What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday: Fab Flanders!

Another fun packed EuroTrash: De Panne, GP Miguel Indurain, Volta Limburg, La Rioja, Route Adelie and star billing to the Tour of Flanders. And what a race with Spartacus taking his third win. In other cycling news; we preview País Vasco and La Sarthe, Armistead extends contract, the Redlands Classic and round 3 of Sky V’s Orica. Big EuroTrash Monday!

TOP STORY: Too Many Crashes in Flanders?
There did seem to be more crashes in this year’s Tour of Flanders than normal, OK we know it can be a dangerous race, there have always been the cobbles and the sharp climbs and everyone wants to be in the first group of riders to hit them. The stories of riders elbowing a gap for their team leader to more nearer the action have been around for a long time, there is never a case of “after you” at the base of the Oude Kwaremont or the Koppenberg. But this year there were more crashes that maybe could have been avoided (plus all the others!): Popovych fell in a gutter, Gallopin hit a bus stop and the worst was probably when Johan Vansummeren hit an old lady who was stood on a traffic island just outside Wielsbeke after around half an hour of racing.

Vansummeren emerged from the hospital with a black eye and a head wound, the lady was not so lucky and was in a critical condition. Vansummeren was still in a state of shock when he was released form hospital. “With me it’s not so bad. I have a black eye and stitches in my face, but that’s not important right now. I’m shocked, epecially when other people are involved.” He added: “I feel worse about the fact that the lady is hurt, than my crash. Falls are part of my job, but this is bad for the family. I will leave them alone at first, but will in a few days contact them. Hopefully thing will go well for her.”

Vansummeren know’s why there are so many cases. “The Ronde is hype. There are only a few days a year that the riders are so tense and there’s a lot of people going. Narrow roads and front rates, that’s about it at this rate. I have no desire to go deeper into the collision itself,” said Vansummeren clearly in shock. “I would quickly get bogged down in a debate in who is to blame. Accidents happen every year, but a large part of the blame lies with everything they put on the road. It should have been a lovely Sunday, but it is anything but. I will not sleep well tonight.”

More crowd control would ruin the race for many spectators, but less ‘street furniture’ would help.

Here is a ‘Crash Compilation’ just in case you missed any:

De Ronde Van Vlaanderen 2014
Read the full report by Mark here on PEZ.

Fabian Cancellara wins Ronde van Vlaanderen from a four-man leading group, his third victory in the Flanders’ Monument.

It was a game of ‘cat-n-mouse’ as four riders entered the final kilometre and slowed to a crawl, each watching the other, waiting for the first rider to make the first move. At 300 meters to go they still eyed each other. Finally, Fabian Cancellara, sitting in fourth wheel, jumped, and immediately opened a gap. The others reacted, but none could match ‘Spartacus’ as he powered his way to the finish line: it was an impressive third win at Ronde van Vlaanderen. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) rounded out the podium.

“I tried to ask Dirk [Demol] through the radio how many seconds we had because the last thing I wanted was the others coming back,” explained Cancellara soon after the race had finished. “That would have been the end of the world. For the spectators at home I am sure it was an exciting track final. It was man against man and I just kept pushing to the end. I did it for the team, and for my wife because I promised to bring the flowers home. I feel sorry for the Belgians. I was against three Belgians at the end….but now I am happy and it’s time to go rock the bus and have a nice evening.”

The 259 kilometre race came down to a riveting tactical battle as Fabian Cancellara had to play a cool hand with no teammates remaining, most victims of crashes that marred the race all day.

The first major crash for the team happened with 112 kilometres to go, which took down Stijn Devolder and Gregory Rast. A few kilometres later Yaroslav Popovych would hit the tarmac hard, resulting in a trip to the hospital.

“The only thing I knew is that I hit a lady in red with my handlebar. There is nothing broken, I am lucky,” said Yaroslav Popovych when reached at the hospital. “I may have a torn tendon in the hip. I could not walk at first and I was thinking the worst. I am very sad not to be able to finish the race, and especially to help at the end.”

It would not be the last crash for the team, as Stijn Devolder would go down for the second time just before the penultimate ascent of the Paterberg.

“A lot of bad luck,” said a disappointed Devodler. “My elbow is really bad, my back too, and it was too much to continue. I really wanted to do the last 40k of the race. I am really disappointed because I know I could be there with Fabian at the end.

“After the first crash Gregy [Rast] got me back on, he helped me a lot, and I came back to the first group pretty easy. Just before the second crash I went back to the car and said, ‘I feel really good today,’ and then in one second everything changed. After the second crash I had to change the bike, and the car was not there so I had to go for 5k before I could change it. It was just in a bad moment. In the end I am really happy that Fabian won, that makes this all feel better.”

With no more teammates around him Cancellara had to rely on his savviness and strength. On the Kwaremont, with only the Paterberg climb remaining, Cancellara launched a brutal attack that only Sep Vanmarcke could follow, leaving the other favourites scrambling behind. Over the top they would grab back the two leaders, first Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and moments later Greg Van Avermaet. This would be the final four-man selection.

“Since I was alone I knew I had to make the selection up the Kwaremont. On the Paterberg I could not go more, I was dead, and then I had to make a gamble to stay with Vandenbergh, Vanmarcke and Van Avermaet. I wanted to finish alone, but today it was better to wait for the sprint. Winning solo was the goal – I wanted to lift the bike over the line – but I was not afraid to sprint at the end, since then it is each man for himself; I still don’t know how I did it, I just did it.

“The race was quite intense, quite hard. We lost a lot of riders to crashes straightaway. To manage a race like this was amazing. Everyone did his little piece – Jesse [Sergent], Markel [Irazar], Hayden [Roulston], all the team – you need these little pieces to be at the top of the pyramid.

“It was so tough, I almost got dropped two times when they attacked. I don’t know, everything went well in the end. It’s just amazing. Last year I won in an amazing way here, but to repeat, this is even bigger – I have no words. There is no Monday, we said with the team before the race.”

