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EuroTrash Crash Monday!

It’s been a good last few days for Australia and the Isle of Man with Cadel Evans winning in Trentino, Simon Gerrans in Liège and Mark Cavendish in Turkey, but not so good for Ireland. We have all the video, reports and rider quotes, plus: No Vuelta a Asturias, a preview of the Tour de Romandie, Sky team to the Giro and that crash of Dan Martin. A packed EuroTrash Monday!

The Vuelta a Asturias, which was scheduled for next weekend from the 2nd to the 4th of May, will not now be run due to financial problems. “A gap of €35,000 on a budget of around €200,000, puts the brakes on one of the classics of Spanish cycling,” the organiser said to La Nueva España.

Like other Spanish races, it has gone through financial difficulties to keep its format; in 2011 there were five stages; three in 2012 and only two last year. 2014 announced there would be three, but now there will be none.

The organisers had confirmed three stages, Oviedo – Posada de Llanera, Bueño – Pola de Lena and Tartiere Auto (Lugones) – Oviedo and the official poster was released with a photo of Nairo Quintana. The presentation was even scheduled for last week, but the CC Aram organization announced its cancellation, a symptom of the difficulties to get the race going. The organization, with Cristina Alvarez-Mendo, pointed to the Minister of Education, Culture and Sports, Ana González, “for breach of a promise, she had encouraged the organization to return to three days of competition” and emphasizes that “without the promise of the minister, the organization could have had a budget for two days.”

The Vuelta a Asturias held its first edition in 1925, but has run uninterrupted since 1968. With previous winners: Moreno, Intxausti, Txurruka, Mayo, Beloki, Jalabert, Olano, Zulle, Indurain, Breukink, Alcala and Ugrumov. It would have been Nairo Quintana last race before the Giro d’Italia.

Samuel Sanchez laments the loss of his home race; the Tour of Asturias. The BMC Team rider was in Belgium when he learned of the cancelation: “It’s terrible for cycling because we keep losing days of competition. Here are the top cyclists, but no teams or races,” Samuel complaint. The Spanish rider believes that “many people are hiding behind the crisis for not supporting the sport.” Sanchez was second in 2005 and won two stages, one in 2006 and another in 2008.

Another race bites the dust:

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014
Read the full Race Report here on PEZ.

While the early break of six riders: Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling), Michael Koch (Cannondale), Jacobus Venter (MTN-Qhubeka), Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Pieter Jacobs (Topsports Vlaanderen) and Marco Minnard (Wanty Group-Gobert) achieved a maximum lead of 15 minutes, behind, the peloton was in constant chaos counting crashes, deep attacks and intense pressure, which slowly and surely wore out the riders.

At the end of the race; two riders — Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) — remained ahead after attacking in the last 5 kilometres to get a 12″ gap. The peloton continued to shed riders as the front of the peloton kept trying to attack in the pursuit of the two leaders. It was last year’s winner; Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) who was closing in on the two riders when he crashed on that final corner. Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) rode full gas to catch Pozzovivo and Caruso before the line. Gerrans, however, had an impressive sprint and held on for the win. Valverde was 2nd and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) 3rd.

Simon Gerrans adds Liège to his Milan-Sanremo win: “It’s absolutely incredible, it was very tough at the end of the race, but thanks to the team I got through, I was pretty confident I would have a chance of doing well in a small bunch sprint, but after 260 kilometres everything is possible, and particularly after such a hard finish and tough final climb like that.” The Australian champ added that “I’ve always thought Amstel Gold was a much better race for me. Here for me to win it was a question of everything going exactly right. I always said I needed a perfect day for that to happen and that’s what happened today.”

“I’ve had some very beautiful wins in my career, but Liège-Bastogne-Liège is very special to me. I’ve competed in it for almost every year of my career, so to finally get the win is extremely rewarding. With 30 kilometres to go, coming in the Cote des Forges I didn’t have good legs and I told the team so, but they stuck by me and that gave me the extra confidence I needed to be able to go for the win.” As to the bad luck of Dan Martins: “It was obviously very unlucky for him to go down like that so close to the finish, particularly as he’s the defending champion. Fortunately it neither hindered nor benefited me, I came through on the inside and made it through.”

“To win any Liège-Bastogne-Liège is very special, but the fact it’s the 100th edition really puts my name in the history of the race, it’s a real honour. Our team got some fantastic results in 100th edition of Tour last year, and now to do that again; maybe that’s a good omen.”

Second Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “This second place leaves me happy, especially after such a week, including the victory in the Flèche. Everyone asks you to win, but we’re talking about Liège-Bastogne-Liège – it’s extremely difficult to make it. People may be accustomed to see me winning, but I’m really happy with this 2nd spot. One, two and four in these three classics – I don’t think there are many people who can achieve that. I think I rode well today, I kept the position I had to, but there was so many people fighting for victory today, so nervous and out of control. I must be thankful to the Izagirre brothers, because they calmed things down pushing at the front. The team was sensational, just like every day.

