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EuroTrash Monday!

Its wall-to-wall racing in today’s EuroTrash: All the results, video and rider comments from Suisse, Luxembourg, Ster ZLM Toer and Beauce are here and the other race news we ran out of space for will be on the PEZ NEWSWIRE. What next for Pat McQuaid and other news fill in the gaps. Monday coffee and race catch-up time with PEZ!

TOP STORY: No McQuaid Nomination from Cycling Ireland
At an Emergency General Meeting of Cycling Ireland on Saturday, the cycling clubs voted 91 against and 71 for nominating current UCI President Pat McQuaid for a third term of office. During the meeting many people spoke for and against the vote for an hour before the votes were taken by the delegates. Originally the Cycling Ireland board had voted to support his bid, but due to a procedural mistake a vote was taken for. McQuaid has also joined a Swiss cycling club and received a nomination from the Swiss Federation, as he does live there. All is not going smoothly in Switzerland either as three of the board members have questioned the legality of McQuaid’s Swiss membership due to the UCI rules of only having membership with only one UCI country at a time. Also it has been reported that the Swiss vote was not unanimous, as was originally claimed and three board members have called for a meeting on the subject.

Further to that; Mike Plant, a member of the UCI Management Committee, has said that he can no longer support Pat McQuaid. It has also been alleged that Plant presented his secret dossier on McQuaid to a Management meeting last Thursday, although what the outcome was we don’t know as the meeting was a closed session.

Britain’s Brian Cookson has thrown his hat in the ring and is standing for the UCI top job, whether he will be unopposed by McQuaid or another hopeful is still to be seen. Apparently letters of support where sent to the Irish EGM from the Danish and Caribbean Federations, so maybe Mr. McQuaid could join the Guadeloupe cycling club?

Tour de Suisse 2013
A quartet consisting of Alexander Kolobnev (Katusha), Matthew Hayman (Sky), Gregory Rast (RadioShack Leopard) and Bert Grabsch (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) formed the breakaway on today’s 188 kilometre long Stage 6 of Tour de Suisse from Leuggern to Meilen (Read Lee’s Lowdown of stage 6 here).

With a giant gap of 14 minutes with 70 kilometres to go, the stage winner was to be found among the escapees, as Team BMC took control of the pace. On the final climb, Team Saxo-Tinkoff went to the front of the pack to avoid any mishaps and it seemed like the GC contenders were most eager to save energy for tomorrow’s mountain battle.

The front quartet remained together until the final four kilometres where Bert Grabsch (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) opened the attacking with a stinging move and a tactical chess game on bikes followed until the very final kilometre where Gregory Rast (RadioShack Leopard) finally created the crucial gap and took the stage win.

“Today’s breakaway quickly took ten minutes on the field and as no one took the responsibility of the pace to drag them back in, they sailed away in the distance which was ok with us. Our main goal was to secure Roman’s second place and make sure we didn’t spent too much energy before tomorrow’s big mountain battle. It’s no secret that we’re targeting an overall win here and I think we have the squad to make it happen. But there’s a good reason why Frank (Mathias) has the leader’s jersey. He’s strong, has a strong team around him and he’ll probably do anything he can to win on home soil,” said Team Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Fabrizio Guidi after the stage.

Mathias Frank rode safely among his teammates on the BMC Racing Team Thursday at the Tour de Suisse while a four-man breakaway took the spotlight on the day’s stage. The breakaway enjoyed a 14-minute advantage at one point in the 187.9-kilometer race under sun-splashed skies. Gregory Rast (RadioShack Leopard) easily took the stage win, while Frank and the peloton rolled in 10:43 later. Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said the BMC Racing Team did not exert too much energy riding since the breakaway posed no threat. “It was good to have one more day like this before the big queen stage to La Punt,” Lelangue said. “We were riding in the front not to chase the breakaway but to stay in the safe zone. There were a lot of crashes in the beginning and in the end.” Frank, who has held the lead since finishing fourth on Stage 3, said he has first-hand knowledge of Friday’s 206 km stage and its three climbs. “It’s going to be a tough stage with the Albulapass pass, which is a pretty hard mountain,” Frank said. “But I know what’s coming up. I’ve ridden this climb many times in training. This is for sure an advantage for me. So I’m hoping for legs, which I have had so far. So I am confident.”

Playing it patiently and smart with 1km to go, Gregory Rast attacked his three breakaway companions and sprinted to a memorable victory in his home tour. “It was hard out there today. There was no real sprinter in our group, just strong guys with motivation to win. Team Director Luc Meersman gave me good advice and it worked out well. I’ve been in the Tour de Suisse so many times but this is such a big win for me. This stage is close to my home and I know these roads very well. I was prepared for this. I’ve tried 10 years to win a stage here and today I finally made it. I’m really, really happy.”

Swiss-born Gregory Rast made good on his promise to be familiar with today’s route which is the closest to his home in nearby Cham. He checked the route, he rode the course and knew it meter by meter. All that was left was to get in the day’s break on the 186km/115mi route from Leuggern to Meilen. Joining him were Mathew Mathew Hayman (Sky), Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) and Bert Grabsch of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step. The four rode extremely well together and established an advantage of more than 14 minutes. Coming under the red kite, Rast gave it everything he had and powered away from the others to take the win by 25-seconds to Hayman and Kolobnev.

Rast: “I was overwhelmed when I saw I had a gap,” he said, referring to the immediate hole he opened up under the red kite. “I felt fantastic! But that last kilometre was endless. When I saw the 500m to go mark I was surprised. I thought I was much closer to the finish.”

It was perfect weather for stage six in the 77th Tour de Suisse. Thirty-three year old Rast described the early action on the hilly course that made up today’s course: “In the beginning the entire team was trying to get in a break. Jensie tried, then another group, finally I attacked with Grabsch, and Hayman and Kolobnev came too. We rode very fast. Except for Kolobnev who has very good palmares, we were all big helper riders and we all rode super strong. No one tried to attack each other until of course the last 5km. I can’t even remember my last win – maybe 1834,” he said jokingly. In reality his last win was four years ago in 2009 for the prologue in the Tour of Luxembourg. This is his first win in RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK colours.

Rast: “Everybody was really tired in our ‘break of oldies’,” he said, referring to the veteran group of riders in the breakaway. “On the last climb I knew there was a big road for the downhill so if you were alone you’d go nowhere. There was no reason to attack there. We were all a bit on the limit. I figured Hayman was the fastest in the sprint and that Grabsch wouldn’t wait for the sprint. I didn’t let myself think of my sprint defeats in Tour de Suisse. Luc (Meersman) had told me to wait for 1k to go. I knew when to go.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 6 Result:
1. Grégory Rast (Swi) RadioShack Leopard in 4:22:53
2. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky at 0:25
3. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha
4. Bert Grabsch (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:28
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 10:43
6. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano
7. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
8. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
9. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 6:
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC in 20:31:06
2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:23
3. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Movistar at 0:35
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:57
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 1:08
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 1:23
7. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1:26
8. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:28
9. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:39
10. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:42.

