Tour of Flanders wins for Sagan and Armitstead - Weekend Wrap
All the action from Belgium, France, Netherlands, Spain and the USA
Tour of Flanders - men
Izagirre: Winning Indurain confirms I'm ready for Pais Vasco
Gerts grabs first pro win at Volta Limburg Classic
Michael Matthews wins Vuelta a la Rioja
Peter Sagan storms to Tour of Flanders win
Lizzie Armitstead wins Women's Tour of Flanders
A victory a la Eddy Merckx: Belgium reacts to Sagan’s Flanders win
Tour of Flanders and Peter Sagan's first Monument victory - Podcast
Peter Sagan won the first monument of his career at the 100th Tour of Flanders, and in doing so, became the first world champion since Tom Boonen in 2006 to win De Ronde in the rainbow stripes. Sagan made his race winning move on the Paterberg, distancing Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), and riding into the finish 25 seconds ahead of Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo).
"I feel very good, I'm very happy. It was a super hard race from start to finish – always full gas," said Sagan in his post-race interview. "It's very hard to work with other guys because no one wants to work with me... so it's better to drop everyone."
Having ridden away from Vanmarcke on the Paterberg, Sagan managed to increase his margin over the Belgian and Cancellara on the flat run in to the finish with time to enjoy his victory and even pop a wheelie once he crossed the line. Defending champion Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) then won the sprint for fourth place ahead of Luke Rowe (Team Sky).
For all the reaction from the race, report, results and highlights, click here
Women's Tour of Flanders
Lizzie Armitstead and Boels Dolmans' dominance of the Women's WorldTour continued at the Tour of Flanders with the World Champion taking a narrow victory ahead of Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5) with teammate Chantal Blaak in third. With Megan Guarnier in fourth and Ellen van Dijk in sixth, Boels occupied four of the top six places.
“It was a really strange race with just two in the front," said Armitstead. "We had to commit. I didn't leave anything for the sprint. Emma's fast, and I didn't underestimate her. It was a poker game in the end. I didn't have any radio, so I didn’t know what was happening.
"It's really special to win, and to win in the rainbow jersey is even more special. It was the perfect day."
Armitstead won the opening event of the Women's WorldTour at Strade Bianche along with Trofeo Alfredo Binda. With Blaak winning Ronde van Drenthe and Gent–Wevelgem, Boels Dolmans are five from five and lead the WorldTour team standings on 1069 points with Wiggle High5 second on 558 points.
GP Miguel Indurain
12-months on from finishing second at the GP Miguel Indurian, Movistar's Ion Izagirre took the win ahead of Sky's Sergio Henao with Cannondale's Moreno Moser rounding out the podium.
"Winning ahead of a race like the Itzulia, it's a sign that we're doing things well and taking good form into the race," Izagirre said of his win ahead of the Volta a Pais Vasco where he will co-lead the team with Nairo Quintana.
The race winning move came with 50km of the race as a large group formed on the selective parcours including the likes of Sky’s Vasil Kiryineka, Giovanni Visconti and Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Sergey Chernetskiy and Egor Silin (Katusha), Pierre Rolland (Canndondale), and Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) plus the podium riders. Visconti lit it up on the final climb in Eraul that saw a reaction from Henao that brought along Izagirre to form a leading trio.
With the numbers advantage added to knowledge of the local roads, once the duo passed under the one kilometre to go kite, Izagirre skipped away for his first win of the season.
Click here for the full race report and results.
Volta Limburg Classic
BMC put on a show of strength at Saturday's Volta Limburg Classic with neo-pro Floris Gerts finishing off the job. The Dutchman won a two-up sprint over Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) with teammates Philippe Gilbert and Rick Zabel third and fourth over the line at two seconds. BMC's young Belgian duo of Loic Vliegen and Dylan Teuns finished ninth and tenth.
"In the last kilometer Philippe pushed me a little so I attacked again," Gerts said of the win. "The other guys behind me weren't really chasing but I don't really know what happened behind me. I kept going and I got to the finish line. It felt like all of the other riders deserved the win just as much, so it really was a team effort. I cannot describe it better than that."
BMC also won the race last year with a first year pro in Stefan Kung who was 60th at the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.
Click here for the race results.
Floris Gerts (BMC) wins Volta Limburg Classic (Bettini)
Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja
Michael Matthews put the disappointment of his Milan-San Remo crash behind him as the Australian took a narrow sprint win at the Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja for a second time. Matthews won the race in 2014 but missed the 2015 edition as Orica-GreenEdge backed in Caleb Ewan for the victory and were duly rewarded. In 2016, the team looked to Matthews for the 'hat-trick' with the 25-year-old adding the Spanish one-day race to his pair of Paris-Nice stage wins from last month.
"The team were amazing throughout the race today. They did a perfect job controlling things and I'm happy I was able to finish it off," Matthews said of his win. "I started my sprint from around 200metres. It was difficult because I got pushed into the barriers and had to go around, luckily I had enough speed to hold on.
"We were the only team on the front from start to finish. The boys were really strong and in the end the sprint was very close, I didn't know if I had won when we crossed the line. After the crash in San-Remo its really good to come here and win, to move on."
Matthews nudged Sergey Shilov for the win with Caja Rural's Carlos Barbero in third place. Click here for the race results
Sunny King Criterium and Fort McClellan Road Race
The USA Cycling Pro Road Tour kicked off on Saturday with the Sunny King criterium in Anniston, Alabama. In the women's race, Samantha Schneider (ISCorp p/b Smart Choice MRI) had the quickest kick as she sprinted to the victory ahead of Sarah Fader (Pepper Palace pb The Happy Tooth) with teammate and sister Skylar in third. For the race report and results, click here
In the men's criterium, Travis McCabe won his first race in Holowesko-Citadel colours ahead of Michael Hernandez (CCB Racing) and Aldo Ino Ilesic (Astellas Cycling Team). UnitedHealthcare, Holowesko-Citadel and Astellas were the most active teams across the race and despite efforts from several riders to jump clear in the closing laps, it was all brought back together for a sprint and victory for McCabe. For the race report and results, click here
Sunday saw the men and women tackle the Fort McClellan Road Race in Anniston with Rally Cycling's Jessica Prinner taking a solo win, 50 seconds ahead of Jess Mundy (Fearless Femme Racing) after the 11km race. For the results, click here.
In the men's afternoon race, over 146.5km, Oscar Clark gave Holowesko | Citadel Racing its second win in an many days with a solo win. Andrei Krasilnikau and Andzs Flaksis crossed the line in second and third for Holowesko | Citadel while Thomas Revard (ICC BISSELL-ABG-GIANT) in fourth was the only non-Holowesko rider in the top six.
Click here for the results
A late attack from Cyril Gautier saw the Frenchman claim his first victory in the colours of AG2R-La Mondiale having made the move to the WorldTour team from Europcar at the end of 2015. Gautier won the KOM classification at La Méditerranéenne but hadn't finished inside the top-ten on any of the previous 22 race days of 2016.
"These are the victories I often expected," Gautier told L'Equipe. "It's downright fun as Paris-Camembert is not a simple race. That makes it all the more enjoyable. I felt already much better than in some races and I have not won for a long time. I always give the best of myself and I have not always been rewarded for my efforts. I had not won in two years (since the 2nd stage of the 2014 Tour du Limousin) and the time always feels long when you have a dry spell."
Gautier took the win ahead of Anthony Delaplace (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) with Romain Feillu rounding out the all French podium.
Click here for the race results.
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