Matteo Pelucchi takes first major win at Tirreno Adriatico – “This victory is for Kristof”

Moved to tears after his victory at the end of the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, Matteo Pelucchi did not forget to honor the memory of the teammate with whom he shared his room at the Tour of Qatar early this past February. Kristof Goddaert, who died tragically in an accident while training on February 18th, has remained in the memories of his IAM Cycling teammates. Matteo Pelucchi, 25 years of age, took stage 2 against a field in front of the best sprinters in the peloton, including Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel, André Greipel.

Tirreno - Adriatico 2014 stage - 2

After stepping down from the podium where he collected the red jersey worn by the leader in the points classification, Matteo Pelucchi took his head in his hands.

“But what have I done? I don’t think it has sunk in yet. It will take me a little time. Though I was first across the line, it is thanks to the amazing team work from all the guys. During the final circuit, all my teammates fulfilled all their tasks, protecting me perfectly at the front of the pack.

I simply couldn’t disappoint them. Roger Kluge and Heinrich Haussler were assigned to protect me and slotted me into an ideal position once we passed under the final kilometer marker. But the whole sprint set up was total confusion and chaos. There really wasn’t much of a team with a train to take the situation in hand. I initially set myself onto Cavendish’s wheel, but then I gained a few places to grab onto Greipel with 300 meters to go.

I came out from behind his draft and in spite of the head wind, I held on for the win.”

Text adapted from IAM Cycling press release.

Click here for the full results of Stage 2 of 2014 Tirreno Adriatico.

Marcel Kittel bike throw

We’ve seen some good bike throws in our time, but Marcel Kittel CRUSHED this one after his crash at Tirreno Adriatico yesterday. If you see a used Giant Propel on the Marketplace, be wary…

Kittel later apologised to his bike on twitter:

Click here for some of the best bike throws in recent history.

Betancur takes out Paris Nice

Carlos Betancur avenged his AG2R team’s jinx in Rive-de-Gier to win the 5th stage of Paris-Nice and emerge as one of the leading favourites in the final weekend of the Race to the Sun.

The 24-year-old Colombian, crowned the best young rider in the last Giro d’Italia, attacked in the final descent, nine kilometers from the finish, to cross the line ahead of his two break companions, Luxembourg champion Bob Jungels (TFR) and Dane Jakob Fuglsang (AST). Overall, he now trails Geraint Thomas (SKY), who limited the damage in the finale, by five seconds in fourth place, the top three of the GC remaining unchanged on a short but eventful 153-kms ride from the Beaujolais vineyards.

Paris-Nice stage-5

The escape

The first attempt of the day was again launched by Thomas Voeckler (EUC) along with a Bretagne Seche rider, Florian Guillou (km 12). As the two were reeled in, the break of the day emerged at the initiative of Sylvain Chavanel (IAM), revengeful after losing time on a puncture in stage 4. The Frenchman took with him Jan Bakelants (OPQ), Matthew Busche (TFR), Gorka Izaguirre (MOV) and Brice Feillu (BSE). The peloton let them go, the Team Sky team-mates of race leader Geraint Thomas maintaining a stable gap of two minutes with the break.

Chavanel takes polka-dot

Knowing they were under close watch, Chavanel worked to pick points for the mountain classification while Bakelants, the best placed overall (20th, 19 seconds behind Thomas), collected seconds in the intermediate sprint in Brindas (km 87.5) and Rive de Gier (Km126.5) . In the Cote de St Martin-en-Haut, fist stage winner Nacer Bouahnni (FDJ) bid farewell to the race. The polka-dot jersey did not seem consolation enough for Chavanel, who attacked on his own, 20 kilometres from the finish as the main pack, led by Team Sky, was catching his former companions. But he was also run down two kilometers later by Laurent Didier (TFR), who tackled the last ascent of the day on his own.

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) tries to go alone after the breakaway is nearly reeled in by the peloton and takes the polka dot jersey in the process.

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) tries to go alone after the breakaway is nearly reeled in by the peloton and takes the polka dot jersey in the process.

In the meantime, team classification leaders AG2R were going through a real nightmare as Romain Bardet and Samuel Dumoulin, 5th overall, were stopped by mechanicals while Maxime Bouet crashed. At the top of the 2nd category Cote de Ste Catherine, Vinenzo Nibali (AST) attacked, followed by the main favourites, Betancur, Geraint Thomas, stage 4 winner Tom-Jelte Slagter (GRS) and Jakob Fuglsang (AST). In the descent, Betancur surged in turn and was quickly joined by Fuglsang and Jungels. In the last nine kilometers, the three managed to keep the peloton at bay and take the stage honours.

Paris-Nice stage-5

The stage is now set for the longest and potentially hardest stage of the week between St Saturnin-les-Avignon and Fayence (221.5 km).

Text adapted from Paris-Nice press release.

Click here for the full results of Stage 5 of the 2014 Paris Nice.

