UCI can fine the Kazakh team 100,000 Swiss Francs for not attending the Chinese race, but will they take any other action against the team? The team could be investigated and thrown out of the WorldTour, but this is very unlikely for two reasons. There are only just enough teams that want to or can be WorldTour teams in 2015. The UCI is struggling to fill the place caused by the Garmin/Cannondale merger. Then there is the biggest reason, money. Astana has more than enough money to pay the UCI for its WorldTour licence. If they were to be forced to ride as a ProContinental team, there wouldn’t be much of a change to their race program as they would be invited to all the top races anyway, but the UCI would receive less money, which will never happen.

Astana Official Statement:
Astana Pro Team very much regrets that Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy unexpectedly returned adverse analytical findings for EPO, and understands that this unfortunate event has led to concerns over the efficiency of internal measures taken to ensure that riders do not use prohibited substance or methods.

Astana Pro Team is deeply disappointed that these events have occurred, and reaffirms its absolute zero-tolerance policy towards all incidents of doping and unethical activity.

Astana Pro Team further confirms its desire to tackle these issues head on.

In this respect Astana Pro Team has auto-suspended itself from participation in World Tour events for a period of 8 days, in accordance with obligations assumed when joining the MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible) in 2013.

Consequently Astana Pro Team holds itself to a standard in excess of requirements mandated by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) and by so doing is placing itself in technical violation of obligations to the UCI, for which Astana Pro Team expects to receive a sanction.

In the meantime Astana Pro Team is conducting an internal investigation, and wishes to reassure the UCI and general public that preliminary findings demonstrate the events are of an isolated nature, and that no other member of Astana Pro Team knew or took part.

Astana Pro Team will investigate the events more thoroughly in the following weeks, and will request an audit of its own stringent anti-doping policy to identify whether even stronger measures would be possible and legally enforceable.

Astana Pro Team’s General Manager has provided the UCI with a copy of the most current version of the team’s anti-doping policy in place, and also has informed the UCI of measures adopted immediately to remind all of its riders and staff of their obligations under the anti-doping policy.

Astana Pro Team looks forward to meeting with the UCI to listen to concerns that exist and to address directly any queries that it may have.

As part of the effort to underline its unwavering commitment to a clean sport, Astana Pro Team has also invited Valentin and Maxim Iglinskiy to contact the CIRC (Cycling Independent Reform Commission) and will certainly implement recommendations contained in the CIRC’s report to help all teams in enforcing their own internal anti-doping rules.

M. Iglinskiy, Leipheimer, Kloden and Armstrong.
trainen team Astana - Lance Armstrong

header-paristours_edited-1Paris-Tours 2014
Four years after triumphing in the Under23 class, Jelle Wallays captured the big one, claiming Paris Tours in fine fashion. Part of a seven-man breakaway group, the Belgian was with Thomas Voeckler, the last to stay clear of the pack. He then went on to show that youth could pay off against the experience of his French rival. Already a winner of stage 1 of the 2013 World Ports Classic, Wallays captured the most prestigious victory of his career.

Wallays wins Paris-Tours 2014:

Under a cloudy sky, the 159 riders of Paris-Tours took off from Bonneval for a long and demanding day of 237.5 kilometers. After 4 kilometres five men managed to break away: Voeckler (Europcar), Wallays (TopSport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Van Melsen (Wanty-Group Goubert), Benedetti (NetApp-Endura) and Paillot (La Pomme Marseille). Their lead grew rapidly and reached 4:25 after 7 kilometers. Gouault (BigMat-Auber 100) and Duval (Roubaix Lille Metropole) were chasing and the peloton were not too bothered. The five had 7 minutes after 14 kilometers, but then waited for Gouault and Duval, all seven were together after 20 kilometers.

Eventually FDJ.fr and Giant-Shimano began the chase and the gap started to drop. By the 54 kilometer mark the 7 still had a 5:35 advantage. That gap continued to drop as the peloton chased harder helped by a strong tailwind and by the feed zone (117 kms), it was down to 3:30 and then 2:25 after 166 kilometers. Ligthart (Lotto Belisol) and Tjallinghi (Belkin) tried to cross to the leaders, but never manage to catch the escape and were eventually caught. With 33 kilometers to go; Koretzky (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) and Engoulvent (Europcar) had a go off the front of the peloton and also failed. Benedetti punctured in the break leaving 6 riders in the lead with a 1:40 advantage with 25kms left to race.

