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EuroTrash Monday!

Italy, the US and France, racing all over the World in today’s EuroTrash Monday. It might be a rest day on the Giro d’Italia, but there has been enough going on to give us a nice long coffee beak. Lots of rider quotes, results and race video from all the races and the usual other bits of news we could tip out of the trash bag. But what a great Giro though, eh?

TOP STORY: What is Wrong with Wiggins?
It looks like Sir Bradley Wiggins has lost his bottle when it comes to going downhill in the wet. Maybe it all started on stage 6 where he lost a few seconds due to a crash, he didn’t fall, but was held up and lost time. Since then on most descents he has been…let’s say; cautious. When a rider starts to have a problem like this it’s not easy to change. Maybe when there is a dry descent and he follows another rider down safely at speed his confidence will return. The problem could be his weight distribution on the bike or that he stiffens on the way down instead of relaxing. Stage 9 saw him fair better, after losing time on the descent of the Vallombrosa and looking as though his Giro bid was over as he was a minute down, but he got back to the other GC hopefuls in time for the finish without any time lost.

Rumours of his early departure from Italy to get ready for the Tour de France are a bit farfetched and, let’s face it, after his time loss and less than the expected domination of the time trial; all the GC guys are closer going into the big mountains. Last year’s Tour de France was a little on the dull side and that was probably due to the long time trials and the lack of competition. This Giro is far from dull and we haven’t even hit the mountains yet. Roll on the Giro with Bradley Wiggins; I actually think the race will be better with him than without him.

Giro d’Italia 2013
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) won Stage 6 in a perfect show of strength from his team, as Gert Steegmans put him in the perfect position to take his second Giro stage of this year. He dedicated his win to Wouter Weylandt who died two days ago today in the Giro. John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) opened the sprint, but it was too soon and he was engulfed before they hit the 300 metres to go sign. Steegmans hit the front with Cavendish on his wheel and the sprint was as good as over. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) were second and third as Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) pushed his way into fourth. Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) and Jack Bobridge (Blanco) made the early break but were pulled back before the finish circuit. There was a big crash on the circuit involving Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, but Cavendish’s OPQS team slowed the front group until the race was altogether again for the run in to the finish. Luca Paolini (Katusha) held onto his overall lead and there were no other important changes.

Cavendish rushed to embrace his teammates after the win. “I’m so happy right now, it was incredible,” Cavendish said immediately after the victory. “The leadout was absolutely perfect, nothing went wrong, it was beautiful. I’m absolutely buzzing. Imagine you have a kit car, something you’ve built from the start as we have this year with the leadout. You start it, ‘vroom vroom’ and you know, you have some fears about it, all those things having been put together, about being able to start the engine. I’m just the last part, the last one that makes the most noise. But when it works! That’s how you can win. I also want to dedicate this win to Wouter Weylandt, who died tragically at the Giro two years ago.”

This is the 26th win for OPQS, in three disciplines, in 2013. This is also the ninth UCI win for Cavendish, and the second of the Giro d’Italia. He now has 99 career wins. “It was 100 percent beautiful today, and not just the leadout— from the beginning,” Cavendish said. “Bobridge and Wurf were two strong guys to have in the breakaway today. We had Serge Pauwels and Gianluca Brambilla pulling from the beginning and we were going strong. Really, really well and they kept going until the last kilometres. Then Jerome Pineau, Michal Golas, Iljo Keisse, and Matteo Trentin took over, and even Julien Vermote came up after getting dropped. He’s a young guy and he really rode today. These guys rode until their legs couldn’t go anymore. It was really incredible to see that, and this is all before the leadout. I haven’t seen riding like this in about a year. Today made me so, so proud.”

“Then the leadout was very, very hectic,” Cavendish continued. “With the crash it made everybody nervous. All the GC teams were there with even less than 3km to go, like BMC Racing Team and Sky, as well as the sprint teams. It was real, real chaos. I just tried to follow Gert Steegmans. He found my territory and then they timed it perfectly. There was always going to be a team that went too early with a headwind finish. My guys waited, waited, they were patient and they hit it at exactly the right time. They just went fast, fast, fast and they launched me perfectly and I was able to go to the line. I was really happy with it. Gert Steegmans showed today that when he’s at his best, he’s nearly the best leadout man there’s ever been.”

