The Tour de France build-up has started with the Critérium de Dauphiné – Stage 1 results and video, along with the Hammer Series Limburg, GP Città di Lugano and the Slovenian time trial championships. Mathieu van der Poel to ride the road Worlds in Yorkshire – Top Story. Other cycling news: Philippe Gilbert has no plans to retire, no Tour de France for Dani Martínez, Maxime Monfort preparations, contract for Michael Mørkøv, Rod Ellingworth is new Bahrain-Merida team principal, Dani Christmas second half of the season, Andrea Tafi to ride Rock-N-Road gravel and Sunweb open’s Keep Challenging Center. A full EUROTRASH Monday!
TOP STORY: Mathieu van der Poel to Ride 2019 Road Worlds
Dutch road, MTB and World cyclo-cross champion, Mathieu van der Poel is going to ride the World road championship in Yorkshire this September. The Corendon-Circus rider couldn’t decide between the World MTB championships in early September and the road championships in late September. The Amstel Gold Race winner will be in Yorkshire, according to the Dutch Cycling federation, the KNWU.
Van der Poel, after a long talk with National coach Koos Moerenhout, has decided to take a shot at the World title on the road. The 24-year-old rider does not have to participate in the Dutch Championships in Ede, since he has received dispensation from the KNWU for ‘sport-technical reasons’ as he will be concentrating on his mountain biking.
“I like the World championship course in Yorkshire,” said Van der Poel. “Of course I think it is very unfortunate that I have to ignore the mountain bike World championships, but choices have to be made. I cannot deny that the World championships course in Yorkshire must be my thing, so I am resolutely opting for the World championships on the road this year.”
So, Van der Poel will not go for the Mountain Bike World championship, but the all-rounder will participate in the mountain bike test event in Tokyo on 6 October. “I absolutely want to be present at the test event. The 2020 Olympic Games are still the big goal. However, combining the three is not feasible.”
National coach Moerenhout is pleased with the announcement: “I am happy that we can include Mathieu in the Dutch selection for Yorkshire. I am convinced that we are leaving with a strong team and with Van der Poel there the strength of the Dutch team is only increasing.”
Van der Poel has also announced his full program up to and including the test event. He will participate in the World Cup mountain bike in Les Gets, France, on the weekend of 12-14 July, with a view to the European Championship in Brno. This is followed by a criterium in Antwerp. The Dutchman then goes back to mountain bike again for the Italian World Cup in Val Di Sole. After another criterium in Roosendaal, it is then the new World Cup race in Lenzerheide, before returning to the road for the Arctic Race of Norway. Van der Poel will put the finishing touches to his Yorkshire World Championship preparation in the Tour of Britain.
Mathieu van der Poel Race Calendar:
World Cup MTB – Les Gets, (Fra) 12-14 July
Dutch National Champs MTB – Sittard, (Ned) 20-21 July
European Champs MTB – Brno (CZ) 28 July
Natour criterium – Antwerp (Bel) 31 July
World Cup MTB – Val Di Sole (Ita) 2-4 August
Roosendaal Natour criterion (Ned) 5 August
World Cup MTB – Lenzerheide (Swi) 9-11 August
Arctic Race of Norway (Nor) 15-18 August
Tour of Britain (GB) 7-14 September
World Road Champs – Yorkshire (GB) September 29
Olympic Test Event – Tokyo (Jap) October 6.
His Corendon-Circus team also announced that additional one-day races could be added to this program.
Mathieu van der Poel – Multi-talented:
Critérium de Dauphiné 2019
A regular scorer at the Critérium du Dauphiné, Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) claimed his fifth stage win since 2010 as he out-sprinted Belgians Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in Jussac where very few sprinters arrived in the front group with the GC contenders. The Stage 1 win also secured the overall race leader’s yellow jersey as well as the green jersey, as the leader in the points competition for Boasson Hagen.
Six riders in the lead
154 riders took the start of stage 1 in the 71st Critérium du Dauphiné in Aurillac. Following a very animated beginning of the race, six riders took off at km 10: Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale), Magnus Cort (Astana), Niklas Eg (Trek-Segafredo), Julien Vermote (Dimension Data), Fabien Doubey (Wanty-Gobert) and Casper Pedersen (Sunweb). Their advantage of 3:20 at the foot of the Puy Mary, the first hill of the race (10.6km, first category), was down to 2:40 at the top (km 34) where Pedersen passed first ahead of Cort. Pedersen also crested the Côte de Besse (cat. 4, km 68) and the Côte de St-Cernin (cat. 3, km 81) in pole position.
