Nice to see friends are back

Andy is back to twitter - and also to Italy soon. 
Frank before Clasica Almeria by Bosco Martin
Emanuele Sella is almost back to victory but surely back to top cycling and it seems he found the right milieu in his new team, Androni: yesterday in Classica Sarda was second behind Brut just because sprinting he touched the gear for a mistake. I'm looking forward to see him in the Giro again! 
But he beated Sagan, Oss and many others who missed the moment and failed to follow Brut in his decisive move. Sella is a pure cliber but experience counts in racing and growing up he improved his skills.
Last Giro winner, Ivan Basso, won yesterday GP Lugano and says he will duel with Contador in Catalunya. Visconti won few days ago GP Insubria. Neo proPelucchi won Clasica Almeria and that's a wonderful news, hope to hear soon an even better one from his girl friend Marina Romoli, injuried training last year and fighting to come back walking. Pelucchi dedicated his victory to her.
LEOPARD TREK is still without a victory... and they repeat it's a bad luck... Of course Nizzolo sick in Spain - he abandoned Clasica Almeria - was bad luck. But what about Belgium? To miss the right moment in Omloop has been a mistake. To miss the right position at the sprint (Sutton won) after a quite good race in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne has been a mistake by Weylandt and in general the team showed a 'bad look' more then a 'bad luck' if you allow me a little joke... However there is few to joke if the 6th place of Wegman in Les Boucles du Sud Ardèche ends to be a 'good result'. Serpa (Androni, Continental team) said he is very disappointed with his second place in Giro di Sardegna final GC!
Tomorrow in Luxembourg LEOPARD TREK will show in a press conference his new jersey with a new sponsor on: Envos. I was supposed to be there, but got the invite late on Friday and couldn't organize it. Boomer! but in few days I'll see finally Andy in Strade Bianche and then Tirreno. I'm not very happy at the moment... it will be better next Saturday I hope.


Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: (double) duel in the rain

Did you watch it? I did. It was great. Awful weather as traditional, narrow streets, pavé. I love that Belgium. There was a breack of course, then an early move by Tom Boonen, then a solo wonderful breack by Langeveld, then a solo wonderful chase by Flecha
Pic by AFP
Three moments were epic: 
1. Pavé climb, Tom Boonen leads the group pulling hard and they are all in a line beside the street: Offredo comes off the line - in the middle of the road, daring the pavé - and put his wheel in front of the old champion. 
2. Langeveld waited for Flecha, wisely and they went to the finish together. 5 to go, they look each other, 3  to go Flecha tries a surprise attack but Langeveld is quick to respond: I didn't do all that work for you, dear! And he beats him at the photofinish: too fair!  
3. Big names gave up but Offredo can't wait the bunch sprint: excapes solo showing class and courage. Hayman follows and joins, sit all the time on his wheel., beats him at the sprint. Offredo doesn't sprint! he's surprised and angry. Too unfair! But that's cycling.
Gilbert had said "I can win tomorrow also if I wasn't 100% in shape". Ah we saw that! Gilbert, Boonen, Hushovd, Hoste, Boasson Hagen... all missed the moment or thought Langevelde wasn't so dangerous or waited too long. They didn't sprint as well. Weylandt did and won the sprint of the defeated ones. What a victory, really! at 5 minutes! LEOPARD TREK said they were unlucky... but in a good company. Mah!
BDW How many vicories and podiums Rabobank did already get this year?!
1 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 5:18:03
2 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Sky Procycling
3 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:01
4 Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ 0:01:04
5 Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha Team 0:01:21
6 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quickstep Cycling Team 0:01:24
7 Martijn Maaskant (Ned) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:01:30
8 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
9 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
10 Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
11 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:01:34
12 John Degenkolb (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:01:39
13 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Leopard Trek 0:05:05
14 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
15 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Katusha Team
16 Dominique Rollin (Can) FDJ
17 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling Team
18 Russell Downing (GBr) Sky Procycling
19 Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
20 Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
21 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Katusha Team
22 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
23 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
24 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
25 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quickstep Cycling Team
26 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard Trek
27 Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
28 Leif Hoste (Bel) Katusha Team
29 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
30 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
31 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar
32 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
33 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
34 Andreas Klier (Ger) Team Garmin-Cervelo
35 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
36 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
37 Hayden Roulston (NZl) HTC-Highroad
38 Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) HTC-Highroad
39 Gianni Meersman (Bel) FDJ
40 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
41 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
42 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
43 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
44 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team
45 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent 0:09:22
46 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) HTC-Highroad 0:10:41
47 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
48 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
49 Bert De Backer (Bel) Skil - Shimano
50 Alex Rasmussen (Den) HTC-Highroad
51 Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
52 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
53 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
54 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Omega Pharma-Lotto
55 Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
56 Bram Schmitz (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent
57 Roy Curvers (Ned) Skil - Shimano
58 Koen De Kort (Ned) Skil - Shimano
59 Wim De Vocht (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
60 Michael Barry (Can) Sky Procycling
61 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
62 Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ
63 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ
64 Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
65 Karsten Kroon (Ned) BMC Racing Team
66 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
67 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha Team
68 Jos Van Emden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
69 Dominic Klemme (Ger) Leopard Trek
70 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team Europcar
71 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
72 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar
73 Rick Flens (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
74 Roger Hammond (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo
75 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
76 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar
77 Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 0:14:29
78 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
79 Dieter Cappelle (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
80 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto
81 William Clarke (Aus) Leopard Trek
82 Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha Team
83 Dominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
84 Alessandro Donati (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
85 David Millar (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo
86 Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Landbouwkrediet
87 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
88 Johan Le Bon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
89 Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Team Netapp
90 Timon Seubert (Ger) Team Netapp
91 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
92 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
93 Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent
94 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar
95 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) HTC-Highroad
96 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Garmin-Cervelo
97 Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne

Clasica de Almeria - and more

Andy is here today. Follow it on line on 
or on my twitter ;) 

Yesterday we saw a great race in Belgium and today probably there will be another one. I'll write something later: Andy first. 

Finally, yesterday Sagan won the final GC in Giro di Sardegna. I'm quite happy for him and also for Emanuele Sella, who did a very good race:
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 22:28:24  
2 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:03  
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:00:07  
4 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:00:18  
5 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:32  


About radios ban: comments and interviews

Today is Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and yesterday it seemed that a protests against radios ban was on the way. Finally teams and riders associations said that no. In beautiful words by  Jonathan Vaughters: "The majority of teams (18-2) and riders would like to continue using radios. However, we won't ruin monuments of sport to make our point."
In last weeks many riders gave their opinion and I asked around to collect some more here. The only two I found pro radios are Philippe Gilbert and Steven Cozza. 
Jens suggested riders boycot WC
Mathias Frank (BMC) waited till Trofeo Langueglia to see how it is racing without radios and then he told me: "Personally I think the arguements of the UCI that races would be more interessting is not true... I think it makes no big changes to the outcome of races... SAFETY hm that's the point I'm not sure about... on the one hand you get information from the director about problems on the road... on the other side if 200 guys in the pack get told that in 2km there is a dangerous bridge or something, it can be so stressfull even though that bridge would be no problem to pass..." I asked him also about the proposal of only Race Radio one way for all and he said: "Personally I think this could be a good solution... but yeah the language could be the problem...." About protests too Frank is agnostic: "I can remember well the U23 years where we never used radios in the national team as well as in my amateur team our coaches wanted us to learn to make desicions ourselves..and I dont think those races where more dangerous than pro races....I think we should wait and see how it is to race without radios before we are protesting..."
A BMC Official Press Release recently said:  "The BMC Racing Team will not participate at this time in any planned protest over the radio ban imposed by the UCI in non-World calendar races, said BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz.

