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

Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico are at 'Full Gas' - Results, reports and video. First tramadol test in Paris-Nice - Top Story. Peter Sagan ill in Tirreno-Adriatico, sad passing of Tate Meintjes, equal money for Tours of Britain, Rodriguez and Hermida to ride Cape Epic, Victor Campenaerts Namibia and Italy, Mastromarco Sensi Nibali team launch and inside the Strade Bianche video, all in EUROTRASH Monday.



TOP STORY: First Checks for Tramadol in Paris-Nice
The UCI started monitoring the use of Tramadol for the first time in Paris-Nice on Sunday. Any riders caught with Tramadol in their system will be fined 5000 Swiss francs (more than €4400).

Last year, the UCI announced that Tramadol was no longer allowed in the peloton as of 1st March. The painkiller can be dangerous for cyclists; in addition to the drug allowing a rider to go deeper, it can also cause nausea and a giddy feeling - which increases the risk of crashes.

If a rider is caught on Tramadol, he receives a fine of CHF 5000. In addition, the rider is removed from the result of the race in which he tested positive. With a second positive test, a five-month suspension will follow. Teams can also be suspended: at least one month up to a maximum of one year with two positive riders.

Paris-Nice overall leader and stage 1 and 2 winner Dylan Groenewegen was amongst the first to be tested along with Romain Bardet, Sergio Henao, Amaël Moinard, Anthony Turgis and Cyril Gautier.

So far there have been no positives.

Will there be less crashes?




Paris-Nice 2019
Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) won Stage 2 of Paris-Nice on Monday after 165 kilometers to Bellegarde. The Dutch sprinter got the better of Iván Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) and Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck - Quick-Step). Groenewegen now lead by 12 seconds overall from Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) and Luis León Sanchez (Astana) by 13.

The start was delayed by the strong wind, but Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) were soon up the road after the flag dropped. The Deceuninck - Quick-Step team kept the group close and on the first climb it was Gaudin who took the points to strengthening his KOM lead.

After 30 kilometers the peloton split into pieces due to the wind. Groenewegen was ready for it and was safe in the front group of 20 or so riders. A regrouping followed, but everyone was now watching for the wind. The break was also caught.

After the second climb of the day the peloton was led by Groupama-FDJ, Bora-Hansgrohe and Trek-Segafredo. The chaos of the crosswind and the echelons caused a fall with Warren Barguil and Gorka Izagirre among them. The biggest victims of the echelons were Simon Yates and Bob Jungels. A group with, among others, Groenewegen, Ewan, Kwiatkowski, Bernal, Demare, Quintana, Bardet, Gallopin, Greipel and Kelderman rode at the front.

70 kilometers before the finish, Groenewegen missed the front echelon, but that situation was again restored as the peloton came back together, but there were more splits regroupings in the chaotic stage. Eventually a group of about 30 riders had a lead going into the final hour. Rigoberto Urán had to abandon due to a crash, Michal Kwiatkowski had a mechanical and Caleb Ewan was dropped by a chase group of 45 as he couldn't hold their speed.

On the first 23 kilometer finish lap the leading group with Groenewegen had a minute lead on the chasing group including Kwiatkowski. With 10 kilometers to go, on a long, straight road with a full head wind, the front groups got together resulting in a peloton of about 50 riders.

At 6 kilometers out the course once again turned into a dangerous direction. Sky and Jumbo-Visma rode hard on the front causing several groups. Groenewegen was once again with the front riders with Trentin, Kwiatkowski, Bernal, Rowe, Sánchez, Gilbert and Garcia Cortina. That lead group went into the last 3 kilometers with a small advantage. In the finishing straight Groenewegen chose Trentin's wheel. The European champion was the first to start the sprint, but the race leader jumped the other side of the road and put a bike length into everyone else. By sprinting early, Cortina got close, but not close enough.



Stage 2 winner and overall leader, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma): "Today was a very tough stage because of the crosswinds. There was a continuous fight for positions and a continuous racing at the limit. It was far from easy. The team did a perfect job and after the last corner they put me in an ideal position. I am very proud of my success and especially proud of how we rode as a team. It was difficult at times, but my teammates got me through it. In the end, we remained with seven leaders. It was a matter of waiting and to not start the sprint too early. When Trentin accelerated, I started my sprint and I was able to finish it off. Two stages, two victories: I am very happy. Tomorrow there is another flat stage. It will be a tough one again due to the wind, but we are going for it again."

