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EuroTrash Monday!

Stephen Cummings has swept to victory in the Tour of the Med and Niki Terpstra took the honours in Qatar, plus Sven Nys wins the cyclo-cross Superprestige, we have all the video action to go with the reports and results. What’s going on with Milan-Sanremo; is the TOP STORY and we catch up with the teams for Oman and Algarve in other cycling news. A fun filled Euro Trash Monday!

TOP STORY: No Pompeiana in Milan-Sanremo
After announcing the course change to the 2014 Milan-Sanremo, many of the top sprinters turned their backs on the Italian Classic saying that the race was ruined for them. The climb in question is the Pompeiana (our own Alessandro previewed it here); a five kilometre ascent near the finish which was to split the race to pieces, the idea was to make the race more exciting. Putting a climb at or near the finish of a Classic or a stage is becoming the fashion for race organizers these days, just look at the Vuelta a España, Giro d’Italia, the Tour of Lombardy, and the others wanting to have a solo winner. The bottom line is that the sprinters should have their chance to win a Classic too.

Anyway, the proposed tough finish might be off due to the local authorities not allowing the race to use the climb because of safety issues. The Provincial transport engineer, Michele Russo told Italian newspaper La Stampa: “We took a decision before the bad weather of the last few days. We’d pointed out a series of problems linked to safety. Our negative decision was decided with an official act.” He is referring to the narrow, twisty road from the summit of the Pompeiana down to the coastal main road. The fast decent has no crash barrier in places which would be dangerous for the riders as well as the expected thousands of spectators. So Mark Cavendish, André Greipel and Marcel Kittel might be fighting it out in Sanremo yet!

No bunch sprint in 1995 as Jalabert wins:

Tour of Qatar 2014
André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) could go home with the flowers after the Stage 5 of the Tour of Qatar. The German champion was the fastest at the finish in Madinat Al Shamal. The bunch sprint had been perfectly initiated by Lotto Belisol.

The stage started at the Al Zubara Fort and arrived 159 kilometres later in Madinat Al Shamal. Only before the fourth passage of the finish line the battle for the stage win should break loose. This made the riders could do a recon of the final. There was a crucial point in the last kilometre: a roundabout. A break of four with Belgian champion Stijn Devolder got up to seven minutes. Seven kilometres before the finish they were reeled in. The Lotto Belisol train was set on the rails with Marcel Sieberg and Jürgen Roelandts as last men before the Gorilla could take off. Greipel sprinted convincingly to the victory, Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) was second, Theo Bos (Belkin) third. The top three of the GC didn’t change today. With one stage to go Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) held the lead from team mate Tom Boonen and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) in third.

André Greipel: “The team did a great job. There were no echelons today. Starting from 60 km before the end Lars Bak and Gert Dockx were pulling to get the breakaway back and put the rest of us out of the wind all day. We didn’t get any help. After 30 kilometres we left it to the other teams. The gap started decreasing again with 20 km to go. Kris Boeckmans led us up to the 2 km sign as it was important to be in front there with the crosswinds. Sieberg and Roelandts took the lead in the final kilometre and did it perfect like always. I could save myself until 200 meters to go. Everyone did his part for the victory.”

Theo Boss (Belkin): “I didn’t feel super in the last few days, but today I felt a bit better again. I’m still not one hundred per cent, but my legs were OK today. I’m happy with this third place although there could have been more in it for me. I wanted to sit in Greipel’s wheel but Niki Terpstra was there. When Greipel accelerated, he wasn’t able to hold his wheel, which caused a small gap and cost me.”

The riders took it relatively easy after yesterday’s record-breaking stage. Four riders were allowed to go free in an escape while the peloton remained in control behind. The main pack reeled in the four attackers just before the final started in earnest. “I think the riders agreed that they deserved a little bit of rest after a rough couple of days,” said Sports Director Jan Boven. “The wind was in their favour as well.” Boven believes Bos took his third place thanks to good teamwork. “Lars Boom worked hard for Theo in the final kilometres.”

