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EuroTrash Thursday!

Super-Mario to make another return to the peloton? Well maybe, but then maybe better not, that’s my ”Top Story” for today. The two biggest spring stage races are on at the moment, so we catch-up with all the results and video’s from France and Italy. Throw in the usual selection of other news and video’s and you have EuroTrash Thursday. Cake and coffee time for all…

Top Story: Mario Cipollini To Make Comeback at 45?
Super Mario was a classy rider with ego and speed in spade-fulls, always a bit controversial and always spoke his mind, but that was a few years ago. He retired for the first time in 2005 and then after riding for Rock Racing in the Tour of California he retired again in 2008, since then he has started selling his own name branded bikes and the Farnese Vini-Selle Italia team ride those bikes and at the moment sprinter Andrea Guardini has been racking up the sprint wins. It has been reported in Gazzetta dello Sport that Cipollini wants to ride this year’s Giro d’Italia in the lead-out train of Guardini. Cipo thinks that physically he can still do it, but the problem will be that to race at that level he needs to have told the UCI and have to have been on the anti-doping register. So maybe the body is willing, but the paperwork won’t be.

He was quoted as saying: “I want to return to racing to come to the Giro and lead out the sprints for Guardini. Guardini has talent and he races on my bikes. It would really be a beautiful challenge to be one of his domestiques at the Giro, and if I pulled the sprint for him against Cavendish, how many would he win?” The ageing Italian added: “I feel good, and what is a good sign is that I feel an extreme desire to work hard.” As to his fitness he pointed out “I weigh 90kg, 8 more than when I was in top condition, but it’s not excess fat, just muscle, especially in my arms and trunk. My legs are perfect. I have some little pains in my knee and back, but my motor is good and capable of standing up to this gamble.” Sounds like an old(er) man to me.

Personally I would rather remember Cipollini in his hay day, not as someone trying to grasp at former glory.

Some Cipo action:

Paris-Nice 2012
Gustav Larsson (Vacansoliel-DMC) took the overall after the Stage 1 time trial on Sunday, but the cross winds on the long, straight roads from Mantes la Jolie to Orlйans put an end to his short lead as he missed the important echelon. In the front group were second overall Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and the third placed Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). Omega-Quick-Step had four riders up front including Tom Boonen who won the sprint from Spanish champion JJ Rojas (Movistar) and John Degenkolb (Project 1t4i). Sky also had Geraint Thomas working hard for Wiggins to take over the yellow jersey, but none of the leaders missed a turn and they finished 2:29 ahead of the next group with a beaten Larsson. Saxo Bank’s Nick Nuyens was a non-starter after his crash in the TT.

Tom Boonen said. “Levi Leipheimer, Sylvain Chavanel, and Nikolas Maes did a great job. They really put me in the best condition possible to launch my sprint. To be honest we had to suffer to enter in the breakaway. We were a little bit behind because of a roundabout. I had to pass two groups before entering in the first group. Then the race was really hard. Everybody was interested in riding and taking some time from the GC. It was also cold and windy and in the last kilometers it began raining. I really couldn’t feel my hands. But it’s OK, we made it! So far I’m happy about my choice to race Paris-Nice.” This was Tom Boonen’s 100th Pro victory.

Paris-Nice Stage 2 Result:
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 4:22:15
2. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i
4. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Garmin-Barracuda
5. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
6. Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha
7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
8. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 2:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 4:33:32
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:06
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step at 0:07
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:11
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:14
6. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:18
7. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC at 0:21
8. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:22
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:28
10. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar at 0:29.

Boonen’s stage 2:

Andy Schleck out of Paris-Nice
Andy Schleck was not able to start in the third stage of Paris-Nice. The RadioShack Nissan Trek rider suffers from acute gastroenteritis.

“Already yesterday before the stage, Andy didn’t feel good”, explains Team Director Alain Gallopin. He was able to finish the stage but that cost a lot of energy. This morning Andy felt better, but in the bus he got stomach problems and high temperature again. That’s why we decided not to let him take the start, while not being healthy.”

“I really wanted to try”, says Andy Schleck. “But against sickness you cannot do a lot. I need to let my body recover from this. This is bad news, I wanted to perform well in Paris-Nice, but I better not jeopardize the rest of the season. My goals are situated later in the season.”