Voeckler, Wallays and Van Melsen attacked the break and had 1:10 on the chasing peloton including the favourites; Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), Van Avermaet (BMC) and Vanmarcke (Belkin).

With 10 kilometers to go, on the climb of the Côte de Beau Soleil, Wallays and Voeckler dropped Van Melsen and held a 42 second lead coming into the final 4k’s, enough not to be caught. Despite his experience, Voeckler couldn’t out-do Wallays and the Belgian captured his biggest victory, out-sprinting Voeckler. Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) fastest of the pack, taking third spot.

Race winner Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise): “This is the most beautiful win of my career. I hope this opens doors because I still dream of being part of a WorldTour team. I won here partly out of frustration. I am very happy at Topsport-Vlaanderen, but I want to take a step forward to a WorldTour team. I hope now that everyone has seen what I’m capable of.” And his race win: “At three kilometers from the finish I actually realized that it would be between us. Even at a kilometer, I looked back and I saw that we’d make it. Voeckler asked me to pull after the last turn, but I shook my head no. I played a bit of poker, and I also realized that I was on the road with a Frenchman who just wanted to win and he would certainly push to the line. On the climbs I felt that I could beat him. I was shocked that I came around him in the sprint, but it’s good, I’m very happy.”

Lotto Belisol DS Bart Leysen: “A third place is a good result [Debusschere]. The attack of Pim Ligthart wasn’t necessary when you look at it afterwards – he and Tjallingii didn’t make it to the leaders – but you never know beforehand and at that moment we could relax in the bunch. Tiesj Benoot and Jonas Van Genechten were part of the group that took off on the Côte de Beau Soleil, so that was good for us again. Unfortunately the cooperation wasn’t as it should be. Apparently not all riders knew that there were still two riders in front. Then we pulled the peloton and came close, but not enough. The trainees did a great job again.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS Tristan Hofmann: “Our strategy was to support Matti [Breschel, 14th] through the long race in order to set him up for the event of a bunch sprint and the boys did a solid piece of work around him. Unfortunately, he hit the deck in one of the many crashes in the finale and even though he was fairly unscathed and brought back up to the first chase group, the crash and the chase combined took the top speed out of him. That’s what happens and we can finish the European calendar with our heads held high.”

Paris-Tours Result:
1. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 5:26:18
2. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar
3. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:12
4. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
6. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Kristan Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
8. Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
9. Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis
10. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin.

header-beijingTour of Beijing 2014
Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) has claimed the first stage of the Tour of Beijing with a well timed sprint at the finish of Stage 1 from Chong Li to Zhangjiakou. He has picked up from where he left off in 2013 after winning the final stage of last year’s race. The win also puts Luka into the first red leader’s jersey of the race. After being brought up into position in the final kilometres, Luka came round the final left hand bend before the finish in fourth wheel and from there was able to power through to take a clear win on the line, his sixth of the season.

The stage started steady, with a break of three riders pulling clear right from the off and by kilometre 12 they already had over five minutes advantage. Their gap grew to eight minutes before the peloton started to peg it back gradually again, and with 80km to go the gap was back down to near the four minute mark. The profile of this first stage was very up and down, and at high altitude as well which gradually took its toll on the bunch that, when it finally caught the last remaining rider out front, was down to around 80 riders. Luka had been well looked after by his teammates and was still well positioned in the peloton as the bunch descended back down to a more agreeable altitude and prepared for the final sprint finish.

The roads running into the finish were a mixture of wide open highways giving the sprint formations a lot of room to prepare themselves, but also technical twisty turns before the last final finishing straight. Team Giant-Shimano left it until about four kilometres to go before moving up, with Luka in tow, and they hit the front to keep him up there as the finish neared. He got swamped just before the final kilometre but didn’t panic and waited for the right moment to move up, getting into fourth wheel through the final bend and then making his move in the final 250 m to take a convincing win.

