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EuroTrash Monday!

The 2012 Tour de France is finished and Bradley Wiggins has shown us his mastery of the art of the time trial and along with the strongest team in the race he took the yellow jersey on stage 7 and defended it to Paris. Catch-up with the results from France and Wallonie, plus lots of other news and videos. EuroTrash coffee time for a big Monday read.

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Was it a Good 2012 Tour de France?
It probably wasn’t the most exciting Tour; for sure it had a couple of good bits. The sprints were very good, but then we had the fastest men on the planet contesting the fast finishes. Andrй Greipel was frightening and when Mark Cavendish got his freedom he showed why he is World champion. Peter Sagan was phenomenal, he can sprint and can climb the lower mountains, plus he’s not scared of going with a break and those stage win celebrations were a breath of fresh air. The time trials were dominated by Wiggins and were predictable, plus they were too long to hold most people’s interest. The mountains were not high or as steep as previous years or the Giro d’Italia or La Vuelta a Espaсa, if it hadn’t have been for Thomas Voeckler, Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali then they too wouldn’t have been too exciting. The stage wins by Alejandro Valverde, Voeckler, Froome, Luis Leon Sanchez, Thibaut Pinot and David Millar were good to watch, hard fought for and well deserved. One wonders if Chris Froome had not lost 1 minute 25 seconds on stage 1 and be allowed to ride his own race the first and second places might have been reversed, but “what if’s” don’t win races. Bradley Wiggins becoming the first British rider to win the Tour is good for cycling in Britain and fulfils the promise made by the Sky boss; David Brailsford to have a Tour winner within 5 years and for the GB cycling fans it couldn’t have been a better result.

The win was delivered in a clinical manner, reminiscent of the Team GB wins on the track, minimal gains etc and lots of money spent on scientific methods, and everything else. I guess these methods bring results, but at the cost of spontaneous race action.

The best thing about this year’s Tour has to be the new, young names that have come to the fore; Peter Sagan, Chris Froome, Thibaut Pinot and Tejay van Garderen all with great futures ahead of them.

Any excuse to show Peter again:

Tour de France 2012
Stage 17 was the last “High Noon” for this years Tour, it was a good stage for Alejandro Valverde and Movistar, not so good for Vincenzo Nibali and Liquigas and complicated for Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and the Sky team. Due to the battle for the King of the Mountains between Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Fredrik Kessiakoff (Astana) the break went away early, it composition changed, but in the end it was Valverde who took it to the line for the stage win. The action behind saw Liquigas-Cannondale go on the offencive, riding hard on the front, but in the end Nibali didn’t have the legs to make the most of his teams’ work. This left Froome and Wiggins catching Valverde, had Froome been on his own or been given the go ahead, then he could have won the stage. In the end he stayed with his team leader and was second.

Stage winner; Alejandro Valverde said to the Movistar web-site: “I have been waiting really much time for this victory. It’s a really desired win, into a much hard stage and a really important one, and we could take it. I was really happy, I couldn’t hide my emotions. I have spent two years working for this. I came in really good form to this year’s Tour, but had much bad luck with crashes and punctures at the start of the climbs, so we had to stay away from GC aspirations and focus on a stage win. It was a real suffering: the stage became hard from the start. We never had a big advantage and the pace was strong all the time. I was a bit scared about the finale: I was a bit out of energy and the rivals were coming strong behind. I crossed the finish exhausted, but really happy. I want to thank all the team. Rubйn, Rui did an amazing job at the break, but also the rest of the team and those who were supporting from home after their injuries. This victory is also dedicated to everyone supporting me, my family and my kids.”

After the finish Bradley Wiggins said on TV: “At that point, the first time in this whole Tour since I’ve led this race, I thought ‘maybe I’ve just won the Tour’. And that’s when it starts getting hard then because you lose concentration. It was an incredible feeling. It really was.” And later added; “Chris will have his day for sure – and I’ll be there to support him every inch of the way when he does at the Tour.”

Van Garderen was among a select group of eight riders chasing in the finale, but when Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) forced the pace with 8.5 kilometres still to race, van Garderen was one of three who could not follow. “I wouldn’t say it was a big disappointment (to get dropped),” van Garderen said. “I was actually pretty happy with how I was riding out there. The leaders are far and above better than anyone else and they’ve shown that throughout the entire Tour. I’m pleased with how I’m riding and I couldn’t ask for much more.”

