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EuroTrash Monday!

The EuroTrash bag has burst all over the place with all top racing from the week-end. Vincenzo Nibali took a brilliant win in a fascinating Giro d’Italia, and we also have the Tour of Belgium and the Bayern-Rundfahrt. All the video action if you missed it and what the riders have to say. And it’s arrivederci Danilo – hopefully. You’re going to need a big coffee!

TOP STORY: Nibali Wins Giro d’Italia 2013
Vincezo Nibali (Astana) probably sealed his 2013 Giro d’Italia victory in Thursday’s mountain time trial Stage 18 with a devastating ride that showed how strong he is in his home Tour. His time of 44:29 was nearly a minute (58 seconds) faster than Samuel Sanchez (Euskatel-Euskadi), but more importantly he put 2:36 into Cadel Evans (BMC) in second place overall and 1:26 into third placed Rigoberto Uran (Sky). Evans is now at 4:02 and Uran is only 10 seconds behind him. With two tough stages to go, depending on the weather, Nibali should hold the lead to the finish in Brescia.

Cadel Evans (BMC) held onto his 2nd overall: “It’s not for lack of trying that I lost a minute or two minutes,” Evans said. “I came to this Giro with high hopes, but not high expectations. My real objective was to give my best, and, until this point, I’ve made a few mistakes, but nothing big. So in that regard, in terms of giving my best, that’s great. But when you need winning, of course you want to be winning – and that’s maybe when your hopes rise above your capabilities.” With two straight mountain stages to come and a flat finale on Sunday, Nibali is 4:02 ahead of Evans. “I’m unlikely to win, but I came here for training for the Tour de France,” Evans said. “Second place at this point is not so bad.”

“I’m satisfied, considering also that, except for Nibali, the other two riders that did better than me avoided the rain,” Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) said. “The stage classification reports that I preceded my opponents for the podium, even if I did not decrease my gap in a large way. I tried to be regular on my pace, maybe I was not brilliant in the final kilometre.”

Przemyslaw Niemiec also is happy: “I could not do more than this, so I’m satisfied. I’m also happy for the mechanical choice I performed, after having study the course in the morning with the mechanics, the sport directors and the technics from Merida. Polish rider Majka is gettin closer to me, it will be an interesting battle.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka is now 6th overall: “Rafal keeps impressing me. He did a truly heroic effort out there taking back the white jersey and jumps two spots in the GC. Before the Giro I thought he could finish between 10th and 15th overall so it’s fantastic getting to see him joining the six best riders in the field. At the same time, we have strong support from Evgeny Petrov who dug deep today as well finishing 11th. Our main goal in the race remains the same, we’re targeting a stage win and Rafa is our best candidate on the coming two stages. I know he’s up there in the GC and the other riders may consider him as a threat but if he rides fast enough it’s not a question of being allowed to go,” concluded Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Mark Cavendish held on to his Red point’s jersey: “I wasn’t expecting to be in the red jersey this evening, but I have it again,” Cavendish said. “We will see what we can do in the next few days. The uphill time trial today was tough, but fortunately I was able to keep the point’s classification lead. The goal is to try to keep the red jersey to the end, and go for the sprint on Sunday. For sure the fight for the red jersey depends on tomorrow’s stage with some hard climbs and the stage the day after.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 18 Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 44:29
2. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:58
3. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 1:20
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:21
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:25
6. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 1:26
7. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:32
8. Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco at 1:36
9. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky at 1:41
10. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 1:52.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 18:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 73:55:58
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 4:02
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 4:12
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 5:14
5. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 6:09
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 6:45
7. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 6:47
8. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 7:30
9. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 8:36
10. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 9:34.

The stage 18 TT:

As I’m sure you all know by now Stage 19 was cancelled due to the weather, race organisers; RCS announced “Due to adverse weather conditions and, in particular, snow on the stage route in its entirety, stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia, from Ponte di Legno to Val Martello/Martelltal, has been cancelled.” There had been a plan to reroute the stage, but that was found to have the same problems, so there was no other option.

And the comments from the race:

Cadel Evans (BMC) said when he woke up to rain and snow showers at the team’s hotel in Val di Sole – which was 880 meters lower than the day’s planned climbs – he immediately wondered how the race could proceed as planned. “It’s always possible to pass those passes on a bike,” he said. “But to have a good race and stay healthy and safe for everyone is really quite impossible. The organizers have done the right thing. For the communities who have invested to have a stage of the Giro, I’m sorry for them. But we can’t control the weather.” Baldato and Evans said the BMC Racing Team will proceed with as normal a routine as possible for the remainder of the day. “Tomorrow is going to be an important day,” Evans said. “And because of no racing today, it’s going to be an even more important day than it would have been. So we have to train and prepare for that. And while we have an opportunity to rest, we have to utilize that moment to recover as best as possible and be at our best for tomorrow.” Baldato said he told the riders to pay particular attention to what they eat and what they do. “The riders with experience know it’s important to stay in good health and good shape because the next stage can also be difficult,” he said.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost comments: “Cancelling today’s stage was the only right decision. Being a sports director means my main responsibility is the safety of the riders and executing today’s stage in horrible conditions would have been too risky. For the riders, I think the main concern is how the body is going to react to another rest day. A lot of riders are feeling off the day after a rest day so I think some riders now worry about tomorrow’s stage from a physical point of view. Of course, we’ll be on our bikes today training but there’s no real substitute for hard-core competition. We now hope that tomorrow’s stage will be executed so everyone involved in the race including the organizers, riders and the fans get a decent closure of the race,” said Team Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost.

Marc Wauters, Lotto Belisol sports director: “When we got up this morning melting snow was falling, we were at about 900 meters. Higher in the mountains the snow stayed on the ground. On the mountain tops it was very cold, around zero to one degree. The highest mountains, the Gavia and Stelvio, were already taken out by the organization yesterday, but we still had to climb above 1800 meters. Around 8:30 we got a message that there were no guarantees the stage would take place and an hour later it was cancelled. It’s not the first time a decision is made so late in Italy, but we also understand the organization. If it’s just a little bit of snow and it stops soon and a couple of hours later it’s better, then you can still start the stage or an alternative. Cancelling a stage is not evident, until the last moment one’s searching for a solution.

