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EuroTrash Froome Thursday!

Chris Froome has been in the news for a couple of reasons this week; leading the Dauphiné and inhaling. We cover both stories and have the results, comments and video from France. In a full PEZ EuroTrash Thursday we also preview the Tour de Suisse and the GP Gippingen and news from the Tour, Arredondo and Horner. Lots to get through!

BUT FIRST – Rap Battle: Mountain Biker vs. Road Biker
Let’s get yer Thursday rolling with something serious. Hot off the cutting room floor at NSMB.com is their latest ponderance of which dispcipline is best – and as evyerone knows – the best way to settle such polarized discussions is with a rap battle – watch it and decide for yourself who wins…

– and now back to our regularly scheduled Eurotrash…

TOP STORY: Inhalergate!
Bill Clinton said he once tried marijuana, but qualified the statement by adding that: “I didn’t inhale, and I didn’t try it again.” There was probably less written about Clinton than Chris Froome’s recent inhale during the Critérium du Dauphiné. It all started as French TV filmed stage 2 for the live broadcast on Monday and it was noticed that he used an inhaler while racing. Of course it went viral as soon as it hit the internet.

For his part Chris Froome explained everything. He said that he has used an inhaled since he was young as he has exercise induced asthma and has had all the tests to prove it. Froome does not need a TUE (medical exemption form) as long as he doesn’t have more than 1600mg in a 24 hour period. This was the medication that Alessandro Petacchi over did and was given a 1 year ban.

So is everyone looking for something that isn’t there?

That puff!

Critérium du Dauphiné 2014
Sunday’s first stage time trial showed a difference of eight seconds between Tour de France rivals, Chris Froome (Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo). On Monday’s Stage 2 the battle continued on the 156 kilometre mountainous ride from Tarae to the 13.6 kilometre uphill finish to Col du Beál.

A break was allowed to go but Team Sky took the responsibility of narrowing the gap down before entering the final climb. At the foot of the ramp, the gap was still two minutes so other teams joined the chase. In the break; Alessandro di Macchi (Canondale) decided to leave his former companions to solo his way up the road.

Going up the uphill finish, Team Sky emptied the field of big names such as Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Michael Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) while Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador was shadowing Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was on the wheel of the Spaniard waiting for the right moment to make his move.

But the crucial move was made by Froome with 5.2 kilometres to go and only Alberto Contador was able to follow the British rider. Nibali fought his way back to the duo and in a lull in the action; Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) decided to counter-attack. Froome was forced to bridge the gap with Contador on his tail and soon, they were only down to six riders up front. The others attacked Froome, but he covered them all. In the final kilometre, Chris Froome attacked and managed to distance everyone, except for Contador who held on to finished second.

Stage winner Chris Froome (Sky): “I gave everything today. In such a climb, it became a great battle with Alberto Contador. We rode flat out. It was really tough between the two of us. I’ve tried to attack him a couple of times but he was very strong. Everyone here is almost at the same level as at the Tour de France. Today it was our first duel with the two of us in form, so I’m delighted to win in these circumstances.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS Philippe Mauduit was content: “Even though the stage was short, it was a pretty hard day for everyone. As expected, a break took off and Team Sky managed the pace making. At the bottom of the final ascent, they picked up the pace significantly and a lot of strong riders were dropped from the back of the group quite early. When Chris Froome attacked, Alberto was on his wheel and was never in any big difficulties and he chose to stay behind all the way up to the finish line. I’m happy with his condition and I think it bodes well for the Tour already. Tomorrow’s stage will most likely be for the sprinters and we’ll make sure Alberto will be protected all day.”

Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) finished third after a serious and hot Critérium du Dauphiné stage two. “This was quite a surprise for me, to see that I’m still this good. It felt very good on the bike. It’s super nice to battle with these top riders. Although, I wasn’t able to really enjoy myself during the race as the heat was on. Froome and Contador were the first to attack, but started looking at each other when they were clear. We were able to re-join them. At that moment, the pace dropped and I decided to attack because I hoped that they would continue to look at each other. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay away. The differences in the overall are still too small for that.”

Kelderman is now third overall. The gap to race leader Froome is 21 seconds. With his third place, the Dutchman took the lead in the young riders’ classification and will start the third stage in the white jersey. “I hope to bring that jersey home,” said Kelderman. “It would be really nice to hold on to that third place, as well. I’m now only behind two world class riders. “It’s going to be difficult, though. The final weekend is tough and in between, we face some more hard tests. Besides that, riders like Vincenzo Nibali, who are preparing for the Tour, will improve along the course of the week.”

