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EuroTrash Suisse Monday!

Four big races finished on Sunday: Tour de Suisse, Ster ZLM Toer, Tour de Slovénie and the Route du Sud and they all had big winners. As always we have all the results, comments, photos and video. Plus some more news form Armstrong & Bruyneel and the Tour de France. Just lots to get through!

TOP STORY: Bruyneel & Armstrong in Court
The U.S. Postal team fall out is still falling out and the latest news is that ex-Team Manager Johan Bruyneel has appealed against his ban from sport to the Court of Arbitration (CAS) , the World Anti-Doping Agency have also appealed. Bruyneel claims that USADA had no right to ban him as he is Belgian. WADA feel that 10 years are not enough as they want to “protect athletes, and ensure a clean sport of cycling.”

Lance Armstrong has been in court trying to stop the Whistleblower lawsuit brought by Floyd Landis and the US Justice Department, but district judge Robert Wilkins has given the case the green light. The hinges on the allegation that Armstrong defrauded the US Government by doping to win his races when sponsored by the US Postal Service to the tune of around $100 million.

Better times:
Hoogvliet -  Zaak Lance Armstrong case - Lance Armstrong - Johan

OK, that’s enough of that; let’s get on with the racing:

Tour de Suisse 2014
The 184 kilometre Stage 6 of Tour de Suisse from Büren to Delémonte was dominated by a breakaway consisting of Vladimir Isaichev (Katusha), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE), Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana), and Jacobus Venter (MTN-Qhubeka).

But the sprinter teams wouldn’t miss another opportunity of bringing home yet another stage win and the front quartet was caught with just over 35 kilometres to go. But the GC teams wanted their slice of the cake as well and Sky picked up the pace entering the final two short climbs of the stage to put the sprinters and Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) under pressure. Near the top of the penultimate climb, Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano) created a bit of daylight between himself and the dissolving peloton lead by Sky but the young Frenchman was swept up thundering towards the foot of the final climb.

Going in on the final climb, the IAM-cycling team took control of the pace but it was Peter Sagan’s Cannondale team who lead the group over the summit. Sagan worked up a lead on the following descent but was brought back with 3 kilometeres to go. Overall leader; Tony Martin put in a fast effort to put his OPQS team mate Matteo Trentin in a perfect position to take the stage win and hold onto his lead. Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 2nd by about half a wheel and Francesco Gavazzi (Astana) was 3rd.

“Of course I am super happy about this victory,” said stage winner Matteo Trentin said. “It’s funny that I almost lost the possibility to be there in the final, at about 35 kilometres to go. There was road work on the road and I was a little bit in the rear of the peloton. The road went from double lane to single lane when the first part of the peloton passed that area. I was stuck in the back and had to put my feet down when the pace came to a stop. So, I had to chase the group ahead after that situation. When I reached them again at the bottom of the second to last climb I was always trying to recover. Then on the final climb I was in front of the group again and I helped Tony. I was always with him on the downhill. But at 4 kilometres to go Tony looked at me and said ‘OK, we do the sprint.’ It was a question of 1 second time difference, so we knew the yellow jersey was safe at that point and we went. Tony did an unbelievable job. He split the peloton into two groups in the last kilometres, in the middle of village. When he does a pull like that it is unbelievable the engine he has. He left me at 200 meters to go. The finish was slightly uphill. I accelerated and was able to do a good sprint. I like this kind of sprint. But of course I want to share this victory with the team and Tony who did a selfless, great job. I’m also happy because of all the work I did after AMGEN Tour of California at Lake Tahoe. I spent some weeks there at an altitude training camp. It was a great experience and there and I trained well. Now the work is paying off. So, I am happy about it. I also want to thank again this unbelievable team. It’s a pleasure to ride with a team like this, where everyone works for each other. Yesterday we pulled for Tony, today he pulled for me. That’s exactly the team spirit that we have. It’s really a pleasure to ride for this team and wear this jersey.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Fabrizio Guidi: “That was so close. Martin was pulling his teammate onwards, created a small gap in the group of 60 riders and catapulted Trentin to the finish line. But Daniele Bennati did a heartfelt effort and demonstrated splendid condition and even though, it’s not a win it’s still a decent result. Now, we’re looking forward to tomorrow’s time trial where it’s all about keeping our heads down and going full gas. I think it’s going to be difficult to push Martin off the podium but we can certainly improve our position before the mountains this weekend.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 6 Result:
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 4:43:19
2. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
4. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
6. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
8. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
9. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky
10. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Belisol.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 6:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 23:11:06
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:06
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 0:10
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:17
5. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:23
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:27
7. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:28
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:29
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Stage 6:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Tony Martin came into the Tour de Suisse with a focus on the time trials. He won both — his latest victory after posting the fastest times on the entire course and winning by 22 seconds at the 24.7km Stage 7 ITT on Friday.

Martin was fastest at the first intermediate point by 13″ and the second intermediate point by 14 seconds. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) was 2nd, and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) was 3rd.

Martin has kept the yellow jersey throughout the entire Tour de Suisse, and has also worked for his teammates for the sprints. In Stage 6 Martin led out Matteo Trentin by himself.

OPQS will continue to defend the leadership of Martin — which is 28″ over Dumoulin after Friday’s ITT — going into the final two stages. Both stages have difficult summit finishes and GC contenders will be sure to take their chances.

Martin’s victory is 42nd for the team, in three disciplines, in 2014. The three-time UCI World TT Champion also has six individual victories this season, in addition to being a part of the TTT victory at Tirreno-Adriatico.

