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EuroTrash Thursday!

The Giro has passed and now the Tour looms large on the horizon. The Tour de Luxembourg has started and we also preview the Critérium du Dauphiné, Zeeland Seaports and Luxembourg. In other cycling news: Spanish Pro’s strike, OPQS on the cobbles, FDJ.fr Tour team, some more Giro bits and loads more. A full EuroTrash bag Thursday.

TOP STORY: Spanish Pro’s Boycott National Road Championships
The Spanish professional riders who ride for foreign teams will not be riding the Spanish National championships run between June the 27th and the 29th. The seventeen riders who ride for non-Spanish WorldTour pro teams have said they will not ride the championships on the World’s course in Ponferrada because the Spanish Federation will not pay the travel and food costs.

On the part of the Federation: José Luis López Cerrón, president of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC), is committed to reaching “payment formulas to solve the debt” of the Spanish championships with the Association of Professional Cyclists (ACP) following the information published by BiciCiclismo that many of the foreign team riders will not ride the National championships if there was no clear answer from the RFEC.

López Cerrón does not dispute the debt but is surprised at the publication of the news because “since last week we have been in negotiations (with the ACP) to reach a payment formula, solve the debt and resolve the issue in the next days.

“Specifically, we talked last Thursday (with José Luis Santos, president of the ACP) at the Council of Professional Cycling (CCP) and then I asked accounts to give me the list, to see how we can afford in our economic situation a percentage, in instalments, or a promissory note and look for an option as we have done with other issues. Because he did not know how much it was and we agreed to talk, the next thing I find is this…” he explained. The president of the Spanish Federation shows his commitment both to agree to settle the debt, but at the same time shows his astonishment that “the majority are owed 500, 300, 200 Euros or less. If for 300 Euros a professional cyclist goes on strike and does not go to the Championships, says it all. The sum total is important for us but the amount to a professional cyclist is an insignificant figure.”

So it seems some of the top Spanish and World riders will not ride their National championships because of a debt of 300 Euros?

The 2009 Spanish Champs:

Tour de Luxembourg 2014
Danny van Poppel one bettered his second place finish last year in the 2.55-kilometer prologue that opened the Skoda Tour of Luxembourg on Wednesday night. The technical course, which included a 300 meter long cobbled climb of 13%, favoured the explosive power of sprinters like Danny van Poppel. Van Poppel said after his win: “It’s a prologue that I like, it’s short with a steep cobbled climb and I am very good in the cobblestones, especially when it’s uphill. I have the power from being a sprinter. Last year I was second by one second so this year I focused on this race. I was very nervous – I am super happy with this victory.”

Most of the starters had to deal with rain and slick roads, making the technical course dicey in the corners and ice-like on the cobbled uphill. When the last riders took to the short race against the clock the rain stopped and the sun even made a brief appearance.

Van Poppel added: “It was very dangerous with the rain but I am sprinter so I am a little bit crazy – It was dangerous, but good for me. The second part of the course with the steep cobblestones made the difference and was the most important. On the climb it was important to not go with full gas too early, and save some for the end.”

Director Kim Andersen was thrilled with the 20-year-old Danny van Poppel’s second professional win, his first coming in early March at the Three days of West-Flanders: “I had heard that he is in good shape from [Tour of] California and that he really wanted to go for it this year. Last year he was second, so we really believed he could do it this year. He did well – he was also a little bit lucky with the weather. But it was not really the turns [that made the difference], he really had the power on the climb.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Fabrizio Guidi said after the prologue: “None of our riders took the risks needed to win this prologue and that’s ok for me as the course was dangerously slippery and to risk injuries at this point is a no-go. However, both Michael and Manuele finished up there with the best of them, which means that we have two cards to play in the GC and in addition we have Matti Breschel for the punchy finals in the race. We still haven’t decided our GC captain here because with this course and these finals, anything can happen and we’ll just have to wait and see how the race progresses.”

Tour de Luxembourg Prologue Result:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek at 3:59
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:04
3. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Leopard Development at 0:04
4. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:08
5. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis at 0:11
6. Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Team Stölting at 0:13
7. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:13
8. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:13
10. Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) RusVelo at 0:14.

Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Prologue:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek at 3:59
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:04
3. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Leopard Development at 0:04
4. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:08
5. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis at 0:11
6. Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Team Stölting at 0:13
7. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:13
8. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:13
10. Andrei Solomennikov (Rus) RusVelo at 0:14.

