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EuroTrash Monday!

Too hot in California and too cold in Italy! Cycling just can’t catch a break from the weather, but the racing has been hot, that’s for sure. As always we have the results, quotes and videos from the top races and lots of other news to get you through the morning. ET Monday and a coffee what more do you need?

TOP STORY: The Weather in Italy
The weather for this year’s Giro d’Italia has not been the best, in fact I can only think of a couple days that have been dry. But the weather has always been a part of cycle racing; think back to the photos of Coppi and the other riders around the time of the second World War, the roads were not like they are these days and the equipment would be unrecognisable. Go farther back to the 1920’s, the roads in Europe were no better than the trenches that the soldiers had been dying in not long before and the bikes didn’t have gears then. Road surfaces aside, the bikes weighed a ton, the tyres had to be heavy and the first derailleur gear appeared in the 1937 Tour de France. Clothing is another advantage of modern cycling; a wet woollen jersey won’t keep you warm coming down an alpine pass, no “Wind stopper” or breathable wicking under vests back then.

So am I saying riders today are soft? Maybe a little, but times have changed. We think more about the dangers of riding in snow, crashing on wet descents and freezing to death while you repair your frame at a blacksmith’s forge, OK I took that last one too far, but you know what I mean. People lives are more important than sport, but let’s hope riders don’t feel the same way about the cobbles in Paris-Roubaix.

fausto coppi

Giro d’Italia 2013
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) took his 100th win of his Pro career on Stage 12 to Treviso after 134 very wet kilometres. A break of 5 were soon away from the peloton and nearly stole the show from Cavendish as they were not caught until the last kilometres of the stage. The road was very slippery as the break found out on a short descent where they all fell off, but regrouped to ride on. The weather also affected Bradley Wiggins (Sky) who lost over 3 minutes. All the other race leaders finished in the front group including Wiggins’ team mate Rigoberto Uran who was not called back to help bring Wiggins back.

OPQS went full gas and managed to pull back a five-rider breakaway inside the final few hundred meters, despite there being a minute gap for the escape group with 10km to go in the stage. Gert Steegmans was the final man for Cav and delivered him perfectly for the sprint. Cavendish beat Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) and Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) for the win.

“It was incredible,” Cavendish said. “We left it until right at the end. The break had a minute with 10km to go. That’s hard to pull back on a circuit in the rain. Cannondale came to the front but it was more left to my men. Young Julien Vermote pulled and pulled until his legs couldn’t come around anymore. Matteo Trentin normally would come to the front with about 1km to go, but with 2.5km to go he took over and just rode and rode. It wasn’t easy as we were close to not catching the break. Gert Steegmans could have gone and left me in ‘no man’s land,’ but he waited and waited. I was actually stressing a bit to be honest. But I’m so happy, my 100th win and what a way to do it with the guys. I’m so proud.”

The sprint was a lot more complicated than it looked, due to catching the break late, but also the wind. “I knew the wind was coming from the left, but knew we had to start the sprint from the left because we caught the break,” Cavendish said. “So I just had to drift right to hopefully get the guys coming in the wind on the left. I was happy because I didn’t sense anybody at all. I didn’t want to celebrate though, because of the conditions. So, I just lifted one hand.”

The entire team worked for the entire stage, playing different roles that helped ensure the bunch sprint and the chance for Cavendish to get the victory once again. “I’m happy that I could do it here at the Giro d’Italia, but more than the fact I’ve won here, I’m proud of how we did it,” Cavendish said. “We came here with the intentions of trying to win every sprint. We haven’t just won every sprint, we’ve won it quite convincingly. We controlled the peloton from start to finish today, in quite horrid conditions actually. The real experienced guys like Gert or Vermote, they just rode out of their skins. The guys went longer than what I thought was possible. From Brambilla and Serge riding on the front, to Golas, Keisse, and also Pineau bringing back a breakaway. It looks difficult to bring back when other teams don’t want to do it. Vermote rode at the end for about 5km, and then there was Matteo Trentin and Gert Steegmans really controlling the final. It could have been easy to get carried away and leave me alone too soon, but they didn’t do that today. They really rode with their heads, and also with their hearts, the whole team. They really did something special today, each and every one of them. So, that’s what has made me proud of this Giro more than the actual wins.”

Cavendish devoted the special victory to the team. “It was really the best scenario I could have dreamed of,” Cavendish said.

The BMC Racing Team worked hard to keep Cadel Evans out of trouble Thursday on a rain-soaked stage of the Giro d’Italia that saw one of the race favourites lose significant time.

Evans finished 40th and in the peloton, as race officials decided to take the finishing time at the three-kilometre mark of the 134-km stage due to the hazardous conditions. Sky Procycling’s Bradley Wiggins, who had been sitting fourth overall, had difficulty descending the final climb and was unable to chase back despite the help of five teammates. The defending Tour de France champion lost 3:17 and fell to 13th overall, 5:22 behind race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team). Taylor Phinney said the BMC Racing Team’s top priority was keeping Evans – in second overall – out of trouble in the slick conditions. “It was a very successful day for the team,” Phinney said. “We just wanted to keep Cadel safe. He was the priority No. 1 and we kept him up in the front. It was a nervous day, but we all ride in these sorts of rainy, cold conditions. So it was a better day for us than for other people.” Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) took the stage win, his third of this year’s race, and assumed the point’s classification lead from Evans.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Matti Breschel did not take the start of Thursday’s stage 12; two days ago the Dane started to feel pain in his right knee and despite treatments of the knee since then, it hasn’t improved. Therefore our doctor and DS group in Italy has decided together with Matti Breschel that he will not continue in the race and instead return home to go through extra examinations of the right knee. “This is of course a frustrating situation for me not to be able to continue in the race. But in the last couple of years, I have had some tough times with injuries in my right knee, and I really don’t want to take any risks. It doesn’t make sense to continue in the race, when I’m not on 100 percent of my capacity and run the risk of making things any worse,” Matti Breschel says.

Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 3:01:47
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard
5. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
9. Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 12:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 46:28:14
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:41
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 2:04
4. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 2:12
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 2:13
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:55
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 3:35
8. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 4:05
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 4:17
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 4:21.

