Archive for the ‘Giro d’Italia 2011’ Category

Breakaway Bakelants Still Riding Well Giro d’Italia

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Omega Pharma-Lotto’s young Giro d’Italia leader Jan Bakelants was 4th in Stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia in Tirano but was disappointed because he didn’t win. Jan told a website “After already spending 200 kilometers in a break on the Zoncolan stage, I was tired.” Bakelants tried to stay in contact with Ulissi, Lastras and Visconti in the finale, but didn’t have the legs.
“I knew that the break was going to stay away. Of course you always want to win a race. My legs were very tired from the weekend, what else could I have tried?”, Bakelants said in Tirano.

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fter the stage, Bakelants moved up again on gc to 24th, 33’28″ behind Maglia Rosa Contador. On Stage 18, a fast 151km race from Morbegno to San Pellegrino Terme, breakaway Bakelants made the breakaway of the day again, finishing 10th on the stage and moving up to 23rd on gc and still leads the Giro d’Italia intermediate sprint competition with 26 points.

A preliminary summary from the Giro d’Italia 2011

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Today is first rest day in this year’s Giro d’Italia and therefore an appropriate time to give a preliminary summary of the race so far. We have now had 9 eventful stages. After the opening team time-trial there were, as is often the case, several flat stages on the tour route. Even on the first day the Omega Pharma-Lotto team surprised its rivals by finishing 4th in the 19.3 km team time-trial. The riders gave everything on their Speedmax CF bikes and the intensive training they had put in before the Giro certainly paid off.

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The team also continued in the same way. Just one day later Sebastian Lang showed that he really meant business in this year’s Giro by attacking and going on a 200 km breakaway, at one point having a lead of 20 minutes. However, the other teams then took up the chase and swallowed up Seb before the finish. But the tactics of the team had paid off because on the next stage Sebastian was once again able to wear the green jersey of best climber.

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The events of the next stage were to overshadow the sport, with the Belgian Wouter Weylandt crashing to his death. It was not possible to precisely reconstruct how the accident happened, however other riders in the peloton reported how the young Belgian got his pedal jammed in a stone wall and struck the ground after 20 meter fall. It was unfortunately not possible to save his life. The entire Canyon team and cycling world has been deeply shocked by this tragic incident and our thoughts go out to his friends and family. The organizers and riders all decided that the Giiro should continue and that the 4th stage should be neutralized. Weylandt’s start number (108) will never be used again at the Giro d’Italia.

From the point of view of Omega Pharma-Lotto stage 7 was a further highlight with the first mountain top finish. Bart de Clercq, the 24 year-old new pro was able to win his first race in a photo-finish. Bart was able to break away from the main field on the final climb, which had an average gradient of 5%, and open up a 30 second gap. With just a few hundred meters to go until the finish the leader had the riders from behind breathing down his neck, but still managed to stay away on his last reserves of strength.

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Up until this point the main men in the field had been quiet, but on stage 8 Alberto Contador showed what he’s made of finishing second on the stage. On yesterday’s stage the riders rode over Mount Etna twice and team tactics went out of the window then. One day before the first rest day the stage race specialists and climbers really got down to business for the first time in this year’s event. Above all it was Alberto Contador who demonstrated his strength. At the finish he was 3 seconds up on second placed José Rujano Guillen and even 50 seconds on the first chasing group, which contained Vincenzo Nibali, Roman Kreuziger and Stefano Garzelli. The stage victory gave Contador the leader’s red jersey and he is now almost a minute ahead of Konstantin Sistrov.

The coming week begins comparatively quietly before three difficult days in the mountains on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Großglockner, Monte Zoncolan, Gardeccia).

Emergent young team for the Giro d’Italia

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

This Saturday the first 3-week stage race of the year gets underway. The Giro d’Italia. There are 39 mountains in total in the event; however the first stage is a 19 kilometer team time-trial. The riders must also complete 1 mountain time-trial on 24 May and a further individual time-trial on 29 May. The Omega Pharma-Lotto team will be sending an 8-strong team to the event.

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Jan Bakelants | Belgium
He is in his 3rd year as a pro and this will be his 2nd Giro d’Italia. In 2010 after the Giro he made a short break but was again in action at the Tour of Spain. This year he has already finished in the top 5 at the Vuelta a Catalunya. As Philippe Gilbert’s helper at the Amstel Gold Race he still managed to finish in 34th place. Before he made it into the pro ranks he was even able to win the U-23 version of Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

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Adam Blythe | Great Britain
At the age of just 21 he is the baby of the Omega Pharma-Lotto team at this year’s Giro d’Italia. In his first year as a pro he already exceeded his own expectations. He originally wanted to win one event, but gained two victories including overall victory in the Circuit Franco Belge. Adam therefore passed his baptism of fire!
In last year’s Giro d’Italia he had to retire from the race on stage 11. This year the chances are good that he’ll make it to Milan.

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Bart De Clercq | Belgium
In his first year as a pro Bart De Clercq showed what he’s made of. He confirmed his good early season form with a good performance at Paris-Nice. There he also staked his claim for a place on the team at the Giro and is an important pillar of the team.

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Gert Dockx | Belgium
He is one of Andre Greipel’s trusted helpers and came with him from the HTC-Columbia team to Omega Pharma-Lotto. This will be the 22 year-old Belgian’s first big stage race. It remains to be seen how he will cope with the exertions of such a demanding event.

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Olivier Kaisen | Belgium
Olivier Kaisen has been part of the team for six years now. This experience will certainly pay off on long stage races. He has already taken part in six major stage races and finished all six. Four times in the Tour of Spain and twice in the Giro – this is already in his biography. This year he will be taking part in at least 1 major event with the Giro.

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Sebastian Lang | Germany
At 31 he is one of the most experienced riders in the young group. He has already got several years as a pro under his belt and knows how a team can achieve its aims. He was one of the most reliable helpers for Jurgen Van den Broeck at the Tour de France in 2010. It was the former German time-trial champion’s job to keep his captain out of the wind. This year is his second appearance at the Giro and alongside his important job in the team he will also be giving us his views on events during the entire race in our blog.

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Klaas Lodewyck | Belgium
During his first season with Omega Pharma-Lotto Klaas Lodewyck already achieved some excellent finishes and is now being rewarded for that success with his selection for the Giro d’Italia, the first big stage race of the season. Although the young Belgian doesn’t have any real experience in this type of event, he’ll still be able to rely on the help of his teammates and the team management.

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Jussi Veikkanen | Finland
Jussi is one of the most popular finnish cyclists. Last year he won the national championship in Finland and has been pulling on his national champion’s jersey ever since. He knows all about stage races having started the Tour de France, the Tour of Spain and the Giro. Nobody can take those experiences away from him. This year at the Giro he will be pulling out all the stops to be a worthy representative of his country’s national colours.

On Saturday we shall see just how this young, international team is going to fare. Eurosport will be showing all the stages live and will also be providing lots of other information over the course of the 3 week event.