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EuroTrash: More Giro Monday!

Rigoberto Uran has taken hold in Italy, will he still be in pink in Trieste? All the news from the 2014 Giro d’Italia, Tour of Norway, World Ports Classic, Tour of Japan and the US TT champs: Video, results and comments with all the action. In other cycling news: The Tour for Brussels, Tiernan-Locke case delayed and more crashes. Get ready for a big EuroTrash bag Monday.

TOP STORY: Rigoberto’s Giro?
Just a quick thought as there is a lot to get through this morning. Since Rigoberto Uran took the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia on stage 12 there has been a few grumbles and comments of disbelief from some corners. To those people I would just like to point to his palmarés in the Italian Tour: This is his fourth Giro, last year he was second and had he not had to look after an obviously ailing Bradley Wiggins in the early stages, he possibly could have won. Seventh overall and the young rider’s jersey in the 2012 Giro wasn’t bad either. So why pick on him now? OK rant over.

Rigoberto Uran before this year:

Giro d’Italia 2014
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Colombian team leader Rigoberto Uran stamped his authority on the Giro d’Italia in the Stage 12 individual time trial on Thursday. Over the slippery surface of the 41.9 kilometres from Barbaresco to Barolo Uran put up a time of 57:34 which took 1:34 out of the overall leader Cadel Evans (BMC) giving Uran a lead of 37 seconds. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) was second on the stage with his time of 58:51, beating Evans by 17 seconds; Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafa Majka was fourth on the stage helping to keep him in third overall. The diminutive Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) finished ninth and held onto his fourth overall, but is now 2:32 down on the pink jersey; he had been at 1:20 before the TT. Biggest loser on the day was probably Movistar’s Nairo Quintana who is now at 3:29. Read the Race Report here.

The stage winner and the new Maglia Rosa Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) spoke to the press after the stage. A surprise Maglia Rosa? “To win the time trial has great significance for me personally, for my team, and for Colombia, and to take the Maglia Rosa as well is a nice surprise. There’s a long way to go, of course, and the real mountains are still ahead of us, but today is important. I came here twice to look at the route. I worked hard with [bike manufacturer] Specialized and went to the wind tunnel in California. I rode well in the time trial at the Tour of Romandie. During the race today, I was given repeated updates on Cadel Evans’ times, and I think it made a difference. I wanted to do well today, but I didn’t expect to win and take the jersey.”

A slow season’s start? “I wanted to do well in Tirreno-Adriatico and in the Tour of Catalonia, but I had stomach trouble so, when the results didn’t come, the team re-focused entirely on the Giro. We’re here in good health, with a great team, and we want to do well in the Giro d’Italia. I’m 27 years old, still young, but I’ve already been professional cyclist for 9 years and I think it was time I started getting results like this. I used to win time trials in Colombia, when I was still a junior.”

2nd in 2013 – better in 2014? “Yes, I’ve learned a lot since last year. I moved to Omega Pharma – Quick-Step to be the team’s leader in the 3-week tours, and I’ve worked hard. In Ireland we were very clear about this: we said we were here to win the Giro, and that’s what we’re aiming at.”

A rival? “There isn’t just one. There are many rivals here: Quintana, Evans, Majka, Pozzovivo. The final week, the hard stages, are still ahead of us.”

Cadel Evans (BMC): “As I told you a few days ago, I saw Uran coming into form, but I honestly did not expect him to have such an amazing time trial,” Evans said. “Of course, I had hoped to have done better myself. The time trial course suited me well, but as I said yesterday, the verdict is on the road.” In the overall standings, Evans is 37 seconds back, with Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) in third at 1:52. No other riders are within 2:30 of Uran with nine stages remaining. “My position is good tactically,” Evans said. “I think it is going to be interesting.”

Wilco Kelderman moved into fifth overall in the Giro d’Italia after finishing seventh stage 12’s time trial. The Belkin team’s youngster completed the course in 59:37. “I couldn’t have gone any faster and I’m definitely happy with this result,” said Kelderman. “It’s always nice to move up a few places. It’s just a shame that Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) was so strong. The white jersey stayed out of my reach because of that. I’m now fifth overall and for the rest of the race, I will give my all to defend that position. However, finishing in the top ten is still my main goal.” Kelderman didn’t start the time trial as he’d hoped. “A TV motorbike was riding next to me a few times so I couldn’t cut some of the corners as I would’ve liked. I was a bit pissed off because that took away some of my focus. The final part went a lot better.”

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) is 14th at 6:24:”My aims in the first part of the course were mainly to check my condition after yesterday crash,” Ulissi explained. “I noticed that I was having good feelings in the first 12 km of the climb to the first intermediate time check, from the car sport director told me my time was very interesting, so I went on with a great determination. The road on the downhill was wet and despite my Merida Warp TT being set up in a perfect way, I could not take risks and I lost seconds compared to the riders that raced after me. I’m happy, I did not expect to obtain such good result. My compliments to Uran, his performance was amazing.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 12 Result:
1. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 57:34
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:17
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1:34
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:39
5. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:53
6. Wouter Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:00
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 2:03
8. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:07
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:09
10. Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:12.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 12:
1. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 49:37:35
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:37
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:52
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:32
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 2:50
6. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 3:29
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3:37
8. WoutPoels (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 4:06
9. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC at 4:20
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 4:41.

Stage 12 TT:

The profile and the length of today’s 157 kilometre long Stage 13 from Fossano to Rivarolo Canavese most of all indicated a bunch sprint finish. The break of Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF), Jeffry Corredor (Colombia), Gert Dockx (Lotto Belisol), Angelo Tulik (Europcar) and Jackson Rodriguez (Androni) had other ideas and in the end Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF) took the stage win ahead of Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli) and Angelo Tulik (Europcar), the peloton arrived 11 seconds later with Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) at the head. Read the Race Report here.

Stage winner Marco Canola (Bardiani-CSF) was asked some questions after the finish: Weather? “I knew there was a hail storm ahead of us although, with 60 km or more to go, I don’t think any of us in the breakaway believed very much. But the route was rolling, even if it didn’t look like it on paper, and there were lots of curves. I really committed myself to it, and the others followed, and, in the end, I was right.”

