PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Marc Soler scuppered the Yates brothers double success - All the results and video from Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico. UCI President wants Team Sky investigated - Top Story. In other cycling news: Contract for Alexey Vermeulen, next races for BMC, Peter Kennaugh takes time off, Vittoria for Hammer series, Tour of the Alps news, new bus for Quick-Step Floors and we finish with video of Graeme Obree in wind tunnel tests. Monday coffee time!

TOP STORY: UCI to Investigate Team Sky?
Last week UCI President David Lappartient said he wanted the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation to investigate the Sky team due to the report on the findings of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee of the British Government on combating doping in sport.

Lappartient said in an interview with the BBC: "We have the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation, they have the power of investigation. I would like them to do this, to see if there is some violation of anti-doping rules. So you have to put this in the context of the time; the grey zone was too big and it seemed that this grey zone has been used by Team Sky at the time so, is it doping? Is it just using the rules? That is why the MPs' report just says they were not breaching the rules. I read the press release from Team Sky saying 'look we apologize, we recognize that we made some mistakes'. A mistake is something you've done without an intention to be wrong. The report is a little bit different. It seems that it was a little bit organized, so its maybe not a mistake but a fault, which is different, because that could affect the credibility globally of our sport and that's why I'm concerned about this. It's sad to see that when Team Sky was launched, I remember - they say 'we will be clean, we will win races and be clean, more white than white'. We can see in this report that it seems to be a little bit different."

When asked if he agreed with the MPs that the Sky team had "crossed the ethical line" he said: "It's in the report, what I can read, you can see that substances were used not for health problems or with strong pain but to increase your performances, then yes, that is something unacceptable for me and the philosophy we have, even if it seems there is no breach, no violation of the rules. If you are using substances to increase your performances I think this is exactly what is cheating. Just by a letter of support from the doctor, then it was not so difficult to get the TUE, which is something completely different now."

Lappartient also called on Sky to join the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible: "They (Team Sky) always said that they don't need to join MPCC because they are doing more and they are more clean. The reports seem to demonstrate the contrary."

Team Sky: Response to comments by UCI President David Lappartient
Team Sky is happy to co-operate with any investigation by the UCI and we would welcome further scrutiny of the Select Committee's report.

While we have acknowledged past failings, we strongly deny the very serious new allegations about the use of medication to enhance performance, as does Bradley Wiggins.

Furthermore, we are concerned that the Committee presented these unsubstantiated allegations without providing evidence to support them, which is fundamentally unfair to the Team and its riders.

We welcome any review by the UCI which can help establish the nature of the evidence relied on by the Committee in coming to its conclusions.

London - England - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Bradley Wiggins (GBR) and David Brailsford pictured during Time Trial TT - contre le montre zeittfahren - tijdrit - tijdrijden elite men Olympic Games 2012 - foto Cor Vos ©2012 *** local caption *** 00907301

Paris-Nice 2018
France's Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie), went in a four-man breakaway in Stage 2 to snatch KOM points, but he did even better. Not only did he succeed in grabbing the polka-dot jersey but he also went all the way to clinch a remarkable stage win after leading the race from the start in Salon-de-Provence to the finish in Sisteron. In the finale, the Direct Energie rider outwitted the last of his breakaway companions, Germany's Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) to raise his arms as his team-mate Jonathan Hivert did two days before. Spain's Luis Leon Sanchez retained his yellow jersey and his 15 seconds lead over Dutchman Wout Poels (Sky).

Sisteron - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  COUSIN Jerome  (FRA)  of Direct Energie pictured during     Paris - Nice stage 5 from Salon-de-Provence to Sisteron (163.5KM) - 08/03/2018 - photo PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and KOM, Jerome Cousin (Direct Energie): "The goal was to go for the breakaway and take the KOM jersey. I did not spare my efforts and we had a tacit agreement that if I went for the climbs they would leave me alone on the flat. Now when I saw that the victory was possible I worked hard to go after the Katusha rider and I played with his balls a little. That's the way I won. I'm so generous in my efforts all year and I was beaten in similar circumstances so many times before that I decided to maneuver differently for once and see if it worked. I didn't steal this. Last year I raced for only 30 days, it's a great comeback. We've now won two stages, It's important for the team, but I must recover because I'm also supposed to be helping Lilian Calmejane make it into the top 10."

2nd on the stage, Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin): "We knew that in today’s stage the break could come to the finish. First there were three guys for the break. I really wanted to be in the break today so I was the last guy to jump in. I felt really well the whole stage. I tried to attack before the last climb and I had a gap. The guy from Direct Energie came with me but didn’t want to work. He was always staying in the wheel."

Overall leader, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana): "It was a good stage of the whole team today, protecting me well and working in the front. The first climb was a hard one, but I think we did a good job by controlling the race. That Magnus Cort managed to finish 2nd in the sprint behind the breakaway was impressive after the work he had done today. We’re confident for the stages to follow, but still everything can happen."

Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): "After yesterday’s hard effort, I still felt my legs in the beginning. In the final I was on the wheel from Juraj (Sagan) and Pawel (Poljanski), but unfortunately I lost them with just 1k to go. I had to swing to the other side of the bunch then, but this way I avoided the last crash. It was important today to don’t lose any seconds, so I’d say: mission accomplished."

After finishing stage 5 of Paris-Nice, John Degenkolb and his team, Trek-Segafredo, announced that he will not take the start in stage 6 due to bronchitis. Degenkolb, a former stage winner in Paris-Nice (2014), was very disappointed: "You know, I really don't like to abandon a race. It's not my style, it's not who I am. To be honest, it was a very difficult decision, but with my big goals coming up, I cannot take health risks now. I hope to recover as quickly as possible. So, no worries, I will be able to "chase aces" in the upcoming Monuments."

The Trek-Segafredo Team Doctor added that the bad weather conditions and hard stages coming up in Paris-Nice would make it too difficult to recover while racing. "John cannot lose any time in his recovery process, since the Classics are just around the corner." With things looking as they are right now, it's unlikely John's race schedule will change, but the team will update on that later.

Paris-Nice Stage 5 Result:
1. Jerome Cousin (Fra) Direct Energie in 3:57:25
2. Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:02
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:04
4. Magnus Cort (Den) Astana
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
6. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
7. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Sunweb
9. Matti Breschel (Den) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
10. Koen de Kort (Ned) Trek-Segafredo.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 5:
1. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana in 17:45:26
2. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:15
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:26
4. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar
5. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:34
6. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:35
7. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:42
8. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 0:48
10. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott.

