Euro Tour Trash Thursday!
The 2014 Tour de France is entering its finalé and it looks like Vincenzo Nibali will take the win. But it’s been a great Tour with the emergence of the French riders and even more so; Rafal Majka. Tour results, comments and video and lots of other cycling news in a packed EuroTrash Thursday.
TOP STORY: Sky & Tinkoff-Chalk & Cheese!
Both teams, Tinkoff-Saxo and Team Sky, lost their leaders early in the Tour de France, but since then the two teams have progressed in completely different ways. The Sky team, apart from Kiryienka, has disappeared from sight except when Richie Porte gets dropped and the cameras insist on torturing him. On the other hand; Tinkoff-Saxo has gone on the attack every day, with Nico Roche covering attacks, Michael Rogers going with the break and taking a stage win and of course Rafal Majka’s stage wins and his mountains jersey defence.
Could the reason for this be the experience of the team management, Sky has had two Tour wins, but everything has always run smoothly and they have not really had to handle any big problems, apart from leader fall outs. Bjarne Riis on the other hand has seen it all, been there and got the T shirt. Sky has gone from ‘Plan A’ through to about ‘Plan E’, where as Tinkoff just got on with it. Sky might learn, but it can take a long time.
After Rafal Majka in the Alps, another of Alberto Contador’s domestiques claimed his first stage victory at the Tour de France. Michael Rogers managed to get rid of the Europcar duo of Thomas Voeckler and Cyril Gautier to arrive solo in Bagnères-de-Luchon at the end of Stage 16. In the yellow jersey group, Thibaut Pinot took a significant advantage over his rivals Tejay van Garderen and Romain Bardet while Vincenzo Nibali comfortably retained the overall lead.
A 21-man breakaway took shape in three waves, starting at km 28 just after Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) took the only point awarded at the 4th category Côte de Fanjeaux and therefore deprived Joaquim Rodriguez of the polka dot jersey as the two of them were equal on points as the race left Carcassonne following the second rest day. Bernhard Eisel & Vassil Kiryienka (Sky), Jon Izagirre (Movistar), Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jan Bakelants and Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS), Samuel Dumoulin and Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp), José Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Jérémy Roy (FDJ.fr), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Belisol), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Cyril Gautier, Kévin Reza & Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Michael Albasini & Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEDGE), Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling), Anthony Delaplace & Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) were united at km 73, right after Montaguti passed the Côte de Pamiers alone in the lead.
The 21 escapees got a maximum lead of 12 minutes just before climbing to Port de Balès with 35km to go. Voeckler attacked 5km before the summit. A trio contested the KOM: Serpa, Voeckler and Rogers, while Thibaut Pinot attacked in the yellow jersey group with four kilometers to go to the KOM point. His first victim was Tejay van Garderen. Romain Bardet eventually lost contact as well. So did Alejandro Valverde close to the top.
On the downhill, Gautier and Kiryienka rejoined the leading trio where cooperation wasn’t ideal because Serpa and Rogers knew of Voeckler’s reputation of being unbeaten at Bagnères-de-Luchon. With 4.5km to go, Rogers took Gautier by surprise and rode away solo. Europcar had no choice but be content with Voeckler’s second place and Gautier’s most aggressive rider prize of the day. Among the GC contenders, Pinot made the biggest profit of the first Pyrenean stage as he finished ahead of direct rival Bardet by 1:50 and took the white jersey over from him. Van Garderen lost much more time and lost hope of making the final podium.
After crossing the finish line, Michael Rogers was all smiles: “I had the feeling that my stage truly began at the foot of the final climb and at the top, we were only three guys left in the group. On the descent, Europcar’s Gautier bridged the gap and rejoined Voeckler but I just rode as fast as I possibly could on the lower slopes, created the gap and kept the pace up to the finish line. No one was going to beat me today. Of course, I’m immensely happy and it’s a good feeling to have a Tour de France stage win on my resume.”
