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EuroTrash Giro Crash Monday!
EuroTrash Monday is all over the World this morning! Cav wins the last stage in California and Evans takes over pink in the Giro; all the results, reports and video. Plus the news from the Tour de Picardie and the Vuelta a Castilla y León. No Hour for Cancellara, Belkin & Katusha to Norway and the 2014 Tour of America's Dairyland. Loads to get through.

TOP STORY: Why So Many Crashes?
I’m sure you will have noticed that there seems to be many more crashes these days. Just in the Giro we have lost a lot of riders, some of them GC hopefuls and if you look at the riders who are still soldiering on there are not many who don’t have an injury. You could blame the weather, but there has always been weather. Roads, bike equipment and tyres are all meant to be better than ever, so why? One reason put forward is the ‘Clean Peloton’ meaning that riders are all at a similar fitness level and the battle for places at the front of the peloton is more intense. Also now the GC riders want to be near the front at the end of the flat stages, so you now have the sprinters train fighting with the GC rider’s trains. Then there is the (possible) use of the pain killer Tramadol by some riders. Many teams are saying they are against its use, but it is not (yet) on the banned list and it has shown up in controls. Tramadol is an opioid, it’s not morphine or heroin, but it is a strong pain killer and has many side effects, balance being one of them, not to mention addiction.

I’m sure the reasons for the abandonments of Dan Martin and Joaquim Rodriguez were not drug related, but who knows about the others.

Francesco Chicchi; what the.....

Giro d’Italia 2014
As the breakaway of the day on Stage 6 was caught, with 10 kilometres to there was an enormous crash taking out most of the pelotón. The pink jersey of Orica-GreenEDGE’s Michael Maththews and BMC’s Cadel Evans were the lucky ones and escaped with six others to tackle the climb of Montecassino ahead of the others. Evans led out the uphill sprint, but Matthews and Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) got past him on the line. There were many crash victims, but the big looser was GC hopeful Joaquim Rodriguez who had to abandon with two of his team mates. Read the Race Report here.

After the stage, Michael Matthews spoke with the press: The final climb: “It was all for the win today. Fair play. It was me against him [Cadel Evans] for the jersey and the stage, and I was lucky enough to have really good legs in the final after my team put me in the perfect condition at the bottom of the climb. On this sort of terrain, it’s definitely my best win, and totally a dream come true. Winning a hilltop finish over Cadel Evans while wearing the Maglia Rosa in the Giro d’Italia: it doesn’t get much better than that.”

The fall before the climb: “Everyone wanted to be in the front because of the wet conditions. The road narrowed before the roundabout, we were riding at 60 kph, and everyone wanted to be in the front. If you’re lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, you’re OK. That’s racing these days. It’s all about positioning.”

More than a sprinter: “I was always a good climber, but I didn’t have the confidence that I needed to go into these climbing stages and be good. These last two stages I’ve proved to myself that I can do it, and from now on I’ll be aiming, not for the high mountain stages, but for the stages that finish with a short climb. I now know I can win on that terrain and in the flat sprints too.”

Tomorrow’s stage: “We’ll try again for the win tomorrow. We have a really strong team for the lead-outs, as we showed in the opening team time trial. We’re not going to back down now: we have 2 stage wins now. We’ll push all the way and see how far we can get.”

BMC’s Cadel Evans said he heard the noise of a crash but did not look back in order to stay upright himself. "It was only when I saw our group was so small and the types of riders that were there that, that it wasn't because of the normal racing conditions that we had a selection like that unfortunately." Matthews won the stage ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol), with Evans in third. With time bonuses awarded for the top three places, Matthews leads the 2011 Tour de France champion by 21 seconds, with Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) in third, 1:18 back, after the peloton conceded 49 seconds on the uphill finish. "The communication in the final isn't clear and to make rational decisions for such an unexpected situation isn't easy," Evans said. "Our job is to race and to race to the finish. That's the first thing on our mind. What happened behind, I really have no idea. I haven't seen it. Unfortunately, it has been a very bad day for some of the riders."

2nd on the stage Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol): "Riders crashed just next to me in the run-up to the final climb. I was very lucky. A bike hit me, but I could avoid crashing. The fact that I was in the front of the peloton does show I had good legs and those took me to the second place. When a gap was created riders of BMC and Orica-GreenEDGE started to increase the pace. Nobody returned from the background and eventually we sprinted with four. I felt very good on the climb. For a moment I thought about attacking, but that wasn't a good idea and so I waited for the sprint. It was in Evans' interest to take as much time as possible, so his teammate Morabito set a high pace on the whole climb. Sports director Bart Leysen advised me to get out of the last corner as first, but that didn't succeed. Matthews is of course a fast guy, it's not a shame to lose from him in the sprint. It was a pretty long climb, but not so steep. We rode fast, almost more than thirty kilometres an hour! I felt very good today; the long distance didn't bother me. After the Vuelta al País Vasco I set a big step forward and I'm ready for races longer than 250 kilometres, that came in handy today. I might aim for the mountain's jersey in this Giro."

Unfortunately, Nicolas Roche was held back by the crash and never made it up to the chase group. Tinkoff-Saxo DS Lars Michaelsen: "It’s a shame because Nicolas is in really good shape. He was held back and when he was able to move forward again it was way too late and he had lost a lot of time already. So we’ll sit down and find other goals for Nicolas during the Giro so he can focus on using his great race form."

Because of the massive crash; three Katusha riders had to abandon the race. Angel Vicioso and Giampaolo Caruso finished the stage in the ambulance. Joaquim Rodriguez finished the race but fractures, revealed later in the Santa Scolastica Hospital of Cassino, made it the end of his race, too.

Angel Vicioso suffers the worst injury. A threefold complex right femur fracture was diagnosed. Vicioso will be transported to Rome where he will undergo an operation.

Joaquim Rodriguez suffers a rib fracture, as well as a left thumb fracture. The doctors feared for a left elbow fracture too, but that appeared not to be the case.

In addition, Giampaolo Caruso underwent X-rays to check his left hip, left leg and left collar bone. No new fractures were diagnosed for Caruso, but he will not start in stage 7 because of large contusions.

“It hurts to leave the Giro, but there is no other option,” said Joaquim Rodriguez. “The crashes were bad for all of us. The road was very slippery and we were going 60K an hour. Just touching your breaks was enough to crash. But that is a risk we always take. It is part of our job to try to be in the front to fight for the victory. I really cannot blame the organization or the local roads. After the crash I got back on my bike immediately, fuller of aggression and determination, but after a while I clearly felt what the problem was, as I could not breathe anymore.”

For Rodriguez the Giro d’Italia was his biggest goal of the season. “I have to say that before the Giro I already had two broken ribs (numbers 9 and 10) because of my crash in the Amstel Gold race. We did not want to communicate about it as we were afraid that our competitors would attack me in the first Giro days, but now I have broken another rib (number 8), as well as my thumb. There is no other option than to stop. After the Amstel I suffered so much and I worked so hard to arrive in top condition at the Giro. It was already a hard task to do it after my earlier rib fractures. The start of the Giro was not so good for me. I suffered a lot in the team time trial. It was my first effort after Liège. Yesterday I felt that everything went better. I am so disappointed now, especially after our team performance yesterday to Viggiano. All our nine riders were so ready for this race.”

Giampaolo Caruso: “Fortunately I have no extra fractures besides my scaphoid fracture from my Belfast crash. I flew 20 meters and came to a standstill against a traffic island. I cannot move my left leg anymore. It is swollen because of big contusions. This is a black day for us all.”

Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) "The crash happened in the front of the group because we were all up there," Uran said. "All of the GC guys went down or were held up except Evans. Fortunately, I only have a few scratches and a contusion on my left side, the elbow and hip specifically. Fortunately it is nothing serious."

Nairo Quintana (Movistar): "I have several blows over my body: the shoulder, the elbow, my hip, both knees... to be honest, it was inevitable to crash - I think more than half of the bunch hit the ground. I got back on my bike quickly thanks to Ventoso, who was riding by my side, and we could bridge the gap with the pursuit group, where my team-mates did an amazing job. They were phenomenal, because we were losing so much ground and it was difficult to gain terrain back. It's quite a gap we have to Evans, but as I said, I'm thankful I don't have any serious injuries. Crashes in the last two days are normal, because it had been a lot of time with no rain in the zone, and roads become a pool of soap when it gets wet. It's very difficult to control your bike in such conditions, and even more at 60kph.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Result:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE in 6:37:01
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol
3. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
4. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli
5. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica GreenEDGE at 0:13
6. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC at 0:23
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 0:49
8. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Neri Sottoli
9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 6:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE in 24:18:14
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:21
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step at 1:18
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:25
5. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC
6. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli
7. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica GreenEDGE at 1:47
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:51
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:52
10. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 2:06.

Stage 6 carnage:

It was a peloton of bruised and battered riders starting Stage 7, a 211 kilometre long and relatively flat ride between Frosinone and Foligno and a five rider breakaway with Björn Thurau (Europcar), Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp), Robinson Chalapud (Colombia), Nicola Boem (Bardiani-CSF) and Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) nearly made it all the way to the line.

The five escapees were working very well together and had an advantage of 2.30 minutes with 20 kilometres to go and all indicated a textbook sprinter finish and when the front group started attacking each other, the break was doomed.

The Giant-Shimano team came into the finale leading out their man Luka Mezgec, but Nacer Bouhanni ( was sat on the Slovenian’s wheel to come round him and take the win ahead of Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) and Mezgec. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) kept the overall lead, 21 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC). The stage 7 Race Report is here.

Questions for stage winner Nacer Bouhanni ( The sprint? “I wanted to start my sprint as we came out of the bend, but I was on the right hand side and Matthews and Nizzolo closed the door to my left. I had to go right, saw a little gap, and managed to make my way through.”

The Maglia Rosa? “I took a point for 5th place in the intermediate sprint today, so in the mountain stages tomorrow and the day after, I’ll go for the intermediate sprints and keep the jersey as long as I possibly can.”

Comparisons with Kittel and Cavendish? “Kittel and Cavendish are great sprinters. I’m only 23, and my goal is always to improve, not just from season to season, but every time I go out training. I try to learn from my mistakes, and I try never to make the same one twice. But I don’t think I can be compared with Kittel and Cavendish: their careers are very different from mine.”

Self-psyching for the sprint stages? “Well, I’m a big Mike Tyson fan, so sometimes I watch old videos of his fights.”

Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE). Last day in Maglia Rosa? “I haven’t really looked in detail at tomorrow’s stage, but we really knew this would be the last day, if we could keep [the Maglia Rosa] to this point. It’s going to be pretty sad to lose it tomorrow. I’ll definitely be trying my best to keep it. It’ll be unfortunate, but realistically there’s not much you can do about it. It’s been an amazing week for the team, winning the team time trial on Friday, then the stage at Montecassino, and wearing the Maglia Rosa. We couldn’t ask much more for ourselves.”

The sprint finish? “It was pretty technical and there was a lot of fighting. Coming into the final, I was one or two spots too far back with that type of finish. After yesterday’s efforts, I wasn’t at 100%. It was more about switching on today and keeping the Maglia Rosa. A top 3 would have been great, and to get the win would have been amazing, but I didn’t quite have the legs.”

Cadel Evans? “I think he’s going well enough to take the Maglia Rosa tomorrow. It’s going to be a long Giro for the GC riders: there are a lot of hard stages coming up. If he can wait a few days, it might be better. He has a really strong team who can put him in the right position before the climbs, and he has team-mates who can help him there, too. He’s a great guy and it would be good to see him on the podium, whether or not he wins the Maglia Rosa, at the end of these three weeks.”

Second overall Cadel Evans (BMC): "It was a much less stressful day, but still fast in the finish," Evans said. "The guys kept me up front at any points that quite possibly could have been dangerous. It was a much better day for everyone on dry roads. Most people managed to stay safe, so we are quite happy to have a day like this." Saturday's 179-km stage marks the first day in the mountains. "It is the first really important day of the Giro, so it is good to just arrive in the group without being too stressed."

Break away rider Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida): “It takes a huge effort to allow the breakaway to obtain a proper advantage, then we set a good cooperation and we could defeat the resistance by the bunch,” Anacona explained. “The wind and the high speed in the final kilometres were good for us, I really thought we could reach the arrival, but suddenly the cooperation was broken: in that moment, I understood that it was over. I'm satisfied for my performance; I think I could have been at least on the podium. I hope I'll have another chance to attack.”

Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) was also in the escape: “I did not expect to be in the break today,” Chalapud explained afterwards. “But several attacks happened on the first climb, and I ended up in a 10-man group, later reduced to 5. Our confidence was increasing as the finish got closer, and with 20 km to go I really believed we were going to make it. Then the accord wasn’t perfect anymore upfront, and they started pushing harder from behind, and in the final kilometres we were almost out of energy. It was a pity to see an opportunity vanish with so little to go, with another climb in the finale, things could have been different, maybe…”

Chalapud’s condition is improving day by day: “I kind of struggled in the first few stages as I was missing rhythm, ‘cause I was supposed to take part to the Tour of Turkey. Now my legs are feeling much better, and my first goal in time will be recovering well tonight to help the team in tomorrow’s stage.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) in 5:16:05
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
5. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
7. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek
9. Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 7:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE in 29:34:19
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:21
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step at 1:18
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:25
5. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC
6. Matteo Rabottini (Ita) Neri Sottoli
7. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica GreenEDGE at 1:47
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:51
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1:52
10. Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale at 2:06.

Stage 7:

Stage 8 was the first ‘proper’ day in the mountains and we saw who will be the main GC men in this year’s Giro d’Italia. The early break was strong and the little Colombian Julian Arredondo of Trek came so close to pulling of the big win, but in the end the chase from behind was too strong. First he was caught by Pierre Rolland (Europcar) and then the he was swamped by the others. Mikel Landa (Astana) made the first move, but was too early. Then in the last kilometre Katusha’s Dani Moreno crossed to Rolland, but Robert Kiserlovski (Trek) closed him down and brought Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) with him. In the last metres Ulissi had the better jump and took his second stage win. Cadel Evans (BMC) came in 5th at 8 seconds and moved into the pink jersey as Michael Mathews (Orica-GreenEDGE) was far behind. Read the Race Report here.

New overall leader BMC’s Cadel Evans: "We are in a good position at the moment," Evans said. "Today, we saw a hard stage with all the contenders’ right there. I think when we get to the mountains; we will see a different kind of race."

With 13 stages to go, Evans holds a 57-second lead over Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) is third, at 1:10, while BMC Racing Team's Steve Morabito is fourth, at 1:31. "Steve was really the man of the day for us," Evans said. "The team was going all day and he was there all the way to the finish." Morabito – part of the BMC Racing Team's Tour de France team when Evans won the race in 2011 – drove the pace for the past world road champion in the final kilometres. "In the final, I think Cadel asked Morabito to try to close the gap and try for the win," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Fabio Baldato said. "But our first objective was to keep Cadel safe and not to be the only team working at the front to control the race."