Jurgen Van den Broeck: “This is the Dauphiné, not the Tour de France, but after the time trial of yesterday also the first mountain stage worked out perfectly. I was convinced the shape was good when I came to this race, but this result gives confidence as well. If this is a dream scenario? We look at it day by day, it’s obvious that Froome and Contador are the best here, but this opens up perspectives. Working hard and being rewarded for it is so nice.”

“It was obvious that the last climb could make a selection. Sky set a high pace and when his last teammate set himself aside Froome took over. Unbelievable which sprints he placed, but Contador stayed in his wheel. I held on to my own rhythm and could join them again each time. Nibali and Talansky had to let go as well, but came back; at the end they got dropped again. It’s of course very pleasant to be riding in the mountains with the top riders.”

Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 2 Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 4:24:41
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 0:04
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 0:10
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:12
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:27
7. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Movistar at 0:40
8. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:42
9. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:44
10. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 0:45.

Critérium du Dauphiné Overall After Stage 2:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 4:37:44
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:12
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 0:21
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:33
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 0:35
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:50
7. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek at 1:22
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
9. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 1:31
10. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1:35.

Stage 2:

Nikias Arndt (Giant-Shimano) sprinted to his first victory of the 2014 season on Stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, with teammate Reinardt Janse van Rensburg taking third.

After the final escapees were caught in the last kilometres on a very active, attacking stage Team Giant-Shimano took over the front of the peloton and in the final kilometre set up Nikias and Reinardt for the final push for the line. Reinardt led Nikias; the German pulled out and came through to take the win just inches ahead of Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Belisol).

An initial break of three riders moved clear and build up a strong lead of three minutes but the sprinters were keen to have their shot at glory today and when the chase started from behind the gap soon started to tumble. With around 50km to race, and the gap sitting around two and a half minutes a large crash in the peloton saw Reinardt hit the ground.

Dries Devenyns was there to help bring him back to the bunch and Thierry Hupond soon had his back up near the front but Reinardt was unsure as to whether he was still in top shape for the finishing sprint.

After talking to Nikias, the guys decided to ride for Reinardt still, with Nikias being the final lead-out man. With the race all back together, despite some strong attacks in the closing kilometres, Team Giant-Shimano took control of the head of the bunch and powered the two sprinters into the final kilometres at the front. Nikias hit the final corner with about 400m to go ahead of Reinardt and started to accelerate out of here.

He kept going all the way and in the end proved the fastest taking his first WorldTour win and also became the ninth Team Giant-Shimano rider to win this season. It is the team’s 23rd win of the season and we are only half way through.
“I can’t believe it, that was unbelievable,” said Nikias after the finish. “The team were just amazing today, everything went just as it should.

“We don’t have a real lead-out team here but today the guys showed that if you work well together you can do anything. The communication on the road was spot on – we said go they went, we say right, they went right.

“The plan was to go for Reinardt but he crashed and he wasn’t sure how he was. I still led him through the final corner and started my sprint thinking that he would come past but I felt so fast and kept going and in the end I had enough speed to get to the line.

“It’s great to be able to pay back the team after their superb work here today and also for me and the team to win here as it is a very important race.

“It is nice to pay back the team as well for their confidence in me. I can see my development from last year and learning from the other guys and working closely with the coaches and trainers is a great way to improve and gain confidence.
“This relieves the pressure for the next stages now and we can look forward to the next days to come.”

“Today the guys showed that teamwork really is one of our great strengths,” said Team Giant-Shimano coach Christian Guiberteau.

“The initial plan was to sprint for Reinardt but he crashed with around 50km to go. Dries [Devenyns] was there to bring him back to the bunch and Thierry [Hupond] worked hard as well to get him back to the front.

“After the crash we said that he and Nikias should speak to see who would sprint. They decided that Nikias would lead Reinardt but at the end Nikias pulled out a huge sprint and managed to take a huge win here.

“It is great for the team, and we are showing that everywhere we race we have opportunities and have riders that can take these opportunities. Nikias is still young and was spotted as a sprinting talent at a young age. He has developed within the team, learned off the other sprinters and worked with the staff to focus on development rather than immediate results and today he showed it is paying off.

“It is a great example that sticking to a plan pays off and is an inspiration to young riders out there watching.”
After having been supported by his Lampre-Merida team mate Pozato until 1600 meters, Davide Cimolai started the sprint out of the tenth position, but he could manage a very high speed that allowed him to finish the race 5th to winner Ardnt, Van Boeckmans (2nd), di Van Rensburg (3rd) and Martinez (4th).

“I’m satisfied, because I performed a very good recover in the sprint, this means that I’m on the same level of my opponents and that I could compete for the victory,” Davide Cimolai explained. “I also consider that this sprint was the first one I took part in since two months ago, so I can be satisfied, even if I could have obtained more if I would have started in a better position.”

