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EuroTrash Thursday!

Paris is in sight, but there are still some very hard stages to come before that romp up and down the Champs-Élysées. As always we have all the bits of news from the French GT that you might have missed, plus results and race quotes. We also catch up with the Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt and anything else we could find in this hectic last week of the Tour. A good coffee is a must to go with EuroTrash this morning.

A History of Robert Role
Yes, staring Bob Roll:

TOP STORY: Froome is Clean…I hope!
At a press conference on the second rest day at the Tour de France, Chris Froome claimed his cleanliness for the millionth time and showed his annoyance that the day after he had gained the best win in his career all he is asked about is doping. You can see where is coming from, if you get asked the same question day after day it bound to get on your nerves and do the Worlds press actually think he would admit it if he was doping?

His Sky team have said that they would be willing to hand over Bio-passport and power data to WADA, although WADA say they have not been approached, but would consider any such a move.

The Riders’ association (CPA) has also sided with Froome saying that the press should give the Sky rider a bit more respect as there is no evidence against him. CPA president Gianni Bugno said: “We demand more respect for Chris and for all the riders. We are witnessing a daily attack against the dignity of the riders in a manner that can no longer be tolerated.”

On the other hand it is a journalist job to ask tricky questions, but maybe flogging a dead horse runs a bit low on interest after a while for both the flogger and the floggee, not to mention the people watching it.

Personally I just want to enjoy this Tour de France and live in hope.

Tour de France 2013
Riu Costa (Movistar) won back a bit of justice as he crossed the line first at the end of Stage 16 in the town of Gap. Costa had been part of a 26 man escape that had been out for most of the day and had a lead of 12 minutes when they hit the final climb that peaked 11 kilometres before the finish. Costa attacked with about 5 K’s to the top and the other didn’t see him again till the finish line. In the peloton; Katusha put three men on the front to soften up the others for Joaquim Rodriguez. The plan sort of as it thinned the peloton down to; Rodriguez, Froome & Porte (Sky), Valverde & Quintana (Movistar), Contador & Kruziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Mollema (Belkin). The most notable missing persons were Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin) and both riders lost time and overall positions.

On the climb Contador attacked twice to be pulled back by Porte, then on the third time Porte was dropped and Froome had to chase. Kruziger put a bit of pressure on just before the top, but it was stale mate. On the descent Contador look the lead, but he slipped nearly taking Froome with him, lucky for both of them Porte came along to pace them back to the others and all was save for another day. Quintana and Rodriguez both moved up a place and Ten dam and Fuglsang moved down one and now it’s down to the mountain TT to make some differences in the top ten.

Race Quotes:
Stage winner Rui Costa (Movistar): “Yesterday, I was already thinking of entering the breaks one of these days. I know today was a good day for me, with those two climbs in the beginning to respond the moves with strength rather than relying on good luck. My legs felt well all day – I knew it had to be my day. It was hard to get the break going, with lots of riders trying to stay at front… there was a moment when I didn’t really know who was in, but in the end, some of the riders that were going with me, including Alejandro and Rojas, dropped as we were able to stick at last.

“I really knew the place to move was the last climb. Everything went as I planned: jumping into the uphill and reaching the top with a gap. I came to the summit with 40 seconds and even had time to enjoy as I rode through the final kilometre. Things couldn’t have been better. After the descent, 3k from the finish, I already knew I was going to win. The final kilometre was really beautiful, with such big crowds in both sides. It’s something I will remember for the rest of my life.

“Winning a stage in the Tour is really difficult, but winning two… I have no words for that. I also fought for this last year, but this race is the hardest to obtain even a minor success. Being able to snatch a win again is a relief for me. Since I had to help Alejandro and dropped on stage 13, I forgot my GC chances and focused on winning a stage. It’s dedicated to all people that supports me – two days ago, I got to know I was the Tour rider with the most supportive messages from the fans, and this is all for them.”