Bjorg Lambrecht impressive in the last climb
Vermote was first to get dropped from the breakaway group in the first time up the Côte de Roquenatou where Pedersen secured the first polka dot jersey. Since the very beginning of the action, it was Bora-Hansgrohe leading the pack, mainly with Cesare Benedetti, the winner of stage 13 in the Giro d’Italia last month, in first position. Deceunick – Quick-Step took over with 25km to go and reduced the gap to 1:15. In the second ascent to Roquenatou, Eg got dropped from the front group. Zdenek Stybar put the hammer down with Julian Alaphilippe on his wheel but it was Bjorg Lambrecht (Lotto Soudal) who went clear off the peloton while only Naesen and Cort remained in the lead towards the top of the hill. Lambrecht crested in first position while Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) went in between the leading trio and the main bunch led by Mitchelton-Scott after the last climb.
Boasson Hagen overtakes Gilbert
Bahrain-Merida was the second team chasing. It was all together again with just 600 meters to go. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) looked very well positioned in the 60-man group but Alaphilippe sped up to lead Philippe Gilbert out. However, Edvald Boasson Hagen still had the capacity to accelerate and get his fifth stage victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné since he made his debut in the event in 2010. The first one was won on the circuit of the 1980 world championship in Sallanches on the last day of the race. His last stage win at the Dauphiné was in 2016 in Belley. This is the third victory of the Norwegian this year after stages at the Vuelta Communidad Valenciana and the Tour of Norway.
Stage winner and overall leader, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data): “I am really happy with today’s win. It has been a while since I have won in the World Tour, so this is great win for me and for Team Dimension Data. I was really suffering on the climb, but I managed to stay there in the group while the best sprinters were dropped. That worked out really well for me. I had good speed in the sprint and am just really happy to have won and to take the yellow jersey, even if only for a few days.”
3rd on the stage and overall, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “It’s a real good start for me to be in the white jersey at the end of stage one. The day went very well. I managed to keep some strength to be diligent in the final and it went pretty well. Maybe I could have done better. My sprint wasn’t perfect, especially because I slowed down a bit in the last corner when Alaphilippe was leading out Gilbert. Eventually, it’s a nice result. It confirms that I’m in good form and if there are other opportunities, I’ll try my luck again.”
4th on the stage and overall, Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin): “We saw a reduced bunch sprint where very few sprinters arrived in the front group with the GC contenders. Maybe my gear was little too big in the sprint.”
5th on the stage and overall, Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I think, we showed a strong performance today. We worked for Sam, to bring him into a good position for the final climb. When Deceuninck – Quick Step took over control, the race went on fire. I launched an attack but unfortunately it didn’t work out. However, I tried and finished in fifth position, Emu crossed the line at the same time, so we have a good position for the GC.”
Break rider, Fabien Doubey (Wanty-Gobert): “I was happy to be part of the breakaway, as was asked in the briefing. The breakaway was composed of big names, so I immediately thought that, unless a maximum advantage of 3 minutes, it might be possible to stay ahead for a long time in the flat sections. The likes of Pedersen, Cort Nielsen, or Naesen rode strongly on the flat. I had to dig deep very often, but I let Naesen’s experience guide me and I found my second wind back in the climbs. I was caught by the peloton during the last climb, afterwards I tried to manage the final as good as possible. I tried to win as most points for the mountain jersey as possible. Now I am third in this classification it might become a goal. But first I need to recover well, because the day was action packed in the front. It is a good introduction to the Dauphiné, both for me and for the team.”
Critérium de Dauphiné Stage 1 Result:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data in 3:24:33
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
4. Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC
8. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
9. Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos.
Critérium de Dauphiné Overall After Stage 1:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data in 3:24:23
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:04
3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:06
4. Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:10
5. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC
8. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
9. Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Ineos.
Hammer Series – Limburg 2019
Teenage sensation Remco Evenepoel produced a superb individual performance to lead Deceuninck – Quick-Step to victory in the Hammer Climb at Hammer Limburg on Friday.
The 19-year-old Belgian crossed the finishing line first five out of nine times and finished second on three others occasions to leave his team with a dominant total of 1,067 points.
CCC Team finished second on 723 points, while Lotto Soudal were third on 687 points.
Evenepoel formed part of an early breakaway group by following an attack from Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) on lap two, which the reigning junior world road and time trial champion went on to win.
