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EuroTrash Monday!

The Tour of Luxembourg ended and the Critйrium du Dauphinй kicked off yesterday (Sunday), the Tour de France build-up is in full swing. Not all stage race action as there was also the Trofeo Melinda this week. ”Top Story” concerns the rumour mill, should we pay any attention to it? As usual there are lots of other bits and pieces to keep you happy on a Monday morning. Coffee anyone?

“Top Story”

The Cycling Rumour Mill!
I don’t like reporting rumours until they become fact, what’s the point? OK we all like to hear a scandal now and again, but if it’s not fact then it can ruin a career or the chances of a team keeping or getting a sponsor. The latest to hit the presses and web-sites is via La Gazzetta dello Sport is that Liquigas-Cannondale and Saxo Bank teams will merge next season to become the next “Super Team” in the WorldTour, much like RadioShack and Leopard and Omega Pharma and Quick-Step did for this year.

There are a few things about this story that don’t match up, bike sponsors for a start. Liquigas has Cannondale and Saxo Bank are on Specialized, and also Alberto Contador has a personal contract with Specialized and Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis is hoping to re-sign the Spaniard in August and for next year. This could be a problem as how long the Cannondale and Specialized contracts are to run for and it has been confirmed that the management of the Liquigas team want to continue with Cannondale.

The other problem also concerns Contador, if, as suggested, the deal centres on Contador going with Saxo Bank, then that could be a problem as there are quite a few teams looking for his signature for 2013, some teams that are in existence and even a new team backed by a Spanish bank, knowing what we do about Spanish banks at the moment, that might be difficult.

So, rumours, good or bad? Should we pay any attention to them?

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg 2012
On his return from the Tour of California, Saur-Sojasun rider Jimmy Engoulvent had the form to win the opening 2.65 kilometre individual time trial in Luxembourg on Wednesday and take the first leaders jersey. Grйgory Rast (RadioShack-Nissan) was second and Engoulvent’s team mate was third. Four more road stages with the race finishing on Sunday.

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Prologue Result:
1. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur-Sojasun in 3:43.38
2. Grйgory Rast (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan at 2.97
3. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 3.44
4. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky at 4.90
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Radioshack-Nissan at 6.67
6. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 6.69
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 6.97
8. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 7.00
9. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar at 7.46
10. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis at 7.90.

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Overall After the Prologue:
1. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur-Sojasun 0:03:43
2. Grйgory Rast (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan 0:00:03
3. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:03
4. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky at 0:05
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:07
6. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto-Belisol at 0:07
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 0:07
8. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:07
9. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar at 0:07
10. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis at 0:08.

Super sprinter; Andrй Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) out-kicked Davide Appollonio (Sky) and Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) at the end of Stage 1 from Luxembourg to Hesperange after 181 kilometres. Prologue winner Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) finished with the bunch and held on to the overall. First attack came as soon the flag dropped from Jesus Rosendo (Andalucia), he was joined by Albert Timmer (Argos-Shimano), the pair held a lead of up to 3 minutes until they were pulled back by the RadioShack-Nissan team with 60 kilometres to go. The fast riding of RadioShack launched their man Jens Voigt up the road; he also gained 3 minutes, but was pulled back in the last 10 kilometres for Lotto-Belisol to sort out the sprint.

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Stage 1 Result:
1. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol in 4:53:56
2. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
4. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos-Shimano
6. Sascha Weber (Ger) Team Differdange-Magic-Sportfood.de
7. Roy Curvers (Ned) Argos-Shimano
8. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
9. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
10. Yohann Gene (Fra) Europcar.

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur-Sojasun in 4:57:39
2. Grйgory Rast (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:03
3. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
4. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky at 0:05
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:07
6. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano
8. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar
10. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis at 0:08.

Stage 2 saw another stage win by Andrй Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), Ben Swift (Sky) was second and Greipel’s team mate; Jurgen Roelandts was third. After many attempts the first proper break of the day went after 60 kilometres with Kevin Van Melsen (Accent.Jobs-Willems Veranda’s) and Vytautas Kaupas (Differdange-Magic Sportfood-de), they had a lead of seven minutes at one point, but they were reeled in, in time for Andreas Kloden (RadioShack-Nissan) to make an attack similar to Jens Voigt the day before. Kloden was caught as the sprint was getting organised.

