2013 Review – Part 3

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4 days of Dunkirk May 1-5

The race saw a breakthrough performance by Arnoud Demare of FDJ.

He took stage 1 in a sprint,from Sinkeldam and Kenny Van Hummel.

FDJ were having it all their own way,until 2.5km to go.We then had Argos and Vacansoleil trying to muscle in.

With 500 metres left,FDJ delivered Demare perfectly to the front and he did the rest.

Stage 2 was always going to be another sprint finish.This time,Garmin wanted to control the run-in,but they made a mess of a corner and lost their way.

Once again,Soupe did an amazing lead-out and Demare won by a mile,with Van Hummel 2nd and Sinkeldam 3rd.

On stage 3,the other teams admitted defeat and let FDJ control the sprint.That was until the 1km to go sign,when Vacansoleil got control.On a tight right-hand corner,Demare lost the wheel of Soupe but he fought to win it back.After the final bend Soupe put in a tremendous dig,putting both himself and Demare clear.Demare won,Soupe finished a brilliant 2nd and Sinkeldam was 3rd.

3 stages and 3 wins for Demare,because of time bonuses he now had a 30 second lead over the GC riders.

Stage 4 was always going to decide the GC,with a very tough circuit course,full of climbs,and a steep uphill finish.The big question was,”Could Demare hold on?”

With 2km left,Demare only had 1 teammate left to help and Vachon off the front.

With 1km to go,Demare hit the front.He put in an incredible ride and drove all the way up to near Vachon with 100 metres to go.Michel Kreder,then jumped Vachon to take the stage,but the day belonged to Demare.

The final stage saw another sprint,but Demare was happy to finish in the peloton and seal his GC win.The stage was won by Yannick Martinez of La Pomme Marseille.

A brilliant race for FDJ and Demare.The young Frenchman showing the world what he’s capable of.

Giro d’Italia May 4-26

Stage 1 – A late crash seriously disrupted the sprint trains and Orica looked in control but Cavendish put in a terrific sprint,from a poor position,to win.Viviani was 2nd and Bouhanni 3rd.

Stage 2 – The 17.4km TTT was on an undulating course and it was Team Sky that won,9 seconds ahead of Movistar and 14 ahead of Astana.

Stage 3 – We had a cat 3 climb,20km from the end.Ryder Hesjedal attacked on the climb and caused a bit of panic.On the tricky descent to the finish,Hesjedal attacked again,with him was Agnoli and Paolini.They didn’t manage to get a big gap.

We had crashes for Betancur and Scarponi on the fast descent.

With 6.6km remaining,Paolini attacked and got away.He went on to claim his 1st ever Giro victory,at the age of 36.Cadel Evans won the sprint for 2nd and Hesjedal was 3rd.

Hesjedal was extremely active for little gain and many were questioning his tactics.

Stage 4 – We had a cat 2 climb near the end of the race,it was steep enough to remove the pure sprinters.The sprint was won by Enrico Battaglin,2nd was Fabio Felline and Visconti 3rd.Bradley Wiggins finished 17 seconds behind the peloton.

Stage 5 – Another stage with a climb just before the finish.Again,this removed the pure sprinters.There was a big crash on the last corner and we had the sight of John Degenkolb trying to close down Marco Canola.The big German did catch him and went on to win the stage,2nd was Vicioso and 3rd was Martens.

Stage 6 – The sprinters had their chance after a few hard days.We had an enormous crash and a blocked road,thankfully the front group slowed to for a regroupment.The sprint was won by Mark Cavendish,after a perfect lead-out by Gert Steegmans.Viviani was 2nd and Goss 3rd.

Stage 7 – It was a classics style day with lots of lumps and bumps.Adam Hansen was in the morning break and he lasted to the very end,to claim a brilliant win.Battaglin won the sprint for 2nd with Di Luca 3rd and Santambrogio 4th.Both riders from Vini Fantini were found to be taking performance enhancing drugs.

Bradley Wiggins had a terrible day.He crashed on a descent,in heavy rain,and lost all confidence.He eventually finished 1:24 behind Nibali,who also crashed,but bounced straight back on his bike.

Stage 8 was time-trial time!A long 54.8km ITT with a steep finish.Wiggins was the massive favourite but he finished 2nd,behind Alex Dowsett.It was a brilliant performance by the Movistar rider,but Wiggins will rue a mechanical,as he only lost by 10 seconds.

Nibali was 4th and started to look very strong as he took overall control of the race.

Stage 9 – Another day for the break,with Belkov winning.Behind,it was a disaster for Wiggins,as he lost time on an easy stage.Ryder Hesjedal also suffered and questions were being asked about his form.Betancur managed to get away and finish 2nd,to claim bonus seconds but he thought he had won the stage!