Dane, Matti Breschel was happy about today’s result, which was conquered with a broken shoe: “When they piled up on the road entering the finale, a rider crashes in to me and the carbon bottom of my shoe gets torn up in the collision. The pace after the crash doesn’t exactly invite me to take the long way down to the car to get a new shoe so we follow the plan to put Bennati in a good position. Unfortunately, he gets boxed in and suddenly, I’m alone up there in the hectic finish where I cross the finish line ninth. We’re here to get a stage win but of course, I’m happy to see the form is good enough to participate in these kamikaze-like bunch sprints,” said Saxo-Tinkoff’s Matti Breschel.

The situation become tough for Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) because of the crash at 32 km to go, that broke the bunch in two parts: Ferrari, with Pietropolli and Scarponi, managed to be in the head group, but Pozzato, who had the role of pilot for Ferrari, was in the second part and he could come back to the peloton after a chase that lasted for some kilometres. “Unluckily, Pippo got involved in the big crash and he could join the bunch after an effort,” Ferrari explained. “So, I preferred to move to the head position already at 7 km to go, in order to avoid difficulties in the final kilometres. Some riders managed to overtake me just before the sprint, so when Omega Pharma – Quick-Step launched the action I tried to recover, but I had to brake a first time because there was no space. Then I started again to pedal, but I was forced again two times, so I could get no better than the 10th place.”

Scarponi could avoid the crash: “This time I had luck, but I’m sad for my team mates that got involved in the crash and for Ferrari, who could not have support on his side. During the stage I could appreciate the Merida Reacto Evo bike: I chose to use it in this stage since it was a very fast course and the air impact of this bike is very low.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 3:56:03
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
5. Mattia Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard
9. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff
10. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 6:
1. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha in 23:52:42
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:17
3. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 0:26
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:31
5. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 0:34
6. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky
7. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 0:36
8. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 0:37
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:39
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:42.

Stage 6:

Rain, rain and a bit more rain sums up Stage 7, as riders slid off the road left right and centre, Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) rode on from the early break for (in his own words) “his biggest win.” Nearly everyone fell off today at some point, the roads were like an ice rink, but it was the same for all the riders. The big loser of the day was Bradley Wiggins and his two Colombian team mates; Rigoberto Uran and Sergio Henao who had to wait for their captain. At the start of the day Rigoberto Uran was second overall at 17 seconds and as the Pink jersey wearing Luca Paolini (Katusha) lost nearly a minute on the other GC hopefuls, if Uran was left to ride his own race he would be in the overall lead. Anyway, all the top riders finished in the chase group at 1:17 behind Adam Hansen; Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) also crashed, but was up in a flash to rejoin and move into 2nd overall. Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) moved into 3rd, Cadel Evans 6th, Robert Gesink (Blanco) 7th, Peter Weening (Orica-GreenEdge) 9th and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) 11th. The big news was that Beñat Intxausti (Movistar), who had been 2nd overall at 26 seconds, was the new overall leader.

The break was composed of the eventual stage winner; Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) with Emanuele Sella (Androni Giacattoli), Ioannis Tamoridis (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco), Dominique Rollin (FdJ)and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM). Over the numerous climb (and descents) the break built up a lead, but Hanson decided to put the hammer down. In the end there was only Hanson and Emanuele Sella (Androni Giacattoli) together, although Sella found himself in the road more than once and in the end Hanson went on ahead to win the stage well by 1:07 from Enrico Battaglin (Bardini Valvole-CSF Inox) and Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia).

Bradley Wiggins came in 2 minutes 31 seconds after Adam Hanson and is now 1 minute 32 seconds behind Beñat Intxausti.