2nd on the stage, Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida): "My teammates and me fought good today. We were here taking care for Sonny, but I found my self in the good position at the front and couldn’t look back any more and decided to my very best. I learned a lot out of todays’ race how to go with a sprint. It maybe a bit tricky when to go for it. Sometimes it is too early or sometimes too late. I felt good today for starting it on right time. I am happy for my result today. I am not disappointed at all, but I also want to win. For my head I need a victory and hopefully it will come soon."

3rd overall, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana): "A very difficult day, stressful in every minute of racing. There was no time to drink or to eat! After the peloton split in echelons, I was able to move in the leading group, taking some bonus seconds on the intermediate sprint. But, later, I’ve got a flat tire and had to stop to change my rear wheel. When I came back on the bike I found myself in the third group. We did a good job all together to catch a group in front of us and later we chased really hard to catch the leaders. Hugo Houle was with me and he did absolutely enormous work, helping me in that chase. Finally, with 10 km to go we managed to come in front. Honestly, in that moment I was empty, but anyway, till the finish line I did my best to finish with the leaders. I am really sorry for Gorka Izagirre, who crashed earlier in the stage, but hope, he is ok and will avoid serious injures."

5th overall, Egan Bernal (Sky): "It was a nice stage, but also a really hard one. It was windy all day and it was quite stressful in the lead group too. We started with Ivan [Sosa], Sebastian [Henao], Tao [Geoghegan Hart] and Jhonatan [Narvaez] and they put us in the front from kilometer zero, which was good. With Kwiato and Luke it is easy to be in the front as the peloton has a lot of respect for them, so it easy for me to follow them and in the final it was good. When you just have to follow it is earlier. They told me all day, ‘left, right, over here, stay focused here, we need to move over to the right or the front'. When you have people telling you what you need to do it is much easier!"

Jempy Drucker (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was a difficult day, due to the heavy wind we had the whole day echelons. I saw myself always between the third and second group, and as we headed into the last laps I was able to join the second group and finished in 16th place, of course not a result to be happy with."

Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was a busy day today and a fight for the best position right from the start. I have to thank Schwarzi and to the whole team for protecting me that well. I think today was quite okay but now we have to recover and focus on tomorrow’s stage, which will be again a stressful day."

Crash victim, Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) fractured his left clavicle: "I had a tough crash. Today, there was a lot of wind. I touched a rider, another rider touched my wheel. I feel disappointed, of course. I had good legs. That’s cycling." Uran is slated to travel to his European base of Monaco immediately and have surgery to repair the fracture Wednesday morning. Once the surgery is completed, Uran will be able to return to the trainer when he feels ready and will likely resume riding outside in a few weeks’ time.

Non finishers: Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana, Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic, Maxime Bouet (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic, Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First, Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data and Louis Meintjes (RSA) Dimension Data.

Paris-Nice Stage 2:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 3:14:04
2. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
4. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
6. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana
7. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky
8. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:05
9. André Greipel (Ger) Arkéa-Samsic
10. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 2:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 6:31:19
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:12
3. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:13
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 0:16
5. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 0:19
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:20
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:22
8. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:23
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:24.

Stage 2:



For a change in the 2019 Paris-Nice, it was Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) who won Stage 3 on Tuesday and not Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma). The Irishman was the fastest after 200 kilometers, finishing in Yzeure ahead of Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) and Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck - Quick-Step. Groenewegen finished in 9th place and held his overall leader's jersey.
 
It took more than 50 kilometers before a group escaped. Ramunas Navardauskas and Alessandro Fedeli (both Delko-Marseille Provence) managed to make a few minutes advantage at the same time Fabio Aru's abandoned. The expected echelons of the previous days didn't transpire, but the two leaders were caught with 40 kilometers remaining. Jumbo-Visma and Lotto Soudal controlled the peloton for Groenewegen and Caleb Ewan.

With 30 kilometers to go there was a big pile-up, including Vuelta winner Simon Yates. The peloton eased off the pressure allowing all the fallen riders to catch up and a complete peloton entered the final kilometers. Sky lifted the pace and the echelons started to form with their man, Michal Kwiatkowski, in the front group, but the wind was just not strong enough to let the plan work and a bunch sprint was inevitable.