Break away specialist; Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) had a newspaper stuck in his front wheel and badly injured his left hand trying to remove it. He received emergency treatment on Thursday evening in Toulouse and was given the green light to start on Friday. “After having been given a local anesthetic, I feel a lot better but when the effect loses its power, I’m pretty sure the pain will be back so I’m waiting for tomorrow to decide whether or not I’ll continue the race.” Said Sorensen. “However, there’s no doubt it takes a lot of pain to keep me out of the race now as I’m really eager to follow the peloton all the way to Paris.” Sorensen did start Friday’s stage 18.

Tour de France Stage 17 Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar in 4:12:11
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:19
3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 0:22
5. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 0:26
6. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 0:37
8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:54
9. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan at 1:02
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 1:11.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 17:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 78:28:02
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 2:05
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 2:41
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 5:53
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 8:30
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 9:57
7. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan at 10:11
8. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 10:17
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana at 11:00
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 11:46.

Stage action from NBC Sports.

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Stage 18 was Mark Cavendish’s 22nd Tour stage win, but it didn’t come easily. A big break with Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack-Nissan), Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar), Davis Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis), Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), Adam Hansen & Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol), Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoliel-DCM), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Jeremy Roy (FDJ-BigMat), Rui Costa (Movistar), Karsten Kroon & Nick Nuyens (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEdge) and Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano) went away on the first small climb of the day, but they were not allowed too much of a lead. The break started to fall apart when their lead came down to 1 minute. Then with some counter attacks a very dangerous group formed in the last 10 kilometres with a slight lead, they were; Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), Luca Paolini (Katusha) and Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) from the earlier break and; Nico Roche (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Luis Leon Sanchez (Rabobank) and Andreas Klцden (RadioShack-Nissan). The yellow jersey came to the front of the peloton and closed the gap to the leaders with Boasson Hagen leading Mark Cavendish out to shoot past the others to win by a couple of bike length, although the judges gave them all the same time.

Stage winner, Mark Cavendish (Sky) told TV after the finish, I don’t know how much I won by, but I had to go early. I haven’t done anything this Tour because I saved so much energy. I knew I’d be able to go long. I knew I’d get it. I felt really good today,” the Sky sprinter said on the line. “I said earlier on in the Tour, we looked at the files and the reason I wasn’t winning sprints was because I was training in the mountains. I wasn’t able to show anything in this Tour because we had the yellow jersey. Today we spoke with the boss at the start, and I said please give me a chance, and the guys were like, ‘Ok we’re going to make a sprint today.’ I’m so happy.”

The wearer of the best young rider’s jersey; Tejay van Garderen said his strategy for the time trial is simple. “I’ll empty the tank and see where I end up,” van Garderen said. “I had a good one last time. Maybe I can go even better.” Van Garderen has finished fourth in both of the race’s time trials.

After placing 35th in Friday’s stage, Evans reflected on a Tour that saw him move into second overall on Stage 7 but fall to fourth after Stage 11 and into seventh after Stage 16. He gained back one spot Thursday. “I had a couple of days that were really important days that pretty much put me out of contention for the podium,” Evans said. “I’ll see if I can just salvage something in my Tour tomorrow. We’ll find out when I get to the first time check. I’ll give everything, but everything of 80 percent or everything of 70 percent isn’t always enough for a Tour time trial.”

Philippe Gilbert received quite a scare with 106 kilometres to go when a dog ran in front of the peloton, causing the Belgian national time trial champion to crash, along with a number of other riders. Gilbert said the dog, which was not on a leash, may have panicked when he saw the peloton speed by. “He ran into the middle of the bunch and there was nothing we could do to avoid it,” Gilbert said. “I was pretty upset at the people because I think it’s very dangerous to leave such a big dog running into the bunch. It could have been really bad. In the end, I have bruises on my left shoulder and elbow but nothing broken, which is most important ahead of the Olympics. I was lucky.”

Philippe Gilbert rip’s the dog owner a new one!

