What's Cool In Road Cycling

EuroTrash Monday!

The Vuelta a España has lived up to its reputation for excitement; six (Nibali twice) race leaders in nine stages. If you missed any of the action over the last few days we have it all here with the results, video and comments. It’s not all Spain, we also have the GP Ouest France-Plouay and the Worlds Ports Classic. Plus good news for Euskaltel. A busy EuroTrash Monday, café con leche señor?

***STOP PRESS***
Euskaltel Team Saved by F1 Alonso

It has been announced this morning (Thursday) that Formula 1 driver Ferdnando Alonso purchased the WorldTour license of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team. The team will be built around Samuel Sanchez and Igor Anton, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve and the Izaguirre brothers will stay with the team. Euskaltel will still be the main sponsor and Alonso will guarantee the €6 million. Alonso wants the team to give rider from his area of Asturias a chance and he is a big cycling fan.

TOP STORY: Is Everyone Behind Cookson?
This week Greg Lemond announced his support for Brian Cookson in his UCI presidency bid, and French cycling federation Honorary President Jean Pitallier says he will vote for the British predident. Lemond, the three time Tour de France winner, made his announcement at the EuroBike roadshow in Germany, said: “I have met and spent some time discussing with Brian about where cycling lost its way, how it lost its way, and what to do to bring the sport back to where it is not only a sport that leads by example, but a sport that inspires people once again.”

“I feel confident after meeting Brian that his interest is to bring honest and transparent leadership to a sport that so desperately needs it. My hope is Brian will be the one to bring all interested parties together to once and for all do what needed to be done years before, find solutions, both short term and long term, and to make it a priority that cycling comes first.”

“The choice between Pat McQuaid and Brian Cookson is, I believe a clear one: only Brian can deliver the change cycling needs.”

Talking of change here is Brian Cookson’s ten point plan for the future of cycling:

Restoring cycling’s credibility and properly dealing with cycling’s doping history so that sponsors and commercial partners can once again trust our sport.
Addressing real or perceived conflicts of interest surrounding Global Cycling Promotions (GCP) – a UCI subsidiary.
Reviewing the purpose and function of GCP so that it does more to develop cycling around the world to serve teams, athletes and event organisers.
Demonstrating the right leadership to create a positive environment for commercial partners to invest in cycling.
Developing a coherent commercial strategy for the UCI’s flagship events.
Evolving and developing cycling’s digital strategy and online presence.
Embracing innovation and supporting commercial growth across all cycling disciplines.
Empowering teams, athletes and race organisers through smarter governance and rule-making
Developing commercial interest in women’s cycling.
Further showcasing cycling at the Olympic and Paralympic Games and within the Olympic Movement.

It all sound very reasonable, but it is easy to say these things before you’re elected, I guess we will have to wait and see.

Vuelta a España 2013
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Tony “Panzerwagen” Martin showed his ability to time trial for an entire road stage on Thursday’s Stage 6. UCI World TT Champion Martin attacked just kilometres into the 174.3km Stage and no rider was able to bridge to him for the breakaway of the day.

Martin gained more than a 7 minute advantage just 26km into the stage. However, the peloton slowly reeled him back kilometre-by-kilometre. Martin refused to go down without perhaps one of the biggest, longest fights of his career. Martin had just a 15″ gap with 15km to go, and it seemed he would be caught well before the line for a predicted bunch sprint. But the German rider kept on fighting. The gap dropped to 8″ with less than 13km to go, but he somehow managed to hold his power and bring the gap back up to 15″ with 5.8km to go. Suddenly, it seemed Martin had a chance to make it to the line after an amazing battle in the wind.

Martin had a 9″ gap going into the final kilometre, and he refused to give up. The peloton fast approached behind him, with lead-out trains scrambling for position in case of a catch. Martin, despite an amazing effort, was caught within 30 meters of the finish line. He still managed a 7th place finish in the stage.

Michael Morkov (Saxo-Tinkoff) won the stage, with Maximiliano Richeze (Lampre-Merida) 2nd and Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard) 3rd. Gianni Meersman of OPQS was also just behind Martin, in 8th place.

Race Comments:
Michael Morkov: “Without Cancellara, we wouldn’t have caught Martin”

How much did your background as a track rider help you to win today? “I’ve been a world champion and an Olympic medallist on the track. I’ve not participated in bunch sprints before but I knew the circumstances of today’s finale were all right for me to use the speed I got from training and racing on the track. I had a bit of luck too. Without Fabian Cancellara’s chase, we wouldn’t have caught Tony Martin.”

Can you describe the finale? “I felt good in the last ten kilometres. I realized I had some kick left. It was a question of positioning in the field. I found the right spot behind Cancellara who did a long sprint and I used this kick with 200 metres to go. I had this amazing feeling that I could probably win. Indeed, it’s very special to make it.”

You’ve been a world champion on the track, you’re a national champion on the road, you’ve worn the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France, you’re known as an excellent domestique for Grand Tour riders like Alberto Contador. What’s left for you in cycling? “A lot! I can switch to mountain biking maybe… I’m an all rounder, but most of the time, I’ve not been happy to be an all rounder because it means not winning and it’s very nice to get a result once in a while. But I’m happy that I can compete in different kinds of events and my profession is still to be a domestique.”