Stage winner Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano): “I suffered today as it was constantly up and down and the race was at quite high altitude for a long time. The team was strong in helping control early on and then keeping me in position when it was hard, keeping me fresher for the finish. The plan was to stick me in the right wheel at the front in the final few kilometres and this worked perfectly. It’s great to win again here in Beijing and hopefully we can continue this week with other opportunities for us. It will be hard to defend the overall in the next few days before the mountain stage but we will see tomorrow how it is.”

Team Giant-Shimano coach Lionel Marie added: “The stage went well for us today. We tried to stabilise the race in the first 65 km, with Cheng [Ji] helping set the pace and he did a good job there. Then the guys rode well together as the chase really picked up. The plan was to get Luka up into position in the wheels in the final kilometres. They came up together with four to go and then Tobias dropped him off at the front as planned. Luka prefers sprinting this way and sometimes it is better to be flexible like this. From here he stayed calm and found the right wheel to go from at the finish. We will try to defend the lead tomorrow, but the third and fourth stages are harder and will change the race, but we have options for these stages as well. It is great to still be winning this late in the season, and shows how the team spirit keeps everyone motivated and pushing to keep challenging.”

2nd place on the stage went to Caleb Ewan in his first race with Orica-GreenEDGE: “It was really close. I got a little bit boxed in there at the end and I had to wait to get out, and I think I got out a little bit too late.”

Lampre-Merida DS Maxtin explained Sacha Modolo’s 4th place: “Our aim was to give Modolo the opportunity to battle against the fastest sprinters. We succeeded in giving him the best possible support and Sacha was skilful in following Mezgec. Today, he was not as powerful as Mezgec, but I’m sure in the next stages he can only be better, because his fitness will get better and better.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS Fabrizio Guidi said: “Since we don’t have any pure sprinters on the team, the most important aspect for us was to adapt to racing in these altitudes and getting back into the race rhythm after having traveled to China. We’re focusing on some of the hard stages, where we have a real chance to fight for the stage win. The sprinter’s teams took control throughout the day. In the final part of the stage with the descent down to the finish line, it was simply impossible to get a better position in the peloton because of the really high pace. Tomorrow is another day for the sprinters. But the guys are feeling good, we didn’t waste too much energy today and we’ll be looking forward to stage 3 on Sunday.”

Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida) was forced to quit the race because of a Respiratory infection.

Tour of Beijing Stage 1 Result:
1. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano in 4:22:58
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin
7. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
8. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek
9. Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.fr.

Tour of Beijing Overall After Stage 1:
1. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Shimano in 4:22:48
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:04
3. Julian Kern (Ger) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:05
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:06
5. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr
6. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:08
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:09
8. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:10
9. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin.

Beijing Stage 1 final kilometers:

BMC Racing Team’s Philippe Gilbert timed his sprint to perfection Saturday, coming around Janse Van Rensburg (Giant-Shimano) on the final curve of a shortened Stage 2 of the Tour of Beijing to take the win and move into the overall lead.

Inside of 100 meters to go, Van Rensburg took the lead. But Gilbert and his BMC teammachine SLR01 overtook him with 25 meters to go and the past world road champion still had time to thrust his arm in the air as he won his team-best sixth race of the season. “I was waiting because I knew in a finish like this that I am really strong,” Gilbert said. “So I was just waiting for someone else to take the lead. I did not want to go first. So when Van Rensburg went, it was perfect. I think he wanted me to go on the inside and close me out. But I just went on the corner on the left. There was a lot of space and I didn’t take any risks.” Gilbert’s win help him also take the lead in the sprint classification and added to back-to-back victories in April at Brabantse Pijl and the Amstel Gold Race and two stages and the overall of the Ster ZLM Toer in June.

Gilbert was part of a large group that was shoulder-to-shoulder across the road leading into the final kilometers of the uphill finish of the 111-km race that was shortened by 36 km due to poor air quality at the original finish city of Yanqing. BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the change meant a switch of tactics. “We spoke in our meeting this morning that if we had the opportunity for Philippe, we would take it,” Ledanois said. “The guys did a very good job for him.” Gilbert, who is racing the Tour of Beijing for the first time, said it was confusing hearing of last-minute changes, but they were in his favor. “It is always better for me when it is an uphill finish,” he said. “I was focused on the race and I got some good help from teammates, which was important for the position at the end. And then I was feeling good in the last kilometer.”

