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EuroTrash Monday!

Another fantastic weekend of cycle sport with an exciting finalé to the Giro del Trentino and an even better last 20 kilometres in Liège with Dan Martin showing us his style and class. The Tour of Turkey has started and Romandie does on Tuesday, we preview both in a fun packed EuroTrash Monday.

TOP STORY: Wiggins Vs. Shimano!
On the last stage of the Giro del Trentino Bradley Wiggins had problems with the Shimano Di2 gears on his Pinarello. On that final climb to the finish in Sega di Ala there are some very steep sections and the Sky team had fitted a compact chainset with a 36 tooth inner chainring and it didn’t work, costing him any chance of overall victory. The 2012 Tour de France winner eventually had to do a bike toss which nicely rolled to a stop against a wall. His spare bike did work, but it had been fitted with a 39 inner chainring, which gave him too high a gear for those tough sections. Although he made a good go at catching the group of eventual winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), in the end he had to make the best of what he had and finish 1 minute and 40 seconds behind the Italian.

One wonders why a team that is supposed to look at everything in minute detail messed up on something so simple as having the team leaders spare bike not set up with the same gearing as the bike he intended to use on the most important stage of the race. The Shimano Di2 system is very reliable and Wiggins has probably had thousands of trouble free riding with it, now due to one small (but important) incident people will question the Japanese electric gearing. Was it a human or a mechanical problem, we will probably never know, but I bet dinner in the Sky team hotel was a frost affair that evening.

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2013
Garmin-Sharp pulled a double punch in Sundays Liège-Bastogne-Liège; first their Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal went on a solo adventure with around 15 kilometres to go. When he was caught he powered the break with his young team mate Dan Martin in tow. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) made his move to rid himself of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who had not contributed all day and was fresh for the sprint. Martin jumped up to Rodriguez, took a deep breath and launched himself into the history books with 400 metres to go. A great win perfectly executed. We have seen how the young Irishman has developed over the years and Liège was the perfect race for him to show he has the talent and the class we all knew he had.

Dan Martin said as soon as he crossed the line: “I can’t believe it, I’m really in shock, I’ve never seen the team ride so strong, they kept me protected all day. It felt like one of the easiest races I’ve ever did. It really is incredible, I’m so happy.” Martin added: “The idea was to get someone in front and that’s what Ryder did and I just stayed behind with the others,” he explained. “I couldn’t believe how easy it was in Saint-Nicolas. I was totally in control and followed any attack that went.” The team tactics worked perfectly. “With Ryder in front I was in the perfect position, we eventually caught him at the top of the climb and he rode flat out for me. It was a fantastic team effort from all the team. Every single of our riders rode their hearts out today. Me and Ryder were already in the Top 10 last year so it really is a good race for us.”

The Irishman had a premonition about the day: “Actually somebody texted me that the first year that Sean Kelly won Catalunya, he won Liège weeks later, that was back in 1984. That was a bit of an omen and I’ve been thinking about it all week. After finishing fourth of the Fleche Wallonne, I thought that maybe I could win. All these little things were adding up. I was in a complete state of zen all day. Just so calm.”

Alejandro Valverde: “I’m really happy to reach the podium again, and this race makes for a really good Ardennes trio. 2nd in the Amstel Gold, 3rd in here… I’m satisfied with what I got. Two podiums in three classics are not at anyone’s reach. It’s obvious I was coming here for a victory, but all the big riders were here and aspire to the same thing. Martin and Purito were stronger in the finale today and I’ve got to be satisfied with my 3rd place. It was a hard trio of classics and we’ll try to recover well tomorrow and get ready for the Tour de Romandie from Tuesday – it will be my last race before the build-up to the Tour.”

Jerome Pineau was the top finisher for OPQS, in 27th place. OPQS maintained a presence going into an earlier crucial climb, Cote de la Redoute. However, that is when attacks began launching, as teams did their best to decide the final with just a few riders out of many.

“Today wasn’t a great day,” Michal Kwiatkowsk said. “I was good until La Redoute but then after that I wasn’t so super. I tried, but it was just a bad day. I have to see the positive things of this experience — I finished the race and I did all of the parcour. It will be important for the future. I really would like to thank my teammates for the support they gave me the last three races. Even today the guys were perfect and I am sad I couldn’t finish with a strong performance today. I wanted to repay everyone for their efforts. Overall, this week was good for me because I gained good experience and I was able to finish in the top five two times out of three. Now I go home and I will recover a bit. I will then try to be ready for the next races.”

“We started this race to help Michal and we were committed to do it.” Pineau said. “We did it well. Probably in the final I could have followed the group of Gilbert on Saint-Nicolas, but I maybe spent a little too much energy before. It’s a shame, but I am happy about my race and am looking forward to the next races.”

“It was a great experience,” Pieter Serry said.” I tried to always be in the front. My goal was to try to get into the actions and wait for my teammates. I think I did it and am quite happy about my race.”

