Extraordinary Stannard

Embedded image permalinkIan Stannard: 
"I was worried but I got an easy ride. It was hard in the end. I just had to be strong and put my head down. I expected Boonen's attack as he had stopped riding. I preferred to go to the finish with Terpstra instead of Boonen. It was a gambling not to work but I had to play on that. It's a good start and hopefully I will be more successful than last year."
Source http://cyclingquotes.com/live
“I couldn’t be happier. It’s nice to do the double sweep at the race, but after the difficulties I had last year breaking my back it’s nice to have got myself back to where I was.  
Being with those three guys I knew they were all committed to trying to win. As a team they haven’t won it for 10 years and it’s a big one missing off Boonen’s palmares. I knew they were going to race hard. With Sep Vanmarcke and Greg van Avermaet chasing behind it put the pressure on them. I could just sit back, play a bit of poker and enjoy the ride.
I just wanted to get a free ride for as long as I could. That was my idea. When they all started attacking me it wasn’t a great feeling. When Boonen went I was thinking ‘right, what do I do here?’ I knew if I rode him back I’d get attacked. I paced myself back a little bit. I could feel the wheel behind was trying hard to stay with me. So I felt like it was going pretty good and then I just took my chance.
Embedded image permalinkAll the guys got me into the climbs perfectly. I felt a bit of pressure when you’ve got a Tour de France winner putting it all on the line for you. You can only really finish it off can’t you! The whole team has really lifted a level since last year. We were always at the front and always perfectly positioned. Quick-Step took me to the end and I only had to race the last 4km (laughs)!”

Source: http://www.teamsky.com/teamsky/home%20carousel/article/26899#i75Qio7hExKKrsQZ.99

Tom Boonen: 
"Today we made a mistake in the final. We were in control of the race with three riders in the front group. In the final kilometers we attacked. Niki went first, Stannard reacted, and then I countered with my move. I was pretty sure at that time that it was the right moment to do it. But Stannard had the strategy to ride on the wheels of us three in the lead group, and save his energy until the final kilometers, so he was a bit fresher. He was also strong today. So, he caught me. The best thing to do at that point would have been to stay calm and wait for the sprint. But we had been full gas for the last hour, so really it was about instinct at that point. So, Niki attacked again, then Stannard, and then the final sprint was between those two guys. There is a thin line between a great race and a costly mistake and unfortunately we took the risk of not waiting for the sprint, and it didn't work out. It would have been great to win the race, but that's cycling. Congrats to Stannard. He rode a smart tactical race and his reactions to our attacks were impressive. His sprint was also strong. As a team we rode super strong today and while we unfortunately fell short of victory, we know what we are capable of for future races."

Sep Vanmarcke:
"I did what I could after my flat tires but it wasn't enough.
Vanmarcke fought for what he was worth, but the gap was never smaller than 16 seconds.
Ahead of the Taaienberg I was exactly where I wanted to be, but with a few hundred meters to go to the foot, I flatted. Maarten Wynants gave me his wheel and told me I still had a chance. Thanks to an adrenaline boost I was able to return to the front.
I knew at that point that I had to make it a hard race, for tactical reasons. Unfortunately I punctured again and Etixx-QuickStep and Stannard benefited from this. We were one man short in the chase, otherwise we could have bridged to the leaders.”

1 Ian Stannard (GBr) Team Sky 4:58:42  
2 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step  
3 Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:03  
4 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:12  
5 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:01:24  
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
7 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:01:29  
8 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:04:35  
9 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 0:04:55  

