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EuroTrash Thursday: Valverde Wallonne!
valverde_wallonne14_650 Alessandro Valverde won Flèche Wallone for his 8th victory of the season and Cadel Evans is overall leader in Trentino, a busy EuroTrash Thursday. Lots of video and rider quotes from all the races and we preview Liège, look at Johan Bruyneel’s ban, Rund um Köln, Giro d’Italia, Michael Rogers and round 4 of the Sky v Orica battle. Café grande time!


TOP STORY: 10 Year Ban for Bruyneel
Lance Armstrong’s ex-manager Johan Bruyneel has been given a 10 year ban by the American Arbitration Association, although Bruyneel refuses to accept “the authority or jurisdiction” of the AAA and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA ). “A very small minority of us have been used as a scapegoat for a generation,” he complains and accuses USADA of chasing him, “without limits and without supervision” and “with almost total impunity.”

The AAA suspension is 10 years for Bruyneel and 8 for Pedro Celaya and Pepe Marti for “their roles in the Doping conspiracy at the U.S. Postal Cycling Team” and “multiple violations of anti-doping rules for many years.” Bruyneel’s suspension ends in 2022 and Celaya and Marti in 2020.

Bruyneel, Lance Armstrong, Luis Garcia del Moral, Michele Ferrari, Pepe Martí and Pedro Celaya were all charged with possession of prohibited substances and/or trafficking of prohibited substances, administration and/or attempted methods administration of prohibited substances and assisting, encouraging, aiding and abetting in connection with one or more other anti-doping rule violations.

“I do not doubt that there are certain elements of my career I would have liked to have been different. Nor argue that doping was a fact of life in the peloton for a considerable period of time. However, a very small minority of us has been used as a scapegoat for a generation. Clearly there is something wrong with a system that allows only six persons are punishable as retribution for the sins of an era.” Said Bruyneel on his blog.

As to the authority of the AAA and the USADA: “I am a Belgian citizen and reside in the UK. I have never been a member of USA Cycling, or any other national sport governing body based in the United States. I never signed any document or agreement granting the AAA USADA or any authority over me or my livelihood. None of the anti-doping rule violations alleged by the USADA is said to have taken place on U.S. soil. It just cannot be right or acceptable that an organization USADA-U.S. – can freely determine the maintenance of any person who chooses to pursue, without limits and without supervision.”

Bruyneel discusses “the authority or jurisdiction of the AAA and / or the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (” USADA “)” and denounces its “self-proclaimed global jurisdiction.” “I am a Belgian citizen and reside in the UK. I have never been a member of USA Cycling, or any other national sport governing body based in the United States. I never signed any document or agreement granting the AAA USADA or any authority over me or my livelihood. None of the anti-doping rule violations alleged by the USADA is said to have taken place on U.S. soil. It just cannot be right or acceptable that an organization USADA-U.S. – can freely determine the maintenance of any person who chooses to pursue, without limits and without supervision.”

The ex-US Postal, Astana, Discovery Channel and RadioShack manager is still to decide whether he will take the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which could be time consuming and expensive.

I wonder why Bruyneel was only given a 10 year ban as opposed to the life time ban for Armstrong, Garcia del Moral and Ferrari, was his crime somehow lesser than the others?

Cycling’s Greatest Fraud: Lance Armstrong National Geographic Documentary:




Flèche Wallonne 2014
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was eager to claim a top victory to crown an impressive start to his 2014 season. On Wednesday, at the Flèche Wallonne, the Movistar team leader took a splendid job by all his team-mates to fruition in the final meters of the Mur de Huy, the last of eleven climbs in a 199 kilometre parcours starting at Bastogne.

The first break of the day included: Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp), Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) and Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and they had a maximum lead of 8:43 at one point. Clarke was the first to crack with 50 kilometres to go, with the remaining two being reeled in 12 kilometres from the summit of the Huy. There were a few attacks on the run it to the last climb, especially from Europcar, but it all stayed together for the climb. A crash by Cunego did split the leaders in the last 3 kilometres bringing down Rodriguez and disrupting the ride of Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

Valverde kept full focus on reaching the start of the final Huy passage up-front, he reached the foot of the climb in the first ten of the bunch and after getting slightly boxed in on the hardest slopes, he jumped away with all his strength at the 150m banner to comfortably beat Dan Martin and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), second and third respectively.

