GP Ouest France – Plouay Sep 1
The riders faced many laps of the lumpy circuit course.On the final lap we had an attack from Tom Dumoulin and Dreis Devenyns,but Saxo brought them back.
Lotto then decided to control the race as they tried to set up Jurgen Roelandts.
Visconti was the next to attack and he took Koren(Cannondale) and Wellens(Lotto) with him,so BMC moved to the front of the peloton.The gap remained around the 10 second mark,it was never going to be enough,as BMC were working hard for Thor Hushovd.
It was all back together when the riders hit the bottom of the final climb.Kwiatkowski led up the climb as he tried to split the peloton.This created a group of 8 in front of the peloton,but they looked very tired.Enrico Gasparotto then tried to go solo,but he got caught,then Van Avermaet had a go.The race was all over the place.
The peloton managed to get their act together and GVA was caught by the Radioshack led group.The race was spread all across the road for the sprint and Nizzolo looked to be in control,but Pozzato came straight through the middle to claim another impressive win.Nizzolo finished 2nd and Samuel Dumoulin was 3rd.
Tour of Alberta Sep 3-8
Prologue – The 7.3km prologue was won by Peter Sagan,13 seconds clear of Rohan Dennis.He can do the lot!
Stage 1 – Sagan wins the bunch sprint,from Young(Optum) and Hofland(Belkin).
Stage 2 – Silvan Dillier managed to claim a breakaway win for BMC,with Tvetcov(Jelly Belly) 2nd.Peter Sagan led the bunch home in 3rd.
Stage 3 – A very windy day,that created a massive split in the peloton.Rohan Dennis took the sprint form Bookwalter and Caruso.This moved him into the race lead.
Stage 4 – Another day with a big break and it was Cadel Evans winning the sprint,Simon Geschke was 2nd and Tom Slagter 3rd.
Stage 5 – The final stage sprint was won by Sagan with Mezgec 2nd and Forster 3rd.
GC – Dennis,Bookwalter and Caruso.
A great win for the young Australian.
Settimana Ciclitica Lombarda by Bergamasca Sep 5-7
3 stages,with 2 mountaintop finishes and an uphill sprint.
Stage 1 – On the 8.4km climb to the finish,a small group of 7 broke clear.With a couple of kilometres remaining Patrik Sinkewitz attacked.Only 2 tried to go with him:Bongiorno and Rebellin.They never quite got onto his wheel and the German was gone.He climbed very well and won the stage by 16 seconds to Ivan Rovny(Ceramica) and David Rebellin(CCC).
Stage 2 – The stage ended with the long,hard climb up to Foppolo.Sinkewitz was at it again,this time with an attack from further out.Finetto and Meintjes tried to follow,but couldn’t.Androni were leading a small chase group,for Franco Pellizotti,but they couldn’t catch him and the German claimed the stage win.Finishing in a group behind him was Yuri Trofimov,Franco Pellizotti,Matteo Rabottini,Roadoslave Rogina,Gianfranco Zilioli,Jan Hirt and Francesco Manuel Bongiorno.
Stage 3 – The race ended with an uphill sprint.We had a small group of 20 riders that were going to battle out for the victory.A Katusha rider did a massive turn on the front and really buried himself,with 500 metres left,Franco Pellizotti,took over.He was trying to lead-out Rubiano Chavez but the Colombian didn’t have anything left in his legs.The sprint was well won by Alexey Tsatevitch(Katusha),with Mauro Finetto 2nd and Pelizotti 3rd.
The top 3 on GC was Sinkewitz,Rogina and Bongiorno.
Brussels Cycling Classic Sep 7
We got a sprint finish and a rematch of the Vattenfall Classic.Lars Boom tried his best for a late break but he was caught by the peloton inside the final kilometre.
The peloton was being led by OPQS but Mickael Delage arrived at the front with Bouhanni on his wheel.It looked like FDJ had got it right but Andre Greipel got the jump on Bouhanni and he was too fast.John Degenkolb finished 2nd,with Bouhanni 3rd.
GP de Fourmies Sep 8
On the final lap a strong break made a gap,in the break was Bardet,Bodnar,Koren,Malaguti and Duque.With 2 Cannondale riders it seemed that the break had a good chance of staying away,but the FDJ led peloton was riding fast and the catch was made with 4km to go.