“This morning the buses couldn’t get over the mountain top on their way to the start, the safety couldn’t be guaranteed. That moment it was logistically impossible to modify the stage and to move the caravan. This cancellation is the best choice for the safety and health of the riders. It’s a good decision, also with the recent edition of Milan – Sanremo in mind.”
“Around noon we arrived in our new hotel. Where we are now its nice weather, we are a few hundred meters lower. After a meal the riders will get on their bikes for an hour or two and then they will get a massage. It’s important they stay in the rhythm; there are still two more days to come. It’s obvious that Vincenzo Nibali is outstanding in the battle for the pink jersey. Now there’s less chance to get changes for the other places in GC. Also Francis De Greef had hoped to move up in the classification.”

Sky’s Rigoberto Uran was poised to jump over Cadel Evans into 2nd place overall as he is only 10 seconds behind the Australian and stage 19 could have been perfect. Team DS Marcus Ljungqvist said: “We haven’t seen much of the route but we’ve seen pictures like everyone else. It just came down to rider safety and there aren’t a lot of other options. Everybody knew the risk of high mountain finishes in May in the Dolomites but I don’t think anybody expected it to be this bad. They’ve been unlucky and it’s too bad for the fans, the organisation and everyone.”

“It would have been great with good weather on clear roads with the scenery and the helicopter shots but it’s about making a good bike race that is safe for the riders.”

Daniele Bennati making a steep climb even steeper:

Many of the climbs were cut from Stage 20, but this didn’t dampen the action on a stage people will be talking about and remembering for a long time. The early break of Emanuele Ermeti (Androni Giocattoli), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack Leopard), Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) and Pavel Brutt (Katusha) was doomed before it started and the race started for real on the climb of the Tre Croci and then on to the finalé of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. The race split on the first climb, regrouped and then bang, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was off up the road and all the others were left in his wake. He cut through the snow and the fans to take the stage and show that it didn’t matter what kind of stage is thrown at him he would come out on top. Rigoberto Uran (Sky) was behind putting time into Cadel Evans (BMC) to move into second place overall. Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale) took the young riders jersey and Nibali removed the point’s jersey from Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step).

At the summit finish of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo it was snowing and the temperature was below zero, many of the riders were in trouble on that torturous climb, but all the riders fought through the barriers of pain to finish a most horrendous day.

Colombia’s 2nd placed Fabio Duarte: “We were just close to make a great gift to our team staff, sponsors and supporters in Colombia and all around the World, but I still think we gave them some reason to be happy today,” Fabio Duarte said afterwards. “The fact that such performance came in front of Coldeportes’ President Botero makes it even more important: we are always willing to show that this project is worth the great effort they put in, and hopefully it will keep growing in the years to come.”

Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team fought to the finish Saturday in snow and freezing conditions to hold onto a spot on the podium with one day to go at the Giro d’Italia. Evans finished 14th, 1:30 behind stage winner and race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team), while conceding 1:11 to Rigoberto Uran (Sky Procycling), who finished third to move into second overall. Nibali launched his decisive attack in the last three kilometres of the 203-km race that finished atop Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Evans was riding with the group chasing Nibali when disaster struck. “I had a technical problem at two kilometres to go all the way to the finish and that cost me second place,” Evans said. Between kilometres two and one, Evans lost 33 seconds to Uran and stage runner-up Fabio Duarte (Colombia) and an additional 28 seconds in the final kilometre. “He tried to resolve the technical issue, but the severe weather and the nature of the problem prevented him from doing so and it cost him valuable time,” BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said it was a shame because Evans had been riding well up to that point. “All day, Cadel had good legs,” Baldato said. “For sure, second was better than third. But we are still on the podium and tomorrow we need to control to make the race safe and then the goal is reached.”

In the overall classification, Scarponi retains the 4th place, while Niemiec is 6th since Betancur overtook him. “The final climb, under the snow, was so tough for me,” Scarponi explained.” As it happened in Bardonecchia, we approached the climb to the arrival after many kilometers not so demanding and in addition there was bad weather condition: I don’t like such kind of situation, but today I could reply in a good way, defending the 4th place.
Uran and Evans had no bad moments, so it was not possible to assault the podium.”

Niemiec is very happy: “Only one day left to the end of Giro and I’m 6th: it’s something amazing for me, even if today Betancur, who realized something great, took the 5th place away from me.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka finished 10th on the stage and is now 7th overall before tomorrow’s final stage to Brescia: “I think Rafal did a very good job today finishing 10th. Naturally, it pains him to lose the white jersey one day away from Brescia but we have to admit that Betancur was simply stronger today. Unfortunately, we lost Petrov before entering the final climb. On his way back to the front after a wheel change, a couple of riders who had just done the same, touched wheel with him and he lost his balance and crashed. Very disappointing for Rafa and of course for Petrov who really wanted to show the colours up front on his birthday. However, I’m happy about Rafal’s overall position. I think he can be happy with this result in his first grand tour as a captain and I for one am looking forward to following him in the future where greater results are within reach,” said Saxo-Tinkoff’s Dan Frost.

Giro d’Italia Stage 20 Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 5:27:41
2. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia at 0:17
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:19
4. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale 0:00:21
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:44
6. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:48
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:54
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:58
9. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia at 1:00
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 20:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 79:23:19
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 4:43
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 5:52
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 6:48
5. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 7:28
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 7:43
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 8:09
8. Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 10:26
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 10:32
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Stage 20:

The final Stage 21 was a very fast 197 kilometre procession into Brescia, which was led for most of the time by the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team for Mark Cavendish. Cavendish was wearing the Red point’s jersey, but had 11 points less than Vincenzo Nibali. The Pink jersey was not going to contest for the points, but Cavendish also wanted the stage win. The Manxman’s team worked perfectly until the last kilometre where the Cannondale team swamped them and took over the front of the peloton for Elia Viviani. It didn’t matter as Cavendish jumped after the early sprint of Sacha Modolo (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) and passed him well before the line to win by nearly a bike length.

