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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Monday, October 6, 2014

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories

2015 Giro d'Italia Route announced

Here's a map and list of the stages

2014 Il Lombardia (Giro di Lombardia)

Dan Martin pulled off a masterful burglary at this year's Il Lombardia, attacking at the perfect moment while the others hesitated just that one fatal moment. Chapeau!

Here's the post-race Tinkoff-Saxo release:

The Giro di Lombardia concluded in a hectic finale. Tinkoff-Saxo’s race was unfortunately affected by a late crash that brought down team leader Alberto Contador in the final corner.

“Following the last climb, I was in a group chasing the front group on the descent towards the finishing straight. In the final corner, someone crashed right in front of me and I didn’t have time to react. I went down and several riders came from behind and crashed into me. There was simply nothing I could do," commented Alberto Contador after the race and added:

“Unfortunately, I didn’t escape unharmed. I’ve sustained an injury to my left knee, which is the same one I hurt in the Tour and I also have some bruises on my elbow. It’s unlucky that it was the knee again but I think it’s not too serious. I’ll put some ice on it and hopefully I’ll be ready to go."

Alberto Contador was able to get back on the bike and finish the race as 34th. After crossing the finish line, a hematoma had developed on the left knee as a result of the impact. It’s not a complicated injury, but it might affect his participation in Tour of Beijing starting next weekend.

“Right now, the most important thing is to see how my knee feels tonight and tomorrow morning, when the initial swelling has subsided," explained Contador, who doesn’t focus on the fact that Alejandro Valverde has overtaken him in the World Tour rankings.

“Right now it’s not important. He gained points and is now 66 points ahead of me. I will keep my eyes on Tour of Beijing and hopefully I’ll be able to compete."

Alberto Contador

Alberto Contador finishes Il Lombardia. Photo ©Sirotti

Here's the post-Il Lombardia release from Lampre-Merida:

Amazing team performance by Lampre-Merida in Il Lombardia (254 km, Como-Bergamo) and the confirmation by Rui Costa that he's a top rider. In his first appearance without the rainbow jersey, the Portuguese rider obtained the 3rd place behind Daniel Martin and Valverde, adding value to the perfect race by the whole blue-fuchsia-green team.

Many good feedbacks during the race by the cyclists that were directed from the team car by Orlando Maini, starting with Jan Polanc: the young Slovenian, who had covered more than 400 km in the breakaways in the two Canadian events of the World Tour (Gp Quebec and Gp Montreal), was protagonist once again in an attack of 11 riders that led the race for most part of the course, counting on an advantage on the bunch of more than 10'.

Polanc was one of the last attackers to surrender to the chase of the peloton, that neutralize the brekaway at 30 km to the arrival.

In the final part the race, Lampre-Merida focused the attention on helping Rui Costa in approaching the climbs in the head positions of the group, as they did also before the last climb of the course (Bergamo Alta), when Niemiec and Durasek allowed the past world champion to start the steephill in the head of the selected group.

Rui Costa had enough energy to reach the summit of the climb in the head group of 9 riders, then in the short downhill to the arrival nothing happened, but at 500 meters Daniele Martin performed the winning attack, anticipating the sprint that gave Rui Costa the 3rd place, just behind Valverde.

"First of all, I want to thank my team mates, because they perfectly supported me from the start to the last climb, I could not ask more from them - Rui Costa explained - I tried to give the team a top result, all the nine members of the group that was leading the race after the climb of Bergamo Alta were pedaling with few energies left, so we were all waiting for the sprint, but Martin attacked when the speed had decreased and he deserved the victory.

The third place is a good result, I'm happy I could honor the first race I took part in without wearing the rainbow jersey.

Today is my birthday and it would have been great celebrating it with a victory, but I'm satisfied for celebrating is knowing that I'm the first Portugese cyclist to be on the podium of the Giro di Lombardia and that now I'm fourth in the World Tour ranking".

Alejandro Valverde and Rui Costa

Alejandro Valverde finishes second with Rui Costa right behind him at this year's Il Lombardia. Photo ©Sirotti

2014 Tour de l'Eurométropole

Sunday the fifth was the last stage of the Tour de l’Eurometropole.

Here's what Tinkoff-Saxo had to say about it:

The finale of the 155-kilometer long fourth and final stage of Tour de l’Eurometropole between Mons and Tournai was dominated by Tinkoff-Saxo stirring things up for Matti Breschel. But the race was decided in another bunch sprint where Demare consolidated his overall win with a third stage win.