Motto: “There is no such thing as unfavourable conditions, there are only people who give up, and in this team, we never give up! It’s good that we can’t see the future. If everything went the way we expected, there’d be no surprises. That’s why you have to stick at it. Today you could say I was lucky, but on other days I’ve had bad luck. But you have to go for it – that’s the rule of cycling.”

Overcoming: “As an U23 rider, I lost many important races after being caught in the final 300m. I’m a strong rouleur and I have a pretty good sprint, but it’s not easy to emerge in this sport. I was a promising rider as a junior: I had 7 wins, I rode for the national team, and I achieved good things. That continued into my first year at under-23 level. Then, in my 2nd year of under-23, I had some problems. My father died after illness. But with good people around me, I came through it, and I learned that it isn’t just the result that counts, it is the memory you leave behind of who you are.”

Overall leader Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): Your best terrain? “I really don’t know. When I’m in good shape. I’ve always liked time trials, I’m not a big specialist, but yesterday’s route was a bit different, with two climbs and two descents. The last 20 starters rode in the dry, which helped us, and it wasn’t an ITT for specialists. The great time trial specialists aren’t even here”

Tomorrow’s stage? “The stage to Oropa is going to be beautiful, but every stage here means something. Being at the Giro means something, wearing the Maglia Rosa means something’s. I have a lot of respect for the race, and there’s still a long way to go. In a race like the Giro, something can happen every day. Yesterday, I was strong, but there are riders here like Quintana and Pozzovivo, who are in good shape, and I’d add Majka to that list. I’ve a lead, but in the end it’s very small one.”

The overall standings remained unchanged, with Evans second, 37 seconds behind race leader Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). Not having the responsibility of controlling the race was a nice change, Evans said. “But like often after a time trial, a lot of the sprinters had an opportunity to recover,” he said. “That can make for a really hard final, which, with the weather and the circuit today, made for an easier start, but quite an intense final.” Manuel Quinziato was one of the teammates guiding Evans through challenges that included remnants of a hail storm so strong it resembled snow on the road. “The guys almost did a lead out to the two roundabouts in the last kilometres to make sure Cadel was near the first position or almost top 10,” Quinziato said.

Giro d’Italia Stage 13 Result:
1. Marco Canola (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 3:37:20
2. Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli
3. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Europcar
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:11
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
7. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano
8. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
9. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
10. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 13:
1. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 53:15:06
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:37
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:52
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:32
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 2:50
6. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 3:29
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3:37
8. Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 4:06
9. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC at 4:20
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 4:41.

Stage 13:

Stage 14 was made up of two races, one for the stage amongst the 21 who broke away early and then a second race between the GC men behind them. The break split on the penultimate climb, but managed to get back together before the last climb to Oropa. Manuel Quinziato (BMC) and Alberto Timmer (Giant-Shimano) jumped away and looked strong until Quinziato had to change bikes and the chasers caught him and headed after Timmer. Attack after attack came from Cataldo (Sky) and Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida), then Cataldo and Pantano (Colombia). They swept up Timmer and as they started their sprint Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF) closed them down and passed them for the stage win.

Behind; the GC men were having their own battle and the group of 10 riders split as Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Quintana (Movistar) jumped away. Overall leader Uran had Poels, but Evans had no help. In the end Pozzovivo and Quintana took 25 seconds and Evans only a couple over Uran. Not much, but it’s a start. Read the Race Report here.

Stage winner Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF): “After yesterday’s win, our moral is sky high. I didn’t attack in jest: I believed in the breakaway and it was always my intention to go all the way. I wasn’t out team’s designated rider in the breakaway: There are better climbers in the team than me, like Zardini. But the situation looked good and I felt sure that the breakaway would make it.”

The sprint? “I suffered on the climb, and on the hardest section, I couldn’t keep up. I had to go full gas in the last 500m and, when I got across to Cataldo and Pantano, I had to breathe for a second because I’d had to ride at 100% to catch them. Thankfully, they lost speed and I did a great sprint and managed to get past them in the final 30m. I looked around to make sure I had really won, and to see if anyone else was coming from behind.”

“This day last year, I crashed out of the Giro d’Italia, days after taking my stage win. So this is a nice way to get my revenge. And, in the Veneto region, 24 May is the day we commemorate those lost in the First World War. In general, young people tend to forget history, but we are very aware of it, and it’s nice to be able to commemorate in this way.”

Overall leader Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). Never worried: “I had no problems today. The team was happy with the riders in the breakaway and their lead. I had a team-mate [Julian Vermote] in there. I was surrounded by team-mates all day, so I wasn’t worried. The team was phenomenal today. The idea is to arrive at the end of the race wearing the Maglia Rosa. It’s no use showing yourself every day. You have to save as much energy as possible. This is a very open race, the hard days and the hard climbs still lie ahead of us and I want to wear Maglia Rosa in Trieste.”

The coming climbs? “I know almost all the climbs that are coming up. I’ve trained on the climb up to Montecampione, even if I’ve never raced there. I’m glad that Quintana’s getting better. We’re friends. We shared a house together in Pamplona 3 years ago, and sometimes we talked about what it would be like racing against each other in stage races.”

Colombia’s Jarlinson Pantano was at the dream’s door today and his disappointment and tears after the finish line were understandable: “I had a great chance, really close to winning a Giro stage. I feel sad now, but aware it was a great result for Team Colombia and me personally”.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “To be honest, I end the day much happier than in the last few days; feelings are getting better at last. I had better legs today and that’s a good sign for what’s to come. Ever since I crashed I had bad days, especially suffering with that flu that gave me problems for many days. Fortunately, everything seems to be back on track, and today’s stage will give me confidence and calmness for the remainder of the race.

“These 25 seconds to Urán are few to what I’m still trailing by, but they’re useful and show me we can gain time in the mountains. Our race strategy was waiting and seeing what happened, and in the end we proved we can be up-front. It was a matter of staying into alert, against the moves of our rivals, and that’s what we did. I already stated before the Giro that Pozzovivo would be one of the favourites and you can’t let him go one single meter away, because he’s showing to be really strong in the mountains. Tomorrow’s difficulties are all at the end and we will keep the same plan, trying to stay close to the favourites – there’s still a long way to go in this Giro.”

