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EuroTrash Thursday!

Beñat Intxausti closed the season in Beijing with another win for Movistar and in Belgium the season ended, as always in Putte-Kapellen, but don’t worry it won’t be long before the Tour Down Under. Cyclo-cross is in full swing and we have all the race reports, results and video. Plus we say Good bye Marco Pinotti with his views on doping. Cappuccino?

TOP STORY: The Change Came from Within
It has recently been expounded by riders and team managers that the change in the doping culture has come from within the peloton and it has been the clean riders who have shown the way forward. When known clean riders started to win races, the others started to take note.

This is true, but also we must look at the improvement in the dope controls and the “young guys” who came up not knowing who Lance Armstrong was.

Marco Pinotti retired at the end of the Tour of Beijing and his career showed that it was possible to be a champion and do it clean. In his recent book “Il mestiere del ciclista: Una vita in bicicletta, curiosità, esperienze e consigli” (The cyclist’s trade: a life in cycling, secrets, experience and advice), or “The Cycling Professor” as it’s known in English, Pinotti points out:

“Does anyone really believe that winning by cheating makes us truly happy? Would we know its worth? Beyond the effects on physical health, perhaps more importantly, let’s talk about the wounds of the soul? Or what is the message we pass on to future generations? It’s like hide toxic waste in your own garden, hoping by burial, to solve the problem.”

As to how he chose to live his life: “In recent years I have learned that sometimes taking the road less travelled is a good choice, if you respect personal values. There are some natural laws and principles that transcend the personal values, different cultures and religions is really a sense of justice, honesty, respect, which is superior to all opinions. Happiness is not an outcome, but a process. We have no control over the outcome. And happiness is not dependent on what we are and what we have.”

“What I have learned is that we always have a choice and that there are always alternatives. This availability of options brings the revolution within. No need to wait for the solutions to the problems from above, unless we change our behaviour and beliefs from within. Above all, I realized that all the things I’ve learned to be put into practice. To know and not do is not to know.”

“For my part, I can say that in my small way I have done, and will do all we can to improve the relationship with the sport and the people who follow it. In my profession, I felt much more involved and motivated by the practice of this sport more than their competitive results. Of course I’m interested in the results, and I always like to go fast and try to win, but I think there are other aspects of my job that are much more stimulating and challenging: the type of preparation, physical sensations, the opportunities this work I gives to visit many different places in the world, or just the pleasure of being outdoors. I think, and hope, that there are many riders who think like me.”

Marco Pinotti will be working with the BMC team when he hangs up his wheels, with riders like Marco showing the young riders the way forward, professional cycling is in safe hands for the future.

I make that 9 bottles:

Tour of Beijing 2013
Six riders created a gap on the field in Monday’s 150 kilometre Stage 4 of the Tour of Beijing from Yanqing to the uphill finish of Mentougou Miaofeng Mountain. But the gap was held below 2 minutes as Saxo-Tinkoff controlled the pace in the pack.

Entering the final 30 kilometres, Stijn Vandenbergh (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) separated himself from the front group and went solo but he was swept up by the Saxo-Tinkoff train before the foot of the uphill finish. As the slopes were getting steep and the Belkin team picked up the pace, the peloton gradually slimmed down to about 20 riders.

Halfway up the climb, David Lopez (Sky) and Jan Bakelandts (RadioShack Leopard) managed to create a gap to the rest of the favourites but they were reeled back in and in a furious counter-attack, Beñat Intxausti (Movistar) punched away from everyone and soloed his way to the finish line and took the stage win just ahead of a chasing Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp).

Stage winner and new overall leader Beñat Intxausti: “To be honest, we didn’t have a plan to attack from the start and take the bonus seconds, but there was a pretty long downhill in the beginning, we got into a break and Iván Gutiérrez worked his heart out for me so I could notch up those two seconds for the overall standings. I felt quite well yesterday on the climbs and knew that as well myself as Rui could be battling for the stage win today. The final climb was fast, but the pace fell a bit with 2k left, so I jumped. I saw López coming from behind but not being able to catch me, and also Daniel Martin in the finale. I was giving everything I had since I attacked, but could still hang on and even raise my arms to enjoy the win.

