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EuroTrash Thursday!

EuroTrash today is a full race-fest; we catch up with the Giro d’Italia, Tour of California and now the Tour of Norway. The TOP STORY is the life of Philippe Gaumont; a wild guy to the end. News, views, video and a laugh to finish with, what more do you need to set you up for the week-end? A coffee I guess.

TOP STORY: Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll!
After a heart attack, Philippe Gaumont had been in a coma for three weeks until he was pronounced brain dead on Monday the 13th, he was 40 years old. Gaumont was a good Pro rider; his palmarès included Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, the Four Days of Dunkirk and the Tour de Picardie. He was also French pursuit National champion twice and an Olympic bronze medalist from the 1992 games in the 100 kilometre team time trial. His career was probably better known for his doping, not just when racing but also for recreation purposes.

During his career he tested positive twice for nandrolone in 1996 and then twice more in 1998, but won a court case to have them dismissed. Then in 1999, as part of the “Mabuse” case he was found positive for amphetamines. He was also arrested by French police in 2004 and implicated many of his team mates including David Millar. He retired in 2004 and admitted to extensive drug use in his book Prisonnier du Dopage. His use of “Pot Belge” during training and for fun was quite well known. Pot Belge is a mix of cocaine, heroin, caffeine, amphetamines and just about anything else, sometimes including morphine.

His friendship with Frank Vandenbroucke is also well known for its nights out on the town and he is said to have introduced VDB to a mix of sleeping pills and alcohol and to Bernard Sainz of the “Mabuse” case.

Gaumont was a wild guy, he recently described himself to the French newspaper/website 20minutes.fr: “I’ll never be on the right path. When I party, I do it completely, if I want to kiss a girl, I’ll kiss a girl. The excesses are not finished.”

There is a difference between Philippe Gaumont and other riders who have died in recent years. Jose María Jiménez, Marco Pantani and Vandenbroucke all had a sad story of great talent lost to drugs. PED’s, or drugs in sport, spilling into their personal lives and the use of cocaine and other party drugs for “fun” but they had fragile personalities and were not psychologically strong enough to handle it. Gaumont on the other hand wanted fun and it was his body that in the end couldn’t take it.

The sad part are the families who have lost a father, husband, son etc. Gaumont leaves his wife and three children; to them we send our heartfelt condolences.

Giro d’Italia 2013
Rigoberto Uran (Sky) won Stage 10 from a group of the top climbers in this most exciting Giro d’Italia. A group of thirteen riders headed off from the peloton to get a head start on the steep climbs of the day. Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff), Kenny Dehaes (Lotto Belisol), Elia Viviani (Cannondale), Tiago Machado & Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack Leopard), David Millar & Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp), Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco), Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli), Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma – Quic-Step), Oscar Gatto (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Pavel Brutt (Katusha) and built up a lead of over 9 minutes at one time. The first climb of two monster mountains, the 1st Cat Passo Cason di Lanza, saw Sky take over the work in the peloton from Astana and the lead started to fall very quickly. This put many riders in trouble, including last year’s winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) who eventually couldn’t hang on and lost time. Jackson Rodriguez attacked from the leaders and after a lot of coming and going he and Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) were out front with Italian champion Franco Pellizotti trying to cross to him from the bunch. In the end they all failed and when the race hit the hardest parts of the summit finish to Altopiano del Montasio all the top men were together, except Hesjedal.

Sky put the hammer down on the climb to set thing up for an attack and they had Sergio Henao, Bradley Wiggins and Rigoberto Uran to play with. Coming through one of the tunnels on the climb, Uran attacked and soon had a handy lead, Ag2r-La Mondiale’s Italian climber; Domenico Pozzovivo jumped after him, but the points leader; Cadel Evans (BMC) chased him down and at the same time pared down the chase group to half a dozen riders, including himself, the Pink jersey Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) Rafa Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) with Pozzovivo and his team mate Carlos Betancur. Betancur jumped a couple of times and managed to distance the others as Uran crossed the line for the well deserved win. Wiggins, Scarponi and Gesink lost a little bit of time.

