Monday, May 13, 2013

Weekend Roundup (5/11-12)

With about 935 races finishing up this weekend, it was busy on the results watching front. Lots happened so let us catch up with the weekend that was...

Flèche du Sud

Michael Valgren takes the stage 3 win (

When we left off last, Michael Valgren (CULT Energy) won the 3rd stage in a breakaway ahead of Mirco Saggriorato (EKZ) and Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Devo). Valgren took over the overall lead from fellow Dane Kristian Haugaard (Leopard-Trek).

Saturday's stage was a taste of Luxembourg with short, punchy hills abound and an uphill finish. With 40 meters gained in the final half kilometer, the peloton or what was left of it broke up and only a group of 15 made it to the line together. It was Alberto Cecchin (Nippo-De Rosa) who took the win over (who else) Eugenio Alafaci (Leopard-Trek) and Johan Coenen (Differdange). All three GC contenders stayed with the front group.

Sunday's stage saw an incredibly fast finish (nearly 60 km/h average for the final 3km) but a bunch sprint was foiled by a crafty move on the finishing loops. With three laps to go in the race, Oscar Clark (Hincapie Devo), Alex Kirsch (Leopard-Trek) Clemens Fankhauser (Tirol), Alexander Foliforov (Helicopters) and Nikola Aistrup (Concordia) made a move together and got a gap. It was Clark and Foliforov who managed to attack the bunch and held off the bunch with Clark winning Hincapie Devo's first European race. Behind, it was the beastly Simon Yates (Team GB) winning the bunch sprint for 3rd.

Michael Valgren wrapped up the overall GC with Saggiorato in 2nd and Rosskopf in 3rd. Thanks to ever consistent finishes (albeit with no wins), Eugenio Alafaci (Leopard-Trek) wrapped up the points jersey while teammate Alex Kirsch got the KOM crown. This is Valgren's 3rd UCI win of the season and I will be surprised if he isn't picked up by a Pro Conti/World Tour squad for next year.

Giro della Regioni Friuli-Venezia Giulia

After Friday's uphill finish into Claut, it was time to go into the mountains on Saturday. It wasn't a particularly 'epic' stage with only two categorized climbs but the finish was on the Monte Matajur, right on the border with Slovenia.

After a scenic, rainy journey to the base of Monte Matajur, the group was wittled down to only 6 with approximately 5km to go when Daniele Dall'Oste (Trevigiani) attacked. At 3km to go, it was Slovenian Jan Polanc (Radenska) and Austrian Riccardo Zoidl (Gourmetfein-Simplon) who bridged up to the Italian. With two km to go, it was Polanc who put in a hellacious attack that dropped Zoidl immediately and then dropped Dall'Oste soon after. Polanc went through the red kite with a gap and climbed up through the picturesque forest of the Julian Alps and as he climbed to the summit of the mountain that straddled the border with his home country, Polanc let loose an exuberant celebration as he won brilliantly. Dall'Oste hung on for 2nd while Ivan Rovny (Ceramica Flaminia) passed Riccardo Zoidl for 3rd.

With Polanc resplendent in the white leader's jersey, the race wrapped up Sunday with a 40-rider sprint into Corno di Rosazzo with Zalf-Euromobil's Paolo Simion and his ginger hair taking the victory. It was Simion's 4th victory of the season and for his efforts, he took home the points jersey. Polanc finished safely in the bunch and took his first overall stage race win in his career.

Top 10 overall
  1. Jan Polanc (Radenska)
  2. Daniele Dall'Oste (Trevigiani) +25"
  3. Ivan Rovny (Ceramica Flaminia) +28"
  4. Riccardo Zoidl (Gourmetfein-Simplon) +35"
  5. Andrea Manfredi (Ceramica Flaminia) +1:07"
  6. Davide Orrico (Colpack) +2:07"
  7. Andrei Krasilnikau (Belarus) +2:25"
  8. Matija Kvasina (Gourmetfein-Simplon) s.t.
  9. Matteo Fedi (Ceramica Flaminia) +3:16"
  10. Roberto Giacobazzi (General Store) +3:22"
**U23 riders in bold

Tour de Berlin

While the G.C. was essentially all said and done, the main reason that the Tour de Berlin should be followed was still to come...the sprints. Berlin and its surrounding area are not known for their hills and, while not to discount the G.C. riders here, the sprinters are really the main attraction. Past winners and high finishers in sprints here in the recent past include Bryan Coquard (Europcar), Rüdiger Selig (Katusha), Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil), Leigh Howard (GreenEdge) and superstars such as Mark Cavendish (OPQS) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol).

