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EuroTrash Monday!

It might be the back end of the season but there is no end of race reports from around the World; the Tour of Beijing and Paris-Tour, plus a hand full of other races from Italy and France. Lots of race news and video to kick start the week in EuroTrash Monday. Throw in all the other news and you will need a good big coffee.

TOP STORY: Season Too Hard say’s Gilbert
Ex-World champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) made a statement on his web-site; inferring that the season was too long and too hard saying the extremes in weather was also too much for the riders.

Part of the statement reads: “The way road cycling seasons are organised right now, the number of races and their levels of difficulty, it is all a bit much, if not wrong. All organisers want to have the race with most height difference, the longest climb, the steepest climb, the longest race… In short, their aim is to have something out of the ordinary for their own race so as to distinguish themselves from the others.”

If you go back in time the riders didn’t have the “new” races in China, Australia and South America during the European winter, but then the top riders used ride the ‘6 Day’s’ or cyclo-cross during the off season. Although this could bring us back to how those riders managed to combine performing in all the different Classics (cobbled or hilly) and Grand Tours, plus and amount of other events through the year.

Gilbert also touches on that subject: “In a time where we all want to do away with doping more than ever before, there is a clear discrepancy between what the riders are able to manage and what is presented to us during races.”

What about the weather, Gilbert: “This year, I participated in races under extreme weather conditions. During Milan-San Remo we suffered severe snow storms and in the Tour of California we had to endure temperatures of up to 50 degrees. For both these races, fans were urged to stay put at home and not to make unnecessary journeys. We, however, were urged to be offering the spectacle the audience was expecting from us, despite the clear and apparent risks to the health of an entire peloton. This is clearly too much, and it shows that through various associations within cycling, no clear vision, let alone appropriate pro-active intervention, has emerged so far.” We have always had weather, think back to Bernard Hinault riding through the snow to win in Liege and the death of Tom Simpson in the heat of Mont Ventoux.

But in the end we can’t argue with Philippe because he has a very valid point, we live in a different World, people in normal life don’t work as many hours as they used to and conditions in the work place have changed, we don’t send small boys up chimneys. I guess what he is saying is that if you don’t want us to take drugs, then make the races easier.

Hinault in the snow:

Paris-Tours 2013
The last Classic of the year is usually one for the sprinters, but the non-sprinters made it an exciting race with man an attack before the final sprint into Tours. In the end John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) came out on top after a fast sprint led-out by the FDJ team for Arnaud Demare who was third as Michael Mørkøv (Saxo-Tinkoff) squeezed through for second.

The early break of Sebastian Lander (BMC), Julien Duval (Roubaix Lille Metropole), Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM Cycling) and Yannick Martinez (La Pomme-Marseille) and by the 75 kilometre mark they had around a 10 minute advantage. FDJ, Garmin-Sharp and Argos-Shimano started to chase the group down. When they hit the Côte de Crochu the lead was down to 1:20. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step attacked to take Sylvain Chavanel off up the road, but this was too dangerous and Argos-Shimano chased it down with help from Belkin. With crashes and speed the peloton had shrunk to around 70 riders coming into the last 10 kilometres.

Last year’s winner; Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM), Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) broke clear and were joined by Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Jeste Bol (Belkin), Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Michael Mørkøv (Saxo-Tinkov), they looked to have the race in their hands. Due to them looking at each other and the chase behind the break failed and the sprint was set for Degenkolb to take the win.

Degenkolb said: “I think I did it pretty smart as I didn’t waste too much energy, so I had something left for the finish. It was up to us to chase Bol when he was left out in front and you could see how strong the team was by the way they worked in the finale.”

And of course, Michael Mørkøv was a happy man after the fine result. But he knew he couldn’t have pulled it off without support: “I felt really well today and naturally I’m very happy to finish in second place behind Degenkolb. It is the culmination of the last few weeks of preparation with the team and there is no doubt that I would never have been able to do this kind of finale without the team’s hard work throughout the entire race. Although it’s my name standing in the results, it’s been a true team effort. I’m getting better at in the big sprints but I do not consider myself as a sprinter. Jonas (Aaen) put me in a perfect position in the run-in and without the support from the boys, I wouldn’t have finished up here, “said a delighted Michael Mørkøv.

Paris-Tours Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 5:29:19
2. Michael Morkov (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff
3. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
7. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
9. Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.

