We round up the European Championships, the Tour de Pologne and the Women’s Tour of Scotland with reports, results, the best photos and video. Remco Evenepoel extends contract with Deceuninck – Quick-Step – Top Story. In other cycling news: Team previews for the BinckBank Tour and Burgos, Arctic Race competitors, Ilnur Zakarin to CCC, Enric Mas to Movistar and other contract news, Bahrain-Merida wishes Vincenzo Nibali luck, training camp with Deceuninck – Quick-Step and the Vuelta a España looks back at Bernard Hinault’s 1983 victory. Monday EUROTRASH coffee time.
TOP STORY: Evenepoel to Stay with Levefere till…
Remco Evenepoel to race with Deceuninck – Quick-Step for the next three years: “Option raised in contract”.
The young Belgian revelation, Evenepoel, will be in Deceuninck – Quick-Step colors in 2020, 2021 and 2022. The ‘super talent’ signed a contract for two seasons with the Belgian formation last year, with an option for a further two years. “The deal was already on paper and is now sealed with a handshake,” says team boss Patrick Lefevere.
Evenepoel has had a great first season with the professionals. The 19-year-old has already won the Baloise Belgium Tour, the Clásica San Sebastián and the European Time Trial Championship in 2019. On Thursday in Alkmaar Evenepoel added European time trial champion to his palmarés and Lefevere was hot on his heels to extend his contract.
“A word is sacred to me and I am convinced that Remco and his family will not break either,” said Lefevere, who will have to say goodbye to top riders such as Elia Viviani, Enric Mas and Philippe Gilbert at the end of the 2019 season. The manager of the season’s most successful team will mostly be counting on Evenepoel and Julian Alaphilippe in the coming years. The Frenchman had already extended his contract earlier this year.
Not a bad start to his pro career, read more HERE:
Tour de Pologne 2019
Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) pulled off quite the feat at the finish line of Stage 6 in Koscielisko, in the first of the two final mountain stages in the Tour de Pologne: he has captured victory and now wears the leader’s yellow jersey.
In a three-man finish; Vingegaard, the 22 year old Dane, bested Russia’s Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) and Australian Jay Hindley (Sunweb), with whom he had gone on the attack at about 20 km from the finish. This spectacular and challenging stage saw the group take on 5 laps of a rollercoaster circuit on the mountains surrounding Zakopane, one that left very little to chance.
Behind them at the finish line, Colombian Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) took fourth place and fifth place went to Poland’s own Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), who appeared to be the most active among the top riders today. Jonas Vingegaard is in his first year among the pros, and this is his first victory in a World Tour race, so also the most important in his budding career. Vingegaard comes from Denmark and is 22 years old, just like the unfortunate Bjorg Lambrecht; when Jonas crossed the finish line he pointed to the heavens, a clear dedication to the Belgian rider who died three days ago here at the Tour de Pologne.
Vingegaard now leads the general with 4 seconds on Sivakov and 6 seconds on Hindley. Tomorrow will be the last, most grueling stage on the mountainous circuit in Bukowina Tatrzanska. The classification is still very close, with all the best riders just seconds apart. Diego Ulissi is in fourth place at 17 seconds, Colombian Higuita is fifth at 18 seconds and Italian Champion Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) is in seventh place at 20 seconds, as is Poland’s Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), who already won the Tour de Pologne in 2014 and is the hometown crowd favorite.
Today there was the perfect terrain for attacks. The race set off from Zakopane, then there were 5 mountainous laps of 28,9km each, to take on before the final arrival in Koscielisko. A breakaway of about 30 riders took off almost right away. After about 50km of the race, on the second gpm of the day, four men broke out of this group to attack: Poland’s Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal), Germany’s Simon Geschke (CCC), Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Czech Petr Vakoc (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
The situation changed once again with about 40 km to go to the arrival, when some other riders caught up to the four fugitives, forming a new lead group of about 20 riders, which included practically all the best riders in this Tour de Pologne, like: Rafal Majka and Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe), Pavel Sivakov, Geoghegan Hart and Ben Swift (Ineos), Miguel Angel Lopez, Ion Izagirre and Merhavi Kudus (Astana), Petr Vakoc and James Knox (Deceuninck Quick-Step), Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida), Jay Hindley (Sunweb), Geoffrey Bouchard and Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale), Darwin Atapuma (Cofidis), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton Scott), Simon Geschke (CCC), Antwan Tolhoek, Taco Van der Hoorn and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).
Then at the 25km mark, still more riders joined the lead bunch. Grmay (Mitchelton Scott) and British National Champion Swift (Ineos), managed to break out in a convincing lead, with Swift managing to keep up the pace and continuing the attack solo. Sivakov (Ineos), Hindley (Sunweb) and Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) were hot on his tail. With 6 km to go to the arrival, these three caught up to Swift and passed him, continuing to attack. Then they came off the last gpm of the day ahead of everyone else, 2,5km from the arrival, with a 15 seconds lead, full-speed downhill, and on the final uphill km to the finish line in Koscielisk, Vingegaard busted out a winning move to beat Sivakov and Hindley.
With today’s break, Tomaz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) captured the Tauron magenta jersey for best climber. This is a prestigious jersey, which he already won in 2012 and 2013, so he will be trying to defend it to the end. Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk) hangs on to the lotto blue jersey as the most active rider in the group. The Lotos white jersey for best sprinter has been passed to the shoulders of France’s Marc Sarreau (AG2R-La Mondiale), following the withdrawals of Pascal Ackermann and Luka Mezgec, who called it quits today. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) leads the Lotos classification as the best Polish rider. Team Ineos leads the team classification.
Stage winner and overall leader, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma): “A great victory for my young career, today’s stage and the yellow jersey: it was definitely a fantastic day for me. I’m really happy and proud of my victory. But I still think there is a big shadow over it, you know, with the unfortunate death of Bjorg Lambrecht. It’s so sad and I’m really sad about it. I think it’s something that just shouldn’t happen in cycling, and I’m thinking about his family and his friends and his team. It’s just incredibly sad. Tomorrow will be the last day of the Tour de Pologne and I will be starting the stage as leader of the race. The ambition is to defend the jersey. Considering how I rode today I think I have a possibility. So, we’ll see tomorrow. I think there is no pressure on me from the team. I’m still young, so above all else we want to try to defend the jersey and I hope I can.”
5th on the stage and 9th overall, Rafa Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The sensation after two hours, when we started on the first uphill, everything was hard. The first 100k I was feeling so bad but later I started to feel better and better and then in the end we tried with Davide Formolo. I was starting to feel better and Davide started to pull but there was too much gap to close and there were so many attacks in the end. It’s still not finished but I think today’s stage was harder than tomorrow. Tomorrow is going to be all in.”
KOM, Tomaz Marczynski (Lotto-Soudal): “Today I attacked immediately in the beginning of the stage and this break earned me the Tauron jersey. As we said, we continue this race because we want to fight for Bjorg so there were a lot of attacks. The first hour of the race was really hard. Finally, I made it in to the breakaway and I decided to fight for this jersey, to show our fighting spirit to everybody. I made it and I am really happy”
Tour de Pologne 2019 Stage 6 Result:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma in 4:07:13
2. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos
3. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb
4. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First at 0:08
5. Rafa Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:10
6. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Ineos
9. Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb
10. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates.
Tour de Pologne Overall After Stage 6:
1. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma in 22:13:57
2. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos at 0:04
3. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 0:06
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:17
5. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First at 0:18
6. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:19
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:20
8. Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb
9. Rafa Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
An Eastern wind is blowing over the Tour de Pologne. Everything was decided in the Final Stage 7 from BUKOVINA Resort to Bukowina Tatrzanska. It was 153 km with plenty of climbs. On one side there was a battle for stage victory. On the other a battle for the Carrefour yellow jersey.
The young Slovenian Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) won the stage, at the end of a long break that began from the very first kilometers. At first, he was in the company of another 14 riders, and then he ended up all by himself for almost 100 km, finishing solo on the finish line, with his arms raised in the air in tribute to Bjorg Lambrecht. Second place went to the American Neilson Powless (Jumbo-Visma) and Italy’s Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) was third.