Stage 6:

It was a sensational ride from Rui Costa (Movistar) in the Queen Stage 7 of the 2013 Tour de Suisse, the longest of this year’s Helvetic stage race over 205km from Meilen to La Punt, with four categorized climbs including the long-feared Albulapass (HC) at more than 2,300 meters above sea level. The Portuguese outsprinted Bauke Mollema (Blanco) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC) at the end of an action that started 4 kilometres from the top of the climb, with an attack from Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) breaking the ice and receiving a fast response from Movistar’s leader. The four-man leading group, which Rui tried to keep alive with several moves before the crest, went for the fast descent until the finish line with thirty seconds of advantage over a second echelon including Mathias Frank (BMC) and Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff), first and second in the overall standings.

Costa kept pushing into the downhill and initially dropped Pinot before doing the same with Mollema, the Dutchman ultimately bridging for the final meters. An inflatable banner collapsed over the road with 2k remaining made the Movistar rider lose precious time, twenty-two seconds was the gap between the two groups at the finish, but it did not lessen the ambitions by the 2012 overall title defender, who launched the sprint in the lead and was strong enough to hold off his two rivals.

Rui Costa: “Our goal today was taking some seconds on the riders ahead of us in the overall and we didn’t also do it, but we also won the stage, and I’m super happy – it was a pity to lose time with the banner thing. I think we might have lost 10 seconds there and they might become decisive for the overall, but the important thing is that I saw myself strong in view of Sunday’s TT. I had really good legs all over the climb. When the Saxo Bank riders were pushing, I realized Kreuziger asked Roche not to push so strongly. That’s why I knew I had to go full gas as soon as Mollema jumped, because we had to take time for the overall.

I wasn’t really thinking of the stage win, but at the end of the descent, there were 500 meters of flat and a couple of turns that allowed me breathing a bit before the sprint. We’ll try to spend tomorrow’s stage as easy as possible and give it all on Sunday. It’s not only Frank and Kreuziger, but also Mollema, Pinot or even Van Garderen. I know the time trial’s route and it’s a really hard one. The wind might be crucial into the first 15 kilometres, because there’s almost no protection and, should it blow like today, it will be a head one. It’s going to be really demanding. This victory is for all my team-mates, because they did an excellent work not only today, but also during all of the race.”

Robert Gesink battled in 2010 successfully for the stage win at La Punt in the Tour de Suisse and Bauke Mollema came close to the victory today. The rider from Groningen finished just centimetres behind Rui Costa (Movistar) in the seventh stage.

“It’s a darn shame”, said Mollema who was unfortunate in the finale. Halfway down the last descent, he was a hundred metres behind both Rui Costa and Tejay van Garderen who had broken away. Just before he had chased them down, an archway had blown over on the parcours and blocked Mollema, costing him the 100 metres he had just gained.

Ultimately, Mollema could reel in the break. “At five hundred metres from the finish line, I had joined them only Rui Costa was a tad faster in the sprint. I actually thought there was another rider in front of us, so I did not realize we were sprinting for the win.”

With this fine result, Mollema climbed closer to the leaders of the GC. He is still in fifth, but his difference with yellow jersey wearer Mathia Frank (BMC) is now 1’08” – an improvement of some 46 seconds. “That a real plus. The form is good and we’ll see Sunday just what I am capable of.”

BMC Racing Team’s Mathias Frank held onto the overall lead Friday after the queen stage of the Tour de Suisse, while teammate Tejay van Garderen finished third on the day to climb from ninth to sixth overall.

Near the summit of the final climb of the 206-kilometer stage which finished going downhill; van Garderen was able to stay with a group of three riders – eventual stage winner Rui Costa (Movistar), runner-up Bauke Mollema (Blanco) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). Frank said he was struggling with the altitude at that point and could not keep pace. “I knew when they attacked, I had to just go my own rhythm,” he said. “I just couldn’t quite hold the wheels of those guys. I was fighting and gave everything. But I went really well on the downhill. I knew from training that I could get some time back and limit my losses.” Frank’s chasing group benefitted somewhat from the collapse of an overhead inflatable across the course at 2 km to go, which forced the leaders to nearly come to a halt.

BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said he was monitoring the gap between the two groups on the climb and told van Garderen to follow the wheels of his breakaway companions. “Tejay was ready to wait if the gap was getting any closer,” he said. “But it remained some 20 or 24 seconds. So there was no reason (to drop back). He was just staying on the wheel. I think this was a wise decision because Mathias was not alone. He had a few other GC contenders with him who were riding.” Costa, who had been third overall, moved into second, 13 seconds behind Frank, by finishing 22 seconds ahead of Frank’s group. Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) dropped from second to third and is 23 seconds off the lead after finishing in Frank’s group. Van Garderen said he had hoped to go for the stage win but was not familiar with the twisting finish. “I kind of messed up in the end without not really knowing the corners,” he said “But it’s good that we are still in yellow.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 7 Result:
1. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Movistar in 5:11:08
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:09
5. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:22
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC
10. Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Sky.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 7:
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC in 25:42:36
2. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Movistar at 0:13
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:23
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:44
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 0:46
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:17
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 1:23
8. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:42
9. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1:43
10. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 1:50.

Stage 7:

Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida), Robert Vrecer (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Ret Hollenstein (IAM Cycling) formed the long-lasting breakaway on today’s 180.5 kilometre long Stage 8 of Tour de Suisse from Zernez to Bad Ragaz.

In the peloton, the sprinter teams were working accurately in order to keep the escapees within sight without reeling them too fast. The last hard fighting escapee, Ret Hollenstein (IAM Cycling) was caught with 17 kilometres to go.

The finale held a 3 kilometre long climb that could be used as a catapult for counter-attacks but the pace was kept high enough to avoid anyone to try and a minimized peloton thundered towards the finish line where Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Daniele Bennati opened the sprint and the powerful Italian was only passed by Peter Sagan (Cannondale) who took the stage win.

“The boys did another fine job and Daniele came pretty close of taking that victory today. No matter how tomorrow’s stage develops, I’m really happy with what I’ve seen here. We’ve become better and stronger for each day and the riders for the Tour de France are in the shape needed for the coming challenges. However, we still target the win tomorrow even though we face the fact that both Mathias Frank and Rui Costa will be hard to beat the way they are going at the moment. Roman will dig deep tomorrow and then we’ll see how far that takes him,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Fabrizio Guidi.