“It’s a really important win for me, because I couldn’t make such a great second part of the season as the first one with the Giro. I didn’t feel really well in the Vuelta, and despite working well for the team, it might have not shown my real level. The last days of the Vuelta were the best for me, and that kept me focused to train and take care of myself in the weeks leading up to this race. It might seem like an easy day tomorrow, but the nerves will be up with bonus seconds up for grabs and we will have to stay attentive. Fortunately, I have a strong team at my side, and it will be easier with them to hopefully keep the jersey and get onto the final podium at the end of the day.”
“Since a small group managed to get away, we were on the chase throughout the day and the boys did a tremendous job reeling in the escapees before the finale. On the uphill finish, Rogers was following for a long time but as the punchy riders made their moves, he had a hard keeping up the pace. Tomorrow, we’re doing the street criterium where I don’t expect any changes in the top of the rankings but we’ll try put Matti in a good position for the sprint,” said Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Philippe Mauduit after the stage.

Tour of Beijing Stage 4 Result:
1. Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar in 3:43:25
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:03
3. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky at 0:04
4. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 0:06
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:11
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard at 0:13
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin
9. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale
10. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC at 0:18.

Tour of Beijing Overall After Stage 4:
1. Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar in 17:11:50
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:10
3. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky at 0:13
4. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 0:18
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:24
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard at 0:26
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin
9. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale
10. Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:31.

Stage 4:

Saxo-Tinkoff’s Manuele Boaro was eager to get the most out of today’s 117 kilometre Stage 5 and final stage of Tour of Beijing from Tian an men Square to Bird’s Nest Piazza. The Italian rider formed the first breakaway with Oliver Kaizen (Lotto Belisol), Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), Marco Pinotti (BMC). Pinotti and Flecha both ended their careers after the stage.

But the sprinter teams were not hon their heels today and they slowly but surely dragged the escapees back to the peloton that was stretched out in one long line on the closing kilometres and with 4 kilometres to go, it was all over for the break.

Thundering in on the finish line, Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) seemed to take another win but on the final meters, Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) went past and took the stage win.

Race winner Beñat Intxausti: “It was a day to pay attention to the bonus seconds and especially those time gaps that always happen at fast finishes. The team was superb from the start, letting a not-so-dangerous break go away and controlling the race before the teams with sprinters took over with two laps remaining. We got well through the day, that was the goal and we’re happy with everything. Winning a WorldTour stage race in front of the likes of Daniel Martin, Tony Martin… is even more prestigious, and from a personal point of view, closing this season with such a victory makes me more calm and confident to go on holiday and start training. Just as ever, I dedicate this to the team, my family, the fans always supporting us and Xavi and my grandpa. I didn’t have the legs I expected to in the Vuelta, but seeing myself doing well through the Angliru was a confidence boost.”

“This victory rounds off a great season for me. I think that taking leadership roles in the Giro made me gain consistence and courage, and now this victory in a World Tour race is sort of a confirmation. I’m growing year by year and that will be my intention for the next season. I’m especially happy about the team. Winning the World Tour teams’ classification, becoming the World number 1… it’s the icing on the cake. I brought what I could and it was amazing how things went this season: podiums in two GT’s, the Worlds, every single victory… it really shows our potential.”

Marco Pinotti earned co-most aggressive rider honors in his last race with the BMC Racing Team, then joined his teammates on the podium to celebrate victory in the team classification at the Tour of Beijing Tuesday. Pinotti was part of a five-man breakaway that gained enough time at one point in the stage around the Olympic Plaza that the six-time Italian national time trial champion was the virtual race leader. After being reeled in with one lap of the 7.8-km finishing circuit to go, for his efforts, Pinotti and another retiring rider – Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM) – shared most aggressive rider honours. “My goal was to be in the breakaway,” Pinotti said. “Flecha told me he didn’t want to go in the break this morning, but then when I saw him in it, I went across to him. We had fun together.” Pinotti plans to compete Sunday in the Chrono des Nations individual time trial Sunday before joining the BMC Racing Team’s Sports Science Division for the 2014 season. “We will miss Marco, that’s for sure,” said BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Max Sciandri. “He wanted to get in the break today and he did it and he got the most aggressive rider award. That was a nice reward for him finishing off his career.”