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Stage 2 Result:
1. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto-Belisol in 4:29:20
2. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
4. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s
6. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
7. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
8. Roy Curvers (Ned) Argos-Shimano
9. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM.

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 2:
1. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur-Sojasun in 9:26:59
2. Grйgory Rast (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:03
3. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
4. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky at 0:05
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:07
6. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto-Belisol
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano
8. Jimmy Casper (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Europcar
10. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis at 0:08.

Wout Poels of Vacansoleil-DCM may have won Stage 3, but the overall went to second placed Jakob Fuglsang with RadioShack-Nissan team mate Frank Schleck in third on the stage to Differdange over a very hard 205 kilometres. Mathew Hayman (Sky), Jens Debusschere (Lotto-Belisol), Jйrфme Cousin (Europcar), Albert Timmer (Argos-Shimano) and Staf Scheirlinckx (Accent.Jobs-Willems Verandas) set up the early break to lead with 4 minutes at one point. They were brought back on the first ascent of thee of the Col de l’Europe. Frank Schleck attacked to take a team mates; Fuglsang and Andreas Kloden along with Poels, Kloden dropped back and Poels took the stage with Michael Barry bringing the bunch over the line 24 seconds later.

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Stage 3 Result:
1. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM in 5:01:11
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Radioshack-Nissan
3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan
4. Michael Barry (Can) Sky at 0:24
5. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky
6. Vincent Jerome (Fra) Europcar
7. Ben Gastauer (Lux) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Argos-Shimano
9. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis
10. Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM.

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 3:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Radioshack-Nissan in 14:28:17
2. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:02
3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:05
4. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:20
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 0:24
6. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:25
7. Sйbastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony at 0:28
8. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:29
9. Bob Jungels (Lux) Luxembourg
10. Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:32.

Jakob Fuglsang has won the General Classification in the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg. Joining Fuglsang on the podium were Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) and teammate Frдnk Schleck. The team also earned top honours in the Teams classification, marking a successful week in Luxembourg for RadioShack-Nissan-Trek.
The larger part of the 154 km between Mersch and the old town of Luxembourg City was raced with heavy rain, forcing the organizers to finalize the GC standing after the first passage of the finish line with 47 km left on the menu. The seven remaining laps, each 6.8 km long, would only designate the stage winner.

RadioShack-Nissan-Trek came to Luxembourg focused on winning the overall on home soil, and the team accomplished their goal in dominating fashion. With a very solid line-up, including four former race winners, the team took responsibility from day one. Jakob Fuglsang: “The team dedicated themselves to winning, and I really have to thank them all. We had such a strong team here. Working together on all five stages made this possible and I’m so happy it worked out for us.”

After Jakob Fuglsang took the overall lead in yesterday’s Queen Stage to Differdange, the team defended the yellow with panache. Kim Andersen: “This win is important to us. First off, we wanted to show our jersey to our home fans and secondly, we wanted to gain confidence ahead of the next months of racing. So far this season has not been a success for us. This victory is a boost to us all and we hope we can continue on this rhythm in the next races.”

The fifth and final day of racing began in Mersch. The 154 kilometre course included the Cфte de Bereldange and the Cфte de Glabach, before heading back the country’s capital and its seven local laps. RadioShack-Nissan-Trek controlled the pace behind the four leaders (Roelandts (LTB), Stamsnijder (ARG), Casper (ALM) and Gaudin (EUC)), steadily reeling them back before the race passed the finish line for the first of seven times, where the GC was established.

Fuglsang: “I think the organization made the right decision by ending the GC battle at that point. There was a real risk of crashes and everyone was nervous to stay upright. Our team kept control of the chase behind Jurgen Roelandts, who was alone at the front.” Roelandts attacked his group before entering the circuits and held his advantage to the end of the race, taking the stage win ahead of Ben Swift and Davide Appollonio (Sky).

