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EuroTrash Thursday!
battaglin650 So far everyday on the Giro d’Italia has been great and there is so much still to come, we just love the Giro at PEZ! We have all the rider quotes, results and video action to keep you up to date. Its not all Italy, we also have news from the Tour’s of California and Picardie and lots of other bits and pieces to get you to the weekend. Maybe an caffè espresso e un amaretto?


TOP STORY: Can Anyone do The Double?
After watching Enrico Battaglin of the modest Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox team win stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday, I was reminded of Giovanni Battaglin (no relation) who was a big star in the 70’s and 80’s. His Pro career ran from 1973 to 1984 and his palmarés would have been much bigger had he not been up against some of the best riders ever, i.e. Merckx, Gimondi, Saronni, Moser and all the other top riders of the time, which arguably was one of the toughest periods in the sport of cycling.

His main claim to fame would be him winning the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España in the same year, 1981. Big deal I hear you say! Winning a Grand Tour in May and another in September isn’t out of the question, except in those days the Vuelta started in April. Battaglin rode the Vuelta a España from April the 21st to May the 10th, putting in his winning ride in a 30 kilometre mountain time trial up the Sierra Nevada on stage 8. That year’s Vuelta was 3,531 kilometres long and only 55 riders managed to finish. He raced the final stage on Sunday the 10th of May and then on Wednesday the 13th he lined up to start the Giro d’Italia prologue in Trieste. That years Giro was a close affair with the top riders all very close on time as Battaglin worked his way up the GC, winning the difficult stage 19 to San Vigilio di Marebe and then taking the Pink jersey the next day on the murderous climb of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Battaglin cemented his Giro win with a 3rd place in the final 42 kilometre time trial in Verona on the 7th of June.

battaglin

So, Giovanni Battaglin raced for 19 continuous days in the Vuelta as they didn’t have rest days then, 2 day off to travel back to Italy and then raced the 22 stages of the Giro with 3 rest days, so that’s 41 days of racing with 5 days off, both Tours were around 37 Kilometres per hour and took in the big climbs, to say they were quite tough could be an understatement.

Could or would a rider today even attempt such a feat and win? Times have changed; riders now prioritise their season to get the best results, and the days of seeing the Tour winner fighting for the win in Paris-Roubaix have gone; good or bad?



Giro d’Italia 2013
Stage 3 had a crazy final 20 kilometres with attacks coming a plenty. Last year’s Giro champion; Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) attacked on the way up the last climb to Sella de Catonia and then carried on down the other side. The tall Canadian ruffled a few feathers and caused a couple fallers behind him. In the end Luca Paolini (Astana) made the successful attack to finish solo in Marina di Ascea for the stage and the pink jersey. There was the long early break, it included; Fabio Taborre (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), Manuele Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff), Willem Wauters (Vacansoleil-DCM), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Bert De Backer (Argos-Shimano), Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto Belisol) and Jackson Rodriguez (Androni Giocattoli-Venzuela). Taborre went for it on his own from the group, but he was washed away on the last climb by the Hesjedal rush. In the end all the top men finished together, except Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) who crashed on the descent after two Blanco riders wiped-out on a bend in front of him. It looks like the battle is on.

On a day when attacks came on both the climbs and the descents, Evans – with final help coming from teammate Ivan Santaromita – was able to follow all but the escape of stage winner Luca Paolini (Katusha). Evans led a select group of 16 riders home that included nearly all of the overall contenders. He is now 42 seconds off the lead after conceding 37 seconds in Sunday’s team time trial.” A small time bonus may not make a difference at the end of the Giro but it doesn’t hurt for sure,” the 2011 Tour de France winner said. “Most of all, it’s a little bit of encouragement for everyone on the team.”

BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Fabio Baldato said good knowledge of the course came into play. “We knew every corner of the final descent and spent 30 minutes studying it in the pre-race meeting, so it was perfect,” he said. “The guys did a great job, particularly Ivan, Steve Morabito and Danilo Wyss, who had a bit of a bad day yesterday.” Evans said he didn’t expect the time gaps that would open up on the run-in to the finish. Only 30 riders finished within a minute of Paolini. “I was just looking to avoid trouble like the problems Michele Scarponi had after the two Blanco riders crashed in front of him. Like everything that counts for the race, we prepare for it as best as we can.”