Stage 5:

Rudy Molard used his knowledge of the terrain to surge with 2 km to go and give France its fourth stage victory in this Paris-Nice in Vence on Friday's Stage 6. The Groupama-FDJ rider outwitted most of the leading contenders to clinch his first World Tour win, the second for his team after Arnaud Démare's in stage 1 in Meudon. Molard upstaged Belgian Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal) and fellow-Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) while Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) finished fourth and retained his overall lead with a 25 seconds lead over Alaphilippe. Dutchman Wout Poels, second overall at the start, crashed in the final descent, harming Team Sky's chances to win the Race to the Sun for the 6th time in seven years.

Vence - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - MOLARD Rudy (FRA) of FDJ pictured during Paris - Nice stage 6 from Sisteron to Vence (188KM) - 09/03/2018 - photo PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner,Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ): "It's fantastic, Groupama-FDJ's second victory Paris-Nice, and my first WorldTour victory. I live in Antibes nearby, I knew the final climb, I've done it a dozen times, and when the route for Paris-Nice was revealed in the winter I was delighted to see stage finish like that, one that's well suited to me. I was on a good day, it's fantastic. I knew that on the Côte de la Colle sur Loup I had to follow the wheels but not give it everything. I saw Vuillermoz was doing a lot but I decided to sit there without making any huge accelerations as I knew it would come down to later on. I felt good and knew that if I waited for a sprint I'd lose. I attacked a couple of times but the last one was the good one."

2nd on the stage, Tim Wellens (BMC): "My legs were really good today. The teammates brought me in perfect position to the bottom of the last climb. I could respond rather smoothly to all attacks. When Yates had jumped away, I bridged the gap with Henao on my wheel but he got dropped. It’s a pity that Yates didn’t go full gas, because we could have stayed ahead till the finish. Despite all efforts I sprinted to the second place, so I could have won the stage. That’s why I am a bit disappointed. I gained seven bonus seconds, but tomorrow the time gaps will be much bigger. Tomorrow will be an important day for the GC and for me it will be a test to see how I perform on such a finish. I know what I’m capable of in stages and finales such as today, but tomorrow is something different. I am looking forward to it tough, with the shape I am in now."

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors: "The final climb was very hard, and the subsequent descent tricky, making for a nervous finish. I felt good and covered many attacks, but when Molard went there was nothing left to be done, as I had already spent a lot of effort. I would have loved to win, but it wasn't possible today. Third is a good result, one that wouldn't have been possible without the help of my teammates, who were fantastic today, riding for me from the outset. I also want to send my thoughts to Poels, who crashed on the downhill, I hope he'll have a smooth recovery."

4th on the stage and overall leader, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana): "I saw the crash of Wout Poels, he fell down in front of me. I really hope he is ok and will be able to recover quick. I had some difficult moments, but don’t forget I was on another bike and there is always some difference how your muscles work in another position. Anyway, I am happy that we protected the yellow jersey. Tomorrow is another hard day with a long climb in the end. Indeed, the gradients are not big, but the climb is long and for sure it will be tough day. We have a strong team and we will keep on fighting."

7th on the stage, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): "From the penultimate climb we went full gas all the time. I really was on the limit and suffered a lot to stay with the best, but I think everybody did today. On the last roundabout I was maybe on the wrong side and was boxed in afterwards. But my performance was good and the 7th place is ok as well. Most important – I was up there."

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): "It was not my intention to join the break today. I was riding at the back of the bunch, when Lars Bak took off. Not much later the peloton chose the wrong side at an intersection. I was one of the first riders to notice, together with Teuns and Van Lerberghe. We turned around and that way we established a chasing group. It was the first time in my career that I got in a front group by accident. The KOM jersey wasn’t a goal this morning, but now I’m second we’ll see what the next days will bring. Tomorrow the team will work for Tim Wellens, but Sunday something might be possible in that short and explosive stage."

Paris-Nice Stage 6 Result:
1. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:40:05
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:02
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
4. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana
5. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
9. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
10. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 6:
1. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana in 22:25:33
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:22
3. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 0:26
4. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:34
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:35
6. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:42
7. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:45
8. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 0:46
9. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:48
10. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:54.

Stage 6:

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) emerged as the undisputed leader of Paris-Nice when he attacked twice in the final climb to La Colmiane to win the 175-km Stage 7 and take the reins of the general classification. Perfectly led out by team-mate Roman Kreuziger, who toughened the pace in the last five kilometers of the stage from Nice, the Briton went with Spaniard Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) before dropping him with 1.4 km to go. Belgium's Dylan Teuns (BMC) was second in the stage ahead of Izagirre. The GC is a particularly tight one before the last stage around Nice as Ion Izagirre lies 11 seconds adrift, his brother Gorka third a further second back and Belgian Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) fourth another second behind.

Valdeblore La Colmiane - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - YATES Simon (GBR) of Mitchelton - Scott and IZAGIRRE INSAUSTI Gorka (ESP) of Bahrain - Merida pictured during Paris - Nice stage 7 from Nice to Valdeblore La Colmiane (175KM) - 10/03/2018 - photo PDV/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and race leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): "It was a really great job by the boys today, we were always in perfect position and I never wasted any energy throughout the day which I think is what really helped me in the final there. Of course, it’s my first victory on a real summit finish so I’m really happy. Obviously really tired now but we need to defend tomorrow. I don’t think anybody likes these conditions but I don’t mind racing in the rain. For sure it’s very waring on the body and adds an extra element to the race but with the boys there, they looked after me perfectly and I never wasted any energy throughout the day and that really gave me an extra bit in the final. The plan was to be in good position from the start because it was a very difficult Paris-Nice stage - never a straight bit of road, twisting and turning on really difficult terrain and you save so much energy at the front. Normally I don’t like to sit at the front, I prefer to sit back and relax a bit but today is one of those days that you really need to be there. Once we got to the climb we just had to see how we were feeling. It’s going to be difficult to defend tomorrow, it’s still close, I didn’t have much of a gap at the finish there so we will see how it goes. It’s the last stage. The last couple of years it kicked off early and I expect the same again tomorrow. I like that stage, we’ll have to see about the weather, but we’ll see."