10 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr


Bradley Wiggins About Cobbles

Bradley Wiggins:
“I feel good. I’m coming off the back of a good block of training and I’m ready for what I consider to be the start of my season proper now. I used the Tour of Qatar as a preparation race, but this next month of racing is where it really matters.
There’s still a long way to go until Paris-Roubaix and for me, it’s all about continuing to work and going through the process in the build up to that.
For Omloop Het Niuewsblad, we’ve got last year’s winner in Ian Stannard, and he’s trying to do the double, so my job will be to put him in the best position to win.
I’d like to be there when it matters in the final. It’s not going to be a case of emptying the tank in the first 100km and then swinging over, my goal will be to finish, to finish well, and be there in the last 30-40km when there might be a break that needs chasing down or we to drive things ourselves.
After everything these guys have given me over the years, I’m looking forward to do a job for them as they go for the win.
Getting yourself into the right mind-set for the cobbled classics is far different to any other race. These races are over in one day and you don’t get a second chance. It’s a case of laying everything on the line, taking risks, and every one of them is a warzone. We all know the score and the strongest guys generally win.
[Omloop Het Niuewsblad 2005] I didn’t finish that day and it doesn’t hold many significant memories to me other than it was a hard day out.
The biggest difference between this race and the other cobbled classics is the cold. Obviously, it’s still February and it’ll be a good 10-15 degrees warmer in five or six weeks’ time when the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix roll around. Tomorrow it’ll be around 5 degrees and that’s the thing that wears people out. Last year it rained as well and that really sorts the men from the boys.
That said, the mood in the camp is good, everyone’s happy and we’re all ready to go.” 

In Short: Bauke Mollema about Balance: "We are living on the edge"

Photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2015
He started writing a diary for Cyclingnews and in his first entry there is an interesting part about that. Read it all here.

Bauke Mollema: 
"As riders, I think it's important for us to find a good balance between our top form and not getting sick. We train hard everyday, it's common to ride for four or five hours, and sometimes six or seven hours too, even during these winter months where we train and race in the cold weather. There's also bad weather sometimes in the races and so our resistance to becoming sick can become low, and if you have bad luck you can get really sick.
Especially for me, as a climber, I have a naturally very low fat percentage. In December, for example, we did a check with the team doctors and my fat percentage was only 4.2 per cent. I think it was the lowest on the team. I didn't do anything to achieve a low percentage of body fat. I've always been skinny. I remember during the holidays when I was a kid, my friend's mum approached my parents to ask if they thought I was too skinny. She could almost count my ribs. I have never had to watch what I eat at Christmas!
It's also maybe an advantage. The reason why I'm a climber is because I don't have to take so much weight up the climbs. It's also the reason that I get sick maybe a little bit more because I don't have too much fat, so sometimes my resistance for getting sick is a little bit lower.
It's really important for all professional riders to find a balance between the right amount of training, staying healthy and feeling good, and riding your bike. I think riding your bike is really healthy and a good thing, but being a professional bike racer… I don't think it's really that healthy. I think we are really looking for our limits, we're living on the edge sometimes between training so hard and racing so hard in the rain and the cold, especially at this time of the season when we have a lot of changes in the weather conditions. We travel from Australia and Qatar, where it's very warm, to Europe in the rain and the cold. That's all really hard on our bodies. And I'm not even talking about all the crashes, so professional cycling is not really that healthy.
It's also hard to stay healthy for long stretches of time during the season. For example, right now it's only February but the main goal is in July. In the winter we don't train with too much intensity, of course, now we start racing in January more and more, but generally the wintertime is good for building the foundation for the whole season. We train for a lot of hours during the winter and so it's very important that we listen to our bodies. If you feel like you are weak and have a cold then it's always better to take it easy for a few days instead of training for a few hours more because then you can get really sick and lose a whole week of training."

I can't agree more! 
Next races for Mollema:  Classic Sud Ardèche on Saturday and La Drôme Classic on Sunday. First real goal: Tirreno-Adriatico in March, 

Good luck Bauke!

No More World Tour For Astana? UCI press release and first Team reaction

"The UCI requests withdrawal of Astana Pro Team licence
27 February 2015
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) today confirms that it has now reviewed the audit produced by the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL) (1) on Astana Pro Team and its anti-doping culture, policies, structures and management systems. The audit was one of the conditions attached to the registration of the team in the 2015 UCI WorldTour. 