Alberto Contador played down what happened in the last kilometers of today’s stage saying they are “things of cycling and are not important at all”, in reference to Nairo Quintana, who worked in front of the group when he fell followed by Froome. “It was nothing, they are race circumstances” settled the Saxo-Tinkoff leader, who rejoined the group before the finish, but suffered a blow on his right knee and elbow. “I hope it’s something superficial. Now I put ice and I think I´ll be fine for tomorrow”, he said at the hotel after receiving the first treatment by the team doctor.

After crossing the finish line, Alberto said that this “is pure and simple cycling. Today we tried and in the end a Belkin was unhooked and another was on the ropes. Now I just hope that the fall does not affect me more than to sleep a little worse and that tomorrow could be an important day.”

In the last kilometers, Contador said that all “have been very attentive and have not been able to make differences, but hey, legs are getting better and I hope I can give some spectacle. I don’t know if we’ll win or not, but I hope the people behind the TV will enjoy.”

Alberto also said humorously that he hoped that “this is not the stage I said yesterday, it may be another”, in reference to which he marked by the end of the Tour to try something. “For me it isn’t a great motivation to go calm at the wheel in the bunch. Whenever I saw that there is a chance, I’ll try to do something, either at the beginning or at the end of the race. And we’ll see what the final result in Paris is.”

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) tried to split the race on the last climb: “Finally I start to have the feelings I was expecting. Today I had a really good day. Apart from the place I gained in general classification, I’m happy I wore out my rivals. Tomorrow will start the crucial part of this ‘Tour de France’: I’m still convinced I can fight for the podium.”

Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) lost one place on overall: “I honestly did not expect a fight today. Unfortunately, I could not follow on the final climb. It was an explosive one. When two riders in front of me cracked, a gap suddenly appeared that I could not close. It’s not fun to lose time in a relatively easy stage, but I have to take my loss and in the time trial tomorrow, I’ll give everything I have. The previous time trial gave me a morale boost. This one suits me even better.”

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) held his second place overall: “I think we can expect more attacks from riders like Contador in the coming days. Today I felt good. Before the stage, I watched a video of the final climb’s descent so that I knew exactly how it flowed. Tomorrow’s time trial is quite tricky, but I hope I can take time on Contador. With two climbs, I fancy my chances on the parcours. The previous time trial gave me a lot of morale.”

World road champion Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team finished eighth on Tuesday’s stage of the Tour de France on a day when he and teammate Manuel Quinziato were part of a 26-rider breakaway which produced the stage winner. “The tailwind we had all day made it hard racing, especially on the climb,” Gilbert said. “I knew Costa was the rider to follow because without the incident on Stage 13 where his teammate, Alejandro Valverde, lost time, he would have been up there with the top contenders.” Quinziato said his role was to help Gilbert. “We spoke together to have me keep riding to keep the group together,” he said. “That’s what I did in the last 10 kilometres before the climb when two guys attacked. We wanted to keep the gap in check.” Assistant Director Fabio Baldato, who was following the break in the BMC Racing Team car, said, “It was good to be in the breakaway because it was really hard just to make it today.”

Tour de France Stage 16 Result:
1. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar in 3:52:45
2. Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:42
3. Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ
4. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis
5. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard
6. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Argos-Shimano at 1:00
7. Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1:01
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 1:04
9. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
10. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 16:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 65:15:36
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 4:14
3. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 4:25
4. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 4:28
5. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 5:47
6. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 5:54
7. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 7:11
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 7:22
9. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 8:47
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 9:28.

The last K for Rui Costa:

Chris Froome (Sky) moved a little closer to his first Tour de France win by beating everyone in the mountain time trail Stage 17, but it was close. The Kenyan born Froome beat Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) by only 8.8 seconds and possibly more surprisingly he only beat Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) by 10 seconds. Belkin’s Bauke Mollema was 2nd overall before the TT, but he lost 2 minutes to Contador and 1 minute 46 seconds to Contador’s team mate Roman Kreuziger and so dropped to 4th overall. With the great ride from Rodriguez he moved up a place to 6th overtaking Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin). Bad luck for Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) who crashed out on one of the damp corners breaking his collar bone. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) moved into 9th overall as Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) stayed in 10th. The battle is still well on!