Tour de Suisse race leader Mathias Frank of the BMC Racing Team played lead-out man for teammate Philippe Gilbert Saturday, helping the reigning world road champion to a third-place finish on the race’s penultimate day.

Frank said he enjoyed helping Gilbert, who finished behind double stage winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) and runner-up Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff) in the 180.5-kilometer race. “I tried to lead him out as well as I could,” Frank said. “It was a good result for us and a good day that I could keep my jersey without big problems, thanks to the whole team. So it’s normal I want to give something back.” Gilbert, who has a pair of runner-ups and four third-place finishes to his credit this season, said he received help in the final kilometres first from teammate Tejay van Garderen and then from Frank. “When you see the yellow jersey working for you, it is always something special,” Gilbert said. “They gave me nice positioning for the sprint. But Sagan and Bennati are really quick. I was third behind a really fast guy – one of the fastest of the whole bunch – so it’s not a shame.”

Heading into Sunday’s uphill, 26.8-km individual time trial, Frank holds a 13-second lead over Rui Costa (Movistar) and a 23-second advantage over Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff). Van Garderen, who won a similar time trial at the Amgen Tour of California, is sixth, 1:17 off the lead. “It’s going to be a difficult task, but it’s playing all in my favour,” Frank said. “I’m confident I made good progress this year in time trialing. I did a lot of work on the BMC timemachine TM01, testing my position in the wind tunnel. So I am confident that I can do a good time trial. It is also kind of special with the long climb at the end of the end. It plays into my cards as a climber.” Frank has held the race lead since Monday’s third stage, when he escaped on a rain-slickened descent with Costa, Kreuziger and Sagan.

Tour de Suisse Stage 8 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 4:33:26
2. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
4. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling
7. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun
9. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
10. Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 8:
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC in 30:16:02
2. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Movistar at 0:13
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:23
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:44
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 0:46
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:17
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 1:23
8. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1:43
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 1:50
10. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 2:09.

Stage 8:

The Tour de Suisse was decided on the 26.5 kilometre long and tough Stage 9 mountain time trial from Bad Ragaz, 513 meters above sea level, to Flumserberg at 1383 meter’s altitude. The climb started 16.5 kilometres in to the stage and the uphill finish guaranteed a stunning finish to the race.

Several big names had some time in the leaders hot seat, among others; Andreas Klöden (RadioShack Leopard) and Peter Sagan (Cannondale), they had the honour of leading the stage along the way. However, Rui Costa (Movistar) rode the course in the best time of all and won the stage and took the race overall from Mathais Frank (BMC). Rui Costa celebrated his fourth win of the season, the 19th for the Movistar Team in 2013 and his 16th in seven years as Pro. The Portuguese rider is now looking forward to now shining in the Tour de France, where he took a stage win in 2011 and was the top GC finisher from Movistar, (18th) last season.

Rui Costa: “We knew that this stage was bound to decide the race, and that’s why I came last week to recon it – it already looked bloody hard to me. Chente also came to inspect it before the start of the race and we had already decided it was needed to change bikes before the climbs because it was a long climb, an effort longer than half an hour. I rode really focused and keeping an eye on the watts, but as soon as I saw the references were good, I pulled the gas a bit off in the final 3k of flat to breathe a bit before the climb. The bike change was fast and Chente drove me through the climb brilliantly, giving me all references and supporting me all the way to the top. I kept a constant pace because I knew it was crucial to stay on my own rhythm, from the foot to the top of the climb. At the hardest slopes, I already knew the GC was really close as well as the stage, so I went full gas and made the difference. It all went perfectly – I’m super happy.”

“Every victory is different, and I got this one in quite a different way than last year’s. Then I grabbed the leader’s jersey too early, and that long week cost me much energy. All those days on the podium, the press conference… that’s two hours off your recovery and that’s crucial. This time, I’m fresher at the end of the race, and got better and better feelings throughout the race. I didn’t have my best day in the first mountain-top finish, but I was able to recover from that initial loss. It wouldn’t have been possible without my team. They were sensational, all week – this victory is dedicated to them, as well as the Portuguese fans, who came here to support me. Now it’s time to think about the Tour. My only goal for the moment is getting through the first week, always so dangerous – we’ll see how we do when it’s over. We’ll be one of the strongest teams in the race and we’re really excited. Before the Tour, I’ll be riding both National champs, the road race and the TT – it will be a good test for me.”

Blanco’s Bauke Mollema finished 2nd overall: “I am very satisfied, this is a great result. Outside of the three grand tours, the Tour of Switzerland is perhaps the most important stage race of the year and to be second therein is very nice.”

As to his time trial, Mollema was well pleased. “It really went extremely well. This was perhaps my best time trial ever. I had made a plan with the team management ahead of time and it turned out to be spot on. In the first section, I did not go full out, given that there would be a climb of half an hour later on. We also planned the timing of the bike change and the amount of water I would take in – and it all went like clockwork.”

For the coming two weeks, Mollema will take it easy. “My form is good – not a lot has to happen. This was a good test. I am going to ride in the Dutch Championships, train a few more times and then we head to Corsica for the Grand Départ.”

Long time overall leader; Mathias Frank (BMC) said after starting fast, he struggled in the final kilometres of the uphill finish. “I felt myself getting slower and slower the farther I came up,” he said. “These are the hardest moments – when you realize you can’t quite hold it where you want to be. Maybe I mentally cracked at this moment for a bit. Still, I gave it everything. I fought to the end.” Frank took the lead on Monday’s third stage and the BMC Racing Team helped him hold it the next five days. “The guys on the team were great this week,” Frank said. “I have to see it in the whole picture. I think I had a great Tour de Suisse. It gave me a lot. I started to believe in myself. I haven’t been many times in this situation. It’s still a learning process.” Costa, who also won the race last year, finished ahead of Bauke Mollema (Blanco) and Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff). The BMC Racing Team finished second – by seven seconds – in the team classification.

Saxo-Tinkoff’s Roman Kreuziger had a solid second part of the course where he squeezed the last bit of energy out of his legs on the steep climb and his effort took him to seventh place on the stage and consolidated his 3rd place overall: “There’s not much tactics to discuss on a day like this. Roman just powered away and did what he could and I think he has done a tremendously good stage race as well as the entire team. Every day we have made progress and we have made our mark on the race on both the sprinter stages, mountain stages and the time trial. An overall third result in a race like Tour de Suisse is definitely something to be proud of and it provides confidence looking forward to the challenges of the Tour de France,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Fabrizio Guidi.