A breakaway stole the limelight in the first part of the stage but Tinkoff-Saxo were targeting bonus seconds for Matti Breschel who was seventh overall before today’s stage. After gaining 6 seconds during bonus sprints along the way, Breschel launched a promising attack with 8 kilometers remaining and he was followed by 7 other riders. Behind, FDJ were on a wild chase with their race leader, Arnaud Demare.

With 1.5 kilometers to go, Breschel and his companions were back in the pack and in the bunch sprint, Demare took his third stage win of the race. Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matti Breschel finished fifth overall.

DS, Steven Do Jongh says: “We wanted to give Matti the best possible conditions to sweep up bonus seconds to climb the GC and considering the fact that we’re without big name sprinters, I think we got the most of our potential. The team worked brilliantly well together and stirred up things towards the end of the stage. Matti even tried to get break free in the finale to create the crucial gap but it was closed down eventually. I’m happy with the result,” concludes De Jongh.

Matti Breschel

Matti Breschel descends during stage 9 of the 2013 Giro d'Italia. Photo ©Sirotti

And this from Team Belkin:

Theo Bos concluded the Tour de l’Eurometropole on Sunday with a third place in the overall, marking the end of the Dutchman's spell with the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM.

Bos, who won yesterday’s third stage, maintained himself in the first group, but didn’t have any power left to throw himself in the bunch sprint. Just behind teammate Martijn Tusveld, he placed 23rd. “The local lap was quite hard, especially because of the high pace on the climb, where a lot of riders fought for bonus seconds,” said Bos, who recorded a total of nine victories this year.

“My legs were not as strong as yesterday and I really suffered. I tried to sprint for the win, but I wasn’t recovered from my efforts and lacked the sharpness to maintain the right position. Luckily, I was able to remain in the peloton, which helped me to secure third place in the overall. “It’s nice to say goodbye with a podium finish. I really made that an objective, and it’s great that I’ve realised my goal.”

Erik Dekker looked back on the Tour de l'Eurometropole with a good feeling on Sunday. “Thanks to the team, Theo claimed a podium finish. Some guys who were here will leave the team and that could have made things complicated, but the men did great. With a stage win and a third place in the overall, it’s been a good week.”

Tjheo Bos wins Tour of Poland stage 3

Here Theo Bos wins stage three of this year's Tour of Poland. Photo ©Sirotti

Lotto-Belisol put out this release after the Tour de l'Eurometropole:

The Eurométropole Tour finished today with a 155 kilometres long stage between Mons and Tournai. The biggest part of the course consisted of seven laps of 14.7 kilometres with one hill. Jens Debusschere became second for the third time this race. That’s also the place he has in the overall classification.

A front group of six stayed ahead until 45 kilometres from the finish. One of the leaders was Jasper De Buyst, who will defend the colours of Lotto Soudal as of next season. Jonas Van Genechten, who was fifth in GC before the start of the last stage at 16” of leader Arnaud Démare, picked up bonification seconds at the second and third rush. In the overall classification the Lotto Belisol rider stands on place four. Together with trainee Tiesj Benoot Van Genechten was part of a front group in the final, but they didn’t make it.

Arnaud Démare won the sprint, his third stage win this race. The French champion is also the overall winner. Jens Debusschere got second today, for the third consecutive time. In GC the Belgian champion, the winner of last year’s edition, is second as well. Lotto Belisol, that has two riders in top five of GC, wins the team classification.

Jens Debusschere: “Each time someone of our team was part of a breakaway everyone wanted to be in it. Tinkoff-Saxo and Orica-GreenEdge led the chase of the front group. When that was reeled in Jonas Van Genechten focused on the bonification seconds at the rushes. I would save energy for the sprint. In the last lap Jonas Van Genechten and Tiesj Benoot were both part of the front group, so we were well represented.”

“In the sprint we missed an extra man. Vegard Breen led Kenny Dehaes and me to the front. Then we got at the head of the group too early. Just miss the victory for the third time isn’t fun of course. There went something wrong each sprint, we came to the front too early or too late. The sprint never was perfect and I needed that to beat Démare or Bos. It was waiting to see how I would come out of the Vuelta, but this has shown the condition is good. With this shape I hope to finish as high as possible in the last races of this season.”

Jens Debusschere

Jens Debusschere climbs the Grammont in this year's Eneco Tour. Photo ©Sirotti

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