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EuroTrash Pre-Giro Monday!

A very good weekend for British cycling as young gun Adam Yates took the final overall in Turkey as Cavendish won the last stage and Chris Froome was the winner in Romandie. Plus more Giro news and fantasy league, Rund um Frankfurt, Ricco, Garate and a bit more Liege. As always we have all the cycling news, views and video we could lay our hands on. A full EuroTrash bag Monday!

Manage Your Own Fantasy Giro Team
After the success of the PEZ Tour de France fantasy mini-league last year, we have set up another for the 2014 Giro d’Italia. All you have to do is log on at Velogames, (https://www.velogames.com/giro-ditalia/2014/index.php) pick your fantasy Giro team riders and enter the PEZ mini-league with code No. 04160343 and that’s it. You can also use the new PEZ jersey. No prizes, just for fun.

TOP STORY: Riccò is Innocent!
We reported last week that ‘Italian Bad Boy’ Riccardo Riccò had been caught buying EPO and testosterone from two gentlemen in a McDonald’s car park in Livorno, accompanied by ex-professional Matteo Cappè. Over 100 doses of drugs were also found in the houses of the two gentlemen, named as Antonio Catarsi and Fabrizio Boccolini by la Gazzetta dello Sport, Boccolini works in a hospital and it is suspected that he could have acquired the drugs from there. The special police force (NAS) found €1,170 in cash in Riccò’s jacket pocket.

In his defence Mr. Riccò has said: “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, the matter has nothing to do with me.” His lawyer, Fiorenzo Alessi added that “no doping product was seized from Riccardo. He’s making a statement in order to clear up the matter with magistrates.” He concluded that “It wasn’t his, it was his friend’s.” Well that’s OK then.

His friend Matteo Cappè was a pro with the Panaria team in 2003 and 2004 without much success, now 36 years old he rides Gran Fondo’s as does Riccò when allowed and occasionally when not.

Ignoring the crime of eating McDonalds, which hasn’t been proven yet, although Riccò could buy a lot of Big Mac’s with just over €1,000, even if he goes for the ‘Super Size’ option. It looks like he has taken his drug activity to the next level. As you will remember Riccò has been given his share of second chances and is now enjoying his 12 year ban. If a court of law does not believe Riccò’s story then it could be up to eight years before he sees his next bike ride, freedom or Big Mac!

Riccò attacks in 2008:

Tour de Romandie 2014
Orica-GreenEDGE’s Michael Albasini made it two for two at the Tour de Romandie, taking out the second road stage of his home country tour. A nearly 70-strong bunch contested the sprint in Montreux where Albasini beat out Tony Hurel (Europcar) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) to the line. With the Stage 2 win came ten bonus seconds and the yellow overall leader’s jersey.

“My teammates put me under pressure today,” said Albasini with a laugh. “I was not feeling great today. I had the race from yesterday in my legs. When we started riding on the front, I knew I had to deliver something because they did a really big effort. I’m happy to win after the work they did today.”

“The yellow jersey is a very, very pleasant bonus,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “It’s exciting for Switzerland to have someone as popular as Michael Albasini deliver two victories and the yellow jersey, ending a dry spell for Swiss riders in this race. We weren’t riding for the jersey. We were riding for the stage win, but the results Michael achieved have given him the jersey. It’s a very welcome surprise.”

After his brilliant victory yesterday, Albasini was the protected rider for the Australian outfit on stage two. Stephens expected a reduced bunch to contest the finish and was confident the stage one winner would be in the mix at the finish. “The plan right from the start was to support Michael,” said Stephens. “Before the race began on Tuesday, we always knew we would go for Michael on today’s stage. We thought there was a very good chance that he would win it – especially after we saw how he went yesterday.”

“The bunch was bigger than we had hoped coming into the finish, but Michael is a fighter,” Stephens added. “He’s very dedicated to his teammates. He saw the effort that they gave for him, and he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. He took out the finish today in large part thanks to their work.”

“Maybe it was a smart move to put me under pressure,” said Albasini. “I had to do something with the way they rode. I’m really thankful for the work they did.”

Martin Kohler (BMC) and Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling) animated the early action. The duo broke away from the bunch shortly after the stage start in Sion. In the opening hour, the leaders built up a maximum advantage of more than 13 minutes.

“We were in a tricky position with the breakaway,” explained Stephens. “Neither of the guys were a danger for the general classification, so Quick-Step was quite happy to let them ride away. This left us in a difficult situation where our big powerful guys – Michael Hepburn, Svein Tuft and Brett Lancaster – would have to chase but first they had to get over the first of the two third category climbs in today’s stage.”

“They got over the first climb, and then we really laid it down,” added Stephens. “They made a huge effort between the two categorised climbs in a 40 kilometre period. They did a fantastic job to get the gap down to five minutes in a very short time. Not many people in the world could do that the way they did. It’s actually really good training for those three for the Giro.”

As the breakaway’s advantage continued to fall, a handful other teams committed to the chase. Belkin and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step sent riders to the front. Thirty kilometres from the finish, the peloton had crested the uncategorized climb that came quick on the heels of the second category three mountain, and the breakaway’s advantage had fallen below the two minute mark.

“We had the four guys that we would expect to be there at the end make it over the final climb,” explained Stephens. “Hepburn, Lancaster and Mouris went out the back after they had done their job. That left us with Nino Schurter, who is racing his first WorldTour event, Christian Meier, Cameron Meyer and Michael. Luckily other teams had started to commit to the chase by that point. With other teams working, we could use Christian to look after Cam and Michael.” The peloton continued to chase on the downhill run-in to the finish, overtaking Kohler and Lang inside the final three kilometres. Light rain and one short steep kick before the final plunge toward the line made for a technical finale.

Overnight race leader Michal Kwiatkowski was the first to accelerate to the line, but there was no stopping Albasini once he opened his sprint.

“When you’re not feeling good, you never know how the sprint is going to work out,” said Albasini. “I started moving up really late. I left it until three or four kilometres to go. I watched out for some quick wheels, and I was lucky to choose the right one. I stayed on the wheel up to 100 metres when I could go just on the right side. I was quite fresh because I wasn’t catching any wind. It was perfect for me. I was surprised to win such a big bunch sprint.”

While Albasini will wear the yellow jersey during the queen stage of the Tour de Romandie, the team’s efforts will focus on Meyer. The Australian is better equipped to contend with the four first category climbs in the mountains behind Aigle. “The stage is something nobody can take away,” said Albasini. “It’s a bit different with the yellow jersey, but once you have it, you’re never going to give it away for free. I’m going to fight tomorrow and try to stay there as long as possible.”

“It’s a very demanding stage tomorrow,” added Stephens. “It will be a hard day for all the riders. We’re very happy to have the yellow jersey but we’re realistic about Michael’s chances of keeping it.”

“Unless something happens where there is a drastic change to the race route, which is the way he won the overall in Catalunya two years ago, Michael doesn’t have much of a chance to win the Tour of Romandie,” Stephens explained. “He won’t go down without a fight, but it’s unrealistic to think he’s going to get over the big mountains with the best guys in the world. Our best chance for a good result tomorrow is in Cameron Meyer, and we’ll focus on him.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 2 Result:
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE in 4:12:22
2. Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
4. Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Katusha
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana
7. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
9. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
10. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 2:
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE in 6:29:50
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:05
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp at 0:10
4. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar at 0:11
5. Matthias Brändle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:12
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:13
7. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:14
8. Martijn Keizer (Ned) Belkin at 0:18
9. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:19
10. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar.

Stage 2:

Coming into the finish line in Aigle, Simon Špilak (Katusha) out-sprinted the reigning Tour de France champion Chris Froome (Sky) to win by half a wheel length and take over the leader’s jersey after Stage 3 in the Tour de Romandie on Friday.

Simon Špilak: “It was a very difficult stage today with the rain, but I like it when it rains, and the cold doesn’t bother me either. In the beginning of the stage I did not feel very well, because it was a high pace and the mountains were really hard. But in the second part of the stage I felt much better. Besides, our team was very strong today. We had good team communication and work during the whole stage and especially in the final climb, at the most decisive moment. I saw the moment when Chris Froome attacked and I knew I had to follow him because it was the right moment. I did not force and took my own pace to reach Nibali and then Froome. I had a good collaboration with Chris on the climb and after on the dangerous descent. I was concentrating on the race and thought only about the current situation. Of course, I thought about the victory, but Chris Froome is a strong rival and I am happy I took the stage victory in the sprint.”

