PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : EuroTrash Thursday!

EuroTrash Thursday!
Another big weekend of cycle racing on the way and we preview: Roma Maxima, GP Camaiore, Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, plus the change in this year’s Giro TT. Race reports, results and video from Le Samyn and the Tour de Langkawi and Cav’s spring makes TOP STORY. Grande caffè?

TOP STORY: Mark Cavendish Changes his Classic Schedule
Now that Milan-Sanremo is more like its original profile the sprinters will be on the Milan start line. The latest to make the change is Mark Cavendish; he will also ride Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Gent-Wevelgem, Driedaagse van De Panne and the Scheldeprijs.

"Uncertainty about the route of the Sanremo left Mark's program open until just a few days ago," explains Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag. "Therefore, after Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico races, Mark will be in the starting lineup for the Milano-Sanremo. Without the Pompeiana, the route is back to being suitable to the skills of athletes like Mark. After Sanremo Mark will participate in Gent-Wevelgem. The Flemish classic also underwent a slight variation to the route that could favor the arrival in the final sprint. Mark's classics campaign will then pass through Driedaagse van De Panne and will finish with Scheldeprijs, a race which Mark already won three times."

"I'm very happy to be riding in Milano-Sanremo, on the same route where I watched my heroes’ race and win when I was a kid," said Cavendish. "In fact, the edition I won in 2009 featured the climb on Le Manie. It will be fun and stimulating to ride on this route, which is making this race the only Classics monument for the sprinters. I'm also very happy to race in Belgium. I've never won Gent-Wevelgem. The route for this race has gone back to how it used to be, too. Driedaagse van De Panne and Scheldeprijs will complete my 'Flemish' schedule, during which I can also count on a squad that's as strong on this type of route as Omega Pharma – Quick-Step."

Mark Cavendish wins Milan-Sanremo 2009:

Le Samyn 2014
Wearing the No. 1 as defending champion of Le Samyn, Alexey Tsatevich tried to make it two-in-a-row, putting up a massive effort in the uphill sprint, earning a second place on the podium. His effort was joined throughout the day by Katusha team mates all up to the job of controlling the race.

Tsatevich: “I am happy with the result today. Of course I was close to a new victory, but I did everything I possibly could to try to win. The team was really perfect today. The guys worked hard to support me. They controlled the race, neutralized all attacks and were in every dangerous breakaway so I was without any stress in the peloton. My work was to stay in the group, prepare for the mass sprint and to show 100% of myself in the final and that’s what I did. I felt good during the stage. My next aim is Paris-Nice where I want to get another good result.”

In the final, teammate and Russian national champion Vladimir Isaychev softened up the group with his attack at the 2km mark, displaying strong form and a small advantage as he went under the banner signaling 1km to go. As the small uphill pitch began to bite, the main field came back to Isaychev at 500 meters to go, with the peloton spreading across the road for the sprint. Tsatevich was in front in the middle of the big group and kicked into gear for the closing meters. It was almost a photo finish, with Maxime Vantomme (Roubaix Lille Metrople) just edging out Alexey. Nacer Bouhanni of FDJ rounded out the top three.

Vladimir Isaychev: “Today we had some freedom in the race but of course our main objective was to help Alexey because last year he proved to be very strong in this race. In the local laps I tried to stay in the front all the time because there were some technical sections and you have to stay in front to control the race and catch the attacks. In the last 2km I was still in front and saw a possibility to try my own attack so I did. I missed some freshness in my legs after a hard day of work, but I’m happy with my effort. I am happy with my shape for this race and the result from Alexey, who proved yet again that he is very strong.”

Team director Gennady Mikhaylov liked what he saw today and explained the teamwork on display during the stage: “Our main strategy was to work for Alexey Tsatevich and to control the race to bring him to the front for the massive sprint. Everything we did was to control the race and control the attacks and the front of the race. In the final few laps we were very active in the front all the time, plus we sent Viacheslav Kuznetsov and Anton Vorobyev in breaks to control the situation in those groups. In the final Isaychev tried to do something. One part of this effort was the possibility to win the race. On the other side, this helped us control the peloton in the final kilometer for Alexey Tsatevich. In the end Alexey did a very good sprint and took a nice result. Of course it would have been nice to win today, but he did his best and Maxim Vantomme was very strong. I think today we showed the real power of Katusha Team and we can be proud of the race we did,” concluded Mikhaylov. Winner Vantomme was very familiar to the Katusha Team – he rode for 4 years on the Russian squad and was a teammate of Tsatevich in 2012.

The 45th edition of Le Samyn started in Quaregnon and finished in Dour. Earlier road action for the 195.9km midweek semi-classic had two riders away that were brought back in the final five local laps, setting up a strong 10-man breakaway that included Anton Vorobyev. Original efforts from this group were cooperative as they held a small advantage in the last 20km. But attacks from within the group eventually broke up the effort with 6km to go and the sprinters’ teams saw opportunity on the horizon. An active Isaychev and determined Tsatevich capped off a solid day of racing for Katusha Team in the Wallonie region of Belgium.
Thanks to the Katusha team for race info.