The final victory in the Tour de Pologne all came down to the final meters, with a compelling head-to-head between the three top classified men, where Russia’s Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) emerged as the winner. Second on the final podium was Australian Jai alai (Sunweb) at 2 seconds; third place went to Italian Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) at 2 seconds; Colombian Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) was fourth and Britain’s Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos) was fifth at 14 seconds. The best Polish rider and hometown favorite Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) was ninth at 16 seconds; unfortunately, he was unable to repeat the success he enjoyed here in 2014.
After setting off from the Bukovina Resort, on the challenging circuit in Bukowina Tatzanska there was an immediate break, which was initially made up of 14 riders: Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), Michal Golas (Ineos), Simone Pettili (UAE Team Emirates), Clement Chevrier (AG2R-La Mondiale), Tomasz Marczynski e Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal), Simon Gaschke and Serge Pauwels (CCC), Mathias Le Tournier (Cofidis), Ivan Rovny (Gazprom-RusVelo), Merhawi Kudus (Astana), Carlos Betancur and Jose Rojas (Movistar) and Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott).
Out of these riders, the most active was Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric, who was already brilliant in the 5th stage Bielsko-Biala. Soon after he would strike out on his own in a lone attack.
At about 45 km from the arrival, on the second-to-last gpm of the day, the first rider to make a move in the yellow jersey group was Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), staging an attack along with Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) and Ion Izagirre (Astana). This acceleration wasn’t great for the yellow jersey group, which started to break up even further.
With about 37 km to go to the arrival, only Mohoric remained out front; all the other fugitives had been caught by Vingegaard’s yellow jersey group and the rest of the best. With 33 km remaining until the arrival, on the second to last lap over the finish line in Bukowina Tatrzanska, the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) lost contact with the group of top riders.
At 26 km from the arrival, Mohoric came off the day’s last gpm solo, with about a one minute lead, while the group of the best riders behind him was being spurred on in a decisive pace by Italian Champion Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo).
With 17 km to go to the arrival, Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Neilson Powless (Jumbo-Visma) and Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott) took off in hot pursuit of Mohoric. Then Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Daniel Garcia Navarro (Katusha-Alpecin) also started to give chase.
On the final climb towards the final finish line in Bukowina, Mohoric hung in there all the way, to go on to earn a well-deserved and fantastic stage victory. In the trailing pack there was an epic final battle for the yellow jersey, from which Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) emerged triumphant over Jai Hindley (Sunweb) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates).
Germany’s Simon Geschke (CCC) won the head-to-head with Marczynski by three points to capture the Tauron magenta jersey for best climber. France’s Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk) won the classification as the most active rider in the group to wear the Lotto blue jersey from the first day to the last. France’s Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ) won the Lotos white jersey as the best sprinter. Poland’s Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) earned the Lotos classification for best Polish rider in the general classification. Team Ineos won the team classification.
Stage winner, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida): “We came here with GC ambition, both for me and Pozzovivo. Unfortunately yesterday I didn’t feel well and I dropped. I had only today’s stage in my mind. I faced it with all the left energy after Tour de France and at the start, I was thinking that I wanted to try to take my chance for a stage win if only I could manage to enter the day’s breakaway. I felt good and I tried also to anticipate, attacking with about 60km to go. It was the right move and I managed to take this beautiful win, that I want to dedicate to Bjorg.”
Overall leader, Pavel Sivakov (Ineos): “This yellow jersey was a victory that started yesterday. Yesterday was chaos and today was much more controlled. Of course, the victory was built yesterday and today was more about controlling that and trying to drop the leader and take the jersey and this is what happened. The team was amazing once more. Today Geoghegan was super impressive. He was along with me in the final and maybe he was even stronger than me in this race, and he dedicated himself as my wingman, so I want to thank all the guys for that. We have a really young, strong squad, there is a good atmosphere among us and I would say the future is looking pretty good. Now my next objective is to try to do something at the World Championships. I won’t be going to the Vuelta so I will try to do something there.”
3rd overall and 10th on the stage, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): “Being on the final podium is a very good result. The last two stages were very tough and I found it hard to push-on or make more difference. Today in particular I had great support from the team, so I thank all my teammates for that. It was a challenging Tour of Poland which ended well on the competitive front but was very hard-going emotionally, with the sudden passing of Bjorg Lambrecht.”
9th overall, Rafa Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Today’s stage was, like every year, brutal and the weather also played a role. The finale was an especially tough one, with many attacks but Davide and Paweł always tried something and attacked a couple of times. We will all do La Vuelta, so this was the perfect preparation for us and I think I can be satisfied with my 9th place overall. As a team, we also took two stage wins and had the yellow jersey for five days. For me personally, being honored as best Polish rider was the icing on the cake of the Tour de Pologne. The team worked perfectly together every day and even in the bad times we helped each other out.”
KOM, Simon Geschke (CCC): “You always want to win, especially at a home race and as a Polish WorldTour team, this is our home race. We came here to win a stage but, at this level, it’s never easy and instead, we go home with the mountain jersey, which is a nice reward for an offensive race. We tried to race as aggressively as we could. It was not really planned to go for the jersey as what we wanted to go for was the stage win and possibly the top ten overall. Going into the breakaway was the best way to achieve that and I’m happy that I could be up there together with Serge Pauwels. I kept taking points on a regular basis but I won only one KOM. The magenta jersey wearer at the start of the day, Tomasz Marczyński was dropped earlier than me and in the end, I was able to win the classification but, after crossing the line I didn’t even know I had taken the victory.”
Most Active Rider, Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk): “This jersey represents exactly who I am. The most active rider is what I always try to be, it’s how I want to race, go in breakaways, fight for jerseys and wins. This is the biggest achievement of my career to date and I’m happy to finish the Tour de Pologne on this high note. It’s been an amazing week from day one in Krakow followed by three more stages in the breakaway. I hope I inspired all the people with diabetes here in Poland and around the world. I’m so happy for my team and proud of my teammates who helped me a lot. These last two stages were really tough after the crash and we managed together as a team. This jersey is also for Bjorg [Lambrecht]. He was in my head and my heart the last few days. It is for him, his family, and for all of Lotto-Soudal.”
Tour de Pologne 2019 Stage 6 Result:
1. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida in 4:04:42
2. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 0:55
3. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:07
4. Tsgabu Grmay (Eth) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:19
5. Pawe Poljanski (Pol) Bora-Hansgorghe at 1:32
6. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Katusha-Alpecin at 1:57
7. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
8. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:15
9. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First
10. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates.
Tour de Pologne Final Overall Result:
1. Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Ineos in 26:20:58
2. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 0:02
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:12
4. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First at 0:14
5. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Ineos
6. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:15
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:16
8. Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb
9. Rafa Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
European Time Trial Championships: Exceptional Evenepoel, Victorious Van Dijk
After dominating the latest edition of the Clasica San Sebastian last Saturday, Remco Evenepoel (Belgium) won on Thursday in Alkmaar (Netherlands) the title of European Time-Trial Individual Champion.
The young Belgian rider, already winner last year of the World and European Championships Time-Trial and Road race achieved a strong win finishing his 22 km race in 24:55 at an average of 53.930 km/h. He dedicated his victory to his compatriot Bjorg Lambrecht, who tragically died a few days ago.
Behind Remco Evenepoel, the Dane Kasper Asgreen with a time of 25:13, and Edoardo Affini (Italy) who finished third in 25:16.
In the Women’s Elite, it was the Dutch rider Ellen Van Dijk who took first place winning her fourth consecutive title out of the four editions raced up to now in this category. Ellen Van Dijk gave a very strong performance enabling her to climb on the highest step of the podium finishing her race in 28:07, 30 seconds before the second rider, the German Lisa Klein. Third at 52 seconds was Lucinda Brand (Netherlands).
The Dane Johan Price-Pejtersen, 20 years old, won the Under 23s race in a time of 25:53, beating his compatriot the current World Champion Mikkel Bijerg (time 26:04) and the Swiss Stefan Bissegger, third with a time of 26:06.