Lampre-Merida team leader, Michele Scarponi needed his bike changed, so Aquila di Filottrano was forced to wait for his team mates: Stortoni reached him after some seconds and gave him his bike, and then Niemiec, who had also been stopped by the crash of Betancur, pedalled with him to the finish. Blue-fuchsia-green duo crossed the finish line 1 minute after Paolini (winner and new pink jersey), 44″ after the top riders group.

“I had succeeded to be in the head position of the group all day long and I had also replied in a good way to an attack by Hesjedal on Sella Catona climb,” Scarponi commented. “I was willing to cover the downhill to the arrival in the front of the group that had been selected by the climb, but the two cyclists that were preceding me had problem in the bend and so I crashed. I lost seconds, I know, but Giro is still very long. This does not mean that I’ll attack in every stage. I did not get injured in the crash, only some bruises.”

Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Rafal Majka finished 50 seconds behind the winning rider and is now in 26th place at 1:34. “We had two major goals today. Keeping Rafa out of trouble on the tricky descent and flashing the jersey with Manuele. We succeeded. Even though he lost a bit more than half a minute to the top favourites, it’s not a disaster for us. His terrain will come in the final week of the Giro and we hope he’s peaking at that time so he’ll be able to take advantage of the high mountain terrain. I think it’s refreshing that Hesjedal is providing us with such fireworks when we don’t expect it. It certainly adds colour to the race. Tomorrow, there’s another demanding stage and our objective is putting Rafa in a good position at the foot of the uphill finish,” says Saxo-Tinkoff DS, Dan Frost.

FDJ’s Sandy Casar had to abandon due to a fracture to the scaphoid writs bone and would not start stage 4.

Giro d’Italia Stage 3 Result:
1. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha in 5:43:50
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:16
3. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp
4. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia
5. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
6. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha
7. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge
8. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky
9. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 3:
1. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha in 9:04:32
2. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:17
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky
4. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 0:26
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:31
6. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana
7. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 0:34
8. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 0:36
9. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha
10. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 0:37.

Stage 3:




Stage 4 was another day of excitement. After the break of Johan Le Bon & Francis Mourey (FDJ), Julien Berard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Emanuele Sella (Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela), Miguel Minguez & Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel-Euskadi), and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil-DCM) split and then fell to pieces on the first climb, it looked like today would be like yesterday. It wasn’t quite as the big guns didn’t fire just as loudly. Many attacks came and went in the final climbs, but when old stager; Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) made his move near the top of the last climb it looked serious. He was joined by Robinson Chalapud (Colombia) and the two looked like they would hold out to the line. They nearly did, but the fast moving peloton engulfed them in the last meters and Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox) got the stage win of his career. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) lost a bit of time, but didn’t crash, so his loss stands. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and Cadel Evans (BMC) moved up on GC a little and Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) didn’t lose time today in a crash.

“Today top cyclists for the overall ranking did not battle too much, so there were not big changes caused by agonistic selection and only a crash in the head group in the final kilometres forced Wiggins, who could anyway avoid to fall, to reach the arrival 17″ after the winner Battaglin,” Michele Scarponi commented at the end of the 4th stage of Giro d’Italia (Policastro Bussentino-Serra San Bruno, 246 km). Lampre-Merida’s captain, 22nd at the finish in a group of 37 riders, explained also: “Yesterday I lost seconds because of a crash, today it was Wiggins’ turn: this is the peculiarity of a stage race, everyday something can happen. That’s why today I thank my team mates for their support that allowed me to approach the two climbs of the stage in the early positions.”