Vincenzo Nibali crossed the line safely in the bunch for his first Giro d’Italia win in what was a most exciting race, even with the bad weather, stage cancellations and changes.

“I’m so, so happy,” Mark Cavendish said. “It couldn’t have been any closer on the last day. Everyone knew I was going for the intermediate sprints. I’m lucky, the peloton is full of gentlemen that were content to let me fight for the punch (red jersey). Nibali could have fought for it, but he was content to go for the maglia rosa. I’m also lucky the team rode hard all day. Then there were the two intermediate sprints and because they changed the distance, adding about 10 kilometres, we didn’t know what lap we were sprinting for. So I was sprinting for about three laps.”

“But then we took control again on the windy, windy circuit,” Cavendish continued. “The guys like Jerome Pineau, Julien Vermote, Gianluca Brambilla, Serge Pauwels and Michal Golas had to use up energy on the front. Other teams came up quick on us in the last kilometres, but we didn’t panic. In the final Matteo waited behind Viviani. He went just at the right time into a headwind finish. Then Modolo went and it was a bit too early, so I just started out at about 80 or 90 percent and kept building up speed. I’m really happy with this win. Especially with this group here, riding together in a grand tour for the first time. We had success immediately and we kept up such great morale. It shows in the results. Everyone just went until their legs couldn’t go any more. All you can do when that happens is to just win. What keeps me always motivated is I just want to win,” Cavendish said. “I’ve always just wanted to win, I’ve been addicted to it since I was a child. Just wanting to win brings the best out of everyone. Especially when you have a team built around you, you have to deliver 100 percent. That’s what I try to do. If someone comes along who is faster, I’ll go home, work harder, and come back faster the next year. It’s as simple as this.”

Blanco’s Wilco Kelderman on his first Giro: “I rode into Brescia with mixed feelings. As a team, we did not achieve our goal: a top classification. We really did our best and gave it our all, but it was not meant to be. I am happy that I managed to ride well. I surprised myself in this Giro. I’ve proven that I can handle a grand tour and I’m looking forward to riding one for my own classification someday.”

Third overall Cadel Evans added to his 2011 Tour de France victory, runner-up finishes at the Tour in 2007 and 2008 and a third-place at the Vuelta a España in 2009 by finishing 5:52 behind winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) and runner-up Rigoberto Uran (Sky), who was 4:43 back of Nibali. “Like I said from the first day, I came here to recover the days of racing I lost last year to illness and to get back to my best,” Evans said. “Not looking at results, but in terms of objectives to work for, it was really successful. To be on the podium for what was, in some ways, just a training ride, is something.” The past world road champion said back luck he had with a technical issue on the penultimate stage – which dropped him from second to third – did not completely spoil an otherwise productive three weeks. “I hope people enjoyed it,” Evans said. “My main thing was to give it my maximum. And I did that. I had a couple little errors, little mistakes – things I couldn’t have anticipated. That happens. In the end, my goal was achieved to give my maximum and the fact that I’m on the podium has been good.”

Beñat Intxausti: “We exceeded all expectations that we came with to the start, as well from the individual point of view as from the collective one. I had already stated before the race that my goal was notching up a stage victory. I don’t know why, but I always gave it more consideration than a GC finish. Last year I took a second place, I also came close to a win in the Vuelta… I was really committed to winning a stage. I knew it would give me confidence, and I managed to make it. You always want to climb higher in the overall, but I’m satisfied with this eighth place, because the riders’ field was really strong this year, and all riders within the best ten were really close. After three weeks of racing, everyone gets the place he deserves. With all sacrifices from my team-mates, the only thing I could do was giving my best and honour them with a high placing. I’m disappointed with my time trials and I’ll work to improve them. I was a bit anxious into the first one and couldn’t distribute my energy well over the course, plus the sensations were not good in the seconds, though I did not lose so much time. But now it’s time to enjoy my result – we’re all super happy with it!”

“I want to thank all my team-mates and staff members, because they took their heart out for me since the very first day. They always took me into good position, I never missed any food or drink, all clothes I needed – this was especially important with the bad weather we had all race… It’s obvious that my ‘maglia rosa’ was theirs, because we did a great team time trial and that got me into good position, but also my GC placing was 100% thanks to them, because I couldn’t have done anything withouth their help. Same goes for the carers, always present where they had to, giving us bottles with water, hot tea… I have a special feeling with this race. I always said I liked it: the route, the atmosphere… all of it. We still have to look at the rest of my race schedule, but now it’s time to rest and, after that, maybe getting ready for the Vuelta.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 21 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 5:30:09
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard
5. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
6. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
10. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha.

Giro d’Italia Final Overall Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 84:53:28
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 4:43
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 5:52
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 6:48
5. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 7:28
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 7:43
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 8:09
8. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 10:26
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 10:32
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 10:59
11. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 11:35
12. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 12:13
13. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha at 12:55
14. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 12:57
15. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 14:27
16. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 18:19
17. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco at 20:18
18. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia at 28:56
19. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 30:56
20. Francis Mourey (Fra) FDJ at 32:22.

Stage 21:

Tour of Belgium/Ronde van België 2013
After the first stage André Greipel has also won Stage 2 in the Tour of Belgium. In Ninove he won a close sprint before 19-year-old Danny Van Poppel and Belgian champion Tom Boonen. The second stage left around 11:30 in Knokke-Heist to the Flemish Ardennes, both the Bosberg and Congoberg had to be climbed twice. After about 35 kilometers a breakaway of five was formed, with rouleur Mikhail Ignatyev. The front group never had more than five minutes lead. Lotto Belisol controlled the peloton.