Alejandro Valverde: “I’m really happy: this one’s for me, my family, my team, all my team-mates, everyone who supports me. Esta victoria representa muchísimo, para mí y para el equipo. This victory means a lot to me and the rest of the team. The Ardennes were resisting to me in the last few years – always getting podium places, but no victories. I was coming here a bit furious. I felt strong at the Amstel, but not as today. I had good legs from the beginning; when you feel well, you have to take all chances. It turned out perfectly well at the end, but sometimes, you’re doing well but you run out of luck, which I really had today.”

“Those who contested the win today were not a surprise at all: all the top guys. I didn’t want to get myself boxed in – I had to get in very, very good position into the final climb. When you’re feeling great, you have to start climbs up-front not to suffer any misfortune. You can get boxed in, you have to break, you take bigger efforts, and you don’t win. I was looking for Dani (Moreno), Purito, Gilbert, Kwiatkowski, Daniel Martin… there were many candidates I was next to the barriers with 300m to go and couldn’t get past, but as soon as I saw a gap, I followed it, I jumped away and managed to make a gap and raise my arms at the finish. Surprised? Maybe a bit, but in such steep climbs, when I feel strong, I manage to keep some extra energy and profit from it there.”

“The team was superb, always there almost until the finish. Everyone fulfilled the task they were supposed to, something I’m really grateful about. Even though I say it all the time, you don’t win if you haven’t got a strong team. Feeling yourself well protected and seeing them taking their hearts out for you – it’s really important. Now we get to Liège calmer, not relaxed at all, but with less pressure. It’s a race I like, my favourite of the three, where I already won – we’ll go for it. We can win or lose, but should things go right, we will be in the thick of things.”

The 3rd place finish for Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) was an important milestone. He has his first Classics podium of his career, and continues his consistency in some of the biggest races so far this year. “I’m happy because Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, as a team, did a perfect race,” Kwiatkowski said. “My teammates have been working hard for me and I have to thank them. I actually didn’t make any mistakes on the final climb. I think I did it smart on the Mur de Huy. I started in front, on the bottom. Then I took my own speed, which was much better than last year because I lost a few positions on the two corners at about 450 meters to go. Today, I took my own speed and then sped up before the final. This final is also about tactics and I think I did that part correctly. But I just didn’t have enough legs to just react to Valverde and Dan Martin. I’m actually happy considering this, I am getting better step-by-step. For sure I will start at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. In the past I didn’t make any big results. I hope, with the way I have prepared, I can be in good form for that race as well. I think the Ardennes Classics was the first really big goal for the first part of the season. I’m excited about what I did at Amstel and what I did today, and think I can carry my good legs to the last of the three races this week. I’m satisfied I’m making improvements. I’m 23; I hope I can keep improving until I’m 30 or something. I’m trying to improve day-by-day.”

Belkin’s Bauke Mollema, who was 4th, learned from previous editions. “The last few years I had to attack from too far down on the Mur de Huy. That’s why I really wanted to start the climb at the front this time. Thanks to the team, I succeeded in that. The guys dropped me off perfectly at the bottom. I was also able to save energy until the very last moment as they kept me out of the wind the whole race.”

Sixth Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol): “In the beginning of the race I did have some nuisance of my knee, but it was better than expected. It didn’t hinder me and that gave a boost. I could finish the race in a normal way. The team dropped me off perfectly at the foot of the Mur de Huy. Tim Wellens rode very well, like planned he reacted attentively to all attempts from the peloton. Tony Gallopin did also help me to get a good position to start the last climb. I’m satisfied with my sixth place. On the final climb I might have started a bit too soon, but nobody moved and I decided to open the debates, to be ahead of some riders. I obviously felt good. There’s a small difference between the second and fifteenth place. In the Amstel I became second, but if I had been a tad less good on the Cauberg I might have become eighth. If I had some more luck today, I would have stand on the podium. These two races have given me confidence for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I’m curious to see what I can achieve there.”