After careful review of this extensive report, the UCI strongly believes that it contains compelling grounds to refer the matter to the Licence Commission (2) and request the Astana Pro Team licence be withdrawn.
The UCI considers that the ISSUL audit has, among other things, revealed a big difference between the policies and structures that the team presented to the Licence Commission in December and the reality on the ground.

In addition, the Italian authorities have provided the UCI with the sections of the Padova investigation which it has been authorized to share. As some evidence concerns Astana Pro Team members, the file has been passed to the Licence Commission as part of this referral. . 

For the sake of due process, the UCI is not in a position to comment further on the content of the audit report, nor the Padova investigation, until the Licence Commission has assessed the situation and rendered its decision. But this decision to refer the matter to the Licence Commission was reached taking all circumstances and potential consequences into consideration. 

The UCI will not make any further comment until the Licence Commission has rendered its decision.

Background to the ISSUL audit

The ISSUL audit was one of the conditions attached to the registration of Astana Pro Team in 2015. It was commissioned by the Licence Commission in December 2014 to look into the circumstances of doping cases in Astana Pro Team last year. The ISSUL audit has sought to determine whether and to what extent the Astana Pro Team and/or its management was responsible in doping cases concerning its riders, Maxim and Valentin Iglinskiy (EPO), and Ilya Davidenok (anabolic steroids), a trainee with the Astana Pro Team since August 1st, 2014.

The ISSUL was asked to assess the team’s internal structures, culture and management systems to understand whether these are adequate to ensure that the highest ethical standards are upheld.

(1) The Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL), attached to the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences is a centre of excellence in training and research. The ISSUL produces numerous works, published in journals and publishers of reference, dealing with different aspects of sport practice (sociology, physiology, biomechanics etc). The institute often carries out assignments on behalf of national and international organisations.

(2) The Licence Commission is the competent body for issuing, reviewing, withdrawing and attaching conditions to UCI WorldTour licences and ensuring that licence-holders continuously comply with the terms of the licence. It is made up of 4 professionals who work independently of the UCI and its President is Mr. Pierre Zappelli, a former Swiss Court Supreme Judge."

Team Astana to Cyclingnews:
“We are fully mindful of this and were informed of the decision late yesterday. We have been consulting with our lawyers and we will issue a full statement later this afternoon."


No Hour Record for Dekker (It seems...)

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Thomas Dekker missed the hour record by 200m.
It seems. Coverage was a disaster and... well... timing too.
52.221.29 km. 
It seems...

E3 Harelbeke: UCI For Respct of Women: Well Done

“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) was extremely unhappy with the promotional poster of the 2015 E3 Harelbeke. We have reminded the organiser of its responsibility and the UCI Regulations and they have agreed to take off the poster from all communication platforms.”

GreenEdge Guys Have a Future (also) In Show Business!


Volta ao Algarve: G brings It Home

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Geraint Thomas:
"Great week, with the boys here in Algarve!! Big thanks to them and for all your support!"

Andre Greipel:
"That are these kind of leadouts + work I enjoy and appreciate so much from my team @Lotto_Soudal. Chapeau and thanks for the support!#1team"

Embedded image permalinkBen Swift:
"Awesome week with the boys in Algarve so good 2 see a man who always gives everything he has 2 the team,take the win nice 1 @GeraintThomas86"

1 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal 4:15:40  
2 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
3 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot
4 Rudiger Selig (Ger) Team Katusha
5 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
6 Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
7 Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9 Alexander Porsev (Rus) Team Katusha
10 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 19:46:13  
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:27
3 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha 0:01:11
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:01:14  
5 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:18
6 Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:01:19
7 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team Katusha 0:01:23
8 Alberto Losada (Spa) Katusha 0:01:55
9 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:04
10 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:21

Ruta del Sol: It's a Red Shining Big Sun for Team Sky

Embedded image permalink
...as Chris Froome secured his Red Jersey of race leader.
It took relatively few: controlling the last stage avoiding dangerous breaks and any gap. Easily done and dusted.
Lobado won the last sprint and then... FIESTA!!!!