Stage 10 – Time for the 1st mountaintop finish.On the 1st hard climb Hesjedal lost contact and his defence of the jersey was over,Sami Sanchez was also distanced.Franco Pellizotti attacked but crashed on the descent.

Team Sky worked hard to bring the break back and pulled a surprise by sending Uran away with 6km left.It was an interesting tactic and Astana didn’t really need to chase as Uran wasn’t a threat to Nibali.Carlos Betancur was the man to attack and try to bring back Uran,meanwhile Wiggins was suffering and not even a slipped chain could stop Nibali.Uran won the stage,Betancur 2nd and Nibali 3rd.

Stage 11 – The stage ended on a cat 2 climb.An enormous break went away and Astana had no intention of chasing.Navardauskas won the stage after breaking Daniel Oss on the final climb.

Stage 12 – Back over to the sprinters.We had more rain and another perfect lead-out by Steegmans,Cav took the stage from Bouhanni.It was stage number for 3 for Cavendish.

Stage 13 – We had 3 lumps near the end of the stage and people were doubting Cavendish’s ability to make it to the end.It was a brilliant display from Cavendish as he climbed well and then sprinted to the win,without a lead-out.Stage number 4!

Stage 14 – Back to the mountains.In the mist,Nibali decided to attack with 3km to go.Only Santambrogio and Betancur could follow.Nibali was happy enough for Santambrogio to take the stage(cheat!),and they dropped Betancur near the end.This just about sealed the GC for Nibali,as he was 1:26 ahead of Evans,and untouchable.

Stage 15 – A wonderful stage ending with the climb of the Galibier.The peloton agreed to ride together up the climb of the Col Du Mont Denis,due to the poor weather,but before the top Pirazzi attacked to claim KOTM points and a break was formed.It included Giovanni Visconti,who went on to claim the victory.The main GC riders started to attack with around 3km left and it was Betancur,Majka and Niemiec that got away.Betancur was 2nd for the 3rd time and Niemiec was 3rd.Nibali finished comfortable just behind with the other GC riders.

Stage 16 – A day that looked quite boring with a cat 3 climb near the end,turned into an explosive stage.A very big break formed early and it was brought back by Katusha and RadioShack.Surprisingly,the GC riders attacked on the cat 3 climb and blew the race wide open.Santambrogio lost big time(drugs ran out).At the end,a group of 3 escaped,with Intxausti winning,Kangert 2nd and Niemiec 3rd.

Stage 17 – Another stage with a short climb near the end.This time it was a cat 4 with around 20km to go.Di Luca was the 1st to attack the peloton and then Visconti followed.He climbed brilliantly and managed to solo to victory,despite some hairy descending.Another brilliant win for him and Movistar,3 in a row for the Spanish team.

Stage 18 – Mountain ITT.The GC was to be decided today as Vincenzo Nibali destroyed the field.He finished a very impressive 58 seconds in front of 2nd place,Samuel Sanchez.

Stage 19 – This stage was cancelled due to the poor weather conditions.

Stage 20 – Another iconic day in the 2013 Giro,with the climb of Tre Cime Di Lavaredo.Vincenzo Nibali hadn’t won a road stage yet in the race and was determined to put it right.He certainly did,arriving in the snow to claim a brilliant victory.It was Colombia in 2nd,3rd and 4th with Duarte,Uran and Betancur.

Stage 21 – Cavendish took stage win number 5 and also scooped enough sprint points to claim the points jersey.A great day all round for the Manx missile.

GC – Nibali,Uran,Evans,Scarponi,Betancur,Niemiec,Majka,Intxausti,Santambrogio and Pozzovivo.

KOTM – Pirazzi

Points – Cavendish

Young Rider – Betancur

Tour de Picardie May 10-12

We had 3 flat stages that produced 3 sprint finishes.Kittel beat Coquard in stage 1,Coquard beat Kittel in stage 2 and Kittel won stage 3 and the GC,as Coquard was down in 12th.Good form by the big German and a sign of things to come.

Tour of California May 12-19

Stage 1 sprint was surprised by Lieuwe Westra,who escaped near the end of the stage.

Stage 2 – Mountaintop finish in Palm Springs and another very hot day.BMC rode hard on the climb and we were left with 2 men:TJ Van Garderen and Janier Acevedo.It was the Colombian who sprinted away with 500 metres left and won the stage.

Stage 3 – Sprint finish won by Sagan.

Stage 4 – Sprint finish won by Farrar,after poor positioning from Sagan.

