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EuroTrash Monday!

Lance Armstrong still makes the TOP STORY, but for how much longer? Seems like yesterday’s news already. In the race World; the Tour Down Under warms up with a Crit in Adelaide, Tour de San Luis starts today and La Tropicale Bongo finished yesterday, and there was a surprise winner in the Cyclo-cross in Hoogerheide. Loads of other bits for you entertainment in EuroTrash Monday.

TOP STORY: Armstrong the Confession
It’s all out in the open, from the horse’s mouth so to speak. There were no surprises, no names mentioned, no confirmation of UCI involvement, and very little of anything we didn’t already know. There was one surprise and that was that he didn’t dope after 2005, just like all the others riders that contributed to the USADA investigation. To me; his comment that he was “carried along by the fans and the media” was shifting the blame to us, not his fault, it was ours. Many feel cheated by Armstrong and this admission didn’t go far enough to redress those feelings. Even in part 2, where it appeared that tears were not far away, there was still no contrition, and he has done this for Lance, not for anyone else. It has always been about Lance Armstrong and it still is.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been at a lot of team press days and asked the question; “what about Lance?” this question was put to riders and journalist and the answer didn’t vary much. Fabian Cancellara said “Armstrong can do what he likes and I do what I want, which is training for this season.” Which kind of summed it up for most of the riders, the comments from the others you can read soon. Most of the journalists were bored of writing about Armstrong and bored of asking the same questions, but felt that those questions did need asking. Many people I’ve spoken to; fans, riders, journalists and others with a passing interest in cycling (nearly all Europeans), feel that if this was not Armstrong, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

I think most will agree that we will be glad when the 2013 race season starts properly and there will be action on the road to talk about and not the next episode of a TV soap opera.

A Statement from USA Cycling
Press Release: Colorado Springs, Colo. (January 18, 2013) — The facts and evidence included in the landmark Reasoned Decision report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and the subsequent admissions from cyclists who knowingly and purposely cheated, have cast a much-needed spotlight on what was the darkest era in professional cycling. These overdue admissions, and the resulting public scrutiny, are an essential step in ensuring the transgressions of the past are never again repeated. It is only through this process that professional cycling will completely heal.

Any rider who knowingly and willfully cheated has an obligation to come forward now and be entirely open and transparent about their actions, no matter how abhorrent, with the relevant anti-doping authorities. From USA Cycling’s perspective, the recent series of confessions by Lance Armstrong and others is an important step. Still, USA Cycling is interested to see the extent to which those whose cheating created a dark cloud of suspicion around professional cycling are now willing to reinforce their apologies with substantive efforts to repair the damage they have done, both privately and publicly. They owe nothing less to our great sport; to the members of USA Cycling who continually reinforce the highest values of our sport through their participation; and to the next generation of athletes worldwide who already have begun to usher in a new era through their commitment to clean competition and fair play.

Here are both parts of the interview:

People’s Choice Classic, Adelaide 2013
Andrй Greipel (Lotto Belisol) won the Tour Down Under warm-up race on the streets of Adelaide in the People’s Choice Classic over 51 kilometres, split into 30 laps. Earlier in the race; RadioShack’s Jens Voigt and Zak Dempster (UniSA) built up a lead of one minute, but the sprinters team got on with the chase to pull them back in time for the Lotto Belisol team to take control with a lap to go. Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) came close in the sprint, but Greipel was the strongest at the line.

People’s Choice Classic, Adelaide Result:
1. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 1:04:00
2. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol
4. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Chris Sutton (Nor) Sky Procycling
6. Davide Cimoali (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
8. Jose Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
9. Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) UniSA-Australia
10. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale.

The last few laps:

UCI World Cup Cyclo-cross Hoogerheide 2013
In heavy snow, the Czech rider Martin Bina (CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor) surprised all the favourites with a strong ride for his biggest career win to date. Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) was well placed after the usual fast start, but crashed as did Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), Nys had time to fight his way back, but Pauwels had chain trouble and lost a lot of time at an important point late in the race. Pauwels had been the strongman doing most of the work taking a five man group away including a struggling World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus). With riders slipping and sliding all over the treacherous course; Bina put the pressure on with three laps to go and kept a gap of around 10 seconds to the finish. Behind; Nys, Albert and Pauwels where having their problems and Lars van der Haar (Rabobank-Giant Offroad) and Simon Zahner (EKZ) moved into podium positions. After the race, Bina in broken English confirmed that his was his most important win. Today was the first time that no Belgian riders made the top three in a World Cup this season.

