Three Days of De Panne 1: Kristoff (but Devolder...)

Embedded image permalinkRace radio says they are expecting 60 km/h winds, mostly tail wind so a fast race. Sunny. 
The first 12 km neutralised, crashes anyway just out of it. 
Seven riders in front: Archbold, Barbin, Dufrasne, Grosu, Hulsmans, Rickaert and Vermeulen. Just 30" lead. Easily caught. 
The peloton flies in the wind at 56.2 Km/h.
Embedded image permalinkLars Bak gets a gap, Jan Debusschere on his wheel. 35 km to go they have 1'. Behind a group of 8 riders get off the peloton on the Leberg. The leading duo's advantage is decreasing: only 30'' with 25 km to go. Move neutralised but  Sean DeBie, Stijn Devolder, Alexander Kristoff and Sven Bystrøm managed to join Lars Bak and Jan Debusschere. 
Embedded image permalink22 km to go gap is 18". This group is working well together and the gap increases. Team Sky is leading the chase. Team Katusha makes the stopper. 17.5 km to go the break-away has got a 43". Only two hills are left: Eikenmolen and Klemhoutstraat. The front group passes them together. 6.4km to go, 36” gap, decreasing. No way back: it's a small group sprint. And Kristoff wins it.
Still I believe that Devolder raced a smart race. Two days to go.


Stage 1 and GC
1 Alexander KRISTOFF NOR KAT 28 3:59:31
3 Stijn DEVOLDER BEL TFR 36 +0
4 Sean DE BIE BEL LTS 24 +0
5 Lars Ytting BAK DEN LTS 35 +0
6 Sven erik BYSTRØM NOR KAT 23 +6
7 Stefan KUENG SUI BMC 22 +32
8 Arnaud DEMARE FRA FDJ 24 +34
9 Sacha MODOLO ITA LAM 28 +34
10 Kristian SBARAGLI ITA MTN 25 +34

GO ALEX! New Date For The Hour Record

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Criterium International Sum Up: AG2R and TFR

Embedded image permalinkAs far as me that's the interesting result: AG2R confirms to be one of the srongest teams in the peloton and TFR demonstrates that it's true what they say about the team as fully focused on the young talents.
AG2R won the race and the Team Classification, in add put three riders in the top ten, including a pure classy champion like Alexis Vuillermoz
TFR won the Points Classification with Fabio Felline, rocked the itt with Bob Jungels, put Julian Arredondo in the top ten. Those are guys you'll see soon and very often in the finish list.
Well done!

28.03 Stage 1 - Porto-Vecchio › Porto-Vecchio KING Benjamin  GC KING Benjamin
28.03 Stage 2 (ITT) - Porto-Vecchio › Porto-Vecchio FELLINE Fabio  GC KING Benjamin
29.03 Stage 3 - Porto-Vecchio › Col de l'Ospedale GC  PERAUD Jean-Christophe
29.03 General Classification PERAUD Jean-Christophe
Points Classification FELLINE Fabio
Mountains Classification CANOLA Marco
Youth Classification PINOT Thibaut
Teams Classification AG2R La Mondiale
1 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 7:35:45
2 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:10
3 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:18
4 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
5 José Mendes (Por) Bora-Argon 18 0:00:40
6 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:41
7 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:43
8 Julian Arredondo (Col) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:44
9 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:45
10 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:46

Settimana Coppi E Bartali: The Short Way Down

Embedded image permalinkIndead! A disappointed Ben Swift had to say bye bye to the leader jersey at the true last second. Well... two.
That's cycling.
And Louis Meintjes today was stronger.
Team Sky wins the Team Classification.

Louis Meintjes
This win really means a lot to me. It's my first win in Europe and I have to thank the whole team who supported me at this race. They were always there and it makes me really proud. I hope this win also motivates people to help us and Qhubeka putting more kids on bikes in Africa.

