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EuroTrash Monday!

Another very full weekend of action; Chris Froome dominated Romandie and Mustafa Sayar came from no where for the big win in his home race in Turkey. The Giro d’Italia build-up has started and there is lots of other news, results and video action to get you through another Monday. Go on get a coffee, you know you want to!

But first, a cool video from Velovie Bicycles:
Here’s the latest in cool video from the guys at Velovie. We reviewed the Vitesse 400 here. Check out the review and video:

VeloVie – Chris Forsberg Profile from VeloVie Bicycles on Vimeo.

TOP STORY: Tygart Vs UCI
It seems the battle between USADA and the UCI is still rumbling on as USADA’s Travis Tygart accused the UCI of an Armstrong cover-up during a hearing before the French Senate Committee that is investigating drugs in sport. Tygart claims to have evidence of the UCI’s involvement in the Armstrong case. The USADA man said to Associated Press: “Armstrong led us to believe — during the course of our interaction with him — that he had evidence of their complicity in this situation, and of course we’ve developed additional information that will come out through our process, that I can’t comment on right now.”

A spokesperson for the UCI said in a press release: “The fact is that Mr Tygart has no evidence of any wrongdoing and has chosen to make headlines on a convenient interpretation of a conversation he had with Lance Armstrong. He should establish the facts before jumping to conclusions. The UCI welcomes any assistance and clarification that Lance Armstrong may wish to give Mr Tygart on the matter.”

The UCI went on to refute the version of events that Tygart gave to the French Senate concerning the disbanding of the Independent Commission, established to look into the UCI’s role in the Armstrong affair. “It’s all very well Mr Tygart talking about cooperation, but let’s not forget that the Independent Commission was only disbanded because of USADA’s and WADA’s point-blank refusal to cooperate with it. Simply, the UCI was left with no choice but to close it down; it made no sense to go forward without the participation of these two bodies,” the spokesperson said. “One can only assume that their refusal to cooperate with the Independent Commission was due to their fear that their own shortcomings would be exposed. After all, USADA and WADA also tested Armstrong over many years and also failed to catch him. It was only with the benefit of the US Federal Investigation that USADA was finally able to gain evidence of Armstrong’s doping.”

“No attempt by Travis Tygart to rewrite history will change the fact that USADA failed to catch Lance Armstrong having tested him just 49 times during his career. The UCI by comparison tested Armstrong 189 times.” The spokesperson concluded: “As Mr Tygart himself admitted Thursday in other media reports, it was the UCI in its campaign against doping, not WADA or USADA, which caught Floyd Landis and Tyler Hamilton. And it was the UCI catching these two high-profile riders which ended up with them confessing and so enabled the investigation to move against Armstrong.”

That all sounds fair, but doesn’t mention that WADA and USADA said they could not take part in the Independent Commission unless the terms of the investigation were broadened and that witnesses would be given an amnesty, a request that the Commission also wanted. The decision to stop the investigation was made by the UCI.

As to in competition testing by USADA; this was blocked by the UCI in the Tour of California. Originally (in 2011) the UCI agreed to the race organisers and sponsors wishes that USADA would conduct the in competition testing, but as reported by ESPN at the time; “the UCI reneged on the in-race portion of the agreement, telling USADA that it would allow the U.S. agency to collect samples but would not permit USADA to conduct targeted testing or receive copies of test results. USADA would not consent to those conditions and the arrangement was scrubbed.” The UCI press release at the time read: “Following recent discussions between the UCI and USADA concerning anti-doping arrangements for the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, the UCI wishes to announce that no agreement was reached by the parties. As a consequence, the USADA will take no part in the anti-doping controls; these will be conducted by the UCI throughout the event.”

On the other hand; USADA do not test many other athletes in the US, due to the overwhelming majority of U.S. professional sport leagues (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, MLS); state athletic federations (boxing, UFC); as well as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) are not signatories of the WADA Code.

Also in a not unconnected development; the board of Cycling Ireland have announced that they will convene an Extraordinary General Meeting in regard to the endorsement of Pat McQuaid for his third term as UCI President. The board voted in favour on April the 12, but it has been pointed out by Antony Moran, who has since resigned from the board, that the board meeting was not held within the rules of the federation and the clubs should call for an EGM. If Cycling Ireland decide to change their mind then McQuaid will have to ask Switzerland (where he lives) to nominate him.

And so it rumbles on.

Tour de Romandie 2013
Stage 2 came down to a sprint, but it didn’t look like the race was going that way as there was a strong move on the last climb of the day to Plagne with 25 kilometres to go. It started with Pierre Rolland (Europcar) jumping away and gaining a 33 second lead in 5 kilometres. Matthais Frank (BMC) tried to cross to him, but in the end was passed by Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Robert Kiserlowski (RadioShack Leopard) and then by Franks BMC team mate Steve Morabito with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), the five riders got together on the descent. Sky couldn’t let these dangerous riders get away and pulled it all back after the bottom of the descent. The next break came from Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo-Tinkoff), Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) and Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana), they didn’t get far and they too were caught within the last 2 kilometers. The BMC team were keen on the stage win as their company head quarters are in the finish town of Granges, they hit the front coming into town but the Lithuanian Garmin-Sharp rider; Ramunas Navardauskas was first to make a lunge for the line and no one could get past him. Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) was second and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) came from well back for third.

Chris Froome (Sky) still has the overall lead by 6 seconds from Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) and 13 seconds ahead of Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack Leopard).

Third placed Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “It’s a shame that I couldn’t really make the sprint today, because in the last corner a guy came from behind on the inside of the last corner,” Meersman said. “There was some confusion and I had to brake, and other riders near me had to brake. We lost about 10 to 15 meters at that point. But I was still thinking it was possible to win. I did my best but honestly I was too far back at that time. I tried and tried, but I was about one or two meters behind the winner. In any case, even today I had a good feeling in the sprint. The guys did a good job for me and we did a good race tactically. Sometimes it just goes like that. We will try again tomorrow. Maybe there will be a chance for me or somebody else. We will try our best to be there in the final and go for a good result.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Fabrizio Guidi states: “We had a fairly good day in the peloton where we weren’t pressured to bridge any gaps or take control and having four riders in the front group, I can’t complaint. Chris launched a gutsy attack towards the finale today. A promising move with committed companions and if they had hesitated in the field for a little longer, they could have managed to stay away. We’ll keep taking the race stage by stage and we’ll keep our eyes open for golden opportunities.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 2:
1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp in 4:51:49
2. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
5. Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC
6. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
7. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
8. Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco
9. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 2:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 9:34:13
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:06
3. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 0:13
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:15
5. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 0:16
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:17
7. Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco
8. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
9. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco at 0:18.