How much did it hurt you to miss out on the selection for the Tour de France this year? “It hurt me because I was well prepared for racing. I was in my best shape ever. But we know the game. Part of it is not being selected. I just changed my focus to the Vuelta and now, I’m very happy about that. In the first part of this season, our team Saxo-Tinkoff was maybe not as successful in terms of victories as usual but the two wins we already got [also with Nicolas Roche on stage 2] bring a great morale in the squad.”

Rafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff): “It’s a wonderful victory, isn’t it? Michael (Morkov) has been a great track rider. He often tried to contest bunch sprints but it’s difficult to enter that world. I was sure he’d make it one day. He’s a fantastic team player. His victory pleases everyone in the team.”

Tristan Hoffman (Directeur sportif of Saxo-Tinkoff): “It’s all been planned at the team meeting this morning… No, joke apart, it’s a big surprise of course, but Michael Morkov has been in a great shape for weeks. He was strong at the Tour de Suisse, at the Danish championship, and he prepared for the Vuelta very well. He’s a very loyal person. He always put the team first. Even though it’s not been seen in the past few years, he has kept his speed from track cycling. The beginning of the Vuelta is ideal for us with two stage wins already and riders highly ranked on GC. It’s perfect.”

Stage 6 hero Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step): “I wasn’t trying to win the stage. I wanted to work hard for the world championship. I attacked from the gun hoping that two, three or four riders would come with me but nobody followed. As I was alone, I just had to wait and make a good finale. On the way, I thought: if I win, it’s great, if not, it’s a good training and we had Gianni Meersman in the peloton going for the bunch sprint. Maybe in the last ten kilometres, I’ve had in mind the possibility of winning. I was hoping a little bit but I knew it’d be hard because the very end was slightly uphill. I gave it a try and it was a good day at the end. Was it Fabian Cancellara pulling behind me? Well, as I often say, the boomerang always comes back.”

Runner up Max Richeze (Lampre-Merida): “I’m second again, that’s disappointing. Today I felt good, very strong… We’ve worked hard for winning but the finale was complicated and a bit dangerous. I positioned myself on the side of Fabian Cancellara. Unfortunately, the slightly uphill finish wasn’t to my taste. Most importantly, the good shape is there but I have to take profit of it. Hopefully it’ll be tomorrow… There are very few stages for sprinters at the Vuelta.”

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard), third: “It was an unexpected sprint, actually, and rather a strange day. Tony Martin was out all day and the sprinters’ teams needed to be working hard to bring him back. But in the end it was only two teams working. There was plenty of chaos with no one in total control. We were with Chris [Horner], Haimar [Zubeldia] and Robert [Kiserlovski] in the front and soon enough I realized it was going to be hard to bring him [Martin] back, but we were still up there in a good position. I felt pretty good and decided I might as well give it a try. I went too far out but as a non-sprinter, I think I reacted fairly well and put up a big sprint. It was a nice effort and it has boosted my confidence that there is good power in my legs.”

Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana): “We suffered a lot in the finale, so I preferred to work at the front with my team-mates in order to avoid problems and crashes.”

Marco Pinotti (BMC): “Tony Martin has made an intelligent move. He attacked from kilometre 0 from behind the judge’s car. I’ve ridden for two kilometres behind him but I didn’t manage to catch him. He almost made it because roundabouts at the end favoured a guy alone. Being at the front, he avoided troubles. He’s done something great! Hats off.”

Vuelta a España Stage 6 Result:
1. Michael Morkov (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff in 3:54:15
2. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
3. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
10. Graeme Brown (Aus) Belkin.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 6:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 22:38:07
2. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 0:03
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:08
4. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard at 0:16
5. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team at 0:21
6. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 0:26
7. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:28
8. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:31
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Team Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:38
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:42.

Stage 6:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Zdenek Stybar continued the aggressive tactics of the team in the 205.9 kilometre Stage 7 from Almendralejo to Mairena del Aljarafe on Friday, and this time the result was a magnificent victory by mere centimetres.

After the legendary effort of Tony Martin, on a 170-plus solo effort that was just meters short of a win in Stage 6, Stybar attacked inside the final 10 kilometres with UCI World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team). The two worked very well together, and the chase of the peloton was hindered by a technical parcour — including a roundabout before the flamme rouge. They had a 15″ advantage with 2km to go.

Stybar and Gilbert were able to hold off the peloton by just seconds to decide the stage. Stybar saw the approaching riders in the last meters and immediately launched his sprint rather than play cat-and-mouse off the front. Gilbert closed on him, but Styby did the maximum to hold off the Belgian rider. The stage came down to a hair-raising photo finish, with Stybar winning by less than a tire width in a bike throw.

Race Comments:
“It was really beautiful for me and all of the team,” Stybar said “After yesterday, with Tony Martin fighting so hard, we were so proud of him. He gave all of us such big morale. We were really motivated for the stage because of him. After 100km I told my sport director ‘hey, if there is some attack on the last climb I am going to try and if not, we can go for the sprint for Gianni or Andy’. I thought this was a good chance for me, but also a comfortable situation for the team because they wouldn’t have to pull for the sprint. I also knew the last 10km were really technical, which suited me and would be difficult for the group to catch a breakaway. It was really a perfect scenario. When I launched my sprint, I knew it was the place to go because I saw it the lap before. I couldn’t really launch it perfectly because I felt the bunch coming back. It doesn’t matter if I won by a centimetre or a millimetre. It’s not every day you win against the world champion, so I am really happy. I want to dedicate the victory to the team, but especially Tony. Yesterday was really painful for him and for the team. Tonight, for sure, we will celebrate and share this victory all together.”

