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EuroTrash Wet Giro Thursday!

The rain has followed the Giro from Ireland to Italy and caused a right to do! All the Giro news is here, plus the Amgen Tour of California with video, results, comments and reports and for the weekend we preview the Tour de Picardie. Everything you need to know is here in EuroTrash Thursday, get the coffee.

TOP STORY: Too Wet to Race?
Tuesday’s stage 4 was a slow affair as the riders had decided that it was too wet and dangerous to race flat out on the circuit in Bari town centre. There was a bit of arguing as some wanted to race and give the fans a race to watch and others were quite happy to roll through; save energy and skin. It was agreed that the last lap would be a race, but no time bonus would be awarded and so the stage result would not be important for the overall. This seemed fair and a sprinter won the stage. During the stage there was quite a Twitter storm of complaints from armchair pundits who thought the riders should have been at ‘Full Gas’.

Those people have short memories, on Friday we saw two riders crash out in Belfast in the first stage, ruining Dan Martin and Garmin-Sharp’s hopes. When the riders did race on the last lap it was carnage, practically the whole Cannondale team hit the deck and took quite a few with them. Roars in the South of Italy are different; they are made for the heat and sun, not for rain. They have diesel cars, trucks and buses on them every day dropping a thin layer oil, mix that with water and you have an ice rink. Some of the team DS’s remarked they were in trouble driving on the course with four wheels. Maybe the riders on the road are the best people to make these decisions and not us viewers sitting comfortably at home.

Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar) crashed during stage 5, when it was dry!
Giro-D'Itaia 2014 stage 5

Giro d’Italia 2014
The return of the Giro d’Italia to its homeland on Tuesday for Stage 4 was marked by a short stage which due to the rain had to be neutralized by the top riders, but mostly by race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE). In the end the overall time was taken with one lap to go and then the sprinters fought it out for the stage. Race Report here.

On the run-in to the finish Cannondale came to the front for Elia Viviani who was hunting for the Points jersey that Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) had to leave behind when he didn’t start the stage due to a fever. When the Cannondale team hit a wide sweeping bend with around 5 K’s to go; they all slid to the ground and a group of four Giant-Shimano riders swooped past with a chasing Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) closing on them. Tom Veelers was leading out Luka Mezgec, but on the last bend Mezgec had gear problems and it was down to Veelers to try his hardest to keep going to the line. As you would expect it was just too far and Bouhanni passed him for the win and pulled Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) through for second. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) held onto his overall lead and didn’t contest the sprint.

Stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr): “13 km from the finish line, I suffered a puncture and a broken rear wheel, I had to stand at the side of the road waiting for help, and then change bikes. My team-mate Laurent Pichon waited for me, but it still took us took an entire circuit to catch up, and we rejoined the group only on the last circuit. As a team it took everything we had.“

The final kilometres: “In the closing kilometres, there was a crash on a right-hand bend. I managed to avoid it by swerving left, and luckily I had my team-mate Chavanel ahead of me, and with his help I managed to regain the leaders. Coming out of the final curve, I had maybe 20 metres to make up on the rider ahead of me, and I just gave it everything. I have the points jersey now, and I think to win the points competition in a Grand Tour is a great thing. I’ll defend it to the best of my abilities, and try to win more sprints.”

Still in pink Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE): “I had the pink jersey, so everyone was coming to ask my opinion about how to precede in order the keep the race safe. The best idea was definitely to neutralise it until we reached the circuit, which we did. Then, on the final circuit, the conditions were bad, really icy, so the best decision was to neutralise the race and let the sprinters sprint if they wanted to, but without time bonuses, and that is what the commissaries decided. Instead of 5 or 6 on the ground, it could have been 100, so the decision of the commissaries was the safest option.”

Riding to win tomorrow: “Coming into this race, the coming two stages were my main goals. I’ll be going 100% to win tomorrow’s stage and keep the jersey for the team. We’ve worked so hard over the past couple of stages days to keep the jersey and, in any case, the stage really suits me in my current form. I’m not in great sprinting form, but I’m in my best climbing form, so I think it’s more suited to me that to other riders, so it’s my main goal.”