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After a hard day, Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) was given the “Most Aggressive Rider” prize. Commenting in a TV interview after the stage, Vinokurov said: “We tried all day to animate the stage. I lacked a bit, but I did everything I could and I have no regrets. We took advantage of the break, and the fantastic support of the public! I found that I’ve been able to come back with good condition, even if I do not play it out for the general classification anymore. Now there are still two days to try, and then I hope I can do something good in London, although we have only two representatives of Kazakhstan at the Olympics.”

Tour de France Stage 18 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Sky in 4:54:12
2. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
4. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
7. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
8. Sйbastien Hinault (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 18:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 83:22:18
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 2:05
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 2:41
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 5:53
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 8:30
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 9:57
7. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan at 10:11
8. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 10:17
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana at 11:00
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 11:46.

Stage wrap-up from NBC Sports:

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The Stage 19 time trial was always going to be for Bradley Wiggins and he didn’t disappoint, he led from beginning to end and took more time from everyone. Chris Froome was also fast coming in second with Tejay Van Garderen up there too. Much like the rest of this Tour de France there was no surprise in the result. Wiggins was very powerful today and his Tour victory was planed to the last degree, playing to his main attribute against the clock.

Stage and Tour winner, Bradley Wiggins, had this to say; “I wouldn’t say it was a lap of honour, because it hurt, but I just wanted to finish the job off in style. There was a lot of emotion in the last 10k. Everything was going through my mind. All the years of getting to this point, my family, disappointments, crashing out the Tour last year, watching Cadel in this very position a year ago in Grenoble. I always imagined what that would feel like and now I know. I was thinking about my wife and children, my grandfather, my nan, my mother. That was just spurring me on with every pedal stroke. It sounds cheesy but your whole life to get to this point – it’s a defining moment in your life. From the minute I got into cycling as a kid it’s all summed up for today.”

Young rider; Tejay Van Garderen summed up his day: “I still think he (Evans) has another Tour win in him next year and I’d be happy to help him,” he said. Van Garderen said he was spurred on by thoughts of people affected by the shootings at a movie theatre Friday in Aurora, Colorado. “I want to dedicate this to all the people who lost their lives in Colorado with the shooting there,” he said. “That was devastating news. That was close to my home in Boulder and I just want to say my thoughts are with them and I’ll be thinking of them when I get to Paris tomorrow.”

Disposed Tour champ; Cadel Evans said of his race. “We went in with really high expectations, but as the race went on my chances lessened and lessened and I had to adjust to that,” Evans said. “By the time today came, I was just hoping to hold my place on GC (general classification). I started the day empty and a few other days empty so it was just about like riding more within my limits. If you’re empty, there’s not really a great deal you can do.”

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider Peter Velits had a good TT; “I went to the race not knowing how I would feel,” Velits said. “I didn’t expect so much because of bronchitis, you know. Before the rest day I already felt sick, but OK, we had it under control. But it started really bad on the Pyrenees, and then I went on antibiotics. In the climbs I did not feel so good. The TT was the last objective, I really wanted to do well in this race. I started really focused and when I saw I was going good, and I caught Levi, then I caught Vinokourov so I thought ‘OK, maybe it’s not so bad.’ So I went full gas until the end. The feeling was good. Not so bad for a sick guy.”

Tour de France Stage 19 Result:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 1:04:13
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:16
3. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank at 1:50
4. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:02
5. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky at 2:25
6. Patrick Gretsch (Ger) Argos-Shimano at 2:28
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 2:34
8. Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar at 2:46
9. Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis at 2:50
10. Jйrйmy Roy (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 3:05.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 19:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 84:26:31
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 3:21
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 6:19
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 10:15
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 11:04
6. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan at 15:43
7. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 15:51
8. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar at 16:31
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana at 16:38
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 17:17.

Stage 19 highlights from ASO/The Guardian:

And Team Sky celebrates, from NBC Sports:

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The final Stage 20 into Paris followed its usual format of a promenade until they hit the finishing circuit. First rider onto the circuit was seventeen times Tour de France rider; George Hincapie (BMC) with Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan) on his wheel, they crossed the finish line for the first lap. A break formed with Jens Voigt (RadioShack) and Danilo Hondo (Lampre-ISD), they were joined by Rui Costa (Movistar), Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Sebastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol), Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Jean Marc Marino (Saur-Sojasun), Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Bram Tankink (Rabobank) and Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha), they had a lead of 30 seconds until they stopped cooperating, leaving Voigt, Costa and Minard out front. Sky and Liquigas-Cannondale came to the front and the three were caught with around 3 kilometres to the last finish line. The yellow jersey of Bradley Wiggins came to the front with Edvald Boasson Hagen on his wheel, leading the World champion Mark Cavendish into the last bend. Wiggins peeled off and Boasson Hagen launched Cav towards another (his fourth in a row) Champs Elysees victory.