Stage 12:

Stage 13: Two Giro stages in a row for “Super Sprinter” Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) for his 101st win, although RAI TV have 116 wins in their rider info caption for the Manx Missile. Danilo Hondo (RadioShack Leopard), Giairo Ermeti (Androni Giocattoli) and Rafael Andriato (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) broke away after around 30 kilometres and were joined by Pablo Lastras (Movistar), Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano), Lars Ytting Bak (Lotto-Belisol) and Nicolas Boem (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), they built up a big lead of over 13 minutes after 100 kilometres. The sprinters team started the chase and by the top of the Tre Cuni climb with less than 40 kilometres to go the lead was only 20 seconds. The break disintegrated coming into the last 10K’s and Katusha’s Giampaolo Caruso went for a long solo effort. Astana and Cannondale chased hard as Cavendish only had one rider with him. Cavendish used all his class and strength to come off the Cannondale lead-out train and power past everyone and hold them off to the line, although Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack Leopard) and Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) came close. The Pink jersey of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was very active in the finalé, but the GC stayed the same.

After he finished Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Mark Cavendish said: “I am so tired. It’s a common misconception that sprinting is the laziest amount of effort,” Cavendish said. “It takes a lot to do that, especially when you’re at the limit. I had to go from 300 meters after a hard day. I’m on my knees. I actually didn’t want to go for the sprint today, but my sport directors asked me to try and we did it. We were pulling, the guys stayed with me on the climbs, they worked so hard for me again and I’m so proud of them.”

He bested Giacomo Nizzolo (Radioshack-Leopard) and Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) for his 101st career victory. “You could see the confidence my team had in me,” Cavendish said. “Even when I say I don’t want to sprint, they still ride 100 percent until they aren’t able to go anymore. I said I wasn’t able to win today and they still gave everything. You can see the difference in the last meters when your team’s ridden the whole day, even if you don’t think you can do it, if they put every single last ounce into effort into getting you there, then you finish it off. If they do this, it’s not impossible for me to sleep at night if I don’t win. I can always do miraculous things that I don’t think is possible for me to do when I have a team that believes I can do it as well.”

Cavendish now has 16 Giro d’Italia victories in his career, and this is the 28th win for OPQS, in three disciplines, in 2013. “I am more than physically good, I’m mentally in a good place at the moment,” Cavendish said. “Finally I know exactly what this team can do. They’ve showed it the whole time this Giro. More than putting me in good form with the legs, it puts me in good form in my head and in my heart. It makes me excited for the next races.”

Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol) was in the big break of the day: “Before this Giro started I picked out five stages that looked good for a breakaway. This was one of them. I had planned to join the breakaway today. Last year the 17th of May I won the stage and I hoped to win again. Although I tried my best, that didn’t happen. We were riding hard in the breakaway but the peloton did that as well.”

“There are not that many chances in this Giro for breakaways to survive, so you have to take your chances. When we got more than 13 minutes it looked good, but then there was crosswind and the peloton got nervous. The GC riders were kept in the front and the speed increased, then the gap got smaller very fast. Then Omega Pharma – Quick-Step could smell the victory. With a little bit more luck we could have stayed in front. Hopefully there’s a new chance next week. Stages 16 and 17 also look possible for a breakaway to stay ahead. I’ll try to be a part of it again.”

“Well, it went pretty much as we expected. A break created a gap and we wanted to help bringing them back in before the finale because Benna was feeling strong and the finale was a good fit for him. He was brought to the final kilometres and left in a terrific position and he sprinted his way to seventh position. We’re very happy about the team’s performance. Tomorrow, it’s another kind of deal. It’s GC time and our main objective is to support Rafa (Majka) and we hope he’ll join the battle among the very best climbers. And if he feels strong enough, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him attack,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost.

Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 6:09:55
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
4. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff
8. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
10. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni Giocattoli.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 13:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 52:38:09
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:41
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 2:04
4. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 2:12
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 2:13
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:55
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 3:35
8. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 4:05
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 4:17
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 4:21.

Stage 13;

The organizers changed Stage 14 and the alterations took the peloton around Sestriere instead of over the legendary climb due to massive snow in the summit area. However, the stage was prolonged with 13 kilometres and the expectations of a dramatic finale were intact as the stage was to be decided by the GC favourites on the long Jafferau-climb. But the riders were still met with rain, snow, fog and a long list of abandoned riders, including Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Karsten Kroon and Daniele Bennati.

Four riders, Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-Merida) broke clear of the pack and formed today’s long-lasting breakaway. Entering the uphill finish, Matteo Trintin was dropped and the pace of the pack was picked up by Team Sky at the same time and riders were tailed off.

Sergio Henao (Sky) was the first to attack from the remains of the main pack and the chase soon minimized the gap to the front group where Luca Paolini (Katusha) was trying to get away from his companions. But behind, Santambrogio (Vini Fantini) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) put an end to his dreams of another stage win as they moved around him and on the finish line, Santambrogio (Vini Fantini) was the first rider to cross the finish line while Nibali increased his overall lead.

Cadel Evans (BMC) lost contact in the final kilometres of the mountain-top finish to finish sixth. Nibali earned a 12-second time bonus to increase his overall lead to 1:26 on Evans and 2:46 on third-placed Rigoberto Uran (Sky Procycling), who is one second ahead of Santambrogio. “It was not my best day,” Evans said. “Conceding time to the other GC (general classification) contenders is certainly not what I wanted. I just couldn’t react when the attack from Nibali came. I think that has something to do with the last couple of days. I hope this is my worst day in the mountains; otherwise to fight for the win will be difficult.” Sunday’s stage is scheduled to include another mountain-top finish, but adverse weather conditions could alter that plan, race organizers said.

Due to freezing temperatures and reduced visibility Saturday, the day’s first climb of Sestriere was eliminated and the race route modified, lengthening the stage from 168 kilometres to 180. “For everyone, it was a really hard day,” Evans said. “But everybody on the team, from mechanics and staff to the riders – put in everything. You can’t ask anything more than that.” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said the team did everything to support Evans in the difficult conditions: riding on the front, fetching warm clothing and food and shepherding him on the lower slopes of the climb. “Cadel is still there,” Baldato said. “For me, he did a great job to stay close to Nibali and Santambrogio. Today, they were stronger. He only lost a few seconds to Uran. So for the moment, we are happy and we are confident.”

