PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : EuroTrash Tour Build-Up!

EuroTrash Tour Build-Up!
The Tour du Suisse is at full speed, the Ster ZLM Toer has started and we have the Route du Sud at the weekend. It’s all go as the teams rev up for the Tour de France and they have started signing riders for next year (allegedly). Race reports, results, video, cycling news; all here in EuroTrash Thursday!

TOP STORY: The Rumour Mill is on Overdrive!
The Tour de France starts in just over 17 days and the official date for teams to sign contracts with new riders for 2015 is not until after the 1st of August, but as usual the rumours are coming thick and fast. There has been a lot of talk about a young American who recently won an important race in France and his move to a British based team at the end of the year. This could make sense as a British Tour winner on that team is said to be moving on, due to not being picked for this years Tour. Originally his move was said to be to an Australian team, his father was Australian, so why not? Well, one reason might be that the only Australian Tour winner is said to be leaving his Swiss team to lead his ‘home’ team. The most recent whisper is that the tall Olympic time trial champion will return to his last team, which is said to be swapping the order of its sponsors, the Osaka based electronics manufacturer becoming the main sponsor.

The destination of Peter Sagan is still not public, but where ever he goes the Norwegian ex-World champion is said to be going with him. Alberto Contador is planning on a Giro-Tour double next year and wants an aging Italian double Giro winner who rides for Cannondale at his side. Astana are going to pay young Fabio Aru more money to stay on and repeat his Giro form and they also want to sign two young riders from Giant-Shimano; Warren Barguil and Luka Mezgec. Filippo Pozzato and Davide Malacarne also look to be on the move, the destinations are unknown but according to their personal managers there have been loads of offers.

Then there is also Team Alonso, but just about every rider on the WorldTour has been linked to it now. So those are the hot rumours, maybe true, maybe false…wait and see! One thing is for sure; there won't be a Belkin team next year, read the full story below.
Thanks to Michele for some inside info.

Where will Sagan be in 2015?

Tour de Suisse 2014
Stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse went to Cannondale’s Peter Sagan as he out-sprinted what was left of the bunch on the uphill finish to Heiden after 203 kilometres. Sagan in his points leaders jersey held off Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Sergio Henao (Sky) with all the other top riders in the group, including overall leader; Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) who held onto his 6 second lead from Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) and Sagan at 14 seconds in third.

Martin Kohler (BMC) and Steven Kruijswijk (Belkin) made the early break of the day and had a maximum lead of 4 minutes with 90 kilometres to go, but OPQS chased them down and they were caught in the last 60 kilometres. Next to go was Nino Schurter (Orica-GrenEDGE), Laurent Didier (Trek), Danilo Wyss (BMC) and Bjorn Thurau (Europcar), they were joined by Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Belisol) and Valerio Agnoli (Astana), but they were never given much space. Van Der Sande jumped away 15 K’s out and held the bunch off until 7 kilometres to go, OPQS pulled him back and the scene was set for the sprint which was ignited by Cadel Evans (BMC), but he was passed by the other three and Bauke Mollema (Belkin).

Stage winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) said in the press conference: "It was a hard stage and the finale was really unpredictable. There were many possible winners in the leading group but not many chances. When I saw Henao and then Evans attacking, I decided to stay near the front and to wait. I thought the two last corners would be the key moments of the sprint if we were all together. On the last one, Albasini was the fastest, taking the perfect trajectory. The only option I had was to take the outside line and to open the gas on the final straight. Everything went perfect."

"After the first stage result I was pretty happy, because time trial is not my kind of race," he added. "On Sunday I was a little disappointed because it was a good chance and I wasn't able to take it. Anyway, I felt good and I wanted to try again. I want to thank my teammates for the support they gave me. It's never easy to manage a stage like this. I'm really happy I took this success for the team and for myself. The Tour de Suisse is an important test for me. Having a good feeling and taking victory, it's a big boost of confidence."