BMC’s Manuel Quinziato said riders were concerned about the wet conditions. “Here it doesn’t rain that often and when it rains, it is very slippery. It was a hard decision not to race. I told them to keep going. Then, when the decision arrived the race would be neutralized until the last lap, everybody had more legs. So we kept the position and the sprinters did their job in the last lap.” Daniel Oss, who sits in third place overall, 10 seconds off the lead, was the BMC’s best finisher in 27th place. Teammate Cadel Evans remained in 14th place overall, at 21 seconds.

Maarten Tjallingii still maintains the blue king of the mountains jersey after today’s fourth stage of the Giro d’Italia still. Due to the lack of climbs, the Belkin Pro Cycling team rider only had to reach the finish to keep the jersey, but that was not an easy task. “I’m very happy that the peloton has shown solidarity today, a neutralisation was best for everyone,” said Maarten Tjallingii. “I mean, you saw what happened in the last lap, right? I made sure that our leaders were okay when we crossed finish for the second last time and then decided to take no more risks. I’m glad; I made it to the line in one piece.” The KOM leader added “It would be nice if I could gain some more points tomorrow, but it’s also important that we help our leaders. The finish is pretty hard and suits a lot of guys. Many people will want to be in the break, so we could see a good fight.”

“What can I say about today? The conditions were horrible as everyone saw, “said second placed Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek), wet and dirty after the finish. “The sprint was almost nothing, because in the last 500 meters I could not even stand up. Every time I tried, my wheel skidded. ” Nizzolo grew up riding motocross, but his parents, concerned that the bike was his only aim at such a young age, enrolled him in a school of cycling. So he is a very skilled rider, as demonstrated today, and loves speed. “Maybe my motocross experience helped me stay upright, but I was very, very close to falling several times,” he confirmed. “I could only do the sprint in the saddle until the last 50 meters, where I could finally get up. I was getting closer, but in the end I was second. What can I say? Bouhanni is a good sprinter and he came back after a puncture for his victory.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 4 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr in 2:22:06
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
3. Tom Veelers (Ned) Giant-Shimano
4. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
6. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano
9. Bert De Backer (Bel) Giant-Shimano
10. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 4:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE in 12:28:43
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:08
3. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC at 0:10
4. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:14
5. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEDGE
6. Svein Tuft (Can) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEDGE
8. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:19
9. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.

Stage 4:

The break of Stage 5: Elia Viviani (Cannondale), Ben Swift (Sky), Tyler Farrar & Fabian Wegmann (Garmin-Sharp), Tony Hurel & Bjorn Thurau (Europcar), Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli), Yonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli), Kenny Dehaes & Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Belisol) and Miguel Angel Rubiano (Colombia) was a little bit too big to be allowed much space. Also with Viviani, Swift and Farrar it was more of a points gathering exercise and with the final being uphill it was bound to fail. Which it did after splitting leaving Thurau, Monsalve, Van der Sande and Frapporti out front and eventually Thurau on his own.

The climb to the finish in Viggiano was passed twice with a dodgy descent in between. The day had been windy, but by the action end of the stage it also brought rain making the roads slippery like the previous day. There were a few crashes and splits, local rider Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale) missed the important move and had to chase to be in contention. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Gianluca Brambilla made his move on the tricky descent and had nearly 1 minute at the bottom, but was caught with less than 2 kilometres to go. Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) attacked too early as two Katusha riders brought Joaquim Rodriguez to the front. The other main GC guys were slightly behind and the pressure was on the Pink jersey of Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) to close it. Cadel Evans (BMC) looked strong for the stage win, but Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) had the jump and put 1 second into Julian Arredondo (Trek), Evans and the others. Matthews finished 6th and held onto his overall lead for another day. Read the Race Report here.

Stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre – Merida). A planned victory: “When I looked at the race handbook before the Giro, I earmarked this stage because the finish lent itself perfectly to my characteristics. It’s no secret thatI like this type of finish, and the press had included me among the favourites.”

The final kilometres: “It was a very hard finish after a stage ridden in wind and rain. I was held up behind a fall on a climb, 17 km from the finish, where I had to put a foot down. My team-mates brought me up to the group, and when Moreno attacked, I was 5th wheel: I didn’t want to be at the front in the sprint because of the wind. Quintana couldn’t keep the rhythm, so a gap opened. My team-mates closed it and led me up to Matthews wheel. Then the sprint started, and it went well for me.”