Chris Froome (Sky) still leads Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) by 12 seconds and Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) by 21 seconds in third.

Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Result:
1. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 5:30:03
2. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Belisol
3. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Giant-Shimano
4. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
5. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Katusha
8. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Fdj.fr
9. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale.

Critérium du Dauphiné Overall After Stage 3:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 10:07:47
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:12
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 0:21
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:33
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:35
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:50
7. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek at 1:22
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
9. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 1:31
10. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1:35.

Stage 3:

Team Katusha’s Iurii Trofimov raised his arms in victory on Stage 4 of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Wednesday, earning a stunning solo victory in Gap as the race reached the halfway point. It was a second career stage win in the Dauphiné for Trofimov, (30) his first coming in stage 5 of the 2008 edition of the race.

Stage 4 began in Montélimar and ended in Gap after 167,5km. Trofimov was part of a 13-man breakaway that went clear after 21km of racing in today’s stage. The group held an advantage of close to five minutes and cooperated well to keep their position. With 18km to go, Iurii attacked his group and headed up the final climb of the Col de Manse alone, putting in a massive effort to build an advantage and hold off the chasers behind him.

Cresting the summit at 12.5km still to go, Trofimov held 2:35 to the yellow jersey group who were satisfied to ride tempo, with the most interested challengers attacked from the original breakaway. But on the risky descent Trofimov displayed strong bike handling skills and pure determination as he continued to hold his advantage into Gap. He crossed the finish line solo at 3:59:22, a full 23- and 25-seconds in front of Gustav Larsson (IAM Cycling) and Pim Lightart of Lotto Belisol.
The yellow jersey group of Christopher Froome clocked in at 2:10, with the gap still holding at 12-seconds to Alberto Contado (Tinkoff-Saxo) and 21-seconds to Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) on the general classification.

Stage winner Katusha’s Iurii Trofimov: “I am very happy today! Honestly I did not expect to win a stage here in the Dauphiné. Because of British visa affairs I had to move part of my preparation from Europe to Russia so I was unsure of my real level of fitness right now. Today we had the job to go in the breakaway and I managed to do that. The break was a good one and all of the riders worked well. Closer to the finish we all knew we’d have a chance to play for the stage victory. I knew this climb because I was here in the Tour de France. And the last time I made a mistake of attacking too early. This time I let others do that and waited for the perfect moment. Finally everything went well.”

Katusha team director Dmitry Konyshev: “Today we planned to attack in the beginning of the race to put one of our riders in the breakaway. Iurii made a good move and joined the group. It was a good option for our team. He is just now building his form and after training at home in Russia for some time; he needed to test himself to see where he is in preparation for the Tour de France. During the stage we told him not to wait until the finish to attack and he did it – he picked the right moment! He took his advantage on the climb so then on the descent he just held it. We are all very happy with this success. This is a strong result for both the team and the rider. This victory will give Iurii more confidence and motivation before the Tour de France.”

Pim Ligthart (Lotto Belisol) was in the break of the day: “Until the Col de Manse there was a good collaboration. Our advantage stayed long about four minutes. At that point you don’t know if the guys in the peloton will race. We had about two minutes at the foot of the climb, we had a fifty-fifty chance of surviving. Eventually the favourites didn’t attack. On the Col de Manse I was close to my limit, while others were attacking. I could just hold on. In the descent I lost some ground, but could join the others again and sprinted to place three. Of course you want to win when you’re part of a break that stays ahead till the finish, but today this was probably the best possible result. The strongest man won. The goal this week is that Jurgen Van den Broeck maintains a good position in GC. When I am asked to try to join a breakaway again I will definitely do the best I can.”

“I abandoned the Tour of Turkey in the third stage, I didn’t have energy left after the spring races. Then I put the bike aside for some days and cleared my head. Afterwards I went on a training camp to Mallorca. In the Belgium Tour I got back in competition. I immediately noticed I made progression every day. In the tough last stage for example I could do a very good job for Kris Boeckmans and Greg Henderson who aimed for a bunch sprint. Here in the Dauphiné I also notice its getting better each day; my shape is good. I’m always good at the time of the Dutch national championship (29th of June). The fact that the race takes place in Ootmarsum, where I took the title in 2011, is extra good for the morale.”

Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 4 Result:
1. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha in 3:59:22
2. Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling at 0:23
3. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol at 0:25
4. Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin at 0:28
5. Peter Velits (Svk) BMC
6. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
7. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
9. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana at 1:31
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp.

Critérium du Dauphiné Overall After Stage 4:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 14:09:19
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:12
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 0:21
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:33
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:35
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:50
7. Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:01
8. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek at 1:22
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
10. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 1:31.