Tour de Suisse Stage 9 Result:
1. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Movistar in 51:56
2. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 0:21
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 0:29
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:42
5. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar at 0:43
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:55
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:00
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 1:05
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana at 1:06
10. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:19.

Tour de Suisse Final Overall Result:
1. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Movistar in 31:08:11
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco at 1:02
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 1:10
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 1:26
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 1:43
6. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1:51
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 2:23
8. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 2:42
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
10. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 3:44.

The final TT Stage 9:

Tour de Beauce 2013
Paco Mancebo (5 Hour Energy) blew the race apart on Stage 3 to Mont Mégantic for the stage win and the overall lead. The Queen Stage came down to a battle on the final climb; Matthew Cooke (CRCA) attacked on the 6.8 kilometre climb, the one that he won this stage on last year, but Mancebo waited to make his move and then passed the struggling Cooke.

Earlier in the stage Jamey Driscoll (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Marsh Cooper (Canada), Kirk Carlsen (H&R Block), Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) and Javier Megias Leal (Novo Nordisk), they eventually were caught. Megias stayed out in front and was joined by Rob Britton (Canada) and Jason McCartney (Bissell). The three managed to hold out until the final climb and the action began.

Tour de Beauce Stage 3 Result:
1. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda in 4:02:19
2. Matthew Cooke (USA) Century Road Club Association at 0:05
3. Carter Jones (USA) Bissell at 0:12
4. Chris Butler (USA) Champion System at 0:14
5. Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 0:30
6. Benjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 0:41
7. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare
8. Michael Woods (Can) Equipe Garneau-Québecor at 0:59
9. Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 1:08
10. Christian Meier (Can) Canada National Team at 1:12.

Tour de Beauce Overall After Stage 3:
1. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda in 12:01:50
2. Matthew Cooke (USA) Century Road Club Association at 0:05
3. Carter Jones (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling at 0:12
4. Chris Butler (USA) Champion System at 0:14
5. Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 0:30
6. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 0:41
7. Benjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare
8. Michael Woods (Can) Equipe Garneau-Québecor at 0:59
9. Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 1:08
10. Christian Meier (Can) Canada National Team at 1:12.

Stage 3:

The Stage 4 time trial of 20 kilometres in St. Benoît-Labre was won by Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) in 26:30 beating Nathan Brown (Bontrager) by the smallest of margins as they were given the same time. Third was Ben Day (UnitedHealthcare) at 1 second. Overall leader; Paco Mancebo (5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda) finished 6th at 27 seconds and held his lead by 2 seconds over Matthew Cooke (Century Road Club Association) and 3 seconds over Nathan Brown (Bontrager).

Tour de Beauce Stage 4 Result:
1. Joey Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development Team in 26:30
2. Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team
3. Benjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 0:01
4. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 0:12
5. Matthew Cooke (USA) Century Road Club Association at 0:24
6. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda at 0:27
7. Nathaniel English (USA) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda at 0:35
8. Phillip Gaimon (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling at 0:37
9. Robert Britton (Can) Canada National Team at 0:43
10. Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman.

Tour de Beauce Overall After Stage 4:
1. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda in 12:28:47
2. Matthew Cooke (USA) Century Road Club Association at 0:02
3. Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 0:03
4. Benjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 0:15
5. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 0:26
6. Carter Jones (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling at 0:29
7. Chris Butler (USA) Champion System at 1:18
8. Christian Meier (Can) Canada National Team at 1:28
9. Joey Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development Team at 1:44
10. Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 2:09.

Stage 4:

Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare) won Stage 5 from local rider; Antoine Duchesne (Bontrager) and Oscar Clark (Hincapie Dev Team) on the Quebec City Circuit. De Maar and Clark had been part of an early move along with Jamey Driscoll (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Guillaume Boivin (Canada Nat Team) and Craig Lewis (Champion System), other riders got over to them from the bunch with two laps to go, including Christian Meier (Canada Nat Team) who was the strongman of the now nine man group. De Maar jumped 300 metres out and the win was his. Paco Mancebo’s 5 Hour Energy Team protected his lead and he was 5 seconds ahead of Nathan Brown (Bontrager) going into the last stage.

Tour de Beauce Stage 5 Result:
1. Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare in 3:07:02
2. Antoine Duchesne (Can) Bontrager Cycling Team
3. Oscar Clark (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development Team
4. James Driscoll (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 0:06
5. Christian Meier (Can) Canada National Team
6. Craig Lewis (USA) Champion System at 0:28
7. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda at 0:47
8. Michael Woods (Can) Equipe Garneau-Québecor at 0:49
9. Diego M Jimenez (Dom) Inteja, Dominican Cycling Team
10. Joey Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development Team.

Tour de Beauce Overall After Stage 5:
1. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda in 15:36:36
2. Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 0:05
3. Matthew Cooke (USA) Century Road Club Association at 0:08
4. Benjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 0:17
5. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 0:39
6. Christian Meier (Can) Canada National Team at 0:47
7. Chris Butler (USA) Champion System at 1:33
8. Joey Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development Team at 1:46
9. Oscar Clark (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development Team at 2:04
10. Michael Woods (Can) Equipe Garneau-Québecor at 2:23.

Stage 5:

The circuit race Stage 6 in St. Georges saw a complete change in the overall for Paco Mancebo (5 Hour Energy) to drop from the lead down to 4th, 1:23 behind the final winner Nathan Brown (Bontrager), Philip Deignan (UnitedHeathcare) and Christian Meier (Canada) also jumped over the Spaniard in the final placing pushing him off the podium on the last day. Diego Milan Jimenez (Inteja) won the stage from Luis Amaran (Jamis-Hagens Berman) at the end of the 107 kilometres. Nathan Brown moved up the classment by jumping across to the leading break along Deignan and Meier with 4 laps remaining. This left Mancebo marooned in the bunch with little help from his tired team mates. Mancebo tried to contain the break, but in the end it was too much and he lost the race.

This was Browns biggest win in his career and he remarked. “It’s amazing!”

Tour de Beauce Stage 6 Result:
1. Diego M Jimenez (Dom) Inteja, Dominican Cycling Team in 2:35:29
2. Luis Romero Amaran (Cub) Jamis-Hagens Berman
3. Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare
4. Michael Woods (Can) Equipe Garneau-Québecor
5. Jason McCartney (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling
6. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare
7. Christian Meier (Can) Canada National Team
8. Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team
9. Kirk Carlsen (USA) H&R Block
10. Joe Lewis (Aus) Hincapie Sportswear Development Team at 1:26.

Tour de Beauce Final Overall Result:
1. Nathan Brown (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team in 18:12:08
2. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare at 0:36
3. Christian Meier (Can) Canada National Team at 0:44
4. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda at 1:23
5. Matthew Cooke (USA) Century Road Club Association at 1:31
6. Benjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 1:40
7. Kirk Carlsen (USA) H&R Block at 2:13
8. Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 2:15
9. Michael Woods (Can) Equipe Garneau-Québecor at 2:19
10. Chris Butler (USA) Champion System at 2:56.