Stage winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida): "What a effort on the final climb, but I could manage to do my best since yesterday evening I had studied with my sport directors the last 1000 metres,” Ulissi explained. “The course was demanding, Cippo di Carpegna weakened the stamina of many riders but, despite this, we approached the final climb at a very high speed. I was suffering but I tried to hold on, having on my mind the 13% sector of road close to the arrival that could be so suitable for me. I was afraid Rolland could complete his attack, then I prefer to wait when Moreno escaped from the favourites group, but I understood it was time to react when Kiserlovski made such powerful attack. I had my legs aching, but they allowed me to win anyway."

Belkin’s Wilco Kelderman countered with 250 meters to go to claim third: "I was feeling really good. You never know how the body reacts in the first mountain stage, but the sprint was also good. I was third. That was a great result for me," Kelderman said. "Of course, it's good for the confidence. I was a bit lucky that I did not have any serious injuries in my crashes this week. Some of the other guys were not so lucky, but the damage is not so bad for me. The legs are still really good. I hope it will continue tomorrow, and in the coming weeks."

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka finished 8th on the stage and moves to 3rd overall: “It was definitely a good day for us. Surely, we didn’t hope to lose time to our main rivals here but I’m happy to see Rafal up there among the very best and he even had the legs to attack and I’m pleased to see him moving up the GC. Tomorrow, we’re setting out to another gruelling mountain finish with percentages high enough to make a difference if you have the legs to attack. The race is hardest in the final week but we have a rest day on Monday and I’m not holding Rafal back if he feels like attacking at the right time,” said a happy Lars Michaelsen after the stage.

Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:47:47
2. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 0:06
4. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:08
6. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:14
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:17
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 0:20.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 8:
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 34:22:35
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step at 0:57
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:10
4. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC at 1:31
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team at 1:39
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:43
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 1:44
8. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 1:45
9. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 1:49
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:50.

Stage 8:

Orica-GreenEDGE carried on with their successful Giro d’Italia with Pieter Weening winning Stage 9 on the Summit finish in Sestola. After the hard stage on Saturday, Sunday was made for the possibility of a break going all the way to the finish and so it transpired. The break went after 50 kilometres: Julien Berard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Marco Bandiera & Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocatolli), David Tanner (Belkin), Oscar Gatto (Cannondale), Leonardo Duque (Colombia), Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida), Jonathan Monsalve (Neri Sottoli), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Belisol), Salvatore Puccio (Sky), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Davide Malacarne (Europcar). BMC were quite happy to let them go and they built up a lead of 8 minutes. As the race approached the penultimate climb of the day; Rocchetta Sandri with 30 kilometres to go, the lead was down to 5 minutes. With 20 kilometres of hard kilometres on the climb to Sestola to go; Pieter Weening attacked and was joined by Davide Malacarne (Europcar). The pair worked well together and held off the chase group including all the GC riders. Coming to the finish Malacarne made the mistake of jumping first at around 250 metres to go, but Weening stayed calm and passed the Italian for the win. Ag2r-La Mondiale’s Domenico Pozzovivo rode away from the others to come in 42 seconds later with Saturday’s winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) was next at 1:08 at the head of the top riders. Cadel Evans (BMC) held his overall lead. Read the Race Report here.

Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE). A win that started yesterday? “There’s a good atmosphere in the team. Everything we do now is something extra. The pressure is completely off, and you often see that, after a good start in a Grand Tour, there’s no pressure and it works out perfect. Yesterday we knew that we couldn’t defend the Maglia Rosa anymore, so we let it go and I tried to lose some time. If you’re only 2 minutes off the Maglia Rosa, they won’t let you go. So yesterday I backed off and tried to lose time so that I could get into breakaways. I got into my first breakaway today, and bingo!”

The final kilometre? “I tried to drop Malacarne with 7 km to go, but he held on and it came down to the sprint. We were far enough ahead to gamble a little bit. It’s always the best position to come off the wheel of the rider in front, so there was a little bit of gambling. [Malacarne] started to sprint quite early, but it was uphill and into a headwind. I had to go full gas to come past him, but then I was able to take the last 50m quite easy.”

"This is my 2nd stage victory at the Giro. I had one in 2011, a pretty special one on the Strade Bianche, and today was also a nice stage to win, with an uphill finish. I was in a good breakaway with strong guys with me, and I felt one of the strongest in the group on the uphill sections. It was the perfect breakaway for me, and if you can finish it off like this, it’s perfect.”

Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). Pozzovivo’s attack? “I’m not the only rider interested in winning the Giro d’italia who has to respond. He’ll certainly be more controlled in future. As for me, first I have to think of the General Classification, then I can think about stage finishes. For some teams, winning stages is what matters. For today, I’m happy to retain the Maglia Rosa, and I’ll worry about stage wins later.”

Your rivals? “After the first 2 days in the mountains, it’s too early to say who’ll be strongest at the end of the Giro d’Italia, and I can only judge Quintana on the Tour de France last year, and his Giro so far. He hasn’t been going as strong as we expected, but I think he’ll get there. Pozzovivo and his team look very strong, and Aru, too, looks good.”

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Rigoberto Uran, 5th on the stage and 2nd overall: “As I said yesterday, you never know how a race can be even if it looks easier on paper,” Uran said “Even today was a difficult stage. The group took a good tempo until the last climb. The steepest part of the climb was between eight and four kilometers from the finish. Pozzovivo attacked on that part. I didn't follow him and I sat in the bunch to see if somebody would react to his attack. Nobody followed him, so at that point I tried to accelerate a bit to see the reaction of the other GC guys. Nothing really happened, so I asked Poels to set the tempo and try to contain the gap from Pozzovivo. The team was again great today. I can really count on the guys and I'm happy about it.”

“Today in a certain way the first part of the Giro is closed,” Uran continued. “I think that so far we rode a good Giro. We are in good GC position. We didn't try to do too much, or too little either. We stayed consistent. We survived a few nasty crashes and the most important thing, we have a great atmosphere in the team. The high mountains are still far away, but it was very important in this first part of the Giro to not lose time and not be surprised. I think we accomplished our mission so far. We are looking forward to the next stages.”

Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) managed to obtain once again a place in the top 5. Fourth at 1:08 to the stage winner Weening: "Today it has been a hard day, I was not at the top because of the efforts of the past days and because I had not sleep as long as I would have liked,” Ulissi pointed out. “Anyway, I think the 4th place is a very good result, considering that Pozzovivo was the strongest on the final climb. Even if we could have neutralized the breakaway, I would not have won."

Belkin’s David Tanner made it into the break of the day: "There were three of us, myself and Martijn Keizer and Maarten Tjallingii, who were trying to get into a breakaway today. It was a big fight. It took maybe 10 tries, but it eventually stuck after 50km," Tanner said. "We started racing hard on the last two climbs. I took a little dig, but it was a little bit too much for my level right now. Today was not the right kind of finish for me, but it wasn't for nothing. I can feel my level progressing right now, and I will be stronger for the second half of the Giro when it counts."

Giro d’Italia Stage 9 Result:
1. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEDGE in 4:25:51
2. Davide Malacarne (Ita) Europcar
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:42
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:08
5. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin
7. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
8. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Sky
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 9:
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC in 38:49:34
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step at 0:57
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:10
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 1:20
5. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC at 1:31
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:39
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 1:43
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 1:44
9. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 1:45
10. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek at 1:49.