Stage 4:

Tour de Suisse 2014
The Tour de Suisse has been used as a training race for the Tour de France in the past, but the Critérium du Dauphiné seems to be the race of choice for the Tour hopefuls these days. As you would expect there is a fair bit of climbing and two individual time trials which should suit Sky’s Bradley Wiggins. Cadel Evans (BMC) and World champion Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) are also on the start line, but there are a lot of young guys who will want to show their talents, Warren Barguil of Giant-Shimano being one of them.

Stage 1: Bellinzona – Bellinzona (Individual Time Trial) 9.4km
Stage 2: Bellinzona – Sarnen 182km
Stage 3: Sarnen – Heiden 203km
Stage 4: Heiden – Ossingen 160km
Stage 5: Ossingen – Büren A.D. Aare 184km
Stage 6: Büren A.D. Aare – Delémont 184km
Stage 7: Worb – Worb (Individual Time Trial) 24.7km
Stage 8: Delémont – Verbier 219km
Stage 9: Martigny – Saas-Fee 157km.

Tour de Suisse 2014

Movistar Team to Suisse
The 78th Tour de Suisse will start in Bellinzona on Saturday 14. The Helvetic stage race will feature a demanding, individual time trial on its opening stage to later concentrate all major difficulties in the final weekend –another TT on Friday, followed by two uphill finishes on Saturday and Sunday. The Movistar team riders: Eros Capecchi, Alex Dowsett, Ion Izagirre, Pablo Lastras, Juanjo Lobato, Javi Moreno, Rubén Plaza and José Joaquín Rojas, with Jaimerena and Laguía as sports directors.

Henao to Ride Tour de Suisse
Colombian Team Sky rider Sergio Henao will be riding the Tour de Suisse after his suspension from racing by the team since February. Henao’s blood values had anomalous blood values found during the team own checks which didn’t involve the UCI, but the sky team sent him back to Colombia, returning to Europe in May for more tests.

The Sky team pool for the Tour de Suisse:
Sergio Henao, Bradley Wiggins, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Kanstantin Siutsou, Dario Cataldo, Joe Dombrowski and Philip Deignan.

Dress rehearsal in Tour de Suisse for Team Belkin
The Tour de Suisse, June 14 to 22, is the last serious test in the run-up to the Tour de France for several Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM riders. Bauke Mollema hopes to put the finishing touches on his preparation in Switzerland after an altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada.

“The training went very well,” said Mollema. “We had a good camp. After a few days to acclimatise, we did some long workouts. I once spent seven hours on the bike. During the final week, we focused on intensity and explosiveness with some interval training. My legs felt better every day. Last year, I had my first altitude training camp. That worked well for me. Hopefully, I can benefit from it again.”

Mollema has fond memories of the Tour de Suisse. Last year, he finished second and won the tough mountain stage to Crans Montana. “It’s a nice race,” said the Dutchman. “I also finished fifth in 2011. I want to improve towards the Tour the France in Switzerland. Hopefully, I can achieve some good results along the way.”

Nico Verhoeven
“The Tour de Suisse is a good preparation towards the Tour, but it’s too important to see as a training race,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “Bauke and Laurens ten Dam will be our leaders. The team will assist them as much as possible. Hopefully, we can match Mollema’s result from last year. After his second place, a podium finish is a nice goal this time. However, if we race well, we could also be satisfied with a fifth place looking towards to the Tour.”

TEAM lineup:
Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Marc Goos, Steven Kruijswijk, Tom Leezer, Bauke Mollema, Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants.
Sports Directors: Jan Boven and Nico Verhoeven.

Giant-Shimano Team for the Tour de Suisse
Just as the Critérium du Dauphiné is coming to an end, the nine day Tour de Suisse gets going.
The race gets underway with a tough hilly individual time trial before getting straight into the mountains on the first road stage on Sunday.

The following stages present different opportunities for the team including sprints, breakaways and another effort against the clock.

Tom Dumoulin (NED) comes to the Tour de Suisse following a second place at the recent Tour of Belgium and he will have a keen eye on the two individual time trial stages.

John Degenkolb (GER) also gets back into racing here in Switzerland with a focus on getting back up to speed after some high altitude training, and with the sprint stages in his cross hairs.

Warren Baruil (FRA) will be seeing how he can fare in the high mountains and as a result seeing how he well he can place in the overall classification by the end of the race.

Team Giant-Shimano coach Addy Engels confirmed the goals for the Tour de Suisse, saying: “We have two main goals for this race, to get a nice GC placing with Warren and to target the sprint opportunities.

“There are no real flat stages but there are opportunities for sprints on days where there are just a few short climbs so we will look to take our chances where we can. John returns to racing from a period at altitude and he will look to get back up to speed here, but we also have Luka who showed at the end of the Giro that he still has something left in the tank.

