Rodriguez (Katusha) climbs to win in Stage 4 of Tour of the Basque Country; Rodriguez moves to top of overall GC; Hesjedal in 6th overall after Stage 4

Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2012   (April 2- 7)

April 5, 2012
Stage 4
Rodriguez wins steep uphill battle to take stage 4 victory

By: Peter Hymas

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) won stage 4 at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco on his ideal finishing terrain, an incredibly steep final pitch atop the category 1 Alto de Ibardin mountain finish.

A leg-snapping 18 percent gradient awaited inside the final 500 metres of the Basque race’s second consecutive mountain finish, where Rodriguez unleashed an explosive surge and soloed away to victory from an elite selection of climbers.

Overnight leader Sammy Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), who started the stage tied on time with Rodriguez, did his best to limit his losses and crossed the finish line in second place at nine seconds. Sergio Henao (Sky) rounded out the top three, 12 seconds behind Rodriguez, immediately followed by Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) in the same time .

With the stage victory Rodriguez moves into the general classification lead with a nine-second advantage over Sanchez. Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan), the 2010 Pais Vasco champion and the 2011 runner-up, holds third overall at 21 seconds.


Canadian Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Barracuda) was 10th in Stage 4, and holds 6th in the overall GC after Stage 4, 28 seconds behind Rodriguez.

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Canadian Ryder Hesjedal in 7th after stage 2 of Tour of the Basque Country (race ends April 7); GreenEdge keeps up good work
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2012     ( April 2- 7 2012 )
April 3, Stage 2: Güeñes – Vitoria-Gasteiz 165.7km

Impey holds off peloton for stage 2 win with late flier

Cycling News
April 3, 2012

Daryl Impey (GreenEdge) won stage 2 of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco with a dramatic solo effort in the final kilometre. The 27-year-old South African led the peloton approaching the flamme rouge, got a slight gap at a roundabout, and hung on by two bike lengths for the victory. A moment’s hesitation by the field in the expected field sprint finale provided just enough distance for the solo GreenEdge rider to prevail.

Impey’s teammate Allan Davis keenly eyed the South African’s progress and sprinted to second place as the Australian ProTeam stamped its authority on the finish with a one-two result. Davide Appolonio (Sky) claimed third place, followed by race leader Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) for fourth in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

General classification after stage 2
1     Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team     8:07:51
2     Daniele Ratto (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
3     Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin – Barracuda
4     Daryl Impey (RSA) GreenEdge Cycling Team
5     Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
6     Gianni Meersman (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
7     Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin – Barracuda
8     Michael Matthews (Aus) Rabobank Cycling Team
9     Davide Appollonio (Ita) Sky Procycling
10     Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) BMC Racing Team



For full story and results see

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Summary of Tour of Flanders and Leipheimer accident links
Boonen’s third triumph, Cancellara and the new route
10 conclusions from the Tour of Flanders
April 3, 2012
Daniel Benson


Levi Leipheimer ‘lucky to be alive’ after crash in Spain

• Cyclist recovering after being hit by car
• American will miss Tour of the Basque Country

Associated Press, Monday 2 April 2012

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Evans shows good form in winning Critérium International

I just watched the NBC Sports channel coverage of the Critérium International  (delayed broadcast).   The finish – 14 km up a 3000 foot climb – was the deciding point and Cadel Evans was very impressive.  He stayed with the leaders, even after his last teammates had lost the pace a couple of km from the finish, and often led himself in that final push with Rinaldo Nocentin(AG2R La Mondial) and Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ Big Mat), who took the stage in the end.

Coming in fourth in the leading group was enough for Cadel to keep the yellow jersey, which he had won yesterday by taking the time trial by .03 seconds over Michael Rogers (Sky).  Rogers was trying to keep up with the top four today, but just couldn’t do it on the steep climb.  He wound up +8 seconds off, but that was enough to get 3d overall. Rodrigo got 2d (time bonus for winning today).