Chris Froome:
"So happy and relieved to have held onto this jersey today! Great start to the year.. thank you team #61RdS"
“It wasn’t as easy as I’d imagined and the racing was full on today. It was windy, but I’m really happy with how the guys performed out there – they supported me all the way through and I’m delighted to get this win for them.
It couldn’t have gone any better for us out here, and this win’s special as it’s my first race of the season. That said, I still have a lot to build on as we head towards the Tour de France. I want to stay on this path, staying healthy and injury-free, and gradually building my form.
No win comes easily – you have to work for them – and I’m grateful to my wife, and my team for helping to get me in this position. It’s such a privilege to have that infrastructure behind me.
This week’s been a huge moral boost for everyone in the team, not just here but in the Algarve as well. Richie winning yesterday and Geraint taking the GC has given us all a great buzz. We’re doing really well and hopefully we can build on that heading into this next phase of racing.”

Alberto Contador:
“I’m pleased with the progression of my shape. Actually, I’m a bit surprised to be at this level at this part of the early season. I’m not too far in my preparations, but I see my performance on the stage that I won and in the time trial as a sign that I’m ready to reach for my main season objectives. 
Two seconds separated me from the win, but today there was little I could do to take back time on Froome. But the most important aspect is that my preparations for my main objectives are going perfect. It wouldn't have changed anything if I had won, as we still need to prepare for the next goals with the same concentration no matter what.
We have done our best every day and projected a good image as a team. I want to thank all of my teammates for their work, they have been incredible pulling at the front and supporting me”.



1 Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar Team 3:48:56  
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin 0:00:01  
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 0:00:02  
4 Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice  
5 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal
1 Chris Froome (GBr) Sky 21:21:14  
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:02  
3 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar 0:02:38  
4 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky 0:03:05  
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale 0:03:13  

Meanwhile Elia Viviani...

Tour of Oman 5: Matthias Brändle Beats the Bunch

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The last stage was supposed to be for sprinters but some very fast wheel decided to steal it away. Matthias Brändle anticipated the bunch with Pate, Keisse, and Van Meirhaeghe. 
Then he anticipated everybody and won. 
Embedded image permalinkBunch beated, final stage done. A surprising last winner and also a very surprising overall first: Rafael Valls (Lampre-Merida).

Matthias Brändle 
“It was a little bit like in [the Tour of] Britain: we were strong riders, we worked together and we had to do a bit of a team time trial and keep a good speed. We had to work together in the climbs to make sure that we didn’t push too hard in the climbs and in the end I was lucky that I was the strongest.
It was the thing that I was afraid of: Keisse’s ability in a sprint. That’s why I attacked him in the last climb because I saw that he was suffering a bit in the climbs. So I thought, don’t take a risk, try to drop him before the final and the percentage of winning will be higher if we go to a sprint.”

Iljo Keisse:
"We started with the headwind and at the beginning I could count on the help of Stijn to take the breakaway. Then we went in 4 and we took 10'. We had a good collaboration, then all day we had sidewind and tail wind, so we went pretty fast. In the final there were some climbs, but with the advantage we had, we knew that we would have gone for the victory. On the last small climb at more or less 3.5 kms to go Brandle went. I had a small mooment of difficulty and he took a good advantage. I tried to come back in the final, but I couldn't clsoe the gap. I knew Brandle was the most dangerous guy. He is a strong guy and broke the hour record a few months ago. But there was nothing more I could have done on the climb to stay with him. I gave it all. It's a pity because these kind of situations don't happen a lot for me during a season, so when the occasion is there you have to take it. In any case I want to see the glass as half full. I go back home in good condition, ready and motivated for the next European races."