Danny van Poppel takes the prologue:

The Giro d’Italia 2014 In Numbers – An Even More International Event than Ever
Corsa Rosa crosses three countries with young protagonists from all over the World

An unforgettable edition of the Giro d’Italia has just ended. Here’s the story of 97th edition, in numbers:
0 – Europeans wearing the Maglia Rosa. For the first time in history, a grand tour event has not had a European rider leading at any point during the race
3 – Nations crossed: Northern Ireland, Ireland and Italy
5 – Continents in which the Giro was followed on TV
6 – Counties traversed in the island of Ireland
21 – days of competition
24 – years of age of Nairo Quintana, winner of the Giro d’Italia 2014
30 – Different nationalities of riders at the start of the Giro
33 – Business partners who have contributed to the success of the Giro, showing their brands on this edition of the Corsa Rosa
42 – Vehicles in the Giro d’Italia caravan
43 – Italian provinces crossed by the Giro
156 – Riders who finished the Giro d’Italia in 2014
171 – Countries in which the Giro was broadcast daily
198 – Riders starting at the Giro’s Grande Partenza
1,200 – People travelling daily with the Giro d’Italia, between members of the organization, teams and media
1,805 – Media accreditations awarded at the 2014 Giro d’Italia
3,444.4 – the Corsa Rosa race distance in kilometres
5,000 – Daily tweets with the hashtag #giro (on average). #giro was often the main trend in Italy for the duration of the Giro and the main trend in the UK before and during the Grande Partenza from Belfast
25,000 – Followers on Instagram
52,000 – Streaming video viewers (daily average)
90,000 – Copies of the Giro App downloaded
100,000 – New Facebook fans during the race
180,000 – Followers on Google+
252,000 – Followers on Twitter
500,000 – Facebook fans on the official page. The number reached by stage 20, featuring the Zoncolan
2,400,000 – Page views (daily average) on the official Giro d’Italia site and the Giro App combined, an increase of 67% compared to 2013
3,500,000 – Views on the Giro’s YouTube channel.

Maybe next year we will get more understated Colombian TV commentary:

Criterium du Dauphine 2014
The Criterium du Dauphine starts on Sunday the 8th and finishes on Sunday the 15th of June. The top riders will be there to fine tune their fitness for the Tour de France; 2013 winner Chris Froome (Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). Read the race preview by Ed Hood here.

Stage 1: June 8, Lyon to Lyon, 10km (individual time trial)
Stage 2: June 9, Tarare to Pays d’Olliergues-Col du Béal, 158.5km
Stage 3: June 10, Ambert to Le Teil, 194km
Stage 4: June 11, Montélimar to Gap, 169.5km
Stage 5: June 12, Sisteron to La Mure, 184km
Stage 6: June 13, Grenoble to Poisy, 168km
Stage 7: June 14, Ville-la-Grand to Finaut-Émosson (Switzerland), 161.5km
Stage 8: June 15, Megève to Courchevel, 130.5km

Website: https://www.letour.com/criterium-du-dauphine/2014/us/


The Europcar team for the Dauphine
Riders: Natnaël Berhane, Jérome Cousin, Antoine Duchesne, Cyril Gautier, Vincent Jerome, Yannick Martinez, Kévin Reza and Thomas Voeckler.
DS’s: Jean-René Bernaudeau, Andy Flickinger and Léonard Cosnier.

Sky Team for the Critérium du Dauphiné
Riders: Chris Froome, Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Mikel Nieve, Danny Pate, Richie Porte, Geraint Thomas and Xabier Zandio.

Astana Team for the Dauphiné
Riders: Jakob Fuglsang, Andriy Grivko, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Maxim Iglinskiy, Tanel Kangert, Vincenzo Nibali, Alessandro Vanotti, Lieuwe Westra.

Team Belkin to Dauphiné with goals
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM wants to get in mix on two fronts in the Critérium du Dauphiné. Wilco Kelderman, seventh overall in the Giro d’Italia, hopes to continue his good run of form and do well in the general classification. The other seven riders will attack and fight for stage wins.

“The Giro was a major goal for Wilco, hopefully he’s able to fight with the best again in the Dauphiné,” said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. “Physically and mentally, it’s going to be tough, but we’ll assist and support him as good as possible as a team.”

‘Do it with the whole squad’
The Critérium du Dauphiné starts Sunday with a 10-kilometre time trial. Only a day later, the pack faces a summit finish. “After two days, the overall will be mostly settled,” said Zeeman. “In the days after, there will be plenty of opportunities for attackers. I think there is only one stage that’s suitable for sprinters. The other days are hard. We see chances for breakaways and we have taken that into account when we selected our team. If you want to do things right, you have to do it with the whole squad. We certainly won’t be the only team that wants to attack. It’s going to be a real fight.”