Le Samyn Result:
1. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
2. Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra)
4. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement
5. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
6. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Steve Chainel (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
8. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Tom Dernies (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles.

Le Samyn 2014 – Final Kilometres:

Tour de Langkawi 2014
Six riders managed to sneak off and form the long-lasting breakaway during Stage 5 of Tour de Langkawi but three riders were dropped from the front group. The front trio was never caught and Bradley White (UnitedHealthcare) won the stage from his breakaway companions; Thomas Rabou (OCBC Singapore) and Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka). Behind, Michal Kolár (Tinkoff-Saxo) won the sprint from the peloton for 4th place.

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Tristan Hoffman says: “The Iranian team controlled the pace of the pack and naturally, we had hoped for a complete bunch sprint but the trio was never neutralized and we had to settle with fourth position. It was another solid effort from the team and of course Michael and I think he can do even better than this. During the next couple of the days we will focus on breakaway attempt and obviously keep Michael ready for the bunch sprints,” said Hoffman.

Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (Tabriz Petrochemical) still leads overall.

Tour de Langkawi Stage 5 Result:
1. Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare in 3:03:28
2. Thomas Rabou (Ned) OCBC Singapore
3. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:04
4. Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:15
5. Dene Thomas Rogers (NZl) OCBC Singapore
6. Omar Bertazzo (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli
7. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni-Giocattoli
8. Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
10. Daniel Klemme (Ger) Synergy Baku.

Tour de Langkawi Overall After Stage 5:
1. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical in 15:14:04
2. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:08
3. Isaac Bolivar Hernandez (Col) UnitedHealthcare at 0:11
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:20
5. Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha at 0:36
6. Jacques Janse van Rensburg (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:40
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin at 0:52
8. Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli at 1:09
9. Ghaffari Vahid (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical at 1:27
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:41.

Stage 5:

Another bunch sprint decision seemed inevitable on Tuesday’s199 kilometre long Stage 6 from Melaka to Pontian where a tenacious group of escapees however were eager to make it last to the finish line. 11 kilometres from the finish line, the last standing breakaway rider was swept up by the speeding peloton and the sprinter teams gathered around the front of the field to put their sprinter in a favourable position for the gallop.

Androni-Giocattoli’s Kenny Van Hummel got the better of Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) and Ken Hanson (UnitedHealthcare) and Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (Tabriz Petrochemical Team) retained his overall lead.

“It was a very fast first 50 kilometres where three riders formed today’s breakaway but the peloton agreed in working together in order to bring them back. Our boys supported Michael (Kolar) and put him in good position before the final kilometre and he sprinted to 5th place. He’s now 3 points away from the lead in the point’s classification. He’s obviously in very good condition and we’re ready for another sprint tomorrow,” said Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Tristan Hoffman.

Tour de Langkawi Stage 6 Result:
1. Kenny Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli in 4:29:46
2. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Ken Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare
4. Robert Forster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare
5. Michael Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Yellow Fluo
7. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
8. Youcef Reguigui (Alg) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Europcar
10. Anuar Manan (Mas) Terengganu.

Tour de Langkawi Overall After Stage 6:
1. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical in 19:43:50
2. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:08
3. Isaac Bolivar (Col) UnitedHealthcare at 0:11
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:20
5. Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha at 0:36
6. Jacques J.V. Rensburg (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:40
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin at 0:52
8. Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli at 1:09
9. Ghaffari Vahid (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical at 1:27
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:41.

Stage 6:

Theo Bos struck again today in the Tour de Langkawi. The Belkin Pro cycling team rider sprinted ahead of the bunch in Stage 7, the longest stage of the race with a length of 230 kilometres. The Dutchman, with help of his team-mates, topped Aidis Kruopis (Orica-GreenEdge) and Leonardo Duque (Columbia).

“We worked together very well and we are so happy now,” Bos said. “Today went great. Rick Flens closed the gap with the leaders and in the last fifteen kilometres Jack Bobridge and Steven Kruijswijk kept the peloton in check. After a good lead-out by Dennis van Winden and Graeme Brown, I was able to finish it off.” Bos, above all, complimented his lead-out man Graeme Brown. “I’m very fortunate to have Graeme,” said Bos, winner of stage two. “I think he's the best man in the peloton to bring me in front. He is the fastest lead-out man and I trust him.”

It all could have gone wrong for Bos in the final metres, however. In the last corner, 250 metres from the line, he almost hit the tarmac. “My front wheel slipped, but fortunately I was able to hold my bike straight.” Sports Director Michiel Elijzen was delighted with Bos his win. “The last couple of days were pretty frustrating as we simply couldn’t sprint for the win or things went south in the sprint itself. That makes today's victory extra pleasant.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Tristan Hoffman says: “The boys did another good job in the finale but they started the lead-out a little too early but Michael managed to hang on to the front anyway and made his way to 5th position. He has the ability and strength to do even better and we’ll keep aiming for that stage win until the final stage. Unfortunately, Jay (McCarthy) got an infection yesterday and on antibiotics he finally abandoned the race after having covered 200 kilometres today.”