In the overall standings, Gilbert leads Van Rensburg by five-seconds and third-place finisher Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) by seven. BMC Racing Team’s Samuel Sánchez was 14th on the stage – in the same time as Gilbert – and is one of 21 riders who are 11 seconds off the lead with three days to go. “This was a good result for the team and Philippe has good legs after the world championships,” Ledanois said. “Philippe is very motivated and Samuel is there, too, and also motivated. So it is perfect for us at the moment.” Gilbert said he will take a wait-and-see approach to hang onto the leader’s red jersey during Sunday’s mountainous stage, which features seven categorized climbs. “Everyone is saying the long climb of 12 kilometers is very hard,” he said. “But I don’t know. I have never done it. We will take things day-by-day and see for the GC.”
Thanks to Sean at BMC for the race info.

Tour of Beijing Stage 2 Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 2:29:02
2. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Giant-Shimano
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
4. Sergey Chernetski (Rus) Katusha
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
6. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar
8. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
9. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE
10. Mikael Chérel (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Tour of Beijing Overall After Stage 2:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 6:51:49
2. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Giant-Shimano at 0:05
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:07
4. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar at 0:11
5. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Mikael Chérel (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Sergey Chernetski (Rus) Katusha
8. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano
10. Julian Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek.

Stage 2 for Gilbert:

On a stage featuring seven categorized climbs, the BMC Racing Team successfully defended the overall lead of Philippe Gilbert in Sunday’s Stage 3 of the Tour of Beijing.

Gilbert finished 37th and in the same time as stage winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), who won a bunch sprint at the end of the 176-kilometer race. Heading into Monday’s queen stage that finishes on Miaofeng Mountain, Gilbert leads Janse Van Rensburg (Giant-Shimano) by five-seconds and Rui Da Costa (Lampre-Merida) by seven-seconds. Another 33 riders are within 25 seconds of the lead. Gilbert said he is up to the task of holding onto the leader’s red jersey earned from his victory Saturday on Stage 2. “I was feeling good the whole day and this gives me confidence for tomorrow,” the past world road champion said. “For me, this last climb is the last of the season, so you can go even deeper because you have added motivation.” Teammate Samuel Sánchez, who finished 31st on the stage and placed 12th overall here in 2012, is in 20th place and one of 19 riders who are 11 seconds behind Gilbert.

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said he was pleased to see the squad’s six other riders step up to the challenge of protecting Gilbert’s lead. “When you have the jersey, you know it is always going to be hard for the guys – and it was a hard stage today,” Ledanois said. “But the guys did a good job: first, with Yannick Eijssen, Rick Zabel and Martin Kohler, and later with Dominik Nerz and Tejay van Garderen working for Philippe and Samuel Sánchez. Tomorrow will be hard and is one for the general classification. I hope Philippe and Samuel have good legs.” Kohler, a past Swiss national road and time trial champion, said another challenging day lies ahead after working to keep a six-man breakaway from never gaining more than four-minute advantage. “It is going to be pretty much the same as today – but with a bit more climbing – so it will be really tough again,” Kohler said. “After two days of riding in the front, the legs will not be any fresher. So it will be one more tough day to go.”

Stage winner Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp): “It was a long time coming this season. It was a year of seconds and thirds and fourths so to finally win, so close to maybe one of my last chances of the year I’m really happy.”

Tour of Beijing Stage 3 Result:
1. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano
3. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin
5. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
7. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek
8. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek
9. Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE.

Tour of Beijing Overall After Stage 3:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 11:07:35
2. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Giant-Shimano at 0:05
3. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:07
4. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:09
5. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar at 0:10
6. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano
7. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha
9. Mickaël Chérel (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano.

Stage 3:

header-emilia14Giro dell’Emilia 2014
Davide Rebellin (CCC Polsat Polkowice) blew the competition away to win the Giro dell’Emilia on Saturday, Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) was second with Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) third.

A big group of twenty-three riders broke away after five kilometers, but they only managed to stay out front for the first hour. A counter-attack set-up another big break of twenty-seven, that also lasted an hour, in the end Gianfranco Zilioli (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Sergey Firsanov (RusVelo) and Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) took a lead of 5 minutes after 100 kilometres, with a maximum of 8 minutes when the race hit the climb of the Santa Lucia for first time.