The young German Hannah Ludwig, second last year in the Juniors, in her first year in the Under 23 category, won the continental title riding the 22 kilometer circuit in 29:20, leaving behind her the Russian Maria Novolodoskaia, second with a time of 29:58, and the Italian Elena Pirrone who finished third in 29:59.
European men’s TT champion, Remco Evenepoel (Belgium): “This is incredible! Last week San Sebastian and now this. I can’t believe it! Winning the European title in this discipline is amazing and I’m going to enjoy this moment just as I have enjoyed all the other great moments since turning pro, without thinking of what the future will hold. I gave everything that I had to try and win for Bjorg (Lambrecht) and Stef (Loos). Thinking of them gave me a boost while warming up, but also during the race. This victory isn’t mine, it’s theirs. As I said also before the start, today I rode for some stars in the sky. This is for the boys in heaven.”
2nd in the mens TT, Kasper Asgreen (Denmark): “I did a good time trial and I am satisfied with my medal, especially as I got the best possible result with the legs I had after a hard Tour de France. At the same time, this race showed that there’s still room for improvement and I’m keen on doing that. Being on the podium with Remco was really nice. When you don’t win, it’s always nice to see a teammate take the victory and share the joy on the podium.”
#Euroroad19: Glory for Paternoster, Ponomar and Pluimers
After the Time-Trial races, the Road European Championships in Alkmaar (Netherlands) continued today with the first Road races.
The Women’s Under 23 race was won by one of the most important riders from the international scene, the Italian Letizia Paternoster.
For this rider from Trentino aged 20, this was a great team success. The Italian team controlled all the attacks in the first few kilometers especially those by the Britons Holden and Georgi. A final group sprint was then inevitable and Letizia Paternoster achieved a decisive win over the Pole Marta Lach and the Dutch rider Lonneke Unneken.
For Letizia Paternoster, this was the first continental Road title after 15 titles won in Track, a discipline where she also won five World Championships.
Junior Men Road Race Andrii Ponomar (Ukraine)
In the Juniors, success by the Ukraine rider Andreii Ponomar with a great finish. The race unfolded based around a long breakaway with a group leading for over fifty kilometers comprising Maurice Ballerstedt and Marco Brenner (Germany), Andrea Piccolo, the winner of the day before yesterday of the Time-Trial, Tomas Trainini (Italy) and Enzo Leijnse (Netherlands) who were caught up approximately thirty kilometers from the finish by Andrii Ponomar (Ukraine), Lars Van Ryckeghem (Belgium) and Gleb Karpenko (Estonia). Behind him the eight leading men, the French riders were the most active in the pursuit but without any result.
Shortly before the last lap, approximately 13 kilometers from the finish, Ponomar attacked and gained a slight advance, whereas the chasers did not manage to organize themselves behind him. Ponomar was the controlling force in a great showdown and crossed the line 21 seconds ahead of a group led by the German Maurice Ballerstedt followed by the Italian Andrea Piccolo.
This day opened with the Women’s Junior event, raced in the rain consisting of a long series of attacks, the majority from the Italian and Dutch national teams, who only had a 10/15 seconds lead over the peloton.
It was the same in the last lap, when Ilse Pluimers broke away from the leading group and quickly gained a slight advance eight kilometers from the finish.
Behind her, the peloton did not manage to catch her up and Ilse Pluimers crossed the finish line alone 4 seconds ahead of her pursuers with the sprint being won by her compatriot Sofie Van Rooijen followed by the French rider Kristina Nenadovic.
At the end of this day, the Netherlands, with 9 medals (4 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze) are at the top of the medals table in front of Italy and Germany.
U23 Women Road Race Letizia Paternoster (Italy) – Marta Lach (Poland) – Lonneke Uneken (Netherlands):
Today in Alkmaar was the Day of Amy Pieters and Alberto Dainese
Once again a great day in in Alkmaar, the Dutch city hosting the Road European Championships. Two Road races on the program, the Men’s Under 23 and the Women’s Elite which once again resulted in many gold medals to Italy and the Netherlands.
The host country was the favorite in the women’s race and the public were not disappointed. After controlling the situation in the first stages of the race, approximately 80 kilometers from the finish, action unfolded which then proved to be decisive in the final with the breakaway by Lisa Klein (Germany), Amy Pieters (Netherlands) and Elena Cecchini (Italy). The leading trio quickly gained a lead of more than 2 minutes over the peloton, a lead which they managed to maintain despite a strong prevailing wind all day.
In the last few kilometers, the gap on the leading riders’ started to close, but the group did not manage to catch them up. In the final sprint of three, Amy Pieters, who had already won the gold medal Wednesday in the Mixed Relay, achieved a decisive win over Elena Cecchini, and the German Lisa Klein who came third, following her second place won in the Individual Time-Trial and Mixed Relay a few days ago.
A group sprint decided the winner in the Under 23 race with the victory of the Italian Alberto Dainese.
The race was thrilling with lots of twists and turns especially in the final stages when another Italian, Alexander Konyshev, after getting ahead of the Norwegian Jonas Iversby Hvideberg who was leading with him, seemed set to have a solo win. However, in the last few kilometers, the peloton reacted and caught up the Italian at least two kilometers from the finish. A group sprint was then inevitable and was won by Alberto Dainese with a good margin over Niklas Larsen (Denmark) and Rait Arm (Estonia).
Elia Viviani is the New European Champion
A year after Matteo Trentin’s victory, once again an Italian, Elia Viviani, has climbed on the highest step of the podium for the Road race this afternoon in Alkmaar (Netherlands), which was the closing event of the 2019 European Championships program.
The Italian rider, 30 years of age, current Track Omnium Olympic Champion, won in a two-man sprint, after a fiercely fought race, beating Yves Lampaert (Belgium), and the German Pascal Ackermann who came third.
The Italian national team was without doubt the most active in controlling the initial 46 kilometer section, firstly by managing to break up the peloton and then engineer the decisive action in the final laps of the 11.6 kilometer circuit.
Approximately 65 kilometers from the finish, thirteen riders broke away: Langeveld (Netherlands), Asgreen (Denmark), Lampaert (Belgium), Mezgec (Slovenia), Baska (Slovakia), Senechal (France), Lawless (Great Britain), Selig and Ackermann (Germany), Consonni, Cimolai, Viviani and the current European Champion (Italy).
25 kilometers from the finish, Elia Viviani initiated the decisive action with a breakaway to which Lampaert and Ackermann immediately reacted. The leading trio then rode together, quickly gaining a lead that the group, thanks to the help of the breakaway riders’ teammates, did not manage to close.
Lampaert attempted to power ahead less than three kilometers from the finish but Viviani immediately responded overtaking him to cross the finish in first place in front of a huge crowd. Third on the podium, 9 seconds behind was the German Pascal Ackermann, meanwhile the rest of the peloton arrived at 33 seconds, with a sprint won by the 2017 European Champion Alexander Kristoff (Norway) beating Michael Mørkøv (Denmark).
In the European Championships final medal table, it was the host country, the Netherlands, who came in first position, with 5 gold medals, 2 silver and 3 bronze in front of Italy (4,1,4) and Germany (1,3,2).
Rocco Cattaneo, President of the Union Européenne de Cyclisme: “A great edition of the European Championships has just ended today and it couldn’t have finished better. For five days, we have watched very high level races but the most interesting information to come out of this event is undoubtedly the success of the new format that we put in place, with a reduced number of kilometers in races than in the past.
We have witnessed even more exciting action, which was greatly appreciated, especially by riders, the public and the press who gave wide coverage to this event. I would like to thank the Dutch Cycling Federation presided by Marcel Wintels, the City of Alkmaar and its Mayor Piet Bruinooge for his valuable co-operation, the company LIBEMA, who have always worked closely with UEC events and the Stichting Holland Evenementen Foundation, along with its Director Vincent Thijssen for their commitment, professionalism and passion, paying great attention to every detail and special thanks to all national teams, riders and the huge crowds who came to watch over the last five days.”
The next edition of the Road European Championships will be in Trento (Italy) from 9 to 13 September 2020.