Stage 2:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Gianni Meersman is making it a habit to win stages in the shorter stage races; he won two in the Volta a Catalunya and now two in the Tour of Romandie. The final of Stage 3 came to a sprint decider from a big group of 92 riders into the town of Payerne after 181 kilometres. Sky took control the race for overall leader Chris Froome until the sprint teams took over, although Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida) nearly pulled of a big surprise by attacking with around 7 kilometres to go and only being caught in the last 400 metres. Meersman’s team mate; Tony Martin was the strong man on the front to ruin Malori’s chance and put Meersman in the perfect position. Froome still leads the overall from Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) by 6 seconds, but Meersman has moved into third at 9 seconds, jumping over Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack Leopard).

After the finish Meersman said: “I was disappointed about my sprint yesterday and wanted to make it up today for everybody — my teammates especially. They did a great job today, did a perfect leadout and I’m really happy with my second victory at Tour de Romandie. It maybe looked easy in the final but it was not so easy. With 2 kilometres to go I knew the guys had something left in the tank to catch Malori ahead (Lampre-Merida). Tony Martin took me to the last 600 or 700 meters. It was perfect. As for tomorrow, I’m going to help the boys now. Before coming here I had three stages in mind. The first stage I won, then yesterday I was third, and today I won again. So, I am happy.”
Marcus Burghardt rode his way into the King of the Mountains jersey Friday and Danilo Wyss scored the BMC Racing Team’s second straight top 10 finish at the Tour de Romandie with sixth place in the field sprint that concluded the 181-kilometer race.

Burghardt was part of day’s main breakaway for the second straight stage and earned maximum mountain points by being first over the top of the first two climbs. With two days of the race to go – and a major mountain stage up next – he leads Garikoitz Bravo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) by one point in the classification. But his time in the pink jersey might be limited. “It is normally not my style of racing to go in the main breaks – 99 percent of which don’t make it to the finish,” Burghardt said. “And tomorrow, they are expecting snow, so that might change the route anyway.” Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) took the stage win ahead of Francesco Gavazzi (Astana Pro Team) and Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE).

Assistant Director Yvon Ledanois said he was pleased with Wyss’ finish and Steve Morabito’s positioning on the final climb. Morabito remains the BMC Racing Team’s best-placed rider overall in 20th, 32 seconds behind race leader Chris Froome (Sky Procycling). “The course was just not hard enough today for a climber like Steve; tomorrow’s stage will be better for him,” Ledanois said. Adam Blythe (fatigue) and Mathias Frank (illness) withdrew from the race. “Mathias has been fighting a bit of a cold all week and it looks like he has developed a sinus infection, BMC Racing Team Doctor Scott Major said.

Late attacker; Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida): “What a pity! It was the good chance to win. I waited for the proper moment to attack, trying immediately to create a good gap between the bunch and me. Then I focused my attention on keeping the pace high, but behind me the sprinters’ teams organized the chase.”

Sport director Piovani said: “My compliments to Adriano, he would have deserved the victory. I liked also Stortoni’s performance and I’m satisfied for Ferrari, who could be in the head of the group after such demanding stage. Bad luck again for Cunego; he had to face a puncture in the last 3 km, so he reached the finish late, but the time was neutralized.”

2012 Giro d’Italia champion; Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) abandoned during the stage to prepare for the Italian race.

Tour de Romandie Stage 3 Result:
1. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 4:19:03
2. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
3. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
5. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
7. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Argos-Shimano
10. Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 3:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 13:53:16
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:06
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:09
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 0:13
5. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:15
6. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 0:16
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:17
8. Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco
9. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
10. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp.

The finalé of stage 3:

Due to the bad weather the course of Stage 4 had to be altered, the last climb was too dangerous because of the snow, so the Col de la Croix was replaced by Les Mosses which came before a flat section of just under 10 kilometres before the finish line in Les Dieblerets. On the climb Simon Spilak (Katusha), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack Leopard) attacked to thin the leading group and dispose of any Sky team help for the overall leader; Chris Froome. Froome kept his cool and crossed to the leaders and then followed Spilak when he made a jump near the top of the last climb. By the top the pair had 10 seconds and by the finish in Les Diablerets they had 1:03 over the chasers with the Movistar pair of Rui Costa and Alejandro Valverde the next over the line. Stage win for Spilak and more time for Froome going into the final 18.7 kilometre time trial in Geneva. Big loser on the day was Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) who finished 2:22 down and lost his second overall, dropping to 15th.

Earlier in the stage, Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano), Arthur Vichot (FDJ) and Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) broke away after 10 kilometres and built up a 6 minute lead. Burghardt split the leaders and was joined by Vichot as the bunch closed on them coming towards the last climb. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) time trialed over to the now lone Vichot with 20 kilometres to go. The bunch pulled them back, due to a lot of hard work from Sky’s Richie Porte, and the action started on the last climb.

Tour de Romandie Stage 4 Result:
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha in 5:10:00
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 1:03
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco
6. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling
8. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard
10. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 4:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 19:03:10
2. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 0:47
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 1:21
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 1:22
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1:26
6. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
7. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco at 1:27
9. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:28
10. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:43.

Stage 4:

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) won the final 18.7kilometre time trial Final Stage 5 as overall leader; Chris Froome (Sky) finished third at 34 seconds and turned out the final overall winner by 54 seconds from Simon Spilak (Katusha) and 1 minute 49 from Rui Costa (Movistar). Garmin-Sharp rider Tom Danielson put up a good enough ride to take fourth overall.

Chris Froome, Team Sky Rider: “It has been a really good week for us I am really happy with my condition now in the build-up to the Tour de France,” said the race winner. “This week I couldn’t have done it without the help of a really strong team around me. Every day since the prologue, they have protected me and kept me at the front of the race. I owe it to them this week.”

“Every race I do now is a good test for me, to see exactly where my condition is and what I need to work on. It has been a really good experience for me this week,” he added. “It is definitely a good omen, but the Tour is still two months away and I need to do a lot of hard training before then.”

“Panzerwagen” was fastest at Le pont du Mont-Blanc, and the finish by 16″ over Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida). Christopher Froome (Team Sky ProCycling) was 3rd (+34″).

Tony Martin now has six victories this season, including four ITT wins. He also was a crucial rider in a TTT victory in Tirreno-Adriatico. OPQS now has 24 wins, in three disciplines, this season. OPQS also won three stages out of six (including a prologue) at Romandie. “I came to Tour de Romandie to try to make a good result in the GC, but maybe it was a bit of a mistake to attack yesterday in the mountain stage,” Martin said. “I lost my chance to be in the top 10, so I focused on today’s TT. I knew the parcour was perfect for me today. The course was not complicated. It was totally flat, so I was able to give 100 percent right from the start because there was no mountain or any technical parts that can make a big difference. So you have to keep a steady, good speed from the beginning and I did that. I am happy with my win today.”

Second placed Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida): “Martin was very fast in the early part of the course, also thanks to the wind that was blowing from behind allowing him to pedal at high speed – Malori explained. “Then, I could manage to limit the gap, in fact Tony did not increase the advantage. The victory was not possible, but I think I could have even get closer to Martin.”