Tour of Qatar Stage 5 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 3:48:53
2. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Théo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Matteo Pelucchi (Swi) IAM Cycling
6. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
7. Sam Bennett (Irl) Team NetApp-Endura
8. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale.

Tour of Qatar Overall After Stage 5:
1. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 13:08:31
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:17
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:20
4. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky at 0:37
5. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:48
6. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:56
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:57
8. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:05
9. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:18
10. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 1:23.

Stage 5:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team had plenty to celebrate at the end of Stage 6 of the Tour of Qatar on Friday. Following a 4th place bunch sprint finish by Tom Boonen in the points jersey, Niki Terpstra took the top podium spot for the 6th and final time as overall winner of the race, with Boonen right behind him in 2nd. OPQS also won the team classification as five riders finished in the top 10 of the overall. Last but not least, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck won the White Pearl Jersey for best young rider. OPQS finished off the job of a successful Tour of Qatar, as the team won three stages out of six with Tom Boonen (2) and Niki Terpstra. The team also held onto all of the jerseys and team classification lead consistently.

“Finally I made it,” Terpstra said. “I’m very happy about this victory because it was stressful for me. The last few days maybe a little bit less so, but with the wind in the desert it was a bit difficult. I was so happy today when I crossed the line. To me, it’s important because it’s the first time in my career that I won a short stage race. I was already on the podium of Eneco Tour, Three Days of De Panne, and other races. But, this is quite a new experience. I learned a lot this week. After my Stage 1 victory, for the rest I had to follow the guys. They stayed as calm as possible and I really counted on a great team here. Everybody was at a top level and you can see it in the final classifications results with the whole team. The general classification, the jerseys, and even our results each stage. We were really a factor throughout the race. My form is actually good, but not at the top yet. April is still far away and that is where I have to be in top condition to support Tom, who is our leader for the Classics. Concerning the rest of the program, I will go to Oman. It is a bit of a different race, but I will try to take advantage of this condition and pay back my teammates for their performance here by supporting the team there.”

Van Keirsbulck had a bonus to his victory as best young rider. He won the White Pearl Jersey also on his birthday. “For me this is a very special day,” Van Keirsbulck said. “To win this jersey means a lot to me, and it’s the best birthday present. I did a lot of training in Argentina and I’m really happy it paid off. Also, you could see we had a very strong team. Everybody was ready to make this Tour of Qatar a great collective performance. I’m really happy with my work for the team at Tour of Qatar, and I only hope I can continue on this level for the next races. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said the performance represented the strength of the whole team. “Things went perfectly for the team this week,” Peeters said. “We won three stages as well as the GC, we had Boonen in second overall, and we won all the jerseys and the team classification. We were always present no matter the situation. We have a tradition of success at Tour of Qatar. It’s a race known for strong winds, and as a Belgian based team, that is when we are in our element. Now we will try to carry the momentum from this race. From tomorrow forward we will work hard to keep this high level. We will try to be competitive also when we come back to Europe with this group.”

Lotto Belisol DS, Bart Leysen: “In the sprint André Greipel lost the wheel of his teammates and so he was in 30th position after the last corner before the finish. He couldn’t sprint for the win today. In the first stage Jürgen Roelandts possibly should have been more cunning, he finished second now. A day later he was third, Boonen was just too strong in the sprint. In stage 4 Greipel could have won the sprint from Boonen, it was very close. So we could have gone home with three victories.”

“But I’m very satisfied. We came to win a stage and get a good GC and we succeeded. I’m also happy that everyone got through this Tour of Qatar in one piece. It has been dangerous the past days with the echelons, riders were really pushed to the side of the road. There are three of our men in the top ten of GC. That proves that our riders are in good shape and that’s good with the classics in mind.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Lars Michaelsen: “The team really wanted to show that we have had a dedicated and strong teamwork this week, so everyone contributed and allowed Michael (Mørkøv) to do a phenomenal lead-out for Daniele (Bennati) setting him up for the sprint on the final 125 meters. And it was really a clever move by Mørkøv moving up in the opposite side of the road towards the finish line but Demare got hang of Bennati’s wheel and opened two seconds before Daniele and secured the win.”

