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EuroTrash Thursday!

Paris-Roubaix is behind us now, but there was a lot of action you might have missed, so today’s TOP STORY is a video catch-up from the cobbles. Two races in the last two days in Camembert and Brabantse; results, rider reactions and Video. A bit of doping, Amstel, Giro del Trentino, Castilla y Leon and some team news. The weekend is nearly here, feet up on the desk and coffee in hand: EuroTrash Thursday!

TOP STORY: Paris-Roubaix Video Catch-Up!
Now that the dust has settled, literally, on this year’s Paris-Roubaix, here are some of the bits of video that you might have missed from the cobbled Classic.

Spartacus Speaks
After his third Paris-Roubaix; Fabian Cancellara gives his thought on his most hardest fought win on the cobbles.

And Spartacus Crashes
Yes, Fabian Cancellara crashed on the road to Roubaix, luckily not on Sunday, but during his recognisance ride earlier in the week. It didn’t slow him on race day, but it still looked like it hurt!

Offredo Only Breaks Fingers
In a stupid piece of riding, FDJ’s Yoann Offredo was too busy looking behind him to see the road sign in the middle of the road, by the time he realised he was on a crash course with the arrow it was too late, plus it also looked like he wasn’t sure which way to go. He has broken fingers and injuries to his chin, knees and ribs; it is unknown when he can return to racing.

Paris-Roubaix – The Many Faces Of Hell
A truly hard effort by the men from Blanco Pro Cycling Team in the ‘Hell of the North’ as shown by their faces after 254 km of racing including 27 sectors, totaling 53 km of cobbles. Paris-Roubaix is the Queen of the Classics and Blanco rider Sep Vanmarcke was almost crowned King of the Cobbles.

Orica-GreenEdge: Backstage Pass at Roubaix
One of the biggest and hardest sporting events in the world the Paris-Roubaix. It was a fast race from the start with Orica-GreenEdge rider Stuart O’Grady getting in a mid race breakaway of four riders. Sebastian Langeveld continued his successful classics campaign with a 7th place on the day. Go behind the scenes with Backstage Pass for all the bumps, crashes and drama from the 2013 Paris-Roubaix.

Behind the Scenes with Shimano
Shimano Race TV goes behind the scenes in this epic movie with beautiful shots before and during Paris Roubaix.

De Brabantse Pijl – La Fleche Brabançonne 2013
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) got the better of World Champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) at the end of the 200 kilometre long battle from Leuven to Overijse. The decisive move of the day came on the final lap with 12 kilometres to go: Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol), Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Stijn Devolder (RadioShack Leopard), Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Davide Malacarne (Europcar) and Paul Voss (Team NetApp-Endura) were already away and they were joined by Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Philippe Gilbert & Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano) to give a strong eleven man lead group. At the base of the finishing climb of the Schavei; Van Avermaet and Maes attacked to soften the group, then the main men made their move, Sagan, Gilbert with Björn Leukemans holding the champions wheel. Gilbert went for a hard effort to the line, but Sagan piped the World champion in the last meters.

Sagan sprinted around Gilbert’s left shoulder in the final meters to take the win the 199.9-kilometer race. “I was confident for the sprint because I was already on his wheel the last five kilometres and I was very focused,” Gilbert said. “It was so close.” Winner of this race in 2011 and runner-up in 2008, Gilbert had received help from teammate Greg Van Avermaet to launch an attack with 18 km to go that split the peloton. With Gilbert marking Sagan in the final two kilometres, Van Avermaet followed a move by Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) before launching his own attack. But the fourth-place finisher at Paris-Roubaix was caught and passed on the final climb, setting up the sprint between Gilbert and Sagan. Björn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) finished third, three seconds later.

The result was Gilbert’s second runner-up finish of the season, adding to the same placing in a bunch sprint finish on Stage 6 at Paris-Nice last month. “It is always better to win, but we did a great race and we played our cards in the final,” Gilbert said. “It also gives a lot of confidence to the team and to myself as well. But it’s always better to win, for sure.” Van Avermaet would go on to place sixth, 12 seconds back, while teammate Danilo Wyss was 15th. “At the beginning of the race, I wasn’t feeling so good,” Van Avermaet said. “But after I attacked with Philippe on my wheel, I still had good legs. We did some good teamwork to attack there.”

BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said the teamwork that was on display to set up the decisive moves of the race bodes well leading into the first of the Ardennes classics, Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. “Guys like Martin Kohler, Klaas Lodewyck, Danilo Wyss and Adam Blythe did a heck of a job protecting Phil and Greg and then launching them with two laps to go,” he said. “I was really happy with what I saw today. We maybe didn’t win, but most important is to come out of this race with confidence. We also showed we made the right choice to have Greg race here and at Paris-Roubaix and for Philippe to skip the Tour of Flanders and come here with good preparation from País Vasco.”

“When Nicki tried to bridge the gap the first time, he had a puncture shortly before obtaining contact. Then he had to wait for the field to pass before he could get a new wheel. He’s up on the bike again in no time and he passes the field to launch yet another attack and is only 8 seconds behind the escapees before they start attacking each other. Nicki was clearly one of the strongest in the bunch and it’s such a shame that he’s not allowed to turn that fact into a result,” said Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Fabrizio Guidi after the race.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Nicki Sørensen comments: “I’m extremely disappointed that I didn’t make it up there the first time I tried. I know that if I hadn’t had that puncture, I would have bridged the gap. As I tried again, I knew it was going to be difficult as there was a strong headwind and there were a lot of guys up there in the break. However, with this form I’m very motivated to do the coming Ardennes Classics,” said a disappointed Nicki Sørensen.