Race Quotes:
Stage winner and overall leader Chris Froome (Sky): “I couldn’t believe it when I got over the finish line and saw that I got the fastest time,” Froome said. “I went into today to limit my losses and to think of the days to come. To go through the finish with the fastest time, I didn’t see that coming.” As to the bike change and the rain: “I didn’t think the weather was going in my direction. I had rain on the second descent but lucky it had dried up and that made me happy. Changing bikes could very well have made a difference. When I rode the route this morning I realised I needed a bigger gear for the run in and so put on bigger gears for the finale today.”

Alberto Contador, who now has climbed to second place overall and was only at 8 seconds of the stage victory on the second and last time trial of the Tour 2013, made a positive valuation of his race, which was also followed by Roman Kreuziger, now third overall.

“It was a good day and I’m happy because I’m getting closer, even though it’s a shame losing the win by so little time. Froome is at an impressive level both uphill and on the time trial and when I saw he was there, although I still had the best time; I was totally surprised that he was going to beat me. On the last descent it started to rain and I decided to go a little softer because I had a fall yesterday. I’m actually glad that the knee doesn’t hurt me much during the time trial and that motivates me for the coming days.”

“There’s a lot of talking about the bike change but I’m very happy with our decision. I have a mechanic Faustino who prepared a bike for me that was difficult to improve. I am very happy with the choice I made,” said Alberto Contador and concluded:

“Finishing second today hasn’t changed our goal. We must try and see if we can climb to the top position. Yes, Froome is impressive but there are still two tough days and when you’re second it’s easier to get to first place. Froome is very strong but with this great team around me, there are several opportunities.”

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) rode in to a great 3rd place on the stage: “I think I did a great performance in this ITT,” said Purito. At one moment I thought I could even take the victory. I lived the last meters of Contador’s performance just like as if I was watching the penalties of the Champions League final match. When I saw I lost from him for just 7 tenth, I was very disappointed because he had the best time at the intermediate point, so I thought he was going to win and I took the second place for less than 1”: but then along came Froome and took the win, as predicted. Anyways, I’m very satisfied about my shape and I hope to do a great final part of ‘Tour’.”

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) lost his second place and dropped off the podium to fourth: “I hadn’t thought the differences would be this big. When it started to rain, I had problems with braking. I became somewhat insecure and so I missed that last corner and I went into the fences. Today wasn’t a good day, but I still hope to show myself. I want to fight for the podium and I think I still have a chance.”

Nairo Quintana: “I did a fine TT, though it might have been not my best day when it comes to feelings. Since I did the recon this morning, I already knew the parcours suited me, and that’s why I’m not fully satisfied with this result. It’s true that the riders who beat me are all strong – also, I gained some time on the fight for white, and we took some on other GC contenders. At the second climb I could pick up the pace and felt better, but it was raining a bit in the final descent and I had to grab the brakes more than usual, because I didn’t want to take too many risks. I lost a bit of time there, but I hope to recover it in the upcoming stages.

“The days are taking its toll on my recovery, but also make me more mature – you get to assume better this tiredness after three weeks of racing. Yesterday’s was a really nervous stage, fast from the start, but I could still keep the wheel of the top guys – that makes me feel more confident. I hope not to lose time in the three mountain stages remaining and stay into a good position overall as I am right now. I think tomorrow’s stage is the one that favours me the most. It’s probably the Queen stage in this year’s Tour, and I’m confident the legs will respond as I want. I saw many people along the route with Colombian flags, lots of them coming here to support me – that makes me happy, mentally strong. I will give everything for this team and my country in these three days left to Paris.”

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski “Today was pretty hard for everyone I guess,” Kwiatkowski said. “I did my best, risked my life on the descent two times, but I finally finished 7th for the stage. So, I’m happy about it. I think that was one of the hardest time trials of my life. Tomorrow we have Alpe-d’huez two times. I did it already for Criterium du Dauphine so I know it’s going to be a really hard stage. Probably attacks from the start. We will have sore legs after today’s time trial, then another three days until Paris. I will try to do my best and get much help from my teammates. We will see.”

Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) clocked 53:24 in somewhat rainy conditions on the 32-kilometer course that featured two categorized climbs. His time stood – partly helped by stronger rain showers for many riders after him – until eventual fifth-place finisher Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) arrived in a time 81 seconds faster. Van Garderen said a planned switch from his BMC teammachine SLR01 to the BMC timemachine TM01 at the top of the final climb definitely helped. “We thought it would be faster to switch bikes and it was,” he said. “I’m satisfied with my result. I wanted to go out for myself and have a good ride today. It’s been somewhat of a disappointing tour for me.”

BMC Racing Team’s Cadel Evans announced before the time trial that he would not be “going flat out” and Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said the past Tour de France champion’s result – 167th, 8:04 behind – was not a concern. “The plan was not to go for it, to lose time – maybe a little bit voluntary,” he said. “We wanted to make an easy time trial and not to take any risks in the downhill and then concentrate on the next three mountain stages.” Evans said he has had to revise his original goal to do “a reasonable giro and a very good Tour” after a third place at the Italian race in May. “At this point, it looks like the Giro took a lot more out of me than I first thought,” he said. “It’s something that we tried knowing that there was a certain element of riding the Giro and the Tour. I could have not done the Giro and maybe come here fresher but not as good and still perform poorly so that was a decision we made back in March.”

Tour de France Stage 17 Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 51:33
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:09
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:10
4. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 0:23
5. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:30
6. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 1:11
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:33
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:34
9. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:41
10. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:51.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 17:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 66:07:09
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Saxo-Tinkoff at 4:34
3. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Saxo-Tinkoff at 4:51
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 6:23
5. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 6:58
6. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 7:21
7. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 8:23
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 8:56
9. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 11:10
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 12:50.

Stage 17:

Today (Thursday) the Tour goes over the L’Alpe d’Huez twice for the first time. One of the most memorable days on L’Alpe was in 1986 where Greg Lemond and Bernard Hinault crossed the line hand in hand. Things were not good between the two “team mates” and well, it’s a long story.

Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen 2013
ORICA-AIS began their campaign for the overall victory at Thüringen Rundfahrt in a winning way as Emma Johansson outsprinted Lizzie Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) and Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon) for the stage one victory. Johansson, winner of the German tour in 2011, banked bonus seconds at both intermediate sprints and the finish to pull on the race leader’s yellow jersey in Schleusingen.

“Our strategy today was built around Emma,” said Sport Director Dave McPartland. “We’re here for the overall, and we wanted to start with a bang by putting Emma up for the win. The uphill finish today suited Emma down to the ground.”

“It’s nice to come back and win right away,” said Johansson, who returned to racing in Germany following a three week break. “The team backed me up so well. I’m happy to pull it off for them and for myself, as well. We worked hard together for this.”

The 67km undulating stage was raced aggressively from start to finish. With 3-2-1 bonus seconds available at the intermediate sprints and 10-6-4 bonus seconds available at the finish, ORICA-AIS had far more too focus on than the finale.

Both intermediate sprints were hotly contested with Johansson finishing in second place to Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabobank Liv Giant) in the first sprint and edging out Van Vleuten on the second sprint. Having taken her first Thüringen overall title by virtue of bonus seconds on the final day of racing, Johansson knows well the importance of securing time wherever she can.
“This tour has been won on bonus seconds more than once,” explained McPartland. “It’s a bloody hard race, and the stages are selective, but with no mountaintop finish, it’s possible to have five or six riders with a realistic shot of winning the overall towards the end of the tour. This can get separated by the time trial a fair bit, but we don’t want to rely on that. Bonus seconds can be the difference between winning and second or third.”

“We did an awesome lead-out coming through the finish for the first time for the intermediate sprint,” added Johansson. “With that kind of lead-out, I was confident we could win the stage.”