A heroic day for Pietropolli (Lampre-Merida), who escaped from the bunch with 3 riders (Colbrelli, Trentin and Paolini) 7 km after the start. He gave up at 2 km to go: “I strongly wanted to attack and I could be in the right breakaway. I only thought to increase the advantage on the bunch, despite the cold. The cooperation in the attack was good, then on the final climb I tried to pedal on my pace, but at 2 km I had spent all the energies.”

This is the comment from Michele Scarponi: “I suffered too much the cold; I even had to stop to change clothes. The final climb became so difficult for me, so this has been a bad day. Despite all these troubles, I could limit the gap and the goal of the podium is not so far”

Przemyslaw Niemiec too suffered with the cold:”What bad weather, it was very difficult to pedal and this was a common problem for all the riders of the bunch. I suffered especially with frozen hands in the final kilometres; it was hard to keep the hands on the handlebar. I am now 6th (overall), I’m quite satisfied but not completely, also considering that Michele lived a bad day.”

“This morning there were several attacks, and in one of those attacks I entered on the wheel of Paolini,” Trentin said. “Suddenly we were in the front with seven riders, but three of them crashed in a roundabout entering a small town. I avoided the crash by a few centimeters. I was lucky. So we then worked together, four of us, but I wasn’t really feeling good as I was tired from the last stages working for Cav. Then at the end, in between 15km and 20km from the finish, I had a flat tire. I had to also change my bike at that time. The mechanical cost me a minute, which made it impossible to come back. In a certain way I am happy about my race. Even if I was tired I was able to take the breakaway and try to go as far as I could. The stage was really hard, even without the Sestriere the weather made this stage really difficult. So, that’s that. Tomorrow is another mountain stage. I hope to survive and wait for the rest day, which will be perfect for the team as we need to recover a bit.”

Mark Cavendish crossed the line 22’31” down with six teammates in the ‘grupetto’, and Gert Steegmans did not take the start today due to stomach problems.

The peloton was totally shattered and the exhausted riders appeared in the mist and crossed the finish line one by one. Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka finished 11th and climbed the GC to 8th overall: “Early today, we were discussing the opportunity of going for the stage win but Nibali and Santambrogio are just better than Rafa right now on the climb. On the other hand, Rafa spent a lot of energy changing bikes at the foot of the climb due to a puncture at a time where the peloton was thundering away. But he gets through the stage in good condition; he climbs the GC and still leads the young rider classification ahead of Betancur. Our goal for Rafa was a spot between the 10-15 best in the GC so obviously, I’m happy about his current position. I hope that weather changes for tomorrow so we can do the stage but I don’t want to jeopardize the health of the riders. We don’t want to risk that only half the peloton gets through the stage due to illness,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost.

Giro d’Italia Stage 14 Result:
1. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia in 4:42:55
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
3. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:09
4. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:26
5. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:30
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:33
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 0:55
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:58.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 14:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 57:20:52
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1:26
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 2:46
4. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:47
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 3:53
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 4:55
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 5:02
8. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 5:32
9. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 5:39
10. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 5:41.

The last bit of Stage 14:

It was a strange start to Stage 15; there was a flurry of action just after the start in Cesana Torinese and then the race was neutralised to just before the top of Mont Cenis. Coming towards the top; the KOM leader Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvone-CSF Inox) attacked, he was joined by Robinson Chalapud (Colombia). On the descent Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Pieter Weening (Oica-GreenEdge), Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) and Paolo Longo Borghini (Cannondale) got over to them and they built up a lead of 6 minutes before the start of the Col du Télégraphe. Weening went off on a solo attempt, but Visconti and Rabottini caught him for Visconti to make a go of it on his own. Over the top of the Télégraphe and Visconti had a small lead and by the top of the shortened climb of the Col du Galibier he had the stage win by 42 seconds. Behind in the peloton the Astana team had full control, attacks from Robert Gesink (Blanco), Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack Leopard), Sergio Henao (Sky) and Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) were all pulled back. In the last kilometres Rafa Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) escaped to fight for the young rider’s jersey, Majka cracked for Betancur to take 2nd and Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) to also pass him for 3rd. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) had no problems protecting his Pink jersey going in to tomorrows second rest day.

Movistar’s Giovanni Visconti: “I can’t still believe I won in such a mythical climb like this. It’s been a really hard year for me and I took everything out of my heart for this victory. When problems like what happened to me come up, something that is not breaking a leg or an arm, it’s hard to overcome. My mind did not let me give my best. I didn’t have energy left for the finale, but it was my mind that climbed through today. It’s an honour for me to win in front of the Pantani monument. I was born in January 13 like him, and I’m sure he helped me a bit today. This is me, not the one you saw during the last one and a half years. All my team-mates and the staff were so happy for me because they know what I’ve gone through. Eusebio Unzué was always there supporting me and used to tell me a sentence I tried not to ever forget: ‘The one who is strong will always remain strong’. I kept it on my mind for every single meter today. This is a proof of sacrifice paying off, giving you a reward sooner or later. I hope this victory to be a turning point in my career, because I’m the like that works well with confidence. I hope not to be able to fight ‘only’ for national championships, but also other kind of races. For the time being, I don’t expect anyone sleeping better than me today. This one is for my family, my kids. They are my life, my oxygen. I won thanks to them.”

Cadel Evans (BMC) made his own attack at 700 meters to go on the way to finishing eighth on the stage won by Giovanni Visconti (Movistar Team). Evans crossed the line in the same time as race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) and nearly all of the top contenders to remain 1:26 off the lead with six stages to go. “In the conditions, it wasn’t exactly favorable for those kind of attacks,” Evans said. “I didn’t have a bad day but at least I am back at my level. No time lost but no time gained either.” Evans said some challenges of the race have come from an uncontrollable factor: the weather. “As a rider, just to stay healthy is really difficult with the changing weather conditions,” he said. “The weather changes quicker than we can change our clothes. The third week of the race comes after a first week that was even harder than expected and a second week that was harder than expected because of the weather.”

The Giro enjoys its second rest day of the three-week race Monday before resuming Tuesday with a 238 km medium mountain stage. The peloton rode together up the first climb of Sunday’s 145-kilometer stage which had its finish moved 4.25 km down the summit to Les Granges du Galibier (Pantani Monument) due to snow. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said he was impressed with the support the team provided Evans. “Into the last four kilometers, Steve Morabito and Ivan Santaromita were with him, which was good for his morale,” Baldato said. “Then Morabito brought him onto the wheel of Nibali because it was turning from headwind to tailwind. So it was a dangerous moment where someone could have tried an attack.”

