Criterium International 2013 Stage 3 Preview

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Featuring six categorized climbs, and ending atop the first-category l’Ospedale summit, Criterium Internatinal’s third and final stage will be the decider of this year’s winner.

Last year, on the same stage, it was Cadel Evans defending his yellow jersey after his Stage 2 TT victory, and in 2011 when it was the opening stage of Criterium International, Frank Schleck won it with a 20 seconds margin.

Team Sky’s Richie Porte and Chris Froome, BMC’s Cadel Evans and Tejay Van Garderen, Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew Talansky and AG2R’s Jean-Christophe Peraud will be the main riders to watch on the l’Ospedale climb.

GC Before Stage 3

1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 2:11:53
2. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 1″
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
4. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 2″
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 7″
6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) RadioShack Leopard
8. Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard 9″
9. Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 11″
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team

Col de l’Ospedale Profile

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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″

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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Paris-Nice 2013 Preview – Stage 7

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With Richie Porte just 32 seconds clear of Andrew Talansky and a bunch of other riders, Sunday’s conclusive stage on 10th March will be simply breathtaking. Last year, it was Bradley Wiggins defending his 2 seconds lead over Lieuwe Westra, extending it to 6 at the end of the day and starting a sensational season which brought TdF and Olympic gold and eventually made him the athlete of the year in Britain.

Now, an another rider from SKY, Tasmanian Richie Porte will be riding on the uphill Col d’Eze time-trial where many riders will again opt in to use regular road bikes with clip-on bars installed instead of TT bikes. Richie Porte was also riding in 2012′s Paris-Nice, as a domestic to Bradley Wiggins, and finished the last stage in 20′ 56″. Which was 1′ 42″ slower than last year’s runner-up Liuewe Westra, who now stands in 4th place, 42 seconds behind Porte in GC. Jean-Christophe Peraud, who is now fifth in GC standing 49 seconds behind, finished 3rd last year, which was 1′ 11″ faster than Porte. Sylvain Chavanel finished last year’s stage in 17th place, still 18 seconds ahead of Porte, and he is in top form.

GC before Stage 8

1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 29:40:31
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 32″
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 42″
4. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 49″
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 52″
7. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 53″
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 54″
10. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 1′ 08″

Chavanel wins in Nice, Porte holds on to Yellow

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Sylvain Chavanel of Omega Pharma-Quicktep outsprinted Philippe Gilbert, Jose Joaquin Rojas and Samuel Dumoulin to win his first race of the season. It was Team SKY setting the pace all day long for their leader Richie Porte; they erased an 11-man early break and a late escape attempt by Chavanel and Astana’s Andriy Grivko. Porte kept his yellow jersey and is now 32 seconds clear of his rivals, still Col d”Eze will be a real test for him.

Johann Tschopp of IAM Cycling was on the break once again, collecting 33 more mountain points and won the mountains classification of Paris-Nice with a huge lead, one stage early on. With this win, Sylvain Chavanel is now leading in the points classification and will wear the green jersey on the final stage of Paris-Nice and will most probably keep it at the end of the day. Chavanel also moved above Lieuwe Westra in GC and now sits at thirs position. Andrew Talansky, lost his green jersey but is still leading the young riders’ classification and will wear the white jersey tomorrow, though Teejay Van Garderen is 20 seconds behind and he is better time-trialist compared to Talansky.

Check out Paris-Nice Stage 7 Preview for more detail.

General Classification

1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 29:40:31
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 32″
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 42″
4. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 49″
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 52″
7. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 53″
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 54″
10. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 1′ 08″

Stage Results

1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 5:14:23
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
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Richie Porte Attacks into Yellow in Stage 5

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Team Sky lead the peloton on top La Montagne de Lure, getting it thinner and thinner every second. They were down to 40 riders when Jens Voigt from the break got caught, and down to 15 with 2 kilometers to go. Yellow jersey holder Andrew Talansky made a couple of unsuccessful attempts but it was Sky’s long-time domestic Richie Porte‘s break that shaped the podium. With 1.3 kilometers to go, Porte surged ahead of Talansky, caught Denis Menchov of Katusha who finished the stage second later on, and rode solo the rest of the way.