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Result:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 6:38:07
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:03
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:09
4. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana at 0:18
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
8. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp
9. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar
10. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
11. Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ
12. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
13. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
14. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
15. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Blanco.

How it was won:

Giro del Trentino 2013
Stage 3 from Pergine Valsugana to Condino (Valle delle Chiese) saw Dario Cataldo (Sky) and Fabio Felline (Androni-Venezuela) break early in the stage, they were joined by Paolo Tiralongo & Tanel Kangert (Astana), Michele Scarponi & Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), José C Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Cannondale), Stefano Locatelli (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Emanuele Sella (Androni-Venezuela) and Antonio Piedra Perez (Caja Rural) on the climb of Fai della Paganella to give 11 riders out front with a lead of 3:30 with 50 kilometres to go. On the steep climb of the Daone; Scarponi put the pressure on and only Tiralongo and Santaromita held on to his coat tails.

Santaromita, Tiralongo and Scarponi arrived together at the finish of the 176.1-kilometer stage. Tiralongo led out the sprint, but Santaromita came around him with 100 meters to go to earn his first stage win since turning professional in 2006. “Cadel Evans and (BMC Racing Team Assistant Director) Fabio Baldato told me it was a good day for me to get in the breakaway and try to win the stage,” Santaromita said. “Today, finally, it was perfect. I had good legs and good tactics. I saw Scarponi suffering with cramps and Tiralongo was the best sprinter, so I took his wheel.” Tiralongo finished second and Scarponi was third as Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) kept his overall lead by 3:19 over Kanstantin Siutsou and 3:48 to Bradley Wiggins, both of Sky.

Santaromita last experienced victory when he won the overall classification of Settimana Coppi e Bartali in March of 2010, a year before joining the BMC Racing Team. “This is wonderful,” he said. “Before coming to this race, I did a training camp alone. It’s not always easy being away from my family and away from home. But now I am happy. It’s a beautiful day.” Baldato said there was a relaxed atmosphere and good morale in the team despite only having four riders for the penultimate stage: Adam Blythe, Evans, Marco Pinotti and Santaromita. “When the race is hard like today and you have good legs, you can make the race even with three or four guys,” Baldato said. “Cadel was always with the leaders and was strong. It was good for him to have Ivan in the front. And Pinotti was close to remaining with Cadel and only lost contact with the first chase group in the last kilometres.”

Maxime Bouet saved the leader’s fuchsia jersey for another day, and sees his dreams get closer and more concrete: relying on a strong 3:19 advantage, no one can play down the Frenchman’s chances, even though the final queen stage, with the new uphill finish to Sega di Ala after 166,8 km (including the Brentonico ascent on the way) will be the final showdown, saying the final word on this Giro del Trentino. “Tomorrow, I will need to cover the Astana guys, as they have plenty of riders who are very suited to high gradients like Sega di Ala’s. With such an advantage and the condition I had three weeks ago, I could have negotiated through tomorrow with little worry. Nevertheless, I am still hoping for this – for myself and for my team, who are doing an outstanding job” Bouet commented.

Domenico Pozzovivo, last year’s winner, was ruled out by a crash early in the stage (ribs contusions and a bad wound in his elbow), while Pavel Kochetkov and Michael Rodriguez moved down in the standings. Today’s winner Santaromita climbed to the fifth sport, while Michele Scarponi took the king of the mountains’ jersey after Wednesday’s disappointment in Vetriolo.

Giro del Trentino Stage 3 Result:
1. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC in 4:26:25
2. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana
3. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Stefano Locatelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 0:34
5. José C Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) Cannondale
6. Antonio Piedra Perez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 1:12
8. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 1:23
9. Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
10. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli.

Giro del Trentino Overall After Stage 3:
1. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale in 13:23:36
2. Kanstantin Siutsou (Blr) Sky at 3:19
3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 3:48
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 3:57
5. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 4:06
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 4:19
7. Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana at 4:20
8. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 4:27
9. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 4:49
10. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 4:52.

Stage 3:

The final Stage 4 was for Sky to win the overall, but thinks went badly wrong as first Kanstantin Siutsou couldn’t hold the pace and then Bradley Wiggins had a mechanical problem when he was marking Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). The Astana team went on the attack as soon as the race hit the final climb to Sega di Ala and for the last 15 kilometres of steep climb was all about Nibali stamping his authority all over it. Nibali had Astana teammates; Paolo Tiralongo and Fabio Aru to set the pace to pull back the remainder of the break and burn off the hangers on, mostly the overall leader Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale). As the lead group was down to around half a dozen riders Bradley Wiggins seemed to drop back down the group, shoot up it again and then, shaking his head, got off the bike and launch it across the road for it to nicely roll to a stop and lean against a wall. Wiggins performed his bike trick in front of the race officials’ car which delayed his replacement bike being given to him, but in the end it made no difference. This all happened with around 8 kilometres to go, Astana kept the pressure on for Nibali to attack with 6 kilometres to the top, the only rider to stay with him was Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia). On a steep bend Nibali made another effort to dislodge Santambrogio and make sure Wiggins would not be able to regain the flying Italian. Nibali took a fine solo win 8 seconds ahead Santambrogio with Lampre-Merida’s Przemyslaw Niemiec along with Aru at 44 seconds. Cadel Evans (BMC) was 5th at 1:02 and Stefano Locatelli (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) was at 1:10 in 6th. Wiggins towed Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) and Marcos Garcia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) to the line for them to jump past him. The overall leader; Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) struggled on finish at 4:42 and take third place on the final podium.