“The team was perfect today; in the final climb we had 4 riders in the leading group. Sergei Chernetckii and Egor Silin worked very well in front to prepare the place for attack of Simon. After it, when Simon went together with Froome, Iurii Trofimov was strong to stay in the chasing group and to catch the attacks of the rivals. So, it was an impressive teamwork and a perfect race from Simon, who was really strong today,” said sports director of Team Katusha, Dmitry Konyshev.

The 3rd stage of Tour de Romandie became the queen’s stage of the race – the distance of 180,2 km between Le Bouveret and Aigle included 4 climbs of 1st category with the top of the last one was situated just with 16 km to the finish line.

At 25 km to go Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacked, quickly followed by Chistopher Froome (Sky) and then Špilak. Nibali didn’t last long in his effort, but Špilak and Froome put time and distance between themselves and the chasers as they crested the final climb Villars-sur-Ollon. Full cooperation followed on the technical descent and drive to the finish line before setting up the sprint with 500m to go.

Simon Špilak timed his sprint perfectly, coming around the last corner and staying just in front of Froome to take the win. Rui Costa from Lampre-Merida took third at 57-seconds behind.

Together with the stage victory thanks to the time bonuses Simon Spilak took the yellow jersey of the GC leader with 1 second of advantage ahead of Froome. Rui Costa is currently 3rd, at 1:02.

“This is a great pleasure for me to wear the yellow jersey after such a great stage as today. We still have two days in front of us with the decisive time trial on Sunday. Of course, myself and the entire team will do our best to try to hold the lead and to win the race. It won’t be easy at all because Froome and other riders are really strong, but we will do all we can for it,” added Simon.

Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) 3rd on the stage and overall: “I’m pleased with how things went today, despite the shoulder problem that limits me even in natural movements on the bike, the condition is not at 100% but is still good and gives me the moral for the next steps. These days, the race is really tough and made even more difficult by the rain, I have defended well and in fact in the end I still had strength to be able to beat my opponents in the sprint. I have to congratulate the lead tandem, Spilak and Froome, today has shown that they have more legs than all of us. However in my difficult moments I enjoy the virtual third place on the podium in the overall standing.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Fabrizio Guidi states: “Looking at the results after today’s stage, one can think that we’re not ready for the Giro. But we had all 8 guys between the 60 riders in the front of the field today and Rafal was sitting very comfortably with World Champion, Rui Costa to the top of the final climb where he had an unfortunate close encounter with the wet asphalt. He isn’t injured and is on the start line again tomorrow. I am however sorry that we are now out of the GC but I’m still confident that we’re ready for the Giro.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 3 Result:
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha in 5:09:23
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
3. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:57
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
5. Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar
6. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
8. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar at 1:41
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
10. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 3:
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha in 11:39:25
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Team Sky at 0:01
3. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 1:02
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 1:06
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:10
6. Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 1:13
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:14
8. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar at 1:40
9. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 1:48
10. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:50.

Stage 3:

Michael Albasini took his third stage victory at the 2014 Tour de Romandie in a three-up sprint, beating Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) to the line. The trio were part of an early five rider breakaway that formed shortly after the first ten kilometres on Stage 4. The win is the fifth this week for Orica-GreenEDGE and the 20th professional victory for Albasini. Nine of those wins come during Albasini’s tenure with the Australian outfit. “I was not counting,” said Albasini, who seemed surprised to learn that he had reached a career milestone. “It’s a nice number, but I’m always watching for the next one. The 19th or the 20th or the 21st – it doesn’t matter. I’m just happy to win.”

Jean-Marc Marino (Cannondale) and Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r-La Mondiale) joined Albasini, Bakelants and Voeckler up the road on the opening lap of the 30 kilometre course. The penultimate day of racing included six times round the circuit that began and ended in Fribourg. The lumpy loop included one category three ascent. “It was actually Albasini who put it out there that it would be great to have a guy in the break today,” said Sport Director Neil Stephens. “‘I’m really eager to go into the break,’ he said. We were all going to work together to put Albasini, Nino [Schurter], Christian [Meier] or Cameron [Meyer] into the move.”

“It was a really fast and really aggressive start,” Stephens added. “It wasn’t like a chess game where there was one move and then a response. It was one attack and then another attack and then another attack – consistent attacking for awhile. The ones that were the first to get a gap were the five that we saw go away.”

Fifty kilometres into the stage, the escape group had stretched out their advantage a bit beyond the six minute mark. The gap would hover there for the next hour. Steadily but very slowly the gap began to fall in the second half of the stage. “Everybody was working really well together,” said Albasini. “We worked out how we were going to ride and everybody committed to the breakaway. We had to keep it going because we knew it could be quite close at the end.”

“That was a group of good bike riders,” Stephens added. “I was confident they were gauging their efforts. We knew there would pick up the chase at the end, and they saved some of their energy for a final push to the line.”

At the start of the sixth and final lap, Team Sky controlled the pace at the front of the bunch. The gap had fallen to 3:28. In an attempt to shut down the move, Lampre-Merida, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing all sent riders to the front before the final ascent of the categorised climb. As the chase heated up so too did the pace in the breakaway “Bakelants made an acceleration on the last climb that separated us from the other two guys,” explained Albasini. “It was actually a bit unnecessary how hard he rode up there. It put everybody in the red. It was a little risky.”

The peloton overtook Marino (Cannondale) and Vuillermoz, but they were unable to bridge the distance to the remaining three leaders. A crash mid-pack briefly disrupted the chase, benefiting the breakaway. Albasini led the trio under the flamme rouge with a 24” advantage over the bunch.

“In the last few kilometres, I was doing the work,” said Albasini. “I knew I would have to ride from the front because there was no room for playing games and watching each other. They were never going to let me on their wheel, so I would have to lead out the sprint from the head of the group. I closed out one side, and I was controlling attacks.”

Two hundred metres from the finish, Albasini opened his sprint. Although both Bakelants and Voeckler jumped to respond, they were unable to match Albasini’s powerful acceleration. He pumped his fist in the air as he crossed the finish, proudly delivering another Swiss victory at home.

“I knew that I could do the sprint from 200 metres,” said Albasini. When I started, the other guys had to make up my bike length, so I had an advantage that way. I’m also not that slow in the sprint. I knew it would work out well for me.”

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Evgeni Petrov was close to making contact with the breakaway, after the stage, DS Fabrizio Guidi explains what happened. “Evgeni decided to try and catch the breakaway and he came really close. But the breakaway diverted the route and the short cut consequently put minutes between Petrov and the front group”, says Guidi and continues: “Petrov was strong today and I believe that he could have bridged the gap. This is what happens but it’s unlucky when it’s your own rider.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 4 Result:
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE in 4:14:21
2. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar
3. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:09
5. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr
6. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale
7. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
8. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano
9. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 4:
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha in 15:53:55
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:01
3. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 1:02
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 1:06
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:10
6. Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 1:13
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:14
8. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar at 1:40
9. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 1:48
10. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:50.

Stage 4:

The Final Stage 5 of Tour de Romandie on Sunday was an 18 kilometre long, hilly individual time trial starting and finishing in the town of Neuchatel, Switzerland. Just like last year’s edition of the race, everyone’s eyes were on Simon Spilak (Katusha) and Chris Froome (Sky).

However, the biggest favourite to take the stage win was the TT world champion, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and he thundered through the course in the fastest time, until Froome slipped past. The big duel between Froome and Spilak was easily won by the Brit who was one second faster than Martin at the top of the climb and on the finish line as well.

With the final decisive individual time trial over 18,5 km in Neuchâtel the 68th Tour de Romandie has ended. Team Katusha rider Simon Špilak took the second place in the final general classification: “It was a hard time trial with a really tough climb, but I did everything possible and gave all I had to obtain the highest result possible so I am pleased with my place on the podium. The strongest won today,” said Simon Špilak.

Dressed all in yellow and heading out last from the start house as the race leader, rode a strong race but lost his one-second advantage to Christopher Froome and settled for second place on the general classification. After more than 16 hours of racing, Froome pulled out 28-seconds to Špilak and 1:32 to Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), marking his second win in a row at the Tour de Romandie. “It was a great week and I am happy I took the victory at the queen’s stage, have worn the yellow jersey for several days and made the final podium. In addition, I was able to get 86 points for Team Katusha in the WorldTour. That’s great,” concluded Simon Špilak.

World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) was 3rd in the overall classification at 1:32 to the winner Froome and at 1:02 to Spilak, thanks to a very good performance in the final time trial. Costa recorded the 8th best time, 31 seconds behind Froome and beating his direct rivals for the podium (Frank by 4 seconds and Nibali by 12).

