venerdì 29 agosto 2014

La Vuelta 7: Dedicated To Alfredo Martini

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A finger up, toward the sky, toward the Cyclists Heaven from where for sure Alfredo Martini was watching the race... and telling a story. 
Great rider, DS and man Alfredo Martini, died 94 few days ago. And a great sign of respect for another great rider, Alessandro De Marchi, at the end of a great stage.
At the begining it was a break-away: Tschopp and Hesjedal were ahead of the bunch. They have 33" at km 37. Dupont  and De Marchi were trying to bridge while Movistar and Tinkoff Saxo were leading the chase. 
Then a crash. No clear info but Chris Froome was told dropped at the start of a climb, 1' from the head of the race. Then it became evident that he wasn't the only one in trouble: Orica GreenEdge reported that Ivan Santaromita has been involved in a crash, had broken his finger and were heading to hospital. John Degenkolb had been also involvedand was back with the medical car. Then the news came that Saramotins and Nauleau had also abandoned.
Meanwhile Dupont and De Marchi had joined Hesjedal and Tschopp, the peloton was at 1' but the gap  went quickly up to 7:18. Ryder Hesjedal was now closer to the virtual red jersey. Then De Marchi turn on the gas... and won solo... as he uses to do.
Froome had rejoined the peloton before the top of the climb and even if crashed looked perfectly well: he attacked in the finale and gained 3'' on his main opponents.
Instead Warren Barguil crashed hard on the right side of his head. He was able to cross the line but...

Alessandro De Marchi:
“I came into this race without too much pressure on me. I was just looking to get some form and hoping for some opportunities. But my legs felt good today. This is the best memory of my career. After so many top fives, this is a great result, an almost perfect day for me.”


1 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale 4:01:52  
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin Sharp 0:01:34  
3 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:35  
4 Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling  
5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:02:17  
6 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp  
7 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:02:18  
8 Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:02:20  
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team  
10 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo  
11 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
12 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team  
13 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale  
14 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha  
15 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge  
16 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team  
17 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka  
18 Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team  
19 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA  
20 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 26:52:20  
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:15  
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:18  
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:20  
5 Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica GreenEdge 0:00:41  
6 Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:45  
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:55  
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:58  
9 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:01:02  
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:06  
11 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky 0:01:09  
12 Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:01:11  
13 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:01:12  
14 Rigoberto Urán (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:18  
15 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka 0:01:19  
16 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:26  
17 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 0:01:34  
18 Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana Pro Team 0:01:47  
19 Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida 0:01:57  
20 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha 0:02:06  
21 Laurens ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:02:25  
22 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 0:02:29  
23 Andre Fernando S Martins Cardoso (Por) Garmin Sharp 0:02:30  
24 Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:02:35  
25 David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 0:02:44  
26 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:02:46  
27 Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:02:52  
28 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:03:10  
29 Wout Poels (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:03:47  
30 Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Team Katusha 0:04:47  
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano

1 Lluís Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
1 Belkin Pro Cycling Team

Andy Schleck - Ice Bucket Challenge

In Short: The Afghan Women Riding Team

There is a wonderful article here (with video):

In Short:
1 Shannon Galpin and her nonprofit, Mountain 2 Mountain: "She became the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan in 2009, discovered the women’s Afghan cycling team in 2012 and immediately began working to raise awareness and support for their efforts. She's now an ambassador for Liv, which has supplied the team with bikes, clothing, and gear."
2. Afghan Cycles: Liv and Let Media released new footage from the upcoming documentary
3. A cyclist named Miriam. “Miriam believes that this is her right, that no one can take it away from her. So when she gets on the bike and rides, knowing that she’s pushing the boundaries, she’s doing it because she loves the freedom the bike gives her. And she comes back to that all the time: the freedom that the bike gives her."
4. Get Involved! "August 30th marks the first ever Global Solidarity Ride. People around the world will take to the streets on organized rides in honor of the women cyclists in Afghanistan"