After being pipped into second place on the next three laps by Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe), Evenepoel decided to switch tactics and took off on a solo attack with a daunting 30 km still to race.
It looked an ambitious move at first, but after winning lap six, he continued to push on and opened up a lead of more than a minute on a chase group containing seasoned pros such as Van Avermaet, Bodnar, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) and Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy).
Evenepoel impressively managed to hold the advantage in the closing laps and comfortably won each of them to round off one of the finest individual displays seen at the Hammer Series.
Stage winner, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “The team asked me to take as many points as possible today and that’s what I did. At one point my sports director told me that I only had to watch out for Bora-Hansgrohe but when the small group came back together, there was a bit of hesitation and I thought that ‘now is the moment to go solo’. Nobody reacted and I started to get away. I went full gas the whole time. Even on the descents because of the headwind. It was a very hard day out there.”
Hammer Series Limburg – Score After Climb:
1. Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel) 1067,0 points
2. CCC (Pol) 722,9 points
3. Lotto Soudal (Bel) 687,2 points
4. Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger) 632,1 points
5. Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spa) 470,6 points
6. Trek-Segafredo (USA) 419,9 points
7. EF Education First (USA) 400,3 points
8. Jumbo-Visma (Ned) 377,7 points
9. Sunweb (Ger) 354,6 points
10. Israel Cycling Academy (Isr) 159,5 points.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step put on a display of dominance at the Hammer Sprint in Limburg as they blasted around the technical circuit to maximize their lead heading into the Hammer Chase on Sunday.
Clever riding by the duo of Fabio Jakobsen and Yves Lampaert saw the Belgian outfit amass a total of 1307 points, with Lampaert infiltrating the early breakaways while Jakobsen used his sprint to perfection to pick up points on the circuit around Sittard.
Bora-Hansgrohe finished second on the day with 706 points, while Team Jumbo Visma were third with 541 points.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step set the tone early with Jakobsen winning the first sprint on Lap 1 as riders battled to get in the early moves.
The strongmen were in their element as they faced periods the wind and rain over the eight laps of the 12.4 km circuit with the quintet of Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe), Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Cameron Mayer (Mitchelton-Scott), Owain Doull (INEOS) and Taco Van Der Hoorn (Jumbo-Visma) dominating the early laps.
Strong teamwork from Team Sunweb dragged the group back together but also brought Jakobsen back into contention to launch in the closing kilometers and set up the win.
On Sunday, Hammer Limburg concludes with the Hammer Chase. After dominating the first two days, Deceuninck – Quick-Step start out first in the Finalist Group, 30 seconds ahead of Bora-Hansgrohe and 58 seconds ahead of Team Jumbo-Visma in third place.
Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I managed to get in the front group with Lampaert and immediately felt that I had good legs. The team were up front to support me during the race which makes it easier to sprint also. The last sprint win was nice for me but the celebration at the end was for the whole team.”
Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Once again, it was full gas from the start and my watts numbers were really high. I pushed around 350 watts average for an hour and twenty minutes out there. For a flat race, that’s a lot. Heading into tomorrow’s Hammer Chase, we only have a 30 seconds gap, so it won’t be easy to defend the lead but we are ready to fight.”
Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe): “This race is incredibly unpredictable. But it is an exciting format, which is particularly interesting for spectators, and I think this style of racing has a future. Like yesterday, I tried to pick up as many points as possible at the beginning, because you never know what will happen later in the race. Every lap developed differently and we tried everything to take points in the sprints. The whole team rode well today and did everything that was possible, so we’re happy with our second place. We wanted to remain in the top 8 ahead of the Hammer Chase tomorrow, and we were able to do that successfully.”
Hammer Series Limburg – Score After Sprint:
1. Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel) 1307,2 points
2. Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger) 706,5 points
3. Jumbo-Visma (Ned) 540,7 points
4. Sunweb (Ger) 459,6 points
5. Mitchelton-Scott (Aus) 455,7 points
6. INEOS (GB) 418,2 points
7. Trek-Segafredo (USA 341,5 points
8. EF Education First (USA) 315,2 points
9. UAE Team Emirates (UAE) 157,8 points
10. Team Dimension Data (RSA) 139,6 points.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step put in a stellar performance in the Hammer Chase to retain their title as winners of Hammer Limburg, while Mitchelton-Scott clocked the fastest time to take victory on the day.
Starting the afternoon with just a thirty second buffer over their closest rivals Bora-Hansgrohe, the Belgian squad blitzed the 49.6 km course in a time of 54.01 minutes to win overall and take home the Hammer Limburg crown.