Vincenzo Nibali: “Winning on a climb like this is the biggest thing for me right now. There is still a couple of weeks to the Giro, and Wiggins remains my main rival, but I saw both Evans and Basso in clear progression. As for myself, I am very glad to rely on a strong team, that hasn’t made a mistake in tactical terms both here and at Tirreno-Adriatico.” When asked about Sunday’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Vincenzo confesses: “Today I spent a lot of energy, and I got a number of strong rivals. We will see.”

Giro del Trentino Stage 4 Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 4:21:48
2. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:08
3. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 0:44
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1:02
6. Stefano Locatelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 1:10
7. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 1:35
8. Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:37
9. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 1:39
10. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 2:20.

Giro del Trentino Final Overall:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 17:49:11
2. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:21
3. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:55
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:16
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 1:40
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1:45
7. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 2:15
8. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 2:18
9. Stefano Locatelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 3:05
10. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 3:22.

The final stage 4:

Presidential Tour of Turkey 2013
Marcel Kittel gave his Argos-Shimano team a well needed win in Stage 1 of the Tour of Turkey. He got the better of his German countryman André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) at the end of the 126 kilometres in Alanya, the Ukrainian Yuriy Metlushenko (Torku Seker Spor) was third. A break of Mustafa Sayar (Torku Seker Spor) Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC Polsat-Polkowice), Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Juan Esteban Arango (Colombia) got a gap of 5 minutes by the 60 kilometre mark and Seker won the KOM jersey for the day. The sprinters team took hold of the race and Argos-Shimano did the honours for Kittel for the stage and the first overall leader’s jersey.

Argos-Shimano’s Macel Kittel said after his win: “Today was a very good example of how a team should work. In the last five kilometres we had to brake because of a crash, which forced us to chase back. But the guys did their job and we moved up to the front all together.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Bruno Pires comments: “Today’s stage went well. It’s good to race in the sun again and I had a good sensation of the form. I believe I can do well in this race but we’ll have to wait for the mountains to see how far I can go. I enter this race to shoot for the GC and I’m supported by motivated teammates,” said Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Bruno Pires.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 1 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 3:08:37
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
3. Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor
4. Roger Kluge (Ger) NetApp-Endura
5. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural
7. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Accent Jobs-Wanty
8. Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Polsat-Polkowice
9. Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 1:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 3:08:27
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:04
3. Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor at 0:06
4. Roger Kluge (Ger) NetApp-Endura at 0:10
5. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural
7. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Accent Jobs-Wanty
8. Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Polsat-Polkowice
9. Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox.

Kittel wins stage 1:

La Fèche Wallonne Moves Start to Bastogne
The 2014 La Flèche Wallonne will start in Bastogne, this co insides with the 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège the following Sunday. Also the finish will be on the Mur de Huy until at least 2018 as an agreement between race organizers, ASO, and the town of Huy has been announced.

La Flèche Wallonne 1994:

Barry Markus and Romain Feillu, injured, miss out on Giro
Stroke of bad luck forces Vacansoleil-DCM sprinters to stay home.

Press Release: Vacansoleil-DCM will start the coming Giro slightly handicapped. Sprinters Barry Markus and Romain Feillu are injured and will stay home. This season’s revelation Markus is forced to postpone his grand tour debut as a result of a scaphoid fracture. He saw a surgeon this morning at the AMC (Amsterdam Medical Center) and the verdict was that he needs a cast to heal properly and that riding the road is out of the question for the coming weeks. So for the next few weeks the 21 year old from Hoofddorp will have to resort to weights and riding the rollers in order to stay fit. The other sprinter preselected for the Giro was Romain Feillu, but his crash in GP Denain left him with a torn thigh muscle and he is out for several weeks.

For former top-sprinter and current sports director Jean-Paul van Poppel this is a big set-back: ‘We were hoping to really surprise everyone in the first stages of the Giro. They are tailor made for Markus and this season he has already shown that he can go to battle with Cavendish. After De Gendt’s stage win and third place overall in last year’s Giro our goal was to show up with a versatile team, capable of competing in all types of stages. It will be much harder for us in the flat stages now’.

The team had to miss two other top riders, Marcato and Hoogerland, earlier this season. These tow riders, who proved to be capable spring racers in the past, are already on their way back to top form. Manager Daan Luijkx has a positive outlook: ‘Never before did we experience this much bad luck involving our top riders, add to this the physical problems that Marczynski and De Gendt had to overcome, but we will end up by getting lucky eventually. I’m impressed by the way these men stayed focused while they were recovering and I am glad that riders like Leukemans and Flecha have been present and up to par in this spring’s (semi-)classics. All that these two need now is a bit of luck to make it to the podium, but they’ve been there every single week so far. These experienced riders received excellent back-up from our promising young riders and I am pleased to witness the dedication within the group. Then we also have the tremendous comeback of Wout Poels going for us. Once the others get back to their normal level our strength will get noticed even more‘.