Lampre-Merida had a bad day due to a crash in the finalé. Damiano Cunego: “Today; no use beating around the bush I have to say that I was really good, I think it can also be seen on TV that we raced well and always in the lead up to those damned 3 kilometres from the end. I was obliged by the fall to lose positions at the head of the group and dodge Rui Costa, who I was really close too as it happened. To avoid him losing positions I could not hit his wheel and bring him to the ground. We are sorry because he, me and Ulissi, behind me, could really do well in the final.”

World champ Rui Costa: “I’m really sorry for the end of the race; we have given all day, all together to stay in the top positions of the group and then less than 3 km from the finish line a crash penalized us all. This episode should give us even more competitive nastiness for Sunday. ”

“Today, unfortunately, we have not seen our real potential, we had 3 men in the end, I’m sure they could have their say. We just have to wait for the next race and be even hungrier,” the words of DS Matxin.

For Cunego several abrasions on her hips, back and elbows, but fortunately nothing serious for the race on Sunday.

Flèche Wallonne Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar in 4:36:45
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:03
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:04
4. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
5. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 0:06
6. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol
7. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEDGE at 0:08
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:11
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:15.

The last 10 K’s of Flèche Wallonne:




Giro del Trentino 2014
The BMC Racing Team powered its BMC timemachine TM01’s to an average speed of 56.62 kilometres an hour on the way to winning the opening Stage 1 team time trial on Tuesday at the Giro del Trentino.

Daniel Oss was first to cross the finish line for the BMC Racing Team and pulled on the fuchsia jersey of race leader. Oss gave the cheering crowd at Arco a “hometown win,” as he was born in Trento, less than an hour’s drive away. “It is amazing because this is my home and I did not expect this result,” Oss said. “I was a bit nervous before, but I wanted to do this and we did it. So I feel good now.” The BMC Racing Team covered the 13.4 km in 14:12, five seconds faster than runner-up NetApp-Endura and nine seconds faster than Team Sky in third. The Movistar was fourth, 12 seconds back, and Cannondale was fifth, at 13 seconds. Joining Oss on the winning team was Brent Bookwalter, Yannick Eijssen, Cadel Evans, Martin Kohler, Sebastian Lander, Steve Morabito and Rick Zabel, who earned the white jersey of best young rider. The BMC Racing Team also won the opening stage team time trial in the 2012 edition of the Giro del Trentino, though none of the riders from that squad were part of Tuesday’s team.

The victory was the BMC Racing Team’s 10th of the season and its third straight in a seven-day span, adding to Philippe Gilbert’s victories Sunday at Amstel Gold Race and last Wednesday at Brabantse Pijl. Oss established several personal milestones: it was his first victory since joining the BMC Racing Team before the 2012 season, his first time pulling on a leader’s jersey in his professional career and the first time he was part of a winning team time trial squad. Sport Director Fabio Baldato said the team’s performance in the opening stage of the four-day race went perfectly to plan. “It was great to be here two days before and work together on the time trial bikes,” Baldato said. “Everybody was really strong. We started full gas. We said we needed to start fast and be on the limit immediately.” Baldato said there was no pre-race plan for who would lead the team across the finish line. “I didn’t want to plan who would be first but I was thinking it would be nice for Daniel because he lives here, he’s at home with all the fans and now he can spend more time with the journalists and give some peace to Cadel early,” Baldato said. “But for sure, from tomorrow, Cadel is the only leader we have.”

The 38th edition of Italy’s Giro del Trentino kicked off today with a Team Time Trial. Team NetApp – Endura managed to complete the technically demanding course with a time of 14:17, good enough for second place. The result is the 10th podium spot that NetApp – Endura has claimed this season. “We weren’t counting on a podium spot with this heavily competitive field. Second place is yet another level compared to previous years. The team worked incredibly well today, and everyone rode at their limit and without making any mistakes. And when that’s rewarded with such a good result, then everyone can be very satisfied,” says Enrico Poitschke, Team NetApp – Endura Sport Director, summing up the day.

The Lampre-Merida team is at 33 seconds: “Considering the technical characteristics of the riders that we selected for Giro del Trentino, the result is proper for our skills,” sport director Maini said. “The team spirit was good as the co-ordination was. Maybe we could have reduced the gap by more or less 5 seconds if we had not made some little mistakes. The time trial was important for Niemiec, Anacona and Ferrari, who will probably take part in the Giro d’Italia; today they pedalled also with the aim of improving the co-ordination in view of the team time trial of Belfast.”