At 4 km to go, Rogers made the winning attack and the other in the break could only sprint for the second place, Lampre-Merida’s José Serpa was 4th: “I was aware I was the strongest on the climbs, but it would have been an hazardous move to attack when there still were more than 20 km to the finish,” Serpa explained. “Everyone knows Rogers was the favourite and I tried to pay attention to every movement he made, but it was not possible to follow him when he attacked; once he had more than 10 meters of advantage, it’s impossible to chase him. It’s a pity I could not exploit this occasion to give my team satisfaction after Rui Costa quit the race.”
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski moved up 9th overall: “The whole team was in all of the early actions trying to make the breakaway,” Kwiatkowski said. “We were very motivated for that. It was decided this morning that today was the biggest possibility for the breakaway. The GC guys could gain or lose time at the end, and we saw it. They lost it at the end, as it was not easy to control for 240 kilometers. We tried to take advantage of that. I was in three breakaways and I finally made it into the one that stuck. Thanks to Mark Renshaw who led me out to get there. We were like 12 riders at that point, Garmin-Sharp was trying to split the peloton at the time. Then Baki went across on the second climb of the day, the 4th category climb. From that moment it was much easier to be in the breakaway. Everyone worked well.”
Second overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “We were the ones who made all the pace into the final climb to hurt some of our rivals – that was our plan already since this morning. I think it was a good day for us, because we opened big gaps with threatening riders close in the overall standings. In the final meters of Balès, I chose not to follow the pace Pinot was putting into my group, because I knew he had to reach the summit with some gap over the rest so as not to suffer into the downhill. He set such a rhythm that even Nibali got dropped, but as soon as we started descending, we reached him down and kept the pace high with Gadret and Izagirre, who made a great work. We’re keeping the same goal, which is the podium in Paris, and now it’s all about tomorrow’s stage, which is going to be super hard.”
On the first day in the Pyrenees and the race’s longest stage, BMC’s Tejay van Garderen lost contact on the Port de Balès as the leading group of the peloton was reduced to fewer than 15 riders: “Movistar just made an insane tempo and it was just too hard,” van Garderen said. “I just kind of didn’t have the legs and felt a bit empty.” Paced to the finish by teammates Amaël Moinard, Peter Stetina and Peter Velits, van Garderen arrived in 37th place, 3:36 after a small group that included race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Several spots in the top 10 shuffled, with van Garderen going from being 72 seconds behind second-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to nearly five minutes behind fifth-placed Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale). “I am really hoping I can bounce tomorrow and recover the legs I had in the Alps,” van Garderen said. “It is not finished. There are still three hard GC days to come, so I am hoping to bounce back.”
Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol): “It was our intention to have someone in the breakaway, because we thought it would have a chance. For myself it was especially waiting to see if I would have a better feeling and better legs. I’m satisfied that we know the cause why it didn’t go as we had hoped until now. In the first part of the Port de Balès it was tough when Movistar raised the tempo, but then I could find a good rhythm and caught guys like Van Garderen and I could join Mollema and Schleck. The GC isn’t a goal in itself, but I still hope to make something of it. It’s positive that there’s evolution and I will see what’s possible day by day.”
Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) ended 26th in stage 16 and lost over a minute on a group with rivals including maillot jaune Vincenzo Nibali in an unfortunate manner: “On the final climb, three riders escaped,” said Ten Dam. “I was sitting behind with six others. König took the lead when we closed in on the top. I wanted to follow him, as I know that Zubeldia, who was in between, is not very strong on a downhill. Unfortunately, I was at my limit and couldn’t pass him. Right when we started the descent, Zubeldia punctured and I ended up all alone. The last 15 kilometres felt like ages. I gave my all until I reached the finish line. I burned 5500 calories. That says enough. Normally on a descent, the brake lights of cars or motorcycles can help you, but now it was hard to orientate myself. König was able to re-connect with the group with Nibali, so I lost some valuable seconds. My legs didn’t feel as good as in the Alps. Today hurt but I think everyone suffered. Uphill, my legs were OK, that’s something we can build on, especially in the next few days.”