The victors had time to raise their arms in celebration as they were welcomed home by the cheering Limburg crowd.
The battle for second place was a far tighter affair as Jumbo-Visma, Bora-Hansgrohe and Team Sunweb went head-to-head right to the line. Jumbo-Visma proved quickest in the dash to finish runners-up while Bora-Hansgrohe rounded out the podium in third place.
Mitchelton-Scott took the spoils in the Runner-Up Group as they showed their expertise in the time-trial discipline to catch and pass Team INEOS to take 9th overall.
The win by Deceuninck – Quick-Step brought an end to the perfect weekend for the team. Teenage sensation Remco Evanpoel put in an excellent solo display in the Hammer Climb while the sprinting ability of Fabio Jakobsen and the attacking flair of Yves Lampaert saw a dominant display in the Hammer Sprint.
Michael Mørkøv (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “We did a very good time trial today. We kept the distance to all the teams behind under control on every lap. We had to fight for it but it worked out perfectly in the end – I’m really proud of the boys.”
Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Today we gave our best and we can be very satisfied with our third place. We knew, that it would be quite a challenge to bridge the gap to Deceuninck-QuickStep, and we also had to keep a close watch on Jumbo-Visma and Team Sunweb. We were overtaken by the Dutch team, and our plan was to pull past them in the final kilometer. We were admittedly able to do that, however, in the last 200m, they were just too strong for us, and overtook us again. But we finished the race here in Limburg with a podium place, and the whole team can be really happy with that achievement.”
Michael Hepburn (Mitchelton-Scott): “This is what we were hoping for today. Starting in the Runner-Up Group, we were never going to win the overall but we came into this day focused on winning the Hammer Chase. We had a strong team for today and everybody produced a great ride.”
Hammer Series Limburg – Final Standing After Chase:
1. Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel)
2. Jumbo-Visma (Ned)
3. Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger)
4. Sunweb (Ger)
5. CCC (Pol)
6. Trek-Segafredo (USA)
7. EF Education First (USA)
8. Lotto Soudal (Bel)
9. Mitchelton-Scott (Aus)
10. INEOS (GB).
After winning Hammer Stavanger and taking second place in Hammer Limburg, Team Jumbo-Visma still top the overall Hammer Series leaderboard before the final race in Hong Kong on October 13.
Hammer Series 2019 Overall After Limburg:
1. Jumbo-Visma (Ned) 181 points
2. Deceuninck – Quick-Step (Bel) 135 Points
3. Sunweb (Ned) 134 points
4. Bora-Hansgrohe (Ger) 94 points
5. CCC (Pol) 86 points
6. Mitchelton-Scott (Aus) 85 points
7. INEOS (GB) 68 points
8. EF Education First (USA) 47 points
9. Lotto Soudal (Bel) 46 points
10. Trek-Segafredo (USA) 41 points.
GP Città di Lugano 2019
It was all smiles for UAE Team Emirates at the GP Lugano, as the riders took on 179.2 km on a course featuring two short climbs before the finish by the lake in Lugano.
The decisive move was made on the penultimate lap of 8 and featured all the main hitters: Diego Ulissi and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) attacked on the climb of Agra, later being joined by their teammates Aleksandr Riabushenko, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) as well as Giovanni Carboni (Bardiani-CSF) and Patrick Schelling (Team Vorarlbeg).
The group started the last lap with a twenty-eight second gap on the peloton as Ulissi and Nibali moved away on the climb of Agra. They would eventually regroup before teamwork between Riabushenko and Ulissi ensured a winning performance.
Race winner, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): “Finally I managed to win the GP Lugano, after so many attempts. I live in Lugano, so this has become my home race. This victory is particularly sweet. Our team was perfect , first in controlling the break of six guys who led the race in the initial laps, then to move with precision in the decisive moments. Riabushenko was fantastic in supporting me in the final, this one-two is a really great moment for our team. I’m glad that I made the most of my good condition: I finished the Giro in good shape and I was able to race at my best.”
3rd, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida): “A result that does not satisfy me much because it does not repay the great work of my teammates. In the finale, I didn’t have good legs and I made a little mistake trying to overcome Ulissi along the barriers. The positive side is that I had good feelings after the Teide training camp and I will be at the start of Tour de Suisse with more confidence in my chances.”
5th, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “In the final lap, I attacked along with Ulissi and we built an advantage of 20 seconds. A few kilometers from the finish line they took us back and then I tried to help Matej because he’s faster than me at the sprint. We did a good race even though the victory didn’t come.”