With 50 kilometers to go, Firsanov attacked the others in the break, this sent Zilioli off after him and the break was falling apart. Lampre-Merida and Cannondale took control of the peloton and second time up the Santa Lucia, David Villella (Cannondale), Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF), Pellizotti, Rebellin and Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) split off the front of the peloton for a 30 second lead, catching Firsanov and Janse Van Rensburg leaving Zilioli 2 minutes ahead.

With 10 kilometres go and the last climb of the Santa Lucia still to come; Zilioli was still in the lead with Pellizotti, Bongiorno, Zardini, Rebellin and Mandrazo chasing hard behind. 5K to go and Zilioli had a lead of 25 seconds as Mandrazo attacked the chase group, Rebellin jumped the others to pass Mandraza who held off Pellizotti.

Giro dell’Emilia Result:
1. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice in 4:56:56
2. Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:11
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela at 0:15
4. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:27
5. Francesco Man Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:32
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:36
7. Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela at 1:45
8. Diego Rosa (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
9. Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:47
10. Michel Kreder (Ned) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

The Giro dell’Emilia final:

header-Bruno-BeghelliGran Premio Bruno Beghelli 2014
Valerio Conti gave Lampre-Merida the last race of the 2014 Italian calendar 2014 with the beautiful victory of one of the most interesting young riders. Conti fought from the early kilometers and was in the early four man break, which failed. The break of the day included Fabio Duarte (Colombia), Ricardo Pichetta (Team Idea) and Kyrill Podznyakov (RusVelo) which had a maximum lead of 8 minutes and managed to stay out front until 40km from the finish.

With 20 kilometers to go, Conti threw himself in to the attack again, but again was caught. 5 kilometers out, the bunch was together. Manuele Mori (Lampre Merida) tried along with Sergey Lagutin (RusVelo), but they were swamped 2.5 km from the finish. At this point Conti tried again to escape with Koren (Cannondale) and Zakarin (Rusvelo) and then won the sprint.

Race winner Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida): “I am very happy, a win in the first year as a professional makes me very proud, also it’s even nicer to be able to do it at the end of a good season. I can spend a quiet winter now, with so many reasons to return next season already at a high level. The victory has an even higher value to me because it has reached the end of a race where I raced very well, respecting the tasks assigned by the DS Maini. I had to take care on the initial break and I did, then I had to be careful to play my cards in the final and I was able to become the protagonist following Formolo, then Vilella and finally entering into the sortie of three riders. I knew I was fast in comparison with the other two riders, I saved the energy I needed to assert my cue and I ended well with a great performance.”

Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli Result:
1. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:38:19
2. Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Rusvelo
4. Rafael Andriato (Bra) Neri Sottoli at 0:01
5. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Area Zero D’Amico
6. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
8. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
9. Ivan Balykin (Rus) RusVelo
10. Davide Vigano (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli:

header-bourgesParis-Bourges 2014
John Degenkolb has successfully defended his winner’s title at Paris-Bourges, taking the one-day French semi-classic for the second year in succession. John won the race with a strong finishing sprint to seal the team’s 40th victory of the season. The race threatened to blow to pieces at points with the peloton splintering in the crosswinds but in the final five kilometres balance was restored and the bunch came into the finished as one for a final sprint to the line.

The race rolled out under cloudy skies with Team Giant-Shimano starting on the back foot with just six riders after firstly Daan Olivier and then also Thierry Hupond could not start due to sickness in the last days running up to the race. As seems the norm this late in the season, the day’s breakaway took a long time to establish itself and it wasn’t until 60 km into the 190 km race that six riders finally were allowed to slide away and up the road.

These six drove their advantage out to just over six minutes but that was all they were to be allowed as the bunch kept a keen eye on the chase. With 85 km to race their gap was down to three minutes and was falling steadily until the peloton broke up after the day’s second KOM with 62 km to go. Seventeen riders broke away from the front of the bunch, while behind them the peloton was left in four distinct groups. The gap to the remaining escapees fell quickly and 12 riders formed a lead group on the road. Their advantage with 40 km to go was just 40 seconds and with no-one in the front group, and a focus on a bunch sprint, the team was forced to chase behind.