Cadel looked VERY good, and was working well with his BMC teammates – Amaël Moinard, Marco Pinotti and Brent Bookwalter all did good work today. Danilo Wyss (BMC) wasn’t on the list of finishers at Stage 3.  He had taken second in the stage 1 sprint after judges moved another cyclist back for an irregular move. That move and some others led to a lot of falls in the final stretch and Wyss may have been shaken up among those who went down.

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Big Day at the Races: Boonen in Ghent-Wevelgem; Evans in Criterium; Albasini in Volta a Catalunya; Barta in Coppi e Bartali

Tweets 25 March 2012
Simon Gerrans ‏ @simongerrans

Busy afternoon in front of the TV. Criterium International, Volta Catalunya and Gent Wevelgem.

OPQS Cycling Team ‏ @opqscyclingteam

FINAL REPORT: Tom Boonen Wins 3rd #GW, 26th Team Win #OPQS

VeloNews ‏ @velonews

Full results from Ghent-Wevelgem:

Liquigas-Cannondale ‏ @Liquigas_Cdale

#GentWevelgem the podium: Boonen – Peter Sagan – Breschel

Liquigas-Cannondale ‏ @Liquigas_Cdale

RACE REPORT: commento e dichiarazioni di Peter Sagan dopo il 2° posto alla #GentWevelgem

VeloNews ‏ @velonews

Cavendish on Ghent-Wevelgem: “It’s as simple as one wheel.”

Robbie McEwen ‏ @mcewenrobbie

Congratulations to Michael Albasini & the whole @_GreenEDGE_ team for the start to finish win in Catalunya!

OPQS Cycling Team ‏ @opqscyclingteam

Simon wins #voltacatalunya, Albasini should win the GC

VeloNation News Feed ‏ @Pro_Cycling

Evans seals Criterium International victory, Fedrigo takes final stage #cycling

Pete Geyer ‏ @cyclingfans

Results: Criterium International Stage 3 results and G.C.:

Phil Liggett ‏ @PhilLiggett

Exciting finish for crit Internationale today – 40 poss winners on the Ospedale. Organizers got the changes right, it seems!

Jan Barta (NetApp) won the final stage today, and the overall GC win, in Coppi e Bartali.  Yesterday’s GC leader Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp) was 2d in the overall GC for the race, +13 off Barta’s time, despite finishing well down in today’s stage.
Diego Ulisse (Lampre ISD) finished 3d in the overall GC, +21 behind Barta, and finished ninth in today’s stage.

Results at

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Boonen wins in fine form; Albasini remains leading GC in Volta a Catalunya; Ulissi takes second win at Coppi e Bartali

March 23

E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quickstep) took the sprint finish at E3 Prijs Vlaanderen-Harelbeke, edging Oscar Freire (Katusha) and Bernhard Eisel (Sky).  Fabian Cancellara(RadioShack Nissan) had worked hard to keep the pace up among the leaders but had double bad luck, flatting on the Oude Kwaremont climb, and then colliding with a spectator just after getting a new bike and topping the climb.

1. Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quickstep}
2. Oscar Freire Gomez (Katusha)
3. Bernhard Eisel (Sky)
Full results at

Volta a Catalunya Stage 5
Julien Simon (Saur Sojasun) won Stage 5 of the Volta a Catalunya in a bunch sprint, with yesterday’s stage winner Rigoberto Uran (Sky) second and Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas Cannondale) third.  Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel Euskadi) came in fourth.  Dario Cataldo only managed fifth. although his team, Omega Pharma Quickstep with Levi Leipheimer had managed the pace to favor him during the race.  Michael Albasini (GreenEdge) holds his overall GC top position, still by 1:32..