BMC Racing Team’s Greg Van Avermaet forced the decisive selection at Ronde van Vlaanderen Sunday on the way to a career-best runner-up finish. “It was a sprint of the strongest and Fabian started his sprint at the same moment,” Van Avermaet said. “He was a little bit stronger than me. It is a little bit disappointing for me because Flanders is a dream. It is too bad I don’t have it, but I am happy that I was up there in the first group. It gives me confidence and should also give the team confidence. I am only 28 years old, so there are still a few years to come.” Van Avermaet’s previous best finish was fourth in 2012 after placing in the top 10 two other times: seventh last year and eighth in 2008.

Riding in a lead group of 13, Van Avermaet attacked 30 km from the finish and only Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) followed. With Van Avermaet doing nearly all the work, the pair built a 30-second lead before Cancellara and third-place finisher Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin) bridged the gap after the last climb. “I am a little disappointed that Vandenbergh was not working with me so I was always riding on my own,” Van Avermaet said. “I felt very strong and tried to get a good tempo, knowing the strong guys would come. I made it over the Paterberg and then waited a bit.” Already runner-up at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad last month, Van Avermaet said he thought his race was over when he suffered a flat tire earlier in the race. “Klaas Lodewyck gave me a wheel and Silvan Dillier, Michael Schär and Manuel Quinziato did a great job to bring me back on the Koppenberg in the position,” he said.

In his first outing in “The Ronde,” BMC’s Taylor Phinney was part of an 11-man breakaway that enjoyed a six-minute lead and more than 175 km of freedom before being caught with 43 km to go. “It is always a bit of a relief to get in a breakaway in a monument because then you don’t have to deal with the stress all day,” Phinney said. “It also sets the team up well because they know they always have me up there if they want to bridge across. I was feeling really good and knew I was one of the strongest form the breakaway. I just wanted to last as long as I could and try to be helpful in the later part of the race when it really started to kick off from behind.”

Third placed Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin): “In the last kilometres, I was having cramps and I said to myself, ‘I have to finish on the podium,'” said Vanmarcke. “I decided to go on safe. I even closed a gap myself as otherwise I knew I could end up fourth. I’m happy with my third place, but now, slowly, a sense of disillusionment hits me. If I had started the sprint earlier, you never know what could have happened.”

The road to the podium was not without a struggle for Vanmarcke. In the first part of the race, the Belgian hit tarmac hard. “I fell right on my neck and was suffering for quite a while. I also wasted some power returning to the peloton, but the team continued to motivate me and after the first cobblestone section, I found my rhythm again. I started believing in my chances again. When I told my team-mates that, it motivated them. It was very hectic today, but after my crash, I never got into trouble thanks to my team-mates. That was great.”

This year, Vanmarcke already finished in the top five of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, E3-Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. After his podium spot in the Tour of Flanders, the man from Kortrijk hopes for another top result in next Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix. “I definitely will be ready for next week.”

Fourth was the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step strong-man; Stijn Vandenbergh: “When Van Avermaet went I was on the front, so the team said if someone attacked, a rider of the team has to always go with them,” Vandenbergh said “So, I was just the guy on the front to be able to go with him. We were able to make it to the finish. I did a good attack at 3 kilometers to go, but you have to also in that kind of moment be a little bit lucky that the other riders might be too busy watching each other. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. But I did my best in the final with the situation I was in. I tried to go for a win and attack as best I could, but the guys with me were strong and I have to congratulate Cancellara for the victory.”

Tinkoff-Saxo Dane, Nicki Sørensen finished 13th in his first Ronde van Vlaanderen: “Of course, I’m really impressed by Nicki who stepped up in a big way after both Benna and Matti crashed out of the race. The rest of the guys did a good job until the finale and Nicki constantly fell in and out of the group of favourites and showed a lot of heart out there knowing that he was the last man standing on the team. AS far as we know, they (Bennati & Breschel) haven’t suffered any fractures,” said DS, Steven De Jongh after the race.

De Ronde Van Vlaanderen Result:
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek in 6:15:18
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkn
4. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:08
6. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:18
7. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:35
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:37
9. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:41
10. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:43.

The Fab Flanders Finalé:

VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde 2014
Two in a row for Sacha Modolo. The Lampre-Merida rider repeated the success of the previous day by winning the bunch sprint into De Panne at the end of Stage 3a of the Three Days of De Panne on Thursday Morning.

Just like in stage 2 the Lampre-Merida team were perfect in leading the group and chased down all the escape attempts, before leading out Modolo on the run-in to the final bend with 400 metres to go. The Italian sprinter was 5th in line before he started his sprint on the left side of the road, overtaking the opponents and crossing the finish line ahead of Andrea Guardini (Astana), Kenny Van Hummel (Androni-Giocattoli) and Kenneth Van Bilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

This is Modolo’s 6th victory in 2014 and the 9th for Lampre-Merida.

“Today the control by the opponents was stricter and the team was charged by a higher responsibility,” Modolo explained. “I had no doubt that my team mates could fulfil in the best way our expectations. In the final kilometres, Cimolai was great and he supported me in the approach of the last turn. On the final straight, the opponents thought I would have started the sprint on the right side of the road, on the contrary I chose the left side and this helped me to win.”

Joren Segers & Jaap De Man (Team 3M), Stijn Steels (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Jay Robert Thomson (MTN-Qhubeka) and Martijn Maaskant (UnitedHealthcare) broke away after 20 kilometres, but they were held at 3 minutes advantage before being pulled in by Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, Giant-Shimano and Lampre-Merida with 12 kilometres to go, then Lampre took control for the sprint.

Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) kept the overall lead before the final TT stage in the afternoon, but as second placed Oscar Gatto (Cannondale) didn’t start the morning’s stage; the final result was wide open.

VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde Stage 3a Result:
1. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 2:22:20
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
3. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
4. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Ralf Matzka (Ger) NetApp-Endura
6. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
9. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Neri Sottoli
10. Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN-Qhubeka.

VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde Overall After Stage 3a:
1. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 11:20:05
2. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:03
3. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:05
4. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 0:09
5. Vincent Jerome (Fra) Europcar
6. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:20
8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:24
9. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:25
10. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:26.

Stage 3a finalé:

The general classification of VDK Driedaagse de Panne-Koksijde came down to four riders on THE course at the same time: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team riders Niki Terpstra, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, and the race leader Gert Steegmans against Orica-GreenEdge rider Luke Durbridge at the 14km Stage 3b time trial on Thursday.