Bradley Wiggins (Sky) finished in a disappointing 74th position, 2:25 down on Sagan and Frank Schleck (Trek) abandoned due to the concussion he received in his stage 2 crash.

Tour de Suisse Stage 3 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 5:22:09
2. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE
3. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
6. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
7. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra)
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step in 10:44:34
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:06
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 0:14
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:17
5. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:23
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:27
7. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:28
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:29
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Stage 3:

Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) timed his sprint to perfection on a hard fought, long distance sprint in the 160km sprint finalé of Stage 4 on Tuesday.

OPQS worked on the front all day to chase down the breakaway of Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) and Laurens De Vreese (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and then from 10 kilometres to go they escorted Cavendish to the front into the last kilometre of the race. Several top sprinters were in good position for the sprint, but it was Cavendish who knew the right moment to launch himself. He passed his competitors who went early on an uphill sprint into the wind, utilizing a second kick that no other rider could match. Juan Jose Lobato (Movistar) was 2nd, and Peter Sagan (Cannondale) 3rd.

"It was a headwind finish, and very chaotic in the peloton," Cavendish said. "A lot of teams were trying to get it right. My team worked really hard to chase down the breakaway and stay in the front the entire day to protect me, they were really committed. Then, I followed Mark Renshaw in the final and Mark was incredible. He led me through the peloton, and put me in the position to lead it out. It was a headwind and uphill finish, so it was really about timing your sprint perfectly. I knew I had to go between 200 meters and 150 meters to go. So, I waited, and even though the others jumped before I still went at the right time. I was able to hold on until the finish. My main competitors of the Tour de France aren't here with the exception of Sagan, who will go for the green jersey but maybe isn't a pure sprinter. But still, a win like this gives me confidence. I also have to thank my teammates today for taking care of me and then guiding me to the front at the right moment in the end. I'm proud of the guys and am happy to finish off their effort. We also kept the jersey with Tony so it’s a perfect day for the team.”

After his injury to the ribs that he had suffered during Paris-Roubaix, Lampre-Merida’s Sacha Modolo has come back with 4th place, just behind the winner Cavendish: "The sprint had begun at 500 metres, where I fought against Sagan in order to approach the final bend in the best position. I could enter the final straight just behind Cavendish and when Mark started his action early, I could follow him. I battled for many metres, but in the end I had to surrender when he raised his speed once again. I'm satisfied with the 4th place: it was my first sprint after two months and my leg was bruised because of yesterday’s crash. Anyway, I could rely on good fitness and on two great team mates in Palini and Richeze."

Tests in Herentals hospital showed that Lotto Belisol’s Maxime Monfort, who crashed in the stage 2, has a heavy bruise of the acromion. The acromion is a prominence of the shoulder to which the collarbone is attached. Kinesiotape was attached to the right shoulder of Maxime. He now has to rest a few days. It's expected that he will be able to train on the rollers at the end of this week at the earliest. The chance that he will be able to take part in the Belgian Championship on Sunday 29th of June is fifty-fifty, depending on how the injury heals.

Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) was forced to leave the Tour de Suisse today after a crash. The Limburger has a bruised left knee and left elbow.

There were no changes in the overall classification with all the top riders crossing the finish line within 4 seconds of the winner.

Tour de Suisse Stage 4 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step in 3:35:03
2. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
6. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek
7. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Davide Appollonio (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
10. Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step in 14:19:41
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:06
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 0:10
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:17
5. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:23
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:27
7. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:28
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:29
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Stage 4:

Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team put all riders on the front, including race leader Tony Martin, in full support of sprinter Mark Cavendish in hopes he could earn a second straight sprint victory at the 183.6km Stage 5 of Tour de Suisse on Wednesday.

Other teams were doing their best to try and get in front of OPQS, but Cavendish was still 3rd wheel going into the final kilometer thanks to excellent work by the team. However, Cavendish drifted back as the battle for final sprint position became hectic prior to a very technical final few hundred meters.