“I felt great on my Specialized Shiv today,” Martin said “It was a normal set up with the 58 chainring, because I knew there was some time that could be made on the final descent. And with this setup I won and earned a nice gap on the other contenders. Now for the weekend, anything is possible. As for the stage tomorrow, it’s easier of the two stages. I’m familiar with the Verbier finish from the Tour de France. The last climb I hope I can treat it like a TT, find a good rhythm and hang on to the other guys. I have the jersey, but it will not be easy. There are a lot of competitors, even the entire top 20 of the general classification. But, the morale is really good, we’ve been working hard the whole week. The team has done a great job supporting me. I will give it 110% to honour this yellow jersey and the effort of my teammates to keep me in it.”

Lampre-Merida’s World champion Rui Costa came in third, 28 seconds down on Tony Martin: “Today’s stage was very important, luckily my legs were good and they supported me in realizing a top performance,” Rui Costa explained. “My best congratulations to Tony Martin, who demonstrated that he’s so strong in time trial with demanding climbs. He’s now the main favourite for the victory of Tour de Suisse, he will have to defend his advantage on the climbs of the next two stages. It was a huge satisfaction to fight against the top time trial specialists of the world, realizing a performance that allows me to aim to be on the final podium; it is a target I can achieve. It won’t be so easy because his opponents are also in good condition and the gaps are not large. I’m very happy also for my mate Cattaneo, whose performance confirmed he’s a very talented guy.”

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) did not take the start of the Stage 7 ITT at Tour de Suisse on Friday. Boonen suffered a crash while training on the Ardennes, on the Monday prior to Tour de Suisse (June 9th). He landed on the right side of his body and the crash caused a hematoma on his right hip. In the last days he was unable to maintain good position on the bike and there was also pain on his right knee. Boonen went home today, and he passed further examinations at the Herentals clinic in the afternoon. Boonen was diagnosed with blood and liquid collection on the trochanter area of his right hip that required a local evacuation. The Belgian rider will have to respect a few days of rest before he resumes training.

“It’s a shame, especially because I am sad I can’t be there to help Tony Martin defend his leader’s jersey at Tour de Suisse,” Boonen said. “He has been a real fighter and has also helped his teammates when they’ve had opportunities. I wish I could help return the favour in the last days. But, I think it’s a wise decision to stop now and recover. I couldn’t continue like this, the pain was becoming more intense day-by-day. I wish to the team, and Tony, all the best for the end of Tour de Suisse.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 7 Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 31:37
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:22
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:28
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek at 0:41
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:45
6. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 0:59
7. Stef Clement (Ned) Belkin at 1:02
8. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 1:06
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 1:13
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 7:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 23:42:43
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:28
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 1:05
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:14
5. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 1:33
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 1:36
7. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1:42
8. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 1:47
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 1:48.

Stage 7:

Stage 8 of the Tour de Suisse saw Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) take the win on the Cat 1 climb to Verbier. Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) took 2nd with Bauke Mollema (Belkin) in 3rd. The long 220km stage saw an early breakaway that contained 8 riders go clear of the field with a max lead of 7 minutes. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step took control of the chase for the majority of the day with Tinkoff-Saxo and Giant-Shimano providing assistance later on in the stage. The 3 strong WorldTour teams made sure that the break was kept in check and as the race hit the final climb up to Verbier, the break was within touching distance.

With 9km to go the break and the peloton both started to feel the pressure as the gradient increased up to Verbier. Bjorn Thurau (Europcar) was the first rider to attack from the peloton at 7,5km to go followed a kilometre later by Luis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka). Meintjes rode across the 12 second gap to Thurau and the duo went on to reel in all of the remaining breakaway riders by 4km to go. The peloton finally reacted to the activity upfront though and put in a big surge to bring the race back together.

The last 3km saw just 23 riders left in the race; Chaves was the rider to put in the next meaningful attack and it was the move that counted as the Colombian would go on to open up a big enough lead to hold off the chase from behind.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Tony Martin finish in the chase group at 17 seconds to keep the overall lead.

“This is my most important victory,” said stage winner Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE). “It’s my first WorldTour win. It comes at a really important race. Everyone here has the legs for the Tour de France. I don’t have the words for what this means to me. Thanks to all my teammates, the team and the people that support me. I am so happy. Before I did my attack, the other guys had already gone. When they came back, I saw my opportunity. I knew I had only one shot. I made a really strong attack in the last kilometre before the top. I looked back four or five times,” Chaves added. “The other guys were always really close to me. I wasn’t sure that I was going to win until ten metres from the finish. Mallorca, Catalunya, Basque Country, California, Switzerland – it just keeps getting better and better and better. Most people know that my dream is to one day win the Tour de France. This is what I work for every day and at every race.”

Tinkoff-Saxo captain Roman Kreuziger, finished second: “I increased the pace in front of the favourites group after Oliver Zaugg had done a great effort. We slowed down a bit and Chaves attacked. He got a bit too big a gap for me and Mollema to catch him again but for me this was a very positive day”, says Roman Kreuziger on his way to the hotel after the stage.

Following a slightly disappointing performance in yesterday’s time trial, Roman showed great – and more importantly – increasing shape ahead of the paramount Tour de France. “I tried to get the stage win today but it was difficult to make a difference before we got on to the steeper section coming into Verbier with few kilometres to go. But I’m happy that I took time on most of my rivals and that I’m back in the top 10 and improving ahead of the Tour”, Roman explains.

Bauke Mollema rode to a third place and moved up to 5th overall at 1:41: “Chaves attacked in the last kilometres,” Mollema said. “I reacted but had Roman Kreuziger in my wheel. In the last kilometre, he refused to ride and waited for the sprint. He sprinted ahead for second place but anyway I think Chaves was the strongest today.”

