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EuroTrash Nationals Thursday!
It's National championships week and Fabian Cancellara was first up and kept his Swiss TT title and we preview the other up and coming national battles. The Tour de France is only a week away and the teams are making their line-up decisions, plus results from the Appennino and Ingooigem and inhalers are in the news again. It’s all here in EuroTrash Thursday.

TOP STORY: Inhaler Gate Part 3
Since the Chris Froome inhaler controversy; the UCI have announced that all future TUE (therapeutic use exemptions) will have to be passed by a committee. This sounds a little strange as WADA rules already state that a committee “should include at least three physicians with experience in the care and treatment of athletes and a sound knowledge of clinical, sports and exercise medicine” when a TUE is applied for. At the time of Froome’s application, UCI scientific adviser Dr. Mario Zorzoli did not consult with a committee before approving the request to use glucocorticosteroid prednisolone. The stable door seemed to be left open.

Then yesterday it was announced by the Lampre-Merida team that Diego Ulissi has been notified by the UCI of an adverse analytical finding in a doping control at the end of stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia in May. It was found that Ulissi had 1900 ng/ml of salbutamol in his system which is 900 ng/ml higher than the limit allowed. According to the rider and the team’s doctor; Ulissi only had two puffs on the inhaler (equivalent to 100 ng of salbutamol each) and paracetamol during the race, the latter given by the race doctor due to the crash which occurred during the stage.

Ventolin is permitted and was necessary because Ulissi was suffering from bronchospasm, a TUE is not required, but as Alessandro Petacchi found out a couple years ago, you can’t use the Ventolin too much.

For the moment Ulissi has been provisionally suspended by the team he and the medical staff of the team will continue to explore the reasons why the urine has been identified as having an abnormal and high presence of salbutamol, compared to only two inhalations performed.
Ulissi strongly rejects the presence of such a large amount of salbutamol and decided to make use of the possibility provided for by the WADA and UCI regulations to undergo a controlled excretion study in relation to the substance salbutamol.

It sounds like someone needs to look into the use of inhalers, but will we hear of the medical conclusions? The case would probably disappear, similar to team Sky’s investigations into altitude in connection with Colombian Sergio Henao.

Giro dell’Appennino 2014
The Bardiani-CSF team with Sonny Colbrelli carried through with its good form from the Tour de Slovénie with a win in the Italian semi-classic (UCI 1.1), the Giro dell’Apennino. Colbrelli ruled a finishing group of about 40 riders, selected on the slopes of the Bocchetta. In the end the race came down to a sprint and Colbrelli got the better of Grega Bole (Vini Fantini-Nippo) and Colombia’s Miguel Angel Rubiano. Earlier in the race there was a break of three: Rodolfo Torres (Colombia), Ivan Balykin (RusVelo) and Michael Grosu (Vini Fantini-Nippo) escaped after around 45 km, they achived maximum advantage of 3:30 caught 63 kilometres from the finish. On the climb in the last part of the course; Matteo Rabottini (Neri Sottoli) was very active causing splits in the peloton with 20 kilometres to go. However a big group of about 40 contested the finish in Genova, despite attempts by Alessio Taliani and Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka) 7K’s out and and Rabottini again with Franco Pellizotti (Androni Giocattoli) in the last 2 kilometres.

Giro dell’Appennino Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4:44:14
2. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo
3. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Colombia
4. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Neri Sottoli
5. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Area Zero-D'Amico
6. Sergey Lagutin (Rus) RusVelo
7. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
9. Fabio Taborre (Ita) Neri Sottoli
10. Sergei Pomoshnikov (Rus) RusVelo.


Halle-Ingooigem 2014
Arnaud Démare confirmed his place as the Tour sprinter by winning the 199 kilometre Belgian semi-classic; Halle-Ingoogiem on Wednesday. At the end of four and a half hours racing Démare outsprinted Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Belisol) and Michael van Staeyen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and everyone else. Next up the Nationals.

Halle-Ingooigem Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) in 4:39:19
2. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Belisol
3. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
4. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
5. Baptiste Plackaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
6. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis
7. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek
9. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis.

National Championship’s Week:

Cancellara Retains National Time Trial Title
Still nursing the effects from an allergic reaction to a bee sting sustained during the time trial at the Tour de Suisse last Friday, Fabian Cancellara was a doubtful starter for the Switzerland National Time Trial Championship on Wednesday.

However, his decision to take the start proved fruitful as he convincingly won his third successive National time trial title, completing the 44.6-kilometer technical, hilly course in 57:55 for an average speed of 46.3kmh.

Stefan Küng (BMC Development) placed second (at 0:49) and Silvain Dillier (BMC Racing) third (at 1:07).

“I felt okay, but not really special. After my bee sting and the hard Tour de Suisse I still did not feel 100% recovered. But that is also normal – when you are allergic to bee venom, you have to take care and rest. I felt pretty tired the last few days.

“I tried to push like I knew I had to for a time trial. 45 kilometers is always a long effort and you have to fight from the beginning to the end. I did not look who was on the start because I had to fight for myself. [General Manager and Coach] Luca Guercilena was in the car following, and he gave me a time split after the first lap, that was nice and helped a lot. In the last five kilometers I was quite tired.” - Fabian Cancellara.

