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EuroTrash Monday!

Paris-Roubaix…what more can I say? It never fails to excite and this year was no different as Tom Boonen showed how to win a Classic on your own. We have the after race comments from Boonen and Alessandro Ballan who was 3rd and the video of course. It’s not all Roubaix, we catch-up with the other recent races with results, quotes and videos. Settle back for Paris-Roubaix EuroTrash Monday!

“Top Story”
Of course it has to be Sundays Paris-Roubaix.

Tom Boonen: The New “Monsieur Paris-Roubaix”?
Boonen won his fourth Paris-Roubaix on Sunday equalling the record of Roger De Vlaeminck, the original “Monsieur Paris-Roubaix” and the way he won it was in the mould of the champions of the past. His attack and solo ride to the finish was a daring exploit that looked foolhardy, to ride for nearly 60 kilometres with a pack fast and strong riders behind was bold and brave and in the end he pulled it off. If he wins in Roubaix again then he definitely will be “Monsieur Paris-Roubaix”.

On a personal note, it was great to see young Dutch rider Bert-Jan Lindeman (Vacansoleil-DCM) driving hard in the break and still finish. I interviewed him earlier this year and you could tell then he has a big love for the sport. Proficiat Bert-Jan!

Here is what the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team had to say: Tom Boonen won his fourth Paris-Roubaix (2005, 2008, 2009, 2012) on Sunday, after riding solo for 50km out of 257.5km. He also earned the second “double” of his career. Boonen is the only rider in men’s road racing history to win Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix in the same season twice. Boonen is also the only rider to have won all four of the “cobbled” races —E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix — in one season.

“I was not really thinking about these records or these victories,” Boonen said. “I was really working hard to be on my top level these two or three weeks. I was already happy to have reached this level and I didn’t have any big crashes this year so far. When I started winning Harelbeke I knew I would be good for others. When I look back on these two or three weeks, it’s been amazing. It’s my second double and I realize now I am the only one who did this ‘double’ two times. I realize now I am maybe be the best guy to ever ride on these cobblestones, on these roads. It’s special, but I think I need some time. My career isn’t over yet.”

Boonen managed to hold off a powerful chasing group of Alessandro Ballan (BMC Racing Team), Sebastien Turgot (Europcar), Lars Boom (Rabobank), and Mathieu Ladagnous (FDJ-Big Mat), who decided to commit to a chase in the final 24km after a larger chase group failed to organize.

“I was not really thinking about the winning race or doing a record,” Boonen said. “I was just fighting myself. I was taking it step by step, cobblestone by cobblestone, kilometre by kilometre. I think if you start thinking about the 60 or 57 km, which is when I left, it’s nearly impossible. It is all in your mind. I was really thinking about my lead. With the gap at 30 seconds I was trying to take it second by second. I was trying not to push it right away to one minute, tried not to force myself. It was the best way to save my strength and put all my strength into the 50km in front of me. I think it was the best option.”

Boonen’s teammate Niki Terpstra, who attacked with Boonen at 56km but could sustain the effort, was also in the chase group with Ballan and four others.

“I was not planning on this,” Boonen said of his solo win. “But when I arrived in front with Niki and he dropped off, I was thinking ‘OK, I already have Flanders. Why not try to win my fourth Paris-Roubaix in a very special way?’ I started battling myself. The wind was not really helpful, but with 30 seconds I thought ‘OK, it’s also hard for everyone else’.” I was only afraid there was a fresh rider coming, like Pippo Pozzato or Ballan.”

Boom tried to chase solo in the final 20km, reducing the gap from 1’14” to 1’09” with 14.9km to go. However, Boom couldn’t sustain the chase and was reeled in by the Ballan group. Ladagnous suffered a puncture and dropped from the chase. Boonen expanded his gap to more than 1’30” in the final 10km, and in the last kilometres, Boonen gave the hand signal for the number four, to signify his four Paris-Roubaix wins. Boonen said he had only one thought on his mind at that time: His girlfriend, Lore.

“I was thinking a lot about my girlfriend who is working on our house,” Boonen said. “I thought about her a lot during the final and this victory is for her.”