“It went well, the leaders stayed away for a long time but you could sense that there was a chance that it would come together,” said Belkin Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “And then you ride for victory. Stef Clement, Steven Kruijswijk and Laurens ten Dam closed the gap unfortunately the small Colombian was ahead. “As planned we managed to set the pace on the final climb,” Mollema added. “Steven and Laurens worked hard to control the race. I’m happy with this third place. Tomorrow I have a chance again.”

MTN-Qhubeka’s Louis Meintjes was in the action: “It was a really fast race today, the team did a great job looking after me and Sergio for the first 200km. All we had to do was save our legs for the climb. I decided to go early because the bunch was hesitating a bit, I thought they might leave me and let me go but the pace picked up soon after I went. My legs felt good today though and maybe tomorrow we will get a bit luckier.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 8 Result:
1. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEDGE in 5:11:16
2. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo in 0:03
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
4. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar at 0:16
5. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin Sharp at 0:17
6. Philip Deignan (Irl) Sky
7. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale
9. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
10. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 8:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 28:54:16
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:51
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 1:05
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:14
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 1:41
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 1:47
7. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:50
8. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp at 2:07
9. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar at 2:29
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 2:30.

Stage 8:

It was time for the big finale in Sunday’s 157 kilometre long and mountainous Final Stage 9 of the Tour de Suisse from Martigny to the HC climb to Saas-Fee forming the perfect back-drop for the GC battle. With a lead of almost a minute, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was in favorable position to protect the overall lead of the race.

At the foot of the final 20 kilometre climb, the early escapees had a lead of 2 minutes as Omega Pharma – Quick-Step were running out of riders to pull the pack, so the overall leader Tony Martin was on his own pulling the select group which kept getting smaller. As the slope was getting steeper, the front group exploded. With 3 kilometres to go, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) launched a series of strong attacks but the World Champion; Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), made the decisive move and soloed his way to the finish line and took the stage win and the overall from Tony Martin.

Stage and overall winner; World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida): “What a wonderful day; stage and overall classification victory, I could not ask for a better end,” Costa pointed out.” No one has ever won the Tour de Suisse three times in a row, I’m proud I’m the first one to do it and I think it’s even a bigger satisfaction having done it wearing the rainbow jersey. These are also my first seasonal successes after 6 second places; it’s something very good for me and the team. Thanks to my mates, to the team staff, to the sponsors and to all the Portuguese fans that supported me on Swiss roads.”

Belkin’s Bauke Mollema took third place overall: “I’m very satisfied with this week in Switzerland,” Mollema said, “and happy with my third place in the GC. We made a plan to make the race tough to drop Martin,” Mollema added. “The plan worked out perfectly. I’m very happy with how the team performed.”

Belkin DS Stef Clement: “The plan was to win the stage and to get Bauke on the podium,” Clement said. “We worked as a team from the start. Everybody did his job very well during the stage. Two weeks before the Tour de France, Bauke showed he is a real leader, a captain. He promised a podium place and he did just that. It will boost the confidence of the team because the Tour de Suisse is not a preparation race. It comes down to hard racing and suffering,” Clement added. “The reward for all that is a lot of WorldTour points and we showed the world Team Belkin is one of the best teams in the world. We are still looking for a sponsor and this is the best advertisement we can make.”

A dissapointed Tony Martin (OPQS) finished 4th overall at 1:13: “I was strong enough to maybe win this year,” Martin said. “But at the end, it was difficult when cooperation within the chase group wasn’t there and we had a team here focused on the stages and the sprints. But, OK that’s it. I think the work I did for the race, I need to be happy. I just need to try again at the next race if there is a chance to fight again for the GC. That’s sport and that’s cycling. When my main contenders went today on the climb, they were full gas. I couldn’t follow directly or close the gap. I tried to play poker a bit to see if teams would support the chase for their contenders. It didn’t work out that way. But, I still did my best to fight kilometer-by-kilometer and I have to be satisfied with what I could do today. As for my team, they did their best all week. It’s no secret we’re not here with the best mountain team. They gave everything. I have to be satisfied with how my team fought, how I fought, and I need to think positive for the future. I am back at the condition I was a few years ago where there is a chance to fight for a leader jersey. If someone would say half a week ago I’d finish fourth, and win two stages here, I’d be happy. I rode all week in yellow, the team rode for me all week, we won four stages here. I think we can look at the results and, despite finishing 4th after all that work, be proud. The whole team did the maximum this week and I have to thank my teammates for doing all they could for me.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 9 Result:
1. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida in 4:13:14
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:14
3. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:24
4. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC at 0:47
5. Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. André Cardoso (Por) Garmin-Sharp at 1:28
7. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr at 1:41
8. Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:48
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 2:18
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo.

Tour de Suisse Final Overall Result:
1. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida in 33:08:35
2. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:33
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:50
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:13
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 2:04
6. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC at 2:47
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 3:00
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 3:03
9. Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp at 3:20
10. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Movistar at 3:46.

The final stage 9:

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk 2014
Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) sprinted to his seventh win of the season on Stage 2 of the Ster ZLM Toer in the Netherlands and in doing so he assumes the race lead after finishing just one second down on Wednesday’s opening prologue. Stage two was the first sprint opportunity of the race and Team Giant-Shimano and Marcel did not slow in getting their sprint formation into action at the first chance.

The stage went just as planned for the team and even a mix of hazardous parcours, including speed bumps and cars, and late rain couldn’t stop them from coming through for the win. The break went after around 10km and from here on the team helped to control the race behind four escapees.