Giro del Trentino Stage 1 Result:
1. BMC in 14:12
2. Netapp-Endura in 14:17
3. Sky in 14:21
4. Movistar in 14:24
5. Cannondale in 14:25
6. Astana in 14:31
7. Rusvelo in 14:33
8. Lampre-Merida in 14:35
9. CCC Polsat Polkowice in 14:38
10. Colombia in 14:39

Giro del Trentino Overall After Stage 1:
1. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC in 14:12
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
3. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
4. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC
5. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
6. Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC
7. Iker Camano Ortuzar (Spa) Netapp-Endura at 0:05
8. David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Netapp-Endura
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura
10. José Pimenta Costa Mendes (Por) Netapp-Endura.

Stage 1 TTT:




Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) soloed to his first professional win on Wednesday’s Stage 2, the 24 year-old from Peschiera surprised the main favourites in San Giacomo and BMC’s Daniel Oss handed over the leader’s jersey to his Aussie team-mate, Cadel Evans.

The final San Giacomo climb did not open huge gaps: Niemec (Lampre-Merida), Duarte (Colombia), Evans (BMC), Pozzovivo (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Aru (Astana) and Pellizotti (Androni-Giocattoli) got to the finish with in a handful of seconds, Scarponi (Astana) a little behind, but all of them are still well in contention for the GC, currently led by Cadel Evans with a 9 second advantage on today’s hero.

Zardini attacked with 10 km to go along with team mate Pirazzi, Caruso (Cannondale), Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) and eventually by Landa (Astana), Zardini then left the company at the 6 km mark, upsetting all those who thought he would be brought back. “I realized it was my only chance, or we would have been caught and my dream would have vanished. Winning a stage like this, at the Giro del Trentino, just a few kilometres from home…”

In theory, the Bardiani youngster could even have a shot for the overall GC, “but I know who is standing in front of me, so I can be happy with this win.” On the other hand, Cadel Evans speaks of serious intentions after taking the Fuchsia jersey from teammate Daniel Oss, who predictably finished behind today after his glorious moment in Arco. As of today, the Australian should be 38th Giro del Trentino’s No. 1 favourite, but there’s still a long game to play. Scarponi looks competitive, even though his younger teammate Fabio Aru can probably boast a better condition. Pozzovivo and Pellizotti can’t be counted out as well. But now, Poland’s Niemec and Colombia’s Duarte call for a place among the big favorites. Igor Anton (Movistar) and Tiago Machado (Netapp-Endura) also showed promise.

BMC’s Cadel Evans finished fourth and moved into the overall lead: “To concede less seconds would have been better, but everyone was on their own in the final kilometres,” Evans said. “With a hilltop finish and cold weather, it was a pretty hard finish for the first road stage. But it puts us in a good position. A bigger margin would be better, but most of all, it’s a step toward the Giro d’Italia and for us as a team to go through the competition routine of holding and defending the jersey.”

As to the rest of the race, Evans said: “I have to look at the course details, but I guess tomorrow is more of the same,” Evans said. “We will have to ride well as a team to control the breakaway during the stage. There is another selective finish and, of course, now I will be the rider that everyone will be looking to beat.” With Oss wearing the fuchsia jersey of race leader on Wednesday’s stage, the BMC Racing Team spent much of the race on the front pulling back a three-man breakaway that led by nearly nine minutes at one point. “Guys like Steve Morabito and Daniel Oss and Yannick Eijssen set a really good tempo for the first half of the climb.”

Lampre-Merida’s Przemyslaw Niemiec was second on the stage: “First of all, I’d like to tribute my compliments to Zardini, who managed to complete his winning action; at 4 km to go, he had 150 meters of advantage on the chasing group in which I was ridding, then he increased his advantage and he could defend it until the finish,” Niemiec said. “At 3000 meters to the line the battle began in the chasing group: Aru attacked and opened a series of counter attacks. I preferred to go on pedalling on a regular pace; I think it was the proper solution that in fact allowed me to get back on the other riders and to save energies for an attack. I tried to escape at 600 metres to go, but Evans and Duarte followed me. In the final sector, the climb was light, the speed raised and so no other attacks were possible. I missed the victory; I hope it will come to me soon. Meanwhile, I can be satisfied for my performance, especially in view of Giro d’Italia. I had good feedbacks for what concerns the frantic moments of attacks and I also had good feelings in those moments during which we pedalled at a higher pace.”