Tour de Langkawi Stage 7 Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin in 5:33:12
2. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Leonardo Duque (Col) Colombia
4. Carlos Alzate (Col) UnitedHealthcare
5. Michael Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Ken Hanson (USA) UnitedHealthcare
7. Robert Forster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare
8. Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Yellow Fluo
9. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
10. Dene Thomas Rogers (NZl) OCBC Singapore.

Tour de Langkawi Overall After Stage 7:
1. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical in 25:17:02
2. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:08
3. Isaac Bolivar (Col) UnitedHealthcare at 0:11
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:20
5. Petr Ignatenko (Rus) Katusha at 0:36
6. Jacques J.V. Rensburg (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:40
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin at 0:52
8. Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli at 1:09
9. Ghaffari Vahid (IRI) Tabriz Petrochemical at 1:27
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:41.

Stage 7:

Roma Maxima: Big Show Expected in the Shadow of the Coliseum
On Sunday, March 9, the "Classic" of the Italian capital returns: Roma Maxima (formerly the Giro del Lazio) promises to be a great sporting spectacle in truly unique scenery. Last year the winner was the French Ag2r rider, Blel Kadri.

The route includes departure and arrival from Via dei Fori Imperiali in Rome, with a 195km route including the climbs of Rocca Massima, Colle Callaccio, Rocca Priora, Campi di Annibale and Cappuccini.

Among the riders expected to be the main contenders are: Philippe Gilbert, Enrico Battaglin, Ivan Basso, Filippo Pozzato (who came second last year), Sacha Modolo, Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana, Luca Paolini, Dario Cataldo and Mauro Finetto.

The route has three sections. The first section approaches the climbs, rolling along the foothills of the Alban Hills and the Pontine Marshes. After leaving Rome on wide boulevards, the race runs along broad and essentially straight roadways.

Then second section is where we find some steep climbs. The first of which is Rocca Massima, with an even gradient of around 6%, on a narrow roadway. A short descent leads to the Colle Callaccio spurt, and then down towards Segni and Colleferro, with the fixed feed zone.

The road is broad and seemingly flat up to Le Macere, and then heads towards Rocca Priora. All connecting sections are on broad roads, with a well worn surface. The peak of the Rocca Priora is followed by a short descent leading to the national road to Grottaferrata. After crossing Ponte Squarciarelli, the race climbs towards Rocca di Papa, where the riders must face the ascent towards Campi di Annibale: 1km up a steep slope, in the middle of a cramped, built-up area. The race then descends towards Ariccia, and after the Albano Laziale segment comes the Cappuccini’s spurt, leading back to via Appia through Castelgandolfo. After crossing the Ciampino airport area, the riders have to confront a “historical” sector of via Appia Antica, paved with regularly arranged “sanpietrini” – bevelled stones of black basalt.

Passing the Quo Vadis church, the race enters its third section as it reaches the built-up area of Rome, it crosses Porta San Sebastiano and reaches the Baths of Caracalla boulevard. The final kilometres are on virtually flat ground, along wide and straight roads, with gentle, broad bends along the last three kilometres. The home stretch is 580m long, 8m wide, slightly uphill, and paved with more “sanpietrini”.

Race profile:

Strade Bianche: Race Between Two UNESCO Heritage Cities
The new race route from San Gimignano to Siena (both cities are UNESCO World Heritage Sites), will host the spectacle of the classic of the dirty roads to be staged next Saturday. Organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Strade Bianche by Limar features some 50km of dirt roads in its 197km route, which is divided into 10 segments with stretches of "5 stars" difficulty.

Among the participants are world-class athletes, representing 29 countries (including Eritrea and Rwanda) and 5 continents. Included in the starting line-up are the winners of six of the seven most recent editions of the race: Moser 2013, Cancellara 2012 and 2008, Maxim Iglinskiy 2010, Thomas Lovkvist 2009 and Aleksandr Kolobnev 2007.

There will also be an important representation of stage race champions with Cadel Evans, Bradley Wiggins, Rigoberto Uran, Samuel Sanchez, Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Roman Kreuziger. The race also features some of the best young "promising future" athletes, such as Fabio Aru, Sonny Colbrelli, Diego Ulissi, Michal Kwiatkowski, Warren Barguil.