The gap was hard to tackle and with 14 km to go the split was still 25 seconds. This however soon started to fall as the attacks came out front and with five kilometres to go everything was back together again and set for the bunch sprint where, after good positioning in the final kilometres, John was able to take his second win at this race in as many seasons.

Winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano): The race was pretty full on from the beginning with constant attacks until a small group got away. Behind this we controlled together with Saxo but then couldn’t follow the attacks in the hills. We kept calm though and gambled a bit that the other teams would help chase. Finally the gap came down and Stammie [Stamsnijder] did a good ride to close it and set up the sprint. I managed to get myself into a good position at the finish, in the final kilometres and then had enough speed to take the win. It’s great to win here again and a nice boost late in the season. Next up Paris – Tours.”

Giant-Shimano coach Christian Guiberteau: “With six it was not easy today. There was a big fight for the break early on and it took 60km for the right group to get away. We started to help control behind but then over the hills the race split up and a big break pulled away. We had to be smart as only Thomas [Damuseau] and Stammie [Stamsnijder] were left with John. Towards the end they started to help chase and eventually the front of the race came back together and John was able to capitalise on this. It’s good for his confidence ahead of Sunday, and although it will be a bigger field at Paris – Tours he is showing again that he is still strong at the end of a long season.”

Paris-Bourges Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 4:25:58
2. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R-La Mondiale
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
4. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
5. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr
7. Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
8. Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
9. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis.


header-sabatiniGran Premio Città di Peccioli – Coppa Sabatini 2014
Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) took the top spot in the uphill finish of the GP Città di Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini beating Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli) and Franco Pellizotti (Androni-Venezuela) who held off Davide Rebellin (CCC Polsat-Polkowice) and Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF). Colbrelli has won three races in the last month; Memorial Pantani, GP Industria & Commercio di Prato and now the GP Peccioli-Sabatini.

The break of the day could only manage a maximum lead of 2:30, it included: Giuseppe Fonzi (Neri Sottoli), Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) and Pablo Valencia (Colombia). Bardiani-CSF chased hard for their man Colbrelli and they were pulled back one by one. There were many attacks on the finish circuit, but it all came together for Colbrelli to show his fast turn of speed.

Gran Premio Città di Peccioli – Coppa Sabatini Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4:38:25
2. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Neri Sottoli
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
4. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice
5. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
6. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale
7. Davide Vigano (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Robinson Eduar Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia.

GP Città di Peccioli – Coppa Sabatini:

header-bpost-trofeeBpost Bank Trofee – Ronse 2014
Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) won the first round of the Bpost Bank Trofee in Ronse, Belgium on Sunday. Nys attacked after one and a half laps to take the 15 bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint and then solo’d to the finish. Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) finished 50 seconds down for 2nd, 4 seconds ahead of Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games).

Sven Nys was in no trouble after he attacked as his main rivals for the Bpost Bank Trofee; Vantornout, Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) and Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano) tried to limit their losses with Van der Poel in tow. Every lap Nys extended his lead and by the halfway point the four chasers were 30 seconds down on Nys. Behind them Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was with Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) 15 seconds later.

Vantornout attacked to get second place, when he was caught Van der Poel made his effort and stayed away to the finish for second place ahead of Vantornout, even though he suffered a crash. The judges needed the photo finish camera to split Pauwels and Van Der Haar, with the decision going to the Belgian. Meeusen dropped Stybar for 6th at 1:40 as Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) caught and passed the World champion for 7th.

Winner Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink): “Ever since Cross Vegas I’ve been enjoying good form. This was a reference ride on a Swiss-like course. I’d prefer more mud but I had a super day. I’m proud of myself for this victory. I wanted to win the intermediate sprint but afterwards I noticed the others were gasping for air. I was unsure if I could win, certainly in this style but the one minute bonus is a big advantage for the upcoming rounds.”

Second Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus): “I briefly hit the red zone and when Nys passed me in a running section I struggled. I expected to receive a big blow but managed to recover.”

World Cross champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “I was surprised to be in front and was overdoing it a bit. I was unable to recover for two, three laps. Especially on the running sections, which were killing me, but it was fun.”