Tour of Qatar Stage 6 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr in 2:45:06
2. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky
4. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Skydive Dubai
6. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
7. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
8. Sam Bennett (Irl) Netapp-Endura
9. Sebastian Lander (Den) BMC
10. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF.

Tour of Qatar Final Overall Result:
1. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 15:53:37
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:17
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:20
4. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky at 0:37
5. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:48
6. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:56
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:57
8. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:05
9. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:18
10. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 1:23.

The final stage 6:

Tour Méditerranéen 2014
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) has finally broken the deadlock and taken his first win of the 2014 season on Stage 1 of the Tour Méditerranéen. After going close on several occasions at the Étoile de Bessèges last week, Degenkolb was really motivated to get his first victory of the year and he made up for those disappointments.

The day’s breakaway went early on, formed of five riders; Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia), Vegard Stake Laengen (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Pierre Gouault (BigMat-Auber 93), Fernando Grijalba (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and eventually Julien Bérard (Ag2r-La Mondiale). Giant-Shimano immediately took things into their own hands showing confidence in Degenkolb for the sprint, and also to safely negotiate the crosswinds that were buffeting the peloton. Even when the peloton splintered into several groups in the latter stages, the team remained focused and well represented at the front, then on the final lap everything came back together again for a bunch sprint. The team rallied around Degenkolb and, despite a late problem in the final 10km followed by a rapid chase back to the front Degenkolb was able to come through when it mattered, timing his sprint to perfection to take the victory and with it the leader’s jersey, getting the better of Danilo Napolitano (Wanty-Groupe Goubert) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CDF).

“It was really nice out there today, sunny and warm which makes a nice change to the recent weather,” said a relieved Degenkolb. “It was a long race and the guys rode great, especially Tom Peterson and Thierry Hupond who were on the front for what felt like the whole day. They never really got much help from the other teams but were super strong. The win wouldn’t have been possible without their work. I had a mechanical with 10km to go and knew I had to fight to get back on as the guys had fought for me all day. It paid off at the end and it’s great to get the win.”

Giant-Shimano team coach, Marc Reef said: “It’s great to kick off the race like this, and to continue the success that the team had last week. The guys were really strong today and I was really impressed by Tom Peterson and Thierry Hupond who did a great job to ride for over 140km on the front to keep the break in check and then bring the gap down before the other guys joined in to bring everything back together. They put John in a good position in the final kilometre and he did a great sprint to finish off all the hard work put in throughout the day.”

Tour Méditerranéen Stage 1 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 5:34:01
2. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
5. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
6. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar
7. Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Baptiste Plackaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
10. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement.

Tour Méditerranéen Overall After Stage 1:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 5:34:01
2. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
5. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
6. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar
7. Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Baptiste Plackaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
10. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement.

Stage 1:

Even the burden of wearing the leader’s jersey didn’t stop John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) from winning Stage 2 of the Tour Méditerranéen. After another dominant team display on today’s 170km second stage, Degenkolb again sprinted to victory, taking his second win in as many days and preserving his overall lead of the race.

Tom Peterson and Thierry Hupond were back on pacing duty today as they controlled the bunch together with road captain, Johannes Fröhlinger and gradually brought back the day’s breakaway of Jussi Veikkanen (FDJ.fr) and Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) who built up an 8 minute lead with 100km to go. Towards the end of the stage the peloton split and about 50-riders pulled clear. The rest of the team helped keep Degenkolb out of trouble and control the pace until the finish where he once again showed his turn of pace to take his second win in as many days.

Talking after the stage, Degenkolb said: “I felt really good at the finish today and in the end won by a few bike lengths which is always a good feeling. Like yesterday the guys did a great job controlling the race, and I’m really just the guy who finishes it off at the end – they do most of the work. I still had four guys with me at the finish and they let it out from with 4km to go and set me up perfectly. I can really feel the stiffness of the bike too. I’m riding the Giant Propel Advanced SL and everything you put through it comes straight out as speed; it feels great to ride. We stuck to the plan today and it paid off.”