“Luxembourg is my second home so to win the national tour of Luxembourg is important to the team but also to me,” said Fuglsang. “Especially after the difficult spring I had with bad luck and injuries. It’s nice to make a comeback like this. It was the right decision for me to not start the Giro d’Italia and give my knee more time to heal. Now I have this victory and I am very, very happy. The team was riding very strong and I have to thank them.”

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Stage 4 Result:
1. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol in 2:39:58
2. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 0:25
3. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky
4. Kristof Goddaert (Bel) Ag2r-La Mondiale
5. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
7. Koen De Kort (Ned) Argos-Shimano
8. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
9. Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Radioshack-Nissan.

Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg Final Overall:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Radioshack-Nissan in 17:08:40
2. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:02
3. Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:05
4. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun at 0:20
5. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 0:24
6. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:25
7. Sйbastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony at 0:28
8. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan at 0:29
9. Bob Jungels (Lux) Luxembourg
10. Martin Elmiger (Swi) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:32.

Here is the link to the race report video.

Trofeo Melinda-Val di Non 2012
Carlos Alberto Betancur (Acqua & Sapone) carried his form from the Tour of Belgium, where he won a stage, on to the Trofeo Melinda were he got the better of Moreno Moser (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha). The race was animated by local rider; Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli) who went on a solo attempt that failed 10 kilometres out. Third placed rider Giampaolo Caruso nearly pulled it off with a late attack, but Betancur and Moser passed him on the cobbled run-in to the finish.

Trofeo Melinda-Val di Non Result:
1. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone in 5:02:35
2. Moreno Moser (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
3. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
4. Davide Rebellin (Ita) Meridiana Kamen at 0:03
5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:06
6. Francesco Failli (Ita) Farnese Vini-Selle Italia
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox at 0:08
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Colnago-CSF Inox
9. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha at 0:12
10. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-ISD at 0:20.

The race action:

Critйrium du Dauphinй 2012
The Dauphinй kicked off with a 5.7 kilometre prologue in Grenoble yesterday (Sunday) before seven more stages and finishing in Chвtel next Sunday with a 53 kilometre individual time trial on stage 4.

Critйrium du Dauphinй 2012
The Dauphinй kicked off with a 5.7 kilometre prologue in Grenoble yesterday (Sunday) before seven more stages and finishing in Chвtel next Sunday with a 53 kilometre individual time trial on stage 4.

Australian time trial champion Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEdge) beat the favourite Bradley Wiggins (Sky) by 1 second in the 5.7 kilometre Prologue to take the first yellow jersey as overall leader. The ex-track World champion was surprised to have won, but was very happy. He said at the finish that “I am glad I started early, the weather may be helped, I think the wind got up later in the race. My plan is not to ride for the GC, it’s for today and for stage 4 (time trial stage), if I can hold it tomorrow I’ll be pleased, but it isn’t my objective for this race.”

Of the GC hopefuls; Wiggins (Sky) 2nd at 1 second, Cadel Evans (BMC) 9th at 6 seconds, Richie Porte 13th at 8 seconds, Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) 19th at 10 seconds, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) 22nd at 10 seconds, Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) 27th at 11 seconds and Dennis Menchov (Katusha) 44th at 14 seconds. Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) put up his usual performance to finish in 102nd place at 29 seconds and Olympic road champion Samu Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was 117th at 30 seconds. Not to worry, there is a long way to the finish.

Critйrium du Dauphinй Prologue Result:
1. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 6:38
2. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:01
3. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 0:03
4. Carlos Barredo (Spa) Rabobank
5. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 0:05
6. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:06
9. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
10. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 0:07.

Critйrium du Dauphinй Overall After The Prologue:
1. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 6:38
2. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:01
3. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 0:03
4. Carlos Barredo (Spa) Rabobank
5. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 0:05
6. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:06
9. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
10. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 0:07.

The Dauphinй prologue:

BMC Team at the Dauphinй
Rested and ready, Cadel Evans said he looks forward to his return to France for the start of the Critйrium du Dauphinй. The BMC Racing Team rider has four past runner-up finishes at the race to his credit (2011, 2009, 2008 and 2007) while teammate Tejay van Garderen was third here in 2010.