Bpost Bank Trofee – Ronse Result:
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink in 1:00:58
2. Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus at 0:50
3. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:54
4. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:04
5. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Shimano Development
6. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:40
7. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 1:49
8. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:59
9. Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet-Fidea at 2:01
10. Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 2:21.

Bpost Bank Trofee – Ronse:

header-giant-shimanoGiant-Shimano to Putte – Kapellen
The Tour of Beijing may be the last race to finish on the team’s calendar, but the last European outing is Tuesday’s Nationale Sluitingprijs – Putte – Kapellen in Belgium.
Team Giant-Shimano lines up for this one-day race with a team that can pursue both opportunistic chances and also sprint possibilities if the race comes down to a group finish.

Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) and Tom Veelers (NED) provide the team with a fast finish, while riders like Dries Devenyns (BEL) and Thierry Hupond (FRA) are capable of covering the dangerous breaks out on the road.

Team coach Addy Engels (NED) gave his thoughts: “Most of the time Putte – Kapellen comes down to a bunch sprint, but you can never be sure this late in the season. Tired legs mean that any good combination up front could be the right one, so we will look to make it a hard race and see how things work out. If the race comes back for a bunch sprint then we have another strong card to play in Ramon who is very capable of getting a result here. He showed good form at the Tour de l’Eurométropole and can go well here. He also has experienced support for the finish with Tom V and Bert [De Backer].”

Race Website: www.sluitingsprijs.be

Brian Bulgac (NED), Lawson Craddock (USA), Bert De Backer (BEL), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Daan Olivier (NED), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Tom Veelers (NED).
Coach: Addy Engels (NED).

Adam Blythe wins Putte – Kapellen back in 2010:

header-boraChristoph Pfingsten Signs, Matzka & Schwarzmann Extend
Former cyclocross U23 vice world champion Christoph Pfingsten is switching next season to the only German pro cycling team. The 26-year-old German is coming from the Dutch De Rijke team, in which he rode for the last four years, and will be reinforcing the classic contingent in his new team. The two young German sprinters Ralf Matzka (25) and Michael Schwarzmann (23) have extended their contracts with the team around its new main sponsor BORA. All three riders have a one-year contract.

“After he started to concentrate more on road racing, Christoph scored quite some results in smaller races, such as his win in the prologue to the Flèche du Sud this year. The key factor for us is primarily his versatility. With his skills and his power Christoph can race in both our classics program and in shorter stage races,” says Team Manager Ralph Denk, commenting on the transfer.

“Michael and Ralf have contributed this season to the fact that we have improved well in sprints. Both played a role in leading-out the sprints for our captains. They also had the opportunity in some of the sprints to put their own speed to the test. With fourth place in the Münsterland Giro and eighth place in the Brussels Cycling Classic, Ralf has recently demonstrated this potential and we intend to build on it in future,” says Denk, talking about the contract extensions.

So for the moment the team has completed its roster planning for the coming season. With eleven of twenty riders, the pros from the german speaking area form by far the largest contingent in the team in 2015. Ralph Denk: “Our plan for 2015 is to maintain this season’s squad strength. With a squad of 20 riders, we have now achieved this. But the same thing applies as every year: The rider market will still be in flux for the next eight weeks and should any exciting options arise for us we are open to consider them.”

BORA 2015 Squad as of October 9th, 2014:
Shane Archbold (25, NZL), Jan Barta (29, CZE) , Phil Bauhaus (20, GER), Cesare Benedetti (27, ITA), Sam Bennett (23, IRL), Emanuel Buchmann (21, GER), Zak Dempster (26, AUS), Bartosz Huzarski (33, POL), Patrick Konrad (22, AUT), Ralf Matzka (25, GER), Jose Mendes (29, POR) , Dominik Nerz (25, GER), Christoph Pfingsten (26, GER), Cristiano Salerno (29, ITA), Andreas Schillinger (31, GER), Daniel Schorn (25, AUT), M. Schwarzmann (23, GER), Björn Thurau (26, GER), Scott Thwaites (24, GBR), Paul Voss (28, GER).

