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EuroTrash Monday!

Another overfull EuroTrash Monday with all the cycling news from: Strade Bianche, Roma Maxima, Paris-Nice, Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, GP Camaiore and the final of the Tour de Langkawi. Our hopes are with the GP Indurain and we have team news from Tirreno-Adriatico and some rider news. Lots of video to get you through the day, along with that coffee of course.

TOP STORY: GP Miguel Indurain Cancelled?
It’s sad to hear of the demise of any race, but when it is one that has been around for quite a while, that honours the name of the best Spanish Tour and Giro rider and, most importantly, its one less race on a dwindling list of professional events on the Spanish calendar. Let’s hope it can be saved, even if it is at the last minute.

The Grand Prix Miguel Indurain has been suspended, but there is an option that it might be held. The Club Ciclista Estella has been given until Monday to see if the Government of Navarra will support the race, then the race can be saved.

The CC Estella put the reality on the table: The GP Miguel Indurain is suspended. Nothing is closed but cautious optimism breathes, always with caution, because some private sponsors have shown interest. The budget is €60,000, of which the Town Hall of Estella gives €25,000 which goes up to €30,000 with other contributions. The council has shown their willingness to provide another €10,000 because they want to save an iconic event in the Navarre area. The problem is the delay in bureaucracy and the organization has to suffer and overcome each year, first, to get the help, and second to receive the assigned contribution. In fact, it has not yet arrived from last year and the teams have not paid. Again, the Government of Navarra has reacted later and later, though of course a last minute reprieve would be welcome for the GP Miguel Indurain and again it will shine in the Spanish calendar and Estella can give a decent show at the finish on the Basilique du Puy.

The Navarre Classic has run continuously since 1951, except in 1984 and 1986 and since 1999 has been called the GP Miguel Indurain. Past winners: Simon Spilak (2013), Dani Moreno (2012), Samuel Sanchez (2011), Joaquim Rodriguez (2010), David de la Fuente (2009), Fabian Wegmann (2006 and 2008) and Rinaldo Nocentini (2007).

GP Miguel Indurain 2013 highlights:

Strade Bianche 2014
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Michal Kwiatkowski waited for the perfect moment at the Italian Classic, 197km Strade Bianche, on Saturday. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) launched an impressive attack with less than 23km to go, but with five OPQS riders well positioned in a lead group and Kwiatkowski feeling strong, he bridged to the attacking Slovak rider. Matteo Trentin attacked earlier, keeping his teammates Rigoberto Uran, Wout Poels, Kwiatkowski, and Michal Golas fresh approaching the final kilometres. This strong team representation in the lead group set up Kwiatkowski perfectly.

Sagan and Kwiatkowski rode away from the field, despite a strong chasing group forming behind them including Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). Approaching the final few hundred meters, Kwiatkowski sat on Sagan’s wheel as the road grew steep. Then, countering an acceleration of Sagan, the Polish Champion launched. He dropped Sagan immediately on the final climb and powered on to win solo.

After the race, Michal Kwiatkowski spoke to the press:
The team’s winning mentality: “We are always motivated to winning races. We don’t have races for training. We all came here with one goal: to win. I’m very grateful to my team-mates today. Mark and Mark Renshaw really helped. Before 6th sector I punctured but I got a wheel from Petacchi and Mark led me back to the group. Then we did it perfectly, first we started to pull, then we decided to play a little bit and Matteo went to the front and we didn’t have to work anymore. They did a good job and without them I couldn’t have won today.”

Working with Sagan: “I think we worked together pretty well and I don’t think either of us was pulling more. The race is all about the finish. If you’re trying to escape from other riders with 20km to go, you have to work together. I wasn’t going to start playing games with 10km to go. I’m grateful to Peter. We talked to each to her. We raced a race like today in the past, in juniors, in the same way. We always escaped from the others together and it’s a fantastic feeling to be on the same level with him today.”

Approaching the finish: “I thought he had much more experience of finishes than me, and I was even watching what chain ring he was going to use on the last climb. I knew the race finish from yesterday’s recon, but I didn’t think I’d do so well. I was waiting for his move, but I saw he was suffering, so I tried to do something because, if I waited for the sprint, I knew it’d be difficult to beat Sagan.”

Future plans: “I’m in good form at the beginning of this season because I trained well in the winter and I want to make progress with respect to last year. The first step will be T-A. I want to do well in T-A, I was 4th last year. I’m still 23, so I have to stay focused on training and everything. I’d love to reach the top of the sport but you have to work a lot to do it. ”

Third; Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I already stated last year that this was a race I liked, and I confirmed that feeling today, it’s wonderful, but still really hard, almost five hours and a half on the bike, even harder this year due to the wind. It’s awful that I couldn’t have my best day with punctures into the gravel sections, they all happened in the worst moments, especially the last one, when the group was strung out and the speed was high. The team was sensational again, chapeau to them. I always had team-mates to help me out and get back into the contest. Lastras was the one to support me in the first two, giving me his wheels; then Ventoso in the last one. Despite that all, I felt really strong in the finale. When Sagan attacked, I was into a small group ahead and we started climbing slower than the others, who rushed past from behind. That moment of hesitation is crucial so many times to not let them go. I followed Cancellara’s wheel and wasn’t really thinking they would open such a big gap; even though we tried to reach, it wasn’t possible anymore. I’m happy with the legs I had today, content with this performances. Tomorrow’s race, Roma Maxima, is completely different. I know the route, too, since I rode last year’s race. We’ll see how it unfolds, because there’s a long way from the last climb to the finish, and that opens up the competition a lot.”