So, history in the making, last year the first Australian, this year the first British rider.

The winner of the 2012 Tour de France, Bradley Wiggins said after the finish in Paris: “I’ve had 24 hours for this to soak in and today we were just on a mission to finish the job off with Cav. So job done and what a way for him to finish it off. I’m still buzzing. I’ve got to get used to going into the history books now, but I’m just trying to take everything in today first. It’s very surreal at the moment because this type of things [usually] happens to other people. You never imagine it happening to yourself. It’s hard to take in as it happens. Every lap of the Champs-Elysees was goose-pimple stuff. We had a job to do with Mark today and we were all motivated to do that so it made it go a lot quicker. The concentration was high and for Mark to finish it off like that, well, it couldn’t get any better.”

And Sky’s final stage winner Mark Cavendish: “It’s incredible what we’ve achieved today – what a team. We got a one and two on GC but still we were riding to control things on the Champs-Elysees. It was an honour to have the yellow jersey leading me out. Bradley told me he’d go full gas to the last kilometre and then Edvald (Boasson Hagen) led me into the last corner. The finish couldn’t have been more perfect – no better end to this Tour. It’s an incredible achievement for the team. Four years ago we said we were setting out to win the Tour, but we haven’t just done that, we’ve got second place as well and a handful of stages. Seven stages have been won by British guys this year so that’s one in three – not a bad stat.”

Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) was voted the “Most Aggressive Rider” of the Tour, “I’m really honoured to receive this prize and I’m proud of my efforts during this Tour where I’ve been aiming and have reached for that stage win on several occasions and as I didn’t succeed there, I’m very happy about getting this recognition.

RadioShack-Nissan didn’t have a great Tour for one reason or another, but they did win the team prise. “Winning the Team Classification (the total of times for the first three riders on each stage) is always special, especially with only six riders left in the race,” said veteran rider Chris Horner. “It shows that our team has been strong for 20 stages long. We have been through some difficult moments, but we have managed to defend our lead. It’s a very nice way to pay back our three title sponsors for the trust they have given us.”

Team Director Alain Gallopin: “I’m a proud man today and I would like to express my gratitude to all riders and staff. Everyone has ridden a great Tour. Our goals were to take the prologue with Fabian (Cancellara) and defend the yellow jersey for as long as possible. Our line-up had a strong, broad base, so the Team Classification was another goal for us. Trying to win it means you not only need to be strong in the mountain stages, but also be present in the breakaways. People often underestimate this and guys like Jens and Popo have contributed a lot to this. If not for the bad news of Frдnk (Schleck), there would only be good news.”

Best young rider Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) had this to say: “I think it’s another few years before I can think about switching this colour (to yellow),” van Garderen said. “Luckily I’m still eligible for this colour next year so maybe I’ll try to win this again before I think of the big prize. Being able to learn from veterans like George and Cadel and that I can actually hold up to a three-week race has been wild.”

On the last lap of the city circuit, at 5 km to go, Danilo Hondo slid on the cobblestones and crashed, his head hit the bike of Cherel (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and then it hit the ground. Despite a wound on the head, the German cyclist from Lampre-ISD got back in the saddle in order to cross the finish line, he then he immediately received the medical aid: he was given stitches on the head in order to close a deep cut. Then Hondo, with Lampre-ISD’s doctor Betlemacchi and the sport director Fabrizio Bontempi, went to a hospital in Paris in order to undergo x-ray checks to evaluate possible fracture to the face. Hondo had been previously protagonist when the race entered in the first lap on Champs-Йlysйes circuit, when he tried to escape from the bunch with Voigt.

Peter Velits of Omega Pharma – Quick-Step summed up his Tour de France: “I expected more from myself, to be honest, in the GC,” Velits said. “Even if in the TT I was good. But I really had problems in the climbs and I was just not good, especially with the steep ones. I really need to think with the team staff about what went wrong on the climbs and find out the right adjustments. I know that I can do better than this.”