Giant-Shimano Coach, Marc Reef said after the stage: “The guys did really well to let a small break of just two riders get away early on, making the chase easier behind. This meant that they could focus on another sprint stage for John as well as controlling the bunch too. Tom, Thierry and Johannes did a great job on the front once again, and when the rest of the guys took over later on they were always in control and set John up perfectly. It’s great to see John full of confidence and sprinting so well.”

The win sees Degenkolb retain his overall lead of the race and also adds to his lead in the points classification.

Tour Méditerranéen Stage 2 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 4:16:39
2. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
3. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
5. Michel Kreder (Ned) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar
7. Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha
8. Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr
10. Mikael Cherel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Tour Méditerranéen Overall After Stage 2:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 9:50:40
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
3. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar
4. Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
6. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
9. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek
10. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement.

Stage 2:

John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) made it three stage’s in a row in Saturday morning’s Stage 3 of the Tour Méditerranéen, a short and fast 63km race from Lambesc to Saint Rémy de Provence. It marks the second hat-trick of the season for Giant-Shimano after Marcel Kittel’s triple at the Dubai Tour. Degenkolb was too fast for BMC’s Thor Hushovd and Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) after his Giant-Shimano team had held the race together on the fast roads of the South of France.

After the stage Degenkolb said: “Once again I have to thank my teammates for today. They have controlled the race for three days now and are still riding super strong. This afternoon I will see how I get on in the time trial, but it is more of a stage for Tobias and he’s riding really strong at the moment. Starting a season like this is a great way to thank everyone who supports us, the fans, sponsors, staff. Hopefully the wins will keep coming.”

BMC’s Thor Hushovd enjoyed his best result of the season, finishing second to John Degenkolb. Hushovd said he felt good during the “short, nervous stage” that saw the peloton split into several groups at one point. “The bunch was going really fast up the last climb, with 10 km to go, and I was there in the front, quite confident, feeling good on the climb,” Hushovd said. The reigning Norwegian national road champion said he tried to surprise Degenkolb in the sprint, which was into a headwind. “I tried to jump him before he started his sprint,” he said. “But he had the best legs, so he kind of controlled me. But I am happy I was second. I am there and the legs are starting to get better. So it looks good for the next several weeks.”

Tour Méditerranéen Stage 3 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 1:18:48
2. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek
6. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
7. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille 13
8. Baptiste Plackaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
9. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
10. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha.

Tour Méditerranéen Overall After Stage 3:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 11:09:28
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
3. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar
4. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek
6. Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr
8. Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling
9. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
10. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement.

Stage 3a:

Stephen Cummings of the BMC Racing Team won Saturday’s Stage 4 individual time trial at the Tour Méditerranéen Saturday to take the overall lead with one stage to go.

Cummings and his BMC timemachine TM01 blazed to a time of 24:27 on the undulating, 18.2-kilometer course, four seconds faster than runner-up Riccardo Zoidl (Trek) and 10 seconds better than Sylvain Chavannes (IAM Cycling), who was third. In the overall standings, Cummings holds the same margins ahead of Sunday’s finale, a 192.7-km race that finishes with the ascent of Mont Faron. “It was a good time trial for me,” Cummings said. “I like these kinds of climbs that aren’t too steep. It was a little bit technical, but we looked at it last week. So I knew the course well. The team has been really strong. We have always stayed together. I have really enjoyed it so far.”

The victory in the afternoon stage of a double-stage day was the BMC Racing Team’s fourth of the year and Cummings’s first since winning the final stage of the Tour of Beijing in 2012. This also marks the first time since 2011 that he has led a race overall. That year, he won Stage 3 at the Volta ao Algarve and held the lead for two days before finishing sixth. Earlier this month at the Dubai Tour, Cummings placed second overall to teammate Taylor Phinney, who was 12th Saturday in the time trial, 50 seconds back. BMC Racing Team’s Ben Hermans (eighth, at 43 seconds) and Yannick Eijssen (19th, at 1:02) were also in the top 20.