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk 2013
Theo Bos made it two in a row Thursday for the Blanco Pro Cycling Team. Following the victory of Robert Wagner in Wednesday’s prologue, it was again success for Blanco in Stage 1. Bos held off world class sprinters André Greipel, Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel in the final sprint.

“It’s always cool to best that class of rider but to top them all at the same time is really a kick”, according to Bos directly after the finish. “This is the first time that has happened although I beaten them individually in the past.”

Considering the challenge the ride presented the riders today, Bos can be extra proud of his victory, the fifteenth of the year for Blanco. “It was not an easy parcours. It was a small group at the finish line, some 26 I believe. All the more reason to savour the win. It’s an indication that I have progressed further. It’s a great feeling to enough left in the tank after such a challenging ride to be able to sprint for the victory.”

About the sprint itself, Bos had the following to say: “Lars Boom and Robert Wagner broke away near the end but were chased down. At about 3 kilometres out from the line, I was in the right place at the right time. I was behind Kittel, Greipel and Cavendish in fourth and made my move with 300 metres to go. Fantastic to see that no one can get ahead of you.”

Following the wins from Wagner and Bos – roommates this week – the confidence in the Blanco Team is surging. “Yeah, we’ve already taken two stages and Lars is in top form. He is the man for the classification, I think. As for myself, I am hoping to make a good showing on the last day as well and perhaps I can make a bit of a name for myself tomorrow as well.

Robert Wagner will ride again in support of Bos and again in the yellow leader’s jersey as he managed to hang on to that today as well.

Unfortunately, Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rory Sutherland didn’t make it in the first group: “It was a very hectic stage with a great deal of cross winds and there were constantly new gaps in the field and of course, we’re disappointed that Rory wasn’t in the first group. Takashi made it and normally, he is our man for the sprints but unfortunately, he had a puncture in the final and didn’t make it back to the group to ride for the win. Now, we have to change tactics for the rest of the race,” said DS, Steven de Jongh after the stage.

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk Stage 1 Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco in 3:53:40
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Blaz Jarc (Slo) NetApp-Endura
5. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
6. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin Sharp
7. Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol
8. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
9. Tom Veelers (Ned) Argos-Shimano
10. Jetse Bol (Ned) Blanco.

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk Overall After Stage 1:
1. Robert Wagner (Ger) Blanco in 4:03:20
2. Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco at 0:02
3. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano at 0:04
4. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:06
5. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:07
6. Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:11
7. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:13
8. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:14
9. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin Sharp at 0:21
10. Jetse Bol (Ned) Blanco at 0:23.

Stage 1:

For most of the time during today’s 188.3 kilometre long Stage 2 of the Ster ZLM Toer in and around Buchten, Martijn Keizer (Vacansoleil-DCM) was riding alone with an open road ahead of him and a chase group on his tail and the peloton chasing further back. However, the chase group with Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Jay McCarthy bridged the gap to the front rider and joined parties until 10 kilometres remained, where the peloton caught the escapees.

On the finish line, Lotto Belisol controlled the pace making and in the galloping bunch sprint, several riders crashed and piled up on the road while Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) managed to go around and take the stage win ahead of André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step).

Marcel Kittel is now in the lead overall.

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk Stage 2 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 4:33:06
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco
5. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco
7. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
8. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
10. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk Overall After Stage 2:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 8:36:20
2. Robert Wagner (Ger) Blanco at 0:06
3. Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco at 0:07
4. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
5. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:16
6. Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:17
7. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:19
8. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:30
9. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:31
10. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:34.

Stage 2:

As he did last year, Lars Boom has taken the win in the Queen Stage 3 of the Ster ZLM Toer. In 2012, the Blanco Pro Cycling Team rider narrowly missed capturing the yellow jersey on La Gileppe, the traditional spot for the finish line. This year, the Dutchman has claimed the leader’s jersey with one flat stage to go. It’s the 17th victory for the Blanco Pro Cycling Team this season.

“This is really a great day”, said Boom after the race. “I started the stage with the good vibe from last year and that was already very nice. In the finale on La Gileppe, I could accelerate well and I was quite satisfied with that. I’ve trained very hard these last weeks and that’s now paying off.”

The win didn’t come by itself, Boom admitted. “My teammates worked really hard today to reel in the lead-out”, said the classification leader who mentioned his crew by name to extend a word of thanks. Last year’s win on La Gileppe was also cause for celebration but the thought of what might have been casted a shadow over an otherwise joyous occasion. Today the euphoria was undimmed as Boom will be clad in yellow for Sunday’s final stage: a beautiful jersey which Boom is not planning to surrender. “I’m going to hold on to it!”

The chances are good that we’ll see Boom riding at the head of the peloton in search of a fourth stage win for the team. Following his own win and a prologue title for Robert Wagner, the Dutchman would love to shepherd his teammate and compatriot Theo Bos to his second stage win. “It’s going to be a windy day with lots of twists and turns on narrow roads. If I can help Theo, I’m certainly not going to let the chance pass me by.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff Dane, Christoper Juul-Jensen flashed the team colours on today’s 186 kilometre long fourth stage of Ster ZLM Toer to La Gileppe in Belgium. Juul-Jensen was eager and set from the gun and catapulted away early on the stage with seven companions.

In the finale, Juul-Jensen launched an attack from the break and managed to create a gap with Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) but the duo was brought back at the entrance to the final ten kilometres. On the final kilometre, Lars Boom (Blanco) thundered away from a galloping pack of sprinters and took the stage win.

“It was good to see Chris (Juul-Jensen) taking a chance and it was very promising to see him launch another attack in the finale with Adam Hansen. Of course, we were hoping for a top result but if you never try, you’ll never get to the finish line first. Tomorrow’s stage will probably be for the sprinters so we’re supporting Takashi in the finale,” said Saxo-Tinkoff’s Steven de Jongh after the stage.

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk Stage 3 Result:
1. Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco in 4:42:51
2. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:03
3. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
4. Roman Maikin (Rus) RusVelo at 0:06
5. Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
7. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
8. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
10. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp.

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk Overall After Stage 3:
1. Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco in 13:19:08
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:16
3. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:25
4. Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:26
5. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:32
6. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano at 0:35
7. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:36
8. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:43
9. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:47
10. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC at 1:06.