Stage winner Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol): “The feeling to be able to cross the finish line solo is of course very nice. The moment I was alone with Sella I believed the victory was possible. On the climbs I wanted to put him under pressure and on the penultimate climb I left him behind. The hills weren’t long but very steep. Before that the cooperation in the group had been very good. Because Sella was the best placed in the GC the peloton kept our lead under control.”

“This morning I knew I wanted to be in the breakaway. This was a stage I had marked; I was very motivated because I thought the escapees could make it to the finish today. If I now want to win a stage in every Grand Tour? No, that can’t be a goal. In the Giro there are opportunities for riders like me to try this, but in the Tour we have other goals with André Greipel and Jurgen Van den Broeck. Tonight we’ll definitely have a drink!”

BMC’s Cadel Evans credited his teammates for helping him get through a difficult stage. “It was a real test of our team and our equipment and the guys were really good,” he said. “Daniel Oss was good at the start, monitoring the dangerous breakaways, and Danilo Wyss, Steve Morabito and Steve Cummings were always there to keep me out of trouble. Then Santaromita was there in the final in case something went wrong.” Evans said he does not know what to expect out of Saturday’s 55-km time trial. “It’s a really long and really hard and demanding time trial and we really don’t have a point of reference of how I am time trialing compared to the other guys,” he said. “I will first of all concentrate on doing my best and, of course if I continue to move up on the general classification, that’s optimal.”

Beñat Intxausti: “I’m super happy. This tastes a bit different from a real victory, but it’s really important because grabbing the leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour is something unique. It’s the reward for so many years of work, for all the work I did myself as well as the team, because all my team-mate did a superb work. The finale was really hard because of the rain. Nibali attacked and then crashed, I didn’t know really well is Urán was behind, but I did know Paolini had been dropped… At the end, I saw I could take the lead, but then there were some bonus seconds at the finish and I didn’t believe it until I got confirmed after crossing the line. It’s a joy different from the one you get by winning a race, but I did enjoy quite a lot with this maglia rosa.

“For me, this is a big achievement due to all that I had to take to come here. The goal was getting pink at the team time trial and we came really close, but we made it maybe in the least awaited day. This won’t change my goals and we will race the same way, trying to get a stage win and reaching as high as possible overall. I don’t know still the gaps for tomorrow’s time trial, but we were all close before today and keeping the maglia will be hard, especially with the likes of Nibali or Hesjedal. But I’m confident I’ll do well. I remember all team riders, also the staff… my family, always supporting me, going through all ups and downs together with me, and I wanted to dedicate this to Xavi Tondo and my grandpa, who left us two years ago. They might be the two happiest people right now.”

“The stage was complicated but it was made easier for me by the support I received by my team mates – Scarponi commented – We were four in the head group, this was very important in the key moments.
Anyway, only Wiggins was in late, so all the other opponents had a positive balance and I lost an important mate such Cattaneo.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Result:
1. Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol in 4:35:49
2. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 1:07
3. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
4. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
5. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
7. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
8. Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ
9. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 7:
1. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar in 28:30:04
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:05
3. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 0:08
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:10
5. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:13
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:16
7. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 0:17
8. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC at 0:19
9. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:29
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 0:34.

Stage 7:

In Saturday’s 54.8 kilometre time trial Stage 8 was expected (by some) that Bradley Wigging would take back his losses from the previous day and give himself a handy lead on the others, but it didn’t work out quite that way. Wiggins needed a bike change, but he only lost around 10 seconds, he did take back his lost minute, but that was all. The hero of the day was Alex Dowsett of Movistar; the GB time trial champion was an early starter and had to wait for about 3 hours till he knew for sure he had won the stage. Of the GC riders; Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was the best, he was 3rd on the stage and took the overall lead. Cadel Evans (BMC) moved up to 2nd as Wiggins jumped from 23rd to 4th. Canada’s 2012 Giro champion had an average day and is now 6th, but one of the best rides was from Michele Scarponi who was 10th on the stage and is now 5th overall at 1:24.