BMC’s Cadel Evans finished 21st, but it was the final 50 meters where he made the biggest move, reducing his deficit to Uran to 32 seconds with one week of the race to go. “It might have been a few more seconds, but there was a bit of a wave (other riders) in front of me,” Evans said. All seven of the riders immediately behind Uran in the overall standings gained time on him, with Nairo Quintana (Movistar) taking the most – 25 seconds – with a 15th-place finish. Quintana followed an attack by Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) midway up the final climb while Evans shadowed Uran. “Someone set a really hard tempo at the start of the climb,” Evans said. “That eliminated a lot of riders who might have ridden tempo – Samuel Sánchez or Steve Morabito – who could have been by my side later in the climb. So all the leaders were isolated quite early.”

It was Manuel Quinziato (BMC) who pushed the pace onto the final climb with Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano). But with less than 10 km to go, Quinziato had to make a sudden stop. “I had a gear problem in the climb before the last one, but in the descent it seemed resolved,” Quinziato said. “The problem was still there in the last climb and I had to change the bike. Fortunately Timmer did not reach the finish line in the first position. I entered in the breakaway because I saw one Saxo and one Omega Pharma rider and thought was better to be there strategically.”

“Again it went very well,” said Belkin’s Wilco Kelderman. “It was a tough stage with several steep climbs, but once again, I was able to fight with the best riders. That gives me a lot of confidence. “On the last climb the race exploded. When Pozzovivo and Quintana attacked, I tried to follow. I was only twenty metres behind them, but I couldn’t bridge. That took a lot of energy. Majka and Aru reeled me in and made me suffer a bit. In the end, I lost some time to Aru, but I’ve ridden a super stage. I’m also very proud of the team. The guys helped me fantastically. They dropped me off well for the climb and always made sure I had a team-mate around.”

“What a beautiful stage, it was a huge pleasure for me to be in the lead of a stage of a great tour,” Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida) explained. “Everyone in the breakaway used a lot of energy on the final climb, but at 3 km to go, when I saw that the head of the race was not far away from me, I gave the best to come back on Cataldo and Pantano. I also noticed that Battaglin was recovering and I knew well that Enrico would have been the strongest if he could have joined us, so I preferred to try to attack again, but I had no luck. The fourth place satisfies me, I’m happy.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 14 Result:
1. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4:34:41
2. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky
3. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia at 0:07
4. Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida at 0:17
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:22
6. Albert Timmer (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:26
7. Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:28
8. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:33
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:39
10. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:54.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 14:
1. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 57:52:51
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:32
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:35
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:11
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 2:33
6. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 3:04
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3:16
8. Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 4:01
9. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC at 5:07
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 5:13.

Stage 14:

A big group consisting of Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Daniele Ratto (Cannondale), Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr), Andre Fernando Cardoso (Garmin-Sharp), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida), Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol), Simon Geschke (Giant-Shimano), Luca Paolini (Katusha) and Fabio Felline (Trek) escaped from the peloton from the get-go and dominated Stage 15.

As soon as the breakaway entered the uphill finish, Adam Hansen launched an attack and quickly worked up a lead with Cardoso, Torres and Felline. 2 minutes down; Julian Arredondo (Trek) was the first to attack from the peloton and Zardini (Bardiani) soon bridged the gap while Omega Pharma – Quick-Step kept a steady pace in the group of favourites.

A little less than halfway up the climb, Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka was the only rider with a teammate to support him and Michael Rogers set a high pace in the group of GC riders. Up the road, Philip Deignan (Sky) was on his own as every other escapee cracked on the steep slopes and was reeled back in.

A sudden move by the pink jersey, Rigoberto Uran (OPQS), shocked his rivals but they brought him back instantly. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) took advantage of the favourites’ standstill and countered a severe attack and bridged the gap to Deignan. Behind, Fabio Aru (Astana) suddenly jumped away with Uran on his wheel at first but before long, Aru was in the front of the race alone.

Aru maintained the high pace and soloed his way to victory while the favourites were spread all over the mountain. All the GC riders lost time to Uran, he now holds a lead of 1:03 on Cadel Evans (BMC) in 2nd place, and 1:50 on Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) in 3rd. Read the Race Report here.

Stage winner Fabio Aru (Astana): “Today I didn’t know how I’d be on the final climb. When I attacked, I didn’t know how much energy I had left. I can’t explain how it felt. It felt great to be climbing with riders like Quintana and Urán. When I was alongside them on the climb, my hairs stood on end. Then, in the final kilometres, it was incredible. I felt new sensations today, ones which I have never felt before as professional rider.”

One step at a time: “I just think of taking it from day to day, not just in the Giro but in the coming months and years. I try to take one step after another, and to keep on improving. It is fantastic to see a team like Astana, with veterans like Scarponi and Tiralongo, put themselves at my disposal, even if I’m only 23. I can only thank them. The pressure pushes me to achieve every greater things.”

Rigoberto Urán (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). Today’s ride: show of strength, improved form, or relieving team? “All of the above! I was expecting an attack from Pozzovivo, not Aru. I stayed with him a while, but I didn’t have to legs. I saw Aru at last year’s Giro: he surprised me in the last week because he was strong. He’s a young climber with a big future.”

More relaxed than yesterday? “[Laughs] I’m happy because today’s Sunday, so I can go out on my bike instead of working! I didn’t have a bad day yesterday, but it wasn’t a super day for me. I was probably paying for the energy I expended in the time trial – it’s normal. Today I was better. I was good on the climbs. I like climbs like this.”

Seconds lost on some, gained on others: “You’re beginning to understand! I’ve done 4 Giros, I have some experience. I tried to stay with Aru, but he was strong, so I preferred to ride at my rhythm. Then Quintana set a fast rhythm, and I said to myself, again: “Ride at your own rhythm.” I lost a few seconds to Aru and Quintana, but it’s not a problem. Quintana was strong too today, and I expect him to be even stronger next week.”