The BMC Racing Team’s win in the team classification occurred on a day when the bunch sprint finish was not expected to affect the final standings. But a gap opened in the peloton and the then-leading Movistar Team’s third rider finished nine seconds off the winning time. That allowed the BMC Racing Team to win the team prize by four seconds. “It’s really nice as a team, as a group, to go up on the podium together,” Steve Cummings said. “I think we deserved it. We rode well all week and it was unfortunate we didn’t have Thor Hushovd with us. Even without him and his leadership, we rode together as a team.” Members of the winning squad included Marcus Burghardt, Cummings, Mathias Frank, Martin Kohler, Dominik Nerz, Pinotti, Larry Warbasse and Hushovd – who withdrew after Stage 2 to attend to a family emergency after winning the opening stage. The BMC Racing Team’s victory in the team classification was its seventh of the year, adding to those won at the Tour of Alberta, USA Pro Challenge, Amgen Tour of California, Tour of Oman, Tour of Qatar and Tour de San Luis. Benat Intxausti (Movistar Team) won the race overall while Frank (13th place) was the BMC Racing Team’s best-placed rider.

3rd placed Belkin Neo-Pro Moreno Hofland: “With 200 meters to go I accelerated, but right at that moment they went from left to right and I had to brake,” said Hofland. “After that I was still able to catch a few others, but Mezgec and Bouhanni were too far away. Maybe I could have kept up with them. I felt good and had prepared myself well. I used my aero suit and helmet and had also borrowed Wilco Keldermans’ overshoes.” The Tour of Hainan (2.HC, 20-28 October) is the Belkin Pro Cycling Team’s last race of the 2013 season. Hofland is excited. “Today gives me great morale boost. This was my first podium finish in a WorldTour-level race. It gives me a very good feeling. Maybe in Hainan, I can try to take my first professional victory.”

Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, Lotto Belisol sports director: “As a team we’ve shown ourselves a lot. In three of the five stages we were part of a long breakaway. Three times a rider of us ended up in top ten, but we definitely aimed for a top five place to get as much WorldTour points as possible. Adam Hansen could forget a good GC after losing 40” in a descent in stage three. We came to here with a team of six, so we couldn’t control the race, we had to attack.”

Tour of Beijing Stage 5 Result:
1. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Argos-Shimano in 2:23:56
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ
3. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin
4. Matti Breschel (Den) Saxo-Tinkoff
5. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha
7. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha
9. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky.

Tour of Beijing Overall Final Result:
1. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar in 19:35:46
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:10
3. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky at 0:13
4. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar at 0:18
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:24
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard at 0:26
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin
9. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale
10. Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 0:31.

Stage 5:

Nationale Sluitingprijs – Putte-Kapellen 2013
Jens Debusschere of Lotto Belisol won the final race of the season, the in Nationale Sluitingprijs which starts and finishes in Putte-Kapellen on the Belgium/Dutch border. The 11 lap race over 186 kilometres is always a hard fought race, similar to the hard beer drinking during and after the race by fans and (some) riders. There were many attacks on the 16.7 kilometre circuit, including one from the eventual winner; Debusschere. In the end a group of six riders managed to gain a gap, three of them were from Argos-Shimano; William Clarke, Ramon Sinkeldam & Bert De Backer, plus Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM), Johan Coenen (Differdange-Losch) and Zico Waeytens (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). At one point they had 2 minutes in hand, but they split with Clarke, De Backer and Coenen heading up the road. The race came together with one lap to go for Debusschere to take the sprint ahead of Tim Dupont (Ventilair-Steria) and Binche winner Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (Argos-Shimano) in third.

Nationale Sluitingprijs-Putte Kapellen Result:
1. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol in 4:02:08
2. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Ventilair-Steria Cycling Team
3. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Argos-Shimano
4. Boris Vallee (Bel) Color Code-Biowanze
5. Michaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Cyclingteam De Rijke-Shanks
7. Steven Doms (Bel) To Win-Josan Cycling Team
8. Kevin Suarez Martinez (Bel) Doltcini-Flanders
9. Jarl Salomein (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Wesley Kreder (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM.

Bpost Bank Trofee-GP Mario De Clerq 2013
On Sunday in Ronse the World cyclo-cross champion; Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) won the first round of the Bpost Bank Trofee, the GP Mario De Clercq. The course was a mud bath and Nys was strong enough to ride away from the lead group with two laps to go. Second was the Czech rider Martin Bina (Kwadro-Stannah) who crashed just before Nys made his move, the crash stalled Niels Albert (BKCP- Powerplus), but Bina managed to hold Albert off for second. Belgian champion Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon) was fourth.

In the woman’s race Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea) won in memory of her team mate Amy Dombroski who had died in a training accident.