Van Keirsbulck emerged as the overall winner thanks to an impressive top 5 finish in the stage. He placed 5th with a time of 18:02. Gert Steegmans rounded out the GC podium, finishing with a time of 18:19 in the stage.

The day, however, did not go perfectly for OPQS. Niki Terpstra had a problem with a small broken piece of his left pedal when he left the start house, which left him unable to clip back in and push 100 percent, especially accelerating after the corners, for the rest of the race. Terpstra was unable to contest the stage or the overall, but despite the mechanical problem he finished 4th in the GC with an 18.21 stage finishing time.

Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale) won the stage (17.51) by 3 seconds over Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura) and 6 seconds over David Boucher (FDJ.fr).

“I came here with the goal to work hard and try to win a stage,” Steegmans said. “Then I ended up with the leader jersey, so at that point I did the TT full gas. But it’s nice to be beaten by Guillaume. It would have been even nicer if we could have done 1-2-3 with Niki. But despite the bad luck of Niki, we’re happy about the win. Guillaume deserves the victory as he is riding really well.”

“I’m super happy,” Van Keirsbulck said. “It’s something unexpected. In the team we had really strong riders like Steegmans and Terpstra, so I wasn’t really thinking about the classification. But today I said to myself to try 100 percent and see what could have happened. At the end of the race I was at the team bus and they called me to go to the podium. It was a great feeling. Rik van Slycke really pushed me a lot during the race. He told me that I was fighting for the GC, so I really gave everything. I’m super happy, really. I rode Sunday at Gent-Wevelgem, It wasn’t in my schedule originally, but now I’m happy to have done it. It gave me a good feeling on my condition and the right race rhythm. I can consider this the most important victory of my career. I think that I developed the base for this season starting last year at La Vuelta. That was my first big tour. Since that moment I feel stronger, even if I know that I have to work really hard to even improve. I also solved my problem with the back that was present during my winter training. Now I’m happy and I can enjoy this moment.”

Jan Barta finished the individual time trial as the second fastest rider, he rode the 14.3 kilometre in 17:54 minutes, only three seconds behind the winner Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale). With this result, Barta showcased his qualities as a time trial competitor; the 29-year-old from the Czech Republic has placed in the top ten in every time trial this season.

“We can definitely be pleased with this result. It was an excellent time trial for Jan, but we also expected that. Jan put in extra work preparing for this tour and especially for the time trial. That’s why it’s all the more frustrating that yesterday we lost all of our chances for a good result in the general classification. Obviously it’s hard to make up for Paul Voss and Daniel Schorn. But fifth place for Ralf this morning and second place for Jan this afternoon, is still a redeeming way to end the tour,” Sport Director Enrico Poitschke said, summing up.

Barta will be at the starting line this coming Sunday for the Tour of Flanders and will attempt to make an impression for Team NetApp-Endura in the third WorldTour Classic of the season. “We will also be at a disadvantage in the upcoming Tour of Flanders, since we have lost Paul Voss, who was supposed to be the team captain. Not only that, but many of our guys were involved in crashes over the past few days. Nevertheless, we will present ourselves as best we can and give it our all,” Poitschke added.

VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde Stage 3b Result:
1. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale in 17:51
2. Jan Barta (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 0:03
3. David Boucher (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:06
4. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:07
5. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:11
6. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 0:13
7. Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale at 0:14
8. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:16
9. Sander Cordeel (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace
10. Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 0:25.

VDK-Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde Final Overall Result:
1. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 11:38:16
2. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:07
3. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:08
4. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:15
5. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 0:21
6. Vincent Jerome (Fra) Europcar at 0:25
7. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 0:27
8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:32
9. Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 0:33
10. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha.

Stage 3b TT:

GP Miguel Indurain 2014
Alejandro Valverde took his 7th victory of the season, Movistar Team’s 11th at the GP Miguel Indurain, breaks 16-year streak without victories for Unzué’s riders in only Navarran pro race-

No riders from Eusebio Unzué’s squads have won the only pro cycling race in Navarra since 1998, the last edition ridden under the name of the Trofeo Foral. Saturday marked the end of such streak as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar ) claimed a brilliant victory in the GP Miguel Indurain, held over 187km with more than ten climbs around Estella, including five passages through the demanding, crucial slopes towards the Basílica del Puy.

An 18-man break went away right from the start, with two from Movistar; Gorka Izagirre and Jesús Herrada, always paying attention to the moves in an attempt closely followed by his team-mates, especially Sanz and Moreno. The escape was reduced to six men over the Alto de Guirguillano, 50k from the end, still with both Movistar Team featuring. Behind, the pursuit group struggled through the climbs and shrunk to only 25 riders before the final loop. After the six were caught, with 35km remaining, and following another attempt with Herrada himself as well as John Gadret, Valverde decided to set things straight, attacking into the penultimate passage through Ibarra and reaching the Frenchman. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) and Sergey Chernetskiy (Katusha) were the only riders able to follow him.

Alejandro moved again at the second-to-last climb, Eraul (Cat-2), went solo and opened a gap which grew up to one minute across the finish. Valverde is now alone on top of the most winning riders’ list of 2014, with seven, as he also takes his 80th pro success and Movistar Team’s eleventh of the season, in a day full of commitment and eventually joy for all the Blues.

Race winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I wanted so much to win here. The team was sensational, from the first to the last one – wherever we go, we always give our best. It was a really demanding circuit, but fortunately, it didn’t rain as much as expected. The rivals were fatigued after the work the guys did and at the last passage through the Ibarra climb, I saw it was time to attack. I had thought of moving again through Muru, the last slope before the Puy, but looking at how the race was developing, I anticipated it and tried in Eraul. Fortunately, that attack was enough. This victory is a confirmation that I’m still in good form. Now it’s time for País Vasco and the classics, my big goals. I knew I would be in good fitness for those and I did well today, but País Vasco will be that last bit I’m lacking yet. We will have a hard stage already on Monday, one to be concentrated and always ride up-front. This victory goes to all the fans that were on the roads supporting us, and especially to José Luis Oreja, an important person for cycling in Navarra who passed away recently.”