Alex Dowsett: “It will take a bit of time before I realized what I have done, I still can’t believe myself. It was quite a harder TT than I expected; without a doubt, the hardest in my life. I took some extreme gears, a 55-29, to fight such different sections. The last climb seemed like it was never going to end, a cloud in my eyes as I believed I could never reach the finish. Before the start, getting into the best ten would have been enough for me, so being able to notch up the victory is amazing. The team had given me confidence to take things easy in the first week, thinking of this day. This was my goal, the day when I wanted to do my best. My personal ambitions are more than fulfilled with this victory, and from now on, my only duty will be working for my team-mates. Beñat lost a bit of time, but we will try to get him back close to the best overall again.”

Beñat Intxausti: “I would have wanted to be a little bit closer to the front to be honest, but I didn’t have my best day on the road, especially through the final 15k. Until then, things were going well, because the first part of the route suited me well, but then, I started struggling and I couldn’t get the body back into proper condition. I was completely out of energy, everybody could see that at the finish – I was empty. We’ll have to analyse why it happened and come to some conclusions for the future, but I don’t want to think of it further right know, because the most important thing at this moment is being recovered for tomorrow, when I want to be within the best again before Monday’s rest day, which will do well to all of us surely. I’m extremely happy about Alex’s victory – he deserves to win in such a big race. Taking pink yesterday, today’s victory… we’re on the good path, let’s hope it stays like this all the way to Brescia.”

With his fifth place finish, Stef Clement was the best Blanco rider. He looked back with satisfaction on his good classification. “I am pleasantly surprised. Funny how you can still surprise yourself at thirty. Immediately after the ride, I did not have the impression that a top five spot was in the mix. I missed a turn relatively early on when I wanted to overtake and from there on I was a bundle of nerves on the bike. That also affected my descent. On top of that, it’s not easy to stay balanced and spread your energy effectively over 55 kilometres. But I am well pleased with this fifth place result.”

Despite the fact that Gesink had a tough outing, he was very pleased with his eleventh place and the resulting third in the general classification. Despite the early virtual spot on the podium, he remains fully grounded. “A time trial such as this is always brutal but I think I can be very pleased with the result. It felt good right from the start and I was able to maintain my revolutions at a good pace. The first week has gone well. We’ve been up front as a team at the right moments and like the rest of the lads, I am in good form. In a Grand Tour, I take it day by day. For the moment, it’s going well and I hope it stays that way.”

For Kelderman, his excellent fourteenth place finish – in spite of a tumble induced by a blocked rear wheel – earned him an invite to the podium. After the finish in Saltara, the 22-year old received the Maglia Bianca. “To wear the white jersey in my first Grand Tour is super. After I took the youth classification in the Tour of Romandy, I harbored the idea that I might repeat it here, but to actually do it is very cool.

Cadel Evans (BMC) said about his TT: “We have been looking at it for a long while and preparing for it because it was really a time trial that tested every aspect of time trialing,” he said. “It was flat, fast, and technical, on fast open roads with technical descents, steep climbs and rolling climbs. So really every variation of terrain possible. It required something special in terms of an approach and equipment.” Evans said he is looking forward to the race’s first rest day which comes after a medium mountain stage of 181 km on Sunday.

Michele Scarponi said after his ride: “It was very complicated to manage the energies on such a course, that’s why I’m satisfied with the result,” Scarponi said. “I think I could pedal very well in the sectors I liked the most, while I had to decrease the speed in Pesaro, whose roads had cobblestones, and in the flat part before the final hill. Climbing to Saltara I spent all the energies, what an effort, but I think I could realize a good performance. I’m in the top ten in the overall classification, not so bad considering the lost seconds of Marina di Ascea.”

In the top ten is also Lampre-Merida’s Przemyslaw Niemiec, who is 9th at 2’44” to Nibali: “I think I did my best, limiting the gap in the flat sector. It was difficult to pedal at 50 km/h, but I managed to do it.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Result:
1. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar in 1:16:27
2. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:10
3. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 0:14
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:21
5. Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco at 0:32
6. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:35
7. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:39
8. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:45
9. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 0:53
10. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 8:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 29:46:57
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:29
3. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 1:15
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 1:16
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:24
6. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 2:05
7. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 2:11
8. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:43
9. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 2:44
10. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 2:49.