2019 Euoropean Men’s Road Champion, Elia Viviani (Italy): “It’s absolutely amazing, I can’t find the words to tell you what this means for me! I came out of the Tour de France with a good condition and was hoping to be in contention for the gold medal, and to finally get it, two years after I finished runner-up, gives me immense joy. We watched all the other races here in Alkmaar and we knew that we had to change our tactic, because the wind was to play a big part in the outcome, as it did the entire week. I had really strong legs, took many risks today and it all paid off. Being there at the front together with Yves, who is my teammate and a good friend, was really nice and special. I am extremely happy and proud of this win, one of the finest of my entire career, as it didn’t come from a bunch sprint.”
2nd, Yves Lampaert (Belgium): “The race split quite early under the impetus of the Italians. Then, as things progressed, only 13 guys remained at the front and I was one of them. When the three of us rode clear with 25 kilometers left, we knew that despite the gap being just 30 seconds, it wasn’t going to be easy for the chasers to close it, so we pushed hard, as that was the big chance to hold firm of our advantage. Going into the last kilometers, I was aware that I didn’t stand a chance in the sprint, so I tried to go alone, but Elia was strong and managed to bridge across. I’m happy with my result, as taking second place and the silver medal is the best outcome considering everything.”
Women’s Tour of Scotland 2019
Stage 1 of the Women’s Tour of Scotland was abandoned with 40km to go due to adverse weather conditions. The riders had completed 63km of the first stage of the inaugural race, including two sprints and one climb, before race organizers made the decision to abandon the stage at the feed zone in Leslie due to large sections of standing water on the roads.
Despite the stage being cut short, the Event Scotland Queen of the Mountains and Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints classification leaders were still awarded, with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) and Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana) taking the respective jerseys.
The 88 riders starting today’s race lined up for a minute’s silence for Lotto Soudal’s Bjorg Lambrecht – the Belgian cyclist who died following his crash at the Tour de France – before rolling out from Dundee’s Slessor Gardens for the first stretch of the inaugural race. Thi That Nguyen (Lotto Soudal) of Vietnam withdrew before the race start.
With the Stage 1 route seeing plenty of heavy rain prior to the start, the riders set off at an expected gentle pace, sticking together for the first 30km with Rally UHC and Lotto-Soudal controlling the peloton from the front. As the peloton approached the first sprint, some riders made an early statement for the Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints jersey in front of the Cupar High Street crowds.
20km Cupar sprint (Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey competition):
1. (5pts) Marjolein Van’t Geloof (Ale Cipollini)
2. (3pts) Leah Thomas (Bigla)
3. (2pts) Dani Christmas (Lotto Soudal).
It was the first climb of the stage that caused the first split with 35 riders going clear, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) taking the eight points in the Queen of the Mountains jersey competition.
45km Grange of Lindores climb (Event Scotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey competition):
1. (8pts) Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla)
2. (6pts) Elise Chabbey (Bigla)
3. (4pts) Leah Thomas (Bigla).
By the time the riders reached the summit, the peloton had come back together to race in what proved to be the final sprint of the route before the stage was abandoned.
54.9km Falkland sprint (Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey competition):
1. (5pts) Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana)
2. (3pts) Mikayla Harvey (Bigla)
3. (2pts) Chiara Consonni (Valcar Cylance Cycling).
A Women’s Tour of Scotland spokesperson said: “Due to extreme weather conditions, we have taken the unfortunate decision together with Police Scotland and other relevant authorities to abandon today’s stage of the Women’s Tour of Scotland. Conditions have proven impossible due to heavy sections of standing water on the roads. Rider safety is paramount and conditions were no longer safe to continue. The winners of today’s Event Scotland Queen of the Mountains and Motorola Solutions Sprints classifications were presented in Dunfermline, however the rest of the teams have returned to their accommodation.”
EventScotland Queen of the Mountains, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla): “It’s such a pity that the race had to be abandoned, but safety must always come first. We were really excited about the second climb and finishing the stage in front of the crowds in Dunfermline. We worked really well as a team today and I think we would have had a great finish. That makes me proud and keeps me excited for tomorrow. There’s still two more days to go so we are keeping our fingers crossed.”
Motorola Queen of the Sprints, Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana): “We were all excited for the beautiful finish in the city of Dunfermline but it was a good decision to abandon the race. There was so much water on the road so we have to put our safety first. I usually enjoy racing in the wet and cold weather but today was just too much. We wanted to fight for more as a team, but despite how things turned out, I am still happy to come away with the sprint jersey.”
Alison Jackson (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) is the first rider to wear the Baillie Gifford Yellow Jersey as she claimed a sensational Stage 2 win at the Women’s Tour of Scotland in Perth. With an impressive sprint in the final 200m, she capped off what was a thrilling day of racing on day two. A bunch sprint finish through the packed streets of Perth also saw 21-year-old Emma White (Rally UHC Cycling) and Stine Borgli (Norway National Team) earn a place on the podium going into the final stage in Edinburgh on Sunday.
Earlier in the stage it looked like there could be one main contender for the Baillie Gifford Leaders Jersey, with Brodie Chapman (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) holding a 1 minute 45 second lead ahead of the peloton around the 90km mark, but she was quickly caught by the remaining riders as the race headed for an exhilarating finish.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) held on to the EventScotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey for a second successive stage after her team’s impressive performance on the climb, while her teammate Leah Thomas tops the Motorola Solutions Queen of Sprints competition standings. Emma White (Rally UHC Cycling) took the Deloitte Best Young Rider Jersey for her second-placed effort.
The Glasgow crowds flocked in their hundreds to George Square on Saturday morning to cheer on the 87 riders as they set off for Stage 2 towards Perth. Jumi Lee (Korea National Team) withdrew before the race start. Three riders attempted to go clear on 17km but the peloton reacted quickly to keep the main field together going into the first sprint of the stage in Aberfoyle. It was the first climb of the stage that caused the first split with 35 riders going clear, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) taking the eight points in the Queen of the Mountains jersey competition.
The grueling 4km-long Duke’s Pass ascent caused the peloton to splinter into several groups. Eight riders broke off at the front with Elise Chabbey, Nikola Noskova, Mikayla Harvey and 26 Leah Thomas of Bigla all amongst the pack, alongside Joscelin Lowden (DROPS), Krista Doebel-Hickok (Rally UHC), Brodie Chapman (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) and Stine Borgli (Norway).
At 50km, the leading group had a 15-second advantage ahead of the next rider, Vita Heine (Norway) and 1:05 ahead of the peloton, before Heine caught up with the leaders. Five kilometers further into the Trossachs trail, the nine leaders had taken a 1 minute 15 secs lead over chaser Ursa Pintar (BTC City Ljubljana) who was quickly caught by the peloton. At 70km, the leading group were 1minute and 29 secs ahead of the peloton as they approached the Strathyre sprint – won by Leah Thomas, allowing her to wear the Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey for day three.
The peloton pushed on and the final stretch of the race made for an incredible chase as Brodie Chapman’s lead was cut from 1 minute 45 seconds to just nine seconds with 10km left to ride.
As the riders approached Perth, Chapman was caught by the peloton and the final 3km into the city centre turned into a bunch sprint, with Chapman’s Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank teammate Alison Jackson edging over the finish line, with Emma White (Rally UHC) and Stine Borgli (Norway National Team) close behind in second and third.
Stage winner overall leader, Alison Jackson (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank): “Myself and my team came here wanting to win. We knew we could do that by winning stages. We were ready to win yesterday’s, if it weren’t for the rain, but today we managed to achieve our goal. We really played the game. When you have your teammates all in the right place, you know you will be able to win the sprint. I’m really happy about the result, not just for myself individually, but for the whole team.”