GP Miguel Indurain Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar in 4:52:01
2. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 1:02
3. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha
4. André Cardoso (Por) Garmin-Sharp at 1:06
5. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha at 1:08
6. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 1:40
7. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha at 2:18
8. Benjamin King (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 2:28
9. David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 2:39
10. Miguel Minguez (Spa) Euskadi at 3:11.


Volta Limburg Classic 2014
Moreno Hofland gave the Belkin Pro Cycling Team a home win today in the Volta Limburg Classic. The Dutchman out-sprinted Italians Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) and Mauro Finetto (Neri Sottoli) for the win in Eijsden.

“It’s really great to take the win for the team at home in the Netherlands and for our sports director, Frans Maassen,” Hofland said. “He really wanted to win this race.”

The win took special significance for the team in green and black, it marked its first time to win the classic and came on home soil. Besides being in The Netherlands, the race finished in the home province of the team’s Sports Director, Frans Maassen. “It’s a special race for me,” said Maassen. “I’ve tried several times to win with the team here and we’ve finally succeeded with Moreno. Frans Maassen is very happy.”

All eyes were on the home team in Saturday’s 196-kilometre classic, a race that Maassen considers a little Amstel Gold Race. Team’s expected Belkin to control and cover every move, which it did, but when it came time to win, the Dutch team played poker, as well.

“We knew we had to be in every break, that succeeded,” Maassen added. “We had Laurens ten Dam in the final escape of seven men. It was going to be hard for him to win against the guys in the group and so we wanted to put someone more of our men in the move. When that didn’t work, we gambled on the sprint with Moreno. We told Laurens not to pull and let it come to the sprint.”

The other teams worked to catch the group through Limburg’s hills and did so at 10 kilometres remaining. Nick van der Lijke was not feeling well and was unable to lead-out, but Maassen complemented the team’s work. “Martijn Keizer did a good job, but really, everyone had a hand in the win. In the last 10 kilometres, there were more attacks. Moreno did really well in that group of 45 riders that were front group. He had good potion in the last corner and did the sprint on his own.”

“I had to do the sprint on my own because all the guys worked before,” Hofland added. “I knew I had to be in the top three in the last corner, I did it. It was all or nothing. I was in second spot in that corner and ready for the win.”

With the victory, Hofland also notched up his third win of the season after a stage in Paris-Nice and the Vuelta a Andalucía. “The season is going well for me. I didn’t expect it to be so well,” Hofland said. “I felt strong since the beginning of the season, but in the last week I felt a bit sick. I took a rest and re-conned the course. I felt better, I knew the illness was over.”

Volta Limburg Classic Result:
1. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin in 4:46:41
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
3. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Neri Sottoli
4. Daniele Colli (Ita) Neri Sottoli
5. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Cult Energy Vital Water
6. Michel Kreder (Ned) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
8. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
9. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
10. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels.

Limburg finish:

Vuelta a La Rioja 2014
Michael Matthews has taken ORICA-GreenEDGE’s first win on European soil for the 2014 season, with a convincing bunch sprint victory at the Vuelta a La Rioja in Basque Country. Matthews bettered his second place position at this event last year, finishing off an exemplary display of teamwork by the Australian team to take the win ahead of Francesco Lasca (Caja Rural- Seguros RGA) in second and Carlos Barbero (Euskadi) in third.

“It’s obviously nice to win at any time, but the first win of the year is always hard to get,” said Matthews. “Once you get the first one they usually keep coming. The lead out was perfect today, probably the best lead-out I’ve experienced with any team. Hopefully the win today gives the team confidence that I can win and if we can keep these lead outs going there should be more wins to come.”

The team went into the 164.7 kilometre warm up race for this week’s six day Vuelta al Pais Vasco firmly focused on getting Matthews to the line for the win. “Everything went to plan today,” confirmed Matthews. “We came here and were expected to win. We had to work a little harder than we would have liked to bring back the break at the end and we had to sacrifice a few guys. Hopefully they can recover ahead of the first stage of Pais Vasco tomorrow,” added Matthews. “We’ve done recon on that stage and it’s going to be harder than we first expected. We’ll be giving it a good go tomorrow.”

A flurry of early attacks led to the formation of the day’s main breakaway, which included Christian Meier and Damien Howson. Once that was reeled in, a smaller break of six riders managed to escape and maintained a slim advantage over the bunch into the final kilometres of the race. With around 10 kilometres remaining, ORICA-GreenEDGE moved to the front and worked systematically to bring ensure a bunch sprint for Matthews.

“Our main objective today was to win,” explained Sport Director Neil Stephens. “We wanted to do it while conserving energy ahead of Pais Vasco, which is a big objective for us. We had Meier and Howson in the main break, but we decided it was too big,” Stephens continued. “It started to get out of control, so we worked to bring it back. A smaller break then went and Damien Howson assumed responsibility for keeping that break within reach. The guys worked together to bring that back,” Stephens added. “Brett Lancaster stepped in at the finish and did a great job to drop Michael Matthews off in a winning position.”

With the team’s first win of the European season coming relatively late in comparison with previous years, the confidence garnered from Matthew’s win has come at an ideal time ahead of the Basque tour that brought so much success for the team in 2013. “This win is really good for morale ahead of Pais Vasco,” said Stephens. “We’ve given our older guys a bit of a rest, which meant our younger guys had the chance to take a few opportunities, which they did quite successfully. Now our more experienced riders are back in the mix, and we’re going to try to win some bike race again. It’s taken a little while to get our first victory in Europe this year, but this is a great sign of things to come in the weeks ahead.”

Vuelta a La Rioja Result:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 3:54:34
2. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
3. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Euskadi
4. Vicente Garcia (Spa) Louletano-Dunas Douradas
5. Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx
6. Jorge Martín Montenegro (Ecu) Louletano-Dunas Douradas
7. Evgeny Shalunov (Rus) Lokosphinx
8. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Pablo Lastras (Spa) Movistar
10. Jon Aberasturi (Spa) Euskadi.

La Rioja promo:

Route Adelie de Vitré 2014
Europcar’s Frenchman Bryan Coquard put his sprint to great use to at Route Adelie de Vitré, unleashing a superb acceleration to his third win of the season in Vitré (France) on Friday April 4th.

