Volta a Catalunya – TV Guide and Live Streaming Options

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Volta a Catalunya, held between 18 and 24 March, will be broadcasted live from Eurosport every day starting from 15:30 CET. Esport3, TDP and ETB are the Catalan/Spanish/Basque broadcasters of the race from Spain. There will also be delayed broadcasts from Universal Sports in the United States.

For live streaming options, check out the below links though some may be geo-location restricted;

ETBEsport 3, TDP, Eurosport (Unofficial)

Also check Stage 4 Preview.

Volta a Catalunya – Jersey Colors

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Four jerseys are awarded in Volta a Catalunya. There is no young rider’s classification but instead there is a jersey of the Catalonia National Cycling Team awarded to the best placed Catalan. General classification jersey is white and green striped whereas points jersey is white and mountains jersey is red.

Volta a Catalunya 2013 – Riders’ List

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In addition to the 19 pro tour teams, the three wildcard entries; Caja Rural from Spain, Cofidis and Sojasun from France make up this year’s Volta a Catalunya.

Last year’s winner Michael Albasini will be absent but some big GC names including Bradley Wiggins, Joaquim Rodriguez, Alejandro Valverde, Robert Gesink, Ryder Hesjedal, Michele Scarponi, Chris Horner and Thomas de Gendt are attending this year. We have seen both Rodriguez and Horner were in very good shape during Tirreno-Adriatico, whereas Scarponi was still building up his form. Elsewhere in Paris-Nice we saw Gesink struggling and abandoning in stage 6, same also true for de Gent.

Last time we saw Wiggins was in Tour of Oman in early February, where he was barely keeping up with the peloton. He was in Tenerife training till then, so his recent form is a big unknown at the moment, which is also true for last year’s surprise Giro winner Ryder Hesjedal who will be riding for the first time in a stage race this year.

The startlist of the 93th edition:
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Volta a Catalunya 2013 – Introduction

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This year’s Volta a Catalunya will be held between March 18 and 24 and has a bumpy course as usual. As it is now positioned just after Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico, Volta a Catalunya became a perfect preparation race for non-classists in mid March.

The Catalonian geography shows no mercy for the weak. Over the course of 1.175 km, 26 categorized climbs await the riders with numerous bumps on the road that may very well receive a category elsewhere. There is not one queen stage in this race but instead two of them line up one after the other. The 3rd and 4th stages of the race, both mountaintop finishes around 2000 m altitudes will offer great cycling if the weather permits it.

After routing most of Catalunya in counter-clock-wise fashion, the race finishes in Barcelona with 8 laps on a finishing circuit with the legendary Montjuic climb.

Volta a Catalunya – A Brief History

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Volta Ciclista a Catalunya ranks second behind Vuelta Espana in popularity but its history predates the latter. It is the fourth-oldest stage race in cycling history, only after Tour de France, Tour of Belgium and Giro d’Italia. The race was first organized by the Barcelona club in 1911, and this year’s edition will be its 93th.

Past winners include Mariano Canardo (7), Miguel Indurain (3), Sean Kelly (2), Emilio Rodriguez (2). Most recently, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez, Michele Scarponi and Michael Albasini each clinched a title.

Kenny Dehaes Wins Snow-Affected Handzame Classic and Crashes Afterwards

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Lotto Belisol’s 28-year-old Belgian Kenny Dehaes won the snow-affected Handzame Classic outsprinting Kenny van Hummel from Vacansoleil. This is his second win of the season after the early season sprint victory in Trofeo Palma.

The 196km original course in Flanders was turned into a 35km loop from Bredene before ten laps of 16km around Handzame after heavy snow made most of the course unsafe.

After the breakaway group got caught in the final circuit, no escape attempt succeeded and Dehaes sprinted into victory out of a field sprint. Unfortunately, crashing quite seriously seconds after passing the line while trying to celebrate the win.