Kenny Dehaes: “The Brabantse Pijl is a home game for me, I am from Sint-Genesius-Rode. Because I thought I wouldn’t be able to follow in the final, I decided to go along in the breakaway. I saw my supporters standing at the side of the road, that was nice. We understood each other well in the breakaway. When Devolder and Leukemans closed the gap different riders of the early escape got dropped; I decided to hold on. Also when Gilbert, Sagan and Van Avermaet joined us I did, I knew I was going to set a beautiful result. I look back on this race with much satisfaction.”

Björn Leukemans: “I can accept this result, especially if you’ve done Roubaix and you’re not completely recovered from that one and run into the world champion and Sagan who both didn’t race Roubaix. I was just sitting on their wheel but he, Sagan, accelerated so fast. I quickly told myself to focus on the podium. That’s why I went full gas over Van Avermaet, making sure I stayed ahead of him.”

De Brabantse Pijl – La Fleche Brabançonne Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 4:45:05
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
3. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:04
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:09
5. Simon Geschke (Ger) Argos-Shimano
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:11
7. Davide Malacarne (Ita) Europcar at 0:17
8. Stijn Devolder (Bel) RadioShack Leopard at 0:19
9. Paul Voss (Ger) Team NetApp-Endura at 0:22
10. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:25.

De Brabantse Pijl – La Flèche Brabançonne 2013 – Final kilometers:

Paris-Camembert 2013
Tuesday was wet and cold, but it didn’t slow Pierrick Fédrigo (FDJ) who won the 74th edition of the Paris-Camembert French semi-Classic by outsprinting his three break away companions. Earlier in the day Guillaume Bonnafond (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Pierrick Quéméneur (Europcar), Fabien Schmidt (Sojasun), Alexandre Blain & Rob Britton (Raleigh), Kevin Lalouette (Roubaix Lille Metropole), Tim de Clercq (TopSport-Vlaanderen), Romain Hardy (Cofidis) and Cédric Pineau (FDJ) tried to stay away, but in the end their efforts were not enough to hold out against the elements and the chasing peloton. Pineau, De Clercq and Britton tried the hardest, but a group of Mikaël Chérel (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Bryan Coquard (Europcar), Julien El Farès (Sojasun), Mike Terpstra (3M) and Julien Antomarchi (La Pomme Marseille) got across to them. Mike Terpstra went for a solo win but was caught and passed by the winning four: Pierrick Fédrigo (FDJ) Sylvain Georges (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and Julien Antomarchi again. Rolland instigated the attack on the climb of the Mur des Champeaux with 10 kilometres to go and the others were the only riders to stay with him. At the finish Fédrigo was the fastest to the line and commented, “I knew that the wheel to follow was Rolland’s. It came down to a sprint between four solid riders. This race course suits me. I’m obviously happy to win here for the first time, Paris-Camembert is a race that counts in the record book.”

Paris-Camembert Result:
1. Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) FDJ in 4:53:35
2. Sylvain Georges (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
3. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar
4. Julien Antomarchi (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
5. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar at 0:21
6. Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ
7. Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun
8. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Julien El Fares (Fra) Sojasun
10. Thomas Moses (GB) Raleigh.

Paris-Camembert highlights:

In His Own Words: Simon Gerrans Previews Amstel Gold Race
Simon Gerrans finished on the Amstel Gold Race podium two years ago. Having recently won stages at Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, he has shown he has the form, motivation and team support required to repeat the feat. This year, Gerran’s is aiming for the top step. While he admits that the change to finish and the inclusion of 34 (up from 32) climbs adds an element of the unknown, Gerrans expects his team to be fully capable of challenging for the win. In his own words, Gerrans previews the first of the three Ardennes Classics.

The three races that are collectively called ‘The Ardennes’ are held over eight days of racing in Holland (Amstel Gold) and the Wallonie region of Belgium (Flèche Wallone and Liège-Bastogne-Liège). These three races are hillier than the Flemish classics and mark the end of the spring classics season.

The peloton at Amstel may include a handful of riders that have recently finished the Flemish Classics, but when we get to Flèche and Liège, it’s a totally different bunch. The big, strong riders shine at the Flemish Classics. Come to the Ardennes, and you’ll see punchy riders, some pure climbers and even guys that expect to do well at the Grand Tours. We’ve seen Andy Schleck win Liège and Cadel Evans win Flèche Wallone. Philippe Gilbert dominated the Ardennes Classics in 2011 when I finished third at Amstel. These are the types of riders that excel in this region.

The final part of Amstel Gold has been changed this year. Instead of finishing on the Cauberg, the race now finishes 1200 metres beyond the top of the climb. The road race at the Road World Championships last year featured this finish, but Amstel Gold features much more climbing than last year’s Worlds course. It’s hard to predict how the finish can and will change the way the race unfolds.

