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EuroTrash Thursday!
tomboonen_qatar_650 The Tour of Qatar and the Mallorca Challenge have kept us entertained this week and of course we have reports, video and results from both. Loads of other cycling news from around the World: Samu Sánchez at BMC, Olivier Kaisen retires, teams for the Het Nieuwsblad, the Women’s Tour of Britain video, Oliver Zaugg injury, UCI Independent Commission, GF San Diego and Mavic go to Crested Butte. It’s all in EuroTrash Thursday!


TOP STORY: Qatar World’s for October?
The 2016 World road championships in Qatar will probably be held between the 9th and the 16th of October, which is three weeks later than its recent dates in the last week of September. Eddy Merckx, who is part of the organising committee of the World’s in Qatar, told Gazzetta dello Sport that: “Regarding dates, they could be moved forward compared to recent years. One option on the table and actually the most probable date is between October 9-16.” As to the rumour of a man-made mountain, Merckx quashed the idea by saying, “We won’t make any artificial difficulties, the wind will be an important difficulty and I’m sure it’ll be a hard race. The racing will start and finish on the Doha Corniche and the time trial will be 42km long, the team time trial will be 54km long. The road race could consist of several laps of the 42km circuit and then smaller laps.” The cycling superstar added, “The geographical aspect of the country is interesting even if it’s flat, it won’t be a boring race.”

The Vuelta a España has been edged earlier every year from its September dates to starting in August, which is the hottest month in Spain, to accommodate the World championship. When the Vuelta started in Sevilla in 2010 the temperatures were in the high 40’s centigrade, this is the same or even higher than the average temperatures in Doha in September. There has also been talk of the Spanish Grand Tour being cut to two weeks to free up some time for other races in a packed calendar. Could the decision possibly have anything to do with money?

Jos van Emden racing Qatar style:
Tour de Qatar 2014 - stage 4



Tour of Qatar 2014
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team played their strengths to perfection in the 160.5km Stage 2 of Tour of Qatar, shattering the field to pieces in the wind, putting all their riders in the front group to chase down the breakaway, and making sure Tom Boonen was in perfect position to go for his 21st career victory.

The team worked hard and pulled the breakaway back in the last kilometres, and also chased down an attacking Lars Boom of Belkin. Boonen’s sprint to the finish was so strong he left a considerable gap to the 2nd and 3rd place finishers, Michael Morkov (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol). Despite winning with multiple bike lengths of an advantage, Boonen still made sure he sprinted all the way to the line, and even added a bike throw for good measure.

“I always sprint to the line, because a few years ago I was beaten by a certain guy named Mark Cavendish at Scheldeprijs,” Boonen said with a smile. “I didn’t sprint to the line then. So, from that day on, I sprint until the last centimetre.”

OPQS also had three riders finish in the top 10 for the second straight day: Andrew Fenn in 4th and GC leader Niki Terpstra in 7th. Terpstra kept the GC lead, having also fought for crucial intermediate sprint points throughout the stage. Fenn, with his 4th place finish, now wears the white jersey for best young rider.

OPQS will once again work hard for a top finish at Tour of Qatar on Tuesday. “I am really happy about this result,” Boonen said. “This race always brings me luck. It’s only the second race after Tour de San Luis and I already have a victory. So I am happy about it especially after a stage like today, a stage that was really hard. From the beginning we went full gas together with Tinkoff and Sky, and we created an immediate action. We went away with about 20 guys, including eight guys of our team. So with that many riders in the group we kept riding during the stage. We only thought about riding, and not the sprint. At 5km to more or less I was talking with Nikolas Maes to try and organize a sprint when I suddenly I hit a hole in the road. My saddle went down about 4cm, and was pointing downward. I broke also my wheels. I was super lucky that I didn’t have a flat tire or crash. But at that point it was too late to think about it or change the bike. I only thought about going fast for the sprint, not thinking about what could happen. There’s always something at Tour of Qatar to make this race hard — the wind, or an accident for example. So, considering that I am thrilled with this victory.”

Boonen gave much credit to the hard work of his teammates throughout the stage. “I’m especially happy for the team, we won two races in two days which is important for the morale,” Boonen said. “Tomorrow there is a time trial, and we will see. Niki is in the lead, and of course it would be nice to be there in the top five tomorrow with Niki and maybe someone else on the team. Because when you have more than one guy you can play a little bit tactically in the next stages. We will see. It’s only a question to go full gas for 10 kilometres tomorrow and see the results at the end.”

Second on the stage and fourth overall Michael Mørkøv (Tinkoff-Saxo) said: “I’m proud about being part of what we did today attacking in the cross wind 55 kilometres from the finish line and we managed to keep the chase group behind us. In the sprint, I was on Boonen’s wheel but he was simply too strong to go around. However, I’m happy with the result and especially with our way of riding today.”

Tour of Qatar Stage 2 Result:
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 3:30:07
2. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol
4. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Ian Stannard (GB) Team Sky
7. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol
9. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin at 0:05
10. Karsten Kroon (Ned) Tinkoff-Saxo.

Tour of Qatar Overall After Stage 2:
1. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 6:43:30
2. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:05
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:14
4. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:20
5. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:26
6. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky
8. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin at 0:31
10. Karsten Kroon (Ned) Tinkoff-Saxo.