Fourth placed Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Merida): “Today my feelings were good, I’m happy because this happens frequently in this first part of the season,” Cunego said. “I tried to race carefully because this course doesn’t admit mistakes: also thanks to the help by my team mates, I avoid troubles and I faced the hot moments full of energies. Sagan’s attack was so strong that no one but Kwiatkowski could reply; Valverde, Kreuziger, Cancellara and me reacted five kilometres after, but there were no chances to go back to the head of the race. It’s a pity I could not be on the podium, but I’m satisfied because I was fighting against the best riders for this kind of race.”

Strade Bianche Result:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 5:20:33
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 0:19
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:36
4. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:40
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek at 0:59
7. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1:42
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 2:01
9. Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:10
10. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 2:50.

The final kilometres:

Roma Maxima 2014
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) claimed one of his most beautiful victories as professional cyclist in the 2nd edition of Roma Maxima. The Spaniard crowned in the Via dei Fori Imperiali, next to the Colosseo. After a splendid offensive from the telephone squad, who controlled the bunch all day to protect the chances of their leader on Italian soil.

With the day’s break, with just under one minute’s lead on the last climb of the day; the Campi di Annibale 40km from the finish, Valverde responded to the work by his team mates with first a move which strung out the field. Then another attack from his team mate Nairo Quintana softened the peloton for Alejandro to attack again and open a gap on the hardest part of the ascent, together with Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale), the two riders built up a good lead. Behind, Quintana rolled at the back of a twelve-man pursuit group, which with a lack of cooperation gave Pozzovivo and Valverde a chance to fight for the win. In the end Valverde and Pozzovivo were at full gas on the finishing straight with the bunch on their tails. The Spaniard still had enough energy for one last kick that that kept him ahead of the pack on the line for his sixth success of the 2014 season. Pzzovivo was swallowed up by the pack.

After the race, Alejandro Valverde spoke to the press:
The decisive attack: “It was the right moment to attack. I had no choice. Afterwards would have been too late. It was always going to be very hard to make it to the end, but Pozzovivo and I worked well together, and we managed to reach the finish. If they had caught me, I’d have tried my hand in the sprint, but to try to finish alone, I had to go there.”

A winning attitude: “You win some, you lose some, of course, but I always ride to win, and today it went well for me.”

The Eternal City: “I love Rome and its people, I’ve been here as a tourist several times, and I’ll be staying here tonight with my family. Tomorrow we’ll spend the day getting to know the city again.”

Roma Maxima Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar in 4:45:45
2. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:01
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
7. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
9. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano
10. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Yellow Fluo.

Roma Maxima final:

Paris-Nice 2014
By the look of the course of this year’s edition of “The Race To The Sun”, Paris-Nice, it’s a version for the sprinters since no stages hold an uphill finish or a time trial. The 162.5 kilometre long Stage 1 of the French stage race in and around the town of Mantes La Jolie was however dominated by a solo attack by Christoph Laborie (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) who leaped away from the bunch from the gun and quickly built up a lead of more than 7 minutes. But 50 kilometres from the finish line, it was all over for Laborie.

From then on, the finale was rather chaotic with numerous crashes and constant splitting and dissolving groups of riders both at the front and at the back of the peloton. However, a big chunk of the field entered the final kilometre of the stage and on the finish line; Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) conquered the stage with the win and the overall lead of the race.

Tinkoff-Saxo had Marko Kump, Karsten Kroon, Nikolay Trusov, Nicki Sørensen and Rafal Majka in the first group across the finish line: “Well, it wasn’t quite the finish we had hoped for and with 25 kilometres to go, there was a huge crash in the peloton and Chris (Sørensen) and Matti (Breschel) were left behind on the chase. Matti isn’t quite back in his normal shape after his crash but I’m sure he’ll be back on form in a matter of days here. Tomorrow, there’s a new opportunity for us and we’ll grab every chance we have to flash the jersey,” commented, DS, Fabrizio Guidi after the stage.

Gianni Meersman finished 3rd in the bunch sprint finale, however, because Meersman successfully went for intermediate sprints, the time he gained moved him up to 2nd in the general classification after the first stage. He is only 1 second back from the race lead. “There was a roundabout at about two kilometres to go, and I took the left side together with a few of my teammates,” Meersman said. “Tom Boonen and about half of the peloton took the right side. They lost their places near the front, and I really didn’t know who was behind me. At a certain moment Maes was screaming that I had to do the sprint. But we were already into the last kilometre. Stybar pulled for me and then I jumped, but I jumped at 250 meters to go. I did the maximum at that distance, but two riders were able to pass me in the final meters. If I consider everything I am happy about this result. We had decided to do this stage for Tom, but he also had the problem at the roundabout. At the same time, I sprinted twice for the bonifications along the parcours. It was planned with Sport Director Wilfried Peeters. It was decided this morning that if I had the opportunity to do it I had to try. So, I did and it went well. My legs in the final were already burning from the earlier efforts, so if I consider all of these circumstances I am satisfied. Tomorrow is another day and we will see what we can do.”