Mike Teunissen was again lead-out man for Groenewegen, but the Dutch fast-man was not on a good day. Groenewegen had to ease off 100 meters from the line. This left Bennett an open road to make the most of his finishing speed. Groenewegen held his lead, but now only has 6 seconds on Kwiatkowski and 11 seconds on Luis León Sanchez (Astana).

Some of the favorites riders have lost time this week, today it was the turn of 2018 winner Marc Soler, Simon Yates and Mikel Nieve. Fabio Aru went home.



Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I didn’t train that much in the cold this winter and therefore had some troubles the last two days. But I knew the form is there and today I felt a lot better. Of course, the stage was also easier, but there are a lot of great sprinters here in the peloton this year. Groenewegen was almost unbeatable the last two days, but today everything went perfect for me. The boys did a great job, they knew exactly what to do on the last kilometer and delivered me in a perfect position. I want to thank the whole Bora-Hansgrohe squad, I am more than happy with this stage win. I really wanted to pay back the hard work of the guys. It was a long sprint, but I knew I could do it. It seems like Paris – Nice likes me like I like the race."

Overall leader and 9th on the stage, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma): "Today I didn’t have the legs and the punch to finish it off. Yesterday’s stage has taken its toll. I had to give everything and I felt that in the final today. I really wanted to win today, the team did everything to make it happen, but I just didn’t have the power. I am happy that I have been able to win two stages already and that I can ride in the leader’s jersey for another day. Tomorrow’s stage will be tough. Perhaps a bit too tough for me, but we will see."

2nd overall, Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky): "When there’s a chance to gain some time on GC by not expending too much energy, we are always up for it. There was plenty of chances to take bonus seconds in the sprints - there weren’t too many GC riders fighting for it. If you think about 14 seconds it’s a huge amount. Think about trying to be 14 seconds faster in a time trial, for instance, that could mean winning the whole GC. I’m really thankful to the whole team that we really stayed out of trouble for these first three days. It was really hectic and having riders like Luke at your side takes a bit of pressure off your shoulders. It’s so much easier to ride in the bunchI’m really happy to see Egan performing so well in the wind too. Sharing the leadership with him is amazing. We’re looking forward to the next few days because we came here looking to win this race."

7th, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): "The final was complicated, the group was broken up in many small groups and Marcato and Bystrøm were great at taking me to the front. At that point, the conditions were perfect to get a good result with a few sprinters, just Ewan, Démare and myself. But in the last kilometer, other cyclists came back and I had already used the energy needed to stay at the front. I couldn’t do better than seventh. I’m sorry to have lost that chance, I was going well and all was in place for a good result."

Laurens De Vreese (Astana): "With the stage like today our main goal was to protect Luis Leon Sanchez and to support him during the whole day. Today he started the race in the green point jersey and we tried our best to help him to get some bonus seconds on the intermediate sprints. It was a very long day with a strong headwind. In the end, Luis Leon is still third in the general classification and from tomorrow the harder stages are coming."

Fabio Aru had to abandon, UAE Team Emirates Sports Director Neil Stephens explained: "Already ahead of the start of the stage, Fabio told the team’s medical staff that he felt queasy. The team doctor, Dr Jeroen Swart, helped him hold off a lot of those symptoms and Aru took the start of the stage, but nausea came back in the race and forced him to stop just after 90km into the stage."

Paris-Nice Stage 3:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 5:16:25
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
3. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
4. Daniel McLay (GB) EF Education First
5. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
6. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Direct Energie
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
8. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 3:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 11:47:44
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:06
3. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:11
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 0:16
5. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 0:17
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:20
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:21
8. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:23
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:24.

Stage 3:



Magnus Cort (Astana) won Stage 4 of Paris-Nice in Pélussin after 212 kilometers. In the final kilometer the Dane rode away with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and Alessandro De Marchi (CCC). Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) had been dropped on the hill course and lost his general classification lead to Michał Kwiatkowski (Sky).