Bpost Bank Trofee-GP Mario De Clerq Result:
1. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony in 57:06
2. Martin Bina (Cze) Kwadro-Stannah at 0:17
3. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus at 0:20
4. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:08
5. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Kwadro-Stannah
6. Thijs van Amerongen (Ned) AA Drink/Leontien.nl Pro
7. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Rabo-Giant Offroad at 1:30
8. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:36
9. Bart Aernouts (Ned) AA Drink/Leontien.nl Pro at 1:58
10. Twan van den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team at 2:11.

Ronse action:

Grote Prijs van Brabant 2013
Last year Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) didn’t have the best of seasons, but so far this season he has had two wins in three weeks. He looks to be coming back to the form of two years ago which showed his great future. He beat World champion Sven Nys (Crelan-Euphony) and and home boy Lars Van Der Haar (Rabo-Giant Offroad) in Den Bosch.

Grote Prijs van Brabant Result:
1. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
2. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-Euphony
3. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Rabo-Giant Offroad
4. Bart Aernouts (Bel) AA Drink/Leontien.nl Pro
5. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
6. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
7. Corné Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea
8. Gert-Jan Bosman (Ned) Rabo-Giant Offroad
9. Enrico Franzoi (Ita) Selle Italia Guerciotti
10. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Rabo-Giant Offroad.

GP Van Brabant:

Argos-Shimano Extends with Five Riders
The Dutch Argos-Shimano team has extended its contracts with Tobias Ludvigsson, Georg Preidler, Ramon Sinkeldam, Thomas Damuseau and final stage winner in the Tour of Beijing; Luka Mezgec. Team director Rudi Kemna commented: “I am happy that we can work with these riders on a long-term basis, as it is important to have the time to develop their specialties. This year we saw the breakthrough of Warren Barguil, and next year we will hopefully see the same with these diamonds in the rough.”

Trek Re-Sign Four Riders
Laurent Didier, Matt Busche, Haimar Zubeldia and Robert Kiserlovski have all signed with the “new” Trek team for 2014, all four had been riding with the RadioShack Leopard Trek team in 2013. This brings the total of riders in the team to 27 including new riders; Fumiyuki Beppu, Boy and Danny Van Poppel, Kristof Vande Walle and Fabio Felline. There is still no mention of 2013 Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner staying with the team.

Life Ban for Danilo Di Luca
Italian anti-doping authorities don’t want a repeat of Dani Di Luca’s drugs ban in 2009 where his two year ban was reduced to 9 month and are asking for a life ban. Di Luca tested positive for EPO in an out of competition test before the 2013 Giro d’Italia where he had a string of good results before leaving the race before the start of stage 20.

Benjamín Noval Retirers
After 14 years Benjamín Noval is leaving the professional ranks, here is his heartfelt adios to the peloton:
“The aim of this letter is to inform you that my time as a professional cyclist has come to an end. I have pondered my decision for quite a long time and, although I was asked to continue, I’ve decided to end my career.

At the same time, I want to thank all the teams I worked with: RELAX Fuenlabrada who gave me the opportunity to make my debut as a professional cyclist. Discovery Channel, Astana Team and Saxo Bank who relied on me for 14 years and I tried hard to repay them with honesty, humility, sacrifice and a professional attitude. I proudly assumed my work as a domestique at the service of the team leaders. I especially wish to thank the teams and colleagues who helped me to enter the world of professional cycling ; without their help I would have never achieved it: Extensiones Sabino, Banesto amateur and Videos Porteros Tegui.

I would also like to use this letter to highlight the role of domestiques, who are essential in any team. They are cyclists who work for the leader and who renounce their own opportunities in a race. I have many domestique colleagues within the peloton who will end up without a team because of the present, unfair points system.

I further wish to thank all the cyclists who I have shared a team and the peloton with, managers, masseurs, the media and race organizers for the support and professional attitude they have shown me all these years.

To all my fans, a huge THANK YOU for your loyal support at each race, training session, and especially for encouragement during hard times.

Above all, I want to thank my wife, my children, my parents and my family for sharing with me the sacrifice and the renouncement that this sport entails, for having so much patience and letting me do what I love.

Thank you so much to everybody and HERE’S TO CYCLING!
Pola de Laviana (Asturias), 14th October 2013
Benjamín Noval González

Alberto Contador and Benjamín Noval travel 1900 km by car to ride the Ardennes classics:

David Millar will Retire at the End of 2014
During an interview with Wieler Revue David Millar announced that 2014 will be his last year in the Pro peloton. After a 17 year career with its up’s and down’s Millar will finish his career with the team he part owns; Garmin-Sharp. Millar received a two year ban after admitting drug use when riding for Cofidis, he made his return with Saunier Duval before joining Garmin. Since his doping ban Millar has been at the front of fighting doping in cycling.