Protect Evans and Van Garderen
The eight-day race begins Sunday with a 5.7-kilometer prologue, features a 53.5 km individual time trial on Stage 4, and several mountainous stages, including a mountain-top finish on the final day. “This will be my final test before the Tour de France and it’s not only a good chance to gauge my training but also another chance to race with some of the guys who will be helping me at the Tour de France,” Evans said. “Though I haven’t raced since the Tour de Romandie, I’ve been able to get a good bit of training in on much of the parcours that is similar to what I’ll face in both the Dauphine and the Tour.”

BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said the race plays to the strengths of both Evans – winner of Critйrium International in March – and van Garderen, a recent fourth-place finisher at the Amgen Tour of California. “We know we have two guys to protect and who can both perform well in the time trial,” Lelangue said. “After that, there are still three critical days of mountain stages with options to play offensive or defensively, depending on where we are after the time trial.”

Download the official race card (PDF with roster, bios, statistics): https://bit.ly/LSevzw.

BMC Racing Team Critйrium du Dauphinй Roster:
Cadel Evans (AUS),
Philippe Gilbert (BEL),
George Hincapie (USA),
Amaлl Moinard (FRA),
Steve Morabito (SUI),
Manuel Quinziato (ITA),
Michael Schдr (SUI),
Tejay van Garderen (USA).

Movistar Team at the Critйrium du Dauphinй
French event will be the opening test for the Grande Boucle, a demanding route with two ITT’s and three days of big mountains in eight stages

Press Release: The 64th Critйrium du Dauphinй, from this Sunday, will be one of the two World Tour alternatives -the Tour de Suisse will come one week later, also with Movistar Team at the depart- for those riders wanting to test their legs with less than one month from the start of the Tour de France. Two individual time trials -a short, 5k prologue in Grenoble and an endless 53k effort on Thursday- and three difficult, closing, high mountain stages make the French race’s programme, with a short summit finish on Tuesday between the two days suited for sprinters.

Movistar Team will bring a strong block on French turf led by Juanjo Cobo, who will continue with his preparations after training in high altitude in Sierra Nevada. Alongside the reigning champion of the Vuelta a Espaсa will be Nairo Quintana (COL), Vasil Kiryienka (BLR), Giovanni Visconti (ITA), David Arroyo, Rubйn Plaza, Imanol Erviti and Costa Rican Andrey Amador, who will try to profit from the great legs he showed in an utterly brilliant Giro d’Italia for him.

RadioShack-Nissan at the Critйrium du Dauphinй
Tony Gallopin,
Markel Irizar,
Tiago Machado,
Yaroslav Popovych,
Joost Posthuma,
Hayden Roulston,
Andy Schleck,
Haimar Zubeldia.

A bit of 2007 Dauphinй:

Turgot Cleared by French
Europcar rider; Sebastien Turgot will not face a ban due to his whereabouts violations. It was claimed that he had missed three out of competition tests in an 18 month period, but now seems that two were due to UCI negligence and the other was because of an internet problem. He retains his place in the Europcar team even though his manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau said at the time he was “an idiot.”

Cofidis to 2016
The money lending company Cofidis have extended their contract with the team to the end of 2016, giving an un-broken run of 20 years. The team wants to return to the top rung of the cycling World, but will need more sponsorship to move up from ProConti to WorldTour level. The contract is said to around Ђ9 million, which is a couple million below the amount spent by WorldTour teams. The Cofidis team does have the advantage of always receiving a “Wild Card” invitation to the Tour de France, which we all know is the best shop window for any sponsor.

Movistar Team gets Ready for the Tour de France
Most of the ten preselected Movistar Team riders for the Grande Boucle warm up in the Sierra Nevada mountains before this year’s French grand tour.

Press Release: With a successful Giro d’Italia done and dusted for Movistar Team with the stage wins by Fran Ventoso and Andrey Amador, the telephone squad is now getting ready for the second of three Grand Tours in their schedule. With one month to the depart of the 2012 Tour de France, the team’s general manager Eusebio Unzuй has chosen ten riders to make the shortlist before the definitive nine for the Grande Boucle: Alejandro Valverde, Juanjo Cobo, Josй Joaquнn Rojas, Rui Costa, David Arroyo, Rubйn Plaza, Imanol Erviti, Ivбn Gutiйrrez, Vladimir Karpets and Vasil Kiryienka, with Ignatas Konovalovas and David Lуpez as reserve riders.