“Warren has shown already this season that he can race well on the toughest of climbs against the world’s best climbers and hopefully he can perform well again here in Switzerland.”

Giant-Shimano line-up:
Warren Barguil (FRA), Lawson Craddock (USA), John Degenkolb (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Koen De Kort (NED), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Georg Preidler (AUT), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED).
Coach: Addy Engels (NED).

BMC Racing Team Roster for Tour de Suisse
The BMC Racing Team has announced its roster for the Tour de Suisse. The team’s final stage race in the lead up to the Tour de France begins Saturday.

Download the BMC Racing Team’s roster card (PDF with bios, statistics, etc.): https://bit.ly/1u8iZoh

Marcus Burghardt (GER), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Cadel Evans (AUS), Martin Kohler (SUI), Steve Morabito (SUI), Michael Schär (SUI), Larry Warbasse (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
President/General Manager: Jim Ochowicz (USA).
Sponsor: Andy Rihs (SUI).
Sporting Manager: Allan Peiper (AUS).
Sport Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA) & Jackson Stewart (USA).

Big opportunities for MTN-Qhubeka at Tour du Suisse
The 78th Tour du Suisse will start on Saturday with a 9.4km prologue around the town of Bellinzona. After receiving a wild card entry to this World Tour race earlier in the year, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are excited to finally grab hold of the many opportunities that await them over the duration of the tour. 9 days of racing against the world’s best riders who will be in peak physical condition ahead of the upcoming Tour de France, will be the main challenge at hand.

Along with the challenge of the sporting perspective at the Tour du Suisse, another challenging aspect of professional cycling lies ahead for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. Logistically, running a cycling team can be extremely difficult especially when you are racing everyday for 3 weeks, as in a grand tour. After being invited to the Vuelta a Espana this year, the Tour du Suisse will provide MTN-Qhubeka with the perfect opportunity to use the 9 days of racing in Switzerland as a full dress-rehearsal before its Spanish rendezvous in August. We are expecting every bit of our infrastructure to be tested as the Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung roadshow goes on display worldwide.

While trying to run a program that is smooth and efficient is a top priority at the Tour du Suisse, it is not the only goal the team hopes to achieve. We will start with high ambitions, looking to target key stages and also a high finish on the General Classification. After climbing exceptionally well at the recent Tour of Norway, Gerald Ciolek provides us with a very strong card to play on the opening 5 road stages. Daniel Teklehaimanot also showed his form is on the rise by taking 3rd at the final Tour du Luxembourg stage last week, both riders will look to target stage results. Linus Gerdemann gives Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung a real chance at a high placing on the overall classification particularly when you look at the fire power surrounding the German tour rider.

See the video below, revealing our full lineup and thoughts from our Team Principal Douglas Ryder on our Tour du Suisse participation:

Team Katusha in Tour de Suisse
The Russian Team Katusha will start in the WorldTour stage race Tour de Suisse, which will be held from June 14th until June 22nd.

Team Katusha’s line-up: Sergei Chernetckii, Marco Haller, Vladimir Isaychev, Alexander Kolobnev, Alexander Kristoff, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Aleksandr Porsev and Gatis Smukulis.
Team directors: Uwe Peschel and Torsten Schmidt.

OPQS to Tour de Suisse
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will participate in Tour de Suisse, a nine-stage, 1331.2km stage race from June 14th through the 22nd. There race consists of a prologue, an individual time trial, and five mountain stages with three including summit finishes. Stages 4 and 5 leave the possibility for a bunch sprint finale.

“We are here with a strong team for the sprint,” Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. “We will go for the sprints in the two occasions that favor the group arrival. Mark is here with almost his complete leadout train. So it will be an important moment in the approach of the Tour de France. The other goal of the team will be the two time trials — the short prologue and the 25km individual time trial. For Tony it will be a good goal personally, but also Niki Terpstra can do well in this kind of effort. We don’t have a guy for the GC, but we have a strong team for specific situations of the race.”

Unfortunately Stijn Vandenbergh won’t participate due to a fibrotic cyst in the area of the perineum. Vandenbergh will try to be at the start of Ster ZLM Toer to prepare as best as possible for the National Championship. But of course, this problem won’t permit the super domestique to be present at the Tour de France.

“I was among the riders who had a chance to fight for a spot at the Tour de France,” Vandenbergh said. “But unfortunately this problem won’t permit me to be there. The Tour is an exigent race and you have to be 100 percent. It’s the second time I suffered bad luck that kept me from battling for a spot. Last year my knee was the problem, and now this. But OK, my season is not over and I will do my best to get ready for Nationals to support my team. Then, together with the team, we will decide the rest of my schedule.”