UCI World Cup Cyclo-cross Hoogerheide Result:
1. Martin Bina (Cze) CEZ Cyklo Team Tabor in 1:02:17
2. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Rabobank-Giant Offroad at 0:07
3. Simon Zahner (Swi) EKZ at 0:11
4. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony at 0:22
5. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 0:27
6. Radomir Simunek (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah
7. Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ at 0:33
8. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon at 0:42
9. Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) BMC MTB at 0:46
10. Lukas Flьckiger (Swi) BMC MTB at 0:49.

Here is the link to the race summary on sporza.

La Tropicale Bongo-Tour du Gabon 2013
Andrea Palini almost got the victory and he defended the yellow jersey.

The Lampre-Merida rider was second on Stage 4 of Tropicale Amissa Bongo (Oyem-Mitzic, 109 km) at the end of a sprint that was won by Petit (Cofidis). Palini leads the overall classification with 2″ on Petit.

After 70 km of intense battle, a 4 rider breakaway led the race until the final kilometres. On the final hill (600 metres at 3%), Petit tried a move and Palini followed him, with the intention of overtaking him in the final 100 metres, but he could not make more than the 2nd place.
Thanks to Lampre-Merida for the report.

La Tropicale Bongo-Tour du Gabon Stage 4 Result:
1. PETIT Adrien COFIDIS (FRA) in 2:28:12
2. PALINI Andrea Francesco LAMPRE-MERIDA (ITA)
3. REYNES Vicente LOTTO BELISOL (ESP)
4. BILLE Gaлtan LOTTO BELISOL (BEL)
5. AMANUEL Meron ERYTHREE (ERI)
6. GENE Yohann TEAM EUROPCAR (FRA)
7. HANNACHI Abdelbaset ALGERIE (ALG)
8. TEWELDE WELDEGABIR Jani MTN-QHUBEKA (ERI)
9. CAMMAERTS Edwig COFIDIS (BEL)
10. ABRAHA Tesfay ERYTHREE (ERI).

La Tropicale Bongo-Tour du Gabon Overall After Stage 4:
1. PALINI Andrea Francesco LAMPRE-MERIDA (ITA) in 11:18:23
2. PETIT Adrien COFIDIS (FRA) at 0:02
3. HADDI Soufiane MAROC (MAR) at 0:07
4. GENE Yohann EUROPCAR (FRA) at 0:10
5. BILLE Gaлtan LOTTO BELISOL (BEL) at 0:11
6. KUDUS Merhawi ERYTHREE (ERI) at 0:14
7. OKUBAMARIAM Tesfom ERYTHREE (ERI) at 17
8. CAMMAERTS Edwig COFIDIS (BEL)
9. CHARTEAU Anthony EUROPCAR (FRA) at 21
10. CISSE Issiaka CIV (CIV).

Stage 4:

Andrea Palini strenghten the leadership of Tropicale Amissa Bongo in the 5th stage, 190 km from Lambarene-Mouila.

The young gun from Team Lampre-Merida obtained the 2nd place, just behind the winner Robert (Lotto-Belisol) and preceding Dockx, Petit and Genи.

Thanks to this result and to the 4th place by Petit, Palini increased his advantage on the French cyclist to 8 seconds.

Two awesome showers hit the bunch in the early 60 km of race and in the final 50 km, in the middle the stage was characterized by the breakaway of 12 riders led by Rolland and controlled by Team Lampre-Merida riders. The chase to the attackers was completed by Lotto-Belisol, just before a crash broke the bunch in two parts (Wackermann involved without injuries) and selected 30 riders group in the head of the race.

For Lampre-Merida, Palini and Graziato were in this group, but Graziato had to face a crash that caused him grazes on the left knee, so Palini was forced to perform the sprint without team mates for 2nd place.