NetApp – Endura bets on continuity in 2014 and reinforces the team with Sam Bennett and Tiago Machado
Press Release: The highest-ranked German cycling team will rely on its current top performers in the coming season. After a very successful year with 24 podium spots, including a Grand Tour stage win, Team NetApp – Endura will make only a few changes in its squad.

“We’re betting on continuity. We had a very successful season in 2013 and we demonstrated our team’s current level of performance most recently at the Vuelta a España. In order to take it to the next level we can continue working with our top performers – which will prove to be a great advantage for us next year”, says Ralph Denk, Team NetApp – Endura’s team manager.

Thus far, two new riders have been recruited: experienced Portuguese rider Tiago Machado and Irish sprinting talent Sam Bennett. Ralph Denk: “Sam is among the best up-and-coming sprinters in Europe. He proved that in impressive style at the Tour of Britain. He will be a valuable addition to our squad of young sprinters. Tiago is an experienced tour specialist, and we signed him on specifically for the general classification at shorter stage races. In addition, with his climbing skills, he will provide added support for Leo Koenig at the bigger tours.”

NetApp – Endura is keeping the option open of signing on additional riders in the coming weeks. “A lot is happening in the riders market, and there are some exciting options. So we’re still in talks, and we’ll review whether or not to strengthen our team further. But all that is taking place without any pressure because our core team is all set for 2014″, Ralph Denk adds.

The squad for the 2014 season (as of 15 October 2013)
Jan Barta (CZE/28), Cesare Benedetti (ITA/26), Sam Bennett (IRL/22), Iker Camaño (ESP/34), David de la Cruz (ESP/24), Zakkari Dempster (AUS/26), Bartosz Huzarski (POL/32), Blaz Jarc (SLO/25), Leopold König (CZE/25), Tiago Machado (POR/27), Ralf Matzka (GER/24), Jonathan McEvoy (GBR/24), Jose Mendes (POR/28), Erick Rowsell (GBR/23), Andreas Schillinger (GER/30), Daniel Schorn (AUT/24), Michael Schwarzmann (GER/22), Scott Thwaites (GBR/23), Paul Voss (GER/27).

Photo: Team NetApp-Endura.

Nibali “number 1” at the Gran Gala: “My 2014 goal is the Tour de France”
The Gran Gala Ciclistico Internazionale took another step towards its 30th anniversary, that will be celebrated in 2014. On Monday night, October 14th, a successful 29th edition was reported by Italian Rai TV’s cameras, with a great participation of fans in the Teatro Accademia in Conegliano (Veneto, Italy) to testify the renewed enthusiasm generated by a great season from Vincenzo Nibali, special guest of the night, and widely considered as the season’s de facto number 1, aside from mere statistics.

Joined on the stage by young teammate Fabio Aru, 2013 Giro d’Italia winner received the warmest welcome by the fans in Conegliano. “The Giro podium in Brescia was the highlight of the season, the atmosphere was simply unique, incredible. I wanted hard to win the Giro, and I am very proud to have managed to do that.”

For next year though, the “Shark” is dreaming in yellow: “The Tour de France is the only GT I am missing, two years ago I managed to step on the podium on a route that did not suit me a lot: this time out, I want to pursue the bigger goal – I owe it to the Italian supporters.” On October 23rd, Vincenzo will find out what expects him in France at La Grande Boucle’s official presentation: Jean Michel Monin, representing ASO in Conegliano, did not anticipate anything.

Nibali’s mind also went back to the World Championships: “The 4th place in Florence disappointed me more than the runner-up at the Vuelta – Nibali confessed after being crowned winner of special “Atena d’Argento”-GP Barnabò Pietro and Premio Italia Professionisti – GP Banca della Marca awards – in the finale I tried to play my cards, I knew I could not beat Valverde in a sprint, and I did not close on Rui Costa’s move ‘cause I thought he would. After the race, he said he didn’t have the legs, but on the climbs it did not look like that…”

A real expert in rainbow jerseys, having won two out of his three World Championships in Verona, Veneto, Spaniard Oscar Freire also criticized Spain’s tactics at the Worlds: “Spain had a huge chance and badly failed in Florence, but should the Worlds get back to Verona, I would think about jumping back on saddle!”