The longest stage of this Paris-Nice had five categorized climbs, but there were many more ramps to cross. The toughest climbs were in the last 60 kilometers with the Côte de Trèves, the Côte de Condrieu, the Côte de Saint-Michel-sur-Rhône and 11 kilometers from the finish; the Côte de Chavanay.

Seven riders jumped away early: Thomas De Gendt, Christoph Pfingsten, Julien Bernard, Olivier Le Gac, Mathias Le Turnier, Alessandro De Marchi and Kevin Reza escaped in the first 10 kilometers. They were joined by six more: Magnus Cort, Giulio Ciccone, Elie Gesbert, Damien Gaudin, Eduard Grosu and Evaldas Siskevicus.

After the first hour their lead was nearly 5 minutes. Le Gac was the best placed rider on the overall classification, 6:10 down on leader Groenewegen. The race was stopped for a railway crossing, which helped the leading group extended their lead, making Le Gac the virtual leader.

At halfway point the race lead started to decrease as Bahrain-Merida, Deceuninck - Quick-Step and Mitchelton-Scott started to chase. With a 3 minute lead, the escape group started the final 60 hilly kilometers. In the peloton it was soon too tough for sprinters like Marcel Kittel, John Degenkolb and André Greipel and Groenewegen to hang on.

The leading group was down to seven riders as they started the last 20 kilometers. De Gendt, De Marchi, Ciccone and Cort were the strongest riders and the victory would come from one of them. Cort surprised with a sharp attack in the final kilometer, De Gendt fought hard for second place, just ahead of Ciccone in third. In the general classification, Michał Kwiatkowski took over the leader's jersey from Groenewegen and has a lead of 5 seconds over Luis León Sánchez (Astana) going into Thursday's 25.5 kilometer individual time trial in Barbentane.



Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana): "It was not a real plan to do something in this stage, but for sure I knew this day could suit me quite well and from the start of the stage, I was up there in the front, following the attacks. We went away quite early in the stage, I think after 10 or 15 kilometers we were already there with a small gap. At first, a group of riders attacked to create a small advantage and later me with four more guys were able to catch them. So, on the first climb of the day, we went clear. I felt quite good today and, in the breakaway, we managed to work well together. There were a few really strong guys in our group, so I had to be attentive to all of them. In the end, after 200 kilometers in the break, you never know how your legs could answer in the sprint, so I decided to anticipate with an attack inside the final kilometer. It was a good move and I was able to take the win! I am very happy with this victory, it is my first win this year, but as you could see the team started this season pretty well and I am happy to bring one more win to the team. We still have some GC ambitions in this race with Luis Leon Sanchez staying good at the second place. He is motivated, and we will do our best to support him."

Overall leader, Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky): "When there’s a chance to gain some time on GC by not expending too much energy, we are always up for it. There was plenty of chances to take bonus seconds in the sprints - there weren’t too many GC riders fighting for it. If you think about 14 seconds it’s a huge amount. Think about trying to be 14 seconds faster in a time trial, for instance, that could mean winning the whole GC. I’m really thankful to the whole team that we really stayed out of trouble for these first three days. It was really hectic and having riders like Luke at your side takes a bit of pressure off your shoulders. It’s so much easier to ride in the bunch. I’m really happy to see Egan performing so well in the wind too. Sharing the leadership with him is amazing. We’re looking forward to the next few days because we came here looking to win this race."

2nd on the stage and KOM, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): "I did not really intent to go for a stage win today, but at the team meeting this morning, the sports director said he wanted someone to be in the breakaway. I gave it a try and that appeared to be the right decision, because we managed to stay ahead. It was important that all thirteen riders would work together. That was the case, as everyone did their part of the job. We agreed to ride at a fast pace towards the hill zone and after that, we would see who would remain and what our advantage would be. With 40 kilometers to go, we still had a nice gap and then I began to believe in a possible stage win. At less than one kilometer to the finish, Cort Nielsen took the lead and I wanted De Marchi to take his wheel, getting myself in third position for the sprint. But De Marchi looked at me and he stopped for a moment. Cort Nielsen saw he had a small gap and he started to sprint already. I tried to jump on his wheel, but he was too strong. He is an extremely good rider and he probably would have beaten us in a sprint anyway. The first one to attack from such a small group, is mostly lost. So I hoped someone else would go, but that did not happen. Taking over the mountains jersey was not something I was aiming for ahead of this stage. On the first two hills, I did not sprint to save my legs for a possible stage win. I did however take some points and I was the first to cross the final climbs as well. It certainly is a consolation prize for me today. We will see how it goes, but a stage win still is the most important goal for the team. The day after tomorrow, we will do our utmost again to win with Caleb Ewan."