“My target is to conquer the overall classification and a second stage victory would be the perfect thing.” Andrea Palini commented, “The energies are decreasing, but I can rely on my team mates, that always support me in an outstanding way.”
Thanks again to Lampre-Merida for the report.

La Tropicale Bongo-Tour du Gabon Stage 5 Result:
1. ROBERT Frйdйrique LOTTO BELISOL (BEL) in 4:36:50
2. PALINI Andrea Francesco LAMPRE-MERIDA (ITA)
3. DOCKX Gйrt LOTTO BELISOL (BEL)
4. PETIT Adrien COFIDIS (FRA)
5. GENE Yohann EUROPCAR (FRA)
6. HADDI Soufiane MAROC (MAR)
7. TEWELDE WELDEGABIR Jani MTN-QHUBEKA (ERI)
8. AADEL Reda MAROC (MAR)
9. GEBRESELASSIE Estifanos ETHIOPIE (ETH)
10. GHYSELINCK Jan COFIDIS (BEL).

La Tropicale Bongo-Tour du Gabon Overall After Stage 5:
1. PALINI Andrea Francesco LAMPRE-MERIDA (ITA) in 15:55:07
2. PETIT Adrien COFIDIS (FRA) at 0:08
3. HADDI Soufiane MAROC (MAR) at 0:13
4. GENE Yohann EUROPCAR (FRA) at 0:16
5. BILLE Gaлtan LOTTO BELISOL (BEL) at 0:17
6. KUDUS Merhawi ERYTHREE (ERI) at 20
7. SONGEZO Jim MTN-QHUBEKA RSA at 0:52
8. CAMMAERTS Edwig COFIDIS (BEL) at 56
9. OKUBAMARIAM Tesfom ERYTHREE (ERI) at 1:25
10. LAGAB Azzedine ALGERIA (ALG) at 1:28.

Stage 5:

Stage 6 was from Lambarene to Kango over a distance of 147 kilometres. Europcar took the stage with Yohann Gene after they had been very active in the stage forcing a strong breakaway and moving Gene into the overall lead going into the final stage.

La Tropicale Bongo-Tour du Gabon Stage 6 Result:
1. GENE Yohann EUROPCAR (FRA) in 3:09:24
2. HADDI Soufiane MAROC (MAR)
3. BILLE Gaлtan LOTTO BELISOL (BEL)
4. REYNES Vicente LOTTO BELISOL (ESP)
5. OUEDRAOGO Rasmane BURKINA FASO (BUR)
6. TESHOME Meron ERYTHREE (ERI)
7. GRMAY Tsgabu MTN-QHUBEKA (ETH)
8. JELLOUL Adil MAROC (MAR)
9. SONGEZO Jim MTN-QHUBEKA (RSA)
10. ZINGLE Romain COFIDIS (BEL).

La Tropicale Bongo-Tour du Gabon Overall After Stage 6:
1. Yohann GENE (FRA) EUROPCAR in 19:04:29
2. Soufiane HADDI (MAR) MAROC at 0:08
3. Gaetan BILLE (BEL) LOTTO BELISOL at 0:14
4. Jim SONGEZO (SA) MTN at 0:54
5. Azzedine LAGAB (ALG) at 1:30
6. Issiaka CISSE (CIV) CIV at 1:31
7. Vicente REYNES MIMO (SPA) LOTTO BELISOL at 1:37
8. Romain ZINGLE (BEL) COFIDIS at 1:50
9. Tsgabu Gebremaryam GRMAY (ETH) MTN at 1:53
10. Meron TESHOME (ERI) ERYTHREE at 2:01.

Stage 6:

The Tropicale Amissa Bongo or Tour du Gabon has finished. Gert Dockx was the best in the final stage between Owendo and the capital Libreville. After 20 of the 126 kilometers a group of ten riders took off and Maarten Neyens jumped to them. For a while the Lotto Belisol rider was solo in front, but he too would be caught. At about 12 km from the finish Gert Dockx could escape with a few others and he could take his second stage win, after he already was the best in the third stage. Frйderique Robert became third, he has won the first and fifth stage in Gabon.