Stage 8 TT:

Maxim Belkov (Katusha) won Stage 9, although Carlos Betancur (Ag2r-La Mondiale), who was second, thought he had and celebrated in fine fashion, much to the amusement of his countryman Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) in third. The day started with a break of Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Juan Manuel Garate (Blanco), Fabio Felline (Androni Giacattoli), Robinson Chalapud & Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Ricardo Mestre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Michel Golas (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Tobias Ludvigsson (Argos-Shimano), Alessandro Proni (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) Evgeni Petrov (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Maxim Belkov. They splashed their way through the heavy rain and deep road water over the 4,000 metres of climbing. Astana chased and the bunch shrunk, at one point Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was over 1 minute behind the pink jersey of Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), although he did get back with the front runners eventually. Up front, the break split with Chalapud and Pirazzi attacking on the Vallombrosa with Belkov watched them. The crafty Russian held back and waited for the other two run out of steam and then he made his move and stayed away to the finish. The break had splintered and Pantano and Ludvigsson managed to stay in front of the peloton but could not catch Belkov. Betancur jumped away from the peloton on the last climb, caught Pantano and Ludvigsson in sight of the line and passed them and took what he thought was a win. All the GC men were safely together with Cadel Evans winning the sprint for 5th and the point’s jersey. The loser of the day was Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) who was in trouble on the last climb and came in 1:06 after Nibali.

BMC’s Cadel Evans said the 170-kilometer race, which finished on the course that will host this year’s UCI world road race championships, was a difficult stage made more challenging by the weather. “Every day has been full of surprises,” he said. “You prepare as best for these stages and hope for the best. When a storm comes in and it rains and you are driving your car, you turn your wipers on and you slow down a bit. But in the peloton, that’s not the case at all. It’s been a real test of positioning, staying in front, having a bit of luck and no technical problems. So it’s been a surprisingly difficult first week.”

No Giro d’Italia today, Monday, it’s a rest day, keep it PEZ for all the news from Italy.

Giro d’Italia Overall Stage 9 Result:
1. Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha in 4:31:31
2. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:44
3. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia at 0:46
4. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Team Argos-Shimano at 0:54
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 1:03
6. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar
7. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
8. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 9:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 34:19:31
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:29
3. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 1:15
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 1:16
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:24
6. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 2:11
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:43
8. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 2:44
9. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 2:49
10. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 3:02.

Stage 9:

Amgen Tour of California 2013
Stage one of the 2013 AMGEN Tour of California took place in extreme hot conditions. Vacansoleil-DCM debuted in a special Celeste-outfit dedicated to sponsor Bianchi and showed it to the big crowds in Escondido.

The 165 kilometer long first stage of Tour of California with start and finish line in Escondido held a solid climb carrying the peloton up to 1600 meters above sea level and with 45 degrees; it was a very hard start of the race. Four riders tried their luck, formed the long-lasting break of the day and worked up a big gap before the peloton started the engine to haul them back.

But when Team Saxo-Tinkoff first moved to the front picking up the pace, the field was strung out, the gap was brought down and suddenly, it smelled like a bunch sprint decision and as several other teams joined in on the chase, the escapees were reeled in with 5 kilometers to go.

But a bold counter-attack from Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Francisco Mancebo (5-hour Energy) lasted all the way and on the finish line, Westra was the faster rider.

The attack of Westra in the last 10k and staying cool in the final sprint with his companion, Mancebo, in the break gave him the win: “I got dropped on the hard final climb but managed to come back. In a small bunch I noticed not all teams were complete and it meant possibilities for a late attack. When the early break almost got caught I attacked immediately. Mancebo happened to be very strong and I was patient enough to wait in the final kilometer so I could take the win.”
Westra also took the lead: “It is great to win here and it shows you have to believe in your chances also when you are dropped.”