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won Stage 3 at Lac de Vassiviиre in an uphill sprint from a strong Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge). Michael Mшrkшv (Saxo Bank), Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) and Roy Curvers (Project 1t4i) made an early break and had a lead of over 4minutes until Movistar and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step started to chase in the last 50 kilometres. Once the leaders had been caught Valverde’s Movistar team chased any attacks and led him to the line where he fought off Gerrans. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) finished in the same group as Valverde, so held the overall, the Spaniard moved up on GC due to the time bonus, but Tom Boonen lost time and his 3rd overall.

After the stage Valverde said: “Happy is not the word to describe my feeling; I’m more than satisfied, because I didn’t have the clear objective of aiming a stage win today, but things went right and I could profit. We also had the chance by Rojas, but we didn’t feel so good in the finale and did a great work for me when I rode against the win in the final 500m. I saw Gerrans’s wheel approaching at the sprint and that’s why I saved energy until the final meters to launch a final punch. After crossing the line I thought I had won, but I wasn’t really confident until the jury confirmed that to me. Just like in Andalusia, this fulfills entirely my expectations for this race and everthing after this will be a bonus, but it’s obvious that we’re doing well on front and have strong chances. If we fail one day, it won’t matter, but we don’t rule out anything. It’s going to be really hard because Wiggins and Leipheimer are before us on the GC, but with this team, you can aspire to everything. They were phenomenal again and this victory is for them. I’m the main who delivers it, but the victory is from everyone. It’s not just the work you see on TV, but the load they bear by taking me into the front, protecting me from the wind… it’s difficult to do it better.”

Paris-Nice Stage 3 result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 4:36:19
2. Simon Gerrans (Aus) GreenEdge
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
4. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank
5. Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha
6. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan
8. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
9. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
10. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 3:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 9:09:51
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:06
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:11
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:14
5. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:18
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
7. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM at 0:22
8. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar at 0:29
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 0:33
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana at 0:36.

Stage 3 highlights:


Valverde son anda by EurosportTurkiye

An early break of Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Pierrick Fedrigo (FdJ-BigMat) was joined by Leigh Howard (GreenEdge), Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) and Bart De Clerq (Lotto-Belisol); they had a lead of over 5 minutes after 20 kilometres of Stage 4. Behind them the Sky team were not interested in chasing so the work was left to Rabobank, Lampre-ISD and Omega Pharma – Quick-Step which brought them back on the run-in to the last K’s. There was a small climb before the finish, but the yellow jersey of Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was stuck to the rear wheel of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) as his main rival which cancelled them both out. This all allowed some lesser lights to fight out the sprint and Gianni Meersman (Lotto-Belisol) came out on top. The Overall didn’t change.

Paris-Nice Stage 4 Result:
1. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto-Belisol in 4:21:01
2. Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre-ISD
3. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
4. Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Katusha
5. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
6. Simon Geschke (Ger) Project 1t4i
7. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
9. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
10. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 4:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 13:30:52
2. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:06
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:11
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:14
5. Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:18
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
8. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar at 0:29
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha at 0:33
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana at 0:36.

Stage 4:


Meersman sьrprizi por EurosportTurkiye

Tirreno-Adriatico 2012
The Australian GreenEdge team won the opening 16.9 kilometres team time trial Stage 1 of the Tirreno-Adriatico by 17 seconds from RadioShack-Nissan in second place. This put Matt Goss in the overall lead from Canadian team mate Sven Tuft. Six hard stages to come finishing with an individual time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto next Wednesday.

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1 Result:
1. GreenEdge in 18:41
2. RadioShack-Nissan at 0:17
3. Garmin-Barracuda
4. Sky at 0:23
5. Astana at 0:30
6. Saxo Bank at 0:38
7. Acqua & Sapone at 0:39
8. Katusha at 0:40
9. Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:43
10. Lotto-Belisol at 0:45.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 1:
1. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) GreenEdge in 18:41
2. Svein Tuft (Can) GreenEdge
3. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) GreenEdge
4. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) GreenEdge
5. Cameron Meyer (Aus) GreenEdge
6. Baden Cooke (Aus) GreenEdge at 0:05
7. Daniele Bennati (Ita) RadioShack-Nissan at 0:17
8. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan
9. Hayden Roulston (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan
10. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan.

Stage 1 from Gazzetta TV:

Tirreno Adriatico News:

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team to Tirreno Adriatico
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has officially announced the team that will participate in the Tirreno Adriatico race from March 7th to the 13th, 2012, for a total of 1063 km.