Rigoberto Uran, Team Sky Rider: “I’m very happy to have taken the win today. It is the first win for me in a Grand Tour and it is very satisfying after getting so close before. It nice to finally be able to finish off a victory. It is doubly special as it came after such a strong ride from the team. It was always the plan for me to attack on the climb and things went to plan. The team rode incredibly all day.”

“The result has meant I have jumped up a few positions on the general classification so now I am one second in front of Brad. That is a good position to be in for me and for the team to have two riders up there. There is still such a long way to go in this Giro but today we showed that we have one of the strongest teams in the race, if not the strongest.”

BMC’s Cadel Evans said he was pleased to hold onto second place on the race’s first major mountain stage. “It’s probably not going to be a big deal at the end, but I would rather not concede time,” he said. “To maintain my position at this point is still very good. So far, so good. We still have a lot of mountain stages to go.” Uran is third overall, 2:04 back, and his Sky Procycling teammate, Bradley Wiggins, is one second behind in fourth. “I don’t know what was going on behind, of course, but Nibali is the rider I have to focus on at this point considering my place in classification,” Evans said. “Every day that passes is looking more that way. But I don’t know that we are even halfway into this Giro yet. So it may still be a little early to say.”

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Serge Pauwels entered into a 13 rider breakaway in the first high mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia, Stage 10, on Tuesday, and was able to stay away with break mate Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli) until the Altopiano del Montasio climb, with 9.5km to go. The tempo of the peloton and the efforts of staying out front proved to be too much for the duo on a climb that averaged 7.4%, with ramps of 20 percent.

“I definitely wanted to be in the break,” Pauwels said. “The problem was it was headwinds in the beginning so it was a lot of attacking and the peloton always coming back. Then finally I got in the good break and OK, we took six or seven minutes. After the first climb, Rodriguez went and he took advantage but I came back with Gatto after the descent. Then Rodriguez had a mechanical problem later on so I could come back to him. But then around 30, 35km to go I didn’t know what was happening in the back, but apparently Sky really put pressure on the rest. In the end we are dependent on what happens in the back, especially when the big GC riders start to pull. Because honestly I think Sky started to pull on the first climb to make up time for the descent. They were thinking also about the stage, but first objective was they wanted to start the descent in the front to show their presence.”

“The parcour was really hard,” Pauwels continued. “Even the climb before the last was really steep, really narrow, and also a dangerous descent. I think we’re lucky we had good weather because it would have been nasty with any rain. Also the last climb was really steep. To be honest I didn’t expect it to be so steep. We’re lucky we had the compact gearing today.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka now leads the youth classification: “I’ve been feeling strong through the race so far with the exception of the day before the rest day where I was suffering from headaches. It’s a fantastic feeling being able to compete with the best climbers in the world in this demanding terrain and I have a feeling that my condition is still improving. But it’s hard to predict how the body reacts in the days to come. It’s a long and very tough race and I’m gonna take one stage at a time,” said the 23-year-old Saxo-Tinkoff rider.

John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) did not start stage 10 due to fatigue, he said he was very happy with his Giro stage win, but disappointed not to finish.

Giro d’Italia Stage 10 Result:
1. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky in 4:37:42
2. Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:20
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:31
4. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard at 0:47
9. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 1:06
10. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 1:08.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 10:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 38:57:32
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:41
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 2:04
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 2:05
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 2:12
6. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 2:13
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:55
8. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 3:35
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 4:17
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo-Tinkoff at 4:21.

Stage 10:

The 2013 Giro d’Italia has not been great for Garmin-Sharp so far, but on Stage 11 a break of 20 riders went up the road and from them Ramunas Navardauskas gave the Garmin-Sharp team something to cheer about by taking a solo win at the end 182 kilometres in Vajont (Erto e Casso). As well as Navardauskas there was Egoi Martínez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Leonardo Duque (Colombia), Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar), Guillaume Bonnafond (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Jackson Rodríguez (Androni Giacattoli), Stafano Pirazzi (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox), Paul Martens (Blanco), Daniel Oss (BMC), Cayetano Sarmiento (Cannondale), Johan Le Bon (FDJ), Vladimir Gusev (Katusha), Serge Pauwels (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack Leopard), Salvatore Puccio (Sky) Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano), Evgeni Petrov (Saxo-Tinkoff), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia). The top GC riders were happy to let the break go after yesterday’s battle, although Astana kept the lead at a reasonable distance of around 4 to 6 minutes.