Bauke Mollema (Belkin) was disappointed but remains very combative ahead of the next few days: “Unfortunately, it didn’t go so well today,” said Mollema. “The final climb was very difficult. Four kilometres from the summit, I was dropped. It’s difficult to keep giving all you have all the way to the top, but of course I wanted to limit my damage and get to the finish as fast as possible. Just before the summit, I connected with Frank Schleck and Jurgen Van Den Broeck, and the three of us worked together pretty well. “I definitely want to keep my top ten spot. It’s a nice position. Especially with Laurens up there, as well. We’ll keep fighting for it during the next few days.”
Astana’s Tanel Kangert after stage 16: “We have to be smart tomorrow – some guys are racing to keep their GC positions, some are trying to gain seconds before the time trial on Saturday. It’s going to be like the last stage of the Dauphine this year – full gas from the start.”
Tour de France stage 16 Result:
1. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo in 6:07:10
2. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Europcar at 0:09
3. Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Sky
4. José Serpa (Col) Lampre-Merida
5. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:13
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:36
8. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:50
9. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin-Sharp at 2:11
10. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 16:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 73:05:19
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 4:37
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 5:06
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 6:08
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 6:40
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 9:25
7. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 9:32
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 11:12
9. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 11:28
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 11:33.
EN – Summary – Stage 16 (Carcassonne > Bagnères… por tourdefrance
Following Michael Rogers’ day of glory in the first day in the Pyrenees, Rafal Majka claimed his second stage win at Saint-Lary Pla d’Adet at the end of Stage 17. The Polish rider took advantage of his triumph to increase his lead over Joaquim Rodriguez in the King of the Mountains competition while the Frenchman of the day was Jean-Christophe Péraud. The veteran from AG2R-La Mondiale positioned himself as a potential top 3 finisher as he was the only rider able to follow race leader Vincenzo Nibali in the final climb.
Eight riders attacked in the second kilometer of racing, but they got caught at the beginning of the ascent to the Col du Portillon after covering more than 50km in the first hour. Six riders rode away at the initiative of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) who had the polka dot jersey as his main objective of the day. Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo), Bauke Mollema (Belkin) and David Lopez (Sky) accompanied him. After Rodriguez took ten points at the Portillon, 16 riders bridged the gap on the downhill: Vassil Kiryienka (Sky), Jesus Herrada, Jon Izagirre & Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol), Amaël Moinard & Peter Velits (BMC), Pierre Rolland, Yukiya Arashiro & Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Fränck Schleck (Trek) and Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis).
Kiryienka attacked at the exit of Bagnères-de-Luchon with 56km to go. He stayed away by himself on the ascents to the Col de Peyresourde and Val Louron while the peloton was cruising around five minutes behind. The Belarus rider was reined in on the last kilometre of the second last climb, where Rodriguez outsprinted Majka. Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) attacked from the yellow jersey group on the downhill.
Four riders started climbing to Pla d’Adet in the lead: Rolland, Roche, Moinard and Visconti. Visconti went with 9km togo, Majka came across to him 4.2km before the finishing line while Nibali accelerated and took Péraud with him. Majka dropped Visconti off with 2.5km to go. 21 years after Zenon Jaskula became the first Polish rider to win a stage of the Tour de France precisely at Saint-Lary, the Tinkoff-Saxo climber doubled up after opening his record book on stage 14 at Risoul. Earlier in difficulty, Alejandro Valverde saved his second place on GC behind Nibali who was a brilliant third finisher but Péraud, the only rider able to accompany the yellow jersey, became the French favorite for the final podium in Paris.