Gaлtan Bille was able to maintain his third place in the GC, he follows at 14” of winner Yohann Gиne. The Moroccon Haddi could go on the podium thanks to his second place. It has been a very successful race in Gabon with four stage wins, a third place in the GC and the first place in the team classification.

Gaлtan Bille: “I am satisfied with this result, because it is my first podium place in a stage race. As well in the third stage, that Gert Dockx won, as in yesterday’s stage I finished third. I lost my chances to the overall victory when I had a puncture in the final on Friday, I could have won this race then. The breakaway I was in yesterday wasn’t planned, but was due to the course of the race. And it yielded me a third place in the GC, so I climbed two places. The final wasn’t hard enough, so it was difficult to attack. It wasn’t tough enough to make the difference and take the leader’s jersey. It has been a great week for Lotto Belisol here in Africa, but of course also thanks to the victory of Andrй Greipel in Australia. It is a very good beginning of the season.”

Team MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung today completed the week long La Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Gabon. Africa’s first ever Professional Continental team finished the race strong with Tsgabu Grmay placing second on the final stage. Songezo Jim was the highest finisher for the team overall, in 4th while Grmay moved up to 5th. The team finished second overall in the team classification after 20 year old Louis Meintjes finished 10th on the general classification.

“I am really happy with this result,” Jim said. “We came here with a young team but we road as a unit and can be proud of this week. I was really focused coming into the race. My training in December went really well and although I am a climber and there aren’t many hills here, I was happy to be aggressive against the sprinters. My team was amazing in supporting me and looking after me, especially during the decisive break on stage 6.”
Sports director, Kevin Campbell, was in charge of managing the team this week. “I am very happy with how the team conducted itself,” he said. “We had a few crashes and broken bikes but picked ourselves up and finished in the top 10 on nearly every stage. To come here with such a young team and race against tough European and African competition and be one of the strongest teams at the end of the race is encouraging. We placed 3 guys in the top 10 and nearly won the team competition, this bodes well for the future.”

Jim hails from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. He was orphaned at 12 years old and only discovered bike racing at 14, when transferred to live with family in Cape Town. Up until that point he had never ridden a bicycle before. Team MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung is committed to discovering and developing the best African talent to race on the world stage.
Thanks to mtn-Qhubeka & Lotto Belisol teams for race reports.

La Tropicale Bongo-Tour du Gabon Stage 7 Result:
1. DOCKX Gйrt LOTTO BELISOL (BEL) in 2:48:42
2. GRMAY Tsgabu MTN-QHUBEKA (ETH) at 0:02
3. ROBERT Frйdйrique LOTTO BELISOL (BEL) at 0:21
4. PALINI Andrea Francesco LAMPRE-MERIDA (ITA)
5. PETIT Adrien COFIDIS (FRA)
6. GENE Yohann EUROPCAR (FRA)
7. OUEDRAOGO Rasmane BURKINA FASO (BUR)
8. TEWELDE WELDEGABIR Jani MTN-QHUBEKA (ERI)
9. BEN YOUCEF Abdellah ALGERIE (ALG)
10. HADDI Soufiane MAROC (MAR).

La Tropicale Bongo-Tour du Gabon Final Result:
1. GENE Yohann EUROPCAR (FRA) in 21:53:32
2. HADDI Soufiane MAROC (MAR) at 0:08
3. BILLE Gaлtan LOTTO BELISOL (BEL) at 0:14
4. SONGEZO Jim MTN-QHUBEKA (RSA) at 0:54
5. GRMAY Tsgabu MTN-QHUBEKA (ETH) at 1:25
6. LAGAB Azzedine ALGERIE (ALG) at 1:30
7. CISSE Issiaka CIV (CIV) at 1:31
8. ZINGLE Romain COFDIS (BEL) at 1:50
9. TESHOME Meron ERYTHREE (ERI) at 2:01
10. MEINTJES Louis MTN-QHUBEKA (RSA) at 2:21.