Stage 9:

Amgen Tour of California 2014
Taylor Phinney of the BMC Racing Team broke away 25 kilometres from the finish in Thursday's Stage 5 and held off the charging pack on the run-in to the Oceanside finish in Santa Barbara to earn his third victory of the season. PEZ Photo Report here.

Phinney crouched low on his BMC timemachine TMR01 to roll away from a group of about four dozen riders on the descent of San Marcos Pass, the final climb of the 172.9-kilometer race. Rapidly gaining a 40-second advantage, the third-place finisher in the Stage 2 individual time trial saw his lead pegged back to 25 seconds. But Phinney put in a final charge and had time to freewheel, take a bow and thrust both hands in the air while enjoying a 12-second margin of victory. "I kind of pinpointed this race as a target, as a stage I could do well in," Phinney said. "I was nervous about the climb. I was nervous about the heat. Once we got on the climb, I knew I was going to be able to stay with the group and at least sprint for top three and maybe get on the podium again. But to do what I did is kind of one of those things where you get to the finish and you're like, 'How did I do that?' And why did I do that?"

Phinney's bold solo attack – which was reminiscent of his seven-kilometre solo victory last August on Stage 4 of the Tour de Pologne – earned him Amgen’s "Breakaway from cancer" most courageous rider jersey. His victory added to a stage win and the overall title at the Dubai Tour in February. Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) finished second on the stage and Matthew Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) was third. BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet was also in the top 10 in eighth. Sport Director Max Sciandri came alongside Phinney in the BMC Racing Team's Acura TSX Sport Wagon in the final five kilometres as a group of about four dozen gave chase from behind. "I think Cannondale was a little bit short and a couple of the Orica guys were coming through, but they really didn't make a difference," Sciandri said. "I was kind of holding my breath there. I just needed to go and give Taylor a few shouts and he took care of the rest."

Earlier in the stage, Phinney enjoyed a comfortable ride in the peloton as teammate and Swiss national road champion Michael Schär was part of a six-man breakaway that was never granted more than four minutes of freedom. "I had a lot of help from the team today," Phinney said. "Larry Warbasse, Greg Van Avermaet and Thor Hushovd, especially. They just rallied around me and it's always nice to have that. It's good for the confidence. You believe in yourself a little bit more when you have a team that believes in you." Sciandri said he is hoping for more success in the last three days of the eight-day race that started in Sacramento and finishes in Thousand Oaks. BMC Racing Team's Peter Stetina sits sixth, 2:28 off the overall lead of Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky). "Tomorrow we have the climb to Mountain High so wrap it up with a podium for Pete would be a successful week for us," he said.
Thanks to Sean at BMC for the race report.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 5 Result:
1. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC in 3:59:33
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 0:12
3. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
5. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare
6. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano
7. Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Giant-Shimano
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
9. Paul Voss (Ger) NetApp-Endura
10. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 5:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 17:53:36
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:28
3. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 1:09
4. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1:25
5. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:14
6. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC at 2:28
7. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek at 2:29
8. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 2:31
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 2:33
10. Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp at 2:34.

Stage 5:

Esteban Chaves soloed to victory atop Mountain High on Stage 6 of the Amgen Tour of California. The Colombian was part of the early breakaway and one of three from the escape to hold off the peloton on the summit finish. It is the first win for Chaves at Orica-GreenEDGE, and the first win for Orica-GreenEDGE at the Tour of California. Photo Report here.

“This is a very, very, very important win,” said Chaves. “With my crash and my big injuries last year, I didn’t know if it was going to be possible to be a professional cyclist. To win stage six today at the Tour of California – it’s something amazing.”

“It’s a great win for the team,” said Sport Director Matt Wilson. “In the three years that we’ve been coming here, we hadn’t won a stage yet. We changed that this year. It’s all going very well for us.”

The Australian outfit had planned to ride for Adam Yates on stage six. The young Briton recently won the Tour of Turkey and had shown promise on the Mount Diablo stage where he mistimed an attack in the closing kilometres and missed out on the stage win. Yates wanted redemption and saw Mountain High as his chance.

“The plan today was to ride for Adam,” explained Wilson. “We thought if we gave Adam the best chance at the finish, he could win the stage. We had Esteban as a wildcard.”

“We told Esteban that if he saw a move going with strong guys from some of the bigger teams than he should try to get into the break,” Wilson added. “There would be a good chance a move like that could stay away, and it would make Adam’s drive to the finish easier if he had a teammate up the road.”

In keeping with the directives he was given, when Chaves saw Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), Jack Bobridge (Belkin), David de la Cruz (NeApp-Endura), Javier Megias (Novo Nordisk) and Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) jump out of the bunch, he followed wheels to cover the move. The six escapees would gain a maximum advantage of 4’20 by the mid-point of the stage.

“There was great teamwork in the break,” said Chaves. “All six riders were very strong. We worked together to stay away from the peloton.”

The breakaway hit the lower slopes of Mountain High with 3’30 over the peloton. Forty uphill kilometres left to race, the move began to look like it might go the distance. Megias and Jones were the first to fall off the pace largely set by their breakmates. Back in the bunch, the peloton began to lose riders as well.

“With about 40 kilometres left, I gave the move a 30 percent chance,” admitted Wilson. “A lot depended on how hard the guys would ride in the bunch. When they hit the ten kilometre mark, I realised there was a really good chance the move would stay away. At the five kilometre mark, I thought: ‘Yep, that’s it. They’re not getting caught.’ From there, it was just a matter of Esteban making the most of the opportunity and taking the win.”

Chaves won in style. He launched a bold attack 5.7 kilometres from the finish. His acceleration immediately distanced Bobridge, Danielson and de la Cruz, and he maintained his advantage all the way to the finish.

“Last night I did some homework with Mat Hayman,” explained Chaves. “I studied the climb on the Internet. I knew that the last five kilometres were very steep. I picked out this place and said if the bunch isn’t close, this is where I will attack. I did it exactly as I planned.”

Back in the bunch, Team Sky set a blistering pace that thinned out the peloton and discouraged attacks. Garmin-Sharp, hoping to move Rohan Dennis up on the general classification, sent riders up the road. Joe Dombrowski (Sky) steadily neutralised each attempt, tirelessly riding tempo on the front of the field.

An attack from Peter Stetina (BMC) split the field, prompting the formation of an elite group of chasers. Adam Yates had made the selection that included race leader Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky), Dennis, Stetina, George Bennett (Cannondale) and Lawson Craddock (Giant Shimano). Launching with the line in sight, Yates led the yellow jersey group home. The effort was good for fourth place on the stage.

“Adam did a fantastic ride,” said Wilson. “He did exactly what he had do. He marked the guys he had to mark, and he won the sprint in the final. He was just as happy as Esteban with the way today worked out for us.”

“Our future is very exciting,” Wilson added. “Adam and Esteban are part of a new wave of climbers we signed this year, and they’ve both already come out and shown their talent. I think Esteban’s win today is an especially great story. He’s had a long recovery following a really nasty crash. He’s only been racing again for a few months, and he’s already won a race. He’s a super talent. We’re going to see a lot more out of him.”

Laurens ten Dam, who began the day in 9th place overall, 2:33 behind Wiggins, was able to stay with the yellow jersey group until just 1,5km before the finish line. The Veteran Dutchman from Zuidwolde, is now 8th overall, at 1:21. Laurens ten Dam said: “I’m happy with my progression, and my form. I saw the others also struggling and I had hopes to come back. I just did not enough power to do so. It’s a pity I lost contact just at the end, but I managed to move up one place.”

