venerdì 27 marzo 2015

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 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

lunedì 23 marzo 2015

Vuelta a Catalunya 1: The Peloton Does Wrong Its Maths

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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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
173 Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida
174 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
175 Olivier Le Gac (Fra)
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

domenica 22 marzo 2015

Milano-San Remo: A Long Sprint (and many crashes)

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La Primavera, and raining. As usual, as always. A classic Milano-San Remo weather. The classic early start from a cold wet Milano, and the early break-away - Molana, Barta, Person, Tjallingii, Frapporti, Pirazzi, Kurek, Bono, Pauwels, Berard and Dall'Antonia. Immediately 1', almost 7' on Passo del Turchino. Heading to the sun, still in the rain.
This year the classic is back to its classic route and I'm glad, because there is no need to change a classic: 'classic' is what's always now. 
Tail wind on the coast helps the break to stay away. 70 km to go the gap is still 4' and the sun is finally shining. A beautiful sea, dark blue and white, green hills, big buildings risen up disorderly, everywhere. Wet roads.
60 km to go the gap is 3'20", the peloton led by Ettixx and Katusha is  approaching the Capi (Mele, Cervo and Berta). Team Sky is moving up, so Tinkoff and Trek. Everybody want to stay in front and nervousness causes a small crash. Jacopo Gurnieri fell but he's back on bike.
Capo Cervo. The break-away starts loosing time. On the way to Capo Berta the gap is only 1'53".
The front group has split on the Capo Berta. Four leaders are left: Bérard, Bono, Pauwels and Pirazzi. A big crash in the descent, several riders went straight against a stone wall. Jul Jensen's face is ful of blood. 
Embedded image permalinkTeam Sky is leading, Puccio crashes and Luke Rowe gets a meter with Thomas and Swift on his wheel. Bono is the last man on the road.
Cipressa: 8 riders are chasing, including the 3 Sky's and riders dropped from the break. The peloton is coming back. BMC Dillier joins, Stybar attacks, Van Avermaet follow. The dance are officially open. More crashes in the descent including also Demare who abandones on a mechamical problem.
Embedded image permalink25 km to go Bono is caught. The peloton is compact but on a long line, while Team Sky keeps pulling, by Nordhaug this time. BMC is also very active
The pace is heigh and some sprinters are in trouble, like Kristoff, Bouhanni, Cavendish and Lobato, others definitely no, like Greipel and Sagan.
Descent: Pozzato is leading. Gallopin goes in front and hits first via Aurelia, but suddenly Oss attacks and Thomas respond. 16 km to go, they aproach the Poggio, Oss pulling, Thomas on the wheel. The Welsh waits, then starts collaborating
Embedded image permalinkThe duo is on the Poggio: 3.7 km long, 3.7% average gradient, 8% max. Kristoff and Cavendish managed to come back to the front, escorted by Ettix and Katusha. Greipel is a bit in trouble. Gap is small, about 10''. 7 km to go Thomas goes solo! Meanwhile Swift can stay confortably in the group, saving energy for the finish.
Attacks arrive. Van Avermaet bridges to Thomas, Felline, Sagan and Stybar joins. It's a fluid situation, 20 riders in front. Fast descent. A bad crash again: Gilbert, Stybar, Kwiatkowski and  Ciolek are down. Race over for them.
Embedded image permalinkA large front group goes fast toward via Roma. Thomas and Swift are there, like Sagan, Cancellara, Kristoff, Degenkolb...
Via Roma: Degenkolb wins with a very long sprint. 

John Degenkolb:
“I still can’t believe it. Today was amazing. It was really fast on the Poggio and I had to dig in and suffer there but my shape was good and the hard work over the past weeks and months paid off here.
I managed to make it into a good position over the top of the Poggio and avoid the crashes and then in the final two kilometres it was just fighting for position and relying on instinct. Everything came together today.
The whole team team were great today in keeping me out of the wind and making it as easy as possible from it. Then at the end Tom [Dumoulin] did a great job in getting me into position for the Poggio. I’m really proud of the result today.”