It was Fabian Cancellara’s ninth National Title in the race against the clock, his first coming in 2002. The course was two laps over a tricky course, and Cancellara heaped praise on the organization for providing a safe and secure race.

“It was a hard parcours, quite technical and on small roads. But the organization provided 100% safety on this course and that for me was very important. It’s not always easy to have this in Switzerland.

“First we were not sure if I would start because of the bee sting and the allergic reaction I had. We did not know what could come, we had to wait and see about my health because that is the most important. When we saw that I could recover well after the crash and bee sting my left arm was really swollen that is also the reason I did not start the last stage on Sunday. But in the end I had great treatments at home to help with the healing and followed the medical advice from the team doctors. I had great assistance from the team and I was able to race today.” - Fabian Cancellara.

The National Championship road race will be held on Sunday and Fabian Cancellara will line up with Trek Factory Racing teammate Gregory Rast in an attempt to make it two for two. The road championship, said Cancellara, would be even sweeter.

“It’s getting harder and harder, time trials and championships are never easy. Sometimes everyone thinks I push with just one leg but in the end you have to push with both legs. It’s fantastic to win the jersey again, but honestly I would love more to win the road championships. But in the end, every jersey is a jersey, a win is a win, and it’s important for me, for the team, for the sponsors, for everyone, and that is also nice. On Sunday Greggy [Rast] and I will do our best, but we will have to fight against IAM and BMC who have more riders. It will not be easy.” - Fabian Cancellara.

Stefan Küng of the BMC Development Team was runner-up and Silvan Dillier of the BMC Racing Team finished third as Fabian Cancellara won.

Some Problems At The Start
Despite having to stop twice in the first 500 meters, Küng finished only 49 seconds back of Cancellara's winning time of 57:55 on the 44.6-kilometer course. "I was having some technical problems so I lost a lot of time and then it was also in my head," Küng said. But being so close to Cancellara, who won his ninth national time trial title, was encouraging for the 20-year-old, who received special dispensation to race against the professionals instead of in the Under 23 category. "I felt very good despite what happened at the start," Küng said. "These things can happen. It is not the fault of the mechanic or anybody, and really, I can take a lot of good things out of it." Dillier was 1:07 off the winning time on his BMC timemachine TM01 and said he was also pleased to be on the podium. "I am pretty happy with the way I performed because the Tour de Suisse was really tough," Dillier said. "The last few days there I was going deep, especially on Sunday." In the Under 23 time trial, BMC Development Team's Tom Bohli was runner-up to Théry Schir (EKZ Racing Team) while teammate Lukas Spengler finished fourth.

Swiss National TT Championships Result:
1. Fabian Cancellara (Trek) in 57:55
2. Stefan Küng (BMC Development) at 0:49)
3. Silvain Dillier (BMC) at 1:07.

Swiss TT Champ again.
San Benedetto del Tronto - Italia  - wielrennen - cycling - rads

Kwiatkowski Wins Polish National TT Championship
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Michal Kwiatkowski will now wear the Polish colors on his back in the individual time trial discipline.

The 24-year-old won the 40km Polish National TT Championship on Wednesday with a time of 48:33 (49.434 km/h). Maciej Bodnar was 2nd (at 0:27), and Mateusz Taciak (at 2:01) was 3rd.

“I’m really happy about this victory,” Kwiatkowski said. “The parcours was quite simple. It wasn’t really technical, it was just about pushing the really big gear, so I used a 58x11. The parcours was really fast, but I have to say also I was feeling good since the beginning. The weather was a factor. It was not ideal, as it was raining and the temperature was around 15 degrees (Celsius). But OK, I found my tempo immediately. I was able to balance my effort perfectly along the parcours. I am also happy because it’s the first time I won the Polish National TT Championship. So, it’s a really nice addition to my palmares. It’s special to do well representing your country. It also gives me a good boost of motivation prior to the Tour de France. From Tour de Romandie until this ITT I didn’t have the best perception of how my preparation was going for the Tour de France. But now I know I am going in the right direction. Sunday we will have the Polish Road Championship where I get to defend the jersey I have worn since last year. Of course, it won’t be easy. The parcours is the same as last year. Michal Golas and I are prepared to try our best to defend my jersey and do well on a parcours that is normally for strong guys.”

Tom Dumoulin wins Dutch National Time Trial Championships
Tom Dumoulim has won the Dutch National Time trial Championships and will wear the national stripes as champion for the next 12 months. Tom won the race convincingly despite crashing on the opening lap, but there was nothing stopping him today.

The result comes on the same day as Tom was announced as one of the nine riders heading to the Tour de France next weekend. As such Tom will be wearing his national champions skinsuit on the Stage 20 time trial at the race.

Tom raced around the 47.8km course in a time of 56:08 putting nearly a minute between himself and the runner-up.

After the race, Tom said: “I am so happy with this result. Red, white and blue for the coming year it is! I had my eye on this race for a little while and following the Tour de Suisse and two second places there I knew that I was in good form.

“I even crashed on the first lap this evening but I had Marc Reef coaching me behind to stay calm and that helped me a lot. The team has been great in supporting me and with the Giant Trinity TT bike I have a superb machine which helps a lot.”