Embedded image permalinkBen Swift:
“I gave absolutely everything I had today. There were 3500 metres of climbing, and the one where Meintjes went away was so steep. It was 18% for about 1.5km and then had stepped section all the way to the summit.
Luckily I had Sergio with me. He produced an unbelievable ride, especially after being out for the best part of a year through injury. I had to keep telling him to slow down because I was on my limit, and once I’d recovered we went again.
To lose the race by two seconds is gutting but I was so tired I couldn’t even get out of my saddle at the end. I keep thinking ‘what if’, but know I couldn’t have given any more.
I’ve got to look at the positives. Finishing second after such a mountainous week of racing is pleasing, and it was just unfortunate I got rolled on the line for third as that would’ve given me the bonus seconds I needed to win.  
It’s been a strong team display this week, especially given we lost two riders through illness. We were the only WorldTour team in the race which meant we had to control all week and I’m happy with the way we rode.
I’ve got to focus on the future now. I’ve got a busy schedule of racing coming up and I want to take this form into those and get some more results.”


26.03 Stage 1a - Gatteo › Gatteo  BELLETTI Manuel GC  BELLETTI Manuel
26.03 Stage 1b (TTT) - Gatteo a mare › Gatteo  CCC Sprandi Polkowice GC REBELLIN Davide
27.03 Stage 2 - Cesenatico › Sogliano al Rubicone SWIFT Ben GC  SWIFT Ben
28.03 Stage 3 - Calderara di Reno › Crevalcore CHICCHI Francesco GC  SWIFT Ben
29.03 Stage 4 - Pavullo › Roccapelago  MEINTJES Louis
29.03 General Classification  MEINTJES Louis
Points Classification  SWIFT Ben
Mountains Classification  ROGLIč Primož
Youth Classification  PETILLI Simone
Teams Classification  Team Sky
1 Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka 14:31:42
2 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:02  
3 Matija Kvasina (Cro) Team Felbermayr Simplon Wels 0:00:46
4 Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:01:01
5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 0:02:31
6 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky 0:02:38
7 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:02:39
8 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:03:12
9 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Italian National Team 0:03:33
10 Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia 0:03:35
11 Francesco Reda (Ita) Team Idea 2010 ASD 0:04:09
12 Yonattah Monsalve (Ven) Southeast Pro Cycling 0:04:11
13 Antonio Santoro (Ita) Mg.Kvis-Vega 0:04:26
14 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 0:05:14
15 Simone Petilli (Ita) Unieuro Wilier 0:05:33
16 Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:06:46
17 Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Team Sky 0:07:23
18 Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN - Qhubeka 0:08:34
19 Domen Novak (Slo) Adria Mobil 0:09:02
20 Primoz Roglic (Slo) Adria Mobil 0:10:07

Vuelta a Catalunya Sum Up: The Long Way UP

Embedded image permalinkThe peloton had done its math wrong, Team Sky included, so they had to work hard to build back a leadership and to grab that jersey. It has been a crazy race. In the end they managed to win the overall. Richie Porte looks really strong. 
And I don't like to admit it, but also Valverde looks incredibly strong. 
And I like to see that Domenico Pozzovivo is in a splendid shape too. He's back from a bad injury and that's a very good news because in my opinion Pozzovivo is one of the best climbers in the peloton.
Fabio Aru is getting there, slowly but steadly. Here, 6th. Tomorrow... we'll see.
Contador crashed and the Riis/Tinkoff Telenovela didn't help for sure to keep the focus.
Nicely spotted Darwin Atapuma and Daniel Martin.
But no, I barely watched it. I have been busy.

Richie Porte:
“It’s unbelievable to be honest. It’s capped off a pretty awesome start to the season - starting from Down Under to now. I really couldn’t have imagined it would go this well after the year I had last year.
Each and every one of them through the week has been there. In cycling you have good and bad days. You think they might be down but they bounce back and have a strong day. Xabi Zandio yesterday rode all day with Leo. Whenever there was a stick situation Lopez was there. We know Froomey is class but he really went out of his way to repay me and the sacrifices I’ve made for him. Kiry, Nico and Wout have all been incredible. It’s been a massive team performance.
I’ll go home to Monaco and have a good week to rest, not do too much on the bike, and spend time with my fiancée. Then it’s into training camp and Trentino. We’ve got a good little run-up to the Giro so we can hopefully hit that in top form. I’m quite confident now that I can go there and fight for the podium.”