Alexander Kristoff:
"I think I started too early, maybe I needed to wait 50 meters later to start my sprint, but I had no other solution because I was in first position. Luca was really great today and he did impressive work on the Poggio and later in the final. I could not ask more from him. Honestly in one moment I thought I could win, but John was too fast in the end and I could not answer. I was on the limit. The finish was on a small uphill and in the end I was too tired.
The team was really great today. I thank all of the guys, and of course Luca. It was a hard day. I did not feel like I did last year but anyway I was still strong. On the Cipressa was a hard moment for me but the team supported me well. Later on the Poggio Luca went in front and provided me the rhythm I needed to get past those feelings. Of course I am a little bit disappointed but it is normal since I was very close to the win. But maybe later I will be happy, because it is 2nd place in Milano–Sanremo".
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Michael Matthews: 
“It was a pretty cold and wet day today but we did what we had to do. The ORICA-GreenEDGE team supported me really well.
As you could see on the Cipressa and Poggio climbs I had really good legs today so I am a little bit disappointed in the final.
I guess I have got to believe that it’s Milano-Sanremo and it’s my first attempt at going for a result here, so I have to be positive about that. I'm really thankful for the team in believing in me and helping me deliver this result.”
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Michał Kwiatkowski:
"Always wear your helmet! This one save my life! All fine;)"

Roy Curvers:
"That was awesome! Our Wetkampftier @johndegenkolb wins Milano-SanRemo! Goosebumps for half an hour! #proud "
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EBH bike :(

Edvald Boasson Hagen:
"It was really cold in the start but it got better after the Turchino. I managed to be up there in 10th place. I didn't do a great sprint but I was happy to still secure a top 10. Serge did a really good job to be up in the front and it helped us in not having to chase from behind. It was a pity our team was affected by so many crashes, it maybe would have been a better day if this did not happen."

Fabian Cancellara:
“If you look ahead of me there are six world-class sprinters, and I am the first non-traditional sprinter, in a way. I don’t have the absolute instinct to find the right spot and to know when you can feel when someone is coming, and I got a little bit locked in on the right side. I made a mistake there and it’s disappointing because I had good legs.
I was in a really good place with 500 meters to go but then the riders came from the left side and closed me, and like professional sprinters they would never open the door again, and that was my own luck.
I checked out who was behind me, and it was not right, and the moment was gone in a milli-second to make a late attack.  This race is always the most tactical of the entire year, there are tons of possibilities, and maybe I waited too long in the sprint, or….there are more questions than answers.
I was also lucky I didn’t crash because Philippe Gilbert crashed just in front of me in a corner and I almost went down. Like I said you need a lot of luck and tactics to come together at the end.”

Koen de Kort:
"We did it, we won a monument. I can't bloody believe it. @johndegenkolb you ripper!"

Geraint Thomas:
“I was supposed to wait until the Poggio but when I saw Oss go you could see how strong BMC were and it was kind of just instinct to follow. I could have waited but it was just in the heat of the moment you just race.
I just knew that they (BMC) were strong so if we had a guy up there then we didn’t have to ride behind and that is always better.
It was hard. I went and I tried to give it everything but I knew the boys behind. I knew when the likes of Van Avermaet and Sagan attacks in the last k that they’re going to be doing over 700 watts and they’re going to close the gap pretty quick. You have to try. I wasn’t thinking about that (the win) I was just thinking about getting to the top and then if you’ve got a gap then you start thinking about the descent and then you start thinking about the finish.
It was a good day really, we committed to the plan, unfortunate about the crash just after Capo Berta when Puccio came down but we just kept rolling. It was kind of good for me and Swift, we had a bit of an easy ride.
I just felt really average all day and then I just went on that climb. In the finish I just tried to keep the pace high because I could see it was all strung out. I saw that Swifty was about seventh or eighth coming off that descent, I saw him give me a nod so I just rode as long and as hard as I could but I was pretty nailed by then.
Hopefully I can make use of it. I was really disappointed in Paris-Nice, I was proper gutted. It still hurts when people bring it up now. That crash was a really stupid crash, I’ve done that corner 100 times so that was annoying. Hopefully these next three weeks we can get something now.”

Team Sky DS Dario Cioni:
"The guys rode really well as a team. Ben was a little disappointed for the final result. He felt good all race but didn't find the space he needed in the sprint at the end. That's how sprints go. You need to make split-second decisions and sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.
If you take into cosideration that we lost Puccio and Ian who were important guys in the race to a crash we found ourselves in a good position. If luck had gone his way G could have potentially been in a position to take the win. If (Luca) Paolini hadn't committed fully to go and catch him. But it was a really good ride from G and all the guys. We just missed the final part in the sprint.
It was not ideal to lose two guys ahead of the Cipressa.
Luke did a really good job pulling and getting both Swifty and G onto the Cipressa in a good position. The fact they didn't have to fight to be at the front helped set them up well - especially G. One thing I was really happy with was the fact that we made a plan in the morning and we executed it pretty well. We decided we didn't want to have to pull early so that we could commit everything in the last 40km. That's what we did."