Tejay van Garderen:
"Sometimes when you win, you get a little complacent and you think you are where you need to be. When you get second place, it lights a fire and gets you a bit more motivated. I am going to train hard this next week and stay on track. Hopefully, I can bump it up another level at Paris-Nice.
Embedded image permalink[About stage cancealed] I wasn't expecting that we were just going to win the race yesterday. But we definitely had a chance to and I would have liked to have tried, if for no other reason than to get a good race in my legs. We were here to race and I would have liked to have had the opportunity. But we have to live with it and go forward.
Sometimes it is funny in the first race of the year, getting to know everybody's riding style a bit. But we had no issues. Everything fell right into place. It was easy to follow the wheels. The team always knew what to do. It was super professional. It seems like we are already well into the middle of the season. There was very little I had to tell my teammates. They already knew what they had to do." 
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Louis Meintjes:
"I am really happy to win the white jersey. I think it's a good start to the season. The team was really awesome and we worked well together this week. Winning the white jersey has been a really good start, I just hope the momentum can continue now into the rest of the season."


1. Mathias Brandle
2. Iljo Keisse
3. Van Meirhaeghe
3. Danny Pate
1 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre - Merida 21:09:31
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:09
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:19
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:32
5 Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:04
6 Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka 0:01:08
7 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:10
8 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:01:15
9 Julian Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:25
10 Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18 0:01:36
11 Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida 0:01:45
12 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:56
13 Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling 0:02:03
14 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:02:06
15 Wouter Poels (Bel) Team Sky 0:02:23
16 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 18 0:02:27
17 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team 0:02:35
18 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:02:37
19 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:02:57
20 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:03:23
General: RafaValls Ferri
Points: Andrea Guardini
Young: Louis Meintjes
Team: BMC ProTeam
Aggressivity: Jef Van Meirhaeghe


Meanwhile Ben Gastauer...

...Tour de Haut Var: 1st pro win

Ruta del Sol: Chris' Way

Not a diva, not a macho. Understatement, a dismissive smile.
"Contator's schedule is ahead of mine" he has said yesterday "I'm very happy with my sencond place". 
Sense of humour.
But a terrific strength of mind.
Rainy and cold. A battled break. On the last climb Team Sky shot all its bulletsPeter Kennaugh first, then Mikel Nieve. Finally Froome , in the final km, face to face with Alberto Contador, fierce and definitive.
Attacked, dropped and beated, Alberto Contador couldn't respond nor resist.
Leader jersey, 2'' advantage on Contador,  Mountain jersey,  Best Team, one day to go. Nieve 3rd of the day and 4th overall. 
I can't help it but texted my busy love down there: "Your merit? bravo!", "Their merit." he was "Bravissimi!" .

Embedded image permalinkChris Froome
“I’m absolutely blown away to have pulled that off at the end there. I came into this race thinking that ‘I’m here to find my legs, test them, and see where I’m at’. To have been able to win the stage and go into the race lead today is incredible.
My team-mates rode exceptionally to set it up. They made the race as hard as possible on the last climb, attacking and really setting it up for me.
That situation's great for the race, and great for the fans. It's turning into a great dual between myself and Alberto. Yesterday he came out on top, and today it was me. I’m really happy with that, and how my team are riding. The new guys have integrated well and everyone’s got the bit between their teeth.
This race is not over until it’s over though. In the last few years I’ve learnt that Alberto never gives up and there’s a steep ramp at the end tomorrow which will decide things once and for all."  

Alberto Contador:
“I’m satisfied with this tour, and of course especially with my performance yesterday. But at this moment of the season there will always be greater variations between the daily shape on each stage. Yesterday, I had a great feeling – today, I didn’t have the same legs.
After the stage yesterday, people said that I was perhaps in too good a shape at this moment in my race schedule. But everything is going according to the plan and I’m on track with my preparations ahead of my season goals".

Bob Jungels:
“It was really an up and down day for me. It started with some pretty bad weather; it was freezing, freezing cold and a very fast start so for the first 50k no breakaway went.  It finally warmed a little bit, but the road was still wet and in a downhill in a real fast corner I was going maybe 60-65km/h and crashed. I didn’t even touch the brake and my rear wheel slid out; I couldn’t do anything. I scraped my right hip and knee, but no bad injuries so I could continue. I found my way back to the bunch pretty fast. 
The rhythm was really fast on the last climb, but I feel like the harder and longer the race is, the better it is for me because my condition is really good. At the end a lot of guys were at their limits and I felt like I still had some reserves.  Again, it was a very hard climb, but I managed to hang on for a few kilometers with these guys and then just continued my own rhythm until the top. I am really satisfied with how I felt.”

