TOP STORY: No Colombian’s in Belfast?
The British Embassy has denied visas to three cyclists of Team Colombia; Miguel Ángel Rubiano, Járlinson Pantano and Carlos Julián Quintero, who were to participate in the Tour of Italy which starts on May the 9th in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The Colombian daily El Tiempo reports that “the processing of the papers had begun days ago and the plan was to travel to Italy on Friday and then travel to Ireland.” For the second year, the Colombian team run by Claudio Corti has been invited to the Giro d’Italia. Because Rubiano recently became Colombian national champion, and Pantano were presumed to be two of the main riders for the Colombia Team in the Giro, along with Fabio Duarte and Leonardo Duque, now the team seems to have a big problem.
I wonder what the British Government think the Colombians would be doing in Belfast?
Miguel Angel Rubiano wins Stage 6 in the 2012 Giro d’Italia:
Brabantse Pijl 2014
Philippe Gilbert of the BMC Racing Team won his first race of the season on Wednesday, holding off Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) in a two-up sprint in the Brabantse Pijl.
Winner of this race in 2011 and runner-up last year, Gilbert earned the victory with a throw of his BMC teammachine SLR01 as Matthews attempted to come around him on the uphill dash to the finish. “Matthews was the fastest, but I played it well because he had to close the gap to (Bjorn) Leukemans and (Wouter) Poels in the descent and that cost him power,” Gilbert said. “I also saw he was closed in in the last corner, but I waited, because I knew from the last times (up the climb), I didn’t want to make the same mistake. It was perfect.” After Gilbert and Matthews, Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) was third after a late puncture: “Considering the race developments I’m very satisfied with my third place. I had a puncture at 25 kilometers from the finish. On the same place of the course as last year. Honestly, I thought my race was over. Because of the succession of hills the race never stopped. I had to return from behind the team cars, but eventually I could pass one group after another and that way I could take my place back in front. Thanks to the teammates I joined the first group just before the last climb, not a moment too early.”
The early break of the day had a maximum lead of nearly seven minutes, they were: Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar), Mattia Pozzo & Giorgio Cecchinel (Neri Sottoli), Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling), Christopher Williams (Novo Nordisk) and Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare). Garmin-Sharp, Lotto Belisol and BMC chased them down.
With 21 kilometres left in the 203.1 km race, Gilbert attacked to bridge a 15-second gap to a small breakaway. His solo effort lasted nine kilometres, but less than two minutes after he joined the escapees, the peloton closed down the move. “I had to choose between waiting or trying and I tried,” Gilbert said. “Alone against seven riders is not easy with a headwind. And when I came back, the peloton came also back. Eventually it was a performance for nothing; but you never know.”
BMC Sport Director Max Sciandri said he was impressed by the teamwork on display around Gilbert. Inside of 50 km to go, the BMC Racing Team took to the front to pursue what remained of a six-man breakaway. “We showed we were the strongest team and, in particular, Philippe showed he was way stronger than a lot of other people,” Sciandri said. “He won a great sprint. He moved the team around pretty well and also made a great move himself. It’s quite dangerous to stay out there for seven or eight kilometres after 180. But he got the job done.”
Second placed Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) said after the finish: “I had Daryl Impey to take me around the course and put me in good position. I had a good sprint to the finish, but Gilbert was just quicker today,” he said sportingly, unconcerned that Gilbert moved him across the road. The sprint sort of worked out. My plan was to lay off and then come off the wheels at 50 metres to go. But I didn’t quite have the legs to finish it off.”
Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) added to his earlier statement: “When I joined the peloton I still wanted to try to set a good result. In the sprint I had to give away about ten meters to winner Gilbert and Matthews, but considering the chase I had done the third place was the highest possible result. But still hat’s off for the teammates. Everyone did what was expected of him. I thought we were good and with Van den Broeck who opened the race and Van der Sande who joined a break we always had someone in front.”
And the Classics to come? “With the Walloon classics in mind I chose to take some rest after the Tour of Flanders. I could use this Brabantse Pijl as last step-up to the next races. I’m especially curious to see how far I can come in a race like Liège-Bastogne-Liège where all toppers stand at the start. I definitely have got the motivation and the necessary confidence after my third place today.”
Brabantse Pijl Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 4:54:26
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol
4. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Shimano
5. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
7. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Polsat Polkowice
8. Julien Vermote (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling
10. Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Katusha.
The young French Europcar youngster Bryan Coquard was the fastest man in the peloton at the 75th Paris-Camembert. The prestigious French one-day race saw Coquard beat Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Laurent Pichon (FDJ.fr) to the finish line in Vimoutiers on Tuesday after 206 kilometres.