Despite Cavendish's efforts to keep himself safe and upright in anticipation of the final sprint, Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEDGE) went down on a sharp turn before the finish. Cavendish was directly behind him and had nowhere to go but over the top of the fallen rider. The crash caused more chaos, and only a few riders could contest the sprint in front. Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) won the stage, with Peter Sagan (Cannondale) 2nd and John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) in 3rd.

Fortunately, the crash involving the British Champion appears to be without major consequences. He has some superficial skin abrasions and a bump on his head, but should be at the start of Stage 6.

"I should be OK, which is a good thing considering it could have been much worse given the nature of the crash," Mark Cavendish said. "We'll see what happens tonight, but I should be there at the start. As for the crash, I can't really say how it happened from my point of view. All I know is the guys did a really good job. They kept me there, especially Mark Renshaw, in the final. It was perfect. So we went into the last kilometer with good position. But there was chaos on both sides going into the end. It was a bit of a dangerous finish. I backed off Mark's wheel a bit because I wanted to avoid a crash in the last corner. I knew a few guys would overshoot it so I stayed back a bit hoping I would miss a crash. Unfortunately I was still behind the crash of a complicated final. There wasn't much I could do to avoid it as far as I know. But at the end of the day, it's never good to hit the ground, but I am not as bad off as I could have been considering. So, we'll see day-by-day how I feel. I will try to recover as best as possible and be ready for tomorrow."

Stage winner Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida): "When the finish is on a slight rise like that, I know it suits me really well. I knew that I had to be first through the last corner and that I had to beat Sagan. I was on his wheel and then moved past him. He tried to force me wide as is to be expected but I felt good and got past him. This is an important win in my career. I haven't raced for two months due to an injury so it's great to win now and go to the Tour de France knowing that I can beat certain riders."

Earlier in the stage Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Polsat) and Sander Armée (Lotto Belisol) made the break of the day and built up a lead of nearly 5 minutes with 100 kilometres to go. As expected Omega Pharma – Quick-Step did most of the work to pull them back with some help from Katusha and at the end; Giant-Shimano. They were caught with 10 kilometres remaining and then the craziness began on the run-in.

Tony Martin keeps the yellow jersey for yet another day, having moved to the front to help establish the leadout inside the final few kilometers.

Sky’s Bradley Wiggins did not start stage 5 due to his stage 4 crash. The team say he has swelling on his right knee and thigh.

Tour de Suisse Stage 5 Result:
1. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:08:06
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
6. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek
7. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
9. Nino Schurter (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE
10. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 5:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step in 18:27:47
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:06
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale at 0:10
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 0:17
5. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:23
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:27
7. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:28
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:29
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Stage 5:

Ster ZLM Toer-GP Jan van Heeswijk 2014
Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team was one second faster than four other riders and achieved a personal milestone on the way to winning Wednesday's Prologue at the Ster ZLM Toer.

It was Gilbert's first victory in a prologue in his professional career that began in 2003. It also marked his first win in an individual time trial since capturing the Belgian national time trial crown in 2011. "It was a special day," Gilbert said. "I had to really keep my focus because there were so many distractions." Twice the race had to be stopped: first after a home on the route caught fire and later after Kenneth Vanbilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen) hit a spectator who was crossing the street. "For the prologue you have to eat at the right moment and warm-up at the right moment," Gilbert said. "So it was hard for me to stay focused. But I think I was going really fast at the beginning and was able to hold on to the finish. It was really close." It was Gilbert's third victory of the season, adding to back-to-back wins at Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl in a four-day span in April. He also won the points classification of the Baloise Tour of Belgium earlier this month while finishing fourth overall and was king of the mountains at the Tour de Picardie last month.