The peloton was hit by rain in the last 25km but the racing did not slow and the break was finally brought back into the fold with just over 10km to go. From here in it was heads down for a sprint and inside the final two kilometers it was all about the Team Giant-Shimano sprint formation.

Five riders led through into the final 1500m and they carried Marcel through to the final few hundred meters where he peeled off and finished off the job in fine fashion, moving into the race lead as a result of the time bonuses on the finish line. After the finish Team Giant-Shimano coach Rudi Kemna gave his thoughts on the day’s performance: “It was quite a steady day today but it is never easy when you have to control the race like here. The obstacles in the road throughout made it quite dangerous too but the team stayed attentive and rode well together.

“Speaking to our road captain Roy [Curvers] after, he said that with the rain it became quite hard to stay together on the narrow roads towards the end but they managed to stay as a group and use each others power. They were together as five riders heading into the finish and the formation was just as we had planned, each rider doing his work and helping to set Marcel up for the finish. Everyone worked well, we stuck to the plan and in the end we got the result we wanted.”

“I’m really happy with today as I didn’t feel that good early on and it took about 100km for the legs to open up,” added Marcel after completing podium duties. “After this the feeling started to come back and as a team we nailed it today. The first job was staying together in the wet conditions but we managed this fine and then in the final we were in formation and did just what we had planned – they set me up in a great position. I was at the front of the bunch when I started my sprint and the pace was already high so this made a big difference. I had a really good training period at altitude prior to this race but I still need a few race days to get the intensity back up and to get back into the rhythm but it’s great to get going with a win again.”
Thanks to the Giant-Shimano team for the race info.

Ster ZLM Toer Stage 2 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 4:19:44
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5. Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team
6. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Cyclingteam De Rijke
8. Johim Ariesen (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam
9. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
10. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games Cycling Team.

Ster ZLM Toer Overall After Stage 2:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 4:28:09
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:10
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:12
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:13
6. Albert Timmer (Ned) Giant-Shimano
7. Brian van Goethem (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam at 0:14
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin at 0:16
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol
10. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp.

Stage winner Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano):
Ster ZLM Tour 2014 stage - 2

Greg Henderson (Lotto Belisol) won Stage 3 of the Ster ZLM Toer on Friday. The New-Zealander created a gap in the last kilometre and stayed ahead of the peloton into Buchten. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) sprinted to the second place as Henderson’s team mate André Greipel was third.

Lotto Belisol helped to animate the stage. Lars Bak, Jens Debusschere and Tim Wellens were all part of a breakaway of 28. After about 30 kilometres this group was caught. Then Wellens got ahead with five others. The Lotto Belisol rider, 9th in GC at 16 seconds from overall leader Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), let his companions go and got reeled in by the bunch. Teammate Adam Hansen bridged to the other escapees on his own. In the final; the six were caught and it looked like it would be a bunch sprint, but that was successfully avoided by Greg Henderson. Henderson is now fifth on GC at 9 seconds as Kittel held his lead.

Stage winner Greg Henderson (Lotto Belisol): “This victory was a really nice surprise. We were preparing the bunch sprint for André Greipel. With 800 meters to go there was a corner to the left. I went through first and André came to about fourth wheel. I looked back and waited to see if he was going to come to my wheel. He let me know to go full gas. I went and put my head down with 300 meters to go. I thought this are going to be a long 300 meters. I went as hard as I could to the finish line, hoping they wouldn’t catch me anymore and I took the win. I’ve got a good condition at the moment. I’m happy when André wins, then I’ve done a good job as a lead-out. This stage win is an extra cherry on the top. It was totally unexpected.”

Ster ZLM Toer Stage 3 Result:
1. Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol in 4:30:26
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
4. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Cyclingteam De Rijke
6. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin
7. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli
8. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Cycling Team De Rijke
9. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Ster ZLM Toer Overall After Stage 3:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 8:58:38
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:05
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:07
5. Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol at 0:09
6. Brian van Goethem (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam at 0:12
7. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin at 0:13
9. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
10. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:17.

Greg Henderson (Lotto Belisol):
Ster ZLM Toer 2014 stage - 3

BMC Racing Team’s Philippe Gilbert soloed to win Saturday’s Stage 4 of the Ster ZLM Toer and regained the overall lead with a day to go.

Gilbert won for the second time in four days by capitalizing on the help of teammates like Ben Hermans and Samuel Sánchez, BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said. Hermans bridged to a breakaway to force other teams to chase while Sánchez set up Gilbert’s winning attack. “Samuel guided Philippe like he did in Amstel,” Piva said. “In the last kilometres, he made an attack and then Philippe went and arrived alone with a gap.” Gilbert, who won Wednesday’s prologue by one second, crossed the line at the end of the 186.7-kilometer race three seconds ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) and six seconds in front of Paul Martens (Belkin). With only Sunday’s mostly flat, 173.7-km stage remaining, Gilbert leads Wellens by 12 seconds and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) by 18. “This was a nice win, but it was not an easy day, Gilbert said.”With the headwinds on the climbs, it was not easy to make the difference.”

Racing through the Ardennes on a course that included the famed climbs of the Col du Rosier and the Cote de la Redoute, Hermans bridged to a seven-man breakaway, forcing then-race leader Marcel Kittel’s Team Giant-Shimano squad to chase, along with Meersman’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step team. “We decided to ride full gas the last two laps of the finishing circuit,” Gilbert said. “Samuel did an amazing job, similar to what he did on the Cauberg at Amstel. He went as fast as he could and I just finished the last part of the climb alone.” After scoring his fourth win of the season, Gilbert also donned the red jersey as leader of the points classification. Already a winner of two-time winner of this race in 2009 and 2011, Gilbert said the victory was all the better since it came in his home region. “It is always nice to ride on my home roads – especially when I win,” he said. “I knew a lot of people cheering along the route and this is a moment I will never forget.”
Thanks to Sean at BMC.

