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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion
Thursday, October 2, 2014

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

Wednesday's Milano-Torino

Milano-Torino turned out a bit different than was expected. Katusha's Giampalo Caruso confounded the experts and the favorites by scoring his first race win since 2009 when he cruised across the finish line at the top of the Superga hill alone.

Now everyone's attention is on Il Lombardia (Giro di Lombardia), on the 5th.

This release came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador demonstrated fine form prior to this weekend’s Giro di Lombardia as he finished 6th in today’s Italian one-day race, Milano-Torino. Contador finished in a chase group entering the uphill finish line moments behind the race winner, Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha).

Unfortunately, the Tinkoff-Saxo captain didn’t make it in the crucial breakaway that took off during the final kilometers of the race and was forced on the chase with a group consisting of the double winner of the race, Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and Fabio Aru (Astana).

However, they never made the junction and in the uphill sprint, Caruso took race glory while Alberto had to settle with 6th. Nevertheless, the Tinkoff-Saxo captain seems strong and ready to fight for overall 2014 World Tour success this weekend.

DS, Fabrizio Guidi comments: "This was Alberto's first race since the Vuelta and naturally, he has to get back in to the rhythm but he was actually doing tremendously well considering. He had to close down a few gaps on the final slope but wasn't in the final and crucial break. But he's where he's supposed to be physically. It was also great to have Roman back on the team. And even though he's been away from racing since June, he worked hard for Alberto until hitting the foot of the final climb and he finished in the bunch. Now, we're looking forward to Giro di Lombardia," concludes Guidi. 

Milano-Torino results:

1 Giampaolo Caruso Katusha 4hr 30min 12sec
2 Rinaldo Nocentini Ag2r @ 3 seconds
3 Daniel Moreno Fernandez Katusha 9"
4 Fabio Aru Astana 13"
5 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver Katusha 14"
6 Alberto Contador Tinkoff-Saxo 17"
7 Sergei Chernetski Katusha 19"
8 Davide Rebellin CCC Polsat Polkowice 24"
9 Frank Schleck Trek Factory Racing 40"
10 Mauro Finetto Neri Sottoli-Yellow Fluo 42"

Giampaolo Caruso wins the 2014 Milano-Torino

Giampaolo Caruso wins Milano-Torino in fine style. Photo ©Sirotti

Tour de l'Eurométropole Starts Today

The Tour de l'Eurométropole (formerly Circuit Franco-Belge), a four day stage race, starts today. I'll be posting the results rather late in the afternnon (USA Pacific time).

Lotto-Belisol sent this note about their plans for the race:

The Eurometropole Tour (Franco-Belge in the past) is the last stage race on Belgian soil of this season. The four day stage race (Europe Tour 2.1) starts on Thursday and goes through the provinces of Hainaut and West Flanders.

Several sprinters are starting the Eurometropole. Kittel, Démare, Nizzolo and Bos are some of the sprinters that will be striving in the last straight hectometers towards the finish line. It looks like the fast riders will be contending for the yellow leader jersey. The first two stages are going respectively through the Flemish Ardennes and the Heuvelland, but the hilly sections are far away from the finish line so the possible decimation could be undone or the escapees could be controlled. The finish of the first stage is slightly uphill in Bellegem, a village in the municipal of Kortrijk.

Sports director Kurt Van de Wouwer: “Lotto Belisol won the past two editions with Jens Debusschere (2013) and Jürgen Roelandts (2012). Obviously we are also going to take our responsibility this year. I’m expecting that the opening stage will decisive for the GC. The first stage won’t be controlled by one team and will be more open. From day two the race will be controlled by the team of leader and they will try to keep the leader jersey until Sunday. The route is orientated towards the coast, with finishes in Middelkerke and Nieuwpoort. Naturally there will be a lot of sprints and maybe the wind could play a big role. With Jens Debusschere we’ve got the last winner and the reigning Belgian champion in our team. Although Jonas Van Genechten proved to be in good shape the last few months.”

Lotto Belisol selection: Sander Armée, Tiesj Benoot, Vegard Breen, Sean De Bie, Jens Debusschere, Kenny Dehaes, Xandro Meurisse, Jonas Van Genechten.

Sports directors: Kurt Van de Wouwer and Marc Wauters

Stages:

  1. Thursday 2nd of October: La Louvière – Kortrijk: 185.8 km
  2. Friday 3rd of October: Estaimbourg – Nieuwpoort: 174 km
  3. Saturday 4th of October: Blankenberge – Middelkerke: 174.7 km
  4. Sunday 5th of October: Mons – Tournai: 155km  

Jens Debusschere

Lotto-Belisol rider Jens Debusschere in this year's Eneco Tour. Photo ©Sirotti

And this release came from Tinkoff-Saxo:

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Matti Breschel has swapped Spain for Northern France and Belgium as he starts the four-stage Tour de l’Eurométropole. The 30-year old Dane looks forward to carrying his current form into the final part of the season that kicks off tomorrow with what was formerly known as Circuit Franco-Belge.