Alberto Contador:
“This was the toughest stage of the Volta a Catalunya because of the injuries I sustained in yesterday's crash. The only injury that worries me a little bit right now is in my back. I think that when I crashed yesterday a nerve must have been affected. I felt a sensation of intense heat in my back and I noticed it a bit today going over speed bumps.
The Volta a Catalunya is over and, again, I now have to recover and focus physically and mentally on the season's first big target, the Giro d'Italia. Our preparation schedule this year is spread over a longer period in all aspects and right now everything is going exactly as planned.
Despite the crash, I'm happy with my performance and my current form. A lot of people might compare my performance with that of last year but they are two completely different years. Last year my main goal was the Tour and the first peak in my performance took place in spring. This year this peak has to take place later. I now have to fully recover from my injuries and focus on the Giro d'Italia, which is what obsesses me right now and what I think about every day”.

Wilco Kelderman:
“I’m quite satisfied with thatI’m glad that I was able to finish top ten another time in a stage race with such good participants. I was looking for some confirmation after Paris-Nice anyway. I have always been confident about my preparation and my form. I do everything I can and that will pay off sometime.
Ardennes classics are my first big targets. It will be the first time for me to compete in those races. It’s hard to predict how I will perform there, but I’m curious to see.”

23.03 Stage 1 - Calella › Calella PATERSKI Maciej GC:  PATERSKI Maciej
24.03 Stage 2 - Mataró › Olot VALVERDE Alejandro  GC PATERSKI Maciej
25.03 Stage 3 - Girona › Girona POZZOVIVO Domenico GC ROLLAND Pierre
26.03 Stage 4 - Tona › La Molina VAN GARDEREN Tejay GC DE CLERCQ Bart
27.03 Stage 5 - Alp › Valls VALVERDE Alejandro  GC PORTE Richie
28.03 Stage 6 - Cervera › Port Aventura CHERNETCKII Sergei GC PORTE Richie 29.03 Stage 7 - Barcelona › Barcelona VALVERDE Alejandro 29.03 General Classification PORTE Richie
Mountains Classification DANIELSON Thomas Youth Classification KELDERMAN Wilco Teams Classification BMC Racing Team

1 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 30:30:30  
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:04  
3 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:05  
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:07  
5 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:18  
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:27  
7 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team 0:00:33  
8 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida 0:00:43  
9 Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:35  
10 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling 0:02:16

Gent-Wevelgem: And Last came the Fox...

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...but earlier there had been a lion.
Solo on the road, in the rain, on silver slippery taramac: Jurgen Roelandts goes. 
Still 50 km and a strong chasing group including Geraint Thomas, Sep Vanmarcke, Daniel Oss, Jens Debusschere, Stijn Vandenbergh, Luca Paolini and Niki Terpstra. They have a 2' delay.
Behind a larger group - Maarten Tjallingii, John Degenkolb, Peter Sagan, Matteo Trentin, Scott Thwaites, Alexander Kristoff, Oliver Naesen, Edward Theuns, Marcel Sieberg, Greg Van Avermaet, Nacer Bouhanni, Arnaud Démare, Mathew Hayman, André Greipel, Manuel Quinziato and Nikolas Maes. Their delay is also larger and their race already over.
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They are lucky, still on their bike while others crashed all day long and all over the road. 
Roelandts has attacked on the way to the Monteberg, on counter to Tjallingii. Guts and strength.
Now he's topping the Kemmelberg for the second time. He's suffering on these cobbles, zigzaging up the climb.
On the Kemmelberg the chasing group split: Terpstra speeds up, Oss gets dropped.
Behind Sylvain Chavanel is trying to bridge... but the peloton is at 6:30 to Roelandts!
Embedded image permalinkNo more climbs and the gap is down to 58” with 31.9 km to go: that's the hardest part for the brave solo attacker.
Chassed and chassers passe through the centre of Ypres: the gap is 25"  with  20.7 km to go. They can see him. He's caught 19 km to go
Embedded image permalinkTerpstra attacks and Paolini takes his wheel. 16.3 km to go. Thomas and Vandenbergh chase, Debusschere and Vanmarcke follow. Back to 4 riders ahead with 10.2km to go, Vanmarcke and Debusschere also join. Endless straight street. Head down. 
Some watching around and Paolini attacks. Some bends allow a gap. 
Just 3 km, Terpstra goes and Thomas is on his wheel. But it's too late: Paolini wins solo. The last Italian here had been Mario Cipollini...