2nd on the stage and overall and Best Young Rider, Emma White (Rally UHC): “I am so pleased with my result. I was so close to the win, which makes it a little bit bittersweet because for a split second I thought, I can win this. Alison is such a powerful sprinter with so much race experience over here in Europe which is exactly what myself and my team here are trying to gain. I couldn’t be happier to finish in second. Bigla was the most powerful team out there. They had strength in numbers but I parked myself right behind them, knowing it would be a strong lead-out. With about 200m to go, I came around Leah, their sprinter, and almost imagined to hold it. I loved the finish in Perth, we were forced to take chances. It’s the best result we have had here in Europe so I’m just so happy.”
3rd on the stage and overall, Stine Borgli (Norway): “The finish was so close, but I am thrilled with my position. The last few kilometers were very hectic. My teammate tried to attack, but she couldn’t make it through. In the end, we are very happy with our positioning.”
4th on the stage and overall and Motorola Queen of the Sprints, Leah Thomas (Bigla): “Winning the sprints jersey wasn’t really in my plans today, it just turned out that way on the road. I was fortunate enough to pick up a couple of points yesterday just by maintaining position and following moves. We were really aggressive with four of us in the leading pack after the Queen of the Mountains and we really wanted to push a break. We knew it was a long shot to hold it 100km to the finish because we don’t have a real sprinter here. My team did an awesome lead-out for me going into the finish and it’s a shame we didn’t manage to get on the podium but I’m delighted we have hold of the sprints and mountain jerseys.”
EventScotland Queen of the Mountains, Cecilie Ludwig Uttrup (Bigla): “Going over the top of Duke’s Pass first was amazing, but I have such a strong team. They did amazingly well today – they’re so strong. We tried some bold tactics and they worked pretty well! We did so well in the climb and we decided to go for the sprint as well. We did really well considering we don’t have an exceptional sprinter here. We can be so proud for how we raced as a team. We have huge smiles on our faces.”
Women’s Tour of Scotland Stage 2 Result:
1. Alison Jackson (Can) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank in 3:24:37
2. Emma White (USA) Rally UHC Cycling
3. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway
4. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla
5. Belle de Gast (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
6. Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling
7. Jessica Roberts (GB) Great Britain
8. Abby-Mae Parkinson (GB) Drops
9. Niamh Fisher-Black (NZ) Torelli-Assure-Madison
10. Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana.
Women’s Tour of Scotland Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alison Jackson (Can) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank in 3:24:27
2. Emma White (USA) Rally UHC Cycling at 0:04
3. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway
4. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla at 0:07
5. Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana at 0:08
6. Ahreum (Kor) Ale Cipollini at 0:09
7. Belle de Gast (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 0:10
8. Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling
9. Jessica Roberts (GB) Great Britain
10. Abby-Mae Parkinson (GB) Drops.
Leah Thomas, Emma White, Alison Jackson, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, Brodie Chapman, Jennifer George:
Leah Thomas won the first-ever Women’s Tour of Scotland with a clinical sprint to cap off a frantic finish in Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park on Stage 3. The 30-year-old, who was wearing the Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey, showed impressive power to edge off an elite leading group of riders in the bunch sprint. The American not only took the overall crown at the inaugural event, but also kept hold of the Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey.
Elise Chabbey, her Bigla teammate, crossed just behind in second but that wasn’t enough to move her up enough in the GC standings as Stage 2 winner Alison Jackson finished second. Meanwhile Stine Borgli repeated her third-placed second-stage finish in Edinburgh to finish third overall in Scotland. With 5km left to ride it looked like Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla) was set to win the race with a ten-second lead, although she was caught on the final climb. The Dane still took home the EventScotland Queen of the Mountains Jersey for her team after an impressive five victories in the competition over the course of the weekend. Stage 3 was a resounding success for Team Bigla with 22-year-old Belgian rider Nikola Noskova taking the Deloitte Best Young Rider Jersey, while Anna Shackley secured the Best Scottish Rider Jersey in the capital.
The race got off to a quick start with seven riders immediately trying to break clear of the peloton at 5km, but they were quickly caught by the main bunch as heavy rain lashed down on the capital.
There were a few further breakaway attempts in the first 30km of the stage until 41 Dani Christmas broke clear with a small advantage, but again, the leader was swiftly caught.
The first 40km of the stage had passed by within the first 90 minutes of racing and all further breakaway attempts had failed with all teams represented at the front of the pack ahead of the first sprint in Innerleithen. Rebecca Durrell (Brother UK-Tifosi) won from Leah Thomas (Bigla) and Ahreum Na (Ale Cipollini).
With 64km covered, Team Bigla were out in full force again heading into the only climb of Stage 3 and their team leader Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, who was wearing the Queen of the Mountains Jersey as they approached the Mound, added another eight points to her tally in the competition with another first-place finish.
It was Ann-Sophie Duyck of Parkhotel Valkenburg who gained a lone advantage over the rest of the peloton as the riders descended and her gap steadily increased to 15 seconds as the riders approached the 77km mark. Ann-Sophie Duyck extended her advantage to 1 minute 32secs with no riders attempting to chase and headed into the Bonnyrigg sprint well ahead of the pack. Alison Jackson (Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank) was 2nd with Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana) 3rd and Leah Thomas (Bigla) in 4th place.
Duyck was leading by 1 minute and 10 seconds as the riders came out of Bonnyrigg and into Edinburgh where hundreds of spectators were waiting to cheer them through the final stretch – the three laps of Holyrood Park. Duyck took the Holyrood Park, Queens Drive sprint. Thomas was second, with Bujak 3rd.
Duyck was the first to approach Arthur’s Seat but she was caught by the peloton midway through the first lap as the competition began to hot up for the Baillie Gifford Leaders jersey. Four Bigla riders were in the front pack allowing Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig to do what she does best and storm to the front on the climb, winning her second successive climb of the stage and fourth of the Tour. Vita Heine (Norway National Team) and Elise Chabbey (Bigla) were second and third.
As the riders approached the final lap, it was Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig who had a ten-second advantage over a chasing group of ten riders, which featured yellow jersey wearer Alison Jackson (Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank). Uttrup Ludwig had already won every climb of the Tour, securing the EventScotland Queen of the Mountains jersey regardless of the final result but she was unable to hold on for the last lap of the race as she was caught by the chasing group midway through.
Julie Van de Velde (Lotto-Soudal) won the final climb from Elise Chabbey (Bigla) and Leah Thomas. Team Bigla played their cards right. The leading group split as the riders hurtled towards the finish, Leah Thomas and Elise Chabbey powered over the finish line in first and second, with Norway National Team’s Stine Borgli finishing narrowly behind in third.
Winner of the Baillie Gifford Leaders Jersey and the Motorola Solutions Queen of the Sprints Jersey, Leah Thomas (Bigla): “Crossing the finish line in first was amazing. I would not be able to claim the jersey without the work of this team. They were amazing all day and we knew we had multiple cards to play – it just happened to come down to a sprint so I knew it would be my job to seal the deal. I was confident I could win the race if it came down to a bunch sprint, I really wanted to bring it home for the team. I wouldn’t call myself a pure sprinter, but I did the absolute best I could to win the Tour. We’ve raced really well together all week and it’s been amazing to see the teamwork and confidence that has come out of this team.”
2nd overall, Alison Jackson (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank): “Going from winning yesterday to losing the lead today is disappointing, but we are pleased with the overall team performance. Finishing in second is great, but I would have rather won the jersey. A technical team is going to do better in a race in rainy weather conditions like today. There were some unpredictable moments on the road because of the water, you can’t see some holes and some of the descents became slippery. As professional athletes, we are meant to deal with all sorts of weather. I would love to come back and race in Scotland, the courses were dynamic and exciting – it was a fantastic race.”
3rd on the stage and overall, Stine Borgli (Norway): “I’m very happy with my results. We wanted to go for the sprints today because we have strong riders who can attack them. We tried to make it hard for everyone else. It was a difficult course today in Edinburgh. It didn’t look very technical but it was because of the rain making the climbs so slippery. I was in front, so I just needed to make sure I was focused to make it to the sprint in the same position. It has been a fantastic and very well-organized event. I hope to come back next year.”
Queen of the Mountains, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Bigla): “It was really awesome. I mean, in general, it was just – cool! I mean, what a day for the team. We rode so well together, holy moly, and the atmosphere, even though it was pouring rain, people were out there, I even saw my name on the road! It was awesome, thanks a lot!”