No one was able to catch Visconti and he took a fantastic stage win but Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka truly showed himself as a rider for the future by finishing fourth on this extreme stage to Col du Galibier: “Rafa did an impressive stage today and he has the power to launch a couple of attacks on the final kilometres but it seems as though Nibali is a little bit anxious to let him go as he closed the gap after his first attack. He got away in the second attempt but unfortunately, Betancur was on his wheel instead and in the sprint, he was the faster rider and thereby took the lead in the youth classification. However, there’s a 5 second margin between the two and I believe he’ll be able to take it back in the week to come. Especially Friday and Saturday is terrain for Rafa and he might go for a stage win as well,” said the Danish Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost.

Lapmre-Merida: In the overall classification Michele Scarponi is 5th (+3’53”), 6th in today’s stage 15 and Przemyslaw Niemiec 6th (+4’55”), 3rd on the stage. “It has been a better day than yesterday, even if the efforts that were performed in Bardonecchia we are still present,” Scarponi commented. “In the bunch there was not so much energy, I could manage to be in the pink jersey group. I also tried an action in order to test which could be at my level. The second week of Giro ended: I alternated not so good days to better ones, I aim to be more regular in the tough stages in the final week.”

Niemiec is satisfied: “During the stage I had good feelings and in the final kilometers I still had energies so, when I saw the attack by Betancur, Duque and Majka and I noticed the group had a pause, I escaped following the attackers. My good legs allowed me to go to the arrival with Betancur. I’m in 6th position, but I know it will be so tough to defend this result until the end of Giro.”

Fabio Duarte (Colombia) showed his great condition by holding on with the strongest before unleashing a strong attack into the final kilometer along with Countryman Betancur, while Chalapud took part in a long breakaway started on the first categorized climb of the day, and that eventually took Visconti up to the day’s success. “I was feeling very good – Duarte explained – and I tried to kick for the first time with 5 km to go, where the climb started to get steeper. I managed to bridge on Visconti’s chasers, but the GC men group came back as well. I tried again in the finale, taking a good placement, but I am not going to settle for it: the team and myself are pursuing success, and will keep doing that.” Darwin Atapuma’s 18th place and Jarlinson Pantano 27th rounded out the team’s performance.

Giro d’Italia Stage 15 Result:
1. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar in 4:40:48
2. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:42
3. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff
5. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia at 0:47
6. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:54
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
8. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
10. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 15:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 62:02:34
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1:26
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 2:46
4. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:47
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 3:53
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 4:55
7. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 5:12
8. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 5:32
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 5:39
10. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 5:51.

Stage 15:

Amgen Tour of California 2013
Old stager; Jens Voigt (RadioShack Leopard) won Stage 5 from an escape group that formed in a strong cross-wind about 50 kilometres from the finish in Avila Beach. Overall leader Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) missed the split and BMC’s Tejay van Garderen took over the leader’s jersey with three stages to go. Voigt knew he couldn’t beat sprinters like Thor Hushovd (BMC), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) or Peter Sagan (Cannondale) who were in the break, so with 5 kilometres to go he attacked to finish solo, 6 seconds ahead of those three sprinters.

Tejay van Garderen took the overall lead of the Amgen Tour of California Thursday while teammate Thor Hushovd finished third on the stage that saw the BMC Racing Team place three riders in a surprise breakaway.

With about 55 kilometres to go in the 185.7-km race, a change of course direction and strong crosswinds sliced the peloton into pieces and putting former race leader Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) into immediate difficulty. “Things started getting nervous,” Hushovd said. “First, there was a lot of wind, and then more and more, so we stayed all together, the whole team. I think RadioShack started the acceleration. Tejay and I were able to go up together and then Michi (Michael Schär) was there, so it was perfect.” The 16 riders at the front quickly built a lead that grew to 50 seconds with 38 km to go, was pegged back to 30 seconds with 22 km left but eventually stretched out to more than a minute by the finish. “At the beginning of the day, nothing suggested today would be anything more than a bunch sprint and a non-GC (general classification) day,” van Garderen said. “But nobody can really predict the weather and that’s cycling. You always have to be attentive and luckily our guys were.” Jens Voigt (RadioShack Leopard) soloed out of the break to win the stage by six seconds while Hushovd earned his third straight top 10 finish of the race.

BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said it was satisfying to see the squad react to a situation that was discussed as a possibility in the pre-race meeting. “The guys were ready to go and once the gap was done there was nothing to do except ride, even if it was for a few seconds,” he said. “It never went far away because there were a lot of teams chasing from behind. But the result is that Tejay is in yellow and that some time has been taken over the climbers and other GC contenders.” Heading into Friday’s 31.6-km individual time trial, van Garderen leads 2010 Amgen Tour of California winner Michael Rogers (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) by 42 seconds while Acevedo is third, 50 seconds back. Van Garderen said wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey will not change his approach to the race against the clock that finishes with a three-kilometre climb. “You go in and ride as best as you can and as hard as you can,” he said. “Right now all my focus is on the time trial. We’ll deal with Mt. Diablo (Saturday’s mountain-top finish) when we get there.”

“I think maybe the last time I was feeling good was when I was 21,” said Voigt. “But we had a close look at the road circuit today and saw at 125km into the race when the road turned just a little bit and the headwind switched to a crosswind that we could do something there. Markel Irizar and I were in the front to drive the break, and after awhile Markel said to me, ‘I think you look really good today so maybe you should save something for the end.’ I thought about it and agreed. There were some quality riders in the group. To win from that group, I knew I would have to go alone. I had hopes they would look at one another to chase me and give me twenty seconds. Once you do that, I’m gone. Once I went and then looked back to see the gap, I couldn’t believe they had given me 20-seconds. I said to myself, ‘Yes!’ It was pretty hard and I really had to dig deep. I’m a happy stage winner.”

“To cause chaos and mayhem isn’t that a good enough reason?” Voigt answered when asked why the Team worked to create the split. He continued on with, “Many times riders expect a break to go at 20-25km to go, but not so much at 60. They don’t consider that such a serious move. We had Matthew Busche in the top ten, so today we dropped the yellow jersey and we stretched everyone’s legs. Hopefully this will give us an advantage in the TT tomorrow. So making everyone suffer and be tired was part of our plan and to gain some precious seconds. It was hard work, yes, but no one ever said cycling was easy.” Busche moved into fourth place on the classification.