Echelons were formed in the pouring rain with 33 kilometres left to go. Lotto Belisol was strongly represented in the first group, with leaders André Greipel and Jürgen Roelandts among them. At the second passage on the top of the Bosberg Ignatyev, the last escapee, was caught. World champion Philippe Gilbert jumped away on the Congoberg with Francesco Gavazzi and Niki Terpstra. Then it was twelve kilometers to Meerbeke, where the Tour of Flanders finished until 2011. The cooperation wasn’t great in the front group. Lotto Belisol pulled everything together and 700 meters before the finish the three were reeled in. André Greipel sprinted to the second victory in a row and stays leader.
André Greipel: “Two out of two is of course a good result. The guys did an awesome job, especially in the chase on those last three escapees. In the sprint I couldn’t shift my gear to eleven, so I couldn’t go full from the start. Still I could come out. The weather wasn’t good today, which didn’t make the job any easier, but everyone did their best to defend my leader’s jersey.”

“Tomorrow in the time trial it’s only following the course from start to finish. With that time trial and the stages this weekend it won’t be evident for me to defend the jersey. The next day’s we’ll look more to other guys in the team, depending on who’s performing best in the time trial.”

Tom Boonen: “Today was a very cold and rainy day,” Boonen said. “So that made the race extremely hard. In the final we tried to split the group. It worked for a little bit, but not perfectly. Then in the end I jumped a little bit too early for the sprint because I made a mistake yesterday and I didn’t want to do it twice. I think if the finish line was 20 meters earlier I would have made it. So, I just need to improve a little bit more.”

Tour of Belgium/Ronde van België Stage 2 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 4:11:29
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
5. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
6. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Astana
7. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha
8. Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana
9. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Argos-Shimano.

Tour of Belgium/Ronde van België Overall After Stage 2:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 8:46:02
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:10
3. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:14
4. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 0:16
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:17
6. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
7. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:18
8. Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 0:19
10. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana.

Stage 2:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tony Martin came into Tour of Belgium with his eyes on both the GC, and the 15km ITT of Tour of Belgium Stage 3 on Friday. Thanks to a top performance despite rainy conditions, Martin won the time trial by 40″, and also had more than enough of a gap to take over the red jersey for the race lead.

Martin’s finishing time of 17’42” meant he was the only rider who finished the course in less than 18 minutes. He came into the stage down in the GC by 20″ on Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol). He now has a 40″ GC lead.

OPQS also had four riders finish in the stage top 10: Kristof Vandewalle was 6th (+53″), Tom Boonen 8th (+1’00”) and Niki Terpstra 10th (+1’01”). Four riders now sit in the top 5 GC: Boonen 3rd (50″), Vandewalle 4th (+53″), and Terpstra 5th (+59″).

This is the 29th (27th road) victory for OPQS in 2013. It is also the fifth ITT Martin has won this year.

“I don’t know what the conditions for the others were, but I had wet roads,” Martin said. “I had to slow down a bit in the corners but also take a few risks. So, I’m really amazed that I’m in the lead and also with a big gap. I hope it stays now like this until the end. It would be really great for me and the team. The roads are really hard in the last two days, especially the last day. So, I think it will be much more work than last year. But we have a very strong team as you can see by all the riders we have in the top five GC and top 10 stage classifications. So, we will do our best to protect the race lead with a great group.”

“The parcour wasn’t so technical, but the rain complicated a lot the things,” Sport Director Tom Steels said. “Tony had to ride in the rain, so in all the corners he had to slow down — but he really went fast in the straight part of the parcour. He really had confidence in his materials and tires today. Concerning the GC, we will face two difficult stages. Especially on Sunday, it’s a really hard stage it’s going to be tricky. He has a good advantage, but it will be a fight until the end.”

Tour of Belgium/Ronde van België Stage 3 Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 17:42
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano in 18:22
3. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo in 18:25
4. Alexander Serov (Rus) RusVelo in 18:28
5. Ben Hermans (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
6. Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 18:35
7. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar in 18:38
8. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 18:42
9. William Clarke (Aus) Argos-Shimano
10. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 18:43.

Tour of Belgium/Ronde van België Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 9:04:04
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 0:40
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:50
4. Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:53
5. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:59
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 1:04
7. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC at 1:11
8. Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
9. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Blanco at 1:16
10. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha at 1:17.

Stage 3 TT:

World road champion Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team sprinted to third place in Saturday’s Stage 4 at Ronde van België to climb from sixth to fifth overall with one stage to go.

Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana) stole the stage win by soloing out of a seven-man breakaway inside the final kilometre of the 156.3-km race. He crossed the line two seconds before André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) beat Gilbert in the field sprint. Gilbert said he had good support from his teammates on the way to earning a four-second time bonus for finishing third. “Martin Kohler and Dominik Nerz stayed with me until the last kilometres,” he said. “I was placed well with 700 meters to go and I gained some places to finish third. I’m still one minute behind (race leader) Tony Martin, but it’s better to gain some time than lose it.” Gilbert trails Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) by 57 seconds with only Sunday’s 177-km race to come, one that travels through Gilbert’s home region. “We have one objective here and it’s the general classification,” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Yvon Ledanois said. “The stage today was important because Omega Pharma did a lot of work while Philippe, Manuel Quinziato and Greg Van Avermaet had an easy time in the peloton. Tomorrow will be more important. I’m hoping for good weather.”

Tour of Belgium/Ronde van België Stage 4 Result:
1. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana in 3:41:38
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:02
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
4. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
6. Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Europcar
7. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Argos-Shimano
8. Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
9. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty.

Tour of Belgium/Ronde van België Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 12:45:47
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 0:40
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:50
4. Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:53
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:57
6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:59
7. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 1:10
8. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC at 1:11
9. Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
10. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha at 1:14.

Stage 4:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tony Martin saw a potential threat to the red (overall) jersey in the final kilometres of 164.3km Tour of Belgium Stage 5 — a home race of OPQS — on Sunday. Luis Leon Sanchez (Blanco Pro Cycling Team) was ahead solo out of an original break with about 34.5km to go. He trailed Martin by 1’16” in the GC.