The podium is a right place for the world champion, as sport director Matxin pointed out: “Rui started the Ascona prologue with intense pain on his shoulder, in the other stages he could not raise his arm to wear heavy clothing in the bad weather: you can imagine how difficult it was for him to race in these conditions, but Rui is tenacious and his legs were very good, so he could achieve this important goal.”

World TT champion Tony Martin (OPQS) was in the hot seat for quite some time with his time of 24’51” — a 44.849km/h average speed. “I did a mistake on the downhill in a right corner,” Martin said. “I had to unclip from my pedal to prevent a crash. At that point I really lost a few seconds, and in a time trial with such great competition that can be the difference, even if my performance overall was good. I did the recon, and I knew that it was a tricky corner. But there is always a difference between race and recon in cycling. In any case I did a good first part of the race. I am happy about the climb of the parcours. My pace was good even if it wasn’t so easy to find the rhythm on the climb. The mistake cost me, but that’s bike racing. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Chris Froome did a great, great race and congratulations to him for this victory that he earned.”

Martin Kohler of the BMC Racing Team captured the PMU sprint competition Sunday at the Tour de Romandie to earn the first jersey classification of his professional career. Kohler first donned the green jersey Thursday after being part of a two-man breakaway on Stage 2 that spent nearly 160 kilometres in the lead, only to be caught with three to go. He held onto it through Sunday’s 18.5-km individual time trial that capped the six-day race. “I know it is not a stage victory or the most important thing, but to win something in my home country is nice,” the past Swiss national road and time trial champion said. “The whole week we had a bit of bad luck, but at least in the end we have something to get on the podium.” BMC Racing Team’s Peter Velits, the Slovakian national time trial champion, did not start Sunday’s stage after crashing on Saturday. The BMC Racing Team also saw Tejay van Garderen withdraw Friday to recover from a crash during Tuesday’s prologue.

Tour de Romandie Stage 5 Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 24:50
2. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:01
3. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 0:08
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:15
5. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
6. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek at 0:29
7. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
8. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:31
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:35
10. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling.

Tour de Romandie Final Overall Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 16:18:46
2. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 0:28
3. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 1:32
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:44
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 1:48
6. Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 1:52
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:56
8. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 2:07
9. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar at 2:15
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 2:31.

The final TT:

Presidential Tour of Turkey 2014
Almost everybody believed Mark Cavendish to be invincible in the sprints of this 50th Tour of Turkey to the exception of Elia Viviani (Canondale), who perfectly manoeuvred to outkick the Briton on the finish line of Stage 5 in Turgutreis. Ideally positioned in the wheel of the green jersey holder, winner of three of four stages in this TUR, the Italian made the most of the slipstream and his track rider experience to surge, upset the arch-favourite and go full circle after his very first professional victory in Turkey in 2010. Cavendish, who found himself alone behind Mark Renshaw a little too early, finished second ahead of another Italian, Kristian Sbaragli, who rewarded Team MTN-Qhubeka for their hard work all day.

Estonian champion Rein Taaramäe, safely guarded by his Cofidis team-mates, retained his overall leader’s Turquoise jersey.

The uphill start of the 183-km ride in Marmaris served as a launching pad for the break of the day. While Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare), Nico Sijmens (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Mirko Tedeschi (Neri Sottoli) took the points at the top of the 3rd category ascent, they were joined in the descent by six other riders, Matthias Krizek (Canondale), Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Lachlan Norris (Drapac), Dennis Van Niekerk (MTN-Qhubeka) and white jersey holder Mattia Pozzo (Neri Sottoli).

The cosmopolitan group, hailing from four continents, held a lead of just over four minutes at the top of the 2nd category climb at km 34.5 when De Maar picked the five points on offer to claim back the KOM red jersey he had lost to Taaramäe in Elmali. While the sprint in Mugla (km 53.7) went to Boem, the nine never managed to widen the gap on a peloton constantly led by Cofidis and OPQS riders.

With the pack under a minute adrift 25 kms from the line, several attempts took place in the leading group, who dropped De Maar and Tedeschi.

Mattia Pozzo strengthened his lead in the Turkish Beauties standings by winning the day’s sprint in front of the ancient amphitheatre of Bodrum and the gap kept diminishing as the whole of Cavendish’s OPQS team took charge of the chase. Among the several attempts in the finale, one involved Eritrea’s Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka), fifth overall, but it was promptly quashed by Taaramäe’s team-mates.

As the stage looked set for another show of strength by the British champion and his OPQS team-mates, he was led out sooner than planned and could not react when Viviani moved up a gear to score an emotional stage victory, four years after his very first professional laurels in the 2010 TUR in Antalya.

Questions for stage winner Elia Viviani (Cannondale): Four years ago, you won a stage on the Tour of Turkey and you do it again, in front of Cavendish. It must be very special? “This is my first experience of the Tour of Turkey after I won the seventh stage in 2010. I won my first race in the pro ranks here so it’s a very special race for me. I came back after a few years and this is an important test for me for the Giro.”

How was it different from the previous days? “Today, it was much easier for me because the course was harder. Yesterday I was a bit scared to take any risks because the Giro is coming soon and it’s my main goal of the year. I came here for information about my form before the Giro. Now I know I’m in good form. I took Cav’s wheel at the 400 metres sign after a big work by my Cannondale team-mates.”

What’s your ambition for the Giro? “I’m glad that there are many stages for sprinters this year. Last year, I came close to taking the pink jersey in the first stage (second behind Cavendish). I hope I can make it this time. I’m targeting the first three stages in Ireland.”

Did your experience of the track help today? “I have a lot of track experience but I don’t think that’s what permitted me to win today. I love the track, I love the Olympic Games but I was disappointed by my result at the worlds this year. After these world championships, I erased all memories from my head and I set a new focus on the Giro. I won a Coppi and Bartali stage and it was important mentally. Now I want to think only about the Giro and then I’ll turn my mind to Rio. I will think about Rio after this season and start the qualifications for Rio. The track is part of my life and I will continue to be a track rider.”

What do you think about the level of Italian cycling today? “It’s not so bad. In Nibali, we have the first rider in the world to represent our country. We also have so many young riders to make big results We are not at the top level but in the next few years, we can go in the classics and have so many riders who can perform like Diego Ulissi in the second part of the classics season or Sacha Modolo and myself in the sprints. It’s not a bad situation in Italy. We have a good group of up and coming riders.”

What’s your relationship with Cavendish like? “I have a good feeling with Cav because we didn’t have any problems in the past many times I finished behind him. For the first time I win and he finishes second. It’s very important for me to take this win against Cavendish. It was my dream. For me, it’s a fantastic day today.”

Can you tell us what happened in the four years since you first win here in 2010? “It was my first time in the pro ranks. But I was lucky because a lot of sprinters went down in a crash in the last turn and I finally beat Visconti. In four years, I became much stronger in the sprints. I worked hard to get better results in the Giro and other important races. Every year I have a bigger focus.”

What happened in the last 500 metres? “In the last kilometre, Cameron Wurf attacked the finale in front of the group, Cav had Pettachi and Renshaw and me, I was in Cav’s wheel. I think the Omega Pharma Quick Step train was shorter. Cav had to wait for 200 metres to start but the speed was not so high. I think he waited longer than planned and when he started I think than me and him knew already who would take the stage win. It was the perfect sprint for me to take. In the first stages, the Cav train left us nothing. The difference today was the legs. It was a very long stage, not a flat stage, and that is what made the difference.”

A personal question. You’re going into business? “I open my new bike shop. It’s a new project. Cycling is not everything. I’m very young but I have two smaller brothers and they’re going to run this shop. I think it’s a good idea for my family and for me. It’s good news before a big focus like the Giro.”

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), 2nd and points leader: “Headwind…” (Before turning away not to answer any more questions).

Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka), 3rd: “It’s an excellent result. I was hoping to do well yesterday and today because they were sprints at the end of demanding courses. In a mass sprint with a whole bunch, I can place myself well but not in the top three so I need for the best sprinters to be worn out to express myself best. Yesterday I was close (4th) and today I reached my goal of a top three finish with the help of a highly motivated team. Merhawi Kudus and Youcef Reguigui attacked in the finale to toughen the race. Tomorrow, we’ll do our utmost to place Kudus on the final podium.”

Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis), overall leader: “I spent a rather quiet day. The break was a good thing because there were not too many riders in front. I was never worried. The course was ideal for the sprinters were a little short in the end. I thought I had never ridden those roads but I actually knew them. When Kudus attacked, I was aware he was well placed overall but I was not stressed because I had done the same thing in 2010 and I had hardly taken 20 seconds. The peloton had made it back on me very easily and it was the same again today. For tomorrow’s potentially decisive stage, I’m confident because I have good legs. I’m not sure to keep my leader’s jersey, you can never say such a thing, but I have trust in my team and in my current abilities.”