A growing champion: “Winning a stage at the Giro is wonderful for an Italian rider, and it’s doubly important because I’ve beaten real champions today. I’ve always wanted to develop gradually. I turned professional very young – I’m still 24 – but I’ve won 16 races, 2 Giro stages (the first at Tirano in 2011), other World Tour stages, and, in the last 2 years, I’ve improved, thanks, in part, to Michele Bartoli, who is an fantastic coach and a great motivator. Sometimes I ‘m beaten before I start, so I need to improve in that, and Michele really helps me with my confidence. Last night, before I went to bed, I visualised winning and then going through all the commitments that come afterwards, and it helped me. I had a disappointing Ardennes classics season this spring, and I hope it doesn’t happen again. In fact, I’m hoping that this Giro turns things around for me.”

Overall leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge). The stage finish: “It didn’t quite pan out the way I thought. I had a mental picture in which there were lots of attacks, but I think everyone was pinned and no one could get away. I think it was Quintana who dropped the wheel in front, so it was up to me to close the gap, Rodriguez and team mates were ahead, with Edvald Boasson Hagen. I was a bit pinned when I got to them and I didn’t quite have the sprint I would have liked. But up to there, I was good.”

Keeping the Maglia Rosa: “Today’s stage was the big goal for me. We showed we really deserved this jersey. We proved today that we have a really strong team, because to keep the jersey and to be able to have a good crack at the finish you need a good team. They set a tempo that didn’t really let anyone move. They did an amazing job. To be in the final with all these climbers is really nice for me.”

Tomorrow – and the future: “My goal was to keep the Maglia Rosa until tomorrow, and then reassess things day by day. But today went pretty well for me, so we’ll certainly have a good crack at it tomorrow. After that I’m not really sure. The next few stages will be pretty key for the team. It’s been a great honour for us and we’ve had a really good trip so far so we’ll try and keep the ball rolling.”

Maarten Tjallingii will start on Thursday in his blue mountains jersey. Several riders collected points during the fifth stage, but it was not enough to overthrow Tjallingii as King of the Mountains. “Tomorrow it will be difficult for Maarten to keep the jersey,” said Belkin DS Maassen. “However, if I’m not mistaken, there are more points up for grabs on the final climb than Maarten currently has. He can nevertheless look back on a beautiful week in blue.”

Cadel Evans crossed the line one second behind Ulissi on the uphill finish in bright sunshine, a stark contrast to pouring rain just minutes earlier that led to several crashes, including one that held up BMC’s Samuel Sánchez, among others. Evans is now 15 seconds off the lead of Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) the maglia Rosa. “After days with rain and cold, my legs are not at their best,” Evans said. “In the final I was a little blocked with one kilometre to go and without help. But I got back in front and into second place. In the end, l am happy about the result.” Sport Director Fabio Baldato said the BMC Racing Team worked hard to position Evans for the final, knowing the finish suited him. “Our first goal was to keep Cadel in front and not lose time,” Baldato said. “When the rain came with 20 kilometres to go, we knew we needed him to be in the front before the last downhill. The guys did a great job to be there. It was Cadel’s type of finish and he did well.”

4th on the stage and overall, Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “Even today wasn’t an easy stage with wind and rain in the final,” Uran said. “I felt good today on the uphills, but I also felt super comfortable on my Specialized Tarmac on the technical downhill. Then in the final I tried to get a few seconds with the bonifications, but I didn’t make it. Still I’m happy I feel good. Today was not really a climber’s finish. The fast guys were there with the GC guys. So, we’ll see what we can do day-by-day. I am confident with the way my team is working around me. Today they were great the entire day. They stayed with me and brought me to the front of the group. So, everybody did their job perfectly.”

Late solo escapee Gianluca Brambilla (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “Today I felt good the entire day,” Brambilla said. “My legs felt strong. I tried to take a few seconds and I went. Despite the conditions on the descent, I was really confident on my Specialized bicycle. I was able to go full gas even if it was technical. I took a good gap, but the uphill to the finish there was a lot of headwind. It was difficult to defend my leadership from the strength of the group that was chasing me. I think without the headwind I could have done better. But the most important thing is how good my legs felt. I am OK and now I am able to help Uran in the next days. Also, this is a confidence booster for me. Last time I was in front like that was Stage 20 of the Giro last year, which finished in Tre Cime di Lavaredo. So, I’m happy to be there again.”