Gilbert averaged 48.743 kilometers an hour on his BMC timemachine TM01 along the 7.2-km course. His winning time of 8:37.72 was .45 seconds better than runner-up Dylan van Baarle (Garmin-Sharp), .72 seconds faster than Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano), .90 seconds faster than Steven Lammertink (Cyclingteam Jo Piels) and 1.13 seconds faster than Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano). BMC Racing Team Sport Director Valerio Piva said he was impressed with how well Gilbert kept his composure. "He was very motivated to do a good result and, in the end, that was the difference," Piva said. "Plus, it was not easy to beat riders like Kittel and other specialists of the time trial." Twice a winner of this race, Gilbert said holding onto the overall lead is not essential – but staying close is important. He won by two seconds over Niki Terpstra in 2009 and by three seconds – over Terpstra again – in 2011. "It is always close," Gilbert said. "I know every second counts at this race. I am really happy to be leading, but it is not a big objective to keep the jersey. But I really need to have it after we have the Ardennes stage on Saturday."
Thanks to Sean at BMC for the race report.

Ster ZLM Toer Prologue Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 8:37.720
2. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:00:00.450
3. Albert Timmer (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:00:00.720
4. Steven Lammertink (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels at 0:00:00.900
5. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 0:00:01.130
6. Brian van Goethem (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam at 0:00:02.470
7. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step at 0:00:02.720
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin at 0:00:03.550
9. Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin at 0:00:03.590
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:00:03.730.

Ster ZLM Toer Overall After The Prologue:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 8:37
2. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:01
3. Albert Timmer (Ned) Giant-Shimano
4. Steven Lammertink (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels
5. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano
6. Brian van Goethem (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam at 0:03
7. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
8. Jos Van Emden (Ned) Belkin at 0:04
9. Rick Flens (Ned) Belkin
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol.

BMC's Philippe Gilbert:

No Belkin in 2014
By the end of 2014 Belkin will exit as the title sponsor of the team. The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will start an immediate search for a new title sponsor. The Team is disappointed by the exit, since it got a lot of positive feedback on the sponsorship.

Belkin entered into cycling last year with the aim to increase brand awareness and subsequently sales. While initial brand awareness results increased for the Belkin brand throughout Europe, the company strategy has changed to be more globally focused for all of the Belkin International brands: Belkin, WeMo and Linksys.

Full confidence
"It is unfortunate that this new collaboration is not going to be extended. With the motto #ridethefuture we have generated a lot of goodwill the past year, in an environment that is still critically observed. Our innovative method and forward-looking TEAM philosophy has brought the sport back where it belongs, with fans and stakeholders. Our performance, battle mode, transparency and accessibility have not gone unnoticed by the public and industry. We will now start an intensive search for a new sponsor to be able to continue the journey that we started. We have full confidence in the future and expect to appear with a new sponsor on the shirt at the start of the 2015 season. We are a Dutch procycling team with an international image and World Tour status, therefore we expect to find a new title sponsor. We were already in conversation with additional sponsors and still have sponsorship opportunities open for the upcoming Tour de France," said Richard Plugge, Managing Director of the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM.

Mike Duin of Belkin International said: “By the end of 2014 Belkin will exit Pro Cycling as the title sponsor of the Belkin Pro Cycling Team. Belkin entered into cycling last year with the aim to increase brand awareness and subsequently sales revenue. While initial brand awareness results increased for the Belkin brand throughout Europe, the company strategy is to be more globally focused for all of the Belkin International brands: Belkin, WeMo and Linksys.

Going forward Belkin International will focus its marketing investment and resources into exciting areas of innovation and leadership such as the Internet of Things, Networking and Digital ecosystem categories. Belkin would like to thank and pay tribute to the cycling community for the warm welcome and the support that has been extended to our brand over the last 12 months. Belkin will always have the highest of regards for the Team and will actively support them throughout the remainder of the season in their search for a new sponsor.”

Back to Blanco?