OPQS Riders:
Tom Boonen (BEL), Mark Cavendish (GBR), Tony Martin (GER), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Gert Steegmans (BEL), Niki Terpstra (NED), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Martin Velits (SVK).
Sports Director Wilfried Peeters (BEL) & Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Kreuziger targets Tour de Suisse GC
Saturday the 14th of June, Tour de Suisse is on the calendar and Tinkoff-Saxo wont’t just be cruising the Swiss roads to enjoy the joy of the mountainous terrain. With a strong lin-up like this, our boys are targeting a GC result as well as stages: Roman Kreuziger, Daniele Bennati, Matti Breschel, Chris Anker Sørensen, Manuele Boaro,Matteo Tosatto, Michael Mørkøv and Oliver Zaugg.

“Just like Dauphiné Libéré, Tour de Suisse is a warm-up race for Tour de France but we’re also here to achieve results. We have Roman as our leader and captain and we’ll see how far he can take it in the overall classification. We have a strong team to support him along the way and if the right situation occurs, we’re not holding any of our riders back in terms of shooting for stage wins as well,” says DS, Fabrizio Guidi.

The race is launched with an individual time trial over almost 10 kilometers but with a climb that will create a bigger time difference between than the length suggests. And there’s another, longer and even hillier individual time trial due in stage 7. Besides from the time trials, stage 2 and 3 are constant climbing while the race is decided and concluded in stage 8 and 9, which both have uphill finishes on an HC-category climb. It’s going to be a magnificently exciting race!

Europcar for Suisse
Riders: Giovanni Bernaudau, Bryan Coquard, Jimmy Engoulvent, Yohann Gene, Christophe Kern, Maxime Mederel, Alexandre Pichot, Bjorn Thurau.
Directeurs Sportifs: Lylian Lebreton & Ismaël Mottier.

World Champion to ride Tour de Suisse
Rui Costa in the rainbow jersey will be the key rider for the Lampre-Merida team that is ready to take part in the GP Gippingen (12 June) and Tour de Suisse. 14-22 June). In the Swiss races the World champion will be joined by Mattia Cattaneo, Sacha Modolo, Nelson Oliveira, Josè Serpa, Andrea Palini, Maximiliano Richeze and Rafael Valls. The team will be directed by Matxin and Pedrazzini, who’ll be supported by masseurs Capelli, Della Torre and Redaelli, by mechanics Bortoluzzo, Coelho and Romanò and by physician Pollastri.

“It’s such a honour for me to be the captain of a World Tour team, but I’m also aware that it requires to take on responsibilities during the season, I got good feedback concerning this role, I wish I could go on in this way in Tour de Suisse too, since this race always gave me huge satisfaction, while GP Gippingen will be a perfect event to approach the World Tour race,” Rui Costa explained. “A very competitive team selection will support me, so I’ll check which could be the targets I could aim at. I also know well that the Tour de Suisse is an important appointment on the road to the Tour de France. In Switzerland there are many of my fans and many Portuguese, I’d like to encourage them to support Lampre-Merida.”

Lets hope there is none of this:

GP Kanton Aargau – Gippingen
The GP Gippingen today (Thursday) is a warm up race for the Tour de Suisse, which starts on Saturday. The 180 kilometre race is made up of 15 laps of 12 kilometres with a 2.5 kilometre climb every lap.

More race details on: https://www.gippingen.ch/web/index.php

In-form Duarte targets Gippingen classic
One of the classic early summer one-day contests, GP Kanton Aargau-Gippingen is the next race in line for Team Colombia, who will be taking the start of the Swiss race on Thursday June 12th with the ambition of taking a strong result out of their first participation in this event.

Sports Director Valerio Tebaldi will get back on the team car after the Giro d’Italia, and will bring along two of the eight Team Colombia finishers of the Corsa Rosa as go-to men for the Swiss 181,5 km display. Just off a good Giro d’Italia with two second places in top mountain stages, Fabio Duarte will lead the Team in Gippingen, while Jeffry Romero will represent a good option for a reduced sprint at the end of 15 demanding 12km lap, including a 2,5 km climb.
Rounding out the race’s line-up will be Juan Esteban Arango, Edward Diaz, Darwin Pantoja, Jonathan Paredes, Duber Quintero and Juan Pablo Valencia.

“Gippingen is a classic race, and one that most of the riders have rode at least once,” Sports Director Valerio Tebaldi explained, “usually, the group goes reducing lap after lap under heat and fatigue, and in the end in-form riders can manage to take away a small group that finally contests the win in a sprint. Coming off the Giro, Fabio definitely has a chance to perform very well in Gippingen, as does Jeffry, who has just finished his very first grand tour. In addition, some other guys like Arango, Valencia and Pantoja have showed improving condition in Luxembourg, so we are pretty confident in our chances for a good display.”