Stage 2:




Wearing his Australian National Time Trial Champion skinsuit for the first time, Michael Hepburn won the Stage 3 Tour of Qatar individual time trial. The Queenslander covered the 10.9km course in 13:28, averaging 47.971 kilometres/hour. Lars Boom (Belkin) posted the second quickest time, 1 second slower than Hepburn. Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 6 seconds further adrift in third place.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Hepburn. “Right from the start, it was a really proud moment to ride in the national colours for the first time. I rode early in the race, so I had to wait awhile to see what my time would get me. Towards the end, when I realised that maybe I would win, the nerves really started to pick up.”

“In the last couple weeks, I have done a few training sessions specific to this stage,” Hepburn added. “My main objective was a good, solid ride. I wasn’t really thinking about a specific place. In the back of my mind, I guess I thought if I did a good ride today, a top five would be possible. There are some big names here. I’m pretty stoked to finish on the top.”

The wind-swept, snake-shaped course featured several different changes in direction. Riders started with a crosswind, finished with a headwind and had a cross-tailwind between the two. Hepburn posted a negative split, completing the second half of the race faster than the first.

“It was very windy out there,” said Hepburn. “The gusts were around 25 kilometres/hour. The first couple kilometres into the headwind were slow. The next couple kilometres were much quicker. All the time was made or lost in the final three kilometres when we had a headwind.”

The reigning world champion in the individual pursuit likened a short time trial to his efforts on the track. With specific preparation for the stage, he felt confident in his ability to produce a strong ride; however, it unclear how his strong ride would compare to the likes of Boom, Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Ian Stannard (Sky).

“I knew exactly what I had to do,” said Hepburn. “I had a clear idea of the power I had to produce, and I was confident I could do that. I’m in good condition for a 10 kilometre time trial. A race of this length is similar to the individual pursuit. You just have to be smooth. I wouldn’t say any one thing went right. I just did what I had the confidence that I could do – and it got me the win in the end.”
Thanks to Orica-GreenEdge for the race info.

Tinfoff-Saxo’s Daniele Bennati in third place: “Unfortunately, I was feeling a bit under the weather the first few days of the race because of a intestinal problem and because of that I gave everything to lead out Michael (Mørkøv) in yesterday’s finale and I lost a little time overall on the final kilometer. So I really didn’t think I was able to go this fast today but this is perfect for the moral and let’s see what the rest of the race brings.”

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Michael Mørkøv dropped from fourth to seventh position overall but he’s still feeling confident: “I rode the best I could and the sensation was ok out there in both the head- and tailwind and when we didn’t have TT bikes here, I was really happy about riding Specialized Venge and out Zipp wheels that made me feel strong. I lost a few positions overall but if we keep riding aggressively as we have done so far, anything can happen”, commented Mørkøv after the stage.

Tour of Qatar Stage 3 Result:
1. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge in 13:29
2. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin at 0:01
3. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:06
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek
5. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:08
6. Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:10
7. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:13
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:15
9. Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEdge at 0:16
10. Gert Steegmans (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:17

Tour of Qatar Overall After Stage 3:
1. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 6:57:06
2. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:21
3. Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin at 0:24
4. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:28
5. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky at 0:35
6. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:45
7. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:49
8. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol
9. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:58
10. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:06.

Stage 3:




The 135 kilometre Stage 4 at Tour of Qatar was fast, and far from easy. The race speed averaged more than 50km/h, several riders dealt with punctures due to holes in the road, and the peloton split into several groups. Luckily, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step played their cards perfectly and remained in command throughout the race.

OPQS remained in the front group and were a factor in all the intermediate sprints to protect the GC lead of Niki Terpstra. They also gave some help to Tom Boonen, who was in 4th overall going into the stage. When the race came back together in the final kilometres, OPQS stayed in control on the front to set up Boonen for his sprint.

Andre Greipel (Lotto Belisol) had other plans, but Boonen was able to earn his second victory at the 2014 edition of Tour of Qatar — and the 22nd at the race in his career — with a bike throw. Barry Markus (Belkin) was 3rd. The photo finish showed Boonen took the win by mere centimetres.

“It was one of the fastest races of my life,” Boonen said. “I remember a race like this at Paris-Nice a few years ago, but today was another level of fast. As a team we never tried to split the group. We stayed united to avoid dangers on the road. Everybody survived through the first part of the race. We stayed in front and we never tried to make the race harder than what it was already with the wind. So, we stuck together and maintained some control. Near the finish I had the perfect lead-out, especially from Andrew Fenn. He did a very good job. He stayed cool and calm, and he led me in the right position. Then I let Greipel go because Jurgen Roelandts went early, which forced Greipel to start slow and use energy to increase his speed. So I jumped on his wheel, waited until the last moment and tactically it was a nice sprint.”

Thanks to OPQS again dominating another battle in the wind, Terpstra remains in the Gold Jersey, and Boonen powered his way into 2nd place overall at 17 seconds. “The next two days it will be hard again,” Boonen said. “Probably less windy. But, we have to stay focused and pay attention to all the details. Niki and I are really well placed in the GC, so we will try to defend his position. Concerning me, I am really happy about this Tour of Qatar and it’s nice to reward the team with a victory after a hard ‘day at the office.'”