Tour de France 2014 News:

OPQS Announces 13 Riders for Tour de France Shortlist
OPQS announces the 13 riders who are still in the hunt for the nine spots available to race the Tour de France:
Jan Bakelants (Belgium), Tom Boonen (Belgium)*, Mark Cavendish (Great Britain), Thomas De Gendt (Belgium), Michal Golas (Poland), Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland), Tony Martin (Germany), Alessandro Petacchi (Italy), Mark Renshaw (Australia), Gert Steegmans (Belgium), Niki Terpstra (Nederlands), Matteo Trentin (Italy), Martin Velits (Slovakia).

“We will announce the nine names of the riders who are selected for the Tour only on Monday after Tour de Suisse,” Sport and Development Manager Rolf Aldag said. “We want to see how things will be there first, and be sure everybody is healthy and ready for the competition. All 13 names are important. Those guys showed to the team great commitment whether they will be in the final selection of 9 or not. They are all ready and fit for the race. We appreciate the availability also of a guy like Tom Boonen. He’s the only one who knows already he will be one of the reserves. He shows again that he is a great professional and he really cares about this team. We know we can count on him if we need him at the very last moment. For the rest, everybody knows our main objectives will be the stage wins with Cavendish and a new experience in the Tour with Kwiatkowski to make another improvement, a new step in his career. We will build our team around those two guys to be a competitive and strong team in order to try and reach our goals.”

Movistar Team Names Tour Preselection
13-rider shortlist to determine telephone squad's nine men for Grande Boucle; Alejandro Valverde set to lead roster on French soil.

The Movistar Team's general manager Eusebio Unzué has named thirteen riders for his 101st Tour de France shortlist, nine of them to be present at the Grand Départ in Leeds on July 5. Alejandro Valverde will be the designated leader of the telephone squad in the French grandtour, with eight of the following twelve joining him: Alex Dowsett (GBR), Imanol Erviti, John Gadret (FRA), Iván Gutiérrez, Jesús Herrada, Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre, Juanjo Lobato, Rubén Plaza, José Joaquín Rojas, Sylwester Szmyd (POL) and Giovanni Visconti (ITA).

The definitive squad will be unveiled after the upcoming competitions for the Blues: the Tour de Suisse -coming to an end on Sunday-; the Route du Sud, which starts on Friday -with Intxausti eventually replacing Visconti, alongside Valverde, Castroviejo, Gutierrez, Jesús Herrada, Malori, Sütterlin and Szmyd– and the national road race and time trial championships across Europe next week.


Giant-Shimano: Tour de France Long-List Announced
Team Giant-Shimano head to this year's Tour de France following a hugely successful 2013 edition, and once again with the goal of a stage win and the development of its riders over the 21 days of racing.

This year's Tour presents several sprint opportunities and Team Giant-Shimano have worked towards developing a sprint formation that is capable of propelling more than one sprinter to the line. This year's race should present the team with opportunities for more than one rider to contest for stage victories.

Two riders who will definitely be on the start line in Yorkshire (UK) this July are Marcel Kittel (GER) and John Degenkolb (GER). Both riders were part of the reconnaissance of the Yorkshire stages earlier this season and will play a key role in the team's targets this Tour.

"The goal for both the team and I is the same, to win a stage and go from there," said Kittel when at high-altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada. "Winning a stage is already a big goal and just because of the success we had last year doesn't mean it will come easily.

"Coming into this race with two sprinters gives us options in the fast sprints as well as the power sprints. I am very excited to get the Tour started now."

Degenkolb added: "We will come into this race in the best possible shape with a team selected to achieve our goals, together with the coaches in the team we worked on the best preparation possible."

The team's young talent, Warren Barguil (FRA), does not form a part of the Tour de France plans this season. According to Team Giant-Shimano’s Performance team Warren Barguil has the potential - with his specific talents – to develop into a real general classification contender for the Grand Tours in a few years.

