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EuroTrash Giro Finalé Monday!

Colombia has dominated the Giro d’Italia with first and second overall, young rider and mountains jerseys and we have all the best comments, reports and video from Italy. In other cycling news we round-up the Baloise Belgium Tour and the Bayern Rundfahrt. EuroTrash coffee time!

TOP STORY: The Giro d’Italia!
There is only one story and that is the Italian Tour. As always the Giro has set the bar really high for the Tour de France in excitement (and controversy), last year the French race actually managed to surpass the Giro, but it will struggle this year.

After the mountain time trial on Friday, up Mont Grappa, the social media sofa experts started with the usual doubts of the performances of the first three riders on the stage and on overall; Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Uran and Fabio Aru. But if you look at the evidence their performances are not out of the ordinary. In the case of Quintana and Uran we are looking at two riders who finished second in the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia last year, both have served their time, working their way up through the ranks, working for team leaders and improving year after year. In case of Aru he too has been working his way through the Under 23 system in Italy, 2011: 1st in the Giro della Valle d’Aosta, 4th in the Baby Giro, 2012: 1st in the Giro della Valle d’Aosta, 2nd in the Baby Giro. Then with Astana in 2013 he was 4th in the Giro del Trentino (best young rider), 8th Tour of Austria and this year he was 7th in the Giro del Trentino in the build up to the Giro d’Italia. So no flash in the pan performances. Also don’t forget that the big guys are not at the Giro; Nibali, Froome and Contador are waiting for the Tour de France and Joaquim Rodriguez crashed out.

Talking of performances; you have to be impressed by the Bardiani-CSF with all their stage wins and the Colombian team who animated the mountain stages. But the Neri Sottoli team were hardly noticed, apart from getting in some pointless breaks. It makes you wonder why they were invited in the first place, considering their recent past (Di Luca & Santambrogio) and their dodgy management.

Anyway…bring on the Tour!

Giro d’Italia 2014: Zoncolan, the hell of cycling:

Giro d’Italia 2014
The break of the day took a long time to form, but when it did there were 14 strong men with a good chance of getting to the finish of Stage 18 before the overall riders. On the last climb of the day rider after rider attacked, but in the end the little Colombian Julian Arredondo waited till the others were done and he rode off for the big win and confirmation of his King of the Mountains jersey. The GC men had been holding off under the control of the Movistar team for overall leader Nairo Quintana. When they hit the climb to the Refugio Panarotta; Europcar launched Pierre Rolland up the road to try for third place overall. After a second attack Evans was dropped, he was pulled back two more times before getting away on his own. Rigoberto Uran put his man Poels on the front to close him down which also split what was left of the group. Astana’s Fabio Aru was next to attack chased by Pozzovivo with Quintana and Uran on his wheel. The first two places on overall stayed the same, but the rest have all changed. Read the Race Report here.

Stage winner and KOM Julian Arredondo (Trek): “I have to give a big thanks to my director and coach Josu [Larrazabal]. I wanted to attack at the bottom of the last climb but he told me from the team car, ‘no, no no! take it easy, not yet!’ Then with four kilometres to go he said, ‘Julian now!’ I won this stage to a great degree from his advice. I felt good today. I thought it could be my day. After all the difficult moments in this race – like two days ago over the Stelvio when Josu had to put me in the car to warm me up – and being in Italy away from home the last six years, this stage has repaid all my hard work. Today is the beginning, I hope, of great things for me. I want to dedicate this win to Josu, and to my team who stayed around me at all the difficult moments. We are very much a family.”

Overall leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “Today’s stage was all about controlling the situation well, and just like everyone could see, the team worked phenomenally and kept me really calm. We controlled the gaps with the breakaway so they didn’t go too far and I kept well the pace into the climb – it was actually softer than we expected, but there were some attacks, especially from Rolland. I controlled the situation with those that worried me and let others pay attention to their own interests and follow the other wheels.”

“The Giro is far from over. There are still two hard mountain stages ahead and it won’t be decided before the last finish line in Trieste. Physical problems are over for me, and I think I can do well in the TT tomorrow and defend the maglia rosa without losing any time, which is the most important. It’s a time trial I like. It has pretty hard slopes and suits me well. I don’t know if it’s better for me or Urán, because it has some flat sections in the beginning, but I’m feeling great. Yet, it won’t be only Rigoberto: also Pozzovivo or Rolland can contest the win tomorrow.”

“I’m really happy with these days in the lead of the Giro. I feel the support of the ‘tifosi’ – you see they love you and are happy you’re leading the race. This Giro d’Italia looks like made for Colombians. I’m really happy with Arredondo’s victory – he also wears the KOM jersey, which identifies Colombian riders.”

Second overall Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “I’m happy about what we did today,” Uran said “I did a good race, but the team did a correct and strong performance. We said already the Giro is not finished, and we will fight until the end. Today I had help for the entire climb. I tried to also accelerate. The feeling was good, and tomorrow is another important stage. It’s an uphill time trial. It’s very demanding. But I feel good and have the will to do really well.”
Second on the stage Colombia’s Fabio Duarte: “Hats off to Arredondo, who did great today, but it was a pity for us, as I think our Team’s performance at the Giro really deserves a stage win. I was feeling well today, and tried to ride smartly until it came down to Arredondo and I only. Today it was him raising arms on the finish, and we will try again. There are a few chances left, but we will not give up until it is over.”

Cadel Evans (BMC) finished 21st and slipped from third to ninth overall, 4:59 behind race leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Last year’s third-place finisher at the Giro said he is focusing on what still lies ahead. “These next two days are still going to change things around, so I am not so diluted by the whole thing,” Evans said. “I was not at the level of the others, but I think we will get a better idea of who is the best in the time trial. But there is still one more day after that where things can turn around.” Evans is 90 seconds behind third-placed Pierre Rolland (Europcar) heading into Friday’s 26.8-km time trial that finishes with an ascent averaging eight percent. “This Giro has been so hard thus far, but the time gaps are so close between third and ninth place despite all the racing we have had,” Evans said. “Now, just a little bit of difference in today’s stage, tomorrow’s stage and the day after is still going to make a difference. So it’s not over until it’s over.” Sport Director Fabio Baldato said the BMC Racing Team is still working hard to support its leader. “Cadel is a champion and today, the team was great,” Baldato said. “Samuel Sánchez really fought to make a good tempo to try to help him not lose time.”

Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) attacked to move up the general classification, but lost time to his rivals and finished 18th. However, he kept his grip on his eighth place overall. “When the pace dropped during the final climb, I thought to give it a try,” said Kelderman. “It was a risk, but if I’d managed to stay clear and maybe grab thirty seconds or so, I could have moved up a few places in the GC. I had more to gain than to lose, especially when you look at the differences in the overall. Unfortunately, the others caught me and I blew up a bit.”

The day’s big attacker Thomas De Gendt (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “Today I attacked for Uran, to help him on the last climb,” De Gendt said. “But then we had seven minutes, then the team leader said I could take my own chance. On the final climb that was not too steep, I thought I had a good chance to win or get on the podium. When we went to start the climb it was pretty steep. I did my own tempo. I think Basso was first in the wheel. But then he dropped the wheel. So I said OK, I can go full gas until the start of the climb. I knew after 1 kilometer it was a little bit downhill. When I have 20” at the start of the climb, I can have the advantage if the riders don’t work behind me. That was a little bit the plan. But I was not thinking about it at 5 kilometers before the climb. It was just a certain moment that I decided to go. It was the best decision, because if I wait for the others to attack, maybe I can’t follow. So, I am happy with my 6th place given that I made the right choice to be aggressive. As for tomorrow, I don’t know what I can do. I need to do the recon and see how steep it is and if it’s OK, and if my legs are OK. If that’s the case, I will try to do a good time trial. But I have to say, I’m better now in the third week. I always seem to be better in the third week at Grand Tours.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 18 Result:
1. Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek in 4:49:51
2. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia at 0:17
3. Philip Deignan (Irl) Sky at 0:37
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 1:20
5. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:24
6. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:38
7. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 1:43
8. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky at 1:59
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 2:43
10. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 2:46

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 18:
1. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar in 77:58:08
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:41
3. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 3:29
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3:31
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 3:52
7. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 4:32
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 4:37
9. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 4:59
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 8:33.

Stage 18:

The overall leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) confirmed his right to be wearing the Giro d’Italia’s pink jersey with a dominating ride in the Stage 19 26.8 kilometre mountain time trial up Monte Grappa. Second overall Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) had a solid ride to finish third at 1:26. The big ride of the day came from Fabio Aru (Astana) who finished second at 17 seconds and jumped up into 3rd overall only 41 seconds behind Uran. Cadel Evans (BMC) moved up from 9th to 7th with his 11th placed ride. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Rafa Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) have swapped places; 5th for 6th. Read the Race Report here.

Stage winner and leader overall Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “I’m really happy today. It was a spectacular day – I felt really great through the TT course. Above all, I enjoyed really much all the crowd supporting me, wanting me to win this. Claiming this stage victory was too important; I didn’t want to say it before the stage, but mountain TTs are my strong point and I had to do it, I couldn’t let this past. Even less after my family came from Colombia to watch me here. They gave me an extra gear. People asked me to leave an impression, and here’s what I had to win the Giro.

“We were really calm as we made the TT bike and helmet change. We knew that the traditional helmet would help me, because it’s lighter and releases sweat better – plus, it would take only a few seconds to make the switch. I was really calm, we prepared for it well and it went perfectly. All the team helped me much to get prepared for this time trial and I owe them much of this victory. I think we offered the fans what they were expecting from me to see in this race. The decisive day comes tomorrow – we’ll see how we control the race, because the important thing is keeping the pink jersey. I’m sure the team will be superb, as they’ve been all race. I came to recon the Zoncolan back in March and I really liked it, though I could see only the first part – the rest was covered in snow. It’s pretty demanding, but that’s the kind of climb I like.
It’s true that we’re pretty much riders from the ’90 class shining here – Aru, Majka – and others not present in the Giro, like Kwiatkowski, are doing well in the mountains, but our main rivals in Grand Tours are really more experienced than us and we’ve got to keep improving to contest their position, yet this is a sign we can fight in the future for these race. I came here to confirm who Nairo Quintana is, to let people see I’m ready to win a three-week stage race. I was a question mark before this race; now, I’m a confirmation.”

Second overall Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “I prepared for the time trial very well this morning,” Uran said. “The recon certainly helped. I knew the first intermediate point I was 2nd fastest, so it was a good stretch for me. Then in the climb I took my tempo. I gave it everything and I think I did a good performance in this really difficult mountain time trial. Tomorrow, it will be another hard day. The last climb will not make it easy. It is so steep, it will be hard to get a big gap on anyone. So, we will see tomorrow what we can do. We will do our best to keep fighting until the end.”

Fabio Aru (Astana): “It was a huge effort, I was right at my limits for an hour. I’m tired now but obviously very happy. I never thought I’d be on the podium at the Giro d’Italia. I’ve worked hard all winter and made a lot of sacrifices and so it’s paid off. But doing so well is new to me. It’s been great to do so well in front of my fans, family and girlfriend from Sardinia. That gave me some extra strength and motivation on the climb today. I’m young but I’ve learned that stage races aren’t over until you cross the line on the final day, so you’ve always got to be careful. I’m really happy for this result but I’ve got too stayed focused for tomorrow’s finish on Monte Zoncolan. It’s a legendary climb but it’s also very hard. We’ve got some suffering left to get through.”

BMC’s Cadel Evans climbed from ninth to seventh in the overall standings on Friday on the strength of his 11th-place finish in the individual time trial up Monte Grappa. With two stages remaining, Evans is 9:25 off the lead of Nairo Quintana. “Technically, I rode a pretty good time trial,” Evans said. “You never do perfect, but you can hope to be close. For what I had, I got most of it out on the road.” Evans started the time trial on his BMC timemachine TM01 but switched to the BMC teammachine SLR01 at a pre-determined part of the 19.3-km climb that averaged eight percent gradient. Watching from the car trailing Evans, BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said he was pleased with the performance of the past world road and Tour de France champion. “He made no mistakes. He always had a good cadence going,” Ochowicz said. “We made the bike change going onto the hilly part and it all went smoothly. I think the result was good for him.”

Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) managed to hold on to his eighth place on overall: “I couldn’t have gone any faster and I’m happy that I’m still eighth,” said Kelderman. “This is my place in this Giro. The first six riders are simply faster. “In the first flat part I tried to save some energy. I didn’t want to start too fast. On the climb, I just went all in. I didn’t do a bike change because then you have to get used to that second bike again.” Kelderman knows that the gap between him and Evans is just four seconds. “I’m going to try to pass him in the overall tomorrow. It will be every man for himself on the Zoncolan and many riders will try to defend their position. I’m going for that seventh spot.”

Belkin’s Jos van Emden orchestrated a very special moment during the time trial. While some riders stopped for a bike change, the Dutchman stopped his ride to propose to his girlfriend. She said yes.

Giro d’Italia Stage 19 Result:
1. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar in 1:05:37
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:17
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:26
4. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 1:57
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:24
6. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 3:22
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 3:28
8. Sebastian Henao Gomez (Col) Sky at 3:48
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 4:00
10. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky at 4:10.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 19:
1. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar in 79:03:45
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 3:07
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3:48
4. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 5:26
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 6:16
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 6:59
7. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 9:25
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 9:29
9. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 10:11
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 13:59.

Stage 19:

Saturday’s Stage 20 worked out about the same as Thursday’s stage; two races in one: The guys in the break going for the stage win and the GC men behind either protecting their positions or trying to move up. The break of 20 was not allowed too much of a lead and when they started the Zoncolan 8 minutes looked like it might be enough. In the end it was a battle between Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani-CSF), but an over enthusiastic fan (see bottom of page) pushed Bongiorno causing him to have to break and take his foot out, which caused him to lose time and Rogers was on his own for the win. Bongiorno tried to make up time, but in the end Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli) passed him for second. The men fighting for the overall didn’t manage to change anything. Rigoberto Uran had his Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team mate Wout Poels to put the pressure on for him which dragged him and overall leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar) clear of the others. The fight between Fabio Aru (Astana), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Domenico Pzzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) also didn’t come to anything as they finished in that order within 9 seconds of each other. The only change in the top ten was Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) jumping over Cadel Evans (BMC) for 7th place. Read the Race Report here.

Stage winner Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), the breakaway: “At the meeting this morning, Bjarne Riis said he wanted 2 riders in the breakaway. I was the last to get in. Nico Roche did great work and we found ourselves at the foot of the Zoncolan with a good advantage, and I managed the situation from there. It was such a hard climb and I was battling myself at a number of times. But on the final bit of the slope when I was riding with Bongiorno, I believed it was possible to pull it through and when I discovered I was alone, there was no other way to go but head down, full speed. I’m really honoured to win here on this legendary climb in these fantastic surroundings. We knew this was our final chance of winning and we pulled it off.”

The Zoncolan: “I didn’t know anything about the time gaps. I had no information from the car, and they probably had limited information from race radio. It was a time trial to the top. It’s the first time I’ve ridden up the Zoncolan, so I didn’t know it. I tried to get everything out, riding out of the seat sometimes, which isn’t easy for me. In the last 100m I knew I had it, but not before.”

2nd win after Savona: “At the end of the day, winning is why we do it. You always aim to be the best that you can, and winning for me is still thrill. I enjoy also the working part, being part of a team, and with the experience I have I enjoy teaching a team that’s full of energy, that I’ve found here. But at the end of the day the thrill is still winning. From the moment you know you’re going to win to the moment you cross the finish line, that’s the pinnacle of the sport, whether it’s 5 km or 5 m.”

The most beautiful win: “Every win is beautiful, but today, with the climb of the Zoncolan, the stage enters the history of cycling and of the Giro d’Italia. These are the climbs – the Stelvio, the Gavia, the Zoncolan: the famous ones. I think every cyclist dreams of winning on these climbs.”

Overall leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “Some tears did come to my eyes when I got onto the podium. I’m really happy. I’m about to clinch a really important goal in my life, about to win in such a beautiful place, with all the fans, as well as Italians, Colombians… as from other parts of the world – I’m just super proud. We’ve got this 99% sealed now. There’s just the last stage left tomorrow, which we know is relatively flat, and as we saw today, the team is also really strong. We hope to round off this excellent Giro confirming the results and raising our arms through the last finish line.

“Zoncolan was pretty demanding, ‘impegnativo’, as they say here. Racing pace was high all these days and the riders came really tired into the last climb. We’re happy with this success, all of us into the team. In the end of the first week and the beginning of the second, I was very much ill, frightened that I couldn’t fulfil the expectations, I went through some ‘transition’ stages and struggled a bit, but I did my best to recover and my body is now OK. We’ve got the maglia rosa on our shoulders and a pretty large gap over second place – I’m calm.”

Second overall Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “Today the team out together another great performance,” Uran said. “The guys were there really fighting for me. We sent Serry in the front to have somebody there for me on the last climb. But as I said yesterday, that climb is too steep to make a big difference. So we went, and Wout did a good tempo with me. We caught Serry and he did a great job for more than a kilometre. I have to say it was beautiful to ride on this climb in the middle of such a big crowd. I am really happy with this 2nd place. I think OPQS as a team had a great Giro, and I’m satisfied with my spot on the podium. I think we took all the chances we could on the road and did what we had to do, so I am happy. I am also happy for the management, staff, and sponsors of this team. This is historic. It’s the first Grand Tour podium in the history of the team. I hope it is just the first of many podiums. We will see what can happen and we will fight for it. But tonight, it is time to celebrate what we did at this Giro with the team and then we will enjoy the final stage tomorrow.”

Brent Bookwalter of the BMC Racing Team made the most of his day in the breakaway with a fifth-place finish on Monte Zoncolan. Bookwalter said he overcame stomach problems and low energy at the start to join a 20-man breakaway early in the 167-kilometer race. “I found myself in a good move and actually started riding into it and feeling better on the climb,” he said. “They kept us on a pretty short lease for a long time and then it opened up and I thought maybe we had a chance to stay away going into the last climb.” Bookwalter’s finish was a season best and his best in a grand tour stage since a runner-up placing on the Stage 1 individual time trial of the 2010 Giro d’Italia. “I knew the (Zoncolan) climb from the last time,” he said. “It is so hard. If you go over your limit, there is no coming back. So I just rode my own tempo and went as hard as I could.” Bookwalter finished 1:37 behind solo stage winner Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), who was also part of the breakaway. BMC Racing Team’s Cadel Evans finished 33rd, 7:20 behind Rogers, and is eighth overall, 12:00 back of race leader Nairo Quintana.