2nd on the stage and 5th overall, Dylan Teuns (BMC): "I'm good on short and steep climbs but when a long climb gets really steep, and switches between steep and flat, it's not as good for me. So, these long but steady climbs like today are much better for me. The pace that was made was really good. I was in the first half of the group until this little flat section and I was pretty confident about my legs and how I was going. Mitchelton-SCOTT started to put a harder pace after the flat part and I was still ok. I knew that something would happen in the last 4km but I thought it was maybe too far from the finish line for me to do something. In the end maybe I should have followed Simon Yates because it was a good moment. First I attacked and didn't make a big gap. Tim Wellens, Gorka Izagirre, and Sergio Henao were chasing behind and they were quite close so I thought that maybe it wasn't a good move. They are three strong riders so if they came back to me it would have been difficult. I slowed down a bit and attacked a second time and saw that I had a gap so I just went without looking behind me again. Normally tomorrow's stage suits me. It's a shorter stage, but a hard stage. I don't know what to expect but it's all up and down tomorrow so it will be a hard race from the beginning."

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida): "The team did an incredible job for us today. Without their support we would not have been able to achieve those great results today. We knew Yates would go into attack and I have followed him on the first attack. 500 m before the finish line he attacked again and unfortunately I was not able to follow him this time. I lacked of a bit of energy and than also BMC rider overtook me at the finish but it was altogether a very good performance and a good day for TBM. I can't wait for tomorrow. It will be thrilling. Tutta forza!"

5th on the stage and 4th overall, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): "I felt very good today. On the Côte de Villars-sur-Var I went to the team car to change my wet gloves for a pair of dry ones. I hesitated a bit too long and I was riding at the back of the bunch when the peloton split on the descent. We chased with the entire team. I closed the last gap of fifteen seconds uphill. That might have been my main effort of the day. On the last climb I was near my limit, but I could follow the pace. When Yates attacked, I decided to wait because I feared I wouldn’t be able to follow anymore after 500 meters. I kept a steady pace and when Teuns attacked I tried to stay as close as possible. In the end I got fifth and I didn’t lose much time. I am looking forward to the last stage with confidence. I know the area well and I won a stage here two years ago. I have tough opponents such as Yates and the Izagirre brothers, but I will give all I got to aim for the overall victory."

6th on the stage, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): "Maybe this kind of weather with snow suits us Austrian guys better than others. But seriously, this was a really challenging day. Our team did a great job to keep me and Felix in the right spot before the first critical downhill. We were four guys in the front group then, and this saved us crucial energy. My legs were good again and I knew we can do something today. In the end it was a pure fight man against man. I could resist first when Teuns went, but on the last 500m I was really on the limit. There is still one hard day to go, so we need to stay focused. But with today’s performance we can be really happy."

KOM, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): "Before the start of the stage I didn’t have the intention to join the breakaway today, but I did want to take the KOM points on the first climb of the day after ten kilometers of racing. That way I could take over the KOM jersey. After taking the points on the climb I got in an interesting break of eight riders and I immediately cooperated with the others. I could take the maximum amount of KOM points on all climbs today, except for the last climb. I now have an advantage of 29 points. Tomorrow 48 points can be gained. It’s a rather comfortable lead, but not sufficient. We’ll see tomorrow what happens on the first two climbs. Tim Wellens is now fourth overall and we are not in the running for a podium place at Paris-Nice every year, so of course we will do everything we can to achieve that podium place with Tim. Tonight we will discuss our tactics for this last stage."

Paris-Nice Stage 7 Result:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 5:02:54
2. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:08
3. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
4. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:13
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:20
7. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 0:46
8. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:48
10. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 0:54.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 7:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 27:29:02
2. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:11
3. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:12
4. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:13
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:27
6. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 0:37
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:39
8. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 0:57
9. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 1:48
10. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:49.

Stage 7 summary:

Spanish hopeful Marc Soler (Movistar) outshone Briton Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) in a nail-biting Final Stage 8 on the hills surrounding Nice to win the 'Race to the Sun' by 4 seconds. The 24-year-old Movistar rider, 37 seconds behind Yates at the start in the morning rain, crossed the line with a four-second lead over the Briton, 110 km and a few hours later, after another extremely tight finale in Paris-Nice. Soler, the first rider since Alberto Contador in 2007 to win both the yellow and the best young ride white jersey, finished third in Stage 8 behind compatriots David De La Cruz (Sky) and Omar Fraile (Astana), with whom he attacked on the Cote de Peille, one of six climbs on the final day's menu. De La Cruz snatched the final stage for the second year in succession ahead of Fraile, with Soler three seconds behind. And it was only thanks to his third place time bonus that Soler was finally declared the 2018 Paris-Nice champion for the first WorldTour victory of his career.

Nice - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  David de la Cruz Melgarejo  (ESP)  of Team SKY wins before Omar Fraile Matarranz  (ESP)  of Astana Pro Team pictured during Paris - Nice stage 8 from Nice to Nice (110KM) - 11/03/2018 - photo PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Overall winner, Marc Soler (Movistar): "I can't believe it yet. All my team-mates worked hard for me all week, and happily we were able to finish this off for them in such a great way. I wasn't expecting to take this one, especially after the time I lost on Saturday's finish. However, we reset our minds, planned a good strategy with our team-mates and sports directors, choosing to launch a long-range attack. We thought there would be a big breakaway like in last year's final stage, but it didn't happen. Fraile was already ahead and I jumped into the third-to-last climb - the point where I had planned to move - to leave the bunch behind. De la Cruz and Ion joined me there, we David and myself opened a gap - and it was just full-gas until the finish."

"I hadn't won a WorldTour event before, and it's a big dream come true for me. Joining such big names on the palmarès of this prestigious race is amazing. Now we must go step by step - it's not like you must change things after such a win, you must remain calm and keep things coming to you. The most important thing now is to keep on progressing and doing things right. I feel a little bit stronger with every year passing. I've got used to the pace of pro cycling and I just think about working hard to continue improving. My next race will be the home one for me, the Volta a Catalunya, where I'll be supporting Alejandro and Nairo."

Stage winner and 9th overall, David De La Cruz spoke to "I was very motivated, I won last year, I felt good and I wanted to win another time. I had the goal this morning to take the victory but I didn’t know how to do it. I was really focused and I felt quite good. It was a really hard and hectic day. We knew it would be, and the most important thing was to stay focused and be ready for a fight. The tempo was full gas from the beginning to the end. I’m really happy I can win again for the second year in a row. To win just one stage here is hard, so to do it two years in a row is really special for me. Here I have my family, my girlfriend and my friends. It’s good for all the work we have done with the team this week. Unfortunately, we had the crash of Wout who was well positioned to win the overall, but we wanted to finish the week well and show that Team Sky is always strong here at Paris-Nice. Luckily, we’ve got the victory today."