12th, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates): “I am very happy both for the results achieved by the team, and for my own performance. With numerous riders in the race coming out of the Giro d’Italia, the pace was high, but I felt at ease and I paced myself well. Now I will go back and see with the team which will be the next race, but the feelings are good.”
GP Città di Lugano Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 4:43:36
2. Alexandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
3. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
4. Patrick Schelling (Swi) Team Vorarlberg-Santic
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:07
6. Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:41
7. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:42
8. Simone Velasco (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
10. Marco Tizza (Ita) Amore i Vita-Prodir.
Pogačar New Slovenian Time Trial Champion
Tadej Pogačar won the Slovenian individual time trial title. On a 44 km course in Ljubljana, he obtained his 5th victory of the season and the first national pro title, beating Matej Mohoric by 29 seconds and Jan Tratnik by +45 seconds, both from Bahrain-Merida.
Tadej Pogačar: “I was aware of the high level of the competitors, especially considering the participation of Mohoric and Tratnik, however I was well trained, I worked hard after the Tour of California. In the first part of the course I set a regular pace, close to my limit, and in the second half I push as hard as I could. I’m really satisfied with my performance and with this beautiful national title.”
Slovenian TT Championship Result:
1 Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) in 49:34
2 Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) at 0:29
3 Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-Merida) 0:45.
Gilbert on the Future: “Why Would I Think of Stopping?”
Philippe Gilbert may be 36 years old, but the Classics specialist doesn’t even think about retiring. “I still achieve a very good level,” Gilbert told Sporza before the start of the Critérium du Dauphiné. “I’m always at the appointment, so why should I think about quitting now?”
Gilbert demonstrated that he still performs well this spring with a win in Paris-Roubaix. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider wants to continue. “With so much motivation and potential, it would be stupid to quit,” said Gilbert, who wants to say little about his future. “As soon as a decision has been made, you will know. I’m not going to talk to Patrick Lefevere (team manager), in the media about a new contract. That is something between us. He likes to speak in the press, but I don’t participate. I’m only talking about my future with Patrick and my manager. And not in the media.”
Gilbert rides his first race since Liège-Bastogne-Liège: the Critérium du Dauphiné. “The condition is good. I’m really looking forward to racing again. The opening stage is immediately tough with a climb of ten kilometers. Later in the week there are chances to win a stage.”
Philippe Gilbert wins in Roubaix:
Martínez Out of Tour de France After Training Crash in Colombia
Colombian climber Dani Martínez will miss out on the Tour de France next month as he recovers from injuries sustained while training in Colombia on Monday. The 21-year-old had been riding downhill during the recovery time between training intervals when an oil stain took out his wheels. He crashed, landing on his hands.
“Dani’s crash unfortunately resulted in broken bones in both hands,” said EF Education First Pro Cycling head of medical Kevin Sprouse. “He underwent surgery to repair the fractures. The surgery and subsequent healing will require that he miss the Tour de France this year.”
“I have about two months of recovery in front of me,” said Martínez. “My hands hurt a lot, and I cannot do anything without help. I’m very sad to miss the Tour de France. I’ve trained a lot for that. But this is just the way cycling is.”
Martínez made his Tour de France debut during his maiden season in argyle. A super-domestique for compatriot and Tour de France general contender Rigoberto Urán, Martínez instinctually handed over his bike to Urán following a late race crash on stage four of the 2018 Tour to keep Urán’s general classification ambitions alive.
The roles were reversed at the 2019 Tour of Colombia where Urán, recovering from illness, raced at the service of Martínez, who finished in third overall on home roads. That was Martínez claimed the Colombian time trial title, before he won the queen stage of Paris-Nice.
Martínez last raced at Tour de Romandie in early May. He was home in Colombia, training regularly with Urán, and since Tour of California, with Tejay van Garderen, in preparation for July.
“Certainly, we’ll miss Dani at the Tour as he was a key part of our plans, but the Tour is full of surprises, and we just got one a little early,” said EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters.
Following surgery on Wednesday, Martínez’s recovery will be closely monitored by the team’s medical staff.
“Dani’s health and successful recovery are the priority,” said Sprouse. “The timing of future races will only be determined as his healing process unfolds.”
“There are other races I will need to think about now that I cannot race the Tour,” said Martínez. “I want to recover well for the new goals.”