Wilco Kelderman moved up to seventh place overall on the mighty Monte Zoncolan, the Belkin rider finished 55 seconds ahead of BMC’s Cadel Evans, enough to pass the Australian in the general classification. “I’m exhausted, but I also feel very satisfied,” said Kelderman. “I gave everything I had for that seventh place. Early on in the climb, I saw that Evans wasn’t feeling great. That was a boost for my confidence. I tried to follow the top riders as long as possible,” said Kelderman. “When I felt that the pace became a little too high for me, I decided to ride my own tempo. I didn’t have time to look back for Evans, as it was way too steep.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 20 Result:
1. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo in 4:41:55
2. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:38
3. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:49
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:35
5. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 1:37
6. Robinson Eduardo Chalapud Gomez (Col) Colombia at 1:46
7. Georg Preidler (Aut) Giant-Shimano at 1:52
8. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 2:12
9. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky at 2:24
10. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 2:37.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 20:
1. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar in 83:50:25
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 3:07
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 4:04
4. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 5:46
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 6:41
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 7:13
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 11:09
8. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 12:00
9. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 13:35
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 15:49.

Stage 20:

The Final Stage 21 to Trieste was the usual parade, except for a short lived break by Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Martijn Tjallingii (Belkin), but they were caught before they got on to the finishing circuit. Into Trieste and the Movistar team shepherded Nairo Quintana to the front and held thing together until Tuft again broke away this time with Lars Bak of Lotto Belisol. Meanwhile Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) had taken 3rd in the intermediate sprint to put his points jersey lead out of harm’s way. With less than 20 kilometres to go the pair were joined by Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF), Mikel Landa Meana (Astana) and Carlos Quintero (Colombia), but they were all caught with just over a lap to go. In the sprint Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano) came off best ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp), with Bouhanni in 4th. The day was for Nairo Quintana and all his family who had made the journey to Italy to see the hero of Colombia on the podium with his daughter Mariana in his arms. Read the Race Report here.

Overall winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “It’s one of the happiest days in my life. I always dreamt of winning a Grand Tour and now it’s become real. Thanks to my team, my family and all the people that support me, this is now achieved. I wasn’t expecting at all to see so many Colombians in Trieste today. It was amazing to see so many flags through the circuit and around the podium. I’m super proud of my country. Probably I’ve been stronger than the rest, and we sort of saw it on Friday. Yet, I still suffered, like all the others. I’m a human being, a normal one, just like any other person, and legs did really hurt to me yesterday, but I defended myself well. It’s true that I wasn’t in my best possible condition throughout the race and still struggle with mucus. These long mountain stages also had an impact. I looked like calm, but I could feel pain inside.”

“I’m a good climber and things went well in the Giro if you take into account my real health status, but there are other riders who also ride fast and have more experience than me. We must keep working and digging every day to equal or even beat them. My biggest breakdown during the Giro was the Stelvio, where I wasn’t able to put my rain jacket on for the descent. I was about to get off the bike to put on it, but then, Gorka was my best support; he forced me to continue with no rain jacket to ride on. It was snowing really much, all my clothes were wet, but he supported me all the way in that difficult moment, gave me some food and we went on. He gave me motivation to win such a difficult stage, so hard, yet so beautiful at the end, finishing with a smile.”

“This generation of Colombian riders like me – we’re showing the world, since some of us came to Europe in 2012, we can win stages, important races, we show our quality – yet today’s win is a huge reality, another big success. Last year I was second in the Tour de France, something that no other Colombian had achieved prior – plus, Rigoberto was also second in the Giro. It might be coincidence, a choice of nature, but we’re strong, just like that. I think there are some other Colombian lads, younger than us, who are also strong and will show their quality in the future, in European teams and races. When I came into the pro scene, I was lucky enough to sign for the right team. I got to know a great professor and a person who knows loads about cycling, who transmits his knowledge well and had so many different champions into his teams: Eusebio Unzué. I always listen to him, we speak, he teaches me, he keeps me calm, and when you have good legs, it all becomes much easier.”

“Life itself pushed me forward, and it keeps doing so – I don’t realize, but I got to this sort of success really early in my life, yet with all those ones surrounding me, I grew up a lot, I learned a lot of things, took massive leaps forward and there’s no comparison from what I was four years ago to what I am now. I feel like a complete man now, one able to do many more things in cycling, to offer the fans some spectacle and make them enjoy for many years. There’s much of Nairo Quintana still to give.”

Second overall Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-step): “This Giro was a great experience,” Uran said. “We were consistent for three weeks and did what we had to do to reach the podium. We started with a great team time trial in Ireland, which put the whole team into a good mood immediately. It was then a question of saving energy and playing things correctly in terms of tactics in order to arrive at the first ITT in the best position. That time trial was a key moment. We knew it could be crucial for our GC chances and we did really well. It was also a great memory when I put on the Maglia Rosa, as I was the first Colombian to do so at the Giro. We had a gap on our competitors after that stage, and then we relied on a good strategy to defend the Maglia Rosa. Then we had that stage with the Gavia and the Stelvio. After that stage we fought until the end. I think we have to be proud of my 2nd place and that the whole team rode really well. We always had a good team spirit. I have to say also that I discovered a great public at this Giro. The Colombian fans were always supporting me. Today it was fantastic to see all the Colombian flags in front of the podium under the rain. However, the Italian public was also really kind with me. It felt a little bit like riding in my home country. So, given the whole experience, I am happy. We made history with my podium place. It’s the first time that OPQS reached the podium of a Grand Tour. We are really thrilled about it. Hopefully this can be the first of a series of good performances. This team a tradition of being good in the Classics and one-day races, but we should we now also have riders for the Grand Tours. We have entered into a new dimension with this Giro.”

Third overall Fabio Aru (Astana): Nibali vs. Quintana: Last year, I rode for Vincenzo [Nibali], and he showed his strength at the start of the Giro. Nairo showed his strength more in the last week, but they’re both great champions.”