Stage 5 – Should have been a sprint but Jens Voigt surprised them all!

Stage 6 – The ITT in San Jose,with a mountaintop finish.TJ Van Garderen lived up to his favourite tag and he won by 23 seconds from Westra and 28 seconds from Dennis to take full control of the GC.

Stage 7 – The Queen stage up Mount Diablo was brilliantly won by Leopold Konig of NetApp,with Acevedo 2nd and TJ 3rd.It was a brilliant display from Konig and Acevedo moved up to 3rd on GC too.

Stage 8 – Sagan won the final stage.Van Garderen took the GC with Rogers 2nd and Acevedo 3rd.

Tour of Norway May 15-19

Stage 1 – The uphill sprint was won by Kristoff with Boasson Hagen 2nd.

Stage 2 – A flat sprint,again Kristoff and EBH were 1st and 2nd.

Stage 3 – Another flat sprint with Theo Bos winning from Kristoff and Peluchhi.

Stage 4 – Boasson Hagen finally got his stage win with an impressive late break.He won by 11 seconds to Paulinho and 29 seconds to the peloton.This put him in control of the GC too.

Stage 5 – The final stage was won by Kristoff,in another sprint.Special mention to Sondre Holst Enger,who was 2nd and sprinted very well all week.A star of the future.

Bayern-Rundfahrt May 22-26

Stage 1 – The sprint was won by Alex Rasmussen,with Ben Swift 2nd and JJ Lobato 3rd.

Stage 2 – Ciolek looked to be in control of the uphill sprint but Daryl Impey managed to pip him to the line.A brilliant win by Impey.

Stage 3 – The flat sprint was won by Gerald Ciolek with Arnaud Demare 2nd.

Stage 4 – The 31.2km ITT was won by Adriano Malori by 18 seconds to young Jasha Sutterlin.This put Malori 23 seconds clear of Geraint Thomas on the GC.

Stage 5 – The hilly circuit course was won by Heinrich Haussler with Lobato 2nd and Hutarovich 3rd.

A good win overall by the Italian,Adriano Malori.Thomas was 2nd and Barta 3rd.

Tour of Belgium May 22-26

Stage 1 – There was a massive split in the peloton but it did re-group with 10km to go.There was a total lack of order,in the peloton,and many riders tried to attack.Eventually,Lotto decided to try and settle things down.

Lotto did an amazing lead-out and Greipel had the fairly easy task of finishing it off,which he did.Tom Boonen,yes Tom Boonen,was 2nd and Sinkeldam was 3rd.A brilliant display by Lotto and Greipel.

Stage 2 – Another sprint finish,as expected.That being said,the bunch split into 3 groups with around 30km to go.OPQS and BMC seemed determined to put riders in difficulty,we also had driving rain and wind,making the racing very hard.The peloton did re-form and deliver a sprint finish,thanks to some great work by Lotto,as they brought back a break from Gilbert.Andre Greipel won a very close sprint from Danny Van Poppel and Boonen.

Stage 3 – The 15km ITT was won by Tony Martin by 40 seconds to Tom Dumoulin.They sat 1st and 2nd on GC,with Boonen 3rd.

Stage 4 – A very challenging route with plenty of short climbs faced the riders.The break contained riders from Vacansoleil,Lotto and Astana,so the onus was on OPQS to ride in the peloton.The break wasn’t a threat on GC,so we had Argos helping to bring them back.Voeckler was in the break but the stage wasn’t for him.Tom Slagter attacked from the peloton but Tom Boonen was working hard on the front of the peloton and he was brought back.It was beginning to look like a sprint finish but just as it looked like coming back together,Maxim Iglinskiy,launched an attack.He had 1 km to go and he managed to hold on for the win,just in front of Greipel.

Stage 5 – The final stage was hard with 13 climbs and 3 times up La Redoute.A monster break of 11 went away,before it thinned out to 5.Eventuallly Luis Leon Sanchez got away himself as the peloton worked hard to bring him back.BMC were very keen for the stage,as they passed through the home town of Gilbert.The penultimate climb of the day was the last of 3 ascents of La Redoute and it left only Gilbert,Martin,Gavazzi and Kloden chasing Sanchez.They got to within 20 seconds but Martin didn’t need to bring him back,and the others didn’t work that hard,so the break went out to the 1 minute mark.Continued poor cooperation meant that Sanchez stayed away to claim the stage and Tony Martin won the GC.The great ride by Sanchez moved him into 2nd place on GC and Gilbert claimed 3rd.

A great win by Tony Martin,who proved he can hang tough on short,steep climbs.

 

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