Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Gianni Meersman finished 15th on a tough HC summit finish on Saturday's 141.7km Stage 7 at AMGEN Tour of California. He was one of about a dozen riders who stayed with the yellow jersey group, and finished just 1'02" from race winner Leopold König (NetApp-Endura) on Mt. Diablo.
Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) was 2nd, and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) was 3rd.
OPQS rider Carlos Verona entered into the breakaway of the day, but the gap for the break only reached a maximum gap of a few minutes during the stage. Verona stayed ahead with four other riders heading onto Mt. Diablo — 17km in length — but eventually those riders were caught by a hard charging peloton. Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and David De La Cruz (NetApp-Endura) attacked earlier and remained ahead out of the original break.
Jens Voigt (Radioshack-Leopard) was one of the first riders to attack out of the yellow jersey group, but he was soon caught and dropped by attacking Francisco Mancebo (5 Hour Energy) with several kilometers remaining. Mancebo eventually caught the duo ahead, and then started to drop them as well. However, Acevedo attacked out of the yellow jersey group, and passed Mancebo with 2.7km to go.
The winning move came from König in the final kilometers, as he caught Acevedo and then attacked him inside the final 500m and went on to victory.
OPQS looks next to a 130.4km Stage on Sunday, from San Francisco to Santa Rosa.more information
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Matteo Trentin made a four rider escape group in a Giro d'Italia Stage 14 that featured such inclement weather the Sestriere climb was removed, which added 12km to make the stage 180km on Saturday.
Trentin and the escapees 6'20" gap with 23km to go, but he lost contact with the group with less than 20km remaining when he suffered bad luck. He had a mechanical which required a bike change, and his gap to the three leaders could not be closed as it grew from 50" to 2 minutes in the final kilometers.
However, the other three leaders were also eventually caught. The maglia rosa group cut into the lead as Luca Paolini (Katusha) went solo in the final kilometers of the 7.25km summit finish. The final climb had an average gradient of 9 percent — the initial gradient being 14", and the final 750m or so staying above an 11% gradient.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), wearing the maglia rosa, attacked in a group of only about 30 riders. Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia) along with Carlos Betancur (AG2R - La Mondiale) went with him. The race came down to Nibali and Santambrogio as they battled together inside the final 400m. Santambrogio was able to best Nibali for the stage victory. Betancur crossed the line 9" down in 3rd.
"This morning there were several attacks, and in one of those attacks I entered on the wheel of Paolini," Trentin said. "Suddenly we were in the front with seven riders, but three of them crashed in a roundabout entering a small town. I avoided the crash by a few centimeters. I was lucky. So we then worked together, four of us, but I wasn't really feeling good as I was tired from the last stages working for Cav. Then at the end, in between 15km and 20km from the finish, I had a flat tire. I had to also change my bike at that time. The mechanical cost me a minute, which made it impossible to come back. In a certain way I am happy about my race. Even if I was tired I was able to take the breakaway and try to go as far as I could. The stage was really hard, even without the Sestriere the weather made this stage really difficult. So, that's that. Tomorrow is another mountain stage. I hope to survive and wait for the rest day, which will be perfect for the team as we need to recover a bit."
Mark Cavendish crossed the line 22'31" down with six teammates in the 'grupetto', and Gert Steegmans did not take the start today due to stomach problems.more information
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Sylvain Chavanel was the top finisher at the 32.1km Stage 6 AMGEN Tour of California TT in San Jose on Friday.
Chavanel finished 10th, 1'48" behind stage winner Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) . Lieuwe Westra was 2nd (+22"), and Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) was 3rd (+27").
The 19.9km time trial included a 3km finishing climb, which included ramps of 10 percent.
OPQS looks next to a 147.4km Stage 7 stage, from Livermore to Diablo, on Saturday.more information
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team worked hard once again, guiding sprinter Mark Cavendish over the climbs of the 254km Stage 13 of Giro d'Italia — longest stage of the grand tour — on Friday, and chasing down breakaways in the final kilometers to give him a chance for a fourth victory.