“At the final slope, I had to measure well my sprint because many people were still strong enough to contest it. You can always think: ‘Maybe if I had jumped a bit earlier, I could have dropped Gerrans.’ But you never know. He’s a super fast rider and we must congratulate him. He caught my wheel and was superior in the sprint. When it comes to myself, this is the end of the first part of the season, and I’m really, really happy with what I achieved. Eight wins, two podiums in the classics, three second places in País Vasco… I can’t ask for much else. Now I’ll spend three or four days off the bike, training on a softer regime afterwards and later starting to think about the Tour, with an altitude training camp and the Critérium du Dauphiné.”

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski has now been on two podiums out of the three Ardennes Classics, and this is his first podium in a cycling monument, he was also in the top 5 of Amstel Gold Race. Kwiatkowski also moved up to 5th place in the UCI WorldTour Individual Ranking. “I was aiming to be in really good shape for the Ardennes Classics and I did it,” Kwiatkowski said. “Especially today, ending in 3rd in one of the most prestigious Belgian races, the 100th edition of Liège – Bastogne – Liège, on a Belgian team. It’s special and I am super happy. If you feel good, sometimes it is difficult to wait. But I think I can count on my sprint and I was just waiting until the end. Especially if you have a lot of support from your teammates, which I did today, you can really believe that they will care for you the whole day and you just need to finish their work. It’s pretty simple in that way. In the end, I believed the chance would be for the bunch sprint and I was waiting to see how we could make it. I believe in my possibilities, and especially today I am satisfied with what I did. Last year I made good results in these races but couldn’t finish well here. So it was a little disappointing. But this year I prepared in a different way and today was my best day on the bike out of all the Ardennes Classics. It gives me great morale for the future knowing this.”

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) ended the classic season with a 15th place in Liège: “I’m not very happy, of course,” said Mollema. “I finished outside the top ten, while I had hoped to be up there. It’s a shame that I couldn’t get in the mix today. Normally, this race really suits me, but the waiting style of racing did not help me. At the line, it was almost a bunch sprint. With 800 metres to go, I was in a good position, but I just did not have the power to really get involved.”

Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol): “I’m satisfied with this result, I did everything I could to set a result as good as possible. In the final I tried to jump away, but you have to get company of the proper riders. There wasn’t any immediate cooperation when I tried to set up a breakaway and behind us there were no hesitations. I’m not as explosive as Gerrans, Gilbert or Valverde. It was my intention to get away with a group with my type of riders before the climb to Ans. From La Roche-aux-Faucons I started riding offensively. I took the initiative up to seven times. Unfortunately none of the attempts made it to the end.”

“The front group got over fifteen minutes lead. That means the race stayed closed for longer in the peloton, but the tempo was raised gradually and that made it impossible to break the race open early. It became an elimination. I’m very satisfied with my performance in the Ardennes classics. I really worked hard for this. I’m glad with my nice results. With the team I will now discuss what my next goals will be.”

The unlucky Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) said in his Facebook page: “The team rode a beautiful race today. We did everything right and they gave everything for me all day. I hit a patch of something on the road, I don’t know exactly what happened – it was like falling out of a tree – and down I went. Before I knew it, it was over. I think there were tears in my eyes before I hit the floor. I’m just so sorry. I know in my heart we did everything we could have to get me where I needed to be. I’m heartbroken I couldn’t deliver the win for the team but I’m proud of how they rode for me and of Tom finishing 6th. We’ll just have to come back next year and try again.”

Liège-Bastogne-Liège Result:
1. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE in 6:37:43
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:03
6. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:05
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:06.

The last 20 kilometres of Liège:

Presidential Tour of Turkey 2014
First competition in more than a month and already a win for Mark Cavendish! The Manx Express outclassed the rest of the field on sheer power in the last stretch of the 141-km first stage of the Tour of Turkey in Alanya to signal his prompt return to form after being sidelined by a stomach virus since Milan-San Remo. His Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team-mates worked hard for the Briton all day but he hardly needed them in the finale, popping up to upstage Dutchman Theo Bos (Belkin), who had launched the sprint a bit too early and had to be content with third place behind Italy’s Elia Viviani (Cannondale). Cavendish finally swapped his British champion jersey for the first Turquoise garment of this 50th edition.

The race left a rider behind, Italian Luca Wackermann (Lampre-Merida), who pulled out before the start. From the gun, four men parted with the peloton to stage the main break of the day. Martin Wesemann (MTN-Qhubeka), Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen), Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare) and former Turkish champion Mira Kal (Torku Sekerspor) took a maximum lead of 5:45 after 20 kilometres and stayed in front for 103 km before the peloton decided to stop playing cat and mouse and gear up for the first bunch sprint finish of the edition.