GCN spends the day with the NetApp-Endura team during the 2013 Vuelta a España:

header_lampre-meridaCattaneo with Lampre-Merida to 2016
After having set the agreement, now the final step has been performed: Mattia Cattaneo will race in Lampre-Merida in 2015 and 2016. The young Italian cyclist officially signed the prolongation of the contract that will give him the possibility to ride in blue-fuchsia-green for the next two seasons. This will be an important period for Cattaneo, who’ll receive from the team the responsibility that will be graduated on his amazing cycling qualities.

“In the early two years he spent in the team, Mattia receive the appreciation from the whole team thanks to his accuracy, his intelligence, his manners, in addition to his top cycling skills,” team manager Copeland explained. “Going on working in this way, Cattaneo perform great improvement, that’s why we’ll be happy to count on Mattia in order to set aspiring targets. I’m sure he can still make improvements that will help him to become a top rider.”

Mattia Cattaneo:

Two more seasons in Lampre-Merida for Niemiec
In his fourth year in the blue-fuchsia-green team, Przemyslaw Niemiec obtained a stunning victory in the stage to the Lagos de Covadonga in the Vuelta a España. A beautiful reward for an impeccable cyclist, who always gave his support to the team and who always gave top performances, especially in mountains races.

Lampre-Merida management had no doubt in extending the contract of the Polish rider for the next two years. Niemiec was born in Oswiecim (Poland) in 1980 and he became a pro rider in 2002. In his career he obtained 13 victories up to 2011, when he signed for Saronni’s team, making is debut in the WorldTour.
In the four seasons in the WorldTour, he mostly rode as domestique for the captains in Grand Tours, but he was able to add some personal highlights, such as the 6th place in the final overall classification in the Giro d’Italia 2013 and the victory in Lagos de Covadonga in Vuelta a España 2014. Recently, Niemiec gave his help to Polish team mate Kwiatkowski in winning the world champion title in Ponferrada.

“We’re very happy to go on counting on Niemiec for many reasons linked to his qualities,” team manager Brent Copeland explains. “He’s a generous cyclist that can join grind and rare skills as a climber. Moreover, he’s always at the top of his fitness when there are important appointments. That’s why he’s so important as supporter of the captains and as a benchmark for younger riders. The prolongation of his contract maintains the continuity with the project of the roster we started last winter. On the roster there are very skilful cyclists, we’re proud to confirm them in the team.”

Przemyslaw Niemiec wins stage 15 of the Vuelta a España:

header-saitamacritWarren Barguil: “I can’t wait to visit Japan”
Warren Barguil is one of the champions who will be travelling to Japan, and has the honour of being invited to the 2014 Tour de France Saitama Criterium without having raced in the Tour! But the young Frenchman, who rounded off his summer by finishing eighth in the Vuelta, will definitely figure strongly in future editions of the Tour de France. He’ll get a first insight into the challenge at its Japanese offshoot…

Warren Barguil, does it feel nice and nostalgic to get a taste of the Tour de France at the end of your season, in Japan?
It’s true that it must be quite rare to be invited to ride this kind of Criterium without having ridden in the Tour. I didn’t get the chance to take part this year, and I really hope I’ll be there in 2015. I’m going to get a nice appetiser.

This Criterium is also a chance to travel, and to share your passion for cycling…
That’s the main reason why I’m going to Saitama, and why I’m in China to ride the Tour of Beijing. These are countries where people are really curious about cycling. There are lots of fans on the side of the road, because we’re bringing them something new.

What sort of atmosphere do you expect on this 3-kilometre city circuit?
I’ve already ridden a Criterium: in Camors, which is near where I live. So I’m fairly familiar with how it works, but then I’ve no idea what it will be like in Japan. In any case, I can’t wait to visit Japan, and to enjoy this race.

Tour promo video:

EN – Best of 2014 – After the race by tourdefrance

header-GCNTop 10 Ways To Save Money Through Cycling
Cycling can be an expensive sport, but you can save some serious cash with these 10 tips. You’re already saving a bunch of money every year if you decide to commute to work or school by bike – on average around $8000 a year. Other benefits include improved fitness, lower stress and even an increase in your ‘mojo’. You can also make savings on nutritional products, components, clothing and even the bike itself with these tips from GCN.

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