Stage 3:

The 176.5 kilometre long, undulating final Stage 4 of the Ster ZLM Toer between Gerwen and Boxtel was dominated by different breakaways and the expected bunch sprint seemed inevitable. However, the peloton was too late and on the finish line, Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) was the strongest in the front group of four and he took the stage win from Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Brian Van Goethem (Metec-TKH) and Arno Van Der Zwet (Koga). The peloton was only a few meters behind. Because of a puncture for Theo Bos just before the final ten kilometers, there wasn’t any support anymore from Blanco, so the peloton was too late. André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) won the bunch sprint for 5th from all the other fast-men; Kenny Van Hummel (Vacansoleil-DCM), Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). Overall leader Lars Boom (Blanco) fought back from his late puncture to keep his lead for the overall win.

“Everything went well today, just like it did the entire week”, said Boom afterwards. “With an eye on the Dutch Championships, I wanted to confirm my form here and that is a tick in the box. This is good for my confidence.”

Theo Bos was unable to take part in the lead-out as he had punctured six kilometres before the finish line. “I would have liked another crack at all those sprinters assembled here”, said a disappointed Bos after the race. “I was up front all day and felt very good. I sat perfectly in Lars’ wheel when I suddenly got a flat.”

In retrospect, it was very successful Ster ZLM Tour for the Blanco Pro Cycling Team. Robert Wagner triumphed in the prologue and wore the yellow jersey for two days. Theo Bos edged out André Greipel, Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel to win the second stage whilst Lars Boom took the honours in the Queen Stage and ultimately finished atop the General Classification.

Sports Director Erik Dekker was very satisfied afterwards. “It’s been a great week. We set our goals beforehand and we succeeded: we wanted to win the prologue, a sprint with Theo and the Queen Stage and GC with Lars. The only smudge is that Theo could not sprint because of a flat, but we won’t let that rain our parade.”

Bart Leysen, Lotto Belisol sports director: “The team has worked well this race. André Greipel proved he’s good. The results he set here are good for his confidence. Unfortunately there was no victory. But his sprints were strong and he ended before Cavendish in those sprints. Indeed, Marcel Kittel beat him once, and he’ll meet him in the Tour as well, but yesterday he was dropped on the climb in the final.”

“Because of the crash on Friday Jürgen Roelandts couldn’t give everything in yesterday’s stage, but luckily the damage isn’t too bad. He’s 9th in the overall classification, Sieberg 7th and Greipel 2nd and that shows the whole team is good. On top of that we take points, which is very important. We’ll definitely be able to rely on our guys in the Tour, that’s for sure.”

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk Stage 4 Result:
1. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM in 4:04:17
2. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Brian Van Goethem (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam
4. Arno Van Der Zwet (Ned) Koga Cycling Team
5. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
6. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
8. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Victor Manakov (Rus) RusVelo
10. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk Final Overall Result:
1. Lars Boom (Ned) Blanco in 17:23:25
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:16
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:25
4. Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:26
5. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:32
6. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano at 0:35
7. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:36
8. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin Sharp at 0:43
9. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:47
10. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC at 1:06.

Skoda Tour of Luxembourg 2013
The 183.8 kilometre long Stage 1 of Tour of Luxembourg from the Capital of Luxembourg to Hautcharage was lead by a front duo in pouring rain but as expected the escapees were caught as the Blanco team put on the pressure in the field.

On the final circuit in the finish town, several riders were launching attacks to try and create the crucial gap but the sprinter teams allowed no one to get away. The stage was decided in a bunch sprint where Alexander Porsev (Katusha) was the fastest rider in the bunch.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Marko Kump was in the mix of sprinters in the finale: “Marko is well-positioned in the finale but he hits a back wheel of one of his rivals in the sprints and lost a few meters in the sprint. But he shows good form, motivation and guts in the fight for his position and hope he’ll do the same thing tomorrow where I expect another bunch sprint,” said DS, Dan Frost after the stage.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung put its mark on the first stage of the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg, as Gerald Ciolek finished second after Jay Thomson spent most of the stage in a breakaway. Ciolek challenged in the mass sprint in bad weather conditions in Hautcharge, and was beaten only by Alexander Porsev (Katusha). Thomson showed the colours of the African Professional Continental team in a long escape, finishing off with a solo effort that saw him caught with only 33 km to go.

“We saw a great race from our guys today. Our plan worked out,” said sports director Jens Zemke after the stage. “We absolutely wanted to be in the day’s break group. Jay put in a fantastic performance impressively represented our team, despite the horrible weather conditions, with rain and cold.”

“And with Gerald’s second place we can also be satisfied,” he continued. “Our chances are good and in the next few days we will continue to try to shape the race.”

Jimmy Engoulvent (Sojasun) retained his overall lead, ahead of Danny Van Poppel (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Jonathan Hivert (Sojasun). Jaco Venter is still the best MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rider, in 30th place, with Gerald Ciolek as 39th.

Jay Thomson made the first move in the race, attacking early on, only to be caught again. But the South African time trial champion was determined to be away, and went again, this time joined by Duber Quintero of Colombia. This move was successful and the duo pulled away, building up a lead of six minutes.

The two stayed together a long way on the rainy day, but eventually their gap dropped, and Thomson took off on his own, building the lead back up. He did his best, but the wind was against him for a solo flight, and with 33 kilometres to go, he was finally caught after his strong efforts on the day.

That set up the expected mass sprint, as the wind and rain got worse and worse. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung managed to bring Ciolek into position for the sprint, and the Milan-San Remo winner took second place on the day.

Skoda Tour of Luxembourg Stage 1 Result:
1. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha in 4:40:50
2. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
3. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
4. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale
5. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
6. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia
8. Rafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
9. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty
10. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Blanco.

Skoda Tour of Luxembourg Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Sojasun in 4:44:32
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:01
3. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty at 0:02
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:03
6. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco at 0:04
7. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar at 0:06
8. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard at 0:07
9. Rémi Cusin (Fra) IAM Cycling
10. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM.

Making it two wins in as many days, RadioShack Leopard Trek rider Giacomo Nizzolo took Stage 2 in the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg on Friday, taking a straight-up sprint victory on the 173.1km course from Shifflange to Walferdange.

Giacomo Nizzolo: “Today was not easy. Especially because the guys in the breakaway went so fast and the peloton didn’t give them much space so we all went fast the entire day. Then in the final we had the hard climb with many, many attacks. At the bottom for the last time, I asked the guys to help me, especially Bob Jungels. I have to say a big, big thank you to him. This is his home race and he gave 100% to me. The sprint, with just 25 riders left, was not in one line as we approached the finish. The Saxo-Tinkoff rider Kump went first and I went on his wheel until I started my sprint at 100 meters to go. It’s funny because he is the guy who hit my wheel yesterday and broke my derailleur so I didn’t win, but today I won and he was second.” Nizzolo’s win comes one day after teammate Gregory Rast took victory in stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse, making it back-to-back highly successful days of racing for RSLT.