The attempt was not entirely vain since De Maar took advantage of the only climb of the day (km 54.8) to snatch the first King of the Mountains red jersey. The four were caught in the build-up to the day’s Turkish Beauty sprint in Alanya, won by Frederique Robert (Wanty-Group Gobert) ahead of Leigh Howard (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Jari Salomein (Top Sport Vlaanderen).

On the junction, Mirko Tedeschi (Neri Sottoli) attempted a brave five kilometres solo before being reined in at km 116.

The stage was then set for the bunch sprint everyone expected. While Belkin were very active for Bos, winner of a stage here in 2012, German champion Andre Greipel, himself crowned in Alanya in 2010, was seen working for team-mate Jonas Vangenechten. But in the last 200 metres, there was only one man left to pick the laurels.

Some questions for stage winner Mark Cavendish. How do you feel about this victory here in Turkey? “I’m really excited to come here for the first time in the Tour of Turkey and win it. I wasn’t sure of my condition; I didn’t know whether I’d be OK or bad after more than one month off. It’s a great feeling. My team did an incredible job to keep me out of the wind and put me in good position.”

Your team did a great job all day but you didn’t really need a train in the finale? “We have young guys in this team who went flat out and gave it a 100 pc and perhaps did too much a little too early but its part of the learning process. But I was in the top 6 in the finale, which is a good position to be in this kind of sprint. I managed to take a wheel and there was a little bit of headwind so I kicked out. I didn’t know what to expect, even if I did some sprints in training at home. Altogether I’m very happy with the way the team worked today.”

How does it feel to have Mark Renshaw back by your side? “We spent many years together, we had a lot of success. It’s nice to be working with him again.”

How important is it to win on your return? “It’s too early to get carried away. I don’t want to take it for granted that I won. But I’m really happy. I knew I was not in bad form but I didn’t necessarily expect to win at the end of April.”

Your goal is the Tour de France and how are you going to work towards this goal? “My team’s been very good this year. And they stayed flexible, ready to take it step by step and really take a short-term approach on my race programme. There was no better way to hail up than by winning. I hope it will carry on through May and June.”

(Omega Pharma Quick Step manager) Patrick Lefevere called you to tell you he was fully confident in you. Did it help? “I would love to win a bit more to pay him back for his confidence. We’ve had very good results this year be it in stage races or on the cobble classics. And this really only makes one more. Everyone is very supportive, it’s nice to feel. You’re human, you realise how important it is to have this faith. It really inspired me to win again. I hope it continues.”

Elia Viviani (Cannondale), 2nd: “When you don’t win, you always think you could have done something better or you made a mistake. But I was beaten by a great champion. I was in is wheel, ready to accelerate but he was also caught in the confusion of this sprint and in the end the conditions were the same for everybody. I might have ridden a little tougher in the last kilometre but it’s always difficult to lead a sprint from that far. However I’m glad about my condition. I’m well and I sprint well, which is a morale boost with the Giro in mind. It’s even very important.”

Theo Bos (Belkin), 3rd: “I can live with this third place,” says Bos. “There’s no disgrace in getting beaten by Cavendish. The boys did a perfect lead-out. I feel very strong, we probably have three sprint stages left, and I hope to win at least one.”

Marc de Maar (Unitedhealthcare), best climber: “I had studied the road book carefully and noted that the man who would be first at the top of today’s only climb would keep the jersey for two days. That’s why I went into that break. I also wanted to restore my confidence because I had a rather serious crash in the Fleche Wallonne last week. My lower back is still hurting and I don’t know how well I can climb in the tougher climbs from stage 3. In any case, my first mission in this TUR is accomplished. I’m delighted to wear a distinctive jersey for the next two stages.”

Frederique Robert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), leader of the Turkish Beauties Sprints: “I’m a sprinter but the designated sprinter for this stage was Danilo Napolitano. My role was to help him. Knowing I didn’t have a chance in the final sprint, I seized it in this Turkish Beauties sprint, telling myself why not. It’s good to hold a jersey. I might try to go into a break tomorrow to defend it for a day but I’m a terrible climber so it will be hard to think about it in the next stages.”
Thanks to the Tour de Turkey for info.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 1 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 3:15:43
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
9. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
10. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 1:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 3:15:43
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Andrea Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
9. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
10. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka.

Stage 1 action from Turkey:

Giro del Trentino 2014
BMC Racing Team’s Cadel Evans won Thursday’s Stage 3 of the Giro del Trentino and increased his overall lead with one day to go.