Tinkoff-Saxo captain Rafal Majka finished 5th and advanced to the same position in the general classification. Even though the short and average gradient uphill finish didn’t suit Majka, the Polish captain sees his 5th place as a proof of excellent race shape. “Today was not my terrain. I need steeper and longer climbs, but my rivals decided to use the final climb to gain seconds so I followed and finished among the best. I’m a light climber so naturally a climb with an average gradient of about 4-5 percent is not my cup of tea but I felt strong today and received fantastic support from the whole team, who made sure that I didn’t have to spend too much energy during the stage”, says Rafal Majka after pulling the white jersey over his head.

Even though Majka will ride in white on Thursday’s 247-kilometer stage to Montecassino, he’s still second in the youth competition – 26 seconds after the 23-year old race leader Michael Matthews. But Rafal Majka expects another fight and hopes to make the white jersey officially his after the more challenging finish tomorrow. “I will ride in white tomorrow but it’s not really my jersey. So tomorrow I’ll make it mine”, says the talented captain with a laugh and continues. “Let’s see how the race develops and if Matthews is able to hang on. Today he did really well and defended his leadership, so we’ll need a tough final if I’m going to take 26 seconds”, finishes Majka who also has his eyes set on other jerseys in the coming stages.

Giro d’Italia Stage 5 Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 5:12:39
2. Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek at 0:01
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
4. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
10. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 5:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE in 17:41:23
2. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEDGE at 0:14
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:15
4. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:19
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:26
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Team Sky at 0:35
7. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:37
8. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 0:41
9. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky at 0:49
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:52.

Stage 5:

Bouhanni: “Many teams want me”
FDJ.fr rider Nacer Bouhanni talked about the future after his stage 4 win. “Many teams want to hire me, but nothing is done. Much is said about me, let people talk, I do not worry about my opponents. The most important thing is me, here at the Giro.” he said. French sprinter ends contract with the FDJ.fr team and will presumably change his jersey after signing with Marc Madiot in 2010.

The truth is that the cohabitation with Arnaud Démare is difficult. Bouhanni did not ride Milan-Sanremo and disagreed with the decision and it will be unlikely that both will be at the Tour de France; and if they are, the question is who will be the team leader.

Bouhanni didn’t have an easy Giro win: “13 km from the finish, I had a puncture and I broke a wheel, I had to wait beside the road and then change my bike. I had nothing to lose. My team mate Laurent Pichon waited for me, but it took a lot of effort and we only re-joined the group near the end. As a team we did everything we had to do. I won thanks to my colleagues; without them it would be impossible,” he confirmed.

Bouhanni spoke of the crazy kilometres of the stage: “The rain is part of cycling. I figured my chances. In the last few kilometres, there were many falls I needed to stay focused. But I was not afraid because it does not prevent the danger. There was a fall in a curve to the right. I managed to avoid it on the left, and luckily I had my teammate Le Bon in front of me, and with his help I managed to reach the first group 50 metres before the last kilometre. I also skated a few times. Leaving the final curve, maybe I was 20 meters behind the rider in front of me and I just gave it my all. And I won. I was hoping for this victory.”

He also took the Rossa points jersey: “I have the points jersey now and I think to win this classification on a Grand Tour is very important. It is a great satisfaction. I will defend it as best as I can and try to win more sprints.” Bouhanni has had five wins this year before Belfast, last year eleven and in 2012 seven, but this win today shines in a palmares that has two wins in Paris-Nice and the French Championship.

Surgery for Dan Martin
After his crash in Belfast in the stage 1 team time trial, Garmin-Sharp’s Dan Martin had his broken right collar bone operated on in Dublin. It is hoped that he will be able to start the Tour de France in July.

Dan Martin: “Now that the dust has settled on my operation I’ve been able to look back on the Giro start in Belfast with obviously incredible memories of the team presentation, the team work, the camaraderie of my team and the incredible noise and support enjoyed in the TTT. Unfortunately my Giro was cut short by an accident that we were lucky to come away with relatively light injuries, collarbone fractures for myself and Koldo. Once more, the spirit of this team through such hardships has blown me away and I’m confident the remaining 7 riders will go on to do incredible things during the remaining 3 weeks. For myself and Koldo, we were successfully operated on Sunday and are on the road to recovery, with a steady supply of treats and hugs for us both from the team, my family and friends from cycle4life. It’s the first time I’ve broken a bone but I’m certain to bounce back better than ever with the circle of support I’ve had from the team, family, friends and my incredible fan support. As always I strive to find the silver lining. Success will be even sweeter later in the year after such a rough period the last few weeks. Have to take the downs with the ups in this sport so time for a mental reset and I’ll be back. Thanks again to everybody for the incredible support and I look forward to watching Garmin-Sharp rip up the Italian roads the next 3 weeks!”