What does it mean for you as a former cyclo-cross specialist to win a stage in a Grand Tour for the first time? “I won my first stage race and two stages, almost three, in the World Tour a few days ago at the Eneco Tour. But I hadn’t recovered when I came to the Vuelta. I was a little bit disappointed that we didn’t win the team time trial and I was suffering in the first few stages. I was hoping for a stage victory but I didn’t expect to make it so fast on the seventh day. As we always come to races with plans and hopes, it really means a lot to me to win a stage in a Grand Tour.”

Does it make it up for your missed opportunity at Paris-Roubaix? “No! Next year’s Paris-Roubaix is where I want to take my revenge.”

What do you have to say about your transition from cyclo-cross to road racing? “I’m really happy that every year, I make a small progression, but it’s been a really tough season for me so far. After Paris-Roubaix, my shape was good. I was disappointed but I closed the case. Then I had a surgery in my right knee that left me without any competition for four months. I was in a situation of being unable to plan anything, but the week prior to the Tour of Poland, I realized that everything was fine. I’m fresher than most of the other riders. To be able to score at Eneco Tour was an enormous satisfaction but most importantly it means that I continue my progression.”

Road racing being still kind of new to you, where do you see yourself in the future? Do you know your limits? “Sometimes like at the Eneco Tour, I still surprise myself. When I switched from cyclo-cross to road racing, it was with the goal of winning Spring classics. I want to reach my goals there before I think further. But I definitely feel that I’m on the right path.”

Runner up Philippe Gilbert (BMC): “The final loop was tricky with narrow roads. There was only trajectory and I took profit of the slipstream of a motorbike to escape from the peloton with [Zdenek] Stybar. We both contributed to the breakaway and he deserves his victory. He opened the sprint, I only moved up to his side at the very end but not early enough. I’m disappointed with the result. I miss winning but I’m finally happy with my condition. Good feelings are back after my crash at the Eneco Tour. It’s promising. I take the Vuelta day by day, trying to profit from the stages that suit me the most.”

Green jersey wearer Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge): “I sort of knew an attack was coming and I wasn’t surprised that Philippe Gilbert did it. But I didn’t expect that he’d stay away. My team did a really good job to lead me out. They gave 100% but we hope for better circumstances next time. I’ve had my first day in the green jersey and I’ll definitely try and defend it but it’ll be hard against the climbers. Normally, I think a climber has more chances than a sprinter to win the points classification but I’ll defend as much as I can.”

Adrien Petit (Cofidis), fourth: “Yesterday, I reproached to myself to not have opened my sprint before I got boxed in. Today, I’ve got no regrets. I’ve finally been able to sprint flat out. I prefer that Stybar and Gilbert stayed away than having finished second behind [Robert] Wagner. This is my first Grand Tour. This might be a significant result but it’s not a win yet.”

Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard, leaders of the teams’ classification): “It’s been a perfect first week for us. Yesterday, I didn’t chase the breakaway rider because he was [time trial arch rival] Tony Martin. I always race for winning, not to enjoy other things. If I feel good, I go for the sprints. I’m not here for winning the time trial of the Vuelta but to prepare for the time trial of the world championship.”

Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Fabrizio Ruidi: “It was a long and hot day with a pretty technically demanding finale but everything went smooth for us today and we managed to stay in the front of the bunch until the very finale. Tomorrow’s stage takes us to another uphill finish and I’m looking forward to seeing in what condition the boys are in after the first week of racing and I hope we’re ready for the challenge.”

Vuelta a España Stage 7 Result:
1. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 4:51:27
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
3. Robert Wagner (Ger) Belkin at 0:01
4. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
5. Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
8. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
9. Klaas Lodewyck (Bel) BMC
10. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Argos-Shimano.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 7:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 27:29:35
2. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard Trek at 0:03
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:08
4. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard Trek at 0:16
5. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:21
6. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard Trek at 0:26
7. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:28
8. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:31
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:38
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:42.

Stage 7:

The day after his compatriot Zdenek Stybar’s amazing victory, Leopold König of wild-card team NetApp-Endura created a bit of a surprise as he emerged a stage winner atop the Alto de Peñas Blancas in Estepona on Stage 8. He preceded Dani Moreno (Katusha) and Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff) who took the lead over from Vincenzo Nibali.

The German team deserve their award as they rode hard behind the breakaway formed at km 34 by Dario Cataldo (Sky), Kevin De Weert (OPQS), Ben Gastauer (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Rafael Valls Ferri (Vacansoleil-DCM), Francis De Greef (Lotto Belisol), Jorge Azanza (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp), Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura), Thierry Hupond (Argos-Shimano), Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge), Matthew Busche (RadioShack Leopard), Dominik Nerz (BMC), Antonio Piedra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Beñat Intxausti (Movistar). On purpose, Huzarski who was the highest ranked rider overall awaited the peloton.