Evans earned his second victory of the season by pulling away with an attack in the last kilometre of the uphill finish of the 184.4-km race. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) finished second, three seconds later, followed by Mikel Landa and Michele Scarponi (both Astana) nine seconds later. The past Tour de France winner and world road champion now leads Pozzovivo by 45 seconds and Tiago Machado (NetApp-Endura) by 59 seconds with another mountain-top finish looming at the end of Friday’s 175-km stage. “I counted on the team all the way until really the last climb with two-and-a-half kilometres to go,” Evans said. “Martin Kohler, Daniel Oss, Steve Morabito, Brent Bookwalter, Sebastian Lander and Rick Zabel were really good. They did all the work until the third last climb. Then Brent and Yannick (Eijssen) and Steve took over and put me in a good position for the stage. Then it was up to me. That’s what you get for being patient and working hard.”

With a fourth-place finish on Wednesday’s stage, Evans had assumed the lead from teammate Daniel Oss after the BMC Racing Team won Tuesday’s Stage 1 team time trial. Controlling Thursday’s stage was not easy, BMC Racing Team Sport Director Fabio Baldato said. “The race was really hard and there were so many attacks at one moment that the guys decided to let a group of 11 go,” he said. “But I saw our team was strong mentally. They were really focused and motivated. Cadel did an amazing final. He did that because he saw the team was really strong all day and really organized.” Evans said he remains focused on conserving his lead on the verge of winning his first multi-day race since the 2012 Critérium International. “It is important for us to think about the GC (general classification) and what we have to do as a team and what I have to do with that as an individual,” he said.
Thanks to BMC for the race info.

Giro del Trentino Stage 3 Result:
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC in 4:43:43
2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:03
3. Mikel Landa (Spa) Astana at 0:09
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana
5. Igor Anton (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
6. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:25
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
8. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka
10. Fabio Duarte (Col) Colombia at 0:28

Giro del Trentino Overall After Stage 3:
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC in 9:23:43
2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:45
3. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 0:59
4. Igor Anton (Spa) Movistar at 1:01
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
6. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
7. Fabio Duarte (Col) Colombia
8. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:04
9. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 1:06
10. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:32.

Stage 3:

Cadel Evans won the Giro del Trentino Friday, marking the BMC Racing Team rider’s first victory at a multi-day race since 2012.

Evans was fifth to the summit finish at Monte Bondone at the end of the 175 kilometre Stage 4 won solo by Mikel Landa (Astana), 10 seconds ahead of Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) and 35 in front of Franco Pelizzotti (Androni Giocattoli). Arriving in a group of three 41 seconds behind Landa, Evans’s margin of victory in the final standings was 50 seconds over 2012 Giro del Trentino winner Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and 61 seconds better than Przemyslaw Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) in third. “In terms of racing, it was an enjoyable week,” Evans said. “To have a good result is always promising toward the Giro d’Italia and what we are all about. It was nice to see the team blend together and ride strongly this week. I know we have been a little bit fragmented in some of the races. But everyone came together and really put in everything for the team here, which was nice to see. For that part, I really feel it was a team victory.” Evans’s victory marked his first in a multi-day race since winning the two-day, three-stage Critérium International in March of 2012.

BMC Sport Director Fabio Baldato, who took to the podium to hoist the “fair play” trophy awarded to the BMC Racing Team, said the squad performed beyond his expectations. “I am really happy because at this point in the season, two weeks before the Giro, we were hoping to be at this point,” Baldato said. “Cadel is really strong and the team is ready too. We are seeing great team spirit and the teamwork was perfect. Thanks to that, we had a great result.” Evans’s path to victory started when the BMC Racing Team won Tuesday’s opening-stage team time trial. Evans took the fuchsia jersey from teammate Daniel Oss the next day with a fourth-place finish. His stage win on Thursday increased his lead to 45 seconds and was his first victory in Europe since winning Stage 1 of the 2012 Critérium du Dauphiné. In addition to Oss, teammates helping Evans to the victory were Brent Bookwalter, Yannick Eijssen, Martin Kohler, Sebastian Lander, Steve Morabito and Rick Zabel. “This was good for the motivation,” Baldato said. “I saw the guys fighting to come back and going to the front again to control the break. Today was another hard day to control. But everything was perfect.”

The final stage was taken by Astana’s Spaniard Mikel Landa, who is just 24, and probably has a bright future in front of him. Even younger South-African Louis Meintjes (22) came in second, while experienced Franco Pellizotti rounded out the stage podium.

Landa said after the finish: “It was actually Scarponi who told me to attack,” explained Landa. As no one was really making the pace in the group: that gave me a chance to succeed, but at the Giro I will settle back in a domestique role.” Landa’s endeavour, flourished in the final 2 km, but must be given its fair value. Nibali and Scarponi’s team might have found a really important setup man, but the Spaniard could turn out to be much more than a luxury domestique.

As in the previous stages, Lampre-Merida’s Przemyslaw Niemiec was able to manage his energies, despite the many attack attempts by his opponent; he could control the main contenders for a place on the podium. The Polish climber, thanks to the 4th place in the stage, at 41″ to the winner Landa, finished in 3rd position in the final overall at 11 seconds to Pozzovivo and at 1:01 to the winner; Cadel Evans.