Belkin’s Paul Martens sprinted to third behind winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and also jumped from 13th to fourth overall: “The sprint went well but the first two were just stronger,” Martens said. “I have to accept that, no excuses.”

“The race went as expected,” Belkin Sports Director Michiel Elijzen explained. “BMC Racing and Omega Pharma controlled the group and our team didn’t race until the final kilometres. “We tried to support Paul as much as possible, especially with Jos Van Emden and Maarten Tjallingii, who closed the gap to the last breakaway riders and put Paul in the wheel of Gilbert for the sprint. It’ll probably be a bunch sprint on Sunday but maybe an exciting race with the bonification seconds up for grabs,” said Elijzen. “We will sprint for Robert Wagner and try to get some seconds with Paul.”

Ster ZLM Toer Stage 4 Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 4:40:01
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:03
3. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin at 0:06
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:10
5. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Cycling Team De Rijke
6. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels
8. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb – Napoleon Games
9. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
10. Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano.

Ster ZLM Toer Overall After Stage 4:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 13:38:36
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:12
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:18
4. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin at 0:24
5. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:26
6. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:30
7. Albert Timmer (Ned) Giant-Shimano
8. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 0:32
9. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin at 0:37
10. Tijmen Eising (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam at 0:41.

New overall leader Philippe Gilbert (BMC):
Ster ZLM Toer 2014 stage - 4

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) captured the Ster ZLM Toer for the third time on Sunday, adding to the overall titles he won at the race in 2009 and 2011. Gilbert said his only nervous moment of the day came at the start of the 173.7-kilometer Final Stage 5. “I was a little bit scared because a big crash happened next to me, but I was luckily out of trouble,” he said. Gilbert also avoided a second pile-up in the final kilometres to finish 12th as André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) won ahead of Tyler Farrar, who edged out Gilbert for the points classification title. In the final standings, Gilbert was 12 seconds ahead of runner-up Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) and 17 ahead of Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). It was his largest margin of victory of his three victories. “Three times I have won the race in the same way: by winning the queen stage in the Ardennes and then controlling the last day,” Gilbert said. “So to do it three times with the same scenario makes it a pretty special victory.”

Gilbert won Wednesday’s prologue, conceded the lead on Thursday to Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano), and then regained it Saturday with an uphill attack that saw him solo in three seconds ahead of Wellens. “Philippe is in very good shape,” BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said. “We saw that when he won the prologue against specialists and stronger riders like Kittel. This was a sign of his top condition.” BMC Racing Team’s Samuel Sánchez, whose attack Saturday set up Gilbert’s winning move, said it was satisfying to help the former world champion earn his team-leading fifth victory of the year. “I am happy to be here to support Philippe,” Sánchez said. “On Saturday, it was like Amstel. We did the same move. So of course I am very happy to have helped him.” Other teammates joining Gilbert on the winning squad were Yannick Eijssen, Ben Hermans, Sebastian Lander, Klaas Lodewyck and Rick Zabel.

Stage 5 winner André Greipel (Lotto Belisol): “Sean De Bie and Lars Bak controlled the breakaway; it was up to us and Giant-Shimano. The whole team did a great job. This was maybe my last race in the German champion jersey, so I’m really happy I took the win. It’s such a nice jersey, I’m feeling a bit sad this could have been the last time I’ve worn it in a race. Next Sunday Marcel Sieberg and I will do everything we can to keep the jersey in our team. The Ster ZLM Toer was good to fine-tune for the Tour de France. Jürgen Roelandts wasn’t here, but Jens Debusschere did really nice work. In the stage on Friday Greg Henderson turned first around a corner with 700 meters to go. He looked back to me and I gave him the sign to go full gas. I was really happy for him he could hold off the peloton.”

Belkin’s Paul Martens ended the Ster ZLM Toer in fourth place overall and Robert Wagner sprinted to third behind stage winner Greipel: “I’m happy with how it went,” Wagner said. “I’m always one of the guys helping Theo Bos, but I’m not a bad sprinter either. It was good to have a go against the guys like Tyler Farrar and André Greipel, and this third place is good. I’m happy with it.”

Ster ZLM Toer Stage 5 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 3:54:41
2. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
3. Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin
4. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Cyclingteam De Rijke
7. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli
8. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Johim Ariesen (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam
10. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Cycling Team De Rijke.

Ster ZLM Toer Final Overall Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 17:33:17
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:12
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:17
4. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin at 0:24
5. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:26
6. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:30
7. Albert Timmer (Ned) Giant-Shimano
8. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice – Golden Palace at 0:32
9. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin at 0:37
10. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:39.

Race winner Gilbert thanks team mate Samu Sanchez:
Ster ZLM Toer 2014 stage - 5

Tour de Slovénie 2014
In his first race appearance since the Giro d’Italia, Michael Matthews scored his 16th professional victory on the opening Stage 1 of the Tour de Slovénie. The Australian covered the 8.8 kilometre time trial course in Ljubljana in 10:05, six seconds faster than Kristijan Koren (Cannondale) in second place. Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) rounded out the stage podium in third at ten seconds.