Boonen coasted through his two laps at the velodrome, again giving the hand signal for the number four. Meanwhile Terpstra took 5th in the chase group sprint. Turgot took 2nd, beating Ballan (3rd) in a bike throw.

“The velodrome finish line, it’s the only one where you can do two laps where all the people are,” Boonen said of the unique Paris-Roubaix finish. “It’s the only finish line where you have one kilometre where you can bond with the people that are there. It’s just such a special race. Paris-Roubaix, only one race like it in the world. A race like this needs a special finish. I think changing this finish line would be very stupid. It’s almost more Paris-Roubaix — finishing here — than the cobblestones. I was really enjoying my two laps.”

The entire team contributed during the race. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck made a 12 rider break at km 70, but was taken out by a rider while riding through the Arenberg. Sylvain Chavanel did incredible work chasing down breaks, and also was in a four rider break with 66kms to go. However, he punctured with 58.1km to go, having to get his rear wheel replaced. He still battled with a chase group, which was about two minutes behind a select group of 30-40 riders. Boonen and Terpstra attacked shortly after Chavanel punctured. Gert Steegmans and Stijn Vandenbergh were both seen working at the front to chase down breaks during the race.

This is the 30th victory for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team in three disciplines. Tom Boonen, who moved into first place in UCI WorldTour standings last week with his Ronde van Vlaanderen victory, increases his lead in the individual classification. The team is also ranked number one in UCI WorldTour standings.

“I just love it,” Boonen said of bike racing. “I never, ever have problems finding motivation to train. Although, it has not been easy. It’s my 11th year as a pro; there are always ups and downs, but never problems training. I like it, and I really do it for these races. These are the ones I love. Paris-Roubaix is one of the hardest one day races. Flanders and Paris-Roubaix both are difficult. The moment I start to feel tired, and not training, then it’s time to stop. But I think the last few years I’ve found more love for the bike and I’m not losing it. I think it’s getting easier getting older.”

And the BMC team: Alessandro Ballan was third and Thor Hushovd and Taylor Phinney finished 14th and 15th, respectively, for the BMC Racing Team as Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) equaled the race record for victories Sunday by soloing the final 53 kilometres to win his fourth Paris-Roubaix.

Photo Finish For Second
It took a photo to decide whether Ballan was second or third in the five-up sprint for second, 1:39 after Boonen took his victory lap around the Roubaix velodrome. Ultimately, it was determined Sйbastien Turgot (Team Europcar) edged out Ballan after the former world road champion sprinted from the back of the group on his new BMC granfondo GF01 with 200 meters to go. “I’m not fast in the sprint and I don’t have the history in the velodrome, so it was hard for me,” Ballan said. “Tom was just too strong. I didn’t think it was possible for him to finish alone because we had four or five riders from Sky and two from Rabobank in my group.” That group saw Boonen make his winning move by breaking away with his teammate, Niki Terpstra, with 55 kilometres to go, only to have Terpstra get a flat a few kilometres later.

Some Good, Some Bad
The BMC Racing Team had its share of good luck and bad in the 257.5 km cobbled classic. When a crash split the peloton after 142 km, all but Manuel Quinziato made the front group. But inside the final 75 kilometres, George Hincapie punctured in the Arenberg forest, Hushovd crashed rounding a corner and even the BMC Racing Team car was briefly sidelined with a flat tire.”That’s part of the game, that’s the hell of the north,” BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said. “But Alessandro proved one more time that he’s in really good shape. He was one of our two protected leaders and we’re happy to have him on the podium two times in one week in the big monuments.” Ballan, who already had a pair of third-place finishes at Roubaix (2006, 2008) to his credit, registered his fifth top 10 finish of the season. He has been best for the BMC Racing Team at the Tour of Flanders (third), Strade Bianche (fourth), Milan-San Remo (eighth) and E3-Harelbeke (ninth).