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck and Stijn Vandenbergh is also 5th and 8th overall. OPQS is in fantastic position going into the 159km Stage 5 on Thursday. “Today was a really stressful day,” Terpstra said. “I had a flat tire during the race, so I struggled to come back. But, the team was so strong the guys kept me in the front the entire day. Then they had the power to help Tom for the sprint. It’s super nice when you can count on guys like that. In the next two days it will be hard and stressful again. The title of my mission is ‘stay awake.'”

Barry Markus (Belkin) claimed third place: “The pace was so darn high today,” said the young Dutchman, who placed second twice in Qatar last year. “The field was completely torn apart but we just kept driving and eventually we were able to bridge the gap.” The high speeds wore Markus out but he decided to push ahead one last time. “I suffered all day long but thanks to good work by Robert Wagner and Graeme Brown I was still able to finish third. Any more than that wasn’t really in the cards for me. I’m happy with this result.”

Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol): “Right from the start it was going fast. You had to make sure to be in front. I picked up some bonification seconds along the way, but Tom Boonen has passed me in GC. We were able to place André Greipel well for the sprint, Boonen was just a bit faster. I think the GC is almost made up. The main goal is to win a stage with the team. It will be difficult to win the overall, although you never know with the echelons. You have to be in the first group, in that case I will take part again in the intermediate sprints. I’m satisfied with my current shape. Of course my main goals are still to come later this season.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Lars Michaelsen said: “For a lot of riders it was all about hanging on to the pack today and already after 5 kilometres, the first big split divided the field. As Manuele (Boaro) has been suffering from stomach cramps yesterday and today, he was dropped right away but yet fought his way through the stage. The final selection was made after 95 kilometres of racing and we had Daniele (Bennati), Michael (Mørkøv), Matti (Breschel), Christopher (Juul-Jensen) and Karsten (Kroon) in the first group of about 50 riders but unfortunately for Juul, he had a flat with 20 kilometres to go and never bridged the gap again. Tomorrow, we’re expecting more crosswind opportunities.”

Tour of Qatar Stage 4 Result:
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 2:22:34
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
3. Barry Markus (Ned) Belkin
4. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge
5. Sam Bennett (Irl) Team Netapp-Endura
6. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana
7. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
8. Matteo Pelucchi (Swi) IAM Cycling
9. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky.

Tour of Qatar Overall After Stage 4:
1. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 9:19:38
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:17
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:20
4. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky at 0:37
5. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:47
6. Michael Morkov (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:48
7. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol at 0:51
8. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:00
9. Andrew Fenn (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:08
10. Karsten Kroon (Ned) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:21.

Stage 4:



Mallorca Challenge – Trofeo ses Selines 2014
Lampre-Merida’s Sacha Modolo repeated his win of the previous day in La Palma outsprinting Ben Swift (Sky) and Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) at the end of 160 kilometres. There was a large crash with 50 kilometres to go which ruined the chances of many riders. There were no serious injuries, except for Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) who had to abandon. In the sprint it was Lampre-Merida versus Sky with Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Gianni Meersman throwing in a switch in the last metres.

Race winner Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida): “Relying on such a perfect team and on very good fitness, it was normal that today I aimed to win again. That’s why the team decided to work in order to bring the race to a massive sprint solution. My team mates were great in the early part of the race, controlling the situation and only allowing riders to escape that wouldn’t have had many chances to reach the finish. So, I could pedal without too much effort in the bunch, even if I had to face, at the 50th km of the race, a crash that luckily did not cause me too many problems. In the sprint, I followed Richeze, who was perfect in supporting me until the moment I decided the finish line was close enough to start my action, it was a long sprint, but my legs were powerful and I got what I wanted.”

Today’s race was memorable for Lampre-Merida, because of the debut of Chris Horner, for the first time an American cyclist wore blue-fuchsia colours.

Mallorca Challenge – Trofeo ses Selines Result:
1. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:07:53
2. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-Greenedge
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar
9. Tony Hurel (Fra) Europcar
10. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka.

Mallorca Challenge – Trofeo ses Selines:




Mallorca Challenge – Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana 2014
Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Michal Kwiatkowski started his season off strong in Mallorca, winning Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana solo after just three days of racing in his legs.

The stage, which featured brutal climbing including Category 1 Puig Major approaching the final, was one OPQS dominated. Young OPQS rider Petr Vakoc started the day in a breakaway that stayed away for much of the stage. Kwiatkowski attacked, catching one other rider trying to bridge and the duo caught the group with Vakoc in the final kilometres. Kwiatkowski then went on solo, having as much as a 28″ advantage with just two kilometres remaining. He hardly lost ground going into the final for his victory. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) finished 2nd, 27″ back from Kwiatkowski. Francesco Gavazzi (Astana Pro Team) was 3rd.

“I am really happy because my victory repaid the hard efforts of the teams in the first two races,” Kwiatkowski said. “We didn’t win, but we were always in the front and fighting. Today we didn’t really control the race but we stayed the entire day at the front. Immediately after the start Vakoc went into the breakaway. The first two hours of racing were hard. But, Petr stayed in the first group and at that point we could take it easy behind. Then before Puig Major, Team Sky pulled to try and catch the breakaway. We stayed in the front with basically the whole team. When we started Puig Major we didn’t really set the pace. We stayed on the wheels of the other teams. When Sergio Henao (Sky) attacked alone, Serry started to pull and the rest of the team helped him. After 7 kilometres of the climb I attacked and caught Henao. We then worked really well together and caught the breakaway at 7 kilometres to go. When we caught them, Vakoc did a great job for me. He basically helped me and I was able to launch my attack at about 6 kilometres to go on the false flat at the top of the climb. Then I went full gas on the descent. I know the descent really well, so for me it was an advantage. I arrived alone and it is super nice when you can raise your arms in the sky for the win. It’s a great feeling and I am very happy about it.”