4th on the stage and 7th overall, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was again a really tough day. We didn’t expect that big split already on the first climb, but it was a good situation for us, because the two of us were up there. In the end it was a real fight again. I struggled a little because I suffer from a cold the last two days, so I was happy to stay with Yates. It’s a pity that we didn’t catch the break because I was strong on the home straight. But I think we can be really happy with the results we achieved this week. This was an amazing team effort and I want to thank all my team mates."

9th on the stage and 3rd overall, Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida): "It's a bit bitter sweet podium for us today. We had the perfect opportunity to win after leaving Yates behind and yet we couldn't make it to the first podium."

5th on the stage and 5th overall, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): "My teammates and I had the ambition to claim the overall victory of Paris-Nice when we left to the start. Unfortunately, we didn’t achieve that goal, but if you had told me before Paris-Nice that I would finish fifth overall I would have been very happy. The green jersey is a consolation prize, but it also proves how consistently I performed the past week."

"Two times I came very close to the stage win: when I got fourth in the uphill sprint last Sunday and when I got second in Vence on Friday. Both yesterday and today I finished fifth in a very hard stage and in Wednesday’s time trial I set the eighth time. That are all wonderful results. This morning I was still in the running for the overall victory, but unfortunately I didn’t make it."

"At a certain moment the Izagirre brothers and Simon Yates were distanced and I though they wouldn’t close the gap anymore, but they did. Gorka Izagirre beat me at the first intermediate sprint of the day and that one second I missed out on, made the difference between becoming fifth or fourth on GC. But, I am fifth at sixteen seconds and that shows that it was a very exciting battle. This result is definitely a step forward in my career. Now I will take some rest before racing Volta a Catalunya and the Walloon Classics."

8th overall, Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale): "In addition to how difficult the weather conditions made everything, it was a very intensive race. I hung on, but I was really on the edge. I was distanced on that last climb, but I managed to come back when things calmed down. I was extremely motivated this morning. And I am very satisfied to finish in the top ten of this important UCI WorldTour stage race. That was the goal, and it proves I have reached another level, even if there is a bit of a difference between the best times and mine. There was no guarantee that I would be able to nail this performance at Paris-Nice, with the mix of flat stages and a time trial, which are not my specialty. So I am really happy with the result."

Paris-Nice Final Stage 8 Result:
1. David De La Cruz (Spa) Sky in 2:53:06
2. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana
3. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 0:03
4. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:38
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
8. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar
9. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
10. Ion Izzagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida.

Paris-Nice Final Overall Result:
1. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar in 30:22:41
2. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:04
3. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:14
4. Ion Izzagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:16
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:32
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:44
8. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:54
9. David De La Cruz (Spa) Sky at 2:15
10. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:35.

Final stage 8:

Tirreno-Adriatico 2018
Germany's Marcel Kittel took his first victory for Katusha-Alpecin as he won the bunch sprint of Stage 2 in Follonica ahead of UCI World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Italy's Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo). The Tirreno-Adriatico blue leader's jersey swapped from one BMC Racing Team rider to another today with Patrick Bevin sprinting to fifth place to move into the overall lead at a UCI WorldTour race for the first time in his career.

Apart from a short opening climb, it was an almost entirely pan flat day of racing on stage 2 with a four-rider breakaway going clear early and building up an advantage that was nudging towards 4:30 after 15km of racing. With BMC Racing Team setting the tempo at the front of the peloton, the gap peaked at over seven minutes before, heading into the second half of the race, the chase heated up and the three remaining leaders began to be pulled back.

With a bunch sprint up for grabs, the gap began to tumble approaching the 60km to go mark and, with the sprinters' teams controlling the pace going onto the first of three laps of an 8.3km finishing circuit, less than one minute stood between the front group and the rest of the field. The catch was finally made just in time for the final 10km of racing, however, only a couple of kilometers later, as the battle for position began a crash saw riders caught out before the run into the line. Going under the flamme rouge, the peloton was at full speed, and Bevin was able to make his way up through the field with ease before launching his sprint and powering to fifth on the line behind the day's winner Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) to inherit the blue leader's jersey.

BMC Racing Team remains in control of the General Classification heading into stage 3 with Bevin leading the way ahead of Damiano Caruso, Greg Van Avermaet, and Rohan Dennis.

Follonica - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Marcel Kittel (GER - Team Katusha - Alpecin) - Peter Sagan (SVK - Bora - Hansgrohe) pictured during Tirreno-Adriatico stage 2 from Camaiore to Follonica (167KM) - 08-03-2017 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage 2 winner, Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin): "My last victory at the Tour de France in Pau was eight months, that’s a long time. It feels good to win again. This season, things weren’t going perfect straight away. We had to deal with defeat, which was part of building the team. Today’s victory brings a lot of confidence to the guys who work for me. We really believed we’d do it. Coming to Tirreno-Adriatico, I knew I was in a good shape, we kept motivating each other for today’s stage. The boys brought me in great position, so I could choose where to start my sprint. I felt very hungry and it’s wonderful to have won."

2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I think my second place today was a good one since this was a stage that favored the pure sprinters. The weather forecast was calling for rain but we actually had dry conditions, so that was a nice change. The team worked well but on the final lap there was clear tension in the peloton and a crash took place. Fortunately, I was in front but I think Marcus Burghardt was involved. I hope he or anyone else didn't suffer anything serious. Tomorrow is another stage and we'll again try our best."

Race leader, Patrick Bevin (BMC): "It wasn't the plan coming into the stage for me to go for the leader's jersey, it came about as the stage went on. We didn't have to do too much work, and my teammates geared me up to have a go at the sprint. We didn't have a guy to sprint, and they were keen to let me have a go in the final. I actually got caught behind the crash and I only just got back on and was able to have a good run through the bunch because it was pretty spread out. It's a weird feeling to take a jersey from a teammate but the plan for the week doesn't change. I have had moments in the past when I have had a good sprint, and as an amateur, I sprinted, but in the last couple of years, it hasn't really been a priority. Today, was probably the first time in my whole career that I have had a teammate come to me and say that I should have a go and that they knew I could sprint. It's a special feeling coming into a new team when you have some well-established riders trying to motivate you and letting you show what you've got. It's really nice to be leading the race. Like I said before, it's weird to take the jersey from a teammate and especially one who is here to lead the team. Of course, I don't mind babysitting it for a day, but as we head into tomorrow, nothing changes in terms of our plan."

7th on the stage and Best Young Rider, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors): "I missed out on the victory because of the crash but I’m very happy with the legs I have and the team work. This is cycling. It’s impossible to win all the time but I’m ready to help my team in the coming stages and try to win the next sprint finish."