Dublin Bomb Nothing to do with Giro
The Irish Independent newspaper reported that a bomb had been found in Dublin on Sunday and suggested that it was intended to cause disruption to the Giro d’Italia. The story was picked up by many media outlets and widely reported. The paper has now back tracked on its original claims; pointing out that the bomb had not been detonated and was found 15 kilometres from the stage finish. It is now thought that the bomb was intended to be transported to Northern Ireland for use by a dissident Republican group. There has been a ceasefire in place for many years now and a younger generation who know nothing of the troubles; you have to wonder what damage a report like this could do to all the good work done by the people behind the Giro d’Italia coming to Northern Ireland and Éire.

Amgen Tour of California 2014
Bradley Wiggins (Sky) won Stage 2 and took over the overall lead in the Amgen Tour of California on Monday ahead runner-up Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) and Taylor Phinney (BMC) in third. Have a look at the Photo Report by Darrell Parks.

“I’m in a good position now and I knew I was good coming into this race.” Bradley Wiggins (Sky) said after his win. As to the rest of the race: “We’re going to take it one day at a time. You’re nothing without your team. It’s going to be a long week for our boys. It’s going to be a tough day tomorrow; it’s all on our team to do the best job that we can do to put me in position to be able to finish it off on the climb. I’m going to take it one day at a time.”

“You can never underestimate anyone,” Wiggins added. “We’re all back to scratch now and we’ll give it everything tomorrow. It’s going to be really hot tomorrow and everyone is going to have to contend with that. We’ve had two tough days. Yesterday looked straight forward on paper but it turned out to be quite a tough day. It’s tough for everyone but we just have to keep pushing on.”

BMC’s Taylor Phinney was the last of the three to start the 20.1 kilometre race against the clock after Dennis clocked the best early time of 24:02, only to see Wiggins go 44 seconds faster. Phinney was 32 seconds off Wiggins’s pace at the halfway point and finished 52 seconds back of the 2012 Tour de France champion. “It was not my best ride,” Phinney said. “I wasn’t feeling amazing the whole time. I think Wiggins was in a whole other category. It was an interesting distance. It’s not as aerobic as a longer, 40- or 50-minute time trial and not as anaerobic as a prologue. So it was kind of an interesting distance to wrap your head around.” BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri agreed Wiggins was in a league of his own. “Obviously, we were competing against the best – an Olympic champion and a Tour de France winner,” he said. “So when you look at where we’re at, it’s pretty good.”

Jack Bobridge (Belkin) finishing sixth in 24:23 seconds, he was delighted with his sixth place. “The team and me wanted to be in the top 10 today, and I’m glad I succeeded. The course was really suitable to me, I must say. Right from the start, I went full throttle, and I’m glad I was able to keep a steady pace. We did a recon on the course, so I knew it was important to keep a high speed on the descents.”

The 24-year-old Australian, with Belkin since the beginning of 2013, said he feels very good at the moment and looks forward to the remainder of the race through California, Belkin’s home. “Since I joined the team, I’ve never felt so strong.”

Belkin’s Laurens ten Dam clocked the 41st-fastest time in Folsom. Just past the finish line, however, there was some concern about the Belkin Pro Cycling team’s captain after the Dutchman hit the tarmac hard, another rider having crashed into him. Ten Dam suffered numerous abrasions. “We’d hoped to end up in the top 20 with Laurens,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “Now, it looks like he’s out of the GC battle. Tomorrow, we’re facing the queen’s stage. We have to wait and see how Laurens gets through the night after his crash.”

Amgen Tour of California Stage 2 Results:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 23:18.27
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:44
3. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC at 0:52
4. Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 1:08
5. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 1:11
6. Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin at 1:15
7. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 1:19
8. Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek at 1:21
9. Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek at 1:24
10. Chad Haga (USA) Giant-Shimano 0:01:25.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 2:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 5:07:35
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:44
3. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC at 0:52
4. Eloy Teruel Rovira (Spa) Jamis-Hagens Berman at 1:08
5. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 1:11
6. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 1:19
7. Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek at 1:21
8. Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek at 1:24
9. Chad Haga (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1:25
10. Tom Zirbel (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 1:28.