10th overall, Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was a tough day today. A tailwind made the race fast, and we had a solid breakaway with riders who were strong enough to make it from the break all the way to the finish line. But the team worked very well to bring Patrick and me into position, and we stayed with the other GC contenders. Now, we’ll focus on tomorrow’s TT stage and will of course give it our all."

Paris-Nice Stage 4 Result:
1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana in 5:03:49
2. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:07
3. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:13
4. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC at 0:18
5. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:48
6. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
9. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
10. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 4:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky in 16:52:27
2. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:05
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 0:10
4. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 0:11
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:14
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:15
7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:17
8. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:18
10. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Stage 4:




Tirreno-Adriatico 2019
Mitchelton-Scott won the opening Team Time Trial Stage 1 of Tirreno-Adriatico on a wet Wednesday. The Jumbo-Visma team looked like it was going to take the victory, but the Australian team clocked the faster time by 7 seconds. Michael Hepburn was the first across the line and so took the first leaders jersey. Sunweb finished third at 22 seconds.

The 54th Tirreno-Adriatico started with a team time trial over 21.5 kilometers in Lido di Camaiore, the BMC team has won here for the last three years. First team down the starting ramp was AG2R-La Mondiale. The French team clocked 24:26, but their top time didn't last long as it was improved by Dimension Data with 23:59. Reports came in that a pedestrian had walked in-front of the Bora-Hansgrohe team and caused Rafał Majka and Oscar Gatto to crash.

CCC was the next team to go top, the ex-BMC team finished with 23:37. EF Education First bettered their time with 23:21. Deceuninck - Quick-Step, with Strade Bianche winner Julian Alaphilippe, set a new best time with 23:02. Jumbo-Visma was 8 seconds down on the Belgian team at the intermediate point, but they lifted their speed over the second part of the course to beat Deceuninck - Quick-Step by 30 seconds with 22:32. Team Sky, with Thomas and Poels, came in with a time only good enough for a final 5th place.

Lotto Soudal and Sunweb could not beat Jumbo-Visma. Mitchelton-Scott started fast and were 6 seconds faster than Jumbo-Visma at the intermediate point. At the finish line the Australian formation was 7 seconds faster and with Hepburn crossing the line first, he pulled on the Maglia Azzurra.



The first Maglia Azzurra wearer, Michael Hepburn (Mitchelton-Scott): "I didn't expect to be in this position when I woke up this morning. We obviously had a great squad here for the opening stage. We were not targeting just the stage but also supporting Adam Yates on GC. Today we also got luck on our side. We're pleased with this result. Tirreno-Adriatico is one of my favorite races of the year. But I don't deserve the jersey any more than anyone else in the squad. I'm just really happy for the whole team."

6th overall and 2nd team, Jos van Emden (Jumbo-Visma): "It would have been nice if we had won. Being second at seven-seconds is quite sour. Certainly if you have the fastest time for a long time and the last team is faster. The tension was intense. Nevertheless, we have driven a good team time trial. We were very quick and also had good hope. Unfortunately, a team was faster. We are now reaping the benefits. Now it is a pity and then the switch, because we have come here to ride a good classification with Roglič. We have won time on most competitors. It was a great day in that respect."

3rd team, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb): "Third is good. Not perfect, but it's a good start and we are satisfied. There are some important ranking riders close before and after us, so we'll see it goes with regard to the ranking. I'm here to try and win, so we'll see how the race develops. Technically we drove a good time trial; we made a few mistakes and we lost a few seconds, but it was a good performance."

6th team, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal): "A sixth place in the team time trial of Tirreno-Adriatico is for sure a result we would have been happy with beforehand. Lotto Soudal does not really have a big team time trial tradition but thanks to Kevin De Weert who joined the team, we have been working on it really hard and that is already paying off now. The puncture halfway the team time trial seriously thwarted our plans but we still managed to finish sixth. The first teams have taken quite an advantage in the general classification but we are satisfied with the result today. My trainer called the team time trial a kind of ‘midterm’ and I think I passed that intermediate test. I am happy with the way I felt today."

Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It's a pity we started the Tirreno-Adriatico with such an unlucky incident. I felt well and I think we were doing a good time-trial but the crash so early in the stage was not a good thing at all. We lost our momentum and we had only five riders left for most of the stage, so it was difficult to be competitive. I wish Rafał and Oscar a speedy recovery."

Enrico Poitschke, Bora-Hansgrohe Sports Director: "Unfortunately, we had a very bad day. Just 3.5km into the stage, a spectator crashed into the team, taking down two riders and splitting up the squad. From then on our guys weren't in the best mood but still gave a fight. The good news is that Rafał Majka is set to continue the race. He doesn't look good after the crash but he will be there. Our chances at the GC are probably gone now but we will try to fight for, possibly, a stage win that will keep our spirits high. Still, it was a very bad day for us."

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 1 Result:
1. Mitchelton-Scott in 22:25
2. Jumbo-Visma at 0:07
3. Sunweb at 0:22
4. Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 0:37
5. Sky at 0:47
6. Lotto Soudal at 0:54
7. EF Education First at 0:56
8. Groupama-FDJ at 0:58
9. Israel Cycling Academy at 1:05
10. Bahrain-Merida at 1:10.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 1:
1. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 22:25
2. Brent Bookwalter (USA) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:03
7. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:07
8. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
9. Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma
10. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma.

Tirreno stage 1:




Sagan has Virus Going Into Tirreno-Adriatico
Peter Sagan has been suffering from a stomach virus, which means he will not be at the start of Tirreno-Adriatico in top form. The Slovakian champion was unable to train for five days, according to WielerFlits. He did, however, travel to Tuscany.

Sagan intends to start in Tirreno-Adriatico, although he will not attend the press conference and will not train on the team time trial course. The plan for Sagan is to do a short training ride from the hotel. According to reports, the Slovak was suffering from diarrhea for days and was unable to eat normally.

In the run-up to his first season goal, Milan-San Remo, racing in Tirreno-Adriatico will be important for Sagan. The team selection of Bora-Hansgrohe for the Italian stage race includes Maciej Bodnar, Marcus Burghardt, David Formolo, Oscar Gatto, Rafal Majka and Daniel Oss.

Sagan in the Tour'18 TTT:




Mientjes Involved in Fatal Car Collision
The Redlands Bicycle Classic is deeply saddened to report that 19-year-old, Tate Meintjes, was tragically killed in a collision with a vehicle Tuesday morning. Meintjes and his Team California teammates were riding on Sand Canyon Road, which will serve as part of the time trial course, when racing commences on Wednesday.

The Redlands Bicycle Classic community is devastated by the news of Meintjes passing. On behalf of the entire Redlands Bicycle Classic organizing committee and the Redlands, California community, we want to extend our deepest condolences to Tate’s family, friends, and his teammates during this painful time.

The California Highway Patrol said in a statement, the Reno, Nevada native was riding west on Sand Canyon Road, behind a Honda Accord, just east of Crafton Avenue. “The Honda made a U-turn directly into the path of the cyclist and the cyclist crashed into the Honda,” the CHP said, the collision was reported at 10:52 a.m. His death was pronounced after being transported to Loma Linda University Hospital.

“We are absolutely heartbroken by the tragic collision that occurred Tuesday. The cycling community is a very tight knit one, the loss of such a talented, young cyclist is being felt across all cycling disciplines,” Marc Shaw said, president of the Redlands Bicycle Classic. “The race committee is working closely with our entire field of talented athletes and support staff to ensure they are receiving the assistance they need during this difficult time.”

Prior to racing on the road with Team California and Bear Pro Team p/b Trek, Meintjes had represented USA Cycling at the UCI Junior Canadian Cup in 2017 in mountain biking. After racing in Canada, he was listed as one of Murray’s Top 100 Sports Figures in that year, alongside Freestyle skier David Wise, and 5-time Olympian Katerina Nash. Meintjes was in his second year at the University of Nevada, studying mechanical engineering.

#RideforTate

Everyone at PEZ send their condolences to his family and friends.