“After the finish I was thrown off my bike by a sudden gust of wind when I wanted to raise my hands,” Dehaes told. “My knee is swollen, and I have a few scrapes, but my victory makes me forget about it.”

Handzame Classic 2013 Results:

1. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Lotto Belisol 4:49:12
2. Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
3. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
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Gerald Ciolek Made History in Milan-San Remo

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German sprinter Gerald Ciolek from South Africa’s MTN-Qubeka won the sprint from a breakaway group involving Peter Sagan, Sylvain Chavanel, Fabian Cancellara, Luca Paolini and Ian Stannard. Taloy Phinney of BMC catched the break in the last meters but was a bit late as he cross the line last.

After the snow, neutralization of a pretty long part of the route and a second start around 15:00, Milan-San Remo’s 104th edition became an instant classic. The day’s break was 7′ 10″ ahead of the peloton when the race got neutralized due to show in Passo del Turchino so in the “second start of the race”, they kept this advantage, it was like handicapped racing all of a sudden…

“We have to be ready. It was so cold. With the snow + zero degrees it was hard on the legs but mainly the hands. It was hard to brake because you couldn’t feel your hands,” told Lars Yiting Bak from the breakaway group. “We got a hot shower on the bus. Normally MSR is like 2 races because of the distance. Today it really is two races.”

After Matteo Montaguti, Diego Rosa, Filippo Fortin, Maxim Belkov, Lars Yitting Bak and Pablo Lastras got caught on the Cipressa, it was world champion Philip Gilbert‘s turn to make a break. Sylvain Chavanel later joined Gilbert along with Ian Stannard and Eduard Vorganov. On the Poggio, Chavanel attacked within the break, dragging Ian Stannard with him to the top of the hill.

Peter Sagan had to react, so he did when the slope on the Poggio hit 9%, and managed to catch Chavanel and Stannard within the final 3 kilometers. But he was not the only rider with sprinting abilities left in the front.

Gerald Ciolek outsprinted the “almost invincible” Peter Sagan and made history in Milan-San Remo today, his biggest win so far and for his new team MTN – Qhubeka; first pro-continental team from Africa.

“I think my decision says enough.This is partly a precaution, but also a statement to the organization. They knew long enough that there was so much snow on the road. What happens now is the fault of the organization’s own fault. Have you ever wanted to bicycle through the snow ridden? There are nicer things than this. I’m completely frozen,” reportedly told Tony Boonen after quitting the race.

Milan-San Remo 2013 Results

1. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka”5′ 37′ 20″
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling
3. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack Leopard
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5. Luca Paolini (Ita) Katusha
6. Ian Stannard (GBr) Sky Procycling
7. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team
8. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha 14″
9. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
10. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling
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Milan-San Remo 2013 – TV Guide and Live Streaming Options

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— UPDATE: Due to heavy snow on the Milano-Sanremo route, the riders will be transported by bus from kilometer 117 to kilometer 207 (Finale Ligure). The race will be re-started at 3.00. —

“la Classica di Primavera” starts on 17 March, Sunday 10:10 CET and is expected to finish around 17:15. It is the first monument of the season so there is quite a lot options to view the race on TV.

Rai Sport 2 will start live broadcasting in Italy around 14:00, whereas the rest of the TV channels, including Eurosport, Sporza and RTBF in Belgium, ETB in Spain, NOS in Netherlands, RDS in Canada and SBS in Australia will start the live broadcast at 15:00.

For live streaming options, check out the below links though some may be geo-location restricted;

RTBF, Rai Sport 2, ETB, SBS, Eurosport (unofficial)

Also check race preview and pre-race interviews.

Milan-San Remo 2013 – Pre-Race Interviews

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Winner of five stages so far, all in sensational fashion, Milan-San Remo is Cannondale’s Peter Sagan‘s to lose, and all the teams will put some tactics on the field to overcome the Slovakian.

