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for all my friends · pro cycling

pro cycling

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samuel sanchez (euskatel-euskadi) took the mountain top finish ahead of joaquím rodríguez (katusha), at stage 1 of the vuelta a burgos.  sanchez was the only rider that could stick rodríguez as he powered away from the peloton on the cat3 climb up to the line.  and with the final grand tour looming just two weeks away, this race is great preparation for the peloton.  it’s also apparent that sanchez is still in great form from the tour de france, and that rodríguez has been training hard since his adventures with contador (saxobank) at the giro.

photo from vuelta a burgos.

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it’s trading season in the cycling world.  the biggest news thus far?  omega-pharma lotto merging with quick step, and htc-highroad not being able to obtain sponsorship for 2012, which means that cavendish and the boys will have to go their separate ways.  that is, unless they land themselves on the same teams.  we’ll just have to wait and see.

cycling news has created a comprehensive page that updates with the latest rider transfers, check it out.

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peter sagan (liquigas-cannondale) took the win today at stage four, clearing ahead of all the other general classification contenders to take the yellow jersey.  daniel martin (garmin-cervélo), the defending tour of poland champion, finished 3 seconds behind sagan, and currently sits 4th in the gc at 7 seconds back.  romain feillu (vacansoleil-dcm) finished 9th, and currently sits 3rd rider back in the gc.  his teammate, marco marcato is currently in 2nd place overall.  tomorrow’s stage is a 202km, 5 lap circuit race around zakopane – each lap has 2 categorized climbs.  things are heating up, and the gc contenders are still fairly close in time.  there are only 3 more days to race!

photo from velonews.

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marcel kittel (skil-shimano) winning the bunch sprint, taking his third win in three days at the tour of poland.  marcel hit 78kph on his final sprint to the line, proving he’s got some serious legs underneath him.  he currently leads in the gc, but as the course hits the mountain’s tomorrow, it’ll be interesting to see what attacks and riders open up.

photo from velonews (though, their stats for the gc standings were pretty off…yikes).  romain feillu (vacansoleil-dcm) sits in fourth place, 24 seconds back, and heinrich haussler (garmin-cervélo) is fifth with the same amount of time back.  both of them have been up near the front in the past sprints, so maybe they’ll be able to open up some time in the mountains tomorrow.

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quick step and omega-pharma lotto have joined forces for 2012.  the team will be under the quick step (and innergetic) name since omega-pharma and co-sponsor lotto have ended their pro team for the next year.  tom boonen has renewed his two year contract with them, having the option for a third.  jurgen van den broeck and jelle vanendert are sticking with the new team, and philippe gilbert is still contemplating where he’s going to put himself for the upcoming season.

photo from bike radar.

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marcel kittel (skil-shimano) took another bunch sprint win in the tour of poland with a perfect lead out and draft from his teammate.  he matched and beat the sprint of heinrich haussler (garmin-cervelo).  at only 23 years old, marcel is proving to be a heavy contender in the pro peleton.  he’s defended his gc position, and with another relatively flat stage tomorrow, I’d expect to see him up near the front once more.  watch the final kilometers – the announcer’s voice at the end is hilarious:

photo from velonews.

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the tour de france is one of the biggest pro cycling events in the world, so it would come as no surprise that there’d also be bunch of great images of the race, too.  I’ve always been a big fan of boston’s big picture blog, here’s a selection of some great shots.

check out more photo coverage: part 1 of the tour de france, and part 2.

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marcel kittel (skil-shimano) took the bunch sprint on stage 1 on the tour of poland.  the finish looks so hectic, it’s almost confusing to see which riders are giving lead outs, and which are actually sprinting for the win.  the course was a fast 101km long, 64km of which were on a 8km circuit course around warsaw, the capital of poland.  a small break formed during the race, gaining 3 minutes on the peleton, but after the efforts of liquigas-cannondale and htc-highroad, they were brought back.  liquigas had attempted to set up the sprint for peter sagan, but he ended up getting caught up in the bunch, placing 11th behind marcel.

photo from velonews!

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philippe gilbert (omega-pharma lotto) took a solo win at the clasica san sebastian today, clearing the chase group he was in with 3.7km left to race.  he jetted past carlos barredo (rabobank) who made an impressive break off the front at 7km to go.  barredo held off the charging chase though, landing second place, 12 seconds down from gilbert.  greg van avermaet (bmc) took the bunch sprint, finishing 2 seconds short of barredo.  not much comes close to gilbert’s epic season, that’s for sure.

photo from steephill!

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legs.

johnny hoogerland (vacansoleil-dcm) on the right, still showing scars from his crash on stage 9.  the post-tour criteriums are going on in france, belgium, the netherlands, germany, austria, and denmark.  they’re for fans to see their tour heroes up close.  I had no idea that the criteriums were fixed though.  that’s like saying the big, plush mickey mouse and donald duck characters are fake at disneyland, or that santa claus is fake.  then again, witnessing pro teams ride around a criterium course faster than any of us will is probably pretty entertaining.

photo from cycling news.

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