Hushovd ‘Gave It Everything’
Hushovd said despite his hard crash with 60 km to go – which left a large abrasion on his left thigh – he wasn’t about to give up. “I just never gave up. I knew I had good legs. I gave it everything,” the former world road champion said. “I’m disappointed because I haven’t done a good spring season and today I did a perfect race except for a stupid mistake.” Fourteen seconds after Hushovd finished, Phinney out-sprinted nine other riders to earn his 15th place finish. “It was quite hard but honestly I felt amazing today,” the former U.S. national time trial champion said. “I had great legs, stayed safe and did a lot of work on the front. I tried to help out Danilo (Wyss) when we got toward the Arenberg. I just missed that front split but for the amount of work I did, I’m happy with the way I finished.”

Hincapie’s Record Finish
After crashing once and receiving a new rear wheel from Wyss with 85 km to go, Hincapie reached the finish line in 43rd place, 7:46 behind Boonen. In doing so, the BMC Racing Team’s road captain bettered the record for Paris-Roubaix finishes with 17. “I came out relatively unscathed,” the three-time U.S. national road champion said. “This is such a hard race. From the guys who are getting first, to the guys who are getting last, everyone puts everything they have into it. You’re completely exhausted, but it’s what people dream about – coming into the velodrome. It’s definitely a special feeling.”

If you’ve not already read it, here is Ed Hood’s great blow by blow race report on PEZ.

Paris-Roubaix Result:
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 5:55:22
2. Sйbastien Turgot (Fra) Europcar at 1:39
3. Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC
4. Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky
5. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank at 1:43
7. Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Saxo Bank 0:03:31
8. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling
9. Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda
10. Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank
11. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
12. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FdJ-BigMat
13. Grйgory Rast (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan at 4:23
14. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
15. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC at 4:37
16. Steve Chainel (Fra) FdJ-BigMat
17. Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia
18. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis
19. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
20. Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM.

Here are the highlights of the 2012 Paris-Roubaix:

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2012
Samuel Sanchez (Euskatel-Euskadi) went into Stage 4 with the overall lead, but the Katusha team had a different idea and that was to put Joaquim Rodriguez in the leader’s jersey, as they were both equal on time he only had to finish ahead of his countryman. Euskatel-Euskadi and Katusha kept things together only allowing any breaks a minimum of leeway, no more than 1 minute. Coming to the final climb of the day, the Alto de Ibardin; Katusha took to the front of a dwindling peloton to pull back the remainders of a 7 man break. As the road steepened, Maxime Montfort (RadioShack-Nissan) led for his team leader Chris Horner who was also on the same time as Sanchez and Rodriguez. Then in the last kilometre Rodriguez made a strong attack to finish 9 seconds ahead of Sanchez and 21 in front of Horner to take stage and overall.

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 4 Result:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha in 3:55:56
2. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:09
3. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 0:12
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana
5. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky at 0:16
6. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
7. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:17
8. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda.

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Overall After Stage 4:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha in 16:02:02
2. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:09
3. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:21
4. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana at 0:24
5. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky
6. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky at 0:28
7. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
8. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda at 0:29
9. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol.

Stage 4:

Overall leader Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) defended his lead in the best possible way on Stage 5 by winning it, the problem for him was the watchful eye of second overall Samuel Sanchez (Euskatel-Euskadi) who finished in the same time with the others down the road. The two fought out the finish on the last climb of the day; the Garagaltza, attacking each other over the last 3 kilometres, but they didn’t manage to crack each other. Earlier in the day there had been a 16 man break which split leaving Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) out front until Sanchez and Rodriguez caught him on the final slopes. Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) will be the danger man for both riders in Saturday’s final 18.9 kilometre time trial as he is only at 56 seconds from Rodriguez and 45 from Sanchez, but then the biggest problem for Rodriguez will be Sanchez.

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 5 Result:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha in 4:27:16
2. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
3. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana at 0:02
4. Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar at 0:05
5. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky
6. Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
7. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
8. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 0:07
9. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar
10. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Overall After Stage 5:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha in 20:29:18
2. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:09
3. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana at 0:26
4. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky at 0:33
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD
6. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 0:34
7. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 0:35
8. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Barracuda at 0:40
9. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD
10. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:44.