1 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky 5:08:54
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:28
3 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky 0:00:49
4 Sylwester Szmyd (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:01:12
5 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team
1 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo          0:00:01
3 Benat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar Team
4 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky

Volta ao Algarve: About a (double) Win

Embedded image permalinkIt was about a break-awayincluding Davide Malacarne, Tony Gallopin, Adriano Malori, Mauritis Lammertink, Kamil Gradek, Filipe Cardoso and Benat Txoperena. It was about a chase to keep Geraint Thomas the leader jersey. It was about pulling very hard to catch the break-away and after to drop everybody on the last hard climb. And finally it was about to win, possibly all: stage, by Richie Porte, and the overall, by Geraint Thomas. In the last km, only nine riders were left in Thomas group. It was raining victories for Team Sky, in Algarve like in Andalusia. Amazing day.

Embedded image permalinkRichie Porte:
“I never really thought that a win would be an option for me going into today. It’s always great to win a stage but it was all for G going into today. The guy has done me that many favours and put his race on the line that many times for me. To win that stage and have him retain his GC is an unbelievable day for us – and then you hear that Froomey has won and taken the lead in Spain. It’s incredible!
I think all the boys today were massively committed. With Ben Swift, Lars-Petter, Salva, Sebastian and then the guys at the start – Andy Fenn and Boswell – riding all day. They really set it up for G and I.
Embedded image permalinkQuick-Step made the race hard and were trying to disrupt the rhythm. It wasn’t ideal for me to have to ride that early but I didn’t have much choice. It worked out okay! On this climb every time Sky have ridden it we’ve won which is an awesome achievement.

Geraint Thomas
‏@GeraintThomas86  10s10 seconds ago
"Decent day that, finished off by the flying Tasmanian! All the boys were unbelievable, all I had to do was follow! Huge thanks!! #committed"

Michał Kwiatkowski ‏@michalkwiatek
"Guys were amazing trying to push leader under pressure. Thanks! Everything or nothing - that's how we do! #OurWay @Etixx_QuickStep"
"I stayed quite calm until the first climb of Malhão. We decided when the race came back together to accelerate. The peloton was reduced to 25 or 30 riders at that point. As decided with the team this morning, we then tried to attack and put the pressure on the other teams. First Tony Martin went, and then also Golas and Stybar to make Team Sky work hard in defense of Thomas. In the end it didn't succeed, but really it made the whole peloton work hard. The guys were super today! As for me, I waited until the last climb. Richie Porte was setting a really good pace. In the last kilometer I was riding pretty hard to try and go for the win, but Porte was really strong today and I couldn't follow him in the last meters. He deserved the victory. Concerning me, I am happy about my day today, and also I am really proud of the team. We stuck to the plan perfectly and if you don't try, you never know if your tactic will work. This was a really long day, six hours of racing. I think the endurance training in Calpe worked very well for me. In the final kilometers I didn't feel tired, so it's a good sign before my next races and things are on schedule. The feeling is much better than even two days ago. Now we will see what we can do tomorrow on the last stage. We have been racing great so far, with two stage wins and always being present in the actions, so I am confident we will do well again tomorrow."


1 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 5:55:34
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:03
3 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:06
4 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:09
5 Michal Golas (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:13
6 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha
7 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:16
8 Alberto Losada (Spa) Katusha 0:00:21
9 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:25
10 José Mendes (Por) Bora-Argon 18 0:00:31
1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 15:30:33
2 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:27
3 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha 0:01:11
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:01:14
5 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:18
6 Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:01:19
7 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team Katusha 0:01:32
8 Alberto Losada (Spa) Katusha 0:01:55
9 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar 0:02:04
10 Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:21

Tour of Oman 5: Stage Cancealed for Weather Condition (pics spam)