Mattia Pozzo (Neri Sottoli), Turkish Beauties leader: “It was an ideal breakaway, the kind I could have dreamt about in the morning. In the end of the stage, the break still looked good. It’s a shame we came into headwind or we could have battled it out for victory. But it’s OK. I’m glad about the outcome today. I’m much more confident that I can keep this white jersey until the end of the TUR. It will help my team and myself focus mainly about the stage finishes now.”

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 5 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale in 4:34:11
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
4. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Neri Sottoli
5. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Rafael Andriato (Bra) Neri Sottoli
7. Barry Markus (Ned) Belkin
8. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 5:
1. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis in 20:35:05
2. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:06
3. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 0:38
4. Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka
5. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol at 0:43
7. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Torku Sekerspor at 0:44
8. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale
10. Alexsandr Dyachenko (Kaz) Astana.

Stage 5:

A punishing surge in the last kilometre of Stage 6 turned Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) into the new leader of the Tour of Turkey by the slimmest margin as the Briton will take a one-second lead over Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) into Saturday’s penultimate stage to Izmir. Second at the start of the 183-km 6th stage in Bodrum, Yates perfectly timed his move to surprise an over-confident Taaramäe and cross the line on his own by the House of the Virgin Mary, on top of a hill overlooking Selçuk. Caught off his guard, the Estonian champion fought bravely in the last 500 metres but could only manage fourth place behind Italy’s Davide Formolo (Cannondale) and Davide Rebellin (CCC Polsat) and was forced to relinquish his Turquoise jersey.

The peloton left Bodrum with 140 riders – Mark Renshaw (OPQS), Mitchell Docker (Orica-GreenEDGE), Maxim Belkov and Luca Paolini (Katusha), Daniele Colli and Simone Ponzi (Neri Sottoli) decided to call it quits, the last three because they are taking part in the upcoming Giro d’Italia. A break quickly developed after the start and included Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol), winner of nine past stages on the TUR, as well as former Austrian champion Matthias Krizek (Cannondale), Adrian Kurek (CCC Polsat), Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Wesley Kreder (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Arman Kamyshev (Astana), who quickly returned to the main pack. Adam Phelan (Drapac) also chased for some time before being pulled back.

The five held a maximum lead of 6:15 minutes (km 66), a gap which did not allow the best-placed of them, Krizek (34th at the start, 6:50 adrift), to enjoy a bit of time as a virtual leader.

While the sprint of the day went to Aramendia, Greipel took the Turkish Beauty sprint of the day in Kusadasi (km 123.5) as the pace of the peloton started increasing. With 35 kms to go, the gap had been brought back under the minute by UHC riders working for KOM leader Marc De Maar. Five kilometres further down, the five had been chased down.

As expected, De Maar collected three points at the top of the first 3rd category climb of the day (km 161.7) and strengthened his red jersey.

The bunch tackled the final climb all together, led by Luis Leon Sanchez’s Caja Rural team-mates and Kristijan Durasek’s Lampre-Merida colleagues. The pace was already hectic before the last ascent and left only a handful of riders in contention in the final five kilometres. While Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida) or Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) were the first attackers on the climb, nobody was able to react when Yates jumped past the last kilometre sign. Isolated with Formolo, Rebellin and Durasek behind him, Taaramäe could only count on himself and there was just not enough gas left in the big Estonian’s engine for him to salvage his first place. But with such a slim time gap between the leaders and still two days of racing, the 50th Tour of Turkey might not be over yet!

Questions for stage winner and new overall leader Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE): A year ago at the same time, you were in the Tour de Bretagne and now you lead the Tour of Turkey, what a jump! Could you explain your feelings? “Today, my team-mates kept me out of the wind all day, it was quite windy with lots of crosswinds. I didn’t have to spend any extra energy. They put me in a good position at the bottom of the climb and I only had to go from there. Anyway I had to leave it late because I was only six seconds behind and so we stuck to the plan and I went with just a kilometre to go and then it was pretty full gas from then.”

But how does it feel to lead by one second? “It’s hard to say, it’s only like five minutes ago but it’s my first pro win so it’s very special.”

You said before you did not expect to peak so soon… “As I said it’s pretty special. I never really expected to compete at this level so soon. At the back of my mind I thought maybe in two or three years. But yeah I put on a lot of work in the winter and it’s paid off.”

What is it like to ride with your brother? “We rode since I was ten so it’s been a long time coming. Racing with my brother is pretty nice but he broke his collarbone, which is a shame because he was in a good form. I think he could have won in stage 3 because he was in real good form after the Tour of the Basque Country. It’s cycling.”

As Britons, everybody expected you to sign for Sky, how did you end up with Orica-GreenEDGE? “It’s funny because I get this question in every interview. We actually went to GreenEDGE because they accepted our plan and didn’t put any pressure by saying you gotta win this, you gotta win that. They said you’re young, you can develop and that was the main thing we really wanted. So… Another thing was they wanted to sign both of us. Those were the major factors. So far it went very good. All the riders are nice and we get on very well and the staff are great to work with. It’s been a great experience so far.”

Could you compare stage 3 and 6 and do you like longer or shorter climbs? “The third stage was probably more difficult. There was quite a big difference in actual climbing. But in terms of actual performance and selection degree it’s pretty similar. Regardless of whether the climb is short or long the pace changes are going to be harder. I personally prefer longer climbs. In a climb like today you just have to wait like I did today for the perfect moment and when you go, you really go.”

Do you think Cofidis will try something now? “Of course, if I was in their position I’ll probably do the same but I’ve got some strong guys. For example Jens Louris, he’s 95 kilos and he can keep me out of the window all day.”

Taaramäe was very disappointed at the finish? “If you look at both mountain top finishes, we were clearly the two strongest guys in the race. If I was in his place I’d probably feel the same way. I spoke to him at the start and he said we should have a good go today.”

Davide Formolo (Cannondale), 2nd: “Three weeks after I had chicken pox, I had no idea whether I was in good enough condition to climb but the final ascent showed me that it was the case. I was able to express myself after a sharp acceleration by Cameron Wurf. We really work as a team! Yesterday, Elia (Viviani) won and today I was hoping to do the same but Yates attacked strong and I was not able to close the gap. It’s still a great result.”

Davide Rebellin (CCC Polsat), 3rd: “It’s a good result. I could not have done any better. I was hoping for us to still be together with 300 metres to go and for victory to be decided on a sprint but the Orica rider attacked as a strong man. I sprinted for a podium placing. I’m glad I did.”

Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare), best climber: “As we’re nearing the end of the TUR, we had to work hard to win something. Our plan was that if Frattini did not manage to make the break and if the gap was less than two minutes 20 kms before the 3rd category climb, our team would ride to close the gap. I gave it my all to collect the three points and I’m glad I did. It’s always good to win a jersey in a HC race. I would have loved to win a stage though. I tried as hard as I could. But at least we’re not leaving the Tour of Turkey empty-handed. What we’re doing here should help us win stages in other races in the future.”

Mattia Pozzo (Neri Sottoli), Turkih Beauties Sprint leader: “I had a relaxed day. I just made sure that none of the riders in the breakaway was a threat to my classification. In the peloton I finally had a chance to admire the Turkish Beauties: the sea, the site of Ephesus…”

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 6 Result:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE in 4:11:46
2. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:02
3. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice
4. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 0:07
5. Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida
6. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Torku Sekerspor
7. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
8. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:15
9. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol at 0:17
10. Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Novo Nordisk at 0:26.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 6:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE in 24:46:57
2. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 0:01
3. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 0:39
4. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:40
5. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:44
6. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Torku Sekerspor at 0:45
7. Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida
8. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:47
9. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol at 0:54
10. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:04.

Stage 6:

Elia Viviani (Cannondale) scored a carbon copy of his stage 5 victory in Turgutreis two days ago when he stuck to Mark Cavendish’s wheel in the last stretch to upstage the Manx on the line in Izmir on Stage 7. The 136-km penultimate stage before the grand finale in Istanbul was an Italian triumph as Andrea Guardini (Astana) took second place ahead of a hapless Cavendish, who struggled to organise his train in the absence of Mark Renshaw in a sprint marred by several crashes. Adam Yates finished safely inside the main pack to retain his Turquoise jersey and his one-second lead over Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis).

The presence of an early Sprint Prime spurred ambitions and Wesley Sulzberger (Drapac), Piotr Gawronski (CCC Polsat) and Wesley Kreder (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) broke straightaway to reach it in that order (km 9.4). The three built up a 2:30 lead, which they retained on top of the last climb of this 2014 Tour (km 61.1). Back in the peloton, Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare) was then certain to retain his KOM red jersey all the way to Istanbul.