To improve their condition before the Tour, most of the riders preselected, led by Valverde and Cobo, have trained for the last two weeks in the mountains of Sierra Nevada in Granada, before getting back into competition in the two races prior to the French event: the Tour de Suisse and the Critйrium du Dauphinй. Training sessions in the morning and afternoon, chats within the team members, table tennis matches and some time for TV and surfing the Internet but, above all, rest, make the training camp’s planning.

Accompanied by team soigneur Juan Carlos Escбmez and mechanic Alexander Gubanov, the Blue squad’s riders will leave the Andalucian sierra as their schedule demands, depending on their participation in the Dauphinй (starting on Sunday) or the Tour de Suisse kicking off on June 9th.

Longer Tour de Quйbec
The Canadian stage race will start on the 25th of July with sprints up the Rue St-Jean in Quйbec followed by road stages, first the Ile d’Orlйans on the 26th and then St-Joachim on the 27th. Two stages on the 28th; in the morning on the Promenade Champlain a time trial and a criterium in St-Augustin. The last stage on the 29th is a criterium at the Quйbec City parliament. There will also be a women’s two day.

Riis wants Contador
Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis is still very keen on signing a contract with Alberto Contador for the rest of this year and for the future. Contador’s ban finishes in August and he will be free to ride the Vuelta a Espaсa and see out the end of the season. Saxo Bank is not the only team looking for the Spaniards signature, recently Omega Pharma – Quick-Step manager; Patrick Lefevere stated he wanted him and there is a list of other teams. Contador has a personal contract with Specialized which could decide his destination.

Best bit of Contador action from the Giro d’Italia 2011:

Stybar Performs London Recon
Press Release: Zdenek Stybar was in London earlier this week for the presentation of “Cyclo-Cross,” a photo book by photographer Balint Hamvas. Stybar also performed reconnaissance of the 2012 Summer Olympic course.

“The parcours is difficult, so it is for strong guys,” Stybar said. “The climb is quite serious, so at the finish we’ll have a little group of strong riders. It won’t be so easy and it will be an interesting race.”

“I really would like to be there to defend the colours of my country,” Stybar said about his Olympic hopes.

Stybar at the World’s 2010:

Wiggle Dragon Ride 2012 – 10th June – The Final Countdown
Press Release: Wiggle and Human Race are extremely excited that the Wiggle Dragon Ride 2012 is nearly here – the event will take place in the spectacular Margam Park, near Port Talbot in South Wales on Sunday 10th June 2012. One of the the GB Sprint Squad, Team Sky rider Matthew Crampton, will be starting the ride. The event will be held in support of The Prostate Cancer Charity.

There are a couple of firsts for the Wiggle Dragon Ride this year; it is both the first time that the event will be based in Margam Park and the first year that it has held the status of being the UK’s only event in the UCI Golden Bike World Series. These changes mean that there has been a lot of anticipation in the build up to what will be the biggest Wiggle Dragon Ride ever.

This year Wiggle Dragon Ride visitors will be able to indulge the fact that there are more on-site facilities than ever before. With a stunning historic castle and some of Wales’ finest scenery, Margam is an impressive location and riders and accompanying friends and family will enjoy activities such as the “Go Ape” zip wire, adventure playground and mountain bike hire.

UCI Golden Bike status confirms the Wiggle Dragon Ride as the UK’s premier cyclosportive and identifies it alongside esteemed sportives such as Cape Argus Cycle Tour, La Pinarello and the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. With new routes and new climbs, it’s easy to see why.

There are three fabulous routes: the Gran Fondo, Medio Fondo and the Corto. Both Gran Fondo and Medio Fondo riders can expect a considerable increase in the amount of climbing but with only a slight increase in distance.