Stage winner and KOM Tinkoff-Saxo’s Rafal Majka said: “I’m just so happy for this win and what we’ve achieved the last days of this Tour. This is my first Tour and I’ve won two stages already. It’s simply unbelievable. Nicolas and I were together in the break throughout the stage and the work Nico did out front was very important. Bjarne said to me, ‘if you win the stage, you’ll secure the jersey for now’. So it was really important for me to get in the breakaway. I only thought about getting up the last climb as the first man, because that was the key to winning the stage and securing the points for the jersey. Today, I proved to myself that if I attack early on, my chances of winning are bigger. I really like the Tour because the weather suits me really well and I feel really strong.”
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) lost time and is now only 34 seconds ahead of Thibaut Pinot of FDJ.fr: “I got myself through a very bad moment – I kept a steady pace, my team-mates were really phenomenal and we got through the day with even better results than we could expect after dropping. I kept myself calm, trying to stay at the same speed, but when I saw the 300m banner, I gave it everything up to the finish. I’m happy to have got that way over this. We’re still into the fight, doing the best we can – rivals are strong, this is the Tour, anything is taken for granted and you’ve got to give your 100%. There’s still a really demanding stage tomorrow; I don’t know if it suits me better than today’s, I think it’s quite the same for me. We’ll have to give everything again. Péraud looks like the most dangerous rival for the podium in these days left, and especially for the TT, but no one can be ruled out.”
Tejay van Garderen (BMC) finished 13th, 1:40 behind Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), Van Garderen is 10:19 back from yellow jersey wearer Vincenzo Nibali: “Yesterday was a pity, it was an off day,” van Garderen said. “You can’t change that. You can only look ahead.” Asked if a podium finish is still a possibility, he said: “Anything is possible. If you would have asked me a couple days ago I would have said, it is really possible. Now, yes it is possible. But it will be hard.”
Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) had a slightly better day: “I actually didn’t feel so well today. Beforehand I had the intention to join an interesting breakaway. As expected Movistar wanted to make the race hard and send a man in the break. On the way to the Col du Portillon I didn’t think I would succeed, but I could jump away after all. Majka and Rolland were the better riders in front. It wasn’t a surprise Majka won the stage. I never had the feeling I was strong. Nevertheless I showed myself in a different way and animated the race. It wasn’t a surprise that I wasn’t 100% of course, now I know what’s the problem. It won’t be easy to recover during this Tour or even get better. Still I want to show myself instead of riding to Paris anonymously. Like I said before the GC isn’t a goal in itself anymore, but today I could maintain my position.”
Bauke Mollema (Belkin) Pro Cycling TEAM attacked during stage 17 and placed eighth at the top of the Pla d’Adet, 1:12 down on Majka: “Today’s course lent itself for an attack,” said Mollema. “It was a short and explosive stage. I gave everything I had, I just had to try something. I kept a close eye on which teams tried to escape. With the battle for the mountain jersey in mind, you just know that Rodriguez and Majka are going to give it a try. If they bring some team-mates and form a larger group then you know that the tempo will remain high. It’s nice that I was able to show myself and that I moved up in the overall. It’s great that I’m back in seventh now. I knew it was going to be hard to win the stage. This whole Tour, I lacked that acceleration to go into the red zone and keep going, although I’m able to keep pedalling. Besides that, the breakaway was very strong.”
Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) retained his eighth place in the overall by crossing the line in 14th position: “The last climb was a kind of time trial for me, from top to bottom”, he said. “Luckily, I was able to benefit from the Movistar men. I tried to drop Valverde, but when I saw one of his team-mates waiting for him, I thought it would be better to take advantage from their efforts and just sit in their wheel. After a while, I started to struggle and just before the top Valverde even dropped me. That shows his class. I was just as good as yesterday and I’m quite happy with this result.”
Michele Scarponi (Astana) worked at the front of a shattered peloton to lead Vincenzo Nibali through nearly 60km of climbing: “I’ve been this tired before – but never this satisfied. We have been working to protect Vincenzo’s lead since the beginning of the Tour – and when you are working for the leader it’s always satisfying, no matter how hard.”