Typically, this is a race of attrition. It gets harder and harder and faster and faster as the day goes on, and with each new difficulty, the front group becomes more and more select. The strongest guys on the day are left to contest the win.

Our team for Amstel raced together at Pais Vasco. We took two stage wins and helped Pieter Weening earn sixth overall. These were good results made possible with some really good teamwork, and it shows that the whole team is racing at a high level. Last year, several of the riders we brought for the Ardennes were racing them for the first time. This year, everybody has that much more experience under their belt. Simply knowing what to expect will allow us to race at a better level.

I’m super motivated for this race. I’ve done well at Amstel Gold in the past, and I know I can do well here again. My goal is to go out there and win, and we have the team to do that this year.
Thanks to Simon Gerrans for the preview.

ORICA-GreenEDGE for Amstel Gold:
Christian Meier,
Daryl Impey,
Michael Albasini,
Michael Matthews,
Pieter Weening,
Simon Clarke,
Simon Gerrans,
Wesley Sulzberger.

BMC Racing Team Announces Amstel Gold Roster
Press Release: Two-time Amstel Gold Race winner Philippe Gilbert headlines the BMC Racing Team’s roster for Sunday’s race, the first of the Ardennes classics.

Site Of Gilbert’s Worlds Win
The 251.8-kilometer race that starts in Market Square in Maastricht and finishes in Valkenburg, where Gilbert won his world road title last September. The reigning world road champion, who won this race in 2010 and 2011, is coming off a runner-up finish Wednesday at Brabantse Pijl. Gilbert is joined on the BMC Racing Team’s roster by Greg Van Avermaet, who had a team-best fourth-place result at Paris-Roubaix and earned his ninth top 10 result of the year with sixth at Brabantse Pijl.

Download the official BMC Racing Team race sheet (PDF with roster, bios, statistics, etc.): https://bit.ly/10P50HQ.

BMC Racing Team Amstel Gold Race roster (April 14):
Marcus Burghardt (GER), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Daniel Oss (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).
Directeur Sportif: John Lelangue (BEL).

OPQS to Amstel Gold Race
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will take part in Amstel Gold Race — the first race of the Ardennes Classics — on Sunday, April 14th. In 2012, Dries Devenyns was the top OPQS finisher in 14th place. The 48th edition of the race includes 33 climbs in 251.8km. The parcour also includes three circuits around Valkenberg. There are two small changes for the race in 2013: The finale is in the same place as the UCI Road World Championships, 1.8km from the legendary Cauberg in Valkenberg. Also, the finishing circuit now includes the Geulhemmerberg climb on the way to Maastricht, then the Bemelerberg before the final. More climbing means extra difficulty, and an increased possibility of a select group deciding the race.

Michal Kwiatkowski: “After the Ronde I was at home in Poland for four days and then on Friday I flew to Granada where I joined my teammates who are training there. I had few days of good training and I was surprised about the fact that I’m still OK after a long period of races as it was the one I had during the classics. Honestly I don’t know what I can expect from this race. I’m OK but during the race a lot of things can happen.”

“I did last year Amstel, Fleche and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but I couldn’t finish any race there. But I’m happy I did it — the team was right last year to send me here so now I know the roads that in a race like Amstel are really important.”

Gianni Meersman: “In the last two weeks I trained very well in Calpe. The problem is that I didn’t ride Pais Vasco due to stomach problems, so I’ve not been racing for about the last three weeks. This is an exigent race, you have to be always in the front. You cannot sleep on these kind of roads. In the Worlds last year I was also in the breakaway and than in the circuit I rode in the front for the National Team, so I really have good memories. The fact that the finish is the same of the Worlds can help the riders with my skills. If I have the legs in the final I can do better than in the previous finish at the top of the Cauberg.”

Niki Terpstra: “After Roubaix I took four days off without really training, even because of the bad weather. I’m not completely recovered from last Sunday, but I love this race and I will try to do my best. It’s my home race and I have some extra motivation. The weather will be good and there will be big crowds on the roads. The last part of the race is almost the same as the Worlds. I like this final, it gives opportunities for more riders to win. On the top of the Cauberg only three riders can win, but now you can try and play tactically … attack before, or wait for the bunch sprint. I think a rider in good condition can win even if he’s not among the favorites. I will start without pressure trying to do my best as usual. If I don’t have a good day I will put, for sure, my experience on this circuit to the service of the team.”

Peter Velits: “At Pais Vasco I was pretty good. I was second in a stage and present in a long breakaway. Only one day I was struggling, but for the rest it was good. Pais Vasco gave me a few good signals for the upcoming races, even if a one day race is different from a short stage race. But I’m motivated. On these roads we became World Champions last year with the team. Today during the training on the Cauberg I was thinking about it. I hope it’s going to be a good race for the team. Here we can play with more cards and we will try to go with some results.”
Thanks to OPQS.

Riders:
Michal Kwiatkowski (POL),
Gianni Meersman (BEL),
Jerome Pineau (FRA),
Pieter Serry (BEL),
Niki Terpstra (NED),
Kristof Vandewalle (BEL),
Martin Velits (SVK),
Peter Velits (SVK).
Sports Director Davide Bramati (ITA) & Wilfried Peeters (BEL).

RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK for the 2013 Amstel Gold Race (Holland) – April 14 – UCI WorldTour:
Riders:
Matthew Busche, Tony Gallopin, Ben Hermans, Ben King, Maxime Monfort, Thomas Rohregger, Andy Schleck & Haimar Zubeldia.
Director: Kim Andersen.

Lotto Belisol: Preview Amstel Gold Race
Next Sunday it’s time for the first race of three Ardennes classics: the Amstel Gold Race. This race, the only Dutch one of the WorldTour, is 251 kilometers long . There are 33 hills waiting for the riders. Since this year the course has been changed. The Cauberg, 800 meters long with a gradient up to 12%, has to be climbed one time more, this means four times. The finish isn’t on the top of the most famous mountain of the Netherlands anymore, but 1,8 kilometers further. That’s where the world championship finished last year.

Lotto Belisol counts on Jelle Vanendert as leader in the Amstel Gold Race. The Limburger had to leave the Vuelta al País Vasco because of an inflammation of the oesophagus, but those problems are over now. In 2012 Vanendert became second on the Cauberg. Important opponents this year are Peter Sagan and world champion Philippe Gilbert. This afternoon Jelle and manager Marc Sergeant talked to the press in Maastricht, the place where the Amstel starts.

Marc Sergeant, manager: “In the Brabantse Pijl last Wednesday we rode well as a team, with Kenny Dehaes we made the race. Several of our riders rode in the picture, like Tim Wellens. The team is ready to help Jelle Vanendert in the Walloon classics. When Jelle had to quit in the Vuelta al País Vasco, we were worried, but soon it was clear that with the right diagnose and treatment it would soon be over. And that’s what happened. Jelle is ready for the Amstel.”

Jelle Vanendert: “Having to quit a race is never fun, you want to finish. Especially when many big races are yet to come. Although there are changes to the course, it stays the Amstel we know. The fact that the finish is 1800 meters further can have influence. We’ll probably get at the foot of the Cauberg with much more riders, the race will be closed longer. There are more large and long roads, where you can see the escapees. This and the wind which isn’t in favour makes it difficult to anticipate. Last year Oscar Freire almost proved it is possible, if he had a rider with him, he might have succeeded.”

“After my second place of last year I don’t stand at the start differently; the motivation is the same and the opponents are the same. To be able to win the Amstel I have to arrive solo. Philippe Gilbert and Peter Sagan are on top of the list of favourites and then about ten riders follow that can play a role, I hope to be one of them. Gilbert isn’t the same as when he won the world championship, but he’s in a good condition. With a super condition he makes the race himself, now that isn’t really the case.

“Last year I set few good results after Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I did my work for the team, but I couldn’t realize my own ambitions. The Tour de France was disappointing for me. This year my goal is still to ride the final of the Walloon classics and I am aiming for a place in top 10. Depending on the developments in the race the difference between becoming fifth or twentieth can be small though.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Dirk Bellemakers, Gaëtan Bille, Brian Bulgaç, Bart De Clercq, Jurgen Van de Walle, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert and Jelle Vanendert.

Lampre-Merida to the Ardenne Classics week
Press Release: Amstel Gold Race will be the first appointment and Team Lampre-Merida will be at the start relying on Damiano Cunego, Diego Ulissi, Matteo Bono, Davide Cimolai, Massimo Graziato, Manuele Mori, Daniele Pietropolli and Simone Stortoni.

“The crash occurred on Cauberg in the past season gave Cunego the will to get to a payback and this will be an important spur for him,” sport director Piovani commented. “The arrival will be moved forward, we’ll go to study this new solution. For what concerns the selection, Ulissi and Pietropolli have the qualities to be in the head of the race in the final moments, so together with Cunego they could be a dangerous trio for the opponents. Mori and Bono will give their experience, to Cimolai and Stortoni we’ll request to confirm their recent very good shape. Important role for Graziato, who is skillful in joining breakaways.”

This is the comment by Cunego: “One year ago, the race had a bad epilogue for me. I’m willing to change the plot this year. I think to be in a good condition, but of course the road will be as usual the best test. The arrival is different, I’m curious to evaluate it; it could favour some riders to join the head of the race after Cauberg.”

The 1966 Amstel Gold Race won by Jean Stablinsky:

Katusha to Start 2013 Giro d’Italia
The UCI have allowed the Giro d’Italia organisers; RCS to have a twenty-third team in this year’s race which means that the Russian WorldTour Katusha team as well as all the “Wild Card” invited teams can start. The rules only allow for a maximum of 200 riders, but this year there will be 207 riders on the start line in Naples on May the 4th; 19 WorldTour and 4 ProConti teams.

The 2013 Giro d’Italia Teams:
Ag2r La Mondiale (Fra),
Astana Pro Team (Kaz),
Blanco Pro Cycling Team (Ned),
BMC Racing Team (USA),
Cannondale (Ita),
Euskaltel – Euskadi (Spa),
FDJ (Fra),
Garmin – Sharp (USA),
Katusha (Rus),
Lampre – Merida (Ita),
Lotto Belisol (Bel),
Movistar Team (Spa),
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team (Bel),
Orica – GreenEdge (Aus),
RadioShack Leopard (Lux),
Sky Procycling (GB),
Team Argos – Shimano (Ned),
Team Saxo – Tinkoff (Den),
Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team (Ned),
Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela (Ita),
Bardiani Valvole – CSF Inox (Ita),
Colombia (Col),
Vini Fantini – Selle Italia (Ita).