OPQS had worked tirelessly at the front earlier in the stage to keep the gap of the original breakaway under control. However, with 19km to go, Martin took matters into his own hands. He bridged to Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) with two other riders, and those four kept the gap to Sanchez under enough control going into the final that Martin was able to secure the red jersey, despite Sanchez winning solo. Martin was 5th. OPQS also had three riders finish in the top 10 GC. Kristof Vandewalle finished 7th, and Niki Terpstra finished 9th overall.

“It was amazing how my teammates were riding for me,” Martin said. “It was really nice to stay with them. As expected the race was really hard from the beginning. A lot of attacks from the start. All my teammates had to work hard. But we stayed confident and stuck to the plan. My teammates brought me safely to the final. At the end I knew it was up to me on La Redoute. I had an eye on Gilbert and finally I could follow him. Then I had a gap that was big enough that I could more or less stay easy. At the end everything was fine, but I think it was one of the hardest stages for me and for the team. I just trusted my teammates until the very end. I always had teammates around me riding very strong, so it gave me a lot of morale. At the final I knew it was then up to me and I felt really good. I knew I had the legs and could follow the main competitors. So, I was really confident. I knew the team worked hard the whole week, and it was up to me to finish the success. So, I gave everything. The condition is good and I’m happy with the final. I have to give a special thanks to the whole team for this victory.”

“I’m very happy”, stage winner Luis Leon Sánchez (Blanco) said afterwards. “It was a tough stage, and not only because of the parcours. The wet and cold weather didn’t help either. I knew I had to attack to win. In a sprint, I wouldn’t be able to defeat men like Francesco Gavazzi and Philippe Gilbert. I trained hard for this race, because it’s my first of the year. I’m very motivated to do well throughout the rest of the season.” Thanks to his victory Sánchez rose to second place in the general classification. “But I wasn’t looking to the rankings. I just wanted to win the stage. I knew that Tony Martin’s lead was too big.”

Sports Director Erik Dekker was full of praise for Sánchez afterwards. “I think it was a very clever victory. It was a hard race and yet he managed to break away all by himself. At first I did not think it was a smart move that he made his attack so early, but when he told me he felt strong, I knew it was alright. At that point, there was no turning back. It was all or nothing. I feel it’s a very strong showing how he kept the world champion and the world time trial champion behind him.”

During last climb of La Redoute, Dekker pulled a trick out of his hat. “Luis was then only thirty seconds ahead, and so I said that Gilbert was chasing. That was, of course, not entirely true, but through that, he could again find the strength to ramp it up once again and he did manage to re-extend his lead.” Looking back at the entire Baloise Belgium Tour, Dekker is satisfied. “If you look at all the bunch sprints that we have had this week, today’s stage was actually the only real chance for a victory. And we have seized it with both hands. We came here with a lot of guys who are building up and I think they have managed to further that process.

Jürgen Roelandts: “In the beginning I didn’t feel quite good, but it got better. The rainy weather was in my advantage. I gave everything I had, unfortunately I lost ground on the final climb, but I had used a lot of strengths in bridging the gap. When I made the jump I thought about the stage win. I was able to improve my classification, if I could have stayed in that group I would have become fifth. Now I’m eighth. It was a successful race for the team, with a stage win on the first and second day and I got a place in the top ten of the GC. Yesterday it could have ended better for us. We have proven the sprint train is alright and getting a victory with it is very important.”

“It was, as expected, a hard day,” World champion Philippe Gilbert said. “And I knew that waiting until the penultimate or last climb, it would be hard to gain time on Martin. Because of that we tried something with 70 km to go to put his team in difficulty. But they were very strong.” Gilbert’s attack on La Redoute did force a selection, but it was not enough. “I saw immediately that Martin wasn’t far enough behind,” Gilbert said. “I know he is much stronger on the flats, if you see how strong he was in the time trial.”

Tour of Belgium/Ronde van België Stage 5 Result:
1. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Blanco in 4:42:18
2. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana at 0:27
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
4. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard
5. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:45
7. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) To Win-Josan Cycling Team at 0:52
8. Marcel Meisen (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:16
9. Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar at 1:17
10. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM.

Tour of Belgium/Ronde van België Final Overall Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 17:28:32
2. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Blanco at 0:36
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:51
4. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard at 1:18
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 1:30
6. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana at 1:36
7. Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:43
8. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:44
9. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:49
10. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha at 2:04.

The final stage 5:

Bayern-Rundfahrt 2013
Daryl Impey put his stamp on Stage 2 of Bayern Rundfahrt, taking his third win of the season in commanding fashion. The stage victory now puts him in the overall leader’s jersey with three stages to go in the tour. Two wins in the early part of the season, stage two Pais Vasco and the South African Time Trial Championship, demonstrated that Impey is very capable of winning races over varied terrain. Today’s win in Germany shows that his form is back after taking a long break from racing while at home with his wife and new baby.

“I would like to dedicate this win to my wife and newborn son Ayden,” beamed Impey. “They give me extra motivation.”
The pace of stage two was fast from the beginning as riders attacked from the peloton almost immediately. First it was a break of six that gained time on the charging field. At the 30 kilometre mark, that break was brought back and a break of nine then took off. The nine riders established the biggest gap of the day as they reached 4’20” before the category one climb.

Over the top of the difficult climb, only five riders were left in the lead as a splintered peloton continued the chase. Eventually a relatively small group of 60 riders formed in the last 40 kilometres of the race.
As the pace remained high, the main field split again when a group of 14 riders emerged from the peloton with 20 kilometres to go. Impey and Simon Clarke were nestled safely in this leading group and they had their sights set on the finish.