Luca Paolini:
This is a surprise but I’m so happy to have wonI don’t think I was the strongest but I played my cards. I knew they’d be waiting for the sprint and so I tried to get away with five kilometres to go.
It was a very difficult day out there. I crashed twice and changed my bike. But I knew the route and know were to stay up front. After my bad luck I was lucky. It was so bad that we weren’t sure if we could carry on. But we're up in the north and this is real cycling. The strongest survived today.”

Niki Terpstra:
Embedded image permalink"I had some bad luck I had to work through at this race. When we reached the Casselberg, and I had a flat on top. But at that moment there was 10 groups due to the wind. There were no cars behind us, so I took a wheel of someone standing there with a spare and I pursued. Then we started catching group-by-group and we worked together so we could come back to the first and we did it. Then ​in a key moment moment when a select group formed in the front with Vandenbergh, Thomas, and others, I hesitated a bit and I lost the momentum to be together with them. At a certain moment when the gap was almost a minute I ​decided to go and it is not even just a a time trial to make it to the group. It is really full gas, maximum effort, until you can catch them. Otherwise you won't make it. I was able to catch them, even though it cost me a lot. I tried my best to recover at that point. Then I had another flat tire in another key moment. But OK, even with these things in my legs already, I have to say Paolini deserved the victory today. He was already going so fast when he attacked and there was a tailwind. We would have had to do almost 65 kilometers per hour to catch him. It was really hard. He simply did the right attack in a good moment. So all I could do in the end was my best for a second place, and I have to say I am happy with my sprint. I made the best of my situation I think. I felt strong and now I know what I can do if I am there in the final. Considering everything, including the conditions which were crazy and riders blowing off the road, I am happy I stayed on the bike and was there to decide this hectic race. We also showed again that we have a strong team who can be there in the actions. The first step after this race is to recover, then fine tune the condition before De Ronde. My condition is there and we will see what I can do going forward."

Geraint Thomas
“Today was it just on all day - stress and full gas.
I’m happy to be on the podium again. Obviously it would have been nice to go for the win but it’s hard when you’re coming into the final and everyone’s attacking. You can’t really go with everything and some people don’t want to pull as much.
There wasn’t really any collaboration in the group. It was hard to get everyone going. People were looking at me a bit after my win on Friday. That’s what it felt like. When Paolini went it was a good move for him but we all looked at each other. Fortunately me and Niki got away at the end.
The grass was softer that the tarmac! It was unbelievable. The gusts were incredible. It was hard enough just trying to stay on the bike. Fortunately it was all okay in the end.
I’ll rest up now. Have a good massage, eat well, stay in bed and put my feet up until Sunday.”

Jürgen Roelandts:
"I really believed in it today! But I had some strong guys behind me. Thx for all the people cheering for me today! Gave all I had"

Peter Sagan:
“It was an extremely tough and dangerous race. After 70km we had forceful wind gusts and at the same time we were going full gas, which created echelons and made the race really tough. I have now had two demanding races, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem, and I have spent a lot of energy. So I need to recover from today and I’ll be looking forward to Ronde van Vlaanderen”

Sep Vanmarcke:
“10 km to go I was there. But I actually didn’t have anything left at that point. After about 185 kilometres, I tensed up. Summarising, it was a very heavy race. The wind, the rain and the cold zapped my power. I’m very disappointed in the end.
It was pure willpower that I was able to return with the leaders several times, but at some point, I couldn’t do it anymore.”

1 Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha 6:20:55
2 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:11
3 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
4 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:18
5 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:26
6 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:40
7 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:01:52
8 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:04:15
9 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 0:05:12
10 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo


I've been busy...