“It’s going to be a very challenging race,” explains Sports Director Davide Bramati. “The opening team time trial and the concluding individual time trial will be spectacular but the race will be decided in the 5th stage with arrival at Prato di Tivo. The final climb is 14 kilometres long with an average incline of 7% and stretches as steep as 12%. As far as the general classification, the team will be built around Peter Velits, the fantastic winner of the Tour of Oman. Peter will have a balanced team at his side, with riders who can support him both in the climbs as well as on the flatter stages. In the stages for sprinters we can count on Gert Steegmans and Gerald Ciolek who are both enjoying a period of top form; for the time trials we have the skills of Bert Grabsch.”

As a measure of precaution Martin Velits will not race in the Tirreno Adriatico. The Slovakian rider on the team was involved in a fall during the Omloop Het Nieuwsbald and took a hit to his right knee. After a few days of rest Martin Velits has resumed his training regimen on the road to prepare for upcoming races. Serge Pauwels will substitute the Slovakian rider.

Riders:
Dario Cataldo (ITA),
Gerald Ciolek (GER),
Bert Grabsch (GER),
Serge Pauwels (BEL),
Jerome Pineau (FRA),
Gert Steegmans (BEL),
Niki Terpstra (NED),
Peter Velits (SVK).

Sports Directors:
Davide Bramati (ITA),
Wilfried Peeters (BEL),
Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Website: https://www.gazzetta.it/Speciali/Giroditalia/2012/it/

Stages
Stage 1 San Vincenzo – Donoratico 16.9 km (TTT),
Stage 2 San Vincenzo – Indicatore 230.0 km,
Stage 3 Indicatore – Terni 178.0 km,
Stage 4 Amelia – Chieti 252.0 km,
Stage 5 Martinsicuro – Prati di Tivo 196.0 km,
Stage 6 Offida-Offida 181.0 km,
Stage 7 San Benedetto del Tronto 9.3 km (ITT).

Evans Will Gauge Fitness At Tirreno-Adriatico
Press Release: The road to defense of his Tour de France title starts with Tirreno-Adriatico and BMC Racing Team’s Cadel Evans hopes his first stage race of the season provides a good gauge of his progress.

Stage 5 Is Pivotal
“My first goal is to see how my fitness is,” Evans said. “I’ve worked reasonably well toward it. To repeat last year’s result here would be an ultimate gauge of my fitness. But we’ll first test my fitness and then see the result.” Tirreno-Adriatico was one of two stage races the former world road champion won on the way to his Tour de France victory. Evans said the Stage 5 summit finish at Prati di Tivo will be a key moment in the seven-day race that begins Wednesday. “It makes it a real climber’s race because it’s a long climb, maybe 15 kilometers,” Evans said. “That’s going to change the race from last year a lot and be one of the most important days for the general classification.” Evans and BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato agree that a formidable squad has been assembled, particularly for Stage 1’s 16.9 km team time trial. “We’ll see day-by-day how things go, but we have riders for all stages and we can even go with some attacks,” Baldato said. “The finish climb on Stage 5 might just be one for Marco Pinotti.”

Download the official race card (PDF of roster, bios, statistics, etc.): https://bit.ly/zCZAgj

BMC Racing Team Tirreno-Adriatico Roster:
Alessandro Ballan (ITA),
Cadel Evans (AUS),
Philippe Gilbert (BEL),
George Hincapie (USA),
Marco Pinotti (ITA),
Manuel Quinziato (ITA),
Michael Schдr (SUI),
Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).

Sport Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA) & John Lelangue (BEL).

Cadel:

The RadioShack Nissan Trek line-up for Tirreno-Adriatico
Press Release: Tirreno-Adriatico (Italy) – UCI WorldTour (March 7-13)
Riders:
Daniele Bennati,
Fabian Cancellara,
Tony Gallopin,
Chris Horner,
Giacomo Nizzolo,
Yaroslav Popovych,
Gregory Rast,
Hayden Roulston.

Directors: Dirk Demol & Luca Guercilena.

Good News for Spanish Races
Last week it looked like the Tour of the Basque Country and the San Sebastiбn Classic would not be happening this year due to a lack of (only) 150,000Ђ. The Basque based Spanish Sabadell Guipuzcoano Bank have stepped into the breach and promised to sponsor the races for the next two years.