“The top quality of the cyclists that are just ahead of me or behind me on the stage and in the overall classification makes me think I achieved an important result,” Niemiec pointed out. “It was not simple to control all these top climbers on a demanding climb such as Monte Bondone, but I set my regular pace and I could realize an impressive performance. In the final part of the climb, I controlled the rivals for the podium and I could get to my target. Finally, I could realize all my efforts in the results and this fact gives me morale in order to face the next important appointments: Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Giro d’Italia.”

Second on the stage and fifth overall, Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka): “I am extremely satisfied with my performance today but at the same time I am a bit disappointed as I was aiming for the win today. I am happy with the improvement in my performance since I did this race last year but the season is still young and I want to continue improving.”

Giro del Trentino Stage 4 Result:
1. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana in 4:49:39
2. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:10
3. Franco Pelizzotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:35
4. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 0:41
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
6. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:46
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana
9. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp-Endura at 0:49
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana.

Giro del Trentino Final Overall Result:
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC in 14:14:03
2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale 0:00:50
3. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 1:01
4. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia
5. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:06
6. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp – Endura at 1:07
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:09
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 1:11
9. Franco Pelizzotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 1:26
10. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana at 1:32.

The final stage 4:

Tour de Romandie 2014
Tuesday 29 April Prologue: Ascona 5.57 km
Wednesday 30 April Stage 1: Ascona to Sion 203 km
Thursday 01 May Stage 2: Sion to Montreux 166.5 km
Friday 02 May Stage 3: Le Bouveret to Aigle 180.2 km
Saturday 03 May Stage 4: Fribourg to Fribourg 174 km
Sunday 04 May Stage 5: Neuchâtel to Neuchâtel (ITT) 18.5 km.

Romandie website: https://www.tourderomandie.ch/en/1-home

And the Teams:

BMC Racing Team Announces Roster For Romandie
The BMC Racing Team hopes to carry momentum gained from Cadel Evans’s victory at the Giro del Trentino into next week’s stage race, the Tour de Romandie, says Sport Director Yvon Ledanois.

Course Suits Van Garderen
The six-day race begins Tuesday with a 5.6-kilometer prologue, includes two major mountain stages and ends with with an 18.5-km individual time trial. “The goal is to make the best possible result with Tejay van Garderen in the general classification, but also to continue the great team spirit,” he said. “Why not try to win stages as well, especially to keep the motivation that is already present in the big races?” Van Garderen said his preparations building toward the Tour de France are going well. Already this season, he has a runner-up finish at the Tour of Oman and third place and a stage win at the Volta a Catalunya to his credit. “I would like to go for as high of overall placing as possible in Romandie,” van Garderen said. “I think the parcours fits my strengths well. After Romandie, I will head to altitude where I will continue my Tour preparations. I think I am right on track.”

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

BMC Racing Team Roster Tour de Romandie Roster (April 29-May 4):
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Martin Kohler (SUI), Dominik Nerz (GER), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Peter Velits (SVK), Larry Warbasse (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sport Directors: Yvon Ledanois (FRA) and Max Sciandri (ITA).

Giant-Shimano Team for the Tour de Romandie
The Tour de Romandie will see two Team Giant-Shimano sprinters take to the start line with Marcel Kittel (GER) and Luka Mezgec (SLO).

It will be Kittel’s final race before the Giro d’Italia and he is joined by his trusty lead-out man, Tom Veelers (NED) as well as a strong, experienced team.

The race features two individual time trials and Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) will be eager to perform well in these, providing he is fully recovered from the ankle problems he had in Sarthe. Stages one and three feature mountain passes en-route, with the third being particularly hard with four first category climbs to get over.

“Our goal for the Tour de Romandie is to go for the sprints with Marcel and Luka and to also finish preparing the form before the Giro d’Italia,” said coach Lionel Marie (FRA).

“On paper there are a few opportunities where we could see bunch sprints and we will focus on these but Romandie is a hard race so we will be flexible. Luka has come on a long way this year and it will be a good opportunity for him to race with Marcel again and keep learning as he continues to develop his sprinting skills.

“Tobias will also be looking to test himself in the time trials against some of the best in the World. He had a few problems in France last week so there is no pressure on him.

“The goal for Georg Preidler (AUT) is also to get back into race rhythm after having some knee problems too, and although it’s a hard race it will be good for him to get back up to speed and see how his shape is.”

Giant-Shimano Line-up:
Thierry Hupond (FRA), Marcel Kittel (GER), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Georg Preidler (AUT), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED), Tom Veelers (NED).
Coach: Lionel Marie (FRA).