The 21-year-old Frenchman did not disappoint in his role as the days favorite, edging out Julien Simon (Cofidis) and Benoit Jarrier (Bretagne-Seche). All of Coquard’s 2014 wins so far have been achieved in France; before today’s gem, Coquard had been on the highest step of the podium in two stages at the Etoile de Besseges.

Route Adelie de Vitré Result:
1 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar in 4:39:21
2. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
3. Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
4. Clément Koretzky (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
5. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
6. Christophe Laborie (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
7. Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Team Raleigh
8. Julien Duval (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
9. Sébastien Delfosse (Fra) Wallonie-Bruxelles
10. Julien Bérard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Route Adélie 2014 Arrivée:

Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco 2014
The Basque/Spanish WorldTour stage race starts today (Monday the 7th) and runs through to Saturday the 12th. Always a hard race with good start list of strong riders, among others; Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Samuel Sánchez (BMC), Tony Martin and Michael Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Fränk and Andy Schleck (Trek), Carlos Betancur and Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale).

There has always been top winners in País Vasco:
Jacques Anquetil (1969),
Luis Ocaña (1971, 1973),
Sean Kelly (1984, 1986 & 1987),
Stephen Roche (1989),
Tony Rominger 1992, 1993, 1994),
Alex Zulle (1995, 1997),
Alberto Contador (2008, 2009).

Stage 1-Ordizia to Ordizia-153.4km,
Stage 2-Ordizia to Dantxarinea (Urdazubi)-155.8km,
Stage 3-Urdazubi-Urdax to Vitoria-Gasteiz-194.5km,
Stage 4-Vitoria-Gasteiz to Arrate (Eibar)-151km,
Stage 5-Eibar to Markina-Xemein-160.2km,
Stage 6-Markina-Xemein to Markina-Xemein (ITT)-25.9km,
Total Distance-840.8km.

Race website: https://vueltapaisvasco.diariovasco.com/index.php

What the team’s have to say:

Giant-Shimano for País Vasco
The WorldTour stage racing continues next week with the Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco starting on Monday. Following a strong showing in Catalunya, Warren Barguil (FRA) returns to the hills to once again test himself against some of the world’s best climbers as he continues to prove that he can be regarded in the same category.

Road-captain, Johannes Fröhlinger (GER) who rode a consistent race supporting the team in Catalunya will again be guiding a young team here which also includes recent yellow jersey wearer at Critérium International, Tom Dumoulin (NED).

“We will have a good idea of what sort of GC focus we will take after the opening stage which will already shake the overall up a lot,” said coach Addy Engels (NED). We have Tom D and Simon Geschke (GER) here too who are also building towards the Ardennes Classics, and they will look to target a stage to test their form. And then we have Daan Olivier (NED) in just his second race back after injury so for him we will just see how it goes and let him get his confidence and experience back. In general we will take it day-by-day and take each stage as it comes.”

Warren Barguil (FRA), Thomas Damuseau (FRA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Daan Olivier (NED), Tom Peterson (USA), Georg Preidler (AUT).
Coach: Addy Engels (NED).

Europcar team for País Vasco
Yukiya Arashiro, Natnael Berhane, Cyril Gautier, Davide Malacarne, Maxime Mederel, Kévin Reza, Pierre Rolland, Romain Sicard.
Directeur Sportifs: Andy Flickinger & Ismaël Mottier.

Movistar team to País Vasco
John Gadret, José Herrada, Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre, Gorka Izagirre, Javi Moreno, Rubén Plaza, Alejandro Valverde.
Sports Directors: Jóse Luis Arrieta and Chente García Acosta.

Tinkoff-Saxo for País Vasco
Monday April 7th we take on Vuelta País Vasco, which is quite similar to Volta a Catalunya in length and intensity with several categorized climbs every single day. But the race is concluded with a 26.9 kilometre slightly undulating individual time trial. Tinkoff-Saxo’s line-up: Alberto Contador, Roman Kreuziger, Bruno Pires, Jesper Hansen, Jesus Hernandez, Michael Mørkøv, Rory Sutherland and Sergio Paulinho.

Sports director, Philippe Mauduit says: “Alberto has been showing good form this season and it wouldn’t be natural if I didn’t expect him to deliver another podium performance here in this race. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. I think stage one, the uphill finish on stage four and the time trial will be the key stages. The initial stage looks pretty hard and the first mountain stage will always show surprises and we have to stay alert. Not just during this stage but throughout the race because every slope is a cunningly designed launching pads for attacks,” says Mauduit.

Motivated Team Belkin at the start in Pais Vasco
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM is determined to bounce back in the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco after some disappointing results in other WorldTour races. With Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema, the team is aiming for a good overall in Spain’s Tour of the Basque Country.

“This is a WorldTour race and so it’s a major goal for us,” said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. “The WorldTour is an absolute priority this year. So far we’ve had varying degrees of success. In Paris-Nice and the Tour of Catalonia, we missed out on good overall results because of bad luck. It’s clear that we will be looking for a result in Basque Country. The GC is our priority, but we will look for chances on a stage win every day.”

Zeeman knows how difficult the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco is, so he said that the riders should, as they always try, to work as a team. “We will have to be sharp and focused every day. We really need all the boys for that.”

Robert Gesink
Robert Gesink is fully recovered after he was forced to give up in Tirreno-Adriatico. “I feel good, and really look forward to race again. Pais Vasco is a beautiful race and several of us have won here in the past, which tells me that there are possibilities for us. We have a good game plan and are very ambitious, but we are realistic. We realise that we are aiming at a big target.”

During past editions, Gesink rode at his best. In 2011, he finished third in the overall, just like Bauke Mollema did one year later. “This is one of the most beautiful areas in Spain. Cycling is extremely popular in this region. A lot of fans always show up and they all know the riders. They really respect us, which is nice to see. It always gives me a boost.”

TEAM line-up:
Stef Clement, Jack Bobridge, Robert Gesink, Jonathan Hivert, Paul Martens, Bauke Mollema, Lars Petter Nordhaug and David Tanner.
Sports Directors: Erik Dekker and Merijn Zeeman.

Lotto Belisol: Preview Vuelta al País Vasco
The Vuelta al País Vasco starts on Monday 7th of April in Ordizia and finishes on Saturday 12th of April with an individual time trial in Markina. It’s the 54th edition of this WorldTour race.