Winning? “I never thought about winning the Giro. I was already surprised and happy to be up among the best riders. I’ve always tried to give the best of myself, but I know my limits. In last year’s Giro I learned a lot. This year, I have taken giant steps ahead. I learned a lot about racing, and I got through some difficult certain moments.”

Chapter over: “My podium place is something I’m proud of and it motivates me to continue to do things as well as possible. I still have a lot to learn and, for me, a chapter has closed, and mow my sights a fixed on the end of the seasons.”

Stage winner Luka Mezgec (Giant-Shimano): “I was under a bit of pressure today as there was so much Slovenian support here but that makes the win feel even better,” said Luka after the finish. I was really hoping to get a big result here today and have been focused on this stage all week, so it can’t get any better than this. The circuit was tough but the roads were big and we knew that we had to stay in front on the climb. This worked well and I was still fresh for the sprint at the end. Three weeks is a long time and makes your legs feel different but I have been saving the legs for today and it has all paid off.”

Wilco Kelderman concluded the 97th edition of the Giro d’Italia seventh overall today. “I’m very happy with this seventh place. I would have signed up for this beforehand,” the 23-year-old said. “I haven’t been able to enjoy it yet, but I think that’s going to happen now. It’s been a great Giro. I will not forget the eighth stage anytime soon. That was the first difficult ride of the race, and I finished third. Also, the Stelvio stage will stay with me for a long time, as well.” Kelderman praised his teammates. He wouldn’t have made it as far as he did without them. “The team has been fantastic in these past three weeks. Everyone was riding at or above their best levels. I could always rely on my men. Also, the atmosphere was great. It’s really important to have a good team around you.”

BMC Racing Team’s Cadel Evans finished eighth overall, 12 minutes behind winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Evans said while his performance fell short of his expectations, he was grateful for the support he received. “In the end, we rode exceptionally well as a team,” he said. “I lacked it in the mountains against my competitors, but that is something to reflect on in the near future. Most of all, I gave it my best, so I am not going to have any regrets.” Evans took the overall lead on Stage 8 and held it until Uran won the individual time trial on Stage 12. Evans has finished in the top 10 in 11 of 16 grand tours he has completed (of 17 started), with a victory in the 2011 Tour de France. Three of his top 10 finishes at grand tours have come at the Giro: eighth this year, third in 2013 and 5th in 2010.

King of the Mountains winner Julian Arredondo (Trek): “I am super happy to win a stage and the blue jersey, but it was not only this. As a team we were so united in such a great way and we finished the race with all nine of us. That is special that we could all experience the whole race all together to the very end – that makes me happy, too. It is very promising for the future. For me I made a dream come true. I did what I really, really wanted and what I worked hard for. I was aiming for this from the beginning of the season. Now that I have reached this I can make new goals. I can say that there are nice things coming up for me and for the team.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 21 Result:
1. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano in 4:23:58
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
5. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia
7. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
8. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol
9. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
10. Iljo Keisse (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.

Giro d’Italia Final Overall Result:
1. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar in 88:14:32
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:58
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 4:04
4. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 5:46
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 6:32
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 7:04
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 11:00
8. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 11:51
9. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 13:35
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 15:49
11. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 24:45
12. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 26:13
13. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr at 27:02
14. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 28:36
15. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 32:08
16. Hubert Dupont (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 36:15
17. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 46:35
18. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo at 48:06
19. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 49:22
20. André Cardoso (Por) Garmin-Sharp at 51:09.

The Final Stage 21:

Baloise Belgium Tour 2014
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has ruled the sprints at the Baloise Belgium Tour and Tom Boonen won his second consecutive stage on Thursday in Stage 2, with Gert Steegmans 2nd.

The peloton caught the 2nd stage breakaway with 5.6km to go, leaving the leadouts to then establish position for the sprint. Despite attacks out of the peloton with just 2.3km to go, the peloton was determined for the group arrival and shut all moves down.

OPQS, once again, had perfect position. The position was so ideal that Steegmans — the final leadout man for Boonen — had a small gap due to his massive effort with several hundred meters to go. Boonen, seeing riders behind him gaining on Steegmans on the uphill finish, was able to launch his sprint and cross the line in the leader’s jersey with the victory. Steegmans was close behind for 2nd. Theo Bos (Belkin) was 3rd.

Tony Martin, defending two-time Baloise Belgium Tour overall winner and three-time UCI World Time Trial Champion, will be going for another top OPQS result at the 16.8km time trial on Friday. Niki Terpstra, another strong time trialist, will also do his best for a good result.

“My goal was to win these two stages,” Boonen said. “I’m so happy I won today. Yesterday really gave me confidence, so I can say this win really feels good on top of that! This final was really tricky though, with the finish being uphill. Steegmans went early and had a gap, but I saw he couldn’t make it to the line. That’s when I went, right at the end. You can’t make mistakes here. Last year I was 2nd as I made a crucial mistake, and I didn’t want to let this happen again. It was really hectic, but in the end I made it. I have to thank my teammates for helping me today as well. Tomorrow I will go full gas in the time trial. It will be a test for me in this leader’s jersey, but we all know it’s Tony’s time to shine tomorrow.”

Like stage one, the Belkin team led out well, but Tom Boonen beat Theo Bos again in the bunch kick. On Knokke-Heist Boulevard, the Dutchman finished third – just like a day before. “There was nothing off with the team’s performance, I was perfectly positioned,” Bos said, “but Boonen was in a class of his own.”

Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 3:49:33
2. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
6. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis
8. Jonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Giant-Shimano
9. Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis
10. Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC.

Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 7:40:56
2. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin at 0:12
3. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:14
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:15
6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:16
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:18
8. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:19
9. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:20
10. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Stage 2:

Two-time defending Baloise Belgium Tour Champion Tony Martin once again showed his power in the time trial discipline. The Three-time UCI World TT Champion won the 16.8km Stage 3 time trial with a time of 19’43”, 16″ faster than the next best time.

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) was 2nd, and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) finished 3rd, 26″ back.

Martin was also fastest at the intermediate point by 13 seconds.

Martin takes the race leader jersey from OPQS rider Tom Boonen, who was the race leader after winning the first two stages. OPQS looks next to 184km Stage 4 on Saturday after going three-for-three in stage wins so far at Baloise Belgium Tour.