“I have been doing the same moves for a long time in my career, almost since the last ice age,” Jens Voigt joked, when questioned about basic race tactics he used today and is well-known for. “Sometimes, like last year in Colorado I did it at 140km to go; today it was 5km to go. They know what my plan is and that I cannot win a sprint. You have to catch them by surprise. That’s why it works. Sometimes they underestimate me. Today it worked in my favour. I will also say that I do still have some ‘go power’ left in my legs. Not every day like five or ten years ago. But once I’m out there and can smell the victory, I want it again.”

Asked if his innate racing sense is something he can mentor a younger rider to do, Voigt replied, “I have a big engine; I can handle a big work load. I’m willing to work hard. I think this instinct is just part of who I am. It’s hard to teach because the decision-making is done in just a split second. It’s like a voice talking in your head, saying, ‘Go now! Go now! Go now!’ And then listening to the voice. I try to teach the boys to be brave, be courageous. On Sunday night if you have some energy left, it’s too late. There is no stage on Monday. Get it all out now. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be intimidated.”

Last year after the California time trial which had Voigt on the podium in second place, he commented that he enjoyed every moment because he didn’t know how many more opportunities he would have to be there before his career was over. But last August he produced a stage win in Colorado and won a race in Germany two weeks ago, along with today’s win, making podiums look like a regular thing for 41-year old Voigt.

“I like to call this the ‘Indian Summer’ of my career, not the twilight,” he laughed. “Think how beautiful it is in Indian Summer. That’s where I am, in the Indian Summer of my career. Yes, I hate to admit it, I am getting older, and my career will come to an end one day. For the second year in a row I am the oldest licensed holder in the world. The oldest bike rider! But age is just a number, apparently. I think that you can’t only talk the talk; you have to walk the walk. If you can do that, there is no reason to stop or slow down or give it up.” Asked about earning himself another year’s contract with the win, he answered an emphatic, “I hope so! If someone asks me if I am ready to sign again for another year, I say ‘Hell yeah!’”

Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Rogers was in the group behind Voigt with teammate, Jay McCarthy and Jonas Aaen and the Aussie is now second overall: “The boys did a really good stage with Michael, Jay and Jonas in the front of the finale. Now, Rogers is second overall and weøre looking forward to tomorrow’s time trial where he will try to bring himself closer to van Garderen. We know Garderen is a solid TT specialist but we believe in a good result,” concluded Saxo-Tinkoff’s Tristan Hoffman.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 5 Result:
1. Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack Leopard in 4:41:16
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:06
3. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Alexander Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
8. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff
9. Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard
10. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 5:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 21:55:32
2. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:42
3. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 0:50
4. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 1:04
5. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 1:17
6. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:29
7. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 1:35
8. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda at 1:53
9. Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 2:03
10. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 2:22.

Stage 5 by Orica-GreenEdge:

Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team won Friday’s Stage 6 individual time trial at the Amgen Tour of California to increase his lead with two days of the race to go.

Van Garderen stomped up the final climb to beat Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM Procycling Team) by 23 seconds and third-place finisher Rohan Dennis by 28 seconds in the 31.6-kilometer race against the clock. In the overall standings, van Garderen is 1:47 ahead of Michael Rogers (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) and 2:57 ahead of third-placed Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE). “I didn’t know how I was doing because my radio wasn’t working – but it didn’t matter because I was on the gas the whole way,” van Garderen said. “There was really no place that you could hold back. It started straight away up a climb and then there was ripping headwind on that flat section, so you really had to dig deep there. Of course, the climb up to the finish was hard.” Van Garderen, who cradled his month-old daughter, Rylan, in the podium ceremony, said he received inspiration from several family members who awaited him at the finish. “Having my wife and my new daughter and my mother-in-law here definitely gave me some extra motivation,” he said. “It was incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.”

Two of van Garderen’s teammates, Marco Pinotti and Mathias Frank, placed fifth and ninth, respectively. Pinotti rode his BMC timemachine TM01 to the base of the three-kilometer finishing climb before switching to his BMC teammachine SLR01. In the overall standings, Frank is fourth, 24 seconds behind Meyer, with a mountain-top finish ahead for the penultimate stage. “We know it’s a big stage tomorrow with the first climb coming directly at the start and then Mt. Diablo at the end,” BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said of the 147.1-km race. “But we can be confident. We have a strong leader and we also have Mathias who is in the top five and still in contention for the podium. All the rest of the guys are really motivated, like they have been since the beginning, to help Tejay win his first tour. And surely here in California, for a U.S. team like us, it is a big pleasure for us to be in yellow before the last weekend.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Rogers did a good time trial finishing fourth and is still second overall. “Michael did a good time trial on a very difficult course. He changes bikes from time trial bike to his regular bike at the foot of the uphill finish to optimize his opportunities for a top result, but Garderen was just stronger today and he seems like rider who’s going to be difficult to beat. Tomorrow’s stage holds a few climbs in the finale so the race sure isn’t over,” said DS Tristan Hoffman.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 6 Result:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 48:52
2. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:23
3. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:28
4. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:05
5. Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC at 1:08
6. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:28
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard at 1:29
8. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura at 1:43
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 1:46
10. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:48.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 6:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 22:44:24
2. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:47
3. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 2:57
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 3:21
5. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 3:31
6. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 3:33
7. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda at 4:26
8. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 4:52
9. Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 5:02
10. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 5:04.

TT Stage 6:

Team NetApp – Endura’s Leopold Koenig won Stage 7, the Queen Stage of the Tour of California. The 25 year-old Czech prevailed on the final climb up Mount Diablo, not far from the headquarters of the main sponsor NetApp, after 147 kilometres of racing. He relegated Janier Acevedo (JSH) and the leader of the overall standings Teja van Garderen (BMC) to second and third place. The stage win lifted Koenig to 11th place in the overall standings.