Stef Clement blazed the best trail for Blanco with a sixth place finish. The time clocked to Swiss perfection by Wilco Keldeman was good enough for 23rd place which in turn left the youngster from Amersfoort fifth in the GC and the winner of the Youth Classification.

Wilco Kelderman: “I’m very happy with this result. I really had super legs the whole week and I look forward to the Giro which will be my first Grand Tour. The altitude training camp was really beneficial for me and the team. I lost some weight and gained power uphill. It really felt right in the climbs and could stay with the best when Sky upped the tempo. This week has given me a lot of confidence and I want to do a good job in Italy for Gesink who will be the leader,’ said Wilco Kelderman.

Jan Boven: “Stef Clement exceeded our expectations in the 18 kilometres TT. The target was tenth place but he did much better. Wilco only had to consolidate in the TT which he did and took the White Jersey. We leave Switzerland with a fifth place in a World Tour race and we can look forward to the Giro with a satisfied feeling.”

Lotto Belisol’s Jurgen Van den Broeck: “I am very happy with my time trial today, it was one of the best in my career. The prologue and time trial have mainly decided the GC. Afterwards I’m satisfied with this whole Tour de Romandie, only not with my prologue where I lost 40 seconds. Maybe the period between the training camp and the start of this race was too short and I hadn’t had enough recuperation. Because the first part of the prologue was flat and the last three kilometers were uphill it was difficult to decide to ride on a time trial bike or a normal one, with all the climbing we had to do.”

“Afterwards I felt getting better and better. When Froome took off yesterday on the climb I was hindered for a moment. Then I tried to bridge the gap together with Pinot, but that didn’t work out. The fact that the course was changed because of the bad weather, was a disadvantage. Normally we had to climb ten kilometers more. But still, I could follow the best yesterday. Eventually I became seventh in this stage race, which is a very good race to see where you are standing, so I am satisfied.”

Marcus Burghardt of the BMC Racing Team won the King of the Mountains classification Sunday at the Tour de Romandie, while teammate Marco Pinotti finished 17th in the final Stage 5 time trial and Steve Morabito had the team’s best overall placing, in 24th.

Burghardt earned the first mountains jersey of his nine-year professional career by being a part of breakaways on Stages 2, 3 and 4. “It’s a nice present for all the work and efforts I had to do, but it’s not really the style of my racing to go into a break for this,” he said. “I saw that Sky was controlling the race and keeping things pretty close, so there was almost no way to make it to the finish.” Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) won the 18.7-kilometer race against the clock while Chris Froome (Sky) won the race overall. Pinotti registered his best performance since returning from a crash that broke his left collarbone and two ribs in the time trial at the Tour Méditerranéan in February. “It was a good performance by him and bodes well for his future races,” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Yvon Ledanois said. “He also did a lot of work this week for Steve Morabito.”

Dane Mads Christensen was the best Team Saxo-Tinkoff rider today crossing the finish line in third place. The Giro d’Italia rider finished in eighth spot: ”I’m really happy about today’s result. For a while I’ve been wondering why I couldn’t find a good rhythm and a high pace on the bike and today’s result provides me with a lot of self-confidence and moral I need before entering the Giro next Saturday. I’m getting kind of a free role in the race and that’s my chance to be chasing stage wins but naturally, I’m going to support Majka who’s targeting the GC as well. Now, I’m looking forward to a couple of easy days on the bike before battling in the Giro,” said a happy Mads Christensen.

Tour de Romandie Stage 5 Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma- Quick-Step in 21:07
2. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:16
3. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 0:34
4. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:36
5. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 0:41
6. Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco at 0:50
7. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 0:52
8. Mads Christensen (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:55
9. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:56
10. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Argos-Shimano at 1:01.

Tour de Romandie Final Overall Result:
1. Chris Froome (GB) Sky
2. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 0:54
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 1:49
4. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:54
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco at 2:03
6. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:14
7. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 2:16
8. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 2:31
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2:32
10. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 2:41.

The final TT stage:

Presidential Tour of Turkey 2013
André Greipel did it again with another win for the big German in Stage 5. Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) made a very late attack for the solo win into Bodrum at the end of 182 kilometres, but the cool Grreipel held his place and waited for Pozzato to be engulfed just before the line, then he unleashed his sprint to beat Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Niklas Arndt (Argos-Shimano). Natnael Berhane (Europcar) held onto his 10 second overall lead over Astana’s Kevin Seeldraeyers.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff Dane, Christopher Juul-Jensen did a very good effort on today’s 183 kilometre long fifth stage of Tour of Turkey from Marmaris to Turgutreis where the Dane participated in the long-lasting breakaway. The breakaway was launched after the peloton was split in two big groups where Team Saxo-Tinkoff were represented by among other Rory Sutherland in the front group.

Unfortunately, the young Dane fell back to the chasing peloton with blood running from his nose while the rest of the escapees continued and Maxim Belkov (Katusha) was the last standing escapee in front of the field but he was caught with 8 kilometres to go.

In the hilly finale, several attacks from the GC-riders made the finale a thrilling one but the sprinter teams took control and on the finish line, André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) was absolutely superb and took another stage win.

”Chris delivered a solid effort out front and he worked hard to stay in the front group but they started attacking on the climb, he fell back. The finale was very fast but we had several riders up there to protect Rory so of course, I’m happy about the effort today. Tomorrow’s going to be a tough day as the GC-riders are going to battle on the steep slopes in the finale so our objective is to bring Rory to the finale with as much power in his legs as possible,” said Team Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Tristan Hofmann after the stage.

Matteo Trentin of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step was second: “I’m really happy about my race,” said Trentin. “Greipel was unbeatable; I think we really did the maximum today. The race was super fast since the beginning. The group split in two parts immediately, but I managed to stay in the front. My condition is building and the injury to my scaphoid is now behind me. My goal is to improve prior to the Giro.”

Filippo Pozzato of Lampre-Merida made his move with 1.5 kilometres to go : “The race became intense immediately after the start. A group of 60 cyclists was on the front of the race and Viganò, Favilli and me were there,” Pozzato explained. “Eight riders escaped and their action was neutralized at 7 km to the arrival: in that moment, the situation was characterized by several attacks attempts, so I decided to try my action. It’s a pity I could not achieve my goal, I would have liked to thank Viganò and Favilli with a victory”.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 5:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 4:41:59
2. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Argos-Shimano
4. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
5. Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty
6. Rafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
7. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
8. Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp-Endura
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
10. Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 5:
1. Natnael Berhane (Eri) Europcar in 19:09:13
2. Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana at 0:10
3. Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Sekerspor at 0:12
4. Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun at 0:26
5. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:34
6. Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis
7. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
8. Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:38
9. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia at 0:40
10. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 0:43.

