Rémy’s 8th Megavalanche Victory

Rémy Absalon ended the 2014 season in the most beautiful way by winning the Reunion Island Megavalanche.

This weekend, Reunion Island welcomed the 20th Megavalanche race. During an entire week in the same “Holidays Village Corail”, riders could share their feelings concerning the dusty race track, the volcano or jungle runs, but also their bike specs or the 2015 program.
Every year Megavalanche is a nice way to conclude the season. Thus, all MTB disciplines were represented with enduro riders like Cedric Gracia (Santa Cruz), Nicolas Quéré (Commencal), Rémy Absalon (Scott SR Suntour) or DH pilots as Pierre-Charles Georges (Lac Blanc-Scott) the winner of Alpe d’Huez Mégavalanche, Florent Payet (Evil) or Thibaut Ruffin (Commencal). On the start line we saw XC riders too like Alexis Chenevier (Scott), winner of the famous Transvesubienne.

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Rémy Absalon riding along the volcano

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shooting session on the top of the Maido

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Rémy on the volcanic rocks

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Rémy and Alexis Chenevier testing their Genius LT

PHOTOS: Simon NIEBORAK

Saturday took place the qualifying rounds with an enduro format. In group of 4, riders rode in 4 stages from the Maido, going on the lava, through the jungle and sugar cane fields, and finishing on the stony and dry trails of the seaside under an oppressive heat.
Rémy won this day with 28s over the second rider.

Sunday, the 400 riders started the Mega with an impressive mass start. Nicolas Quéré did the holeshot and after 300m, Rémy took the lead. During 43min, Rémy was really focussed on his goal. First he took a big time advantage in the rocky lava section. Then he made sure to go to the finish line with a smooth and safe piloting in the technical jungle and the physical parts.
Finally, Rémy came first with a comfortable lead.

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“I am really happy to end the season winning this famous race. The second part of the year was better. Megavalanche is always a goal and it very good to begin the winter in a positive spirit.”

Rémy Absalon
SCOTT SR Suntour Enduro Team

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Rémy proud to win his 5th Reunion Island Megavalanche

 

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Hynek wins in Ornans

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Kristian Hynek of the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team wins the UCI World Series race Marathon ’Extreme sur Loue’ in Ornans, France. Robert Mennen took eighth while Alban Lakata took eleventh.

It is the end of the season, but Topeak-Ergon is putting their foot on the gas just one last time. Take Kristian Hynek, for example, who won the UCI Marathon World Series race, ’Extreme sur Loue’ in Ornans, France. Against a field of world-class athletes the 34 Year Old delivered an amazing performance, finishing the race in just 3:47:34 hours — for 84km. Robert Mennen (29) finished eighth, and Alban Lakata (35) suffered a mechanical defect to finish 11th.

For Kristian, who has often suffered this year from mechanicals, the victory was particularly gratifying: ”It is a great win and I am super happy. The race was extremely well fought, almost like the World Championship”, which is hardly surprising, given that the race is used to decide the French National Champion.

The race went according the plan of the Prague born Cape Epic winner, who has managed to find some amazing form lately: ”I was able to sit at the front of the field from the start and set the race tempo. After 35km Hector Paez and I managed to create a gap and with about 7km from the finish I attached, and rode the race home.”

The course in Ornans is extremely demanding, both physically, but also because of its technical passages. For this reason it isn’t only form that you need, but also material which is up to the job. ”My decision to use the 29er Canyon fully was the right one,” the former European Champion said, ”in the technical descents, and in the rock and root gardens, the Lux CF was the best weapon.”

This Friday sees the season finale in France at the Roc d’Azur in Fréjus. Kristian, Robert and Sally are all in attendance, and riding to win. ”We will have to see what is possible. I feel good, but the field is as strong as in Ornans”. We wish all Topeak-Ergon athletes good luck.

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This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

 

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2014 Interbike show, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas

2014 Interbike show, Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas

September 10 – 12, 2014
Booth #23108

Stop by our booth to check out our new products and join the Topeak Prepare to Pump Contest.