After a spring with a lot of top-10 places the 30 year old Dutch rider went to his house in Spain to prepare for the second part of the season. When the American press asked him if he could win the Tour he answered: “We will see, my climbing legs weren’t good today but they can’t get worst.”

A few riders in the team had a bad day. Sport director Hilaire Van Der Schueren noticed that it was really hard: “In these temperatures up to a 40 degrees Celsius nobody feels really good. Some of our riders got cramps and had to fight to be in on time. Hopefully they get used to the conditions during the week.”

Amgen Tour of California Stage 1 Result:
1. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM in 4:31:33
2. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 0:06
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Bontrager Cycling Team
6. Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Sharp
7. Alexander Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
8. Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Pro Cycling
10. Tanner Putt (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 1:
1. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM in 4:31:33
2. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 0:06
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Bontrager Cycling Team
6. Jacob Rathe (USA) Garmin-Sharp
7. Alexander Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
8. Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Pro Cycling
10. Tanner Putt (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team.

Stage 1 sprint by Bermudez86.

Tour de Picardie 2013
Stage 1 of this flat, sprinters stage race was won by the German Marcel Kittel (Argos- Shimano) from Bryan Coquard (Europcar) and Erwann Corbel (Bretagne-Séché Environnement). Gert Jõeäär (Cofidis), Jean Lou Paiani (Sojasun), Rudy Kowalski (Roubaix Lille Métropole), Thomas Rostollan (La Pomme Marseille) and Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) broke away after 5 kilometres and built up a lead of 8 minutes, but this came down to a matter of seconds when they hit the finishing circuit, so Jõeäär and Vandousselaere headed off on their own, but were caught well before the finish. A crash took out a few riders with 4 kilometres to go and the Argos-Shimano team set things up for the sprint. Tom Boonen in his come-back race was 65th on the stage.

Tour de Picardie Stage 1 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 4:57:46
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
3. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
4. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
8. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Sojasun
9. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
10. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Tour de Picardie Overall After Stage 1:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 4:57:36
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar at 0:04
3. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:05
4. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement at 0:06
5. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille at 0:10
6. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Sojasun
10. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol.

Stage 1 report:

Kristian Sbaragli finished sixth on Saturday’s Stage 2 in the Tour de Picardie, bringing in the first top ten placing for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung in a race organized by Tour de France organizer ASO. The young Italian was beaten in the mass sprint of the second stage by Frenchman Bryan Coquard of Europcar. Second after 171 kilometers between Oisemont and Billeul-sur-Therain was German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) ahead of Briton Andre Fenn (Omega Pharma-QuickStep). Earlier, Sbaragli’s South African teammate Louis Meintjes was in the breakaway group for the day for a long time.

“Today was a really tough stage with winding, narrow roads made even more harrowing with a stiff cross-wind. Louis [Meintjes] did the team proud by being in a five man break for most of the day”, said directeur Sportif Kevin Campbell after the stage. “Kristian showed his fine form by sprinting shoulder to shoulder with the best sprinters in the race. This is a tough cycling school and I’m pleased to say these riders are passing their classes every day.”

“Incredible ride by the team today with Louis Meintjes being in the breakaway and then unfortunately crashing and the team looking after Kristian for the sprint finish”, said team principal Douglas Ryder. “For Kris to finish sixth in a bunch sprint with this quality field will give him huge confidence, he is only 22 years old and has a huge future. We wanted to be visible in Picardie and today was a great day for the team.”

After yesterday’s 15th place finish, Kristian Sbaragli moved to tenth overall after two of three stages, behind overall leader Bryan Coquard. Going into the final stage, the Italian is 16 seconds down in GC.

The second day of the race in northern France was again marked by an escape group, which stayed away until shortly before the finish line in Bailleul-sur-Therain. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rider Louis Meintjes was in the group along with four other riders. The young South African rode much of the day in the group until falling back to the peloton after a crash with about 40 kilometers to go.