OPQS riders Gianluca Brambilla, Vakoc, and Pieter Serry also finished 4th, 5th, and 6th. This is the third straight day of victories in two different races for the team as OPQS is also dominating Tour of Qatar so far with wins for Niki Terpstra and Tom Boonen. Terpstra still leads the GC and points competition, and Guillaume Van Kiersbulck wears the White Pearl jersey for best young rider at Tour of Qatar.

“This is my first race of the season and I have already a victory,” Kwiatkowski said. “I am really motivated. Everything worked well during the winter and training camps, so I am also motivated because I am healthy and happy about my job. In 2014 I was only two days at home in Poland. For the rest I was training or racing. So I am looking forward to the next races in 2014 with big morale, and when you can start with a good victory it is even better.”
Thanks to OPQS for the race info.

Mallorca Challenge – Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana Result:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 3:59:51
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky at 0:27
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
4. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick Step
5. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Jesus Del Pino (Spa) Burgos-BH
8. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros
9. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana
10. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky.

Mallorca Challenge – Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana:




Mallorca Challenge – Trofeo Platja de Muro – Port d’Alcudia 2014
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Gianni Meersman added to the tally of OPQS victories in just a few days, taking the sprint victory at 162km Trofeo Platja de Muro on Wednesday.

OPQS took control of a front group in the final kilometres in hopes of a second straight victory at Trofeo Mallorca, following Michal Kwiatkowski’s solo win on Tuesday. The front group was down to 45 riders with 26km to go and the team made sure it was always a factor in the remainder of the race.

Meersman went on to beat Fran Ventoso (Movistar) and Ben Swift (Sky).

OPQS has now won seven races — in three disciplines — in 2014. All five road victories were at Tour of Qatar and Trofeo Mallorca. Meersman also has an important addition to his palmares, as this is the earliest he’s won a race in any season.

“It was a hard race with a group on a breakaway from the beginning including Serge Pauwels,” Meersman said. “Sky controlled the race. At the bottom of the last climb there was an acceleration. During the climb we were there with 40 or more guys and in the last 15km the team took the initiative. We had six or seven guys in the front and we worked together like a great team. They brought me to the last kilometres. In the final kilometre Michal Kwiatkowski led me into the best position to do my sprint. At that point I launched and managed to beat Ventoso and Swift, finishing the job of my team. I am very happy about this team. Everybody was in the front from the beginning until the end. Everybody is motivated and the atmosphere is really good, even among the staff. Today we knew everything about the finish — all the small details. The team trusts in me and it’s really nice to ride for a team like that, where everybody knows their position and that we have common goals. I think that this victory paid off also the work I did during the winter. It’s my third race of the season and I’ve already won a race, so it’s nice. My next race will be Classic Sud-Ardeche, and I carry great morale from Mallorca as I take my next steps.”

OPQS Sport Director Tom Steels said he is proud of how the team is performing as a unit. “With this group, we knew we had a good and competitive team that sticks together all the time,” Steels said. “We’ve won two stages with Kwiatkowski and Meersman, but we were protagonists always, even in the first two stages. We were also intelligent in the race. This team is a presence in all the situations, and are really united. They work so well together, and it is a pleasure to lead a team like that.”

Mario Aerts, Lotto Belisol sports director: “After the first stage, the Trofeo Palma, we were disillusioned. Debusschere came very close to the victory. The next day Jens unfortunately got hindered in the sprint and couldn’t play any role. We are moderately satisfied. It’s encouraging that Jurgen Van den Broeck rides well and was part of the break today, he says it himself. Tim Wellens also rode well, after his knee problems and the surgery he had for it in the beginning of the winter. Those are positive points. Everybody’s condition is good.”

Mallorca Challenge – Trofeo Platja de Muro – Port d’Alcudia Result:
1. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 3:50:07
2. Francisco José Ventoso (Spa) Movistar
3. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
4. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
7. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Greenedge
8. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Katusha
9. Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Europcar
10. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Sharp.

Mallorca Challenge – Trofeo Platja de Muro – Port d’Alcudia:




Samuel Sánchez Announces Prospective Program
Press Release: Samuel Sánchez said races in France and Italy will begin his competition schedule for the BMC Racing Team leading up to his first goal race of the season, Vuelta Ciclista Al Pais Vasco, in his home country.

Debuts In March
The past Olympic road race champion met last week with BMC Racing Team Sporting Manager Allan Peiper and Sport Director Yvon Ledanois at the team’s service course in Belgium. Together, they crafted a program that will see Sánchez make his debut at a pair of French races, Classic Sud Ardèche (March 1) and the Drôme Classic (March 2) before starting Strade Bianche (March 8) and Roma Maxima (March 9) in Italy the following weekend. “These races will give me confidence for racing and allow to me to get to know my teammates and how things work around the team at the races,” Sánchez said. “After those races, I will remain in Tuscany with several teammates for a week-long training camp. I think that’s the best way to prepare for my Spanish debut in Volta Ciclista A Catalunya. That will be a good test before my first goal of the season, Vuelta Ciclista Al Pais Vasco, where I would like to win another stage to add to the seven I have already won.” In addition to those seven stage wins, Sánchez also won Pais Vasco overall in 2012.