Last years Clasica San Sebastiаn:

Two wins and seven podiums in three countries for Endura Racing
Press Release: Endura Racing had their most successful weekend of racing so far with two wins for Russ Downing at the Eddie Soens Memorial in the UK and the Grand Prix de la Ville de Lillers in France, a second for Jon Tiernan-Locke at the Vuelta Murcia in Spain and no fewer than seven podium positions over the two days.

Grand Prix de la Ville de Lillers:
Held over a 171km route in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of northern France on a wet, windy and cold day, the UCI 1.2 race saw Endura Racing place four riders (Russ Downing, Alexandre Blain, Ian Bibby and Scott Thwaites) into a race winning break that moved clear in the opening 10km. With four riders in the 29 strong break, the team were key drivers of the move and helped the break build a lead of more than 3 minutes 30 seconds over the peloton at one point.

As their lead came down and the pace increased, the break splintered late in the day as it climbed one of the numerous short slopes in the rolling parcours and was reduced to 12 men. Blain and Bibby were active throughout, marking any moves and keeping Downing and Thwaites fresh for the final sprint. Coming off Blain’s wheel for the sprint, Downing initially opened up in too low a gear, but had the presence of mind to sit down, reset and change gears to take the line in style.

Russ Downing:
It couldn’t have gone better today. The break went early and we drilled it and opened up a decent gap. When they started to chase properly we worked again to crack them. Was really cold and wet and I had problems changing gears in the sprint, but came off Alex’s wheel and went. I looked back with 50m to go and knew I had it.

Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia:
Jon Tiernan-Locke finished 2nd overall in the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia in Spain making up a place in the second stage individual time trial in Murcia.

On Saturday’s opening stage, Tiernan-Locke was third as the race covered 198km between Balneario de Archena and Sierra de Espuсa, with a parcours heavily backloaded with climbs.

Zak Dempster was part of a nine man break which rode off the front of the peloton for most of the day, gaining an advantage in excess of three and a half minutes at one point. When Rabobank were joined by Movistar at the front of the bunch, the lead began to tumble and as they entered the major climbs in the final 20km, the break first splintered and then were swept up.

Wearing the UCI Europe Tour leaders white jersey, Tiernan-Locke launched a trademark attack on the lower slopes of the first category Alto del Collado Bermejo and was quickly joined by Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Despite a number of accelerations, Jon was unable to drop the Columbian and Quintana was able to gap him as they topped out. Wout Poels (Vacansoleil-DCM) overhauled Jon late on the final downhill charge to the finishing line to leave him in 3rd place, 16 seconds down on Quintana and 2 seconds back on Poels.

Stage two saw the riders take on a flat 12.3km individual time trial in Murcia on Sunday and Alexander Wetterhall set a great time early on to eventually finish third on the stage, 3 seconds down on stage winner Alexander Serov (RusVelo) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar Team). However, the battle for the overall classification was won by the winner of the opening stage Quintana (Movistar) and despite Tiernan-Locke putting in a valiant performance, which saw him overtake Poels, he was unable to make up enough time on Quintana to make up the 16s lost on the opening stage.

Jon Tiernan-Locke:
I made a big effort yesterday on the climb, as I knew I needed to just ride as I wanted a gap on the others behind for the TT. I never feel good in TTs but managed a respectable time. To be just six seconds off the overall is frustrating, but fair play to the winner who also did a good ride today. That was painful!

Eddie Soens Memorial Road Race:
Russ Downing opened his account for the season with a win at the Eddie Soen Memorial Road Race at Aintree Racecourse on Saturday, leading home a 1-2-3 for Endura Racing.

The massive field of 250 riders took the start in damp conditions, but as the heavy showers cleared the circuit a small group of junior riders made a valiant attempt to hold off those behind them. The elite’s handicap was soon eaten up and the race was on in earnest.

Russ and the team were active throughout the race and put in a series of attacks to try and break things up, but with a flat course and little wind nothing stuck. As the race came into the final lap, the team took charge and Downing took the win ahead of teammates Scott Thwaites and Jonny McEvoy.

Russ Downing:
It was a matter of me sprinting to lead out Scott (Thwaites) and if he could come off the wheel… I think I gapped him. I felt really good this week. Last week I came back from Med and Haut Var where I had battered it too much and with the travelling was getting ill. So I nipped it in the bud early, two days off and then had a really good weekend training last weekend and that has continued all week and I have felt really good. I had a bit of work with an osteopath (Simeon Hempsall) and he’s really done some good stuff this week and got everything firing. It’s all there now ready for 2012.