18 teams (8 riders each), 11 are UCI ProTeams and 7 are UCI Professional Continental Teams:
CANNONDALE (ITA) – Moreno Moser, Peter Sagan
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI (ITA) – Franco Pelizzoti, Johnny Hogerland
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ) – Maxim Iglinskiy, Fabio Aru
BARDIANI CSF (ITA) – Sonny Colbrelli, Marco Coledan
BMC RACING TEAM (USA) – Cadel Evans, Samuel Sanchez
COLOMBIA (COL) – Miguel Rubiano Chavez, Fabio Duarte
IAM CYCLING (SWI) – Thomas Lövkvist, Gustav Larsson
LAMPRE-MERIDA (ITA) – Filippo Pozzato, Diego Ulissi
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP) – Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana
MTN - QHUBEKA (RSA) – Linus Gerdemann, Daniel Teklehaimanot
OMEGA PHARMA - QUICK-STEP CYCLING TEAM (BEL) – Mark Cavendish, Michal Kwiatkowski
TEAM GIANT-SHIMANO (NED) – Warren Barguil, Tom Stamsnijder
TEAM KATUSHA (RUS) – Alexandr Kolobnev, Luca Paolini
TEAM SKY (GBR) – Bradley Wiggins, Ian Stannard
TINKOFF-SAXO (RUS) – Daniele Bennati, Roman Kreuziger
TREK FACTORY RACING (USA) – Fabian Cancellara, Yaroslav Popovich
YELLOW FLUO (ITA) – Mauro Finetto, Matteo Rabottini.

Race Map:

Movistar Team announce Early March rosters
The telephone squad starts busy a 12-day stint with five competitions: three classics in Italy -GP Camaiore, Strade Bianche, Roma Máxima and the WorldTour's return in Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico.

Following a sparkling start to their 2014 season, with eight victories, the Movistar Team will fulfil a busy schedule during the upcoming two weeks, taking part in three one-day events in Italy –the GP Camaiore (Thursday), the Strade Bianche (Saturday) and Roma Maxima (Sunday)– and the two stageraces set to resume action in the UCI WorldTour: Paris-Nice (from Sunday 9th to 16th) and Tirreno-Adriatico (Wednesday, 12 - Tuesday, 18).

Alejandro Valverde will be taking part at both classics in the weekend -but not Milano-Sanremo, after the recent route change-, while Nairo Quintana will show up at Roma Máxima before starting Tirreno-Adriatico. The full Movistar Team lineups for all five races are as shown:

Amador, Gadret, Intxausti, Lastras, Dayer Quintana, Sanz, Sütterlin, Szmyd. DS: Arrieta.
Amador, Castroviejo, Intxausti, Lastras, Sanz, Sütterlin, Valverde, Ventoso. DS: Arrieta.
Antón, Lastras, Nairo Quintana, Dayer Quintana, Sanz, Sütterlin, Valverde, Ventoso. DS: Arrieta. (Reserves: Castroviejo, Intxausti.)
Erviti, Gadret, Gutiérrez, Jesús Herrada, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Rojas, Szmyd. DSs: Jaimerena, Laguía.
Amador, Antón, Capecchi, Castroviejo, Dowsett, Intxausti, Malori, Nairo Quintana. DSs: Arrieta, Chente.

Team Katusha in Three Italian UCI 1.1 Races
This week the Russian WorldTour Katusha Team starts in three famous Italian one-day races: G.P. Camaiore (March, 6th), Strade Bianche (March, 8th) and Roma Maxima (March, 9th), all three UCI 1.1 races.

The G.P. Camaiore, in Tuscany, is famous for its six ascensions or the Monte Pitoro (2,8 km, 7,1%).

The team’s roster: Maxim Belkov, Sergei Chernetckii, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Egor Silin, Iurii Trofimov, Angel Vicioso and Eduard Vorganov, all directed by Claudio Cozzi.

Strade Bianche is a famous one-day race including 45 kilometer white gravel roads near Siena, Tuscany.
Katusha’s line-up: Maxim Belkov, Vladimir Gusev, Alexander Kolobnev, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Luca Paolini, Rüdiger Selig, Angel Vicioso and Eduard Vorganov.

Roma Maxima starts and finishes in the Italian capital Roma.

The Russian team will be represented by: Maxim Belkov, Vladimir Gusev, Alexander Kolobnev, Aliaksandr Kuchynski, Luca Paolini, Rüdiger Selig, Angel Vicioso and Eduard Vorganov.

Both Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima will be directed by José Azevedo and Claudio Cozzi.
More details on the races on the official web site: (G.P. Camaiore), (Strade Bianche) and (Roma Maxima).

BMC Racing Team To A Pair Of Weekend Races In Italy
A pair of one-day races in Italy – Strade Bianche on Saturday and Roma Maxima on Sunday – will be part of a busy weekend of competition for the BMC Racing Team.