The races ends Sunday with 171km between Nanteuil-le-Haudouin and Soissons. The three-day race, which has been held for more than 75 years, is traditionally one for the sprinters, and exposes the peloton to a lot of wind on the mostly flat terrain. While all three stages feature climbs, none are ranked.
Thanks to the MTN-Qhubeka team for the race report.

Tour de Picardie Stage 2 Result:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar in 4:06:11
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
3. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
5. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Kristan Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
7. Davide Vigano (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
9. Andrea Francesco Palini (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille.

Tour de Picardie Overall After Stage 2:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar in 9:03:41
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
3. Sébastien Minard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:10
4. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:11
5. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:12
6. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
7. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:16
8. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
9. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
10. Kristan Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka.

Stage 2:

Stage 3: Kristian Sbaragli gave MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung another top ten finish, and was 12th overall at the Tour de Picardie (May 10-12 / UCI 2.1), the first race for the South African Continental team run by Tour de France organizer ASO. The young Italian sprinter finished 15th, sixth and seventh in the three stages of the race held in northern France. In the final ranking, he was only 26 seconds behind overall winner Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano).

As in the previous stage, an escape group dominated much of the stage, which ran 171km between Nanteuil-le-Haudouin and Soissons, but they were caught before the end and this stage too ended in a mass sprint. Kittel took the stage win, as he did in the first stage, this time ahead of Kenny Van Hummel and Danny Van Poppel, both of Vacansoleil-DCM. The two stage wins were enough to give Kittel the overall title, with stage two winner Bryan Coquard (Europcar) second and Van Hummel third.

The three-day race, which has been held for more than 75 years, is traditionally one for the sprinters, and exposes the peloton to a lot of wind on the mostly flat terrain. While all three stages feature climbs, none are ranked, and as this year, all traditionally end in mass sprints.
Thanks to the MTN-Qhubeka team

Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Lotto Belisol sports director: “We came to Picardie to win a stage. The first stage was perfect for Jürgen Roelandts, but because of a crash in the final he was alone with Sieberg. The next finishes suited him less. But Jürgen has returned well after his break following the classics. The same counts for Greg Henderson, who was in the long breakaway yesterday.”

“Each of our riders was riding on a high level, but we miss a stage win. We have had bad luck, today again with the crash of Tosh. But we don’t have to hide behind that. The lead-out today was very impressive and that is a good sign for what has yet to come. There is also other good news. Tim Wellens will get back in competition in the Tour of Norway which starts Wednesday.”

Tour de Picardie Stage 3 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 4:05:13
2. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM.
3. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
4. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
5. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
6. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun
7. Kristan Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
8. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
9. Yannick Martinez (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
10. Maxime Le Montagner (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole.

Tour de Picardie Final Overall Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 13:08:44
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar at 0:07
3. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:20
4. Sébastien Minard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
5. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:21
6. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:22
7. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
8. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Sojasun at 0:23
10. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille at 0:24.

Final stage 3:

Fuentes: Tells all?
Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes may tell all his secrets, at the right price. His lawyer has sent an email to different media outlets offering his story and which subjects he will talk about, including the names of clients in different sports. He has offered to give more details on his methods of doping and dodging the controls at major events. His legal team have said that nothing will be said before the appeals have been lodged in May, but that he has “received approaches from several media organisations offering money.”

UCI to Appeal Spanish Court Blood Bag Decision
The UCI have officially announced that it will appeal the decision of the Spanish judge Julia Santamaria to not release the 211 blood bags for analysis to discover who the athletes are. The UCI join the Spanish Cycling Federation, the Spanish Anti-Doping Organisation and WADA to appeal the decision. The bags will be destroyed under Spain’s privacy laws if the appeal fails, then it will be up to Dr. Fuentes to spill the beans. See above story.

Nordhaug Wants to Make a Good Showing in Home Race
The Blanco Pro Cycling Team will start the Glava Tour of Norway on Wednesday, 15 May, with a very motivated Lars Petter Nordhaug. “It’s going to be a very special race for me. Not only are we riding through my country, but right through my own region”, according to Nordhaug.