The Turkish Beauties Sprint of the day went to Kreder but did not threaten Matta Piozzo’s white jersey. The three, who held a maximum gap of 2:55 over the peloton, only had the time to collect more points in the final sprint in Smyrna won by Sulzberger (km 122.1) before being reined in by the main pack (km 125).

The time had come for the sprinter teams, already hyperactive in the chase, to take front stage. Trains started to shape up in the ranks of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, Cannondale, Lotto Belisol or United Health Care, but several crashes disorganised the favourite’s teams. A first pile-up took place in the sharp U-turn leading to the final kilometre but the most spectacular occurred in the last 300 metres, when Danilo Napolitano tumbled onto the tarmac. At the very same moment, Viviani had kicked out of Cavendish’s slipstream to outpoint that his previous victory over the British champion was not a fluke. Sprinters should keep centre stage in Sunday’s Istanbul finale with Cavendish certainly out for revenge in the grandiose setting of the Bosphorus.

Questions for stage winner Elia Viviani (Cannondale): Second stage win, second time ahead of Cavendish, you proved the first was entirely deserved? “I’m really happy about this second stage win. This is the confirmation of the last sprint stage. My condition is at the top now. This was my goal here for eight days to get the best condition for my big focus which is the Giro d’Italia. It was more difficult than the last win because so many riders went out. So with only a few metres left, it was me and Cavendish. I only listened to my legs and I went, telling myself that if I take his wheel, it would be perfect, otherwise second or third would be good too.”

How do you see tomorrow’s stage? “Tomorrow will be another sprint. I don’t think we’ll have a real race before the final sprint. It was the same today. My priority now is to stay after this Tour of Turkey in great condition without any problems. But with the condition I have, tomorrow I want another victory.”

The Giro will mean beating another tough opponent, Macel Kittel… “I hope to beat Kittel the way I beat Cav here. My condition is on top. Now I’m just asking my body to remain in this condition for the next ten days. My big focus is the first week of the Giro and in these first three stages I want to beat Kittel. They announced my team for the Giro and it’s a very strong team for the sprints with Ratto, Gatto, Longo Borghini, Marangoni and Villela. It’s a very strong team for the flat stages and for the sprints for me and also for the team time trial. I have a dream, and it’s to take the pink jersey I missed by a few centimetres when Cavendish beat me last year. I need to go to the Giro with this condition.”

Do you think you’ve improved since last year? “Last year was my first Giro. I lost by a few centimetres behind Cav, but I didn’t have the same power. This year, we worked a lot for the sprints and even if I didn’t get big results at the track worlds, after wards I only worked for the sprints. And it only took me this race to be in a great condition. After this race, I can’t ask more from my body.”

Can you describe the last 500 metres? “The last turn was very dangerous with a big group in such a sharp turn. I lost a lot of ground on the OPQS train. After that, the OPQS train started. When Steegmans went in the front, a lot of riders couldn’t follow, including Cavendish. When Petacchi started the sprint, he was alone with Cavendish and I was a few metres away. In one second I told myself to go and when I came behind Cav, I stayed in his wheel and I saw with 100 metres to go that he was not riding at a great speed. I jumped on my pedals and went. It was strange for sure. I never won one in this mode.”

Adam Yates (Orica GreenEDGE), overall leader: “The guys worked very well all day. We put some guys on the front and we made sure the break didn’t get too far. It was pretty simple in the end because they were only three riders and there were five or six chasing so it was easy mathematically to bring back. As I said yesterday it’s pretty special. We only have got one more day yet but still one day to battle it out. It’s one less stage so a little bit less stress but after tomorrow we’ll talk.”

Andrea Guardini (Astana), 2nd: “Another podium… I don’t know whether it was Steegmans, but the third man of OPQS stopped his effort in the middle of the road in a very dangerous way. A gap was created between Cavendish and the rider next to him. Viviani took his wheel and managed to upstage him. Behind them, I kicked out fine. I was feeling good. I had speed in my legs but I started from too far to have a chance. I’m very motivated by these last two stages of the Tour of Turkey because in the past, I was never outside the top 5. I’m finishing this race in a much better condition than I was in at the start. Of course I’m disappointed to have missed my chance today but I will try until the end.”

Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare), best climber: “Today’s break was exactly what I needed. But I knew that the overall leader would not break today and since the next rider in the classification was one of my team-mates, I was not worried even though it was not mathematically won.”

Mattia Pozzo (Neri Sottoli), Turkish Beauties leader: “I don’t know Istanbul but I heard so many things about its beauty that I sincerely can’t wait to ride in there with this Turkish Beauties white jersey on my back. It’s a classification that only exists in the Tour of Turkey but it would have its place at the Giro d’Italia. I admire the creativity of the Turks in this matter. They understood that cycling can be a great way to valorise the historical heritage and the landscapes.”

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 7 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale in 3:04:25
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
3. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Belisol
5. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
6. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
7. Ahmet Orken (Tur) Torku Sekerspor
8. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Ken Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare
10. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Drapac.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 7:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE in 27:51:22
2. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 0:01
3. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 0:39
4. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:40
5. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:44
6. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Torku Sekerspor at 0:45
7. Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida
8. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:47
9. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol at 0:54
10. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:04.

Stage 7:

The Tour of Turkey has always been a race to reveal young talent and it did more than ever for his 50th anniversary by crowning 21-year-old Briton Adam Yates after eight days of racing around some of the most beautiful spots of the country. Winner of stage 6 in Selçuk after finishing second in Elmali, the diminutive Orica GreenEDGE beat Estonian champion Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) by a slim margin of five seconds. But it was more than enough to celebrate his first professional victory in style. It was a close call but it rewarded the two strongest climbers in this edition. Taaramäe, who was just recovering from a larynx operation, can be content with hitting great form again while his Cofidis team also placed Frenchman Romain Hardy on the podium.

The 121-km Final Stage 8 in the grandiose setting of Istanbul and the Bosphorus bridge went to Mark Cavendish, who claimed his fourth stage win in this edition and took his revenge over Elia Viviani (Cannondale), winner of the last two bunch sprints.

After countless attempts from the start in front of Hagia Sophia, a break finally emerged at km 29, involving seven riders who had already tried hard since the flag: Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida), Paolo Colonna (Bardiani-CSF), Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Tomasz Kiendys (CCC Polsat), Nazim Bakirci (Torku Sekerspor), Youcef Reguigui (MTN-Qhubeka) and Javier Megias Leal (Novo Nordisk). The peloton gave them the go-ahead, staying calmly 30 seconds adrift with OPQS and Cannondale leading the chase.

With 30 kms to go, a crash involved three Caja Rural and two MTN-Qhubeka riders including their leader Merhawi Kudus, already injured earlier in the week. The youngest rider in the TUR was forced out on the last day with a broken collarbone as was Colombia’s Heiner Parra.

With 15 kms to go, only Aramendia, Colonna and Kiendys were left in the front, leading the peloton by only 13 seconds into the last lap. They were chased down in the last ten kilometres, when the sprinters trains started to fight for position. The real battle in the last two kilometres was for the ideal spot in Cavendish’s wheel and the Manx tackled the last stretch with Andrea Guardini (Astana), Viviani and Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Belisol) queuing in his wake. Intent on not being caught off guard once again, the Briton looked back quickly and went, proving too strong this time for his two Italian rivals, who had to settle for the podium places. Cavendish made it four, strengthened his points leader’s green jersey and later joined Adam Yates on the podium to complete a British triumph on the banks of the Bosphorus.

The other jerseys were already decided before the start: Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare) won the KOM classification while Mattia Pozzo (Neri Sottoli) took home the Turkish Beauties sprint white jersey.

Questions for overall winner Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE): Was it a stressful finish? “The race is never over until it’s over. With a one –second lead, if you have a crash or puncture before the 3-km mark, it’s over. It was a very stressful finish. It’s been a good race and I hope I’ll be back next year.”

Do you have a dream? A race you would dream to win? “No, not really I’m 21. I can’t really say. I’m a first year pro. It’s a difficult sport and you have to be realistic. All I can say is I will put hard training again. I target mountain top finishes and I’ll try to improve my cycling and see what comes in the future.”

What did you think about last night when you went to bed? “Nothing. I was really tired. But yeah, even if you lead by one second, five seconds or ten seconds it’s always quite stressful. I felt the pressure but we stuck to the plan and it went OK.”

Your brother Simon was actually the leader at the start? “Yes. We’re pretty similar riders. He was going well after the Tour of the Basque Country and he was the obvious choice as a leader. It’s a shame he crashed and broke his collarbone. He would probably have won the overall. Anyway when we race together, there’s always a plan B.”