Help Evans At The Giro
Peiper said Sánchez will figure prominently in the BMC Racing Team’s racing program in April and May. “Sammy will bring extra depth to our squad for the assault on the Ardennes classics and our bid to win the Giro d’Italia,” Peiper said. “His experience, race intelligence and ability to climb will be of paramount importance in the critical phases of these events where he will support Philippe Gilbert and Cadel Evans.” Sánchez said he is particularly excited for that stretch of racing. “I think with those two guys, we will be one of the best teams,” Sánchez said. He will close his first half of the season by helping Evans aim to better his third-place finish of a year ago at the Giro d’Italia. “I will be close to Evans as much as possible and, if I have the opportunity, I will try to win a stage,” he said. “That would be the cherry on top of my career because I have already won stages at the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España.”

samusanchez_bmc



Riders for the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2014
Tom Boonen, Jurgen Roelandts, Sylvain Chavanel, Boasson Hagen, Greg Van Avermaet, Sep Vanmarcke, Zdenek Stybar, Lars Boom, Thor Hushovd, Arnaud Demare or last winner Luca Paolini are among the riders on the start line of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (UCI 1.HC) Belgian’s first classic of the season to be held on March the 1st.

The Muur van Geraardsbergen returns to the opening race of the Flemish Classics season after three years of absence. The fans can line the side of the monumental cobbled climb that has been missing from the Tour of Flanders since 2011. The last few kilometres are the same as last year, with three climbs of the Haaghoek. There are a total of ten climbs, two fewer than last year, but the sections of pavé will increase from eight to eleven.

Luca Paolini (2013), Sep Vanmarcke (2012), Sebastian Langeveld (2011), Juan Antonio Flecha (2010), Thor Hushovd (2009), Philippe Gilbert (2008 and 2006), Filippo Pozzato (2007) and Nick Nuyens (2006) are the most recent winners.

Riders:
Katusha:
1 Paolini, Luca, 2 Haller, Marco, 3 Isaychev Vladimir , 4 Kristoff, Alexander , 5 Kuchynski, Aliaksandr , 6 Kuznetsov Vyacheslav, 7 Selig, Rüdiger, 8 Tsatevich, Alexeksei.

Lotto Belisol:
11 Roelandts Jurgen, 12 Bak, Lars Ytting, 13 Broeckx, Stig, 14 Debusschere, Jens, 15 Dockx, Gert, 16 Ligthart Pim, 17 Sieberg, Marcel, 18 Willems, Frederik.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step:
21 Boonen, Tom, 22 Keisse, Iljo, 23 Steegmans, Gert , 24 Stybar, Zdenek, 25 Terpstra, Niki, 26 Trentin, Matteo, 27 Van Keirsbulck, Guillaume, 28 Vandenbergh, Stijn.

Ag2r – La Mondiale:
31 Bagdonas, Gediminas, 32 Chainel, Steve, 33 Daniel, Maxime, 34 Gaudin, Damien, 35 Houle, Hugo, 36 Minard Sébastien, 37 Mondory, Lloyd, 38 Turgot, Sebastien.

Belkin:
41 Boom, Lars, 42 Leezer, Thomas, 43 Tankink, Bram, 44 Tjallingii, Maarten, 45 Van Emden, Jos, 46 Vanmarcke, Sep, 47 Wagner, Robert, 48 Wynants, Maarten.

BMC:
51 Hushovd,Thor, 52 Burghardt, Marcus, 53 Dillier Silvan, 54 Oss, Daniel, 55 Phinney, Taylor, 56 Quinziato, Manuel, 57 Schaer, Michael, 58 Van Avermaet, Greg.

FDJ.fr:
61 Bonnet, William, 62 Boucher, David, 63 Delage, Mickael, 64 Demare, Arnaud, 65 Geslin, Anthony, 66 Ladagnous, Matthieu, 67 Le Bon, Johan, 68 Offredo, Yoann.

Garmin-Sharp:
71 Bauer, Jack, 72 Farrar, Tyler, 73 Kreder, Raymond, 74 Langeveld, Sebastian, 75 Millar, David, 76 Nuyens, Nick, 77 van Baarle, Dylan, 78 Van Summeren, Johan.

Europcar:
81 Cousin, Jerome, 82 Engoulvent, Jimmy, 83 Gene, Yohann, 84 Hurel, Tony, 85 Jerome, Vincent, 86 Kern, Christophe, 87 Thurau, Bjorn, 88 Tulik, Angelo.

Giant-Shimano:
91 Curvers, Roy, 92 De Backer, Bert, 93 De Kort, Koen, 94 Devenyns, Dries, 95 Janse Van Rensburg, Reinardt, 96 Sinkeldam, Ramon, 97 Stamsnijder, Tom, 98 Timmer, Albert.

Sky:
101 Boasson Hagen, Edvald, 102 Eisel Bernhard, 103 Knees, Christian, 104 Puccio, Salvatore, 105 Rasch, Gabriel, 106 Rowe, Luke, 107 Stannard, Ian, 108 Sutton, Christopher.

Androni Giocattoli:
111 Bandiera, Marco, 112 Belletti, Manuel, 113 Frapporti, Marco, 114 Parrinello, Antonio, 115 Testi, Nicola, 116 Zordan, Andrea.