Good News: ORICA-GE Daryl Impey cleared to race (and my opinion)

vuelta_previewFrom Daryl's site:

"On Thursday 28th August 2014, I finally got the chance to prove my case against the allegation: That I had committed an anti-doping violation for a diuretic called Probenecid. 
Whilst I never disputed the lab results and the finding, I was put in a very tough position of defending my case due to strict liability. That being said, and after already having to go back 5 months to try find out how this could have happened, I finally was able to prove that this was a case of cross-contamination and I was also cleared of any fault or negligence on my part.  
It has been definitely the hardest two months of my life, it has been a huge financial loss and has been tough on my whole family. But I was determined to show that I am clean and that I would never cheat to try get an advantage over my competitors.  I am so relieved that this has now been proven.  
While I can now put this behind me and move on, I would like to thank my wife, my family, my team ORICA-GreenEDGE, friends and fans who sent me such kind messages during this tough time and I am thrilled that I could prove my innocence for all of you who stood by me. I would also like to thank my legal team Christopher Kok (Webber Wentzel), Ivan Miltz, Justin Bitter, Mike Morgan (Morgan Sports Law) and Chris Hattingh for their amazing help in resolving the matter. 
I am hoping to return back to racing now, and hopefully compete before the World Championships in September. I re-iterate my stance against doping and I will continue to race clean throughout my career. Right now, I am just really happy that I can be a bike rider again and do what I love the most."

According to Cycletips"
"The Star newspaper in South Africa reports that Impey had visited the chemist to buy empty capsules to fill with bicarbonate of soda for use in the South African road race championships. Impey was reportedly told that the pharmacist had no capsules but later received a call saying that some capsules had been found. Impey went back to the chemist to buy the capsules that afternoon.

According to The Star, the pharmacist had dispensed Probenicid to another customer just before servig Impey, and that “his hands had contaminated Impey’s capsules”. At Thursday’s hearing, the pharmacy produced cash register receipts showing time and purchase information to confirm the story.

In ORICA-GS Press Release:
Daryl Impey:
“I’m thrilled to have been given the notification that I’m 100% OK to race again and no sanction whatsoever will be applied. I was confident in my defense and I’m thankful that I was given the chance clear my name beyond any type of doubt. It’s been a tough period to get through, but I’d like to thank my team for giving me the possibility to focus solely on getting this process done properly. All I can think of now is that I get to join my team and race my bike again as soon as possible,” said Impey.
General Manager Shayne Bannan:
“We are extremely happy with the fact that Daryl has been 100% cleared to race and we all look forward to having him back riding for us. Daryl is a key rider for the team and we very pleased with how he has handled his case and the process around it. We will reinstate Daryl in our racing roster as soon as possible.”

My Opinion
I'm happy too!! Doping news about Daryl Impey had really surprised me and reactions of people deprecating him and the sport had deeply bittered me. They talked a bit too early and it's maybe a good think: so now evrybody can judge about friends loyalty and press professionalism. Amen.

giovedì 28 agosto 2014

La Vuelta 6: Up La Zubia

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Last day in red for Matthew

Sometimes a race is all in climb. Usually the last one, not always. Today it was La Zubia
Other climbs before and a break-away of course: Pim Ligthart again - Most Combactive yesterday - and Más Bonet, collecting points for his blue dot jersey. They got a good gap, almost 10' and 3 to go, already on the ramps of La Zubia, Pim Ligthart was solo. Only few seconds but only few road.
Hellish heat again. Plenty of water bottles on the head and down the throat. Plenty of public. A messy crowd even too close in Cumbres Verdes. The valley slowly apearing at the back of the race.
Embedded image permalinkThey were not going slow. Ligthart caught, a very selected group remained. Dropped one by one team leaders and gc contenders. Nobody able to attack, everybody expecting Purito. Indead Rodriguez attacked but it didn't work. Still together, hellish pace, screaming and pushing amongh the crowd, people running beside, more water on the head and finally a slow motion uphill sprint
Movistar TeamValverde and Quintana had done the split, Movistar secured the stage with relative easiness. Froome looked good but saving energy, at the back of the small group but able to respond better than AlbertoContador, on the short gear.
La Vuelta is still long but maybe on La Zubia somebody has already lost it.