Europcar Team for Romandie
The Tour de Romandie runs from Tuesday the 29th of April to Sunday the 4th of May.
Europcar riders:
Cyril Gautier, Romain Guillemois, Tony Hurel, Christophe Kern, Davide Malacarne, Maxime Mederel, Bjorn Thurau, Thomas Voeckler.
Directeur Sportifs: Andy Flickinger and Lylian Lebreton.

Team Belkin sees opportunities in Tour de Romandie
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will start the Tour de Romandie with Laurens ten Dam as captain and several riders who will have the opportunity to challenge for a stage win. The stage race through the French-speaking part of Switzerland starts Tuesday, April 29, and will see its climax May 4.

“Laurens is our best climber and so he’s our GC rider,” said Sports Director Erik Dekker. “The overall will be decided ​​through the prologue, a super tough mountain stage, and the final time trial.”

Dekker said Belkin also aims for stage victories. “There are three stages in which we stand a good chance with Jonathan Hivert, Moreno Hofland and Paul Martens. I’m thinking about Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Wednesday is going to be a tough challenge, because the stage runs over the Simplonpass, a 35-kilometre climb. It will be tough, but we see opportunities. We really want to shine in Romandie. Everyone is fit and ready for it.”

Jonathan Hivert
Jonathan Hivert rode the Walloon classics with the team during the past weeks. “We did what we could. The level was very high and I think we have done OK, although things could have been better,” said the Frenchman, who joined the team this winter and feels better and better at home at the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM. “I’m starting to find my place in the team. I haven’t achieved my best shape yet, but I’m doing everything I can.” Hivert hopes to show himself in the Tour de Romandie. “I’ll be giving my all to win a stage. As a team, we want to win races in the World Tour. That is a major goal. I hope to have good legs.”

TEAM line-up:
Jack Bobridge, Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Jonathan Hivert, Moreno Hofland, Martijn Keizer, Paul Martens and Lars Petter Nordhaug.
Sports Directors: Erik Dekker and Mathieu Heijboer.

Movistar prepares in Romandie without Nairo Quintana
Jonathan Castroviejo, Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre, Juanjo Lobato, Jesús Herrada, Jasha Sütterlin, Sylwester Szmyd & Giovanni Visconti are the eight Movistar team riders under the direction of Chente García Acosta and José Luis Laguía. From Tuesday morning the 68th edition of the Tour de Romandie, the final round of the WorldTour before the Giro d’Italia which starts in exactly eleven days in Belfast.

The Swiss Tour will start with a prologue of 5.5 km in Ascona in the Ticino region, before facing a varied course, with stages in Sion (Wednesday) and Freiburg (Saturday) – probably a sprint stage finish in Montreux (Thursday) and the 1st category climb on the road to Aigle (Friday), with the final demanding ITT (19 km climb to the Frochaux) will close the event on Sunday in Neuchâtel.

OPQS to Tour de Romandie
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will participate in Tour de Romandie, a 747.77km race from April 29th until May 4th.

“This is a shorter stage race that starts with a 5.57 kilometer prologue and ends with an 18.5km individual time trial,” Sport Director Davide Bramati said. “So, it’s a race where three-time UCI World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin can be a factor. Michal Kwiatkowski may also play an important role, but we have to see how recovered he is from the efforts of the Ardennes Classics. He will race without pressure and we will see. Then, after this race he will take a period of rest. Tour de Romandie will also be an important step for Rigoberto Uran prior to the Giro d’Italia. He had some gastrointestinal problems in the last weeks, but the situation seems to be better. We will know more once we start the race. For him and for his teammates, this will be a way to prepare for the Giro in the best way possible.”

Jan Bakelants (BEL), Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), Thomas De Gendt (BEL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Tony Martin (GER), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director Davide Bramati (ITA) and Jan Schaffrath (GER).

Lotto Belisol: Preview Tour de Romandie
Whilst a part of the Lotto Belisol team is riding the Tour of Turkey, other riders will strive in the Tour de Romandie. The Swiss six days stage race starts on Tuesday 29th of April and ends Sunday 4th of May with an individual time trial.

A prologue in Ascona will kick off the 68th Tour de Romandie. The first stage, which is also the longest, ends with a climb of first category in Sion. The day after the sprinters get their chance in Montreux. The third stage to Aigle, where the UCI headquarter is located, is going to be crucial with four climbs of first category. In the fourth stage start and finish both are in Fribourg. Just like the second stage, the fourth will presumably be contended by sprinters. The last stage is a an individual time trial of 18.5 kilometers in Neuchâtel.

Last test before Giro
The podium of last year is also participating this year in Switzerland. Chris Froome defends his title and also Spilak and Rui Costa will strive with him for the victory. In the bunch sprints Kenny Dehaes and Tosh Van der Sande will have to face Marcel Kittel. “We’re starting in the Tour de Romandie with several guys who will also ride the Giro. Monfort and others can gain some more race kilometers to complete their preparation”, says sports director Mario Aerts.