Nelissen & Dekker Admit Doping at Rabobank
Thomas Dekker and Danny Nelissen have both come forward to say that performance enhancing drug use was wide spread in the Dutch Rabobank team. Nelissen has confessed on RTL Nieuws that he used EPO and the Rabobank team had an organised doping programme before the 1996 Tour de France. He added that the team doctor, Geert Leinders (recently ex-Sky Dr.) administered the EPO which was supplied by the team, Nelissen rode for Rabobank in 1996 and 1997. Thomas Dekker rode for the team between 2004 and 2008, he served a two year ban for EPO use and admitted to NRC Handelsblad that he started using EPO in 2006 and confirmed that doping was tolerated in the team and that it was part of the culture in the team. He said “Doping was a way of life and a way of riding for many teammates, colleagues and me, too. Doping was part of the job.” He also confirmed that he had blood transfusions; “I thought it was the way to success, all the big riders were doing it,” Dekker said. “I received a blood bag three times. With doping, you can have everything, but in fact you’re left with nothing afterwards.”

Nelissen wins the :1995 World Road Championships Amateur Men’s Road Race

Job Change for Shane Sutton at Sky
Head coach of Team Sky; Shane Sutton is taking a sideways step in the Sky organisation to become performance advisor and trouble-shooter. Sutton said to the teams’ web-site that; “I’m being led by Dave [Brailsford] and whatever he wants and whatever I can do to help the performance team then I’ll deliver that for Team Sky.” Sutton will carry on as GB track team head coach.

Sutton at the Glasgow World Cup track event:

OPQS to Santos Tour Down Under
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the roster that will participate in the Santos Tour Down Under, the first race of 2013, from Jan. 20th to Jan. 27th.

First, there is the People’s Choice Classic — a 51km circuit race “preview” to the Santos Tour Down Under. Then, there is Stages 1 through 6, which include some uphill finishes mixed in with the flat, sprinter friendly stages.

OPQS Sports Director Rik Van Slycke said there are riders who can do their best regardless of the course.

“We want to support the young strength of Andy Fenn, to keep working on his development as a top sprinter,” Van Slycke said. “We will go with him to see how close he can get to Andre Greipel and other sprinters there. The team can also be strong in the uphill finishes. Serge Pauwels, Jerome Pineau and Peter Velits will be part of the team and will try to get as close to victory as possible.”

Van Slycke said Santos Tour Down Under, and other early races this year, will hopefully set the tone for 2013 just as the earlier races did for a highly successful 2012 OPQS season.

“It’s important because like we saw last year, the guys started very good in Argentina,” Van Slycke said. “It caused a kind of snowball effect. If we have a good result, the guys who go to Qatar for example will take over the steering of the season and try to do as good as we did. So, it’s key to get a good start and gain confidence for everyone. It seems that we’ve done good enough in training to be competitive early. This is quite an important race.”

Riders:
Andrew Fenn (GBR),
Bert Grabsch (GER),
Serge Pauwels (BEL),
Jerome Pineau (FRA),
Frantisek Rabon (CZE),
Gert Steegmans (BEL),
Peter Velits (SVK).
Sports Director: Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Lampre-Merida in Australia
The People’s Choice Classic is scheduled for Sunday 20th January, it will bring the bunch to Adelaide streets for 30 laps of a 1.7 km circuit, and the same Lampre-Merida team will ride the Santos Tour Down Under.

Team Lampre-Merida for Australian races:
Davide Cimolai,
Elia Favilli,
Roberto Ferrari,
Matthew Lloyd,
Manuele Mori,
Daniele Pietropolli,
Simone Stortoni.

Tour Down Under Preview from Lotto Belisol
Press Release: Tuesday the cycling season can begin on the highest level with the start of the 15th edition of the Tour Down Under. In the fourteen previous editions eight times an Australian was the strongest in the end, but in 2008 and 2010 Andrй Greipel was the number one. A new overall victory won’t be easy, because in at least three of the six stages there is a considerable amount of climbing to do. In the flat stages his principal opponents will be Goss, Boasson Hagen, Farrar, Renshaw and Kittel; so there are a lot of well-known sprinters at the start. For Greipel and his train the Tour Down Under has become a traditional opening of the season, to be in top condition when the classics come up in a few weeks. Sunday the People’s Choice Classic took place (51km), a criterium as a start for the real work.