Maxime Monfort Prepares Second Part of the Season in the Sierra Nevada
After a short period of rest, Maxime Monfort is preparing for the rest of the season during an altitude training camp in the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range in southern Spain. Monfort trained together with Lotto Soudal teammates Tiesj Benoot, Jens Keukeleire and Jelle Wallays. The 36-year-old Belgian specifies why he chooses for a training camp at altitude, the kind of training sessions he does and the goals for the upcoming Tour de Suisse.
Maxime Monfort: “The training camp is going really well and the conditions are perfect. It is really warm at the foot of the mountain, which is an additional advantage for the next races. Also the atmosphere is excellent here.”
“For me, the first part of the season ended after the Ardennes Classics. Afterwards, I took a bit of rest and this period is the ideal moment to get going again and to lay the foundations for the rest of the season. During this period of the year, the way I train is a little different. The focus is mainly on the longer efforts, contrary to the training sessions for the Ardennes Classics, where the climbs are a bit shorter.”
“During a long altitude training camp it is important to fully adapt to the circumstances. The training rides during the first week are mostly at endurance pace. As of week two, the intensity goes up and during the third week, the specific race efforts are trained. So, the intensity levels during an altitude training camp go crescendo.”
“In fact, we don’t have a lot of spare time on a normal training day. On a rest day, we watch some Netflix and there was also the Giro d’Italia, of course. As a fan of tennis, I also follow Roland Garros. My family also came to visit me for a couple of days and being a family man, that is really welcome during a long training camp.”
“The Tour de Suisse will be my first event after seven weeks of no races. First and foremost, it will be important to find the race rhythm again. I don’t have any general classification ambitions but I do want to battle for a stage victory. So, just like last year, when I finished fourth in stage six. There are no easy days in the Tour de Suisse, which offers the team an opportunity to go for the stage win almost every day. Let us in the first place hope for good legs at the start. If that brings a nice result, that would be even nicer.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step Offer New Contract to Michael Mørkøv
The Danish Champion has inked a deal to stay with the team for a further two years
The new agreement will see Michael Mørkøv ride for the current UCI World Team Ranking leader through to the end of the 2021 season. Michael’s time with us – which started in 2018 – has coincided with a record-breaking period that has seen Deceuninck – Quick-Step record over 100 wins, in which he played a huge part, especially during the sprint lead-out trains for which we have become synonymous.
“I didn’t need too much time to think when I got the offer from Patrick as I have been really happy since I joined the squad. I feel like I have found my spot in the team and that the guys appreciate me and I have a value, which I think is part of what life is about. I was very pleased to get a chance to stay here and during the next two years coming up I am looking forward to keeping the good level that I have now, while trying to develop myself even further”, said Mørkøv.
“Last year I had my best season ever as a pro. I was very lucky to join at the same time as Elia Viviani, who had an amazing year and won many races, which it was great to be part of. The success of the team in 2018 was very special and I am very fond of the memories that we made, especially at the Giro and the Vuelta, where we won a combined nine stages. Something I love about this fantastic team is that whatever race we do, we always ride to win and be competitive. An example of that was this week’s Gullegem Koerse, where we rode as a team and rode to win. I feel lucky to be part of such a strong and motivated group.”
Michael talked also of his goals for next season, when with the help of the team he’ll try to mix road and track racing: “It is nice to be surrounded by so many young riders as they make me feel a little younger. I really love my job of supporting some of the more experienced guys in the sprints, as well as offering my experience to the younger guys. Next year I have also a big personal goal of going for the Madison at the Olympic Games, which Patrick has agreed to support me in. It will be great for me personally and we will try to structure my season so that it doesn’t affect my road racing with Deceuninck – Quick-Step.”
Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere also spoke about how happy he was of the new deal with Mørkøv: “Securing the services of Michael for another two years is a huge win for us. Michael not only works hard and sacrifices himself for others, but he also brings a lot of experience, craft and knowledge to the team. I know how popular he is among the rest of the team and agreeing with him to stay is an important part of building the squad for the next couple of years.”
Viviani, Jungels and Michael Mørkøv:
Team Bahrain Merida Confirms Rod Ellingworth as New Team Principal
Team Bahrain-Merida, the UCI WorldTour pro cycling team, has confirmed that Rod Ellingworth will become Team Principal, effective 1 October this year. The team, a joint venture between Bahrain World Tour Cycling and McLaren, has quickly established itself as a new force in professional cycling since its breakthrough debut in 2017.