Team NetApp-Endura’s David de la Cruz climbed to a strong second place in Friday’s queen stage. “I am proud on the performance of the whole team. Throughout the tour they are showing that they are able to perform well in the most difficult stages. Again we were very close to a victory on a mountain finish and David surely would have deserved it. He did a great race. Now shortly after the finish we are here with mixed feelings because we all believed in a victory today. That we also lose the podium place in the general classification is a pity. We would have loved to enter the last stages with a victory or a podium place in the general classification”, says Alex Sans Vega, Sport Director Team NetApp-Endura in a first reaction after the stage.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 6 Result:
1. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE in 4:09:13
2. David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) NetApp-Endura at 0:13
3. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:41
4. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGEat 0:53
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky
6. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC at 0:55
7. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
8. Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin at 1:07
9. George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale at 1:15
10. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1:16

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 6:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 22:03:42
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:30
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1:48
4. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 2:02
5. Adam Yates (GB) Orica GreenEDGE at 2:14
6. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC at 2:30
7. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:39
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 3:01
9. Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp at 3:05
10. David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) NetApp-Endura at 3:06.

Stage 6:

Saturday’s Stage 7 was 143 kilometres from Santa Clarita to Pasadena, north of Los Angeles. Slovakian Peter Sagan of Cannondale won the stage; Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins maintained the overall race lead. See the Photo Report here.

BMC Racing Team's Thor Hushovd finished runner-up to Peter Sagan (Cannondale) after teammate Greg Van Avermaet spent the majority of the penultimate stage in a breakaway that was only caught in the last five kilometres.

Hushovd, the Norwegian national road champion, received a lead-out in the final kilometre from teammate Taylor Phinney, who won Thursday's stage with a 25-kilometer solo effort. Hushovd was first out of the final corner, but Sagan overtook him in the last 50 meters. Danny Van Poppel (Trek) was third and Phinney finished 10th. "I came into this race with some ambitions and goals," Hushovd said. "But with the heat, I was suffering a lot. It is difficult when it is that hot on the bike. But I knew I had done the work, so it would eventually turn out. Obviously it is a nice result to get second." Hushovd's runner-up placing in the 142.8-kilometer race matched his season best and marked the BMC Racing Team's third podium finish of the race, adding to Phinney's win and his third place in Monday's Stage 2 individual time trial.

At one point, it looked like Van Avermaet would score a result as he celebrated his 29th birthday. He first rode as part of a group of seven that was whittled to four after the ascents of Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest. On the downhill plunge to Pasadena, it was down to two: Van Avermaet and past U.S. national road champion Ben King (Garmin-Sharp). "It was my birthday today, so I wanted to do something," Van Avermaet said. But the teams of sprinters with ambition kept the escape in check. "When they only give you two minutes, it is hard to do something," Van Avermaet said. "It was kind of the last chance for them to win the stage, so it is pretty normal that they want to work and bring you back." In the overall standings, BMC Racing Team's Peter Stetina remained sixth, 2:30 off the overall lead of Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky). BMC Racing Team Sport Director said Sunday's 122.4-km circuit race in Thousand Oaks could see a shakeup in the standings. "There is still a lot to play and give and take and lose. A lot can happen," he said.

Belkin's Lars Boom animated the day, attacking early with six others and building a lead of more than 4 minutes. All eyes were on the Dutchman from Vlijmen, 28 — a six-time Dutch national champion and a world cyclo-cross champion — as the favourite to win in Pasadena.

"It was really really hot today," Boom said. "I fought many kilometres to be in the front group. But then, Cannondale was chasing and we didn't have much of a time difference. On the second climb, I was dropped, but I managed to come back in the descent. I still wanted to sprint, but I didn't have the legs for it anymore." The breakaway ultimately fizzled on the streets of Pasadena as Team Cannondale worked for a mass dash to the finish line. Sagan easily won the final sprint ahead of Norway's Thor Hushovd and Dutchman Danny van Poppel.

Amgen Tour of California Stage 7 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 3:24:33
2. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
3. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek
4. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) NetApp-Endura
5. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
7. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE
8. Nicky Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin
9. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare
10. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 7:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 25:28:15
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:30
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1:48
4. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 2:02
5. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:14
6. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC at 2:30
7. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:39
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 3:01
9. Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp at 3:05
10. David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) NetApp-Endura at 3:06.

Stage 7:

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Mark Cavendish wrapped up the AMGEN Tour of California with the second victory out of the two stages that ended in bunch sprints. The victory in 121.7km Final Stage 8 was everything but easy, however, as OPQS worked in full support of the Manx Missile to bring him back to the main group after he lost contact late in the race. They then had to protect him for the sprint. Photo Report here.

OPQS brought the Manx Missile back to the peloton with about 10 kilometres to go. "To be fair I wasn't anticipating a sprint today," Cavendish said. "I wasn't going to start today, let alone finish. But then I just thought I'd start. I'd maybe get dropped the first time, maybe do another lap for training, and then that would be it. I had a small breakfast and we started. A few guys suffered the first lap, but the second lap I actually punctured on my own at the bottom of the climb. So I had my wheel changed by neutral service and rode the second climb alone. But, I had good power. I was passing a lot of guys. Then over the top I could see the group and I was chasing the group. Then I got back on, on the descent. I thought if I could do that, then I've got a shot of getting over on the last lap as well. So, I just thought I would try and hang in there on the last lap. I got dropped a bit, but I had Mark Renshaw and a few strong guys from other teams with me. The guys who were with me wanted to get back on. So, we went full gas on the descent and we almost got back. Then my teammates Niki Terpstra and Carlos Verona, who were in the breakaway, came back. They chased for the team and we got back on."

Once a breakaway was reeled in, OPQS put riders on the front to set up the pace for the sprint in the final kilometres. Cavendish had a few riders with him as the finish line approached, and Matteo Trentin guided him to the front of the group inside the final kilometre. The British Champion stayed on the wheel of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and the two battled in the final meters. John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) was able to come back and pass Sagan for 2nd, but the British Champion held on and won the race. This is the 31st win, in three disciplines, for OPQS in 2014.

"Matteo Trentin put me in perfect position for the last kilometer," Cavendish said. "Niki Terpstra also did a great job. I just wanted to follow Peter. Then Giant-Shimano came, so I got in there, squeezed in, and that's about when Peter launched. I knew with 200 meters to go, on that finish, I would be able to to have the speed after a week's racing. So I just went and I was a bit fortunate. I celebrated early and John nearly beat me. But overall I'm super happy with the group and my condition. I'm in good shape and the guys rode really incredible today. They really had some guts and I'm proud to again finish the job of a great team effort."

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) held onto the overall ahead of Garmin-Sharp’s Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) and Giant-Shimano’s young rider Lawson Craddock. Wiggins said after the stage: "I've said it every day, without those guys I wouldn't be here right now. As strong as my performance was individually, in the time trial, the team have taken the strain all week. Those young Americans on our team did a fantastic job - Joe Dombrowski, Ian Boswell, Danny Pate. Even today they didn't give up the chase, they came back still after the climb. It was a fantastic way to finish."