Multiple Leaders For Each Race
In addition to the two races in Italy, the BMC Racing Team will compete Friday through Sunday in Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen and begin racing Sunday in Paris-Nice. For Strade Bianche, Sport Director Valerio Piva said he will look to several veterans for the race which features 50 kilometers of dirt roads – in 10 segments – along its 197-km route. "Certainly Samuel Sánchez seems to be in good shape and I will give him a chance," Piva said. "But also Cadel Evans, who has already won a stage of the Giro d'Italia on this course. He will be our leader. Michael Schär also did a great race here last year and is very motivated." Philippe Gilbert, winner of Strade Bianche in 2011, will be one of the BMC Racing Team's starters in Roma Maxima. "I chose this race because in Strade Bianche, we already have a lot of leaders," Gilbert said. "I have never done it, so it will be a good experience for me. But my form is good, so I will be looking to get the best result I can." Sport Director Fabio Baldato, who will direct Sunday's 195-km race, said Gilbert is part of a strong overall line-up. "Our leaders for sure will be Gilbert and Sánchez," Baldato said. "But others – like Darwin Atapuma, Yannick Eijssen, Ben Hermans, Dominik Nerz, Manuel Quinziato and Larry Warbasse – will be ready for attacks on the climbs." Atapuma said he is ready for his first race since the Tour de San Luis in January. "In Argentina, I was able to do very good work and now I am reaping the benefits of it," he said. "In the next two races – my first ones in Europe with the BMC Racing Team – I want to reach a goal to stay close to the team leaders and help them to get good results."
Thanks to BMC.

BMC Racing Team Strade Bianche Roster (March 8):
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Steve Morabito (SUI), Dominik Nerz (GER), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Michael Schär (SUI), Larry Warbasse (USA).

BMC Racing Team Roma Maxima Roster (March 9):
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Dominik Nerz (GER), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Larry Warbasse (USA).
Sport Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA) & Valerio Piva (ITA).

Team Colombia for Camaiore, Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima
Press Release: Three different races expect Team Colombia in Italy later this week, and the line-up directed by Sports Director Oscar Pellicioli looks ahead with confidence, coming off a good stretch of condition and results.

A former classic summer race, GP Camaiore (Thursday March 6th) has moved in the early season from last year, and recalls some good memories for the Escarabajos: here in 2012, Esteban Chaves took his second pro win with a brilliant reduced sprint effort in a Colombia Coldeportes kit.

In spite of its recent inception in the pro circuit, Strade Bianche (Saturday March 8th) – a race by RCS Sport, the same organizing company of Giro d’Italia - has quickly become one of the most iconic races in the sport, with the unmistakable Tuscany’s “sterrati” (dirt roads) bringing a unique vintage touch among the enchanting hills in the Siena’s area.

Finally, Roma Maxima (Sunday March 9th), former Giro del Lazio, got back to the pro calendar last year, and features a charming finish on the Fori Imperiali in downtown Rome. Last year, Leonardo Duque managed to finish sixth in the chasing group’s sprint.

Pellicioli will field the same 7-man line-up that came back from Lugano with a solid performance and a 7th place (with Pantano) in the bag. Team European “veterans” Fabio Duarte, Jarlinson Pantano and Miguel Angel Rubiano will be joined in Central Italy by Rodolfo Torres, Edward Diaz, Darwin Pantoja and Jonathan Paredes.

“Camaiore is a race suited for punchy climbers with some pop in the sprint – Sports Director Oscar Pellicioli said – so we expect Miguel Angel Rubiano and Fabio Duarte to be in contention, along with Pantano, while also a rider like Darwin Pantoja could give a good contribution, as his condition is improving day by day.”

“Jarlinson Pantano got in love with Strade Bianche in 2012, when he finished 12th, and is looking forward to be back, and a former biker like Rodolfo Torres could also have a good feeling for it, given his experience on dirt.”

“Finally, Rubiano could have a good shot in Roma, as the race could come down to a reduced sprint on the Fori Imperiali. Nevertheless, just like last year, long-way breaks must be handled with much care, and we expect a significant contribution by Edward Diaz and Jonathan Paredes,” Pellicioli concluded.

GP Camaiore – Strade Bianche – Roma Maxima.
Line-up: Edward Diaz, Fabio Duarte, Jarlinson Pantano, Darwin Pantoja, Jonathan Paredes, Miguel Angel Rubiano, Rodolfo Torres.
Sports Director: Oscar Pellicioli.

RusVelo to GP Città di Camaiore
Press Release: As a part of the extensive program of participation in one-day races RusVelo team goes to Tuscany to contest the GP di Camaiore. The race got the status of a professional event in 1966 and since then enjoyed the reputation of a very hard test of versatility where only real classic specialists like Paolo Bettini, Michele Bartoli or Peter Sagan can win. After two 12-km long laps on the flat around the elite sea resort of Forte dei Marmi the race touches the nearby mountains, going up the 3km-long Monte Pitore, a steep climb with an average gradient of more than 7% five times.

The RusVelo’s line-up for this ultimate test is: Ivan Balykin, Sergey Klimov, Sergey Firsanov, Artem Ovechkin, Sergey Pomoshnikov, Gennady Tatarinov and Ilnur Zakarin. Sports directirs for the race are Sergey Honchar and Alexander Efimkin.