Intestinal problems forced Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team to withdraw from Paris-Nice about 80 kilometres into Sunday’s opening stage. Van Garderen said he may have picked up a stomach bug on his flight from Nice to Paris on Friday. “At night, I had all these stomach cramps, and bad diarrhoea all day yesterday and then a little bit of a fever and no appetite,” he said. “It felt like my sickness was getting better and today, I woke up and I felt OK. But I was really just empty. I couldn’t take in calories and just had nothing in the muscles.” BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said despite the illness, van Garderen was motivated to compete in the race he finished fourth in last year. “But you can’t race without fuel,” Dr. Testa said. “I think the combination of dehydration and low glycogen in his muscles forced him to stop. Hopefully, he will recover in a couple days.” BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said van Garderen’s racing program may be adjusted to compensate for the lost days of competition. The next race on van Garderen’s program is Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in Spain, March 24-30.

Paris-Nice Stage 1 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr in 3:53:11
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
5. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
6. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
7. Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek
9. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale
10. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 1:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr in 3:53:01
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:01
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 0:04
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:08
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:09
6. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar at 0:10
8. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
9. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
10. Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Paris-Nice Stage 1:

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen 2014
Gert Joeaar (Cofidis) won the 7 kilometre Prologue on Friday in a time of 7:53 beating Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr) and last year’s winner Kristof Vandewalle (Trek) when he was with Omega Pharma – Quick-Step. The Estonian, Joeaar, is in good form as he was in the break in last week’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne and finished 22nd. Earlier in the race it looked like double Tour of Flanders winner, Stijn Devolder (Trek) was going the be the day’s victor, but was too slow by 11.55 seconds.

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Prologue Result:
1. Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis in 7:53.36
2. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:05.61
3. Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek at 0:07.98
4. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek at 0:11.55
5. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC at 0:14.18
6. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 0:15.500
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:15.8
8. Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:15.82
9. Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura at 0:16.82
10. Chad Haga (USA) Giant-Shimano at 0:17.01.

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Overall After the Prologue:
1. Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis in 7:53
2. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:05
3. Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek at 0:08
4. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek at 0:11
5. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC at 0:14
6. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 0:15
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:16
8. Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Jan Barta (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura at 0:17
10. Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Shimano.

Trek Factory Racing’s Danny van Poppel sprinted to victory in Stage 1 of the Three Days of West-Flanders, beating Danilo Napolitano (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Scott Thwaites (NetApp-Endura) for his first professional win.

It was an aggressive race as promised, but in the final kilometres everything was back together in one large group as the peloton headed towards a bunch finish for the 183-kilometre race that began in Brugge and finished in Harelbeke.

Trek Factory Racing positioned Danny van Poppel perfectly in the closing meters as the young 20-year old blasted around Danilo Napolitano to seal his first, but certainly not his last, professional victory.

“I am very happy! There was a corner around 500m to go, and just after this the team came by me and went full gas,” explained Danny van Poppel shortly after the race had finished. “It was perfect for me, I was sitting in Danilo Napolitano’s wheel and he started his sprint early, and I was able to come around him at the end. I have had a lot of podiums before this, but this is my first win. I did not feel super today at the start, but then started to feel better and better as the race went along. And for a sprinter at the end, it does not matter – when I see the finish line coming, and with the team helping me like they did at the end, that made it easy for me. I want to really thank the team today, because without them I would not have won.”

The race began with a 4-man breakaway, escaping in the early kilometres and gaining upwards of five minutes before the pace increased from behind and the gap began to slowly fall. The undulating parcours eventually split the leading quartet in half, and also the chasing peloton behind. With 60-kilometers remaining the two riders forged ahead, 25 seconds in hand over the first peloton, and a minute on the second. Eventually the peloton regrouped, and the duo out front were also brought back, which only initiated two more riders to give it a go.

Stig Broeckx (Lotto- Belisol) and Alphonse Vermote (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) gained 25 seconds before Broeckx decided to set off alone leaving Vermote to be gobbled up by a hard-chasing peloton. The peloton finally snagged Broeckx back with four kilometres remaining, and the group sprint unfolded perfectly for Trek Factory Racing to snag its fourth win of the year.

Boy van Poppel, the key lead-out man for Danny was elated for his younger brother, and also pointed to the great teamwork today as instrumental to the team’s win. “I’m really happy for Danny. We’ve been training really hard in the last weeks, so this is nice. He was feeling really good. On the Kwaremont he was not in trouble at all, so I knew it could be good. I protected him all day, keeping him out of the wind and all. The final lap was chaotic. We lost each other at some point, but we found each other quickly again. Jasper [Stuyven] also pulled really hard in the last kilometres, so really it was a great team effort all around.”