Along with a three-time World Champion from the recent past, the Gran Gala also introudced two young Under 23 World Champions like Slovenian Matej Mohoric, who earned the spotlight in Florence, and biker Gerhard Kerschbaumer, awarded with his Sports Director Massimo Ghirotto, and a number of fellow youngsters like Tour de France stage winner Matteo Trentin, Premio Italia Under23 – GP La Tiesse winner Andrea Zordan (turning pro in 2014 at Androni) and Francesca Cauz, talented climber breaking into Dino Salvoldi’s Italian team in Florence.

The Italian women national team technical director received the Premio Italia Donne – GP 2M Decori on behalf of Giorgia Bronzini, while highly-respected RadioShack Team Manager Luca Guercilena was awarded for another successful season.

For the fifth time in six years, Specialized won the exclusive Constructors Championship, received by former Pro Giampaolo Mondini, while cyclocross icon Renato Longo was rewarded for organizing the Italian Cyclocross Championship in Vittorio Veneto (Italy) in 2013, along with Giacomo Salvador.

Next year will be the 10th anniversary of Marco Pantani’s death, and Gazzetta dello Sport’s journalist Pier Bergonzi commemorated the iconic Italian climber, whose memory will be recalled several times on the upcoming Giro d’Italia’s route.

Finally, as usual, solidarity took the stage at Gran Gala, with an initiative presented by 1996 rings Olympic gold medallist Jury Chechi: non-profit organization Opera della Marca, created by “Oltre il Labirinto” foundation and Banca della Marca, started a project called “Hugbike”, producing a special tandem that allows the rear rider to “hug” the front one, and involving autistic people in its realization.

“It’s an amazing project – Chechi said – that will open the great emotions bike can bring also to disabled people. That means giving everyone the chance of riding, while creating an opportunity for human and professional inclusion of autistic people.”


Telefónica extends support for three more years
Press Release: Telephone squad closed successful 2013 season yesterday with victorious Beñat Intxausti at Tour of Beijing; will continue to enjoy sponsorship that fits in with company’s new strategy, adding visibility in both Europe, Latin America and Asia

Telefónica announced on Wednesday that it will extend its commitment to sport as they continue to support Movistar Team for the next three years. The team concluded its 2013 season yesterday with Beñat Intxausti’s overall victory in the Tour of Beijing, taking the Movistar Team right to the first place of the final UCI World Tour ranking. Telefónica started sponsoring the team in 2011 and the brand’s overview on this partnership is more than satisfactory, both working together to achieve important victories and recognition on a global scale.

In this new term, Telefónica aspires to make its sponsorship to the Movistar Team become an opportunity for innovation and development in the digital sphere, the squad having become one of the most active social media content producers in the sport, as shown by its 130,000 followers in their official channels on Twitter, Facebook, Tuenti or Instagram, as well as thousands of visits to their website, www.movistarteam.com. The team has been a great Telefónica amabassador in many countries, having raced with all its commercial brands -Movistar, O2 and Wo- through the most diverse competitions in the world, including the Tour de France, the Tour of Britain and the Tour of Beijing.
This new sponsorship fits in with Telefónica’s new global strategy, offering brand visibility in both Europe, Latin America and Asia, and allowing to share experiences and results with all publics in an easy and dinamic way, with increased use of the new technologies.

Three seasons full of success
The first sponsorship term with Movistar’s blue jersey has come to an end in style, with an astonishing 82 victories (21 in 2011, 29 last year, 32 this season.) Three overall podiums (Valverde was 2nd in the 2012 Vuelta as well as 3rd in 2013, while Quintana took second in the last Tour de France, where he claimed both KOM and Young Riders’ jerseys) have made the team shine especially in three-week stageraces, where they have notched up 17 stage wins with an impressive winning streak of eight Grand Tours, a success only achieved by two other squads in the last ten years. These three seasons have seen Unzué’s squad compete in 208 events (with 713 days of racing) in 16 difference countries and over 854,000 kilometers, more than 21 times around the world.


The End of the Road for Euskaltel-Euskadi
Here is the last race for the Basque team; the last pinning on of numbers. Team manager Gonzalez de Galdeano told Efe: “We are aware that this is over, but we are not yet like when there is a death, we will think of him when he is gone, we will realize later.” Adding that “young people cutting off their sporting careers are the worst solution that can be.”

Just for the Lotto Belisol Fans
The Lotto Belisol team are celebrating the 2013 season in 50 pictures on their Facebook page.

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