Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 – Race Report

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Tirreno-Adriatico attracted many big names for its 2013 edition, but eventually it was last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali victorious once again, in Astana colors this time. Team Sky’s Tour De France GC hope Chris Froome finished the podium in second place whereas Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador finished third.

In the initial team time trial stage, it was Omega Pharma Quick-Step to cross the finish line fastest, putting Mark Cavendish into the overall lead. Australian sprinter Matthew Goss from Orica GreenEdge won the first sprint stage of the tour, and it was Cannodale’s Peter Sagan outsprinting Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel in the third stage.

In the queen stage of the race, the pelaton arrived to the mountains for a mountaintop finish in Prati di Tivo, which was goodbye to Maglia Azzura for Cavendish. Froome won the stage and shaked the general standings dramatically and thanks to the TTT performance of OMQ in the first stage, Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski stepped into the overall lead. Despite having only an overnight lead and losing time afterwards, Kwiatkowski still managed to finish the race in fourth place and on top of the young riders’ classification; pretty impressive for the 22-year-old Polish.

The fifth stage had Peter Sagan’s name written all over it, but he cracked on the drag of Pietragrossa with 6 kilometers to go before the finish line and Joaquim Rodriguez was then unrivaled in Chieti. it was Froome’s turn to wear the leader’s jersey this time.

The sixth stage, a transition stage in paper, proved once again how spectacular pro cycling can be. Peter Sagan won his second stage of the tour and Vincenzo Nibali advanced to the overall lead. Nibali now had 34 seconds lead over Chris Froome before the penultimate individual time trial, which he easily defended and won the Tirreno-Adriatico for the second year in a row.

Alberto Contador led the points classification, thanks to mostly his attacks for seconds modifications in the sprint gates; and some were positioned very elegantly indeed. Damiano Cunego of Lampre-Merida won the mountains classification with his breakaway performances in the fifth and sixth stages. Finally, congratulations to Movistar, they finished on top of the teams classification with four riders in the top 40.

Andy Schleck, meanwhile again failed to finish the tour. After Tour Down Under, Tour Mediterraneen and Strade Bianchi, his retirement in Stage 6 was his fourth quit this season. So far, he only managed to finish G.P. Camaiore, 5:30 behind winner Peter Sagan; not promising at all for the grand tours ahead.

General Classification

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 28:08:17
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 23″
3. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 52″
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 53″
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 54″
6. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 1′ 21″
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 2′ 03″
8. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 2′ 42″
9. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 3′ 19″
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 3′ 35″

Points Classification

1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 27 pts
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 26 pts
3. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 25 pts

Mountains Classification

1. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida 20 pts
2. Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team NetApp-Endura 13 pts
3. Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 10 pts

Young Rider Classification

1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 28:09:10
2. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 16′ 34″
3. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ 16′ 47″

Teams Classification

1. Movistar Team 83:57:42
2. Sky Procycling 2′ 30″
3. Katusha 15′ 40″

Nibali defended Maglia Azzurra in Penultimate ITT

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World time trial champion Tony Martin won the 9.2km individual time trial 6 seconds ahead of Lampre-Merida’s Adriano Malori but it was Vincenzo Nibali‘s day, making it two in a row at Tirreno-Adriatico in front of his home crowd.

Nibali, yet winless in 2013 season, finished the stage in 12th place, 11 seconds slower than Chris Froome but enough to defend his Maglia Azzurra. Omega Pharma-Quickstep’s young polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski finished in 8th place, only 1 second short of his 2nd possible podium of the year, after his strong place finish in Volta ao Algarve. Katusha’s  Joaquim Rodriguez drifted away from the podium with his poor time-trialing skills but it is good to see him steadily improving over the past few years. This time, he was only 13 seconds slower than his biggest rival Alberto Contador who finished the race in third place.

“I was really, really happy with this Tirreno. It was really important to win,” said Vincenco Nibali. “This was more important than last year because of all the riders who came, like Chris Froome and Alberto Contador.”