Nizzolo, 24, comes from a track background but upon switching to road the Italian sprinter saw immediate success with 11 victories in 2009 and another twelve in 2010 prior to turning professional. His palmares include the overall win in the 2012 Tour de Wallonie. Giacomo carries the build of a true sprinter and puts out amazing watts near the end of a race. Combined with the ability to tackle the medium mountains with reserves still in the tank, Nizzolo is always a threat on the finish line.

Giacomo Nizzolo took part in his home tour, the 2013 Giro d’Italia, last May, taking second place once and fourth place two times. After the Giro many riders take a break but Nizzolo has held his form, bringing it with him to Luxembourg: “I can tell you that to keep my form for two weeks after the Giro is hard but I’ve been very focused on the Tour of Luxembourg and I came here in very good shape. I wanted to use this condition in this race. Yesterday I had bad luck but today it was good.”

Racing continues through Sunday in Luxembourg and Nizzolo vows to stay competitive: “This is a very important race for us. We are a Luxembourgish team so we have focused on this race and we are showing that we are motivated.”

Paul Martens finished third Friday in the second stage of the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg. The German from the Blanco Pro Cycling Team yielded only to Giancomo Nizzolo (RadioShack Leopard) and Marko Kump (Saxo-Tinkoff) after the 173 kilometre ride to Walferdange.

“Naturally, I would have preferred to win, but it wasn’t to be. The sprint was a challenge as it was on a fairly wide stretch with a headwind. Robert Gesink made an excellent lead-out but I found it difficult to time correctly. I was happy to have been able to contest for the win. In cycling, you don’t to beat just one, but one hundred and fifty and that’s never easy.

Together with his teammate, Martens made the finale a challenge, as in his words, “I knew that there were several guys I probably could not beat in a normal bunch sprint. To be honest, we did this with an eye on the classification as I would like to move up a few places and there were no bonus seconds here in the offing. A stage win is the primary goal, but there’s also nothing wrong with a good finish in the classification.

Martens has confidence that he can raise a few notches in the GC. “I feel good. Today and tomorrow are the challenging rides, but if I am on my game, I have it in my own hands.

Looking at the profile of today’s 173.1 kilometre long second stage of Tour of Luxembourg from Schifflange to Walferdange, the sprinters had the advantage compared to the numerous breakaways established during the course. But the constant attacks simply split up the peloton along the way.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Bruno Pires launched several attacks in the finale but once again, Marko Kump was the fastest of the Saxo-Tinkoff riders finishing second in the sprint: “It was a very hard day in the field where riders constantly were on the move. As we enter the final circuit, we moved to the front of the pack to avoiding being caught behind on the technically demanding course. Bruno (Pires) launched an attack but the field was way too big to get away from. In the sprint, Marko (Kump) catches the wheel of NIzzolo who wins the stage and Marko has found good moral in this race and we hope that he, Chris and Bruno will be able to compete for the stage win on tomorrow’s challenging course,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Marko Kump was happy about finishing among the best: “Of course, it’s always good to know and experience that you can actually compete for the win but when you’re this close to victory, you can’t help being a little bit disappointed as well. I felt I had a good race and the timing was ok but Nizzolo was simply faster on the finish line. Tomorrow’s stage will be a lot harder than today and I hope to be among the strongest again but needless to say, Chris (Sørensen), Manuele (Boaro) and Bruno (Pires) are in good condition so we have more cards to play,” said the Slovenian rider after the stage.

Skoda Tour of Luxembourg Stage 2 Result:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard in 4:10:24
2. Marko Kump (Slo) Saxo-Tinkoff
3. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco
4. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Vincent Jerome (Fra) Europcar
7. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun
8. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha
9. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff
10. Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis.

Skoda Tour of Luxembourg Overall After Stage 2:
1. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun in 8:54:57
2. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:02
3. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco at 0:03
4. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar at 0:05
5. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard at 0:06
6. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 0:07
8. Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco at 0:08
9. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:09
10. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard.

A very happy Giacomo Nizzolo wins Stage 2:

In an unprecedented three-in-a-row string of victories for RadioShack Leopard Trek, Giacomo Nizzolo outkicked the others to take a second sprint victory in as many days in Stage 3.

Saturday’s queen stage of climbing was not meant for the sprinters, but Giacomo Nizzolo survived the final split in the peloton along with 29 other riders. Nizzolo: “The goal today was to suffer as much as possible. We also had the ambitions to protect with Bob and Jan on GC so I was instructed to hold the wheels as much as I could. We ended up catching them at 3 or 4 k to go and I prepared for the sprint. At the last corner I was third and I started my sprint at 100 meters. It was a little bit uphill and it was hard.” Nizzolo finished ahead of Alexey Tsatevitch of Katusha. Teammate Bob Jungels is fifth on GC at six seconds behind race leader Jonathan Hivert (Sojasun).

Nizzolo’s win marks the third win in three days for the RadioShack Leopard Trek. In the Tour de Suisse on Thursday, Gregory Rast earned his first stage victory in his home tour, sending team morale up the confidence scale. Then on Friday Nizzolo scored a sprint win in the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg, and notched up one more victory in Saturday’s 178.8km stage from Eschweiler to Diekirch to cap off the run of wins.

Teammates Jan Bakelants and Bob Jungels had ambitions for the stage win and yellow jersey as the team GC riders. On the final climb of Heulewee in Diekirch, the duo attacked and managed to get away. They caught the remains of the day’s break in Karsten Kroon, but all three were brought back at 3km to go from the chasing efforts of team Blanco.

Bakelants: “I was trying for the stage win and we wanted to put Bob in yellow. The team did so much work during the day, chasing hard to bring back the break of three. We had to chase so hard. If our team hadn’t done that hard work, there would be no win today – someone from the break would have won.”

Asked how hard the final climb was, Giacomo Nizzolo said, “My goal today was to die on the bike on this climb. In the end I just made it in the peloton with about 30 guys and my teammates in the front. When we caught them I got ready for the sprint. I am so tired now. But the morale on the team is so high; the win today was easier.”

When told that today’s stage was the queen stage of climbing and perhaps he could go for another sprint win on Sunday’s final stage, he replied, “Well, when you say today was the queen stage, then perhaps I will think about it. In my head today I was thinking this was my last chance. We’ll see what happens.”

“Karsten did an excellent stage and he and Ignatiev really deserved to be allowed to sprint it out between them but they were caught on the final kilometre of the stage after having been in front all day. Unfortunately, Chris (Anker Sørensen) was in a crash early on which naturally affected him but he and Manuele (Boaro) were in the first group to cross the finish line with Karsten. Tomorrow, there’s an even harder stage waiting for us and I hope Chris has fully recovered so he can compete for the stage win,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost after the stage.