Stage 5 results
1. Julien Simon     (Saur Sojasun)
2. Rigoberto Uran (Sky).
3. Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas Cannondale)
4. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Euskaltel Euskadi)
5. Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma Quickstep)
6. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol)
7. Michael Albasini (GreenEdge)
8. Denis Menchov (Katusha) .
9. Daniel Martin     (Garmin Barracuda)
10. Robert Kiserlovski     (Astana).
Read more:


Coppi e Bartali Stage 4

Diego Ulissi (Lampre ISD) made it two in a row at the Coppi e Bartali, taking the stage today and moving up in the overall GC to  third position.    Danilo Di Luca (Acqua e Sapone) was second in today’s stage, followed in third by Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp).  Because of the strong showing of Team NetApp in the team time trial, Huzarski now leads the overall GC, with Di Luca second at +10 seconds, and Ulissi third at +11.

full results at

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Volta a Catalunya stage won by Ulan; Albasini holds GC lead; Other noted cyclists scheduled for Belgian race Friday E3 Prijs Vlaanderen

March 22
Volta a Catalunya Stage 4 (March 19-25)

Rigoberto Urán (Sky) won in a sprint finish for stage four of the 2012 Volta a Catalunya. The sprinters had been part of a breakaway group.  Denis Menchov (Katusha) came in second,  and Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas-Cannondale) took third.  After adjustments because of the shortened stage 3 and after coming down the field today in stage 4, Ryder Hesjedal(Garmin Barracuda)l has lost his second place in the overall GC, and is now in 18th place overall 2:16 behind the GC leader Michael Albasini (Greenedge). Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma Quickstep) got into the breakaway early, but also finished down the field, so is 15th in the overall GC after stage 4, 1:32 behind Albasini along with a large group including Menchov (13th), Samuel Sanchez(Euskaltel Euskadi)(5th) and Szmyd (14th).

full results at

Liquigas Cannondale reports that the injuries sustained by Ivan Basso yesterday were  related to the contusion suffered during the fall. No damage was found to bone, tendons or ligaments.  He is scheduled for intensive physical therapy.
Story at

Coppi e Bartali Stage 3 (March 20-24)

Stage 3 results
Diego Ulissi (Lampre ISD) won stage 3 today, and Cesare Benedetti (NetApp) held onto the overall GC lead.
Results at

Tomorrow (Friday)
E3 Prijs Vlaanderen – Harelbeke

Big names on the startlist – Cancellara, Boonen, Freire, Hushovd, Gilbert, Eisel, Haussler, Chavanel, Boasson Hagen

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Basso out of Volta a Catalunya

After a bad fall shortly after the beginning of the weather-beset stage 3, Ivan Basso (Liquigas Cannondale) abandoned on the  counsel of his director sportif Alberto Volpi, and has returned to Italy for examination.


full story at

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Snow shortens Stage 3 of Volta a Catalunya; Team Time Trial shakes up GC in Coppi e Bartali; Big Gaps in Dwars door Vlaanderen

March 21

Volta a Catalunya

Janez Brajkovic(Astana) won Stage 3 today under freezing conditions in the Spanish Pyrenees that caused the race to be shortened. Michael Albasini (Greenedge) remained as overall GC leader, with Ryder Hesjedal(Garmin Barracuda) and others still in second (+1:32) because the race administrators decided to retain the stage 2 positions because of the unexpectedly shortened stage. The snowy weather grounded the helicopters, so there was no live TV coverage today.

Withdrawals todayincluded Andy Schleck (RadioShack Nissan), Bradley Wiggins (Sky). Richie Porte(Sky), and Tejay Van Garderen(BMC). Before the stage began, Alejandro Valverde(injuries) and Javi Moreno(stomach problems)(both of Movistar) withdrew.

The shortened stage cut out two steep ascents, to the detriment of the climbers and to the advantage of the breakaway group, initially led out by Chris Anker Sorenson (Saxo Bank). The decision to shorten the stage meant the breakaway group were not caught, and were able to contest among themselves for the stage win.

1, Janez Brajkovic (Astana)
2, Michal Golas (Omega Pharma – Quickstep)
3, Mickael Cherel (Ag2R  La Mondiale)
4, Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil  DCM)
5, Thomas Rohregger (RadioShack  Nissan)
6, Christian Vande Velde (Garmin Barracuda)
7, Johann Tschopp (BMC)
8, Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank)
9, Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo Bank)
10, Romain Bardet (Ag2R La Mondiale)


Full Results at

Coppi e Bartali

Two stages were held today in the Coppi e Bartali.  Elia Viviani (Liquigas Cannondale) won the first stage (Stage 2a), and the German team Netapp took the Team Time Trial of Stage 2b by a significant margin that put their riders Cesare Benedetti and Daniel Schorn into the overall GC lead.