Team Giant-Shimano coach, Marc Reef added: “Tom did a great job today to stay calm after he crashed and make sure he still paced himself. He was really focused and super smooth out on the course.

“It is a great reward for the hard work he has put in both on his own and with the teams coaches and trainers to develop and get stronger. With Tom we have a well structured plan in place for his development and he is going from strength to strength.”

Dutch National TT Championships Result:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) in 56:08
2. Sebastian Langeveld (Garmin-Sharp) at 0:52
3. Jos van Emden (Belkin) at 1:07.

Zaltbommel - Netherlands  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cy

Movistar to the Nationals
Movistar Team lines up 24 of its riders across ten national races in Europe, from Thursday to Sunday.

With the only exceptions of the Quintana brothers and Andrey Amador, all Movistar Team riders will travel to their respective home countries this week to take part in the national road race and time trial championships, held every year in the days prior to the Tour de France.

Most of the Blues -17 in total- will be at the Bierzo, in the northern province of León, to ride the Spanish championships in Ponferrada, over the same courses that will hold the Worlds in late September. Alejandro Valverde, Jesús Herrada, Ion Izagirre, Imanol Erviti, Beñat Intxausti and title holder Jonathan Castroviejo will cover the 47km ITT course (Friday, 4.30pm local). The six will be joined by Lastras, Gutiérrez, José Herrada, Rojas, Ventoso, Sanz, Moreno, Plaza, Lobato, Gorka Izagirre and Antón for the 'queen' event: the 200-kilometer, 12-lap road race on Sunday (9.30am local), where the youngest of the Herrada brothers will defend his 'rojigualda' jersey.

Three-time British national TT champion Alex Dowsett will open the Blues' round of competitions on Thursday (6.30pm), with the 42km individual time trial in Monmouthshire (Wales); the 186km road race will also see the 25-year-old put on a race number on Sunday (1pm). Also doubling will be young German Jasha Sütterlin, starter on both races in Baunatal/Edermünde -44.4km TT on Friday (7.30pm local), 206km RR on Sunday (9am local). Polish Sylwester Szmyd (222km, Sobótka, Sunday at 12pm local) and Frenchman John Gadret (251km in Futuroscope, from 10.30am on Sunday) will only take part in the road races, while the Italians will divide: Eros Capecchi and Giovanni Visconti are confirmed for the road race on Saturday (220.5km in Malè, 10.45am local), while Adriano Malori will roll down the TT ramp one day later as one of the biggest favourites (41km, 1pm local).

Giant-Shimano TT Riders
This week sees the European national championships kick off in earnest, and the first major action comes with the time trials.
Tom Dumoulin (NED) heads into the Dutch time trial after taking two second places in the individual efforts at the Tour de Suisse last week and he is in good form leading into this race.

"I am yet to see the course but I hear it is flat and quite fast," said Dumoulin when in Switzerland. "I have had good legs here in this race and am looking forward to the national time trial - I think that I stand a good chance."

Tom is set to ride the course prior to the race to get himself properly prepared for the race. Also in action is Nikias Arndt (GER) in Germany, along with two Development Team riders, Jan Brockhoff (GER) and Max Schachmann (GER).

Then in Sweden Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) will be racing against the clock and would normally stand a good chance here however his performance will depend on how well his body is still recovering from his crash at the Giro last month.

Germany: Nikias Arndt, Jan Brockhoff (GER)* & Max Schachmann (GER)*.
Netherlands: Tom Dumoulin (NED)
Sweden: Fredrik Ludvigsson*, Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) & Robert Pölder (SWE)*.
* Racing for U23 title.

Europcar French TT Riders
The French time trial championships are being held today (Thursday) in the Futuroscope theme park near Poitier.
Riders: Jérome Cousin, Jemmy Engoulvent, Romain Guillemois, Christophe Kern & Brian Nauleau.

Giant-Shimano: Road Champs
This weekend's national road race championships should prove an interesting battle with strong teams represented in both Germany and the Netherlands.
Team Giant-Shimano has seven riders in the German championships, including two riders from the Development team who will be racing alongside their WorldTour companions for the first time this season.

Marcel Kittel (GER) and John Degenkolb (GER) will be the obvious favourites for the team here if the race comes down to a sprint, but with Simon Geschke (GER) showing great attacking form of late the team has options for the race.

Over at the Dutch nationals, the team has ten representatives and will be looking for a strong result in the home championships. Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) and Tom Veelers (NED) are the team's sprint options while Tom Dumoulin (NED) comes to the race following a strong performance at the Tour de Suisse and could do something here.

Elsewhere in Europe, Team Giant-Shimano riders are racing in Austria with Georg Preidler (AUT), Belgium with Dries Devenyns (BEL), Denmark with Development rider Kristian Haugaard (DEN), France with three riders, Slovenia with Luka Mezgec (SLO) and then also four riders in Sweden.