Race Radios Belong In The Sport
Ochowicz said cycling is a modern day sport, orientated for TV, the Internet and other mass media outlets. "Technology has contributed in many ways to the advancement of the sport - from carbon fiber frames, performance data collection, untraditional products and race radios," Ochowicz said. "Race radios belong in the sport to provide safety and communications."
Unsafe Situations
Ochowicz has a long history with the evolution of radio use in the peloton. He was owner and general manager of the Motorola Cycling Team, which introduced the "Peloton Communication System" in 1991. "Prior to that, team directors were forced to drive their cars directly into the peloton, roll down their windows and shout out instructions to the riders," Ochowicz said. "This could happen anywhere from the very front to the very back of peloton throughout a race. Most of today's riders and team directors never had to experience those horrifying days in the races. I did, and they were most certainly not safe situations."
Follow The Rules
Ochowicz said the BMC Racing Team will not disrespect the rules set forth by the UCI, "and we will not jeopardize the goodwill of race organizers by participating in any type of negative action," he said. "However, we immediately call upon the UCI to sit down in good faith with the appropriate partners to workout a compromise that is in the best interests of all concerned."
Filippo Pozzato had a bad experience in Oman and wrote on his fb: "Oman Tour. Today stage not really lucky ! I felt so good but, at the topic moment during a peloton bagarre on the final hill I pinched ... Cannot use the radio (thank you guys !!!) than wait for the car assistance In the meantime I lost the momentum and the race leaders. Congratulations to who cannot permit us to use the radios ..." Asked by me he confirmed to be against the radios ban "for safety".
Definitely against it Jakob Fuglsang. The most of you probably read that long entry on his site: "I just wanted to give my own thoughts on the very warm topic radio ban. As many of you properly know we where racing without radios since UCI won’t let us race with them anymore, except for the world tour races this year. I  personally think that its a ridicules idea to take the radios away. In my world it’s not gonna change much in the out come of the races and its not gonna make it anymore interesting. There are many reasons to have the radio and only one reason why UCI wants it banned and to me and most other riders their argument makes no sense. I don’t think that more breakaways are gonna make it to the finish or that the results are going to be different, at least not in a positive way. I use the information, support and encouragement i get in the radio both when I’m in a break away and in the peloton. When I’m in a break away I use the motivation from our sports directors to go even harder and to fight even more for the victory even if the situation doesn’t look that positive anymore. Because there is always a chance and the sports director can help me to remember that and keep going even if I feel like giving up and getting caught. It doesn’t mean that we are controlled by the sports directors. We are still humans and not robots just because we get a radio. We still makes our own decisions and observations in the race. So for that reason I’m 110% for radios because it also make it more safe in the race.
There is more that enough examples where the radio has been crucial in dangerous situations or maybe even life saving. The road gets more and more safe for the cars, which actually means more dangerous for us riders, traffic islands, speed bumps and roundabouts. Then you are sitting in the peloton its not always easy to see these obstacles before last minute and if you get a warning before you are more alert and ready to act in the right way. For me radio ban is a step back in the natural development of cycling and also other sports. Lots of other sports also uses radios or some kind communication doing the event. Imagine that it wouldn’t be allowed for a soccer coach to talk to his players. They could even take away the half time then and the time outs in other sports.
I was joking a bit with Andy (Schleck) yesterday about the fact that UCI wants more interesting races so what about taking away the Feed zones and only let us start with one bottle and maybe no food. That would give some interesting hunger-flats on television. We could also take away the cars so that we would have to fix your mechanicals and punctures your self. Maybe even go back to one gear or even better fixed gear so riders wouldn’t be able to ride the climbs and crashing left and right on the down hills. That would give some interesting TV. We want the radios back and are ready to fight for it!"
Andy in fact broke his twitter silence almost only to say how he's against that radios ban but to be honest I see  there only retweets. Of course I asked him too, but got no answer. According to http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/voigt-calls-for-worlds-boycott-over-radio-ban also Jens Voigh is contra: "I would rather have a boring race where everyone is happy and alive, and [a rider] can come home and embrace his parents and say, ‘Hi mum and dad. I'm alive.'" and  "If we just get a single fatal accident, the price is already too high for something that someone thinks will make the sport more interesting," finally  "Imagine all the world's journalists were suddenly told: From now on, do not use laptops, the Internet or pencils. Would you consider taking it seriously? Of course not!" 
I asked Jonny Bellis and his answer was clear: "I think they shouldnt be banned, because firstly the safety issue.. bike racing is dangerous enough as it is and without radios the risks are even higher, also it makes no difference to the outcome of the race as riders can think for themselves. We are not robots and with radios 99% of the time we make the decisions ourselves during the race so dont know if you read Jens Voight interview that was on cycling news about radios. What he says is very true. [...] The ds is in the car he can't see what we see well not as quick as we do."
I found very interesting Adriano Malori's opinion, because he changed his mind after his first year as a pro: "Un tempo ero contrario ma dall'anno scorso mi sono reso conto della loro importanza, soprattutto x la sicurezza. E' capitato di trovare problemi lungo la strada come macchie d'olio, buche, frane o incidenti stradali o ambulanze e senza radio non possiamo sapere se ci sono. [Le proteste] penso siano giuste, soprattutto perche tale decisione è stata presa senza sentire il nostro parere, visto che siamo noi quelli che sono in bici non è corretto" [I was against them before but last year I understood their importance, moreover for safety. It occurred to find troubles on the road, oil, pothole, landslide or car crashes or ambulances and without radios we can't know if they are there. I think protests are fair, moreover because that decision was made without listening to our opinion, given that we are the ones who are on the bikes that isn't correct."] 
And I agree 100%. People talking about a 'more exciting show' make me a bit angry. The pavé in last Tour de France wasn't exciting, it was a nightmare. Sometimes I get the impression that for some cycling followers races are fictions: but poor Frankie went home in real! When you have friends racing and people you care about, you are prepared to crashes, injuries, you know they have to start in the pourring rain and in the fucking hot sun and they know that's their job, an hard but wonderful one. Ok, but you don't want to make it harder and more dangerous just to have a 'more exciting show', that's mad.  
And they must be respected as workers, their opinion can't be ignored. Somebody told the riders are simply obbeying teams in protesting and a racer also said me "I mean why do you need 2 sports directors in a race when they cant take influence in what is going on there? then also a mechanic can drive the teamcar..." Could be true, but I don't think really that is the point. Cycling site are full of poll about radios so we'll have it also here. Vote dudes. The final word should be from riders and I  hope it will be.