Stage 5:

Stage 6 saw a change around in the overall as third placed Mustafa Sayar (Torku Sekerspor) won the stage and moved into the overall lead by 41 seconds for the previous leader; Natnael Berhane (Europcar), Yoann Bagot (Cofidis) moved up from sixth to third at 44 seconds. Before the summit finish up to Selçuk there had been many failed attacks, but the main action was always going to be on that last climb. Astana had been driving the bunch for 2nd overall; Kevin Seeldraeyers, but Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) made the first move, this set up the attack from Sayar and the chase from Bagot and that’s how they finished at the line. Berhane trailed in 43 seconds down in 12th place to lose his overall lead and drop to second.

Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Tristan Hofmann: “It was a long stage before the actual finale and we gathered in the front of the field a few kilometres from the foot of the uphill finish to speed up the peloton and not least to put Rory in the best position possible in which we succeeded. Rory was looking strong up there and on the final three kilometres, he tried to bridge the gap to the leading riders in his own pace but he was caught towards the end of the climb and lost some time to his rivals. But he tried and if you never try you’ll never win and by looks of things he can now take 10th overall as the final stages are expected to be for the sprinters.”

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 6 Result:
1. Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Sekerspor 4:40:09
2. Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis at 0:18
3. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 0:23
4. Danail Andonov Petrov (Bul) Caja Rural at 0:28
5. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia at 0:30
6. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun
7. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:33
10. Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 6:
1. Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Sekerspor in 23:49:24
2. Natnael Berhane (Eri) Europcar at 0:41
3. Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis at 0:44
4. Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun at 0:57
5. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 1:00
6. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:02
7. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia at 1:08
8. Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 1:09
9. Danail Andonov Petrov (Bul) Caja Rural at 1:13
10. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:15.

Stage 6:

Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) won his second stage in Turkey on Saturday after a crash on the final corner, which ruled out a few other sprinters at the end of Stage 7. Earlier in the day a break of six looked to have the race in their hands, but with 20 kilometres to go they only had a 1 minute lead and the peloton pulled them back for the sprint. The six were; Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge), Benoit Jarrier (Bretagne-Seché Environnement), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC-Polsat-Polkowice), Mauro Finetto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Christopher Juul Jensen (Saxo-Tinkoff) and a PEZ regular, Martijn Verschoor (Novo Nordisk). Kittel avoided the carnage and beat Andrea Guardini (Astana) into second place and Maximilano Richeze (Lampre-Merida). The overall stayed the same with Mustafa Sayar (Torku Sekerspor) 41 seconds ahead of Natnael Berhane (Europcar) going into the final stage to Istanbul.

Lampre-Merida DS Vicino explained Richeze’s third place: “I’m satisfied because the team supported in a perfect way Richeze, who was the captain for today stage. We knew it would have been importat to be in the early position of the bunch and in fact it became even more fundamental considering the crash that occurred in the last bend. Kittel today was too strong”.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 7 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 2:40:04
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
3. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
4. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
6. Jacobe Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare
7. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural
8. Blaz Jarc (Slo) Team NetApp-Endura
9. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
10. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 7:
1. Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Sekerspor in 50:29:28
2. Natnael Berhane (Eri) Europcar at 0:41
3. Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis at 0:44
4. Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun at 0:57
5. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 1:00
6. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:02
7. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia at 1:08
8. Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 1:09
9. Danail Andonov Petrov (Bul) Caja Rural at 1:13
10. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:15.

Stage 7:

Yet another stage win for that man Marcel Kittel of Argos-Shimano. His third win of this Tour of Turkey came at the end of the Final Stage 8 in Istanbul. He pushed Andrea Guardini (Astana) into second and the young British sprinter Andrew Fenn (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) into third.

The last stage didn’t give any of the overall contenders any chances of pulling a surprise on the home winner; Mustafa Sayar (Torku Sekerspor) and he still had 41 seconds over Natnael Berhane (Europcar) and 44 over Yoann Bagot (Cofidis) for his biggest win.

Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Lotto Belisol sports director: “Our main goal was to win a stage with André Greipel, who came back after a period of rest following the classics. That goal was achieved twice, with a stage win on day four and five. We would have liked to get a good place in the GC with Adam Hansen, but in the mountains he got too far behind, so we decided to go for another victory with Greipel. We are very happy with these two stage wins and the points jersey.”

“Yesterday the sprint was hectic and André decided to pass. Because of the crashes of Van Genechten and Kaisen we lost two guys to prepare the sprint. Jonas was the last man for André, he knew today’s finish and we missed him as a pilot. Oli was the man to control the escapes, now we had to get another one of our riders to do that. It was a real puzzle. Gert Dockx made a very good comeback, he did superb work. The last days we let him do some less tough work so he can start the Giro in optimal condition, he’s definitely ready.”

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 8 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 2:43:45
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
3. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
4. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty
6. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Blanco
7. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural
8. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
9. Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Final Overall Result:
1. Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Sekerspor in 29:13:13
2. Natnael Berhane (Eri) Europcar at 0:41
3. Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis at 0:44
4. Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun at 0:57
5. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 1:00
6. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:02
7. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia at 1:08
8. Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 1:09
9. Danail Andonov Petrov (Bul) Caja Rural at 1:13
10. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:15.

The final sprint:

GP Industria & Artigianato – Larciano 2013
The Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team were in charge of this Italian semi-Classic and first and third places with Mauro Santambrogio and Oscar Gatto. They were split by Patrick Sinkewitz who looked to have the win when he took a bend too fast in the last kilometres and had to fight for second. Vini Fantini-Selle Italia’s new signing; Danilo Di Luca worked hard for Santambrogio before the final climb of the San Baronto and managed to finish in tenth.

GP Industria & Artigianato – Larciano Result:
1. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
2. Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) Meridiana
3. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
4. Ivan Rovny (Rus) Ceramica Flaminia-Fondriest
5. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia-Fondriest
6. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Venezuela
7. Duber Quintero (Col) Colombia
8. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Csf
9. Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Venezuela
10. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia.

The final K’s:

Giro della Toscana 2013
BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney sprinted to third place Sunday at Giro della Toscana, matching his best result of the season.

Mattia Gavazzi (Androni-Venezuela) won the 199.8-kilometer race, with Ivan Rovny (Flaminia Fondriest) just pipping Phinney at the line for the runner-up spot. Phinney said he knew the finishing circuit well from helping teammate Alessandro Ballan win this race last year. “I started thinking about the sprint and going for the win in the last couple kilometres,” he said. “I closed a bit of a gap to a guy who went early, with about 300 meters to go. I came around him with about 100 meters to go, but unfortunately, I didn’t quite have enough gas to hold off Gavazzi and Rovny. It’s a really nice feeling to be back at the front of a race like that, though, especially since it was full gas all day, up and down.”