Third on the stage Fabio Duarte (Colombia) was carrying a wide smile after the race: “Just like yesterday, I must say thank you to my teammates, who did a great job in bringing me in good position for the final climb, and then I did my part too. Now we got two stages left, on two pretty different uphill finishes that I like both: hopefully we can follow on this path to get to the Giro in top condition and with good confidence.”

Duarte’s team mate Leonardo Duque also produced a good performance on the day; the Colombian veteran worked his way into the day’s three man break, winning the only intermediate sprint and, as a consequence, wore the Intermediate Sprints Leader’s red jersey at the end of the stage. “Leonardo wanted to get in the break and take the jersey, and managed to do both. In the next couple of days we may try to defend it: we got two stages left, and we got all the determination and the condition to try to show up again,” Colombia’s DS Valerio Tebaldi said.

Giro del Trentino Stage 2 Result:
1. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4:25:39
2. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 0:19
3. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia
4. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:23
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:36
7. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
8. Omar Fraile Matarranza (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Movistar at 0:38
10. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura.

Giro del Trentino Overall After Stage 2:
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC in 4:04:10
2. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:09
3. Przemyslaw Niemec (Pol) Lampre-Merida at 0:17
4. Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Colombia at 0:23
5. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura at 0:24
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:26
7. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Movistar at 0:31
8. Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC at 0:36
9. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 0:38
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Ag2r-La Mondiale.



Rund um Köln 2014
NetApp-Endura once again prevailed in the first German classic of the season. Sam Bennett clinched his second victory of the season in a photo finish. The 23-year-old Irish sprinter came in ahead of Barry Markus (Belkin) and local hero Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) in the 98th edition of the Rund um Köln. Bennett, a neo-pro who has been riding for Team NetApp-Endura since the start of the season, can already look back on two wins and six top-ten finishes this season. Jan Barta won Rund um Köln for Team NetApp-Endura in 2012.

“It was a crazy race, hard terrain with wet conditions made a few crashes and splits. We worked well together all day. The guys did a fantastic job yet again setting me up for the sprint. On the last corner Belkin and Ciolek got in front of me but I was happy because I didn’t want to jump first. It was a block headwind. The guys jumped at 200m and I waited until 100m, I was coming fast but I nearly left it too late! Thanks again to the team for the fantastic support, “comments Sam Bennett after his photo finish victory.

Barry Markus of Belkin held off Gerald Ciolek, the winner of last year’s Milano-Sanremo for second place: “On the line I didn’t know if I’d finished first or second,” said Markus. “I could not really tell. A photo finish confirmed that I was second. In itself, I’m happy with that, because it was a tough race with a lot of climbs. This is a nice result for me.” The Belkin team had two other fast men in the ranks with Theo Bos and Moreno Hofland. The team decided to ride for Markus. “Theo Bos had abandoned after a crash,” Markus explained. “In the last thirty kilometres, Moreno and I talked, and decided to play my card.”

Belkin Sports Director Michael Elijzen was satisfied with the way the team handled the situation with Bos. “The men acted quickly and decidedly to shift their focus. Theo crashed after just twenty kilometres and couldn’t make his way back to the bunch as it had already split up in several groups. Barry earned his chance after his good team-work in previous races. It’s nice to see that he could immediately prove himself capable.” In Köln, Elijzen saw the first results of a sprint training camp that the team held in the days leading up to the race. “The team deserves a compliment,” he said. “The men controlled the race and took the bull by the horns in the final. They did a perfect sprint. “During the training camp we worked on various topics. You can already see it paid off with how smoothly things went today.”