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the winning result was a culmination of hard work put in by the entire squad during the three road stages preceding the time trial. “Every day, Steve finished with the first bunch, in the same time, which was very important,” Ledanois said. “Our objective for him was the time trial. We spoke to him and told him there was no pressure. Now I will speak with (Sport Director) Max Sciandri for the strategy for the last day. With the jersey, the pressure is on us. But it is not a problem. We have a trust with the riders – with Ben, Yannick, Amaël (Moinard) and also with Thor Hushovd, Klaas Lodewyck and Taylor for the first part of the stage.”

Tour Méditerranéen Stage 4 Result:
1. Stephen Cummings (GB) BMC in 24:27
2. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek at 0:04
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:10
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:15
5. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:34
6. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Giant-Shimano at 0:35
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek at 0:37
8. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 0:43
9. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:44
10. Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:46.

Tour Méditerranéen Overall After Stage 4:
1. Stephen Cummings (GB) BMC in 11:33:55
2. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek at 0:04
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:10
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:15
5. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:34
6. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Giant-Shimano at 0:35
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek at 0:37
8. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 0:43
9. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:44
10. Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:46.

Stage 4 TT:

BMC Racing Team’s Stephen Cummings captured the overall title of the Tour Méditerranéen on Sunday by finishing fourth on the summit finish of Mont Faron at the end of Stage 5.

Jean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) soloed to win the stage, five seconds ahead of Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne-Seche Environnement). But Cummings arrived at the finish 11 seconds after Péraud, enough time to secure the overall by four seconds over Péraud. “It was so close, I went way over my limit,” Cummings said. “I just did my best and luckily it was good enough. I thought I could do a good GC (general classification), but was looking more to the time trial and taking things day-by-day. But I kept staying in the front and then the time trial was great. So today was like the icing on the cake.” Cummings rode into the overall lead of the four-day, five-stage race by winning Saturday’s 18.2-kilometer individual time trial to take a four-second lead over Riccardo Zoidl (Trek) and 10 seconds over Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) into the 192.7-km final stage. “It was great for everything to fall into place,” Cummings said. “In the past, I have had form like this – or better – and something has gone wrong: I have had a crash or been sick. It has never come out properly. So it is nice to have it work out.”

Helping Cummings score the BMC Racing Team’s fifth win of the season was Ben Hermans – who himself finished ninth overall – Yannick Eijssen, Norwegian national road champion Thor Hushovd, Klaas Lodewyck, Amaël Moinard, Taylor Phinney and Larry Warbasse. The BMC Racing Team made sure the race was back together by the base of the final climb by chasing down a four-man breakaway that led by six minutes at one point. Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the team’s performance – which included a runner-up finish by Hushovd in Saturday morning’s road race – was “perfect” from start to finish. “I think today is one big victory for the team,” he said. “It was an important victory for Steve and for the team. Now I think all the guys are 100 percent ready for the next races: for Tirreno-Adriatico, for Paris-Nice and for Milan-San Remo. This proves the work we did was important – both the training camp in Denia (Spain) and their training at home.” The win was Cummings’ first stage race victory in 10 seasons as a professional and added to his runner-up finish overall (to Phinney) at the Dubai Tour earlier this month.

Tour Méditerranéen Stage 5 Result:
1. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale in 4:57:53
2. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:05
3. Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:11
4. Stephen Cummings (GB) BMC
5. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha at 0:17
6. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek
7. Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:21
8. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:24
9. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:29
10. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli.

Tour Méditerranéen Final Overall Result:
1. Stephen Cummings (GB) BMC in 16:31:59
2. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:04
3. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek at 0:10
4. Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:28
5. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Giant-Shimano at 0:56
6. Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 1:01
8. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 1:18
10. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani CSF at 1:29.