1999 Giro d´Italia, Stage 19 on the Alpe Di Pampeago:

No Doping Charge Against Kjærgaard
Ex Lance Armstrong team mate Steffen Kjærgaard will not be punished for his admitted doping during his career from 1998 to 2003, which takes in his time with the U.S. Postal team and his previous team; Chicky World. The Norwegian Anti-Doping Agency have announced that they have dropped the case because the case falls outside the statute of limitation of eight years and as Kjærgaard had retired in 2003 there would not be any positive (or any other kind) tests against the ex professional. The statement said: “Anti-Doping Norway’s investigations and conversations with Kjaersgaard have not given any information that he has used banned substances since the spring of 2003.”

Remi Di Gregorio Innocent?
Since his arrest by police during last year’s Tour de France and subsequent sacking by the Cofidis team, Remi Di Gregorio has always claimed his innocence and now an appeal judge has allowed him to return to racing, if he can find a team. Di Gregorio claims that the substances that were found in a car that was eventually found to be connected to him were only vitamins and paracetamol. He has suggested that he is considering taking legal action against the Cofidis team for his mental and financial suffering. On the other hand, the Cofidis team said in a statement: “We will leave it to the courts to decide the validity of the reasons for the early termination of Mr. Di Gregorio’s contract.” The rest of the statement suggests that the case is far from closed; “We’ve learned of the partial lifting of the judicial review of Remy di Gregorio’s case and that he is now allowed to return to competition. However Remy di Gregorio is still under investigation regarding the use of doping products and methods. The judicial system has still not decided on the merits of the charges against him. This new situation does not change our position regarding the decision to terminate Remy di Gregorio’s contract that was based on the evidence brought to our attention at the time. We decided to end our ties with the rider because he had broken the rules of the team, and violated the trust that we had given him, using means and consulting with medical experts that were not authorized by the medical staff of the team. He has not contested this fact.”

Maybe Remi is a lucky guy?

Longo Back on the “Whereabouts” List
The 54 year old French cyclist; Jeannie Longo must still provide her “Whereabouts” to the French Cycling Federation and the National Anti-Doping Agency. Although she maybe not the rider she once was, she will have to conform to the rules if she wants to ride at the highest level. She was the subject of an enquiry due to not providing her whereabouts in 2011; he case was eventually closed because she had not been told by the French Federation that she had to comply with out of competition testing.

Jeanie Longo; the best cyclist ever?

Team Colombia Goes for Rebound Effort in Castilla y Leon
Press Release: Following an unlucky weekend in Pais Vasco, Team Colombia’s Escarabajos will travel to the Spanish inland for the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon (April 12-14).

The 28th edition of the Spanish stage race will take place on a three-stage distance: the first will take the riders from Arevalo to Valladolid through 194 km, and should be up for a mass kick. On day 2, pure sprinters will have to endure a tough test if they want a chance to the line, with the Alto de Autilla peaking at just 11 km to the line. The third stage will probably be decisive for GC, with the uphill finish in Cervera de Pisuerga to round out a lumpy and demanding route.

“The race routes provide some good terrain for all of our guys” – Sports Director Oscar Pellicioli explained. “Last Sunday we endured some very bad luck, but that gave us stronger motivation to show and shake things up.”

Just men have changed from the Klasika Primavera’s line-up: Alexis Camacho, Robinson Chalapud, Wilson Marentes, Dalivier Ospina and Juan Pablo Suarez, will be joined by Juan Esteban Arango, Duber Quintero and Juan Pablo Valencia, who rode at Circuit de La Sarthe last week.

Vuelta a Castilla y Leon (April 12-14)
Line-up:
Juan Esteban Arango, Alexis Camacho, Robinson Chalapud, Wilson Marentes, Dalivier Ospina, Duber Quintero, Juan Pablo Suarez, Juan Pablo Valencia.
Sports Directors: Oscar Pellicioli.

Team Novo Nordisk in Castilla y Leon
Press Release: Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetic professional cycling team, returns to Spain this week for the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. The three-day stage race through the Castilla y Leon region is one of the Spanish classics with a history spanning nearly 30 years. The race marks the second stage race in the Team Novo Nordisk’s short history and significant step in its development. “The team is improving,” says Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko, “we already have 19 race days and 20 days of training camp behind us, and we are confident to see some good results in Spain.”

Vuelta a Castilla y Leon is the last major race before Team Novo Nordisk rides in the prestigious Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on April 20, and the team sees it a significant opportunity for Spanish riders David Lozano and Javier Megias. “We’ll try to put all our efforts into helping them perform well,” says Davidenko. “Top five in the stages would be ideal. During the last race, the team showed a great performance with good results, getting our first top-ten finish in France. I believe the majority of our riders are reaching their potential, and from now on we should be very competitive and hopefully bring some good results.”

Vuelta a Castilla y Leon will be no easy race, however; during the three stages the riders will face no less than eight mountain standing – four of them during the last 183.1km stage on Sunday. The first stage is a 194.8km ride from Arevalo to Valladolid; the second stage consists of a 168.1km stretch from Urena to Palencia; the final stage begins in Aguilar de Campoo and finishes in Cervera de Pisuerga. “On stage two there will be a good opportunity for the sprinters,” says Davidenko, “so we’ll try to put Andrea and Martijn in a good position for the sprint. It should be a good stage for them. And during the first and third stage we‘ll help David and Javier.”