Although repeated attacks animated the afternoon, no rider or group gained a substantial advantage until a late race attack from Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda). The Danish born Kiwi slowly built up her advantage. As a former Thüringen Rundfahrt overall winner and a strong time trialist, Villumsen’s solo move represented a threat to Johansson’s overall ambitions.

“The main moved today was late in the race when Villumsen went up the road,” McPartland noted. “She gained 35” in the last 10km. Apart from that, the race was very aggressive but nothing significant happened. We made sure that we had someone in every move that went away even if it didn’t look important. Linda’s attack was the only one that put us on the back foot.”

“With Linda up the road, we had to risk using up riders before the lead-out,” Johansson added. “It was better to have the girls pulling Linda back than to save them for the train. I’d rather do the sprint on my own and race for victory than have a train to deliver me to second place.”

Six kilometres from the finish, Johansson sent Loes Gunnewijk to the front of the peloton to chase. Gunnewijk combined forces with Specialized-lululemon to overtake Villumsen ahead of the line.

“I still had Spratty [Amanda Spratt] with me while Loes was chasing,” recalled Johansson. “I had her stay with me in case something happened. Coming into the final, I was searching for the best wheel. Ellen had a teammate on the front and Lizzie and Annemiek were fighting for the wheel. I tucked in behind those two. It was perfect.”

The technical run-in to the line included two turns in quick succession in the last half-kilometre followed by an uphill drag over bricks. Having previewed the finish at full speed during the intermediate sprint, Johansson knew exactly how she wanted to time her final effort.

“Just before the right-hand corner, one of the girls from the Australian National team jumped,” Johansson explained. “I jumped on her wheel, and she ending up giving me the perfect lead-out. She took me through the right-hand corner and then the left-hand corner at full speed.

“Ellen came around her and opened her sprint after the second corner,” continued Johansson. “I matched my speed to Ellen. I knew I needed to build up to my sprint on the uphill and unleash when we hit the cobbles. I did that exactly and never looked back.”
Johansson will start stage two with a 6” advantage over Van Vleuten and a 9” advantage over Armitstead. She’s confident her team is capable of defending the yellow jersey over the seven days of racing.

“We have a strong team here,” Johansson said. “Everyone is very motivated. With the win today, we’re even more confident that we can win the overall.”
Thanks to Orica-AIS.

Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen Stage 1 Result:
1. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS in 1:43:28
2. Elizabeth Armitstead (GB) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team
3. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
4. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon
5. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) BePink 0:00:02
6. Charlotte Becker (Ger) Wiggle Honda
7. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Hitec Products UCK
8. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini Giordana
9. Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team
10. Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen (Nor) Hitec Products UCK.

Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen Overall After Stage 1:
1. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS in 1:43:13
2. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant at 0:06
3. Elizabeth Armitstead (GB) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team at 0:09
4. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Specialized-lululemon at 0:15
5. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) BePink at 0:17
6. Charlotte Becker (Ger) Wiggle Honda
7. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) Hitec Products UCK
8. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini Giordana
9. Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team
10. Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen (Nor) Hitec Products UCK.

Stage 2 came down to a bunch sprint and Specialized-lululemon’s fast girl; Carmen Small came out on top. She got the better of Marta Tagliaferro (MCipollini-Giordana) and the overall leader Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS). Earlier in the day; Chloe McConville (Australia) and Anna Bianca Schnitzmeier (Wiggle-Honda) broke away after the first climb of the day, they had a lead of over 3 minutes at one time, but were caught 10 kilometres out from the finish in Rum um Hermsdorf. A crash 6 kilometres before the finish split the field although it all came together again in time for the sprint. The day was a battle for seconds between the GC riders as Johansson gained 4 seconds over Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) and a further 7 seconds on Liz Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans).

Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen Stage 2 Result:
1. Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon in 3:18:50
2. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana
3. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
4. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
5. Christine Majerus (Lux) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team
6. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) BePink
7. Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team
8. Beate Zanner (Ger) Maxx Solar Stevens
9. Elizabeth Armitstead (GB) Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team
10. Emily Collins (NZl) Wiggle-Honda.

Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen Overall After Stage 2:
1. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS in 5:01:56
2. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant at 0:10
3. Elizabeth Armitstead (GB) Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team at 0:16
4. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) BePink at 0:24
5. Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team
6. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana
7. Charlotte Becker (Ger) Wiggle-Honda
8. Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen (Nor) Hitec Products UCK
9. Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon 0:00:26
10. Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Germany at 0:28.

Stage 2:

Stage 3: was another bunch sprint and it was Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabobank-Liv/Giant). On this occasion it was an uphill finish and van Vleuten out sprinted race leader Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) and Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana). Van Vleuten gained a 10 second bonus for her win, but as Johansson was going for the intermediate sprints she increased her lead to 11 seconds. Andrea Graus (Bigla) went for a long solo break, but was caught with 12 kilometres to go, then it was down to the sprint.

Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen Stage 3 Result:
1. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant 3:31:35
2. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
3. Valentina Scandolara (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana
4. Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Germany
5. Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
6. Amy Cure (Aus) Australia
7. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
8. Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team
9. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Specialized-lululemon
10. Linda Villumsen (NZl) Wiggle-Honda.

Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen Overall After Stage 3:
1. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS in 8:33:19
2. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant at 0:11
3. Elizabeth Armitstead (GB) Boels Dolmans Cycling Team at 0:28
4. Anna Van Der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team at 0:36
5. Charlotte Becker (Ger) Wiggle-Honda
6. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana
7. Carmen Small (USA) Specialized-lululemon at 0:38
8. Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Germany at 0:40
9. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-AIS
10. Elke Gebhardt (Ger) Germany at 0:41.

Two More Years for Europcar
The car rental company; Europcar has agreed to extend its sponsorship agreement till the end of 2015. The company’s sales manager, Marcus Bernhardt said: “We are very proud to continue this great adventure and we have no doubts that the sponsorship will continue to give us complete satisfaction.” The team should now be able to keep two of its top riders: Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Roland and the team has big plans for the future due to new secondary sponsors, to be announced soon.

And Three More Years for Ag2r La Mondiale
Second announcement of the Tour rest day was from Ag2r La Mondiale, they will continue their sponsorship of the team until the end of 2016. Team manager Vincent Lavenu said of the deal: “We are lucky to be supported by a loyal and faithful sponsor who allows us to compete at the highest level. It gives the riders security and calmness and makes them do their best to defend our colours. We welcome the news, and it is obviously a great satisfaction for us.” There was no mention if there would be any team development or if they would still be wearing those terrible brown shorts.

One More Year for Saxo Bank
The Saxo Bank will stay with the team run by Bjarne Riis for next year, The bank’s founder Lars Seier Christensen confirmed to Ritzau: “We have committed to the team again. And we’ve also come to a definitive agreement with our Russian friend,” referring to Oleg Tinkov of Tinkoff Bank. As to the name change to “Tinkoff-Saxo” Christensen said: “I am not particularly swayed to one or the other. So it can be anything. I guess basically it’s a question of who would want it most. That is a question of money. We would like to have a good cooperation with Oleg. I have committed to next year. It’s now about what Oleg will do.”

Mustafa Sayar Positive
The unsurprising news that the Tour of Turkey winner; Mustafa Sayar has been found positive for EPO during the Tour of Algeria in March was announced on Monday. He has been provisionally suspended until the Turkish Cycling Federation makes a decision on his case. Many riders found it strange that he won his home race in Turkey, Champion System rider Matt Brammeier Tweeted: “Was riding next to Mustafa Sayar last week thinking “damn, I’m going to ride tour of turkey next year, think I can win, this guy is a joke” adding: “He was sweating and suffering like a tourist. Out of the race after 2 days. Chapeau. Adios Mustafa”.

Sayar on the other hand claims he is innocent and that it is a French conspiracy to have a French winner at the Tour of Turkey.

Orica-GreenEdge Backstage Pass
This episode from stage 16 is full of famous people and as usual very funny:

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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