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Silver Worlds For Nino Schurter

After a silver medal in the relay with the Swiss team, Nino’s color for the XCO world championships remained the same. The rainbow jersey goes very well deserved to the king of 2014- Julien Absalon.

Hafjell, Norway. It is not the gold we were hoping for. But this silver medal is a great achievement after an awesome exciting season. Even more because the gold medal went to an outstanding athlete who showed an outstanding performance in most important race of the season- Julien Absalon.

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Nino Schurter (silver) Julien Absalon (gold) Marco Aurelio Fontana (bronce)

Defending his world champion title was a difficult task for Nino Schurter. Going into this mission all the money was on him after winning 3 World Cup races in a row last month. Everybody (including him) was expecting Nino to win. A situation he can only loose or fulfill the expectations. Not that this is any new to a guy like Nino Schurter, but this time he was victime of the one who was battling him all season long to show up at worlds with a big  surprise. Julien Absalon for the first time ever was on a full suspension bike.

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early in the race the Nr.1 was looking very strong

The strategy of Nino was the same as in the past two races. He tried to get some time in between him and the rest early in the race. He was successfully doing this and crossed the line after first lap with a 19 second lead over Julien Absalon. Even Nino tried hard to maintain this lead, the French rival looked super strong on the longer climbs and eventually closed that gap in lap 3. The expected battle royal went into the next round. Giving each other sticks on the climbs and fighting for whoever gets into the descents first. Very exciting to watch. New compare to the last races was that Nino did not gain any time on Julien on the descents. This due to the fact that both riders were on of full suspension bike and Nino could not play the advantage as he did in the previous races. It was also obvious that Julien put in everything he had to kill Nino on the climbs. 3 laps to go this strategy paid off. Nino started to crack.

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last round in 2014 of the battle royal went to Julien Absalon

After Julien Absalon got the gap he was fighting for, he started to fly towards the finish line. Nino on the other hand did not look as strong and controlled as we have seen him last month. Symptomatically to this he produced a severe crash, something we have not seen from him for many years. Last lap the power in the legs and the focus in the head was gone. Luckily the crash only 30 seconds away from the finish line had not bigger consequences. The bronze medal goes to Marco Aurelio Fontana. He was never in contention with the two leading riders.

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A bad crash only 30 seconds before the finish was symptomatically for Nino’s finish

The disappointment of loosing his World Champion jersey was written in Nino’s eyes when he crossed the line. Tough, he looked at it with the right approach: ” Somehow it was just not the day I was expecting. I felt strong in the beginning, but after Julien got back to me I was not feeling as good as few weeks ago. Confronted with the fact that Julien Absalon showed his best performance of the year, I had nothing to hold against him today. But I think it’s not a shame to loose against this amazing athlete.” Right he is! Absalon won the National-, European-, World Cup- and World Champion title this year!
When things mellowed down in the evening he also analyzed. ” It was a tough program the past 6 weeks- no- it was a tough program all season long! Maybe I was running out of juice before the biggest race of the season was over…?”

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“Somehow it was just not the day I was expecting. Confronted with the fact that Julien Absalon showed his best performance of the year, I had nothing to hold against him today. But I think it’s not a shame to loose against this amazing athlete.”
Nino Schurter, World Championship silver medalist
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

It was exciting watch to Florian Vogel on his World Championship mission. He established himself in great 5th place the first third of the race. What happened after was nothing less than a drama. First his saddle slipped out of position, than he dropped the chain. Still riding in top ten a crash over the jumps destroyed his ambitions completely. The flat tire towards the end gave him the rest. Under this miserable circumstances it was a miracle he made it to the finish. Even it was only a 37th place.

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Florian Vogel with good legs and lot’s of bad luck

The last crash report comes from Jenny Rissveds side. In the technical most difficult downhill she crashed hard and had to be taken by the ambulance for check. Luckily nothing is broken. Except her heart. After missing the medal in the eliminator Hafjell was definitely not her world championship. Swiss Jolanda Neff defended her U23 title easily.