Line-up: Juan Esteban Arango, Edward Diaz, Fabio Duarte, Darwin Pantoja, Jonathan Paredes, Duber Quintero, Jeffry Romero, Juan Pablo Valencia.
Sports Director: Valerio Tebaldi.

BMC To Grippingen
The BMC Racing Team has announced its roster for GP Kanton Aargau, a 181.5-kilometer race Thursday in Switzerland.
Silvan Dillier (SUI), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Michael Schär (SUI), Larry Warbasse (USA).
Sport Director: Jackson Stewart (USA).

Team Katusha’s line-up for Gippingen
The Russian WorldTour Team Katusha will start in the UCI 1.HC one-day race GP des Kantons Aargau (Gippingen), which will be held in Switzerland this Thursday on June 12th.

Team Katusha’s line-up: Sergei Chernetckii, Marco Haller, Vladimir Isaychev, Alexander Kolobnev, Alexander Kristoff, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Aleksandr Porsev and Gatis Smukulis, all directed by Uwe Peschel.

Giant-Shimano for Gippingen
After taking second place on Saturday’s Ronde van Zeeland Seaports Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) comes into this race together with Giro d’Italia stage winner Luka Mezgec (SLO) to give Team Giant-Shimano different sprint options, although the tough parcours may prove too much for both these riders.

Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) also returns to racing after his big fall at the Giro and he’ll be seeing how his body reacts to hard efforts again.

Other riders coming from the Giro include Simon Gecshke (GER) and Georg Preidler (AUT), with the team completed by Lawson Craddock (USA), Koen De Kort (NED) and Sea Keong Loh (MAL).

The 181km parcours is based on a 12km circuit with a hill each lap that although not too steep it will take its toll on the peloton over the course of the race.

“For this race at Gippengen we hope to see Simon and Georg with the shape they built during the Giro,” said Team Giant-Shimano coach Addy Engels (NED).

“If the guys have come out of the Giro with good legs then we can hope for a good result here. Tobias also returns to racing which is good for him. He will not have any pressure or expectations and we can just let him find his rhythm again.”

Giant-Shimano line-up: Lawson Craddock (USA), Simon Geschke (GER), Koen De Kort (NED), Sea Keong Loh (MAL), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Georg Preidler (AUT), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED).
Coach: Addy Engels (NED).

Behind the break in the GP Gippengen:

Tour de France 2014

’Purito’ to Ride the Tour?
After a disastrous spring, Joaquim Rodriguez may ride the Tour de France for the Katusha team, but not as a prospective winner, but to use the race as training for the Vuelta a España, although stage wins would be on the menu. The Russian team manager Dimitri Konyshev told the Spanish sports paper AS that: “We had no choice but to change plans after he fell in the Giro d’Italia. There aren’t many races apart from the Tour in the build-up to the Vuelta and Joaquim can’t be resting up for such a long time.” Rodriguez will also ride the Clássica San Sebastian before the Vuelta.

“I really wanted to perform well in the first part of the season. I had big ambitions but my crashes in the Amstel Gold Race and the Giro ruined my chances for the classics as well as for the first Grand Tour of the season. The other goal I put in place at the beginning of the season, the Tour of Spain, is still there. The course suits me and I want to win that race. This does not mean that I go to the Tour de France as preparation for the Vuelta. I have Tour ambitions too, though not for the GC. The third week looks nice and I want to win one or more stages. I have that goal and in the mean time I will enjoy my bike. Otherwise it would be hard to watch TV without being there. It hurt during the Giro and it would hurt in the Tour, too. Those races are ‘my’ races. It’s only when I watch races like Paris-Roubaix on TV that I don’t have the feeling that I’m missing something,” Rodriguez said, referring to the cobbled-classics that hold no interest for him.

The Team Katusha roster for the Tour de France is not yet finalized, but the line-up will not be altered dramatically.

Joaquim Rodriguez recently had a check-up on his thumb and that injury looks completely healed. “My rib still hurts a bit, but already there is much less pain than in the beginning. It gets better every day and we still have three more weeks until the Tour,” he said.

Tour de France too soon for Team Belkin rider Robert Gesink
Press Release: Robert Gesink will not participate in the Tour de France this year. On the 15th of April, the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM rider announced that he had been suffering from cardiac arrhythmia during heavy physical exertions for a few years. After an extensive cardiologic examination the cause of the problem was found and treated on the 6th of May. Shortly after the treatment Gesink was able to resume training. After a period at high altitude in Sierra Nevada, it has been decided, in agreement with the team’s management, that Gesink is not racing in the Tour de France. The race starts too soon for the Team Belkin rider.