Quintana getting better? “I’m glad that Quintana’s getting better. We’re friends. We shared a house together in Pamplona 3 years ago, and sometimes we talked about what it would be like racing against each other in stage races.”

The pink clad Uran added: “Every race is different, your legs are your legs and you can’t really spare anything in such stages,” Uran said. “You need to have a regular pace, but you cannot spare yourself. But today, I was happier than yesterday. Sunday is not a working day for everyone else. Well today I had to work but it was a pleasure to do it in this pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia. Also, it’s fun to go to work when I have this great team around me. Just look at the work of a guy like Gianluca Brambilla today. It makes me happy to defend the Maglia Rosa for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, knowing I have this kind of support. I’m also full of pride because I am representing Colombia every day as the race leader. Cycling is a sport that grew a lot there in the last years. We have a great generation of riders and we have riders able to do well in all the disciplines. It means a lot for our country. All of the people watch us on the television. It’s great and I love that I can represent an entire nation. As for Aru, he showed how strong he was last year. He’s a strong climber and he has a bright future ahead of him. He deserved the win today, he is a good rider. Now we look forward to the rest day. There is still one week and every day will be important. We will see how it goes.”

BMC’s Cadel Evans conceded 31 seconds to Uran, who finished fifth as Fabio Aru (Astana) soloed to win the 225-kilometre stage punctuated by a final climb of 19.4 kilometers. “It is the second day I have lost time, which was not what I was hoping for,” Evans said. “I will try to have a good rest day and make up the difference.” A flurry of attacks in the final five kilometres came like clockwork: Pierre Rolland (Europcar), then Uran, then Evans, then Rolland again. BMC Racing Team’s Steve Morabito took up the chase for Evans, who had earlier been paced by teammates Samuel Sánchez and Ben Hermans on the climb. But riding alone between kilometres 3 and 2, Evans started losing ground as more riders attacked. “Today was not my best day,” Evans said. “I think Uran raced really well. I could have raced a little bit better, but there’s not much I can do about that now. There are still a lot of days to come.” When racing resumes Tuesday, a 139-km stage featuring three climbs awaits. “We have had two weeks of racing and the first riders in the GC (general classification) are divided only by a few minutes,” Evans said. “I don’t think anyone expected a Giro this close.”

Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) had a hard time on the final climb. “At the foot I almost crashed after someone hit my handlebar with his saddle. I lost some focus. Ultimately, I got through it, but I never really got that good feeling back. “When those men attacked, they proved to be too strong. I rode at my own pace, and it’s super that I crossed the line in a group with Evans. I knew that it would be hard to hold onto my fifth place. There is little to worry about. A top ten finish remains my goal. That’s the most important thing. I’m looking forward to the rest day,” said Kelderman. “I don’t know how it is going to be on Tuesday, because I’ve never experienced such a hard stage.”

Colombia leader Fabio Duarte unleashed all his energy in the final 4 km pursuing Fabio Aru, Pierre Rolland and countrymen Rigoberto Uran and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who had outdistanced the other CG contenders: “I would have liked the victory, for sure,” Duarte said. “As I felt myself really strong today. I wanted this stage to dedicate it to my wife and daughter, for my team – as this was our “home” stage – and for everyone who cares about me. Anyway, Aru was outstanding today; he accomplished a superb performance indeed. However, I can pocket a great result that uplifts me towards the upcoming week.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 15 Result:
1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana in 5:33:06
2. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia at 0:21
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:22
4. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar
5. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:42
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:52
7. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 1:08
8. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha
9. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 1:13
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 15:
1. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 63:26:39
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1:03
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:50
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 2:24
5. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 2:40
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2:42
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 3:04
8. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 4:47
9. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 5:44
10. WoutPoels (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 6:32.

Stage 15:

Tour of Norway 2014
Marc de Maar (UnitedHealthcare) won Stage 2 on Thursday and took over the overall lead. The man from Curaçao broke away with 30 kilometres to go in the 193.5 kilometre stage finishing in Sarpsborg with CCC Polsat’s Maciej Paterski and then out sprinted him for the win. Overall leader from stage 1; Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) brought the bunch in 12 seconds later and is now 3rd at 10 seconds. Earlier in the race six riders managed to gain a near four minute lead, they were: Adrian Kurek (CCC Polsat), Preben van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Johann van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka), Trond Hakon Trondsen (Froy-Bianchi), Sondre-Gjerdevik Sørtveit (FixIt.no) and August Jensen (Øster Hus). Katusha chased all day, but in the end Belkin and Tinkoff-Saxo pulled them in 40 kilometres to go and then it was up to de Maar and Paterski.

Tour of Norway Stage 2 Result:
1. Marc De Maar (Ned) UnitedHealthcare in 4:38:38
2. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:12
4. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling
5. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) Team Sparebanken Sør
6. Marko Kump (Slo) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) Team Oster Hus-Ridley
8. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling
9. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin.

Tour of Norway Overall After Stage 2:
1. Marc De Maar (Ned) UnitedHealthcare in 8:02:44
2. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:03
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:10
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:17
5. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) Team Sparebanken Sør at 0:18
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:22
7. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin at 0:24
8. Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
9. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling
10. Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) Team Oster Hus-Ridley.

Stage 2:

Sep Vanmarcke triumphed in Stage 3 of the Tour of Norway on Friday. The Belkin Belgian pro returned first to the start and finish town in Larvik and atop its climb at 600 metres. Gustav Erik Larsson (IAM Cycling) and Gatis Smukulis (Katusha) closed the 148-kilometre stage in second and third places. Belkin’s Stef Clement, who played a vital role in the victory, placed fourth.

Vanmarcke and Clement opened the final with an attack to reel in the remaining riders of an early escape. Ultimately, they reached the finish line together with Larsson and Smukulis. After a perfect lead-out from his Dutch team-mate, Vanmarcke sprinted. The peloton arrived thirteen seconds too late. “For me, it’s great to win on a mountain,” said Vanmarcke. “I didn’t expect this, although I knew that the final climb wasn’t very difficult. “With three kilometres to go, Stef told me that he would keep the pace high to avoid the bunch from reeling us in and that I had to save energy for the sprint. His tactic was spot-on. We both had to dig deep, but it was worth it.”