The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM's Jack Bobridge enlivened the 122km eighth final stage of the 2014 Amgen Tour of California on Sunday, duking it out in a breakaway to earn day's Most Aggressive Rider title. Bobridge, a 24-year-old Aussie from Adelaide who earned his stripes on the track in 2012 as an Olympic silver medallist in the team pursuit, spent most of the day in a six-man breakaway with some heavy hitters, including Paris-Roubaix champion Niki Terpstra (OPQS) of Holland and veteran breakaway specialist Jens Voigt (Trek). Attacks within the group ensued in the third and final lap of the 34km course through the Santa Monica Mountains before the sextet was absorbed by a sprint-minded peloton heading for the finishing circuits in Thousand Oaks. "At the start, I didn't feel so great. I wanted to try it only one time and that was a direct hit. We went away with eight riders," said Bobridge, who finished 23rd overall, at 10:59. "Terpstra was really strong. I kept on attacking but didn't succeed. I did everything I could for the team to get a victory. We race bikes to win. I'm very pleased with my form and the race performance here. I just need that little bit extra uphill. But I feel great."

Amgen Tour of California Stage 8 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step in 2:53:50
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
5. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek
6. Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC
7. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin
8. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) NetApp-Endura
9. Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Sharp
10. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare.

Amgen Tour of California Final Overall Result:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 28:22:05
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp at 0:30
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) Giant-Shimano at 1:48
4. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 2:02
5. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:14
6. Peter Stetina (USA) BMC at 2:30
7. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:39
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 3:01
9. Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp at 3:05
10. David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) NetApp-Endura at 3:06.

The Final Stage 8:

Vuelta a Castilla y León 2014
Ex-Spanish national champion José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar) was victorious in Stage 1 in Zamora and inherits the Castilla y León leader jersey from team-mate Plaza who was overall winner in 2013.

23 top-ten finishes with no success in 2013, a scaphoid fracture at the Tour Down Under in the very beginning of this season, a crack in his elbow after a crash in Milano-Sanremo's neutral zone... all troubles and upsetting experiences for José Joaquín Rojas since he last raised his arms victorious on April 2, 2012, on the opening stage of the Vuelta al País Vasco, went sort of forgotten today on day one of the Vuelta a Castilla y León, over 179 kilometres from Ciudad Rodrigo to Zamora.

The Spanish rider from the Movistar Team, the race's bib number one, was the fastest into a close bunch sprint against Sergey Shilov (Lokosphinx) and Carlos Barbero (Euskadi), following a hot ride with strong headwinds where the telephone squad led the bunch almost all day together with Caja Rural, controlling the two main breakaway attempts and keeping things cool after a crash halfway through the stage, which split the peloton into two groups for several kilometres.
The work by Lastras, Sütterlin, Visconti or an excellent Dowsett was rewarded by the success from the ex-Spanish champion -his eighth as professional rider- and the 5th place by Enrique Sanz, who rounded off the great performance from the lads directed by José Luis Laguía. Saturday will bring the first of two mountainous stages in the Spanish stage race, with 179km starting at Zamora and finishing atop the Alto de Lubián (Cat-1). Padornelo (Cat-2) will also be on the race programme.

José Joaquín Rojas: "To be honest, I couldn't believe myself when I realized I had won after so much time. I knew I was doing well recently, but I had spent a lot of time without racing and that takes you some form off you can't hide. I also did feel quite strange during the race. I wasn't feeling bad, but not completely well. That's why I told Dowsett in the finale I wasn't going to contest the sprint, so he could help Sanz out. But the final kilometre was a bit uphill, and with 800 meters left I saw there were so many tired riders and started overcoming. I still came from behind into the final turn, but I could get back and cross the line first. It was close, but with the last bike throw across the finish I knew I had won, because I was faster than the others.

"Who did I remember when I won? Especially myself, because I had such a bad drought and these last months were complicated. Also my family and my girlfriend, the ones who really support me through any bad moments. The team was phenomenal and it was also thanks to them that I won. We were always there with Caja Rural, pulling against strong headwinds - it didn't really play any danger for the bunch to split, no crosswinds. Tomorrow we will tackle the first mountains and I must stay conscious about my real chances: though I got really far into the fight in races like Paris-Nice, I'm not the kind to contest the win tomorrow - I'll focus on the team."

Vuelta a Castilla y León Stage 1 Result:
1. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar in 4:34:00
2. Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx
3. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Euskadi
4. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar
6. Joaquin Sobrino (Spa) Team Differdange-Los
7. Vicente Garcia De Mateos (Spa) Louletano-Dunas Dour
8. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Team Stuttgart
9. Filippo Baggio (Ita) Nankang-Fondriest
10. Luca Chirico (Ita) MG Kvis-Wilier.

Vuelta a Castilla y León Overall Stage 1:
1. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar in 4:33:50
2. Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx at 0:04
3. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Euskadi at 0:06
4. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:10
5, Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar
6. Joaquin Sobrino (Spa) Team Differdange-Los
7. Vicente Garcia De Mateos (Spa) Louletano-Dunas Dour
8. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Team Stuttgart
9. Filippo Baggio (Ita) Nankang-Fondriest
10. Luca Chirico (Ita) MG Kvis-Wilier.

Stage 1:

David Belda (Burgos-BH) won Stage 2 and took the overall lead at the summit of the Alto de Lubián on Saturday. The little Spanish climber attacked with 5 kilometres to go on the 7 kilometre climb and built up a lead of 53 seconds on Marcos Garcia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and 55 seconds on Movistar’s Sylvester Szmyd. The early break of the day was made up of Darío Hernández (Burgos BH), Beñat Txoperena (Euskadi) and Diego Rubio (Efapel), Silvio Giorni (Area Zero) and Augusto Sánchez (Differdange); they were not allowed more than 4 minutes lead and were caught with 30 kilometres to go. Caja Rural-Seguros RGA kept the pace high and only 10 hit the base of the Alto de Lubián. Ricardo Mestre (Efapel-Glassdrive) was first to attack but he was chased down by Szmyd, this softened the others for Belda to make his winning move
Full Results

Vuelta a Castilla y León Stage 2 Result:
1. David Belda (Spa) Burgos-BH in 4:29:17
2. Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:53
3. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Movistar at 0:55
4. Aleksey Rybalkin (Rus) Lokosphinx at 1:28
5. Edgar Pinto (Por) La Aluminios-Antarte at 1:45
6. Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar
7. Jesus Del Pino (Spa) Burgos-BH
8. Federico Figueiredo (Por) Radio Popular
9. David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:56
10. Ricardo Mestre (Por) Efapel-Glassdrive.

Vuelta a Castilla y León Overall Stage 2:
1. David Belda (Spa) Burgos-BH in 9:03:07
2. Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:57
3. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Movistar at 1:01
4. Aleksey Rybalkin (Rus) Lokosphinx at 1:38
5. Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar at 1:55
6. Jesus Del Pino (Spa) Burgos-BH
7. Edgar Pinto (Por) La Aluminios-Antarte
8. Federico Figueiredo (Por) Radio Popular
9. Antonio Carvalho (Por) La Aluminios-Antarte at 2:06
10. Ricardo Mestre (Por) Efapel-Glassdrive.

Stage 2:

David Belda of the Burgos-BH Continental team came into the Final Stage3 with a lead of 57 seconds over Marcos Garcia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Sylvester Szmyd (Movistar) and was sure the bigger teams would be out to demolish his smaller team and his lead. In the end Luis León Sanchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) attacked on the descent of the Alto de los Portillinos and soloed over the last climb; the Alto de Onamio to the finish in Bambibra. Belda’s Burgos-BH team fought hard against the big teams and the podium stayed the same.

Vuelta a Castilla y León Stage 3 Result:
1. Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in 4:46:48
2. Sergio Sousa (Por) Efapel-Glassdrive at 0:47
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar at 1:53
4. Fabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Miguel Minguez (Spa) Euskadi
6. Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Edgar Pinto (Por) La Aluminios-Antarte
8. Jesus Del Pino (Spa) Burgos-BH
9. Matteo Busato (Ita) MG Kvis-Wilier
10. Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar.