Did this Tour of Turkey change you as a rider? “There was no radical change. I knew I was in good form. And when an opportunity came, I seized it. Hopefully, my great form will continue in the next few races. I’m a young rider. I take it day by day, I don’t have a plan.”

But this race is a good one for young riders… “It comes at a good period of the calendar. You can come to the Tour of Turkey for different reasons. You can see many sprinters here for instance. It’s been a good race and it’s a good race for young riders.”

How did it feel to be a leader with a whole team working for you? “When the team is working for you, it’s easier. I had almost nothing to do until the last kilometres. The hardest part was to handle the press and the media. You guys have a lot of questions and I don’t always know what to answer.”

What’s your next race? “The Tour of California. I don’t know the team’s plan. I might be working for the team or chasing a stage win. I’m young, there’s not really any strategy. I’ll go into the race looking for an opportunity and if an opportunity comes up, I’ll pick it up.”

Mark Cavendish (OPQS, winner of the stage): “My team-mates delivered me wonderfully but there was still some way to go before the finish line. But I was still going and going fast. I looked behind and I saw some guys expecting to pip me to the line the way they did yesterday. Finally the speed was so high and my strength left me enough energy to not let it die off. It’s incredible the way the team performed the whole week. I’m really happy the way the team rode I’m really happy with my form. I’m definitely back. It was a great preparation race. It’s not an easy race, you need a lot of strength. I’m sure I’ll return afterwards. I really appreciated it.”

Elia Viviani (Cannondale), 2nd: “Today, contrarily to the previous days when I won, I didn’t manage to take Cavendish’s wheel because Guardini took it first. I said before the start that I wouldn’t take any chances before the Giro because my mission was accomplished before this last stage. My team still worked hard to prepare the sprint but like in the first two days, the speed was very high and in these conditions, Cav was again the strongest.”

Andrea Guardini (Astana), 3rd: “I tried again but I failed again. I knew the wind was coming from the right. But the shape of the last turn pushed Cav to close the door to my right. He blocked me along the fences and I did not have the strength to pass him before he blocked me. I might have tried the other side of the road. But when his team leads him out like they did today, he’s very hard to beat. At the red flame, I was ideally placed in his wheel, but I was already at full speed.”

Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis), 2nd overall and winner of the team standings: “I was super happy with my stage win in Elmali (stage 3) and I was hoping to keep the jersey all the way. By contrast I was very disappointed to lose it two days ago. Now I overcame the disappointment. We believed in our chances until the finish line but when you see a 100-kg Dutchman (Jens Mouris, 95 kilos actually) ride next to Nicolas Edet who is a climber, you understand it’s not realistic to take the jersey back. Over the whole week, the return of my best form and the work of the Cofidis team in my favour boosted my morale. The outcome could have been different if Yoann Bagot, who was our leader at the start, had not suffered from gastroenteritis. Had he been better, he could have been my side until the top in the stage two days ago. At least this TUR showed me I was still capable of obtaining results even though I’m still unclear about my next objectives, the Dauphine and the Tour de France. In any case, I gained my self confidence back.”

Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 8 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 2:35:00
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
4. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Belisol
5. Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol
6. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
7. Aldo Ino Ilesic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare
8. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
10. Ken Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare.

Presidential Tour of Turkey Final Overall Result:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE 30:26:22
2. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 0:05
3. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 0:39
4. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:40
5. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:44
6. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Torku Sekerspor at 0:45
7. Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida
8. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:51
9. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto-Belisol at 0:58
10. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:04.

The final stage 8:

Rund um Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt 2014
Katusha Team’s Alexander Kristoff took a group sprint win ahead of race favourite to claim his third win of the season and first since his historic Milano-Sanremo victory in March.

Alexander Kristoff spoke of his victory: “I never expected this before the race. I have to be honest, after Paris-Roubaix I took a well-deserved break and these past few days I just did long distance trainings plus I had a travel day yesterday. On the bike I even did not feel so good in the beginning. But then when you see your teammates doing a perfect job….the only thing I had to do was to follow. So in the end I started to feel better and better. Moreover I never start in a race with the idea that I will not finish. I will always do the sprint and when I had such a perfect train in front of me, it was my duty to try to win. I am really happy to put my name on the winners list.”

Kristoff outkicked Germany’s John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Jerome Baugnies of Wanty-Groupe Gobert to earn the win in the 1.HC Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn – Frankfurt.

“I started my sprint at 300 meters from the finish,” explained Kristoff. “The last 200 meters I was already in pole position and constantly taking all the wind, but I felt strong. Most likely John Degenkolb was a bit more tired. He was the local favorite and everybody was watching him. In the end he had to work himself too, thanks to the perfect job of Kolobnev who attacked earlier. A perfect day and again a win in the rain. The roads were sometimes very slippery but we managed to survive. We even did more…”

“Our team was the best and I am so proud of all our guys,” said team director Claudio Cozzi. “They all had a part in the success of Alexander. We played it tactically very well and let Giant-Shimano do the big chasing work in the peloton the entire day, since we had a strong Eduard Vorganov in the break through the Taunus Mountains. Once that break of ten riders was caught, Alexander Kolobnev did a marvelous job of attacking twice. The first time it took Giant 5-6 kilometers to catch him. The second time they caught him at less than 9 K from the finish and then Kristoff was already well surrounded by teammates. First brought Kristoff in a perfect position for the last hundreds of metres. How nice is this to beat John Degenkolb in his home country. And just as last year with Simon Spilak, we have the winner on a strong Frankfurt palmares.”

Alexander Kristoff will next race two stage races in Norway and then take part in the Tour de Suisse before heading to the Tour de France.

Rund um Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 4:49:31
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
3. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4. Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Rick Zabel (Ger) Deutsche Nationalmannschaft
7. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Deutsche Nationalmannschaft
8. Jan Dieteren (Ger) Team Stölting
9. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
10. Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice.

The final kilometres:

Giro d’Italia 2014 News:

Kelderman and Kruijswijk spearhead Team Belkin in the Giro
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will start the Giro d’Italia in Belfast on Friday, May 9, with two captains. Wilco Kelderman and Steven Kruijswijk lead the team in the 97th edition of the race.

“We hope to finish in the top ten of the general classification with Wilco and Steven,” said Sports Director Frans Maassen. “They have been on a three-week altitude training camp in Tenerife and were able to prepare themselves in the best possible way, both physically and mentally. They have lived like monks and that’s perfect as the coming weeks are going to be hectic enough.”

Maassen and the team are not only hoping for a good overall in the Giro. They will also aim for a stage win. “We’d really like to win a stage. We will do our utmost to get in the right breakaways. It’s going to be a challenge. Furthermore, Jetse Bol will aim to win bunch sprints.”

‘Strong and loyal’ helpers
The Giro starts with a team time trial in Northern Ireland and continues with two more stages before returning to Italy. The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will travel there on Tuesday. “We will try to preview as many stages as we can in the days leading up to the start,” said Maassen. “The Giro will be decided in the last week, but the first two weeks will be difficult, as well. For example, the wind can play a significant role. We’ll need to be alert.” The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will try to do so with a strong team. Maassen has confidence in his helpers. “We have seven strong and loyal domestiques. They know to race and know what’s expected of them.”

Wilco Kelderman
“We have trained long and hard during our altitude training camp in Tenerife,” Kelderman said. “It’s was perfect. I felt good during the last training rides, which gives me confidence in the run-up to the Giro. I’m hoping for a top ten finish in the overall. In Paris-Nice and the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, I was in good form and able to climb with the best, but unfortunately, due to bad luck, I didn’t make it into the top. The Giro is a completely different race and a lot longer, but we have a balanced group of riders, which provides me with lot of confidence. We also have a fun group. That will be important and certainly helps.”

Steven Kruijswijk
“We have a great and strong team,” Kruijswijk explained. “I already have a lot of confidence for Friday’s team time trial, for example. I’ll have to give everything to keep up with the guys. “The Giro has a traditional build-up and towards the end, it will become harder and harder. During the first two weeks, it’s important that Wilco and I don’t lose time. With these guys, I’m really confident about that. Our entire focus is on the overall, but sometimes the boys will get opportunities and they should really try to seize those moments. When the team is riding aggressively, it gives everyone morale.”

TEAM line-up:
Jetse Bol, Jos van Emden, Rick Flens, Marc Goos, Martijn Keizer, Wilco Kelderman, Steven Kruijswijk, David Tanner and Maarten Tjallingii.
Sports Directors: Jan Boven and Frans Maassen.