It was really difficult to break it up. I don’t think it was windy enough like it has in the past but there is also this strength in depth now where everybody isn’t riding for themselves. They all know what team work is about so when one of the Endura boys went away, one of the Raleigh or Node4s would chase it to get up there. It is a team sport and everyone knows what they are doing and it’s not easy anymore.

A terrible video from wilks-racing.com:

MONIQUE SULLIVAN WINS SECOND GOLD MEDAL AT PAN-AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Press Release – Sullivan takes the Pan-American Championships title in the Women’s Keirin in day filled with rain delays

(Mar del Plata, ARG – March 08, 2012) Canada ended the track portion today at the 2012 UCI Pan-American Championships with yet another gold medal, as Monique Sullivan of Calgary, Alberta won her second Gold medal, this time in the women’s keirin.

In a day filled with rain delays, Sullivan made her way to the decisive race, passing through the repechage rounds. In the gold medal race, she edged Daniela Gaxiola of Mexico in second and Jennifer Valente of the United States of America in third. Allison Beveridge, also of Calgary, placed in 9th place

“This was a great test of mental focus with several rain delays and lots of unknowns. I have put a lot of effort into the mental side of racing and it paid off today! I had a simple race plan, I stayed focused, and I executed a good ride. Venezuela and I will have our final face off for the Olympic spot at the World Championships next month. Can’t wait!” said Sullivan.

The women’s keirin title is the second earned by Sullivan at this important event for the Olympic qualification process.

Canada’s Track Cycling Team earned a total of five medals at this event, with Monique Sullivan winning two gold medals in the women’s sprint and keirin, the women’s team pursuit of Laura Brown, Stephanie Roorda and Allison Beveridge taking the Pan-American title, Travis Smith winning the bronze medal in bronze in the men’s kierin. Finally, the men’s team sprint squad of Travis Smith, Joseph Veloce and Hugo Barrette took the silver medal.

The competition also marked the first cycling race for Heather Moyse, who finished fourth in the 500m TT and fifth in the women’s sprint.

The 2012 Pan-American Championships road events will begin tomorrow with the time trial race, and Canada will have two riders on the start list: Rhae Shaw and Denise Ramsden.

Karl Platt takes the Yellow Jersey on Stage 1 of The Cape Rouleur
Press Release: Day 1 of The Cape Rouleur, from HotChillee saw an exciting start to the event. Stage 1 took riders on a gruelling 176km route, with 1448m of climbing. In scorching heat and with strong winds, riders battled the elements throughout the day over a challenging route.

Based out of Franschhoek, the stage saw riders, including Karl Platt, winner of multiple Cape Epic and tipped to win again at the end of this month; Stephen Roche, Triple Crown Winner in 1987 and cycling professional Max Knox, pass through the winelands, underneath the Taal Monument in Paarl, past the Fairview and many other wineries. It then passed Paarl Mountain to the west, headed north and over Botma’s Kloof, returning via the Perdeberg National Reserve.

Karl Platt defeated the group over the timed section and will start tomorrow in the Yellow Jersey. Brandon Knowldon, a young, up and coming and incredibly talented South African road cyclist ended the day as ‘King of the mountains’, claiming the Red Jersey. Professional mountain biker, Max Knox took the 1km sprint prize and starts Stage 2 in the Green Jersey and Evarne Rees took the Pink Jersey, leading the ladies.

Stage 2 of The Cape Rouleur, from HotChillee was another hot and windy stage. It represented the biggest day for climbing, seeing riders ascend 2513m, with the steepest gradient of 10.4 per cent. The route was shorter than Stage 1, covering 144km meaning less recovery between climbs. The day started with a long climb and ended by the same token.

The start sent riders east over Franschhoek Pass, then south to Theewaterskloof dam. The route then headed south over Vilijoen’s pass to Elgin and over the Houhoek pass returning to Villersdrop, the Theewaterskloof dam and back over the Franschhoek pass to the home straight.

Karl Platt managed to retain the Yellow Jersey, but a surprise fruit spillage saw the General Classification section shorted from 12km to 4km. Brandon Knowlden, who took the Red Jersey yesterday, claiming ‘King of the Mountain’ was defeated by his fellow young South African star sponsored by HotChillee, Dwayne Fisher. Professional mountain biker, Max Knox succeeded on the 1km sprint retaining the Green Jersey and Evarne Rees continues to lead the ladies in the Pink Jersey.

And a Funny Cipo video!
It’s in Italian, but you’ll get the joke.


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