Tour de France Stage 17 Result:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo in 3:35:23
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 0:29
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:46
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale at 0:49
6. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 0:52
7. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek at 1:12
8. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin
9. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:25
10. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:35.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 17:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 76:41:28
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 5:26
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 6:00
4. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 6:08
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 7:34
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 10:19
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 11:59
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 12:16
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 12:40
10. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 13:15.
EN – Summary – Stage 17 (Saint-Gaudens > Saint… by tourdefrance
Tour de Wallonie 2014
The Tour de Wallonie starts on Saturday the 26th and runs to Wednesday the 30th of July and takes in most of the Wallonie region of Belgium.
Stage 1: Frasnes-Lez-Anvaing – Tournai (147,6 km)
Stage 2: Péronnes-Lez-Antoing – Perwez (193,1 km)
Stage 3: Somme-Leuze – Neufchâteau (174,1 km)
Stage 4: Herve – Waremme (174, 9 km)
Stage 5: Malmedy – Ans (180,6 km).
More race details on: https://www.trworg.be
Belkin Tour de Wallonie Team
The Belkin Pro Cycling team will hunt for stage wins from July 26 to 30 in Belgium’s Tour de Wallonie. Sports Directors Jan Boven and Michiel Elijzen have seven riders at their disposal who are eager to race again.
“It’s going to be a heavy race when you look at the course,” said Boven. “One day’s final is comparable to Liège-Bastogne-Liège’s course. We have men with a strong kick for that day. Other days offer chances for sprints. We want to seize those opportunities.” Paul Martens rode well in last year’s Tour de Wallonie, but won’t be at the start this time. “The course is suitable to Paul, but his wife was expecting a child during the period around the race,” Boven explained.
“Together with Paul we decided on another program. Otherwise, we might have had to throw things around last minute. Eventually, Paul’s wife gave birth to their son Leon last week!” The Tour de Wallonie marks the start of a new part of the season. “For everyone, it’s the first race after the nationals,” says Boven. “We’ll start fresh. The Tour de Wallonie also serves as a build up to the two next races.”
Nick van der Lijke hopes to show himself in the Tour de Wallonie. The first-year pro feels better and more at ease in the highest level. “Hopefully, I can already get in the mix in Wallonie,” he said. “I’ve trained in the Black Forest and feel good. I had a rather slow start to this year. I wasn’t a good as hoped uphill and I didn’t reach my true level. I made some steps ahead and feel that I’m doing better now. Hopefully, I can take a good result before the end of the season.”
Theo Bos, Graeme Brown, Jos van Emden, Rick Flens, Jonathan Hivert, Barry Markus and Nick van der Lijke
Sports Directors: Jan Boven and Michiel Elijzen.
Europcar Team for Wallonie
Riders: Natnael Berhane, Jérome Cousin, Dan Craven, Antoine Duchesne, Fabrice Jeandesboz, Vincent Jerome, Christophe Kern.
Directeur Sportif: Ismaël Mottier.
BMC Racing Team Reveals Tour de Wallonie Roster
Past world road champions Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd are part of the BMC Racing Team’s seven-man roster for the Tour de Wallonie. The five-day race begins Saturday.
Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Dominik Nerz (GER).
Sport Directors: Rik Verbrugghe (BEL) & Valerio Piva (BEL).
Team Katusha in Tour de Wallonie
The Russian WorldTour Team Katusha starts in the 35th Tour de Wallonie (2.HC stage race), which will be held from July 26th until July 30th.
The Team Katusha line-up: Vladimir Gusev, Mikhail Ignatyev, Pavel Kochetkov, Viatcheslav Kuznetsov, Rüdiger Selig, Alexander Rybakov & Alexey Tsatevich.
Sports directors are Gennadi Mikhaylov and Claudio Cozzi.
Lotto Belisol: Preview Tour de Wallonie
From Saturday 26th of July until Wednesday 30th of July the Tour de Wallonie is scheduled. This stage race from the Europe Tour is contested by teams of seven riders. Jens Debusschere will ride his first race in the jersey of Belgian champion. He is accompanied by among other Maxime Monfort, who comes back after a crash in the Tour de Suisse.