Saxo-Tinkoff Italian, Manuele Boaro had his own personal target today: “My main goal was to stay in the peloton and recover from yesterday’s breakaway where I was one meter away from taking the mountain jersey. Today, I was told to stay put and go easy on the final climb. My next target is the time trial on Saturday which I’m looking very much forward to,” said Boaro.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider Brambilla crashed 185km into Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday. The Italian rider fell onto his right wrist and arm. Brambilla underwent immediate X-rays to his wrist after the finish, and results seem to exclude any fracture.

“I was riding in the peloton when suddenly somebody in front of me hit their brakes,” Brambilla said. “I had to brake also, but somebody touched my bike from behind and I fell. Fortunately the speed wasn’t so high. I had a few scratches and pain on my right wrist, but that’s ok. It wouldn’t be anything serious. Tomorrow I will be at the start.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 4 Result:
1. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox in 6:14:19
2. Fabio Felline (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
3. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
4. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky
5. Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
7. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar
8. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp
9. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard
10. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 4:
1. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha in 15:18:51
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) at 0:17
3. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 0:26
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:31
5. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 0:34
6. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky
7. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 0:36
8. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 0:37
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:39
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:42.

Stage 4:




Stage 5 followed a similar pattern to the two previous day, but a sprinter won on his own, you don’t see that every day. Argos-Shimano’s John Degenkolb came out on top after his lead-out train skidded on the last corner taking out half a dozen riders and splitting the head of the peloton. Marco Canola looked like he was going to repeat his Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox team mate Enrico Battaglin’s win of the previous day as he was ahead of the crash and had a good gap on the others. A rider in white could be seen chasing on his own hard, it was the powerful German Degenkolb. He passed the suffering Canola and forced the pedals hard until he crossed the line and collapsed to the road under the effort. After he recovered he told RAI TV: “In the end I couldn’t see, I was so empty. It was great job from my team. We had the confidence and we took the responsibility. It was really hard in the end. I would have been not that hard but I had to suffer a lot to get to the finish today.” Behind him Angel Vicioso (Katusha) was second and Paul Martens (Blanco) was third. Sky’s Sergio Henao was lucky to miss the crash and came in fourth.

Many of the sprinters; Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) included had been dropped earlier on the climb of the Montescaglioso, 20 kilometres before the finish in Matera and couldn’t make it back to the peloton before they hit the small climb up to the plateau. Of the sprinters, Degenkolb, Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ), Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff) and Elia Viviani (Cannondale) all managed to hang on, all but Degenkolb were held up in the carnage. Earlier in the stage; Gil Martinez (Androni Giocattoli), Alan Marangoni (Cannondale), Ricardo Mestre (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Brian Bulgac (Lotto Belisol) and Rafael Andriato (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) had made the break, but the usual pattern of racing had them back on the climb and it was down to the sprinters who could climb to either fight it out or fall to the ground. The Pink jersey of Luca Paolini (Katusha) was held up by the crash, but didn’t fall.

Third placed Paul Martens (Blanco) said, “This third place is excellent. It’s good for the morale in the team. Notwithstanding the fact that we are here for the classification of Robert (Gesing), I had carte blanche today as we knew the finale was well suited for me. The fact that I could grab third is great and that came at the expense of no one’s energy, so it’s like a free boost for the entire team.

Commenting on the hectic finale with a crash in the last turn, Martens said, “I had a hunch that might be a spill. It was wet and the pace was very quick. On top of that, the finales here are always a bit of a circus act. It is very chaotic because not only the guys looking for the stage win, but also the classification riders want to be up front. As I am not a true sprinter, I generally try to approach this kind of finale from a bit behind and that worked to my advantage today. Thanks to that, I stayed out of trouble and ended up third.

Blanco Sport Director Michiel Elijzen wore a broad smile on his face at the finish in Mater. “This is super. Paul grabs a great result and Robert comes home safe with no loss of time over the finish line. Throughout the stage we rode hard, just like the other stages up until now. We remained well grouped and up front. I think it’s starting to become apparent that we are racing very strongly. All in all, it’s been a very good day.