“Judging by how I was feeling in the warm-up, I wasn’t too confident in the time trial today,” said Matthews. “In the end, I got there and did my best. Despite the feeling I had in the warm-up, it was enough to win. It’s nice to come off altitude and take a win straight away. It’s a good confidence boost going into the new few stages and the next big goals of the year.”

“The time trial is one of those stages where it’s really hard to control the result,” said Orica-GreenEDGE DS Matt Wilson. “We just wanted to go out there and give it our best shot today. Fortunately this year, like last year, we had the strongest guy on the day.”

The time trial course in Slovenia’s capitol city was a flat, fast out-and-back with a small loop near the start/finish. Technical skills offered little advantage nor did start time. Matthews averaged 52.36 kilometres per hour over the straightforward course.

“It was a very basic time trial,” said Wilson. “There were one or two turns in the first half of the course and there were two or three turns in the final bit as we went into town on the way to the finish. It threatened rain all day today, especially for the later starters, but it never eventuated,” Wilson added. “The weather played no role today. Everyone rode in the same conditions.”

Matthews will line up for stage two in the race leader’s jersey. He will be one of two ORICA-GreenEDGE riders to swap out the team-issue Craft kit for a race-specific top. In 28th place in the time trial, Simon Yates earned the best young rider’s jersey following stage one.

“I’ve done lots of climbing training at altitude recently,” Matthews added. “Hopefully that does me a favour tomorrow, and I can go for another really good result like today. We’ll enjoy the win tonight and get back to business tomorrow. We have a great team here to support me in this role.”
Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) was 3rd on the stage: “I’m very satisfied with my performance, that confirmed the good feedbacks that Michele Bartoli and me had collected during the past week training,” Ulissi explained. “I studied the course with sport director Marzano and Righi, then I focused my attention on giving my best, relying on perfect cycling materials. I’m happy to see my name so close in the stage classification to the ones of specialist of time trial races.”

Lampre-Merida’s Chris Horner rode his first race to 68th place at 43 seconds: “It was pleasant to live again the atmosphere of the race and to feel the effort again. I had important feedback from my body, I need to improve my stamina, but I know I’ll go better and better day by day.”

Tour de Slovénie Stage 1 Result:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE in 10:05.88
2. Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale at 05.25
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 09.34
4. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp-Endura at 10.40
5. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 13.83
6. Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha at 14.70
7. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo at 15.52
8. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 16.02
9. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 17.46
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 19.13.

Tour de Slovénie Overall After Stage 1:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 10:05
2. Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale at 0:06
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:10
4. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp-Endura at 0:11
5. Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:14
6. Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha at 0:15
7. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo at 0:16
8. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli
9. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 0:18
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:20.

First podium goes to Matthews:

Stage 2 was won by Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) just ahead of overall leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) with Grega Bole (Vini Fantini-Noppo) in third. A four-man break was held by the Orica-GreenEDGE and when they hit the final climb a group of around 35 riders split off the front with the yellow jersey amongst it. On to the finishing circuits and Bardiani-CSF had control with five riders on the front leading out Colbrelli for the win. Obviously Matthews held the overall.

Tour de Slovénie Stage 2 Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4:01:09
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
3. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
5. Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
7. Jarlinson Pantano Gomez (Col) Colombia
8. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale
9. Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha
10. Paul Voss (Ger) Netapp-Endura.

Tour de Slovénie Overall After Stage 2:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE in 4:11:14
2. Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale at 0:06
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:10
4. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp-Endura at 0:11
5. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo at 0:16
6. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:20
8. Paul Voss (Ger) Netapp-Endura at 0:21
9. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Neri Sottoli
10. David De La Cruz (Spa) Netapp-Endura at 0:22.

Stage 2 winner Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF):

Tiago Machado from Team NetApp – Endura is on the verge of winning the 21st Tour de Slovénie. The 28-year-old Portuguese rider climbed into second place on today’s queen Stage 3, only just beaten by Francesco Bongiorno (Bardiani – CSF). Machado thus took the lead in the GC and he is about to record his first win of the season. It is expected that tomorrow’s final stage will end with a mass sprint in Novo Mesto and that there will be no change in the top rankings.

“It was not a chance result, because we knew exactly what to expect. I am not only delighted with Tiago’s great performance, but also by the fact that the team completely committed to Tiago as the leader and implemented our tactics 100%. Today, we wanted to write the script ourselves and isolate as many riders as possible before the final climb. So we went into the penultimate climb with the full team and at full speed. We thereby weakened the direct competitors. Then, Tiago attacked very early during the final climb, so that only two riders were able to follow him. That was crucial to his success,” says Christian Pömer, Sport Director of Team NetApp – Endura, summing up the day.

Tour de Slovénie Stage 3 Result:
1. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 5:09:17
2. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp-Endura at 0:01
3. Iinur Zakarin (Rus) RusVelo at 0:07
4. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 0:29
5. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:41
6. Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
7. Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:44
9. Angelo Pagani (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:56.

Tour de Slovénie Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp-Endura in 9:20:43
2. Iinur Zakarin (Rus) RusVelo at 0:23
3. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 0:33
4. Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale at 0:35
5. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:37
6. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:52
7. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:55
8. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 1:10
9. Jure Golcer (Slo) Slovenia at 1:27
10. Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo at 1:37.

Overall leader Tiago Machado (Netapp-Endura):
Cycling - Tour of Slovenia - Stage 3 - 3.Etappe - 21.06.2014

Tiago Machado has won the 21st Tour of Slovenia. The 28-year-old Team NetApp – Endura rider thus delivered the fourth win of the season for the highest ranked German cycling team. With his success, NetApp – Endura is now in fourth place in the UCI EuropeTour, just before the Tour de France. As expected, the final stage in the Slovenian city of Novo Mesto was decided in a mass sprint. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) finished just ahead of Eduard Grosu (Vini Fantini-Nippo) and Michael Matthews (Orica GreenEDGE). Local rider Blaz Jarc of Team NetApp – Endura sprinted into sixth place.