The Gran Fondo route will include Black Mountain and the return of the “hill with no name”, (Bryn Melyn or Devil’s elbow) and these ascents will be scaled in addition to the signature climbs of the Bwlch and Rhigos, plus Cimla and Cray. All of these will run in the opposite direction compared to recent years.

Medio Fondo entrants will take on Cimla, the Rhigos and the Bwlch as well as Coelbren and Glynneath Bank.

The Corto Route will essentially be a circuit of Margam Mountain at 37km and 430m of climbing.

Gran Fondo 206km/3350m (2011 -196km/2645m)
Medio Fondo 125km/1875m (2011 – 113km/1230m)
Corto 37km/430m (2011 – 47km/450m)

Martin Talbot, Director of Marketing at Wiggle is delighted with how many cyclists have the Wiggle Dragon Ride in their annual “must do” calendar:

“Riders take on the Dragon year after year for one key reason – the feeling of overwhelming euphoria upon crossing the finish line! It’s our third year of sponsoring this event and each year we never cease to be amazed by the sheer enthusiasm of every single rider. It’s fantastic to see cyclists motivating each other and enjoying their weekend. This ride is phenomenal; it really gives cyclists a chance to get out and fulfil their goals.”

All finishers receive the special UCI Gold Bike medal, to remind them of their feat for the rest of the year. Results are texted via SMS to individuals’ mobile phones, there’s on-site music, free massages and bumper goodie bags.

Nicholas Rusling of organisers Human Race is definitely looking forward to the 2012 event:

“The Wiggle Dragon Ride is a stand out event in the UK’s cycling calendar for 1,000s of keen cyclists and a great notch on anyone’s frame post to achieve. A remarkable handful are doing it now for the eighth time. We have put in a few alterations to this year’s event to maintain the world class, UCI Gold standard delivery, and are really excited about how they will go down with the riders.“

The Wiggle Dragon Ride 2012 is being held in support of The Prostate Cancer Charity. Anyone concerned about prostate cancer can call The Prostate Cancer Charity’s free and confidential Helpline on 0800 074 8383. The Helpline is staffed by specialist nurses and is open from 10am to 4pm on Monday to Friday and from 7 to 9pm on Wednesdays. Alternatively please visit: https://www.prostate-cancer.org.uk.

More information is available at: https://www.wiggledragonride.com.

The “3 mythical” Presented at the Stelvio
Press Release: The presentation of the “3Mitiche”, the technical and logistical support service to cyclists who want to climb the Stelvio, Gavia and Mortirolo, was welcomed by the media present in the Press Room on arrival of the stage of the Giro d’Italia won by Belgian Thomas De Gendt.

About a hundred accommodation (B & B, Hotel) partners joined the initiative, of which almost half has combined to offer a real package “3 mythic” (4 nights from Wednesday to Sunday with half board or B & B and adherence to the program of the 3 climbs: Thursday Stelvio, Gavia Friday, Saturday Mortirolo).

Meanwhile, the first sightings started on the climbs of the myth with professional Davide Vigano, the Lampre-ISD team, in a training phase in Bormio. The athlete, member of the sprint train for Alessandro Petacchi, has climbed the Stelvio several times, which is an ideal training workout, while the Mortirolo is considered too hard for this kind of training. At the end of June it is expected that Andrea Noe will arrive, the former professional and pink jersey wearer at the Giro has planned a week of training with a large group of cyclists.

Saturday, the Stelvio was ridden by Paralympic athlete Luke Panichi, who climbed the 21 kilometres of the Stelvio pass in his wheelchair.

The stage on Saturday, May 26 had viewing figures of over 5 million (source: Journal of Sport 31/05/2012) allocated between RAI 3, RAI Sport, GazzettaTV, Rai Streaming.
Check-out the PEZ crew 10th anniversary rides in the area.

Giro d’Italia 2012 stage 20, up the Stelvio:

Against All Odds – Crash Episode
Although the Giro is finished, but the NetApp team still have more stories to share. The Team performed well but there were also moments when they thought they won’t be able to make it. There are still three more episodes to come including of course the great finish in Milan.

Any comments drop me a line, email address: [email protected] or Twitter. And there is the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Fan Page.

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