The victory count for OPQS is now at 35, in three disciplines, in 2014.

“There was a lot of wind and curves along the parcours,” Boonen, who now wears the blue jersey as points leader, said. “In the beginning I had the feeling I was going fast, but with the headwind I couldn’t gain any time. I really had to push hard. Everything I said the past days came true, Tony was the leader for the overall as he has already won it twice, and he won the stage. I am happy for him. It’s always nice to pass the leader’s jersey to a teammate in these kinds of situations. I am satisfied with my two stage wins. Now our goal for the next two days are to keep the jersey and support Tony in every way.”

“On paper the time trial looks really easy, but especially in this kind of time trial every single second counts,” Martin said. “You have to go 100 percent from the start. There is really no time to play games or consider any tactics. It’s just full gas the moment you leave the start house. I gave everything. The wind was pretty hard, especially in the final. So, when you are already pushing hard in the beginning it’s even more difficult in the final with the wind. But I had a lot of morale and kept on fighting the whole time. I think the TT is the key point of the stage race and my goal is to try and win the Baloise Belgium Tour for a third time. Now the situation for the team is really good, even though the time gap is not very big. We have a very strong team here. All you have to do is look at the names who are here to know this. So I think our chances to defend are good. Last year the last stage was very hard, but this year it looks to be a little less hard. But, we have really strong contenders, such as Dumoulin who was 2nd last year. They won’t just give us the overall victory, it will be two hard days where we have to fight. Today, however, I’m really happy. It’s not easy being the big favourite from the start and I am satisfied with this victory.”
Thanks to Alessandro at OPQS for the race info.

Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 19:43
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:16
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:26
4. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC at 0:44
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:47
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:48
7. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:51
8. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo
9. Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Shimano at 0:53
10. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:56.

Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 8:00:59
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:16
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:26
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:46
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:47
6. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:51
7. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo
8. Chad Haga (USA) Giant-Shimano at 0:53
9. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:56
10. Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Stage 3:

Lotto Belisol’s André Greipel won Stage 4 of the Baloise Belgium Tour in an impressive way. Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure was the start and finish place of this 177.7 kilometres long hilly stage in which the Petit Poggio had to be climbed four times. Three riders set up a breakaway pretty early, but Lotto Belisol kept the situation under control together with the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team of GC leader Tony Martin. The escapees were caught in time and all new attempts were quickly closed down. André Greipel was the fastest. The German champion beat Roman Maikin (RusVelo) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC).

Stage winner André Greipel (Lotto Belisol): “We worked hard to let it end with a bunch sprint today. Frederik Willems was pulling on the head of the peloton together with OmegaPharma – Quick-Step to get the escapees back. When the break was caught we had to avoid other attempts and organize ourselves for the sprint of course. That went well and so the guys could do a perfect lead-out. It was important for us to get that win here in the Belgium Tour.”

“Before the start of this stage race I had it in my mind there could be a chance to win here. The team believed in it as well. We were happy we achieved a bunch sprint. The guys already went really fast in the lead-out; I just hit it as hard as I could. On day one the fastest won and in stage two we didn’t get the organization we wanted due to several circumstances. Today we made it better. After this race ends tomorrow our next goal is the Tour de Luxembourg.”

Philippe Gilbert (BMC): “We wanted to make the race hard, but it wasn’t easy with the big roads, so we waited for the local laps,” Gilbert said. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) kept the overall lead while Gilbert remains fourth, 41 seconds. Gilbert said it might take a combined effort by the two riders ahead of him on the overall classification, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), to unseat Martin. “We are all three in the same position, so we can try to gang up against Omega Pharma – Quick-Step,” the past world road champion said.

BMC’s Silvan Dillier, who was fourth in Friday’s individual time trial, showed his strength with 60 km to go, attacking out of the peloton and taking two others with him in bridging to the day’s breakaway of three riders. “It was really a great ride for Silvan,” BMC Racing Team Sporting Manager Allan Peiper said. “We wanted to make it a hard race and at least try for the stage win.” After soloing away from his fellow escapees with 10 km to go and gaining 15 seconds, Dillier was finally reeled by the chasing efforts of Martin’s team. “We had to put some pressure on all the other teams,” the reigning Swiss national elite road and time trial champion said. “My attack was pretty far from the finish, but I think it was still a good move. I almost made it to the final kilometres to be competitive for a victory.”

Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 4:16:11
2. Roman Maikin (Rus) RusVelo
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
4. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus
5. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
6. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Koen De Kort (Ned) Giant-Shimano
8. Gerry Druyts (Bel) Team 3M
9. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
10. Sascha Weber (Ger) Veranclassic-Doltcini.

Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:16
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:26
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:41
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:47
6. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:51
7. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo
8. Reto Hollenstein Reto (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:56
9. Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty-Group Goubert
10. Niki Terpstra Niki (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.

Stage 4:

The Belkin team succeeded in the Final Stage 5 of the Baloise Belgium Tour on Sunday. After having fought for victories in the previous stages, Paul Martens won the final stage by out-sprinting a small bunch in Oreye after 178 kilometres.

Bram Tankink attacked in the final along with race leader Tony Martin of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and Giant-Shimano’s Dries Devenyns. The group caught the trio in the final kilometre, however. “Martin can hold a very high pace and tried to create an opportunity for himself by attacking, but our group was so large that I didn’t have to worry,” said Martens. In the sprint, the 30-year-old German kept his cool and beat Francesco Gavazzi of Astana and BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet. “When you sprint with a small group, it’s always difficult because riders can come from anywhere as the pace isn’t too high. I felt powerful and knew that if I could sprint freely, I could win. “It’s nice to win again. In the last few weeks, I was looking for the right feeling and I was a little bit uncertain. Hopefully, that’s over now.” Sep Vanmarcke hit the tarmac in the sprint, but appeared OK despite a few big scrapes. Not long after his spill, he was already able to congratulate his teammate Martens. Belkin DS Elijzen said, “He’s pretty banged up, but laughed about it afterwards.”

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) won the overall classification by 16 seconds over Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) and 26 seconds over Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) while BMC’s Philippe Gilbert was 38 seconds back.