“Today was the hardest stage of the tour,” said Sport Director Laurenzo Lapage. “We knew from the beginning that we would ride for Daryl and as the stage unfolded everything was going according to plan.”
With three kilometres to go, Clarke jumped from the elite front group taking three riders with him. The small break was short lived as the first chase group, containing Impey, reabsorbed the four riders ahead of the finish. Clarke’s job wasn’t over yet as he dutifully went to the front to lead out Impey. It was a beautifully laid plan that delivered Impey to the finish victorious.

“The boys were excellent today,” said Impey. “They took care of me from start to finish. Clarkey did a great job setting me up for the sprint, Gerro [Simon Gerrans] was at my side all day and the rest of the boys made sure I was fuelled up right. It’s a nice win for me and the team.”

“The commitment from the hard working staff and riders of this team is indescribable,” added Impey. “It’s what makes this team and this win so special. Everyone is part of this victory.”

Although Impey hasn’t raced since Amstel Gold, he was hard at work at home and during team camp last week in Girona, Spain.

“Although I was on a break, I wasn’t sitting around lazily at home,” said Impey. “My coach Quody [Marc Quod] and I have really been working hard. The camp last week was also a big help.”

“I am really happy with my condition at the moment,” Impey said emphatically. “We will defend the jersey tomorrow and then I will give the TT my all. Gerraint [Thomas] (Team SKY) will be tough to beat, but a stage win at this point is great and the yellow jersey is a bonus.”

The result for Africa’s first Professional Continental team, MTN-Qhubeka, comes after Ciolek’s fourth place on the opening stage on Wednesday. “I am of course very happy with second place on this extremely difficult stage. Because of my cold, I couldn’t prepare myself right, but it is going better than I expected,” said a satisfied Ciolek. “In the end we really had to work hard in order to get back to the head of the field. So at the finale I was missing a little bit of strength. Tomorrow we will attack again.”

Bayern-Rundfahrt Stage 2 Result:
1. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge in 4:41:30
2. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
3. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
7. Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
9. John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Bayern-Rundfahrt Overall After Stage 2:
1. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge in 9:15:25
2. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:03
3. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:04
4. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:07
6. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:08
8. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:09
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:10
10. Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp.

Photo MTN-Qhubeka team.

Gerald Ciolek won not only stage 3 but also took over the lead at the International Bayern Rundfahrt, giving Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung its first yellow jersey of this cycling season. The Milan-San Remo winner took his third win of the season in an exciting sprint finale at the only German professional stage race.

The 26-year-old won today in a mass sprint ahead of Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Heinrich Haussler (IAM) on this third stage which ran 196.8 kilometres from Viechtach to Kelheim.

Ciolek took over not only the leader’s jersey but also the blue jersey as the leader in the point’s competition. “That was a perfect sprint after outstanding work by our guys, “he said. “After the fourth and second places, standing atop the podium is a dream. The Bayern Rundfahrt is the last big tour in Germany. It is something very special that we could get our first yellow jersey here. Many thanks to Qhubeka and our sponsors. We are proud that we can publicise the work Qhubeka does here in Germany.”

As in the first two stages, an escape group dominated the race much of the day. While the peloton took a leisurely pace, three riders sought their luck after only 15 kilometers. Frenchman Biel Kadri of Team AG2R rode for much of the stage in the virtual yellow jersey.. Together with his countryman Jerome Cousin (Europcar) and Spaniard Ruben Perez (Euskaltel), he had a gap of up to seven minutes but the escape came to an end after the sprinter’s teams raised the tempo in the last third of the stage and brought about the expected mass sprint in Kelheim.

Team Principal, Douglas Ryder said, “Gerald has once again proven the calibre of rider he is. He proved that Milan Sanremo was not a once off. This is his third victory of the season and the team’s fifth. We have a large contingency of German staff on our team and this race was a big focus for us to spread the Qhubeka message here. This is our first yellow jersey this season and to come at this level of racing, we can’t be happier.”
Thanks to MTN-Qhubeka team.

Bayern-Rundfahrt Stage 3 Result:
1. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka in 5:10:15
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
3. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
4. Ben Swift (GB) Sky Procycling
5. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun
8. Robert Wagner (Ger) Blanco
9. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
10. Yohann Gene (Fra) Europcar.

Bayern-Rundfahrt Overall After Stage 3:
1. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka in 14:25:34
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:06
3. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:09
4. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 0:10
5. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling at 0:12
6. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:13
7. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano
9. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:14
10. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:15.

Photo MTN-Qhubeka team.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung enjoyed another successful day in the International Bayern-Rundfahrt after Ignatas Konovalovas secured the fourth top ten place in the race on Saturday’s Stage 4 for Africa’s first Professional Continental team. The time trial specialist from Lithuania finished the 31.2 km-long battle against the clock in Schierling in tenth place.

The stage victory went to the Italian Adriano Malori (Lampre-Merida) in a time of 38:19, beating young German Jasha Sütterlin (Thüringer Energie Team). Third was Jan Barta (NetApp Endura).

“It was a nice TT course with ups and downs which is what I prefer,” Konovalovas said. “I was feeling ok but still missing the strength to maintain the power for a long period so the downhills and corners helped me to recover because after 2 to 5 seconds of easy pedalling I could go deep again. I am happy because I know that I gave everything that I had today in my legs. It also helped that I had Doug [Ryder] and Kevin [Campbell] in the car behind me as I had really good info from them.

“For Ignatas that was a very good result after a long injury which kept him off the bike. We are very happy that he is coming back to good form”, directeur sportif, Jens Zemke said after the race.” Gerald [Ciolek] also had a good time trial and will start the final day in the blue points jersey tomorrow. He has already won a former pro race in Nuremberg and the team will support him very well. We hope for another top result.”

Milan-San Remo winner Ciolek who was the last rider to start after his victory the previous day put him in the yellow jersey, remains in the top ten overall after placing 19th today. Malori now leads the race by 23 seconds ahead of Geraint Thomas (Team Sky). Barta follows in third place with a gap of 26 seconds to Malori.