Tough course
In the first two stages the riders immediately have to climb. The chance for a sprint is the biggest in the third stage. The toughest part comes in stage four. The final climb to finish place Arrate is five kilometers long at an average gradient of 8%. Finally there is an individual time trial in Markina. It promises to be a tough edition again. At the start are among other Alejandro Valverde, Cadel Evans, Alberto Contador and Carlos Betancur. Last year’s winner Nairo Quintana won’t participate.

With among other Jurgen Van den Broeck, Bart De Clercq and Maxime Monfort Lotto Belisol has many strong riders. Also youngsters Tosh Van der Sande and Tim Wellens can show themselves in one of the stages.

Mario Aerts, sports director: “We have quite a strong team for the Vuelta al País Vasco. With Jurgen Van den Broeck, Maxime Monfort, Bart De Clercq, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens we can definitely play along for a top ten place in GC or a stage win. In the third stage to Vitoria we count on the fast legs of Tosh Van der Sande.”

“We have to wait and see how it goes for Jurgen Van den Broeck. After his crash in Tirreno he rode in Catalunya, so his condition can only improve. Also Tim Wellens is in good shape. He’s proven that in Paris-Nice. He’s excellent in nervous races. Moreover it can be bad weather in the Basque Country and that’s also an advantage for Tim.”

Good training for the Ardennes races
“With the Ardennes classics coming up our riders can prepare themselves well here. The huge amount of climbing in Spain sharpens the condition. The past weeks we had our share of bad luck. Let’s hope that’s over now and we can complete the Vuelta al País Vasco safe and sound and with a good result.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Maxime Monfort, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx and Mario Aerts.

Orica-GreenEdge DS Neil Stephens Previews the Vuelta al Pais Vasco
Last year Michael Matthews was one place short of victory at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Rioja. Twenty four hours later Simon Gerrans stood atop the podium after he scored a win on the opening stage of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. Following in his teammate’s footsteps, Daryl Impey notched another win for ORICA-GreenEDGE on day two of Pais Vasco – his second win on the second stage in two straight years.

Undoubtedly, the Australian outfit has set a benchmark for itself in Spain. In the early part of the season, ORICA-GreenEDGE has spent valuable time developing its young riders, possibly at the expense of procuring big results but all for good reason. For La Rioja and Pais Vasco, the roster inserts several mature riders back into the mix for the intended purpose to win races.

In his own words, Sport Director Neil Stephens previews the six day Pais Vasco:
Our young guys have done an excellent job this season growing as professionals in a number of big races. As a team, we have been very clear that we are focused on developing our young riders in the early part of the season. Our lack of results in the short term is a trade off for achieving long-term success. We are practicing our patience and biding our time. Now it’s time to win. Teams come here with their A teams to prepare for the Ardennes week and to gauge fitness ahead of the Grand Tours. We are bringing a strong squad to capable of competing.

For this block of racing, we are back with some of our more experienced riders like Gerro [Simon Gerrans], Albasini and Weening. Making up part of the support group, we still have two 21-year olds and two 24-year olds. Michael Matthews is an example of one our young guys who is already winning races and who will get the nod to go for results here. La Rioja is necessary preparation for our goals in Pais Vasco. It’s a very explosive first stage of Pais Vasco and we need to be ready. Several of the riders are returning to racing after a break. They will use Sunday to get back into the race rhythm without going too deep before stage one of the tour on Monday.

Last year the first stage of Pais Vasco was a big target. This year it is even more so. The team has already assembled in San Sebastian so that we can recon stage one before racing begins. This is a reflection of how serious we are taking this race. It suits our style of racing. We are taking the bull by the horns and going for it.

Stage one of Pais Vasco is even harder this year than it was last year. We are looking at eight categorised climbs on day one. The last climb is between 15-20% just six kilometres to the finish. It will be much harder and a very intense stage. The intensity of it will suit our style of racing more than anything.

An interesting note: the town where we finish stage one, Ordizia, is where we won with Daniel Teklehaimanot at Villafranca last July. As a bike rider, I have won there four times. As a director, I have won twice. Hopefully I’ll make that three wins as a director on Monday. I have great hopes for the first three stages. Days two and three suit us well. It is the third stage, though, that’s another big target for us. The finish is in Vitoria. It used to be the finish for stage two, and it is where we claimed back to back victories with Impey. Vitoria is the capitol of the Basque country. They call it the ‘Green City’. GreenEDGE winning in the Green City has been the headline the last two years.

I am really excited about this year, and I think I have every right to feel that excitement. We’ve won a lot of bike races in Spain and a lot of those have been in the Basque country. We are capable of doing a lot here. I would love to repeat that headline for three years straight.

For me personally, this is home ground for me as I live near the first two stages. The mountainous terrain is really scenic. It’s a great part of the world if anyone is inclined to get over here for a visit.

ORICA-GreenEDGE for Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco:
Adam Yates, Christian Meier, Esteban Chaves, Michael Albasini, Michael Matthews, Pieter Weening, Simon Gerrans, Simon Yates.

Rui Costa will Lead Lampre-Merida in the Basque Race
Costa will lead Lampre-Merida in the World Tour event of Vuelta al Pais Vasco (7-12 April).

The Portuguese rider, who has just performed an altitude training period, will have the opportunity to improve his fitness in view of Ardennes classics, but of course he won’t miss the chance to get satisfaction in Spain.

Together with Rui Costa there will be top riders such as Damiano Cunego, very competitive climbers such Serpa, Durasek and Polanc, the reliable Portuguese Oliveira and Chinese Xu Gang, who showed an interesting performance in Coppi e Bartali that granted him a place in the selection for Vuelta al Pais Vasco, first World Tour race in his career.

Blue-fuchsia-green team will be directed by the duo Matxin-Vicino, who’ll receive the support by masseurs Chiodini, Leboso and Napolitano, by mechanics Pengo and Romanò, by doctor Beltemacchi and press officer Carlo Saronni.

“The selection for Vuelta al Pais Vasco is very competitive: it’s a World Tour appointment and this means that it will be important to score some points, not forgetting that this race is also an interesting passage towards Ardennes classics,” team manager Copeland explained. “Rui Costa has shown in the first part of the season that he always approaches the races with a competitive spirit, this is very good for the team, which will also rely on Cunego, who’s in good condition and is willing to repeat the amazing performances he realized in Vuelta al Pais Vasco in the past.