Where do you put your hands?!

Pic by G.Watson
I was just looking this picture. Descent isn't Andy's speciality but he can be quite effective. 
However: here he is all down on the bar but his hands are both up - his breack mates have their hands down, you see - 
But look better: his left hand holds the handlebar 'normally', from up, and he keeps just one finger on the front wheel brake. One finger is few but his hands are so big that probably he manages to brake easily - not like me ehm ehm! -
The right hand holds the handlebar from down and that is quite weird also because he can't reach the back wheel brake. Or do I see it wrong?


Ruta del Sol 5: results, comments and pic

“It is too bad that we lost Giacomo this morning because he was quite sick, too sick to start the stage,” Sports Director Luca Guercilena explained" here http://www.leopardtrek.lu/news/another-day-sprinters-andalucia "“The guys did a good job and it was a good day for everyone on the bike,” Guercilena explained. “But when the race did in fact come down to a sprint, we didn’t have anyone with the sort of kick needed to contest the stage.”
Pic by Bosco Martin
In fact. Boring day for everybody excluded Freire who won - again - the stage and Irizar who won - def - the race. Apollonio wasn't happy, but very well placed again: bravo! And bravo also Coppel, who's 4th in the final GC. Van den broeck, Leipheimer and Lovkvist are already in a very good shape. And Freire too: Sanremo isn't far...
Bravo Frank Schleck! in spite of all he ends in the top 15, with the time of his TT (20''). Improve in TT and... but you know. Andy today ended at 10'', not bad. Without that bad first stage he could be up in the GC but of course to go away in a breack wouldn't have been so easy then ;) Bravo anyway, first because we love you - ehehe - second because you reacted to criticisms in the right way. A star shines always, even when is covered by clouds.
In general Andalusia was a good race for leopards... when they decided to take it seriously. I hope that Giacomo Nizzolo gets well soon and in time for Clasica de Almeria, next Sunday: he demostrated to be a very promising guy, but had bad luck. You need talent in cycling, then a good team and a lot of good luck. And that I wish them all!
Stage 5
1 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 3:46:12  
2 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi    
3 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
4 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling
31 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
37 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0.00.10
Final GC
1 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team RadioShack 16:27:21  
2 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto 0:00:01  
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack 0:00:02  
4 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:00:03  
5 Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:08  
6 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling    
7 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 0:00:09  
8 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team RadioShack 0:00:12  
9 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:16  
10 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack 0:00:18  
11 Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team    
12 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp    
13 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:00:20  
14 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:00:23  
15 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:25  
81 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek 0:24:25  

Not Only Andy: a look to other(s) races

Sardegna by Bettini
We bet on Andy, but how are doing his main opponents?  and who are the new interesting names in the peloton? which teams do we have to take attention to? Lets have a look. And if you have any suggestions, feel free to comment.

Winners: Pitropolli, Voeckler and Sagan. Cunego! 
Young guns: (Sagan), Oss, Ponzi and Favilli. 
Champions: Nibali, Basso, Ballan. 
Teams: Liquigas ok but also Neri and Androni: I'm really happy to see Emanuele Sella on the podium again (Sardegna 2).