First to attack from the leaders was Patrick Gretsch (Argos-Shimano), he had a lead of 2 minutes with about 20kilometres to go, but Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) started the counter attack. His effort got nowhere and launched Navardauskas and Daniel Oss (BMC) up the road after the German. Once Gretsch was caught he was in trouble, then on the climb to the finish he was gone and Navardauskas started to attack and was on his own for the win.

Back in the peloton all the overall hopefuls were safe and Vincenzo Nibali held onto the Pink jersey.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Serge Pauwels, finished 8th at the 182km Giro d’Italia Stage 11, a day after arriving in the breakaway of the high mountain Stage 10. Pauwels entered into a breakaway of 20 riders, in a stage where the peloton wouldn’t let a single rider go for 60km.

“Our goal was to get Brambilla into the break, but if you want to get someone into a break it is always a team commitment,” Pauwels said. “So everybody tried to help him to get into the breakaway. A few times he tried to get into the break but there was too much headwind in the beginning. So, it took a long time until the real break went. Suddenly there as a big group up the road. Cav asked if there was any of us there, and I said no. So he did a sprint, I took his wheel and I could then jump across from behind his back. So, thanks go to him that I made the break today.”

“The final was hard and I didn’t really feel super all day,” Pauwels continued. “I didn’t feel super because of the effort of yesterday. So that is why I had to gamble a little bit. Finally two guys went away in the valley, so they stayed away. I especially looked for Di Luca, but he was a little bit two strong for me to follow. I just tried to follow wheels and be smart. I think this was the maximum I could get out of it today, so I’m happy. Two days in a row is not so easy.”

BMC Racing Team’s Daniel Oss scored his best result of the season Wednesday with a runner-up finish to Ramunas Navardauskas. “A breakaway was not in the plan today,” Oss said, “but it was an opportunity. I am really happy and thanks to (BMC Racing Team Assistant Director) Max Sciandri, who directed me very well. The people along the last climb were supporting me, so I felt very excited.” Oss finished 68 seconds after Navardauskas as the peloton arrived more than five-and-a-half minutes later. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Pro Team) kept the overall lead while BMC Racing Team’s Cadel Evans remained second, 41 seconds back, and still in the lead in the points classification. “Today was not so important for the general classification,” Evans said, “but there is always having to pay attention in the final there for GC. Most of all, I’m happy for Daniel Oss. It’s good to have his chance in his first Giro as an Italian.” Oss’s previous best results were third place finishes at E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke and on Stage 2 of Tour du Haut Var.

Giro d’Italia Stage 11 Result:
1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp in 4:23:14
2. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC at 1:08
3. Stefano Pirazzi (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox at 2:59
4. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky at 3:07
5. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco
6. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
7. Egoi Martinez De Esteban (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
8. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 3:10
9. Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 3:11
10. Jackson Rodriguez (Ven) Androni Giocattoli at 3:25.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 11:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 43:26:27
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:41
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 2:04
4. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 2:05
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco at 2:12
6. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 2:13
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 2:55
8. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 3:35
9. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 4:05
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 4:17.

Stage 11:

Tour of California 2013
BMC Racing Team’s Tejay van Garderen climbed his way into second place overall on Monday, Stage 2 at the Amgen Tour of California while teammate Mathias Frank, who paced him for much of the final climb, is fourth overall.

Van Garderen finished second, 12 seconds behind stage winner Janier Alexis Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) while Frank was one of only five riders to finish within a minute of Acevedo. Sweltering heat – with temperatures soaring past 43 degrees Celsius – and a tortuous, sun-baked climb at the end of the 199.7-kilometer stage shattered the peloton and left massive time gaps after two days of the eight-day race. “I was just trying to stay as relaxed as possible because in this heat if you go into the red zone one time, sometimes you can’t recover,” van Garderen said. “So I just tried staying as calm as possible, which is easy when you have a team as strong as ours to follow their wheels.” Frank said he was feeling better and better as the pack rapidly dwindled. “I turned around and saw there were only four guys behind me, so I tried to go as long as I could,” Frank said. “I can maybe handle the heat a bit better than the other guys. I’m happy with the way it turned out.”

BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said it was not crucial for van Garderen to win the stage and take the race lead. “We know we have a few days coming that are not easy,” he said. “We have a nice time trial on Friday and the Mt. Diablo stage on Saturday, so we know we have a lot of opportunities. Taking time on some really good time trialists is already a really big success. From a team perspective, we did what we had to do and we are in the position where we wanted to be on the day.” BMC Racing Team Dr. Eric Heiden said even though precautions were taken to ward off the searing heat, some riders dealt with it better than others. “It was pretty typical post-race conditions for the day – with some dehydration,” he said. “If anyone suffered more than someone else, it was probably Marco Pinotti. He need a few minutes to recover at the finish line and cool off.”

Once again, Team Saxo-Tinkoff was the engine of the field on the 200 kilometre long second stage of Tour of California from Murrieta to Palm Springs as a break consisting of Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Scott Zwizanski (Optum Pro Cycling), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis) and Pat McCarty (Bissel Cycling) worked up a lead of 12 minutes.

With 25 kilometers to the finish line, the escapees began attacking each other but Saxo-Tinkoff had the front group under control. Team BMC and NetApp joined the chase thundering towards the foot of the 5 kilometre long uphill finish where the front group was swept up.

And Saxo-Tinkoff Timmy Duggan just put teammate, Michael Rogers in an excellent position in the field that suddenly exploded because of the heat, the steep slope and the high pace. The Saxo-Tinkoff Aussie was now in a five man front group with among others Tejay van Garderen (BMC). On the final kilometre, Janier Azevedo (Sutter Home) put the hammer down and soloed his way to the finish line and took the stage win and conquered the leader’s jersey.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Rogers finished fifth on the stage and is now fifth overall as well: “It was a sensationally hard stage because of the heat and the steep climb to the finish line where Michael (Rogers) did a fine finale. He’s just a tweak away from being able to hang on to very best but we’re confident that he can make a good result in the race. Unfortunately, Johnny (Cantwell) had a bad crash and lost a lot of skin on the asphalt but he completed the stage and we’ll now figure out whether or not he’ll start again tomorrow,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Tristan Hoffman after the stage.

Saxo-Tinkoff Dane was impressed by his captain: “Today’s stage was probably the hottest I’ve ever done. 45 degrees and on the last climb I saw two riders lying in the side of the road, knocked out by the heat. I think we are doing great as a team. Rogers is an inspirational captain who knows how to use the team to his advantage and as a collective. We delivered him perfectly at the entrance of today’s final climb, and from there he did well. Finishing in fifth position today is promising in terms of the final GC. At least, it allows us to hope for more, “said Saxo-Tinkoff’s Michael Mørkøv after the hot stage.

Johnny Cantwell didn’t suffer any fractures crashing today, but it’s uncertain whether or not he’ll be on the start line tomorrow.

Tour of California Stage 2 Result:
1. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman in 5:07:40
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) at 0:12
3. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team at 0:27
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 0:45
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:55
6. Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 1:13
7. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 1:15
8. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda
9. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 1:32
10. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:40.

Tour of California Overall After Stage 2.
1. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman in 9:39:19
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:12
3. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team at 0:27
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 0:45
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:55
6. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5 Hour Energy p/b Kenda at 1:03
7. Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 1:13
8. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 1:15
9. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Teeam at 1:32
10. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:40.

Stage 2 with Orica-GreenEdge.

It was a violent start of today’s 177.7 kilometer long Stage 3 of the Tour of California from Palmdale to Santa Clarita where a big group with prominent riders like Tejay van Garderen and Andy Schleck (Radioshack) along with Saxo-Tinkoff’s Jonas Aaen Jørgensen were represented.

As the break was brought back, Andy Schleck (Radioshack) launched a counter-attack and Chad Beyer (Champoin System), Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) and Gavin Mannion (Bontrager) joined him. However, the quartet was back in the field with 20 kilometers to go and the peloton now prepared for a bunch sprint.

On the finish line, Peter Sagan (Canondale) was in a league of his own and he took the win while Acevedo got another day in the leader’s jersey. Team Saxo-Tinkoff Dane, Michael Mørkøv finished tenth and teammate, Michael Rogers is still fifth overall.