Team NetApp – Endura executed a textbook finish on the hardest day of this year’s edition of the Tour of California. First, Spanish climbing specialist David de la Cruz was able to establish himself in the day’s breakaway group. At the foot of the 17 kilometre climb up Mount Diablo de la Cruz increased his speed and reduced the 10-man breakaway group to two riders. In the meantime, Leo Koenig was able to stay with the favourites in the chasing group and was protected by other team members. As de la Cruz was finally caught by the group of favourites three kilometres before the finish Leo Koenig immediately attacked and drew level with the last breakaway rider. He was finally able to claim the stage after launching a spirited attack 500 meters before the finishing line. Jose Mendes rounded off the successful day with a 9th place finish.

“This was an extraordinary performance of the whole team today. As unhappy I was a couple days ago, the more happy I am now. If we put on teamwork just like today we can ride with the big teams and even win. All guys implemented our strategy from this morning one-to-one. We completely focused on the stage win and concentrated everyone’s effort on this goal. We are very happy about the victory”, says Alex Sans Vega.

Leo Koenig after his victory: “I felt so strong today and only had the picture in my head crossing the finish line first. With this goal in mind I attacked and went step by step, faster and faster. Fighting my way up I remembered an advertisement I just saw here which stated: the only limit that exists is the one in your head. I stopped thinking and just went for the victory.”

Behind, Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Rogers suddenly jumped out of the saddle and the leading rider, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was forced to close the gap on his own and they crossed the finish line together just behind the stage winner, Leopold König (NetApp).

”Three climbs were on the menu on today’s stage where Michael (Rogers) was supported by his teammates until the final climb where he found the back wheel of Tejay van Garderen. He showed great form once again and was never in any kind of trouble so he launched an attack in the finale. Now, we’re looking forward to the final stage of the race and I don’t expect any changes in the GC here,” said DS, Tristan Hoffmann.

BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen rode to a third-place finish on Saturday’s summit finish at Mt. Diablo to keep the race lead with one day to go at the Amgen Tour of California.

The BMC Racing Team controlled the pace on the 16-kilometer climb at the end of the 147.1 km race, pulling back an early breakaway and several counter-attacks. Only Leopold König (Team NetApp-Endura), who soloed to win by seven seconds and runner-up Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) were able to distance themselves from van Garderen, who crossed the line 12 seconds after König. “I think it was a tough day for the team, but they made life easy for me,” van Garderen said after pulling on the race leader’s yellow jersey for the third straight day. “The guys controlled things from the beginning of the race, right up until the end. I only had to hit the wind in the last couple hundred meters. So they made my life so stress free. It was an incredible day.” Mathias Frank finished fifth on the stage – to remain fourth overall – and Amaël Moinard was 14th to keep the BMC Racing Team at the top of the team classification. Sunday’s 129.9 km stage finishes in Santa Rosa, headquarters of the BMC Racing Team. “Tomorrow will be all about staying out of trouble,” van Garderen said. “It’s an incredible feeling and I’m glad I will be able to make the team proud in Santa Rosa.”

Amgen Tour of California Stage 7 Result:
1. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura in 3:54:17
2. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 0:07
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:12
4. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 0:23
6. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 0:29
7. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 0:32
8. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda at 0:38
9. José Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Por) Team NetApp-Endura at 0:44
10. Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 7:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 26:38:53
2. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:47
3. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 3:26
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 3:32
5. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 3:33
6. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 3:50
7. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda at 4:52
8. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 5:24
9. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 5:33
10. Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 5:52.

Stage 7:

The just 130 kilometre long final Stage 8 of Tour of California started out in San Francisco and took the peloton to Santa Rosa on relative flat stretch with only a single climb along the way halfway through the day.

Three riders, Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil), Jason McCartney (Bissel) og Antoine Duchesne (Bontrager) formed today’s breakaway and they were struggling to keep a chasing peloton behind as the sprinter teams were eager to finally let their sprinters shine. Throughout the entire stage, Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Rogers was protected and supported by his teammates in the main field to defend his overall second position.

The last standing escapee was caught with 9 kilometres to go and the stage were to be decided in a bunch sprint. On the finish line, the Garmin-Sharp riders were launching Tyler Farrar away but his rival in the sprint competition, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was simply faster on the line and took the win.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Rogers crossed the finish line safely and finished second overall behind Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “Surely, I’m very happy about this result. I’m satisfied with my condition and the team performance here. Tejay was just stronger which he demonstrated on the time trial. I didn’t have the best start of the season but this result confirms that I’m on the right track to where I want to be. Hopefully, I can take my condition up a notch before the next big goal of the season,” said Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Rogers after the stage.

Tejay van Garderen earned the first stage race victory of his professional career Sunday at the Amgen Tour of California while the BMC Racing Team was victorious in the team classification of the eight-day race that finished in its headquarters city of Santa Rosa.

“Everything just finally came together,” van Garderen said. “I’ve known for years that I’ve been capable of a ride like this. It’s all fallen into place, it’s really special, especially with everything that’s happened in the last month and half for me (the birth of his first daughter, Rylan), it’s really special.” Van Garderen, who turned professional in 2008, took the lead after helping split the peloton in strong crosswinds on Stage 5. He then increased it the next day by winning the Stage 6 individual time trial. His winning margin was 1:47 over runner-up Michael Rogers (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) and 3:26 over third-placed Janier Acevado (Jamis-Hagens-Berman). “This will be a big change in Tejay’s life as a cyclist,” BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said. “It was difficult, with mountains, a long and hilly time trial, and even one stage with echelons. So it was a complete race. Once you have done this, you are ready for all the one-week stage races.”

BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz, who viewed the race from the BMC Racing Team Acura team car on nearly every stage, said van Garderen is making his mark on the sport. “We’re really proud of him because he’s learned to manage a team and a high profile event for a week and I think – pretty obviously – a strong team,” Ochowicz said. “So that’s a big accomplishment for him. But we’re taking it one race at a time. He will have a lot more opportunities to lead the team in various races this year, next year and in the years to come.” In addition to van Garderen winning the overall, the BMC Racing Team also placed Mathias Frank in fourth overall, six seconds from a podium spot. It was Frank’s best finish at a stage race since he placed sixth at the Tour de Suisse in 2011.