Bretagne – Séché:
121 Corbel, Erwann, 122 Feillu, Romain, 123 Fonseca, Armindo, 124 Gerard, Arnaud, 125 Jarrier, Benoit, 126 Koretzky, Clement, 127 Le Montagner, Benjamin, 128 Vachon, Florian.

CCC Polsat Polkowice:
131 Kiendys, Tomasz, 132 Marycz, Jaroslaw, 133 Mihaylov, Nikolay, 134 Owsian, Lukasz, 135 Rutkiewicz, Marek, 136 Samoilau, Branislau, 137 Stepniak, Grzegorz, 138 Taciak, Mateusz.

Cofidis:
141 Cammaerts, Edwig, 142 Fouchard, Julien, 143 Garcia Egoitz, 144 Lemoine, Cyril, 145 Petit, Adrien, 146 Senechal, Florian, 147 Verhelst, Louis, 148 Zingle, Romain.

IAM Cycling:
151 Chavanel, Sylvain, 152 Elmiger, Martin, 153 Goddaert, Kristof, 154 Hinault, Sébastien, 155 Ista, Kevin, 156, Klemme, Dominic, 157 Reynes Mimo, Vincent, 158 Saramotins, Aleksejs.

MTN-Qhubeka:
161 Ciolek, Gerald, 162 Konovalovas, Ignatas, 163 Reimer, Martin, 164 Sbaragli, Kristian , 165 Stauff, Andreas, 166 Jani, Tewelde, 167 Thomson, Jay, 168 Van Zyl, Johann.

Rusvelo:
171 Boev, Igor, 172 Krasnov, Leonid, 173 Maikin, Roman, 174 Pomoshnikov, Sergey, 175 Pozdnyakov, Kirill, 176 Solomennikov, Andrey, 177 Tatarinov, Gennady, 178 Zakarin, Ilnur.

Team NetApp – Endura:
181 Dempster, John Zakkari, 182 Jarc, Blaz, 183 Matzka, Ralf, 184 Schillinger, Andreas, 185 Schorn, Daniel, 186 Schwarzmann, Michael, 187 Thwaites, Scott, 188 Voss, Paul.

Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise:
191 Declercq, Tim, 192 Jacobs, Pieter, 193 Steels, Stijn, 194 Van Asbroeck, Tom, 195 Vanbilsen, Kenneth, 196 Vanspeybrouck, Pieter, 197 Waeytens, Zico, 198 Wallays, Jelle.

Wanty -Groupe Gobert:
201 De Greef, Francis, 202 De Vreese, Laurens, 203 Drucker, Jean-Pierre, 204 Ghyselinck, Jan, 205 Kreder, Wesley, 206 Leukemans, Bjorn, 207 Selvaggi, Mirko, 208 Veuchelen, Frederik.

Sebastian Langeveld wins the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2011:




South African Track Champion Dies in Crash
Jeanne Nell, the South African keirin champion crashed and died at the Bellville Velodrome Tuesday night. Thirty year old Nell, from Richwood in Goodwood, was taking part in the first league track race of the season when he fell on the final banking. According to Johan Smit, organiser of the event and national track director, Nell was riding at 75 km/h when he fell. An ambulance was on stand-by when the accident happened and was on the scene within minutes, paramedics tried to stabilise Nell for 45 minutes before he was taken to N1 City hospital, where he died of brain injuries shortly thereafter.

Nell was a member of team Intellibus and was preparing for the coming Commonwealth Games; recently he took part in the track World Cup in Manchester and came second in last years Grand Prix tournament in Sydney. Our condolences go to his parents and girlfriend, Nikki Liebenberg.



Olivier Kaisen Retires due to Cardiac Problems
The Lotto Belisol team announced that 30 year old Olivier Kaisen has had to stop his cycling career due to cardiac problems. Kaisen was always a strong rider with the Lotto Belisol team and was their longest serving rider with eight years under his belt.

Olivier Kaisen: “Last Friday I got the news I feared was coming up: I have to quit cycling. Of course I had rather seen it differently, but keep on cycling isn’t an option. After the UCI-tests half of November I was actually surprised when I heard an aberration was found, because I had never felt anything before, but luckily I got the permission to continue with cycling. At training camp in December I was able to train in perfect circumstances without any problem. Now I think my moderate season in 2013 might be caused by it.”

“After the second stage at the Tour Down Under I didn’t feel well. It had been a very tiring and extremely hot day and I had ridden much at the head of the bunch for André Greipel. I did start the next stage, but immediately after the start of the third stage I felt something was wrong. I was scared and together with sports director Herman Frison I decided to quit. He said I couldn’t take any risk.”

“Back home in Belgium the doctors decided to monitor me four days long with a Holter, a portable device that constantly measures the electric activity of the heart during everyday circumstances, hoping to detect the problem this way. And on the third day I indeed felt again the same arrhythmia. When screening the electrocardiogram the doctors were able to clearly locate the time and type of the arrhythmia; unfortunately with drastic consequences…”

“I had loved to race a few more years, but I have to listen to my body and respect the conclusion of the doctors, even though this is very hard. I had never thought that someone else would decide about the end of my career. At the moment I’m a lot at home with my wife and son Jussi. I get lots of support from the team, friends and family, but still feel a bit lost. There are worse things in life, but cycling has been part of my life for more than 20 years. I have no idea yet how my future looks like, I only got the news a few days ago and want to let it all sink in.”