Lars Boom
Zeeman has big expectations for Lars Boom. The Dutchman also wants to show himself in the Critérium du Dauphiné. “I had a heavy training period. I was in Portugal after the Tour of California with my family. While they were enjoying a holiday, I trained. I only got better after California. Hopefully, I can demonstrate that in the Dauphiné. I want to attack and hopefully, sprint for a win from a small group.”

TEAM line-up:
Jack Bobridge, Lars Boom, Jonathan Hivert, Martijn Keizer, Wilco Kelderman, Nick van der Lijke, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Bram Tankink.
Sports Directors: Erik Dekker and Merijn Zeeman.

Lampre-Merida to the Critérium du Dauphiné
One week after the end of Giro d’Italia, the elite of world cycling will race in another World Tour event, the Critérium du Dauphiné is scheduled from 8 to 15 June on the roads of south-east of France.

Lampre-Merida will count on a selection that will include two cyclists that raced in Giro d’Italia, Cunego and Anacona, in addition to Filippo Pozzato, Davide Cimolai, Valerio Conti, Kristijan Durasek, Elia Favilli and Luca Wackermann.

The team will be directed by Vicino and Righi, who’ll receive the support by masseurs Chiodini, Negri and Santerini, by mechanics Baron, Possoni and Viganò and by doctor Beltemacchi.

The French race will be opened by a prologue that could list Filippo Pozzato among the protagonist. The 2006 Milano-Sanremo winner will be at his first European race in the second part of the season, after his experience in the Tour of Japan.

There will be other two stages that could be suitable for Pozzato or for Cimolai. Three summit finishes (2nd stage on Col de Béal, 7th stage in Finhaut-Emosson and 8th stage in Courchevel) will give feedback on the condition of the climbers Cunego and Anacona, who’ve just finished the Giro d’Italia, and of Durasek, who’ll aim to be part of the selection for Tour de France. Critérium du Dauphiné will be also an interesting test for the young guns Conti, Favilli and Wackermann.

Movistar: Blues Back into Racing
Just seven days after Nairo Quintana’s triumph in the Giro d’Italia, the biggest success since Telefónica took over the squad’s title sponsorship, the Movistar Team will be back into racing on Sunday for the 66th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The eight-day French event will focus its interest on both its first two days -with a 10km ITT in Lyon followed by a mountain-top finish in the Col du Béal, one stage later- and the last two ones, with plenty of big mountains. Chente García Acosta and José Luis Laguía will manage an eight-man roster formed by Igor Antón, Imanol Erviti, John Gadret, Iván Gutiérrez, Beñat Intxausti, Enrique Sanz, Sylwester Szmyd and Giovanni Visconti.

Van Garderen Ready For Tour Tune-Up
Tejay van Garderen says an extended layoff from racing should not affect him as leads the BMC Racing Team at the Critérium du Dauphiné, his final tune-up before the Tour de France.

Clear Objectives
Van Garderen withdrew from the Tour de Romandie early last month following a crash in its prologue. He returned to the United States to train in Colorado, then traveled back to Europe to perform reconnaissance on key stages of the Tour de France. “My last completed, hard stage race was Pays Basque (in April), so it was a long time ago,” van Garderen said. “I am not going to go to the Dauphiné with expectations to just win it easily or anything like that, especially considering the competition. But we want to treat it as a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France. So I will definitely be going for as high a GC (general classification) position as possible, try to test my limits a little bit, and test out the team, making sure we are all working well together.” BMC Racing Team Sporting Manager Yvon Ledanois said the roster built around van Garderen is versatile enough to support a leader and provide chances for individual success. “The team did a good job last week at training camp and I am sure this will yield results,” he said. “We have the opportunity to win stages and the first stage is a good test before we hit the climbs.” Sunday’s race begins with a 10.4-kilometer individual time trial in Lyon. Of the seven stages that follow, three include uphill or mountain-top finishes.

Download the BMC Racing Team’s roster card (PDF with bios, statistics, etc):

BMC Racing Team Critérium du Dauphiné Roster (June 8-15):
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Dominik Nerz (GER), Peter Stetina (USA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Peter Velits (SVK).
President/General Manager: Jim Ochowicz (USA).
Sporting Manager: Allan Peiper (AUS).
Sport Directors: Yvon Ledanois (FRA), Max Sciandri (ITA).

Team Katusha’s line-up for Critérium du Dauphiné
The Russian Team Katusha goes further in the UCI WorldTour calendar, taking part in the prestigious stage race Critérium du Dauphiné in France, which will be held from June 8th until June 15th.

Last year Katusha’s Daniel Moreno finished third Overall in this race.