In addition to van Garderen’s overall victory and stage win, the BMC Racing Team’s team title was its fourth title of the season, adding to ones won at the Tour de San Luis, the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman. Brent Bookwalter, who has been part of three of the four, said it makes van Garderen’s victory all the more satisfying, particularly after defending the lead on the final two stages. “It’s nice to win team GC – It’s a good feeling,” Bookwalter said. “The key word being ‘team,’ which we had on display on the climb up Mt. Diablo and in riding the front on the last stage.” Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) won the last stage in a bunch sprint as BMC Racing Team’s Thor Hushovd earned his fourth top 10 finish of the race.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 8 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 3:04:07
2. Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team NetApp-Endura
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Ken Hanson (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
8. Jacobe Keough (USA) UnitedHealthcare
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Matt Brammeier (Irl) Champion System Pro Cycling Team.

Amgen Tour of California Final Overall Result:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 29:43:00
2. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:47
3. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 3:26
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 3:32
5. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 3:33
6. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 3:50
7. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda at 4:52
8. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 5:24
9. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 5:33
10. Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 5:52.

The final stage 8:

Glava Tour of Norway 2013
The peloton were to cover 179 kilometres on Thursday’s Stage 2 of the Glava Tour of Norway starting from Kongsberg to Skien where pouring rain made the organizers drop the final laps in the finish town. A breakaway threatened the sprinters for a while but the field thundered in on the finish line for a bunch sprint decision. Once again, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was the faster rider and took the stage win and extended the overall lead.

Earlier in the stage, Sander Cordeel (Lotto-Belisol), Thomas Degand (Accent Jobs-Wanty), Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural), Laurens de Vreese & Stijn Neirynck (Topsport-Vlaanderen), Michael Reihs (Cult) and Fillip Eidsheim (Oster Hus) broke away, but were never allowed much time, but were pulled back before the sprint.

Saxo-Tinkoff’s DS; Steven de Jongh said at the finish: “It was a nasty weather in Norway today with 7-8 degrees and hard rain throughout the stage and it wore down the riders. But our boys did a good stage and we had the most of them in the first group to cross the finish line where Marko (Kump) sprinted his way to a good result. I predict a similar scenario tomorrow with a bunch sprint.”

Glava Tour of Norway Stage 2 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 4:11:12
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
3. Sondre H Enger (Nor) Team Plussbank
4. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun
5. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Marko Kump (Slo) Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
10. Frederique Robert (Bel) Lotto Belisol.

Glava Tour of Norway Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 8:52:51
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky at 0:08
3. Michael Reihs (Den) Team Cult Energy at 0:15
4. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:16
5. Sondre H Enger (Nor) Team Plussbank
6. Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:17
7. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:20
8. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun
10. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty.

Theo Bos won Stage 3 of the Glava Tour of Norway, a 163k run from Tønsberg to Drammen. For Bos, the third time was indeed the charm. After two days of near misses, Bos claimed the top step on the podium, edging out Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling). “Yesterday, I just did not have the power and the day before the finish was a little too steep for me. I knew I had it in me and today it all worked out” said Bos.

Perfect lead out: “Winning is not easy, you need a good plan and hard work and that’s precisely what we did. Especially after my fall in the Tour of Turkey, this is very satisfying. I really wanted to win there and had really prepared well together with the team. That injury was a real downer but I knew that we were headed for races where I could win such as the Tour of Norway and also the Bayern Rundfahrt and Ster ZLM Tour .

For a moment, it looked as it might all go wrong in the Blanco sprint train. Bos told the story, “Brownie (Graeme Brown, ed.) placed me according to plan but I clicked out of my pedal and could not chase. Luckily, he came back quickly and got me set up again.

The third and 163 kilometre long third stage of Tour of Norway was a meandering stretch from Tønsberg to Drammen and even though a breakaway was going, it all smelled like another dramatic battle among the sprinters. And the two compatriots Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Sky) and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) were probably looking forward to another rivalry on the Norwegian National day.

On the finish line, Theo Bos (Blanco) drew the longest straw and took a superb stage win ahead of the two Norwegian riders while Saxo-Tinkoff’s Takashi Miyazawa finished tenth:

“Michael (Mørkøv) was leading Takashi forward on the final kilometers but unfortunately, Michael was held back by the crash close to the finale. Takashi managed to stay up there and finished among the best ten. Thankfully, everyone stayed upright, no one’s hurt and Nicki (Sørensen) and Sergio (Paulinho) didn’t lose time, which is the most important thing. Tomorrow’s stage is a lot harder than the previous days and we’re hoping that Sergio will di a good result”, said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Steven De Jongh.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) still leads overall.

Glava Tour of Norway Stage 3 Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco in 4:02:22
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
3. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
5. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Sondre H Enger (Nor) Team Plussbank
8. Christian Bertilsson (Swe) Team People4You-Unaas Cycling
9. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun
10. Takashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Saxo-Tinkoff.

Glava Tour of Norway Overall After Stage 3:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 12:55:07
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky at 0:14
3. Sondre H Enger (Nor) Team Plussbank at 0:22
4. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling
5. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
6. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Oster Hus-Ridley at 0:25
7. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:26
8. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun
10. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol.

Edvald Boasson Hagen pulled out a stunning performance on home ground to win stage 4 at the Tour of Norway and claim the race lead.

The Norwegian fired clear over the top of the Kinnshaugen climb and linked up with Sergio Paulinho (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) on the run back into the centre of Lillehammer.

A tense chase ensued with 12 riders linking up to close down the plucky pair, but with a slender gap stabilising it was left to Boasson Hagen to kick again in the final kilometre, riding to an immensely popular solo victory by 11 seconds.

With overnight race leader Alexander Kristoff losing contact after a fierce pace had been set by Team Sky, the win moved Boasson Hagen into a 27-second race lead over Paulinho with one stage remaining.

Edvald Boasson Hagen, Team Sky Rider: “It’s an amazing feeling to win here again. The team did a really good job today in controlling things from the start.

“After they’d done all the work other teams began attacking me and I decided to go by myself on the way to the finish. I’d planned to do that this morning and I wanted to try and either arrive alone or have someone to ride with. Everything went to plan.

“[The support here] is like the Tour de France. It is amazing that so many people come out to watch the race and cheer for me.

“There are more climbs tomorrow and it will be really hard. We need to keep focussed for one more day and hopefully I can stay in the yellow and green jerseys tomorrow.”

Servais Knaven, Team Sky Sports Director: “That was some perfect riding today – from the whole team and especially at the end there from Edvald. He certainly showed some class today.