“The stage today was thankfully not quite as hard as yesterday but there was a lot of wind, which made it stressful. I was feeling strong and decided to go for the sprint today and I got great support from my teammates and got a respectable 10th place. It was great to interfere in the bunch sprint again, it’s pretty rare I have the opportunity but today I had good legs and thought I would give it a try”, said Saxo-Tinkoff Dane, Michael Mørkøv after the stage.

Reigning world road champion Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team withdrew from the Amgen Tour of California before the start of Stage 4 Wednesday to attend to a pressing family matter.

“My wife is going to have our baby sooner than the delivery date,” Gilbert said. “So it’s an exciting reason and very important for me to be there.” Racing for the first time in the United States, Gilbert finished 56th on Sunday’s Stage 1. On Stage 2, he provided an early lead-out to teammate Tejay van Garderen on the lower slopes of the finishing climb before finishing 30th. In Tuesday’s race, he help guide teammate Thor Hushovd to the front for the bunch sprint and placed 46th. Gilbert said while he was not enjoying top form, he did enjoy his time at the race. “I always have problem with the jet lag and differences of temperature but it was a nice race,” he said. “The roads were nice – different than Europe of course, with very big roads – and the organization was fine. It’s a little bit sad to leave because I think Tejay is going to win this race.” Gilbert and his wife, Patricia, already have a two-year-old son, Alan.

Tour of California Stage 3 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 4:20:31
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
7. Alexander Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Team NetApp-Endura
10. Michael Morkov (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff.

Tour of California Overall After Stage 3:
1. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman in 13:59:50
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:12
3. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team at 0:27
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 0:45
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:55
6. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda at 1:03
7. Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 1:13
8. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 1:15
9. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 1:32
10. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:40.

Stage 3:

Only 134.5 kilometer were on the menu on Wednesday’s Stage 4 of Tour of California from Santa Clarita to Santa Barbara where a breakaway consisting of six riders stole everyone’s attention on the initial part of the stage. But the sprinter teams did not miss this opportunity and had everyone back in the filed for the bunch sprint where Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) took the stage win.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s, Michael Rogers finished the stage with the bunch and is still fifth overall.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Gianni Meersman was 3rd in the 134.7km Stage 4 of AMGEN Tour of California on Wednesday, being escorted to the front in the final kilometers, and then launching his sprint off the wheel of Sylvain Chavanel.

Chavanel was also 8th. Meersman launched up the middle of the peloton, but he couldn’t get past Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) in front of him as Farrar went on to win. Ken Hanson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) was 2nd.

Chavanel put in a lot of work in the final 10km to help chase down several attacks, as OPQS was still able to establish good sprint position against other leadout trains with more riders. OPQS is down three riders due to injuries or dehydration.

A six rider breakaway was brought back together, including one last solo rider, inside 11km to go.

OPQS looks next to a 186.5km Stage 5 on Thursday, which includes a Cat. 2 climb (San Marcos Pass) early in the stage. The final kilometers are descending or slightly undulating. There is a narrow left turn in the final 300m and a slight rise in the final meters.

“We turned right in the last kilometer and then went across the ocean, but the wind came from the left and all the riders were on the right so it was quite hectic,” Meersman said. “But Chava did a great job getting me into good position. At the moment he launched, Farrar also went, so I had to pass Chavanel and also try to move up past Farrar. So to get 3rd in this situation, I am happy with it. I’m hoping to win a stage. I still have two chances. Tomorrow there’s a little uphill finish and then there’s also the last stage on Sunday. My legs are good, the team is good and I’d really like to do my best for a victory.”

Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens) is still leading overall.

Tour of California Stage 4 Result:
1. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp in 3:14:09
2. Ken Hanson (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
7. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell Pro Cycling
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Bontrager Cycling Team.

Tour of California Overall After Stage 4:
1. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman in 17:13:59
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:12
3. Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team at 0:27
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 0:45
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:55
6. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) 5-hour Energy p/b Kenda at 1:03
7. Chad Haga (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 1:13
8. Matthew Busche (USA) RadioShack Leopard at 1:15
9. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team at 1:32
10. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge at 1:40.