Porte finished the stage 26 seconds ahead of Menchov and an another 7 seconds clear from the rest of the contenders including Talansky and last year’s runner-up Lieuwe Westra, and now leads the GC with 32 seconds. “I’ve done an apprenticeship if you like under Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome and also before that Alberto Contador,” told Porte after his first win over a year. “You don’t always get the opportunity to ride for yourself in a team like this so when it comes you have to grab it with both hands. It’s just nice to get a big victory and I’ll take the rest as it comes.”

Andrew Talansky is now in green jersey, leading points classification and young riders’ general classification. An another American rider Teejay Van Garderen of BMC will be wearing the white jersey. Thierry Hupond was on the breakaway group and collected 24 mountain points but came short of Johann Tschopp of IAM Cycling who still leads the Mountains jersey with 31 points.

GC after Stage 5

1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 24:26:08
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 32″
3. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 42″
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 49″
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 52″
6. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 53″
7. Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 54″
9. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 56″

Stage 5 Results

1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 4′ 50′ 54″
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Team Katusha 26″
3. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 33″
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Paris-Nice 2013 Preview – Stage 5

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The 5th stage of Paris-Nice, Châteauneuf-du-Pape / La Montagne de Lure etappe on 8th March, Friday is the queen stage of the race. To win Paris-Nice, you have to shine on Sunday’s time-trial but you can very well lose it here. The final climb is a grueling 13.8 kilometre-long climb at 6.6%, which should actually be categorized as HC in grand tour standards.

The stage is almost identical to 2009′s Stage 6, which was won by Alberto Contador over Frank Schleck by 58 seconds. There are 8 riders now who are less than 10 seconds behind race leader Andrew Talansky, and with the time bonuses, the winner of this stage will most probably also wear the yellow jersey. It’ll be a though day for Talansky, with so many riders so close in the GC, he’ll need to retaliate a constant wave of attacks within an elite group, and a passive defending mindset may mean the end of his yellow jersey dream.

The Final Climb

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Andrew Talansky in Yellow

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American rider Andrew Talansky of Garmin Sharp won the third stage of Paris-Nice and is now leading the general classification with 3 seconds ahead of Astana’s Andriy Grivko. “This is really important for me because Garmin-Sharp sent a whole team here to help me for the overall. So to win a stage here and take the jersey is a big step in my career,” said the young American after the stage, showing his intentions to keep the yellow jersey till Sunday. Davide Malacarne of Team Europcar came second while Gorka Izaguirre Insausti from Euskaltel-Euskadi came third.

A four-men break got reeled on the slopes of the cat 2 climb with 19 kms to go, but Martijn Keizer of Vacansoleil already had enough points from the previous climbs to steal the polka-dot jersey from his team-mate Bertjan Lindeman. It was SKY who took control of the pelaton on the ascent and by doing so, they managed to get 2 riders, one being Richie Porte, in the breakaway that formed during the descent. Philippe GilbertSylvain Chavanel and Rein Taaramae were stuck in the chasing group and although they worked hard to close the gap, the 20-rider groupetto failed to show enough coordination to close the gap with the breakaway in the final kilometers.

The day’s losers were Robert Gesink, Denis Menchov and Ivan Basso who are all now more than a minute away from Talansky in the GC. Cannondale is now at the bottom of the team’s classification, no sprint stage left for Elia Viviani and no hopes left to bounce back at the yellow jersey race. Viviani still wearing the green jersey is their sole consolidation. Talansky is now also leading the young riders classification and it’ll be an another American, Tejay van Garderen of BMC wearing the white jersey.

GC after Stage 3

1. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 14:39:36
2. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 3″
3. Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 4″
5. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 5″
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 6″
7. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 7″
8. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 8″
9. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky Procycling 9″
10. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun 12″

Stage Results

1. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 4:06:15
2. Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
3. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
(more…)