The Tour de Wallonie consists of fifteen stages, there is no time trial. The first stage there are actually two big laps with three hills, among it the Kluisberg. This stage and the one on Sunday offer the best chances to the sprinters. In stage three escapees have a chance or there can be a sprint of a reduced peloton. On Tuesday there are eleven climbs on the course. The last one is the Mur d’Amay at 17.2 kilometers from the finish in Waremme. On the last day the riders get to do the final of Liège-Bastogne-Liège with the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons, the Côte de Saint-Nicolas and finish at Côte d’Ans.
Bart Leysen, sports director: “Apart from Jelle Vanendert, who rode the Tour of Austria, everyone comes back in competition after a period of rest. For Jens Debusschere it will be a stimulus all year long to be able to wear that Belgian jersey. He’s our man for the sprint, together with Kris Boeckmans. Tosh Van der Sande can survive the short climbs and is definitely fast when a small group gets to the finish. The first two stages can definitely end with a bunch sprint. The third stage it’s uncertain.”
“The team is put together so that we have a man for each type of stage. We want to race offensively. Jelle Vanendert and Maxime Monfort are our GC contenders. Although I expect Tosh should be able to set a good result as well. Pim Ligthart and Tim Wellens can join breakaways and can finish the job. Tim became eighth in the overall classification last year, so he can aim for a good GC as well. The last day is the toughest. At the end it’s almost identical to the final of Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Before that there are six other hills. It will be difficult to control with teams of seven riders. Wednesday will be decisive.”
Selection Lotto Belisol:
Kris Boeckmans, Jens Debusschere, Pim Ligthart, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Jean-Pierre Heynderickx and Bart Leysen.
OPQS to Tour de Wallonie
Tom Boonen Won’t Participate
OPQS has announced the selection that will participate in Tour de Wallonie, a 870.6km stage race from July 26th until July 30th. Tour de Wallonie is a Belgian stage race, with each less than 200km and the longest being Stage 2, at 193.1 kilometers in total distance.
“The course this year is a bit harder than past years,” Sport Director Rik van Slycke said. “There is more demanding parts in the Ardennes. But we have a good team going there, with guys coming back for the first time after a period of rest from competition. Guys like Zdenek Stybar, a guy that is known to train well at home. Wout Poels is another rider who be there. He is also using this as an important step toward Tour de Pologne.”
Tom Boonen will not participate, and will be replaced by Guillame Van Keirsbulck. Boonen had an accident at home 15 days ago that caused a small fissure on the sacrum just above the coccyx (tailbone). The injury causes him pain when out of the saddle.
“It was really a banal fall at home,” Boonen said “But sometimes stuff like that happens. It’s a small fissure, but it causes me a lot of pain when I try to get out of the saddle and accelerate on climbs. After five days off the bike I started training again. Yesterday I made a long training in the Ardennes, but when I go uphill it’s still painful. So I decided with the medical staff to skip this race and continue to train and let this injury heal 100% to be ready to start at Eneco Tour.”
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Andrew Fenn (GBR), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Wout Poels (NED), Pieter Serry (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL).
Sports Director: Rik van Slycke (BEL).
Tour de Wallonie 2013:
Etixx – Quick-Step in 2015
With the beautiful landscape of Chateau de Lastours in the background, OPQS proudly announced to the media on Monday, during the second Tour de France rest day, that the team secured its future through 2017 thanks to the extended commitment of owner Mr. Bakala, and also crucial support of the sponsors. Starting in 2015 the team will be named “Etixx – Quick-Step.”
Etixx, the sports nutrition brand of Omega Pharma group, agreed to support the team as a main sponsor from the season 2015 through 2017. Quick-Step will continue as a main sponsor through 2015 with an option to extend. Latexco continues its sponsorship for 2015, and Renson extends its support for two years through 2016, with an option for 2017.