Lampre-Merida’s Filippo Pozzato: “I knew that the last bend could have been very dangerous, especially because it was wet,” Pozzato explained.” That’s why I had decided to approach it carefully, trying to recover positions in the rising final straight to the arrival. Then the crash in the early positions of the group neutralized all my plans and so I missed a very good chance. I think I had performed a good race, being in the early positions of the group on Montescaglioso GPM and on the climb to Matera, also thanks to the support by the team mates. Now, I’ll try to do my best for the team, waiting for the next suitable chance for me.”

Lotto Belisol’s Brian Bulgaç was in the break: “During the neutral phase I was riding in the front, I saw that someone of Vini Fantini wanted jump away and I followed. In the beginning we were with six, but Pirazzi was close in the GC and only wanted to take some mountain points. Then he let us go. The cooperation afterwards went well, only at the end everybody got more nervous. I believed in our chances for a moment, because none of us was close in the GC. The first hundred kilometers the weather was good, then there were short and heavy showers, but it wasn’t too bad. I am getting better each day of this Giro and will definitely attack again, maybe not in flat stages because then you have almost no chance, but I’ll pick out a few stages.”

Michal Golas and Matteo Trentin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) were able to stay close to the front going into the finale, avoiding the crash. Trentin finished 5th, and Golas 11th. “I was just behind the crash of Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) and I don’t know how I was able to stay upright,” Golas said. “It was really a question of millimetres avoiding the crash. After the crash, two or three guys went away and it was basically impossible to bring them back. It’s a shame because I had good feeling the entire day, but crashes are part of racing. The condition is good and I am motivated to find another occasion during the Giro.”

Trentin was 5th at the finish, earning his first UCI WorldTour Top 5 placing. “When Mezgec crashed I was lucky that I was coming from behind,” Trentin said. “I had time to avoid the crash as riders fell in the middle of the road. Coming from behind I had good speed and I entered in the group of Golas at about 350 meters to go. I launched my sprint maybe a little bit too early, and I couldn’t do better than 5th place. I’m happy about my finish, as this is my best yet in a WorldTour race. Probably with a more attentive sprint I could have finished 4th, but it wouldn’t have changed much. Tomorrow I will return to work for Cavendish in a stage that suits him and the team perfectly.”

Jarlinson Pantano of Colombia: “I am happy with my placement, but also sincerely disappointed for Leonardo,” Jarlinson Pantano commented afterwards. “We had been working hard for him in the final kilometres, and he really was in a perfect position for his sprint. Unfortunately, another athlete saw a gap where there wasn’t, and hampered a potential huge result.”
“After that happened, I tried to go for my sprint, despite having spent a lot of energy, and today’s sixth place adds to our very good Giro d’Italia start,” Pantano said, “and hopefully he will bounce back from today’s bad luck very soon.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 5 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano in 4:37:48
2. Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha
3. Paul Martens (Ger) Blanco
4. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Colombia
7. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC
8. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEdge
9. Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM
10. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 5:
1. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha in 19:56:39
2. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky at 0:17
3. Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar at 0:26
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:31
5. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 0:34
6. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky
7. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 0:36
8. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky at 0:37
9. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia at 0:39
10. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:42.

Stage 5:




No Chris Horner in Amgen Tour of California
2011 Amgen Tour of California champion Chris Horner will not be able to take the start in Escondido on May 12th. Horner still suffers from his knee problem. Pain and lack of condition make it impossible to compete at the highest level.
Chris Horner suffers from an iliotibial band friction syndrome since the end of Tirreno-Adriatico. The pain forced him to abandon in the Tour of Catalunya and made it impossible for him to start in the Tour of the Basque Country. Despite many treatments Horner still has pain at the outside of his left knee.

“So far the doctors have been optimistic about my knee problem, but as soon as I started training, the pain came back,” explains Chris Horner. “The last time that I was on the bike for more than four hours was in Catalunya. There is no way I can race now. All of my condition is gone. After Catalunya I was off the bike for four weeks.”