Ellingworth, one of the most respected figures in world cycling, has played a key role in both Olympic and World Tour cycling successes across two decades. His identification and development of some of the best professional cycling talent over the past decade is well-recognized. Ellingworth officially begins at Team Bahrain-Merida in October but in the interim he will be working with the team’s leadership to plan for 2020 and beyond. Brent Copeland continues with the team in his current role, and he will work with Rod to determine the most effective future processes and structures.
John Allert, Managing Director, McLaren Pro Cycling, commented: “Rod’s appointment as Team Principal of Team Bahrain-Merida underscores our determination to succeed at the top level of this great sport. His remarkable track record, coupled with the respect he has earned throughout the cycling community, make Rod the perfect leader for this next chapter in the team’s development. Despite his abundant experience, Rod’s voracious appetite for new knowledge and innovative approaches to traditional challenges perfectly complements the team ethos. We are delighted to welcome him to the team.”
Rod Ellingworth, Team Principal, Team Bahrain-Merida, commented: “I’m delighted to be joining Team Bahrain-Merida as Team Principal. Since the team’s break-through season in 2017, I’ve been impressed by its competitiveness. McLaren’s co-ownership of the team now provides a unique opportunity to look at every area of performance with a fresh perspective – and I find this massively appealing. I’m also excited by the opportunity to bring my own knowledge and ideas to the team and can’t wait to get stuck in.”
Dani Christmas Excited About the Second Half of the Season
It’s the first year that Dani Christmas (31) is racing in the Lotto Soudal colors. After a race-free period of almost one month the British rider resumed competition last week in France. Dani finished twelfth at Classique Morbihan and a day later she got 25th at Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan where she was riding in support of Julie Van De Velde who claimed the seventh place. Dani feels at home in the team and is eager to complete the second part of the season.
Dani Christmas: “It was really nice to be back with the team last week. I felt good on the bike too. Both races were pretty chaotic. It’s a relief that we got out without any crashes. There were many teams at the start-line and there was a large difference in experience between the riders and that caused some difficulties on the narrow roads. On one of the key gravel sections at Classique Morbihan, Danique Braam and I were right at the front of the bunch, riding strongly, and suddenly we were in a front group of about thirty riders. There was a big crash and unfortunately Julie Van De Velde was caught behind. Our group contained many strong riders.
My twelfth place was a good result, but I knew that I could have done better. It gave me confidence though that I had the legs to be up at the front. Unfortunately I had some bad luck on the last gravel sections. On the second day the plan was to go all-in for Julie Van De Velde. We worked really well as a team and Julie finished off with a very nice seventh place. Despite only having four riders, we were showing ourselves at the front and were active players in the races. That’s good for our confidence. I’m looking forward to the upcoming races.”
This season Dani took part in among other Strade Bianche, Ronde van Vlaanderen and the Ardennes Classics. Sunday she stands at the start-line of Dwars door de Westhoek. At the end of the month, on 30 June, the road race at the British nationals is scheduled, in Norwich. From 5 till 14 July Dani will be riding the Giro Rosa.
Past month Dani trained in the south of Spain to prepare for the second half of the season. It was a very welcomed training period, but she’s very happy it’s race time again.
Dani Christmas: “Before heading to France I had some solid training weeks. In May and also this week I trained in Spain. I stayed near Mojácar. I was living at the top of a mountain and could solely focus on training and becoming better than the day before. I really needed that. Due to personal reasons I didn’t have the best winter which meant that I couldn’t start the season in optimal condition. I had a very busy race season so far and I had the opportunity to participate in some of the most iconic races on the calendar. It was great to have this experience. I was in good enough shape to help the other girls to a good result and we did well with Lotte Kopecky and Julie Van De Velde this spring.”
“We managed to get a good bond within the team. We are able to work well together. That bodes really well for the second half of the season. I love being with the team and I immediately felt at home. The staff are fantastic too, they work really hard to give us the best opportunities. When you enjoy going to the races it makes you ride better. I really missed it all during my break.”
“I hope to reap the rewards of my training in the coming races. I’m looking forward to racing with better legs. At the Giro I want to help Julie Van De Velde in some of the top mountain stages. I love stage races. I like the daily routine and knowing that the fine details can make a big difference for the recovery in between the stages. Later this year, I will be at the start of the Prudential RideLondon (3 August) and Tour of Scotland (9 to 11 August). I’m looking forward to racing with my team in my home country. I hope to already do well at the nationals this month. It’s a special kind of race, because many riders are alone or with only one teammate at the start. I haven’t seen the course yet, but I think that we can expect a hard race. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into that and hopefully I can claim a good result.”