“I don’t need to hide it, besides the image and the impact of the team in cycling, the success and results of the team also helped convince the sponsors to go on,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “So, this is the product of a winning team. It’s a lot of work to gather all the pieces of a winning team, the riders and the staff. I’m really proud of the staff I work with every day to reach common goals. I take care of my sponsors and do my best with my team to keep them happy and performing. In this moment we are one of the most established teams in cycling. Thanks to the help of our owner Mr. Bakala and our sponsors, we can build toward even more success as our future is possible.”
“Etixx is a Belgian brand and we’ve become a market leader there in just a few years,” Omega Pharma CEO Marc Coucke said. “We now want to internationalize it through investing in a cycling team to promote the maturity of the brand, to launch it everywhere in the world. OPQS reacted at the Tour de France with their hearts. Every day they want to try to win, and by doing so they won two stages despite some bad luck. They will keep fighting for another win this last week. If you can do that, in these circumstances, you are a top team. This is a fantastic team to sponsor with. The culture that the team breeds and grows, the fighting spirit, it’s so fantastic that you can’t have a better team to partner with. We’re glad the team can continue to three more years thanks to Mr. Bakala and the other partners. Thanks to this continuity, the riders will also feel a sense of security and we can really build in future years.”
Tom Boonen and Etixx:
Tony Martin with OPQS for 2 More Years
Tony Martin, who has been one of the most exciting riders of the 2014 Tour de France, having won a stage solo and the Combativity Award two stages in a row, extended his contract for two more years.
“I’ve had almost three great years now with the team, with a lot of support,” Martin said. “I gained a lot of new friends and I feel super comfortable. For me, there was no reason at all to change my team. I had a long talk with Patrick. We have chosen a lot of good goals for the future, goals we both want to reach. For example, it’s no secret the 2016 Olympic Games are a big goal. For Patrick the 2015 Tour de France is maybe a step higher with a 13.7km opening time trial in Utrecht. We set other goals together, both team and individual. It will be hard work, but I know the team will give me the best support I can have. I’m looking forward to the next few years and maybe even longer.”
“He was one of the leading riders of the team that was out of contract,” Lefevere said. “It was a very active discussion that started with the Tour of Belgium. He wanted to stay, I wanted to keep him, and we found each other finally. Now this is team is part of his professional life. He’s not only a super strong rider, but also a big motivator for the team. He always gives everything and is a great example for the young guys as he’s a great time trialist, but someone who works for his teammates without hesitation and with pleasure. The arrival of Tony raised the level of our team. We are happy that his future will be with us as he brings much to the table as a rider, and also as a person.”
A very young Tony Martin:
Mark Cavendish Visits OPQS During Tour de France Rest Day
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Mark Cavendish, who withdrew from the 2014 Tour de France due to a crash in Stage 1, visited his teammates during the second rest day on Monday. Cavendish was also present when the team announced it is secured until 2017, and will be named Etixx – Quick-Step starting in 2015.
“Now that I’ve been at home I realize how much I miss the OPQS guys and the Tour de France,” Cavendish said. “It’s been incredible watching them. I’ve watched some stages when my rehab and recovery didn’t interfere and it’s been really impressive, especially seeing them win the way they did with Matteo Trentin and Tony Martin. You can see the strength, the desire, and I still feel part of that even when I’m in my home watching them on the television. I’m super proud of them. We came here as a sprint team and to lose your sprinter in the first day; it can almost throw you into a situation of ‘what to do now.’ But all eight riders still racing the Tour are super strong. It’s easy to see how they’ve got along without me there with them. I’m still part of the team when I’m not here, and to see them pull it off the way they have makes me so happy. As for me, I had to make sure I was on top of my recovery and my rehab first before I could spend a couple days with the guys. I want to get back to racing for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step as soon as physically possible, and my days are full doing everything I can to optimize that. Yesterday I went out with my bike on the road for the first time after the injury, but as of now I can’t really say when I will be racing again. I will discuss it with the team in the next days. I just want to be here with my team right now and let them know how proud I am of the way they’re conducting themselves at the Tour de France, the biggest race in the world and one I love dearly.”