This year Team Katusha will be represented by Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Daniel Moreno, Alexander Rybakov, Egor Silin, Simon Špilak, Alexey Tsatevich, Iurii Trofimov and Anton Vorobyev.
Sports directors are Dmitry Konyshev, Gennady Mikhaylov and José Azevedo.

OPQS to Critérium du Dauphiné
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection for Critérium du Dauphiné, a 1,179.6km stage race from June 8th until June 14th. There is a Stage 1 10.4km ITT, as well as four medium mountain stages. Stage 2 will be an early opportunity for GC contenders, as it features a summit finish on HC Col du Beal. Stage 7 will be another tough stage, with back-to-back HC ascents including a finish on Finhaut – Emosson (10.2km at 8%). The race wraps up with Stage 8, which includes three Category 1 climbs. Two of them are consecutive. Courchevel le Prez (5.9% at 6.2%) will be the final climb of the French stage race.

“This is an important race to build up our road to the Tour,” Sport & Development Manager Rolf Aldag said. “For Michal Kwiatkowski, this is a good test to see where he stands. We will give him the freedom to prepare for the Tour after a great first part of the season. The Tour is his biggest goal for the summer, so we will see what he can do without any pressure for the GC at this race. We also looked at the parcours of the race and it fits riders like Jan Bakelants, Gianni Meersman and Zdenek Stybar. They are guys who can do well in the medium mountain stages with the possibility of sprints out of a small group. In this race we can ride offensively and be active in the race every day for results. We can also look to riders like Julian Alaphilippe and Carlos Verona. Alaphilippe is French, so it will be good experience for him to ride in his home country. We also have Kevin De Weert and Michal Golas. Golas returns to racing after the fracture of his scaphoid during Liege-Bastogne-Liege. He’s recovered and ready to return to competition. We have a competitive team and are ready to go for results day-by-day.”

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Jan Bakelants (BEL), Kevin De Weert (BEL), Michal Golas (POL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Carlos Verona (ESP).

Sports Director Brian Holm (DEN) & Jan Schaffrath (GER).

Tinkoff-Saxo ready for Dauphiné
Sunday 8th of June, we take on the Tour de France warm-up race, Dauphiné Libéré with this line-up: Alberto Contador, Jesus Hernandez, Nicki Sørensen, Michael Valgren, Bruno Pires, Edward Beltran, Rory Sutherland and Sergio Paulinho.

The race is launched with a 10 kilometer long individual time trial to get things started and already the following day, the first uphill finish on an HC-category climb is due in Col du Beal. After a few hilly stages, the GC riders are challenged with the 160 kilometer long 7th stage with another summit finale and this time – 1900 meters above sea level in Finhaut-Emosson. The race is concluded the following day with a grand finale on the top of Courchevel.

“As always, Dauphiné Libéré and Tour of Swiss are important races in the build-up for the Tour de France. It’s a hard race with a time trial, a few rather flat stages as well as high mountains so it’s perfect in terms of preparing for the Tour. Alberto has had a break of 8 weeks from racing so he’s not peaking yet but this race should help him brushing off his condition. That also means that we’ll take it day by day and see how it develops. However, we’re here to support Alberto and each rider has his individual job to fulfill,” says Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Philippe Mauduit.

Tour de France contenders, Chris Froome (Sky) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) are in the race as well.

Giant-Shimano to the Criterium du Dauphine
The WorldTour stage race action continues this week with the Critérium du Dauphiné in France

This race is often regarded as the classic Tour de France warm up and it offers up different opportunities for Team Giant-Shimano who come into this race with a relatively young line-up.

The eight stage race gets underway this Sunday with a 10km individual time trial after which the first yellow jersey of the race. The first mountain finish follows on stage two before a variety of opportunities for the team over the week.

For the sprint opportunities, Team Giant-Shimano have Nikias Arndt (GER) and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) both of whom showed strong form at last week’s Bayern Rundfahrt.

Other young riders include Thomas Damuseau (FRA) – winner of the King of the Mountains classification here in 2013, Chad Haga (USA) and Daan Olivier (NED) who all showed strong form in the Tour of California recently.

The line-up is then completed with the experience of Dries Devenyns (BEL), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER) and Thierry Hupond (FRA).

“The Dauphiné provides some of the young riders on the team with the opportunity to race a fantastic race at the highest level here in Europe,” said Christian Guiberteau (FRA), Team Giant-Shimano coach.

“For the race we have chances for results in the sprints with both Nikias and Reinardt, and after that the goal will be to go on the offensive with the others. We will also see how Daan is going in the mountains. Hopefully we will have a strong week and come away having learned a lot and also with some nice results.”