George Hincapie (BMC) is riding the last of his seventeen Tours de France, even though he crashed the other day, he has said will still enjoy his final ride into Paris. “I could have never imagined doing 17 Tour de Frances,” he said. “It’s something I’m proud of. I’ve spent so much time in the sport. I’ve given everything to the sport. I’ve always wanted to promote the sport and done what I thought is best for the sport.” The three-time U.S. national road champion said he did take a moment to look around on his way to a 34th place finish in the time trial, 4:57 back. “I just tried to soak it all in,” he said. “I tried to appreciate all the fans on the side of the road. A lot of emotions were going through me during that time trial.”

Tour de France Stage 20 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Sky in 3:08:07
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
3. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Juan Josй Haedo (Arg) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank
5. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Belisol
7. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
8. Andrй Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
10. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur-Sojasun.

Tour de France Final Overall:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 87:34:47
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 3:21
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 6:19
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 10:15
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 11:04
6. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan at 15:41
7. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 15:49
8. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 16:26
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana at 16:33
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 17:17
11. Andreas Klцden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan at 17:54
12. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 19:33
13. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan at 19:55
14. Chris Anker Sцrensen (Den) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank at 25:27
15. Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha at 27:22
16. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at 28:30
17. Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 31:46
18. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 37:03
19. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha at 38:16
20. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 42:26.

Point’s Competition: Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

KOM Competition: Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

Best Young Rider: Tejay van Garderen (BMC).

Team Classification: RadioShack-Nissan.

Sky’s perfect finish from NBC Sports:

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And here is another great video from Vanessa at Viral Verse. Mark Cavendish is “Roadrunner”:

Tour de Wallonie
Stage 1 of the Belgian stage race came down to a bunch sprint after a three rider break away had been reeled in within 10 kilometres of the finish in Lessines at the end of the 160 kilometre stage. The unlucky three were; Kevin Van Melsen (Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s), Davy Commeyne (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) and Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r-La Mondiale). The young French National champion Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) won the stage and took the overall.

“Tom Boonen and Niki Terpstra, both injured in the Tour of Pologne, were active today in the first positions of the peloton to chase down the daily breakaway,” Sport Director Tom Steels said. “At the end of the race Boonen had a little bit of pain in his chest, but he decided to join the rest of the team for an extra 35 kilometres by bike to the hotel. Tomorrow it will be another important test, prior to the Olympics for both Boonen and Terpstra. It’s an important stage. It’s more up and down, and the climbs are a little steeper and longer.”

“I am satisfied with my test today,” said Boonen after the ride. “The broken rib is obviously not fully recovered, but the pain was acceptable.”

Tour de Wallonie Stage 1 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat in 3:45:24
2. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
4. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
6. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
7. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s
9. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
10. Adam Blythe (GB) BMC.

Tour de Wallonie Overall After Stage 1:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat in 3:45:14
2. Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s at 0:03
3. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:04
4. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale at 0:05
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:06
6. Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony at 0:07
7. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator at 0:08
8. Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC at 0:09
9. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:10
10. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis.

Stage 2 of 205.5 kilometres from Binche to Mettet was another bunch sprint, this time won by Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) from Davide Appollonio (Sky) and Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM), Napolitano also took over the overall. Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha) and Luke Rowe (Sky) attacked early in the stage to be caught 25 kilometres from the finish.

Tour de Wallonie Stage 2 Result:
1. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone in 5:21:32
2. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky
3. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol
5. Kevin Ista (Bel) Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s
6. Kristof Goddaert (Bel) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan
8. Julien Stassen (Bel) Idemasport-Biowanze
9. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
10. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator.

Tour de Wallonie Overall After Stage 2:
1. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone in 9:06:46
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
3. Luke Rowe (GB) Sky at 0:02
4. Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Accent Jobs-Willems Veranda’s at 0:03
5. Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha
6. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:04
7. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky
8. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:05
9. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:06
10. Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro.

The Tour de Wallonie in Belgium is a UCI 2.HC and runs from July 21st to 25th.
The Stages are:
Stage 1 Tournai – Lessines 159.7 km
Stage 2 Binche – Mettet 205.5 km
Stage 3 Marche en Famenne – Beaufays 185.9 km
Stage 4 Huy – Oreye 207.0 km
Stage 5 Welkenraedt – Perwez 179.2 km.