Andrй Greipel: “We came to Australia very early. On January 9 we were already in Adelaide, so we had a lot of time to adjust to the climate, get over the jetlag and to prepare optimally for the first race of the season. The trip from Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur to Adelaide was long, but we didn’t have any problems. The last ten days we have trained well and everybody is looking forward to start. The past few days were also very good for the team spirit. We know each other very well, but we also took the time to make some excursions. It is my sixth participation in the Tour Down Under and to me it’s an ideal start of the season.”

“The stages look very feisty. I expect that in three of the six stages there will be an opportunity for the sprinters. For the other stages we can rely on a guy like Tim Wellens. Apart from Cavendish, Petacchi and Sagan the most important sprinters are present, so it will be a first moment to see where we stand. The People’s Choice Classic on Sunday is only a criterium, but it’s the start of the season, so traditionally it will be a hard race. Our goal is to win a stage. Starting the year with a victory is good for the trust, although there will be many chances. The guys in Gabon have given the right example, and we want to follow it.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Andrй Greipel, Adam Hansen,
Greg Henderson,
Olivier Kaisen,
Jьrgen Roelandts,
Marcel Sieberg,
Tim Wellens.
Sports director: Herman Frison.

The teams arrive in Oz:

Europcar Team for GP Marseillaise
The first important race in France is on Sunday the 27th of January in the town of Aubagne near Marseille in the south of France.

Europcar riders:
Giovanni Bernaudeau,
Jйrome Cousin,
Cyril Gautier,
Vincent Jerome,
David Malacarne,
Alexandre Pichot,
Perrig Quemeneur,
Angйlo Tulik.
Directeur Sportif: Dominique Arnould.

GP d’Ouverture La Marseillaise 2012 – Highlights:

Colombia picks Garda Trentino to set up new season
Press Release: The start of an exciting new season is getting closer and closer for Team Colombia. On Friday, January 18th, the Escarabajos will fly to Italy, where they will finally rejoin the team staff and have some days to re-settle into the European lifestyle before the early races of the season. Only Edwin Avila, Juan Esteban Arango and Duber Quintero will join the group a few days later.

To hit the ground running in a crucial season for Claudio Corti’s outfit, set to make its debut in Grand Tours in May at the Giro d’Italia, the technical staff once again chose Trentino, Northern Italy, to finalize the rider’s preparation ahead of their debut in 2013.

Team Colombia named Arco, near the Lake Garda, for their final 4-day training camp, from January 28th to 31st. The whole Team roster will endure a very intense time: apart from some training session in the enchanting and mountainous scenario, the official photo and video shooting and the team’s media training will also take place in Trentino.

To end the 4-days stint, on January 31st the Escarabajos will make their first recognition on 2013 Giro d’Italia route: in fact, the Team will reach Mori, where the start of stage 17 uphill time trial is set, and will go all the way to Polsa on the 19,4 km route. A very interesting test that Team Colombia’s riders will definitely face with increased determination, and will give the technical staff some very important indications for the first races of the year.

The training camp in Arco will also mark the first stint with the Team for new-signing Leonardo Duque: the experience rider could not take part to December’s concentration in Zipaquirа (Colombia) to stay with new-born son Eduardo, and is now looking forward to really get into the new environment at Team Colombia.

The 2012 Team Colombia training camp:

Tour de San Luis Preview from Lotto Belisol
Press Release: The organization of the Tour de San Luis can be very pleased. In this seventh edition a bunch of big names stand at the start: Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez, Vincenzo Nibali (winner in 2010), Tejay Van Garderen and of course Jurgen Van den Broeck. For the climbers this Argentinean stage race is ideal to get an idea of their condition at this point. The first two stages can be called flat, but everything that follows is for the climbers, with an individual time trial at day 4. Ten WorldTour teams will start, eight ProContinental teams and five continental teams.

Also for Jurgen Van den Broeck the Tour de San Luis is a first moment to see where he stands. In the pretty tough race of one week he found an ideal start of the season to test the legs and ride his first competition kilometers.