Iranian sweeties
...living my life. I had few time for blogging or even for pro-cycling recently. 
First of all, I got a flu but I must attend some important school meetings and finish teaching some important stuff so I went working anyway.
 I've also been busy as a mom, because my son had a quite busy week, in school and training with his team in spite he was half sick too and the weather sucked. 
Finally, the sun is back and this morning I took an epic ride on the hills of Florence: I climbed to piazzale Michelangelo, then to Arcetri and up to Santa Margherita a Montici. Few traffic, steep roads and a breathtaking view. The pure joy of cycling.
March the 26th it was my birthday. I was at school since 2 pm to 9 pm. Slightly cooked, but I loved it because I had brought some Iranian sweeties and shared them with my students while explaining a subject I care about: the right of people with psychological disease to be citizens and to be respect in that, no matter how serious their condition is. I believe we are a learning community and it's nice to share what we know, think and feel. 
Florence from the hills



Settimana Coppi E Bartali: Manuel Belletti, Ben Swift and...

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Swift wins stage 2

...we will see. 
Last year Team Sky smashed it in an almost embarrassing way. This year it seems again on the its way to the final victory: a 5th place in stage 1a, a 2nd in the TTT, a beautiful solo win in stage 2. Ben Swift rocks. 
And also my friend Manuel Belletti: he risked to remain without a team and now he's collecting victories. Some riders need to be motivated and a good DS motivate them. 

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Belletti wins stage 1a
"It was a typical Yorkshire day out," Swift joked as he caught up with TeamSky.com after the race.
I felt good out there. I never felt in difficulty. We had a plan that I would just try and hang on and stay there. We knew my form was good from Milan-San Remo last week. That was one of my big targets this year. The form’s there and it was just nice to be able to utilise it today.
When they attacked I followed. Initially I thought maybe I shouldn’t have done it as I might be tired for the sprint. But I was feeling pretty good and actually forced it on once we attacked. It was a strange feeling, especially to win solo. I’ve always wanted to win solo. I’ve joked around with Pete (Kennaugh) about it in the past. It’s almost on my bucket list to win a bike race on my own. Last time I won solo was 10 years ago at the Junior Tour of Wales. It’s not the sort of thing that happens very often for me.
I’ve got a pretty decent gap on GC. Tomorrow is a sprint day so I’ll try and get up there to get a few more bonus seconds. It’s a different finish to last year – a really hard stage with a hilltop finish. So I’ve got my work cut out. It’s not a done deal yet.”

Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
“Ben rode incredibly todayIt shows that physically he was ready for San Remo. He did a great job to get ready for that race. It didn’t pay off for him on the day but it certainly did today.
We measured our efforts as we’ve only got four riders left now. CJ (Sutton) and (Ian) Boswell both stopped today but the guys we’ve got left are really solid. It’s game on.”

1 Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling 2:20:13
2 Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
3 Patrick Clausen (Den) Team Trefor - Blue Water
4 Asbjorn Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Trefor - Blue Water
5 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
1 CCC Sprandi Polkowice A 0:14:49
2 Team Sky A 0:14:50
3 MTN - Qhubeka A 0:14:53

1 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 4:28:10
2 Matija Kvasina (Cro) Team Felbermayr Simplon Wels 0:00:16
3 Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:00:21
4 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Italian National Team 0:00:57
5 Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia
6 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Southeast Pro Cycling 0:01:01
7 Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Trefor - Blue Water 0:01:05
8 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky 0:01:07
9 Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
10 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:01:10
1 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky 7:03:03
2 Matija Kvasina (Cro) Team Felbermayr Simplon Wels 0:00:41
3 Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:00:54
4 Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia 0:01:15
5 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Team Sky 0:01:17

E3 Harelbeke: A GREAT G

Embedded image permalinkThat's how Team Sky works. They are fanatics, you know. Their aim is perfection as we have been told again in Mallorca and even if bad luck had been a factor in last year 'disappointing' season - according with Team Sky stellar standards - they set new goals, corrected their approach, re-thought their racing and as a result their new season is already a success. In the Classics especially, where they used to be weaker. 
No more. After Stannard, just like Stannard, Thomas went and just took it. Perfect. As it's supposed to be, right? That's Team Sky.
Embedded image permalinkA very bad crash put Cancellara off the game, true. But Thomas had shown consistency since the start and I'm not sure that Trek's champion should have made a difference.
According to TFR's report: "On the cobbled descent of the Haaghoek, less than 40-kilometers into E3 Harelbeke an alluded dropped water bottle caused a large crash that took down numerous riders including Fabian Cancellara.
Later at the hospital X-rays and CT scans confirmed the worst: two transverse process fractures in two vertebrae bones of the lower back.