It will be interesting also to check the fitness of those riders that raced the demanding Volta a Catalunya and to admire the debut of Xu Gang in a World Tour event: he’ll be the first Chinese cyclist to race with a World Champion as team mates.”

Challenging Vuelta al Pais Vasco Ahead For BMC Racing Team
The BMC Racing Team will field a formidable roster for a challenging edition of Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Sport Director Valerio Piva said.

Van Garderen Will Lead
Among the BMC Racing Team’s eight riders are three grand tour podium finishers (Cadel Evans, Samuel Sánchez and Peter Velits), two former world road champions (Evans and Philippe Gilbert) and three stage winners this season: Evans at the Santos Tour Down Under, Amaël Moinard at Tour du Haut Var and Tejay van Garderen at Volta a Catalunya. The six-day race that begins Monday includes several mountainous stages and finishes with a 25.9-kilometer individual time trial. Piva said the team has several riders suited for the general classification. “After his performance at Catalunya, Tejay van Garderen will naturally be our leader,” Piva said. “Sánchez was good at Catalunya, he knows this race very well and he will also have protected status. Cadel is back after Tirreno-Adriatico and a training camp at altitude and Gilbert is here to finalize his classics preparation and maybe there will be a stage for him.” Van Garderen is fresh off a third-place finish at Catalunya and was runner-up at the Tour of Oman.

Special Race For Sánchez
Sánchez was the overall winner here in 2012 and has two points classification titles (2010, 2012) to go with stage wins in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012. “This race is special for me as I have managed to win everything and it is a race I know perfectly,” the past Olympic road race champion said. “The good of the team is my main ambition and I want to contribute by either winning a stage or helping my teammates to do so.” Evans said he is comfortable playing a supporting role as he points toward the Giro d’Italia. “Despite the below-standard results of February and March, things are coming together well,” the 2011 Tour de France champion said. “We have had a good period of training that should show in the next races that we are using to build towards the Giro. I would have liked to have had a few more results at this point of the season, but overall, things are progressing well.”

Download the BMC Racing Team’s roster card (PDF with bios, statistics, etc.): https://bit.ly/1i800E9

BMC Racing Team Vuelta al Pais Vasco Roster (April 7-12):
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Dominik Nerz (GER), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Peter Velits (SVK).
Sport Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA) & Yvon Ledanois (FRA).

Last years final of stage 4:

Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de la Loire 2014
The Circuit de la Sarthe is a UCI 2.1 race and runs from Tuesday the 8th to Friday the 11th of April and is based around the city of Le Mans. Five stages with a short 6.8 kilometre time trial in the middle.

Stage Details:
Stage 1: Saint-Jean-de-Monts to Saint-Gereon-197.2 km
Stage 2: Ancenis to Angers-88.3 km
Stage 3: Angers-Angers (ITT)-6.8 km
Stage 4: Angers to Pré-en-Pail-196.2 km
Stage 5: Abbaye de l’Epau to La Ferte-Bernard-184.8 km
Total Distance: 673.3 km.

Race website: https://circuitcycliste.sarthe.com/

What the team’s have to say:

Team Giant-Shimano heads to the four-day Circuit Cycliste Sarthe in France with a young team including three strong time triallists
The race is often decided on the individual time trial on stage three and with Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Chad Haga (USA) and Lawson Craddock (USA) here the team stands a good chance of performing well against the clock on their Giant Trinity Advanced SL bikes.

Ludvigsson finished third overall here last year and will be looking to improve on this after already having taken a time trial win and overall victory in France this season. “Much like in Critérium International, we have a young team here looking to learn and also to support Tobias for the overall,” said coach Christian Guiberteau. Having finished third here last year he knows what it takes to win it, but with a short time trial the gaps won’t be large and differences may come from other stages too like the tough final stage.”

Giant-Shimano line-up:
Jonas Ahlstrand (SWE), Lawson Craddock (USA), Chad Haga (USA), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Sea Keong Loh (MAL), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE).
Coach: Christian Guiberteau (FRA).

Europcar at La Sarthe
Riders: Giovanni Bernaudeau, Bryan Coquard, Brian Nauleau, Perrig Quemeneur, Angélo Tulik, Thomas Voeckler.
Directeur Sportif: Benoit Genauzeau.

Duque goes for opportunities at Circuit de la Sarthe
After solid performances at Settimana Coppi e Bartali and Criterium International, Team Colombia returns to France to take part to Circuit de la Sarthe (April 8th-11th), 4-days stage-race staged in Pays de Loire region.

Apart from stage 2 individual time trial, the race should provide several chances for fast men, as it proved several times in the past.

On the occasion, Sports Director Oscar Pellicioli will count on a 6-man line-up: Leonardo Duque is set to lead the team in France, sided by Juan Esteban Arango, Edwin Avila, Duber Quintero, Jeffry Romero and Rodolfo Torres.

“The race is characterized by undulating routes, that could favour fast all-rounders like Duque”, Oscar Pellicioli said. “He will go in search of opportunities, as will Jeffry Romero. The rest of the line-up provides us several more options for both sprints and breakaways, so I expect to see Team Colombia in the thick of the action a lot during the race.”

Juan Esteban Arango, Edwin Avila, Leonardo Duque, Duber Quintero, Jeffry Romero, Rodolfo Torres.
Sports Director: Oscar Pellicioli.

BMC Racing Team’s Bookwalter Back For Circuit de la Sarthe
Brent Bookwalter makes his return to racing for the BMC Racing Team Tuesday at Circuit de la Sarthe, nearly six weeks after being sidelined by injury.