Aart Vierhouten confirms Luijkx’ vision: ‘We’ve seen several top-10 places in WorldTour classics this spring, Poels has reconnected with the world’s best stage racers and Markus has really blossomed this early season. His third place in the Scheldeprijs is testimony to that. That is why it is important to keep to a minutely established program; you can see for instance how this works out for Poels in races at the highest level, although a set back every now and then cannot be avoided. Another example is a young kid like Lammertink, after intensive treatment he now rides pain free and has shown himself to be a valuable asset to the team straight away’.

Vierhouten also stresses that the season is far from over for the injured riders: ‘The injured riders have started on the road to recovery and we have always shown that we don’t put all of our eggs in the same basket. In this early part of the season ten different riders have managed to clinch at least one podium’.

Normally there is no spot for a sprinter in the Giro team. Van Poppel concludes: “We had two sprinters preparing for this race, now is not the time to take another sprinter and completely change his program. We’ll just have to take more combative riders, which happens to be our trademark’.

This coming Tuesday will see Johnny Hoogerland come back to racing for the first time since his unfortunate training accident of February 3rd. The man from Zeeland, who was training in the Ardennes last week, will start in the Tour de Romandie (Switzerland).

In search of validation in Romandie
Press Release: For the Blanco Pro Cycling Team, the Tour de Romandie is a dress rehearsal for the Giro d’Italia. The lion’s share of the riders who will race in the Giro will be at the disposal of Sport Directors Jan Boven and Michiel Elijzen in Switzerland.

“Six of our riders trained at altitude the past couple of weeks in Tenerife and we are going to see what that did for them,” said Boven, referring to Steven Kruijswijk, Wilco Kelderman, Robert Gesink, Stef Clement, Jack Bobridge and Juanma Garate. “It is important that they build up game readiness ahead of the Giro. We don’t have a definitive lead rider so were counting on the trio of Kruijswijk, Kelderman, and Gesink.”

Steven Kruijswijk
Kruijswijk approaches the Tour of Romany the same as the Sports Director. “I have the idea the we have significantly ratcheted up our level in Tenerife. Romandy is a prep run for the Giro, the race that we have our sights set on. If we wanted to peak here, we should have headed home a bit earlier. Nevertheless, we want to get the maximum out of the coming week. After our training camp in Tenerife, we are looking for validation.”

Team line-up:
Jack Bobridge, Stef Clement, Juanma Garate, Marc Goos, Robert Gesink, Bram Tankink, Wilco Kelderman and Steven Kruijswijk – Sports Directors: Michiel Elijzen and Jan Boven.

RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK’s line-uo for the next race:
Tour de Romandie (Switzerland) – April 23-28 – UCI WorldTour
Jan Bakelants, George Bennett, Robert Kišerlovski, Tiago Machado, Giacomo Nizzolo, Nelson Oliveira, Gregory Rast & Thomas Rohregger.
Directors: José Azevedo & Alain Gallopin.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s line-up For the Tour de Romandie:
Roman Kreuziger, Mads Christensen, Rafal Majka, Manuele Boaro, Benjamin Noval, Oliver Zaugg, Evgeny Petrov and Chris Anker Sørensen.

OPQS to Tour de Romandie
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will take part in Tour de Romandie, from April 23rd to April 28th. The stage race features several a Category 3, 7.45km mountain prologue, several up and down stages possibly for the sprinters or stage hunters, a chance for the climbers in Stage 4 with a Category 1 climb that descends into a short and flat finish, and an 18km Stage 5 time trial.

“We have riders for each race situation,” Sport Director Brian Holm said. “There is a prologue and a final TT for Tony Martin, and then some mixed stages for the other guys — for example, a stage hunter like Gianni Meersman. It’s also a good preparation for the Giro d’Italia. If there is a sprint, we have Cavendish who is tuning up his condition for the Giro. We have a balanced team, so I think we can be a protagonist throughout the race. That is our objective, but we will see each day.”

Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), Mark Cavendish (GBR), Bert Grabsch (GER), Tony Martin (GER), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Kristof Vandewalle (BEL), Peter Velits (SVK), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director: Brian Holm (DEN) & Jan Schaffrath (GER).

Lotto Belisol: Preview Tour de Romandie
Press Release: Tuesday is the start of the Tour de Romandie, this six days Swiss stage race is part of the WorldTour. The race begins with a prologue of 7,45 kilometers on Tuesday, the finish is on the top of a climb of third category. The fifth and final stage is a time trial of 18,7 kilometers. Saturday the toughest stage is programmed with four climbs of category one.

