Bouhanni outsprinted opponents in Paris-Nice Stage 1

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Orica Greenedge worked very hard in the final kilometers for their Australian sprinter Leigh Howard but it was FDJ’s Nacer Bouhanni outsprinting Alessandro Petacchi of Lampre and Elia Viviani from Cannondale. Bouhanni was “less than” 10 seconds slower than Gaudin in the prologue and with the 10 second time bonus, he is now the proud owner of the yellow jersey.

Sylvain Chavanel failed to finish the bunch sprint with a podium spot, but still got 9 points for the sprinters qualification. With so much sprinters in good form, he may as well say goodbye to the green jersey tuesday evening. Bertjan Lindeman of Vacansoleil was in the escape group today and also the first to cross both the intermediate sprints and the single mountain gate. He wears the mountains jersey and is guaranteed to keep it tomorrow as well since there is not a single categorized climb.

Movistar’s GC contender Rui Costa failed to finish the stage after crashing and possibly breaking his wrist, alongside Jure Kocjan of Euskatel and Pierrick Fedrigo of FDJ due to illness. Also during the final kilometers, due to cross-wind, minor accidents and increasing pace, the pelation is split into two, resulted Marcel Kittel to miss the sprint and Tom Boonen to lose very valuable time.

Results:

1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ 4:47:24
2. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
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Roma Maxima 2013

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Roma Maxima is the new installment of Giro del Lazio, a 1.HC semi classic from Italy in the UCI Europe calendar, which was not run since 2008 and Blel Kadri from Europcar got his most prestigious win of his career so far on 3 March, Sunday.

After spending 90 kms in a 4-rider breakaway, Bilal Kadri made a second break and soloed the last 35 kms alone to win the 75th edition of this semi classic. Another 4-rider chasing group led by Cannodale’s Vincenzo Nibali failed to catch Kadri and got caught by the bunch group in the final kilometer. Which resulted to a bunch sprint on the cobblestones of central Rome, won by Filippo Pozzato of Lampre, celebrating, believed he had won the race for a second. With no race radio allowed, probably he was not the only one unaware of Kadri, but still the 26-year-old Frenchman won this race on a day he was not supposed to race at all, replacing Steve Chainel since he was ill.

Roma Maxima 2013 Results

1. Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 4:26:27
2. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida 37″
3. Grega Bole (Slo) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
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Paris-Nice 2013 Preview – Stage 1

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The first “real” stage of Paris Nice starts from Saint-Germain-en-Laye and ends in Nemours on March 4, Monday; traveling along the outskirts of Paris.

It will be a typical sprint day, where a breakaway group kept carefully at distance by sprint teams and got eventually caught within the last 20 kilometers, where a bunch sprint then is unavoidable. Marcel Kittel of Argos-Shimano, Mark Renshaw of Blanco and Nacer Bouhanni of FDJ are the best sprinters in the pelaton and don’t think a last-5 km break from Chavanel or a sprint effort from Boonen could make things different.

There will be time bonuses both in the intermediate sprints and at the stage finish, so expect one of the sprinters to wear the yellow jersey at the end of the stage.

Damien Gaudin Surprised Everyone in Paris-Nice Prologue

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The ex-track cyclist from Europcar surprised everyone on Sunday with his win over the 2.9 km very technical prologue in Paris-Nice. As a road cyclicts, Gaudin’s most important success was coming second in 2011 Tour of Luxemburg prologue. Damien Gaudin finished the circuit in 3′ 37″, Sylvain Chavanel of Omega Pharma-Quick Step finished in second place and last year’s runner-up Lieuwe Westra of Vacansoleil-DCM came third and showed that he is in form for this year’s GC race.

Results

1. Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar 0:03:37
2. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 01″
3. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
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Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 Preview – Stage 1 – TTT

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The race starts on 6 March, Wednesday and the first stage is a short (16.9 km), almost flat team-time-trial. The time differences won’t matter much thus the stage is not important considering GC but will be a decider for the next 3 day’s pink jersey holder. Also consider it as a teams’ presentation…

BMC won the only team-time-trial of the season in Tour of Qatar, where almost every team was using road bicycles instead of team-trial ones. SKY came second 5 seconds behind BMC and Omega-Pharma-Quickstep came third. Brent Bookwalter and Adam Blythe will not be in the squad but still BMC brought a strong team and is the main contender. It can be Taylor Phinney wearing the blue jersey at the end of the day but expect some strong resistance from SKY, OPQ, Movistar and even RadioShack Leopard.

Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 – Riders’ List

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3 teams are invited as wildcard entries besides the 19 pro tour teams; Vini Fantini-Selle Italia from Italy, Team NetApp-Endura from Germany and MTN Qhubeka from South Africa.

There will be quite some interesting competition from the likes of Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez, Chris Froome and last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali for the blue jersey. Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel, Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Taylor Phinney are amongst the several names that can win a stage or two in here.

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Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 – Introduction

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Tirreno-Adriatico will be held between March 6 and 12 this year. This year’s race consists of seven stages including both indivual and team-time trials.

The 16.9 km long team-time-trial will serve as a teams presentation much like last year’s Vuelta, but the final 9.2 km long flat individual time-trial will decide whether the rider wearing the blue jersey will keep it or not. We have 2 stages for sprinters, 2 for classics man preparing specifically for Milan-San Remo and a real mountain-top finish in Prati di Tivo which was won by Vincenzo Nibali 16 seconds ahead of Roman Kreuziger.

Tirreno-Adriatico – A Brief History

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Tirreno-Adriatico, “the race of the two seas” is an early season stage race held in Italy and widely regarded as a Milan-San Remo preparation. Now a 2.HC race in the UCI World Tour, it traditionally starts from the west coast of Italy – the Tyrrhenian Sea and ends in the east coast, in the seaside resort of Adriatic Coast, San Benedetto del Tronto since the second edition of the race.

With its first edition dating back to 1966, the Belgium cyclist Roger De Vlaeminck holds the record by winning the race 6 times in a row between ’72 and ’77. Most recently Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, Michele Scarponi and Fabian Cancellara each clinched a title.

Strade-Bianche 2013

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A very new addition to the European calendar, 1.1 ranked Strade-Bianche, in its 7th edition finally got an Italian winner. Moreno Moser of Cannondale clinched not only his first victory of the season but the most important one of his career as well.

Within the last 20 kilometers, the 22 year-old Italian made a successful attempt and with 15km to go, got to the backwheel of  Flecha, who was relentlessly chasing the 4-rider breakaway group.  Moser’s attack changed things dramatically as well in the breakaway group and after some attacks within the 4 riders, things eventually settled when Moser managed to catch Schar and Belkov from the original breakaway and once again formed a 4 rider group. But it was Moser who was hiding in the peloton most of the race compared to the other original riders in the breakaway group, so when they hit the last hill with a kilometer to go,  Moser easily pushed himself ahead and soloed to his greatest victory so far.

Within the bunch of main contenders, Peter Sagan burst clear to snatch the second place, whereas it was Rinaldo Nocentini who got the last spot in the podium out-sprinting last year’s winner Fabian Cancellara and Alexander Kolobnev. Could Sagan catch the breakaway group if it was not his team-mate Moser? We’ll never know that but that was a wonderful day for team Cannondale and the new generation of cyclists in their early 20s.

Strade-Bianche 2013 results:

1. Moreno Moser (Cannondale Pro Cycling) 5:01:53
2. Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) 5″
3. Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale) 7″
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Paris-Nice 2013 Preview – Prologue

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The race starts on March 3, Sunday with a pretty short (2.9 k in total), flat but a winding route. The mid section is especially interesting and will most likely be the decider in this very technical prologue .

Last year, after a 9.4 km time-trial, Gustav Larsson took the first yellow jersey thanks to the heavy rain which hampered the late starters; Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans and Tony Martin to name a few. Larsson, the Swedish national time trial champion now riding for IAM Cycling, looks more of a favorite this time with most of the elite time-trialists picking Tirreno-Adriatico instead.  Still, there are quite some riders that can perform well and with a bit of luck, can clinch a prestigious win in here; Anders Kloden of Radio Shack, Sylvain Chavanel of Omega-Pharma and Brent Bookwalter of BMC, Simon Spilak of Katusha to name a few. Even pure sprinters like Mark Renshaw or Marcel Kittel can score very interesting times if the weather happens to be on their side.

The race will be broadcasted live on Eurosport 2  starting from 15:30 CET and also in a wide range of tv channels across Europe around the same times.