BMC Racing Team’s Philippe Gilbert captured the points classification and finished fourth overall, while teammate Greg Van Avermaet was third on the final stage. Gilbert finished sixth in the sprint: “I would have preferred to be on the podium,” Gilbert said, “but I tried my best the past five days. I took bonification seconds and I rode a good time trial and the last two stages I also tried.” Gilbert added the points title to the king of the mountains crown he captured last month at the Tour de Picardie. “Everything you can win is important – for yourself and for the sponsorships,” Gilbert said.

Marcus Burghardt was an early animator for the BMC Racing Team, infiltrating a nine-man breakaway that was only brought back in the final 40 km. “We tried to make the race hard again, so we raced from the start line,” Burghardt said. “We always tried to keep the pressure on and were pushing hard at the front. On the final climbs, Silvan Dillier, Greg and Phil did a good job and tried to jump away, but I think Omega Pharma-Quick Step was too strong today.” Van Avermaet led out the sprint but was overtaken in the final meters. “Unfortunately we didn’t get the stage win,” BMC Racing Team Sporting Manager Allan Peiper said. “But as a comprehensive team, we really rode well together and showed that we are a force.” Klaas Lodewyck did not start the final stage due to foot pain, BMC Racing Team Doctor Dario Spinelli said.

Beloise Belgium Tour Stage 5 Result:
1. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin in 4:14:01
2. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
4. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Belisol
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
7. Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol
8. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah
10. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis.

Beloise Belgium Tour Final Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 27:56:48
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:16
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:26
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:38
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:47
6. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:51
7. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo
8. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:52
9. Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:56
10. Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis at 0:59.

Stage 5:

Bayern Rundfahrt 2014
In Thursday’s queen Stage 2 of the Bayern Rundfahrt, over 164.7 hard kilometres, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) got the better of Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) and Leopold König (Netapp-Endura) at the top of the Winklmoos-Alm at 1,150 meters altitude. Frank now leads the overall from Pinot by 5 seconds and König by 8.

Netapp-Endura’s Leopold König finished third making an impressive comeback after being out due to an injury. “We have every reason to be very satisfied today. Third place with a difficult arrival, bad weather, and after a long injury and training phase is an excellent accomplishment. You can definitely see that we are on the right track. So far, there is still hope in the general classification as well. The margins are very close, which is why our goal of winning the tour is still within reach. Overall, today was a successful day. Sam was in the lead group and won two sprint classifications. The team worked hard for Leo and Jan. We will have to see how the next few days go now. There’s another stage tomorrow, then the decisive individual time trial,” team DS Enrico Poitschke explained after the stage.

Bayern Rundfahrt Stage 2 Result:
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling in 4:19:24
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:08
3. Leopold König (Cze) Netapp-Endura
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:16
5. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling
6. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
7. Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:26
8. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:28
9. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:39
10. Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:50.

Bayern Rundfahrt Overall After Stage 2:
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling in 9:31:02
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:05
3. Leopold König (Cze) Team Netapp – Endura at 0:08
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:16
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
6. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling
7. Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:26
8. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:39
9. Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:50
10. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:52.

Stage 2:

Less than an hour after Emma Johansson won in Holland, Daryl Impey delivered a second victory for the GreenEDGE family. With the peloton nipping at his heels, the South African soloed across the finish line in Neusäß to win Stage 3 of Bayern Rundfahrt. It is Impey’s first European win of the year, and his second career victory at the German stage race.

“It’s nice to get the win, but the really nice part is the way we did it,” said Impey. “The boys committed everything for me. I’m really grateful for that. Everyone in the team deserved this result today.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE started the day with two objectives. The Australian outfit hoped to keep Christian Meier in the polka dot jersey of mountain classification leader as well as target a stage result. The four rider breakaway that included Heiner Parra (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA), Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing), Sebastian Deckert (LKT Team Brandenburg) and Tino Thömel (Team Stuttgart) played into the team’s plans.

“The break that went away was good for us,” said Assistant Sport Director Julian Dean. “There weren’t any riders in the move that had any KOM [King of the Mountain] points until today’s stage. We were quite happy with the scenario.”

“We came up with that plan that we would commit our three guys that probably wouldn’t make it around the finish circuit to the chase – which were Bewley, Kruopis and Mouris,” Dean added. “From there, we wanted to make it hard on the finish circuit to set something up for Impey.”

The leading quartet gained a maximum advantage of nearly seven minutes. At the mid-point of the stage, the gap had fallen to 4’10. A combination of teams with an interest in the finale set tempo on the front but none fully committed to the chase until Bewley, Kruopis and Mouris set to work.

“We didn’t want to put our guys in the hurt locker too much as they all have different objectives here,” said Dean. “We held them back until about 35 kilometres out, which was 20 kilometres before the circuit. That’s when we sent our three to the front, and they gave it all they could to bring back the break. A few other teams committed a rider or two but no one chased as much as we did.”

With the peloton closing in on the leaders, Voigt launched his signature last ditch effort to evade catch. His breakaway companions were unable to respond to his acceleration. Twenty kilometres from the finish, Voigt was the lone leader.

“We know a guy like Jens Voigt can’t be brought back so easily,” said Impey. “Sam and Jens had to do a lot of work in the chase. Coming into the circuit, Christian went after the KOM points. After he got those, he took over on the front and continued the drive to bring back Jens.”

Voigt was dangling just off the front when Simon Gerrans made his move. He sprung from the bunch on the last time around the circuit with Impey on his wheel. Immediately, Gerrans and Impey opened up a gap on the rest of the field.

“Gerro attacked on the climb,” explained Dean. “He took Impey as far as he could down the descent, and Impey launched off Gerro’s wheel and held off everyone all the way to the finish.”

“Gerro and I fully committed,” Impey added. “We had a small gap on the group behind us, and there were quite a few corners. We took some time around the corners. When we hit the wide straight, I was left to put my head down and keep it going to the end. I was kind of dying in the final, but I had still had a few seconds when I crossed the line.”

It was mission accomplished. Not only did Impey win the stage but Meier also extended his hold on the polka dot jersey. The Canadian leads the mountain classification by two points – ten points to the eight points claimed by Julian Kern (Ag2r La Mondiale). Racing continues tomorrow with a 25 kilometre individual time trial.
Thanks to Orica-GreenEDGE.