Samuel Dumoulin was the next AG2R rider to try his luck,he obviously didn’t fancy his chances against Bouhanni and Greipel.This attack also failed.
A number of teams were fighting for control of the sprint and Katusha led with 1km to go.Then Saxo thought they were in prime position but Delage burst through the centre with Bouhanni on his wheel.Just like the day before,Greipel tried to get the jump on Bouhanni,but he went too early and the Frenchman had the power to pass him and claim a good win.Greipel finished 2nd and Bryan Coquard was 3rd.
GP Quebec Sep 9
Going into the race,Peter Sagan was the overwhelming favourite,but BMC were the team that tried to control a lot of the race.
Niki Terpstra was the last man out and he had a 30 second lead with 8km remaining and Cannondale were back on the front.Sagan’s team were only willing to put 1 man on the front and the gap wasn’t going down,so Sky came to the front.
On the final climb it was Chris Froome who attacked first,then came Sagan.He went for an uphill sprint and really stretched out the peloton but he didn’t get a gap.In fact,all he achieved was to eliminate his teammates!Sagan started to ride and he and Van Avermaet joined up with Terpstra but they didn’t want to work together,so their group grew to 10.These 10 riders arrived together for a sprint.Robert Gesink drove for the line,but he had Sagan in his wheel.Amazingly,Sagan,didn’t have the energy to sprint.The unluckiest man was GVA,as he was on Sagan’s wheel,and when he stopped it blew his chances.Gesink continued to the line and took a great win,2nd place was Vichot and GVA was 3rd.
GP Montreal Sep 15
Time for some revenge….Sagan style!
As the riders started the final lap,Michael Albasini was solo with 20 seconds on the peloton.FDJ were on the front of the bunch,looking for Vichot.
Once climbing,it was Jan Bakelants that started off a large number of attacks.
Froome tried and failed,Gesink got a bit of a gap,Sagan went after Gesink,Bakelants went again,Gesink was caught by Sagan and then they had a rest!
On the descent,Froome tried again but he couldn’t get a gap.Gesink also tried again but he too failed to create a sizeable gap.
The racing was getting fairly messy and Sagan didn’t have any teammates with him,so he decided the best type of defence was attack.He chased down a Hesjedal attack and with 5.6km remaining he went!
As in the Spring races,when Sagan attacks like this,no one can follow.He soled to a brilliant win and made up for a poor tactical performance in Quebec.2nd was Ponzi and 3rd was Hesjedal.
Tour of Britain Sep 15-22
Stage 1 – We had a sprint finish,but a very narrow road.This meant that positioning was important and MTN got it right when Stauff delivered Ciolek into a great position with 750 metres remaining.The German launched his sprint and looked like he would take the win,but he started too early and Elia Viviani came past him to win the stage,Alessandro Petacchi was 2nd and Ciolek just held on to 3rd.
Stage 2 – The stage ended with a steep last 500 metres in Kendal.Sam Bennett looked to have timed his sprint to perfection but Gerald Ciolek managed to get across to him and take the stage win.The man from Ireland was 2nd and Lofkvist was 3rd.
Stage 3 – The 16km ITT was won by Bradley Wiggins.He was 36 seconds clear of Ian Stannard and 42 seconds ahead of Jack Bauer,with Martin Elmiger in 4th.This put Wiggins into the overall lead,with Stannard 2nd and Elmiger 3rd.
Stage 4 – We had some hills but not hard enough to distance the sprinters.The finish was very messy and the break nearly stayed away but OPQS were working for Mark Cavendish and they wanted a sprint.Once the sprint was secured there was only go to be one winner and Cavendish delivered,with Viviani 2nd and Von Hoff 3rd.
Stage 5 – 2 ascents of Caerphilly “mountain” awaited the riders and we got a very exciting stage.1st time up the hill Quintana attacked at the foot,he was joined by Bongiorno.They crested first but re-joined the peloton,on the descent.2nd time up the hill we had an attack by Dan Martin,Quintana and Pardilla.They crested with a short gap but Sky brought them back on the descent.We then had a small group sprint and Sam Bennett took a great win,with Golas 2nd and Elmiger 3rd.
Stage 6 – The first “mountaintop” finish in the Tour of Britain.We had attacks from Martin and Quintana and it was great to see Wiggins drive the peloton up the last few kilometres.It was a famous victory for Simon Yates for the GB squad,with Elmiger 2nd and Lopez 3rd.A fantastic win for the young rider that who will be joining Orica in 2014.