Jurgen Van den Broeck is one of the eight Lotto Belisol riders standing at the start, he aims for a good GC. With Andrew Talansky and Rui Costa the second and third of last year are present as well. Chris Froome will try to succeed his teammate Bradley Wiggins. Kenny Dehaes is the man for the sprint at Lotto Belisol. In Romandie he’ll battle with Mark Cavendish and Matthew Goos. Kurt Van De Wouwer will make his début as sports director at the pros. He’ll keep on working for the U23 team, but now and then he’ll assist the pro team.

Kurt Van De Wouwer: “As a sports director at the pros I’ll come back to the races I have ridden several times in my career. It are races I know pretty well, it feels a bit like coming home again. I’m looking forward to share my experience. In the Tour de Romandie I set a good result a few times. It’s a tough race, often the weather conditions are bad, but now that shouldn’t be the case. One can really make the difference in the GC in the Tour de Romandie.”

“We start with a very motivated Jurgen Van den Broeck. After he crashed in the Vuelta al País Vasco and couldn’t defend his chances there, he’ll definitely want to show himself. We’re aiming for a place in the top five. The Tour de Romandie starts with a climb prologue, which is important for the GC, that course should suit Van den Broeck.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Gaëtan Bille, Brian Bulgaç, Francis De Greef, Kenny Dehaes, Jurgen Van de Walle, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Dennis Vanendert and Frederik Willems.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Kurt Van De Wouwer.

Tour de Romandie Offers Many Opportunities
Press Release: An uphill prologue, a marquee finish in front of the new Velodrome Suisse, and a challenging mountain stage offer a number of opportunities for the BMC Racing Team to excel when the Tour de Romandie begins Tuesday in Switzerland, Assistant Director Yvon Ledanois said.

Important Race
“This is an important race for a lot of the guys and for the team as a whole, especially,” Ledanois said. Three BMC Racing Team riders – Mathias Frank, Steve Morabito and Danilo Wyss – will be competing in their home country, which offers a bit of a competitive advantage. “I’ve done some reconnaissance and studied the profiles and talked to guys like Danilo, who knows a lot of the roads that are close to his home,” Frank said. “I think everybody will have their chance every day and the prologue should suit me well.” Morabito said he looks forward to taking a shot at the overall after previously helping teammates to success at Romandie including Cadel Evans’s overall win in 2011. “This year will be the first time I will not have to work for a leader,” Morabito said. “After the Volta a Catalunya, I spent two weeks at altitude, so I am really motivated to have a good ride.” Marco Pinotti also has a good feel for Romandie, having finished third in 2008 and fourth in 2011. He is competing in only his second stage race since breaking two ribs and his collarbone in February.

Download the BMC Racing Team race sheet (PDF with roster, bios, statistics): https://bit.ly/15ywINg.

BMC Racing Team Tour de Romandie roster (April 23-28):
Adam Blythe (GBR), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Mathias Frank (SUI), Steve Morabito (SUI), Dominik Nerz (GER), Marco Pinotti (ITA), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sport Directors: Yvon Ledanois (FRA) & John Lelangue (BEL).

The Tour of Turkey
21.04.13 Stage 1 Alanya – Alanya 148.0 km.
22.04.13 Stage 2 Alanya – Antalya 150.0 km.
23.04.13 Stage 3 Antalya – Elmali 153.5 km.
24.04.13 Stage 4 Gocek – Marmaris 147.0 km.
25.04.13 Stage 5 Marmaris – Turgutreis 183.0 km.
26.04.13 Stage 6 Bodrum – Selcuk 182.0 km.
27.04.13 Stage 7 Kusadasi – Izmir 124.0 km.
28.04.13 Stage 8 Istanbul – Istanbul 121.0 km.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey – Team Novo Nordisk keen for first entry in Turkey
Press Release: Less than a week after the Spanish classic, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetic professional cycling team, will ride in the prestigious Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. The renowned stage race is known as the last significant preparation race in the run-up to the Giro d’Italia. The race consists of 1222.8 tough kilometers starting in Alanya on April 21st and finishing in Istanbul on April 28th.

“The race is an outstanding challenge for many reasons”, says Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko. “It is the first time that we enter a race ‘Hors Categorie’. It is also the first time that we enter a race that lasts as long as eight days and beyond that, logistically, the stage race is particular. Different from races in Europe, we need to bring the entire equipment by plane. Luckily, the organization of the race is outstanding!”

Davidenko is also quite eager to see the team perform in the Tour. The riders have made incredible progress in the team’s last few races, and they have showed themselves to be strong and ambitious. “We managed to be represented in most of the breakaway groups during the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon,” Davidenko says, “and succeeded in having Andrea Peron and Martijn Verschoor up front when it came to the final sprints. We are eager to continue this success in Turkey.”

Team Novo Nordisk’s competition, however, will be strong, with seven ProTeams expected to be in the race. “Looking at the entry list,” Davidenko goes on to say, “we certainly need to be realistic. But I am convinced that the team is up for surprising the others!”