Superprestige Cyclo-cross Noordzeecross Middelkerke 2014
Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) won the last round of the Superprestige in Middelkerke on Saturday. The big battle in the race was between the series leader Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) and Belgian champion Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink), in the end Nys finished third with Albert seventh, giving Nys the overall win.

Meeusen soloed for the win, 19 seconds ahead of Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon) who had tried to stay with Meeusen, but couldn’t hold on in the technical sections. Nys had been in fourth place behind Lars van der Haar (Rabobank Development), but got the better of the Dutch champion at the finish without realising he would take the overall prize. Nys said after the finish: “I thought Niels was sixth. This is unbelievable. Equal points in the Superprestige series. It means Niels did a great season, too.”

The cyclo-cross season finishes next weekend in Oostmalle.

Superprestige Noordzeecross Middelkerke Result:
1. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea in 57:32
2. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:19
3. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink at 0:29
4. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabobank Development Team at 0:30
5. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:03
6. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink at 1:07
7. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:12
8. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb–Napoleon Games at 1:20
9. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:55
10. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 2:02.

Superprestige Noordzeecross Middelkerke with Philippe Maertns by VIER:

OPQS to Tour of Oman
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will participate in Tour of Oman — a stage race from February 18th until the 22nd of February. There are chances for the sprinters in stages 1, 2, and 6. However, they do not guarantee a bunch sprint as there are some small climbs to pass. Stage 1 seems to be the most favourable for a sprint finale — only one climb early in the race, and then descending into the flat finish. There are also opportunities for climbers on stages 3, 4 and five. Stage 5 will perhaps be the deciding factor for the GC. The summit finish is on 6 kilometre climb Green Mountain, the highest point in Oman. Green Mountain has decided the overall in the past, and will certainly be a point where the race can explode again.

“We have a balanced team for this race, with some riders who can complement the guys who are coming here from a successful Tour of Qatar,” Sport Director Brian Holm said. “Of course, Tour of Oman is completely another race than Tour of Qatar, so what we are able to do here is a bit different. But it is a strong group for sure from Tour of Qatar: Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen, Gert Steegmans, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, and Stijn Vandenbergh. As for others we added to that group for Tour of Oman, we have guys like Rigoberto Uran Uran. He will do his best try on climbing stages to try and be some type of protagonist. Zdenek Stybar will also be present, as well as Matteo Trentin. Stybar is a guy who is able to do well in support of a guy like Uran on the climbs as he proved this at La Vuelta last year. But, we will see. We will try to be there in the general classification, and maybe win a stage that suits the skills of the riders we have.”

Tom Boonen (BEL), Gert Steegmans (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Niki Terpstra (NED), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL).
Sports Director: Brian Holm (DEN).

Belkin back in Oman with 2011 winner Gesink
Robert Gesink, 2011 winner, returns to the Tour of Oman next week. Even if the Dutchman’s goals fall later in the season, he hopes to do well in the Middle Eastern stage race, especially after placing fifth in the Tour Down Under last month.

“I had a good time in Australia, but when I returned to Europe I suffered quite a bit because of the jetlag,” said Gesink. “After I got through it, I quickly got back into my rhythm and trained at a high level. I’m working towards Tirreno-Adriatico, but until then, I want to race as well as possible.” Gesink knows what awaits him in the sultanate. “It is a beautiful race with a nice route. As a former winner, I’d like to put on a good show. The level is high, but I’m aiming for a good classification result.”

Sports Director Jan Boven, already in the Middle East with the Tour of Qatar team, will work with some of the same tactics and riders as in Qatar. “We’ll see how it goes day by day,” Boven said. “With Robert, we have a strong rider. For him, it’s important that he doesn’t lose time until the fifth stage, which finishes on Green Mountain. That’s a fair test and the strongest rider will win there. “Theo Bos will go home after Qatar, but with Barry Markus, we still have a fast sprinter.”
Thanks to the Belkin team.

The Tour of Oman covers six stages from February 18 to 23.