Smaller Roster
A stage winner at the Tour of Qatar last year, as well as runner-up in both the U.S. national time trial and road championships, Bookwalter crashed in the final kilometre of the opening stage of Tour du Haut Var on Feb. 22. He injured his right knee, hip, hand and elbow. “I hadn’t planned to have such a gap in racing this spring, but the time off has only enhanced my motivation and appreciation for the bike,” Bookwalter said. “I have had a couple good weeks of training since my knee began feeling better and am excited to go back to Sarthe for my second appearance there.” Joining Bookwalter will be Tour Méditerranéen winner Stephen Cummings, Ben Hermans, Martin Kohler, Daniel Oss and Peter Stetina. Sport Director Jackson Stewart said the race-mandated six-man rosters could play a factor in the four-day, five-stage race that includes a 6.8-kilometer individual time trial on Stage 3. “It should make for some exciting racing,” Stewart said. “I think we are bringing a strong, experienced team that can expect results. Cummings, Hermans, Kohler, and Stetina have all showed they are having a strong season so far.”

BMC Racing Team Circuit de la Sarthe Roster:
Brent Bookwalter (USA), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Ben Hermans (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Peter Stetina (USA).
Sport Director: Jackson Stewart (USA).

Le Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de la Loire 2010:

Armitstead Extends with Boels-Dolmans
British woman’s road champion; Lizzie Armitstead will stay with her Dutch team until the end of 2016. She is woman’s road World Cup leader at the moment and her team, Boels-Dolmans is third in the World. The deal will take through the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The 25 year old London Olympic silver medallist said; “I am very happy that I am going to stay with this team. The decision was made easier for me because Danny Stam and Ellen van Dijk will be staying on for the same period. I like to continue working with these ambitious people. I think that, as a team, we have the potential to become the best in the world and I would like to contribute to that.”

Lizzie Armitstead wins the 2014 Women Ronde van Drenthe:

Redlands Bicycle Classic and San Manuel Band of Mission Indians present Stage 4 Results
Events of the 30th Year of the Classic

Press Release: The 30th annual Redlands Bicycle Classic presented by San Manuel band of Mission Indians shifted gears today. The riders left the mountains behind and headed back to downtown Redlands for the Saturday Men’s and Women’s Criterium.

Today’s criterium action was a chance for riders to pick up much needed time bonuses and a coveted stage victory. Additionally, teams were looking to protect their respective yellow jersey.

Protecting the leader’s jersey, Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies maintained control of the race, ultimately leading Leah Kirchmann to the win followed by Alison Powers of UnitedHealthcare in 2nd and Joanne Kiesanowski of Team Tibco in 3rd. The women’s race started off aggressively, but no serious breakaways formed although several riders tried their luck with a solo attacks. The finishing sprint would come down to Alison and Leah; Kirchmann would end up winning the stage and the 10 second time bonus extending her overall lead in the general classification.

Can Leah Kirchmann and her team hold on to the leader’s jersey? 10 seconds separate her from last year’s classic winner Alison Powers. Tomorrow’s Sunset Road Race Stage is sure to be aggressive with time bonuses on the line the first lap across the Queen of the Mountain.

Controlling the peloton was the order of the day much of the afternoon in the Men’s race. The Smart Stop team controlled the front, while a group of 9 got up the road and created gaps in excess of 40 seconds. With less than 6 laps to go in the race a few teams came to the front to set up the sprint, but the chase never caught the break and the move to get in the break paid off. The eventual winner Pierrick Naud of Garneau Quebecor survived the chase and went on to win the stage, Bobby Lea of SoCalcycling.com/Craig Shelly took 2nd followed by Eloy Teruel of Team Jamis Hagens Berman P/B Sutter Home.

The GC saw no changes to the top Three. Travis McCabe of Smart Stop looks up for a big challenge tomorrow as Tom Zirbel and William Routley of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies remain within 6 seconds of the yellow jersey.

The Men’s race top ten riders are separated by only 22 seconds going into tomorrow’s final stage on the Redlands Bicycle Classic. The Beaver Medical Group Sunset Road Race begins at 1:30 for Men and 10:00 am for Women. We hope to see you there.

This year’s event will be held April 2 – 6, 2014 in Redlands, CA and surrounding cities. The race features professional men and women’s races that will include five tough days of racing, beginning with a Circuit Race in the City of Highland on Wednesday, a time trail at Big Bear Lake on Thursday, a grueling road race in the scenic City of Beaumont on Friday, wrapping up in Redlands with a criterium Saturday, and the famous Sunset Road Race on Sunday.
For more information, including race times, distances, and volunteer opportunities, visit www.redlandsclassic.com.

About the Redlands Bicycle Classic
The Redlands Bicycle Classic is an all-volunteer organization, managed by the Redlands Bicycle Classic Organizing Committee, comprised of active community members that seek to see the promotion of cycling and its benefits in Redlands and its surrounding communities. The 30th Annual Redlands Bicycle Classic is scheduled for April 2nd – 6th. The event was founded in 1985 by a community group, chaired by then-Mayor Carole Beswick, to promote awareness of Downtown Redlands. Since that time, professional cyclists from around the world have been racing the event, which is centered in the city of Redlands, California. The event continues today invigorated by the RBC Organizing Committee’s adoption of, and commitment to, the events’ core virtues of Health, Diversity, and the Environment. The Redlands Bicycle Classic is on the USA Cycling (USAC) National Racing Calendar (NRC) of events and is the opening round of the ten race series.

About San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
The San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians is a federally recognized American Indian tribe located near the city of Highland, Calif. The Serrano Indians are the indigenous people of the San Bernardino highlands, passes, valleys and mountains who share a common language and culture. The San Manuel reservation was established in 1891 and recognized as a sovereign nation with the right of self-government. Since time immemorial, the San Manuel tribal community has endured change and hardship. Amidst these challenges the tribe continued to maintain its unique form of governance. Like other governments it seeks to provide a better quality of life for its citizens by building infrastructure, maintaining civil services and promoting social, economic and cultural development. Today San Manuel tribal government oversees many governmental units including the departments of fire, public safety, education and environment. For more information, visit https://www.sanmanuel-nsn.gov.

Sky V’s Orica-GreenEdge Round 3
With the series locked at 1-1, the third round of #SKYvOGE plays out like a final with everything on the line. In the Supermarket Sweep, one soigneur from each team must purchase five items chosen by the opposing team and bring them all back to the hotel. First one back with all five items wins. Who will come out on top? Watch to find out!


Take a look at our new Instagram page for a live feed of #PeloPics, #DailyDistractions, and giveaways straight from your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews


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.


Any comments drop me a line, email address: [email protected] or Twitter. And there is the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Fan Page.

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.