Phil Southerland, founder and CEO of Team Novo Nordisk agrees: “We do not have a realistic chance against the other teams. Our racers, however, are extremely motivated to show that they want to make the best out of every chance. If everything else fails, at least we want to present ourselves as brave fighters.”

For Team Novo Nordisk co-captain Martijn Verschoor, the 2013 race will mark the second time at the Tour of Turkey, and he’s eager to return: “The race is outstanding! It is well organized and taken seriously by a lot of world class sprinters. Turkey is a magnificent country and the Tour’s stages are great and not too long.” Verschoor goes on to say that what he looks forward to most is the large amount of spectators the Tour draws.

The first stage will be 143km throughout Alanya, followed by a 153km stage to Antalya. Other stages include Elmali, Göcek, Marmaris, Bodrum, Selcuk, Kusadasi and Izmir, before the whole race travels to Istanbul for the last on April 28th. The last stage in Istanbul will take place on both Asian and on European soil.

Lotto Belisol: Preview Tour of Turkey
From Sunday 21st of April till Sunday 28th of April the 49th Tour of Turkey will take place. Lotto Belisol takes André Greipel to this race. The German will battle in the sprints against his fellow countryman Marcel Kittel. Other fast names at the start are Theo Bos, Mark Renshaw and Andrea Guardini. On the third day a tough stage is programmed with four climbs, of which three are of the first category. That third stage and the sixth both finish on a climb of category one. Sunday the Tour of Turkey will end with a stage from Istanbul to Istanbul, with a criterium of eight laps at the end. That will be a stage for the sprinters.

Lotto Belisol rider Gert Dockx is making his comeback after a crash in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad where he got a fracture of his collarbone and elbow. The season had begun very well for him with two stage wins in the Tour of Gabon. The Belgian guy can’t wait to get back in competition.

Gert Dockx: “I’m really looking forward to get back in competition. One week after my crash I started to train on the rolls one hour per day. The last three weeks I have trained a lot, I also did a training camp in Mallorca, slowly I got better and now I want to know where I am standing. My elbow will probably ache a bit, it’s still sensitive, but I can’t wait to race again. I bruised a rib when I crashed and that actually bothered me most. It was difficult to pull up after the turns. But I have made some adjustments and there won’t be too many turns here in Turkey, so I should be fine.”

“We have André Greipel in the team, so I hope to support him. The first two days there is a possibility for a bunch sprint, so we are aiming for that. During the mountain stage on day three I’ll immediately know how good my condition is. My season began very well and it was looking good for the Flemish classics, but in cycling there are risks. I haven’t had many crashes in my career, so I am lucky. I immediately changed my goals. The new goal is the Giro d’Italia. The first week I definitely want to be part of breakaways and hopefully one will get to the finish so I can set a good result. For the rest I will support the team.”
Thanks to the Lotto Belisol team for the preview.

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Sander Cordeel, Gert Dockx, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Olivier Kaisen, Vicente Reynes, Fréderique Robert and Jonas Van Genechten.
Sports director: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx.

Tour of Turkey: The African Dream Continues
Press Release: The African cycling dream goes on. Team MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung goes from one premiere in international cycling to the next. While the team around Spanish climbing specialist Sergio Pardilla makes its debut this week in the top-ranked Giro del Trentino, a further squad around team captain Gerald Ciolek will appear for the first time in the Presidental Cycling Tour of Turkey (UCI 2.HC / April 21-28). The first African-registered Professional Continental team continues to write cycling history.

„The Tour of Turkey is an important race for our team as it forms a part of the UCI Europe Tour which we would like to perform well in this year. The team will be aggressive in the race and go for stage wins and possibly the overall general classification as well,“, says team principal Doug Ryder. “Turkey is a country our team has never raced in before and by participating this year we get an opportunity to showcase our African team and the Qhubeka Bikes4Life project we race for to get more global support. Our team is all about mobilising change in Africa, one bicycle at a time.“

“We can already look back to some respectable successes, so we can ride confidently in Turkey in order to spread the Qhubeka message,” said Jens Zemke. “On the flat stages, we have Gerald Ciolek as a fast sprinter at the head of things. At the same time, we want to continue our attacking style of the last few weeks. It would be great if that could be reflected in the results. Especially Jaco Venter has been in escape groups in the last few races to present our colors. But we also look to Dennis van Niekerk to do something here.”

Team principal Doug Ryder and Sport Director Jens Zemke rely on a motivated team on the Bosporus. In addition to Gerald Ciolek, Jaco Venter and Dennis van Niekerk, the MTN Qhubekha p/b Samsung colors will be worn by South Africans Bradley Potgieter and Martin Wesemann, German allrounder Andreas Stauff and Italian Kristian Sbaragli. The team will also be supported by Lithuanian Ignatas Konovalovas, who is building back up to strength after a muscle injury.

At the 49th edition of the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (UCI 2.HC / April 21-28), Team MTN Qhubeka p/b Samsung will meet some strong rivals. A total of nine teams from the highest UCI ranking will be at the race on the Mediterannean. After the start in Alanya, the course follows the coast to the north towards the Turkish capital Istanbul, where the teams will board a plane to the last stage.