“Team Novo Nordisk is eager to do well in Vuelta a Castilla y Leon,” Davidenko goes on to say. “Our Spanish riders especially want to show a great performance in their home country. Fabio, Kevin and Thomas will race aggressively and try to be in the breakaways to help the leaders reach their goals. Spain has great cycling history and cycling is very popular there. I am sure there will be many fans and team followers in Spain this week – and with an aggressive style of racing we are hopeful the number of fans will continue to grow.”

Castilla y León Preludes Ardennes Trio
Movistar Team brings strong squad into Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne, Liège-Bastogne-Liège; Javi Moreno to defend his 2012 title in Spain.

Press Release: After last week’s great success on Basque soil -with Nairo Quintana conquering Arrate and the overall at Vuelta al País Vasco, plus Rui Costa’s victory in the Klasika Primavera-, Movistar Team continues with its busy schedule in the month of April and will be dividing its forces this weekend with the aim of increasing its victory account of 2013 -now in eight-.

A first roster directed by José Luis Jaimerena will be heading into the Dutch region of Limburg oin Friday to start the Ardennes classics. The Amstel Gold Race (Sunday), the Flèche Wallonne (Wednesday 17) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Sunday 21) will be huge challenges for a strong Blue lineup led by Alejandro Valverde, dual winner in Ans (2006, 2008) and also successful in the past atop the Mur de Huy (2006). Alongside the Spaniard will be Nairo Quintana, Rui Costa, Andrey Amador, Pablo Lastras, Imanol Erviti, Ángel Madrazo and Giovanni Visconti.

In turn, a second block coordinated by sports director José Luis Laguía will race the 28th Vuelta a Castilla y León from tomorrow. The Spanish stagerace has softened its usually mountainous route, with two flat stages towards Valladolid and Palencia before Sunday’s uphill finish in Cervera de Pisuerga. Javi Moreno, overall winner in 2012 after impressive tactics from Movistar Team, will head an eight-man squad also featuring José Joaquín Rojas, Iván Gutiérrez, Vladimir Karpets, Rubén Plaza, Enrique Sanz, Eloy Teruel and Sylwester Szmyd.

2013 Vuelta a Castilla y Leon presentation:

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung in France for the Week-end
Press Release: Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will be turning its attention to the French racing scene this weekend. Africa’s first Professional Continental team will line up in Tour du Finistère (1.1) on Saturday 13 April and Tro-Bro Léon (1.1) on Sunday 14 April.

The core of the team will remain the same to the one that raced De Brabanste Pijl on Wednesday where Youcef Reguigui spent the day in the breakaway and the team was seen active on the front of the peloton. This positive racing has motivated Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung which already has 4 UCI wins this season.

Both races have traditionally been won by sprinters and should it come down to a bunch kick, the team will have options in Andreas Stauff, Martin Reimer and Reguigui.

Tour du Finistère (France) – (April 13 / 1.1):
Andreas Stauff (GER), Bradley Potgieter (RSA), Jaco Venter (RSA), Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU), Martin Reimer (GER), Martin Wesemann (RSA), Songezo Jim (RSA) Youcef Reguigui (ALG).

Tro-Bro Léon (France) – (April 14 / 1.1):
Andreas Stauff (GER), Bradley Potgieter (RSA), Jaco Venter (RSA), Ignatas Konovalovas (LTU), Martin Reimer (GER), Martin Wesemann (RSA), Songezo Jim (RSA) Youcef Reguigui (ALG).

The Giro del Trentino Welcomes “Sir” Wiggins: Four Days for a Great Cross-Border Challenge
Press Release: The terrific growth in importance and international prestige enjoyed by Giro del Trentino since its inception (1962) is clearly displayed in its 37th edition, from April 16th to 19th, 2013, with an unprecedented, top-range starting list. The goal GS Alto Garda’s organizers had set for themselves after Giro del Trentino was promoted to UCI 2.HC category – making it a top event on the international stage – was clearly fulfilled. Figures speak for themselves: 18 teams at the start, 144 riders from 28 Nations in the World.

Monday, April 15th’s official presentation at Casse Rurali Trentine’s headquarter in Trento – attended by a number of authorities, journalists, cycling technicians and former champions – confirmed high expectation around 2013 event, showcasing six Grand-Tour winners at the departure, starting with last Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, first British rider in the cycling history to dress the yellow jersey at Paris’ Champs Elysèes. The Brit’s main contenders include another Tour de France winner, Australian Cadel Evans, and three former pink jerseys: Michele Scarponi, Ivan Basso and Stefano Garzelli. Anyway, the most intriguing challenge will be launched by Vincenzo Nibali (winner of a Vuelta a Espana), who clearly announced his bid for the upcoming Giro, where he will find all of these opponents on his way.

“Such a high-level and charming race is all we could possibly ask for,” GS Alto Garda President Giacomo Santini stated, receiving great credit from Tourism, Agricolture and Commerce Assessor of the Province of Trento, Tiziano Mellarini, and Instruction and Sports Assessor Marta Dalmaso, who showed their pleasure in stating the significant media impact of the race in favour of Trentino’s territory.