“The team made me really proud today. They confidently defended the yellow jersey and showed to have the race under control at all times. The guys coped very well with the tactical challenge set by a final stage in this sort of situation. If you show any sort of weakness, the attack comes right away, and the guys simply did not give them a chance. They are all well and showed a still increasing form. And of course this puts us in an optimistic mood for the Tour de France,” says Sport Director Christian Pömer, praising the team.

In the massive sprint in Novo Mesto, Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida) was 7th behind Viviani. Bonifazio explained: “I’ve been suffering in the past couple of days from a pain on my knee. Team doctors are monitoring the situation, but I really wanted to honour the race until the end, so I fought in the sprint. It was important to reach a bridge at 150 metres in the head position, I achieved that, but then two riders overtook me and I could not recover positions.”

Tour de Slovénie Stage 4 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale in 3:24:15
2. Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Vini Fantini-Nippo
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Borut Bozic (Slo) Slovenia
5. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Blaz Jarc (Slo) NetApp-Endura
7. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha
9. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Neri Sottoli
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale.

Tour de Slovénie Final Overall Result:
1 Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura in 12:44:58
2 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) RusVelo at 0:23
3 Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 0:33
4 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannnondale at 0:35
5 Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Barddiani-CSF at 0:37
6 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:52
7 Simon Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:55
8 Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 1:10
9 Jure Golcer (Slo) Slovenia at 1:27
10 Artem Ovechkin (Rus) RusVelo at 1:37.

Tiago Machado (Netapp-Endura) the final overall winner:
Cycling - Tour of Slovenia - Stage 4 - 4.Etappe - 22.06.2014

Route du Sud-La Dépêche du Midi 2014
Spanish champion claims Movistar Team’s 100th win in Payolle ahead of team-mate Valverde after impressive, attacking performance on the last climb.

Near the end of his twelve-month period as Spanish champion; Jesús Herrada gave the Movistar Team an excellent performance in the opening day Stage 1 of the Route du Sud, over 172km from Lectoure to Payolle with two Cat 3 climbs and a lumpy finish that allowed the Spaniard to show his full potential.

The teamwork by Movistar reeled back the day’s longest break and kept the pace high before the ascent to Campan, where Herrada took a first try alongside Kenny Elissonde (FDJ.fr). 5k from the finish, the Blue youngster attacked again on the slopes leading up to the finish, he was joined by Antoine Lavieu (La Pomme Marseille) and Christopher Juul-Jensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) whom he later left for his fourth Pro win. Alejandro Valverde, completed the one-two for Movistar by beating Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) in the bunch sprint. Herrada’s success is the 100th for the Movistar team in three and a half seasons under Telefónica’s sponsorship.

Stage winner Jesús Herrada: “Our strategy was making the race hard into the climbs to avoid any sprinters reaching the finish with us, especially Bouhanni – even though we didn’t drop him, we could reach the last ascent all of us together, except for Sütterlin, who worked hard all day. I didn’t know the finish, but I had checked it on the Internet and I knew that the last kilometre was less steep. Alejandro was really under control and told me to attack with 5k to go; I made some cuts and later jumped with Jensen, 3k from the finish. He got dropped in the hardest part of the climb and when I reached the ‘flamme rouge’, I knew I had won, because the final section was mainly flat.

“It’s an important victory for my moral, because I had spent a lot of time without racing, since the Tour of Romandie – though I knew I was doing well after twenty days in Sierra Nevada, you never know exactly how you will tank into your first race. The power meter showed I was in higher BPM’s than usual in the finale, but that’s normal after so much time without competing. I took a step forward in Romandie and it was good for me to convince myself I can be close to the top guys in the mountains. Let’s hope it’s a sign I can be into the Tour roster, I’m so excited to make part of it – but for the time being, we’re focused on this race and the National championships. We’ll see how we do tomorrow – we’ll talk to Arrieta and see how we play it, because many of us are strong and we can profit from it. Hoping the legs feel the same tomorrow.”

Tinkoff-Saxo had Nicolas Roche in 4ht and Michael Rogers 6th, DS Bruno Cenghialta: “It was a hard first stage of the race but I’m happy to see Christopher trying to break away on the final part of the slope while the rest of the boys were waiting and waiting in the bunch ready to launch a counter-attack. Unfortunately, the slope wasn’t steep enough to explode the peloton completely but with Nico in 4th and Michael 6th position, we have a good chance of an overall good result in the race.”

Route du Sud-La Dépêche du Midi Stage 1 Result:
1. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar in 4:22:07
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
8. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky
9. Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93.

Route du Sud-La Dépêche du Midi Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar in 4:21:57
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:10
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:12
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:16
5. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
8. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky
9. Jay Mccarthy (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93.

Stage 1 winner Jesus Herrada Lopez (Movistar):

Nicolas Roche was victorious on Stage 2 of the Route du Sud finishing on the tough climb of Val Louron after having climbed both Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aspin. He pulled of a superb solo win in front of his own team mate Michael Rogers and strong rivals such as Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

“I’m really satisfied and happy for this victory. It’s amazing that all the hard work has finally paid off with a victory, which is of course one of my main goals during the season besides supporting my teammates”, says Nicolas Roche and continues. “It was a super tough stage today with many of the climbs you’ll normally see in the Tour and a strong competition to make it even more difficult. But we managed to pull it off today. Furthermore, it confirms that I’ve recovered after the Giro and that I’m ready for the Tour”, he said after crossing the finish line.