Austria: Georg Preidler.
Belgium: Dries Devenyns.
Denmark: Kristian Haugaard.
France: Warren Barguil, Thomas Damuseau & Thierry Hupond.
Germany: Nikias Arndt, Jan Brockhoff*, John Degenkolb, Johannes Fröhlinger, Simon Geschke, Marcel Kittel & Max Schachmann*.
Netherlands: Brian Bulgac, Roy Curvers, Tom Dumoulin, Lars van der Haar, Koen De Kort, Daan Olivier, Ramon Sinkeldam, Tom Stamsnijder, Albert Timmer, Tom Veelers.
Slovenia: Luka Mezgec (SLO)
Sweden: Jonas Ahlstrand, Fredrik Ludvigsson*, Tobias Ludvigsson & Robert Pölder*.
* Racing for U23 title.

Lotto Belisol: Non-Belgian Championships
On Sunday Lotto Belisol riders will participate in the title race in Europe. Germany, France, the Netherlands and Norway. Here you find an overview of what André Greipel, Marcel Sieberg, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart and Vegard Breen may expect in their respective championships.

Current national champion André Greipel and teammate Marcel Sieberg will ride in Baunatal, central Germany. The riders have to cover twelve laps of just over 17 kilometers, good for a total distance of 205 kilometers. There are 1428 altitude meters in the entire race. If a bunch sprint should decide about the title Greipel will have to compete against Gerald Ciolek, John Degenkolb and Marcel Kittel.

Futuroscope welcomes the French championship this year. This theme park , in the region Poitou-Charentes, was already several times the start or finish place in the Tour. At half past ten Tony Gallopin and 140 others will take off in the centre of Poitiers towards the official start. The race is 251.7 kilometers long. After 16.5 kilometers the riders get on the local circuit where twelve laps of 19.6 kilometers have to be covered. There are uphill parts on the course, but it never goes higher than 120 meters altitude. There are some strong teams at the start: FDJ (25), Europcar (22), AG2R (18) and Cofidis (15).

The Netherlands
Pim Ligthart is extra motivated because the Dutch championship takes place in Ootmarsum, where he won the title in 2011. In the 13.5 kilometers long lap, which has to be covered eighteen times, lie two hills: Kuiperberg and Wittenberg. The total distance is 243 kilometers. With twenty riders Belkin has the largest number of participants. In the Dauphiné Pim showed he's in a good condition by attacking several times.

Neo pro Vegard Breen rides the Norwegian championship in Eidsvoll, located in the south of the country. The race is 184 kilometers long, divided over eight laps. There's one climb on the course. The top, at 298 meters, lies at eight kilometers from the finish.

Europcar French Road Champs Riders
Just like the French time trial championships, the road championships on Sunday are also being held in the Poitiers theme park Futuroscope. Europcar have a team of 22 riders:
Giovanni Bernaudeau, Bryan Coquard, Jérome Cousin, Jimmy Engoulvent, Cyril Gautier, Yohann Gene, Romain Guillemois, Tony Hurel, Fabrice Jeandesboz, Vincent Jerome, Christophe Kern, Morgan Lamoisson, Yannick Martinez, Maxime Mederel, Brian Nauleau, Alexandre Pichot, Perrig Quemeneur, Kévin Reza, Pierre Rolland, Romain Sicard, Angélo Tulik & Thomas Voeckler.

Mark Cavendish Will Not Participate in British Championships
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team communicates that Mark Cavendish will not take the start at the British National Road Championship on Sunday.

The current British Champion is busy with a bout of bronchitis that began during the last stages of the Tour de Suisse. As a precautional measure, Mark will not participate on Sunday and will continue training in Italy prior to the Tour de France.

"I'm sad because, as current champion, I would really like to defend the title," Cavendish said. "I would have liked to honor the race and this jersey that I wore for all of 2014 so far, which allowed me to represent my country proudly. I think it's wiser, however, to not take any risks and focus on absolute, 100 percent recovery, and continue to train in function of the Tour de France. I talked with the race organizers and they understood my situation perfectly. I wish them well, and also wish good luck to all riders at the race on Sunday trying to fight for this jersey I've been so proud to wear."

Last year's GB National Championships:

Tour de France News:
Tour de France official web site:

Lotto Belisol: The nine names for the Tour de France
On Saturday the 5th of July the 101st Tour de France starts in Leeds, England. These are the nine names that will defend the Lotto Belisol colours for three weeks: Lars Bak, Bart De Clercq, Tony Gallopin, André Greipel, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Jürgen Roelandts, Marcel Sieberg and Jurgen Van den Broeck. Mario Aerts, Herman Frison and Marc Wauters will be the sports directors. Tomorrow manager Marc Sergeant will give comment about the selection in a press release.

Jurgen Van den Broeck is the GC man in the team. He rode an excellent Critérium du Dauphiné which yielded him the third place in the overall classification, behind winner Andrew Talansky and Alberto Contador. It's the sixth time Van den Broeck attends La Grande Boucle. In 2010 and 2012 he claimed the fourth place. Last year a crash in the last hectometers of the fifth stage made an abrupt end to his Tour. A long period of rehabilitation followed. In any case, after many hours of training in the Sierra Nevada and recons of the crucial Tour stages Jurgen made a strong impression in the Dauphiné.

Sprinter André Greipel has won five stages in the Tour so far. Last year he was the fastest in Montpellier. The year before he won three stages. In 2011, at his début, he conquered his first stage. The German could already celebrate eleven times this season and he leads the international victory ranking. In the races in the run-up to the Tour he could win at least one stage in each of them: the 1st stage of the World Ports Classic, the 4th stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour, stages 1 and 4 in the Tour de Luxembourg and the last stage of the Ster ZLM Toer.