The Tour of Norway is Vanmarcke’s first race after the classics so he didn’t expect to be successful right away. “I don’t win very often and to win in my first match after a period of rest means that I have trained well. I still can, and have to, improve. Unfortunately, I lost some time yesterday; otherwise, I would have been up there in the overall, as well.”

Stef Clement was a very pleased man after the stage. “I’m happy and proud that I was able help Sep to take this victory,” he said. “He really deserved this after his great spring. It gives me a great feeling to nail this stage as a team.

“Sep and I were riding at the front when we arrived at the top of the penultimate climb. Sep then jumped and I followed him. Before the stage, we told each other that we wanted to try to win today, but this was a spontaneous move.”

Tour of Norway Stage 3 Result:
1. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin in 4:13:15
2. Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling at 0:01
3. Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Katusha at 0:04
4. Stef Clement (Ned) Belkin at 0:06
5. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:12
6. Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:13
7. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling
8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
10. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka.

Tour of Norway Overall After Stage 3:
1. Marc De Maar (Ned) UnitedHealthcare in 12:16:12
2. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:03
3. Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling at 0:06
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:10
5. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:11
6. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) Team Sparebanken Sør at 0:18
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:22
8. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:23
9. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin at 0:24
10. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling.

Stage 3:

Bauke Mollema notched up the Belkin Pro Cycling team’s tenth win of the season, the Dutchman triumphed in Stage 4 of the Tour of Norway.

Mollema led the race with three others after a late attack. A spill in a turn eliminated two of them, after which the Groninger defeated Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff-Saxo) in a sprint-a-deux. Lars Petter Nordhaug won the sprint in the chasing group for third place. “Fantastic,” said Mollema. “I’m very happy to win here. The Tour of Norway is a very nice race.”

The team’s tactic was spot-on. In the final 60 kilometres, the peloton had to tackle one climb twice. During the first ascent, the riders of Sports Director Erik Dekker raised the pace to wear down the peloton and to drop some riders. During the second climb, Mollema decided to attack.

“I gave everything I had and I realised that no one was able to follow,” said Mollema. “I then picked up three escapees. When we reached the top we still had 23 kilometres to go. We maintained a good pace and managed to stay clear. I felt very strong and very confident for the sprint. I think that I still would’ve won if the two others didn’t crash.”

Mollema sits third overall now. He’s six seconds down on race leader and compatriot Marc de Maar of UnitedHealthcare. “Unfortunately, our tempo dropped in the final 23 kilometres. That cost me dearly as I miss out on taking the lead. It won’t be easy to catch Marc de Maar. You don’t easily drop him. Besides that, it remains to be seen how difficult the course is tomorrow.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Tristan Hoffman was happy with his young riders’ performance: “Both Edward and Jesper did a super stage. Obviously, Beltran didn’t had it in him to make the difference today but Jesper surely demonstrated world-class by launching away with a guy like Mollema and stayed with him. Jesper went first through one of the final sharp corners and while Elking and Fernandez crashed behind him, Mollema stayed on his wheel but passed him on the final hundred meters to take the stage but I’m very happy about this result. I think it’s going to be difficult to change the GC now but if we see an opportunity to do so, we’ll grab it.”

Tour of Norway Stage 4 Result:
1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin in 4:53:55
2; Jasper Hansen jesper (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:03
3. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin at 0:06
4. Peio Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Kristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Team Joker
6. Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) Team Oster Hus-Ridley
7. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
8. Marc De Maar (Ned) UnitedHealthcare
9. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Tour of Norway Overall After Stage 4:
1. Marc De Maar (Ned) UnitedHealthcare in 17:10:13
2. Maciej Paterski CCC Polsat Polkowice at 0:03
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:06
4. Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling
5. Jasper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:15
6. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin at 0:19
7. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:23
8. Geralg Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:24
9. Sven Eril Bystrom (Nor) Team Oster Hus-Ridley
10. Peio Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Stage 4:

It was time to launch out on the final and 166 kilometre long Final Stage 5 of the Tour of Norway, which was concluded with a rather flat course but with four laps on a slightly hilly 13 kilometre long circuit in Hønefoss.
Three riders tried their luck in order to deny the sprinters of their obvious opportunity on the flat run-in and in the peloton; CCC Polsat worked tenaciously hard to bring down the gap. And as the break was swept up, a dangerous attack from Lars-Petter Nordhaug (Belkin) lit things up in the finale. But it was a bunch sprint decision concluding the Tour of Norway and home turf favourite, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) took the final stage and Maciej Paterski (CCC Polsat) won the race overall.

Bauke Mollema secured third place overall in the Tour of Norway. “Today, almost everything went according to plan,” said Sports Director Erik Dekker. “Barry Markus held the break on a short leash in the run-up to the local lap. Stef Clement, Paul Martens and Sep Vanmarcke raised the pace after that and in the penultimate lap; it was up to Lars Petter Nordhaug. He attacked, but was caught by the bunch at the foot of the final climb. “Then it was Bauke’s turn. Unfortunately, he just wasn’t good enough to do his thing. If he had had legs like yesterday he would have had a good chance.”

Mollema won the fourth stage yesterday and Sep Vanmarcke took the victory on Friday. Partly thanks to those wins, Dekker looks back on the Tour of Norway with a good feeling. “It’s been a good week. We won two stages, and both of those victories came from good teamwork. For many of our riders, this race was a first step towards another peak. It’s good to see that Sep and Bauke can win a race when they’re at ninety per cent of their abilities.”

Mollema wanted to fight for the overall win but still came away satisfied with his performance in the Tour of Norway. “I’m particularly pleased with my stage win. It was a fine victory. It would have been nice to move up in the overall today, but unfortunately, I wasn’t good enough. With a little bit of luck, I could have won the race, but De Maar and Paterski took fifteen seconds in a flat stage, which proved to be too much for me.”