Cannondale Team for the Giro d’Italia
Ivan Basso will be the team’s leader for the GC and sprinter Elia Viviani will be looking to repeat his recent form at the Tour of Turkey where he got the better of Mark Cavendish.

Cannondale Giro Team:
Ivan Basso, Elia Viviani, Daniele Ratto, Paolo Longo Borghini, Alan Marangoni, Oscar Gatto, Moreno Moser, Michel Koch and Davide Villella.

Trek Factory Racing team for the Giro
Croatian national champion Robert Kiserlovski is the team leader for the Trek team in the Italian Grand Tour, with a previous 10th in the 2010 Giro and will be looking to improve on that. The team’s sprinter will be Giacomo Nizzolo.

Trek Giro Team: Robert Kiserlovski, Giacomo Nizzolo, Julian Arredondo, Riccardo Zoidl, Fabio Felline, Danilo Hondo, Eugenio Alafaci, Fumy Beppu and Boy Van Poppel.

Ag2r-La Mondiale Team
Riders: Domenico Pozzovivo, Davide Appollonio, Julien Bérard, Maxime Bouet, Axel Domont, Hubert Dupont, Patrick Gretsch, Matteo Montaguti and Alexis Vuillermoz.

Team Katusha line-up for Giro d’Italia
WorldTour Team Katusha is ready to start in the first Grand Tour of the current season, the legendary Giro d’Italia, which will be held from May 9th until June 1st.

The 97th edition of the Giro d’Italia will start in Northern Ireland in Belfast with a 21-kilometer team time trial. After two more stages in Northern Ireland and Ireland, the Giro will move to the South of Italy. For the first time the Tour of Italy will finish in Trieste.

An ambitious Team Katusha will be represented by the following line-up: Maxim Belkov, Giampaolo Caruso, Vladimir Gusev, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno, Luca Paolini, Joaquim Rodriguez, Angel Vicioso and Eduard Vorganov. The team will be managed by José Azevedo and Claudio Cozzi with support from Xavier Florencio and Michael Rich.

Lotto Belisol Giro Selection
Riders: Sander Armée, Lars Bak, Kenny Dehaes, Gert Dockx, Adam Hansen, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert, Tim Wellens.

Riders: Franco Pellizotti, Marco Bandiera, Manuel Belletti, Marco Frapporti, Yonder Godoy, Johnny Hoogerland, Jackson Rodriguez, Diego Rosa and Emanuele Sella.

LAMPRE-MERIDA selection for the Pink Race
The technical staff from Team LAMPRE-MERIDA, together with the technical advisor Michele Bartoli and the management of the team, selected the 9 cyclists of the team that will take part in Giro d’Italia.

The athlete that deserved to be in the selection are:
Winner Andrew Anacona Gomez, 25 years old, climber, pro since 2012, debut in Giro
Matteo Bono, 30 years, all terrain rider, pro since 2006, 4 participations in Giro
Mattia Cattaneo, 23 years old, rouleur climber, pro since 2013, 1 participation Giro
Damiano Cunego, 33 years old, climber, pro since 2002, 8 participations in Giro, 1 Giro victory, 4 stages victories
Roberto Ferrari, 31 years old, sprinter, pro since 2007, 3 participations in Giro and 1 stage victory
Przemyslaw Niemiec, 34 years old, climber, pro since 2002, 3 participations in Giro
Manuele Mori, 33 years old, all terrain rider, pro since 2004, 5 participations in Giro
Jan Polanc, 21 years old, rouleur climber, pro since 2011, debut in Giro
Diego Ulissi, 24 years old, rouleur climber, pro since 2010, 2 participations in Giro, 1 stage victory

The average age of the team is 28 years old, a mix of experience (1 overall classification victory by Cunego, 6 stages successes thanks to Cunego, Ferrari, Ulissi) and of youth (two debuts).
Riders are from four different Countries: Italy (6 athletes), Colombia (1), Slovenia (1) and Poland (1).

Team will be directed by Orlando Maini and Daniele Righi, who’ll receive the support by Marco Marzano.
In the team staff for Northern Ireland departure there will be mechanics Pengo, Viganò, Bortoluzzo and Tiede, masseurs Capelli, Chiodini, Del Gallo, Redaelli and by doctors De Grandi and Pollastri.
For the Italian part, in the staff there will be mechanics Baron, Pengo, Romanò and Tiede, masseurs Capelli, Del Gallo, Della Torre, Negri and Santerini, physicians De Grandi, Guardascione and Pollastri, driver Bozzolo, press officer Carlo Saronni, coordinator Appiani and team manager Copeland.

FDJ.fr Giro Team
Riders: Nacer Bouhanni, Sébastien Chavanel, Arnaud Courteille, Murillo Fischer, Alexandre Geniez, Johan Le Bon, Francis Mourey, Laurent Pichon and Geoffrey Soupe.

Neri Sottoli
Riders: Mauro Finetto, Matteo Rabottini, Simone Ponzi, Francesco Chicchi, Daniele Colli, Jonathan Monsalve, Andrea Fedi, Ramón Carretero and Giorgio Cecchinel.

Movistar Team set for Giro d’Italia challenge
Nairo Quintana, Jonathan Castroviejo, Andrey Amador, José Herrada, Adriano Malori, Eros Capecchi, Gorka Izagirre, Igor Antón and Fran Ventoso are the nine riders the Movistar Team will take to the 97th edition of the Giro d’Italia (Friday 9 – Sunday, June 1). The first Grand Tour of the year, which will start in Belfast and spend three days of racing in the island of Ireland, will be the first time Nairo Quintana starts a three-week stagerace as designated leader of the telephone squad.

Polish Sylwester Szmyd and Pablo Lastras have been the riders left out from the initial, eleven-man shortlist proposed by general manager Eusebio Unzué. In Lastras’s case, it was the Spanish rider himself who ruled out taking part in the event following several weeks of altitude training in Navacerrada: “Eusebio wanted me to be there, but I’m physically wasted. It’s being one of the hardest moments in my racing career. I’ll miss my team-mates a lot.” With the eight riders to support Quintana on his chase for glory in the Giro confirmed, Unzué reflects on their chances, the keys of this year’s route and the main favourites for the overall victory:

“This year we’re bringing a strong leader in Nairo, and the whole team has been selected to support him. He has got to know the Vuelta, in 2012; the Tour, in 2013; and we wanted him this year to take another step forward, to debut in the other Grand Tour left and, above all, making it as the only designated leader, from the very start. Coming into the race, the goal is fighting for a place in the overall podium. Winning? After his 2nd place in last year’s Tour, I think he’s ready for that, but we can’t forget it is the first team he will take on such responsibilities from the start – plus, he hasn’t got any experience in the Giro, a race whose peculiarities are important to know.

“There might be some other contenders who are less strong, yet have lots more experience than Nairo. It might be possible, yes, but it’s going to be really hard; that why I saw that, in principle, we have to aim for the podium. Building on such a goal, seeing him continue to grow and getting used to lead a team from the start, to keep his mind cold in different situations… these are things only experience can provide you with, and which Nairo, young and inexperienced in the race, will face for the first time.

“He will be surrounded by a group full of experienced team-mates, in good form, committed and convinced about the goal we’re setting on ourselves for this race. All of them, except for Castroviejo and Gorka, already know the Giro, and that’s crucial. As in any Grand Tour, and even more in Italy, whose orography makes every stage unpredictable, you can win or lost the race anywhere, but the overall result has to be decided into the final week, which is brutal. It will try the resistance and freshness every leader keeps until that point, because those final days are super demanding. Favourites? I think there might be sort of a clash of generation that might become interesting for the race itself. Veterans, including Purito, Evans and Scarponi; riders who are still young but have experience, such as Urán, Pozzovivo or Daniel Martin; and the up-and-coming stars, like Majka or Nairo.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE Announces Giro d’Italia Roster
Four days out from the start of the Giro d’Italia, ORICA-GreenEDGE has announced its nine man roster for the first of the three Grand Tours. The Australian outfit will attack the three week tour with several objectives in mind: winning the opening stage team time trial, chasing stage wins and continuing its development of the team’s young riders. The nine riders to take to the race start in Belfast are: Brett Lancaster, Cameron Meyer, Ivan Santaromita, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Michael Matthews, Mitch Docker, Pieter Weening and Svein Tuft.

“Our first objective in Italy is to win the team time trial,” said Sport Director Matt White. “It will be all hands on deck for the TTT in Ireland. We want to take the maglia rosa and of course hold onto it for as long as possible.”