The time gap was stabilized around four minutes at the feed zone (km 94). It went down to less than a minute at the bottom of the climb. Cataldo, Nerz and Valls were the last attackers to surrender while the peloton was mainly led by the RadioShack-Leopard team. Two of the favorites got dropped eight kilometers from the top: Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Bauke Mollema (Belkin). Igor Anton (Euskaltel) attacked solo with 4.7km to go. The Basque climber got caught in the last kilometer of racing by König who went on to win the stage in a brilliant way. Roche reacted at the right time and escaped from the trio of the hot favorites (Nibali, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez) to cross the line in third place and take the first leader’s jersey of his career in a Grand Tour.

Race Comments:
Some questions for the new race leader Nico Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff):
Can you describe the way you got the red jersey? “There was an opportunity to attack in the last two kilometres. It was the ideal moment. I was at the front with very strong guys: Ivan Basso, Thibaut Pinot and Daniel Moreno. I wasn’t thinking of winning the stage, I only had the red jersey in mind. I’ve never worn a leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour before. I was only eight seconds down. It was so little. I had to go for it. I gave everything. It’s mission accomplished. It makes me very happy.”

What’s your plan for the coming stages? Are you going to defend until Madrid? “It would be very optimistic to say that I’m going to defend until Madrid. It’s tight. I hope to get more opportunities like that but for now, I want to enjoy and celebrate with my team. It’s been an incredible week for me with my first stage win in a Grand Tour, my first leader’s jersey. Tomorrow it’ll be a different stage for different kind of riders but Monday’s stage is a very difficult one. Shall I wear the red jersey for three days, it would already be a lot.”

What’s your impression about your rivals after this climb that has been very fast? “I’ve been surprised by the speed. I thought it would be steeper even though the road book announced gradients from 6 to 8%. Power was needed. Ivan Basso is really strong. Chris Horner, Vincenzo Nibali, [Alejandro] Valverde, [Joaquim] Rodriguez and a few others are up there. At the beginning of the Vuelta, favorites tend to watch each other, so we’ll have to wait for Monday’s stage and the finish atop the Alto de Hazallanas to find out exactly where we’re at.”

Stage winner Leopold König (NetApp-Endura): “I already reached my first goal as I started the Vuelta. This is my first Grand Tour. I’ve reached my second goal as I won today’s stage. That was a dream. Everyone at NetApp-Endura put efforts in order for me to win. I placed a first attack with 2km to go but Basso and a few more came across. I recovered a little bit and I set a steady pace when found myself away again. When I’ve seen Anton ahead of me, I accelerated and gave everything to win the stage. It’s quite surprising. Now that this is done, I can envisage a top ten overall finish as we mentioned before the start of the Vuelta.”

Second on the stage Dani Moreno (Katusha):“Unfortunately in the final part I wasn’t able to catch Konig,” said the Spanish rider, “but I have to admit I was full gas so I did my best. RadioShack Leopard team kept a great pace from the beginning, then Basso attacked in the final part and he was incredibly strong. I think he’s in a great shape and he will be one of the protagonist of this competition. Anyways, both Purito and me have good feelings too, and we make a parallel race in order to take advantage of every chance we can take. Tomorrow in Valdepenas de Jaen there will be another stage suitable to Joaquim and me, and we want to take a good result.”

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha): “Today was quite a calm stage – said Rodriguez – in the end Moreno went with the group of Basso and I stayed with the other favourites, Valverde and Nibali. In the last meters, both Alejandro and me decided to attack in order to gain some seconds. I know very well tomorrow’s stage, since I won in Valdepenas in 2011: it’s a very demanding climbing, suitable to my characteristics; I have good feelings so I will try something for sure. But it won’t be easy because all the other favourites proved today to be in a good shape: it wasn’t such a hard stage, nobody could mark a great difference, but the final part was difficult and everybody proved they can stay ahead.”

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I would have liked to contest the stage win, but they were strong at the front and timed their attack perfectly, while we were looking at each other. I tried to counter with 400m remaining, but it was impossible to chase them down. We just have to congratulate König and stay happy with this result, because we were able to put some seconds on Nibali. It’s true that we three, Nibali, Purito and myself, are watching each other – Joaquim couldn’t attack because he had Dani at the front. We’ll see what happens on Monday, with a really hard stage that should offer more chances. I’m still feeling strong. I don’t know if Astana wanted to give up on the race leadership or not, but it’s true that having the red jersey creates more tension, and also some extra work out of the race with the podium ceremony, the antidoping control…”

Bauke Mollema (Belkin):“At the beginning of the stage and at the foot of the final climb, I already felt my legs weren’t at their best. When I was dropped, I started riding my own pace. In the last kilometres, I was able to accelerate and take back some time. It’s a pity I lose this much time because the whole week I’ve felt good. But well, tomorrow is another day.”

Vuelta a España Stage 8 Result:
1. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura in 4:09:46
2. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:01
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:05
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
5. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale
6. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:08
7. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:13
8. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:19
9. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
10. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:23.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 8:
1. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff in 31:39:30
2. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard Trek at 0:17
3. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:18
5. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura at 0:29
6. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard Trek at 0:30
7. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:31
8. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:42
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:52
10. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 1:03.