Deloitte Best Young Rider, Nikola Noskova (Bigla): “I am so happy that I have won the jersey because it was such a difficult race in the cold weather. I didn’t realize I had won the Best Young Rider Jersey until right at the end when I tried to go straight to the showers! My team has won so many jerseys so I am so proud to be a part of Bigla. Targeting all the jerseys was not in our plans, but we knew we have the riders who are capable of it. We made a great lead-out at the end and I am so pleased Leah managed to win the stage.”
Best Scottish Rider, Anna Shackley (Scotland): “I am really pleased to win the jersey, especially because it was my first UCI race. I was quite surprised, but I am happy with my performance overall. The heavy rain made the surface a lot slippier when we were coming down the hill near Arthur’s Seat. It was quite scary at points, but it definitely made the race more interesting. Having the crowds at the finish line was so nice, some of them know me by name and it was so nice to hear them cheer.”
Women’s Tour of Scotland Stage 3 Result:
1. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla in 3:10:04
2. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Bigla
3. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway
4. Alison Jackson (Can) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
5. Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana
6. Eri Yonamine (Jpn) Ale Cipollini
7. Julie van de Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Hanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City Ljubljana
9. Nikola Noskova (Cze) Bigla at 0:03
10. Nadia Quagliotto (Ita) Ale Cipollini at 0:06.
Women’s Tour of Scotland Final Overall Result:
1. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla in 6:34:24
2. Alison Jackson (Can) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 0:05
3. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway at 0:07
4. Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana at 0:13
5. Elise Chabbey (Swi) Bigla at 0:14
6. Eri Yonamine (Jpn) Ale Cipollini at 0:20
7. Hanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City Ljubljana
8. Julie van de Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Nikola Noskova (Cze) Bigla at 0:23.
Deceuninck – Quick-Step to BinckBank Tour
A strong squad capable of being in the mix on all terrains will be at the start of next week’s World Tour race.
Seventeen stage victories, six secondary classifications and two overall wins have made the BinckBankTour a happy hunting ground over the years for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, who’ll go into the 15th edition as firm leader of the World Team Classification, which our outfit tops since the end of March 2017.
Taking place between 12-18 August, the race will give plenty of opportunities to the sprinters in the first half, before shifting its attention to the GC men, who’ll face quite the test on the stage around Houffalize, short (96 kilometers) but punctuated by nine hard climbs. A flat 8.4km-long individual time trial and a leg-sapping stage to Geraardsbergen, which will include several ascents of the legendary Muur-Kapelmuur and Bosberg, will then weigh decisively in the final outcome.
Philippe Gilbert, Bob Jungels and Zdenek Stybar – riders who between them have won four of this year’s seven cobbled Classics – will headline a strong Deceuninck – Quick-Step team that won’t be short of options next week, at the 31st World Tour event of the season. Joining them for the 15th edition of the BinckBank Tour will be Tim “El Tractor” Declercq, Alvaro Hodeg, who so far this season has amassed five victories, most recent of which came at the Adriatica Ionica Race, the experienced Iljo Keisse, and Le Samyn winner Florian Sénéchal.
“The route isn’t an easy one, but it’s always like this at the BinckBank Tour. The short Ardennes-type stage should be very tough, full gas right from the start, and could end up having quite a big impact on the race, but ultimately, the GC will be played on the final day”, said sports director Tom Steels. “It’s a race that suits us, and in Philippe, Bob and Styby we have three riders who can have a say in the overall standings, while Alvaro will go for the bunch sprints, where he is capable of getting some nice results.”
12.08–18.08 Binck Bank Tour (NED) 2.UWT
Tim Declercq (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (COL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Florian Sénéchal (FRA), Zdenek Stybar (CZE).
Sports Director:Tom Steels (BEL), Geert Van Bondt (BEL).
A tough Deceuninck – Quick-Step team for the BinckBank Tour:
Preview BinckBank Tour
Monday 12 August the BinckBank Tour will start in Beveren. After being called ‘Eneco Tour’ for years, it’s now already the third edition under the name ‘Binckbank Tour’. The parcours is something for the all-rounders in the peloton. With a mix of sprints, hilly stages and a short time trial, the Tour of the Low Lands has it all. The seven-day WorldTour race finishes on Sunday 18 August on the Vesten in Geraardsbergen. Lotto Soudal rider Tim Wellens took the overall victory in 2014 and in 2015. Sports director Herman Frison looks ahead.
Herman Frison: “With Tim Wellens we have someone in our team who has already won the Binckbank Tour twice, so obviously he will be leading our team. The hardest part of this race is that you can’t win it in every stage, but you surely can lose it in every stage. Just one moment of not being focused can be enough to lose time and to forget about your overall standing ambitions.”
“Mostly the time differences between place one and ten aren’t that big, so a small gap in the pack or even a miniscule moment of inattention can be enough to not be in the running anymore to win the BinckBank Tour.”
“It’s going to be a hard week anyway. The loss of teammate Bjorg Lambrecht is still on our minds and it takes time to give it a place. It feels like there’s a dark shadow above us which is riding along with the team. Making the switch and turning that negativity into positivity is not simple at all for the guys, but we are going to do the best we can to help Tim getting a great result.”
“A young talent as Stan Dewulf will get his chance to take on the sprints. The short stage in the Ardennes on Thursday around Houffalize will already be decisive for the general classification. The time trial only counts 8.4 kilometers, so I don’t think time differences will be too big there. Sunday we will finish in Geraardsbergen, but you never know what might happen, even in the flat stages.”
“The weather conditions won’t be in our favor. Rain is predicted, possibly with some wind. All these factors will play a role. We are going to try to ride offensively as a team and protect Tim in the best possible way.”
Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Stan Dewulf, Frederik Frison, Nikolas Maes, Rémy Mertz, Maxime Monfort, Brian van Goethem and Tim Wellens.
Sports director: Herman Frison.
Tim Wellens held the Tour KOM for some stages:
AG2R-La Mondiale to BinckBank Tour
Stijn Vandenbergh: “After the Tour de Wallonie, I’m happy to be racing again in Belgium, but also in the Netherlands. I think my sensations are good. We have a great team and Oliver has already shown that he is able to play a role in the overall standings. We tackle some of the routes used in the classics, but the BinckBank Tour is mostly a nervous race. You have to be careful and not get trapped.”
Oliver Naesen finished second in the BinckBank Tour in 2016.
Van Avermaet to Lead CCC Team’s Rider Roster at Binck Bank Tour
Greg Van Avermaet will lead CCC Team’s Binck Bank Tour roster in Belgium and the Netherlands next week when the UCI WorldTour seven-day stage race gets underway on Monday (12 August).
Sports Director Valerio Piva said that CCC Team will be taking a strong and well-rounded group of riders that cannot only support Van Avermaet but who can also try to take their own opportunities.
“We will have the same objective as we have had at previous editions of this race and that is to support Greg Van Avermaet. We saw at Clásica de San Sebastián that he came out of the Tour de France in good shape and so, naturally, he will be our leader and we will look to help him go for a good result overall. I think, like every year, the race will be decided on the stage to Geraardsbergen, and we know Greg performs well there, so that will be an important day together with the short time trial and also the stage in Houffalize,” Piva explained.
“Overall, we have a strong and motivated group of riders lining up and as we are not the outright favorites, we can look to give the other guys the chance to do something. The opening stages suit a bunch sprint so, for those, we have Jakub Mareczko, who we will try to get into a good position. I think Josef Černý can look to do a good time trial and then, of course, our two other Belgians, Gijs Van Hoecke and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck really know the parcours. Michael Schär, who has a lot of experience here too, and Łukasz Wiśniowski also came out of the Tour in good shape so, I think we are prepared to race well and I expect that we will really be pushing for a good result.”
Greg Van Avermaet will return to Binck Bank Tour to target the General Classification after showing consistently strong form at the last five editions of the race.