BMC Racing Team Seeking Stage Wins At Wallonie
Press Release: With Olympic team obligations preventing Greg Van Avermaet from defending his title all the way to the end at the Tour de Wallonie, the BMC Racing Team will hunt for stage wins when the race begins Saturday.

Van Avermaet Enjoying Good Form
BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Rik Verbrugghe said Van Avermaet will leave the race after Monday’s stage to travel to London. But even with a change in the courses, the BMC Racing Team roster is still well-suited for it, Verbrugghe said. “It’s a different race from past years,” he said. “It’s hard, but not that much. Just Stage 3 is the more difficult one. The others could see sprints or breakaways. So we’ll go more for stage wins than the general classification.”

Van Avermaet said he’s enjoying good form coming from the Tour de Pologne, where he was 18th overall and fourth on one stage. His past successes at Wallonie include his overall win here last year, a second place overall in 2008 and three stage wins in six appearances since 2006. “This is a race I really like – it has a nice parcours, good organization and I always like to ride it every year,” he said. “Plus, it’s good preparation for the Olympics and I’m now on a good level to do the race in London.”

Download the official BMC Racing Team race card (PDF with roster, bios, statistics, etc.): https://bit.ly/Q7bGyX.

BMC Racing Team Tour de Wallonie Roster:
Adam Blythe (GBR),
Yannick Eijssen (BEL),
Klaas Lodewyck (BEL),
Steve Morabito (SUI),
Tim Roe (AUS),
Johann Tschopp (SUI),
Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).
Sport Director: Rik Verbrugghe (BEL).

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) at the Tour de Wallonie:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step for Tour de Wallonie
Tom Boonen (BEL).
Francesco Chicchi (ITA),
Nikolas Maes (BEL),
Gert Steegmans (BEL),
Zdenek Stybar (CZE),
Niki Terpstra (NED),
Julien Vermote (BEL),
Sports Directors: Tom Steels (BEL) & Rik van Slycke (BEL).

RADIOSHACK NISSAN TREK line-up for the Tour de Wallonie
Daniele Bennati,
Matthew Busche,
Laurent Didier,
Jakob Fuglsang,
Ben Hermans,
Giacomo Nizzolo,
Nelson Oliveira.
Director: Lars Michaelsen.

Other News:

Tom Boonen Returns to Training
Press Release: Today Tom Boonen trained for about 100km without any particular problems. “The three days of rest did me a world of good,” said Boonen. “During the workout I didn’t feel any particular pain to my rib, just a slight discomfort. Now I’ll participate in the first three stages of the Tour de Wallonie as planned. Right now I’m more optimistic regarding the Olympics, but it will be important to see how I react in a racing situation, in which my body will undergo a different type of stress and more intense effort than in training.”

Sylvain Chavanel Back to Training
Press Release: Sylvain Chavanel returned to training today after four days off the bike, because of the bronchitis that forced him to pull out from the Tour de France.

“Today I trained for three hours without forcing my effort,” Chavanel said. “The feeling was good and now I’m more optimistic for the upcoming races. I will be ready for the Olympics on the road, and even for the TT. The TT is an objective. I really would like to do well in that race.”

No Devolder for Vacansoleil-DCM in 2013
The double Tour of Flanders winner, Stijn Devolder will not be riding for his present team; Vacansoleil-DCM as his results have not been good enough or if you listen the team manager; Hilaire Van der Schueren who is not sure of Devolder’s existence. Van der Shueren explained, “based on the results we cannot possibly be satisfied.”

Stiln Devolder in Flanders by cyclingtv:

Flecha for Vacansoleil-DCM?
The Dutch WorldTour team is amongst the interested parties to capture the Spanish Classics work horse Juan Antonio Flecha for next year. His present Sky team along with Movistar and Liquigas-Cannondale would also like him to be with them in Flanders and Roubaix.