This week Horner will visit a specialist in Scottsdale, Arizona. “It is possible I have an alignment problem. We will examine all possibilities. I want to race again. All of the doctors I have visited are optimistic that it will heal again, but it just needs time. The problem is that nobody is able to tell me how much time I need. This is not a collar bone fracture-like injury, where you can say exactly how much time you need to recover. My injury is more difficult. I can ride my bike but after two hours the pain returns.”

“This is such bad news for me,” continued Horner. “As the 2011 winner of this race I want to be there. Moreover, I live in San Diego, just 20 minutes from the team hotel. I will visit the team, but it will be with mixed feelings. It all hurts as I was so good in the early season. In Tirreno-Adriatico I was as good as the best riders in the world.”

For Chris Horner it is impossible to predict when he will be able to race again. “My best guess is the Tour de Suisse,” concludes Horner. “And then hopefully the Tour de France. The season is not over yet, there are still good races left, but this situation is heartbreaking for me.”
Thanks to the RadioShack Leopard team.



No Boonen in California
It seems Tom Boonen has not recovered enough from his crash in Tour of Flanders and will not be starting the Tour of California on May the 12th. In an interview with Sporza the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step manager Patrick Lefevere said that “Tom trains already, but not yet fully. The Tour of California this year is also very difficult.” He added: “We find that he has not recovered enough. He is still suffering from the knee which he had surgery on and also his thigh and his back hurt, this should be dealt with first, the rest will follow it. Boonen will ride the Tour de Picardie starting on the 10th of May.



Vacansoleil-DCM Ready for First Ever Start at Tour of California
Press Release: Race also kick-offs preparation towards the Tour de France.
From May 12th until the 19th Vacansoleil-DCM will for its first time take part in the Tour of California. The team of sport director Hilaire Van Der Schueren is happy with the invitation. With a mainly Celeste-outfit the team will honor bike supplier Bianchi at this race over eight days. The team travels to California with a mixed team of gc-riders, sprinters and true attackers.

Sport director Hilaire Van Der Schueren looks forward to the adventure: “It is a new race for us and it fits the program perfectly. I understand that the 2013 race is hard, has great roads and eight days if a perfect length to get some racing in the legs. We come to the start with some riders coming from a rest period and who worked towards this race. I am confident we will get nice results in some stages.”

California also means the kick-off for the preparation towards the Tour de France for some of the riders. Van Der Schueren knows the way to go: “Our team of sport directors and trainers looked at how we can create a team that is ready for the Tour physically and mentally. This is about individual physical preparation but also about creating a group which cares for each other. Nearly all riders we are thinking about for the Tour de France are fresh after a rest and/or training period. Part of the pre-selection for the Tour goes to California after which some go to Belgium and others do altitude training. This will be followed by training on the cooperation in the group with a team time trial training camp including nearly all riders pre-selected for the Tour. A bigt part of those riders will together take the start at the Dauphiné. After the Dauphiné we will go and see one or two stages of the Tour and we should be ready for the race in July.”

Selection for Tour of California:
Kris Boeckmans, Thomas De Gendt (Belgium), Juan Antonio Flecha (Spain), Tomasz Marczynski (Poland), Lieuwe Westra, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Boy van Poppel and Wesley Kreder (The Netherlands).



Amgen Tour A Primary Objective For Van Garderen
Tejay van Garderen takes aim at one of his primary objectives when he leads a BMC Racing Team at the Amgen Tour of California that includes reigning world road champion Philippe Gilbert, who will race in the United States for the first time.

Strong Team Around Him
Van Garderen has been training at his Boulder, Colo., home while helping his wife, Jessica, care for their newborn daughter, Rylan, born April 7. “I have had to be flexible with the weather and with the new addition to our family, but I feel like I have gotten good work in and I am ready to race,” he said. Already runner-up at the Tour de San Luis, third at Critérium International and fourth at Paris-Nice, van Garderen said he likes the line-up to support him in the eight-day race that starts Sunday in Escondido and travels north to finish in Santa Rosa, home to the BMC Racing Team. “To win, you need a strong team and I think we have the strongest on the flats with guys like Philippe, Thor Hushovd and Michael Schär and on the climbs with Mathias Frank, Amaël Moinard and Marco Pinotti,” he said. “We also have Brent Bookwalter, who can fill both of those roles.” BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue said the race will be difficult, particularly the Stage 6 individual time trial that finishes with a three-kilometer climb. “The whole team is dedicated and devoted to helping Tejay on the general classification, but we will also look to win some stages if we can,” he said.
Thanks to the BMC team.