Jurgen Van den Broeck: “The agreeable climate, the route and the strong opponents have made me decide to start here. I don’t know the race, but when I see who rode here the past few years, I think we have made the ride choice. We left Thursday evening to travel from Brussels to Madrid and took a night flight there to Buenos Aires. Friday afternoon there was a domestic flight to San Luis. We now have a few days to acclimatize.”

“In my preparation for the Tour I will only ride stage races and this race has to give me an idea of how my condition is right now. I owe it to myself and my team to give the best I can in every stage race. I will try to give the maximum each time and hope to set some nice results. If I am able to set a good result in those races I will definitely go for it.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Jens Debusschere,
Kenny Dehaes,
Bart De Clercq,
Jurgen Van den Broeck,
Joost Van Leijen,
Frederik Willems
Sports director: Mario Aerts

The time difference with Brussels is -4. 14 p.m. in Brussels is 10 a.m. in Argentina, so the stages will arrive between 20:30 p.m. and 22:00 p.m.

Stages
Stage 1: Monday 21/01: San Luis – Villa Mercedes (164km)
Stage 2: Tuesday 22/01: Tilisarao – Terrazas del Portezuelo (171,4km)
Stage 3: Wednesday 23/01: La Punta – Mirador del Potrero (173,1km)
Stage 4: Thursday 24/01: San Luis – San Luis, ITT (19,2km)
Stage 5: Friday 25/01: Juana Koslay – Carolina (169,8km)
Stage 6: Saturday 26/01: Quines – Merlo (156,6km)
Stage 7: Sunday 27/01: San Luis – Juana Koslay (154,7km)

Top quality selection for Lampre-Merida in the Tour de San Luis
Tour de San Luis will be the first time for Lampre-Merida in South America and it will be the first time an Argentinean cyclist (Richeze) and a Croatian one (Durasek) will race for Giuseppe Saronni’s team.

Viganт has ridden a lot on track during the winter and Richeze has already won one stage in Vuelta a San Juan, Petacchi is highly motivated in view of the new season and Pozzato is willing to be an important member of his new team. Malori’s target will be the time trial on the 4th stage (19.2 km, San Luis-San Luis), while Ulissi will try to be in the top part of the overall classification.

In addition, high attention will be on Pozzato’s debut in Team Lampre-Merida.

The Italian cyclist explained that: “The level of the riders that will take part in the race is very high. I’m in a good fit, but I’m aware I need to be more confident with the agonistic pace in order to be competitive. I think Petacchi could be protagonist.”

Lampre-Merida Riders:
Kristijan Durasek,
Adriano Malori,
Alessandro Petacchi,
Filippo Pozzato,
Maximiliano Richeze,
Diego Ulissi,
Davide Viganт.
Sport director: Orlando Maini.

OPQS to Tour de San Luis
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has selected the riders who will take part in the Tour de San Luis. OPQS will compete on a challenging parcours, with some of the best riders in the WorldTour from Jan. 20th until Jan. 27th.

Tour de San Luis features a 19.2km individual time trial on Stage 4, but is otherwise full of challenging road stages. Stage 1 and 2 are the flatter of the stages. The gruelling, climbing stages begin with Stage 3, which includes two Category 1 climbs. Stage 3 also includes a summit finish on the second major climb, with the final 4km being a 6.7% average gradient. Stage 5 also has a Category 1 climb —Cerro El Amago — at kilometre 152.8, with a Category 3 summit leading into it at the 143.5km point. There is then a descent, and a slightly uphill stage finish at kilometre 169.8. The peloton gets no break, as Stage 6 includes another Category 1 summit finish with an average gradient in the final kilometre at 8.75 percent. Tour de San Luis ends with a flatter Stage 7, but still includes an uphill finish.

OPQS trained today in 30 degree weather, which was perfect to prepare for the conditions of the upcoming races.

“We know already the parcour and the road here even if there are slight changes,” Sports Director Davide Bramati said. “The course is difficult, with uphill finishes, a time trial and few stages for the sprinter. We will see day by day how to interpret the race. We have good riders and it would be great to start our season with a good result.”