Olivier Kaisen of Lotto Belisol.
Photoshoot Lotto Belisol 2014 in Palma De Mallorca



The Women’s Tour of Britain Promotional Video Unveiled
Press Release: We are pleased to share with you the first promotional video for The Women’s Tour, the new five-day international stage race that will take place between the 7th and 11th May.

The video features action from the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series (also organised by SweetSpot Group), the UCI World Cup and the British National Road Race Championships (kindly provided by British Cycling).

The Women’s Tour will attract the world’s top teams and female cyclists to race against Britain’s Olympic heroines on British roads this May. Further announcements will be made in due course about teams and riders participating, along with more details of the event’s partners and stage details.

The Women’s Tour will run from Wednesday 7th to Sunday 11th May 2014.

Wednesday 7th May, Stage One: Oundle to Northampton
Thursday 8th May, Stage Two: Hinckley to Bedford
Friday 9th May, Stage Three: Felixstowe to Clacton
Saturday 10th May, Stage Four: Cheshunt to Welwyn Garden City
Sunday 11th May, Stage Five: Harwich to Bury St Edmunds.

Here is the promo video:




Ladies Vuelta a España 2015?
It looks like there will be a women’s race on the last day of the 2015 Vuelta a España, similar to the Tour de France plan for a race for the ladies on the Champs Élysées ahead of the last stage in the men’s race this year. As this year’s Spanish Grand Tour finishes with a time trial, it isn’t possible the hold it in Santiago de Compostela, but 2015 seems a possibility. Vuelta a España director, Javier Guillén, said to the Spanish sports paper AS: “Like the Tour will host a women’s race on the final day in Paris, the Vuelta wants to do so next year.” Where the finish will be is not known at the moment.



Oliver Zaugg out with Broken Hand
Tinkoff-Saxo’s Oliver Zaugg suffered a disappointing exit from the Dubai Tour last weekend as he crashed and broke his hand. On Tuesday he went through surgery in his home country of Switzerland: “As I just had a mechanical problem, I changed my wheel and was on my way back to the peloton through the long line of cars as the car right in front of me was brought to an immediate standstill. I had no time to respond. So I flew right in to the back of the car with 60 kilometers an hour, broke my hand and was forced to abandon the race. Of course, this is a huge blow in my preparations for the spring season and I can only hope for a speedy recovery,” says Tinkoff-Saxo’s Swiss rider.

Normally a broken hand requires 5-6 weeks of recovery and the next few days will reveal for how long Zaugg will be out of competition.

Oliver Zaugg wins Il Giro di Lombardia 2011:




Cycling Independent Reform Commission Appeals for Testimony to Assist its Investigation into Cycling’s Past
Press Release: Dick Marty, Chairman of the Cycling Independent Reform Commission [CIRC] appealed today for anyone with information which could help his commission understand cycling’s doping past to come forward. The CIRC, which is based in Lausanne, was established by the UCI in January to investigate historic doping in cycling and allegations that the UCI has been involved in previous wrongdoing.

Mr Marty, a senior Swiss politician and former state prosecutor has two Vice Presidents – Ulrich Haas, a specialist in anti-doping rules and procedures and Peter Nicholson, a former military officer who specialises in criminal investigations.

Dick Marty, Chairman of the CIRC said:
“The primary purpose of our investigation is not to punish doping offenders but to learn from the past so we can help ensure a better future for cycling. We will treat all witnesses fairly and so I urge anyone in the cycling community with information that can help our investigation to come forward. We have much work to do over the coming year and I hope, with the cooperation of the cycling family, the sport has a unique opportunity to learn lessons and regain trust.”

The CIRC’s Terms of Reference and the Regulations under which it is operating include:

The main focus of the investigation shall be to determine the processes and practices in professional road cycling that allowed the culture of doping to perpetuate over a sustained period of time, in particular to discover the main providers and facilitators of doping in cycling in the period 1998-2013. Investigation into UCI past wrongdoings will also be a core part of the CIRC mandate

The investigation’s primary objective is not to punish anti-doping offences by single riders, but rather to identify and tackle the practices and networks that have instigated and/or facilitated doping in cycling over the relevant period

The final objective of the investigation shall be the production of a comprehensive report illustrating the causes of, and responsibility for, the doping practices that took place within the relevant period and to make targeted recommendations to the whole cycling family

The CIRC will have the authority to propose reduced sanctions to any License Holder [e.g. riders, officials, agents, organisers, team staff etc] who admit to Anti-Doping Rules Violations [ADRVs]

The CIRC can reduce the sanction even further if the License Holder also provides valuable information concerning other ADRVs and/or other significant anti-doping relevant circumstances. In addition, if the License holder confesses an ADRV to the CIRC, no return of prize money shall be ordered

The CIRC’s ability to propose reduced sanctions is limited to License Holders who are not currently serving a period of ineligibility or facing disciplinary proceedings. However, on a case by case basis, the CIRC can recommend an ad hoc reduction in sanction for a License Holder who is currently serving a period of ineligibility. This proposal will have to be approved by the original sanctioning body, WADA and the UCI

The members of the CIRC will operate on a completely independent basis and will not take any instructions from the UCI

The CIRC will conduct its investigation on a strictly confidential basis and will take all measures necessary to guarantee such confidentiality.