Saxo-Tinkoff’s Chris Anker Sørensen was on the podium after stage like Karsten Kroon was yesterday to receive the prize for being the most sympathetic rider in the field.

Skoda Tour of Luxembourg Stage 3 Result:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard in 4:25:59
2. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha
3. Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
4. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco
5. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis
7. Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Cofidis
8. Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Europcar
9. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
10. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun.

Skoda Tour of Luxembourg Overall After Stage 3:
1. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun in 13:20:56
2. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:02
3. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco at 0:03
4. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar at 0:05
5. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard at 0:06
6. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 0:07
8. Maarten Wynants (Bel) Blanco at 0:08
9. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard at 0:09
10. Julien El Fares (Fra) Sojasun at 0:11.


Everything was set for fireworks on Sunday’s 143 kilometre long final Stage 4 of Tour of Luxembourg offering a hilly stretch from Mersch to Luxembourg City where the race was concluded on a demanding circuit.

In the finale, the early break was caught and Bob Jungels (Radioshack Leopard) launched a counter-attack and he managed to keep everyone behind and took the stage win. The fourth RadioShack Leopard Trek team win in as many days didn’t come without controversy; Bob Jungels took the stage victory initially winning the white jersey for best young rider, too. But a complaint filed by team Blanco made a few changes to the final results.

Jungels: “In the second to last lap Hondo pulled for me to make an attack and I was close to his left side. When he dropped off, he took his right hand to motion for me to go and I took off but I didn’t take his hand.”

The initial complaint against Jungels receiving a track-style hand sling from teammate Danilo Hondo was awarded a 10-second time penalty as well as 200 euro fine, but he was allowed to keep the stage win. The time penalty took Jungels out of the white jersey as best young rider and off the final podium.

Jungels: “We saw yesterday that Jan and I were the strongest on the climbs. Today I had Danilo at my side. On the second to last lap I told Jan to do the beginning of the climb fast and then there was a part where it was more flat and I was with Hondo. I attacked and passed the others, going full gas on the last lap alone. That last lap was really hard. I put the big chain ring on and went as hard as I could before the climb. At 50m to go I saw Martens on my wheel. I tried to accelerate away but I couldn’t. I missed the overall by three seconds. We tried everything but Blanco was really strong. I think we showed great team effort here in Luxembourg and we can be really happy with winning three stages in five days.” Second place went to Paul Martens (Blanco) with RSLT teammate Jan Bakelants taking third on the stage and Martens winning the classification for the race, ahead of Jonathan Hivert (Sojasun) at 4 seconds and Jan Bakelants (at 6 seconds).

Jungle’s teammate Jan Bakelants explained the team strategy: “The plan was to send Bob on the second to last lap. There was some hesitation in the peloton so he got a gap. On the last climb I was up to do the sprint in case Bob was brought back. In the end I finished in the wheel of Martens, but at least he couldn’t pass Bob and we won the stage.”
All week the team has been under the direction of José Azevedo: “I am a very happy team director. It would have been better to win the GC of course. That was our main goal. But the team worked so well together this week. There was good team spirit and we’ve won three out of five stages. I’m happy and proud.” After two stage wins on Friday and Saturday, Giacomo Nizzolo won the blue jersey of the point’s leader.

Paul Martens won the overall, the Blanco rider began the last day in 3rd place in the General Classification but with the help of his teammates, finished second in the stage and rose to number one in the GC. “It’s unbelievable – indescribable! I’ve been close before, but this is the first time I’ve actually won a stage race.

Martens did not expect to be able to take the win on the last day. “Naturally, I was hoping so. I knew the last stage and what was possible and rode along those lines. I am very happy that it’s played out in a win because in that way, I can pay the team back. They worked unbelievably hard for me the past few days. Without them, I could not have done it.”

Martens actually came very close to taking the last stage himself: “Five more metres and I would have caught him”, said Martens.

GC leader Jonathan Hivert and number two Matthias Brandle crossed the finish line as fourth and fifth but could not stay in touch with Martens. Their lead of a few precious seconds evaporated.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff Dane, Chris Anker Sørensen had a mechanical in the finale: “Unfortunately, Chris had a puncture as we entered the final 20 kilometres of the race where the pace was high. It took some energy to bridge the gap and he simply didn’t have the power to as the crucial attack from Jungels was launched. Also Manele (Boaro) displays good form by staying in the front group until the final kilometre,” commented Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost after the stage.

Skoda Tour of Luxembourg Stage 4 Result:
1. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard in 3:24:39
2. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco
3. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
4. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun at 0:07
5. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling
6. Jonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:10
7. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:12
8. Vincent Jerome (Fra) Europcar
9. Julien El Fares (Fra) Sojasun
10.Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis.

Skoda Tour of Luxembourg Final Overall Result:
1. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco in 16:45:38
2. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun at 0:04
3. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard at 0:06
4. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling
5. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard at 0:13
6. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:15
7. Julien El Fares (Fra) Sojasun at 0:20
8. Jonathan Fumeaux (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:21
9. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco
10. Nico Sijmens (Bel) Cofidis at 0:22.

Photo RadioShack Leopard team.

Training Crash for Astana
The Astana Tour de France riders are at the moment training at altitude in Tenerife, but on Sunday morning during a fast descent; Jakob Fuglsang, Andrei Grivko and Assan Bazayev crashed with Bazayev coming off the worst with his Tour start in doubt. Fuglsang injured an arm and his back and should be able to resume training, Grivko injured his hand and needs more medical attention and Bazayev has flown back to the mainland for attention to facial injuries.

Androni Giocattoli Sponsors for Another Year
The Italian toy manufacturer, Androni Giocattoli, has agreed to continue to sponsor the ProConti team for a further year. The team has had four victories so far this year; one each for Fabio Felline and Alessandro Malaguti and two for the team’s sprinter Mattia Gavazzi. Team manager Gianni Savio is also hoping to extend the team’s contract with Venezuelan Government until the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Haussler Fractures Pelvis in Suisse
Australian Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) crashed out of the Tour de Suisse last Thursday soon after the start of the 186 kilometre stage to Meilen. After a fast start in the first 10 kilometres, the pace slowed causing a pile-up. He was taken to hospital and X-Rays showed he had “suffered bruises and multiple wounds on the left side of the body, a fractured pelvis and a small fracture of the left hip,” explained IAM Cycling’s team doctor Jacques Ménétrey. He added that “The rider will remain hospitalized a day or two before returning to his home.”

Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it down the right hand side on the home page, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be in there too.


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