Team Sky is exploring “The Hell of the North” with Juan Antonio Flecha by ProductiehuisEU:

Frдnk Schleck Positive
Frдnk Schleck’s B sample has confirmed that Xipamide was found in the A sample during the Tour de France. The process now requires that the Luxembourg cycling federation opens disciplinary proceedings in to the case. Schleck witnessed the B sample test at the AFLD laboratory in Chвtenay-Malabry and stated; “I will continue my search to find out how the substance could have entered my body.” He added that he and his team are “analyzing minute by minute what exactly I have been doing, eating, drinking on the days before the control and on the 14th of July itself, whom I met, what materials I came in contact with, what nutritional supplements I took.” Frдnk confirms “I didn’t take anything, I assume it must have been given to me by someone, or it could have happened through an accidental contamination, or it could be caused by something that is not yet known to me since we are still undertaking a number of analyses.”

La Vuelta comeback to be broadcast on TV2
With this new agreement the Vuelta a Espaсa in this edition will be in over 150 countries including live broadcasts, delayed and highlights.

Press Release: The sports summer on TV2 began Saturday 5th May with the prologue of the Giro d’Italia and now TV2 decided to extend the amazing sporting summer, so it will not end until Sunday 9th September and not – as originally planned – after the Olympics in London.

TV2 has recently acquired the rights to the Vuelta a Espaсa, which begins on Saturday 18th August in Pamplona and ends on Sunday 9th September in Madrid. The Vuelta a Espaсa is one of the world’s greatest bicycle races, and this year it will be even bigger than usual.
Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s Alberto Contador will namely make his comeback in a big race after his doping suspension, and he will be fighting for the Vuelta victory with last year’s winner, Juan Josй Cobo, amongst others.

When it comes to Danish riders, it is likely that Nicki Sшrensen and Matti Breschel will be riding in La Vuelta a Espaсa. There is also a chance that Chris Anker Sшrensen and Michael Mшrkшv are participating following their excellent ride in the Tour de France.

Thus, in the sports summer of 2012 TV2 will show the world’s three biggest races – starting in May with the Giro d’Italia, which started with three laps in Denmark, the Tour de France and culminating with the Vuelta a Espaсa.

Being able to send all three major lap races on TV2 is for me a dream come true. TV2 has recently had great success with cycling races, of course the Tour de France as the jewel, but the interest for the Giro d’Italia was surprisingly big. Therefore we will now – to the delight of all Danish cycling fans – transmit the Vuelta a Espaсa, which this year looks extraordinarily exciting with particularly Contador’s comeback, says TV2’s Head of Sports, Frederik Lauesen.

The director of Vuelta a Espaсa, Javier Guillйn, has also expressed his satisfaction with the agreement: “We are pleased that this agreement with TV2 allow la Vuelta can be seen in Denmark until 2015. Will be four years in which the race will continue to expand to different countries around the world. We intend to continue to grow each year and that is why we are sure will be a total success”.

TV2 has bought the rights to the Vuelta for the years 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Samuel Sanchez: “This year my gold medal will be the darling of the people”
The leader of the Euskaltel Euskadi cycling team Samuel Sanchez will not take part in the Olympic Games in London. The defending road champion has completed two quality training rides to test both his fitness and his injuries after the fall in the seventh stage of Tour de France, which resulted in a fracture of the third metacarpal on the right hand and scapular spine fracture on the left. The formation leader retained his remarkable fitness, but the damaged areas do not respond to the intensity of effort that is requires for high level competition. Samuel has difficulty on the rough parts of the road and cannot brake with his right hand, so his participation in the Olympic Games would jeopardize both; his physical integrity and that of his squad mates. There is still a full season ahead, and although the decision was the most painful, Samuel Sanchez is optimistic about his further recovery to achieve his best in the best races such as the World championships or the Tour of Lombardy.

Samuel Sanchez stated that “sport is the most painful decision in a while. I am the Olympic champions and I wish to defend the medal that changed my life. After that victory, I have a street with my name, a life size statue reflects the time when I bit the medal … It was a very significant victory that lasts for four years; I wore a jersey that was identified as Olympic gold. The Olympics are here and I cannot defend the title on the road. The important thing is to be strong and keep walking.”

“I’m a little sad, but I have to accept that there is no other decision. I was forced to stop to recover but as you say, the first thing is health. Competing in this state, where I have braking difficulties would be a danger to me and the peloton. I must be responsible not endanger anyone and continue working on my recovery. There is still a lot of the season ahead and I have very ambitious targets. I need to keep adding points from the WorldTour, I look forward with optimism. There are still many challenges ahead and the first thing is to recover fully to address them in good condition and motivation,” explained the leader of Euskaltel Euskadi.