KOM, Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini): "Wearing the Green jersey today was an extremely important goal for me and for the team. I'm happy with this result and how it was achieved. I left immediately strong to be able to cut the finish line of the KOM. Being awarded on the stage of a prestigious race like the Tirreno-Adriatico was an incredible emotion. Tomorrow I will start wearing Green jersey in another big stage, I will try to honor it and defend it."

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 2 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin in 4:12:24
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
5. Patrick Bevin (NZ) BMC
6. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
7. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
8. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
9. Eduard Micheal Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini
10. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 2:
1. Patrick Bevin (NZ) BMC in 4:34:43
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
4. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC
5. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:04
6. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:09
7. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
8. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky
9. Chris Froome (GB) Sky
10. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Sky.

Tirreno stage 2:

Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) became the first Slovenian stage winner of the Tirreno-Adriatico as he jumped from the bunch with one kilometer to go in the spectacular uphill finish in Trevi on Stage 3. Having lost his hopes on GC in the first two days, he anticipated the action of another unlucky favorite, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who was also a victim of the crash on Stage 2. Strade Bianche winner Tiesj Benoot (Lotto-Soudal) rounded out the podium while Geraint Thomas (Sky) moved into the lead, equal on time with Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).

Trevi - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Primoz ROGLIC (Slowenia / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo)  pictured during Tirreno-Adriatico stage 3 from Follonica to Trevi (234KM) - 09-03-2017 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

The stage winner, Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo): "I came to Tirreno-Adriatico to win the overall. But we didn’t do our best TTT and we had some bad luck yesterday. I was forced to change my bike after the crash. My GC was over, so I needed to find some new goals because I worked really hard for this race. After winning a time trial at the Giro d’Italia (2016) and a mountain stage at the Tour de France (2017), I’m happy to get an uphill finish win. I’ve already lost some sprints in my career so I knew I shouldn’t wait for the last moment but just fight and go for it. The best feeling in cycling is when you don’t see anybody in front of you and you’re first on the finish line."

The Maglia Azzurra, Geraint Thomas (Sky): "I was going pretty well last year at Tirreno-Adriatico. We had some bad luck in the TTT with a wheel so I wanted to come back. Racing in Italy reminds me my early years with Barloworld. Roads here always make it an interesting race. I didn’t expect to be in this position today but it’s nice to lead the race. The team is here to win the overall. I’m in the best place now but tomorrow it’s a long mountain finish. Hopefully one of us can do it. If I don’t have the legs, I hope Froomey takes over. It’s nice to get better luck here this year. Tirreno-Adriatico is a massive race, one I’d love to win."

Best young rider Jaime Roson (Movistar): "For Mikel [Landa] and myself, it’s a good result today. Mikel is a rider who is already consolidated in the peloton while I’m only in a development process. We’ll try our best for him tomorrow. Two years ago Tirreno-Adriatico was my first WorldTour race [with Caja Rural]. It’s a beautiful race and I’m looking forward to doing the Giro too."

King of the Mountains, Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini): "After getting the green jersey yesterday, I had to break away again today. I managed to win all the KOM on the way. I’m happy with that and I’ll defend the jersey as much as I can."

Points classification leader, Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina - Selle Italia): "I was well positioned in both the KOM and the points classification. Bagioli made it hard for me in the climbs but I took as many points I could, hoping that neither Sagan nor Kwiatkowski would win the stage, so here I am with the orange jersey. Let’s see how many days I can keep it for."

Simon Geschke (Sunweb) has unfortunately broken his left collarbone in a heavy fall late on during stage 3 of Tirreno Adriatico. Geschke was part of a few riders who came down on a fast corner heading into the decisive stages of the day - hitting the safety barrier on the side of the road. The impact was enough to fracture his left clavicle, the same one he broke three years ago. During the stage, Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) also abandoned due to sickness.

Team Sunweb doctor Chris Jansen explained: "We can confirm that Simon has a fracture of the left clavicle. This will have to be operated on but we will choose to do this where he lives in Freiburg. We expect that it will be one week from the operation until he is back on the rollers and if all goes well he could be back to full strength in 4-5 weeks." After the diagnosis, Geschke said: "When a rider in front of me came down I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and with the speed I was traveling I had no chance at all to avoid it."

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 3 Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo in 6:17:23
2. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:03
3. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:06
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sk at 0:07
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:10
6. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar
7. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
10. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 3:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 10:52:22
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
3. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 0:03
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:08
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:09
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:19
8. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:30
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:33
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:39.

Tirreno stage 3:

Mikel Landa (Movistar) claimed his first ever victory at Tirreno-Adriatico and his first win for Movistar as he beat Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and New Zealand's George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) at Sassotetto on Stage 4. Damiano Caruso of BMC Racing Team moved back into the lead after Geraint Thomas (Sky) sustained a mechanical in the finale. The Italian has an advantage of one second over Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) before Sunday's ‘walls’ stage dedicated to Landa's former teammate Michele Scarponi.

Sarnano Sassotetto - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Mikel LANDA MEANA (Spain / Team Movistar) - Rafal MAJKA (Polen / Team Bora - hansgrohe) - George BENNETT (New Sealand / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo)  pictured during Tirreno-Adriatico stage 4 from Foligno to Sarnano Sassotetto (219KM) - 10-03-2017 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and 4th overall, Mikel Landa (Movistar): "I’ve kept a great memory of [former teammate] Michel Scarponi, so I paid tribute to him when I crossed the line. He was always happy and keen to share his happiness with his entourage. In a Spanish team, I possibly found a way of racing that suits me better, less controlled [than at Sky] and more of an attacking style. I’d like to make the final top 3 of Tirreno-Adriatico but some riders have more chances than me to make a difference in the time trial."

2nd on the stage, Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): "Obviously, it's a pity I lost the victory in the last few meters after such a long and tough climb in today's Queen Stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico but I'm quite satisfied with my performance and my result. I felt my legs were responding very well to the pace of the race and the uphill battle of the finale and I'm happy my fall yesterday didn't have any serious repercussions. It was hurting at times but that was to be expected as I had bruises and rashes after I hit the road in the crash yesterday. I think my performance today showed my form – I was there with the best climbers and this result is good for the team morale and spirit. We'll keep fighting until the end."

Race leader, Damiano Caruso (BMC): "I didn't really expect to be back in the leader's jersey at the end of today but, I did feel good on the last climb so I thought that I would able to do a really good race. In the end, it was good because I took the jersey and that is a big result for me at the end of this stage. Tomorrow we have another hard stage, and we will see what happens. With the race going up the Muro di Filottrano three times tomorrow, it will be a really hard stage. I want to try to take opportunities with me and Greg Van Avermaet, and hopefully, the team can put me in a good position. For the moment though, I want to enjoy today, and this jersey and we will just have to see what happens tomorrow."