Stage 2 ITT:

The first mountain-top-finish of this year’s Tour of California was held on Stage 3 over 174.5 kilometres on Mount Diablo. Tiago Machado from NetApp-Endura climbed to a great second place and with this great result the 28-years old Portuguese confirmed the team’s success from last year, when Leo Koenig won this stage. Machado was only defeated by Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) who has reduced the gap to Bradley Wiggins (Sky), the leader in the overall classification to 24 seconds. Machado is currently ranked 3rd in the GC at 1:05. Photo report here.

“Our goal was to repeat our success from last year and we came very close. Above we wanted to be well represented in the breakaway today, as our main sponsor NetApp was seeing the race with many guests. In the final, Sky put on a really high pace, which was good for Tiago because he is strong under these conditions. It was of advantage that we knew the climb. We agreed in the morning already that we would wait till the last 400 meters because they are the steepest. Tiago did well and we are very happy with his second place. We are in a good position in the GC and now it’s our goal to defend this position”, summarizes Alex Sans Vega, Sports Director of Team NetApp-Endura, the Team’s repeated success on Mt. Diablo.

Overall leader; Bradley Wiggins (Sky) led the chase up most of the climb: “On the last climb I just wanted to set a good pace and avoid all accelerations. It was hard to tell who was in the front group. That was probably the only mistake I made when Rohan Dennis took a little time. Maybe I underestimated that he would be there, so you just have to have better control over it in the coming days.”

Laurens ten Dam crossed the line 29 seconds after stage-winner Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) of Australia. The Dutchman moved up from 36th to 9th in the overall classification just 2:29 behind Sky’s Bradley Wiggins. “During the beginning of the stage, I wasn’t feeling very well, but fortunately I was able get through it, partly because of the easy start,” said Ten Dam just after reaching the Mount Diablo summit with an elite first group. “With 400 meters to go, I accelerated, but I didn’t know that the final metres were so hard. It cost me some places and unfortunately I was the last of the group to finish.”

Belkin’s Maarten Wynants, meanwhile, spiced up his 32nd birthday by finding a way into the day’s breakaway. The Belgian was leading the race with seven others for quite some time, but on the flanks of Mount Diablo he had to fold. Wynants reflected on a perfectly pleasant way to celebrate. “Many fans along the way have wished me a happy birthday. We were upfront with eight riders, but unfortunately one rider — the one with the mountain’s jersey — stopped cooperating at the end as he was afraid he would lose his jersey if we made it to the finish together. That didn’t really help, but I’m glad I was able to show off my Belkin kit.”

Amgen Tour of California Stage 3 Results:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp in 4:56:02
2. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 0:06
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 0:08
4. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:11
5. Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp
6. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 0:14
7. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC
8. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
9. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:20
10. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek at 0:29.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 3:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 10:03:57
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:24
3. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 1:05
4. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1:21
5. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:10
6. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC at 2:24
7. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek at 2:25
8. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 2:27
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 2:29
10. Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp at 2:30.

Stage 3:

During Wednesday’s Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California, the peloton took to the Golden State’s scenic Highway 1, from Monterey to Cambria, and was left stunned by a breakaway that stayed away to the finish. Canadian Will Routley of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies took the stage victory. Routley, Gregory Daniel (Bissel Development), Kevin De Masmaeker (Novo Nordisk), Chris Jones & Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) and Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman) escaped early in the stage and were never seen again. De Masmaeker tried to win the stage with a long sprint, but Routley pulled him back before the line. Daniel was second and De Masmaeker held on for third. The bunch came in 1:17 later and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) got the better of Peter Sagan (Cannondale). Take a look at the Photo Report here.

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) kept the overall lead, but Routley took over the points jersey from Cavendish.

The fifth stage of the Tour of California leads the pack over 174 kilometres from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara. The riders face San Marcos Pass, a first-category climb, about 30 kilometres from the finish.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Results:
1. William Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies in 3:48:37
2. Gregory Daniel (USA) Bissell Development Team
3. Kevin De Masmaeker (Bel) Novo Nordisk
4. Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare
5. Matt Cooke (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman
6. Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 0:15
7. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:17
8. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
9. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
10. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 4:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 13:53:51
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:28
3. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 1:09
4. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1:25
5. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:14
6. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC at 2:28
7. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek at 2:29
8. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 2:31
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 2:33
10. Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp at 2:34.