Stage 4:

Glava Tour of Norway 2013
Stage 1 of Tour of Norway covered 190 undulating kilometres from Frederikstad to Sarpsborg and six riders temporarily stole the limelight by breaking clear of the bunch. However, the sprinters teams were eager to make their mark on the race and started pulling the escapees back in.

On the finish line, Edvald Boasson-Hagen (Sky) looked like a sure stage winner but on the final meters, compatriot Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) went past and took the stage win in a very hectic sprint.

Team Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Steven de Jongh comments: “We tried to put Takashi in a favourable position for the sprint and he was on Boasson-Hagen’s wheel with 500 meters to go but then lost contact with the front sprinters. The peloton was hit by fierce cross winds along the way which exploded the field in several groups and it was good to see all our boys in the first line. Our main goal here is a stage win and I reckon our best chances are with Sergio (Paulinho) on the final two stages of the race,” said DS, de Jongh.

Kristian Sbaragli got the Tour of Norway off to a good start for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung when he sprinted to fifth on the opening stage. It’s another great result for the young Italian who last week finished in the top ten twice in the Tour de Picardie. The result now sees him wear the white jersey as the best young rider in the race.

The day was won by home favourite Alexander Kristoff (Katashu) who beat compatriot Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) into second. The day long breakaway of six riders was finally caught with a lap and a half to go which set the scene for a showdown between the sprinters. Blanco and Team Sky lead the peloton for most of the day and were present with their leadout trains in the finale. Andreas Stauff and Sbaragli had to come from far back in the final kilometre to be in a position to sprint for the win. 23 year old Sbaragli was forced to open his sprint early but displayed great power to hold on for a great result.

“I felt really good even though today was really hard,” Sbaragli said at the finish. “It was raining for the first three hours and the race was hard but I had the team look after me the whole day. I tried to do my best in the sprint. The final 300m was uphill but I was feeling good and gave it everything. There are some big teams at the race and in the sprint I tried to use their trains but it’s not that easy. I am happy with the result because I have the white jersey now. We will try to defend the jersey but the main aim is still try and win a stage.”

Of the plan before the stage, sports director, Kevin Campbell said, “The plan was to work for Kristian today because he is super fast and showed great form in Picardie and we were definitely going to go out of our way to make sure there was a sprint for him today. The guys all rode very well. There race had split in the wind coming into the finishing town but the guys were all in the front then obviously Kristian had a great sprint.”

Glava Tour of Norway stage 1 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 4:41:59
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
3. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling
4. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
5. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
6. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty
8. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun.

Glava Tour of Norway Overall After Stage 1:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 4:41:49
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky at 0:04
3. Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:06
4. Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:08
5. Theo Bos (Ned) Blanco at 0:10
6. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
7. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs-Wanty
9. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

DCM Leaves Vacansoleil
The Vacansoleol-DCM team is looking like it has a shaky future, the 1st named sponsor; Vacansoleil has said they will pull-out at the end of the season (read the next article). The team’s management is looking for replacement sponsors. The latest bad news is that DCM has announced that they will cease to be a team sponsor after this year.

Sponsor Vacansoleil Informs Team they Reached their Goals and Not to Renew the Sponsorship Agreement
WorldTour Team keeps looking for signature of new title sponsors for coming years.

Press Release: On Tuesday afternoon the management of Vacansoleil-DCM was informed by its title sponsor Vacansoleil on the fact that they don’t renew the sponsorship agreement. The sponsor from the early start saw a team which grew very hard since 2009 and they reached their goals with the sponsorship within five years’ time.
Team manager Daan Luijkx is happy with the clarity: “Vacansoleil took a well measured decision and as a team we were aware of this scenario coming true. The organization of the team knows which direction it wants to go and we also know what the return for sponsors consists of. Our pure story with accessibility and passion for all in cycling will also attract new companies.”

Luijkx thanks the partner: “The fact that Vacansoleil reached their goals in five years is a shame in one way since they quit but also a big compliment to the team. We are proud on the investment they dared to undertake due to the fast growth and we were blessed with the sincere commitment. They had a lot of confidence in the team and understood cycling while they kept a clear border between sports and commercial interest. The company which offers luxury camping holidays approached the sponsorship as a business transitation and used the team in all the years to activate their brand. The looked at the doping problems of the sport from the current position of the sport and the measures taken by the team which made it no issue in the decision of the team.”