Scott Thwaites (NetApp-Endura) commented on his first podium finish of the season: “I’m really happy with my 3rd place. I was disappointed with my prologue yesterday and was unsure of my form but today I felt really strong and with the help of the team I was able to position well and take 3rd in the chaotic sprint.”

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Stage 1 Result:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek in 4:14:21
2. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Scott Thwaites (GB) NetApp-Endura
4. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale
5. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
6. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
7. Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Vini Fantini Nippo
9. Steve Chainel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Cyclingteam De Rijke.

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Overall After Stage 1:
1. Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis in 4:22:18
2. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:05
3. Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek at 0:08
4. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek at 0:11
5. Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:13
6. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:14
7. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
8. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 0:15
9. Jan Barta (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 0:17
10. Chad Haga (USA) Giant-Shimano.

Three Days of West Flanders - Stage One

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Guillaume Van Keirsbulck continued his strong season at the final stage of Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen on Sunday. The young Belgian bridged to an escape group that included two of his teammates, Andrew Fenn and Julian Alaphilippe, with less than 23km to go in Stage 2.

Van Keirsbulck was just 14 seconds back in the overall, in 6th place, going into the final stage. Sensing the possibility of a double victory, he attacked with about 5km to go. He was able to hold his advantage all the way to the finish line, sealing the 15th win (three disciplines) for OPQS by taking the stage. He finished 2nd in the GC to Gert Joeaar (Cofidis), who held onto his advantage for that victory.

Van Keirsbulck also won the jersey for best young rider.

“I am really happy to finally grab a victory,” Van Keirsbulck said. “It was a very strange race because before entering into the local circuit I had a flat tire, about 5km before the circuit. Fortunately, Iljo Keisse helped me to come back. It took me a while but I was able to make it. Then in the local circuit there was a breakaway that included my teammates Fenn and Alaphilippe, and they had about 30 seconds of an advantage. At a certain moment I went solo to try to bridge. Fortunately, Fenn waited for me and we returned to the group together. We had three riders out of the breakaway with more or less 22km from the finish. In the last kilometres, at 5km to go, I decided to go alone. The last 500 meters I was really suffering because there was also a headwind. I was a bit scared that they would catch me, but I made it to the line. I was really happy I had also the time to celebrate. I am happy also because my condition is very good. The entire year I’ve been riding well. I had a good feeling this season even if I have a back problem I am trying to solve. It’s nice that all the work I’ve done is paying off now. It’s my first victory of the season, but also the first time I’ve won in two years. So, I really want to enjoy this victory. It’s a pity that I lost the GC by a few seconds, but today let me enjoy my stage win in front of my public in West-Vlaanderen.”

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Stage 2 Result:
1. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 4:21:05
2. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:01
3. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek
4. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
5. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol
7. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
8. Scott Thwaites (GB) NetApp-Endura
9. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano
10. Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.

Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Final Overall:
1. Gert Joeaar (Est) Cofidis in 8:43:24
2. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:03
3. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:05
4. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek at 0:11
5. Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:13
6. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
7. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek at 0:15
8. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek
9. Kristof Vandewalle (Bel) Trek at 0:16
10. Jan Barta (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 0:17.


Tour de Langkawi 2014
Belkin Pro Cycling Team’s plan was spot on again on Thursday’s Stage 8 in Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi. After five of the six riders pulled hard, Theo Bos finished the job off with a sprint win in Marang.

In the 202 kilometre eighth stage, the Dutchman took his third victory of the race. Andrea Guardini (Astana) and Kenny van Hummel (Androni-Giocattoli) finished second and third. After Rick Flens reeled in the break, Jack Bobridge, Steven Kruijswijk and Dennis van Winden rode on the front. Graeme Brown led Bos to the head of the group with a powerful lead-out over 600 metres and hit the front with 150 meters remaining. Bos said; “The last kilometre went exactly as planned.”

The sprinter wants more, however. In the final two flat stages, he hopes to bag more success for the team. “Beforehand we agreed that we wanted to win three stages together”, said Bos. “We did that and we are very happy now, but there are still two stages left and hopefully we can achieve more good results.”

Sports Director Michiel Elijzen agreed with Bos. He said that the team can take win number four in tomorrow’s 109-kilometre stage from Bandar Permaisuri to Kuala Terengganu. “A breakaway held on several times this race and tomorrow is a short stage again, so the attackers will see opportunities,” said Elijzen. “We will probably need to keep the race together along with the leader’s team. Of course we want another sprint, because Theo has shown to be extremely quick.”

“It’s kind of Groundhog Day here in Langkawi as Michael once again was up there among the strongest but just didn’t make it past the perhaps more experienced sprinters. However, it’s a very promising start of the season for Michael and I’m sure he’ll have a great season if he keeps this up,” says Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Tristan Hoffman.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s sprinter Michael Kolar states: “I was really looking forward to this race as I knew it suited me well. I’m well prepared but still before the race, I never imagined, I’d be fighting for the podium almost every day! Naturally, it’s a bit frustrating being this close without winning but I keep reminding myself that it’s not the end of the world getting mixed up with the strongest sprinters here. The team is great, the guys are really trying the best they can to help me out. It really motivates me when I see that everyone is very committed to their role here and I would really like to deliver more for them.”

