Volta a Catalunya 2013 Preview – Stage 7

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After 1.050 kilometers and numerous categorized climbs inland Catalunya, the riders are once again in the Mediterranean coast for  the final stage of Volta 2013. This pretty short stage will end in Barcelona with 8 laps on a finishing circuit with the legendary Montjuic climb.

Last time we saw Montjuic was Vuelta Espana 2012 Stage 9, 3 kilometers before the finish line. The stage was won by Philippe Gilbert, carrying Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez in his backwheel, helping him extend his lead in GC.

Before the final stage of Volta a Catalunya, Dan Martin leads the race with 17 seconds but wait for Rodriguez to attack very strong in Montjuic in front of his own crowd in his hometown.

GC Before Stage 7

1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp 26:16:22
2. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha 17″
3. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team 45″
4. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 54″
5. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 55″
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 1′ 07″
7. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 1′ 18″
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 1′ 26″
9. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol 1′ 28″
10. Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Sharp 1′ 30″

Profile of Montjuic Climb

Montjuic

E3 Harelbeke 2013 – Riders’ List

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6 teams are invited with wildcards besides the 19 pro tour teams: Accent.Jobs – Wanty,  Crelan-Euphony and Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise from Belgium, Cofidis and Europcar from France, and IAM Cycling from Switzerland.

Peter SaganPhilippe GilbertLars Boom, Filippo PozzatoEdvald Boasson Hagen, and of course Tom Boonen are this year’s favorites. Check out Race Preview for more detail about the route.

The startlist of the 56th edition of E3 Harelbeke
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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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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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Paris-Nice 2013 – Riders’ List

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Besides the now “19″ pro tour teams, 4 teams are invited with wildcards: Cofidis, IAM Cycling, Sojasun and Team Europcar.

Bradley Wiggins will not be racing to defend his title, and looks like SKY will be aiming for stage wins with the likes of Richie Porte and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke instead of a solid GC attempt. With the big names of the pelaton missing, by the looks of it  it’ll be an open race for the yellow jersey.

Last year’s runner up Luewa Westra is back, but lacking last year’s form so far. Thomas De Gendt will also be riding for Vacansoleil though not sure he is in good shape, which can be said also for Blanco’s Robert Gesink. TJ van Garderen from BMC, Rui Costa of Movistar and FDJ’s Jean-Christophe Peraud should be taken very seriously for the overall classification. Watch for Nacer Bouhanni and Marcel Kittel for the sprints and with 2 stages particularly suitable for breakaway groups, we can expect a stage win from the likes of Simon Gerrans, Tom Boonen, Philippe Gilbert and even the grueling Thomas Voeckler if he has the legs for it.

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