This was Tony Martin’s second ITT win of the season and his form keeps building ahead of the bigger and harder races, where he’ll be an integral part of Omega Pharma’s; both in the classics and the grand tours. “I was looking for this day because the mountains weren’t for me, I had full focus for the day and I’m happy I won. It’s my first time here. My climbing has been getting better day by day, but I still need some time to improve. It’s still early in the season but I’m happy with the stage win. It’s been a good race for the team, ” told Tony Martin. Movistar’s Costa Rican rider Andrey Amador Bakkazakova finished the stage in 3rd place, 10 seconds slower than Martin.

Final General Classification

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 28:08:17
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 23″
3. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 52″
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 53″
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 54″
6. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 1′ 21″
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 2′ 03″
8. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 2′ 42″
9. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 3′ 19″
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 3′ 35″

Stage 7 Results

1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:10:25
2. Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida 6″
3. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 10″
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Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 Preview – Stage 7

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It is the last day of Tirreno-Adriatico and in the penultimate stage will be an individual time-trial, in one of the most important touristic centers of Adriatic Coast, San Benedetto del Tronto on 12 March, Tuesday. The stage is flat and relatively short, 9.2 km in length. And it won’t be enough for Chris Froome or Alberto Contador to close the gap.

Both Froome and Contador are excellent time-trialists but Vincenzo Nibali in maglia azzurra will not lose his 34 seconds margin unless he slips in a corner. We may have rain showers in the afternoon but they’ll all start back to back and suffer equally and to be honest, I don’t think Nibali will risk it much.

There are no time bonuses, and most recently Nibali finished the Tour de San Luis 19 km time-trial stage in fourth place, Michal Kwiatkowski was third, 3 seconds faster than Nibali and Contador was 43 seconds behind.

It’ll be Froome’s first time-trial this season. Last year in TdF, he came second after Bradley Wiggins where Nibali was in the Top 20 of both time-trial stages. And within the 90 km combined, Froome managed to make a difference of 3:52. If you do the math, with last year’s performance repeating itself, Froome will still only ride 23.5 seconds faster than Nibali; that won’t be enough…

The stage suits Tony Martin very well and he should be written down as the strongest candidate to win the time-trial, Fabian Cancellara and Lars Boom are also close to winning.

And finally, podium prediction:
1. Vincenzo Nibali
2. Chris Froome
3. Michal Kwiatkowski

GC before Stage 7

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astan a Pro Team 27:57:26
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 34″
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 37″
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 48″
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 58″
6. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 1′ 05″
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 1′ 20″
8. Pryzemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 2′ 54″
9. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 2′ 58″
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM 3′ 08″

Sagan wins Stage, Nibali in Maglia Azzurra!

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Despite the quite strong 16-rider early breakaway today, SKY and Cannondale worked in the front all day long and as the riders approached Muro di Sant’Elpidio for the last time, whatever was left from the break finally got erased. Last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali attacked on the technical descent followed by Peter Sagan, and later joined by Stage 5 winner Joaquim Rodriguez and formed a very strong late break.

Alberto Contador as well attacked on the descent but got stuck in the chasing group. Race leader Chris Froome, losing all his SKY lieutenants, found sanctuary by catching Cadel Evans‘ group. SKY now owes Thor Hushovd a big “thank you” for his efforts in the final kilometers.

The leading trio entered the final kilometers with more than 30 seconds ahead of Contador’s group and it came to a sprint finish between them to decide the winner. Sagan easily blasted home to grab his second win in this year’s Tirreno-Adriatico.

“In the breakaway were too many riders. Sky was on the front all of the race. When I felt good to make a good stage, I told my riders t to bring back Cunego and the other riders in the breakaway,” told Sagan. “Anyway, I am very happy. Vincenzo did a very good attack on the climb and afterwards on the descent, then we did the last climb also with Joaquim who came on the front. From there it was only ten kilometres to the finish – I am very happy.”