On that crazy Belgian roads, paved paths crossing green field and the E3 of course... there was a breakaway: Sbaragli, Devenyns, Turgot, De Bie and Van Ginneken. The last one got dropped with a 60 km to go and caught, Sean De Bie did a great race but the chasing group reached him just before the Oude Kwaremont. 
Here, on the holy ground of cycling, Sagan, Stybar and Thomas catch Devenyns, immediately dropped, while several other riders are trying to bridge. Sep Vanmarcke attacks... and he loose his pedal! he's going to change his shoe but the moment is gone.
Karnemelkbeekstraat: Sagan, Stybar and Thomas have a gap and it keeps growing. Tiegemberg: Tiesj Benoot attacks. The gap decrease. Shoe problems fixed, Vanmarcke leads the peloton on this short descent, when Van Avermaet  crash and his race is over. 
Embedded image permalinkPeter Sagan, Zdenek Stybar and Geraint Thomas go: 16 km to go their gap is 50''. Now only Team Katusha is chasing.
Four km to go Thomas attacks. Sagan is immediately dropped, Stybar responds but can't follow. Geraint Thomas has already won.

Geraint Thomas
“I can’t quite believe it. That last attack took me back to my track days and I imagined I was trying to hold Ed Clancy’s wheel in the team pursuit. I felt pretty good during the second half of the race and committed at the end.
It was hard out there. The three of us worked well together and I wasn’t sure if they were bluffing a bit near the end – panting and pulling faces – but fortunately they weren’t, and it was great for me.
This six-week period we’re in from Paris-Nice to Paris-Roubaix is my big focus of the season. The way Paris-Nice finished was disappointing, but I felt good again at Milan-San Remo, and to get the win now is really special.”

Fabian Cancellara:  
“It all happened so fast. Someone slammed the brakes and there was no way to go, just straight into it. I flew over a couple of riders and then landed in a pile of bikes. There were riders everywhere. I fell so hard, and felt pain everywhere. It was sort of reflex to get back on the bike but the pain was hard, in my lower back, left wrist, and my ribs on the back.
I felt right away that it was a serious crash, but I wanted to try to keep going.  I had to stop; the pain was too much. We went to the hospital for scans and this confirmed the pain.
There is nothing you can do with this injury – no cast, no surgery – but just biting the pain."

Peter Sagan:
“I don’t know. I was on the front but after I don’t know. I was turned off. I think you can see also in television how I felt.”
I felt good on the Kwaremont but there was still a long way to go to the finish. It’s ok. It’s the race. One time it’s good, one time it’s not.
I ate but I don’t know what happened. Maybe I needed a little bit of rest after Milan-San Remo. I came here and it’s another hard race, but for sure I believe Sunday [Gent-Wevelgem] will be better. I’m ok because I did good work on the Kwaremont and then also in the breakaway. We will see now on Sunday and there is another two weeks [the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix] after that.”

Zdenek Stybar:
"The team worked perfectly for me todayMy teammates brought me to the front going into the Oude Kwaremont. The group was pretty together at that point, so we knew something would happen then and for sure some guys would ride away. Thomas went, I took over on the Kwaremont, and on the top we were ahead with only three. We immediately found a good rhythm together. The last 15 kilometers were really hard, it was all headwind. But OK, we were riding well with maybe some energy left in reserves. I think it was possible for us to speed up if the peloton came closer. With four kilometers to go, Thomas went. He went really fast and Sagan didn't really react. I hesitated for maybe two seconds too long and the race was over. I was very disappointed in that moment because I felt I could win today. But it is what it is. That's cycling. I'm happy with my podium place and have to think about the upcoming races. I'm also encouraged that Matteo was able to win the sprint behind me. It shows we have a strong team that is always in the actions and can do well in different situations of the Classics."