1 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD 4:42:20
2 Simone Ponzi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
3 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Androni Giocattoli
4 Fabio Taborre (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
5 Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha Team
6 Fortunato Baliani (Ita) d'Angelo & Antenucci - Nippo
7 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team
8 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
9 Paolo Ciavatta (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
11 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:52
33 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni GiocattoliHaut Var
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 9:14:13
2 Julien Antomarchi (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille 0:00:08
3 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:28
4 José Joaquín Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:29
5 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ 0:00:37
6 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
7 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:00:53
8 Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
9 Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ 0:00:54
10 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
62 Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank Sungard 
Giro di Sardegna 1
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 3:35:25
2 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team
3 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
4 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
5 Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre - ISD
6 Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Androni Giocattoli
7 Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli
8 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Lampre - ISD
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
10 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
21 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
Giro di Sardegna 2
1 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD 5:21:26
2 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Androni Giocattoli
3 Emanuele Sella (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:00:02
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
5 Ben Hermans (Bel) Team RadioShack
6 Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

Ruta del Sol 2011 - Stage 4 - Summary


A pic from Andalusia

Pic by G.Watson

Ruta del Sol 4: Schleck's results, comment by LEOPARD and pics YEAH!

"Kilómetro 8. El pelotón sigue agrupado. A toda velocidad, como los días anteriores en estos primeros kilómetros.
Kilómetro 12. Andy Schleck (Leopard) se escapa de nuevo.
Pic by Bosco Martin
Kilómetro 19. Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) y Moreno (Caja Rural) forman la escapada inicial, con 50" sobre el pelotón.
Kilómetro 25. Andy Schleck y Moreno abren hueco, con más de un minuto sobre el pelotónKilómetro 30. Por detrás, han saltado dos corredores que hacen de puente, Palomares (Andalucía-Caja Granada) y Héctor González (KTM-Murcia)..
Pic by Bosco Martin
Andy Schleck corona primero por el alto de Artajona
Paso Meta Volante (Km. 62,1): 1. Moreno; 2. Palomares; 3. Andy Schleck
Los corredores pasan ahora por el avituallamiento y la ventaja sigue en torno a los 6 minutos..." 
by  http://www.biciciclismo.com
73 62 SCHLECK, Franck LUX LEO m.t.
93 61 SCHLECK, Andy LUX LEO a 53"  
17 62SCHLECK, Franck LUX LEO a 20" 72
95 61SCHLECK, Andy LUX LEO a 24'15" 61
Happy people by LEOPARD tonight. They can also have one - 1 - beer to celebrate. Still no victory, but Andy's beack away was cool. If they were 5 or 6 and maybe with some better riders- a Voight, a Cancellara, a Boonen - they could have done it to the finish: only 15 kms and with a last climb. Great job anyway. I'm sure Andy amused himself today. For sure he amused us. A friend told me: "I wasn't so exicted since Tour de France!"
According to http://www.leopardtrek.lu/news/andy-schleck-spends-day-break DS Guercilena said.  “We wanted to be in the break today even if it wasn’t going to succeed because we really want our guys to work at a race like this,” “It is a perfect sort of race to improve the condition and they are doing a really good job ramping up their fitness.”
Pic by Bosco Martin

Pic by G. Watson
Pic by Bosco Martin
"The plan of course was to come into the sprint with Giacomo well placed,” Guercilena said. “But unfortunately there was a crash close to the end; Giacomo was involved though he did not go down. But it did mean that he was not able to put in the type of sprint he would have liked.” Nevertheless, the young Italian still managed thirteenth place on the stage. “We are very happy with how the team is riding and following the plan every day,” Guercilena said. “This has been a good race for us and we are looking forward to finishing it on a high tomorrow.”
And I'm looking forward too!
My Master thesis discussion went very well: 110/110 cum laude. I'm a free citizen again... and the cycling season is just started! YEAH!

Ruta del Sol 4: Andy the breacker! caught only 15 to go !

BRAVO! così si fa! that's the way! More later :D I have the final exam of my Master now... My time to show something, right ;)

Freire won at the sprint, Irizar still leader.
1. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) 3:49:23
2. Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur Sojasun) m.t.
3. Aitor Galdos (Caja Rural) m.t.
4. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil) m.t.
5. Robert Hunter (RadioShack) m.t.
6. Davide Appollonio (Sky) m.t.
7. Yukihiro Doi (Skil-Shimano) m.t.
8. Jon Aberasturi (Orbea) m.t.
9. Chistian Knees (Sky) m.t.
10. Mirko Selvaggi(Vacansoleil) m.t.
1. Markel Irizar (RadioShack)
2. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) a 1
3. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) a 1
4. Jerome Coppel (Saur Sojasun) a 3
5. Luis Pasamontes (Movistar Team) a 8