Chad Haga:"An unforgettable memory: rolling across the finish line at #MSR, my first Monument, with the knowledge that I contributed to the victory."

Mark Cevendish:
“I didn't feel good at all, but the team put me in good position through all the climbs, I just fought and fought, just to have a chance but then with a kilometre and a half to go on the Cipressa, the same thing as at Tirreno happened: my chain came off.
It was on the flat bit of the Cipressa, you shouldn't ever be dropped on the Cipressa but my chain came off on the outside like in Tirreno, like it happened to Tom (Boonen) and a few guys this year.
I wasn't able to close the gap before the top of the Cipressa, so I sat there doing 650-700 watts for five kilometres, just to keep a twenty-metre gap. I got back on the descent, but it just cooked me. I was on my limit after that. You can't afford that on the top of Cipressa when you are a sprinter. It just cooked me. I wasn't able to keep moving up.
It wasn't that I was getting dropped, but you need to keep moving up and keep fighting for position, and I just didn't have the energy to keep doing it, to keep doing those little accelerations on the Poggio, so every corner I was losing a couple of positions. It just put me too far back.
It just kind of went to shit a bit at the end. Both the lads [who crashed] are all right, but it wasn't nice. I spotted them out of the corner of my eye when I was coming back on the Poggio. At least everyone is safe and well.
Degenkolb has been battling and close for a while, it's nice that he has a win here.”

Michal Kwiatkowski:
"Let's hope tomorrow morning when I wake up from bed I won't feel anything. But as of now I am feeling OK and I have to be happy about that. Bad luck today, especially that both of us were on the ground. The race looks different than what it could have been if that didn't happen. We did it perfectly today, my teammates did a great job putting us into good position. For the first time at Milano-Sanremo I was there on the Poggio. We felt really comfortable. It was still a big group. When I heard Cavendish was no longer with us, I knew we both still felt good and who knows what can happen in this kind of race. Maybe we could try an attack or make the sprint ourselves. But again, bad luck, and not much I can do in this situation other than feel happy with my condition and that the crash was not worse."

Zdenek Stybar: 
"Today I was really unluckyI crashed twice. The first time I crashed on the downhill of the Capo Berta when other riders went down in front of me and I couldn't avoid them. But I was fortunately able to get up and ride immediately. Then I crashed for the second time on the descent of the Poggio when someone crashed in front of Kwiato and I. At that point my race was over. It's a pity because despite the first crash, the idea was to ride to the end of the downhill of the Poggio and see what we could have done. I had good legs today and it's a shame I couldn't get to the finish and we couldn't play all our cards, even if because arriving in Via Roma after 300 kilometers of riding the sprint is always strange and anything can happen. But OK, that's cycling. I have a few scratches on my knee and ribs, but nothing serious. So after today we just need to turn the page and see what we can do at the next races."

Paul Martens
"Hoped for a top10, but actually i'm satisfied how it went,because i'm an Anti-rain rider:-)congrats to @johndegenkolb ,happy for him."

Peter Sagan: 
“It was a tough race, also due to the rain. But at least the weather was better than last year and in the final part of the race, the roads dried and the sun came out. I would like once again to thank my teammates because they worked really hard during the race. But at the end, although I was feeling very well and in form, I think I made a mistake, when I approached the final sprint too far down in the pack.
I was too far down after the last corners, which meant that I had to overtake too many to be successful at the end. However, now I focus on the Cobbled Classics ahead and I must admit that I feel well and in good form. We will see how the next races play out”.