Paris-Tours final K’s:

Tour of Beijing 2013
Thor Hushovd won the opening Stage 1 of the Tour of Beijing on Friday and took the overall lead while earning the BMC Racing Team its 30th victory of the season. The stage, 190.5 km long, went from Shunyi to Huairou Studio City. Soon a front group of four was formed with Sander Cordeel (Lotto Belisol) also his fellow countryman Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM), the Japanese Ryota Nishizono (Champion System) and the Italian Davide Vigano (Lampre-Merida). The four had a maximal gap of 8:50. In the peloton Cannondale and FDJ were leading the chase.

On the route was one climb, one of third category. Cordeel arrived first at the top and took the mountain jersey. With 50 km to go, Vigano was gone and only two minutes were left for the leaders. Sander Cordeel, who decided to go through on his own, stayed ahead the longest. At about 20 km to go Cordeel had an advantage of 2:40, but the peloton had the situation under control. The 25-year-old rider, his birthday is in November, was reeled in with 5 km to go. He was pronounced to be the most aggressive rider of the day.

Thor Hushovd (BMC), the Norwegian national road champion burst up the inside at the end of the 190.5-kilometre race to edge runner-up Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) and third-placed Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). The victory was Hushovd’s eighth of the season and marks the third time this year he has pulled on the leader’s jersey at a stage race. “First of all, I am really happy with the job the team did,” Hushovd said. “I think everybody knew it was going to be a bunch sprint. So when there were 20 kilometres to go and saw the breakaway still had more than a two-minute gap, we put some guys in the front to close it back. So thanks to the guys today.” Marco Pinotti, Steve Cummings and Mathias Frank were among the BMC Racing Team riders who contributed to the chase of the last rider of an original four-man escape that once held a nine-minute advantage.

BMC Racing Team’s Marcus Burghardt said the final moments of the race were “a little bit messy” as he tried to keep Hushovd near the front. “In the last kilometre, I almost cracked it a little bit, because I thought he was on my left. I went out to the right and then we got a little bit squeezed back,” he said. “But then he made a good move back to the front to take it at the last moment.” Assistant Director Max Sciandri said he hopes the BMC Racing Team can hold the overall lead as long as possible. “I’d like us to keep it within the team, of course,” he said. “There is a hard day tomorrow to get over some climbs. Hopefully the jersey will give Thor good morale, because it could be a smaller-size sprint tomorrow. Then we have two really hard days. So the jersey might switch to one of our riders.” Thanks to time bonuses, Hushovd leads the race by three seconds with four stages to go. He also owns the lead in the points classification.

Hushovd’s eight wins mark his most prolific victory total since the 2004 season, when he won 10 races. In February, Hushovd led the Tour du Haut Var after winning that race’s opening stage. He earned the overall title at the Arctic Race of Norway in August by winning two stages – including the last one. He won a pair of stages at the Tour de Pologne in July, one at the Tour of Austria the same month, and his national road title was won at the end of June. “I started off quite well and then I had some ups and downs,” Hushovd said. “When I first started going so well at nationals, I had a lot of wins. In the end, I am really happy with my season.”

Sander Cordeel: “I jumped away from the start and the break was soon formed. The cooperation in the front group wasn’t smooth. The Japanese rider couldn’t do any work said his team director and our Italian companion was ill, he let us go after a while. The Japanese attacked at about 40 kilometer from the finish line, I bridged the gap and immediately left him behind. I could enlarge the gap on the peloton. On the flat parts I had a good rhythm, I knew I could stay ahead pretty long that way, but there were some uphill parts. Afterwards I always had to get back in that rhythm and after riding a whole day in the front, I started to feel that.”

“The next day’s I’ll try again to get in a break and if possible support Adam Hansen. I’m probably not enough of a climber to defend the mountain jersey. We’ll see what the next stages bring. Riding in the smog is something you feel, I had some irritation of my lungs and throat today. But the organization is definitely okay here. The past few days I didn’t get much sleep because of the jetlag, but yesterday it was better and hopefully I have found the right rhythm now.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Philippe Mauduit says: “It was a typical flat stage where a breakaway had some time to flash the colours while the sprinter teams were chasing behind. We were hoping for Takashi and Matti in the sprint but unfortunately, Matti lost his spot close to the finish line and lost his chance. Tomorrow’s course is pretty similar and I’ll be expecting another bunch sprint. In general, we’re here aiming for both stage results and the overall classification with Michael (Rogers).”