Download the BMC Racing Team race sheet (PDF with roster, bios, statistics): http://bit.ly/16himBq.

Amgen Tour of California (May 12-19):
Brent Bookwalter (USA), Mathias Frank (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Marco Pinotti (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Tejay van Garderen (USA).
President/General Manager: Jim Ochowicz (USA).
Directeur Sportif: John Lelangue (BEL).
Assistant Director: Jackson Stewart (USA).



Champion System Eager for First Amgen Tour of California Start
Press Release: The Champion System Pro Cycling Team heads to its first Amgen Tour of California with a versatile and motivated roster.

Champion System General Manager Ed Beamon said the team’s diverse line-up should allow Asia’s first and only pro continental team to make a significant impact on the eight-day, 730-mile race that begins Sunday in Escondido. The race features an individual time trial around San Jose and a summit finish on Mount Diablo before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to finish in Santa Rosa.

“Our goal will be to add excitement to the race and attempt to animate every stage,” Beamon said. “I think we have a strong group of opportunistic guys and you can expect to see national champions Matt Brammeier (Ireland) and Ryan Roth (Canada) spearheading an aggressive approach that will target a stage win.”

Beamon said he is looking to his most experienced Amgen Tour of California riders for the overall classification: Americans Chad Beyer and Chris Butler. Beyer, who recently completed a solid block of European races, said he feels confident about his form heading into his home country’s race.

“I’ve done the Tour of California two times before and it’s always a treat to do a big race on home soil,” Beyer said. “I think those European races have definitely brought my form up a level. I’m anxious to get out there and see what we can do.”

Fresh off earning “most aggressive rider” honors on the final stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque stage race in France, former Taiwan national champion Chun Kai Feng heads to the Amgen Tour of California eager and confident.

“It is inconceivable for me to be able to race in the Amgen Tour of California, because it is a huge race,” Feng said. “My season has been good so far and the main thing for me is to keep learning.”

Missing from the Champion System lineup is American and two-time Under 23 national champion Craig Lewis, who is recovering from a broken elbow suffered during a crash at Brabantse Pijl in early April.

“It is a big disappointment not to have Craig with us at the Amgen Tour of California, but I think we have a great squad and we’re looking forward to the team’s first appearance here,” Beamon said.

The team’s title sponsor, Champion System, is a leading Hong Kong-based custom cycling clothing manufacturer that is providing the Amgen Tour of California’s custom race leader jerseys, complete with rider names.

Champion System Pro Cycling Team Amgen Tour of California Roster (May 12-19):
Chad Beyer (USA), Chris Butler (USA), Matt Brammeier (IRL), Chun Kai Feng (TPE), Gregor Gazvoda (SLO), Ryan Roth (CAN), Bobbie Traksel (NED), Kin San Wu (HKG).
Director: Ed Beamon (USA).



RadioShack Leopard Team line-up for the Amgen Tour of California
With the withdrawal of Chris Horner, RadioShack Leopard Trek lost its leader for the Amgen Tour of California. “With former US Champion Matthew Busche we have a good alternative,” explains Team Director Alain Gallopin. “Matthew was impressive the last two years in this race, and he is ready again. We will try to get him on the podium. Furthermore I am convinced we will see something from Andy Schleck. He continues his comeback and is motivated and ready to show something. Haimar Zubeldia, sixth in last year’s Tour de France, will also be in the front the coming week and with riders like Bob Jungels we can try to win a stage. If Peter Sagan will give us that opportunity…,” Gallopin concluded with a smile.