Three Italian Races for Team Lampre-Merida
On Thursday 6th March, Lampre-Merida will take part in the GP Camaiore, the first of three Italian appointments. After that race, blue-fuchsia-green team will face the Strade Bianche (Saturday 8th March) and Roma Maxima (Sunday 9th March).

These are the selected riders for each race:
GP Camaiore (186 km, 6 times the climb of Mount Pitoro): Anacona, Cunego, Durasek, Mori, Niemiec, Polanc, Ulissi and Wackermann.
Sport director: Bruno Vicino.
Seasonal European debut for Anacona, who'll join the group of the best climbers of the team: Ulissi, Cunego, Durasek, Niemiec.
Freedom of attack for Polanc and Wackermann.

Strade Bianche (200 km from San Gimignano to Siena, 10 dirty roads sectors):
Bonifazio, Cimolai, Cunego, Dodi, Mori, Palini, Pozzato and Ulissi.
Sport director: Bruno Vicino.
Cunego and Ulissi could be very competitive on the tough hills of the course. In addition, Pozzato will test his fitness on the dirty roads sectors.

Roma Maxima (195 km, start and arrival in Rome, with the climbs of Rocca Massima, Colle Callaccio, Rocca Priora and Campi di Annibale): Anacona, Bonifazio, Cimolai, Dodi, Modolo, Palini, Richeze and Pozzato.
Pozzato will try to do better than in 2013, when he obtained an unusual second place, but in Team Lampre-Merida there will be many fast riders such Modolo, Bonifazio, Cimolai, Palini and Richeze.

Strade Bianche 2012:

OPQS Ready for the Next Races
Driedaagse West-Vlaanderen, Strade Bianche, Paris-Nice

Press Release:
Quick-Step Cycling Team will be busy this weekend with races in three different countries: Belgium, Italy, and France.

The first race is the Belgian race Driedaagse West-Vlaanderen, from March 7th until March 9th. OPQS has a good tradition at this race, with both stage and overall winners in the past. An OPQS rider won the overall in both 2012 and 2013, and also had a rider in 3rd overall for the 2013 edition.

"We have once again a good team, the same as the one that was a protagonist at Le Samyn," Sport Director Rik Van Slycke said. "They are guys who can do well on these Belgian parcours, who are happy to ride there and go for a good result."

On Saturday, there will be racing in Italy at Strade Bianche. The 197km race is becoming an important appointment on the race schedule, with teams on the start list from five different continents. It is far from easy, as the race includes 50km of gravel roads broken into 10 segments, including some with five star difficulty.

"This is a race that is becoming more and more important in the world of cycling," Sport Director Davide Bramati said. "It's become a kind of Italian Classic. As for OPQS, we are returning after some years of not participating in the race. The parcours has changed, so tomorrow we will recon the last 50km of the race with our guys. We want to have a look and be prepared for the race on Saturday. It's a very professional race and we have also good riders for this kind of difficult course. Michal Kwiatkowski, Michal Golas, and Matteo Trentin are riders that are used to difficult roads and can be present to try and do well."

Finally, Sunday is the start of Paris-Nice, The 72nd edition, from March 9th until March 16th, is the first European UCI WorldTour race of the season.

"This year's route doesn't present a time trial, so it will probably be a more open race," Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. "There will be at the beginning a few stages suited for sprinters and riders who can defend themselves on the small climbs. We can count on Tom Boonen and Gianni Meersman for these kinds of races. Going into the weekend, from Friday into Saturday, it will be more difficult. Stage six is a long stage of 221.5km, and in the final there is the 8.2 kilometer, Category 1 Col de Bourigaille to ascend at kilometer 202.5, followed by the finishing Category 2 climb on Fayence . Even the seventh stage, with several categorized climbs from kilometer 49 to kilometer 131 out of 195.5 kilometers, will be very nervous. We will end the race with a really short 128 kilometer stage, but it is one which includes the Category 1 Col d'Eze late in the race as it is tradition. We will see what we can do. Our goal is to try and win a stage and try to get a good classification with riders like Jan Bakelants and Zdenek Stybar, to try and get a few WorldTour points."

07.03–09.03 Driedaagse West-Vlaanderen (BEL) 2.1
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Thomas De Gendt (BEL), Andrew Fenn (GBR), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Petr Vakoc (CZE), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Martin Velits (SVK), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director Rik van Slycke (BEL).

08.03 Strade Bianche (ITA) 1.1
Riders Mark Cavendish (GBR), Michal Golas (POL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Alessandro Petacchi (ITA), Wout Poels (NED), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Rigoberto Uran Uran (COL).
Sports Director Davide Bramati (ITA).

09.03–16.03 Paris - Nice (FRA) WT
Jan Bakelants (BEL), Tom Boonen (BEL), Nikolas Maes (BEL), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Gert Steegmans (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Niki Terpstra (NED), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL).
Sports Director Wilfried Peeters (BEL) & Jan Schaffrath (GER).