Tour de Langkawi Stage 8 Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin in 5:01:58
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
3. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Androni-Giocattoli
4. Michael Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Robert Forster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare
6. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Daniel Klemme (Ger) Synergy Baku
8. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
9. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Yellow Fluo
10. Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli.

Tour de Langkawi Overall After Stage 8:
1. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical in 30:19:00
2. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:08
3. Isaac Bolivar (Col) UnitedHealthcare at 0:11
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:20
5. Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha at 0:36
6. Jacques J.V. Rensburg (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:40
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin at 0:52
8. Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli at 1:09
9. Ghaffari Vahid (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical at 1:27
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:41.

Stage 8:

Theo Bos ruled again, for the fourth time, in Malaysia’s Tour de Langkawi in Stage 9. The Belkin Pro Cycling team reeled in the escape, led in towards Kuala Terengganu and then was dropped off by Bos’ lead-out man Graeme Brown.

“I’m super happy, I just want to enjoy this victory,” Bos said along the seaside. “We have a super team, I’m happy with the guys. I always say to Brownie, drop me off at 200 metre, and he does that nine out of 10 times. He makes my job easy.” Bos finished ahead of Andrea Guardini (Astana), winner of one stage in Langkawi, and Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge). So tired from the effort, Bos could not raise his hands in victory. “I’m too tired. I can’t sit up,” Bos added. “Or maybe it’s a track thing.”

Belkin previewed the seaside finish early this morning in the car, which paid off after 111.1 kilometres. Brown took over under two kilometres, led through a roundabout and dropped off Bos.

“I was worried through the right/left corner at 300 metres from the finish,” Brown said. “They started sprinting to the right and left of me, that was very scary. I just had to hold on to the bars, I couldn’t go any faster.” “I wanted to be in the front through those last corners,” Bos added. “Kruopis had a good moment, luckily I was able to follow him and directly pass him. I saw Guardini on my wheel. The sprint was hard. I thought he came close but luckily it was enough.”

Sports Director Michiel Elijzen said that the Tabriz Petrochemical team of Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour would control the stage tomorrow to maintain the overall lead. The final stage ends with five circuits of 6.3 kilometres in the same city, Kuala Terengganu. Elijzen explained, “We won’t need to recon it again because they will cover it in the first few laps. It should end in a sprint. Bos will have a chance for five wins.”

Tour de Langkawi Stage 9 Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin in 2:32:21
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
3. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Yellow Fluo
5. Robert Forster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare
6. Michael Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Leonardo Duque (Col) Colombia
8. Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli
9. Daniel Klemme (Ger) Synergy Baku
10. Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN-Qhubeka.

Tour de Langkawi Overall After Stage 9:
1. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical in 32:51:21
2. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:08
3. Isaac Bolivar (Col) UnitedHealthcare at 0:11
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:20
5. Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha at 0:36
6. Jacques J.V. Rensburg (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:40
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin at 0:52
8. Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli at 1:09
9. Ghaffari Vahid (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical at 1:27
10. Carlos Quintero (Col) Colombia at 1:37.

Stage 9:

A breakaway duo dominated the 114 kilometre long Final Stage 10 of the Malaysian stage race, Tour de Langkawi from Tasik Kenyir to Kuala Terengganu. But following the same procedure as the previous stages, the sprinter teams formed a speeding locomotive in a powerful alliance and brought back the escapees to finish the race with one final bunch sprint.

Andrea Guardini (Astana) won the final stage From Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) and Francesco Chicchi (Yellow Fluo). Mirsamad Poorseyedigolakhour (Tabriz Petrochemical Cycling Team) finished safely in the bunch to take the overall classification.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will leave the Malaysian race with 9 top 10 stage placing’s, 2nd and 6th overall on the general classification and also come away as victors of the team classification. Directeur Sportif Kevin Campbell sees the race as a success for Africa’s First Professional Continental Cycling Team. “I’m very pleased with the way the team raced over the last 10 days. Finishing as the 1st team and 2nd and 6th on GC is a great result for this young team. Our goal was to win the tour and we came really close to doing just that. Racing 9 flattish stages with a team of young climbers, only Youcef being a fast finisher, was never going to be easy but we were in the mix every day,” said Campbell.

The young Eritrean cycling star, Merhawi Kudus, had been able to hold onto his 2nd place on GC from stage 4 with relative ease. “I’m very happy to finish 2nd in this race. I think I was the best on the Genting climb and I know I can win that stage next time. For the rest of the race I just stayed out of trouble, I must thank my team for their support. We rode really well together this week.”

Leaving Malaysia, both Campbell and Kudus already have an eye on their next objectives. “We have a full European program ahead now and the experience and confidence gained here are sure to be good for the riders,” said Campbell. “Yes, I am happy to be going to Italy now. I can’t wait for the next races and in particular I’m looking forward to Giro del Trentino and the Tour of Austria,” added Kudus.

Tour de Langkawi Stage 10 Result:
1. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana in 2:15:55
2. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Yellow Fluo
4. Taiji Nishitani (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team
5. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni-Giocattoli
6. Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia
7. Jeffry Johan Romero Corredor (Col) Colombia
8. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
9. Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN-Qhubeka
10. Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare.