Stage 5:

As it turned out in the end Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) wasn’t the problem for Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) or Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), it was Bauke Mollema (Rabobank), but he was not fast enough to take Stage 6 or the overall prize from a flying Samu Sanchez. Sanchez was a good 6 seconds faster than Mollema, 7 over Martin and, most importantly 21 seconds faster than Rodriguez to win the Vuelta al Pais Vasco overall by 12 seconds from Rodriguez and 42 from Mollema.

“At the end of this race, I think I am back at my best,” Tony Martin said, noting the highly technical course and pouring rain as major factors in the stage 6 Vuelta al Pais Vasco time trial on Saturday. “I think it’s still a good result and after my bad results in Paris-Nice, it shows me that I’m going better now from week to week. I think for the morale, it was a good day. Also, we gained some points for the WorldTour, so I’m really optimistic now for the future.”

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Stage 6 Result:
1. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi in 28:48
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 0:06
3. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:07
4. Marco Pinotti (Ita) BMC at 0:15
5. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 0:16
6. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:21
7. Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank at 0:22
8. Travis Meyer (Aus) GreenEdge at 0:24
9. Moreno Moser (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 0:28
10. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:31.

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco Final Overall:
1. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi in 20:58:15
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:12
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank at 0:42
4. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 0:47
5. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:54
6. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky at 1:03
7. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:07
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 1:19
9. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan at 1:27
10. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 1:29.

Stage 6:

Circuit Cycliste de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire 2012
Francisco Ventoso (Movistar) won the sprint from a large bunch coming into Prй-en-Pail after 181.8 kilometres, beating Julien El Fares (Team Type 1-Sanofi) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis). Luke Durbridge (GreenEdge) carried on in the overall lead after a few dangerous escapes were caught before the finish.

Ventoso said to the Movistar team web-site; “They say that the more a victory is difficult to be notched up, the better it tastes, and that’s why I’m so happy, because I suffered really much today,” said an elated Ventoso after his 28th victory in nine seasons as a pro cyclist. “The final circuit was really demanding and the group was getting smaller and smaller in every lap. At the last one I struggled to keep the pace as almost all sprinters have been left behind, but I made it. The team was crucial for that, because a 15-rider group went apart in the first lap and my team-mates worked for me. If Castroviejo and Konovalovas hadn’t been there, the group would have kept away. At the sprint, Oliveira (RNT) jumped from behind and had a gentle gap, but there was strong headwind and I got to wait for the appropiate moment and win with some distance.

It’s true I really needed it because, while in 2011 everything went easy in the first months, this year it was quite the opposite, and for one thing or another I didn’t find a victory. I did not lost confidence in my chances thanks to the team, because they gave me the tranquillity I needed in those bad moments. That’s why I dedicate this victory to them, from the corp’s CEO to the last of the team staff members. I took much time back today and I’m getting closer in the GC. There will be bonus seconds at stake tomorrow and a sprint finish is expected, so we have to keep fighting until the end. This is the best way to come to the stop before the Giro” -Ventoso will have some rest after Paris-Roubaix in his way to Italy-. “I knew I was doing things right, but victories are always needed.”

Circuit Cycliste de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire Stage 3 Result:
1. Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar in 4:50:37
2. Julien El Fares (Fra) Team Type 1-Sanofi
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
4. Michel Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda
5. Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller
6. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
7. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar
8. Anthony Geslin (Fra) FdJ-BigMat
9. Thierry Hupond (Fra) Argos-Shimano
10. Remi Cusin (Fra) Team Type 1-Sanofi.

Circuit Cycliste de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire Overall After Stage 3:
1. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Greenedge in 11:52:00
2. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank at 0:08
3. Nelson Oliveira (Por) RadioShack-Nissan
4. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:13
5. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:14
6. Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar
7. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos-Shimano
8. Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FdJ-BigMat
9. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Movistar at 0:15
10. Ben Hermans (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:18.

Stage 3:

Luke Durbridge gave GreenEdge a nice stage race win by defending his slender lead and finishing with the peloton in the same time as his near rivals. Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Barracuda) showed that he has made his come back to the highest level of the sport after his youthful stupidity. There had been some early breaks, but it all came together for the sprint which started well before the line suiting the strong style of Dekker.