Greg Henderson is of course the lead-out man of André Greipel. Last week he stood on the podium himself after he successfully avoided a bunch sprint in the third stage of the Ster ZLM Toer. Hendy goes to the Tour for the third time. Jürgen Roelandts, for whom it's the fifth Tour, is also an important part of the sprint train. Marcel Sieberg gets the task to lead André Greipel to the victory as well. Sibi will ride his fifth Tour.

Newcomer compared to last year is Tony Gallopin. The Frenchman takes part in the biggest sport event of his country for the fourth time. Also Lars Bak starts for the fourth time in this Grand Tour.

The Grand Tour list of Adam Hansen is also extending. Next week the Aussie will stand at the start of his ninth Grand Tour in a row after Vuelta 2011, Giro 2012, Tour 2012, Vuelta 2012, Giro 2013, Tour 2013, Vuelta 2013 and Giro 2014.

Bart De Clercq made a remarkable Tour début last year. After Jurgen Van den Broeck abandoned he got another role than planned. De Clercq rode an offensive race which yielded him among other an eleventh place on the Mont Ventoux and sixth place in the stage to Le Grand Bornand. In the upcoming Tour de France he will assist Van den Broeck in the mountains.

Lotto belisol GC hope Jurgen Van den Broeck checks stage 5 cobbles.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Belgium / Team Lotto Belisol)

Team Katusha ready for Tour de France
The Russian WorldTour Team Katusha is ready for the sixth time in its history to take the start in the most prestigious stage race in the world – the Tour de France.

The 2014 Tour de France will be held on July 5th to 27th. La Grande Boucle will kick off in the English city of Leeds, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will open the race. Following are two more stages held in England. After moving to the continent, the riders for one day will visit Belgium to commemorate the victims of the Great War and pass through Northern France. Then the Boucle will “twist” over the Alps and the Pyrenees before making a traditional finish in Paris on the Champs Élysées.

This year Team Katusha will have the following roster for the Tour de France: Iurii Trofimov, Joaquim Rodriguez, Egor Silin, Simon Špilak, Alexander Kristoff, Aleksandr Porsev, Luca Paolini, Gatis Smukulis and Vladimir Isaychev.
The sports directors are: José Azevedo, Dmitry Konyshev, Torsten Schmidt and Uwe Peschel.

"Team Katusha brings to the Tour de France a balanced roster, where a part of the team will be aiming for mountain stages and another part will aim for the sprinters’ stages. This line-up reflects two main objectives for the team in the race. On the one hand Iurii Trofimov will fight for the Top-10 of the general classification. From the other side Alexander Kristoff will fight with the world’s best sprinters in the flat stages. In addition, this year Joaquim Rodriguez, one of the undoubted leaders of Team Katusha, goes to the Tour de France in the unusual role of a free lancer," explains general manager of Team Katusha Viacheslav Ekimov. "We hope “Purito” will be able to find good form, which will allow him to fight for a stage win. And, of course, other riders of the team will hunt for stage wins, too. I think Katusha is ready for a new three-week adventure and the only thing I would like to wish for our team is just some good luck, the only component we really missed at the Giro d’Italia."

BMC Racing Team Reveals Tour de France Roster
The BMC Racing Team revealed Wednesday the eight riders who will support Tejay van Garderen at the Tour de France.

'We Have The Right Mix'
Three riders who helped Cadel Evans win the 2011 Tour de France for the BMC Racing Team – Marcus Burghardt, Amaël Moinard and Michael Schär – will be joined by Tour veterans Daniel Oss, Greg Van Avermaet and Peter Velits. Darwin Atapuma and Peter Stetina are first-time participants in the three-week, 21-stage race that begins July 5 with three stages in Great Britain and covers 3,664 kilometers before concluding July 27 in Paris. "We go to the Tour de France with an experienced team that has helped guide a past winner," BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. "So we feel confident we have the right mix of people on the starting line. We go there not as favorites, but as contenders, and we expect to animate the race from time to time, as we have done in the past."

'A Well-Balanced Team'
BMC Racing Team Sporting Manager Allan Peiper said the goals for forming a solid team around van Garderen were two-fold. "We put together a well-balanced team of climbers and helpers to support Tejay on all terrain and, at the same time, we want to be able to try for stage wins on specific days," Peiper said. Yvon Ledanois, who will serve as the team's lead sport director for the race, said he saw strong bonding and teamwork at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where six of the nine rode together. "We have a team of high quality riders with experience who can get victories and do good work for their leader," he said. "We also have a good staff in place to give us strength and energy."

'I Have Trained Hard'
Van Garderen will be making his fourth Tour de France start with a best finish of fifth in 2012 while earning "best young rider honours." A runner-up finish at the Tour of Oman and stage win at the Volta a Catalunya were highlights of his pre-Tour campaign. But sickness forced his withdrawal from Paris-Nice and a crash in the prologue of the Tour de Romandie led to a small fracture to his hip. "I don't think the setbacks are going to have any effect on how the Tour de France is going to be raced," van Garderen said. "The bottom line is you can come back from just about anything if you have put in the work in the winter. I have trained hard and have a solid base and solid foundation of training. It's just a matter of not having any bad luck."