No Vuelta for Contador?
Alberto Contador has said he will not be starting this year’s Vuelta a España due to the broken leg he sustained in the Tour de France. His team manager; Bjarne Riis has suggested that it is still possible; but that they should all (team and rider) should wait and see.
Saxo to Stay with Tinkoff?
The word at the Tour de France is that Saxo Bank will stay on as co-sponsor of the Tinkoff-Saxo team for a further year. A spokesman for the bank said he expected it all to be 2under control before we leave Paris.” Saxo has been with the team since 2008.
Help Us Stop Bike Theft! By Jason
I’m a long time reader/devourer of PezCycling. I first started perusing Daily Distractions when I was a Cat2 racer in Seattle WAY back in the day (2005/6?). Currently I’m one of the co-founders of a company called Project 529 (the opposite of your 9 to 5). We’re partnered with organizations like SRAM, People for Bikes, Bicycle Transportation Alliance and a rapidly growing list of others in the industry to build software that inspires people to ride more often.
Our initial product, the 529 Garage, is a community-connected bike security solution (think emergency alert for your bike). This initial service aims to provide a more effective tool for cyclists, victims and law enforcement agencies to combat bike theft.
We’ve worked closely with our law enforcement partners (Seattle, Portland Police Departments as well as University of Washington, and Portland State University Campus Police) to create a service that quickly and comprehensively captures the information the community and law enforcement need to recover a stolen bike as quickly as possible. I invite you to download our iPhone app and see for yourself. Our service, while just out of the gate, has already generated quite a bit of interest with nearly 4,000 cyclists registering their bikes in the past two months.
In our discussions with law enforcement, we affirmed what many of us had largely assumed…a large percentage of stolen bikes find their way to Craigslist and eBay for sale. Anecdotally, many of the officers we spoke with felt that more often than not stolen bikes are eventually listed on one of those two services. As technologists who have built our careers on building software and hardware that inspires and creates more productive technology we find it maddening that thieves have turned the tables and can easily leverage technology to their advantage so we created a petition that asks Craigslist and eBay to require serial numbers for their bike listings. This is not first time this effort has been attempted, however with over 20,000 cyclists behind us this is certainly the one that has gained the most traction (previous attempts had garnered less than 1,000 signatures).
While not a singular means to end bike theft, when used in conjunction with better education on prevention and purchasing, requiring serial numbers puts a significant speed bump in the path of thefts. In just three months over 20,000 cyclists have joined us in expressing their frustration and desire for Craigslist and eBay to make this small change. The plan is to wrap this petition up in the next week and take it down to San Francisco for a meeting with Craig Newmark. I would greatly appreciate your help in getting us to 25,000.
Team Optum ladies to compete in La Course by Tour de France
Diamondback will make its Tour de France debut this Sunday as its pro Team Optum will race their DB bikes in the first ever women’s event at the Tour. The race is called “La Course” by Tour de France and will coincide with the final day of the men’s Tour de France in Paris. The 12-lap circuit race takes place on the Tour’s traditional final circuit on the Champs Elysees. This is a groundbreaking moment for women’s professional cycling and women’s sports in general. To celebrate, Diamondback just released a new Team Optum video profiling the same six women who will race La Course.
Get To Know Diamondback and Optum Pro Cycling’s Women’s Team from Diamondback Bicycles on Vimeo.
Tour Stage 17 by Orica-GreenEDGE Backstage Pass
It was a battle or survival to make the time cut in stage 17 of the 2014 Tour de France for the ORICA-GreenEDGE boys. In this episode of Backstage Pass Simon Clarke explains how the time cut works and Luke Durbridge explains how he mentally gets through pain.
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