Alejandro Valverde:
"This victory means a lot to me. Though it's harder to feel great with these temperatures, my legs were really good today, I felt well all over the course and I was able to win. It was a climb that really suited me and we couldn't miss such an opportunity had we got it - still, I think everyone saw clearly I was working for Nairo. There was a tailwind into the climb and it was hard for anyone into the main group to go away, they had to stay on our wheel. I was setting a strong pace to take some rivals out of contention, but saving an extra bit of energy in case anyone attacked, as it happened with both Purito and Froome. I never looked back: as well Nairo as the team car were telling me to keep the pace: 'Only ten or twelve riders behind you.' 
When Purito jumped away, I didn't think about it for a second - I went after him. He's someone we can't let take a single meter. I still had strength to counter and go for the win, so, at the end of the day, we couldn't do better: we took some rivals out of contention, though gaps weren't really huge - we also took some bonus seconds and the result is fantastic for the whole team. For me, the main leader of the squad is still Nairo, though I don't rule out my own chances. I keep really clear in my mind he'll be doing better and better, and he showed today he's up for the fight. Many mountains will come for him to do great. We get on really well with each other and I worked my heart out for him today. If I keep feeling well, I'll try and go for some more stage wins, though I keep faith GC-wise. The important thing is that one of us Blues can win the race."

Nairo Quintana: 
"I'm extremely happy for Alejandro. He's a great rider. He did a great work for me in the finale and still was able to win the stage - that's something not many riders can do. I'm still lacking some pace, you could see in the final kilometer I'm not still in my top condition, but I hope to keep progressing in the next stages. The important thing for us is to keep the win within the team, no matter if it's him or me, and for the time being, that goal is being fulfilled".

Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
"The guys did a really great job today. We talked about a strategy to use on the climb and Chris really stuck to that and finished well. He followed the early attacks and was there when it counted at the end.
The team rode really well. We were able to get all nine riders over the second-category climb which meant we had numbers coming into the finish. That was an advantage as everyone could do a bit of the work before the final climb.
Tomorrow is a stage which you could mistakenly look at and think it's an easy test. It could prove to be a lot more challenging than people think. You can lose time every day if you aren't careful and we certainly won't be looking to do that."

Tinkoff-Saxo DS Steven De Jongh:

“The goal was to put Alberto in a good position entering the foot of the climb and the boys did a very good job guiding him in the finale. From here, we didn’t really know what to expect after his crash during the Tour and the break from racing so I guess he took us all by surprise today and naturally I’m more than happy with this result. However, we still have to go easy and we take the race stage by stage and see how things are going. Tomorrow’s stage is probably going to be just as hot as today but I expect a bigger group battling it out between them and we obviously have to keep protecting Alberto”

Team Katusha Joaquim Rodriguez:
"It was a very hot day. The team did great job for me today. In general I didn’t feel bad during the day and I like climbs like this. But in the final climb I suffered a little from the heat. I tried to attack with 600 meters to go, but could not get enough gap. Maybe I had to go a little bit later, but in that moment I felt good and I decided to try. So it was first test in the mountains. Hopefully the next days will not be as hot."

Warren Barguil (11th):
“Today was really hard. The guys looked after me really well and they put me in second position at the foot of the final climb which was great. I gave it everything at the end. I had to let go of the group a bit but I then set my own tempo and ended up passing several others. I personally don’t feel like I am climbing my best yet but each day I am feeling better and this will hopefully play into my favour in the last week."

Sergio Pardilla (12th today, 15th GC)
"It was a really hard and hot day. It was the first mountain stage and the team worked really hard for me. When it came to the final, the top guys were really fast. The climb was a short climb and an explosive climb which doesn't suit me but at least i could still do a decent result. I will look for the stages where there is more climbing and longer climbs as well but for now i am happy."