Rund um Köln Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Netapp-Endura in 4:39:28
2. Barry Markus (Ned) Belkin
3. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
4. Enrico Rossi (Ita) Christina Watches-Kuma
5. Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Den) Christina Watches-Kuma
6. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Team Stuttgart
7. Willi Willwohl (Ger) LKT Team Brandenburg
8. Martin Weiss (Aut) Tirol Cycling Team
9. Stefan Schäfer (Ger) LKT Team Brandenburg
10. Jan-Niklas Droste (Ger) Team Heizomat.

The final K’s in Köln:



Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014
Sunday see’s the oldest Classic of the year head off out of Liège and make its way to Bastogne before making its way back to the final climb to Ans via a torturous route taking in nearly 5,000 metres of climbing through-out the 261 kilometre day. There are quite a few possible winners: Alejandro Valverde, Vincenzo Nibali, Simon Gerrans, last year’s winner Dan Martin and Joaquim Rodriguez, but top favourite has to be Philippe Gilbert.

Check out Ed’s preview on PEZ here.

Race Website: http://www.letour.fr/indexLBL_us.html

Route Map:
CARTE

Race Profile:
PROFIL


Giant-Shimano to Liège
Liège-Bastogne-Liège marks the final race of the spring classics, and is the final WorldTour one-day race before the Grand Tours get underway.

Warren Barguil (FRA), Tom Dumoulin (NED) and Simon Geschke (GER) head the Team Giant-Shimano line-up for this one-day monument. Geschke showed at Amstel Gold Race that he has the legs to be present at the front come the finish of these classics and together with the others he provides the team with options for the race.

Barguil heads to Liège after having raced Flèche Wallonne during the week and he will be looking for a strong performance in this final classic of the spring, as will Dumoulin who showed that he has the level to reach the finish in the front group in the Ardennes.

Daan Olivier (NED) also heads to Liège looking to play a role in helping the others as deep into the final as possible. It will be the second classic of his career, after Flèche Wallonne in the week, but he showed in the recent Pais Vasco that he has the head and legs to compete at the WorldTour in just his first year at this level.

Team Giant-Shimano coach Christian Guiberteau said: “With Simon, Warren and Tom D we have three guys who have a good chance of a high finish in this race. They will have strong support from the rest of the team in getting them in position for the key climbs and keeping them out of trouble.

“With his sixth place at Amstel Gold Race, Simon showed that he has made a step up this season, following a strong winter period working closely with the coaches and also a tweak in his race programme coming this spring.

“Tom D and Warren are both still very young in their development but also are proving that they have the level to race at the front in the WorldTour. Tom is in great shape at the moment and Warren is very focused on having a good week in the Ardennes so we will hopefully be able to have a good race and challenge for a strong result.”

Giant-Shimano line-up:
Warren Barguil (FRA), Thomas Damuseau (FRA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Daan Olivier (NED), Tom Peterson (USA).
Coach: Christian Guiberteau (FRA).


Europcar Team for Liège
Riders: Yukiya Arashiro, Natnael Berhane, Cyril Gautier, Perrig Quemeneur, Kévin Reza, Pierre Rolland, Romain Sicard, Thomas Voeckler.
DS: Andy Flickinger.


Confident team Belkin for Liège-Bastogne-Liège
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will count on strong teamwork once again in Liège-Bastogne-Liège this Sunday. As in La Flèche Wallonne, Bauke Mollema will spearhead the squad, and Paul Martens and Lars Petter Nordhaug will play key helper roles.

“We have been working towards this period,” said Sports Director Merijn Zeeman. “The last few races have given us a lot of confidence. The guys are performing well. “Bauke will be our captain. With Paul, Lars Petter and the other guys, we have a very strong team. The final is a bit more difficult than in previous years so the race will get hard early. That’s an advantage when you’re good. And Bauke is in a top shape right now.”

Mollema agreed with his Sports Director. “My condition is superb. The last few races went great, and Liège suits me even better than the Amstel and Flèche Wallonne. “I needed some races to get into my rhythm this year, but currently, I’m stronger than I’ve ever been during this time of the year. I have high morale going into Liège.”

Martens ‘making steps ahead’
Martens finished 13th in the Fleche Wallonne yesterday. He said that he is happy about himself and the team. “I’m making steps ahead and feeling that I’m getting better. Hopefully, I can stay at the front until late in the race on Sunday and support Bauke. I would be great to put one of us in the top as a team. “We have a group that keeps getting better together. Valverde and Rodriguez are slightly better normally, but together we are strong and can give them a hard time.”