Mario Aerts, sports director: “Maxime Monfort rides in Romandie as preparation for the Giro. That race is his main goal. But with Monfort we certainly have the possibility to strive for the top ten. Bart De Clercq will get the task to help Maxime as much as possible and maybe to ride for a good GC himself.”

“In Romandie it’s never flat. But there are a couple of stages with a chance for the sprinters. Normally Kenny Dehaes will be our sprinter. However it depends on his form after all the Flemish races. If Kenny isn’t in the front in the final, then we can still count on Tosh Van der Sande, who made progress in climbing.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Sander Armée, Sean De Bie, Bart De Clercq, Kenny Dehaes, Maxime Monfort, Boris Vallée, Tosh Van der Sande, and Dennis Vanendert.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Roche ready for Romandie
Tuesday 29th of April, Tinkoff-Saxo will be on the start ramp for the Swiss stage race, Tour de Romandie. A 5.5 kilometer long and flat prologue gets the race going and is followed by four rather mountainous stages before the race is concluded with an 18 kilometer long individual time trial.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s line-up: Nicolas Roche, Rafal Majka, Evgeny Petrov, Pawel Poljanski, Oliver Zaugg, Jay McCarthy, Ivan Rovny and Edward Beltran.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Nicolas Roche says: “Having been on team training camp near Etna on Sicily, my form is coming along nicely. We’ve all been working really hard over the past 4 weeks and I think it’s finally starting to show. It’s been an important camp in terms of preparing for the Giro and hopefully, Tour de Romandie will brush off my condition so I’ll be ready. I feel ready and that’s a good start,” Roche concludes.

Mixed Squad, Multiple Objectives for ORICA-GreenEDGE at Tour de Romandie
ORICA-GreenEDGE will start the Tour de Romandie, set in the beautiful French-speaking region of the Swiss countryside, with a competitive squad looking for stage wins ahead of the Giro d’Italia. The six day WorldTour race serves a dual purpose for the peloton: it provides a barometer of fitness for the Tour de France overall contenders and serves as final preparation for the men with ambitions at the Giro d’Italia.

In the previous three editions of the Tour de Romandie, the overall victor has gone on to win the Tour in July. For those eyeing yellow as the peloton rolls into Paris, the timing of Romandie fits perfectly into the schedule. They can perform at a high level and then rest and readjust before the final push to France. Riders racing the Giro must strike a delicate balance between their need for a last hit-out ahead of the first Grand Tour and their need to keep something in the tank ahead of a three consecutive weeks of racing.

“It’s too intense of a race right before the Giro,” explained Sport Director Neil Stephens. “If the overall contenders go too hard here, they’ll flop in Italy. Romandie is really demanding as it’s set in some beautiful mountains, and it is raced really hard.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE fields a mixed squad of riders in Romandie. Amongst the team’s eight starters include riders coming off a very successful campaign in the Ardennes and riders that are preparing for the Giro. Of particular interest is the addition of current Mountain Bike World Champion, Nino Schurter, to the ORICA-GreenEDGE roster.

“Nino is a professional, astute athlete,” said Stephens. “He’s the best in the world in his sport of mountain biking, and he’s now shown a strong desire to try to fit in on the WorldTour. He and his sponsors have gone through a great effort to make this happen. I think we’ll see a reflection of that on the road. He’s obviously a guy with a lot of physical talent and passion. People with assets like that tend to succeed. We’re looking forward to seeing that unfold.”

“I’m looking forward to riding with Nino,” added Michael Albasini of his compatriot. “It’ll be interesting to see how a top mountain biker will fit into our team and in the peloton. For sure he is very strong. Once he is acclimated to the road, he will be able to make some small results.”

Following top ten general classification results last year at Tour of Turkey, Amgen Tour of California and Tour de Suisse, Cameron Meyer will undertake his first attempt at riding the overall at the Tour de Romandie. The team is also looking for success on at least one stage.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our support of Cam Meyer in pursuit of his overall ambitions,” said Stephens. “This is an important test for him here in Romandie. We would also love to see a decent result in the prologue, especially from Heppy [Michael Hepburn]. If we can hit those two targets and make our mark on at least one other stage, that’s enough for me.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE for Tour de Romandie:
Brett Lancaster, Cameron Meyer, Christian Meier, Michael Albasini, Michael Hepburn, Nino Schurter, Sam Bewley, Svein Tuft.

Rui Costa will take part in the Swiss race
Just the time to take a short rest and another WorldTour event is going to start: Tour de Romandie, scheduled from 29 April to 4 May.

Rui Costa spent a bad Sunday because of the crash that involved him in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Today, the world champion has undergone x-rays that excluded fractures on the right shoulder. Rui had a contusion to the right shoulder, in addition to grazes and to tendinitis that will be cured by the means of Tecartherapy.