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Great news come from our 4th team rider we had in the World Championship game. Andri Frischknecht. He delivered in the most important race of the year his best performance all season long finishing in great 9th place. This comes at an even bigger surprise as he flatted first lap and dropped back to 20th place. With a lot of courage he was fighting his way back into top ten to fulfill his goal. Dutch rider Michiel van der Heijden crowned himself as the new U23 World Champion.
Now with two days to go SCOTT-Odlo is sitting in 5th place overall. But the leaders Robert Mennen and Kristian Hynek are out of reach with a 30 min lead.

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Andri Frischknecht stayed focus after a flat tire to reach his goal

This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

 

 

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Topeak Heads to Eurobike 2014

logo-eurobikeThe largest brands in cycling will converge in Friedrichshafen, Germany for the Eurobike trade show August 27 – 30.

The global cycling trade show is the annual exhibition where dealers and consumers get to see the newest and most innovative products for the coming cycling season.

Once again Topeak is set to present their newest products.  New Tools, pumps, lights and much more to make cycling more enjoyable.

EuroBike Demo Day : August 26
EuroBike Show : August 27 – 30  (Public day is Saturday, August 30)
Booth #B4-102

The following are just a few of our new 2015 products.

 

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Double Strike!

The World Cup wins keep on coming! Nino Schurter completes #13 while Jenny Rissveds gets her first Eliminator victory of the season. On top of that Florian rides into top ten.

It has been a fantastic weekend for the SCOTT riders. Not only did we have two riders in the top 10, but with Geoff Kabush in 12th  and Derek Zandstra in 13th, both riding for our Canadian Team SCOTT 3 Rox Racing, the SCOTT family had a strong showing at the US World Cup in Windham, NY. Jenny Rissved’s victory in the Eliminator World Cup was underlining the dominance of #scott2luvit.

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The SCOTT Spark 700 with it’s pilot on the way to victory.

One week after the battle royal in Mont Saint Anne the mission of both rivals was clear. Absalon wanted revenge, Schurter wanted validation. The course in Windham, New York is not the most exciting, not technical at all and has very long climbs- nothing that especially suits Nino. That being said, we learned that even a bad track can offer great racing action when the players are even. The course was more in favor of Julien- no doubt here. Nino on the other hand was in terrific shape. Going into it, anything could happen.

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At first the Flückiger brothers Mathias and Lukas held the lead together with Schurter and Absalon. Ultimately, they stayed out of the real battle. Schurter soon figured out that he could get his full suspension Spark down the hill a good 10-15 seconds faster than Absalon on his hard tail. But Absalon would not be Absalon if he would let it go this easily and always rode up the hill 10-15 seconds faster than Nino. The only time they rode together was a few meters at the top of the climb. Somehow they where even, yet they weren’t technically speaking riding together. This made for a spectacular race to watch, and for good content for the hardtail v. fully in XC debate. In the end, Nino was able to get a few seconds out of Julien in the second to last lap, and did not let go. Was it the bike or the talent? Both?

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World Cup victory Nr. 13 for Nino Schurter. Way to go!

Behind Absalon this time was Lukas Flückiger in third, followed by Australien Daniel Mc Connell and Mathias Flückiger. At the finish Nino was more than pleased about his double strike in North America.
“It was somehow a cat and mouse game today. Even if I was always a bit ahead, I was hunted all race long. This was not a safe and comfortable situation. I’m happy it played out well in the end. I’m stoked to add two World Cup wins in 8 days to my bank.”

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“It was somehow a cat and mouse game today. Even if I was always a bit ahead, I was hunted all race long. This was not a safe and comfortable situation. I’m happy it played out well in the end. I’m stoked to add two World Cup wins in 8 days to my bank.”
Nino Schurter, World Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

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12 World Cup Wins for Nino!

The battle between the two best mountain bikers in the world continues. This time it was Nino Schurter’s turn, with Nino grabbing his 12th World Cup victory!