Belkin for Paris-Nice
Press Release: The Belkin Pro Cycling Team will travel to France for Paris-Nice this week full of confidence. In the Race to the Sun, Sports Director Merijn Zeeman wants to continue the good run the team displayed in the opening classics weekend.

“The Omloop and Kuurne were a very pleasant confirmation for us,” said Zeeman. “First of all, it was good to see that the men are in a top condition. And besides that, last weekend was the first time this season that we really wanted to be at our best. We worked hard to make the riders into a real team and it was great to see that the men fought the battle together. I really enjoyed it.”

Paris-Nice is the first European WorldTour race of the year so Zeeman knows that many other teams highlighted the race. “But if we ride as a team, then I’m sure that our current form allows us to get in the mix for a good GC and stage victories.”

The Belkin Pro Cycling Team will start the race with those goals on March 9 in Mantes-la -Jolie. “Paris-Nice is a versatile race,” explained Zeeman. “We’ll see nervous finals, dangerous downhills, strong winds and demanding climbs. For talents as Moreno Hofland and Wilco Kelderman, it will be a good learning experience. We’ll give them the opportunity to go for their chances, but we’re not going to put pressure on them. As a team we’re going to help Moreno and Wilco. They will have supportive roles; on the other hand they’ll get their chances.”

Wilco Kelderman sat in front of his television this weekend and enjoyed the performance of his team-mates in the Omloop and Kuurne. He’s eager to return to racing. “It was really nice what they did. I hope to be good in Paris-Nice as well. I’m aiming for a top ten spot in the overall. We’ll have a strong team at the start and hopefully we can take a stage victory as well. Last weekend confirmed what we already knew: if you race like a team, it will bring you results.”

Belkin Paris-Nice line-up:
Jetse Bol, Lars Boom, Jos van Emden, Jonathan Hivert, Moreno Hofland, Wilco Kelderman, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Maarten Wynants.
Sports Directors: Jan Boven and Merijn Zeeman

Team Katusha for Paris-Nice
Katusha Team will be represented by Sergei Chernetckii, Vladimir Isaychev, Alexander Kristoff, Egor Silin, Simon Špilak, Alexey Tsatevich, Iurii Trofimov and Aliaksandr Kuchynski, who was initially scheduled for the two Italian one-day races Strade Bianche and Roma Maxima. In Italy Kuchynski will be replaced by Dmitriy Kozonchuk.

The Paris-Nice squad will be directed by Dmitry Konyshev and Uwe Peschel.

Europcar to Paris-Nice
The French stage race runs from the 9th to the 16th of March and is usually a good sign of who has the form for the Ardennes Classics and even the possible strong riders for the Tour de France.

Europcar roster for Paris-Nice:
Giovanni Bernaudeau, Bryan Coquard, Jérome Cousin, Jimmy Engoulvent, Cyril Gautier, Brian Nauleau, Perrig Quemeneur, Thomas Voeckler.
Directeur Sportifs-Manager: Jean-René Bernaudeau, Andy Flickinger & Ismaël Mottier.

Other Confirmed Teams for Paris-Nice 2014:
Ag2r-La Mondiale: Romain Bardet, Carlos Betancur, Maxime Bouet, Mikael Cherel, Samuel Dumoulin, Sébastien Minard, Sébastien Turgot & Alexis Vuillermoz.

Bretagne-Séché Enviroment: Anthony Delaplace, Brice Feillu, Romain Feillu, Christophe Laborie, Florian Guillou, Armindo Fonseca, Eduardo Sepúlveda, Florian Vachon.

Cofidis: Jerome Coppel, Julien Fouchard, Egoitz García, Cyril Lemoine, Luis Ángel Maté, Adriet Petit, Julien Simon & Romain Zingle. Nacer Bouhanni, Sébastien Chavanel, Anthony Geslin, Arnold Jeanesson, Cédric Pineau, Geoffrey Soupe, Benoit Vaugrenard & Arhur Vichot

Movistar Team: Imanol Erviti, Iván Gutiérrez, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, José Joaquín Rojas, John Gadret, Jesús Herrada & Sylwester Szmyd.

Orica-GreenEdge: Simon Gerrans, Matthew Goss, Michael Albasini, Michael Mathews, Jens Keukeleire, Mathew Hayman, Mitchell Docker & Simon Yates.

IAM Cycling: Sylvain Chavanel, Stefan Denifl, Mathias Frank, Sébastien Hinault, Kevyn Ista, Jérôme Pineau, Sébastien Reichenbach & Aleksejs Saramotins.

Sky: Richie Porte, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, David López, Gabriel Rasch, Geraint Thomas & Xavier Zandio

Team Giant-Shimano: Bert de Backer, Koen de Kort, John Degenkolb, Dries Devenyns, Thierry Hupond, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Ramon Sinkeldam & Albert Timmer.