Dani Christmas in La Flèche Wallonne 2019:
Former Paris-Roubaix Winner to Ride New Rock-N-Road Gravel Series
g4 Productions Launches New Gravel Series with Celebrity Rider Andrea Tafi.
g4 Productions will launch a new gravel series cycling event on November 3, 2019. The Rock-N-Road Gravel Series presented by Piscitello Law will start and finish at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown, PA with a Paris-Roubaix-style finish on the Velodrome.
Former professional cyclist Andrea Tafi won Paris-Roubaix in 1999 and will be guest riding the Rock-N-Road event. “As a professional, I raced many times in the U.S. It was always a good experience,” said Tafi. “I still have many U.S. fans and riders who visit my Borghetto in Tuscany. I am really looking forward to the Rock-N-Road ride and to recreate my Paris-Roubaix win with the finish on the velodrome!”
In addition to Andrea Tafi, current Master’s U.S. National and World Cyclocross Champion Laura Van Gilder, and 3x Olympian Bobby Lea will be lining up at the velodrome for the 100km ride. There will be a 50km option as well.
Registration opens on Friday, June 7, 2019. $65 early bird pricing is in effect until July 31st and a VIP package for $200 is available for only fifty participants. The VIP experience includes an event jersey, early packet pick-up, and a 25-mile pre-ride with Andrea Tafi followed by a light lunch the day before the event. A portion of all of the registration fees will be donated to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League(PICL), one of 31 independent leagues that operate around the country within the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
“We’re excited to be partnering with g4 Productions and the Rock-N-Road Gravel Series,” said Mike Kuhn, Executive Director of the PICL. “This exciting new ride will help expand our mission of getting more kids on bikes in the Lehigh Valley and throughout all of Pennsylvania.”
For more information on the Rock-N-Road Gravel Series, visit: www.RockNRoadGravelSeries.com.
g4 Productions is a woman-owned event planning and production company with over 30 years experience in participatory sports. Founded in 2006, g4 Productions has been responsible for the management, technical organization, and competition for international sporting events, including the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, the USGP of CX, and the Philadelphia Marathon. Additionally, g4 produces cause-related events for organizations across the U.S., including the Young Survival Coalition’s Tour de Pink, the Eagles Autism Challenge and the Ride to Defeat ALS. For more information, visit www.g4events.com
Tafi on the Roubaix velodrome
Team Sunweb’s Keep Challenging Center Officially Opens
On Saturday, Team Sunweb officially unveiled their Keep Challenging Center in Sittard, Limburg, a project and a dream that has been many years in the making. The Center combines a living environment with a high-end support network to optimize both athlete development and cooperation. With the majority of the riders living at the campus currently in their early twenties, Team Sunweb today shared their ambition of aiming to “bring the first riders currently in the Keep Challenging Center to the Tour de France by 2025”.
It was no coincidence the team selected the Province of Limburg to partner with and locate their Keep Challenging Center in the area as it provides excellent facilities, including; fantastic training routes through the Dreilandenpunkt region, the secured Tom Dumoulin Bike Park, a knowledge hub, universities, medical facilities and airports, all of which are a stone’s throw away from the campus. Alongside expanding regional facilities, bringing the riders together allows the team to centralize their support structure through dedicated coaches, trainers and experts working with the riders in Sittard. Race evaluations, coaching, equipment testing, research, core stability training, expert workshops and group training sessions are all examples of activities that will take place at the Keep Challenging Center. Next to athletic development there is attention on personal development with riders being encouraged to continue their studies and education, ensuring they are also prepared for life after cycling.
“This is truly a one-of-a-kind environment and we are so proud to finally see our vision come to fruition here in Limburg: it’s a dream come true,” said Iwan Spekenbrink. “Being inspired by some successful team sports such as football, baseball and basketball, we firmly believe this club model with centralized facilities and day-to-day real-life cooperation is the way forward for cycling to make the next step. As a team we believe the development and support of athletes can be optimized and modernized and that’s why we have realized the Keep Challenging Center.”
Spekenbrink continued: “In this environment we want to develop our athletes. The Keep Challenging Center allows us to train together, focus more on personal coaching, improve team work, test new products and processes, and teach our young talents about life outside of cycling too. The riders will be prepared for a life as a professional cyclist, but we also allow and encourage them to combine their career with their studies. The fact that a good selection of riders from all three programs, including our new signings, have chosen to live here already gives us confidence that this is the right pathway to begin the gradual evolution of our sport.”
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