Vuelta a Castilla y León Final Overall:
1. David Belda (Spa) Burgos-BH in 13:51:48
2. Marcos Garcia (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:57
3. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Movistar at 1:01
4. Aleksey Rybalkin (Rus) Lokosphinx at 1:38
5. Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar at 1:55
6. Jesus Del Pino (Spa) Burgos-BH
7. Edgar Pinto (Por) La Aluminios-Antarte
8. Federico Figueiredo (Por) Radio Popular
9. Antonio Carvalho (Por) La Aluminios-Antarte at 2:06
10. David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.


Tour de Picardie 2014
Bryan Coquard proved on home roads to be one of France’s most talented youngsters once again. The Europcar rider clinched victory in Tour de Picardie’s Stage 1 (Fort-Mahon – Estrées-Saint-Denis 191 Km), ahead of his countryman Arnaud Démare ( and Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Shimano) in the massive sprint. Coquard took his 5th success of the 2014 season as well as the first GC leader jersey.

BMC Racing Team's Philippe Gilbert made the most of his time in a four-man breakaway on Friday, earning the king of the mountains jersey on the race's opening stage. But not everything went well for the past world road champion, Gilbert and team mates Marcus Burghardt, Steve Cummings and Klaas Lodewyck were involved in a crash inside the last 10 kilometres, just after Gilbert's group was caught. None of the four have serious injuries, BMC Racing Team Doctor Scott Major said. Gilbert said he tumbled head-first over his handlebars and was unable to contest the bunch sprint. "With six or seven kilometres to go, it was pretty nervous," Gilbert said. "Danilo Napolitano (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) touched the wheel of the guy in front of him and crashed. I was one of the first guys behind him so I tried to jump over his bike, but couldn't make it. I had to chase hard through the cars and only came back in the last kilometre." Gilbert took the jersey by winning the day's only king of the mountain sprint ahead of his fellow escapees: Tim DeClercq (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Christophe LaPorte (Cofidis) and Nikolas Maes (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step). Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the BMC Racing Team will continue to take an aggressive approach on the race's final two days. "We don't have a leader here, so I spoke with the guys and told them if they had a chance to go in the breakaway to go for it and take bonifications," Ledanois said. "Philippe did that today and got the jersey so it was not all a bad day."

Tour de Picardie Stage 1 Result:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar in 4:17:27
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra)
3. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
5. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Frederique Robert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
9. Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
10. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole.

Tour de Picardie Overall After Stage 1:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar in 4:17:17
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) at 0:01
3. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:06
4. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step at 0:07
5. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:08
6. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step at 0:09
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:10
8. Frederique Robert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
10. Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement.

Stage 1:

Arnaud Démare ( won Stage 2 to beaurieux-Chemin des Dames and took the leaders jersey from stage 1 winner Bryan Coquard (Europcar). Coquard could only finish in 52nd place and lost 10 seconds and dropped to 5th overall. The first break of the day didn’t last very long and was reeled in after only 30 kilometres. Julien Antomarchi (La Pomme), Sébastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Silvan Diller (BMC), Tim De Troyer (Wanty - Groupe Gobert) and Stéphane Rossetto (Bigmat-Auber 93) were the unlucky riders. A second break of William Bonnet (, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano), Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Danilo Napolitano & Björn Leukemans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Julien Duval (Roubaix Lille Metropole) tried their hardest, but Europcar held them at around 3 minutes. Duval and Leukemans hung out the longest, but they were swallowed up in the last 25 kilometres. Into the finale there were only around 20 riders left at the head of the race and Démare got the better of Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Shimano) with Rudy Barbier (Roubaix Lille Metropole) bringing in the others 2 seconds back.

Tour de Picardie Stage 2 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) in 3:57:24
2. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano
3. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole at 0:02
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Kristan Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
6. Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
7. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme-Marseille 13
9. Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis
10. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Tour de Picardie Overall After Stage 2:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) in 8:14:32
2. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:09
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar at 0:11
4. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole at 0:17
5. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:18
6. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
7. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:19
9. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:20
10. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step.

Stage 2:

On Sunday’s Final Stage 3 from Cap'Aisne to Bray-sur-Somme, overall leader Arnaud Démare ( preferred to opt for caution: "The main purpose is to keep the yellow jersey and win the Tour de Picardie." But to give more luster to his ultimate success, the young 22 year old sprinter made it a point of honour to win again in front of his parents . Démare beat Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Shimano) and Gianni Meersman (OPQS) on the line. He succeeds John Degenkolb (2013) and Marcel Kittel (2013) as Race winner. Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was fourth, but can console himself with the polka dot jersey as best climber.

Robin Stenuit (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Steve Chainel (, Wesley Kreder (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Gert Joeaar (Cofidis), Victor Campenaerts (Topsport Vlaanderen-Balois) Evaldas Siskevicius (La Pomme-Marsaille 13) and Kevin Reza (Europcar) and gained 3.35 after 60 kilometers. Behind the Yellow Jersey team Arnaud Démare starts and the gap starts to decrease.
Chainel and Stenuit were dropped just after the feed zone in Rosières-en-Santerre (103.5 km). The escape had a lead over the pack of 1:20 on the first lap through Bray-sur-Somme (km 118). Campenaerts attacked 30 kilometres out, but was quickly joined by Kreder and Joeaa (22 km from the finish). The Estonian ; Joeaar decided to go alone 17 kilometres from the finish, but was caught 5 kilometres from the line as the team’s started the sprint.

Philippe Gilbert won the king of the mountains title Sunday at the Tour de Picardie while finishing fourth on the final stage of the three-day race. Gilbert took the lead in the king of the mountains competition on the opening stage after being part of a breakaway. He lost the polka-dot jersey that goes with leading the classification on Stage 2, but went to work Sunday to regain it. "That was the plan and we controlled it well with the team," the past world road champion said. "We brought back a small breakaway and then the team did a very nice lead out for me to win the KOM and take the jersey." Arnaud Démare ( won his second straight stage ahead of Ramon Sinkeldam (Giant-Shimano) to take the overall by 13 seconds over Sinkeldam. "The finish was 500 meters uphill and we decided to have me go for it," Gilbert said. "We really rode well as a team here." BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois agreed. "I am very pleased with the guys today and Philippe. They did a good job," he said. Gilbert's king of the mountains title was the second of his 12-year professional career. He also won the classification at the 2008 Santos Tour Down Under.

Tour de Picardie Stage 3 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) in 3:45:35
2. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
5. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
6. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
7. Justin Jules (Fra) Team La Pomme-Marseille 13
8. Tim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
10. Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis.

Tour de Picardie Final Overall Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) in 11:59:57
2. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:13
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar at 0:21
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step at 0:26
5. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole at 0:27
6. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:28
7. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
8. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Kévin Reza (Fra) Europcar
10. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:29.

Stage 3:

Cancellara’s Hour Record attempt on hold
Press Release: Following the UCI’s decision to change the Hour Record regulations, Trek Factory Racing and Fabian Cancellara are announcing that the project to attempt to break the record has been suspended for an undetermined amount of time.

General Manager Luca Guercilena: “At this point we need to assess the situation. We’ve invested many ressources, both human and financial, to prepare for an attempt and we need to evaluate in which way, if any, we proceed. We are satisfied that the UCI has now stipulated clear regulations about the Hour Record, as there was already some speculation about it, but we need to examine what it means for our project, which so far has been focused on breaking the Merckx record.”