4th on the stage, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates): "My condition is improving, day after day I feel better,” Aru said. “In the final, I tried, but I still lack that little bit of acceleration. Anyway, it was a great day for me and for the team considering that I’m not at my top yet. I would like to underline that the team is working well, we are a great group and we all improving in every aspect. The Giro d’Italia is certainly my season objective, but there are still two months to go beforehand. We are working calmly with this in mind. Tomorrow will be a special day and I hope to honor it as much as possible. I miss Michele [Scarponi], like everyone in the group. I’m happy that the organization could dedicate a stage to him in his town."

6th on the stage, 9th overall and Best Young Rider, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal): "I felt very good, just like the previous days. The teammates stayed with me till the bottom of the last climb. The most difficult moment was when Roglic crashed just in front of me and I was held up while Astana was pulling at the front of the bunch. Luckily I could get back in the rhythm. I joined Yates when he attacked, but unfortunately he stopped his move quite quickly. That was a pity, because I think we could have bridged to the front. Now I was the first of the chasing group to finish, as sixth. Last year I already performed well on such a finish at the Dauphiné. It is great that I finished between the top riders two days in a row. I am the owner of the best young rider’s jersey now and it’s a very nice feeling to wear it at Tirreno. Tomorrow’s finish should suit me even better. And I will go full in Tuesday’s time trial as well."

KOM, Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini): "Today it was very important to go again in the breakaway to reinforce the leadership in the special ranking. At the beginning of the Tirreno Adriatico if someone told me that I could win this jersey at the end of the race I would not believe him, but now it is a very important goal both for me and the team. Even if I won 7 GPM I’m not yet sure of the final results we still have to battle for it. Now I just want to rest and find back my energies. I haven’t counted yet all the km of breakaway made, and I do not want to do it."

In the opening kilometers of Stage 4 of Tirreno-Adriatico, Giacomo Nizzolo and his team, Trek-Segafredo, made the decision for Nizzolo to not continue in the race due to knee pain. Nizzolo sprinted to third place on the second stage of this year’s race but will be unable to contest the remaining three stages – "I had a bit of pain in the left knee yesterday, and today there was more. I’m confident that the problem can be solved but it didn’t make sense to go deep and suffer more to perhaps create more problems."

"Giaco was forced to abandon today because he has been suffering since yesterday with an anterior knee pain. This morning he was still having sharp pain in his knee, so we decided to quit here and to start treatment, as there is no sense in risking anything on a day like this with more than 5000 meters of climbing and just one week until Milan-San Remo. The best decision was to stop today, treat him and hopefully he will be ready for the next week," explained Trek-Segafredo Head Doctor Nino Daniele.

Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin has abandoned Tirreno Adriatico on it's fourth stage due to injuries sustained from a crash on a descent. News of the Dutchman's abandon comes just one day after sickness caused Søren Kragh Andersen to step off the bike, and a crash forced Simon Geschke out with a fractured left clavicle.

Team Sunweb doctor Chris Jansen explained: "Tom has sustained multiple bruises and abrasions to his chest, hand, arm and leg. With no fractures, hospital treatment is not needed but Tom will need to take a few days off the bike before he can resume training."

After the crash, Tom Dumoulin said: "I'm really disappointed to be out of the race after the crash today. I need to accept it, at least there are no fractures. I hope after some days of rest to resume training again and shift my focus to my next goals."

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 4 Result:
1. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar in 6:22:13
2. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:06
5. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
6. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
9. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 4:
1. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 17:14:49
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:01
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:11
4. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:26
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:31
7. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:33
8. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:34
9. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:36
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:41.

Tirreno stage 4:

Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) claimed victory on Stage 5, organized in the memory of Michele Scarponi. After losing his GC hopes in a crash on stage 2, today Yates rode away from the peloton on the Muro (wall) of Filottrano to steal an uphill victory away from Peter Sagan (Bora - Hansgrohe). The World Champion had to instead settle for second while third placed Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) dethroned Damiano Caruso (BMC Racing Team) from the overall lead thanks to the time bonus.

Filottrano - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Adam YATES (GBR / Team Mitchelton - Scott)  pictured during Tirreno-Adriatico stage 5 from Castelraimondo to Filottrano (178KM) - 11-03-2017 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and 6th overall, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): "I've been feeling good for a few days now. I tried a couple of stages ago but I came second. The team set me up perfectly before the last climb so I could ride away - all I had to do was attack and hold on the bunch. I finished it off. It's been a long time since I last won a race. My brother won yesterday at Paris-Nice [and] it gave me some extra motivation for today. It's disappointing that I crashed on stage 2 and lost my hopes for GC but that's part of cycling. I would have been in a good position in the GC..."

Race leader, Michał Kwiatkowski (Sky): "I was racing for the stage win but also with the GC in mind, knowing that time bonuses could put me in the lead. This stage suited Peter Sagan to perfection but, with the shape I had in the past few days, I knew I could be up there with him and take some time bonus. At the end of the day, I'm happy I finished third. It's nice that we have the leader's jersey back after yesterday's bad luck. Now I hope we won't have any bad luck tomorrow and will be in the same situation before the ITT."

2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was a special stage today at the Tirreno-Adriatico. We would have liked to dedicate a victory to Michele Scarponi, his widow and children but it wasn't the case. I felt I had good legs today and the team worked well, so I'm confident about the big goals of the season ahead."

Best young rider, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal): "My plan was to go after the steep part but Yates was already gone. Sagan still had three teammates so I decided to wait. I had good legs again but I couldn’t close the gap. GC is still very close but I don’t like the time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto very much."

King of the Mountains Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini): "After breaking away for three days in a row, I wanted to have a quiet day in the bunch, so I just had to make sure that my rival Jacopo Mosca didn’t escape. Mathematically, I’ve already won the mountains classification."

Points classification leader, Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia): "To make a breakaway, you need the legs. Since neither Bagioli nor myself made it, it became a little quieter day for us although the speed of the peloton was very high. To beat Peter Sagan in the points classification, tomorrow I need to score 10 points on the way."

Team Sunweb's early season misfortune continues as Wilco Kelderman is forced to abandon Tirreno Adriatico after it's fifth stage following a crash which resulted in a fractured right collarbone. The crash came on a descent, and despite finishing the stage, an x-ray taken at the finish displayed the fracture which ultimately ended his race.