Ag2r-La Mondiale had controlled much of the race, chasing down the break of the day, which included: Alexandre Blain (Raleigh), Franck Vermeulen (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Moreno De Pauw (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Alo Jakin (BigMat-Auber 93) and Fabio Chinello (Area Zero Pro Team). But in the finalé Europcar took over either sending riders up the road or chasing them down. Twenty-five riders came together for the sprint and Coquard took the prize of his weight in cheese.
Winner; Bryan Coquard (Europcar): “I’m not afraid of races over 200km anymore. I marked FDJ when Anthony Geslin was leading the sprint for Laurent Pichon and I believed I had to go at 200 metres from the line. On this false-flat, it was a bit far out but I felt I had good legs. I’m super happy with the team work. It was as efficient as at the Route Adélie. Last year I finished fifth here behind a breakaway of four and I was disappointed because we didn’t understand each other with Pierrot (Rolland). This time around, I’m happy with my results so far. I was just a bit disappointed with no stage win at Paris-Nice but I’ve improved in the climbs.”
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar in 4:41:56
2. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
3. Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
5. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr
6. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
7. Gerry Druyts (Bel) Team 3M
8. Sébastien Minard (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale
9. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale.
Paris-Camembert report in French:
Amstel Gold Race 2014
The next round of the UCI WorldTour is in Holland on Sunday the 20th of April. The 49th Amstel Gold Race starts in Maastricht and finishes after 251.4 kilometres in Valkenburg and has a profile like crockadiles teeth as it loops around the Limburg region and its Bergs. Last year’s winner; Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo) will be on the start line and it is looking like double winner Philippe Gilbert (2010, 2011) will be there with the BMC team.
Read Ed’s preview here on PEZ.
Teams and Important Riders:
1. Tinkoff-Saxo (Kreuziger, Roche)
2. Ag2r-La Mondiale (Betancur, Bardet)
3. Astana Pro Team (Nibali, Fuglsang)
4. Belkin-Pro Cycling Team (Mollema, Martens)
5. BMC Racing Team (Gilbert, van Garderen, Van Avermaet)
6. Cannondale (Marcato, Moser)
7. FDJ.fr (Vichot, Jeannesson)
8. Garmin-Sharp (Martin, Slagter)
9. Lampre-Merida (Costa, Ulissi)
10. Lotto Belisol (Gallopin, van den Broeck)
11. Movistar Team (Valverde, Rojas)
12. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step (Kwiatkowski, Martin)
13. Orica GreenEDGE (Gerrans, Impey)
14. Team Europcar (Coquard, Voeckler)
15. Team Giant-Shimano (Dumoulin, Geschke)
16. Team Katusha (Rodriguez, Moreno)
17. Team Sky (Thomas, Swift)
18. Trek Factory Racing (Vandewalle, Jungels)
19. Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela (van Hummel, Belletti)
20. CCC Polsat Polkowice (Rebellin, Paterski)
21. IAM Cycling (Chavanel, Elmiger)
22. Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise (Jacobs, Van Hecke)
23. Wanty – Groupe Gobert (Leukemans, Seeldraeyers)
24. Bardiani – CSF (Colbrelli, Bongiorno).
Amstel Gold Race Website: http://www.amstel.nl/evenementen/amstelgoldrace
Giant-Shimano to Amstel
On Sunday, the racing heads to the Dutch hills for Amstel Gold Race, one of cycling’s one-day monuments. Much like Brabantse Pijl in the week, Amstel Gold favours the punchy, attacking riders who can both sprint and climb as the race route is anything but flat.
The constant rolling roads over the 251km course totals over 4000m of climbing, with 33 hills to tackle including two ascents of the Cauberg. The second and final ascent of this infamous climb sees the riders that are left at the front of the race push through the crowds to take the final left hand bend at the top and race to the finish.
In last year’s edition, Simon Geschke (GER) was the team’s highest finisher in 18th position, having arrived at the bottom of the Cauberg with the leaders, and this year the team is aiming higher.
“After a successful campaign in Flanders and on the cobbles including two victories we now head to the Ardennes classics and for Amstel Gold Race we are aiming for a top 10, something we haven’t achieved here before,” said coach Aike Visbeek (NED).
“The team leaders for this race will be Dries Devenyns (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED) and Simon, with Tom riding through his home roads. With Dries and Tom we have an offensive focus for the final and then Simon is capable of moving with the strong riders on the final sprint up the Cauberg.
“Together with Roy Curvers (NED) as captain, and strong support, we will focus on positioning before the important climbs to save energy for an offensive final where we are more focused on a result this year than before here.”
Roy Curvers (NED), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Koen De Kort (NED), Albert Timmer (NED)
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).