General manager, Iwan Spekenbrink (NED), comments: "With Warren we have designed a path to help him develop in the best possible way to become a rider who will be ready to compete for the general classification. Our coaches and experts put a lot of effort, innovation and specific training to optimise his development in that direction.

"It’s that process and the long term plan which counts. Fine-tuned teamwork is also key when competing for the GC and so the same goes for a group of other young and talented riders whom we will support to grow together with Warren so that they can compete as a united team in Grand Tours over the coming years.” Warren Barguil’s next objective is La Vuelta a España.

Team Giant-Shimano Tour de France long-list:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Roy Curvers (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), John Degenkolb (GER), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Marcel Kittel (GER), Koen De Kort (NED), Albert Timmer (NED), Tom Veelers (NED).

Lotto Belisol has Launched a New Tour de France Action this Year
During the Tour 999 selfies of Lotto Belisol fans will be placed on the team bus. To become one of those faces, there are three steps to take: follow @lotto_belisol on Instagram, put your selfie on Instagram and tag #lotto_belisol! The action takes place until Saturday 21st of June.

Ag2r-La Mondiale Announce 8 Tour Riders
With one place still open, the French Ag2r-La Mondiale team have named eight of the nine riders who will be in Yorkshire for this year’s Tour de France. Romain Bardet, Jean-Christophe Péraud, Christophe Riblon, Samuel Dumoulin, Blel Kadri, Sébastian Minardare and Mikael Cherel are all French, Tour virgin Ben Gastauer from Luxemboug is the only ‘foreigner’ so far on the list. It’s unlikely that the teams Colombian Carlos Betancur will be picked as he did not turn up at the Tour de Suisse at the weekend. The final place will be decided after all the National championships the weekend before the tour start on July the 5th.

Seven Riders for Bretagne-Séché
The French ‘Wild Card’ team has announced seven of its Tour nine, they are: Bruce Feillu, Jean Marc Bideau, Eduardo Sepulveda, Armindo Fonseca, Florian Vachon, Anthony Delaplace and Arnaud Gerard. The full team will be named after the Route du Sud and the National championships.

The Tour '14:

Route du Sud 2014
This French UCI 2.1 stage race starts tomorrow (Friday) the 20th of June to Sunday the 22nd. Three tough stages in the Hautes-Pyrenees with lots of climbing. Stage 1 finishes up the Payolle at 1,106 meters at the end of 171 kilometres. Stage 2 (178 km) to the summit finish on Val Louron crosses the Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aspin. Stage 3 is 179 kilometres of up and down, no big climbs, but very tough.

Teams and Top Riders:
Ag2r-La Mondiale (Dumoulin, Vuillermoz), Movistar Team (Valverde, Herrada), Team Sky (Boasson Hagen, Cataldo), Tinkoff-Saxo (Valgren, Kolar), (Bouhanni, Geniez), Team Europcar (Arashiro, Tulik), Bretagne - Séché Environnement (Fonseca, Sepúlveda), Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Senechal), Caja Rural - Seguros RGA, IAM Cycling, Team Colombia (Rubiano, Duque), MTN - Qhubeka (Kudus, Stauff), Rádio Popular (Sousa Barbosa, Silva), BigMat - Auber 93, Team La Pomme Marseille 13 (Giraud, Di Grégorio).

Stage 1: Lectoure to Payolle / Campan, 171.7km
Stage 2: Bagnères de Bigorre to Val Louron, 178.6km
Stage 3: Saint-Gaudens to Castres, 179.4km

Route du Sud Route:

Pantoja and Diaz Look for Consistency in the Pyrenees
A 7-man Colombia team will travel to Southern France, with Valerio Tebaldi and Oliverio Rincon calling the shots from the Team car at the Route du Sud, taking place in the Pyrenees region. The race features 3 stages, as it will be opened by two uphill finish to, Payolle, a village at the Col d’Aspin’s foot, and Van Louron, after climbing two mythical ascents, Col du Tourmalet and Col d’Aspin, while a sprint finish is expected at the end of stage 3 in Castres.