The next big German sprinter?
Willi Willwohl of LKT Brandenburg

After finishing 6th on the first stage, Willi Willwohl (LKT Brandenburg) took out Friday's bunch gallop and being only 18, it was a fantastic result. But really...could he win another stage? Well to prove any doubters wrong, the young man from Cottbus took the final two stages during the weekend. Willwohl took out stage four ahead of Stölting's Phil Bauhaus and Rad-Net Rose's Pascal Ackermann while on Sunday, the speedster beat out Philipp Zwingenberger and Ackermann again to cap off an amazing week. 

It should be noted that the team that Willwohl rides for, LKT Brandenburg, is primarily a track squad and Willwohl has track roots in the pursuit and points race. Willwohl was 2nd in the German junior national RR last year but he never had any huge results as a junior that screamed "Talent over here!". His track background and team shouldn't bother anyone in terms of development. LKT Brandenburg also had guys such as Nikias Arndt and Roger Kluge in the past and both have transferred to the road well.

Mathias Møller (Blue Water) wrapped up the overall GC ahead of Sjors Roosen (Jo Piels) and Blue Water teammate Lasse Norman Hansen, winner of the stage two TT.

Other results from around the world...

  • Bontrager teammates Jasper Stuyven and Tanner Putt went 5th and 10th in the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California. On what was an incredibly hot day, the Bontrager team performed better than most teams as they got 5 riders into the front group. Beastly performance by Axel Merckx's men and keep looking for them in the week ahead.
  • Niccolo Bonifazio (Viris Maserati) took another win, his 3rd of the year, in a sprint over Trevigiani's Liam Bertazzo and Marco Mazzetto (Coppi Gazzerra) in the GP Camon on Sunday. Bonifazio signed an agreement with Lampre-Merida last season, along with Jan Polanc, that should see them stagiaire with the squad this fall and turn pro with them in 2014. The only reason I say should is because I know deals such as this can fall through so nothing is set in concrete.
  • Mark Dzamastagic (Sava) took out the final stage of the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour in a bunch sprint over former World Junior cyclocross champion Clément Venturini and Kevin Reza (Europcar). Dzamastagic can be remembered for his 2nd place in the ZLM Tour behind Yoeri Havik this April. Martijn Tusveld (Rabobank Development) won the youth classification overall for the race, finishing 17th behind winner Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) at 3'26".
  • Triptyque Ardennaise is a three-day stage race through, you guessed it, the Ardennes of Wallonie. Dylan Teuns (Ventilair-Steria) won the first day out of a group of 8 including Jèrôme Baugnies (ToWin-Josan) with Boris Vallee (ColorCode-Biowanze) took the field sprint for 9th, 14 seconds back. Baugnies got his revenge on Saturday's stage two by taking an impressive win in Eupen over Frederik Backaert (EFC-OPQS) and Stefan Küng (BMC Development) after the trio broke away from their breakaway group on a stage that saw 12 categorized climbs. With a nice lead but without a strong team, Baugnies was isolated on stage three. Starting the stage only 1 second ahead of Backaert, Baugnies spent his day covering the EFC-OPQS man but while he did that, a breakaway including Silvan Dillier (BMC) and Stig Broeckx (Lotto-Belisol) got away up the road to contest the stage win. Baugnies, to protect his lead, took over the pace making to keep Broeckx from usurping him. Dillier beat out Broeckx in the sprint for the stage win while Baugnies kept his slender lead. This was Baugnies' 10th win in a season that is a tale of redemption for the former Pro Continental rider with Topsport Vlaanderen and NetApp, who is trying to get back to that professional level and doing his best to show off his skills.
Alright, that'll do for now. Read my twitter timeline @Vlaanderen90 to see a short preview of the Olympia's Tour, which starts Monday with a prologue. Until next time.

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