Tour of Beijing Stage 1 Result:
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC in 4:20:34
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
3. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
6. Enrique Sanchez (Spa) Movistar
7. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha
8. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
9. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
10. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Tour of Beijing Overall After Stage 1:
1. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC in 4:20:24
2. Willem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:03
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano at 0:04
4. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:06
5. Ryota Nishizono (Jpn) Champion System at 0:09
6. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:10
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
8. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar
9. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha
10. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.

Stage 1:

In spite of four categorized climbs along the way, a bunch sprint decision was the most likely finale scenario of today’s 201 kilometre long Stage 2 of the Chinese World Tour stage race, Tour of Beijing from Huairou Studio City and Yanqing.

As usual, a minor breakaway was launched from the start of the stage while the leading rider’s team, BMC and the sprinter teams controlled the pace of the pack to prevent any surprises. On the final climb, the front group was split up and Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Olivier Kaisen (Lotto Belisol) formed the new front tandem.

Entering the final 30 kilometres, Kaisen went solo chasing the stage win while the field was narrowing down the gap and with 10 kilometres to go, the pack was complete, thanks to the work of the BMC team for Thor Hushovd. Thundering towards the finish line, Team Saxo-Tinkoff were trying to put Matti Breschel in a good position for the bunch sprint as elbows were flying in the chaotic battle for position.

At the finish line; Nacer Bouanni (FDJ) took the stage win ahead of Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) and Orics-GreenEdge’s Mitchell Docker, Bouhanni also took the overall lead.

Hushovd finished 27th in the bunch sprint and because Bouhanni had the lower total when adding up each rider’s finishes on the first two stages, the Frenchman pulled on the leader’s red jersey. Hushovd said he was well-placed until the final kilometre. “I was too many places back and then tried to go, and then I got boxed in so it was over,” he said. “The team did a great job to control the breakaway. Unfortunately, we did a big effort and lost the stage and lost the jersey. But sometimes it’s like this.” The Norwegian national road champion – who won Friday’s stage in a bunch sprint, said he likely will not get another shot at winning a stage until Tuesday’s final, flat stage in the centre of Beijing.

BMC Racing Team’s Martin Kohler, Marco Pinotti and Larry Warbasse split duties on the front of the peloton for much of the 201.5-kilometre stage – the longest of the five-day race – to help keep a five-man breakaway in check. “Our goal today was to control the race in a way to not go crazy,” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Max Sciandri said. “It happened pretty well that five guys went and we kept them in range – four or five minutes. I am happy with the way the team rode.” Kohler said he was hoping some of the teams with sprinters would help with the chase. The last of the escapees was brought back with 10 km of the finish. “But they really didn’t do this,” he said. “Only in the last 20 kilometres did we get help of another guy. Therefore, it was a pretty hard day.”

Olivier Kaisen: “It was our plan to have someone in the break again today. I had the opportunity to jump away and didn’t hesitate much long. After a few kilometres we were ahead with five. There were some serious climbs today. On the last one we took off with two. Bouet his goal was to collect bonification seconds. He told me he would stop after the final intermediate sprint. I certainly didn’t want to give up, after riding in the front for such a long while. When I was on my own it was hard, it still went up and down after that last climb.”

Second on the stage Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida): “I had chosen the best wheel, since I had noticed FDJ was working in a very good way and that Bouhanni was ready for a great sprint,” Ferrari explained. “I followed French lead out train and, exploiting a bend on the right, we could reach the head of the group. Immediately, Bouhanni started his action and I tried to react, but the French rider did not decrease his speed, so it was not possible for me to overtake him.”

“The boys managed to put Matti in a good position on the finish line and finishing fourth is a good result. However, Matti was forced to go the long way around two other riders in order to reach the front of the sprint but he’s definitely showing good form here. Tomorrow’s stage is a bit harder and that’ll probably be Matti’s advantage as I reckon the heavier sprinters will be either dropped or drained of energy on the climbs along the way and Matti’s chances of reaching the podium will be better,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Philippe Mauduit after the stage.

Tour of Beijing Stage 2 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ in 4:59:49
2. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3. Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff
5. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
9. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale.

Tour of Beijing Overall After Stage 2:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ in 9:20:13
2. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
3. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:01
4. Willem Wauters (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:03
5. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano at 0:04
6. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Chad Beyer (USA) Champion System at 0:05
8. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:06
9. Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:07.