The result in the race that was run close to Phinney’s European home matched his previous season-best performances: third-place on Stage 6 of the Tour of Oman and third place overall at the Tour of Qatar, both in the month of February. It was also the third straight season the BMC Racing Team has placed a rider on the podium at Toscana, following last year’s win by Ballan and a runner-up finish by Mauro Santambrogio in 2011. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Max Sciandri said all six riders played key roles Sunday, particularly Sebastian Lander and Larry Warbasse, who worked hard to bring back an early breakaway. “Overall, we had a good two days of racing in Italy,” Sciandri said. “Taylor is climbing well and it was a demanding course with a lot of up and down.”
Thanks to the BMC team for the race report.

Giro della Toscana Result:
1. Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Venezuela
2. Ivan Rovny (Rus) Flaminia-Fondriest
3. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC
4. Matej Mugerli (Slo) Adria Mobil
5. Miguel Ángel Rubiano (Col) Androni Venezuela
6. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
7. Sergey Klimov (Rus) RusVelo
8. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
9. Federico Rocchetti (Ita) Utensilnord
10. Marco Zamparella (Ita) Utensilnord.

Toscana action:

PEZ-Man Lee Rodgers Blitzes to Prologue Win
Professional rider Lee Rodgers has won the opening 7km prologue of the Tour of Friendship in Thailand in a very fast time of 9.02.

Rodgers, riding for his new Lapierre Asia Racing Team, has notched up his first win for the outfit this season. Second rider in was Australian Matt Kinch (Specialized Confero Mavericks), coming in five seconds behind Rodgers. Coming in third was Japanese rider Kyosuke Takei (Forza) with 9.10. Lewis Fellas (CCN) and Michael Troy (Specialized Confero Mavericks) rounded out the top five, with 9.12 and 9.15 respectively.

This year’s open category had 64 riders start, and judging from the times, it is the most competitive field yet with the top 32 riders all going under the 10 minute mark on the fast 7km circuit.

Peter Pouly, the winner of Haute Route for two years in a row, posted a creditable time of 9.17 to finish top 10 with seventh overall. As for the teams representation, it appears that Specialized Confero Mavericks lead the way with three of their riders nicely slotted into the top 10. However, do not discount serious competition from the other teams, especially Lapierre Asia, DirectAsia.com with their numbers, ProBike CS Racing and the photogenic Specialized Kynkyny Cycling Team from India.

Lee follows in the footsteps of Scotland’s Alex Coutts who won the final overall of the Tour of Thailand a few years ago when riding for the Giant Asia team.

Tour of Friendship, Thailand Prologue Result:
1. Lee Rodgers (GB) Lapierre Asia Racing Team in 9:02.493
2. Matthew Kinch (Aus) Specialized Confero Mavericks at 0:05.839
3. Kyosuke Takei (Jap) Forza at 0:08.361
4. Lewis Fellas (GB) CCN at 0:10.386
5. Michael Troy (Aus) Specialized Confero Mavericks at 0:10.406
6. Michael Sagermann (Can) Specialized Confero Mavericks at 0:13.345
7. PETER POULY (Fra) Bike Net Training Camp Peter at 0:14.809
8. Scherwey Pierre-Alain (Swz) Anza Cycling at 0:15.419
9. David Christenson (USA) Team DirectAsia.com at 0:15.512
10. Taylor Price (USA) Specialized China at 0:22.361.

JC Nel Wins Best Young Rider Jersey at the Mzansi Tour
The inaugural Mzansi Tour, Southern Africa’s only UCI-graded road cycling stage race, took place from 17 to 21 April, starting in Nelspruit in the Mpumalanga Province, and ending in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

The UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) team, which is the feeder team for Team MTN-Qhubeka, was represented by six young men: Calvin Beneke, Nicholas Dougall, Estifanos Gebresilassie, Alem Grmay, JC Nel and Getachew Yohans.
JC Nel claimed Best Young Rider for the tour.

Stage 1
The stage began at the Kruger Park Gate and finished outside the Southern Sun Hotel in Nelspruit. According to WCC Director JP van Zyl, the plan was to survive this stage – the hardest of the tour – with the team intact.

Nel attacked in an attempt to cross to the lead group of five, outwitting all except James Perry (Tasol GT). Nel finished the stage in ninth place, setting up the tour for him in the Best Young Riders jersey and securing ninth place on GC.
“Our goal for the team was to win the best young riders jersey and possibly to contend for the king of the mountains jersey,” says van Zyl.

This stage began (after a transfer through Sabie) in Lydenburg, and finished in Middelburg.

“The plan was to place a rider in the early break, so as not to spend too much of the team’s energy chasing the day’s break,” says van Zyl. “Gebresilassie made it into the break of the day and set up the stage for the team. Willie Smit (Team Bonitas) was also in the break of the day, and this threatened the team’s position in the White Jersey.

“The team sat on the front of the bunch for the last 20km riding tempo to limit the losses, and their experience from their last two tours came through. They raced as a complete unit and it was satisfying to see how they have matured.”

Stage 3
The stage began outside the Southern Sun in Witbank, and the riders raced through Cullinan to complete the stage in Mamelodi. The team’s aim was to control the day, as they knew that the stage was too flat for any breakaways to succeed.
“We took a chance, knowing that the stage would end in a bunch sprint, and gambled on the National Team controlling the bunch,” explains Van Zyl. “We had Dougall and Getachew leading the chase, with Dougall having responsibility for the first 75km and Getachew the final 75km to rest Dougall. After the finish, in the team meeting, the riders noted that it felt like their legs were ‘coming around’ and that they noticed the other riders were beginning to fatigue. This indicated that we would have a strong two days towards the finish.”

Stage 4
After Tshwane Metro Police failed to arrive for traffic control, the organisers made a change to the stage so that the rider’s safety was not compromised, making the race two loops over Hekpoort. The aim was to get Dougall into a break, having spent energy the day before.

“Dougall executed this perfectly to be in the first break of the day until after the second climb over Hekpoort, and all six riders were together after the second climb over Hekpoort. The team controlled the race to protect Nel,” says Van Zyl.

“Emanuel Buchmann (Rad-Net Rose Team) was up front, trying to attack Nel’s white jersey, but Nel responded. Coming into the finish, the team set Beneke up for the sprint and he went into the last 500m with the front 10 riders. He showed class to beat most of the sprinters present to finish fourth on the stage. This secured a third place finish in the team classification for the day, and the team went into the final stage in high spirits.”

Stage 5
This stage promised to be up-and-down, with the last 20km into the finish being extremely hard. Nel attacked and made it into the main break and worked hard to secure its success.

“He has matured as a rider within the space of one tour,” says Van Zyl. “It was a proud and fulfilling moment to see how the riders have matured since their arrival at the World Cycling Centre Africa in January.”

After Nel’s hard work to secure the success of the break, most of the break was eventually caught by the bunch with the exception of Hishem Shaban of Algeria and Dylan Girdlestone (Westvaal BMC).