LAMPRE-MERIDA selection will connect two kinds of riders: the ones that will aim to complete April in the best way and the ones that will try to improve their fitness in view of Giro d’Italia.
Sport directors Matxin and Pedrazzini will direct, in addition to the world champion, Nelson Oliveira, Rafael Valls, Elia Favilli, Xu Gang, Manuele Mori, Winner Anacona and Roberto Ferrari.

In the team staff there will be masseurs Chiodini, Del Gallo and Della Torre, mechanics Coelho and Romanò, doctor Guardascione and driver Bozzolo.

Tour de Romandie 2014 Promo:

Team Sky 2014 Giro Squad Announced
97th edition set to start in Belfast on 9 May

Press Release: Team Sky’s line-up for the 2014 Giro d’Italia, which starts in Belfast and Dublin next month, will include Irish rider Philip Deignan in his first Grand Tour for the team.

The nine-strong team for the first Grand Tour of the season will also feature Italian riders Dario Cataldo and Salvatore Puccio alongside Pete Kennaugh, Ben Swift, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Bernhard Eisel, Sebastian Henao and Kanstantsin Siutsou.

This year’s Giro d’Italia starts with three stages outside Italy, taking in Northern Ireland and Ireland. Starting with a time trial in Belfast on Friday 9 May the race will move on to Italy from Tuesday 13 May with the last of the 21 stages in Trieste on Sunday 1 June.

On confirming the team line-up Team Principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, said: “The Giro d’Italia is a fantastic race and this year provides a great opportunity for the team to go out and really express themselves on the bike. We’ve brought together an exciting squad and we can’t wait, not only for the start in Northern Ireland, but to perform in front of our Italian fans.”

The nine riders selected for the 2014 Giro d’Italia are:

Edvald Boasson Hagen – age 26 – Norway
Returning to the scene of his Grand Tour debut back in 2009, the multi-talented Norwegian excels both in the sprints and setting a tempo on the climbs. He is a former stage winner at the Giro d’Italia.

Dario Cataldo – age 29 – Italy
The previous Italian TT champion will line up for an impressive seventh Grand Tour start at his home race. Two 12th placed finishes at the Giro d’Italia demonstrate not only class but also consistency.

Philip Deignan – age 30 – Ireland
The Irishman recently returns from a broken collarbone, Deignan is a strong climber, not to mention a Grand Tour stage winner at the Vuelta a Espana.

Bernhard Eisel – age 33 – Austria
One of the most experienced and well-respected competitors in the peloton, the 33-year-old Austrian brings horsepower and speed, as well as knowledge gained from 14 previous Grand Tour outings.

Sebastian Henao – age 20 – Colombia
Making his Grand Tour debut in his first season as a professional, a string of assured climbing performances sees the Colombian rewarded with a start at the biggest race of his career.

Pete Kennaugh – age 24 – Great Britain
Following a strong 2013, the Manxman starts his third Giro d’Italia climbing strongly and fresh from recent victory at Settimana Coppi e Bartali.

Salvatore Puccio – age 24 – Italy
A year on from famously donning the Maglia Rosa leader’s jersey in his Grand Tour debut, the Italian returns to his home race a stronger and more well-rounded rider.

Kanstantsin Siutsou – age 31 – Belarus
Another former stage winner at the Giro d’Italia, the Belarusian tasted success one day after teammate Boasson Hagen back in 2009. A top-10 finisher in the event, ‘Kosta’ is a valuable asset in any three-week stage race.

Ben Swift – age 26 – Great Britain
Currently riding with good form including sprint victories and a podium at Milan-San Remo, the Brit will hope to put his fast finish to good use as he hones in on a landmark Grand Tour stage win.

Irishman Philip Deignan, added: “As soon as I heard that the Giro d’Italia was starting in Northern Ireland it was a goal of mine to be there, and racing there with Team Sky is a real honour for me. We’re going with a good balance of youth and experience; we’re all looking forward to it. Growing up in County Donegal I never dreamt of riding a Grand Tour here in Ireland and this is my chance. I’m going to relish every minute of it racing in front of my friends and family.”

Team Sky’s Dario Cataldo said: “This will be my seventh appearance in the Giro d’Italia, so it is a race that has a place in my heart. The race has a great history in Italy and when I was growing up it was always a dream to ride in my home country. Without a doubt it was the race that inspired me to start riding a bike as a young boy, so for an Italian bike rider this is as good as it gets. We have a strong and exciting team going into the race and we’re all looking forward to the challenge ahead. For me, going home to race is always a pleasure and I can’t wait to get started.”

Training with Team Sky:

The (Bad) Luck of the Irish!
Dan Martin looked to be doing the double on Sunday and taking his second Liège-Bastone-Liège in a row, and then…bang down he went. After the race he said: I am heartbroken because I could not deliver the win. We’ll have to come back next year and try again.” He also said: “I think the phrase rhymes with ‘Clucking Bell’.”


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