Download the BMC Racing Team's roster card (PDF with roster, bios, etc.):

Darwin Atapuma (COL), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Daniel Oss (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Peter Stetina (USA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Peter Velits (SVK).

Sponsor: Andy Rihs (SUI).
President/General Manager: Jim Ochowicz (USA).
Sport Directors: Yvon Ledanois (FRA), Valerio Piva (ITA), Max Sciandri (ITA).

BMC's Tejay van Garderen will be looking for yellow:
stage-6 of the USA Procycling Challenge

Omega-Pharma - Quick-Step Tour Team
It looks like Mark Cavendish will have a dream lead out team for this year’s Tour de France. Alessandro Petacchi, Matteo Trentin, Mark Renshaw will be the last men to jettison Cavendish towards the finish line in France. Niki Terpstra and Tony Martin will also be there for the stage finale, but also have stage opportunities of their own; Terpstra on the cobbles and Martin in the time trials. Michal Kwiatkowski it the man for the overall and will be backed by Michal Golas and Jan Bakelants.

The OPQS Tour Team:
Jan Bakelants, Mark Cavendish, Michal Golas, Michal Kwiatkowski, Tony Martin, Alessandro Petacchi, Mark Renshaw, Niki Terpstra, and Matteo Trentin.

No Tour for Nacer Bouhanni
The team sprinter at this year’s Tour de France will be Arnaud Démare and not Nacer Bouhanni. In an interview with L’Équipe Bouhanni was quite philosophical about the situation: "That’s the way it is! The FDJ management have made their choice and I respect their decision even if I'm disappointed because this year the Tour was going through the Vosges.” Bouhanni is from the Vosges region. “But I'm not going to cry because I wasn't picked for the Tour. I'm going to concentrate on the French championships and take advantage of my current form to try to put together a fine performance."

Since the team’s announcement; team manager Marc Madiot has admitted that Bouhanni will probably move on at the end of this season. Bouhanni is asking for more than €1.5 million a year and can’t afford that price tag. Madiot is hopful as he told L’Équipe: “I’m not without hope of finding the budget to keep Nacer but I don’t have it today. There is more chance of him leaving than staying with the team.”

Madiot and Bouhanni both say they are concentrating on the French national championships at the moment. Team for the Tour: William Bonnet, Mickaël Delage, Arnaud Démare, Arnold Jeannesson, Matthieu Ladagnous, Thibaut Pinot, Jérémy Roy, Arthur Vichot. Cédric Pineau or Francis Mourey will take the ninth place.

NetApp – Endura names line-up for its Tour de France debut
The highest-ranked German cycling team has named the squad for its premiere at the Tour de France. Following a three-year break, with NetApp – Endura a German squad will once again be competing in the world’s most important cycling race.

Line-up Team NetApp – Endura for the Tour de France:
Jan Barta (29 / CZE), David de la Cruz (25 / ESP),
Zak Dempster (26 / AUS), Bartosz Huzarski (33 / POL),
Leopold Koenig (26 / CZE), Tiago Machado (28 / POR),
Jose Mendes (29 / POR), Andreas Schillinger (30 / GER),
Paul Voss (28 / GER)

Reserve: Iker Camano (35 / ESP), Scott Thwaites (24 / GBR)
Team Manager: Ralph Denk (40 / GER)
Sport Directors: Enrico Poitschke (44 / GER), Alex Sans Vega (37 / ESP).

All the riders in the line-up will be racing at the Tour de France for the very first time. Although they have competed in the Giro d’Italia or the Vuelta a España, the nine NetApp – Endura riders will make their Tour de France debut this year.

“We’ll be riding with the required level of respect, but also with self-confidence, at the Tour. We’ve just completed the most successful first half of the season in our team history, and of course the guys are extremely motivated. The first goal we’ve set for ourselves is for Leo Koenig to finish in the Top15 of the GC. We’re assigning four climbers – de la Cruz, Huzarski, Machado and Mendes – to offer him support. In addition, we also intend to join in the battle for a stage win. With Barta and Dempster, as well as our German veterans Schillinger and Voss, we also have some very good options for the rather profiled stages,” says Ralph Denk, Team Manager of Team NetApp – Endura, explaining the goals for the Tour de France.

By focusing on captain Leopold Koenig, Team NetApp – Endura is aiming to repeat the success at last year’s Vuelta a España. Koenig managed not only to win a stage there; he also completed his first three-week tour in ninth place overall. Koenig, who had to sit out a large part of the first half of the season due to a knee injury, recently demonstrated his rising Tour form by taking fourth place at the Bayern-Rundfahrt and 11th place at the Critérium du Dauphiné.


Giant-Shimano Final Nine-man Tour de France Selection
Team Giant-Shimano can now announce the final nine-riders who will line-up in Yorkshire on 5th July for the start of the 101st Tour de France.

The team is formed around the main goal of winning a stage and for this Team Giant-Shimano has developed two sprint formations, the first revolving around Marcel Kittel (GER) - the Pure Sprint Formation - and the second, around John Degenkolb (GER) - the Power Sprint Formation.

One of the riders within the sprint formation for the Tour is Cheng Ji (CHN) who will be making history as the first Chinese rider to participate in the Tour de France.