“Nel showed champion character to remain in the chasing bunch after the majority of the breakaway that was caught was unable to survive the pace of the bunch,” notes Van Zyl. “Waylon Woolcock (Team Bonitas) and Gebresilassie attacked in the last 5km to ride away together to chase down the two remaining breakaway riders. Here Gebresilassie secured another fourth place finish for the team – an excellent result taking into account the severity of the stage.”

Stage 5B
“Beneke, after an excellent performance on stage 4, was definitely the man to sprint for the Team,” says Van Zyl. “He is certainly one of the smartest riders in the peloton, and we never doubted that he would make the final. Whilst he may lack the power of some of the older riders in the peloton, he will gain this as he grows, but he certainly has the brains to win.”
Beneke showed class to easily win the first heat by attacking in the last corner. In the second heat, he remained on second wheel for the heat, and outclassed much more experienced riders to finish second. He surpassed the goal of the team by moving into the final, where he faced adversity on the short circuit.

“He is much better suited to a longer sprint,” says Van Zyl. “We couldn’t be happier with the team’s performance though, they were leaders and not followers in the bunch, and we were constantly racing on the front in a quality field. The team without doubt has huge potential and I certainly believe that these riders have a future and are the big names to look out for in the future.”
Thanks to MTN-Qhubeka team for the race info.

OCBC Criterium, Singapore
Rapha Condor JLT’s Olympic star Ed Clancy narrowly missed out on taking his first international win of the season at the OCBC Criterium in Singapore, on Friday night.

Clancy’s result came after a dominant display of team riding from the men in black, who’d attacked the one and a half hour race from the very start, with Kristian House making several strong moves.

With many unable to hold the pace set by House’s constant attacks, the race eventually split, with 20 riders going clear including all four of the Rapha Condor JLT squad. From here the team did there very best to keep the pace high for Clancy, but eventually found themselves thwarted on the final corner by the canny tactical mind of experienced professionals Stuart O’Grady and Simon Clarke of ORICA – GreenEDGE.

Despite missing out on the win team manger John Herety was happy knowing that the team had ridden the best race they could.

“The boys rode brilliantly tonight. We dominated the race from the start, and once it split and we had four guys in there we were in with a really good chance.”

“In the end though, O’Grady did a really good job of getting Clarke around the final bend with a bike length on Ed, and Ed was forced to chase all the way to the line but couldn’t quite get him.”

“It is a shame to miss out on the win here, but we did absolutely everything we could, and we were only beaten by the top professional team here, so we will go away with our heads held very high.”

While Clancy missed out on the honour of victory he did go away with an $8,000 dollar cheque for second place in the prestigious criterium, which starts and finishes on Singapore’s F1 circuit, and is seen as a showcase event for Asian cycling.
Thanks to the Rapha Condor-JLT team for the race info.

Tour de France Announce 2013 “Wild Card” Teams
In an unsurprising announcement the Tour de France organisers; ASO have invited three French ProConti teams to this year’s French Tour. They are: Cofidis, Europcar and Sojasun. Cofidis and Europcar were expected to get the go ahead, but the Swiss IAM Cycling team was highly tipped to be the third team and not Sojasun. The problem with Katusha’s ProTour place probably wouldn’t have made any difference as they would have gone in the hat for a place anyway and there is only so much room available. So we will be seeing five French teams in the Tour as FDJ and Ag2r-La Mondiale have automatic selection.

Team NetApp – Endura pursues Grand Tour participation in 2013
Press Release: Team NetApp – Endura, the highest ranked German cycling team, has not been given a wildcard for the 100th edition of the Tour de France. Among the six candidates, one of which was NetApp – Endura, the organizers issued three invitations. All the wildcards were given to French teams.

“Of course we are disappointed not to be riding in the world’s most famous cycling race this year. It was a great honor for us to be among the small group of candidates for both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France,” says Ralph Denk, Manager of Team NetApp – Endura.

“We are sticking to our goal for the season, to compete in a Grand Tour once again this year. We are already engaged in very promising discussions with the Vuelta à Espana and we will now further intensify our talks. The Vuelta is extremely demanding this year and with many mountain finishes it suits us fine. We are all the more motivated to adjust our season’s planning and to shift our moment of peak form into August,” continues Denk.

Di Luca signes with Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
As was widely rumoured, Danilo Di Luca has signed a contract with the Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team and rode the GP Industria & Artigianato – Larciano on Saturday, finishing 10th, and hopes to start the Giro d’Italia next Saturday.

Lotto Belisol Giro d’Italia Selection
Lotto Belisol has announced its selection of nine riders for the next Giro d’Italia. This 96th edition starts on Saturday 4th of May in Napoli with the first stage and finishes Sunday 26th of May in Brescia. In these three weeks a successor of Ryder Hesjedal has to be found, the Canadian received the pink jersey last year. Of course there are also 21 stage wins at stake. Last year Lotto Belisol could celebrate after the Dane Lars Bak had won the twelfth stage. Maybe Bak can repeat his effort this year.

Francis De Greef is also at the start again. Last year he became 19th in the overall classification, the 28-year-old guy from Antwerp has GC-ambitions this year as well. Olivier Kaisen crashed this week in stage four of the Tour of Turkey and an open wound on his thigh had to be stitched, but it doesn’t prevent him from participating in the Giro. In 2012 the Walloon was the most offensive rider in this Grand Tour.

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Lars Bak, Dirk Bellemakers, Francis De Greef, Kenny Dehaes, Gert Dockx, Adam Hansen, Olivier Kaisen, Tim Wellens and Frederik Willems.

Euskaltel-Euskadi name team for the Giro d’Italia
Ex Olympic road champion; Samuel Sanchez will lead the Basque team in Italy this year, he last rode the Giro d’Italia in 2005 when he finished 17th, since then his Grand Tour record has not been great outside of Spain, he crashed out of last year’s Tour de France.

Euskaltel-Euskadi team for the 2013 Giro d’Italia:
Samuel Sanchez, Egoi Martinez, Jorge Azanza, Pablo Urtasun, Gorka Verdugo, Miguel Minguez, Ricardo Mestre, Ioannis Tamouridis, Robert Vrecer.

RadioShack Leopard Trek Giro d’Italia line-up
Giro d’Italia (Italy) – May 4-26 – UCI WorldTour.
Riders:
George Bennett, Danilo Hondo, Robert Kišerlovski, Tiago Machado, Giacomo Nizzolo, Nelson Oliveira, Yaroslav Popovych, Hayden Roulston & Jesse Sergent.
Directors: José Azevedo, Dirk Demol & Luc Meersman.

Movistar Team Ready for 2013 Giro d’Italia
Cobo, Intxausti, Capecchi, Dowsett, Lastras, Karpets, Ventoso, Visconti and José Herrada will fly the Blue flag in the 96th edition of the ‘Corsa Rosa’, which starts in Napoli on Saturday.