Stage 2:

Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) took his second stage in a row and due to the abandonment of BMC’s Thor Hushovd, the Frenchman extended his overall lead as now Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) were second and third overall at 11 seconds. Earlier in Stage 3 Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) and World TT champion; Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) tried their hands at lone attacks, but the sprinters teams pulled them both back and prepared for the finalé. Bouhanni again had a perfect lead-out getting the better of Matthews and Aleksei Tsatevich (Katusha) at the line.

BMC Racing Team’s Thor Hushovd has withdrawn from the Tour of Beijing to attend to a family emergency. Hushovd left the race Saturday night to be with his daughter who has had to be hospitalized with an undisclosed illness. The Norwegian national road champion was sitting second overall after winning Friday’s Stage 1 and finishing 27th in the race’s longest stage earlier Saturday. “Obviously, it is a big disappointment,” he said. “Of course, I wish I could finish my season in downtown Beijing on Tuesday.” Hushovd said the unexpected turn of events that brings his season to a sudden close does not overshadow a host of accomplishments which include his third national road title, a pair of stage wins and the overall at the inaugural Arctic Race of Norway in his home country, and two stages of the Tour de Pologne. “I had my ups and downs in the beginning of the year,” he said. “My classics (season) was a disaster. But I had nine wins, which is quite good. So in total, I am satisfied with my season.”

“The team rode well. First with Boaro in the front group but FDJ was pretty anxious so they brought them back pretty early in the race. In the reduced peloton, we had both Michael (Rogers) and Matti and Matti sprinted his way to tenth position. Tomorrow’s stage will be decisive and we will try to put Michael in a favourable position and hopefully, he will be able to finish among the best. The final stage is a criterium so everything will probably be settled tomorrow,” said a content sports director, Tristan Hoffman.

Tour of Beijing Stage 3 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ in 4:08:15
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
5. Martin Kohler (Swi) BMC
6. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
7. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff.

Tour of Beijing Overall After Stage 3:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ in 13:28:18
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:11
3. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
4. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha at 0:16
5. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:18
7. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 0:19
8. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar
9. Ryota Nishizono (Jpn) Champion System
10. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:20.

Stage 3:

Giro dell’Emilia 2013
What used to be a lead-up to the then season-ending Giro di Lombardia is now the last significant road race of the Italian calendar. And set not far from our own Alessandro Federico’s honetown means he’s there like clockwork, and filed his final Roadside report today – read it here.

Lampre-Merida’s Diego Ulissi won Giro dell’Emilia, adding another precious success to his amazing final part of the season, during which he had already triumphed in Milano-Torino and in the GP Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini.

A serious break of 12 went away after 70 kilometres and built up a lead of 2 minutes, this dropped to just over 1 minute by the time they hit the finishing circuit and its climb of the San Luca. The break split to leave Antonio Parinello (Androni Giocattoli) out front with Lampre-Merida chasing. A dangerous group of 5 including; Damiano Cunego & Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), Oliver Zaugg (Saxo-Tinkoff), Emanuele Sella (Androni-Giocattoli) and Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) took off with two lap to go. They were caught and it was down to Michele Scarponi to lead-out his Lampre-Merida team mate Diego Ulissi for the win.

“Today I’ve found myself again in the good situation of finalizing the amazing work my team mates did,” Ulissi explained. Blue-fuchsia-green colours were always at the head of the race: Anacona tried to escape from the bunch in the early kilometres, and then Mori joined a 14 rider’s breakaway that led the race until the second lap on San Luca climb. In the final three laps Cunego and Durasek made their moves and in the last lap Scarponi launched Ulissi towards the victory, thanks to his very good condition. “It’s my sixth seasonal victory, it’s not so simple to get to this amount of successes, and this means I’m working in the proper way with the support of people that can give me the best advice.”

“We played a significantly active role during the race and the guys were fantastic. Bruno Pires was in the first break. Then Nicki, Sergio and Pawel and later on, Oliver (Zaugg) was digging deep in an attempt to go solo before Chris took over in the very finale. He launched a few attacks where Ulissi was able to respond but eventually, he was simply forced to ride his own pace and he finished second. A great effort from the guys who really did what they could to take the win. Ulissi was simply the strongest today,” said DS, Lars Michaelsen.