As a solo rider was caught with 1.6km to go, Orica-GreenEDGE and Cannondale took over the front in hopes of a stage win. However, Cavendish waited patiently in the red jersey, going into the final kilometer inside the top 15 positions and launching his sprint from 300m out in 7th position on the right side of the group.
"I am so tired. It's a common misconception that sprinting is the laziest amount of effort," Cavendish said. "It takes a lot to do that, especially when you're at the limit. I had to go from 300 meters after a hard day. I'm on my knees. I actually didn't want to go for the sprint today, but my sport directors asked me to try and we did it. We were pulling, the guys stayed with me on the climbs, they worked so hard for me again and I'm so proud of them."
He bested Giacomo Nizzolo (Radioshack-Leopard) and Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) for his 101st career victory.
"You could see the confidence my team had in me," Cavendish said. "Even when I say I don't want to sprint, they still ride 100 percent until they aren't able to go anymore. I said I wasn't able to win today and they still gave everything. You can see the difference in the last meters when your team's ridden the whole day, even if you don't think you can do it, if they put every single last ounce into effort into getting you there, then you finish it off. If they do this, it's not impossible for me to sleep at night if I don't win. I can always do miraculous things that I don't think is possible for me to do when I have a team that believes I can do it as well."
Cavendish now has 16 Giro d'Italia victories in his career, and this is the 28th win for OPQS, in three disciplines, in 2013.
"I am more than physically good, I'm mentally in a good place at the moment," Cavendish said. "Finally I know exactly what this team can do. They've showed it the whole time this Giro. More than putting me in good form with the legs, it puts me in good form in my head and in my heart. It makes me excited for the next races."
OPQS looks next to a 168km high mountain Stage 14 on Saturday.
"It's about survival — for me and for the guys," Cavendish said. "It's exactly the same on the flat days as it is in the mountains. It's important we stay together and we ride as best we can from the start line to the finish line. For sure we're suffering tomorrow as much as the first guys in the GC. We'll go out, just a lot slower than them. That's part of cycling, that's part of the Grand Tours. Without getting through the mountains, you don't get to see the success of the sprints. We'll just try to get through it as best as possible."
A video of Mark Cavendish's SPECIALIZED Edition Venge is now available on the OPQS Giro Blog here: http://www.omegapharma-quickstep.com/en/blog/show/cav-s-specialized-edition-venge/1204
In a rain-soaked stage 12 of the 96th running of the Giro d'Italia, Mark Cavendish - aboard his S-Works Venge - sprinted to his 100th career victory. The milestone win allows Cav to join the ranks of such legendary racers as Eddy Merckx, Mario Cipollini, and current teammate Tom Boonen.
The weather was far from ideal yesterday as the Giro headed into Treviso for what was assured to be a finish for the sprinters. With so few flat stages this year, Omega Pharma-Quick-Step patrolled the front of the peloton for most of the day. Swallowing up the breakaway within the last 500 meters, Gert Steegmans was able to deliver Cavendish to the final where the Manxman's legendary kick saw him cross the line in first place for his third win of the 2013 Giro d'Italia.
No rider has had as much success aboard the Specialized Venge as Mark Cavendish. While winning sprints has become expected of the Manxman, garnering 100 career victories is no small feat and one that few racers lay claim to. Having won the Green Jersey, a World Championship and numerous Tour stages all aboard the bike it seemed only fitting to celebrate Cav's 100th victory with his very own custom S-Works Venge.
"As arguably one of the sports best ever sprinters, Cavendish embodies the spirit and pure speed the Venge represents," explains Brent Graves, Director of Road Bike Product Development. "We wanted to create a Specialized edition bike that not only celebrated Cav's 100 wins, but also highlighted the many accomplishments he's already achieved," added Graves. With some of Cav's monumental wins gracing the top tube as well as a beautifully executed green theme, this limited edition frame is sure to quickly become a collector's item.
At only 27 years old there will surely be many more wins to come for the British sprinter. For all of his commitment, sacrifice and hard work, this is the Specialized way of saying thanks and congratulations on a monumental achievement.more information