Press Release: Eusebio Unzué has defined the nine-man roster Movistar Team will ride the 96th Giro d’Italia from Saturday. The telephone squad, led by sports directors José Luis Arrieta and Chente García Acosta, will form in Napoli with Spaniards José Herrada, Beñat Intxausti, Pablo Lastras, Fran Ventoso and 2011 Vuelta a España overall winner Juanjo Cobo, British ITT champion Alex Dowsett, Russia’s Vladimir Karpets and Italians Eros Capecchi and Giovanni Visconti. Enrique Sanz and Jesús Herrada will be the reserves for any last-minute changes.

Ten victories have been achieved by the Blues before the Italian grandtour, where they have notched up victories in their two participations with the Movistar jersey -Ventoso and Kiryienka in 2011; Amador and again Ventoso in 2012-. It will be the 18th appearance by Unzué’s squad in the Corsa Rosa, having obtained two overall triumphs (Indurain, ’92-’93), five podiums and ten stage wins.

Eusebio Unzué: “The team’s goal is continuing the streak from the last two years, when we got more than one stage victory. Taking one this year would be really good and notching up two can only be considered as superb. I think we’re bringing a pretty solid squad, well balanced, with all riders coming in good form and having good chances. For the overall, I rely on Intxausti and Cobo fighting with the top guns and maybe making it into the top ten. It might be just about time for Beñat – I think he’s ready, he’s got the experience and maturity he needs. Last year, he already proved he’s able to get there. Cobo’s performance is always an unknown, but it’s important to know that he’s in good condition, so you can expect he might be able to give his best level, like in previous times. Then there are riders like Capecchi, José Herrada… who come in good form and will get on the move for sure. If you add the solidness and experience from Lastras and Karpets, the good condition by Dowsett or the talent by Ventoso and Visconti, we’re going with a strong block – just like I said before.”

“We come to the start with ten victories and that makes you feel calm to do your work, but above all, really motivated to keep increasing that figure. The race route is not really different from last years’. The first half of the race is crucial on a mental side – you must not lose time on those mid-mountain stages. The second one has plenty of big climbs: Galibier, Lavaredo, Stelvio and the mountain TT might be crucial for the overall. My race favourite? Of course Wiggins. Also Nibali, with his good form and his knowledge of the race. But I saw Hesjedal building up and getting stronger in the last few days, and I consider him as much favourite as the other two.”

Team Colombia’s Giro d’Italia line-up. Corti: “Looking to put on a great show”
Press Release: The most anticipated day is now just around the corner: a Colombian team’s comeback to the Giro d’Italia is a mere few days away now, and on Wednesday, May 1st Team Colombia will land in Naples, where the race will take its start on Saturday, May 4th.

With less than a week left to the start, it’s time of decisions for General Manager Claudio Corti, obviously assisted by Sports Directors Valerio Tebaldi, Oscar Pellicioli and Oliverio Rincon. The names’ selection was particularly critic and difficult, as explained by the General Manager: “The Giro is the core fixture of our season, and a race all of those guys have been dreaming of since their childhood. Still, everybody knows what the rules are, and our mission is to pick the best and most suited line-up for this three-week effort.”

At 96th Giro d’Italia, Team Colombia will be led by a climbing duo formed by Darwin Atapuma and Fabio Duarte, who will try to live up with the great Colombian climbers’ tradition on the Giro d’Italia iconic ascents. After a good first part of the season, Jarlinson Pantano and Robinson Chalapud will look to show off on the mountain as well, while Carlos Julian Quintero will handle a key support role, while also showing his quality as gutty breakaway rider.

An important tasks also expects Wilson Marentes and Dalivier Ospina, who will protect the designated captains both on the flat and on the mountains, while also helping in the finale the Team’s sprinters rounding out Team Colombia’s line-up: veteran Leonardo Duque and youngster Edwin Avila.

“We tried to setup a balanced group, capable of staying in the action in every race situation – General Manager Corti stated – even if our main focus will be on the mountains, where our top athletes can show their best qualities. We are going to the Giro to show off and put up a big show, that is what everyone is expecting from us.”

Nevertheless, one big name is missing in the Escarabajos’ line-up: Esteban Chaves returned to Italy on April 23rd, and he is still recovering from the arm injury suffered at Trofeo Laigueglia in February 15th: “We are really disappointed not to have Esteban in the mix, and it’s not only because he is a strong man, definitely suited to the Giro route. He is a serious and committed athlete, and was really looking forward to this race, but he is taking it with great maturity, realizing he will have many other opportunities in his career: now he needs to recover completely, as we care about the man and his health in first place,” Corti said.

In the next few days, Chaves will undergo further examinations to his arm, in order to decide with the team the best therapeutic approach.

Giro d’Italia (May 4-26) Line-up:
Darwin Atapuma, Edwin Avila, Robinson Chalapud, Fabio Duarte, Leonardo Duque, Wilson Marentes, Dalivier Ospina, Jarlinson Pantano, Carlos Julian Quintero (Click here to download the headshots of Team Colombia’s riders for the 96th Giro d’Italia.
Sports Directors: Valerio Tebaldi, Oscar Pellicioli, Oliverio Rincon.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff announces line-up for Giro d’Italia
Press Release: The sports management of Team Saxo-Tinkoff has now finalized the nine rider roster that will start this year’s first Grand Tour, the 96th edition of the Giro d’Italia.

The line up is:
Rory Sutherland (Australia), Mads Christensen (Denmark), Matti Breschel (Denmark), Karsten Kroon (Holland), Daniele Bennati (Italy), Manuele Boaro (Italy), Rafal Majka (Poland), Bruno Pires (Portugal), Evgeny Petrov (Russia).

Sport Director Lars Michaelsen says: “We are entering this year’s Giro d’Italia with two objectives in our mindset chasing both stage results and a solid placing in the general classification.”

“Our protected rider will be Rafal. Even though he is still very young, we believe he is capable of finishing amongst the 10-15 best riders in the GC, if he has hit his peak form, and he could also be a contender for the Young Rider’s Jersey. Rafal is very much looking forward to the last tough week of the race, and I really hope he will show his great potential in the mountains, like we saw it in last year’s Vuelta a Espana.”

“Besides protecting Rafal, the team will also be looking for a stage win, and especially riders like Manuele, Matti, Mads, Karsten and Evgeny should be looking out for and chasing these opportunities. We also know that when at his best Daniele is a proven winner in Grand Tour stages, but his primary goals this year is later in the season, so the most important thing for him is to keep building his form and help support Rafal on the windy and flat stages. Rory and Bruno will be the key helpers for Rafal in the mountains.”

This year’s Giro d’Italia kicks off in Naples on May 4th and finishes in Brescia after three weeks of racing.