Riders:
Mark Cavendish (GB),
Sylvain Chavanel (FRA),
Michal Kwiatkowski (POL),
Pieter Serry (BEL),
Matteo Trentin (ITA),
Martin Velits (SVK),
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA).

Alberto Contador at the Tour de San Luis
“There are riders who are better than me to fight for victory”

Alberto Contador today met the second day of hard training in St. Louis, more than 4 hours, taking advantage of the excellent weather conditions in the region. After lunch, the leader of Saxo-Tinkoff gave a press conference for local media, focusing on his expectations for this race and why he started the 2013 season in Argentina. “The reception here has been excellent. Everyone shows me his love and to be here is simply because last year was very pleased and also the possibilities of making some good workouts, and now in Spain we have a cold wave.”

What are your expectations for this race and what your schedule from here?
“My expectations are different from last year, because the idea is to fine tune and adjust my weight, since I’m a few kilos over, normal thing right now. It’s true that I like to play if I am with possibilities, I can hardly stop me if I have god legs, but I’m over my weight and that are
mathematics. There are riders who are better than me to fight for victory. Looking at my calendar, will focus on the Tour de France. After here I will run the Tour of Oman, a race that I don’t know, and will continue with Tirreno, that I don’t know either, but I’m excited to go, because until now I always had raced Paris-Nice. Then I’ll go to the Criterium International, another race with a great reputation and where I’ve never been in a good condition. Finally, the will ride Basque Country and then the team will analyze the possibility of ride some classics or go to the Giro, we’ll see.”

How does the Saxo-Tinkoff 2013 and the team that brings to San Luis?
“The team is in a superb form. The riders are excited about the 2013 season and me more than my teammates. We will all have opportunities, the team is stronger and I think it has made things very well. Here, for instance, we bring a complete team, with four riders that go very well in the mid-mountain and in the plain and then we have Jesus Hernandez, who is strong enough uphill. We are a very balanced team.”

Where will Tour de San Luis be won?
“The climbs are not very long, so the differences will be maximum in the time trial. Among those arriving in front in the mountain stages, who better goes in time trial will be the winner. Last year was Leipheimer who was in great form and won.”

Who will be the candidate this year?
“It’s hard to say. There is an impressive roster of riders, I could not say exactly. Nibali proved to be strong in 2012, and Dani Moreno and Purito also will be there. There are many riders, as Van den Broeck or Vangarderen, plus local riders, who prepare at hundred percent this race and are really strong in the mountains.”
Thanks to Jacinto Vidarte for the news from Argentina.

Contador in the 2012 Tour de San Luis:

Tour De Pologne 2013
Promotion of the event has started in the territory of Trentino.

Press Release: The partnership continues between the Tour de Pologne and Trentino. It is already widely known that the 2013 edition of the Polish stage race, scheduled from July 27th to August 3rd, will set off from Trentino.

There will be two stages taking place in Italy, both in Trentino. The first stage, on Saturday, July 27th, from Rovereto to Madonna di Campiglio, will cover 183.5 km. The second, on Sunday, July 28th, will be 195.5 kilometres from Marilleva Val Di Sole to Passo Pordoi, Val di Fassa, with an arrival in the heart of the Dolomites, the natural monument that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It will be the first time in the history of cycling that a foreign race which is part of the World Tour calendar, the highest level of the cycling series, starts off from Italy.

There are still several months to go before the start of the Tour de Pologne but organization for the event is well underway.

“After the presentation for the Trentino stages held in Krakow in November, we’ve continued to work and further develop our partnership with Trentino,” explains Tour de Pologne Director Czeslaw Lang. “We have already begun to promote the event in the Trentino territory, through the APT (Agencies for Promotion of Tourism) of the valleys which will be involved in the passing of the stages, particularly in Rovereto, Madonna di Campiglio and Pinzolo, in Val di Sole, in Val di Fiemme and in Val di Fassa. At this time of year there is a large influx of tourists in the ski resorts around Trentino, many of whom come from Poland, so this is the perfect opportunity to promote the event and reach both Italian and Polish audiences.”

Tour De Pologne 2013 presentation:

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