Giro dell’Emilia Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 5:00:53
2. Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:01
3. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:04
5. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 0:06
6. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 0:08
7. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:14
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:27
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:29
10. Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:40.

The Giro dell’Emilia:

Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli 2013
An early break of 15 riders looked like they would go the full distance of 196 kilometres, but they were caught and a new and promising one including Saxo-Tinkoff’s Matteo Tosatto, David Villela (Cannondale) and Daniele Colli (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) was formed but with merely 900 meters to go, they were caught as well and on the final meters, Leonardo Duque (Colombia) was the fastest ahead of the Lampre-Merida pair of Manuele Mori and Elia Favilli and Manuel Belletti (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

“The team was amazing today, the winner Leonardo Duque said. “Working as a unit to clinch the year with a great result and I think this win will help all of us to restart with greater enthusiasm as soon as we start building up for the new season. Team Colombia and Claudio Corti showed me confidence, both as a team player and as a protected rider, and I am happy I have been able to contribute with two nice wins.”

“This win is for my daughter Micaela, who celebrates her 7th birthday today, and for my grandmother Julia, who passed away 11 days ago at 97. I could not fly to Colombia due to the race schedule, and I want to honor her memory with this success.”

“The team did a good effort and we participated in two attacks. First with Sergio and later with Matteo and the latter was the most promising one but it simply wasn’t to be. On the final climb, we had seven riders in the finale but unfortunately no one was able to get in the mix for a top result,” said DS, Lars Michaelsen.

Gran Premio Bruno Berghelli Result:
1. Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia in 4:24:07
2. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:01
3. Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
6. Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
7. Sergei Pomoshnikov (Rus) RusVelo
8. Alessandro Malaguti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
9. Andrea Masciarelli (Ita) Utensilnord
10. Rafael Andriato (Bra) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia.

The Gran Premio Bruno Berghelli sprint:

GP Città di Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini 2013
It’s never easy to win as favourite of a race, but Diego Ulissi was not scared by the predictions and he succeeded in conquering the GP Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini.

In the last kilometre, a demanding hill, the young gun of Lampre-Merida performed a very incisive long sprint ahead of Andrea Pasqualon (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Davide Villela (Cannondale) and the rest of a 20 riders group that contested the finish.

This is Diego Ulissi’s 5th win of the season: “It’s not easy to win when everybody is watching you and is waiting for a great performance by you,” Ulissi explained. “Despite this, I could achieve my goal and I really want to thank my team mates for amazing help they gave. This season has been very positive until now for me and the good condition is allowing me to be still in the head of the races, fighting for the victory.”

Sport director Maini commented: “All the team members deserved the victory, since they gave a perfect support to Diego. Ulissi completed a very good race for the team, showing once again his top quality.”

GP Città di Peccioli-Coppa Sabatini Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
2. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
3. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale
4. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni-Venezuela
5. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
6. Andrea Zordan (Ita) Androni-Venezuela
7. Pierpaolo De Negri (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
8. Mikael Cherel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Androni-Venezuela
10. David Mucelli (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia-Fondriest.

The finalé:

Paris-Bourges 2013
On Thursday, Saxo-Tinkoff took on the French one-day race, Paris-Bourges. A race that has been on the calendar since 1913 and two Saxo-Tinkoff sports directors have won it; Tristan Hoffman in 1996 and Lars Michaelsen in 1994.

A small group created a gap to the chasing field and the pack was in complete control of escapees and the final breakaway rider was caught with 4 kilometres to go to the line leaving the race conclusion to the sprinters. The 100th year anniversary edition of the race was won by John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano).

Team Saxo-Tinkoff missed the hectic bunch sprint: “The boys have been waiting all day for the sprint and they knew the course well so naturally, I’m a little disappointed that we had no riders up there among the best. Now, we’ve got a few days to get back on the horse before entering the final European race of the season, Paris-Tours on Sunday where I hope we’ll be able to get a rider in the breakaway and hopefully get a top result,” said DS, Dan Frost.

Paris-Bourges Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 4:38:00
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
4. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
5. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
7. Mickaël Delage (Fra) FDJ
8. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Sojasun
10. Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos-Shimano.