BMC Development Team Ready For First U.S. Race
With a successful spring campaign under its belt, the BMC Development Team will compete in its first race in the United States, Silver City’s Tour of the Gila, next week.

Race Begins Wednesday
Tour de Normandie winner Silvan Dillier headlines a roster that includes four Americans (T.J. Eisenhart, Paul Lynch, Alexey Vermeulen and Tyler Williams), two Swiss (Dillier and Arnaud Grand), Belgian Loic Vliegen and Jakub Novak of the Czech Republic. Eisenhart said the team is prepared for the five-day race that starts Wednesday. “All of the top Utah riders who I looked up to when I was young have always done really well here – guys like Burke Swindlehurst and Jeff Louder,” he said. “So this race is very important to me. I also know it’s a very hard one because many American teams bring their guys to this race to prepare for the Amgen Tour of California.” Dillier, who will be racing in the U.S. for the first time, said his victory in the week-long Tour de Normandie in France in late March was a confidence builder. “With that win, I know I am at a good level,” he said. “It also takes the pressure off of making a good result in the season so I can go into the next races more relaxed. That’s how I develop the most.”

Adapting To The Altitude
BMC Development Team General Manager Rik Verbrugghe said acclimating to racing at high altitude is important preparation for the Tour of the Gila, so the team has been training in New Mexico since April 22. “It is a new experience for a lot of the guys to race in the high mountains, especially the European guys,” he said. “So we will see how they adapt and decide on a leader after a few stages.” Verbrugghe said the team’s early successes have been nice, but improvement and development are the ultimate goal. In addition to Dillier’s win at Normandie – which Eisenhart, Novak and Vliegen were a part of – Stefan Küng won the Giro del Belvedere in Italy on April 1 and Williams was third on the third day of the Arden Challenge in Belgium last week. “We’re off to a good start, but we have a lot of racing still ahead of us,” Verbrugghe said.
Thanks to Sean Weide at BMC.

BMC Development Team Silver City’s Tour of the Gila roster (May 1-5):
Silvan Dillier (SUI), T.J. Eisenhart (USA), Arnaud Grand (SUI), Paul Lynch (USA), Jakub Novak (CZE), Alexey Vermeulen (USA), Loic Vliegen (BEL), Tyler Williams (USA).
Directeur Sportif: Rik Verbrugghe (BEL).

Champion System’s Bell and Feng Set For European Debut
Press Release: Zach Bell and Chun Kai Feng will make their European race debuts for the Champion System Pro Cycling Team when 4 Jours de Dunkerque begins Wednesday in France.

“I am excited to be joining my teammates in Europe,” Bell said. “It will be my first chance to test out my form at the highest level this year.”

Bell, who won Stage 4 at the Tour de Taiwan, comes to Champion System with a rich history on the track. A two-time silver medalist in the omnium at the UCI world track championships, the Canadian recently switched to road racing full time.

Bell said he is looking forward to the chance to keep delivering results for his new team.

“I have the fitness now to help the team capitalize on opportunities for results,” he said. “Racing with Champion System so far this year has been a great experience and I hope to just build on the success we have seen already.”

Feng, who is also new to Champion System, thrived as well in the Tour de Taiwan in his home country. In addition to winning the king of the mountains classification, he featured in breakaways on nearly every stage.

Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said as a team with a mission to develop top Asian cyclists, it is motivating to have a rider with Feng’s dedication, commitment and enthusiasm for pushing his limits.

“This will be Kai’s first experience in the deep waters of Europe’s pro racing scene and Dunkirk is a demanding event with a great legacy. So I am anxious to see how he makes out,” Beamon said. “He carries the pressure of being Taiwan’s first international cycling star, but he is a determined young man with broad shoulders and a huge heart. I am confident he is going to be successful and I know he will give 100 percent to help the team in Dunkirk.”

Mart Ojavee, Adiq Othman and Fabian Schnaidt – who were also part of the team’s roster at the Tour de Taiwan – will join Feng and Bell in the five-day stage race. It begins Wednesday with a 155.1-kilometer race that finishes with three 12-km circuits around the town of Courrières.

Othman earned four top five finishes at Taiwan, including third on Stage 6, while Schnaidt was fifth on Stage 9 of the Tour de Langkawi.

Champion System Pro Cycling Team 4 Jours de Dunkerque Roster (May 1-5):
Clinton Avery (NZL), Zach Bell (CAN), Chun Kai Feng (TPE), Matthias Friedemann (GER), Gregor Gazvoda (SLO), Adiq Othman (MAL), Mart Ojavee (EST), Fabian Schnaidt (GER).
Sport Director: Franky VanHaesebroucke (BEL).

Richie Porte tests Toscana2013 Courses
Press Release: The protagonists of the next World Cycling Championships are going on with their inspections. After the visit of Mariane Vos, the reigning World Champion, today it’s the turn of the Australian athlete of the Team Sky, Richie Porte, who has ridden a preview of the World Championships circuit of Fiesole.

A unique opportunity for the number three in the ranking of the UCI World Tour, behind Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan, who could get a sense of the final path that probably will decide the World Championships’ fate: “The Florentine course is tough and breathtaking, the Salviati street climb, where we have ridden this morning, can be compared with a wall, typical of the Northern races” he goes on “I’m so happy that the World Championships will be held in September in Tuscany, a land that I love, where used to live and where I always come back to spend my holiday in complete relaxation. I hope that many of my fellow countrymen will come to support the Australian Team in the land of wonders, Italy.”

Julian Porte, Launceston (Tasmania), born on 30th January 1985, started his sports career as a swimmer, after a short time on the surfboard. He got closer to cycling at the age of 21 and looking for inspiration, in 2007 he moved to Italy, and it happened to be in Tuscany, where he became member of the “Gruppo Sammarinese di Pontedera”. He joined the professionals in February 2010 in Mallorca and he won for the first time in the Top category in April, in the Tour of Romandie, gaining the first stage of the Individual Time Trial, with arrival in Moudon. In the Giro d’Italia of the same year, he won the white jersey and wore the pink jersey for three stages. In the World Championships of Melbourne he ranked fourth in the Time Trial and in 2011 he took part in various competitions, always showing persistence and competitiveness: third in Aix-en-Provence, at the Paris-Nice, second in Zamora and in Signal-de-Bougy, respectively at the Vuelta in Castiglia y Leon and at the Tour of Romandie. At the “Giro” and at the Tour 2011 he acted as a domestique on behalf of Alberto Contador. Then he won a stage, again of the Time Trial, of the Tour of Denmark. In September, in the Time Trial of Copenhagen he ranked sixth. Considering the two stages and the final placement of the Paris-Nice, the second stage won at the Criterium International (Porto Vecchio, Time Trial) and the fifth stage of the Vuelta al Pais Basco (Eibar-Beasain), the year 2013 has started in the best way but it’s very probable that it becomes a year with plenty of gold.

Here is the video:

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