Lars Petter Nordhaug
Nordhaug placed 26th in the Flèche Wallonne. The Norwegian expects he will be in a good shape for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. “I like riding in the Ardennes. The climbs suit me well. Liège is a long race and I like that. I’m getting older and my engine is getting bigger. We are doing well as a team. Bauke is our captain, but we have more cards to play.”

TEAM line-up:
Jack Bobridge, Martijn Keizer, Jonathan Hivert, Paul Martens, Bauke Mollema, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Bram Tankink and David Tanner.
Sports Directors: Frans Maassen and Merijn Zeeman.


Orica-GreenEDGE to Liège
It is the 100th running of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, giving an extra air of distinction to the fourth monument of the season. La Doyenne, or the ‘Old Lady’ of the classics, returns to its roots with a slightly altered course that pays homage to the climbs that have proven historically significant throughout a century of racing. The longest and the hilliest of the three Ardennes Classics, Liège-Bastogne-Liège typically favours the climber over the rouleur.

Simon Gerrans rounded out the top ten in Liège last year, finishing 18” behind Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp) who soloed to victory ahead Rodriguez and Valverde.

“It is the hardest one day race of the year. It’s the most taxing. It’s a very, very solid road race. We have a competitive team and I am looking forward to see how the boys will fair on such a demanding course.” – Sport Director Matt White

“This is the big one. It’s the only monument in the Ardennes week, and it’s one of the oldest races on the calendar. Of the riders that target the Ardennes, there are many that dream of winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It’s a more demanding course than Amstel or Flèche. The climbs are a bit longer and quite a bit harder. Generally a climber who can be very good over six hours of racing wins this one. This sets Liège apart Amstel and Flèche, where an explosive rider like myself has a better chance.” – Simon Gerrans

ORICA-GreenEDGE for Liège-Bastogne-Liège:
Cameron Meyer (AUS), Christian Meier (CAN), Daryl Impey (RSA), Ivan Santaromita (ITA), Michael Albasini (SWI), Pieter Weening (NED), Simon Clarke (AUS), Simon Gerrans (AUS).


BMC Racing Team Announces Liège-Bastogne-Liège Roster
The BMC Racing Team’s roster for the 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège includes past winner Philippe Gilbert.

Final Spring Classic
Joining Gilbert, champion of the 2011 edition and recent winner of Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl is: Darwin Atapuma, Marcus Burghardt, Stephen Cummings, Ben Hermans, Amaël Moinard, Samuel Sánchez and Peter Velits. Sunday’s 263-kilometer race marks the end of the spring classics season.

Download the BMC Racing Team’s roster card (PDF with bios, statistics, etc.): http://bit.ly/1jH9erI

BMC Racing Team Liège-Bastogne-Liège Roster (April 27):
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Peter Velits (SVK).
President/General Manager: Jim Ochowicz (USA)
Sporting Manager: Allan Peiper (AUS)
Sport Director: Valerio Piva (ITA)
Doctor: Dario Spinelli (ITA)

Staff:
Bus Driver: Filip Sercu (BEL). Chef: Walter Grözinger (GER). Mechanics: Kevin Grove (USA), Thierry Viaene (FRA), Jean-Marc Vandenberghe (BEL). Press Officer: Isaura Van Lancker (BEL). Nutritionist: Judith Haudum (AUT). Soigneurs: David Bombeke (BEL), Chris De Vos (BEL), Anthony Lafourte (BEL), Gunther Landrie (BEL), Dirk Leenaert (BEL). VIP Program: Jacques Michaud (FRA).


Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2014 – Official Trailer:




No Clenbuterol Ban for Rogers
After testing positive for Clenbuterol at last year’s Japan Cup, the UCI have decided to take no action against Michael Rogers because there is a high possibility that he eat contaminated meat in China before riding in Japan. It is also hoped that Jonathan Breyne will be cleared of his Clenbuterol positive after racing in the Tour of Taihu Lake and his attempted suicide due to the stress.