OVO Energy Back Equal Prize Money for the 2019 Women's Tour and Tour of Britain
OVO Energy, the award-winning independent energy supplier, will back an equal prize fund for the Women’s Tour and Tour of Britain for the second year running.

Having first made this significant pledge on the path towards gender equality in cycling in 2018, Britain’s most prestigious women’s and men’s cycle races will again offer the same prize money structure thanks to the innovative Bristol-based company.

With the Women’s Tour increasing to six days for the first time in its history for its sixth edition this summer (Monday 10 – Saturday 15 June), the world’s best riders and teams will compete for €97,880 in 2019 – up from €89,999 last year.

Adrian Letts, CEO of Retail, OVO Energy, said: “This is our third year sponsoring the OVO Energy Women's Tour, helping to enable a free-to-view sporting event to be brought to fans across the UK. Last year we announced the top cyclists at the Women's Tour would compete for equal prize money, taking a meaningful step towards gender parity in cycling. We're proud to have committed to matching the prize money again, helping to provide an equal platform and inspiring more women to ride bikes.”

Commenting on the announcement, OVO Energy Women’s Tour Race Director Mick Bennett added: “This continued commitment by OVO Energy aligns with our desire to keep the Women’s Tour at the forefront of sport’s push towards equality. In 2018 we saw how aggressive and entertaining the racing was – no doubt helped by the prize fund on offer – and I have little doubt that the action will relent in June.”

The 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour begins with a Grand Depart in Suffolk for the second year; ninety-six starters will cover 157.6 kilometres (98 miles) between the market towns of Beccles and Stowmarket. The race continues to form part of the prestigious UCI Women’s WorldTour series, which began with the Strade Bianche one-day race in Italy on Saturday.

Further details of this year’s OVO Energy Women’s Tour, including the full race route and competing teams, will be released in the coming weeks.





Rodriguez and Hermida to Tackle the Untamed Cape Epic Once Again
Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team Ambassador Joaquim Rodriguez and former World Champion José Antonio Hermida will team up at their 3rd Absa Cape Epic (17-24th March 2019) with Merida Factory Racing team wearing the unique design of the Bahrain-Merida kit by Sportful.

Last year, despite crashes and punctures they pushed on throughout the week and finished their race with a strong ride in the final stage. A fantastic top ten (7th place) result and a demonstration of their class and strength.

For 2019, the team will head to South Africa with a clear goal. To get Purito Rodriguez to become a member of the “Amabubesi” - the exclusive Absa Cape Epic Finisher Club reserved to bikers that have finished three Cape Epics - and to demonstrate what they can do in the highly competitive Master category. The intention is to leave their stamp on the various stages and play a key role in the overall standing of the event.

The Cape Epic is only 10 days away and Joaquim Rodriguez is excited about competing in that compelling race, like the first time: “I’m keen to complete my 3rd Cape Epic and this means that I will be awarded the membership of Amabubesi. It’s something that will make me proud, because this is a legendary MTB race. That will be our main target, but we will try to improve last year’s performance and leave our mark on the highly competitive Master category.”

The previous road racing star feels now more confident as a mountain biker, thanks to hard training sessions with his friends and co-rider Hermida, who is a hugely experienced Cape Epic racer. “Preparations for the 2019 event have been going well” commented Purito “I think I was able to improve my mountain biking skills even further.”

As in the last two years, the team will wear a unique kit which is based on the Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team kit in design, but this time with a different set of colors, that closely matches the understated tones of their new bike for the event: the slightly modified Merida One-Twenty 9000, a more marathon/stage race orientated version, as José explains: “Well, we are fully convinced that the One-Twenty is the bike of the future. This ultra-versatile machine is at the same level as the 100mm bike, with more or less same weight but increased stability and ‘safety’, lightning fast acceleration and lots and lots of fun to ride, in particular when the course gets more demanding.”

Daily race diary videos and race reports produced by the two heroes will be shared via Merida social media accounts, youtube channel and on www.merida-bikes.com. Stay tuned!





Diary Victor Campenaerts part 1 - Between Namibia and Italy
In the run-up to the Hour Record attempt, Lotto Soudal will give twice a week an inside look into the preparation of Victor Campenaerts. On the one hand, Victor will talk about the run-up, on the other hand we will each time highlight a specific topic.