In 2013, Giro del Trentino will cross the National border, moving the start to Lienz, Austria – a city that showed its strong bind to this race several times in the past. The whole day 1, on Tuesday April 16th, will take place in Austria, with a road half-stage in the morning and a very anticipated team time trial in the afternoon, significant testing ground in projection to the “Corsa Rosa”. On Wednesday, April 17th, the race will restart from Austria, in Sillian, and finish in Vetriolo Terme, for a stage boding to reshape the overall classification (the original route included the Lavazzè Pass, but the climb was cancelled due to a landslide). Thurdsay, April 18th has a medium mountain stage in store for the riders, from Pergine to Condino, leading to the final showdown on Friday 19th: Arco-Sega di Ala will provide the final verdict on a new and extremely demanding climb – with slopes up to 20% – where Giro del Trentino is set to give another exciting climbing show after last year’s Punta Veleno.

Its spectacular nature and routes make the fortune of Giro del Trentino, whose national and international media coverage stands at the top of the list, and whose starting list reached a new quality peak in 2013: six WorldTour teams will take part to the race, with the debut of Team Sky, the British battleship led by Sir Bradley Wiggins, knighted by Her Majesty after his historical success at the Tour de France. In addition to the big names for stage races, other protagonists like Domenico Pozzovivo (last year’s overall winner), Pierre Rolland and Franco Pellizotti will also be in contention.

Rai TV coverage officially confirmed Worldwide broadcast for Giro del Trentino:
In the late afternoon of Wednesday, April 10th, 37th Giro del Trentino organizer GS Alto Garda received the official confirmation of a complete TV coverage of the event by Rai. The pending technical issue was resolved in quick fashion, in order to guarantee an outstanding edition of the Italian stage race TV coverage over the four days of racing. Day 1, in Austria, will be broadcast pre-recorded, while the remaining three stage will be available live on the TV screens.

“We are very satisfied – GS Alto Garda President Giacomo Santini stated – and grateful to all those who made their greatest effort to set things up. We are particularly happy for this event, whose prestige was preserved, for all the people working their heart out for helping it grow in stature time after time, and for a territory that endorses sports in an extraordinary way, and really would have not deserved such a great blow.”

In addition to RaiSport, Eurosport will also broadcast the Giro del Trentino, once again bringing the event and its amazing locations to the TV audience all over the world.

The stages of 37th Giro del Trentino:
Tuesday April 16th: 1st half-stage Lienz-Lienz, km 128,5; 2nd half-stage Lienz (TTT), km 14,1
Wednesday April 17th: Sillian-Vetriolo Terme, km 224,8
Thursday April 18th: Pergine Valsugana- Condino (Valle del Chiese), km 176,1
Friday April 19th: Arco-Sega di Ala, km 166,8.

Giro del Trentino 2009 stage 2 Riva del Garda Alpe di Pampeago:

Team Novo Nordisk Receives Two Prestigious Tour Invites
Press Release: After a strong showing in its first one-day race at the Italian tour Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetic professional cycling team, has received invitations to two prestigious tours of the “hors catégorie”. The team has made the list for the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey in April and received an “extra wild card” for Germany’s Bayern Rundfahrt in May. “Both invitations are a great honour to us,” says team GM Vassili Davidenko. “They show that we are on the right track with our young team and message. We will ride both races with our best line-up. We are extremely motivated to introduce ourselves at the highest level possible at our first races in Turkey and Germany.”

The Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey begins April 21 in Alanya on the Turkish south coast and will finish in the historic city of Istanbul on April 28. The race will consist of 25 teams, nine of which that are considered Pro-Teams.

The Bayern Rundfahrt will take place from May 21 to 26 and is one of the most important preliminary races for the Tour de France. Among the teams at the Bavarian race will be 12 teams who will race in the Tour in July. Fortunately for Team Novo Nordisk, the field has been expanded from 19 to 20 teams, allowing the young squad to capture a wild card.

The Bayern Rundfahrt is a race for sprinters and climbers. The first stage kicks off at Pfaffenhofen a.d. Ilm on May 22. The second and third stages consist of different ranked climbs. And stage four offers an individual time trial of 31.2 kilometres. The race concludes May 26 in Nürnberg.

“The team is thrilled and enthusiastic to ride in our first ‘hors catégorie’ stage race,” says Team Novo Nordisk founder and CEO Phil Southerland. “We’re hoping our sprinters can excel, and, after our first races, they’re certainly motivated. A win is still probably a little ways off, but our latest results, with Andrea Peron finishing eighth in France, show we’re headed in the right direction. We feel very optimistic heading into our first ‘hors catégorie’. Let’s try and surprise the favourites!”

The Novo Nordisk team at the Challenge Mallorca:

NOS Sport goes “Inside Blanco” during the Tour de France
Press Release: NOS Sport reporter Kees Jongkind will be embedded in the Blanco Pro Cycling Team for three weeks during the Tour de France. Jongkind and his camera crew will be following the “Blancos” for the documentary Inside Blanco, an NOS (Netherlands Broadcasting Foundation) exclusive set to air this fall.