Rogers’ Tinkoff-Saxo team issued this Press Release:
“We are pleased to have received the news that Michael Rogers will receive no further sanction after returning a positive test for clenbuterol at the 2013 Japan Cup (other than the disqualification of his result in that race). The past four months have been difficult for Michael; for the team this also has not been easy as he is a key rider for us and his absence was missed particularly in the early season stage races. So we are especially pleased that he can now get back to racing. We will be sitting down with Michael to agree his race calendar and we look forward to seeing him at his best.”



giro_header
GIRO D’ITALIA IS HOTTING UP!
Friday, May 9th is approaching fast and the expected main protagonists of the Giro d’Italia (from Belfast to Trieste – 1st June) are warming up.

The opening team time trial of the Giro will see the 22 teams, each made up of 9 riders, at the start line, with a total of 198 participants.

Among those expecting to fight for overall victory in the Giro d’Italia 2014 are the Colombian Nairo Quintana and Spanish Joaquin Rodriguez.

They will also battle from the Australian Cadel Evans, the other Colombian Rigoberto Uran and Irish cousins Nicholas Roche and Daniel Martin.

Also at the start will be the winners of previous editions of the Corsa Rosa: Michele Scarponi (who will wear the number 1 as the teammate of last year’s winner), Ivan Basso, Damiano Cunego and the Canadian Ryder Hesjedal.

The sprints are likely to be contested between the in-form German Marcel Kittel, the French Nacer Bouhanni and the Australian Michael Matthews, along with Britain’s Ben Swift, the American Tyler Farrar and the Italians Alessandro Petacchi, Elia Viviani, Giacomo Nizzolo, David Appollonio and Francesco Chicchi.

As for “stages hunters”, keep an eye out for the Spanish Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez, the Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen, Frenchman Pierre Rolland, the Spanish Igor Anton, the Belgian Thomas De Gendt, and the Italians: the national champion Ivan Santaromita along with Luca Paolini, Diego Ulissi, Mauro Finetto, Filippo Pozzato, Moreno Moser, Enrico Battaglin and Domenico Pozzovivo.

Teams and Selected Riders:
Astana Pro Team (Michele SCARPONI, Fabio ARU)
AG2R La Mondiale (Domenico POZZOVIVO, Davide APPOLLONIO)
Androni Giocattoli (Franco PELLIZZOTTI, Johnny HOOGERLAND)
Bardiani CSF (Enrico BATTAGLIN, Sonny COLBRELLI)
Belkin Pro Cycling Team (Steven KRUIJSWIJK, Maarten TJALLINGII)
BMC Racing Team (Cadel EVANS, Samuel SANCHEZ)
Cannondale (Ivan BASSO, Moreno MOSER)
Colombia (Fabio DUARTE, Jarlinson PANTANO)
FDJ.FR (Nacer BOUHANNI, Murilo FISCHER)
Garmin Sharp (Ryder HESJEDAL, Daniel MARTIN)
Lampre – Merida (Damiano Cunego, Diego ULISSI)
Lotto Belisol (Lars BAK, Adam HANSEN)
Movistar Team (Nairo QUINTANA, Adriano MALORI)
Neri Sottoli (Mauro FINETTO, Matteo RABOTTINI)
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step (Rigoberto URAN, Alessandro PETACCHI)
Orica GreenEdge (Michael MATTHEWS, Ivan SANTAROMITA)
Team Europcar (Yukiya ARASHIRO, Pierre ROLLAND)
Team Giant – Shimano (Marcel KITTEL, Simon GESCHKE)
Team Katusha (Joaquin RODRIGUEZ, Luca PAOLINI)
Team Sky (Edvald BOASSON HAGEN, Peter KENNAUGH)
Tinkoff Saxo (Nicholas ROCHE, Rafal MAJKA)
Trek Factory Racing (Robert KISERLOVSKI, Giacomo NIZZOLO).

2014 Giro d’Italia promo:




Sky v Orica-GreenEDGE Round 4!
With only two rounds to go in the #SKYvOGE series it’s a must win game for Team Sky who trail 2-1 in the series.

This episode is a round of darts between the two teams with team captains Richie Porte and Simon Gerrans. Can Team Sky take it to a decider? Watch to find out!






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