Stage 4:

Tour de Picardie 2014
The three stage race runs from the 16th to the 18th of May in Northern France with mostly flat roads, but with cross-winds.

Friday Stage 1 – Fort-Mahon to Estrées-Saint-Denis 191 kms.
Saturday Stage 2 – Mouy to Beaurieux – Chemin des Dames 176.5 kms.
Sunday Stage 3 – Cap’Aisne to Camouille / Bray-sur-Somme 170.5 kms.

Race website: https://www.letour.fr/tour-de-picardie/


Giant-Shimano to the Tour de Picardie
Press Release: The Tour de Picardie is a race that Team Giant-Shimano has shown well in previously with wins in 2012 and 2013 through John Degenkolb (GER) and Marcel Kittel (GER).

With both these riders already racing elsewhere, a young line-up will look to impress over the three days of this French race.

Tom Dumoulin (NED) and Dries Devenyns (BEL) return to action here after a short break following the Spring Classics, and they are joined by Jonas Ahlstrand (SWE) and also Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) who took second on the opening stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque last week.

“This race is usually decided in time bonuses in the sprints and we will focus on Ramon here for the fast finishes,” confirmed Team Giant-Shimano coach, Lionel Marie (FRA).

“Brian [Bulgac] (NED) also starts here and he is showing good form recently and has settled well since joining the team at the start of May. Together with Dries and Tom D who are returning to racing here we can also go on the offensive if the opportunities arise, and look to be ready for all eventualities.”

Jonas Ahlstrand (SWE), Brian Bulgac (NED), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Cheng Ji (CHN), Sea Keong Loh (MAL), Tom Peterson (USA), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED).
Coach: Lionel Marie (FRA).

Europcar Team for Tour de Picardie
Riders: Giovanni Bernaudeau, Bryan Coquard, Jérome Cousin, Antoine Duchesne, Jimmy Engoulvent, Yohann Gene, Morgan Lamoisson, Kévin Reza.
Directeur Sportif: Lylian Lebreton.

OPQS to Tour de Picardie
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will participate in Tour de Picardie, a 538km stage race from May 16th until May 18th.

“This race is one that can favor the sprint, but it is also a parcours that is up and down.” Sport Director Jan Schaffrath said. “The weather conditions can also change very quickly, and it can be quite windy. So, even if it’s a race that always favors the bunch sprint, there is still a possibility for the breakaway. We have a selection of both fast guys and riders who can be involved in the actions of the breakaway. Our goal is to go for a stage win, and if it’s possible, to place riders near the top of the overall classification.”

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Kevin De Weert (BEL), Andrew Fenn (GBR), Nikolas Maes (BEL), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Gert Steegmans (BEL), Petr Vakoc (CZE), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL).
Sports Director Jan Schaffrath (GER).

BMC Racing Team Preparing For Tour de Picardie
The BMC Racing Team heads to the Tour de Picardie later this week, adding a third race to its calendar of competition already underway at the Giro d’Italia and the Amgen Tour of California.

Not A Lot of Pressure
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the three days of road racing in France provide an opportunity for some of the team’s younger riders to gain experience. “It is a good time for guys like Sebastian Lander, Silvan Dillier and Rick Zabel to keep learning and have their own opportunities,” Ledanois said. “This is a perfect race for all our riders. We don’t have pressure for the race or a big objective or a big leader. It is not a difficult race. It is more technical because it is windy and always the same for general classification because it is decided by sprints and bonifications.” Past world road champion Philippe Gilbert said he is looking forward to competing in the final edition of the race as organized by the ASO. “This is a little bit the race of Jean-François Pescheux, who is a great person in the cycling world,” Gilbert said. “So I am pleased to be part of this nice race.”

Tour de Picardie (May 16-18):
Marcus Burghardt (GER), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).
Sport Director: Yvon Ledanois (FRA).

Tour de Picardie 2013 Stage 2:

The Rain Falls Mostly on the Giro!
Tuesday’s stage 4 was wet and dangerous although not everyone thought the same. Here are the thoughts from the overall leader’s Orica-GreenEDGE team’s point of view:


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