Trek Factory Racing: Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Bob Jungels, Danilo Hondo, Fabio Felline, Fumiyuki Beppu, Gregory Rast & Laurent Didier.

2014 Paris-Nice route:

Lotto Belisol to The Three Days of West-Flanders
The Three Days of West-Flanders (March 7th until March 9th) starts with a prologue of seven kilometres in Middelkerke. The second stage, which starts in Bruges and heads to Harelbeke, is about 182,9km long. The 185,9km final stage starts in Nieuwpoort and brings the riders to the traditional finish town Ichtegem. Among the favourites for GC are last year's winner Kristof Vandewalle, Stijn Devolder and Julien Vermote. Lotto Belisol focuses on a stage win with fast riders like Dehaes and Van der Sande.

Jean-Pierre Heynderickx, sports director: "The prologue of the Three Days of West-Flanders will be crucial. If the team rides a decent prologue, we can climb up the GC in the following stages by picking up some bonifications. Our main goal for the race is to have a good GC and strive for a stage win. With Kristof Vandewalle and Stijn Devolder the Trek team has two shoo-ins for the overall."

Lotto Belisol Three Days of West-Flanders:
Vegard Breen, Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Kenny Dehaes, Gert Dockx, Greg Henderson, Boris Vallée, Tosh Van der Sande and Jonas Van Genechten. (Final selection after Le Samyn).
Sports directors: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx and Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Stages Three Days of West-Flanders:
Prologue: Friday 7th of March: Middelkerke (7km)
Stage 1: Saturday 8th of March: Brugge - Harelbeke (182.9km)
Stage 2: Sunday 9th of March: Nieuwpoort - Ichtegem (185.9km).

BMC: Prologue Key To Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen
Press Release: How the BMC Racing performs overall at Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen could well hinge on the outcome of Friday's prologue, Sport Director Jackson Stewart said.

Lodewyck Knows Courses Well
The three-day race begins with a seven-kilometre race against the clock on a looping, out-and-back course. "I think we bring a strong team that is looking to come out of the time trial in a competitive position for the GC (general classification)," Stewart said. "I would expect Martin Kohler to have a good performance with his time trial capabilities. I am also very interested in seeing how Silvan Dillier and Rick Zabel perform in the prologue." Marcus Burghardt, Sebastian Lander, Klaas Lodewyck and Danilo Wyss round out the BMC Racing Team's seven-rider roster. Being from the area, Lodewyck knows the courses for the prologue and Saturday and Sunday's road stages well. "I hope to make a good result one of the days," Lodewyck said. "The prologue always makes the GC here, but in the last day – with the open roads – other selections can be made."

BMC Racing Team Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen Roster (March 7-9):
Marcus Burghardt (GER), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI), Rick Zabel (GER).
Sporting Manager: Allan Peiper (AUS). Sport Director: Jackson Stewart (USA).

3-daagse West-Vlaanderen 2014 Trailer:

Pavel Kochetkov Suffers from Broken Collarbone
Team Katusha’s Pavel Kochetkov suffers from a broken collarbone after a crash in the 7th stage of Le Tour de Langkawi (230,1 km from Kota Tinggi to Pekan). The crash was caused by the airflow of a low-flying helicopter. Immediately after the crash Kochetkov, together with team doctor Alexander Yablunovskiy, was brought to the hospital in Kuatan, where the fracture of the clavicle was diagnosed.

Kochetkov and the medical staff will decide soon on time and place for a surgical intervention.

Giro d’Italia: Barbaresco-Barolo Individual Time Trial Route Change
The route of the Giro 2014 stage 12 individual time trial, Barbaresco-Barolo, has been updated from that outlined in the Presentation of the Corsa Rosa unveiled last October.

The changes are to the distance of the course – now 41.9km, 4.5km less than previously outlined – and the inclusion of the climb of the Boscasso in the first half of the stage, on top of which is the first time control.

This new race route will make the most of the beautiful Piemonte Langhe region.

Race Route: Barbaresco-Barolo, 41.9km:
The individual time trial is set against the very challenging backdrop of vineyards in the area of Alba.

From the start at Barbaresco it’s slightly uphill, climbing, including bends, for about 12km until the GPM 4th category Boscasso (first time check). Next there’s a very fast downhill section, technically demanding in the first part up to Manera, and thereafter made up from long, straight, gentle slopes which lend themselves to high speed. The section from Alba (second time check) starts with perfectly flat and straight roads until the second ascent of Castiglione Falletto (its initial short stretches have a huge slope) where a short, technical descent leads to the last short climb before arrival in Barolo. The entire route, with the exception of the Alba section, winds its way through the stunning vineyard landscapes.

The new profile:

Cav’s Classics
Now that we know which races Mark Cavendish will be riding this spring it gives us another reason to look forward to the action. Maybe another big Classics win, let’s hope he can stay on his feet!

Cav at the Scheldeprijs:


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