Fabio Aru (6th):
“The team kept me at the front – they worked hard in the heat and that last climb was so tough"

Team Belkin 
Robert Gesink:
“I went all-in on the final climb. It was my best, so I’m happy with it. The climb was very hard, especially as it was a hot day again. The sprint to the final climb was very hectic because everyone wanted to be in the front and the roads aren’t very good in this area.” 
Laurens ten Dam
“It climbed for four kilometres and was straight uphill with an average gradient of 10 per cent. Valverde set the pace and really hurt me. I cursed him. I suffered a lot in the final three kilometres, but in the end, this is a great result. I did better than in the first mountain stage of the Tour.”

ORICA-GE DS Neil Stephens:
“We had plans for Adam Yates to try to get up for the stage win and also Esteban was also going to work to maintain his position in general classification. The team again did another fantastic job to lead the pair through the streets of Granada and position them at the front for the last climb. For the first two kilometers they were both there amongst the action, the heat and extreme velocity of the climb then got the better of Adam.   
Esteban did really well to maintain himself with the best climbers in the world until the final kilometre, losing a few seconds at the end. 
He is only 24 years old and coming back from a year out with an injury last year. It’s a bit early to tell how things will go from here, that was just one uphill finish and there are some very demanding mountain stages to come but so far so good.
It was really nice to see the boys riding through Granada at the front of the peloton with the leader of the bike race amongst them. We won a stage, we defended the lead for a few days and now we have other goals. We are trying to find other stages on the way and really look after Esteban. Holding the lead was one part of the Tour of Spain and we look forward to the next part.”

TFR DS Adriano Baffi:
“Julian is not in good shape at this moment. This week he has been in trouble, and he has suffered a lot in the [hot] temperatures. Our other card today was Haimar, but we know that this is not his finish. We always expected more for today, but it is what we have at the end, and we also expect Julian to be better in the second week. We just have to be patient to wait the best opportunity.
Tomorrow we can be more aggressive, because we start a stage where we can finally go in the breakaway, and it can go to the end. From tomorrow onwards our Vuelta will start. I also hope the situation for GC will become better as we go forward, but we also put zero pressure on Haimar.  We will take each day as it comes.”

BMC Samuel Sánchez: 
"The best riders stayed in front and in the final one-and-a-half kilometers, I could not follow them. I preferred to continue with my own pace to limit my losses. I have said from the first day that if Contador is here, he will be competitive. So is not a surprise for me."

OPQS Rigoberto Uran:
"It was a special climb with no corners, but a long straight road. I suffered a bit in the final, but we'll see in the next days what can happen. On Sunday there will be another test on an uphill finish."

1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 4:35:27  
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky  
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo  
4 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:08  
5 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:12  
6 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:18  
7 Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica Greenedge 0:00:25  
8 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
9 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky 0:00:32  
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:33

1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 22:48:08  
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:15  
3 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:18  
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:22  
5 Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica Greenedge 0:00:41  
6 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:45  
7 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:55  
8 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:58  
9 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:01:02  
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:06  

1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 72 pts
2 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 50  
3 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) 49
1 Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 18 pts
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 10  
3 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar 10  
1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 13 pts
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 16  
3 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 24  
1 Belkin Pro Cycling Team 67:58:17  
2 Movistar Team 0:00:45  

3 Team Katusha 0:02:28

In Short: Thomas Löfkvist Retires. Read What He Says

There is an article here:

In Short:
1. No New Contract by IAM Cycling
2. A Ten Years Career: “When I signed my first contract as a professional cyclist for the 2004 season with Française des Jeux, I thought I’d be happy if I could have such a wonderful job for ten years. Here we are. I’m glad to announce my retirement at the end of this year.
3. No More Energy: “My decision came after I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue this summe. I had to pull out of Tirreno-Adriatico because of an infection and I have only felt tired after that. I realized that I was not just having a bad day or a bad week. I was left with no energy. There was no way I could take part in the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España and be useful to the team. My last season has been a roller coaster with more downs than ups. My body is saying stop. 
4. Overtrained? “Some people will say than I’ve over trained for my whole career. What is sure is that I’ve never been under-trained. I’ve always been very serious with my cycling. Early on, my dedication to the sport has helped me deliver a lot of good results. Later on, I possibly would have achieved more if I had trained a bit less.”
5. Highlights: “I’ve enjoyed winning the Strade Bianche, but my most memorable moment is when I got the pink jersey at the Giro d’Italia in 2009. It was taken away from me by riders like Danilo Di Luca and Denis Menchov who I don’t envy at all for what they have achieved. I’ve chosen my teams for their ethics and I’m proud of that. I want to thank my long time friend and coach Michael Andersson for all those years advising me. He’s been there at the tough moments as well as the good ones. I want to thank Marc Madiot for having given me the chance to start my career."
6. Teams: "To win the Circuit de la Sarthe on a courageous mood for FDJ just a couple of days after I turned 20 is something I’ll never forget. I want to thank Serge Beucherie for my time at IAM Cycling. I’ve been enormously surprised by how much support I got from his staff and I feel bad that I can’t repay them with any more result. I’ve had my best years with Columbia-HTC. This was the best group of guys I’ve worked with. The team’s spirit was excellent.”
7. Victories: a national time trial title, third overall at the 2008 Tirreno-Adriatico, second overall at the 2008 Critérium International, victory at the 2009 Strade Bianche, a stage win at the 2009 Giro d’Italia and a day in the pink jersey.
8. Looking Forward: “I’m not sad to call it a career. It’s just time to move on. I’ve got ideas and projects in and out of cycling, in and out of Sweden. I also want to look after my two kids. I leave the sport with a lot of good memories. It’s been an amazing part of my life.”

My opinion:
Wise decision of course: when it's time you must actively move on avoiding to be draged away. Best wishes Thomas for your new life! And yes: life is much more than cycling... even for cyclists.

mercoledì 27 agosto 2014

La Vuelta 5: Pim Ligthart Long Escape, Echelons and Sprint

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How white these houses! how violent that light! narrow streets fortunately are shady, but steep. And crowded. Easier to pass through for a solo rider, while behind the peloton must slow down, start again, painfully, in the roar.
Pim Ligthart and Tony Martin were in a break-away from km 0 but 66 km to go Martin has decided to wait for the peloton. So now Pim Ligthart is solo.
Behind they are controlling, the pace is high. Chris Froome takes 2 seconds at the intermediate sprint, he'll be 13th overall at end of the day. They are in the town of Teba. A banner across the road cheers up Alberto Contador. 
Just out of Teba, crosswind and golden wheat fields. Tinkoff-Saxo goes in front pulling and the peloton splits in three groups. Pim Ligthart is shortly caught by first group, including also Contador, Froome, Uran and Tom Boonen, Belkin Hofland, Gesink and Kelderman, Matthew, Valverde, John Degenkolb, Bouhanni, Monfort... Dan Martin and Julian Arredondo are caught behind, Garmin-Sharp is chasing.
32km to go, regular lines of fat trees. 23 km to go, the second group has joined the first one. Some flat finally and everybody want water! cars are busy reaching riders by dangerous manouvreslot of horning at the back of the peloton. The jury car watching close.
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Pic by Antoine Plouvin
15 km to go there is the last climb, a 3rd cat only but the Mountain Classification leader Bonet attacks and passes it first, with Caja Rural Pardilla. Then he stops. It's the finish already, you can't go. Ronda. Gilbert launches the sprint but Degenkolb grabs it again. 2nd Bouhanni, a wonderful Hofland 3rd. 4th place for TFR talented Jasper Stuyven and 5th for Paul Martens
Now check the GC to see if Tinkoff-Saxo's move had any effect. For sure somebody had to spend more energy than expected. For sure Alberto Contador was feeling good.
Nacer Bouahnni protested that He had got closed against the barrier but the Jury said no.