Giant-Shimano line-up:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Thomas Damuseau (FRA), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Daan Olivier (NED).
Coach: Christian Guiberteau (FRA).

Dauphiné Liberé 1996:

Tour de Luxembourg 2014
The Tour of Luxembourg started on Wednesday with a 2.55 kilometre prologue in Luxembourg City and then moves onto four road stages making its way back to the capital city to finish on Sunday.


Prologue: Wednesday 4th of June: Luxembourg-Ville – Luxembourg-Ville (2,55 km)
Stage 1: Thursday 5th of June: Luxembourg – Hesperange (172,6 km)
Stage 2: Friday 6th of June: Rosport – Schifflange (157,4 km)
Stage 3: Saturday 7th of June: Eschweiler – Differdange (205,8 km)
Stage 4: Sunday 8th of June: Mersch – Luxembourg (168,4 km).


Lotto Belisol: Preview Tour de Luxembourg
The next race on the programme for Lotto Belisol is the Tour de Luxembourg, which is part of the Europe Tour. The five-day stage race starts on Wednesday with an evening prologue of 2.55 kilometers in Luxembourg city. Afterwards there are four stages in line. André Greipel will continue his preparation for the Tour de France there. He can rely amongst other on Greg Henderson. Last winter Hendy underwent knee surgery, the same knee got infected later in the Three Days of West-Flanders. The new-Zealander talks about the knee trouble and his work in the sprint train.

Mentally a difficult period
Greg Henderson: “It took a while before the problem with my knee got diagnosed. Eventually it was a very quick and simple operation. I was back up and running within ten days afterwards. Next my knee got infected in the Three Days of West-Flanders. I got under the knife again. The wound was cleaned and it’s healed nicely now. Mentally it was difficult. You see your teammates racing and getting results that you’re normally part of. Unfortunately injuries are part of the business when you are a cyclist. It’s important to have a good support group around you like doctors, family, a wife. That are positive influences on your life and those make it a lot easier to come back. In the Tour of Turkey I performed back on a really good level. In the Belgium Tour I was sprinting very well and I’m good on the hills. At the moment I’m feeling really well.”

3rd in World Ports Classic
“When there’s a headwind, like was the case in Antwerp, it’s always very hard to get the timing of the lead-out correct. We nailed it in that first stage anyway and that was quite satisfying. Sieberg, Roelandts, Greipel and me we’ve proven to be a good combination the last couple of years. It felt good to be back. The next day it was a very technical and dangerous finish. I heard noise behind me and saw that André Greipel could just avoid a collision with a parked car and wouldn’t be coming back. I stayed near the front and was quite happy to become third. If André would have been on my wheel it would have been another victory for sure. But luckily he wasn’t hurt. That’s the most important thing with the Tour de France just around the corner.

Few that can match us
“It’s nice to have everybody together in these weeks before the Tour and to build the team membership that you need for going into battle. A battle, that’s what it feels like in the big races. It’s also good of course to have some sprints and to have some hills, like in the Tour of Belgium. As a lead-out man you’ve got to be relaxed under pressure. It’s my job to bring André Greipel as fresh as he possible can to the last 200 meters. That’s the key: keeping an eye on the guys in front of you, but also on the man you’re taking to the last 200 meters. If we do our thing on the right place on the right time, there’s not too many people that can match us.”

Selection Lotto Belisol:
Vegard Breen, Sean De Bie, Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Greg Henderson, Marcel Sieberg, Boris Vallée and Jelle Vanendert.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Tireless Pantano leads Team Colombia in Luxembourg
An exciting Giro d’Italia is just behind us, but there’s little time to rest, as the season goes on for Team Colombia’s Escarabajos. Just three days removed from the Corsa Rosa, an eight-man line-up directed by Oscar Pellicioli and Oliverio Rincon will take the start at the Skoda Tour de Luxembourg, with the classic 2,55 km evening prologue to get things started in Luxembourg city.

Luxembourg will see the return to competitions for Juan Pablo Valencia, Darwin Pantoja, Jonathan Paredes, Edward Diaz and Juan Esteban Arango, with Edwin Avila getting back to action as well after being forced to leave the Giro after stage 9. In addition, two of the strong Giro d’Italia performers will try to make the best of the good swing and condition found on the streets of Italy: Jarlinson Pantano and Robinson Chalapud.