1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
2 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha
3 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
5 Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
7 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek Factory Racing
8 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
10 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN - Qhubeka
11 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
12 Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff Saxo
13 Ben Swift (GBr) Team Sky
14 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Team Cannondale - Garmin
15 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
16 Grega Bole (Slo) Ccc Sprandi Polkowice
17 Paul Martens (Ger) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo
18 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF
19 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
20 Aleja Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
21 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
22 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Ccc Sprandi Polkowice
23 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling
24 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team
25 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin
26 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
27 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale 0:00:06
28 Nathan Haas (Aus) Team Cannondale - Garmin
29 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff Saxo 0:00:09
30 Luca Paolini (Ita) Team Katusha 0:00:11
31 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:12
32 Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ 0:00:23
33 Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ
34 Yoann Offredo (Fra) FDJ
35 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica Greenedge
36 Rein Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
37 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica Greenedge
38 Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC Racing Team
39 Bram Tankink (Ned) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo
40 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Team Cannondale - Garmin
41 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre - Merida
42 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team
43 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
44 Jan Bakelandts (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale
45 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
46 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Etixx - Quick-Step
47 Andre' Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
48 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) Ag2r La Mondiale 0:00:51
49 Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:00:56
50 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:01:18
51 Lars Boom (Ned) Astana Pro Team
52 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre - Merida
53 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli 0:02:38
54 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:02:52
55 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:03:00
56 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx - Quick-Step
57 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
58 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
59 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN - Qhubeka 0:03:38
60 Marco Haller (Aut) Team Katusha 0:04:38
61 Gregory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing
62 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica Greenedge
63 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal
64 Julian Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing
65 Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Team Katusha
66 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:04:41
67 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:04:56
68 Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
69 Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin 0:04:59
70 Zico Waeytens (Bel) Team Giant - Alpecin
71 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN - Qhubeka
72 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
73 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team Katusha
74 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team
75 Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
76 Jérome Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling
77 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team
78 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora - Argon 18
79 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) MTN - Qhubeka
80 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
81 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
82 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre - Merida
83 Marco Bandiera (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
84 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
85 Juan Jo Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar Team
86 Michal Golas (Pol) Etixx - Quick-Step
87 Branislau Samoilau (Blr) Ccc Sprandi Polkowice
88 Bartlomiej Matysiak (Pol) Ccc Sprandi Polkowice
89 Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Bora - Argon 18
90 Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team
91 Bert Jan Lindeman (Ned) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo
92 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Team Katusha
93 Axel Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Lampre - Merida
94 Dmitry Kozonchuk (Rus) Team Katusha
95 Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Team Cannondale - Garmin
96 Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani CSF
97 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica Greenedge
98 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora - Argon 18
99 Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk
100 Jacobus Venter (RSA) MTN - Qhubeka
101 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling 0:06:30
102 Juan Pablo Valencia (Col) Colombia 0:07:08
103 Luca Chirico (Ita) Bardiani CSF
104 Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin
105 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Team Sky
106 Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora - Argon 18
107 Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia
108 Jack Bauer (NZl) Team Cannondale - Garmin
109 Bjorn Thurau (Ger) Bora - Argon 18 0:08:27
110 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo 0:08:57
111 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
112 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre - Merida
113 Thomas Leezer (Ned) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo
114 Maarten Tjallingii (Ned) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo
115 Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
116 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal
117 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
118 Brayan St Ramirez Chacon (Col) Colombia
119 Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:11:30
120 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Etixx - Quick-Step
121 Jan Barta (Cze) Bora - Argon 18
122 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx - Quick-Step
123 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff Saxo
124 Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora - Argon 18
125 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff Saxo
126 Serghei Tvetcov (Rom) Androni Giocattoli 0:11:37
127 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
128 Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ
129 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
130 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky
131 Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing
132 Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
133 Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar Team
134 Adrian Kurek (Pol) Ccc Sprandi Polkowice
135 Julien Berard (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale
136 William Bonnet (Fra) FDJ
137 Moreno Moser (Ita) Team Cannondale - Garmin
138 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:14:58
139 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
140 Ruslan Tleubayev (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
141 Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani CSF
142 Christian Delle Stelle (Ita) Ccc Sprandi Polkowice
143 Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk
144 Robert Wagner (Ger) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo
145 Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ
146 Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk
147 Rick Flens (Ned) Team Lotto NL - Jumbo
148 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Tinkoff Saxo
149 Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant - Alpecin
150 Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Ccc Sprandi Polkowice
151 Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Giant - Alpecin
152 Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant - Alpecin
153 Tomasz Kiendys (Pol) Ccc Sprandi Polkowice
154 Edwin Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia
155 Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Colombia
156 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Ag2r La Mondiale
157 Steven Cummings (GBr) MTN - Qhubeka
158 Alex Dowsett (GBr) Movistar Team
159 Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk
160 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) FDJ 0:20:41