Absalon wins 5th euro champs

fi’zi:k’s Amador third at giro

Movistar’s Andrey Amador, aboard his fi’zi:k Aliante saddle, enters Monday’s early rest day of the Giro d’Italia in a superb third place after an impressive start to the biggest race of the season so far, with its first three stages having just been completed in the Netherlands.

Amador finished Sunday’s 190km stage from Nijmegen to Arnhem in the huge pack that chased home the day’s victor, Marcel Kittel. The result followed Amador’s stellar effort over Friday’s opening stage – a 9.8km time trial around the streets of Apeldoorn – where the 29-year-old finished third, just 6 seconds behind Dutch favorite Tom Dumoulin.

These are early days of the Giro’s 99th edition but recent history suggests Amador could threaten the leaders all the way to the final stage in Torino on 29 May. fi’zi:k’s Amador, of course, enjoyed his breakthrough race at the 2015 Giro, finishing an incredible fourth overall. Movistar’s team are led by Alejandro Valverde (fi’zi:k Antares 00) but Amador will prove either a loyal lieutenant or willing general if the need arises.

Stage three also saw another fi’zi:k rider, Team Sky’s Elia Viviani, show well, the 27-year-old Italian finishing second after positioning himself perfectly on the wheel of Kittel heading into the final kilometre. But, like stage two, the big German held off all-comers to take the win. Viviani, however, remained upbeat about his and his team leader’s chances.

‘After three weeks without racing, I should get better day by day,’ he said after stage three. ‘Now we head back to Italy and Mikel [Landa] is feeling good.’

Landa (fi’zi:k saddles) is 40 seconds behind current GC leader Kittel but looks set to wave goodbye to the giant German come Thursday’s sixth stage, which is a mountain finish in Roccaraso.

As Viviani said, after Monday’s rest day the Giro moves home to Italy with the 200km rolling stage from Catanzaro to Praia a Mare.

Meanwhile, away from the tarmac and onto the Swedish dust, fi’zi:k saddle riding BMC MTB Racing Team’s Julien Absalon won his fifth European Cycling Union MTB Cross-Country Championships in Huskvarna.

The double Olympic champion Absalon (fi’zi:k) tracked a 12-man group who pulled away from the pack early in the race, before taking control of the 29km race. When the 35-year-old Frenchman went ahead, the result was never in doubt, and he went on to convincingly claim his fourth consecutive European Champs victory. ‘It is an important race to me,’ said Absalon, ‘I’ve won all European Championships since I have been with BMC so I was keen to keep this result consistent!’