Europcar Team for Amstel
Riders: Yukiya Arashiro, Giovanni Bernaudeau, Bryan Coquard, Cyril Gautier, Perrig Quemeneur, Kévin Reza, Angélo Tulik, Thomas Voeckler.
DS: Andy Flickinger.
BMC Racing Team Reveals Amstel Gold Race Roster
Philippe Gilbert, fresh off his win at Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday, headlines the BMC Racing Team roster for Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. The past world road champion is a two-time winner (2010 and 2011) of the 251.4-kilometer race in The Netherlands.
Download the BMC Racing Team’s roster card (PDF with bios, statistics, etc.): http://bit.ly/1mh9NfH
BMC Racing Team Amstel Gold Race Roster (April 20):
Marcus Burghardt (GER), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Dominik Nerz (GER), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Peter Velits (SVK).
Sport Director: Valerio Piva (ITA).
Belkin Rides for Home Fans in Amstel Gold Race
Bauke Mollema calls the Amstel Gold Race this Sunday the “best race of the year.” The Dutchman of the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM and his team-mates hope to shine in front of the home fans on Sunday.
“The Amstel is perhaps the best race of the year for a Dutchman. The fans show up in large numbers and they are very enthusiastic,” said Mollema. “After Niki Terpstra’s victory in Paris-Roubaix, I think things will be extra special. After our success in last year’s Tour de France, people will be excited to see us race as well. It could become a wonderful edition. As a team, we hope to provide the people with a good result.”
Mollema prepared himself for the Amstel Gold Race in the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. After a difficult start, he showed promising signs at the end of the week. “During the final stages, I gained a lot of confidence. I finished fifth in a mountain stage with an uphill finish and one day later, I was in a break until very late in a tough stage. It proves that my condition is fine and that I’m at my level. I’m really looking forward to Sunday.”
Mollema finished tenth in the last two editions of the Amstel Gold Race. This year, he wants more. “If I finish tenth again, I won’t be in a jubilant mood. Last year, I often finished between the fifth and tenth place in the Walloon classics. It would be nice to get a top five this year. “I like the new finish; it makes the race more open because now you can also attack after the Cauberg. Last year it wasn’t in my favour, as I arrived at the top of the Cauberg in fifth position, while I ended up tenth at the line. Next time, it could well be the other way round, though.”
Sports Director Frans Maassen comes from the region and won the race in 1991. He’s hoping for a good result in Dutch Limburg. “We haven’t won the Amstel for a long time and we won’t be the biggest favourite on Sunday, but we are one hundred per cent motivated and will do whatever we can,” said Maassen. “Bauke is our captain. Paul Martens and Lars Petter Nordhaug also have a free role. We have guys with knowledge of the course and experience and we really want to show ourselves. We want to compete for the win.”
Laurens ten Dam, Jos van Emden, Jonathan Hivert, Paul Martens, Bauke Mollema, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Bram Tankink and David Tanner.
Sports Directors: Frans Maassen and Merijn Zeeman.
OPQS to Amstel Gold Race
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection for Amstel Gold Race, a 251.4km race which opens the Ardennes Classics, on Sunday, April 20th. The race includes three circuits on the Cauberg.
OPQS rider Michal Kwiatkowski finished 4th in Amstel Gold Race in 2013. The team will head into the first of three Ardennes Classics races with good momentum, having won Paris-Roubaix on Sunday to close the Cobblestone Classics.
“After the success of Sunday at the biggest monument of cycling, we have selected a team once again structured to do well,” Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. “Kwiatkowski was 4th last year and is in a good moment of his season. With Kwiatkowski the team can also count on a guy like Wout Poels, the queen stage winner of Pais Vasco. We did really well at Pais Vasco as a team last week, and therefore it is good for the cohesion of the unit that we also selected Jan Bakelants, and Tony Martin — who is returning to the Classics after a few years away — as well as Pieter Serry and Michal Golas. These are all consistent riders who know to perform well in a one-day race like this, and their recent performances give us much to be excited about. Of course, there is also Zdenek Stybar. He is the lone rider who participated in the cobblestone classics. He likes this race and the parcours. It’s kind of like a Tour of Flanders with hills, but without the cobbled sections. So, it can fit his skills. Last, but not least, there is Julian Alaphilippe. The young French rider has been on the podium multiple times already in his first season as a professional, and he will be able to learn from the experienced guys how to also ride the one-day races. We will do our best for a good result.”
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Jan Bakelants (BEL), Michal Golas (POL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Tony Martin (GER), Wout Poels (NED), Pieter Serry (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE).
Sports Directors: Wilfried Peeters (BEL) and Tom Steels (BEL).