“Both Pantano and Chalapud finished the Giro in progression, and they are well motivated to exploit this chance – Sports Director Oscar Pellicioli said – while I expect big enthusiasm also from the rest of the line-up, as they get back to races after some time, and will definitely be raring to go. Luxembourg might not have big mountains, but features some nervous routes, and atypical fast men like Avila and Arango could find excellent terrain to perform”

Colombia Line-up:
Juan Esteban Arango, Edwin Avila, Robinson Chalapud, Edward Diaz, Jarlinson Pantano, Darwin Pantoja, Jonathan Paredes, Juan Pablo Valencia.
Sports Directors: Oscar Pellicioli, Oliverio Rincon.

Skoda Tour de Luxembourg 2013 – Finish in Walferdange:

OPQS Recons Tour de France Cobbles
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team performed reconnaissance of the nine cobbled sections of Paris-Roubaix, which will feature in the 5th stage of the Tour de France, on Monday.

Rolf Aldag, Michal Kwiatkowski, and Mark Cavendish offered their thoughts about the day’s recon, the Tour de France stage, and what it was like racing on the cobbles that will be used for a Grand Tour. Michal also celebrated his 24th birthday while performing the recon. Happy birthday Kwiato!

Rolf Aldag: “Obviously we want to recon the course, but also see how people fit on the Specialized bikes and adjust everything so that we are ready. Some of our riders never raced on the cobblestones before.”

“I think Kwiatkowski is, out of the GC contenders, one of the most capable of riding on the cobbles. He did it last year with a spectacular Tour of Flanders, and races like E3 Harelbeke, and so on. I think he’s used to it, so it won’t be shocking. It’s more about the tactical situation for him at the Tour de France rather than getting used to the feel.”

“The thing during the Tour is you have different interests. You have a limited number of riders who go for the stage wins, because they still have captains for the GC they have to protect. So, it’s going to be a slightly different race that isn’t as clear as a Paris-Roubaix where you have a Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara, or Sep Vanmarcke and all the teams will support their guys to clearly win that one-day race. At the Tour it’s a little more complicated. You may see teams that maybe will chase, not because they want a stage win, but maybe in that group there may be a GC contender who will try to get away before the cobbles. It’s a completely different situation. It’s two races, really. You have a race for the stage and a race for the GC. And also, luck matters. Don’t crash, don’t have a mechanical. You need to also judge the tactics the right way and have the right strategy. Hopefully, all of that comes in line for us, and we are preparing as best we can for what we can control.”

“Today we warmed up and saw how the last kilometers will be before the cobbles. We then rode all of the cobbled sectors. We stopped and checked tire pressure and adjusted the bikes accordingly. Also, we taped the recon on video so it’s available for everyone because leading up to the Tour, people might forget some of the details. It’s always good to confirm it with data and video.”

Michal Kwiatkowski: “It’s the first time in my life I rode a section of Paris-Roubaix cobbles. It’s interesting to feel it on your own, rather than watch someone else do it. I’m feeling really good. I’m enjoying it. I did Tour of Flanders in the past, it’s maybe not the same but it’s still cobbles. For sure the stage will be interesting for the spectators. For us it will be a nervous day and we will need to be focused. But, OPQS in the past made some small results on cobbles (laughs), so it’s a good thing that I can gain experience on the cobbles with the team.”

Cycling: Training Tour de France stage 5 / Team OPQS

Mark Cavendish: “I’ve only ridden one Paris-Roubaix, I’d love to do it again. But, we’re the strongest cobbled classics team in the world and we can win every one. For me to just want to ride, just for an indulgence when there are stronger guys to do the job, it’s better to watch my team smashing it while I’m at home. But I’m excited the cobbles are in the Tour again. We’ve got a strong team for it, and I’m excited for the race.”

“For me I like expectation from the team. We’re the most powerful team in the world across all races. To go in it, with the expectation to perform. It’s a good pressure to have. For sure we’re going to have a strong team at the Tour de France and for sure this is one of the key stages we’d like to do well in.”

“The stage is how I expected. It’s nowhere near as tough as Paris-Roubaix, but in the first week of the Tour after the hard start in the UK, it won’t shake up the GC. But it should be an interesting stage for the spectators and the riders.”

Cycling: Training Tour de France stage 5 / Team OPQS

FDJ.fr Name Tour Possibles
The French FDJ.fr team have listed both of their sprinters in their longlist of Tour de France 2014 riders. Nacer Bouhanni and Arnaud Démare are both in the line-up, along with William Bonnet, Michael Delage, Alexandre Geniez, Jeannesson Arnold, Matthew Ladagnous, Francis Mourey, Yoann Offredo, Cédric Pineau, Thibaut Pinot, Jérémy Roy and Arthur Vichot. After Bouhanni won three stages and the points jersey at the Giro d’Italia, the French team can hardly leave the fast-man at home. Démare recently extended his contract to the end of 2016 and Bouhanni’s contract runs out this season, so if Bouhanni wins stages his value will rise on the rider market leaving FDJ.fr maybe with lesser sprinter. The final Tour team selection will be made after the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de Suisse.