The landscape of sponsorships in the sport changed in the past few years according to Luijkx partly due to big investors entering the sport. “In the coming years cycling as to adjust to become more attractive to multinationals,” says Luijkx. “The business model needs to become healthier and the divided teams need to become a combined strength, many teams understand this. Furthermore we need space for innovation in a sport which grows so fast for amateurs.”

The challenge for Luijkx is clear on the short term: “We talk to several parties who see the value of the sport in general and more specifically the team. This for example concerns getting a return of ten times the invested sponsorship amount over the complete season. Potential partners also see the chances and challenges for the sport and that this generation is a group of riders who want to compete in an honest way. The fact that Wout Poels and Thomas De Gendt underlined in interviews that they feel at home and want to continue is an extra motivation to get the signature from new partners.”

Sylvain Georges Positive
Sylvain Georges (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was found positive for Heptaminol in a test on May the 10th according to the UCI. Heptaminol is used to treat low blood pressure and as a muscle relaxant, it is on WADA’s banned substances list. The rider can have the B sample tested. His Ag2r-La Mondiale team have not as yet made a commented.

Lampre-Merida Announce Susspension of Miguel Armando Ubeto Aponte
The team, on the recommendation of its medical staff, announces the immediate suspension of the rider Miguel Armando Ubeto Aponte, in compliance with the regulation of the internal health team.

The procedure and made necessary after receiving the afternoon of May 15, 2013 notification by the UCI, a potential violation of anti-doping rules by the athlete in question, in relation to a control outside competition took place on April 16 in Italian territory, the day after her arrival from Venezuela.

Ubeto Aponte had not yet made his debut with the team jersey, due to an injury.
While waiting to receive information and any clarification from Ubeto Aponte and evaluate additional measures, the team reiterates its support for all efforts to make cycling cleaner and credible, severely condemning any behaviour violating anti-doping rules, damage the image of cycling.

Team LAMPRE-MERIDA forwards a press release by Miguel Armando Ubeto Aponte.

“Cossato, 15/05/2013

I, Miguel Armando Ubeto Aponte, by the means of this letter, would like to explain the situation linked to the adverse analytical finding for substance GW1516, that was detected during an out competition control, taking on all the culpability for what happened and apologizing with Team LAMPRE-MERIDA.

In January 2013, I suffered for an injury (broken humerus) because of a crash in Vuelta al Tachira and I underwent surgery in Atias Clinic in Caracas.
The clinic doctors suggested me a therapy that called for consumption of medicines including substance GW1516. The documents that certify these suggestions are in my possession.

On March 2013, reading a note by Wada about the mentioned substance, I stopped immediately the therapy.

I understand now what a serious carelessness I made not informing the team medical staff, with whose member I’ve been always in contact.
In good faith, I made a huge mistake for which I’m the only responsible.
That’s why I want to apologize with Team LAMPRE-MERIDA, its medical staff and its sponsors: I could appreciate how big are the efforts the team is performing in taking care of the image of cycling as a clean sport, so my sadness is even higher for the carelessness I made.

Fully aware of my responsibilities, I’m at the disposal of the competent bodies to clarify the whole situation.

Miguel Armando Ubeto Aponte”.

Klier Retires to Become DS
Andreas Klier has announced his retirement as a professional cyclist to take his place behind the steering wheel of a Garmin-Sharp team car. He started his new job at the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, although the day wasn’t the best for the team as 2012 Giro winner; Ryder Hesjedal lost time on the other GC riders. “I had wonderful years as a professional. Together with my teammates, we won races, we lost races but above all we were always a team and we share memories that will last a life time. These are the moments I will never forget,” the German star said.

Manolo Saiz to Return to Cycling?
The one time top team manager; Manolo Saiz has said he might return to cycling, he commented on Spanish radio that he would “if something suitable turns up, there are many more good people in it than bad.” As to the “Operacion Puerto” case; “the best thing I can do is forget and move on, you have to accept it and turn the page.

The Tifosi are Crazy!
The Dutch and the Basques love cycling, but the Italian fans will go to any lengths to watch the Giro and some further than others:

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


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