Tour of Poland and the Vuelta a España
“I was very happy to have put this insecure period behind me. I’ve worked on my recovery with full confidence. Participating in the Tour de France was a possibility, but the reality is that the periods before and after the surgery were extremely tough. It wouldn’t be wise to prepare myself for the most important race of the year in a forced way. To start in the Tour de France you have to be in top form, and I’m not fully confident that I am at this point. Of course I am disappointed, but I’m also relieved to have put this insecure period behind me and to be able to fully focus on the second half of the season. At the end of this month, I will start in the Ster ZLM Toer, which will be my first race after the surgery. After that I will start at the National Championships, the Tour of Poland and the Vuelta a España,” Robert Gesink explains.

Belkin’s Robert Gesink:
Belkin Tour Challenge for Kids in Utrecht

Young Colombian talent renews through 2016
Press Release: Trek Factory Racing is pleased to announce that Julian Arredondo has re-signed with the team on a new multi-year contract. The 25-year-old Colombian will remain with the team until the end of 2016.

Arredondo joined the new team over winter. He thrived early on in the season, taking two stage victories in San Luis, and went on to animate the race in Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He rode a stellar Giro d’Italia, claiming stage 18 and taking the Mountains’ classification.

“In the short time that Julian has been in the pro peloton, he has solidified his place there,” said General Manager Luca Guercilena. “We are really happy with Julian’s development this season. His appetite for racing is contagious and in the same time he’s always ready to take lessons, being new to this level of racing and all. His mindset is right and his talent is obvious.”

“I’m very happy with this news. It’s great to be able to announce the contract extension so early in the season. I have had so much support from everyone in the team. An extra year added to my contract is a sign that the team believes in me. It is also a recognition of the hard work I have done. I have been living like a pro, even though I wasn’t a pro yet,” said Arredondo. “It means great satisfaction for me. It means security and stability and it makes me hungry to keep working hard and ambitious for more nice results.”

The contract extension fits the team’s mission to invest in young and international riders. Guercilena: “Julian has 2,5 years left in his contract now, which will allow us to continuously monitor his development. We believe in him. Trek believes in him. His future is bright.”

Arredondo echoed Guercilena’s vision on development. “I let Luca know that I am very happy with the team and he told me the same. There was no reason to change. What would happen if I change? No one knows. If I’m happy, then there’s not reason to go anywhere else. I’m the best bike rider I can be when I’m happy. This is one of the best world tour teams.”

“I am thankful for those who have always believed in me, both in the team and back home in Colombia. The Giro took my family and friends’ in Colombia breath away. I hope to give them more sensations like that.”

Arredondo is back in Colombia now for some rest after the Giro d’Italia. His next goals are the Tour of Utah and the Tour of Colorado in August.

Julian Arredondo wins stage 18 of the 2014 Giro d’Italia:

Chris Horner is Ready to Come Back
70 days: this will be the time period Chris Horner will have waited after making his come back to racing which will be the Tour de Slovenia from the 19th to the of 22 June.

On April the 11th, the American rider was training along the shores of Lake Como when he was hit by a car where he suffered a number of fractured ribs and a punctured lung. With obstinacy and the his usual optimism the Vuelta a España 2013 winner recovered from the injury and now he’s ready to get back to racing, his new debut will be in the opening time trial of the Slovenian race.

“In April I was training with enthusiasm, preparing the approach to Giro d’Italia,” Horner said. “Unfortunately, I had to face this terrible accident that prevented me from being at the start of the Pink Race and forced me into a period of inactivity.

The crash in April was of course very difficult and scary, but I am grateful that it was not more severe: it could have easily been career or life threatening. It was hard for me to stop and to renounce participating in a top race in which I was training really hard for with passion and enthusiasm: the will to recover and to get back on the bike again gave me the power to make my come back to racing.

I have I trained well in the recent few weeks, after which I recovered completely from the punctured lung. I flew back to Italy from Usa towards the end of May, I live in Como, which is a great training area. Tour de Slovenia is obviously an important appointment for me because I’ll be able to get some interesting feedback on my condition.

At the end of the race, I’ll evaluate with the team management and the technical staff about the possible participation in Tour de France.”

Horner on the come-back trail.
Tirreno Adriatico 2014

PEZ Tour de Suisse Fantasy League
If you missed the PEZ Criterium Dauphine Fantasy League, which many did, here is the code for the Tour de Suisse with Velogames. League Code No: 12085601. Sorry no prize, but good luck!

A Bit of Tour Retro
It’s not long now, nearly Tour de France time! So here is part 1 of the ‘Greatest Moments’ by ITV 4 in Britain. If you need some motivation here it is:


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