Stage 8:

Katusha’s Dani Moreno has doubled up after his first success on Stage 4 at Fisterra as he also claimed stage 9, a mythical one at the Vuelta with the spectacular uphill finish at Valdepeñas de Jaén. The Spaniard attacked at the bottom of the climb and was protected by his team-mate Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez who won at the same place two years ago and marked Alejandro Valverde closely. Moreno said in the morning that his dream was to take the red jersey. He made it a reality with only second lead over Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff).

At km 1, Johny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Luke Rowe (Sky) initiated a breakaway. They were reinforced by a trio made of Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Anthony Roux (FDJ).

The time gap was 6.27 at km 27. As BMC had ambitions for world champion Philippe Gilbert, they set the pace at the head of the peloton with the help of Katusha later on but on the other hand, the Saxo-Tinkoff team of race leader Nicolas Roche opted for a passive strategy as they preferred time bonus to be taken at the end by breakaway riders rather than being up for grabs for arch-rival Moreno.

At km 135, six kilometres before the ascent to Alto de Los Frailes, the difference was down to 18 seconds. Aramendia continued by himself and paved the way for an attack by his team-mate Amets Txurruka. Croatian national champion Robert Kiserlovski (RadioShack Leopard) was next in action. Then Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) went and passed first atop the climb ahead of Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) who dreams of wearing the blue polka dot jersey. Katusha ruined the hopes of the Norwegian and reeled him at the entrance of Valdepeñas de Jaén.

Ivan Basso (Cannondale) started the climb strongly but Moreno made a break down to his right side and that was it. The Spaniard was away for good. His compatriot Valverde (Movistar) couldn’t catch him as he was put under pressure by Rodriguez. Roche came home in fourth position but one second too late to retain the red jersey.

Race Comments:
Stage winner and new overall leader Dani Moreno : “I’ll defend the red jersey but not crazily.”

Do you think you have made an important difference today? “In this case, I don’t think so. It was a finale that required a lot of power and energy but I got a more important profit over the likes of Vincenzo Nibali yesterday. The other good news today is that Purito has moved back up on GC.”

Are you surprised that you already have made it up for the time [59 seconds] lost on day 1 in the team time trial? “I struggled a bit in that stage, especially in a hill towards the end. We needed to be five riders finishing together. But we limited the damage. I don’t think it was a too bad performance from us. That’s why we could compensate the loss in the uphill finishes.”

Do you have the impression that you’re a solid leader now? “Slowly, I’ve moved into the lead but the last week is going to be hard. Having the red jersey now doesn’t change anything for me. I deserve it today and I’ll defend it but not crazily. Tomorrow, Ivan Basso can be very strong for example. Anything can happen. Purito and Nibali have the endurance. They know how to handle the distance over three weeks. It’s a really long race with very strong riders.”

What did you do between the Tour de France and the Vuelta? “I rested for eight days at home near Madrid, then I spent a week in Sierra Nevada and three weeks training in Andorra. The altitude made me strong.”

Former race leader Nicolas Roche (Saxo-Tinkoff): “I was afraid of this scenario. Dani Moreno showed in the last few days that he can finish fast. He didn’t come out of shadow. He has won world class races before. I wasn’t hoping for that but I thought it might happen. That’s why we didn’t chase the breakaway down as we preferred not to give Moreno a chance to get some time bonus. Today I’m a bit sad to lose the red jersey but yesterday was wonderful. Every day is different. Remember that last year, the Vuelta completely changed with four days to go. Hopefully I can do a good time trial. I lose the lead for one second but I haven’t had a bad stage today. I finish fourth. I was already 5th and 6th the last two times here at Valdepeñas de Jaén. At some stage, I saved as much energy as I could thinking of the last climb. But I don’t want to be satisfied with myself too soon. I might lose in minutes what I gained in seconds today over some adversaries. It’s always hard for a rider who has done the Tour de France to know how long the form will last at the Vuelta. The last week might be a complete different story.” Roche added : “It was a nasty uphill finish but I think I did a good job finishing fourth as this climb is for the specialists. Naturally, I’m a little disappointed about losing the jersey with one second but it’s no disaster for us. The race is long and many opportunities ahead of us.”

Runner up Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It was a really hard finish and we could tackle it in the best of ways. The team worked hard into the penultimate climb to keep all attacks close, and Katusha also put some riders at the front to complete the chase. Dani went really strong, I hesitated for a bit, and when I wanted to react, it was impossible to get to his wheel. Dani is, together with Purito, the best rider in such finishes, an amazing rider – hats off to him, they proved to be in really great condition. It seems like the story is up to the two of them and myself in these uphill sprints, but there’s still a long way to go in the race. Even though Dani is also gaining time, we get some seconds day after day and we’re happy with that. The real mountains will start tomorrow – it will be quite a harder stage than the previous ones and we’ll see how we really feel.”

Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale), sixth: “It’s impossible to beat Dani Moreno in this kind of stage! He’s the strongest in the bunch. Uphill, I focused on Valverde. I gave everything with 300 metres to go and I came closer to the front to finish sixth. I couldn’t do better.”