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Hot and windy. 41°C as the peloton faces the climb of Al Bousher. The stage has been shortened, riders brought by car to the final circuit, 95 km. But they don't want to race. They stop, talk each other, discuss with the organisers and finally the decision is to not start again. Stage cancelead for extreme weather condition.
Riders are asking a protocol to avoid discussion in simialr situation. It's about time. And it's nice to see riders compact in defending their rights.
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Nikolas Maes ‏@nikolas_maes
"Stage 5 Oman; advice on local radio, stay low and protect yourself with arms for the incoming sandstorm #TourofOman" 

Trek Factory Racing ‏@TrekFactory
"Our DS in Oman @demoldirk reports lots of riders (not TFR!) were puncturing because of overheated rims in the neutralised downhill."
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Team Sky DS Nicolas Portal:
“It was a particularly strange day. There were questions about safety so when that is the case then it is always better to be careful.
Embedded image permalinkThe parcours didn’t help matters today with the descending in the hot weather. We cannot be sure that all the teams are using the highest quality material with wheels and brakes. In the end they cancelled the stage.
Embedded image permalinkSome riders on other teams were getting punctures in the neutralised section before the stage started. I think what happened was that they went up the climb, and then they went down the descent so slowly behind the commissaire car that everyone had to brake. Some teams maybe weren’t using the best wheels and the temperature was too high which caused punctures.
For us everything was fine. We have great partners and great mechanics so everything was okay!
Earlier they had to move the start because of sandstorms. That was a good decision for sure and it was strange to see everything in orange. It’s been an interesting day.”

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Volta ao Algarve 3 Tony Martin Goes. But Geraint Thomas Stays.

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Tony Martin:
"It's nice to get a win in my German National TT Champion skinsuit. I wore it also as Champion in 2011, but since then it was just more or less in my cellar, in my training room, because I was always wearing my UCI World TT Champion jersey. I'm also proud to wear this German Champion jersey to represent my country. It maybe doesn't carry the same prestige as the one of the world champion, but you can still show the colors of your country and that is always an honor. So far it has brought me some luck. It's a really nice start to the season. The first race is always difficult because you don't really know where you are. I felt already really good in training, but races are still different. So already getting a good result is big for my confidence.
Embedded image permalinkAs for the parcours today, most of it was the same as last year. But still, it was longer than last year, with a hard finale and a headwind section. It was decent for me because there was a hard part at the end where I could really play with my power. I think in the split times I was a little bit slower than Thomas, but I made up the time in the final to even win against Malori. That's what I love, going really hard on a flat with a headwind or a crosswind. That lets me show my power. But seeing where you are is not just about the results. It's important to check the condition overall and it was even good yesterday in the climbs. In February you never know where your condition is and I'm really happy it is going so well. Especially in Algarve, as I come here every year and it is nice to win again. Algarve always gives me a lot of confidence so I can't imagine a better beginning of the season. My motivation is now super good. As for the next days, tomorrow will be hard. The gap to Thomas is still 30 seconds. We will see what we can do as we have a strong team here who can maybe make a good tactic besides even me. Michal Kwiatkowski is in 3rd, so we have some other cards we can play."

More to come

1 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx-QuickStep 0:21:51  
2 Adriano Mallori (Spa) Movistar 0:00:00  
3 Thomas Geraint (Gbr) Team Sky 0:00:03  
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx-QuickStep 0:00:09
5 Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:19
6 Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar 0:00:26
7 Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:00:26
8 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:00:32
9 Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:34
10 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha
1 Thomas Geraint (Gbr) Team Sky 9:34:50  
2 Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx-QuickStep 0:00:30  
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx-QuickStep 0:00:39
4 Rein Taaramae (Est) Astana Pro Team 0:00:53
5 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:02
6 Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Team Katusha 0:01:04
7 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha 0:01:07
8 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx-QuickStep 0:01:31
9 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:01:33
10 Rubén Fernández (Spa) Movistar 0:01:38

Strade Bianche Women: Teams At the Start!