Even the World Champion had to withstand a few critical moments during the race, in the process reminding his rival Julien Absalon just exactly what he still has in store taking back the crown of Mont Sainte Anne, Canada. With a 2nd in the Eliminator and a 3rd place in XCO, Jenny Rissveds is back strong.

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The World Champion celebrating his 12th World Cup victory.

After a two month break the 2014 UCI MTB World Cup goes into its final three rounds this month. First stop-the most classic of all mountain bike World Cups- Mont Sainte Anne, Canada. Usually the toughest of all MTB tracks, this year would be no different. On the steep climbs and in technical descents, talent shines through more obviously than usual. It was no surprise that it came down to the famous duel between the two best riders in the world- Absalon vs. Schurter.

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The race unfolded in a pattern we’ve seen before. Together with Mathias Flückiger Nino put the hammer down in first lap while Absalon and Kulhavy where not in the top ten at the beginning. Both reacted with a good effort to make it to the front. Absalon made it all the way up to Schurter, Kulhavy got stuck in the group with the two Flückiger brothers and Spanish Sergio Mantecon. From that moment on it was one of these unpredictable eye to eye fights between Schurter and Absalon. Half way through the race the action peaked with a breath taking moment. On the most difficult descent- the famous Beatrice- Nino was riding in second position behind Julien and tried to take the inside line. He was the only one rider to be able to manage this section. Unfortunately Julien got into Nino’s way. The result was a crash in a place where nobody wants to go down. Luckily, neither the body nor the bike did not sustain any damage. After a hard chase back an angry Nino was up with Julien again to battle it out for the win.

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The critical moment.

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Before.

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After.

In Canada they say, “Don’t poke the bear!” And like in a good Hollywood movie the excitement only gets bigger towards the end. Nino’s attack came with 1 ½ laps to go on a longer climb. He managed to get 5-7 seconds out of Julien, but his French rival did not give up on the win. They both put each other into the hurt box until the end. That being said, Nino did not let go of this one, clinching his 12th World Cup victory in the process.

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“Sweet how this triumph came together. Hard fighting in a tough duel and all of this here in Canada at one of the most classic of all MTB races. It is almost like a fairy tail. It is a miracle that I got out of this crash with no damage!”
Nino Schurter, World Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

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The podium: 4. Lukas Flückiger 2. Julien Absalon 1. Nino Schurter 3. Daniel Mc Connell 5. Mathias Flückiger

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This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

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World Cup Victory on Spark

When it gets technical, the World Champion is unstoppable- Schurter rides his Spark 700 to his first WC win ever on a full suspension bike.

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Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. What a great pay back for the missing luck in the first round of the World Cup. Nino is back winning in style while Florian Vogel missed the podium by seconds- he finished in good 7th place. Both riders were riding the SCOTT Spark 700 full suspension bike instead of theoir hard tails. Nice to have the choice of the best of both worlds.

It was the first time this season the “Big Three” got together to compete for the crown at the World Cup. The World Cup leader Julien Absalon already showed he is hot this season. Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavy is always on the run on his home turf and last but not least- Nino Schurter badly wanted to get his first World Cup win of the year. The 19’500 spectators could not ask for more heat in the fire.

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The cross-country skiing arena of Nove Mesto has the perfect setup for a great MTB event.

Even the tactic is not new to Nino’s competitors, the World Champion’s attack right from the gun still works excellent. Both Absalon and Kulhavy lost important seconds already in the start loop. Nino’s tactic to put them into the hurt box right away played well. Absalon tried hard to close the gap but struggled after a crash. Kulhavy looked fast but unfortunately flatted while trying to catch Nino.

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The World Champion setting the pace of the race on the SCOTT Spark 700.

This left the World Champion in a confident lead after only 1.5 laps. He paced himself well, even let the strong riding Martin Fanger and Stephane Tempier closing up. When also the young Swiss Fanger got a flat front tire, he left Nino in the lead with a home run. It seemed the missing luck of Pietermaritzburg was back on Nino’s side. He did win the Nove Mesto World Cup for the third time in a row. Frenchmen Stephane Tempier, German champion Moritz Milatz, Daniel McConnel and Julien Absalon filled up the podium spots.