Circuit Cycliste de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire Stage 4 Result:
1. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda in 3:41:29
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FdJ-BigMat
3. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox
4. Daniele Colli (Ita) Team Type1-Sanofi
5. Justin Jules (Fra) Veranda Rideau-Super U
6. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
7. Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller
8. Steven Caethoven (Bel) Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox
10. Julien El Fares (Fra) Team Type1-Sanofi.

Circuit Cycliste de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire Final Overall:
1. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Greenedge in 15:33:29
2. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank at 0:08
3. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Radioshack-Nissan
4. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:09
5. Thomas Dekker (Ned) Garmin-Barracuda at 0:12
6. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan
7. Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Movistar
8. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Argos-Shimano at 0:14
9. Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FdJ-BigMat
10. Ruben Plaza (Spa) Movistar at 0:15.

Stage 4:

Grand Prix Pino Cerami 2012
Gaetan Bille gave Lotto-Belisol rode away from the peloton in the last kilometre and won by a good few lengths from Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DMC) and his team mate Jonas Vangenachten in third. Bille is a first year Pro on the Belgian WorldTour Lotto-Belisol team and was rightly pleased with his win and said “I surprised the peloton in the final kilometre and to hold off a fast man like Romain Feillu gives me great pleasure.” A big group had escaped with around 70 kilometres to go, they were pulled back by the sprinters teams, but they were all caught out by the crafty move of the young Bille, watch out for him in the future.

Grand Prix Pino Cerami Result:
1. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Lotto-Belisol in 4:52:11
2. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
3. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
4. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10
5. Ryan Anderson (Can) Spidertech Powered By C10
6. Christophe Laborie (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
7. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Rabobank Continental
8. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
9. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s
10. Marco Minnaard (Ned) Rabobank Continental.

A French race report Grand Prix Pino Cerami:

Tour de France Wildcard Invites
ASO, the Tour de France organisers have announced four lucky teams that will be lining up in Liиge on Saturday, June the 30th for the 6 kilometre prologue individual time trial. As expected three French teams; Cofidis, Saur-Sojasun and Europcar were first to get those precious places, joining them is the newly named Argos-Shimano. It’s probable that the Argos-Shimano team would be led by the two German sprinters; Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.

BMC Racing Team Unveils Brabantse Pijl Roster
Press Release: The BMC Racing Team’s seven-rider roster for Brabantse Pijl Wednesday includes defending champion Philippe Gilbert and past top 10 finisher Greg Van Avermaet.

Team Riding Well
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said Gilbert and Van Avermaet will be co-leaders for the 195.7-kilometer race. “We have two guys who can make really good results before attacking the three big WorldTour classics in the Netherlands and Belgium,” Lelangue said. “Philippe is also getting better after his problems the past couple of weeks (virus, tooth infection and Milan-San Remo crash).” Gilbert’s win last year at Brabantse Pijl preceded a rare sweep of the Ardennes classics: Amstel Gold Race, Flйche Wallonne and Liйge-Bastogne-Liйge. The Belgian national champion said he’s not feeling any additional pressure to perform. “I am looking to just keep improving,” Gilbert said. “Our team is riding well, which makes it a lot easier.”

BMC Racing Team Brabantse Pijl Roster (April 11):
Adam Blythe (GBR),
Yannick Eijssen (BEL),
Philippe Gilbert (BEL),
Klaas Lodewyck (BEL),
Amaлl Moinard (FRA),
Greg Van Avermaet (BEL),
Danilo Wyss (SUI).

Russ Downing wins opening stage of Circuit des Ardennes
Press Release: Russ Downing opened a busy Easter weekend of racing for Endura Racing in perfect fashion by winning the opening stage of the Circuit des Ardennes (UCI 2.2) in Northern France.

It took an hour of racing for a break to make it’s mark with Bideau (Bretagne-Schuller), Drujon (Auber 93), Daeninck (CC Nogent-sur-Oise) and Bonnet (CC Etupes) finally establishing a gap over the peloton. They were later joined by Guillemois (Vendйe U), Matysiak (CCC Polkowice) and Umerbekov (Astana) and as they passed through the 100km mark, their lead had grown to 2m 30s.