Embedded image permalinkRABO LIV WOMEN CYCLING TEAM (NED) - Marianne Vos
WIGGLE HONDA (GBR) - Elisa Longo Borghini, Giorgia Bronzini
VELOCIO - SRAM (GER) - Lisa Brennauer, Tiffany Cromwell
ORICA - AIS (AUS) - Emma Johansson, Valentina Scandolara
BIGLA PRO CYCLING TEAM (SUI) - Annemiek Van Vleuten
ALE CIPOLLINI (ITA) - Francesca Cauz
ASTANA - ACCA DUE O (KAZ) - Anna Solovey
SERVETTO FOOTON (ITA) - Elena Kuchinskaya
BE PINK LACLASSICA (ITA) - Anastasia Chulkova

Ruta del Sol Heads To Hazallanas

Embedded image permalink... the first serious climb in this eraly season. Yesterday it was for sprinter - and Lobato won - today it's for climbers. There is a nine riders break-away including Bazzana, Bilbao, De Maar, Geschke, Jacobs, Riblon, Roy, Saramotins and Szmyd. 
Break over, Alberto Contador goes solo on the climb. 6 km to go and Peter Kennaugh is chasing, Chris Froome follows, then  attacks. Less than 3.5 km to go and Contador is still leading solo on Froome following at 26".
Embedded image permalinkResidual snow on the mountains and beside the narrow steep road, nacked trees. Froome sees he can't win today but he doesn't give up. Head down on his steam he keeps pushing and devouring seconds. A gap will be there but how big is on Froome and he knows. 
Contador shots on the line his pistolero's gun but Froome is only 18'' behinde. Huge win, huge work.

Alberto Contador:
“I’m very glad for this victory especially because it came in place after such a big effort from all of my teammates. Every single guy on the team did an incredible job in controlling the race and setting up my final attack. They kept a consistently high pace throughout the stage, which cost a lot of energy for my rivals.
After the short descent halfway up the final climb, I saw that Paulinho had stretched the peloton and Basso then created a gap by pulling hard. So I decided to go early, accelerate and go alone. I knew it would be difficult to catch me, I felt good and I wanted to repay my teammates with a win”.

Chris Froome:
“I’m really happy with how it went. Obviously it’s hard getting beaten and hard coming second to Alberto. I know for the work I’ve done coming in I’m really happy that I was up there today. All the hard training this winter is paying off now.
My objective is to be really good later on in the season, building towards the Tour in the next few months. Alberto’s race programme is ahead of mine with the Giro set to be his first big target of the year. I’m really happy with where I’m at right now. There’s a lot of headway to make but there’s plenty more to come, and this is a great place for me to begin the season.
The legs feel good. I haven’t done much intensity training but I’ve set up a really good foundation and I think riding like this is proof of that.
The team did a superb job today keeping me out of trouble. We’ve got a lot of strength in depth and the GC has spoken for itself in the race. We had four riders in the top 10 coming into this stage. Everyone is eager to do well and everyone is hungry.

Wilco Keldeman:
“I’m very pleased with how the team and I are doing so far. The morale in the team is high, and you could see that again today. My team-mates dropped me off perfectly at the front ahead of the final climb. It wasn’t very exciting. The race exploded with seven kilometres to go, when it started to get really steep. Everyone decided to keep his own pace. Normally, a steep climb isn’t really my thing, but today it went quite well.
I hope to get involved at the front again. I’m not a factor in the overall anymore, but I’ll give what I have in order to get a good result on the stage.”


1 Juan Jose Lobato (Esp) Movistar Team 4:51:57
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
3 Grega Bole (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
GC after stage 3
1 Alberto Contador Velasco (Esp) Tinkoff - Saxo 8:03:40
2 Benat Intxausti Elorriagai (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:01
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:08
4 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
5 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
2 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
4 Beñat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar
5 Mikel Nieve (Spa) Team Sky
6 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
7 Merhawi Kudus (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka
8 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky
9 Sebastian Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling
10 Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA
1 Contador
2 Froome +27
3 Intxaust +1.59
4 Bardet +2.13
5 Kennaugh +2.28