Philippe Gilbert (BMC), eighth: “That was hard! Moreno was my team-mate a few years ago at Lotto. He has improved so much that he’s a leader now. I think he has learnt a lot through the years. When he attacked, nobody could follow him. I’ve put an enormous effort in the chase to Valverde and Purito 150 metres before the line but I had forgotten how steep the last section was and I blew.”

Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky), ninth on GC: “It’s been a complicated day [33rd at 49 seconds] but I’m still up there, more or less. I need to recover and make it up tomorrow for the time I lost today.”

Vuelta a España Stage 9 Result:
1. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha in 4:18:57
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:04
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:08
5. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:09
6. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:13
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Argos-Shimano
10. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:15.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 9:
1. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha in 35:58:34
2. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:01
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:20
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:22
5. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard Trek at 0:28
6. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:56
7. Leopold Konig (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura at 1:09
8. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard Trek at 1:10
9. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 1:24
10. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) BMC at 1:26.

Stage 9:

Worlds Ports Classic 2013
Belgian Jelle Wallays (TopSport Vlaanderen-Baloise), the lone survivor of a five-man breakaway, took a solo win in Rotterdam at the end of the first stage of the 2013 World Ports Classic. In one fell swoop, the 24-year-old Flemish rider and 2010 Paris-Tours Espoirs champion got his first pro win and pulled on the blue jersey as the leader of the general classification.

The sun shone above the heads of Antwerp mayor, Bart De Wever, and his Rotterdam counterpart, Ahmed Aboutaleb, as they kicked off the second edition of the World Ports Classic in front of Antwerp’s Museum aan de Stroom this morning. Although today’s 165 km stage to Rotterdam presented no major difficulties, it did have four cobbled sectors for the Northern classic specialists in the 138-strong peloton to make their move.

The high pace set by André Greipel’s Lotto-Belisol teammates from the start deterred potential adventurers from trying their luck in the first few kilometres and ensured the bunch reached the first intermediate sprint in Brecht (km 15.5) together. Sparks flew as Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Alessandro Petacchi came out on top ahead of Greipel and Belkin’s Renshaw. The veteran Italian (39 years old) snapped up a 3-second time bonus which could well prove decisive in the general classification.

The kilometres after the intermediate sprint saw a flurry of attacks at the front of the race, but it was not until km 44.5 that five men managed to sneak away from the pack. The escapees, Belgians Kenneth Van Bilsen & Jelle Wallays (TopSport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Kevin Van Melsen (Accent Jobs-Wanty), Dutchman Reinier Honig (Crelan-Euphony) and American Rathe (Garmin-Sharp), held a 2′15″ gap at the first cobbled sector in Galder (km 63). Shortly after the Rijsbergen feeding zone (km 71.5), the five breakaways were forced to stop due to an open bascule bridge, but the wheel of fortune turned back in their favour when their advantage ballooned to 4′45″ due to a signalling error.

Meanwhile, in the main field, Bryan Coquard hit the deck at km 122, as alarm bells started ringing and the sprinters’ teams, with Omega Pharma – Quick-Step and Lotto Belisol at the fore, injected considerable urgency into the pursuit, breaking the peloton into two parts. The bunch soon regrouped and was just 1′15″ behind the five escapees with 25 km to go, when Jelle Wallays launched a well-placed attack to which his breakaway companions had no answer. The young Belgian held his ground and still had a 1′25″ gap with 10 km to go. He did not falter in the last few kilometres and took a solo win in Rotterdam, inaugurating his professional palmarès. André Greipel and Alessandro Petacchi led the peloton home 26 seconds back.

“It was a strange stage because the break was led in the wrong direction, while the field did the original route and the breakaway therefore got a huge advantage in the finale. However, Wallays did a very strong finale and regardless of the precarious situation, he was very hard to catch for the sprinters. Our boys put Johnny in a really good position in the sprint and I think a fifth place in this tough company is satisfying. Tomorrow’s stage is probably a sprinter stage but in the cross wind anything can happen, “said Saxo-Tinkoff’s sports director, Steven De Jongh.
Thanks to ASO for race info.

Worlds Ports Classic Stage 1 Result:
1. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 3:32:33
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:26
3. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff
6. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
7. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
8. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Accent Jobs-Wanty.

Worlds Ports Classic Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 3:32:23
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:28
3. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:29
4. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:33
5. Reinier Honig (Ned) Crelan-Euphony at 0:34
6. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:35
7. Kenny Robert van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:36
8. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff
9. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
10. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.

Stage 1 by CYCLING TV:

ports-620
Photo:ASO.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Nikolas Maes maintained contact with a 16 rider lead group in a highly active 195km Stage 2 of World Ports Classic, which was completely blown apart due to wind and aggressive tactics. Maes was rewarded for his hard work with the overall victory.

Race leader Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) was caught in a group minutes behind the lead group, meaning several riders in that group could win the overall. While Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin) attacked in the final kilometres and won the stage solo, Maes won the overall by 2 seconds by finishing 3rd. Frederique Robert (Lotto Belisol) was 2nd.

Maes also won the green jersey for the points classification. World Ports Classic was the first GC win for Maes in his professional career. Furthermore, OPQS won the overall in the two years World Ports Classic was held.