Stage winner and now overall leader Lampre-Merida’s Adriano Malori: “I’ve had this time trial in my mind for a long time, so I’m happy to have hit the target,” Malori explained. “During the season I won a time trial and I got to two second places behind Martin, so I was willing to open the second part of the season in a good way: Bayern Rundfahrt’s time trial was a good chance, I trained a lot on my Merida TT Warp. I’m very happy I could finalize all this work and, especially, the work by my team that had planned in the previous stages to give me a special support in order to battle for the overall classification leadership.”

Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura) fought his way to third place in the individual time trials in the second last stage of the Bayern Rundfahrt. “We’re very satisfied with a third place. It was a good time trial by Jan, just a second behind today’s second. Given that he was unable to train a lot, due to flu, following his victory in Poland, it was a fantastic performance. An optimal time trial for him,” explained Enrico Poitschke following the individual time trials.

“The time trial today wasn’t easy. I gave everything I had and in the end it still wasn’t enough. A pity but that’s the way it is”, says Jan Barta.

“I missed only two or three seconds for a second place overall, which is a little annoying but I can be satisfied with the spot on the podium anyway. Maybe tomorrow it is still possible to get some sprint bonus points but it will be very tough”, Jan Barta continues.

Bayern-Rundfahrt Stage 4 Result:
1. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 38:19.35
2. Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Thüringer Energie Team at 0:18.42
3. Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura at 0:19.41
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:19.62
5. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ 0:00:26.18
6. Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano at 0:29.31
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:36.01
8. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky at 0:37.60
9. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:41.95
10. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:49.36.

Bayern-Rundfahrt Overall After Stage 4:
1. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 15:04:02
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:23
3. Jan Barta (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 0:26
4. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ at 0:33
5. Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:43
7. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:48
8. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky at 0:59
9. Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:02
10. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:13.

The peloton again completed the final Stage 5 of the Bayern Rundfahrt under adverse conditions on Sunday. Rain and temperatures of five degrees were companions along the 169 km route from Kelheim to Nuremberg. The decision came in a mass sprint in which Heinrich Haussler (IAM) prevailed ahead of Juan Lobato del Valle (Euskatel-Euskadi) and Yauheni Hutarovich (AG2R). The best Team NetApp-Endura rider was the youngest team member Michael Schwarzmann, who sprinted to fifth place. Jan Barta succeeded in defending his third place in the overall rankings. The Italian Adriano Malori (Lampre – Merida) won the tour in front of Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) in second place.

Today’s stage was hampered by rain and strong wind. Attacks were often launched from the beginning, but in vain. No group managed to break away up to the first mountain classification and even afterwards. A trio was only able to detach itself from the field 20 km later. Andreas Schillinger from Team NetApp-Endura was one of the three breakaways, whom the peloton caught up with again a short time later. After this, many attacks were repeatedly launched, with seven riders managing to get away. Only four riders were able to hold their own at the front up until the final rounds. The field tolerated them, since none of the breakaway riders represented a danger for the overall ranking. Nevertheless, the main field increased its tempo and kept the lead to four minutes. The quartet was caught up with during the finishing laps, initiating the mass sprint.

“Today we rode for ‘Schwarzi’ and he had a chance to show his stuff. He’s been in good form for the last few days. Yesterday the preparations for the sprint didn’t turn out so well. But today everything was perfect, and he showed that he can sprint along at the front. This will motivate him for the upcoming races,” Enrico Poitschke reported after the stage.

“The third place overall is a nice success. The best success we’ve had so far in the Bayern Rundfahrt. He put in a tremendous performance. All the ProTour teams took the race here very seriously. Consequently we’re very satisfied with the result,” Poitschke continued.

LAMPRE-MERIDA’s rider had no problem to retain the overall classification leadership in the final stage, 169,8 km from Kelheim to Nurnberg. The stage was won by Haussler in a massive sprint, in which Malori was 26th and Ulissi 25th.

Malori conquered the definitive overall ranking with 23″ on Thomas, while team mate Ulissi was 6th (+43″) and could win the young athletes classification.

“In the weeks before the start of Bayern Rundfahrt, I trained with deep passion knowing well that this race could be a good target for me – Malori explained – I knew the time trial could have been decisive and that, thanks to the support by the team, I could have aimed to win the overall classification. That’s why I came to Germany so motivated. The team was perfect during the race, we did not make any trouble: what an amazing thing to have the chance to be supported by a champion such Cunego, by the talent of Ulissi, by the grind of Bono and Mori and by the versatility of Cimolai. The opponents’ level was high, so I’m even happier. No time to celebrate too much, I’ll focus my attention of Tour de Slovenie.”

Gerald Ciolek’s sixth place stage finish on Sunday ended Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s successful appearance at the International Bayern Rundfahrt. Ciolek was beaten in the sprint finale at the famous Nürnberger Burg by Heinrich Haussler. The Team IAM rider won an exciting finale after 169.9 kilometers between Kelheim and Nürnberg ahead of Basque Juan-Jose Del Lobado (Euskaltel) and Belarussian Yauheni Hutarovich (AG2R). Milan-San Remo winner Ciolek ended the only German stage race for professionals tenth behind the overall winner, Italian Adriano Malori (Lampre Merida).

“Unfortunately our hope for a stage win didn’t work out today but with one stage win and the top ten ranking overall, we have reached our goals,” said Ciolek after the finish. “We can be satisfied with our team’s appearance at the only remaining German stage race. We rode for the win in every stage.”

“Gerald and the guys once again presented the Qhubeka project to German sports fans in a great way,” said directeur sportif Jens Zemke. “There is a lot of potential in this team and in African cycling. There is still a lot of work to do and we can’t rest on our laurels.”

Bayern-Rundfahrt Stage 5 Result:
1. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling in 4:24:18
2. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
3. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale
4. Robert Wagner (Ger) Blanco
5. Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura
6. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
7. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
8. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp
9. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar
10. Benjamin Sydlik (Ger) Nutrixxion Abus.