Matteo Trentin:
"I saw Oss going full gas going on the Taaienberg and at that point in the race, that is normally when a group of eight, ten, sometimes more riders go away from the pelotonThen the race can change constantly after that point. With all the hills ahead, if you are in a small group, there is maybe a little less stress even if you are pulling a little bit. But it didn't work at the time I went with a small group. There was only four riders ahead and we knew Katusha was pulling behind, and also Lotto. So we waited for them to catch us. Then by the time we got to the Oude Kwaremont I paid a little bit for the efforts I did earlier. In this race you pay for everything you do. I was in front at that point but I was losing position after position. I tried at that point to hang on and then we came back with a group of 10 guys on the first group. As for the sprint, the guys did a good job. We started in the last kilometer because we had Stybar in the front. We stayed in good position in anticipation. Then the last kilometer Stijn Vandenbergh started going full gas, then Yves Lampaert made the leadout for me and it was perfect. To beat guys like Alexander Kristoff in the field sprint is something good and says something great about my condition. This is my first podium in Belgium and I proved I can be there in this race and the actions of the Northern Classics." 

Sep Vanmarcke:
“The whole day I felt strong, just like the past few days. That makes me happy. Thanks to my team-mates, I was well-positioned on the crucial points.
I know that he can sprint well in a hard race like today’s. I didn’t dare squeeze into small gaps in the sprint because I didn’t want to cause any crashes. It took very long before a big enough gap emerged and so I had to settle for fifth.
I made a mistake by riding on the side of the road. I suddenly shot through the mud and my clip broke loose. I was only able to push, I couldn’t pull afterwards. It was like riding a city bike. I had to limit the damage until I could change my shoe in the last 20 kilometres.”


1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky
2 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
3 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
5 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
6 Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
7 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8 Jack Bauer (NZl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
9 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge
10 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team


Vuelta a Catalunya 1: The Peloton Does Wrong Its Maths

Embedded image permalink
A curvy road cutting the forest, dark green, shady.
26 km and three riders in front: Ben Gastauer, Benoît Jarrier and Jan Polanc. DeGendt trying to bridge: a too big fish. All back together after 52 km. A new break-away forms: Bart De Clercq, Rolland and Paterski. That's fine and the peloton let them go.
Embedded image permalinkAlt de Viladrau, 2nd cat climb: 11.8 km long, 3.3% average gradient and 8% max. Bart De Clercq, Maciej Paterski and Pierre Rolland had a maximum advantage of 14', then it start decreasing but 60 km to go it's still is about 10'. 
Alt de Collsacreau, 3rd cat climb: 7.4 km long, 3% average gradient and 6% max.  Team Sky is leading the chase but this break-away could go to the finish.
The peloton is paniking a bit so now Etixx Movistar and Tinkoff started collaborating.
Embedded image permalinkNo climbs anymore. The three riders fly down to the finish and there is the sea. Suddenly. Light blue in the glorious sun.
A last short climb, De Clerq goes first,  Rolland responds, Paterski wins. Stage and jersey, for one day at least.

Maceij Paterski:
“I didn’t believe I would be able to win, though, as I was a bit tired from yesterday. I rode the Milan-San Remo and didn’t get to the hotel until after 10pm.”

Alberto Contador:
“The peloton was pulling hard, really hard, in an unbelievable way! It was indeed surprising that the gap wasn't narrowing at all. At the end, we gave all we had and managed to bring the gap down. However, given the stages we have ahead, that difference isn't a joke at all. We will now have to take every day as it comes.  
It's true they are first-rate riders and they will manage the 2:40-minute advantage that they have in the best way possible. We will now see what opportunities the parcours will offer us but it is true that it isn't an ideal situation” 

Chris Froome:
"Confusing day out on the road today, accurate time gaps would have been helpful…live & learn"