The team line-up for the Amgen Tour of California (USA), May 12-19, UCI 2.HC.
Riders:
Matthew Busche, Laurent Didier, Markel Irizar, Bob Jungels, Ben King, Andy Schleck, Jens Voigt & Haimar Zubeldia.
Directors: Alain Gallopin & Kim Andersen.

The 2013 Amgen Tour of California Route Video:




Tour de Picardie
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung is heading to France for its first race organized by ASO, as it takes on the Tour de Picardie (May 10-12 / UCI 2.1). The first African-based Professional Continental team will look to young Italian sprinter Kristian Sbaragli in northern France.

“Tour de Picardie is a very important race for the team as it is the first ASO race we have been invited to participate in,” said team principal Doug Ryder. “We want to show the ASO that our African team is very competitive even though we don’t have a full team of riders suited for the type of race it is as we have mostly climbers going but the team will be present and attentive in all the stages. I am hoping our young Italian Kristian Sbaragli will do well in the sprints”.

In addition to Italian Kristian Sbaragli, the team is sending South Africans Bradley Potgieter, Martin Wesemann, Louis Meintjes, and Songezo Jim, Algerian Youcef Reguigui, Eritrean Meron Russon, and Spanish climber Sergio Pardilla.

The three-day race, which has been held for more than 75 years, is traditionally one for the sprinters, and exposes the peloton to a lot of wind on the mostly flat terrain. While all three stages feature climbs, none are ranked.

The first stage runs 189.9km from Guise to Flixecourt, and the second stage 171km from Oisemont to Bailleul-sur-Thérain, featuring three small climbs. The races ends Sunday with 171km between Nanteuil-le-Haudouin and Soissons. All three stages are expected to end in mass sprints.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will face strong sprinting competition in the race. Last year’s winner, John Degenkolb of Argos-Shimano, will look to repeat his victory, but will come up against, amongst others, Arnaud Demare of FdJ, who recently dominated the Four Days of Dunkirk.
Thanks to the MTN-Qhubeka team.

Tour de Picardie (May 10-12 / UCI 2.1):
Kristian Sbaragli (ITA), Bradley Potgieter (RSA), Martin Wesemann (RSA), Louis Meintjes (RSA), Songezo Jim (RSA), Youcef Reguigui (ALG), Meron Russom (ERI), Sergio Pardilla (SPA).



OPQS to Tour de Picardie-Tom Boonen to Participate
Press Release: Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will take part in Tour de Picardie, a 532km race from May 10th to May 12th. Though the three stages feature at least one mountain pass, they all have flat final kilometers, leaving the possibility for group arrivals.

OPQS rider Tom Boonen has had a change made to his program, racing Tour of Picardie instead of AMGEN Tour of California.

“My crash at Ronde van Vlaanderen was quite serious and it took a while to recover,” Boonen said. “I still have pain on my hip and my back, but day-by-day the situation is getting better, and I can train regularly. The fact is that Tour of California is a great race, but it is longer and you have to be fit for this reason, as well as the challenging parcours.”

Tour of Picardie also allows Boonen more time to develop his fitness after the race.

“Tom started training with the right intensity only in the last two weeks,” Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. “We consider this one the best way to get Tom into the race rhythm and give him a few more days to tune up his condition after the short French stage race. The rest of Tom’s program will be defined in the upcoming days.”

10.05–12.05 Tour de Picardie (FRA) 2.1
Riders:
Tom Boonen (BEL),
Andrew Fenn (GBR),
Nikolas Maes (BEL),
Frantisek Rabon (CZE),
Niki Terpstra (NED),
Kristof Vandewalle (BEL),
Martin Velits (SVK),
Sports Director: Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Stages:
10.05.13 Stage 1 Guise – Flixecourt 190.0 km
11.05.13 Stage 2 Oisemont – Bailleul-sur-Thérain 171.0 km
12.05.13 Stage 3 Nanteuil-le-Haudouin – Soissons 171.0 km



Porte Extends Contract with Team Sky
Press Release: Team Sky are pleased to announce that Richie Porte has extended his contract with the team. The Tasmanian enjoyed his best-ever start to a season in 2013, carrying strong early-season form into the spring and capturing a landmark victory at Paris-Nice in March.