Tour de Langkawi Final Overall Result:
1. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical in 35:07:16
2. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:08
3. Isaac Bolivar Hernandez (Col) UnitedHealthcare at 0:11
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:20
5. Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha at 0:36
6. Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:40
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin at 0:52
8. Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli at 1:09
9. Ghaffari Vahid (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical at 1:27
10. Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia at 1:37.

Stage 10:

Gran Premio Città di Camaiore 2014
Four days after the podium in GP Lugano, Diego Ulissi exhibits his amazing fitness in GP Camaiore to score the seventh victory for Lampre-Merida in 2014.

Ulissi celebrated his second victory of the season commenting: “We decided to manage our energies, pedalling in the bunch and giving our support to the chase of the breakaway only in the final part of the race. I asked my team mates to raise the speed on the last passage on Mount Pitoro; Mori and Cunego did it in a marvellous way. This helped me in attacking and selecting a four riders group that, in full cooperation, reached the arrival. This victory is a perfect step towards Tirreno-Adriatico.”

“I’m very satisfied because the team played in a perfect way the program we discussed today in the team meeting,” sport director Vicino explained. “The four man breakaway that led most part of the race did not worry us too much, we gave our support when two laps were remaining and then, in the last lap, we took the head of the bunch: Durasek, Anacona, Mori, Polanc and Cunego were great and they launched Ulissi towards the victory.”

Area Zero D’Amico’s Silvio Giorni was one of the strong men of the race, making his break from the group after about 50 km, Giorni animated the race with a breakaway that lasted for more than 100 km and included Daniele Colli (Yellow Fluo), Johnny Hoogerland (Androni) and Riccardo Donato (MK Kvis Trevigiani). Silvio Giorni came off the top no less than 3 times in first place for the GPM on Monte Pitoro, which won him the special classification for climbers.

“Today Silvio was a lion. This is an important victory for the entire team. He did a good job getting into the right break and staying ahead of much more experienced riders than him, like Hoogerland and Colli. The season is just getting started. The GP Camaiore was one of the most important races in which we’ve participated so far, especially for the technical skills of the riders and the teams in the race, with 9 pro teams and the best professionals participating. And we proved that we are up to par,” explains team manager Ivan De Paolis. “Giorni’s performance is proof of the way in which our riders approach every race, with the desire to go for it, to gain experience and always give it their best, honouring the race and the Area Zero D’Amico jersey.”

“In the first hour we came on very strong, clocking an average speed of 51 kph. I managed to get into the right break but I knew that it would be hard to make it to the finish line. On the first GPM I came off first and my legs felt good, this gave me confidence,” explains Silvio Giorni, who comes from Sinalunga (Siena) in Tuscany and who recently turned 23. “We managed to gain a good margin of advantage on the peloton and I realized that my goal for the day could be to try and win the classification for the GPM; so at every pass I gave it everything I had to garner as many points as possible before the breakaway got reabsorbed by the group of the best riders.”

Gran Premio Città di Camaiore Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:18:37
2. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
3. Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek
4. Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:03
6. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek
7. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica Greenedge
8. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Team Sky
9. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Yellow Fluo
10. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana.

Gran Premio Città di Camaiore final kilometres:

Zoidl Breaks Collarbone in Strade Bianche Crash
Riccardo Zoidl has broken his right collarbone in a high-speed downhill crash on Tuscany’s infamous ‘white roads’. The 25-year-old Austrian, who rode a stellar Tour Méditerranéen only three weeks ago, went out in a right-hand turn in the seventh sector of the Strade Bianche race.

“We were in a good position with the team, as we knew that would be a key moment in the race. It was a fast downhill and there was wind coming from the left. I was full in the wind and I didn’t manoeuvre well enough, heading into the turn at the bottom. To top that, I bumped my front wheel in a hole and that was it. I didn’t feel pain straight away, but I knew my collarbone was broken when I touched it with my fingers,” said a disappointed Zoidl.

Zoidl will travel back to Austria for the necessary medical checks and scans. An operation is highly possible, and at this time it is unclear when he will be able to return to competition.
Thanks to Tim at Trek.

No Tirreno-Adriatico for Froome
Chris Froome will not start Tirreno-Adriatico due to inflammation in the lower back, and will be replaced by Richie Porte who will therefore not defend his last year’s victory in Paris-Nice. Froome expressed his grief on Twitter: ” Slight inflammation in my lower back, so I’ll be putting my feet up for a few days on doctors orders. No racing for me in Tirreno next week.” And adding: “It’s disappointing to miss out on a week of solid racing, but rather safe than sorry at this point of the season.”

Team Sky’s doctor explained that “Chris has suffered a slight inflammation of the sacroiliac joint in the lower back. As a precautionary measure because it has been decided not to race next week at the Tirreno-Adriatico so you can focus on recovery and preparation for the Volta a Cataluña.”

Rob Ellingworth, Performance Manager for Team Sky, added: “This is just a minor setback for Chris and hope he can resume normal workouts in a week. It is obviously disappointing to miss the Tirreno-Adriatico, but do not take any chances at this stage of the season.”