Thomas Rohregger to LEOPARD TREK

Andy is attacking again in Ruta del Sol and flying in a 3 men breack away... He will find a new team mate at the finish!
LEOPARD TREK adds one more to its roster- Press release
LEOPARD TREK is happy to have signed Austrian rider Thomas Rohregger to join the team effective immediately. Rohregger comes to LEOPARD TREK as a perfect addition to the team's core of climbers.
"Thomas comes to us a little late in the signing process and through the misfortune of another team's license application," General Manger Brian Nygaard explains. "But we are really glad to have him at any time. I am sure he will add greatly to our team." Rohregger joins the team after having waited out the unsuccessful creation of the Australian Team Pegasus. But he never gave up his training and comes to the squad very fit, obviously missing a little race rhythm.
"I couldn't be happier about having the opportunity to race with such a strong team," Rohregger says. "Since there are several of my friends from my days at Milram and Elk House here already, I know that I will enjoy the atmosphere and camaraderie." The native of Innsbruck comes as a climbing specialist who has a talent for time trialing as well. “I live in the Tirol region of Austria, so I have to be able to climb, or I wouldn’t be able to train!” Rohregger jokes. “I really like the hillier races and I am excited to have a chance to show this team my qualities in that type of terrain”.
Rohregger's first entry to the scene will very likely be at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. The rest of his race program is still being worked out, but with his strengths and ability to contribute to the team goals, there is no doubt that he will fit into the squad very smoothly. “Though the details of my program and role on the team are still under discussion, I’m hoping to ride the Giro again”, Rohregger says. “There is a lot of climbing, and two of the stages even run through my home region. I have had good days in the Giro, so I hope to build on those experiences.”

Ruta del Sol 2011 - Stage 3 - Summary vid


Ruta del Sol: finally! ...and free Lybia!

Pic by Bruno Martin
What a beautiful picture! you can see all the Movistar riders rising their arms celebrating Ventos's victory and the pain of the 2nd while the 3th, Apollonio, is still focused on the sprint. Great job by Bruno Martin!
I'm listening to the radio: a special about Lybia. Revolutions in North Africa are great news. We - in Italy especially - have a lot to learn by those brave people. My heart is heavy for massacres in Tripoli but I'm sure it's just a mater of time: Bengasi and Cirenaica are already free.
My hear is a little lighter because finally Andy showed something in Andalusia. I know, I know... how can I compare such different things? but life is like that: we mix everyday history and personal stuff, high and low, small and great word as Goethe used to say. Sorry, I'm a fucking 'sap', studied too much :) 
But I'm also the bigest Andy's fun in the world and it was really sad to hear people saying around he did nothing good after last TdF. I suppose you read some forums... Well, I rarely do. Too often I find there comments as strict as superficial. It seems that some cycling fans forget that riders are persons, with feelings. They are profesional of course and teams are supposed to manage the comunication in a right way, but still fans don't know all and shouldn't judge in that scornful way.
It was a pity to not have a streaming! I'd have liked to watch Andy's attack! tomorrow we'll see the synthesis on the official site of the race. But in pics he looks well, better then in the TT. Allez! no knee problems this year, nothing to prevent him to race and enjoy. When he attacks - I saw that a few times - he seems a wild horse who unseated his rider, with freedom, joy and courage in his eyes. We love that. We want that. Even when it's aimless, or hopeless. Like in the Giro 2007: "Be prudent" he has been told and he attacked in the mountains. "I will see day by day" and he ended second - I'll say he won, at 21. Of course he was nobody, he could do nothing. But just because now he's Andy Schleck he should do the same: enjoy and make enjoy his supporters. Of course that was a Giro, this is Ruta del Sol. But race as if you'll die tomorrow, show your class each day and you'll be happy. I often repeat that to myself, so am aware it's hard, but is worth of ;)

Ruta del Sol 3: Schleck's results, comment by LEOPARD and pics

By G.Watson

29 62 SCHLECK, Franck LUX LEO 
58 61 SCHLECK Andy 
18 62 SCHLECK, Franck LUX LEO a 20" 
84 61 SCHLECK, Andy LUX LEO a 23'22"
By G.Watson
According to http://www.leopardtrek.lu/news/nizzolo-4th-andalucia "LEOPARD TREK’s Andy Schleck made an early effort to get into a five man break, but that small group was never allowed to get away. [...] “Even after the main break got away, we were quite active in the peloton, helping keep control of the affairs,” Guercilena said. “We knew that we would want to work for Giacomo and hoped he would be able to get a good result.” "