OPQS did much of the work splitting up the field, with riders pushing themselves to the limit throughout the race. The overall victory of Maes was the result of great teamwork.

“We built up this victory in two days of a great job with the team,” Maes said. “Yesterday we tried with Alessandro Petacchi. We worked for him for the sprint, but there was another guy in the front, Jelle Wallays. So this morning we tried again to go for Peta. The team really was involved in every moment of the race. At 30 kilometres and 90 kilometres for example, we tried to split the group. But it was not the wind we were expecting. So it was really difficult to split the best in the GC. In the final there was Lars Bak (Lotto Belisol) on the attack and we were behind with four riders. Wilfried Peeters from the car told me to attack and try to enter in an eventual breakaway. I went on the attack with 15 guys but I was the only one on the team. He told me not to ride and wait for the sprint. I sat on wheels the rest of the race waiting for the right moment and hoping also to win the stage. I suppose that Maarten Tjallingii (Belkin) could have been caught, but it wasn’t the case. I went for the sprint. I did a long sprint and Frederique Robert (Lotto Belisol) just passed me at the finish line. When this happened I was afraid I didn’t win the race, but after the finish someone on the team told me Robert was far behind the day before, and so I was the winner. I am really happy and I have to thank the team. They rode like hell today. In this team everyone helps each other and when you have your chance you can count on this great team to support you. Now I am in good condition. I have still a few races in front of me on my program. I will do my best to make the best out of my condition.”

After a 20 kilometres solo, Maarten Tjallingii won the stage after he decided that the best shot he had for the victory was an early attack. And he was right. “The collaboration in the break was not good, and with 20 kilometres to go, I thought, ‘I’m just going to give it a try,” said Tjallingii. “I quickly took twenty seconds and thought that if the wind was in my favour, I really had a chance.”

The wind turned out to be in his favour. Cranking away in his big ring, Tjallingii arrived at the line in Antwerp with a three-second lead on the other attackers. “With two kilometres to go, I had ten seconds,” Tjallingii explained. “That’s when I really started believing in the win. Under the red flag, they were still quite far behind. At the moment, I started sprinting and was able to hold on to my lead.”

The victory came as a surprise to Tjallingii, who did not feel well during Friday’s first stage. “Yesterday I was thinking about abandoning. You can hear it in my voice, I’m still not one hundred per cent. That’s why I lost some time yesterday,” Tjallingii added. “I’m glad I pulled through, this is my best victory in a long time. I want to dedicate it to my son. He told me this morning, ‘Do well on the bike, Dad!”

Worlds Ports Classic Stage 2 Result:
1. Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Belkin at 3:55:12
2. Frederique Robert (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:03
3. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
5. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
6. Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Maarten Wynants (Bel) Belkin
8. Roy Curvers (Ned) Argos-Shimano
9. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff
10. Reinier Honig (Ned) Crelan-Euphony

Worlds Ports Classic Final Overall Result:
1. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 7:28:10
2. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:02
3. Reinier Honig (Ned) Crelan-Euphony
4. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha at 0:03
5. Roy Curvers (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 0:04
6. Wouter Mol (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis
8. Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto Belisol
9. Marko Kump (Slo) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:15
10. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:30.

Stage 2:

Maes WPC 2
Photo:OPQS Team.

GP Ouest France-Plouay 2013
The GP Plouay smiled on Lampre-Merida and especially on Filippo Pozzato who took the sprint ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (RadioShack Leopard Trek) and Samuel Dumoulin of Ag2r-La Mondiale) in third. Four riders escaped on the first lap of the French circuit and built up a lead of 16:30. In the penultimate of nine laps attacks in the background were numerous. Among others Lotto Belisol riders Dirk Bellemakers and Jürgen Roelandts showed themselves. On the Côte de Ty-Marrec, a climb of four kilometers from the finish line, the escapees were caught. A compact peloton entered the final lap.

An attack of Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano) came to an end when Lotto Belisol took control. When Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) took off 13.5 km from the end Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) responded. Kristijan Koren (Cannondale) joined the duo. They never got big gap. With five kilometers left the break with Wellens was caught. It was an animated final phase with attacks of Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). Roelandts was very attentive in the front rows of the chase. In the last meters Van Avermaet was reeled in and Filippo Pozzato was well placed by his team for the sprint.

The winner Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida): “Today we ran like a really great team, and always in the front, careful not to leave numerous leaks. We knew that a sprint that started early today would have been very difficult to win. I preferred to stay until the last in the wake of my opponents along the straight downhill final, and then hold my sprint until the finish line. I’m really happy to be able to win a race this important, both for the team, the Galbusera Family and our second sponsor Merida. After the great sacrifices that I had to endure in recent months I think with this victory I can repay in part myself, now ahead without having to set limits until the end of the season.”

Second was RadioShack Leopard’s Giacomo Nizzolo: “Second is nice but first is better. When someone passes you so close to the finish, it sucks. I felt really good today but because of the crash we missed some guys in the last lap so that wasn’t good for us. In the last lap I tried to follow the attacks and found myself between the attackers and the bunch. I spent too much energy there, I believe. I waited for the field and we brought back the front group.”
BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet was away until less than 1km to go, and then the sprinters went to work for the final.
Nizzolo continued: “Tony helped me out in the last kilometres. I started my sprint a bit early because last year I was too late. It’s a tricky finish here and very easy to get boxed in. But at five or ten meters to go, Pozzato passed me. My performance was super today but the result is not so good. I mean, only winning counts. If you get beaten by someone who was clearly faster than you, you can live with it. This is a lot harder.” Taking third place was Samuel Dumoulin of Ag2r-La Mondiale.

Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol): “Unfortunately it wasn’t a podium place, it was only a difference of about four centimetres with the third place, but I’m pretty satisfied with this result. After the Tour, which I rode with a broken rib, it went a bit less. In the Eneco Tour I noticed some improvement and then today this. The condition is going upwards.”

“Bellemakers did place us good in the front in the final and Wellens set me in a comfortable position by going in the break. In the final phase I could join a group of six together with Leukemans, there were two guys of BMC. The peloton wasn’t that far behind us and that moment I decided to sprint. When we were caught with one and a half kilometre to go, I came in the wheel of Nizzolo with 600 meters to go. He took off pretty early and I could follow. But I couldn’t pass him, because of that attack before I didn’t have enough power; that probably was the difference between the fourth and third place. Of course cycling isn’t an exact science.”

GP Ouest France-Plouay Result:
1. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 5:59:54
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard Trek
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
4. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Saxo-Tinkoff
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
7. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
8. Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar
9. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana
10. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano.

Plouay race action:

Dale Stetina in Critical Condition
Ex-US national champion and Olympic rider was involved in an accident on Saturday while cycling. He was with a local Boulder, Colorado group. A Jeep cut across their path and Stetina fell heavily on his face, he was air lifted by helicopter. Steve Tilford released an email stating: “Today as we descended from Ward in Left Hand Canyon, Dale was involved in a serious bicycle accident that was caused by a vehicle pulling onto the road as he descended towards it.”

“Dale did not hit the car, but hit the pavement, landing face first, suffering significant facial and ocular damage, and loss of responsiveness. EMTs were on the scene rapidly, he received good care. He was flown to Boulder Community Hospital in a Flight for Life helicopter. He is there now in ICU.”

“The CatScan diagnosis revealed brain stem injuries. The neurosurgeon describes the injuries as very serious. Dale is in tough shape. The future of Dale’s recovery is not known at this time, the doctors have offered no predictions. His vital signs are stable given the trauma he encountered. We are all hopeful.”

Dale’s son; Peter should have riden the GP Plouay on Sunday but did not start.

Acevedo & Poels to OPQS
The Omega Pharma-Quick Step confirms two more signings, Dutchman Wouter Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) and the Colombian Janier Acevedo (Jamis) for 2014 and 2015, respectively.

“Poels (26 years) will be important to strengthen our team in the Ardennes Classics like Liege and Amstel”, said CEO Patrick Lefevere of OPQS. “He also has the ability to shine in short stage races. I believe in their quality and they can grow and develop further, seeking their possibilities within our team.”

The Colombian (27 years), meanwhile, has shone in the American calendar, won a stage in the Tour of California and finished third, same as in the Tour of Utah, was second in the Tour of Gila after winning a stage, and recently won a stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado and finished fourth.

“Acevedo is another step in the development of our group of athletes for great returns,” said Lefevere. “Acevedo Rigoberto Uran will be maintained in the races in which Rigoberto is the leader, and also has the ability to play his cards as he did this year.”

2013 Tour of Alberta: City Television to air documentary on Making the Tour
Press Release: Edmonton, Alberta Canada … At 6:00 p.m. Monday, September 2, 2013, cycling fans and soon-to-be cycling fans will get a behind-the-scenes look at both what it takes to organize a major international sporting event like the 2013 Tour of Alberta, as well as what it takes to be able to compete in it.

Making the Tour is a 30-minute documentary produced by City Television in Edmonton that offers a unique look at what it takes to both plan – and compete – in Canada’s first major professional pro cycling stage race, the 2013 Tour of Alberta from September 3 to 8, 2013.

The program includes interviews with Tour of Alberta organizers, and representatives of the 10 communities involved in hosting the event in its inaugural year.

The program also includes the personal story of 20-year-old Kristopher Dahl, of Calgary, who earned a spot on one of the teams – Team SmartStop p/b Mountain Khakis – by winning the under 23 group in the 2013 Banff Lake Louise Bikefest in June 2013. Through interviews with Dahl and his family, cycling fans will see what is required in terms of training, commitment and determination to make it as a pro cyclist.

City’s Making the Tour airs on City Television in Edmonton and Calgary at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, September 2, 2013.

For more information, go to www.citytv.com/edmonton/

For more information on the Tour of Alberta, go to www.tourofalberta.ca. Follow the race on Facebook at TourofAlberta, or on Twitter @TourofAlberta/#tourofalberta.

Congratulations Nico Roche
Nicolas Roche came close to taking the Yellow jersey at the Tour de France and he was so close to the lead in Spain until Saturday’s stage 8. He was clever to follow the action and move into the Red jersey. He lost it again (by 1 second) the next day, but you still have to be happy for the guy. Here is the what happened after his win on stage 2 back at the Saxo-Tinkoff team hotel:

The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it down the right hand side on the home page, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.

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