Presidental Cycling Tour of Turkey (Turkey) – (April 21-28 / UCI 2.HC):
Andreas Stauff (GER), Bradley Potgieter (RSA), Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU), Dennis van Niekerk (RSA), Gerald Ciolek (GER), Martin Wesemann (RSA), Jaco Venter (RSA), Kristian Sbaragli (ITA).

Ready for the Turkish Sprint Battle
Press Release: Following a training camp in Girona last week, the sprint train from Blanco Pro Cycling Team is more than ready for the Tour of Turkey. Under the guidance of Sports Director Jeroen Blijlevens, the team is looking to at least equal their performance of last year when Theo Bos took two stages and Mark Renshaw bagged one as well.

“The bar is set high,” said Blijlevens. “But after the training camp I have the feeling that we are ready. We had the chance to train under favourable circumstances whereas earlier this year that was not the case. We made video analyses and could evaluate our sprinting. Of course, training is different than competition but the Tour of Turkey should be a good test. There is a strong field that is also ready so it’s going to be a stiff challenge.”

Theo Bos agrees with his team leader but has a lot of confidence in his teammates. “We were already good, but polished our act in Girona. I’ve got a good feeling and it would be great to repeat our performance from last year. I hope that we can take at least one stage win. That should be possible considering that fact we’re even more focused on the sprint train than the last time out.”

Team line-up:
Theo Bos, Jetse Bol, Mark Renshaw, Moreno Hofland, Graeme Brown, Robert Wagner,
Rick Flens and Jos van Emden – Sports Director: Jeroen Blijlevens.

Team Colombia to the Tour of Turkey
Press Release: Team Colombia’s road to the Giro d’Italia passes by the 49th Tour of Turkey (April 21-28), a stage race consistently growing in stature over the last few years, thanks to its demanding route and its ideal position to tune up condition ahead of the “Corsa Rosa”. The organizers chose not to modify 2012 route significantly: the race will start in Alanya, while Elmali uphill finish (stage 3) and the new finish to Selcuk (Virgin Marry) in stage six could prove decisive for the GC.

Darwin Atapuma will make his comeback to racing at the Turkish stage race: Sports Director Oscar Pellicioli will have another very valuable element for mountain stages in Robinson Chalapud, who won the Combined classification last week at the Vuelta Castilla y Leon and looking in consistent progress in the latest races. A bad crash at Fleche Wallonne is now behind Wilson Marentes, as x-rays revealed no fracture in his radium, and the Colombian rouleur will be at the start in Alanya. Juan Esteban Arango, Edwin Avila, Alexis Camacho, Duber Quintero and Juan Pablo Valencia round out the Colombian line-up.

Tour of Turkey (April 21-28) Line-up:
Juan Esteban Arango, Alexis Camacho, Robinson Chalapud, Wilson Marentes, Darwin Atapuma, Duber Quintero, Edwin Avila and Juan Pablo Valencia.
Sports Director: Oscar Pellicioli.

OPQS to Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will take part in Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, an eight stage, 1,204.5km race from April 21st until April 28th. OPQS rider Iljo Keisse won Stage 7 of the 2012 edition in dramatic fashion after crashing and suffering a mechanical in the final corner. He kept his composure and held off a charging peloton in the final meters. The 2013, 49th edition parcour is essentially the same as 2012, with an exception being the finish of the sixth stage. The finish is in Selcuk for the first time, and features a Cat. 1 summit finish. Selcuk is also a historic town, which dates back to 6000 BC and is an important location for three different religions. This summit finish could make a difference as typically Stage 3 — featuring three Category 1 climbs and an uphill finale — is normally where the GC is decided.

“The uphill stages are always interesting, and might be decisive for the GC,” Van Slycke said. “But it also depends, for example, if a rider wins two or three stages with bonifications. He could have one minute of a bonus which could also be decisive for the overall. But I think with the few hilly stages, those will normally make the difference. ”

Van Slycke believes OPQS will be ready for any situation based on the team selection. “All of our riders this year have different responsibilities based on their skills,” Sport Director Rik Van Slycke said. “For example, we have a specific guy for the sprints in Andrew Fenn. If you look at a few other teams, who brought their top sprinters, it might be very interesting to get into some bunch sprints. I think we have a solid team with experienced riders such as Steegmans, Maes, Rabon and Golas. We also have guys like Serge Pauwels who can go for the uphill stages and then for the breakaways we again have Golas, and Iljo Keisse who won a stage last year from that situation. We also have Matteo Trentin, who will start his season in Turkey after his injury to his scaphoid earlier this year. The selection for Tour of Turkey this year is based on the experience from last year. It was not so easy to control the race. In that kind of situation there are different opportunities that can emerge. So that’s why we are a little bit mixed. So, we have a good mixture of riders who can play different roles. It will be interesting to see how it works out.”