Belkin Team line-up:
Jetse Bol, Lars Boom, Stef Clement, Jos van Emden, Robert Gesink, Barry Markus, Maarten Tjallingii and Robert Wagner.
Sports Director: Jan Boven.

Tour Of Oman Marks Van Garderen’s Debut
Press Release: Tejay van Garderen makes his season debut Tuesday at the Tour of Oman while the BMC Racing Team’s roster also includes a past winner of the race, Peter Velits.

Multiple Goals
Van Garderen has never competed in the six-day race, which was won by Velits in 2012 on the strength of a runner-up finish on the summit of Green Mountain. “I am looking forward to getting back into the groove with the team,” van Garderen said. “I have trained well in sunny California and I feel like I am starting the season at a good level. I have had a lot less travel and commitments this winter, which allowed me to focus solely on the bike and time with the family.” Van Garderen said his ambitions are straight-forward. “Oman will be a good test,” he said. “I am coming here to gain fitness and confidence.” Velits, who began his season by helping Taylor Phinney win the Dubai Tour, said he is looking forward to racing with van Garderen, whom he was a teammate with in 2010 and 2011. “I am not coming here with any specific ambition,” Velits said. “I just want to do a good race with the team. Dubai showed that the work we did during the winter was good, so I hope this race will confirm it.” Besides Velits and van Garderen, five riders arrive from the Tour of Qatar – Marcus Burghardt, Philippe Gilbert, Martin Kohler, Michael Schär and Greg Van Avermaet. They will be joined by Dominik Nerz, who competed at the Tour de San Luis last month. Sport Director Valerio Piva said the BMC Racing Team’s goals will be two-fold. “We have more climbers here because of the profile,” he said. “I think we have more chances with Philippe and Greg, too. So it’s possible we can do something for stages while we still have ambitions for the general classification.”

Download the official roster card (PDF with line-up, bios, statistics, etc.):

BMC Racing Team Tour of Oman Roster (Feb. 18-23):
Marcus Burghardt (GER), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Dominik Nerz (GER), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Peter Velits (USA).
Sport Director: Valerio Piva (ITA).

The BMC team get ready for the Tour of Oman by BMC/Sean Weide:

Team Katusha to Oman and Algarve
Next week the Russian WorldTour team Katusha starts in two stage races simultaneously: the Tour of Oman and the Volta ao Algarve. The Tour of Oman will be held from February 18th to 23rd. This UCI Asia Tour 2.HC race, is famous for its epic mountain stage with finish on the Green Mountain summit. Last year Katusha’s rider Joaquim Rodriguez won this stage.

Katusha’s line-up for Oman: Joaquim Rodriguez, Daniel Moreno, Vladimir Isaychev, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Alexander Kristoff, Rudiger Selig, Gatis Smukulis and Aliaksandr Kuchynski, all directed by Torsten Schmidt.

The Volta ao Algarve, from February 19th to 23rd, is a traditional 2.1 UCI Europe Tour race in Portugal. Its two crucial stages are the one with finish at the Alto do Malhão and the 13,6 kn individual time trial.

The team’s roster: Maxim Belkov, Sergei Chernetckii, Alexander Kolobnev, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Alberto Losada, Simon Spilak, Alexey Tsatevich and Eduard Vorganov. Sports directors are José Azevedo and Claudio Cozzi.

More race details about on https://www.letour.fr/indexTOO_us.html (Tour of Oman) and https://www.voltaaoalgarve.pt/ (Volta ao Algarve).

Europcar Team for the Volta ao Algarve
The Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta stage race from the 19th to the 23 of February brings many of the ProTour teams to Portugal.

The Europcar Team riders are:
Bryan Coquard, Jimmy Engoulvent, Vincent Jerome, Maxime Mederel, Alexandre Pichot, Perrig Quemeneur, Bjorn Thurau, Thomas Voeckler.
Directeur Sportif: Benoit Genauzeau.