“I feel like I have two chances to win: either a sprint from a group or by following an attack on the Poggio,” says Sagan. “It’s my third attempt here and I have learned that the Cipressa and Poggio are key to understand if you can win or not. I’ll see for myself and not think too much about what the others can do, and I’ll count on my teammates. They can help make the difference.”

Whereas Manx-Missile Mark Cavendish played the underdogs, just like the year he won the race: “I was obviously asked if I want to target this and I honestly don’t want to target this. So, the pressure just on myself has been a lot less.”

Tom Boonen was a bit more confident, “Milan-San Remo is the next step in the evolution to my target races. It’s not the biggest objective of the Spring Classics, but I think maybe I will be ready to do a good race on Sunday. I’ve started to feel like my normal self and it is about time.”

And Vini Fantini’s Mauro Santambrogio, after his great run in Tirreno-Adriatico spoke even more boldly: “I will have to do well, this is the Carpe Diem moment for me and I don’t want to miss it. I know that the weather could seriously impact on the race, but I am ready for anything and in Tirreno the possibility of competing in the water was certainly not missed.”

“So many strong riders have a plan for this race: Cancellara, Sagan, Hushovd – in any normal circumstance they can all win,” said Astana’s general manager Giuseppe Martinelli. “But our strategy for the race is 100 percent behind Vincenzo Nibali, and if the weather is bad, then for us this is optimal, because everybody knows he rides better in the rain and cold.

Paris-Nice 2013 – Race Report

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Despite losing the top dogs to Tirreno-Adriatico, this year’s Paris-Nice was once again full of drama. We saw the maillot jaune crash and quit, SKY’s dominance on the climbs and a classicist in top form early in March.

The race started with a very short prolog, won by Europcar’s Damien Gaudin – a big surprise for everyone, even within the pelaton. Next day, in French road champion colors Nacer Bouhani won the opening sprint stage, but unfortunately later crashed and had to quit the race, this time wearing the yellow jersey. Argos’ German sprinter Marcel Kittel later won sprint frenzy in Stage 2.

As the climbs starting to appear one after the other, the general classification started to shape up. In Stage 3, Garmin’s American rider Andrew Talanksy stepped in to the maillot jaune after winning from a successful breakaway that formed on the ascent of Cote de Mauvagnat. Michael Albasini won Stage 4 while Talansky managed to keep his jersey the day after.

As we approached the queen stage of the race, Talanksy was leading the GC only by 3 seconds, and a record number of 6 riders were following him all under 10 seconds behind. It was Richie Porte attacking to the yellow jersey, thanks to SKY’s climbing lieutenants. Porte kept his lead in the 6th stage, which was won by Sylvain Chavanel in sensational fashion.

As we approach the decisive time trial on the ascent of Col d’Eze, Porte was leading with 32 seconds which proved to be more than enough as he won the stage 17 seconds ahead of runner up Andrew Talansky. Jean-Christophe Peraud moved to the last spot of the podium with his last day performance, moving on top of Chavanel and last year’s runner-up Lieuwe Westra.

Sylvain Chavanel won the points classification, Johann Tschopp of IAM Cycling won the mountains classification whereas runner-up Talanksy finished on top of young riders’ classification and won the white jersey. It was Katusha, leading the teams classification with 4 riders in the top 30.

General Classification

1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 29:59:47
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 55″
3. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 1′ 21″
4. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 1′ 44″
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 1′ 47″
6. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha 1′ 48″
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 1′ 54″
8. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 2′ 17″
9. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard 2′ 22″
10. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 2′ 28″

Points Classification

1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 88 pts
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 83 pts
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 68 pts

Mountains Classification

1. Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling 64 pts
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 27 pts
3. Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano 24 pts

Young Rider Classification

1. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 30:00:42
2. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 49″
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 59″

Teams Classification

1. Katusha 90:06:49
2. Ag2R La Mondiale 1′ 23″
3. RadioShack Leopard 3′ 38″