Rocacorba Daily: Monday April 22

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In this morning’s Rocacorba Daily we bring you up to speed on a big weekend of racing, including last night’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Giro del Trentino and the Tour of Turkey. But of course it’s not just racing; we’ve got a bunch of other non-racing-related items to kickstart your week. Enjoy!

Martin wins Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Irishman Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) has won the 2013 Liege-Bastogne-Liege overnight, pulling away from Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) in the final 500m of the race to register his first Classics victory.

The win was set up by Martin’s teammate Ryder Hesjedal who attacked on the Côte de Colonster, the penultimate climb of the day. The Canadian maintained his lead until the top of the final climb, the Côte de Saint-Nicolas, at which point he was picked up by five other riders, including Martin, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Rodriguez.

Even when Hesjedal was caught he continued to work, driving the group in the closing kilometres and giving Martin a chance to rest before the final sprint to the line. Valverde looked to be in a perfect position in second wheel but when Rodriguez attacked with 1km to go, only Martin could go with him.

With less than 500m to go Martin launched away from Rodriguez, sealing a great victory for himself and his hard-working team.

Click here to see the full results from the 2013 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and to see a final-kilometres video.

Sky comes up empty-handed at Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Team Sky hasn’t had the Spring Classics season it was looking for, picking up only the two podium finishes and missing out in Liege-Bastogne-Liege overnight as well.

In the second half of the race Sky was very active at the front of the peloton, working to pull back a six-rider lead group that had been away for most of the race. And in the final stages of the race Rigoberto Urán and David Lopez helped to animate things, the latter attacking several times. But when the decisive move came in the final kilometres of the race — the formation of a six-rider group at the head of affairs — Sky wasn’t represented.

Sky team principal Sir David Brailsford admitted he was disappointed with the result but told reporters the team is now focused on the upcoming Grand Tours.

“I don’t think there’s any question about form,” he said. “I think we’re where we want to be for the Giro and also to be honest where we want to be for the Romandie group and the Tour group. In that respect I think we’re optimistic about the Grand Tours.”

Click here to read more.

Liege-Bastogne-Liege in quotes

We’ve gone through the press releases and put together some quotes from riders and directors sportif after last night’s race. Click here to take a look.

Kittel wins stage 1 at the Tour of Turkey

Marcel Kittel has made up for an unlucky 2012 edition of the Tour of Turkey, taking out the first stage of the 2013 edition in a bunch sprint.

Perfectly helped by his Argos-Shimano train in the 143km-long stage, the German surged to upstage compatriot and Tour of Turkey record stage winner Andre Greipel on the line. Ukraine’s Yuri Metlushenko (Torku Sekerspor) was third.

The first attack of the race came from Metlushenko’s teammate Mustafa Sayar, who jumped on the gun to go for the first registered climb of the day. The Turkish rider, who will celebrate his 25th birthday in Monday’s second stage, was first at the top, before being joined in a lead group by four riders including Mikhail Ignatiev (Katusha).

With 18km to go four of the five leaders were reeled in. Ignatiev, who had set off alone, finally gave in with 14km to go as the peloton regrouped, gearing up for the final sprint.

Stage 2 of the eight-stage Tour of Turkey will tonight take the riders 153km from Alanya to Antalya.

Click here to see the full results and video from the final kilometers of stage 1 of the 2013 Tour of Turkey. Click here to read a longer race report.

Nibali wins Giro del Trentino

(AFP) – Italian Vincenzo Nibali underlined his form ahead of the three-week Giro d’Italia by winning the final stage and taking overall victory at the 37th edition of the Giro del Trentino on Friday.

Nibali attacked with 6km to go in the steep stage-ending Sega di Ala climb and only Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) was able to respond. The pair moved away on the fierce gradients that followed, which touched 20% at times, but a little over 3km from the summit, Nibali kicked once again and this time succeeded in shaking off Santambrogio, going on to win the stage and the race overall.

Maxime Bouet went into the fourth and final stage with the overall lead, 3:19 ahead of Belarusian Kanstantsin Siutsou of Team Sky and 3:56 on Astana team leader Nibali. However the Frenchman who rides for AG2R, struggled early on the tough, 11km final ascent on which reigning Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins fell off the pace after suffering mechanical problems.

In the end, Bouet trailed over the finish line 4:42 behind Nibali, missing the title by just under a minute.

Click here to see the full results from the 2013 Giro del Trentino.

Koedooder wins Omloop van Borsele

Vera Koedooder (Sengers Ladies Cycling Team) has outsprinted breakaway companion Loes Gunnewijk (Orica-AIS) to win the 2013 edition of the EPZ Omloop van Borsele over the weekend.

(l-r) Loes Gunnewijk, Vera Koedooder and Lucinda Brand atop the Omloop van Borsele podium.

The EPZ Omloop van Borsele featured five laps of a 22km circuit in ‘s-Heerenhoek (in the Dutch province of Zeeland) and after the opening loop only 40 riders remained at the front. Strong winds and a bunch of crashes shattered the peloton and on the second lap a further selection would be made with nine riders going clear.

On the third lap six riders jumped away from the now-19-strong lead group and on the final lap Koedooder and Gunnewijk went on the attack and steadily extended their advantage over the chasers. Koedooder and Gunnewijk weren’t caught and in the race finale Koedooder proved too fast for Gunnewijk in the two-up sprint.

Click here to read more about the 2013 Omloop van Bersele. Click here to see the full results.

How to park your bike, Wiggins style

On the final stage of last week’s Giro del Trentino Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was having some issues with his electronic shifting so he called for a replacement bike. Clearly frustrated, the reigning Tour de France champion threw his bike towards a roadside wall. We certainly wouldn’t recommend treating your gear like this, but the video is worth watching to see how the bike ends up.

Could the Oceania and Asia Championships be merged in 2014?

A promotional video on the website of the Malaysian national cycling federation suggests that the cycling championships of the Oceania and Asian regions could be merged next year. As Cycling IQ reports, the full details aren’t entirely clear (there’s even suggestion that the video could be an internal presentation published in error) but we’re sure further details will come out soon.

Click here to read more on Cycling IQ.

Seven reasons to cycle in Japan

When in come to cycling holidays most people’s minds jump straight to an idyllic European location. But as we’ve shown in the past, thinking outside the box and heading towards Asia can really pay off. It’s closer, it’s cheaper and it’s always just that bit different.

So here, via, are seven compelling reasons why Japan should be next on your list of cycling trip destinations.

The Mt Wellington Challenge

It’s not often a Tour de France will go by without mention of Cadel Evans and his coming-of-age stage victory atop Mt Wellington down in Hobart in the Tour of Tasmania many moons ago. Well Mt Wellington remains steeped in Australian cycling history, recently serving as a gruelling parcours for the opening TTT to the last two editions of the Tour of Tasmania.

Astonishingly, in a mere ‘participation’ event on the weekend the current Subaru-NRS leader, Joseph Cooper of Huon-Genesys bested last year’s team time trial winning time of 47:32 by nearly an entire minute, in near identical conditions. Not to be outdone, Nathan Earle (also Huon-Genesys) went five seconds faster, finishing with a time of 46:38s.

Click here for more information about the event. Click here to see the results.

“Helibiking” in Queenstown

And finally, here’s a video featuring some Aussie guys who headed over to Queenstown, New Zealand for a bit of “helibiking”. The concept seems to be simple: get a lift to the top of a mountain via helicopter. Ride down. Repeat. Works for me.

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