In addition, Samuel did not want to miss the opportunity to “thank all the professionals who have helped in this process of recovery. IMQ services, the team support with Miguel Madariaga at the head, the Olympic Committee and the Federation who waited to see if I could make it. I am very grateful to all and hopefully give them joy in the very near future. And of course, all the fans. I have received many messages of support that helped me see the situation differently. I am very grateful and such displays of affection will be my gold medal in 2012.”

Samuel wins at the 2008 Beijing Olympics:

Closed Road Etape Cymru Passes 1,000 Entrants
Press Release: Whilst there may still be another two months before cyclists take on the Etape Cymru and the infamous Horseshoe Pass, it hasn’t stopped over 1,000 entrants already signing up to challenge themselves on the UK’s toughest closed-road sportive.

Human Race, organisers of the Etape Cymru are eager to follow on from the success of the 2012 Wiggle Dragon Ride, where 94.3% of the 4,500 riders taking part rated the event as good or excellent. The Etape Cymru takes place on Sunday 9th September 2012 on fully closed roads and will share the same exn perienced Human Race team, who hold the desire and drive to make the 2012 event a storming success.

Starting and finishing at the Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse, Wrexham, the 92-mile route passes through the villages of Llangollen, Carrog, and Minera, and takes in climbs of many of the tough hills in the Clwydian range, including Panorama and The Shelf. The exposed climb up World’s End will provide cyclists with fantastic views of the Welsh scenery whilst they tackle the stretch home. Much of the Etape Cymru is held in the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty..

The famous Horseshoe Pass will make a return to the route, with riders once again having the chance to measure their climbing ability against the best in the sport by taking part in the Horseshoe Challenge.

Chris Boardman MBE, who has used the Horseshoe Pass climb in training throughout his career, said: “The Horseshoe Pass and the surrounding area are just stunning places to ride a bike. Being fairly local, I’ve used the Horseshoe Pass throughout my career and it’s a real test of form. It’s a tough climb that just keeps on going, but the views from the top are worth it.”

He continued: “Riders of the closed-road Etape Cymru on 9th September 2012 are bound to have a great day out on the bike and will enjoy the fantastic North Wales hospitality and scenery. Good luck!”

Human Race, the UK’s largest and most diverse mass participation events company took over the event for 2012. Since taking over they have gathered the comments from the 2011 riders and invested in key areas such as the start process, feed stations and the integrity of the closed roads. Human Race believes the riders will receive an excellent experience that reflects the companies approach to world-class mass-participation events.

Nick Rusling, CEO of Human Race is confident that the Etape Cymru will surpass the expectations of many: “We are sure that the UK’s toughest closed road sportive will challenge even the hardest cyclists. We have had excellent feedback from our last sportive, the Wiggle Dragon Ride, which was hailed as a great success and we hope to go from strength to strength.”

Human Race merged with Participate Sport earlier this year and they continue to operate under the highly esteemed brand name, Human Race. Their joint portfolio includes some of the most prestigious mass participation events in the UK including the Toshiba Windsor Triathlon, Festival of Sport, Cycletta, Wiggle Dragon Ride, the Speedo Open Water swimming series, the off-road series, and a partnership with the British 10k Run powered by Nike+.

The official national charity partner for Etape Cymru 2012 is Macmillan Cancer Support. The partnership will see Macmillan join forces with Human Race for the event and funds raised from participants will be used to help Macmillan support not only people affected by cancer, but everyone their cancer has an impact on, from partners, to children, to friends and carers.

The local charity partner is Nightingale House. The charity provides specialist palliative care services, completely free-of-charge, to patients and their families across a wide area stretching from Wrexham, Flintshire and East Denbighshire to Barmouth and the border towns including Oswestry and Whitchurch.

For more information on how to sign up and view the course route please visit: https://www.etape-cymru.co.uk. The event will cost Ј55.

TT1-Sanofi and Martijn in Poland
Here is a great bit of “behind the scenes” video from Team Type 1-Sanofi featuring PEZ friend Martijn Verschoor. Martijn has to contend with race breaks, crashes and controlling his type 1 diabetes.

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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