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The “Rockgarden King” in one of Nove Mesto’s DH.

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Today’s fastest bike- the SCOTT Spark 700 RC, the first-ever full suspension bike with a 27.5″ wheelsize geometry to win a XCO World Cup race.

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World Cup victory Nr. 11 in the box.

The release was written in his eyes. This win came at the right time and place. Nino’s comment to his 11th world cup victory:  ”For a change I choose to ride my SCOTT Spark 700 RC instead of my SCOTT Scale 700 RC as usual. It sure was the right choice for todays rough course. I’m stoked about my first ever World Cup win on a full suspension bike. Today the luck sure was on my side. I made it trough without any mechanicals or crashes. My biggest contenders are not able to say that. So cool to be back on the top of the business.”

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“For a change I choose to ride my Spark 700 instead of my Scale 700 as usual. It sure was the right choice for todays rough course.”

Nino Schurter, World Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

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Our second iron in the fire was Florian Vogel. After a strong first lap he was always part of Nino’s chasing group. Riding smart he was able to save some energy towards the end of the race. 4th to 7th place where only 20 seconds apart, which showers he is right there to be back on the podium. He also looks at it like this: “I was stoked to stay on Absalon’s wheel all race long. In our group all riders started to make little mistakes, so did I. Only a little bit more power in the last half lap and I would be in Top 5. This gives me hope to the next two important races to come, the World Cup in Albstadt and the European Championship in St. Wendel, where I won the title in 2008.”

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With Absalon and Fanger on the hunt.

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Flo in action.

Marcel Wildhaber had a steady race to 36th place. In the Eliminator competition on Friday, the Swiss champion did not advance to the final. He finished in 10th. Also Jenny Rissveds did not make the final in the Eliminator, but won the small final to become 5th. In the U23 XCO race she started as the leader of the series, but bad luck took all the chances to defend her leaders jersey. In the startloop her chain got caught in between the frame. She made the best out of it finishing 8th.

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Marcel Wildhaber.

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Jenny Rissveds.

In the Men U23 competition we saw Andri Frischknecht riding to his best ever World Cup result. He pushed himself into the top 15 after the start loop and remained there. More, with a very fast last lap he was first of big group that was fighting for 11th place. Dutch rider Michi van der Heijden is the great winner of the race.

Well done!

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Frischi jun. on his way to his best world cup performance so far.

This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

 

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Pieter Weening Wins Giro d’Italia Stage Nine from Early Break

Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

Pieter Weening proved top tactician in a two-up sprint in Sestola to win the ninth stage of the Giro d’Italia. Having spent the day in the early break, Weening attacked the escape group en route to the summit finish. Davide Malacarne (Europcar), sensing the move’s potential bridged across to Weening. The duo held off a spirited chase by their former breakaway companions and the peloton to mountaintop finish.

Weening’s win is a continuation of a brilliant run of success the Australian outfit has enjoyed in the last month including a win at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, three stages wins at the Tour de Romandie, a stage win and the overall victory at Tour of Turkey, a stage win at the Amgen Tour of California, three stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and seven days in the maglia rosa. It is the third Giro d’Italia stage win for Weening, including the team time trial victory last weekend, and the third stage win for ORICA-GreenEDGE at the 97th edition of the Italian Grand Tour.

“The first big goal for the team was the team time trial,” said Weening. “We had quite a bit of pressure on our shoulders for that one. We went in as the pre-race favourites. Being strongest on paper isn’t everything. We still had to do the work to get the result. When we won it, it was a huge relief.”

“Every day in the pink was another win for us,” Weening added. “Then when Bling [Michael Matthews] suddenly wins on the hilltop finish, it felt unreal. It happened again today. It’s easy to see that the pressure isn’t here for us anymore. We can do what we want, and sometimes the nicest things happen when you have that freedom.”

“We’re all very, very happy for Pete,” said White. “He’s a big part of the reason we won Liège. His commitment to the team is obvious. We’ve all seen it over and over again. It’s a really gratifying feeling for all us when the guys that are busting their tails so their teammates can get results can get a win for themselves.”