An NOS camera will follow the riders and the staff of the Blanco Pro Cycling Team this summer from waking until bedtime – from the meals to the team meetings – from treatment to the race and from the bus to the chase car. Jongkind will work with several cameras, including mini units, in and around the team where nearly everything can and will be filmed.

Before the Tour, the NOS will also be making one in-depth report about Robert Gesink and Bauke Mollema. The reports will be aired during the run-up to the 100th edition of the Tour de France.

According to Richard Plugge, General Manager of the Blanco Pro Cycling Team, “Everyone is familiar with the trials and tribulations in the finish of a race from the television coverage, but so much more is happening in a cycling team. Openness and transparency are core values in the Blanco Cycling Team. We want to provide our fans with an inside look at the daily routine of the team before and during the Tour in France. The NOS is the best candidate to provide an objective picture and Blanco will open the doors to them and provide the camera crew full access so that they can get their story.”

Editor-in-Chief of NOS Sport Maarten Nooter commented, “This is a unique project – a fantastic opportunity to follow cycling from the inside out. Now, right when so much has gone wrong and the sport is facing a credibility crisis, we’ve been able to strike a deal with Blanco to open all doors. This is an extraordinary but also a courageous step by the team, especially when it occurs during the most important cycling race on the calendar.

Kees Jongkind, the reporter who produced the revealing story about Michael Boogerd’s use of Performance Enhancing Drugs and has experience in making sport documentaries, said, “The cooperation is based on mutual trust and this is exceptional in the sports world and especially in cycling. At the same time, it’s absolutely essential to make a compelling story. I dare say this will be unique and I am very much looking forward to it.”

The Blanco team:

A day in the life of a Team MTN-Qhubeka cyclist
On Friday the 5th April, some of the Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders got to spend the day with the feeder team, MTN-Qhubeka World Cycling Centre Africa. The riders met at the team base in Johannesburg then went on a training ride. Upon returning, it was time to get cleaned before going into one of the communities Qhubeka has been working into, to see how the Qhubeka Buffalo Bikes were making a difference.

Tsgabu Grmay and Jacques Janse van Rensburg were generous and spent most of the time on the front sheltering everyone. The riders left the team base in Johannesburg for a pedal under the African sun. The feeder team had the opportunity to ask the more experienced rider’s questions. On the feeder team we currently have riders from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa and Egypt among others.

Dennis van Niekerk is one of the more experienced riders on the professional team. He was on hand to answer any questions the younger riders had. Tsgabu Grmay recently became the first Ethiopian cyclist to win a professional bike race. He won stage 5 of the Tour de Taiwan and finished second overall. Three of his compatriots are on the feeder team and joined us for the ride. They say he is an inspiration to them.

Once training was done, the team went into one of the communities Qhubeka has been working into. When heading into the community, it’s never difficult to find a smiling face. The Qhubeka buffalo bicycle is safely stored inside. It has been proven that a bicycle increases school attendance and decreases the dropout rate. It has also been proven a bicycle makes you happy no matter your age.

Tsgabu was generous with his knowledge, teaching some of the kids about training and racing. Trees are grown to earn bicycles. 1 Buffalo Bicycle is earned for every 100 trees grown.
Thanks to the MTN-Qhubeka Team.

Team MTN Qhubeka: An African Bicycle Dream Episode 1 – Preview.
Team MTN Qhubeka are the first Pro Continental Cycling Team from Africa – this is their story. From South Africa to the rest of the world, the team have made their mark on the sport. Watch the preview of the first episode of An African Bicycle Dream here.

Maglia Rosa
Triumph and Tragedy at the Giro D’Italia.
2nd Edition: By Herbie Sykes.

Press Release: Maglia Rosa: Triumph and Tragedy at the Giro d’Italia, is the definitive history of the Giro d’Italia, written by Turin resident and regular Rouleur contributor Herbie Sykes.

Sykes takes the reader on an inspiring, magical journey. In so doing he evokes 100 years of the race for the maglia rosa, the mythical pink jersey of the race leader. In addition the book contains many stunning photographs as a century of Italy’s great sporting festival is captured on film.

The book uncovers the myths and legends of Italy’s very own grand tour, first run off in 1909 and captures many of the race’s most extraordinary stories that have never been told in English. This second edition includes updates throughout from Sykes, including new photographs and perspectives on the 2011 Giro.

Herbie Sykes is a cycling historian and the author of Coppi: Inside the Legend of the Campionissimo, on the great cyclist Fausto Coppi, also published by Rouleur Books. Sykes lives in Turin and is a regular contributor to both Rouleur and Procycling magazines.

The 1st Edition was reviewed here on PEZ by Leslie Reissner back in June 2011.

Maglia Rosa
Triumph and Tragedy at the Giro D’Italia
2nd Edition By Herbie Sykes.
Rouleur Books, April 2013.
Paperback – £25.00.

Another Great Giro Video
Talking of the Giro d’Italia; RCS have released their next video in the series to promote the 2013 Italian Tour. Here is the description: “Waiting for the Giro d’Italia 2013, we went to visit the five major contenders for the Maglia Rosa: Ryder Hesjedal, Bradley Wiggins, Vincenzo Nibali, Ivan Basso, Samuel Sanchez. In this video we discover their story and their relation with the bicycle.”

*****

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