“It’s obvious that I have to use my current shape to bring home some good results now that I've got it. My plan is to do l’Eurométrople, Paris-Bourges and finally Paris-Tour on the 12th of October. It’s very late in the season, so there’re a lot of guys with empty legs and I have to use that to my advantage, as I’m still in a strong shape after the Worlds”, says Matti Breschel,

The fast Dane won Tour of Luxembourg including two stages in June, but has since then been struggling to reach his top level. He rode the two Canadian races GP Montreal and GP Quebec in mid-September as co-captain but was unable to bring home a significant result. However, his condition increased and he was one of the strongest riders at the World Championships in Ponferrada finishing 4th centimetres from the podium.

“It’s not like I wasn’t motivated and mentally ready in Canada, I just didn’t have the shape. But when I got back I kept on working hard because I really wanted to do a great performance at the World Championships. As I left for Ponferrada I was feeling confident”, adds Breschel.

Tour de l’Eurométropole is one of the last races on the calendar and contains two hilly stages and two flat sprinters stages with possible crosswind coming from the coastline. Matti reckons that the race will literally be decided on the line as bonus seconds play a key part.

“L’Eurométropole is a typical sprinter’s race with high pace, hectic racing and a lot of fighting for positions in the crosswinds and before the finales. It’s all about finishing in the top-3 on the stages to secure bonus seconds and if the peloton splits on a short climb or in the wind, I’ll have to be at the front”, Matti concludes.

The Tinkoff-Saxo line-up consists of Matti Breschel, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Michael Kolar, Nikolay Trusov, Michael Mørkøv, Karsten Kroon, Evgeny Petrov and Jay McCarthy.

Matti Breschel

Matti Breschel. Photo ©Sirotti

Il Lombardia (Giro di Lombardia) is Sunday, October 5

The season's last single-day World Tour race is almost upon us. Here's a link to complete results for every edition of the Giro di Lombardia, plus lots and lots of photos.

BMC sent this release about their plans:

Past two-time Il Lombardia winner Philippe Gilbert and three-time runner-up Samuel Sánchez will be part of the BMC Racing Team's roster for Sunday's edition of the last one-day WorldTour race on the 2014 calendar.

Gilbert, winner in 2009 and 2010, will be joined by Sánchez, who was runner-up in 2006, 2009 and 2012 in addition to a third-place finish in 2007. Also on the BMC Racing Team's roster is past world road and Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, who will make his final appearance in the 254-kilometer race after announcing his retirement last week, to take effect in February.

Riders: Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Cadel Evans (AUS), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Steve Morabito (SUI), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Larry Warbasse (USA).

Sport Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA)

Doctor: Giovanni Ruffini (ITA)

Staff: Bus Driver: Matt Rompion (FRA). Mechanics: Antonio Biron (ITA), Thierry Viaene (FRA). Press Officer: Andrea Agostini (ITA). Soigneurs: Marcello Bartoli (ITA), Dirk Leenaert (BEL), Stefano Rubino (ITA).

Philippe Gilbert wins the 2010 Giro di Lombardia

Philppe Gilbert wins the Giro di Lombardia in 2010. Photo ©Sirotti

And this on Il Lombardia from Team Belkin:

Bauke Mollema will ride his last race for the Belkin Pro Cycling team
on Sunday. The Dutchman, who leaves for Trek Factory Racing next
season, will lead the team in the Giro di Lombardia. He hopes to go
out with a bang.

“The last race of a season is always special,” said Mollema.
“You know you have to give everything one more time and that
afterwards, you can take it easy for a while. This time it’s extra
special. A spell of seven years with the team will end. Now, I’ll be
saying good-bye to the riders and the staff.”

Mollema trained in Limburg in the build-up to the World Championships.
After his 18th place in Ponferrada, he also hopes to benefit from his
efforts in Il Lombardia. “The Tour of Lombardy is a nice race and
I’m looking forward to going all-out one more time. I trained well
for the Worlds and because Lombardy is only a week later, I think
it’s a nice combination.

“My shape was good during the road race. On the final climb, I was
amongst the front-runners. Unfortunately, the result was slightly less
than I’d hoped.”

Sports Director Merijn Zeeman is confident that the team will deliver. “We noticed that the end of the season is closing in,” said Zeeman. “We have several injured riders and can see that others are getting tired. For the Tour of Lombardy, however, they don’t need to recharge forcefully because it’s great and wonderful race where they really want to get a result. That’s instinct.

“Bauke is looking strong. He worked hard to be ready, and men like
Steven Kruijswijk, Lars Petter Nordhaug and Wilco Kelderman should be
able to assist him deep into the final. As a team, we’ll help Bauke
as much as possible so that he has the chance to bag a result for us
one more time. “The race is gruelling. It all comes down to the
final hour, and that’s what Bauke likes. He did well in Lombardy in
the past (7th in 2012 and twelfth in 2010, ed.). We expect a lot.”

TEAM line-up: Stef Clement, Laurens ten Dam, Wilco Kelderman, Martijn Keizer, Steven Kruijswijk, Bauke Mollema, Lars Petter Nordhaug and David Tanner.

Sports Directors: Jan Boven and Merijn Zeeman.

Bauke Mollema

Bauke Mollema climbs the Grammont in this year's Eneco Tour. Photo ©Sirotti

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