Mollema flies directly from Norway to Spain today to train at altitude in the Sierra Nevada with Stef Clement, Robert Gesink and Tom Leezer. Last year, he followed a similar path towards the Tour de France. “And that went well. This year, I hope to benefit from it again.”

Stage winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): It was a very tough and unpredictable stage. When Paterski and some other riders attacked on the final climb, I tried to answer, but I couldn’t catch them immediately. I spent a lot of power to get to this leading group and I did it with 500 meters to go. I was unsure about my possibilities in the sprint after that, but finally I found enough energy and gave my all at the finish line. It was enough for the victory. He added: I was strongly motivated for this stage. But it was hard to predict it. Today once again our team did a very good job, especially Marco Haller, who provided me a lot of help in the final part of the race by neutralizing the attacks of the rivals. The finish was a tough one, but I somehow I found some power for the sprint. I am very happy with this victory and it is very pleasant for me to win again at the Tour of Norway. I am in a good shape, exactly at the point I would like to be in my preparation for the Tour de France. Now the Tour des Fjords, my home race, is my next aim.”

Tour of Norway Stage 5 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 4:04:40
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
4. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice
5. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling
6. Peio Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Bjørn Tore Nilsen Hoem (Nor) Team Sparebanken Sør
8. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) Team Sparebanken Sør at 0:06
9. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo.

Tour of Norway Final Overall Result:
1. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Polsat Polkowice in 21:14:56
2. Marc De Maar (Ned) UnitedHealthcare at 0:03
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:09
4. Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling
5. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka 0:00:15
6. Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:18
7. Peio Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:00:21
8. Bjørn Tore Nilsen Hoem (Nor) Team Sparebanken Sør
9. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:26
10. Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) Team Oster Hus-Ridley at 0:27.

Stage 5:

World Ports Classic 2014
André Greipel sprinted to the victory in Stage 1 of the World Ports Classic this afternoon, a ride of 195 kilometres between Rotterdam and Antwerp. Lotto Belisol took control of the race on the way to the bunch sprint. The train stood perfectly on the rails and the German champion finished the job.

Soon after the start three riders jumped away from the peloton: Dries Hollanders, Andreas Stauff and Ronan Van Zandbeek. They got up to seven minutes lead. At about sixty kilometres from the finish echelons were formed just at the moment of a sanitary stop. Lotto Belisol wasn’t present in the first echelon. Because the riders had to wait at a level crossing the groups got back together. After the early escapees had been reeled in, three others took their chance. But Jesper Asselman, Matthias Brändle and Ramon Sinkeldam didn’t make it either.

Tijmen Eising and Petr Vakoc tried to avoid a bunch sprint as well, but with less than three kilometres to go also there attempt was over. Lotto Belisol led the peloton towards the sprint. André Greipel won, before Alexander Porsev and Theo Bos. Thanks to the stage win Greipel leads the GC and is the owner of the points jersey. Tomorrow the peloton returns from Antwerp to Rotterdam. The stage of 160.5 kilometres is flat as well.

André Greipel: “The team and I are relieved thanks to this victory, because it had been a while since we won. Also after all the bad luck we had in the spring it was necessary to grab this opportunity to get a bunch sprint. The team put its trust in me; the team spirit was right from kilometre zero. We stuck to the plan. At one moment we were a bit in trouble, due to a sanitary stop and a puncture for Greg Henderson. We weren’t part of the first echelon, but the luck was on our side. There was nothing wrong about it.”

“There was headwind in the final that made it harder to time the lead-out. But the guys did it perfectly and rode to the front on the right moment. During the stage Frederik Willems was pulling at the front, in the chase on the escapees. Stig Broeckx and Jens Debusschere did a good job as well before the lead-out could be started up. We’ll see what happens tomorrow, for example if we get help from other teams to catch a breakaway.”

Theo Bos (Belkin) reached the podium, in third: “We thought that after the last turn, there were 800 metres left, but it turned out to be that it was 500 metres,” said Bos. “Graeme Brown and Robert Wagner accelerated as quickly as they could, but I also had to ditch some other riders. I really came from far behind, so I think I should be satisfied with this third place.” Bos is looking forward to tomorrow. “I’m satisfied with how my legs felt today,” Bos said. “I can build on this. I hope to keep this flow going. Tomorrow will be a new chance for us. We’ll try to get in the mix again and hopefully, there is something more in store for us.”

World Ports Classic Stage 1 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 4:41:11
2. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis
6. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Neri Sottoli
8. Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana
9. Blaz Jarc (Slo) Team Netapp-Endura
10. Robin Stenuit (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles.

World Ports Classic Overall After Stage 1:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 4:41:01
2. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha at 0:04
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin at 0:06
4. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:07
5. Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
6. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam at 0:08
7. Ronan Van Zandbeek (Ned) Cyclingteam De Rijke
8. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:09
9. Dries Hollanders (Bel) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam
10. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:10.

Stage 1:

Theo Bos claimed the overall victory in the World Ports Classic at the end of the Final Stage 2. The Dutchman of the Belkin Pro Cycling team placed second in the bunch sprint in Rotterdam, behind Ramon Sinkeldam of Giant-Shimano, and took the leaders jersey from André Greipel (Lotto Belisol). The German triumphed in yesterday’s stage finishing in Antwerp, but wasn’t able to get in the mix today. Bos also won the points classification.

The peloton stayed together until the intermediate sprint after 15.5 kilometres. Alexander Porsev and Theo Bos took some bonification seconds and moved up to two and three seconds of GC leader André Greipel. Afterwards a break of five was formed. The front group got a maximal lead of about four minutes. Together with Belkin and Katusha, Lotto Belisol kept the leaders within reach. At eight kilometres from the finish all escapees were reeled in. In the last kilometre the preparation for the bunch sprint got messed up. After a collision with another rider Greipel could just stay on his bike, but his chances to win were gone. Some other riders did crash in the final kilometre.

Overall winner Theo Bos (Belkin): “This is my first overall victory and that’s pretty cool,” said Bos. “For the team, this is a great victory, as well. The sprint train was super today. I was dropped off perfectly by my men. The team also did great by controlling the race.”