“Binck Bank Tour is a race that has always suited me in the past and it’s one that I always like coming back to. I was happy with my performance in San Sebastián and I was able to show that I still have some strong form in my legs. Once again, my goal here will be to try to go for a good result in the General Classification. I think the stages in Houffalize and Geraardsbergen, as well as the short time trial, will be the most important and I am feeling really motivated. We will see how my body reacts but, overall, I think we have a strong team and I’m looking forward to the race ahead,” Van Avermaet said.
Binck Bank Tour (12 – 18 August)
Josef Černý (CZE), Jakub Mareczko (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (BEL), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL).
Sports Director: Valerio Piva (ITA), Steve Bauer (CAN).
A good Tour and second in San Sebastián for Greg Van Avermaet:
Binck Bank Tour: Wanty-Gobert with spearheads Dupont, Meurisse and De Gendt to Beveren
The 15th edition of the Binck Bank Tour (2.UWT, 12-18/08) is the start of a busy month for Wanty-Gobert. After a ten day break after the VOO Tour de Wallonie and the Tour de France, the Belgian team takes on three stage races: the Binck Bank Tour (2.WT, 12-18/08), the Vuelta a Burgos (2.HC, 13-17/08) and the Arctic Race of Norway (2.HC, 15-18/08).
Timothy Dupont, winner of the opening stage in the VOO Tour de Wallonie, can lead Wanty-Gobert again to success in the first three flat stages. Aimé De Gendt and Xandro Meurisse come back in competition after a successful Tour de France and should be able to follow the best in the Ardennes stage in Houffalize and the Flemish Ardennes stage in Geraardsbergen, and achieve a good position in the general classification. They are supported by Tom Devriendt, Wesley Kreder, Boris Vallée and Pieter Vanspeybrouck.
Hilaire Van der Schueren, sports director: “Timothy Dupont showed in the Cerami GP and the Tour de Wallonie that he prepared the last part of the season well. Hopefully he can achieve more places of honor or victories in the first three stages in this Binck Bank Tour. Xandro Meurisse and Aimé De Gendt need to be attentive during these stages, in which the wind can play a dangerous role. Both riders finished the Tour de France and are capable of obtaining a good general classification, in case they recovered well. This World Tour race is a different kettle of fish than what they have behind them. The stage in Houffalize and the time trial will reveal a lot, before the most difficult stage in Geraardsbergen. This final stage with three times Bosberg, Muur van Geraardsbergen… cannot be underestimated.”
Xandro Meurisse: “I recovered well from the Tour de France and have a good feeling in training, which hopefully is a good signal for the upcoming Binck Bank Tour. It was my first grand tour, so I was a little bit in the dark trying to get freshness back, it remains to be seen how I will react in my first race. The Binck Bank Tour begins with three sprinter’s stages, so I have some time to get the race rhythm back before the stages in Houffalize and Geraardsbergen. Both stages suit me, a lot will become clear after the Ardennes stage. This will probably be the most important day for the general classification, because the time trial is short and usually the time gaps in the final stage in Geraardsbergen are not that big. I’m looking forward to it!”
Aimé De Gendt, Tom Devriendt, Timothy Dupont, Wesley Kreder, Xandro Meurisse, Boris Vallée, Pieter Vanspeybrouck.
Sportive direction: Steven De Neef and Hilaire Van der Schueren.
Cortina and Bauhaus Lead the Team for BinckBank Tour
BinckBank Tour – formerly known as Eneco Tour – is 7-day stage race in Belgium and Netherlands. The race has a feeling of Spring Classics as it is raced on the roads used by famous one-day races like Amstel Gold, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Tour of Flanders. The terrain has multiple cobble sections as well as short and steep hills, so the winner of this race we can look from either classic rider or hilly specialist. Last year our Matej Mohorič won the race overall, but he’s not here this year to defend the title.
The race starts on August 12th from Beveren and finishes on August 18th in the unofficial capital of Pro Cycling – Geraardsbargen. The race is composed of 4 flat stages, two hilly stages and one flat and short ITT.
Team Bahrain Merida Sports Director Tristan Hoffman was short but to the point: “Phil Bauhaus will be our sprinter and will get all the support from the team. In the hilly stages and for GC we will support Ivan Garcia Cortina”.
To round out the team apart for already mentioned Garcia and Bauhaus, TBM will have Heinrich Haussler, Marcel Sieberg, Grega Bole, Valerio Agnoli and Meiyin Wang.
Philipsen and Costa to Lead Teams in the Binckbank Tour and Vuelta a Burgos
BinckBank Tour & Vuelta a Burgos
Two line ups are in action for UAE Team Emirates next week. Jasper Philpsen will lead out a squad of riders on familiar territory in Belgium and the Netherlands at the BinckBank Tour (12-18 August). The seven stage race, which includes an individual time trial, will be played out on the roads often graced by the spring classics with the final day finishing on the Geerardsbergen. The below team will be guided by Marco Marzano and Simone Pedrazzini.
– Tom BOHLI
– Roberto FERRARI
– Marco MARCATO
– Juan Sebastian MOLANO
– Rui OLIVEIRA
– Jasper PHILIPSEN
– Oliviero TROIA
Philipsen said: “After the Tour de France, I recovered for a week, then returned to training with the intent to prepare well for the second part of the season. I want to really test myself at the BinckBank Tour, as it’s a race that suits my characteristics, but I know it will be difficult as the level will be high and because my form still has to improve a bit more”.
Meanwhile Rui Costa will be riding at the other end of Europe in the Vuelta a Burgos (13-17 August), a five day stage race across northern Spain that is often used by riders to fine tune their form ahead of the final Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a Espana. The team, which also includes new South African signing Matthew Beers, will be guided by team manager Joxean Matxin and sports directors Aurelio Corral and Andrej Hauptman.
– Rui COSTA
– Matthew BEERS
– Simone PETILLI
– Jan POLANC
– Edward RAVASI
– Aleksandr RIABUSHENKO
– Rory SUTHERLAND
Costa commented: “The Vuelta a Burgos is an interesting race, with five days of racing that will be intense and that will certainly feature strong competition. I hope to have recovered enough after the Tour de France and, if so, I will try to be up there on the harder stages”.
Arctic Race of Norway 2019: Competitors Announced
This year’s Arctic Race of Norway has a fantastic course in store for the 120-strong peloton that will roll out of Å on 15 August. Pretenders to the crown include Arkéa–Samsic’s Warren Barguil, who took two stage wins in the 2017 Tour de France and finished tenth in the last Grande Boucle weeks after claiming the French road race championships. However, he will face a star-studded field, with rivals such as Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko, a two-time winner of the Tour of Oman determined to make the sun on his Kazakh champion’s jersey shine in the lands of the midnight sun. Ilnur Zakarin, a last-minute addition to Katusha–Alpecin’s roster who finished third in the 2018 Vuelta, has also got a few cards to play, especially on the brutal slopes of Storheia Summit.
There will also be outsiders eager to cause an upset, such as Rein Taaramäe, a regular fixture in the event who won the race outright in 2015 and took the Estonian time trial championships again this year. Israel Cycling Academy’s Krists Neilands, who claimed two stages and the overall in the last Tour de Hongrie, and Rally UHC Cycling’s rising star Brandon McNulty, winner of the 2019 Giro di Sicilia, will be out on the hunt for a new trophy and the opportunity to show their talent as climbers and punchers. Men who shone in 2018 will be looking to repeat their exploit in Narvik this year, with last season’s runner-up Markus Hoelgaard (Uno-X Norwegian Development Team) and third-placed rider Colin Joyce (Rally UHC Cycling) coming back for more.
Who can put the brakes on the Mathieu van der Poel show?
There will be a multitude of stage hunters eager to find true north and thwart the plans of Corendon–Circus’s Mathieu van der Poel, a two-time cyclo-cross world champion and winner of two stages in the 2018 Arctic Race of Norway. Riders such as Astana’s Magnus Cort Nielsen, Total Direct Énergie’s Lilian Calmejane, Loïc Vliegen the winner of the 2019 Tour de Wallonie and Norwegian champion Amund Grøndahl Jansen could fish something in troubled waters.