It took more than an hour for the peloton to allow a breakaway to jump up the road. Fifty kilometres into the stage, Weening found himself amongst a group of 14 that finally received the nod from the bunch. BMC set tempo as the riders in the escape group busied themselves with building up their advantage.

“Today was the first opportunity for guys like me and Santa to go into the break,” noted Weening. “Days like this, the break can stay away if there is no one on the general classification. I think the closest guy was at nine minutes, so we knew we had a chance to go to the finish line. I was in a good group and one of the strongest guys uphill. For me, it was perfect.”

The breakaway steadily stretched the gap on the flatter roads leading to the second, hillier half of the stage. They held eight minutes when they hit the first of three categorised climbs in the final 30 kilometres. Whilst BMC seemed happy to leave the stage to the breakaway, every team did not share the sentiment. Garmin-Sharp sent the entire team to the front to chase. Movistar and Lampre-Merida eventually contributed riders to the effort. At the foot of the summit finish, the break’s advantage had fallen to three minutes.

David Tanner (Belkin) jumped out of the lead group and quickly gained a small solo advantage. The attempt was short-lived. Following Tanner’s catch, Weening made his move, attacking his breakaway companions through a roundabout. Malacarne was the only rider able to respond to Weening’s acceleration, setting off in pursuit of the lone leader. Fifteen kilometres from the finish, Malacarne reached Weening’s wheel.

“I had been thinking about the attack for a few kilometres,” Weening said. “I knew I had to be one of the first to attack. A lot of times when one guy is up the road, the others start looking at each. The cooperation falls apart, and it’s hard to catch the guy who is going full gas up the road.”

“The moment on the roundabout was perfect,” he continued. “The guys took the left side, and I took the right side. The right side was shorter, and I came out with full speed. It was the perfect moment.”

“What I was thinking was exactly what happened,” Weening added. “They all looked around at each other, and then it was too late. In the end, you can never be sure. You can pick the best moment, but you always have to have a little luck, too. I had luck today.”

Malacarne proved a strong partner in the two-man move. Twice Weening tried to distance the Italian. Twice Malacarne held his ground.

“After I attacked, I looked back, and I saw Malacarne coming,” Weening explained. “He was riding quite strong. I was on the limit, and I couldn’t open up any more distance between us. I knew if I continued like this for all the climb, I would explode. I decided to wait for him and try to attack him later. I wasn’t sure if I could beat him in a sprint.”

“I tried again at seven kilometres,” Weening said. “It wasn’t an attack but just going hard on the steepest part. He stayed right on my wheel. That’s when I had to change plans and gamble on the sprint.”

In the final kilometre, Weening was the first of the two to significantly reduce his speed. The duo would cat and mouse their way to the finish line with Malacarne eventually flinching first, allowing Weening onto his wheel. It was the perfect position from which to launch a winning sprint.

“I was on his wheel, and I came around him quite easy in the end,” said Weening. “I was stronger in the sprint. I was also quite sure the guys behind us wouldn’t come back, so I wasn’t thinking about them at all. I knew he was still worried about the guys behind. That’s why he was still riding a little bit and why I was just waiting for the sprint.”

It wasn’t all celebratory for the Australian outfit on stage nine of the Giro d’Italia. Michael Matthews suffered a significant crash. Michael Hepburn struggled through the stage following his huge efforts during the first part of the week. Luke Durbridge battled illness.

“We had the first guy to finish and the last three on the road,” said White. “Michael Matthews lost quite a bit of skin in a big crash today, and Durbo has been vomiting since the morning. He’s quite sick. Heppy and Bling had to physically push Durbo over the finish line today. If there was a race tomorrow, he would not be starting.”

“Luckily we have a little time to nurse those three through with the rest day tomorrow,” said White. “It’s quite a contrast for us with the best rider of the day and three guys struggling with for three different reasons.”