John Degenkolb:
“The guys worked hard today when it split to bring Warren back up to the front and also Tobias pulled all day then was in the front split to keep us out of the wind until the climb. At the end we made the best out of the situation with just three of us. I had to improvise after nearly missing a corner. I lost the wheel and had to close the gap but luckily I was strong enough to still sprint. The atmosphere is very relaxed now and it’s good not just for mine but also the team’s confidence. I’m looking forward now to helping Warren tomorrow and getting him in the best position for what will be a steep, hard finish. It will be role reversal, me getting bottles and ice for the guys.”

Moreno Hofland

“A podium finish in a grand tour, I’m pretty happy with that. I was in Paul Martens’ wheel and he dropped me off perfectly. With four hundred metres to go, we had to close a small gap, which was a small thing, but nonetheless I’m very happy with this result. I’ve shown I can finish on the podium, perhaps I can win someday, as well.”

TFR Jasper Stuyven
“It was downhill at the end and I stayed at the back just taking it easy until the last kilometer, where I knew I had to be in the front. There was a tricky chicane with less than a kilometer to go and I made it through that okay. BMC and Giant-Shimano were leading out, and I went on the left with Gilbert, and made my sprint. There were a few guys ahead, but I am happy with fourth.
Popo did a great job! When the split happened I was in his wheel and he took all the wind to keep me sheltered. Then he constantly went back for bottles for me, and I have to say I was very well hydrated to the end. He was not there in the finale anymore, but what he did for me earlier was huge.
I heard in my radio that Haimar was in the second group, but it was not for me and Popo to drop back to help.  We were hoping the rest of the team would get him back, and they did, and that was great to save his GC. So in the end it turned out to be a very good day for the team.”

Tinkoff-saxo neo Pro Michael Valgren:
"This is a huge deal for me and to do my first GT here with Alberto is an honor and a great experience. Like everyone else here, I’m suffering in the heat and right now, I’m taking the race one stage at a time. I’m aiming to support Alberto and if he could take a stage win in the mountains, it would be fantastic to be of any assistance. My personal goal is to get through the race and gain as much experience as possible”

BMC DS Valerio Piva:
"Nobody expected Tinkoff-Saxo would go full gas on the descent. Unfortunately, we had Cadel behind. But Garmin had Daniel Martin behind, so Cadel stayed just stayed in their wheel and the group came back. Fortunately, the gap was never more than 25 or 30 seconds."

Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
"The guys did a good job todayWe wanted to be at the front all day as you never know what can happen. As it turned out it worked to our favour as most of the team were towards the front when Saxo made their move - so we had no trouble when it split apart. Froomey was able to take a couple of bonus seconds too which was great to see. We knew there was an opportunity with the small break and thought 'why not'. We gave it a go and it paid off.  Tomorrow the climbs begin and certainly we should learn a bit more about the climbing ability of the contenders. There won't be anywhere to hide which will make it very interesting."

1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 4:01:21  
2 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra)  
3 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
4 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek Factory Racing  
5 Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin Pro Cycling Team  
6 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
7 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team  
8 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling  
9 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka  
10 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 17:35:05  
2 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:13  
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:20  
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:24  
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:26  
6 Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica Greenedge  
7 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:29  
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:32  
9 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo  
10 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
11 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC Racing Team 0:00:34  
12 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team  
13 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:38  
14 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:00:39  
15 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:41  
16 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 0:00:45  
17 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha 0:00:47  
18 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky  
19 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin Sharp 0:00:48  

20 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka 0:00:49
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 70 pts
2 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) 54  
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica Greenedge 50
Mountain JERSEY
1 Luis Mas Bonet (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 10 pts
2 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar 9  
3 Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros RGA 6
Combination JERSEY
1 Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) MTN - Qhubeka 72 pts
2 Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida 72  
3 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka 89  
1 Belkin Pro Cycling Team 54:09:55  
2 BMC Racing Team 0:00:14  
3 Team Katusha 0:00:36  
4 Omega Pharma - Quick-Step 0:00:39  
5 Astana Pro Team 0:00:42