UCI President Brian Cookson added:
“Today marks an important step in understanding the past and restoring the credibility of our sport. The Cycling Independent Reform Commission will not only help us learn from the past, but will also play an important role in shaping our future processes and practices. I committed to this process before I was elected in September 2013 and I’m pleased to see the CIRC fully operational only a few months later. It is essential that the Commission is left to get on with its investigation on a completely independent basis and I have ensured that all the structures are in place to allow this to happen.”



Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego
Epic Italian Cycling Event Returns to San Diego Gran Fondo Planned for April 6, 2014.

Press Release:
The 2014 Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego presented by Bianchi, celebrates cycling in Italian style on April 6, 2014. With three routes (34, 56 and 105 miles), well‐stocked food stops, and a post‐ride Italian feast from award‐winning San Diego restaurant Acqua AL2, the event delivers a well‐supported athletic challenge in a gorgeous setting.

Tobias Panek, event organizer and a resident of San Diego County, welcomed returning riders and encouraged new attendees, saying, “If completing an epic bike ride is on your list of resolutions, this is the event for you. Gran Fondos were born in Italy to celebrate everything that’s fun and healthy about cycling. We have fantastic routes and a post‐ride feast and party.”

The famous Italian company Campagnolo, dedicated to continuously innovating bicycle drivetrains and wheels for over 80 years, returns as Title Sponsor of the event. “We are proud to be involved with the Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego, because it brings together cycling enthusiasts who share our love of the sport,” said Joshua Riddle, Campagnolo’s Press Manager.

Riddle continues: “Campagnolo’s work with the strongest athletes from cycling’s past and present is fundamental to our design of new products. This represents a benefit not only to the pros, but to all who pedal.” The San Diego event is the first of a trio of worldwide Gran Fondos Campagnolo is sponsoring this year.

The Presenting Sponsor of the Gran Fondo San Diego is Bianchi, another renowned Italian cycling manufacturer. Since 1885, Bianchi has been at the forefront of bicycle design and manufacturing. Its signature celeste green, universally recognized among riders, represents passion for cycling.

2014 marks Bianchi’s release of a completely new composite technology for bicycles, called “Countervail”. Available in the Infinito CV carbon fiber bike, the technology dampens vibration, resulting in enhanced rider performance. Explains Jim Stevenson of Bianchi USA, “This is the perfect bike for a Gran Fondo. It reduces vibration from the road and delivers maximized handling and reduced muscle fatigue over a long distance.”

Apparel maker Primal Wear is producing limited‐edition jerseys ‐ and bibs ‐ for the Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego. The jersey is made of high‐end Q3 fabric, which offers moisture wicking and protection from UV rays. This is the first year a complete kit will be offered.

After pedaling the three different routes, all riders enjoy a post‐ride celebration with music, a beer garden, and free massage. The cornerstone of the party is a meal served by Executive Chef Martin Gonzalez of the authentic Florentine restaurant Acqua AL2, a multiple award‐winning Italian restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp District.

Summarizes Panek, “It’s always a great event, but this year’s Gran Fondo is going to be amazing. From Acqua AL 2 to Campagnolo, to Bianchi, it’s our most Italian event so far. The food is going to be amazing, and we look forward to seeing everyone there.”

# # #

The Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego is a one‐day, mass‐start cycling event in the spirit and tradition of the great Italian cyclosportives. Since 2009, thousands of riders have gathered under the iconic “Little Italy” sign in downtown San Diego to embark on a journey through San Diego and the East County. The date of the 2014 Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego is April 6, 2014.

For more information or to register, please visit www.sdgranfondo.com




Mavic video – Map Lines: 230 miles across Colorado
Press Release: 3 years ago, my friend Luke Miller reached out and said he had this idea for a huge 230-mile ride. Luke and I and another friend, Ben Blaugrund, had made a habit of doing a big ride each year. Ben in particular was the instigator for most of our mega rides, and he and I had done some 190-ish loops in the past. So Luke wanted in on the action and had this great plan.

Anyway, Luke’s trick on this particular route was that we would spend the night in Crested Butte, to make the distance more manageable. He had a ski buddy with a place there. So we pulled it off, and it was awesome.

But that “what if you tried to roll it in one day?” question never really died down, and when Mavic proposed more content production to illustrate the nature of our company and its people, this was my suggestion. And I would live to regret my cheap talk, as they held me to it and we set a date. For the entire spring and early summer of 2013, I lost sleep thinking about it.

The same thing happened roughly 20 years ago. I grew up in Boise, Idaho, and the thing back then was to ride from Boise to Stanley, Idaho. About 125 miles, good elevation up into the mountains, etc. I joined a group ride when I was about 18 years old. It was a watershed experience. I’d never gone so far, and so far from home, in my life. But after that, so many things in life seemed easier. This time around, pushing 2x the distance at 2x the years old seemed somehow appropriate.

Fortunately, the day was perfect in every way. Full moon, clear skies, not much wind. We started early (4:30am) and stayed ahead of schedule along the entire route. It was painful. I really nearly fell apart on Kebler pass, and the rest of the ride (another 5 hrs or so) acquired a death-march pallor. But I had a genuine fear of nightfall on Cottonwood Pass, so we kept it moving and rolled home around 7:30pm.

It’s on Strava, here: http://www.strava.com/activities/69604523

you’ll note how little I’ve done since then …





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