Bayern Rundfahrt Stage 3 Result:
1. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEDGE in 5:43:58
2. Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Giant-Shimano
3. Alexandr Porsev (Rus) Katusha
4. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Stölting
5. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
6. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin Sharp
7. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
8. Davide Viganò (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Team Stuttgart.

Bayern Rundfahrt Overall After Stage 3:
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling in 15:15:00
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:05
3. Leopold König (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 0:08
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:14
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:16
6. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling
7. Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:26
8. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:39
9. Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2r-La Mondiale 0:00:50
10. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:52.

Stage 3:

Geraint Thomas (Sky) won the 25.5 kilometre Stage 4 time trial in Wassertrüdingen on Saturday and took the overall lead. Thomas beat Jan Barta (Netapp-Endura) by 3 seconds and Anton Vorobyev (Katusha) by 4. Thomas now leads the overall by 19 seconds from Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) and 25 seconds from his Sky team mate Vasil Kiryienka with just one stage left.

The Czech TT champion; Jan Barta of Team NetApp-Endura finished the with the second-fastest time, just 3.3 seconds behind Thomas and his team mate Leo König is now fourth in the general classification heading into the final stage. With Barta in sixth place, the team now has two riders in the top 10.

“Given the top-notch competition, Jan’s second place finish is a fantastic result. Of course it’s a bit disappointing when things are so close, but that still doesn’t take away from Jan’s excellent performance. After Leo’s third place finish, we were very optimistic that he would stay on the podium or even move up a spot or two. But after his long training phase, he still isn’t 100%. While this is a bit disappointing for us right now, we have to keep looking ahead. His performance and form give us every reason to be very optimistic as we look towards the Tour de France,” Enrico Poitschke, Sport Director of Team NetApp-Endura, said after the time trial.

Bayern Rundfahrt Stage 4 Result:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 30:49
2. Jan Barta (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 0:03
3. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha at 0:04
4. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:10
5. Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek at 0:25
6. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:32
7. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:38
8. Jan-Niklas Droste (Ger) Team Heizomat at 0:44
9. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:44
10. Leopold König (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 0:48.

Bayern Rundfahrt Overall After Stage 4:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 15:46:02
2. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:19
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:35
4. Leopold König (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 0:43
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 1:10
6 Jan Barta (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 1:35
7. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEDGE at 1:38
8. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:58
9. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 2:00
10. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Sky at 2:04.

Stage 4:

Sam Bennett won the sprint in the Final Stage 5 of the 35th Bayern Rundfahrt. The 23-year-old native of Ireland from Team NetApp-Endura thus celebrated another victory on German soil after already winning the “Rund um Köln” and being just shy of victory in a photo finish at the Velothon Berlin. After today’s 160 km, he relegated Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Raymond Kreder (Garmin-Sharp) to second and third place in Nuremberg. Bennett also clenched the sprint jersey with his win of the day.

Today’s stage had no effect on the general classification. Geraint Thomas (Sky) won overall. The top-class German pro cycling team ended the tour with two riders in the top 10 of the general classification: Leopold König, who came in third in the queen stage, finished fourth, and Jan Barta, who had the second fastest ride in the individual time trial, finished sixth.

“The guys did a great job today. Bartosz looked after me in the peloton during the stage. He made the day a lot easier. Everyone worked well together the whole day and also to help make it a bunch sprint. In the laps Michael looked after me. He did an awesome job in the last kilometer putting me in a good position. It was a very fast and dangerous final. I got a little boxed in between 450-180m to go but the bunch pulled to the left and left the door open. It was really perfect”, reported Sam Bennett after the race.

“Today our strategy was focused entirely on Sam. The team executed everything very well, especially in the way it neutralized all the attacks during the final laps. Sam completed the preliminary work with a perfect sprint. Congratulations to him and huge compliments to the entire team for a very successful tour. A stage win, podium finishes in the key stages, top rankings in the general classification, and then also winning the sprint jersey – that’s a pretty good result in our home tour,” Enrico Poitschke, Sport Director of Team NetApp-Endura, concluded after the stage win.

Bayern Rundfahrt Stage 5 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Netapp-Endura in 3:31:40
2. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale
3. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
4. Alexandr Porsev (Rus) Katusha
5. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team Stölting
6. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
7. Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
8. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Shimano
9. Henning Bommel (Ger) Rad-Net Rose Team
10. Davide Viganò (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Bayern Rundfahrt Fianl Overall:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 19:17:42
2. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:19
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:35
4. Leopold König (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 0:43
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 1:10
6. Jan Barta (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 1:35
7. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE at 1:38
8. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:58
9. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 2:00
10. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Sky at 2:04.

Stage 5:

Van Hummel Not to Start Stage 2 in Belgium
Kenny Van Hummel (Androni Giocattoli) was not allowed to start stage 2 of the Baloise Belgium Tour due what the race called “incorrect behaviour” on stage 1. He had been involved in a crash and blamed Oliver Naessen (Cibel) and gave him a push. He did not receive any fine or other penalty.

Dahaes Out of the Giro
Lotto Belisol’s Kenny Dahaes was not allowed to start the Zoncolan stage on Saturday due to being over the percentage of the winner’s time. He was 21 minutes and 20 seconds slower than Nairo Quintana. He had two broken chains during his ride and no following car. The first time was with 5 kilometres to go and a fan at the side of the road helped him. The second was in the last kilometre and Lotto Belisol member of staff pushed him. Dahaes and the team are less than pleased with the Giro organisers.

Stupid Fans on the Zoncolan!
There was a lot of stupidity on Saturday’s Giro stage that finished up the crazy Zoncolan Mountain. Men is dresses etc. but the worst had to be the guy in the Lampre World champs jersey who pushed Francesco Bongiorno when he was following Mick Rogers wheel. Bongiorno had to brake to stop running into the back wheel of Rogers, un-clip his foot and restart, by that time Rogers was away. Here it is:

The Ciclismo PEZ Giro Fantasy League Final
Thanks to everyone who entered a team, great win for Little Chris Piccolo and his team: Master of Pasta from Matt (Vollgasss) and Jordano (The John Galt Lineup) in third. Good effort from every one and at least I wasn’t last this time. Keep tuned for the details of the Ciclismo PEZ Tour de France fantasy league with Velogames soon. Good luck.


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