Road race national championships round-up

Germany – André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol)

Greipel won the national road title for the first time in his career today in Wangen, out-sprinting Milan-San Remo winner Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) and John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano).

The Tour de France is likely to see a battle of the champions, as both Greipel and Mark Cavendish won their national titles today.

Belgium – Stijn Devolder (RadioShack-Leopard)

Devolder won his third title today in La Roche, his first victory since leaving Quick Step at the end of 2010. He shot free from his escape group in the last lap and at two kilometres out, dropped his last rival to win solo.

The 33-year-old told Het Laatste Nieuws, “Maybe it’s just that not so bad that I’m not racing the Tour, I can fully enjoy this wonderful win with my family.”

He matched Rik Van Steenbergen, winning three titles, but stands just one behind four-time winner Tom Steels.

Italy – Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing)

“It was a dream for me to win the jersey,” Santaromita said, “and now I have it.”

The 29-year-old won yesterday ahead of breakaway companions Michele Scarponi (Lampre-Merida) and Davide Rebellin (CCC-Polsat). He had been in a group of five, which went free on the last of four circuits of the Trofeo Melinda course in Trento.

In a BMC press release he added, “I finished the Giro d’Italia in good shape, had good shape in the Critérium du Dauphiné and I had been training hard for this race.”

France – Arthur Vichot (FDJ)

Vichot survived a long 11-man escape to win the French title in Lannilis ahead of former champion Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Leopard).

He tried going free before the last circuit, but Chavanel and Gallopin pulled him back. Knowing he needed to win solo, he played dead until the last kilometre and attacked – this time remaining free for the title.

“Well played!” Chavanel told French newspaper, L’Equipe.

“I felt I had really good legs,” Vichot said. “Leaving them behind was my only chance to win.”

Spain – Jesus Herrada (Movistar)

Movistar won the national title for the third straight year in Bembibre (León) today with Jesus Herrada. José Joaquín Rojas and Francisco Ventoso won in the team’s first two years of existence, 2011 and 2012.

“We had a strong majority in the decisive point of the race and we took advantage of it,” Herrada said in a press release. “If they told me yesterday I would be winning today, I wouldn’t believe them, but I can’t believe it now either [laughs – ed.]”

Herrada, 22 years old, attacked to join an escape group under 20K to race. He went clear with Ion Izaguirre (Euskaltel) in the final two kilometres and broke free under the flamme rouge.

Other nations…

Kazakhstan: Alexsandr Dyachenko (Astana)
Czech Republic: Jan Barta (NetApp-Endura)
Denmark: Michael Morkov (Saxo-Tinkoff)
Estonia: Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis)
Great Britain: Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
Greece: Ioannis Tamouridis (Euskaltel)
Ireland: Matthew Brammeier (Champion System)
Japan: Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar)
Lithuania: Tomas Vaitkus (Orica-GreenEdge)
Luxembourg: Bob Jungels (RadioShack-Leopard)
The Netherlands: Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM)
Norway: Thor Hushovd (BMC Racing)
Poland: Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
Russia: Vladimir Isaichev (Katusha)
Slovakia: Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
Switzerland: Michael Schär (BMC Racing)