Porte will be his replacement in Italy rather than compete and defend his title in Paris-Nice in which Geraint Thomas will become the team leader in the French race. Bradley Wiggins will pair with Porte in the Tirreno-Adriatico starting on Wednesday.

Tirreno-Adriatico Sky Roster (12-18 March):
Dario Cataldo, Bernhard Eisel, Peter Kennaugh, Mikel Nieve, Richie Porte, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Ian Stannard, Bradley Wiggins.

Giant-Shimano for Tirreno-Adriatico
The seven-stage Italian race, which runs from Wednesday to Tuesday gets underway with a fast, flat 16.9km team time trial from Donoratico to San Vincenzo.

The following two stages will be a good opportunity for the sprinters and with Marcel Kittel lining up for Team Giant-Shimano, the team will be riding firmly for a fast bunch finish here.

The mid stages, four and five, will be more for the opportunists and the climbers, before a final sprint stage on stage six and a finishing 9.2km individual time trial to end with.

Tom Veelers returns to the team here in Italy after missing the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen last week due to knee problems, and he will be a vital addition to the driving force in the bunch sprints.

“The first goals for Tirreno are the sprint stages with Marcel,” said coach Aike Visbeek. “We have a good lead-out train here to support him for these and he has already showed his power this season in Dubai so he stands a good chance of a result.

“With our more opportunistic riders, like Tobias Ludvigsson, Simon Geschke and Tom Dumoulin we will be aiming to fight for a stage win on the hilly stages, and Tom and Tobias will also focus on the time trial.

“For the team time trial we want to progress in the discipline and test ourselves so the guys will be looking to get that right and perform well from the start.”

Giant-Shimano Line-up:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Roy Curvers (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Marcel Kittel (GER), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Tom Veelers (NED).
COACH: Aike Visbeek (NED).

OPQS to Tirreno-Adriatico
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will participate in Tirreno-Adriatico, a 1019.1km stage race from March 12th through March 18th.

The first and last stages are both time trials. Stage 1 is a a flat, 18.5 team time trial, while Stage 7 is a flat, 9.1km individual time trial. Stages 2, 3, and 6 are undulating, but there are possibilities for a sprint. Stage 2 has a flat finale despite some climbs earlier in the stage. Stage 3 has a short and steep uphill finish, including a section with a max ramp of 11 percent. Stage 6 could also result in a group finish, as there are only a few small climbs and a flat final kilometer.

Stages 4 and 5 are both mountain stages, and could be crucial for determining the overall. Stage 4 includes an uphill finish from kilometer 230 to the 244th kilometer. A steep section, with a max ramp of 10%, is located near 1 kilometer to go. Stage 5 will likely be the most difficult. The final kilometer includes a max ramp of 30 percent between 1.4km to go and 800 meters, and also a max ramp of 12% within the final 250 meters. To have a chance in the finale, the riders will have to get over 13.1km Passo Lanciano at km 163.1 (max ramp 13%).

“Tirreno-Adriatico is important as it is a WorldTour race,” Sport Director Davide Bramati said. “We have the points to think about, so we are really focused on this race to try and do well. We have to be honest, we were 4th last year with Michal Kwiatkowski and this year we are there again to try and do well. He did another step in his career within the last month of this year. However, in 2014 we can also count on Rigoberto Uran. He has already shown his abilities in these kind of races. The team is balanced. They are a good team. There will be a team time trial that will be important for not just the prestige of winning the stage, but also the general classification. So, it is important to do a good race immediately. Then we have several stages for the sprinters, so Mark Cavendish can count on his great leadout with Mark Renshaw and Alessandro Petacchi. He will be the team leader at that moment. Then there are the two stages that will be important for the GC. One is an uphill finish and another has a few passages with steep sections up to 30 percent that can make the difference. The final stage will again be a time trial that Tony Martin won last year. It is flat and not very technical, so it will favor the powerful riders. Tony is certainly one of the favorites again. But, it will be also important for the overall. It depends on the gap between the best GC riders and the time trial specialists at that point in the race. We are there to try and fight for a good position in the GC and go for at least one stage.”

OPQS Riders:
Mark Cavendish (GBR), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Tony Martin (GER), Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Wout Poels (NED), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL).
Sports Director Davide Bramati (ITA), Brian Holm (DEN).

Europcar to Tirreno-Adriatico
The French team is sending a mixed selection to the Italian Tirreno-Adriatico stage race that runs from the 12th to 18th March.

Europcar Tirreno-Adriatico line-up:
Yukiya Arashiro, Tony Hurel, Vincent Jerome, Davide Malacarne, Alexandre Pichot, Pierre Rolland, Romain Sicard, Bjorn Thurau.
DS’s Dominique Arnould & Benoit Genauzeau.

Daniel Moreno to lead Team Katusha in Tirreno-Adriatico
On Wednesday the Russian team Katusha starts in the UCI WorldTour stage race Tirreno – Adriatico. Daniel Moreno, one of the best climbers of the team, will lead Katusha in Italy.

