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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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Alfredo Martini Dies

Former professional racer and Italian national coach Alfredo Martini passed away at his home in Sesto Fiorentino, Italy, Monday, the 25th of August. He was 93.

Martini was a more than capable rider, having won the 1947 Giro dell'Appennino, the second stage of the 1950 Giro d'Italia (finishing 3rd in the GC), the 1950 Giro del Piemonte and the first stage of the 1951 Tour of Switzerland.

In the Giro his high placings include: 9th in 1946, 6th in 1947, 10th in 1948, 6th in 1949, 3rd in 1950.

Martini raced professionally from 1941, starting out with Bianchi, until 1957 when he raced his final season for Leo-Chlorodont.

But it was his career as a coach that Martini gained his greatest success and fame. From 1969 to 1972 he directed the Ferretti team (winning the 1971 Giro d'Italia with Gosta Pettersson) and then in 1973 and 1974 he guided Sammontana. From 1975 through 1997 he was the Italian national team coach.

Under Martini's direction the Italians won six gold, six silver and eight bronze medals at the world road championships.

The Gold medals:

Alfredo MArtini and Maurizio Fondriest

Alfredo Martini (left) with Maurizio Fondriest in 1988

Orica-GreenEdge on Michael Matthews' Vuelta Stage Three Win

Here's Orica-GreenEdge's press release about Michael Matthews' stage win yesterday:

Michael Matthews has capped off an inspirational team performance to win stage three of the Vuelta a España and move into the red race leader’s jersey today.

Matthews’ ORICA-GreenEDGE team punished themselves on the front of the peloton for the entire stage to bring back an early breakaway and position the 23-year-old in the punchy, uphill final.

“I’m just so happy that I got to finish off for them,” Matthews said of his teammates. It makes the win so much sweeter to be able to win when your whole team has absolutely smashed themselves for you.

“We thought it was going to be a bit more of a reduced bunch at the finish. The heat was the main factor today and then the climb in the final was very hard but I had the team to put me in the perfect position and from there it was up to me to deliver for them.”

Sport director Neil Stephens echoed Matthews’ sentiments. “This is one of the best collective wins this team has ever had and I have ever seen,” Stephens said after the race. A lot of the other teams said afterwards that we really did deserve the win today and I think that’s the biggest credit you can get as a team.”

“Once we started working for the stage, we had to bite off a fair bit. A lot of the other teams were disinterested or knew that we were one of the favourites for the stage and they passed the work onto us.

“About half way through we had spent so much energy to get that far we really just had to spend a little bit more and that was basically everyone we had. The three big guys, Mitch (Docker), Brett (Lancaster) and Sam (Bewley), I didn’t think they would get through to the finish at all but not only did they get there, they were riding on the front in an unbelievable manner the whole day. Big hats off to those guys and the others guys who put in their bit going up and down for water all day and working a bit later in the stage so Michael could take the victory.”

The victory was Matthews’ third Vuelta a España stage win, following victories on stage five and 21 in 2013, and second leader’s jersey for the season after he wore the Giro d’Italia maglia rosa for six days in May.

“It is definitely a dream come true,” Matthews said of 2014. “I didn’t expect to have any Grand Tour leader’s jerseys this year and now I have two from both of the three-week races I’ve done. I still can’t believe it, I am definitely going to have to pinch myself tonight.”

Earlier in the stage, a breakaway of five riders - Danilo Wyss (BMC), Luis Mas Bonet (CJR), Jonathan Fumeaux (IAM), Jérôme Cousin (EUC) and Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN) – established from the flag.

By 50km, the gap had rapidly reached eight minutes when ORICA-GreenEDGE put Bewley, Lancaster and Docker on the front of the peloton and began to rein them in. With contributions on the final classified climb by Cameron Meyer and Ivan Santamorita, the race was back together with 25km to ride.

A solo attempt by Australian Adam Hansen (LTB) was unsuccessful with 13km to go, before the peloton wound up for the final kilometer climb to the finish. 

Katusha’s Giampaolo Caruso was the first to fire but was caught with 200m to ride by Garmin-Sharp’s Dan Martin. Matthews was hot on his wheel and too fast in a final effort to the line.

Matthews wins stage 3

Matthews wins stage 3 while Dan Martin shows his frustration. Photo ©Sirotti

BMC on Vuelta Stage Three

While we're at it, here are BMC rider comments on stage three from their press release:

Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team finished sixth on Monday's uphill finish at the Vuelta a España and moved into 15th place overall, one spot behind teammate Samuel Sánchez, who finished 12th on the day.

Michael Matthews (ORICA-GreenEDGE charged past Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) in the final meters to take the win and become the race's third leader in as many days. Evans and Sánchez arrived in the same time and sit 25 seconds behind overall. Evans said he avoided a few crashes near the end of the 189.8-kilometer race but started the final climb a bit farther back that he wanted. "I did not arrive well-positioned into the bottom of the climb, but what I had in my legs I managed to get on the road," Evans said. "I think in a couple of days, I will start feeling better as some of the sprinter guys get tired and I will be able to aim higher. I am going OK, but have quite a bit of room for improvement. So we will see in the next few days."

Earlier in the day that featured soaring temperatures, BMC Racing Team's Danilo Wyss was part of a five-rider breakaway. The escapees led by as much as eight minutes before Matthews' ORICA-GreenEDGE squad headed the pursuit. Wyss said he knew going into the day that there was a small chance to get to the finish, as the Movistar Team of past race leader Alejandro Valverde opted not to defend his lead. "But when I saw the gap come down to five minutes, I knew it would be really hard," Wyss said. "It was hot, and yesterday and today were some hard days. But I think it was a bit better to be in the break. I could get some bottles and refresh myself."

Sport Director Valerio Piva said he gave out more than 200 Elite PowerBar bottles during the five-hour race. Having Wyss in the breakaway was good, he said, as it allowed Evans and Sánchez to wait for the final. "The plan was to bring Cadel in a good position because Philippe Gilbert was not so good yesterday," he said. "Today, we saw Cadel was good. He was a bit lost in the last kilometer, but he is strong and came back. Now we have our two leaders in a good position. So we are optimistic for the next days." Dominik Nerz, who celebrated his birthday Monday, was the BMC Racing Team's third rider in the top 20, in 18th, 32 seconds back of the stage winner.

Cadel Evans

Cadel Evans at the start of stage three

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