Svein Tuft is an unassuming rider who commands respect as the ultimate team player and steadfast workhorse. Eight times Canadian National Time Trial Champion, Tuft will be a crucial link in the team’s quest for victory on day one. “In addition to playing a key role in the TTT, I also consider Svein one of our road captains,” said White. “He’s experienced, even-keeled and devoted to his teammates. He will be a huge asset to this group throughout the race.”

Brett Lancaster has ridden 13 Grand Tours, including seven Giro d’Italia starts. Nine years ago, he won the prologue at the Giro to pull on the coveted pink race leader’s jersey. Co-captain of the Giro team this year, Lancaster is at the forefront of the team’s quest for victory and the maglia rosa in Ireland. “Aside from his important role in the TTT, Brett will guide the lead-out train in the final kilometres of the sprint stages,” noted White. “Brett is very familiar with this role and knows exactly how to get the other guys in the right place as the bunch winds up for the sprint.

Luke Durbridge is a time trial specialist who has proven he is more than capable of winning on the road as well. Twice Australian National Time Trial Champion and once U23 World Time Trial Champion, Durbridge is the first Australian in the modern era to do the double at the Australian National Road Championships, winning both the individual time trial and the road race in the same year. Durbridge made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro last year where he rode a very respectable sixth in the stage eight individual time trial. “Like Brett and Svein, Luke will be a key member of our squad for the TTT,” said White. “Luke produced a fantastic result in the ITT last year, and I really expect that the time trial on stage 12 will suit his characteristics.

Michael Hepburn takes on his first Grand Tour as the youngest amongst the ORICA-GreenEDGE Giro d’Italia squad. The 22 year old is another integral part of the Australian outfit’s team time trial machine. Hepburn clocked his first major win in ORICA-GreenEDGE colours when he became the Australian National Time Trial Champion in January of this year. A month later, Hepburn backed up his crowning achievement with a win in the individual time trial at Tour of Qatar. “This will be Heppy’s first Grand Tour,” White stated. “It will be a real learning experience for him to get through one of the most beautiful and most challenging races on the calendar. He has had a really solid racing block under his belt this season so far and with that has developed into a more complete road rider.”

Cameron Meyer’s strength against the clock has been repeatedly demonstrated in his palmares. His first aim at his fourth Giro d’Italia start is the team time trial. Following the opening stage, he will focus on chasing stage wins “Cam can win a stage,” said White. “He is a very versatile rider who we are happy to see in the break on any given day. We have seen this aggressive style in the past with him and I expect to see the same rider that we saw at the Vuelta two years ago.

Michael Matthews made his mark in his Grand Tour debut, winning two stages at the Vuelta a España last year. Prior to his big wins in Spain, he won twice at the Tour of Utah en route to claiming the points jersey. Matthews has backed up last season’s results with key victories in Basque Country and Rioja. Eager to increase his winning tally at the Giro, Matthews will be the team’s designated sprinter on the flat and medium mountain stages. “Michael will be targeting a lot of the stages in the first two weeks of the race” said White. “He’s going to face some stiff competition, but we’re confident that he will really benefit from this experience. With the teams support, he’s up for the challenge.”

Mitch Docker was a crucial member of the sprint train that delivered Matthews to Vuelta victories last year. The consummate teammate, Docker will revive his role as lead-out specialist for the ORICA-GreenEDGE sprint train at the Giro, assuming responsibility for delivery Matthews into prime position for the final gallop to the finish. “Mitch has turned into a very consistent member of the team’s lead out train” said White. “And with the parcours the way it is, we’ll certainly be relying on him to showcase his talents throughout the Giro.”

A key player in the Ardennes Classics group that delivered Simon Gerrans to the win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Pieter Weening heads to Northern Ireland with the spectacular form he cultivated during the spring. Weening made his first Grand Tour appearance in 2004 and has since raced all three, three-week long races, winning a stage at the Tour de France in 2005 and a stage at the Giro d’Italia in 2011. His win in Italy earned him four days in the maglia rosa “Weening loves the Giro,” commented White. “The style of racing in Italy makes it a perfect race for him. He is going really strong right now and will be going full gas from the start. Later in the tour he’ll pick and choose stages that suit him. He will definitely be on the hunt for stage wins.”

For Ivan Santaromita, wearing the highly esteemed tri-colour jersey in his national tour will be a proud moment. The Italian National Road Champion is highly motivated and has meticulously prepared for his third Giro d’Italia. Whilst his teammates are focused on stages, Santaromita has his eye on the overall. “Santa is aiming for the best possible general classification result he can produce,” said White. “The team has goals beyond the overall, but we will support him as much as we possibly can. We don’t expect him to contend for a podium but we are starting out with a top 10 as our goal.”

White is excited to be directing this talented team at the Giro d’Italia, which he believes is a good training ground for young riders. Of the three Grand Tours, White ranks the Giro as the most physically taxing. “For me the Giro is a litmus test of a rider’s ability to get through a Grand Tour,” said White. “If a rider can get through the Giro physically, then he is ready for the more mentally challenging Tour de France.”

ORICA-GreenEDGE for the Giro d’Italia:
Brett Lancaster, Cameron Meyer, Ivan Santaromita, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Michael Matthews, Mitch Docker, Pieter Weening, Svein Tuft.


The Women’s International Tour of Italy Celebrates its 25th Edition.
Here are all the Stages of the 2014 Edition.

Press Release: The 2014 most important women’s stage race is the 25th edition of the Giro Rosa. The Women’s International Tour of Italy, also called Giro Rosa, will be staged from July 4th to July 13th. Giuseppe Rivolta has returned to the head of the Giro. He has been the organiser from 2002 to 2005, then from 2007 to 2009 and in 2013. From 2010 to 2012 he has also been the race director. The event, owned by the Italian Cycling Federation, has been organized this year once again by Rivolta’s company “Quattro Erre”, which is already working to make this Giro edition a very special one, with some nice surprises too.

“I have the Giro close to my heart” – says Rivolta -. I’m excited as if it was the first time. Actually a little bit more excited this year! The Women’s International Tour of Italy has been growing a lot; same as the women’s cycling in Italy.
I want to thank the President of the Italian Cycling Federation, Renato Di Rocco, who trusts me and has given me once again this great opportunity. Since we started organizing the Giro Rosa, he has been supporting us.”

Last year’s race was a success. “It was a great media event and the public was fantastic too. We like challenges, we want to improve and just make it better and better. We are really working hard to make the 25th edition of the Giro a prestigious event. The Giro Rosa is absolutely the most important international stage race. We just have to plan a last few things now, but the stages are ready. My staff and I will do our best so that the Giro Rosa will not disappoint anybody’s expectations: from the riders, to the teams, the Giro followers and the whole staff”.

With only two months to go, all the stages are ready: the Giro Rosa will start from the south of Italy in the beautiful city of Caserta and will finish in the north on the Madonna del Ghisallo climb, destination for cycling lovers from all over the world.

Here following are the 10 stages of the 25th Giro edition:
Start: Caserta
Stage 1: S. Maria a Vico (CE) – S. Maria a Vico (CE)
Stage 2: Frattamaggiore (NA) – Frattamaggiore (NA)
Stage 3: Caserta (CE) – San Donato Val di Comino (FR)
Stage 4: Alba Adriatica (TE) – Jesi (AN)
Stage 5: Jesi (AN9 – Cesenatico (FC)
Stage 6: Gaiarine (TV) – S. Fior (TV)
Stage 7: Aprica (SO) – Chiavenna (SO)
Stage 8: Verbania (VCO) – San Domenico di Varzo (VCO)
Stage 9: Trezzo sull’Adda (MI) – Madonna del Ghisallo (CO).

Giro Rosa Stage 2 Pontecagnano-Faiano won by Giorgia Bronzini:

Garate is a Belkin Rider
Recently we reported that Juan Manuel Garate had a verbal agreement that he would be riding for the Belkin team, but he had rejected their offer. The ex-Spanish champion said it was due to personal reasons, but it could have been because of a lower cash offer. After a court case where Garate sued for two years wages, but in the end Garate had to sign the original contract. When he will be making his 2014 debut is unknown.

Europcar team for 4 Jours Dunkerque
The Northern French race runs from the 7th to the 11th of May.
Riders: Jimmy Engoulvent, Yohann Gene, Vincent Jerome, Christophe Kern, Morgan Lamoisson, Yannick Martinez, Brian Nauleau, Alexandre Pichot.
Directeur Sportif: Ismaël Mottier.

Liege Re-Lived with Orica-GreenEDGE
The 2014 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège will go down as one of the biggest days ever for ORICA-GreenEDGE. Simon Gerrans made history becoming the first Australian to win the La Doyenne. Here is the latest episode of the Orica-GreenEDGE ‘Backstage Pass’ enjoy all the screams of joy inside and out of the team car.


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