With Endura Racing, Itera-Katusha and Rabobank working hard on the front of the bunch for their sprinters the break was slowly wound in and they were finally caught with 5km to go. The Endura Racing train delivered Downing with precision and he took the bunch sprint in Signy L’Abbaye with a well timed surge for the line.

The Circuit des Ardennes continues on Saturday with a 171km stage starting and finishing in Renwez.

Russ Downing:
Just an amazing team performance today and I couldn’t let the boys down in the sprint. A perfect team effort from all.

Alex Sans Vega, Directeur Sportive:
A great team effort today. It was very difficult to control the early stages with many attacks. Once the break went, we were able to keep things under control with Rabobank and Itera-Katusha. One last big effort coming into the finish and Russ executed the sprint perfectly.

Brian Smith, General Manager:
As number one ranked UCI Europe Tour Team all other teams are looking at us and not giving us an inch. Endura Racing have taken this difficult task of being the marked team and delivered a performance that shows why we are the number one team in Europe. Our goals are simple… we want to win. These wins are getting harder as other teams look at us to do more work. This is testament to the quality we have within Endura Racing. Russ is a quality rider but the team performance today is most satisfying.

Stage 1 race report:

Levi Leipheimer Suffers Fibula Fracture
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team announces that Levi Leipheimer was diagnosed to have a fibula fracture on his left leg due to the accident that occurred the day before the start of Pais Vasco, in which he was hit from behind by a car.

The x-rays examination confirmed the fracture. At the moment surgery is not necessary. However, the recovery of the rider depends on the evolution of the clinical situation.

Leipheimer has to respect a period of absolute rest of two weeks. More information on the time of his recovery will be released after this period.

“After the crash, I understood immediately something was wrong when there was swelling, and I couldn’t bear weight on that side,” Leipheimer said of his injury. “Now I need to stay calm and recover as fast as possible to try to be competitive for Amgen Tour of California. I am really disappointed, but the real victory here is that I survived the collision and that I’m alive to meet that challenge at all. It’s amazing that all I did was break my fibula. I was in a panic state after [the collision] happened; I couldn’t calm down. I can’t communicate how close I came to being killed and that was incredibly scary. More than anything, I’m really grateful for the chance to come back from this injury. This could be a good thing for me in events like the Tour de France and the 2012 London Olympics. While the Tour of California will be more of a challenge for me now, I still have my sights set squarely on a win again this year.“

Paris-Ancaster ride/race April 15
Watching the recent cobbled classics should have provided copious inspiration, so it’s time to put your fitness and hardman reputation to the test. For the 19th year, the Paris-Ancaster will put riders to the test. Located in the Hamilton area of southern Ontario, the 65 km “It’s not a race” race features a scenic mix of road, dirt roads, trails, and downright mud. The volatile April weather in Ontario also adds to the fun, with conditions ranging from warm sun and hardpacked riding through to sleet and about 3 kg of extra mud on your bike by the end. Toolbox Editor Stephen Cheung took part in the very first edition in 1994 during his Ph.D. days, and recalls the sleet and mud being so ridiculous in 1997 that his now-wife Debbie tossed her bike into a pond partway through to clean it up, with only her guilty conscience convincing her to retrieve the bike. Previous participants in Paris-Ancaster include Canadian legend Steve Bauer, Brit cyclocross champ Helen Wyman, famed New England rider Adam Myerson, and Canadian cyclocross champ Mike Garrigan. This year, 2004 Paris-Roubaix podium finisher and multi-time British cross champion Roger Hammond, recently retired from Garmin-Cervelo, will be the guest rider. Registration is still open, and Stephen will be on hand at the bike expo on Sunday signing copies of his new book Cutting-Edge Cycling.

Here’s a documentary/feature on the 2011 edition of Paris-Ancaster:

Against All Odds – The 2nd Episode is Live Now!
The 2nd episode of Team NetApp’s Giro d’Italia documentation is available now. It gives you a great insight of Team NetApp winning Coppi e Bartali.

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