“It was a strong ride but also pretty nervous for us following as the gap was never big. The whole team rode really well right from the start and then again on the final climbs. Ben [Swift] and Josh [Edmondson] did some great work there and we also had Mathew [Hayman] and Bernie [Eisel] using their experience to control things on the flat. Everyone played their part.

“We’re going to do our best tomorrow. We are really close but the stage is tough again with a hard final. We need to have some guys there to protect the jersey but everyone is up for it.”

In Tour of Norway, it was time to set out on the first mountain stage where 195 kilometres were to be completed on the stretch from Brumunddal to the famous winter Olympic town of Lillehammer. And Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Sergio Paulinho played a main character in the finale as they broke clear of the pack in the finale.

But the duo was chased by 12 riders in the group behind where IAM Cycling were dictating the pace on the nerve-wrecking final kilometres of the stage. On the final kilometre, Boasson-Hagen soloed away towards the finish line and took the stage win while Saxo-Tinkoff’s Sergio Paulinho finished second after a thrilling finale:

“Sergio was showing great form today and he really deserved this result after a great effort in an exciting finale where Edvald was simply stronger. But now, he’s second overall before tomorrow’s final stage and naturally I hope and I think he can maintain his position after tomorrow’s difficult stage as well,” said Team Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Steven de Jongh.

Glava Tour of Norway Stage 4 Result:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky in 5:01:31
2. Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:11
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 0:29
4. Sondre H Enger (Nor) Team Plussbank
5. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling
6. Toms Skujins (Lat) Rietumu-Delfin
7. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling
9. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling
10. Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Glava Tour of Norway Overall After Stage 4:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky in 17:56:42
2. Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:27
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 0:44
4. Sondre H Enger (Nor) Team Plussbank at 0:47
5. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:49
6. Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:50
7. Jesper Hansen (Den) Team Cult Energy at 0:51
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Blanco
9. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling
10. Toms Skujins (Lat) Rietumu-Delfin at 1:51.

Sunday’s 173 kilometre long Final Stage 5 of Tour of Norway from Gjøvik to Hønefoss held a single big climb halfway through and a demanding undulating finale where Team Saxo-Tinkoff Portuguese, Sergio Paulinho was eager to defend his second place overall.

Eight riders however, broke clear of the bunch and tried to keep up the pace until the finale and unexpectedly, IAM Cycling and not the leading Team Sky, took the responsibility to conduct the pace of the pack and the escapees were swept up in due time.

When the counterattacks were shooting like fireworks, Team Sky went to the front and picked up the pace notch to take away the eagerness in the field. However, Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Blanco) showed initiative and launched a fierce attack on the final climb and moved away quickly with 12 kilometres to go and chased by Jesper Hansen (Team Cult) and Fredrik Ludvigsson and soon, there was a front trio.

In the minimized field behind, Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Sergio Paulinho was watching Team Sky bringing the escapees back and on the finish line, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was the fastest rider in the bunch and took the stage win:

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Sergio Paulinho finished second overall: “The boys did a very good stage where Sergio was constantly supported by teammates and our main goal was to defend the second spot overall in which we succeeded. In the finale, Nicki (Sørensen) was in front of Sergio all the way across the finish line. Edvald (Boasson-Hagen) was simply a stronger rider which means we can only be happy about the outcome,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Steven De Jongh after the stage.
Thanks to the Saxo-Tinkoff team for the race info.

Glava Tour of Norway Stage 5 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 4:04:29
2. Sondre H Enger (Nor) Team Plussbank
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty
5. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs-Wanty
7. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling
8. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun
9. Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco
10. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling.

Glava Tour of Norway Final Overall:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky in 22:01:07
2. Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:31
3. Sondre H Enger (Nor) Team Plussbank at 0:45
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 0:48
5. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:53
6. Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:54
7. Jesper Hansen (Den) Team Cult Energy at 0:55
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Blanco
9. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling
10. Toms Skujins (Lat) Rietumu-Delfin 0:01:52.

Levi Leipheimer Retires
39 year old Levi Leipheimer has announced his retirement. He told a local Santa Rosa newspaper The Press Democrat at the finish of stage 8 of the Tour of California. He finished his 6 month ban given to him after he admitted to doping on March the 1st, he had wanted to resume his racing career, but there were no team offers. His evidence to USADA helped in the case against Lance Armstrong.

GB Milk Race makes a Return
The British Milk Race was a two week stage race that ran from 1960 until its last edition in 1993 due to the breakup of the Milk Marketing Board. The race will make its return on May the 26th as a city centre circuit race in Nottingham. There will be two Elite races, one each for male and female riders both with a 5,000 GB Pound prize list. “The 1.2km circuit will loop the market square and will be open to the crowds to have a spin on before the headline races. There will also be a series of rides into the centre from the outskirts early in the day, with secure bike parking supplied for those who want to get involved in the festivities,” said race organiser and Milk Race stage winner; Tony Doyle MBE.
The public rides start at 11:30 with Elite Women’s race at 14:15 and Elite Men’s at 17:45.

Tax Investigation’s in Belgium
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider; Tom Boonen and RadioShack Leopard DS Dirk Demol are both being investigated by the Belgian tax office. In the case of Boonen it is alleged by Belgian newspaper De Tijd that during his time living in Monaco (2005 to early 2013) he didn’t declare enough of his income for Belgian tax purposes. The case against Demol concerns a false address in Luxembourg being used to avoid paying tax in Belgium, according to Het Niewsblad.

Bad Weather and Cycling!
There has always been bad weather; it’s not a new thing. Hard-men of the road would be riding over Col’s with just a woollen jersey for protection from the snow as it lay deep on their arms. They pushed on over unmade roads with following cars and a couple tubs over their shoulders. It wasn’t that long ago either, as this video of Andrew Hampsten on the Gavia in the 1988 Giro d’Italia shows:

Don’t forget the new “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it down the right hand side on the home page, just above the EuroTrash section. Basically you can read those bits of news that maybe didn’t make the deadline for EuroTrash Monday/Thursday or wasn’t big enough for a standalone article, there will also be press releases from teams, races, manufacturers and anything else we think you might want to know. NEWSWIRE won’t be taking anything away from the current sections, but will hopefully add to your PEZ enjoyment. New items will be posted as they come in to us at PEZ HQ, so give it a regular check.


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