Nevertheless, Bos was not completely satisfied. He would have liked to win one of the stages. Yesterday, the Dutchman missed out on the win by finishing third.

“I went for it again, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough”, explained Bos. “I started my sprint too early. It’s a shame, although I have to admit that Ramon was very quick. The final was tricky with all those turns. Everyone wanted to be in the front and so we had to sprint for position ahead of every corner.”

Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Shimano) took his first win of the season, he was already sitting second overall after the opening stage, Ramon headed into the final stage wearing the young rider’s jersey and thanks to his win he jumped up to second on GC. Sinkeldam went for a long sprint and he timed it right and held strong to the line to take his first win since 2012. “I don’t get my chances very often but when I do I make sure that I give it everything so it is great to get a win here,” said Ramon after the stage. It was pretty easy for most of the day until 20km to go where Nikias, Jonas and I came down in a small crash. We had to work to get back up to the front but the guys worked really hard for me and then Jonas did a great job of getting me in the right wheels at the end. The sprint opened up with 300m to go and from there it was flat out to the line. It’s my first win since Hainan in 2012 so it’s a great feeling.”

World Ports Classic Stage 2 Result:
1 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano in 3:27:02
2 Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
3 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol
4 Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis
5 Sam Bennett (Irl) Netapp-Endura
6 Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7 Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
8 Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
10 Remco Te Brake (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental.

World Ports Classic Final Overall Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin in 8:08:00
2. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano
3. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha at 0:05
4. Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol at 0:09
5. Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:10
6. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental at 0:11
7. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:12
8. Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
10. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis at 0:13.

The final stage 2:

Tour Of Japan 2014
Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (Tabriz) was the fastest in the time trial up Mount Fuji (3776 meters), but Grega Bole (Vini Fantini-Nippo) became the new leader of the Tour of Japan. The Iranian won this year’s Tour de Langkawi after winning the climb to Genting Highlands.

Tour Of Japan Stage 4 Result:
1. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical in 38:51:00
2. Hugh Carthy (GB) Rapha Condor JLT at 1:19
3. Damien Monier (Fra) Bridgestone at 1:26
4. Amir Kolahdozhagh (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 1:37
5. Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (Ira) Tabiz Petrochemical at 1:53
6. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo at 2:13
7. Matthew Clark (Aus) Avanti at 2:36
8. Benjamin Prades (Spa) Matrix Powertag at 2:44
9. Vahid Ghaffari (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 2:46
10. Cameron Bayly (Aus) OCBC Singapore Continental at 2:54.

Tour Of Japan Overall After Stage 4:
1. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo in 8:28:27
2. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 0:17
3. Thomas Lebas (Fra) Bridgestone at 0:22
4. Jose Vicente Toribio Alcolea (Spa) Team Ukyo at 1:40
5. Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Vini Fantini-Nippo at 1:51
6. Alessandro Bisolti (Ita) Vini Fantini-Nippo at 3:45
7. Amir Kolahdozhagh (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 3:50
8. Jack Beckinsale (Aus) Avanti at 4:02
9. Miyataka Shimizu (Jap) Bridgestone at 4:06
10. Ghader Mizbani (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 4:09.

The Iranian Tabriz Petrochemical team dominated Stage 5 with Ghader Mizbani Iranagh winning the stage by 3 seconds from Hugh Carthy (Rapha Condor JTL). Third on the stage was the overall leader Mirsamad Poorseyedigolakhour who finished in the same time as Carthy and defended his lead. The rest of the race came in over 2 minutes down.

Tour Of Japan Stage 5 Result:
1. Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical in 4:14:13
2. Hugh Carthy (GB) Rapha Condor JTL at 0:03
3. Mirsamad Poorseyedigolakhour (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical
4. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo at 2:04
5. Cameron Bayly (Aus) OCBC Singapore at 2:08
6. Amir Kolahdozhagh (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 2:11
7. Benjamin Prades (Spa) Matrix Powertag at 2:13
8. Jose Vicente Toribio Alcolea (Spa) Team Ukyo at 2:46
9. Nariyuki Masuda (Jap) Utsunomiya Blitzen
10. Jai Crawford (Aus) Drapac at 2:56.

Tour Of Japan Overall After Stage 5:
1. Mirsamad Poorseyedigolakhour (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical in 12:42:47
2. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo at 1:57
3. Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 3:48
4. Jose Vicente Toribio (Spa) Team Ukyo at 4:19
5. Thomas Lebas (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor at 5:13
6 Hugh Carthy (GB) Rapha Condor JTL at 5:48
7 Amir Kolahdozhagh (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 5:54
8 Cameron Bayly (Aus) OCBC Singapore at 6:59
9 Benjamin Prades (Spa) Matrix Powertag at 7:28
10 Nariyuki Masuda (Jap) Utsunomiya Blitzen at 8:32.

Rapha Condor JTL’s Hugh Carthy 2nd in the TT:
Hugh Carthy

Will Clarke has capped a fantastic week for Drapac Professional Cycling at the Tour of Japan by securing yet another podium in the final stage held in Tokyo.

Clarke, who held the race lead for the opening two days of the UCI 2.1 event following victory in the prologue, sprinted to third place on Sunday behind stage winner Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) and Grega Bole (Vini Fantini Nippo).

The 112.7km stage was controlled by the race-leading Tabriz Petrochemical) outfit, who let a three-man breakaway go for much of the day. Once caught, Jai Crawford and Lachlan Norris hit the front of the peloton for the final five kilometres, putting Clarke in the ideal position coming into the last 200 metres. From there, the 29-year-old benefitted from the Lampre-Merida lead out and crossed the finish line in third.

Clarke was pleased with the result. “The team has ridden really well all week and we can be really happy with the two wins and placings,” he explained. Jordan Kerby finished as his runner-up in the prologue while Wouter Wippert sprinted to victory on day two.

Mirsamad Poorseyedigolakhour (Tabriz Petrochemical) was confirmed as winner of the General Classification.

Clarke also made mention of the tough conditions in Japan. “It was a really hard race overall, especially stages 3 and 5 – pretty brutal!” he said. “Stage 3 was wet and cold, with lots of climbing and stage 5 was one of the hardest days I’ve spent on the bike.”

