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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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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Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 Preview – Stage 5

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The second and last mountain stage of Tirreno-Adriatico starts from Ortona and ends in Chieti on 10th March, Sunday and favors Peter Sagan more than anybody else. Expect a bunch sprint from a select group shaped on the ascent and descent of Passo Lanciano.

Last year, it was Peter Sagan outsprinting Roman Kreuziger, Vincenzo Nibali and some other GC riders in the final meters. In 2010 and 2011, Michele Scarponi won the stage but Sagan was in Paris-Nice that time instead. Only Joaquim Rodriguez can have a chance against Sagan if he keeps up with the front group on the descent.

It will be an interesting day for GC qualification as well. Michal Kwiatkowski is a very good time-trialist in GC standards so if he keeps the “Maglia Azzurra” at the end of the day, the 22-year-old Polish may very well grab his first World Tour title.

Last 2 climbs before Ultimo KM

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Sagan Beats Cavendish and Greipel Under Heavy Rain

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This time it was the Slovak sensation Peter Sagan out-sprinting Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish in the second and final sprint stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.

It was another rainy day, and the soggy conditions made it easy for Cesare Benedetti from NetApp Endura, Garikoitz Bravo of Euskaltel and Vini Fantini’s Francesco Failli to jump clear and break away. But eventually, they got caught with 21 km to go by Cannondale’s efforts. A couple of unsuccessful attempts brought us to a bunch sprint, and this time both Greipel and Cavendish were positioned pretty well before the sprint frenzy, but it was Peter Sagan accelerating past Greipel to hit the line first.

Mark Cavendish, with a last second move, clinched second place in the podium and kept his Maglia Azzurra, where Greipel finished third.

Stage 3 Results

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 5′ 15′ 12
2 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
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Tirreno-Adriatico 2013 Preview – Stage 3

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Tirreno-Adriatico heads south on 8th March, Friday to the Central Apennines for Saturday’s and Sunday’s stages; from Indicatore to Narni Scalo. There is only one categorized climb in the middle of the stage but the final 70 kilometers is a rolling route and can favor some late breakaway groups. If no breakaway succeeds, the stage is tailor-made for Peter Sagan to win. It can be hard for pure sprinters to hang on to the group considering how hard Cannondale managed to raise the tempo on the second stage.

Stage profile is quite similar to last years Stage 3, which was won by Edvald Boasson Hagen out-sprinting Andre Greipel and Peter Sagan. This was one year ago, and Sagan already proved himself as a notorious winner. The stage is very similar to the upcoming monument Milan – San Remo, so expect it to be even more hectic than Stage 2.

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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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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