The complete Katusha line-up: Daniel Moreno, Maxim Belkov, Giampaolo Caruso, Vladimir Gusev, Alexander Kolobnev, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Angel Vicioso and Luca Paolini.
The team will be directed by José Azevedo and Claudio Cozzi.

Gesink and Mollema lead Team Belkin in Tirreno-Adriatico
The Belkin Pro Cycling Team is planning to collectively help Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema to a top ten ranking in Tirreno-Adriatico. Sports Director Erik Dekker knows what he wants to see from his men in the Italian stage race (March 12-18), which is quickly followed by Milan-San Remo.

“Robert and Bauke are our men for the GC,” said Dekker. “We want to finish the race with two men in the top ten. We have strong men with us who can support the leaders properly. They need to make sure that Robert and Bauke don’t lose unnecessary time.”

Dekker recognizes the importance of the team time trial on the opening day. “That is very important for the overall. Besides that, we hold team time trials in high regard as a team, because you need to do it together. That makes it a prestige battle.” Gesink has good memories of the team time trial. “We won the TTT a few years ago. Later on during the week, we face some heavy mountain stages and of course the final time trial. Those are the most important days for us.”

Gesink enjoyed a good start to 2014, with a sixth place in the Tour Down Under and a fifth in the Tour of Oman. In Tirreno-Adriatico, he wants to build on that. “I’ve been working towards this race for a while. For me it’s a very important moment. We travel to Italy with a strong team and hopefully it will pay off. Bauke and I both want to finish as high as possible. A podium finish for one of us would be great. That’s better than finishing a little further back together. Cycling is about winning!”

Bauke Mollema rode his first race of the year in February. In the Ruta del Sol he immediately was close to a victory. He finished second in stage two and helped Moreno Hofland win the final stage. The Dutchman hopes to race well at Tirreno-Adriatico, both individually and as a team. “I focus on the GC, but if the legs feel strong, I also hope to win a stage,” said Mollema, who saw a strong collective effort in the Ruta del Sol. “The tasks were clear and everyone did what he had to do. The Tirreno is a different race, but we should do well again as a team.”

Belkin line-up Tirreno-Adriatico:
Robert Gesink, Marc Goos, Tom Leezer, Bauke Mollema, Bram Tankink, Maarten Tjallingii, Sep Vanmarcke and Robert Wagner.
Sports Directors Tirreno-Adriatico: Erik Dekker & Nico Verhoeven.

Race Website: https://www.gazzetta.it/Speciali/TirrenoAdriatico/en/

2014 Tirreno-Adriatico:

Ag2r-La Mondiale Sign’s Young Colombian
Eduardo Estrada is yet another new Colombian talent, but he will not go directly into the Ag2r-La Mondiale WorldTour team, but first to the Under 23 Chambéry Cycling team. Born in Sabana de Torres, resident in the city of Itagüi, Estrada is part of the Cycling Development program in the region of Antioquia. Carlos Betancur has endorsed Estrada’s joining the ranks at Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Axel Domont (2013), Romain Bardet (2012), Ben Gastauer (2010), Julien Berard (2010) and Guillaume Bonnafond (2009) are riders at Ag2r-La Mondiale who have come through the Academy of Vincent Lavenu. Others like Alexandr Pliuschin (IAM Cycling), Silvan Dillier (BMC), Thomas Damuseau (Giant-Shimano), Steve Houanard, Morgan Kneisky (track rider) and Clément Chevrier (Bissell) also went through Chambéry Cycling team.

Team Belkin extends contract of young gun Hofland
Press Release: Moreno Hofland the former U23 Champion of the Netherlands has accepted an offer from the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM to extend his contract after a sparkling performance to place 2nd at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

Hofland, who won a stage of the Tour de l’Avenir in 2011 and most recently took the overall in last year’s Tour of Hainan said he had no doubts at all about staying with the team when he heard the news; “I’m getting all the help I want and I feel at home with the riders and staff. I feel a lot of trust here. With other teams I doubt I would get that in another team. Frans Maassen and Matthieu Heijboer are my coaches and we connect very well, Matthieu has trained me from junior level and that’s something I do not want to lose.”

The deal, which runs to the end of 2016, means that the young Dutchman is free to follow up on the form he has shown in the early season classics and chase results, a situation that suits the team as much as Hofland.

“For us and as well for Moreno this contract extension takes away some pressure. Now we don’t have to worry about it anymore and can work a bit more relaxed, which is better for the performance and results. We think we can get a lot more out of Moreno with the way we work. We see a lot of potential in him,” commented Team Belkin’s General Manager, Richard Plugge.

“Moreno’s future lies in classics and sprints after hilly stages. This year it’s about riding hard races for him. In Paris-Nice, he can do some sprints and see where he stands in relation to the top,” added Team Belkin’s Sports Director, Nico Verhoeven.

Hofland will go to ‘The Race to the Sun’ with renewed morale in a race that could suit him, followed by 2 further tough outing in the Tours of Romandie and California.


Danny MacAskill’s Imaginate
Two years in the making, street trials rider Danny MacAskill releases his brand new riding film. Whilst previous projects have focused on locations and journeys, MacAskill’s Imaginate sees Danny take a completely different approach to riding. Enter Danny’s mind and enjoy.


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