An early breakaway got a few minutes during the stage. But especially Tinkoff-Saxo and Movistar obviously showed that they had different plans than letting a breakaway take the win by keeping a high and steady pace up the three main climbs of the stage. At the bottom of the last climb, Val Louron, the pace was increased and only a select few remained in front.

“Edward Beltran worked really hard and maintained a high tempo on the climb. He really hurt a lot of guys out there today. With 5 k to go, Edward pulled of the front and I attacked straight away knowing that Michael was ready in the group of favourites just behind me as a second option. So I had the confidence to just put everything at stake and go a 100 percent for the win”, says Nicolas and congratulates teammate Michael Rogers, who took second place 40 seconds behind him.

Route du Sud-La Dépêche du Midi Stage 2 Result:
1. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo in 5:17:04
2. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:45
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
4. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr
5. Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka
6. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93
7. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky
8. David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:15
9. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky at 1:22
10. Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:39.

Route du Sud-La Dépêche du Midi Overall After Stage 2:
1. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo in 9:39:07
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:45
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:49
4. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93 at 0:55
5. Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka
6. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr
7. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky
8. David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:25
9. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky at 1:32
10. Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:49.

Nico Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) takes stage and overall:

Nicolas Roche was in an excellent position to defend his overall lead in the French stage race, the Route du Sud in the Final Stage 3 from Saint Gaudens to Castres over 179 kilometres. With a lead of 45 seconds over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and team mate; Michael Rogers in 3rd place Roche only had to watch Valverde to make sure of the win.
Eight riders formed the first and long-lasting breakaway of the day but as the terrain started to rise, the group was divided in two and in the finale; they were reeled in by the chasing Tinkoff-Saxo riders. However, Adri Malori (Movistar) slipped away from the speeding bunch and won the stage a few seconds ahead of a big group including overall leader Tinkoff-Saxo’s Nicolas Roche who thereby won the French stage race demonstrating impressive form before taking on Tour de France.

It was a very happy Nicolas Roche who commented on his win: “It was a magnificent feeling crossing the finish line taking my very first GC win after three days of very hard racing. It was enjoyable experiencing my teammates so dedicated and determined to support me and of course, this is their victory as well. Surely, this was a confident booster before taking on Tour de France in a couple of weeks so obviously, I’m looking forward to it.”

Adriano Malori (Movistar) jumped away with 20km from the finish alongside Brit Josh Edmondson (Sky), chasing for solo escapee Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), who had ridden in the early, eight-man move. All three got together 45 seconds ahead of the bunch. FDJ started pushing to bring the group back; Malori’s response was a huge attack with two kilometres from the finish, which his companions couldn’t follow. With only a 15-second gap at that point meant the Italian had to give everything he had. The attempt was successful: he had time enough to celebrate his third victory in 2014.

Stage winner Adriano Malori (Movistar): “I’m so happy because this is the very first time I win a road race as a pro cyclist – all my previous wins were time trials or GC’s. I was convinced I could make it, but I’m not really fast and in modern cycling, that makes your chances shrink a lot. Right from the strategy meeting early in the morning, we’ve talked about taking all chances that we could – we had nothing to lose and today could be the right day to give it a try. We took Iván into the early break and when it was caught, I attacked with Edmondson and we both caught Arashiro, the one still left into the break. The pace was fast all day, and the teams with sprinters were really worn down in the finale.

“I was feeling like the strongest of three and when I saw it was the right time, attacked with just over 2k to go and could make it solo. I dedicate this victory to my team, for all confidence they gave me in all races, and also to myself, because I took almost no rest after the Giro and took a lot of care about myself, thinking about the national time trial championships. This win makes me really confident for the race, one of my biggest goals of the season. Afterwards, I’ll stop for a while before thinking about my calendar for the second part of the season.”

Route du Sud-La Dépêche du Midi Stage 3 Result:
1. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar in 4:07:55
2. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Lampre-Merida at 0:05
3. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
5. Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis
6. Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar
7. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling
8. Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky
9. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
10. Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia.

Route du Sud-La Dépêche du Midi Final Overall Result:
1. Nicolas Roche (Ire) Tinkoff-Saxo in 13:47:07
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar 0:45
3. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:49
4. Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky at 0:53
5. Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:55
6. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93 at 0:55
7. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:55
8. David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:25
9. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky at 1:32
10. Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:49.

Stage winner Adriano Malori (Movistar):

The Route du Sud Podium: Valverde, Roche and Rogers:

Tour de France 2014 News:

Lampre-Merida Tour Team
The Italian team has announced its short list for this year’s French race. World champion Rui Costa will be the main man with Chris Horner as a possible GC man depending on his crash recovery. The team’s sprinter will be Sacha Modolo and the other rider will be picked from the following: José Serpa, Nelson Oliveira, Kristijan Ðurasek, Rafael Valls, Matteo Bono, Filippo Pozzato, Maximiliano Richeze and Davide Cimolai.

No Henao for the Tour!
It looks very unlikely that Sky will have one of their best climbers at the Tour to back up Chris Froome after Sergio Henao crashed during a recon of the time trial stage of the Tour de Suisse. The details of the crash are not known, but he does have a fractured patella. Henao had only recently returned to racing due to the Sky team stopping him from racing for altitude test in Colombia.

The Tour Preview by Global Cycling Network
Those guy’s at Global Cycling Network have released their Tour de France preview. Matt Stephens, Daniel Lloyd and Simon Richardson discuss the up and coming French race:


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