After giving some good signs in Switzerland, it will be time for youngsters Edward Diaz and Darwin Pantoja – the latter completely recovered from Gippingen’s crash – to test themselves again on hard terrain and – predictably – hot weather. Rodolfo Torres and Miguel Angel Rubiano are also expected to feature in the uphill drags, whilst veteran Leonardo Duque, Jonathan Paredes and Carlos Julian Quintero will provide their contribution on the flat sections.

“We expect a tough race, with some strong competition, but we are raring to go”, Tebaldi explained. – “Diaz and Pantoja have a good condition, and will try to stay in contention, as will Torres and Rubiano, who make their first race after the Giro d’Italia.”

Colombia Route du Sud team:
Line up: Edward Diaz, Leonardo Duque, Darwin Pantoja, Jonathan Paredes, Carlos Julian Quintero, Miguel Angel Rubiano, Rodolfo Torres.
Sports Directors: Oliverio Rincon, Valerio Tebaldi.

Europcar Team for the Route du Sud
Riders: Yukiya Arashiro, Jérome Cousin, Romain Guillemois, Tony Hurel, Morgan Lamoisson, Brian Nauleau, Perrig Quemeneur, Angélo Tulik.
Directeur Sportif: Benoit Genauzeau.

Route du Sud 2013 stage 3, Voeckler:

Euskadi: Always in the Top Ten of the Ronde de L'Oise
The continental team Euskadi Cycling Foundation rode the 61st edition of the Ronde de l'Oise from the 12th to 15th of June. Jon Aberasturi, Mikel Aristi, Carlos Barbero, Victor Etxeberria, Mikel Iturria and Jon Larrinaga competed for the Basque squad in the race composing of 21 other international teams and on each of the four stages and general, they always managed to put a representative among the top ten, standing out as one of the most competitive teams.

On the first day, the shortest and nervous, 127 km between Fitz-James and Clermont, Jon Aberasturi was fourth in the sprint. The next day of 186 kilometres; Ribecourt, Thiverny and Carlos Barbero took centre stage in the final part. The riders of Euskadi attacked within 20 of the finish with five other companions, but the break was neutralized with 1 kilometre to go, although the team still achieved a remarkable 6th place, which was repeated in Saturday's stage between Crèvecoer le Grand and Nanteuil-le-Haudoin after nearly 220 leg breaking kilometres.

On the final day, the Euskadi team returned to display its combative nature and Carlos Barbero emerged as the most prominent man in the team managed by Miguel Madariaga. Fifth at the finish after a demanding 182 kilometers route between Chambly and Liancourt, the promising rider of the foundation also finished in tenth place overall, 23 seconds behind the dominant rider of the race; Magnus Cort Nielsen (overall and two stages).

Carlos Barbero, Euskadi team rider:
How did you feel in the Ronde de L'Oise? You started after a period of rest: “First it was to see my performance, after the rest period it was a bit of a mystery, but I was fine physically.”

Except for the first day, you and Jon did not leave the top ten in finishes and you were tenth overall. Satisfied? “Jon understands me very well and we have no problem working for each other. I must be satisfied; I think I could not have chosen anything else. A day for 'a' and another for 'b' but the desired result was not achieved. So we must learn from the mistakes to avoid repeating them.”

You were especially prominent in the attack on the second stage with Di Gregorio and company ... did you think you would be contesting the win? “We had to be careful in the last sections because there were strong people there that would try something. We were caught in the last kilometre because, as often happens in such cases, we kept an eye on each other too much.”

Now, what is your next race? Objectives? “The Championship of Spain and the Tour of Quin Lake in China. The goal is to win a race.”

Visit the team’s new website and online store!

Some 'Selfies' from the Ronde de L'Oise:

Don't Try This at Home!
I don't like showing crash compilation video, but this one caught my eye, it has to be one of the worst/best put together collections.
I won't say enjoy:


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