Bayern-Rundfahrt Final Overall Result:
1. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 19:28:20
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:23
3. Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura at 0:26
4. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ at 0:33
5. Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:43
7. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:48
8. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky at 0:59
9. Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:02
10. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:13.

Photo Lampre-Merida team.

US Time Trial Championship 2013
Tom Zirbel (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) won the men’s US TT Championship over a 31 kilometres course in Chattanooga, for his first National title. He beat Brent Brookwalter (BMC) and local rider Nathan Brown (Bontrager). Bookwalter had been third last year and was a favourite for the title, but he missed out by 17 seconds. Third placed Nathan Brown knocked friend and Bontrager team mate Lawson Craddock off the podium by the slimmest of margins.

Men’s US Time Trial Championship Result:
1. Thomas Zirbel (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) in 38:16.03
2. Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) at 0:17.28
3. Nathan Brown (Bontrager Cycling Team) at 0:41.10
4. Lawson Craddock (Bontrager Cycling Team) at 0:41.88
5. Chad Haga (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 0:46.07
6. David Williams (5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda) at 0:48.89
7. Matthew Busche (RadioShack Leopard) at 0:53.92
8. Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman) at 1:24.16
9. Scott Zwizanski (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 1:38.60
10. Joseph Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) at 1:40.64.

In the women’s championship; Carmen Small (Specialized-lululemon) took the Gold medal in the inaugural US Pro TT champs by 1 second from Kristen McGrath (Exergy TWENTY16) and 12 seconds from pre-race favourite Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS). The ex-skier, Small was shocked by the result and commented that “I don’t win time trials.”

Women’s US Time Trial Championship Result:
1. Carmen Small (Specialized-lululemon) in 42:37.70
2. Kristin McGrath (Exergy TWENTY16) at 1.25
3. Alison Powers (NOW and Novartis for MS) at 12.42
4. Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) at 41.14
5. Jade Wilcoxson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 44.53
6. Jacquelyn Crowell (Exergy TWENTY16) at 45.64
7. Janel Holcomb (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 1:01.33
8. Tayler Wiles (Specialized-lululemon) at 1:10.81
9. Jessica Cutler (Vanderkitten) at 1:26.33
10. Brianna Walle (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 1:37.34.

No Cancellara at the Tour de France?
Last week Tom Boonen said he would not be in Corsica for this year’s Tour de France and now it seems that RadioShack’s Fabian Cancellara will also be giving the French Tour a miss. He rode the Tour of Belgium last week for training and was less than dominant in the time trial finishing in 77th place over two minutes down on the stage winner; Tony Martin. He commented “I need this race to get started again in racing. I will go back and do the Tour de Suisse next month and then things about the Tour will be decided later.”

No Tour of Spain in Holland in 2015
The Dutch City of Drenthe announced that it did not want repeat being the start town for the Vuelta a España in 2015, but the Netherlands still wanted the race. The Vuelta organisers sent a letter to the Dutch organising committee to say that the race would not be starting in Holland in 2015. The committee are said to be “disappointed” and blame ASO, the Tour de France organisers, who own part of the Spanish Tour.

Di Luca Still Cheating
Danilo Di Luca has been found positive for EPO in an out of competition control on April the 29th, the week before the Giro d’Italia started. He had only just returned to racing two days before in the GP Larciano. Since starting his Pro career in 1998, Di Luca has been connected to doping stories on quite a few occasions. In 2004 he was not allowed to start the Tour de France due to an ongoing investigation into his taped phone calls on doping products with Eddy Mazzoleni. He won the 2007 Giro d’Italia, but after it was revealed that Di Luca had low hormone levels and he was accused of doping and removed himself from the Italian team for the World road championships. At the end of that season he was suspended for three month due to his involvement with the “Oil for Drugs” case. He was targeted for testing during the 2009 Giro d’Italia and was found to have taken CERA on two occasions, he was banned for two years and had to pay a large fine. His ban was reduced as he had cooperated with the investigation.

His recent positive had him sacked on the spot and his Vini Fantini-Selle Italia DS; Luca Scinto said: “He’s mad, he’s a cretin, he needs treatment. There’s nothing else to say. We gave him a second chance and the sponsors put their faith in him and this is how he pays us back. It’s crazy that a rider thinks they can get away with it like that.” The Giro d’Italia director Michele Acquarone was uncharacteristically angry at the news: “I’m angry because I think: ‘How can a rider or a person of his age be so stupid and not understand that the music has changed and not understand the damage he’s doing to himself and the whole movement’.”

The Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team have said that the main sponsor wanted Di Luca to ride the Giro and he, Valentino Sciotti, has accepted the blame for signing Di Luca and said in a press release: “What can I say? I wanted and believed in the man and the rider, and it’s only right that I take all the blame because I made a mistake.” He added “maybe I made a mistake in believing that someone can redeem themselves after an error and not make one again. Maybe I made a mistake in wanting to help someone who I saw in difficulty.” Vini Fantini-Selle Italia team manager Angelo Citracca commented: “Following the news, which we received with disappointment this morning, the team fired the rider on the spot and told him to leave the race by his own means. At this point, Vini Fantini-Selle Italia will also open civil proceedings to claim damages from the rider, in accordance with the internal rules that all members of the team signed up to.”

As to the rider himself, he said he would “wait for the contra-analysis and then we’ll see.” As he was leaving the hotel he was asked if he was surprised by the positive test; “yes” and goodbye was all he would say. Many riders have commented on the case, but I guess a Twitter from Lance Armstrong really says a lot, considering who it came from: “Knowing I have 0 cred on the doping issue – I still can’t help but think, “really Di Luca? Are you that fucking stupid??” Even Riccardo Riccò Tweeted “Ciclismo=sport malato di ipocrisia.” It seems he is sick of the hypocrisy.

Here’s hoping he receives a life ban and we don’t see him at a bike race ever again. Cycling looked to be coming out of a very dark period, and then during a brilliant Giro d’Italia cycling gets this kick in the nuts. Let’s hope he is the last of the doping dinosaurs left on the planet.

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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