Team Giant-Shimano coach Rudi Kemna (NED) said of having Ji in the team: "When we started working with him as a young talented rider back in 2008 we made a long-term plan and this has seen him develop into the highest level of the sport and we see him now playing an important factor in the sprint formations.

"Having Cheng in the team as the first Chinese rider ever to ride the Tour de France will be huge for him and his country and we look forward to seeing the impact this has on the Globalisation of the sport."

Other riders forming the line-up for Team Giant-Shimano's fourth start at the world's biggest race include road captain Roy Curvers (NED), starting his third Tour. Dries Devenyns (BEL) starts his first Tour for the team, while trusty lead-out men Koen De Kort (NED) and Tom Veelers (NED), together with the indefatigable Albert Timmer (NED) return after playing their part in the team's 2013 success at this race. The line-up is then completed by 23-year-old Tom Dumoulin (NED) who returns for his second Tour.

Dumoulin carries an extra element to the team's Tour de France opportunities with an ever-improving time trialing capability which he will be looking to put to good use in the one individual time trial of the race on Stage 20.

Each rider has been selected with a view to forming the best possible sprint formations around both Kittel and Degenkolb, through analysis and development with the team's experts and coaches. Then for stages that are not suited to either the Pure or Power Sprint Formation, riders will have opportunities to go on the offensive in the breakaways.

Kemna said of the selection: "It is always hard picking a selection for the Tour, and especially so this year when we have so many riders all at near enough the same level and capable of bringing a lot to the team.

"With the team we have selected we have a strong group well balanced to race as well as possible towards our main objective - winning a stage of the Tour.

"The way we are heading in to the Tour is the way that I like start a race - with a team full of confidence and with clear goals. I am looking forward to going to the Tour and showing the world who Team Giant-Shimano is."

Team Giant-Shimano Tour de France line-up: Roy Curvers (NED), John Degenkolb (GER), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Cheng Ji (CHN), Marcel Kittel (GER), Koen De Kort (NED), Albert Timmer (NED), Tom Veelers (NED).

Trek: A Tour for Climbers
Trek Factory Racing has released the nine names that will take the ‘Grand Départ’ in Yorkshire for the 2014 Tour de France. Keeping in mind the team’s two main goals - finishing top 10 in the general classification and pocketing a stage win - the 13 rider long list was shaped to these nine:

Fabian Cancellara, Fränk Schleck, Andy Schleck, Haimar Zubeldia, Jens Voigt, Matthew Busche, Markel Irizar, Gregory Rast, and Danny van Poppel.

“This edition of the Tour de France is characterized as one for the mountain goats, even the parcours of the TT has lots of climbing. Fränk and Haimar are two riders with experience in GC; they have shown what they are worth and they have our trust. Climbers who are in good shape can hold a GC. We will support them with the best possible. With Andy and Matthew to help out in the mountain stages and strong rouleurs like Jens, Markel and Rasty, they are well surrounded. - GM Luca Guercilena

The team will be in the hunt for a stage win as well. One stage that Trek Factory Racing will highlight is stage five, a made-to-order parcours for the Spring Classics specialists with its nine cobbled sectors. General Manager Luca Guercilena believes it suits three time Paris-Roubaix winner Fabian Cancellara’s strengths, but cautions it is not the sole focus of the team as the cobbled stage five is not the same as racing a true Spring Classic.

Depending on how the flatter stages play out there could be up to nine opportunities for the sprinters. For Danny van Poppel, 20, it’s a titanic challenge, but last year - in his first Tour ever - he sprinted to a stunning third place in the opening road stage.

Andy Schleck and Matthew Busche will be the key support riders for the team’s GC riders in the high mountains.

“Andy will ride in support of Fränk and Haimar in the climbs. He will not have a personal focus on the GC. It shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re lining him up as a support rider for his brother and for Haimar: Andy may not have won a stage in the Tour de Suisse, but he aggressively raced well. Riders of his stature should have the opportunity to compete in the race that made them great.” - Luca Guercilena

American Matthew Busche is the sole rider of the nine-man team who has never raced the most distinguished of the Grand Tours. Taking the start will be one of his biggest goals checked off the bucket list of the former College running star.

In the other extreme, Jens Voigt will be lining up in his 17th Tour de France, tying the record for the most appearances with George Hincapie and Stuart O’Grady (now both retired). Always the opportunist, ‘Jensie’ will certainly pick a day or two that suit his breakaway expertise, and make sure his last Tour is as thrilling as his first.


Mollema headlines Team Belkin in Tour de France
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will start the 101st edition of the Tour de France on July 5 with a lot of ambition. With a strong group of riders, the team hopes to put ‘Bau and Lau’ in the spotlights as in 2013.

“We want to repeat our good performances from last year,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven, referring to Bauke Mollema’s and Laurens ten Dam’s sixth and 13th place in the overall. “Bauke is our leader. Laurens has a role similar to last year. We will protect him so that he can save energy to help Bauke in the mountains. If that puts him in a good position overall, we will not sacrifice him. The Tour is long and anything can happen. Even with Bauke.”