Andrew Fenn (GBR), Michal Golas (POL), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Nikolas Maes (BEL), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Frantisek Rabon (CZE), Gert Steegmans (BEL), Matteo Trentin (ITA).
Sports Director: Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Lampre-Merida to the Tour of Turkey
Press Release: Filippo Pozzato will enrich the selection of LAMPRE-MERIDA for Tour of Turkey, race that will take place from 21st to 28th April (https://www.tourofturkey.org/2013).

Former Italian champion will be in Turkey with team mates Elia Favilli, Massimo Graziato, Andrea Palini, Maximiliano Richeze, Miguel Armando Ubeto, Davide Viganò and Luca Wackermann.

The team will be directed by Bruno Vicino, who’ll be supported by masseurs Baron, Del Gallo and Varalli, mechanics Possoni and Viganò and doctor Guardascione.

The main topics for Lampre-Merida in the Turkish race is Pozzato’s comeback to competition after the pause that followed Paris-Roubaix; the debut in Europe of Venezuelan national champion Miguel Armando Ubeto; the improvements by young guns Favilli, Palini, Graziato and Wackermann; the contribution by Viganò and Richeze to the teams’ fast wheels sector.

Sir Chris Hoy had ‘An Unparalleled Impact’ on our Sport, says British Cycling President
British Cycling’s President, Brian Cookson OBE, today paid tribute to the “unparalleled impact” Sir Chris Hoy’s success has had on cycling. On the day that Hoy announced his retirement at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium, Cookson credited him as “one of the first track riders to propel cycling into the mainstream” as well as a role model who has “inspired thousands of people to get on bikes.”

Paying tribute to Sir Chris Hoy’s fantastic career, British Cycling’s President, Brian Cookson OBE, said: “The impact that Sir Chris Hoy has had on our sport since he won his first gold medal in Athens in 2004 is unparalleled. It goes without saying that not only is Chris an absolutely phenomenal athlete, but he is also an exceptional individual. The fact that he’s acquired six gold medals and is Britain’s most successful ever Olympian is testament to this. But Chris has done so much more for cycling – he was one of the first track riders to propel cycling into the mainstream back in 2008, bringing track cycling to new audiences and inspiring thousands of people to get on their bikes.

“Chris has always been a fantastic role model – his professionalism, passion for the sport and his determination to succeed at the highest level is central to the Great Britain Cycling Team ethos and is something that he has helped to foster amongst his colleagues as they look ahead to Rio. This truly does feel like the end of an era and we have a lot to thank Sir Chris Hoy for at British Cycling. Although I know Chris will still be involved in the sport and that he will continue to work with us, I want to wish him all the best for the future.”

Performance Director of the Great Britain Cycling Team, Sir Dave Brailsford, added: “I can’t speak highly enough of Chris and his career. On a personal note I will never forget his Kilo in Athens – it was one of the most epic Olympic moments that I’ve ever experienced, the tension in the build-up was unreal. Chris’ application, athleticism and dedication are second to none and I’ve said it many times but he is a true Olympic champion who embodies all of the Olympic values. Chris is always welcome to come back to the velodrome and share his experiences and wisdom with the next generation of cyclists, and I wish him the best of luck in his retirement.”

During a video interview, recorded on Tuesday by British Cycling at its Manchester base, Sir Chris admitted that the decision to retire wasn’t taken lightly: “London squeezed every drop out of me. To go on to Glasgow would have been one race too far.” Hoy also talked about how he is hoping to take on a mentoring role for the Scottish team in Glasgow.

When asked about his career highlight, Hoy said: “It’d have to be a toss up between the kilo in Athens or the keirin, my final medal, in London.”

On what Hoy would like to see change for cycling in the future, he said: “People want to see cycling further up the political agenda. It’s nice to see people out riding their bikes and having fun with it.”

And on his own plans for cycling from now on, Hoy added: “After a while you start associating your bike with pain. One of the biggest things I’m looking forward to is riding my bike for fun.”

Recorded at the National Cycling Centre, Hoy’s training base and where he won a gold medal in the 1km time trial during Manchester’s 2002 Commonwealth Games, Sir Chris gave an emotional tribute to all of the people who have helped him achieve his incredible success: “It’s your family, it’s your friends, it’s the people who have supported from the early years and they support you through the tough times when you’re not winning, it’s your team mates who inspire you to work harder but who you can have a laugh with at the same time. It’s the coaches, the mechanics, the physios, it’s the people who book your flights for you in the office. It’s realising you’re part of a big family. When you come to the end of your career, it’s sad because you’re stepping away from that but you know that you’ve made friends for life.”
Thanks to the BCF for the information.

The video, including tributes to Hoy’s career from Head Coach Shane Sutton and Sprint Coaches Jan Van Eijden and Iain Dyer, can be viewed on YouTube via the British Cycling website or:

What’s your favourite Hoy moment? from British Cycling on Vimeo.

Cycling is the Greatest Invention of All Time!
Cycling mad brothers Will and Guy run the world’s oldest bicycle shop which has been handed down five generations since 1860. Will explains the fascinating story of Pearson Cycles revealing the history of the bicycle along the way. Video by Genes Reunited:


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