Ronde van Zeeland Seaports 2014
The first race this week for Team Giant-Shimano is the Ronde van Zeeland Seaports, on Saturday.
This is a race that the team have performed well at over the past few years with the victory usually being fought out in a sprint, but often after crosswinds have influenced the composition of the front group. In 2011 it was Marcel Kittel who won here, and last year Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) finished second.

Sinkeldam returns this year in search of making up just one place on last year’s result and he will be full of confidence heading into this one-day race after his first win of the season recently on the final stage of the World Ports Classic.

He is joined by Bert De Backer (BEL) and Tom Veelers (NED) who both head into the race having just finished the Giro d’Italia. The line-up is then completed by Brian Bulgac (NED), road captain Roy Curvers (NED) and the ever improving Sea Keong Loh (MAL).

“This is a really nice Dutch race but is typical of racing here in Holland with a big possibility of crosswinds,” said Team Giant-Shimano coach Rudi Kemna (NED).

“We have a good team for this with experience and strength for a sprint at the end. Ramon has showed his sprinting capacity over the past few weeks and he is well supported by a strong team here.”

Website: https://www.rondevanzeelandseaports.nl/

Giant-Shimano line-up:
Bert De Backer (BEL), Brian Bulgac (NED), Roy Curvers (NED), Sea Keong Loh (MAL), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Tom Veelers (NED).
Coach: Rudi Kemna (NED).

Team Belkin finally hopes to win in Zeeland
Several Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM riders were close to a victory in the Ronde van Zeeland Seaports in the past. Robert Wagner, Jos van Emden, Graeme Brown, Lars Boom and Theo Bos all finished on the podium once or twice. They didn’t win, however. Sports Director Michiel Elijzen hopes to see one of his green and black riders on the highest step on Saturday, June 7.

“That’s what we are aiming for,” said Elijzen. “We have a few men who just rode the Giro d’Italia. After three weeks of racing, they have a tremendous capacity. The first hundred kilometres will hurt, but after that they will be able to keep riding and riding. “We will have to be more attentive than last year, when we were overtaken by events. With Theo Bos, we hope for a sprint victory, although I wouldn’t mind seeing another one of our riders causing a surprise.”

Maarten Tjallingii
Maarten Tjallingii is one of the men who could surprise. The robust Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM cyclist rode a good Giro and even wore the mountains jersey a few days. Moreover, he knows how to shock the peloton. Last year, he upset the bunch with a solo effort in the World Ports Classic, which is similar to the Ronde van Zeeland Seaports. “I hope to keep the flow of the Giro going. I think we’ve had a fantastic Giro. We achieved the maximum as a team. Wilco [Kelderman] did what he could and did very well by finishing seventh. We also wore the blue jersey for six days. “A stage victory would have topped things off, but we were close a couple of times even though we didn’t pull it off. That mountains jersey was a true morale booster. There was no better way to start the race. Personally, it was very funny that I, one of the heavyweight riders in the peloton, was riding around in that jersey.”

Plan A, Plan B
Tjallingii believes in the team’s chances in the Ronde van Zeeland Seaports. “With Theo, we have a top sprinter, and we also have a team fit to lead him out. Theo is Plan A, Plan B is a surprise. It would be nice if I could pull off the same kind of stunt as last year in the World Ports Classic.”

TEAM line-up:
Jetse Bol, Theo Bos, Graeme Brown, Rick Flens, Marc Goos, Maarten Tjallingii, Robert Wagner and Dennis van Winden.
Sports Director: Michiel Elijzen.

Ronde Van Zeeland Seaports 2013 – Highlights:

Tim Wellens Extends with Lotto Belisol
Press Release: Tim Wellens has extended his contract with Lotto Belisol with one year, until the end of 2015. The now 23-year-old rider made the transfer from the U23 team of Lotto Belisol to the pro team on the 1st of July 2012. He made a strong start in the WorldTour peloton, because in October of that year Tim finished on the tenth place in the overall classification of the Tour of Beijing. Last season he continued his growth with among other a remarkable Critérium du Dauphiné. This year he made his début in a Grand Tour, by participating in the Giro. Wellens became two times second, in the sixth and seventeenth stage. He also showed himself in the Ardennes classics this spring.