“But above all, we need to look at the athlete here”, says Guercilena. “For Fabian, the idea of attempting the hour had a historical motivation all along. The record of Eddy Merckx has inspired him to step into this project. It takes great character to contemplate fitting this feat into his normal race program. The nature of ‘the hour’ has changed now because the historical perspective has changed.”

Fabian Cancellara: “The whole appeal of the hour record for me is that you are competing against riders from the past. I would have loved to race Eddy (Merckx) in the Classics, or in a time trial, but it’s not possible. The hour record has this charming side to it that I like a lot. Now it’s going to be different. I’m not against technological innovation, everyone knows that. It’s why I spend so much time testing road bikes with Trek. And it’s also why we’ve invested time and money in developing the best Merckx style bike.”

“We had some plans semi-ready but right now we need to think about the whole project again”, continues Cancellara. “We will discuss everything within the team and with Trek.”

To conclude, the team and Trek Bicycle support the UCI’s President Brian Cookson when he speaks about the modernization of the UCI Equipment Regulation. Technological innovation has a place in cycling - it was Trek Bicycle’s exact motivation to own a WorldTour team.

The Merckx Hour Record:

Team Belkin focuses on Nordhaug and Markus in Norway
Press Release: The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM hopes to do well in the Tour of Norway from May 21 to 25 with a motivated home rider and a fit sprinter. Norway's Lars Petter Nordhaug hopes to fight for the overall victory, while Barry Markus should be able to win bunch sprints.

"A home race is always very special," said Nordhaug, who turned 30 on Wednesday. "Just like last year, we'll pass close by my house. After the classics, I was pretty tired, but I've been training hard for quite some time again."

Nordhaug's training rides gave him confidence. He occasionally rode with Ole Einar Bjørndalen, who is the most successful Olympic winter athlete of all time since the Sochi Olympics. "During this time of the year, he rides his bike in order to stay fit. Sometimes we train together."

Nice mix
Sports Director Erik Dekker will lead a nice mix of riders in Norway. "With Lars Petter, we have a favourite in the ranks. He knows almost all the stages and is very motivated. Barry Markus is our man for the sprints. He did well in recent weeks, like in the Tour of Turkey. For the team it's a great challenge to try and help Barry record his first pro victory. If he gets a chance, he needs to seize it. That's the art of sprinting."

The other riders will have a supporting role, although wherever possible, they are allowed to go for their own chances. "The other guys haven't raced for quite a while after an earlier peak. They cannot wait to get started again. "For Bauke Mollema, the Tour of Norway is an important training race. He needs to rebuild his condition and hardness again with the Tour de France coming up."

TEAM line-up:
Stef Clement, Barry Markus, Paul Martens, Bauke Mollema, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Sep Vanmarcke.
Sports Director: Erik Dekker.

Team Katusha in Tour of Norway
Press Release: The Russian WorldTour Team Katusha goes to Scandinavia to start in the UCI 2.HC-category stage race Tour of Norway, which will be held from May 21st until May 25th. Last year Katusha’s leader Alexander Kristoff won 3 stages of this race.

This year’s line-up:
Alexander Kristoff, Marco Haller, Petr Ignatenko, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Rüdiger Selig and Gatis Smukulis.
Team directors: Torsten Schmidt and Uwe Peschel.

More race information on:

2014 Tour of America's Dairyland
presented by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board June 19-29.

To be in the competition:
Pro Teams must register at least four (4) racers in each race.
The points of each team's top three racers will count toward the daily points total.
At the end of the 11 days, June 19-29, 2014, the top Pro Men's and Pro Women's Team will each receive $2,500.

Daily and Series winners' jerseys for male and female, age groups 9-12, 13-14, 15-16 and 17-18. Overall trophies awarded to each Age Group as well.

Travel Stipend Opportunity
Courtesy of Hincapie and WCJ Pilgrim Wire. To submit an application for team travel assistance, by May 31, 2014:

Register a team with a minimum of 5 Junior riders on all four day (June 25-29) during ToAD

Submit a one-page letter explaining the history and mission of your Junior cycling team to

Upon review of the submissions, ToAD will announce and award $400 cash plus a $100 American Express gift card to each of up to eight (8) selected Junior teams during the week of June 2.

Generously discounted Frontier Hall accommodations available from Carroll University in Waukesha (210 N. Grand Ave.) for Juniors and their families/coaches. Breakfast included. Please call 262.951.3072 by May 31, 2014, to secure your reservation. Check out their digs at:

Day 1: June 19 - Shorewood Criterium Cycling Classic
presented by Tim Hart DDS and Rainbow Jersey Bicycles
A slightly new course...insanely cool lawn soirees...block party at final cycling fashion show and more!
Shorewood Schedule

Day 2: June 20 - East Troy Cycling Classic
presented by Dennis and Janice Klumb Family Foundation
Fast, technical, 6-turn course in downtown East Troy's historical town square with festival atmosphere at its heart!
East Troy Schedule

Day 3: June 21 - Giro d' Grafton NCC
presented by Aurora Health Care
Six fast turns... a screaming spectator-lined Start/Finish...lightning straightaway...MINIMUM $5,000 IN PRIMES across all Cats!
Grafton Schedule

Day 4: June 22 - Waukesha Carl Zach Cycling Classic NCC
presented by Couri Insurance
Fairly flat course with challenging turns in densely packed downtown Waukesha...these fans love to bang the boards!
Waukesha Schedule

Day 5: June 23 - Beloit Bike Classic NEW VENUE
presented by Beloit Health System
Mix of tight and wide turns...scenic Rock River...gorgeous downtown...awesome event expo for fans.
Beloit Schedule

Day 6: June 24 - Schlitz Park Criterium
One of the most challenging ToAD courses...technical inclines and downhills...!
Schlitz Park Schedule

Day 7: June 25 - Elkhart Lake Road Race at Road America
All aboard the historic Road America race track...4.4 mile loop with a long uphill to the Start/Finish line. Includes Juniors Races.
Road America Schedule

Day 8: June 26 - Oshkosh Criterium de Titan NEW VENUE
Flat, four-corner course, with long, wide open stretches through the heart of the UW-Oshkosh campus. Includes Juniors Races.
Oshkosh Schedule

Day 9: June 27 - Fond du Lac Commonwealth Classic
Wide Downtown biz district, sweeping turns...gas pedal down in final 900 feet to the Finish! Includes Juniors Races.
Fond du Lac Schedule

Day 10: June 28 - ISCorp Downer Classic
Racer/Fan favorite! Tens of thousands of fans! Ben's Cycle Super Prime! Over $10K IN PRIMES ACROSS DAY! Includes Juniors Races.
Downer Schedule

Day 11: June 29 - East Tosa Cycling Classic
A phenomenal finale venue...through East Tosa's popular bushiness district and awesome neighborhoods you will go!
East Tosa Schedule



The 200th Orica-GreenEDGE Backstage Pass
In this special 200th episode of backstage pass, the riders reflect on the series and share their own favourite BSP memories. We also go behind the story of how the series came about, which riders don't even watch it and showcase some action from stage 8 at the Giro d'Italia. ORICA-GreenEDGE's seven day run in the maglia rosa came to an end in the Apennines mountain range. Michael Matthews crossed the finish line 34'19 behind Giro d'Italia stage eight winner Diego Ulissi (Lampre Merida). Cadel Evans (BMC) pulled on the pink jersey in Montecopiolo with a lead of 57" over Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) in second and 1'10 over Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) in third.

Enjoy the 200th episode of ORICA-GreenEDGE backstage pass:


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