Team Sunweb doctor Chris Jansen explained: "Wilco has fractured his right collarbone from the crash which will require surgery. Because there was an older fracture with a plate already in place, the injury becomes more complex, so the exact plan from here will be made by an orthopedist. Wilco will now return home to the Netherlands where he will undergo surgery."

After the crash, Wilco Kelderman said: "This is very disappointing after such a good start of the season up until today. I was feeling very strong here and had a good position in the overall, but crashed twice today and fractured my collarbone. Similar to last year I will miss the upcoming racing period yet again, which is sad, but hope surgery goes well so that I can be back on the bike soon."

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: "The bad luck for the team has come all at once; first with Søren falling sick, then Simon's broken collarbone and Tom's abandon yesterday. Now Wilco also leaves the race with a fractured collarbone. The crash happened on the local lap on the descent, despite feeling good beforehand and some solid support from the team. Our focus now turns to the ITT where we hope to have a better day with Chad, Nikias and Lennard all being able to deliver a decent time trial."

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 5 Result:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 4:16:35
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:07
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
6. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
7. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar
8. Jaime Roson (Spa) Movistar
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 5:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky in 21:31:28
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:03
3. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 0:23
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:29
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:34
6. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:36
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:37
8. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:39
9. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:41
10. Jaime Roson (Spa) Movistar at 0:47.

Stage 5:

Good News for Alexey Vermeulen
After two years riding with the WorldTour LottoNL-Jumbo team it looked like Alexey Vermeulen would be without a team in 2018. At the last minute Vermeulen has signed a contract with Japanese Continental team Interpro-Stradalli.

The 23-year-old man from Michigan rode every race on the WorldTour apart from a three week Grand Tour, but was still left at the roadside by the Dutch team. Full story soon on PEZ with an exclusive interview with Alexey.

BMC Racing Team Set for a Trio of One-Day Races
BMC Racing Team is set to line up at three semi-classic one-day races next week in Belgium and France with Danilith Nokere Koerse on Wednesday (14 March), followed by Handzame Classic on Friday (16 March), and Grand Prix de Denain on Sunday (18 March).

BMC Racing Team will be lining up with multiple cards to play across the three days of racing, Sports Director Klaas Lodewyck said.

"First of all, for Danilith Nokere Koerse we have a young team alongside Francisco Ventoso who can play a road captain role. The parcours have changed this year, and the local laps have more cobbled sections now so, I think we will have a lot of options going into the race, and everybody will get the opportunity to try to move in the final as normally it ends in a bunch sprint."

"Then, for Handzame Classic there is also a new parcours, but we have a good group of riders with Danilo Wyss also coming in for this race. Again we will try to do something going into the final, but if everything comes back together, Danilo will be a key rider as I think he can do a good job in a bunch sprint."

"Finally for Grand Prix de Denain, Stefan Küng will be our leader, and he is a specialist on the cobbles, and together with Nathan Van Hooydonck and Francisco Ventoso, I think he can go pretty far in this race. We will be looking to take the opportunity to go for the win, and I think Küng is in good shape and I'm sure he is motivated and ready to try to do that," Lodewyck explained.

Wyss is looking forward to heading back to the start line at Handzame Classic.

"It has been a long time since my last race, so I will have to see how I feel on the day. I think it will be important for me to get back to riding at race pace and getting that feeling back in my legs. I feel in good condition right now though, and while this is a sort of warm up to the next part of my season, I am motivated to take the opportunity to try and go for a result," Wyss said.

Küng is aiming to produce a good result at the French one-day race on Sunday.

"We will have to see what my condition is like coming out of Tirreno-Adriatico but initially, I am really looking forward to this race. It looks like a nice parcours, and if everything goes well and I go into the race in the shape that I want, then I will be ready to really go for it on the day," Küng added.

Danilith Nokere Koerse (14 March)
Rider Roster:

Tom Bohli (SUI), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Miles Scotson (AUS), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).
Sports Director: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL).

Handzame Classic (16 March)
Rider Roster:

Tom Bohli (SUI), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Miles Scotson (AUS), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP), Loïc Vliegen (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sports Director: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL).

Grand Prix de Denain (18 March)
Rider Roster:

Tom Bohli (SUI), Stefan Küng (SUI), Miles Scotson (AUS), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP).
Sports Director: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL).

Miles Scotson will ride all three races:

Peter Kennaugh Takes Time off from Racing
Due to personal health reasons, BORA – hansgrohe’s Peter Kennaugh had to take some time off the bike after the Tour Down Under this January. Next week he will start training again to prepare himself for the second part of the season. His return to racing is not decided yet, but the team fully supports Peter in his preparations. After a first 6 – 8 week training period, the performance team and coaches will decide together with him which race will be appropriate for Peter to re-start his season.

Italian tyre manufacturer Vittoria S.p.A. announced as first Official Partner for the 2018 Hammer Series
Series kicks off in Stavanger, Norway on 25-27 May, before returning to Limburg, 1-3 June. Competition launched to give away VIP Package to two lucky winners including Hospitality access and a ride in the Neutral Assistance Service car during the races in Limburg & Stavanger.

Off the back of the official press launch last week, the Hammer Series has today announced that Vittoria will be providing the neutral service to all teams taking part in Hammer Stavanger (25-27 May) and Hammer Limburg (1-3 June).

The Hammer Series is aiming to attract a new audience to cycling. Unlike traditional stage-based races, the Hammer Series places spectators at the heart of racing, by offering fans fast-paced, world-class racing alongside live data and cutting-edge technology. The racing is streamed live to the world, pitting teams of five riders against each other over three extremely testing courses to determine the best team in the world.

To celebrate the announcement, Hammer Series and Vittoria are offering 2 fans the chance to experience either the Hammer Stavanger or Hammer Limburg ‘Sprint’ race from the unique perspective of the neutral service vehicle. Winners of the competition will also receive hospitality access throughout the event.

To be in with a chance of winning this prize, fans are encouraged to simply follow the instructions on the Hammer Series Twitter account.

René Timmermans, CEO of Vittoria EMEA/LATAM, said: “We are very happy to support Hammer Series. This is a very unique competition, in which major pro teams fight each other in a race format never seen before. Innovation is in Vittoria DNA and no other road race this year will be as innovative and disruptive as the Hammer Series. Moreover, we want to take our Servizio Corse to the next level by taking part to international races. For all these reasons, I strongly believe this partnership will benefit each other a lot.”