Vincenzo Nibali took the race leader’s jersey from overnight leader Chris Froome and will wear the blue jersey – Maglia Azzurra in the penultimate time-trial.

GC after Stage 6

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astan a Pro Team 27:57:26
2. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 34″
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 37″
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 48″
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 58″
6. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 1′ 05″
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 1′ 20″
8. Pryzemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 2′ 54″
9. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team 2′ 58″
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM 3′ 08″

Stage 6 Results

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 5:45:17
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 2″
3. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
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Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 Preview – Stage 6

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Stage 6 is a looping circuit around Porto Sant’Elpidio in the Fermo province on 11th March, Monday. There is only 1 categorized climb, which will be passed 3 times though it is a rolling circuit. We’re heading with this transition stage to tomorrow’s penultimate time-trial, and the fatigue of back to back mountain stages makes it very unlikely for the GC teams to chase a breakaway. Only SKY is expected to work with Maglia Azzurra on the shoulders of Chris Froome, though they’ll be more interested in keeping the GC as it is rather than winning the stage.

Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel are without a victory so far in Tirreno-Adriatico. They may both want the stage but OPQ may be more willing to keep podium candidate Michal Kwiatkowski away from trouble. Both Francesco Chicchi and John Degenkolb abandoned the race whereas Matthew Goss and Peter Sagan each won a stage so far. And I don’t think FDJ, AG2R, MTN-Qhubeka or Lampre-Merida has the strength to chase a break and then enter the sprint with a good positioning.

Everything favors some strong breakaway to succeed, a good rouleur with fresh legs can score a very prestigious win here.

Rodriguez Unmatched on Final Climb

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Team SKY once again worked very hard and managed to drop Peter Sagan 6 kilometers to go on the drag of Pietragrossa. Overnight race leader Michal Kwiatkowski stayed within the group until the final ramp in Chieti but Joaquim Rodriguez‘s solo break with more than a kilometer to go was the end of his jersey dream. Katusha’s Rodriguez soloed all the way to the top to collect his second win of the season, while the rest of the GC contenders upped the pace even more, cracking Kwiatkowski.

Bauke Mollema of Blanco came second, winning the sprint amongst the elite climbers and Alberto Contador came third, getting the last time bonus. Despite finishing the stage in 5th spot, Chris Froome is now the race leader as we’re heading to a spectacular 9.2 km time trial on Tuesday. For tomorrow, we’ll have a transition stage, very likely with little impact on GC. Contador, with his attacks for the sprint gates, now leads the points classification and will wear the red jersey tomorrow.

GC after Stage 5

1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 22:11:53
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 20″
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 24″
5. Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack Leopard 37″
6. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 52″
7. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 55″
8. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling 57″
9. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 1′ 27″
10. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky Procycling 1′ 51″

Stage 5 Results

1. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 6:06:43
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 8″
3. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
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Porte became the first Australian champion of Paris-Nice

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Richie Porte of Team SKY retained his yellow jersey on the up-hill time-trial in Col d’Eze. Porte was 32 seconds ahead of his closest rival, American Andrew Talansky, and extended his lead to 55 seconds at the end of the day. Talansky, finished the stage second and grabbed the second place on the podium and kept the young rider’s classification jersey. AG2R’s Jean-Christophe Peraud finished the stage at fourth place, but the time difference was enough to bring him to the last podium spot.

Stage six winner Sylvain Chavanel finished seventh, good enough to finish Paris-Nice leading the points classification and Johann Tschopp of IAM Cycling already had the mountain classification lead.

“I can’t believe it. It’s just an honor to have my name up there with Bradley Wiggins, Tony Martin, all the big champions,” said Porte. “I’m still doing my apprenticeship, and I’m still learning off Bradley and Chris. I don’t expect to go to the Tour and ride for general classification. I’m in a good place at the moment and I don’t want to change anything. I’m going to take it as it comes. Whatever happens we’re gonna have a hell of a team for the Tour de France.”