Paris-Bourges action:

2014 Tour/Vuelta Double for Contador?
Speaking at the Saxo Bank press conference on Thursday, Alberto Contador said he thought he could ride both the French and Spanish Grand Tours next year with a view to winning in both. He commented: “Of course this year I had fewer results than other years. It has been an accumulation of different factors. The program wasn’t the best one,” referring to his early season preparation. “I started racing in January without all the training I needed. When you do that, you can get to a good level, but you don’t get to the level that you can win all the races. We will wait and see what happens in 2014. I will say I have extra motivation to try to achieve the objectives that I want.”

As to the Tour/Vuelta double: “The Vuelta is a race that really brings great memories to me. It is a race that gave me many, many things, and is a race of my country. Independently of how the Tour de France goes, unless there is anything unexpected, I am going to be at the Vuelta and I hope I have a good race. I do think it is possible because these are compatible victories, of course it will depend on the layout of the race. Also on the strength of the team supporting me, that it is a fresh team. If I didn’t think it was possible to do it in both races, I would go for just one.”

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Chavanel for FDJ
Sébastien Chavanel is leaving Europcar after three years to go back to FDJ on a one year contract. Chavanel is thought to be joining the team as a lead-out man for Nacer Bouhanni, he said to the La Nouvelle Republique: “It’s gratifying when you do your job and another rider pays attention to it. Nacer has wanted me with him all year, I’m not going to disappointment him.”

Europcar Expansion
As part of a bigger Europcar team for 2014, Harmonie Mutuelle has joined as a co-sponsor in a two year contract. Europcar have applied for a WorldTour licence and this boost should allow them to sign more riders and keep the ones they have for the future. Thomas Voeckler, Pierre Rolland, Tony Hurel, Christophe Kern, Jérôme Cousin and Bryan Cocquard have all extended their contracts and young riders Romain Guillemois and Bryan Nauleau have joined. Jimmy Engoulvent has also joined from Sojasun which finishes this year.

Romain Sicard for Europcar
Ex Under 23 World road champion; Romain Sicard (Euskeltel-Euskadi) has signed with Europcar for 2014. Sicard beat Colombian Betancur and Russian Silin at the Worlds in 2009 and beat Van Garderen in the Tour de l’Avenir and then turned Pro with Euskaltel-Euskadi for the next 4 years. He had some lean times due to a problem with his left leg that caused muscle loss and so a loss of power, although he recovered in 2012 to ride the Vuelta a España and the 2013 Tour de France where he was included in many escapes.

Saxo Bank; Sole Sponsor in 2014
In a press conference in Madrid on Thursday, it was revealed that the Danish Saxo Bank will cover the loss of co-sponsor, Tinkoff Bank in 2014. Team owner Bjarne Riis said he would still be looking for a co-sponsor, but there would be no problem for the team in the coming season. Riis commented: “We are all extremely grateful to Saxo Bank for their support. Saxo Bank has decided to step up its commitment in 2014. and with that help we are able to continue supporting the team.” Team leader Alberto Contador also thanked Saxo Bank; “This team gives me the best guarantees I can want for 2014.”

Woman’s Tour of Britain 2014
The woman’s Tour of Britain has been given 2.1 statuses by the UCI; the first edition will be contested over five days in May 2014. Race director Guy Elliot said: “Our first stage, including the Grand Depart, will be based entirely in Northamptonshire, which is a fantastic county for racing and will the first time that Northamptonshire has hosted a major Tour. The stage will be a challenging test for all riders on a beautiful and challenging route on the opening day of the race, with plans to pass through many of the county’s towns and villages. We are particularly pleased about Northamptonshire’s plans to use the event to promote women’s sport in its widest context to young people.” The men’s race will still be in September.

Dr Ferrari Still Working?
The banned Dr. Michele Ferrari is still working with riders, according to Italian journalists in the Corriere della Sera. A journalist and photographer saw Ferrari with some “clients” on his favourite climb, the Monzuno near Bologna, they say he was wearing an old US Postal Service jersey with World champ bands, suggesting it was passed down to him by LanceArmstrong. There has been no secret that Ferrari was still working as here on PEZ we have reffered to his web-site; 53×12.com on many occasions and his offer to help riders, especially in the US, although now the site doesn’t seem to work. Old news?

Ferrari: “I did not dope Lance Armstrong”

BMC: Behind the Beijing Scenes
What’s it like in the team car when you riders wins? Here is BMC’s assistant DS Jackson Stewart in the final moments of Stage 1 of the Tour of Beijing when Thor Hushovd takes stage and overall.

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 added there too.


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