Tour of Taiwan

Frenchman Rémy Di Gregorio (La Pomme Marseille) has won the 26th edition of the Tour de Taiwan, while Germany’s Fabian Schnaidt out-sprinted his teammate Benjamin Giraud in a tight finish in the fifth and last stage.

The Tour de Taiwan was Di Gregorio’s first race in Asia. It turned out to being also the first 2.1 overall victory of his career. He told cyclingnews, “In 2011, I won a stage at Paris-Nice,” he said when he rode with Astana. “In 2012, I won a difficult stage of the Vuelta Asturias atop the Alto del Naranco. In 2013, I won the Tour of Bulgaria. So I keep winning. Personally I had my sights set on the Criterium International but for La Pomme Marseille, it was important to come here and win. With one stage win and the overall classification, we’re delighted. I’m pleased to repay the team for the trust they have in me.”

Seven riders of the final top ten – Di Gregorio, Tamouridis, Brian Bulgac, Markus Eibegger, Davide Formolo, Cameron Wurf and Wesley Sulzberger – being or having been part of World Tour teams and a course that had only 16 seconds separating the top 10, the Tour de Taiwan organizers deserved their UCI2.1 status.

Final General Classification

1 Rémy Di Gregorio (Fra) Team La Pomme Marseille 15:23:53
2 Ioannis Tamouridis (Gre) SP Tableware 0:00:04
3 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Cycling Team 0:00:08
4 Jan Dieteren (Ger) Team Stölting 0:00:09
5 Brian Bulgac (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continental Cycling Team 0:00:10
6 Markus Eibegger (Aut) Synergy Baku Cycling Project 0:00:11
7 Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:12
8 Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale 0:00:15
9 Kohei Uchima (Jpn) Japan National Team 0:00:16
10 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 0:00:16

Read more at cyclingnews.

Click here for full results.

Chantal Blaak wins Molecaten Drentse 8

Specialized’s Chantal Blaak crossed the line solo at Molecaten Drentse 8 yesterday.

We can’t find many details about this this race except for that it happened, so if anyone has any details or insight, feel free to leave it in the comments.

You can follow the race on the organiser’s official twitter account and their website.

Click here for full results.

Giant Shimano and MPCC call for Xenon gas ban

The MPCC and Giant-Shimano have both said that they would welcome action from WADA to ban Xenon gas.

Anko Boelens, the team doctor at Giant-Shimano told cyclingnews, “Team Giant-Shimano will never use Xenon gas to artificially boost the aerobic capacity of its riders. Not only because of the fact that there have been no studies on short or long term effects in humans, but because in my opinion this procedure is in direct violation of our team mission to help create a clean and honest cycling environment.”

“We fully support the WADA and the MPCC in their attempts to make sure the use of Xenon gas will be banned in the future,” he added.

Read more on cyclingnews.

Read more on the science and dilema behind using Xenon for performance enhancing.

Horner’s press conference snub at Tirreno ‘nothing new

Chris Horner was surprised that Tirreno-Adriatico race organizers didn’t invite him to Tuesday’s “top riders” pre-race press conference. The organiser invited 13 of cycling’s big names, but left out the 2013 Vuelta a España winner.

“I don’t ever get invited to the press conferences, so it’s nothing new,” Horner told VeloNews. “Maybe it’s because I’ve only won one grand tour. I guess you have to win five. I was just as surprised as you, but that’s happened my whole career, so it is what it is.”

“And I just finished [the Volta ao] Algarve eighth overall while working for my teammate,” said Horner. “They never invite me, though.”

To be fair, the race organiser (RCS Sport) also left out fellow Italians Michele Scarponi (Astana) and Ivan Basso (Cannondale) — both winners of the Giro. Among the many high profile riders at Tirreno Adriatico were Tour de France winners Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador, and sprinters Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel. Also there were the Giro’s 2013 runner-up Rigoberto Urán and 2013 Paris-Nice winner Richie Porte.

Read more on Velonews.

How to train your sprint

Ex pro-cyclist and multiple Grand Tour stage winner Marcel Wüst gives his tips on how to introduce little sprints in your training to help you get faster:

The Armstrong Lie – next up, Sydney!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for The Armstrong Lie in Melbourne last night. It was a full house with many laughs with the benefit of hindsight while watching possibly the most riveting stories in sporting history.

Some of the paraphernalia people wore for the Armstrong Lie last night in Melbourne. Trent Lowe's Discovery skinsuit didn't fit him anymore, but how could we not give him first prize for bringing that!?

Some of the paraphernalia people wore for the Armstrong Lie last night in Melbourne. Trent Lowe’s Discovery skinsuit didn’t fit him anymore, but how could we not give him first prize for bringing that!?

Next up, we’re heading to Sydney tonight to do the same. There are six tickets left for the Sydney showing (at the Randwick Ritz) and you can purchase tickets here. Don’t forget to wear your Armstrong gear!

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed here at CyclingTips:

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