1 Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice 4:33:41
2 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
3 Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:02
4 Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:02:40
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
6 Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
8 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
9 Carlos Barbero Cuesta (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10 Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
11 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
12 Greg Henderson (NZl) Lotto Soudal
13 Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
14 Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ.fr
15 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar Team
16 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
17 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin
18 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Team Katusha
19 Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling
20 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha
21 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
22 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
23 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step
24 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Astana Pro Team
25 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
26 Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Giant-Alpecin
27 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team
28 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
29 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
30 Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
31 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team
32 Eduard Prades Reverte (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
33 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
34 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha
35 Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling
36 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
37 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team
38 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
39 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step
40 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing Team
41 Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
42 Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEdge
43 Walter Pedraza (Col) Colombia
44 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team
45 Daan Olivier (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
46 Janier Acevedo (Col) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
47 Yannick Eijssen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
48 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
49 Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida
50 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
51 Andre Cardoso (Por) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
52 Adrian Honkisz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
53 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky
54 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana Pro Team
55 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky
56 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
57 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ.fr
58 Rodolfo Torres (Col) Colombia
59 Steve Chainel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
60 Alex Cano (Col) Colombia
61 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Soudal
62 Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale
63 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar Team
64 David Arroyo (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
65 Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team
66 Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
67 Francis De Greef (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
68 George Bennett (NZl) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
69 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
70 Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Team Katusha
71 Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica GreenEdge
72 Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida
73 Clement Chevrier (Fra) IAM Cycling
74 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha
75 Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
76 Luis Mas (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
77 Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory Racing
78 Lawrence Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling
79 Marek Rutkiewicz (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
80 Thomas Danielson (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
81 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step
82 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
83 Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Team Katusha
84 Louis Vervaeke (Bel) Lotto Soudal
85 Sylwester Szmyd (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
86 Marinus Cornelis Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
87 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team
88 Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
89 Branislau Samoilau (Blr) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
90 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
91 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
92 Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling
93 Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
94 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
95 Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
96 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar
97 Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team
98 Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar
99 Sergio Paulinho (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo
100 Ricardo Vilela (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
101 Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra) FDJ.fr
102 Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
103 Leonardo Duque (Col) Colombia
104 Egor Silin (Rus) Team Katusha
105 Jesus Hernandez (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
106 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale
107 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
108 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Sky
109 Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
110 Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
111 Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
112 Ivan Basso (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
113 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-Saxo
114 Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
115 Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step
116 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Sky
117 Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
118 David Lopez (Spa) Team Sky
119 José Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
120 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) FDJ.fr
121 Pablo Lastras (Spa) Movistar Team
122 Jérôme Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar
123 Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Team Europcar 0:04:42
124 Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar Team 0:09:20
125 Lawson Craddock (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin
126 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
127 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
128 Ilia Koshevoy (Blr) Lampre-Merida
129 Heiner Parra (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
130 Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
131 Carter Jones (USA) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:12:28
132 Edward Diaz (Col) Colombia 0:13:40
133 Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team
134 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:18:13
135 Manuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team
136 Simon Pellaud (Swi) IAM Cycling
137 Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
138 Martijn Keizer (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
139 Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Team Katusha
140 Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing
141 Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory Racing
142 Daniel Martínez (Col) Colombia
143 Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
144 Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo
145 Cayetano Sarmiento (Col) Colombia
146 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
147 Sam Bewley (NZl) Orica GreenEdge
148 Loic Chetout (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
149 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
150 Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ.fr
151 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team
152 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Movistar Team
153 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
154 Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory Racing
155 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Giant-Alpecin
156 Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr
157 Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
158 Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
159 Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
160 Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
161 Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Lampre-Merida
162 Carlos Betancur (Col) AG2R La Mondiale
163 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
164 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
165 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
166 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing
167 Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
168 Julien Morice (Fra) Team Europcar
169 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar
170 Benoit Jarrier (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
171 Christophe Laborie (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
172 Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr
173 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida
174 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
175 Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ.fr
176 Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
177 David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx - Quick-Step
178 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
179 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
180 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Team Sky
181 Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
182 Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica GreenEdge
183 Brett Lancaster (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
184 Tim De Troyer (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
185 Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
186 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
187 Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling
DNF Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNF Damien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
DNF Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing
DNF Jonathan Paredes (Col) Colombia