The Tour de Suisse was good for the Tour team’s confidence, Verhoeven said. “We had seven of the guys who are also going to France and reached a very high level. Bauke ended up third place overall and was close to a stage victory twice, which gives us a lot of confidence. All nine guys who’re riding the Tour are in a good shape. Last year we did great, but this is a new race with new opportunities and we’ll start from zero, just like everyone else.”

Bauke Mollema had a prosperous altitude training camp and a successful Tour de Suisse in the run-up to the Tour, which helps him look forward to La Grande Boucle.

“I feel just as good as last year at this same time, maybe even slightly better,” Mollema said. “That doesn’t automatically mean that I will achieve better results, however. Everyone has slightly higher expectations of course, but I don’t have any problems with that. “I really like this year’s parcours as there are many stages that finish uphill. I’ll give my all in the mountain stages and then automatically see who my competitors are and what position I can fight for. Besides a good overall, my goal is also a stage win. I will certainly do my best to win one. “The cobbled stage will be an important day for the GC riders, but I’ve reconned it and it went well. We have a strong team, which will definitely benefit me on that day.” Sep Vanmarcke.

One of the riders that can teach Mollema a thing or two about racing on cobblestones is Sep Vanmarcke. “It won’t be anything similar to Paris-Roubaix, however,” explained Vanmarcke. “The distance isn’t long enough and there are too few cobbled sections. “I began the Tour de Suisse with some small discomfort after a crash in the Belgium Tour, but in the final weekend, I rode at a high level. I’ve never been able to hang on so long in the mountains. “Last year in the Tour, we did well protecting our leaders. I hope it goes well again this time.”

Laurens ten Dam will start the Tour de France with a free role. “As always, it’s the most important race of the year and I just hope to do as well as possible. Last season was fine and hopefully this time it’s more of the same, though it’s always difficult to look ahead. I'm just going to do my best and then we’ll see where I stand. “The Tour de Suisse went well, but not great,” said Ten Dam referring to his 13th place overall. "Last year in the build-up to the Tour, I also finished 13th in the Critérium du Dauphiné..."

TEAM line-up: Lars Boom, Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Steven Kruijswijk, Tom Leezer, Bauke Mollema, Bram Tankink, Sep Vanmarcke and Maarten Wynants.
Sports Directors: Louis Delahaije, Frans Maassen, Nico Verhoeven and Merijn Zeeman.

Bauke Mollema in the Tour de Suisse:

Lotto Belisol: Marc Sergeant talks about the Tour selection
Yesterday Lotto Belisol announced its selection for the upcoming Tour de France. As promised manager Marc Sergeant explains the choice for the nine riders. He also looks ahead to the crucial phases of the Tour.

Manager Marc Sergeant: “I think the choice for the nine names is logical. With Jurgen Van den Broeck and André Greipel we have two leaders for their respective terrain and that’s what our Tour is all about. We’ve built a team around it which can perform in function of those two goals. More than ever Jurgen gave the impression in the Dauphiné that he can aim high. As a team we showed much understanding and patience after his crash in the Tour and the difficult first part of the season. On the other hand he did give the right signals himself after Liège. His recons and training camps went smoothly and the Dauphiné gave the last confirmation.”

“I expect about eight bunch sprints. Three teams will aim for the victory with their top sprinter and apart from them there are guys like Démare and Sagan. Tony Gallopin and Adam Hansen can have a go of their own in certain stages. The past weeks each of the nine selected riders proved to be ready for the Tour. Other than last year Frederik Willems isn’t part of the selection. He told us that the Tour wasn’t a must for him.”

“Pim Ligthart also showed he’s got a good condition. I explained our choice to him. It’s normal to be disillusioned, but I think he can understand our reasoning. We are satisfied about what he showed so far and think he will be of service to the team later this year as well. After the strong spring we talked to Jelle Vanendert about focusing on the races in the last part of the season that suit him. He agreed with that. In modern cycling you have to let riders attend on the terrain where they can maximally use their capacities. And if Jelle can do in the last part of the season what he did in the spring, he will have done a lot for the team. In any case, his crash in Switzerland wouldn’t have made it easy to participate in the Tour.”

“It’s exceptional that for the second year in a row the Tour doesn’t start with a time trial and a sprinter can take the yellow jersey. That’s of course our goal. The second stage in England is cut out for strong guys, possibly a break will battle for the victory. On day five the riders get the feared cobblestone stage. I think this will be crucial for the rest of the Tour. Our riders have the natural gift to ride over cobblestones, also Van den Broeck. There was lots of enthusiasm during the recon. On the one hand the mechanical aspect is important, on the other hand it’s a matter of being in the right position and the weather conditions can play a role as well.”

“The three stages in the Vosges won’t decide about the overall victory, but will show who’s ready for the next part. The Alps look a bit less hard, but in any case you have to be good in the Pyrenees in the last week to fulfill your ambitions. The Tour promises to be interesting, with the open battle between Froome and Contador and about ten others who can mingle in the debates.”

The PEZ Tour Fantasy League
After Eric Mortier won the Dauphine with ENRICO 666 and JP winning the Tour de Suisse with Chamois Butterz, we can now move on too the fantasy Ciclismo PEZ Tour de France league. Details to come soon.

The Tour 2014
There are many 2014 Tour de France Promo videos and here is another good one, it's not long now!


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