Tim Wellens: “It all began when I joined the Lotto Cycling Project a few years ago. From that moment on I worked together with Energy Lab, among other with trainer Paul Van Den Bosch. After my time in the U23 team I got a pro contract with Lotto Belisol halfway 2012. As a young Belgian you can’t be part of a better team. I get a very nice race programme and they offer me a lot of opportunities. The team makes sure I don’t go in overdrive and limits the amount of race days. Lotto Belisol gives me time to grow. That were the main reasons to extend my contract.”

Of course manager Marc Sergeant is delighted with the contract extension: “It was and still is the intention that we would see a positive evolution in the performances of Tim, individually on the one hand, but definitely also in function of the team. And I think I can say he confirms what we expected of him. At our team he gets the opportunity to grow step by step and at some points he has even set big steps. That was shown during the Ardennes classics and the Giro. His offensive style of racing, which everybody loves, offers him opportunities. The two second places are nice rewards. The next years we’ll have to see together with him where his possibilities lie, in one day races and stage races. As a team I think the development of Tim is a prototype example of how we can form Belgian riders. Thanks to the efforts of the National Lottery to support cycling in Belgium in all its facets and to set up projects like the Lotto Cycling Project and our U23 team, the best young riders get the opportunity to make the move to the WorldTour team. A very nice example of the concretization of one of the pillars of our vision.”

How it all started for Tim Wellens:

Tinkov did his own Giro in front of the race
During Giro d’Italia, Oleg Tinkov, Team Owner of Tinkoff-Saxo, did 2002 kilometres on his bike – enough to go from the final destination of the Giro, Trieste, to Russia. In fact, he was only 400 kilometres short of his residence in Moscow. But Oleg didn’t ride east – he followed the parcours of the Giro and did it stage by stage just like the riders. For Oleg it was about staying in shape between long workdays but just as much about getting a firsthand experience of what the riders go through on a daily basis during a Grand Tour.


“First of all, cycling is one of my big passions, so I did it because I really enjoy going on my bike. But I also wanted to put myself in a situation, where I could experience the suffering and the pain that the riders experience when the race gets really tough. As a team owner, it gives me the opportunity to connect with the riders on another level”, explains Oleg Tinkov after returning home from the Giro.

Just in front of the race
The team owner has since the fourth stage to Bari been on his bike every day also joining the team on rest-day training rides. But naturally, he couldn’t follow the pros during the stages so he found another way to get the full experience.

“I rode in front of the race followed by my own team car with gear to survive the different weather conditions such as the hail storm on one of the stages. Some people actually thought that I was a solo breakaway rider and cheered me on towards the final kilometres. That was fun. But I do it to promote cycling and show that we all have the opportunity to be a part of cycling”, says Oleg Tinkov, who also tells that he might need to go down a couple of weight classes in order to feel at home on the steepest climbs.

This year’s Giro was again affected by harsh weather conditions from strong crosswinds in the southern part of Italy to low temperatures with snow during the stages in the Alps. Oleg tells, that he was dedicated to continue even though the weather took its toll on him.

“I remember the fifth stage in Puglia, where we started in Taranto down south. We had strong crosswinds throughout that stage combined with rain. That was one of those days, where you realize just why the peloton splits into pieces like that. I also did stage 16 over Gavia and Stelvio with snow and temperatures at 0,5 degrees – that was my coldest bike ride ever”, says the Russian banker turned rider with a big smile.

Coldest bike ride ever
Cycling is, luckily, not done at maximum effort all the time. So during Oleg’s rides, he also took the opportunity to spend time with Tinkoff-Saxo’s CEO Stefano Feltrin on many of the stages as well as Team Manager Bjarne Riis on the second rest day.

“We had the possibility to take 4-5 hours out of our, otherwise, hectic days to discuss a lot about the team and how we can improve even more, how we can develop better nutrition programs, better recovery programs and so on, concludes Oleg Tinkov.


Nairo Quintana Leads the WorldTour
Due to his Giro d’Italia performance, the Colombian Movistar rider Nairo Quintana has moved into the lead of the UCI ‘s WorldTour with 345 points. Second is Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) with 308 points and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) third with 264 points. Quintana is not riding the Tour de France so will probably lose his lead next month, but he will be looking for success in the Vuelta a España.

The Ciclismo PEZ Giro Fantasy League Final
Correction to Monday’s result; the winner and second place was still Little Chris Piccolo and his team: Master of Pasta and Matt with his team Vollgasss, but third place went to Jordano and The John Galt Lineup in third, Sorry Jordano. Details of the Ciclismo PEZ Tour de France fantasy league with Velogames soon.

The Zoncolan by a Fan!
We’ve all seen those guys running next to the riders in the mountains and had different thoughts on it, but here is a great hand held video by Rodrigo’s HDTV. Watch it to the end to see the best bits:


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