Kruijswijk Returns to Racing in Algarve
Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk returns to the peloton in the Volta ao Algarve next week, February 19 to 23. The Belkin Pro Cycling Team rider underwent groin artery surgery last September and worked hard this winter to recover. He looks forward to his racing return.

“I’m excited,” said Kruijswijk. “It’s been a long winter for me but fortunately, I had few setbacks. I was able train often. Now, I’m curious to see how I respond in racing because a training ride is not a race. I’ll have to wait and see how it goes when I dig deep. I’m confident, however. I’m ready too. Other races have already begun and I feel the itch to get going.”

Kruijswijk’s main goal in Portugal will be to gain race rhythm. “It is important to get as many race kilometres as possible in my legs. Algarve features a few hard stages, but I won’t back down. At the end of the week, I’ll see how I responded. I hope that I’ll be good for the Tour of Catalonia but I do not want to look too far ahead yet.”

Kruijswijk, like the rest of his team-mates, will have a chance to show himself in the Algarve. Sports Director Nico Verhoeven explained that all his riders are free to have their chance in the stage race. “We don’t race to train but in the first race of the year everyone needs to dot the i’s, and that’s why they have their freedom. Everyone. We are allowing all of the guys to take the initiative and to try something.”

Verhoeven, after looking over the tricky finals and 13-kilometre time trial, said that Wilco Kelderman will be Belkin Pro Cycling Team’s man to watch. Kelderman placed 15th in last year’s race. “Normally Wilco would be our man for this race but we won’t approach this race like we have a real leader.”
Thanks to the Belkin team.

Team line-up:
Marc Goos, Wilco Kelderman, Tom Leezer, Rick Flens, Steven Kruijswijk, Bram Tankink, Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants.
Sports Directors: Erik Dekker and Nico Verhoeven.

Tour Of The Algarve 2012, Stage 3 Final Climb:

Nizzolo Breaks Collarbone in Training
Press Release: Giacomo Nizzolo suffered a crash during a training camp in Mallorca and broke his right collarbone. He will undergo surgery on the island on Saturday morning and travel home on Sunday.

Nizzolo: “We were out training and it happened super fast. It was in a turn. I must have hit something and before I knew it I was on the ground. It happened in a blink of an eye.”

“I fell with my whole weight on my shoulder. I don’t even have a scratch besides the fracture”, said a disappointed Nizzolo. “Danilo (Hondo) called an ambulance straight away and they took me to a hospital in Palma.”

In the hospital an X-ray revealed a displaced fracture of the collarbone with one fragment between the two main pieces. The doctors in the hospital, in consultation with the team’s medical staff, have decided to surgically treat the bone, an operation scheduled for Saturday morning.

Nizzolo was set to ride the Volta a Andalucía in Spain next week, and then continue onto Paris-Nice. The team doctors will closely follow-up with Nizzolo’s recovery and his come-back schedule is yet to be determined.

The best of Giacomo Nizzolo:

Jan Ullrich Ambassador for Storck
Multi-champion Jan Ullrich has agreed to be brand ambassador for Storck Bicycles. the German was one of the strongest riders in the peloton between 1995 and 2006, although he did have dealings with Dr. Fuentes and was eventually suspended. “But he is still an idol for thousands of fans and recognized as one of the most important German riders,” said Markus Storck, managing director of Storck Bicycle “It’s a pleasure to work with Jan. We see the human Jan, who cares about cycling with a passion. It’s our passion too and we like to support him with the best bikes.”

Ullrich said the the relationship with Storck Bicycle would be “faithful and amicable,” adding: “I’m absolutely convinced of the high quality of Storck bikes. The Aernario is one of the best bikes I have ever ridden.” Jan Ullrich will be riding a Storck Aernario in the Cape Argus Tour in South Africa on 9th of March and attending training camps on Mallorca in March and April. He will also attend Storck Cyclingweek in the South Tirol, 6-14th April.

The good times with Jan Ulrich:

Clip Moustache – Team Europcar
It’s amazing what you find in YouTube, this one is by the Europcar team, I’m lost for words:


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