Amstel Gold Race 1966 won by Jean Stablinsky from Bernard van de Kerckhove after 7 hours and 48 minutes:
Gesink Stops Due to a Cardiac Problem
In a press conference on Tuesday; Belkin professional Robert Gesink announced that he would stop racing due to a cardiac arrhythmia, but that he intends to make a return as soon as he is cured of the problem. The Dutchman said he had been having these episodes for several years and the worst case was during a mountain stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia; “that time it was accompanied by hyperventilation. It’s extremely distressing. Anyone who has experienced a hyperventilation attack knows it does not feel very good.” The Belkin team have said they would stand by him and have “full confidence that Robert will be able to continue to perform at the highest level and that he will leave this difficult problem behind him.”
Démare with FDJ till 2016
The French FDJ team has confirmed that Arnaud Démare will be with the team for two more seasons, until the end of 2016. U23 World Champion, made the jump to the Pro peloton in 2012. This year, Démare adds a win; a stage of the Tour of Qatar, plus four second places in Algarve, Tirreno-Adriatico, Ghent-Wevelgem and De Panne, he has gone for the classic and achieved good results, the above mentioned 2nd in Ghent-Wevelgem, 10th in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and 12th in Paris-Roubaix. “I am very happy at the FDJ.fr team, very proud of the confidence they have shown me and very happy to continue in this blue jersey,” says Demare. “I love the sprint, it lets me win races. I love the classics. I like both.”
Some sprints by Arnaud Démare and Nacer Bouhanni:
Next Races for Europcar
Tour du Finistere Saturday 19th April.
Riders: Natnael Berhane, Romain Guillemois, Tony Hurel, Morgan Lamoisson, Maxime Mederel, Brian Nauleau, Romain Sicard.
DS: Ismaël Mottier.
Tro Bro Leon Sunday 20th April.
Riders: Antoine Duchesne, Yohann Gene, Romain Guillemois, Tony Hurel, Vincent Jerome, Morgan Lamoisson, Brian Nauleau, Alexandre Pichot.
DS: Ismaël Mottier.
Movistar Team Announces Giro Preselection
11-man shortlist to shape telephone squad’s official roster for Corsa Rosa’s 97th edition.
Press Release: Movistar Team general manager Eusebio Unzué has defined an 11-rider preselection for the 97th edition of the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Belfast on May 9. Nairo Quintana leads a strong shortlist also featuring Italians Adriano Malori and Eros Capecchi, Polish climber Sylwester Szmyd, Costa Rica’s Andrey Amador and Spaniards Fran Ventoso, Pablo Lastras, Igor Antón, Jonathan Castroviejo, Gorka Izagirre and José Herrada.
The nine Blues eventually selected will tackle a demanding parcours, with five mountain-top finishes (Oropa, Plan di Montecampione, Val Martello, Rifugio Pamarotta and Monte Zoncolan, all of them into the second half of the race), several mid-mountain stages in the first ten days of racing and three time trials: the long, individual one Barolo (42km), the climb towards the Monte Grappa (27km) and the 22km TTT that will open a Corsa Rosa whose opening three days will be held in the island of Ireland.
Chiara Francini is the Giro d’Italia 2014 Godmother
Press Release: The Italian actress and presenter announced the news last night, live on Italian TV. Chiara Francini is also a testimonial for Oxfam, Giro 2014 Charity Partners.
The Giro d’Italia 2014 has its godmother. Chiara Francini, Italian actress and presenter, made the announcement last night while guesting on the live TV show “Le Invasioni Barbariche”.
Chiara and the Giro d’Italia
“I am very happy and honoured to be the Giro d’Italia 2014 Godmother. When I was ten years old, in 1989, the Giro ended in Florence, my city: I still remember when Laurent Fignon was awarded Piazzale Michelangelo… I never would have imagined that one day I would have presented the “Trofeo Senza Fine (Giro winner’s prize) to the winner of the Maglia Rosa.
“I love cycling and I love the bike itself, living in Rome city centre, I use a bike very often: it gives you a sense of freedom that’s difficult to get otherwise in cities.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the great caravan of the Giro and getting into the big party of the Corsa Rosa that, I presume, will be in full swing at the Trieste Giro conclusion, on June the first.”
Chiara Francini, who is a testimonial for Oxfam – a special ambassadorial role – Charity Partner of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, will also have the role of bringing into the “Corsa Rosa” streets the message of solidarity.
Pink – a colour traditionally associated with women – embodies the quintessential symbol of the Giro d’Italia, the Maglia Rosa (pink jersey), and carries a social message loud and clear: the Giro Fights for Oxfam. Giro and Oxfam will build and support a communication campaign together – the Giro will join Oxfam to promote and support urban development projects and the strengthening of women’s entrepreneurship.
Backstage Pass with Orica-GreenEdge
Another great in-sight video from the Australian team this time from Paris-Roubaix:
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