Two further second places at the Criterium International and Vuelta al Pais Vasco both included stage victories and signalled a rider growing in confidence and embracing the role of a team leader.

Porte joined Team Sky at the start of the 2012 season and played an integral part in an historic campaign that included sustained stage race success and victory at the Tour de France with Sir Bradley Wiggins.

The 28-year-old possesses the ability to climb and time trial with the very best in the world, making him a prime candidate for leadership in future Grand Tours.

Team Sky Rider Richie Porte said: “I’m really happy at Team Sky and this was always the best scenario for me. I’ve had a great two years with the team and I feel at home here. There was interest from other teams but Team Sky are the best in the world, with the best staff and riders. Guys like Tim Kerrison have helped me become a better rider and I know I can improve further working with the performance team we have here.”

“With this new contract comes an added responsibility, and while I’m more than happy to help guys like Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins in the future, I’d love to lead the squad in a Grand Tour next season.”

Team Sky Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “Richie has been a key part this team’s stage race success since he arrived here and this new contract is a statement of intent for both him and the team. Every time he has taken on a leadership role he has excelled. We saw at Paris-Nice exactly what Richie is capable of and there is no doubt that there is a lot more to come from him.”

“If he maintains his current trajectory there is no reason why he can’t go in to a Grand Tour and challenge for victory.”



Sciandri Declines Position with Italian Cycling Federation
Saying it was extremely difficult to turn down the “opportunity of a lifetime,” BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Max Sciandri has declined an offer to serve as national team coach for the Italian Cycling Federation.

Honoured To Receive The Offer
Sciandri said he was honoured to have received the offer from the Federazione Ciclistica Italiana (FCI) to become “commisario tecnico,” responsible for selecting riders for events like the world championships and the Olympics and ensuring the country’s development of top riders. He would have succeeded Paolo Bettini, who was appointed to the role in 2010 following the death of Franco Ballerini. “This was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make because it was so important to me and it’s such an important role for my home country,” Sciandri said. “I reached out and touched something that was pretty untouchable for me. But I didn’t grab it. I let it go. And that’s difficult. But it is only because I am working with a great team that has a tremendous program with a terrific bunch of riders, staff and managers. I am particularly grateful to Jim Ochowicz for allowing me to weigh my options.”

Unfinished Business To Complete
Sciandri said he met with Italian Cycling Federation president Renato Di Rocco in person before the Giro d’Italia last week to decline the offer. “It was a tremendous honour to be considered for the job but I told him my passion at the moment is to continue with the development of some of the young guys I am nurturing at the BMC Racing Team,” Sciandri said. “I think there’s a right time for everything. Unfortunately, the timing at the moment doesn’t fall into place with the projects I am already working on that I want to see through to completion.”
Thanks to the BMC team.



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Ah, Those Giro Girls!
Just in case you missed this the first time, great!




Broken Bones Garage Launched on Facebook
Our PEZ chum Josh Horowitz has sent us some more info on his “Broken Bones Garage”.

Press Release: I’m spreading the word about a webcast I’ve just launched called Broken Bones Garage. It’s me giving tips about training, diet, strategy and telling some of my best crazy “racing in other countries” horror stories.

I’ll be posting one new episode every day to the Broken Bones Garage Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/BrokenBonesGarage.

Here’s the premier episode:




The PEZ NEWSWIRE Goes Live!
Along with the new web-site design we have a new section; NEWSWIRE, you can find it down the right hand side on the home page, just above the EuroTrash section. Basically you can read those bits of news that maybe didn’t make the deadline for EuroTrash Monday/Thursday or wasn’t big enough for a standalone article, there will also be press releases from teams, races, manufacturers and anything else we think you might want to know. NEWSWIRE won’t be taking anything away from the current sections, but will hopefully add to your PEZ enjoyment. New items will be posted as they come in to us at PEZ HQ, so come back for a regular check up!



*****

Any comments drop me a line, email address: alastair@pezcyclingnews.com or Twitter. And there is the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Fan Page.


 

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