Stage 7 – Another sprint,but this one was uphill and on cobbles.OPQS did a brilliant lead-out and Cavendish claimed another stage win.Viviani was about to go past him,but he lost control on the cobbles and he had to settle for 2nd,with Ciolek 3rd.
Stage 8 – The final stage was won by Cavendish,Bennett was 2nd and Viviani 3rd.
GC – Wiggins,Elmiger,Simon Yates.
GP de Wallonie Sep 18
With 22km to go,we had an attack from Bakelants and Frank.They were joined by the brilliant Tommy Voeckler.This was an extremely strong group and they worked well together.
The bunch made a big mistake and the 3 didn’t come back.The final climb was 3km long and cobbled!Voeckler attacked with 1.5km left and that got rid of Frank.Going into the finish Bakelants was stuck on the front but he wasn’t worried.When Voeckler attacked the Belgian did well to maintain his line on the big right-hand corner and he clipped in front of Voeckler to take a great win.
GP de la Somme Sep 20
The uphill sprint finish was well won by Van Hecke of Topsport,with Delpech(Bretagne) 2nd and Van Der Lijke(Rabo Dev) 3rd.
GP Costa Degli Etruschi Sep 21
The Italians were using this as a build-up for the Worlds.The final climb was steep and close to the end of the race.Vincenzo Nibali decided to test his legs on the climb and only Sinkewitz and Ulissi could follow.They worked well together but were caught on the final run-in to the line.The group catching them was Scarponi,Pozzato,Nocentini and Santaromita.This meant that Lampre had 3 men in the group and they played their cards perfectly.Scarponi attacked inside the final kilometre and the others didn’t want to chase,so he won and Ulissi was 2nd,with Pozzato 3rd.That meant that Lampre filled all 3 spots on the podium.
GP Industria & Commercio Sep 22
We have a circuit race with 7 ascents of a very tough climb.A strong break of 7 riders formed,containing Moreno,Trofimov,Caruso(all Katusha),Zilioli,Rubiano Chavez,Pellizotti(all Androni) and Paterski(Cannondale).Back in the peloton it was Bardiani and Vini Fantini trying to chase it down.The break was too strong but we had a slight surprise when Zilioli managed to get away and claim the win.The sprint for 2nd was won by Rubiano Chavez with Paterski 3rd.An excellent 1st and 2nd for Androni against the power of Katusha.
GP d’Isbergues Sep 22
The same group of sprinters that raced Ouest France and de la Somme were back in action in Northern France.We had Coquard,Demare,Gilbert,Hushovd,Degenkolb and Samuel Dumoulin.
Europcar were on the front of the peloton,looking to set up another win for Bryan Coquard,but it wasn’t to be for the young man.Instead,it was another win for Arnaud Demare.He was delivered into a perfect position by Delage and he finished off the work.John Degenkolb was 2nd and he wasn’t best pleased,he thought Demare had crossed into his line,but it didn’t look like it.3rd place went to Drucker(Accent.jobs),with Hushovd and Gilbert 4th and 5th.
Yet another win for Demare as he continues to demonstrate what a brilliant rider he is.
World Championships Sep 22-29
TTT – What an amazingly close race,with OPQS beating Orica by under 1 second over a distance of 57.2km.Sky took 3rd,23 seconds behind big Tony.
ITT – Tony Martin again demonstrating his power with an outstanding performance.He finished 46 seconds clear of Wiggins and a further 2 seconds ahead of Cancellara.
Road Race – The weather,yet again,was the winner.Torrential rain turned the roads into an ice-rink and many riders crashed and stopped.Italy rode a fierce pace to try and eliminate as many riders as possible,but in the end we were left with Valverde,Rui Costa,Rodriguez and Nibali.
The other 3 looked to Nibali to ride and he obliged,trying to distance them on the climbs.Spain tried to play it clever by sending Rodriguez up the road and looking to Nibali to tow Valverde across,but Nibali disn’t go.It was Rui Costa who chased down Rodriguez and for some reason Valverde choose not to follow.Rui Costa caught the Spaniard and won for Portugal,a quite brilliant performance.Rodriguez picked up 2nd and Valverde 3rd.
After the race,there were more questions than answers about the Spanish performance.