Rocacorba Daily: Thursday March 21

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Good morning and welcome to another edition of the Rocacorba Daily. Today we’ve got the results from a handful of races that were held overnight, some more cycling news and a couple of other interesting tid-bits from the world of cycling. Enjoy!

Gatto snatches victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen

Vini-Fantini rider Oscar Gatto has claimed a memorable victory in the Belgian single-day race Dwars door Vlaanderen overnight, reeling in then passing a late breakaway from Thomas Voeckler (Europcar).

Voeckler went clear of the 10-rider breakaway with 7km to go, and just after the final climb of the day — the Nokereberg — and opened up a lead of 16 seconds with just over a kilometre left to race. But with Ian Stannard (Sky) and Stijn Vanderbergh (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) pushing hard at the head of the breakaway, Voeckler was pulled back in the final straight leaving Gatto to fly past in the final 50m for the win.

Oscar Gatto celebrates after snatching victory in Dwars door Vlaanderen

Borut Bozic (Astana) crossed the line in second, Mathew Hayman (Sky) (from Canberra) was in third, and a shattered Voeckler crossed the line in fifth.

Dwars door Vlaanderen (“Across Flanders” in English) is a lead-up race to Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem and the following weekend’s Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders).

Click here for full results from the 2013 Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

Movistar go one-two in stage 3 of Volta Ciclista a Catalunya

Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde have capped off a great day for the Movistar team, finishing first and second respectively at the mountain-top finish to stage 3 of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

Quintana attacked in the final 500m of the race, on the steepest part of the climb to the Vallter 2000 ski resort, reeling in reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky) as the Colombian went on to claim Movistar’s fifth victory of the season.

Wiggins had attacked with 2km remaining in the climb but when Quintana made his move, Valverde and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) followed, all eventually passing Wiggins who finished fourth.

Valverde’s second place puts him atop the general classification with four stages remaining. Joaquin Rodriguez is in second place overall, six seconds behind Valverde, with Wiggins a further four seconds back in third place.

Tonight’s fourth stage is the longest of the race, taking riders 218km from Llanars to Port-Aine, finishing with another important mountain-top finish. The seven-stage race concludes on Sunday.

Click here to see full results from stage 3 of the 2013 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

Shahrul Mat Amin wins stage 3 of Tour of Taiwan

The winner of yesterday’s mainly flat third stage of the Tour of Taiwan was expected to come from the ranks of Australian fast finishers, but it wasn’t to be. Malaysia’s Shahrul Mat Amin (Terengganu Cycling Team) proved too strong, riding away from the surging peloton with 250m to go.

A breakaway of nine riders got away within 10km of the start and it wasn’t until the final 4km of the 154km stage that the last of the breakaway riders were reeled in.

Bernard Sulzberger (Drapac) crossed the line second ahead of Andreas Muller (Arbo-Gebruder Weiss-Oberndorfer), with the Australian now second on general classification, just one second behind Kirill Pozdnyakov from the Synergy Baku Cycling Project Team.

Today’s 111km fourth stage features a number of climbs, including a category 1 climb that tops out after 75km and a category 3 climb very close to the end of the stage.

Click here to read more and see full results from stage 3 of the 2013 Tour of Taiwan.

RadioShack owner shrugs off sponsor-withdrawal reports

RadioShack-Leopard Trek team owner Flavio Becca has described as “pure speculation” reports that RadioShack will withdraw sponsorship from the team at the end of the season.

Becca acknowledged that RadioShack’s sponsorship contract with the team does expire at the end of this year but said there was no indication the sponsorship wouldn’t be reviewed.

RadioShack’s involvement with the team began in 2009 when Lance Armstrong was owner and leader of Team RadioShack.

Click here to read more.

Interview with Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek

Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) surprised a lot of people on Sunday when he overpowered the likes of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard Trek) to take out the 2013 Milan-San Remo. In this interview with the Global Cycling Network, Ciolek speaks about his historic win and what it means for his fledgling MTN-Qhubeka team.

Fuentes tells court he is willing to provide list of clients

Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who is on trial for allegedly masterminding one of sport’s most notorious doping rings, said Wednesday he would be willing to give the names of his former clients to the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency if asked to do so.

“If they felt I was useful and they asked me, I would consider it and would be willing. What I don’t know is if what I would give them would be worthwhile to them or not,” he said at his trial. “If within this co-operation such a list was necessary, they would have it,” he added.

Fuentes is on trial with his sister Yolanda and three other defendants from cycling teams with the five accused of endangering public health.

Police raids on premises linked to Fuentes in May 2006 saw the seizure of some 200 bags of tampered blood labelled with a complex system of codes and a virtual pharmacy of performance-enhancing substances including EPO, human-growth hormone, and steroids.

The five accused face up to two years in prison.

All Operacion Puerto blood bags located

And in related news, Spanish newspaper El Pais has reported that after many years of speculation and confusion, all 216 blood bags seized as part of Operacion Puerto in 2006 have been accounted for.

The bags are all now in storage in Barcelona’s Anti-Doping lab and the blood is believed to belong to 36 athletes, including cyclists.

Click here to read more.

Contador to skip Criterium International

Alberto Contador has pulled out of this weekend’s Criterium International on the Mediterranean island of Corsica due to flu.

The 30-year-old Saxo Bank cyclist, who came third in last week’s Tirreno-Adriatico, intends to rest before returning to action in the Tour of the Basque Country starting on April 1.

A statement published on Contador’s behalf said:

“Contador, in agreement with (Bjarne) Riis (his sporting director) has decided the best thing for him is to get over the flu in complete peace in order to resume training as soon as possible and reach form for his next big objective, the Tour of the Basque Country.”

Crowdsourced cyclocross bikes?

If you spend a bit of time trawling sites like Kickstarter you’ll find people using crowdsourcing to fund all manner of ventures. But we can’t remember seeing too many bike-makers using this method.

Asylum Cycles went into hibernation a few years back but they’re back now and using crowdfunding to develop the “ultimate race-ready carbon ‘cross bike”. There are several different editions of the bike available to buy, or you can simply make a donation, but the question we’re more interested in is: will a crowdfunding model work for this type of project?

Click here to read more.

World-first BMX trick: “360 bike flip to whip”

And finally, here’s something short, sweet and frankly ridiculous from BMX freestyle rider Michael Beran. It’s apparently the first time a “360 bikeflip to whip” has ever been pulled off. Who are we to argue?

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