Tour Of Japan Stage 6 Result:
1. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 2:22:14
2. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo
3. William Clarke (Aus) Drapac
4. Jack Beckinsale (Aus) Avanti
5. Andrea Palini (Ita Lampre-Merida
6. Benjamin Prades (Spa) Matrix Powertag
7. Hayato Yoshida (Jap) Shimano
8. Thomas Moses (GB) Rapha Condor JTL
9. Yuzuru Suzuki (Jap) Utsunomiya Blitzen
10. Airan Fernandez Casasola (Spa) Matrix Powertag.

Tour Of Japan Final Overall Result:
1. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical in15:05:01
2. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo at 1:51
3. Ghader Mizbani Iranagh (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 3:48
4. Jose Vicente Toribio Alcolea (Spa) Uko +4:15
5. Thomas Lebas (Fra) Bridgestone Anchor at 5:13
6. Hugh Carthy (GB) Rapha Condor JTL at 5:48
7. Amir Kolahdozhagh (Ira) Tabriz Petrochemical at 5:54
8. Cameron Bayly (Aus) OCBC Singapore at 6:59
9. Benjamin Prades (Spa) Matrix Powertag at 7:28
10. Nariyuki Masuda (Jap) Utsunomiya Blitzen at 8:32.

Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) wins the final stage:
Niccolo Bonifazio

USA Men’s TT National Championships 2014
Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney won his second national time trial title in dominant fashion Saturday at the USA Cycling professional road championships.

‘Feeling Good And Feeling Fast’
Phinney’s 51-second margin of victory over runner-up Tom Zirbel (Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies) was the largest in the event since 2009. Phinney went 1:24 faster than third-placed David Williams (5-Hour Energy presented by Kenda) while adding to the national time trial title he won in 2010. “I was surprisingly nervous today,” Phinney said. “I sort of felt like all I could do was lose. So I was really happy when I was out there and feeling good and feeling fast and getting positive time splits.” Phinney’s win was his fourth of the season. In February, he won the Stage 1 individual time trial of the Dubai Tour on the way to winning the overall. Last week, he soloed the final 25 kilometres to win Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California. “It is always a huge honour to come here and be able to win,” Phinney said. “I won four years ago, so to come back after missing nationals two years in a row is a special feeling.” His victory was the BMC Racing Team’s 14th of the season.

‘The Pressure Is Off’
Crouched low on his BMC timemachine TM01, Phinney led Zirbel by 13 seconds at the halfway point of the 30.9-kilometer race on two laps of an out-and-back course. That margin kept growing as BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri relayed time splits from the Acura TSX Sport Wagon. “Taylor took a little bit of a beating from (Bradley) Wiggins in the time trial in California,” Sciandri said. “But it pushed him a little bit harder in training. He went straight home after the race, came out here a day early and then it was like a piece of a puzzle that falls into place. The pressure is off now that he has won it. We will let it sink in tonight and then tomorrow we start thinking about the road race.” Phinney will be joined by teammate Peter Stetina for Monday’s 165.5-km national championship road race that includes four ascents of Lookout Mountain. “I am relaxed now, this is a big weight off my shoulders,” Phinney said. “Now I can go into Monday a little bit more relaxed and kind of take it easier, put the pressure on the other teams and just kind of follow wheels.”
Thanks to Sean at BMC for the race report.

USA Men’s TT National Championships Result:
1. Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) in 37:48
2. Tom Zirbel (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 0:51
3. David Williams (5-hour Energy) at 1:24
4. Julian Kyer (Team SmartStop) at 1:34
5. Michael Olheiser (InCycle-Predator Components) at 1:41
6. Scott Zwizanski (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 2:03
7. Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) at 2:24
8. Cameron Cogburn (Team SmartStop) at 2:32
9. Oscar Clark (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) at 2:46
10. Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) at 2:56.

The podium:

Next Races for Europcar
GP Plumelec, Saturday 31 May.
Riders: Bryan Coquard, Jérome Cousin, Cyril Gautier, Romain Guillemois, Vincent Jerome, Alexandre Pichot, Kévin Reza, Thomas Voeckler.
DS: Lylian Lebreton.

Boucles de l’Aulne, Sunday 1st June.
Riders: Giovanni Bernaudeau, Jérome Cousin, Antoine Duchesne, Yannic Martinez, Brian Nauleau, Alexandre Pichot, Kévin Reza, Thomas Voeckler.
DS: Lylian Lebreton.

Les Boucles de la Mayenne, Thursday 5th to Sunday 8th June.
Riders: Giovanni Bernaudeau, Jimmy Engoulvent, Christophe Kern, Yohann Gene, Morgan Lamoisson, Brian Nauleau.
DS: Ismaël Mottier.

Tiernan-Lock Hearing Delayed
The Sky rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke should have had his case heard by now, but the hearing is now to be some time in the summer. According to UK Anti-Doping (UKADA) it has been delayed at the request of Tiernan-Locke. He has been suspended since September 2013 when anominalies showed up in his UCI biological passport from the time when he was riding for the Endura team in 2012. Tiernan-Locke said he didn’t request the delay to the hearing and wants it all to be sorted sooner rather than later.

Brussels for Tour Start?
Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad has reported that the city of Brussels is bidding for the ‘Grand Depart’ of the Tour de France in 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Eddy Merckx’s first Tour win in 1969. The report carries on to say that ASO, the Tour organisers, were very receptive to the plan and Christian Prudhomme commented: “the Tour absolutely would not let such a historical figure of Eddy Merckx go unnoticed.”

Not Just Riders!
There have been a lot of crashes in this year’s Giro d’Italia, but this one was a TV moto that couldn’t avoid a volunteer who was warning riders of some street furniture. It happened 18 kilometres before the finish of Saturday’s stage, Angelo Leone was revived at the road-side by the second race doctor and rushed to Hospital. After a CT scan it was discovered he does not have a skull fracture, but does have small brain haemorrhages. The latest news is that Leone is sedated in Turin hospital.


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