Part 1: 35 days to go – Between Namibia and Italy

Victor Campenaerts: "Sleeping in my own bed for the first time in 2019"

"On Monday morning last week, I arrived back in Belgium after a 60-day training camp in Namibia. The first day of my return was packed with appointments. I preferred it that way instead of doing something each day. My parents drove me around all day which gave us the time to catch up with each other in the car. Of course, they sympathize with me. Around midday, I stopped at The Foodmaker for lunch and afterwards, I went to Energy Lab for a body composition scan where I was very satisfied with the result. After that, I headed to Brussels to explain the media all about the attempt during a press moment. Then, I had another appointment in Rotselaar and in the evening I was a guest in the ‘Van Gils & gasten’ talk show."


"At home in Herent, I emptied my suitcase and then I slept for a long time, for the first time since the end of 2018 in my own bed. It felt good to breathe in ‘familiar air’. From Tuesday night till Friday morning, I stayed with my girlfriend Fanny Lecluyse in Dottenijs. Even the rainy weather during my training rides could not keep me out of balance after two months of training in sunny and warm conditions. I was of course very happy to see Fanny again and to be able to spend a couple of days together. Friday night, I slept in an altitude room so that my body won’t get the chance to detox from the altitude effect. On Saturday, I did a training session that I repeat every year which allows me to compare how the shape is. Afterwards, me and Fanny went on a trip. Yesterday, it was her birthday but because I had to leave for Tirreno-Adriatico, we celebrated a bit earlier."

Kevin De Weert and Valérie D’haeze prospect in Mexico

Last week, Kevin De Weert (performance manager) and Valérie D’haeze (head of administration and logistics) traveled to Mexico where the necessary preparations were made before Victor takes off to Aguascalientes.

Kevin De Weert: "We went to Mexico with some specific goals in mind. We received the help of a former Mexican pro and a Belgian who both live in Aguascalientes. Victor prefers to stay in a house, so we wanted to have a look at different options. Sufficient space, safety and relatively close to the track were amongst the most important criteria. We found something that met those expectations. Of course, we also went to see the track. We wanted to make appointments concerning training moments, arranging a derny, going through the organizational aspects together with our partner Golazo, signing contracts,… We also looked for hotel accommodation for the UCI, Tissot, the doping inspectors and we also arranged the transport on location."

"It looks like that everything can be arranged from Belgium but we found out that the visit there was an absolute must. You are able to talk face-to-face to the persons that are responsible, which is a major difference to contacting someone by phone or email. You also get to know a couple of locals. Besides, most houses and hotels often look different in real life than on a computer screen. We took everything into account to give Victor the best possible preparation. If he leaves for Mexico the 27th of March, he will not have to worry about a single thing once he arrives."


Victor Campenaerts:




Mastromarco Sensi Nibali Team Launch
Mastromarco and cycling the story continues. The goal of raising young people and taking them to professionalism.

After Strade Bianche and GP Larciano, waiting for the Tirreno-Adriatico, the weekend of the great Tuscan cycling ended with the presentation of the Mastromarco Sensi Nibali team at the Teatro Comunale of Lamporecchio (PT). "Special guest" was the Shark Vincenzo Nibali who also wanted to keep Mastromarco, the team where he was born and raised, and of which he is now also a full partner.

"I really want to be here every year for this presentation because that's exactly how I started my career. Carlo Franceschi and the whole Mastromarco clan for me are a family and it is a pleasure to be able to help them, supporting the project in person and with the help of some technical sponsors of my team. I know these guys and staff members one by one, there is friendship and mutual respect. I know that in Mastromarco things are done well, it has always been that way. At this age you can win, take a place or finish last the team does not ask the kids anything, only to put commitment and seriousness to grow and learn to be a rider" said Vincenzo Nibali (Baharain-Merida) who participated in Strade Bianche on Saturday and next week will be at the start of the Tirreno-Adriatico with Giro and Tour goals in mind.





Dentro la Strade Bianche 2019
Have you ever wondered how neutral assistance works in professional competitions? To answer this question, Simone Lanciotti, the director of BiciDaStrada.it, boarded the number 3 car of Shimano service at the 13th Strade Bianche to tell you about it. The film is in Italian, but there are some great images.








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