Results at

Dwars door Vlaanderen

Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma Quickstep) had a convincing victory today in the Dwars door Vlaanderen, taking the one-day semi classic by over a minute ahead of his former breakaway companions, Sylvain Chavanel (second place at +47)(Omega Pharma Quickstep) and Filippo Pozzato(sixth at +1:00) (Farnese Vini – Selle Italia), among others.

The main group came in over three minutes behind, including Mark Renshaw(Rabobank), Mark Cavendish(Sky), Tyler Farrar (Garmin Barracuda), Stuart O’Grady (GreenEdge) Matthew Goss (GreenEdge) and Heinrich Haussler(Garmin Barracuda).

Full results at

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Albasini takes Stage 2 for back to back wins at Volta a Catalunya; Andrea wins opening stage in Coppi e Bartali; Useful links to schedules

March 20

Volta a Catalunya
Michael Albasini (Greenedge) won the second stage today, making it two stages in a row for him.  Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Barracuda) came in 5th in today’s second stage, which put him second in the overall GC standings after stage 2. His overall time is 1:32 behind Albasini, along with thirty other members of the peloton”

1.  Michael Albasini (Greenedge)
2,  Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin Barracuda) +1:32
3.  Mikael Cherel (AG2R La Mondial)  +1:32
4.  Steve Morabito (BMC) +1:32
5.  Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ BIG MAT)  +1:32
6.  Daniel Martin (Garmin Barracuda)  +1:32
7.  Richie Porte (Sky) +1:32
8.  Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol)  +1:32
9.  Jacob Fuglsang (Radioshack Nissan)  +1:32
10. Damiano Cunego (Lampre ISD)  +1:32
11. Tom Danielson (Garmin Barracuda)  +1:32
12. Bruno Pires (Saxo Bank)  +1:32
13. Sergio Pardilla (Movistar)  +1:32
14. Samuel Sanches (Euskaltel Euskadi)  +1:32
15. Rigoberto Uran (Sky)  +1:32
16. Wilco Kelderman (Rabobank)  +1:32
17. Robert Kiserlovski (Astana)  +1:32
18. Matteo Carrara (Vacansoleil DCM) +1:32
19. Remy Di Gregorio (Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne)  +1:32
20. Robert Gesink (Rabobank)  +1:32
21. Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma Quickstep) +1:32
22. Denis Menchov (Katusha) +1:32
23. Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank)  +1:32
24. Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma Quickstep)  +1:32
25. Alberto Losada (Katusha)  +1:32
26. Alexandr Dyachenko (Astana)  +1:32
27. Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas Cannondale)  +1:32
28. Cristiano Salerno (Liquigas Cannondale)  +1:32
29. Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank)  +1:32
30. Peter Stetina (Garmin Barracuda)  +1:32
31. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) +1:32

full results at

March 20-24:
Overlapping with Volta a Catalunya, starting today, is the
Coppi e Bartali – March 20-25  (Northern Italy)

Stage One today was won by Andrea Palini (IDEA), succeeding by a whisker in a breakaway that was almost caught up at the end as the peloton mistimed its move to overtake them.  Top ten finishers today were

1  PALINI, Andrea (IDEA)                            3:16:31
9  RICHEZE, Maximiliano Ariel (NIPPO)
Most of the peloton, including Alexandr Vinokourov (Astana), were 2 seconds off Palini’s pace.

full results and startlist at
Useful links:

Nice photo posted on Robbie McEwen’s facebook page
shows him getting the win on 2 March 2012 at the OCBC Singapore Criterium

Cyclingnews’ guide to the 2012 Spring Classics

2012 schedule for cycling broadcasts on NBC Sports Channel

2012 viewing guide for Universal Sports

UCI Calendar