Ruta del Sol 3: Leopards make hard the race

Giacomo Nizzolo 4th isn't bad. Andy and Tom attacking is very nice to 'see' - well to 'read'. More later. Ventoso won at the sprint. Bravo Apollonio! Nothing changed in the GC.
1. Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team) 4:21:53
2. Juan José Lobato (Andalucía-Caja Granada) m.t.
3. Davide Appollonio (Sky) m.t.
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Leopard-Trek) m.t.
5. Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano) m.t.
6. Pello Bilbao (Orbea) m.t.
7. Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) m.t.
8. Ricardo García (Orbea) m.t.
9. Luis Pasamontes (Movistar Team) m.t.
10. Yukihiro Doi (Skil-Shimano) m.t.
11. Juanjo Cobo (Geox-TMC) m.t.
12. Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur Sojasun) m.t.
13. Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp) m.t.
14. Fabio Duarte (Geox-TMC) m.t.
15. David de la Fuente (Geox-TMC) m.t.
1. Markel Irizar (RadioShack) 8:51:46
2. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma-Lotto) a 1
3. Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack) a 2
4. Jerome Coppel (Saur Sojasun) a 3
5. Luis Pasamontes (Movistar Team) a 8
6. Thomas Lovkvist (Sky) m.t.
7. Rigoberto Urán (Sky) a 9
8. Ivan Rovny (RadioShack) a 10
9. Beñat Intxausti (Movistar Team) m.t.
10. Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack) a 12
11. Xabier Zandio (Sky) a 13
12. Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) a 16
13. Leopold Konig (NetApp) a 18
14. Francisco Ventoso (Movistar Team) m.t.
15. Christopher Froome (Sky) a 20

Ruta del Sol 2: trying an analysis

Up date: Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) es uno de los integrantes de la fuga de cuatro corredores :D They are: Xabier Zabalo (Orbea), Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil), Andy Schleck (Leopard-Trek) y Héctor González (KTM-Murcia).
Andy is so low in the GC that he can go for the stage. It would be very nice if the first LEOPARD victory is got by him. Let's see!!
Sprint byBruno Martin.jpg
Anyway: I watched stage 2 today in the Spanish synthesis but followed it live on Biciclismo and second stage dynamic is very clear: there was three climbs, the finish was a flat-slightly ascending one, there was an early breack away involving Sicard who was the best placed in GC - still quite low. After a while the only Ramirez survived: he aimed to the KOM jersey and got it. Bravo! - BDW Frank Schleck is 8th in that classification - On the first climb the peloton splited in three groups and on the second climb Duarte attacked flying  from the first group to join the breack: in a few he is alone, the peloton caught him 10 kms to go. and he ended  in the fisrt group. Hivert won at the sprint in a group of 53 riders. A 2nd group arrived after 15 minutes or so, a 3th group after more then 20 minutes.
Lets have a look to those groups: in the first one we have almost all the best riders in this race, included some TdF contenders like Van Den Broeck, Sanchez, Leipheimer - you can't say his Ruta del Sol is an important goal for them... - and of course Frank Schleck. Here you have also some good young promising climbers like Mollema and Coppel - remember that last name: I bet we'll hear it often. Team leaders in general are in this group. Some of them were also in the smaller group - around 20 riders - formed by the spliting of the peloton in the mountains, some other managed to come back to the front in the descent before the finish. Remember that those 'mountains' weren't hard enough according to LEOPARD SD comment to make a true selection. But if you look at the names in the different groups... I think a selction happened.
1st group
1 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 4:20:25
2 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Movistar Team
3 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
4 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
5 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Katusha Team
6 Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez (Spa) Movistar Team
7 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
9 Jose Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada
10 Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling
11 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
12 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
13 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp
14 Arkaitz Duran Aroca (Spa) Geox-TMC
15 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team Netapp
16 Marcos Garcia (Spa) KTM - Murcia
17 Gert Dockx (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
18 Peio Bilbao (Spa) Orbea Continental
19 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
20 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Team RadioShack
21 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
22 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack
23 Yuriy Trofimov (Rus) Katusha Team
24 Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team
25 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Team RadioShack
26 Jan Bakelandts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
27 Francis De Greef (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
28 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Sky Procycling
29 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
30 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack
31 Vicente David Bernabeu Armengol (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada
32 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Movistar Team
33 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
34 Antonio Piedra Perez (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada
35 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
36 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling
37 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
38 Fabio Andres Duarte Arevalo (Col) Geox-TMC
39 Vladimir Karpets (Rus) Katusha Team
40 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
41 Juan Horrach Rippoll (Spa) Katusha Team
42 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
43 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack
44 Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:01:34
45 Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Caja Rural 0:02:00
46 Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar Team
47 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShack
48 Iñigo Cuesta (Spa) Caja Rural
49 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Geox-TMC
50 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
51 Victor Cabedo (Spa) Orbea Continental
52 Pablo Urtasun Perez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
53 Javier Ramirez Abeja (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada

In the 2nd group we have people who worked and finally let it go a bit: Siccard, who was in the breack, Silin, who is a brave but still young, Stamsnijder, who probably helped Frank, De la Fuente, who's strong but his a team mate of the winner. They have 15/20 minutes: that's a lot but no team leaders or people aiming for the GC here.
2nd group
54 Gorka Verdugo Marcotegui (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:15:17
55 Hector Gonzalez Baeza (Spa) KTM - Murcia
56 David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Geox-TMC
57 Ruben Perez Moreno (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
58 Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
59 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil - Shimano 0:19:45
60 Ricardo Garcia Ambroa (Spa) Orbea Continental
61 Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team Netapp
62 Thomas Bonin (Fra) Skil - Shimano
63 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - Shimano
64 Matthias Brandle (Aut) Geox-TMC
65 Paul Poux (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
66 David De La Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Caja Rural
67 Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha Team
68 Artem Ovechkin (Rus) Katusha Team
69 Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha Team
70 Salvador Guardiola Tora (Spa) KTM - Murcia
71 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Leopard Trek
72 Oscar Garcia-Casarrubios Pintor (Spa) KTM - Murcia
73 Jesús Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team
74 Andreas Dietziker (Swi) Team Netapp
75 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
76 Alexander Gottfried (Ger) Team Netapp
77 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel-Euskadi
78 Jan Barta (Cze) Team Netapp
79 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
80 Julian Sanchez Pimienta (Spa) Caja Rural
81 Óscar Pujol Muñoz (Spa) Omega Pharma-Lotto
82 Aritz Etxebarria (Spa) Orbea Continental
In the 3th group we have sprinters like Hunter or Apollonio who probably suffered on the climbs and were left behind almost immediately. There is also half of LEOPARD TREK - not a surprise it is almost the last one in teams classification - Lund and Voight ok: they were supposed to help and I guess they did. Nizzolo had been named for the stage if not for the GC. Andy wears number 61, he's the team leader. Frank is 62, team leader too and in the right group indead. Not a word on the team site. Lots of words in other places... Normal. 
3th group
83 Robert Hunter (RSA) Team RadioShack 0:22:57
84 Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek
85 Diego Milán Jiménez (Spa) Caja Rural
86 Javier Benitez Pomares (Spa) KTM - Murcia
87 Antonio Cabello Baena (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada
88 Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
89 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Leopard Trek
90 Jesús Del Nero Montes (Spa) Team Netapp
91 Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada
92 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
93 Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Orbea Continental
94 Adrián Palomares Villaplana (Spa) Andalucia Caja Granada
95 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
96 Jaume Rovira Pous (Spa) KTM - Murcia
97 Dominic Klemme (Ger) Leopard Trek
98 Xabier Zabalo Imaz (Spa) Orbea Continental
99 Anders Lund (Den) Leopard Trek
100 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Sky Procycling
101 Jens Voigt (Ger) Leopard Trek
102 Beñat Urain Epelde (Spa) Orbea Continental
103 Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
104 Higinio Fernández (Spa) Caja Rural
105 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team
106 Thomas Leezer (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
107 Jose Antonio Carrasco Ramirez (Spa) KTM - Murcia
108 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Skil - Shimano
109 Cyril Bessy (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
110 Feng Han (Chn) Skil - Shimano
111 Robin Chaigneau (Ned) Skil - Shimano
112 Yann Huguet (Fra) Skil - Shimano
113 Marcel Wyss (Swi) Geox-TMC
114 Aitor Galdos (Spa) Caja Rural
115 José Vicente Garcia Acosta (Spa) Movistar Team
116 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
117 Mario Aerts (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
118 Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling
In my opinion when you wear the team leader number, when you were second in TdF and won a Lige etc etc - don't worry, I'll not list Andy's complete palmares - well...when you are Andy Schleck you can also end with Bauke Mollema, or Tem Dam, or Karpets, or Uran. You could also show something like Van den Broeck. You could also make an exploit on a climb and end behind like Sicard. You can finally say "I'm not in a good shape yet" and let Frank that 61. 
I understand that riders job is riding their bike but comunication is important for an athlete. A wrong managent of it can affect his image. Do you remeber Cadel Evans on Mount Ventoux?  poor guy, he was simply very tyred! was rude with journalists who had been rude with him. He had a bad press for a while! When he finally explained his feelings that day, everybody felt a little guilty.