Richie Porte finished the stage in 19′ 16″, 1 minute 40 seconds faster compared to his last year’s performance where he was working as a domestic for Bradley Wiggins, only 6 seconds slower than Wiggins’ last year performance. This simply proves how mental time-trialling is, if you have too much to lose, you simply do astonishing things.

Final 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″

Stage 7 Results

1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:19:16
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0′ 23″
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 0′ 27″
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Milan-San Remo 2013 Preview

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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. —

During Tirreno-Adriatico, we’ve seen even Mark Cavendish and Andre Greipel are not invincible, Peter Sagan is in top notch form, same also true for Sylvain Chavanel, considering his GC run and stage win in Paris-Nice.

Edvald Boasson Hagen was ok in Tour of Qatar and Tour Down Under but we haven’t seen him race since then. Fabian Cancellara was not impressive at all so far, but still someone you shouldn’t ever ignore for a second. Last year’s winner Simon Gerrans, despite winning a stage in Tour Down Under, failed to finish Paris-Nice, did no start stage 5 due to breathing problems.

Alongside Cavendish and Greipel; Marcel Kittel and Matthew Goss looked strong, each winning a stage past week. If Milan-San Remo ends with a bunch sprint, expect lead out trains checking each other in the front and a frenzy gallop between these riders.

If it comes to a breakaway within the last 30 kilometers, Peter Sagan will definitely follow and can be unstoppable in the final meters. Neither Philippe Gilbert nor Tom Boonen looked strong enough to win with a solo escape. And even if Cancellara or Chavanel tries that, just remember Sagan in this year’s Tour of Oman 2nd stage; closing the 200 meter gap alone before the final kilometers against a 3-rider breakaway and then passing them for his first win of the season.

But the most possible scenario is a select group of maybe 30, 40 riders making it to the final 20 kms. And from that point, we’ll see everyone playing their cards open and a clash of tactics in the field where only both physically and mentally tough riders can react.

Milan-San Remo final 30 kms

Expect to see some attacks on the Cipressa and the front group getting thinner and thinner as early breakaways get swept. But the race is %95 of the time won or lost in Poggio. With his recent form, it is Peter Sagan‘s race to lose but we’ve witnessed SKY cracking him on the drag of Pietragrossa in Tirreno-Adriatico very recently. But  also saw him take his “revenge” by attacking with Nibali on the Muro di Sant’Elpidio just the day after.

It is the longest and one of the fastest single stage races and positioning is key more than ever.

Also check out pre-race interviews and TV Guide / live streaming options.

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Milan-San Remo 2013 – Riders’ List

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6 teams are invited with wildcards besides the 19 pro tour teams: Androni Giocattoli-VenezuelaBardiani Valvole – CSF Inox and Vini Fantini-Selle Italia from Italy, IAM Cycling from Switzerland, French Team Europcar and South Africa’s Mtn-Qhubeka.

Peter SaganMark CavendishAndre GreipelMarcel KittelMatthew Goss and Sylvain Chavanel are this year’s favorites. But Milan-San Remo is an endurance test rather than a regular sprint stage. Check out Race Preview for more detail and predictions.

The startlist of the 104th edition of Milan-San Remo
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Milan-San Remo – A Brief History

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Milan-San Remo, the 298 km single stage race, the first monument of the cycling calendar will be held on 17 March, Sunday this year. It will be 104. edition of “la Classica di Primavera” – the spring classic with its first edition dating all the way back  to 1907.

It is a sprinters’ classic, but an endurance race rather than a gallop sprint within bunch. Some great cyclists won the race including the legendary Eddy Merckx (7 times), Costante Girardengo (6), Gino Bartali and Erik Zabel 4 times each. More recently, both pure sprinters like Mark Cavendish, Matthew Goss and Oscar Freire (3 wins) or puncheurs like Fabian Cancellara or Simon Gerrans won the race.