“The start of the third stage in in my birthplace of Tønsberg a couple hundred metres from my parent’s house. On top of that, that day is very special as we celebrate our national holiday on the 17th of May. Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to win that stage as it is a race for sprinters but perhaps I can help Theo Bos achieve victory”.
Last year, Nordhaug finished third in the general classification. The 28 year old hopes to stand on the podium again this year. “I hope I can book a good final classification again this year”.

Frans Maassen
In Norway, Sport Director Frans Maassen has a team at his disposal that can perform on various terrains. Condidering the diversity in the Scandanavian parcours, that should be very handy. In Theo Bos, he has a world class sprinter whilst Nordhaug, Lars Boom, Sep Vanmarcke, Bauke Mollema and Laurens ten Dam will do the heavy lifting. Maassen will take a day to day approach as to what the team can accomplish.

“We are going to look at each stage individually to see where our opportunities lie. With our multi-faceted team, I expect to play a part each and every day. In any case, that’s what we are aiming for”. Maassen has a motivated group of riders in his line-up. “The guys are chomping at the bit to race again, most of them have been relatively inactive. Moreover, Lars and Theo are just getting back respectively from a sinus operation and a fall in the Tour of Turkey. This race, in a beautiful country is an ideal opportunity not just for them but for the whole group to see exactly where we stand”.

The Glava Tour of Norway runs from Wednesday 15 May until Sunday 19 May.
Team line-up:
Lars Petter Nordhaug, Theo Bos, Graeme Brown, Lars Boom, Jos van Emden, Bauke Mollema, Sep Vanmarcke and Laurens ten Dam. Sport Director: Frans Maassen.

Orica-GreenEdge Safe Until 2016
Australian businessman and big cycling fan; Gerry Ryan and his Jayco Caravans has pledged to support the Orica-GreenEdge team until 2016. Ryan told the newspaper, the Sydney Morning Herald that the team were “in the midst of signing riders for two and three year contracts. So what does that say? Commitment. My commitment.”

First Dubai Tour in February
The Tour of Dubai, organised by RCS Sport (Giro d’Italia organisers), will be run from February the 5th to 8th 2014, a week before the Tour of Qatar which is organised by ASO (Tour de France organisers). RCS are expecting the race to be given HC status from the UCI, the same as Qatar and Oman. The organisers wish to have 70% of the field made up of ProTour teams and the rest ProConti, with hopefully some Asian teams.

Bobby Julich To Consult For BMC Racing Team
Press Release: Bobby Julich has been hired to consult for the BMC Racing Team in the areas of training, individual coaching, equipment testing and overall performance strategies, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Sunday.

Tapping His Experience
Julich will work closely with BMC Racing Team Performance Manager Allan Peiper and the performance team as part of a temporary assignment that could eventually lead to a more permanent position, Ochowicz said. “We are excited to have Bobby join our performance team and look forward to working with him,” Ochowicz said. Peiper said Julich brings a wealth of experience to the team at a crucial time of the season. “I am really excited with Bobby’s involvement and his ideas on coaching and on the streamlining of our training department,” Peiper said. Julich, who has worked with a number of teams since his retirement in 2008, said he is anxious to lend his expertise. “I love the sport of cycling and feel I have a lot to offer,” he said. “I’m really happy and excited the BMC Racing Team is giving me an opportunity to pass my experience along.”

Giro d’Italia: The Col du Galibier
The Giro d’Italia 2013 will climb one of the sacred mountains of cycling next Sunday: the Col du Galibier. Here is the video preview:

Along with the new web-site design we have a new section; NEWSWIRE, you can find it down the right hand side on the home page, just above the EuroTrash section. Basically you can read those bits of news that maybe didn’t make the deadline for EuroTrash Monday/Thursday or wasn’t big enough for a standalone article, there will also be press releases from teams, races, manufacturers and anything else we think you might want to know. NEWSWIRE won’t be taking anything away from the current sections, but will hopefully add to your PEZ enjoyment. New items will be posted as they come in to us at PEZ HQ, so come back for a regular check up!


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