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Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

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Giro d'Italia - Stage 9 Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

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Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

Giro d'Italia - Stage 9

This article was originally posted on greenedgecycling.com.

photo credit: Graham Watson

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Michael Matthews Wins Giro d’Italia Stage Six in the Maglia Rosa

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

ORICA-GreenEDGE’s Michael Matthews survived a crash-marred finale to win the sixth stage of the Giro d’Italia. The maglia rosa was part of an eight rider group that formed in the wake of a yet another pile-up in the opening week of the Italian Grand Tour. It is the fourth Grand Tour stage victory for Matthews, who won two Vuelta a España stages in his Grand Tour debut last year and the opening stage team time trial at the Giro d’Italia last Friday.

“Today was completely unreal,” said Matthews. “I owe so much to the team for bringing me in the position to win a hilltop finish in the pink jersey. They all worked hard. I specifically need to mention Luke Durbridge and Ivan Santaromita. I wouldn’t have won if it wasn’t for him. He rode his heart out for me at the moment the race was decided.”

A massive crash proved the most decisive moment of the day as nearly the entire peloton hit the ground or was caught behind the mayhem in the run in to the final climb. Svein Tuft and Brett Lancaster were amongst the heavy fallers. Lancaster’s crash is race ending. He broke his hand and will require surgery in the coming days. Tuft suffered significant abrasions and will continued to be assessed throughout the evening before it is determined if he will start stage seven tomorrow.

“It’s a really unfortunate incident for all those involved,” said Sport Director Matt White. “We never like it when accidents like this happen. We were in the right position to avoid the crash with most of our guys, but we obviously know that there’s also a degree of luck involved. We had a couple of our guys involved as well. No one likes to see races impacted this way by crashes.”

Matthews, Santaromita and Durbridge were three of the eight riders to emerge from the chaos to contest the stage in Montecassino. The ORICA-GreenEDGE trio were joined by BMC teammates Cadel Evans, Steve Morabito and Daniel Oss, Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) and Matteo Rabottini (Neri Sottoli – Yellow Fluo). Not fully aware of the carnage in their week, ORICA-GreenEDGE and BMC drove the pace into the final climb.

It had been a fairly uneventful day up until the race-defining incident. Four riders broke away from the bunch, amassing a 14 minute maximum advantage. With the gap approaching dangerous proportions, ORICA-GreenEDGE, Team Sky, Trek Factory Racing and Katusha shared tempo-setting duties to steadily reel in the leaders.

“We had a very hard day yesterday,” said White. “It’s been a massive week for the team. We knew needed to do work today, but we also looked to other teams for some help. We weren’t in a position where we wanted to control it alone. Our guys did what they needed to do and remained well-positioned throughout the entire stage.”

The catch was timed the to perfection. Twelve kilometres from the line, it was gruppo compatto. Two crashes in quick succession immediately followed the catch. Matthews and company quickly gained 30” on those caught out. The maglia rosa had the stage win in mind. Evans was concerned with his general classification ambitions. A spirited chase eventually formed behind the leading eight, but their efforts were not enough to bridge the gap.

Matthews was sitting pretty on the run in the to the finish. Perfectly positioned on Evans’ wheel, Matthews handily overcame his compatriot in the dash to the line. Wellens outsprinted Evans for second.

“I felt really good coming into the climb,” said Matthews. “When BMC hit the front, it was all about being in the right position. I knew I had the chance to win when we came into the last kilometre and still felt pretty good.”

“It means so much to me to be able to pay the guys back with the win,” Matthews added. “It makes all the hard work they’ve done really worth the effort.”

With bonus seconds for the win, Matthews extends his hold on the maglia rosa by 21” over Evans. Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), caught out by the crash, sits in third overall at 1’21.

Unrelated to the crash, Cameron Meyer may also be amongst the non-starters on Friday. Meyer fell ill Wednesday night and soldiered through stage six. Should his condition not improve by the morning, he will not start stage seven.  Look for updates on our social media channel ahead of the start of stage seven on both Tuft and Meyer.

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

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Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

Giro d'Italia - Stage 6

This article was originally posted on greenedgecycling.com.

photo credit: Graham Watson

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