Julian Buehler, Head of Sales & Marketing, Hammer Series says: “The partnership with Vittoria is an important moment in the young history of the Hammer Series and we are very excited to welcome such a pioneer within the cycling industry as the first Official Partner of our new and groundbreaking event series. Both partners are thrilled to establish this new and exciting racing experience for cycling enthusiasts and sports fans all around the world. Together, we will change cycling and showcase the massive potential the Hammer Series offers to all stakeholders”.

Following an exciting inaugural event in 2017, which was watched by more than three million cycling fans on social media channels alone, the Hammer Series now kicks off the 2018 season with two back to back races in Stavanger and Limburg.

Each event sees three days of intense competition, providing close-up thrills for cycling fans in an innovative team-vs-team format designed for digital and broadcast viewing. Unlike traditional stage races in which individual riders take to the podium, the Hammer Series pits teams of five riders against each other over extremely testing courses to determine the best team. Alongside the racing, each event will host a Cycling Festival, with mass participation events, a fan village and hospitality area.

Course, venue and rider information for Hammer Stavanger and Hammer Limburg will be announced later along with details about where to watch the events in person and online around the world.

For more information, please head to

Tour of the Alps’ Final Showdown Overlooking the Worlds
The capital of Tyrol will host the last stage of the Euroregional event, moving from Rattenberg on April 20th, characterized by two laps on the next UCI Road World Championships circuit.

The Tour of the Alps - the Euroregional cycling event to be held from April 16th to 20th - is poised to end with an amazing showdown with to the exciting fifth stage - 164 Km from Rattenberg to Innsbruck - highlighted by two laps on the upcoming UCI Road World Championships’ circuit.

With around 5 months to the huge event, Innsbruck and Tyrol will experience the atmosphere of top class cycling. On Friday, April 20th, the last stage will move from Rattenberg, the Austrian smallest historical city and starting location of the time trials at the UCI Road World Championships, disclosing an intriguing and difficult course.

The first 55 km run along the Inn until Brixless, where the road starts rising to the Alpbachtal, toward the first categorized climb of the day in Alpbach, "the most beautiful floral village in Europe", after 64,1 km; on the 8,3 km uphill at a 6,4% average gradient many riders will start to drop out.

After a long downhill back to the valley, another ascent will start in Gnadenwald. This section will be a preview of the opening part of the Elite UCI Road World Championships’ course, before reaching the circuit in Innsbruck. At this point, the riders will face another descent in Hall in Tirol before climbing back to Aldrans, entering in the rainbow circuit with the first passage on the Olympia climb and the fast descent until the outskirts of Innsbruck at the entrance of the Olympia strasse. From there (km 127,5) onwards, the riders will make two laps of a restricted portion of the rainbow circuit, 13,8 km long. The second time atop the climb (6,7 km at 6%) will award KOM points at km 135,5. At the third and last time over the top hill only 12,3 km will be left, 6 of which on descent, and the others in the heart of Innsbruck following the World Championship circuit’s finale.

Innsbruck and bike look in perfect feeling more and more indeed. “Pleasant bike rides, tough climbs, wonderful trails: the Innsbruck Region is perfect for bike lovers (road and Mountain Bike), that want to ride between alpine landscapes with an urban style," Innsbruck Tourism Office’s Event Manager Julia Zraunig explained. "The Innsbruck Bikepark, that will host a new edition of the Crankworx, the most important Mountain Bike Gravity Festival in the World - offers a lot for all cyclists. The zone around Innsbruck offers beautiful and demanding routes. In fact, from the Inn valley, cyclists can reach the altitude, like in Kühtai (2020 meters), in a matter of a few kilometers, enjoying all the beauty of incredible landscapes."

The feeling between Innsbruck and cycling keeps growing each day:

We Give You the New Home of #TheWolfPack!
Quick-Step Floors has a new team motorhome and it looks absolutely breathtaking!

It took months of work and preparation, but now the new bus is finally here. Our bus driver Dirk Clarysse worked together with Carminati Hi-Fi on the design for the interior of the motorhome. After talking with the riders and staff about what they think is important to have in a bus, and not to forget the years of experience Dirk has as a bus driver, he sat down with the designers and developed the bus the way it is today. It's what we call a "functional design", where all the parts come together in a spectacular blend of class and functionality.

"It took a lot of work, effort and trips to Italy to get the motorhome delivered in the finest details, ready for the new season. For me it's a passion that I have for many years, as I'm really interested in buses, trucks and campers, and to get the full trust and confidence of the team to create this new bus is a big honor for me", Dirk said.

"The first thing you have to do when getting a new bus is look for the best model which suits you. I like very much the model of MAN, because it is big but not too high which is very important. We have opted for MAN because soon we'll have also a new truck from them and for me it's very important to have the fleet from the same brand. Also, they are close to our service course in Wevelgem and that is a big advantage as well. They give the best service worldwide and for a cycling team such as ours, who travels all around the world, this is a very important aspect. We drive every year more than 50,000 kilometers and reliability is a crucial point."

The exterior of the motorhome is cool and sublime, and as usual, the details are the ones making the difference. If you turn around the motorhome you will discover a wide range of amenities such as washing machines and dryers, hidden storage places and a high-capacity space to store bikes and materials in case of need.

But it's inside that the motorhome reveals itself in all its splendour! Entering the motorhome it feels like stepping inside the top business class lounge of an airplane. You immediately get a warm feeling, and once inside the bus it's like being home; to have a peaceful place before and after a race is vital for our riders.

Each rider has his own lounge chair which turns towards one another to get an open feeling; this is where the riders can reflect on the races and where our team meetings are being held prior to every race. It's also a comfortable way to travel during the long transfers from and to the hotel.

The bus is equipped with a high-end sound system provided by Bang & Olufsen, and in order to not miss a single second of a race, we have also two beautiful Bang & Olufsen television sets!

The floor is, of course, designed by our main sponsor, Quick-Step! And this is the perfect combination one can ask for. We went for vinyl flooring – "Black Slate Vinyl Tile" – which is ideal for a bus where, after races like Strade Bianche or Paris-Roubaix, riders look like coming out of a mud bath. So with this floor it's easy to keep it clean and classy at the same time.

The impeccable mosaic details in the showers and toilets are all handmade by Carminati Hi-Fi.

If there was any more need for it, then the new Quick-Step Floors motorhome comes as extra proof that we give only the best to our #TheWolfpack!

Graeme Obree, Athlete or Genius?
Athlete or Genius? Graeme Obree shot to fame in the early 90s after twice breaking the world hour record on a bike he'd built using parts from an old washing machine.

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