The Dutchman, who claimed the 2019 Amstel Gold Race in a thrilling sprint, will have to dig deep in the finishing straights to beat rivals of the calibre of Bryan Coquard, with seven victories to his name this season, Christophe Laporte, winner of the 2018 Tro Bro Leon, Jumbo–Visma’s Danny van Poppel, Israel Cycling Academy’s Sondre Enger and reigning two-time Swedish champion Lucas Erikson.
But what if Raymond Poulidor’s grandson had his sights set higher? Following his victory in last weekend’s leg of the Mountain Bike World Cup, the Dutch rider can no longer be ruled out for the top step of the podium of the 2019 Arctic Race of Norway. As everyone knows, the word “impossible” is not in Van der Poel’s dictionary.
· The seventh edition of the Arctic Race of Norway gives pride of place to the Lofoten and Vesterålen islands and their splendid landscapes.
· 19 of the riders selected for the 2019 edition of the northernmost race in the world started the Tour de France in Brussels in July.
· The ascent to Storheia Summit (3.5 km at 11.8%), widely known as the Norwegian Mont Ventoux, will set the stage for the decisive battle for the Arctic throne among riders such as Warren Barguil, Alexey Lutsenko, Ilnur Zakarin and Krists Neilands.
Ilnur Zakarin to Bolster CCC Team’s General Classification Ambitions in 2020
CCC Team will welcome Tour de France and Giro d’Italia stage winner Ilnur Zakarin to its ranks with the Russian signing a two-year contract for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
CCC Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz said Zakarin, who has top ten results to his name at all three Grand Tours, will provide a strong General Classification option for the team at stage races. “We are delighted to sign Ilnur Zakarin to CCC Team for the coming seasons. Ilnur will provide us with a solid option for the General Classification at stage races and Grand Tours and, as we saw at this year’s Giro d’Italia, Ilnur is capable of making the most of an opportunity to win a stage. Having placed in the top ten at all three Grand Tours, including a podium place at the 2017 Vuelta a España, Ilnur brings a wealth of experience to the team and will be instrumental in the team’s General Classification ambitions,” Ochowicz said. “Our title sponsor, CCC, has a large presence in Russia so it is exciting for the team and for CCC to sign a Russian rider of Ilnur’s caliber. Our 2020 roster is starting to take shape and with the addition of Ilnur, and some riders still yet to be announced, we are really strengthening the team’s capacity to perform in the mountains.”
Ilnur Zakarin, 29, is looking forward to the next chapter in his career with CCC Team having spent the last five years with Team Katusha Alpecin. “This new contract with CCC Team is a new chapter in my life. Regardless of the fact that this season has been very intense, I am very excited and looking forward to the next one. I really want to prove myself and show what I can do. Moreover, I am really happy that CCC Team’s 2020 roster will have strong climbers and we will try to get the highest possible results together. I don’t know what I can say more except I am looking forward to the final part of the season and then joining CCC Team and starting the new season together. It’s exciting to start a new chapter in my career and I think CCC Team will be a great fit for me as a rider,” Zakarin said.
“Five years ago, I got my first professional contract in the world of cycling. I want to thank Viatcheslav Ekimov for giving me a chance to prove myself as a part of Team Katusha-Alpecin. The beginning was tough but very important for me as a rider. I learned a lot from Purito, Spilak, Moreno, and Paolini. Later I got my own chances and I did my best to not let the team down. I really want to thank Igor Makarov for all that he is doing for cycling, in general, and for me. When I started thinking about another contract, he was the first person with whom I discussed my idea. I cannot say how much I want to thank all the staff, each member and rider from Katusha, who was a part of my life for those years. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.”
The former Russian time trial champion’s palmarès includes stage wins at the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Paris-Nice, as well as the overall victory at Tour de Romandie in 2015.
Enric Mas Becomes Movistar Team’s Main Pillar for the Future
24-year-old in the 2018 Vuelta and notable debutant in the Tour in 2019 – signs with Telefónica-backed squad for the next three years as its main man for the Grand Tours.
The Movistar Team confirmed that Enric Mas (Artà, Mallorca, ESP; 1995) has signed a contract for the next three years with the outfit managed by Eusebio Unzué.
Mas’ arrival to the Movistar Team unites the most renowned Spanish team at the Grand Tours in history with the country’s best hopeful for stageraces. 2nd overall in the 2018 Vuelta a España, a race he crowned in style with a superb victory atop La Gallina (st. 20), the Balearic allrounder debuted in the Tour de France in 2019 with a notable performance, wearing the white jersey as leader of the Young Riders’ competition and supporting Julian Alaphilippe through the final week of racing.
Raised as a top sportsman in the ranks of the Fundación Contador team (until 2015) and the development (2016) and pro (2017-2019) squads from Deceuninck – Quick-Step, Mas, 24, will have a chance at the Movistar Team to seek for the biggest goals at one-week stageraces and Grand Tours, his biggest strength.
Mas and Valverde:
Richeze Adds Sprinting Experience for UAE Team Emirates’ Fast Riders
The Argentine champion will link-up with the Emirati squad in 2020.
One of the most reputable lead-out riders in the peloton will wear the UAE Team Emirates jersey next season: the Argentine national champion Maximiliano Richeze has signed an agreement to run from 2020 with the Emirati squad.
Born in Bella Vista (Argentina) in 1983, as pro (since 2006) Richeze has been able to forge a career not only as a winning sprinter but, especially in recent years, as a perfect lead-out man for the top sprinters of the teams in which he has ridden.
General manager Joxean Matxin has no doubts about the qualities of Richeze: “Over the years, Richeze becomes increasingly important for the teams where he rides, he possesses the perfect mix of skill and strength on the bike with experience and intelligence.
I have no doubts when I say that he is the best lead-out man in the world, and will slot into our sprint train as the last man for Gaviria, as the pair are well used to working together already.”
Maximiliano, why did you decide to take on a new challenge at this point in your career?
“Because it is a great motivation to go back to fighting alongside Gaviria and try to win together again: Gaviria is more than a teammate, he is a great friend and I’m really looking forward to working together again with him.”
Is there an additional stimulus for you that at UAE Team Emirates you will have many young teammates who can learn from your experience?
“Definitely, in this team I am very happy to be able to work with many of the people I have worked with in the past but also to be able to support young talents who are looking for their first successes.”
What are the goals you wish to achieve with UAE Team Emirates?
“The goal is to add my experience to a team that is growing a lot.”
Fernando Gaviria and Maximiliano Richeze:
Iljo Keisse Agrees Contract Extension with Deceuninck – Quick-Step
The 36-year-old Belgian penned a 12-month contract that will see him celebrate 11 years with the team.
The new agreement runs through to the end of the 2020 season and means that we will continue to rely on the services of one of our most experienced riders in the peloton, a road captain that has played an important part tactically in of many of Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s victories, especially during the classics season where his strength has proved invaluable.
As well as being a great team player, Iljo is a strong rider in his own right, having taken memorable stage victories at both the Tour of Turkey and the Giro d’Italia during his time with the squad, and gaining notoriety on the boards of the Six Day Races, where he has notched up over 20 victories, seven of which came in his hometown of Gent.
Speaking of his new agreement, Iljo keisse said: “I am very happy to have signed a new contract I have been with the team a long time now and they are a family to me. All of the success that we have had during my time here has been special, and I have enjoyed my role in trying to help guide the guys and playing a part in so many unforgettable victories.”
Iljo’s thoughts were matched by that of Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere: “Iljo is a very important rider to us. Those outside of cycling won’t always have seen his name, as he isn’t usually the guy leading us home. But the work that he selflessly does for his teammates can’t be valued and with such a young team it is really important that we have one or two experienced riders like Iljo around, to help guide them.”
Top performer on the track and road – Iljo Keisse:
Team Sunweb Sign Quality German duo
Team Sunweb are proud to announce the signing of two strong German riders; Nico Denz and Jasha Sütterlin, with the duo signing with the team until the end of the 2021 season.
Jasha Sütterlin (GER)
A very well rounded rider, Sütterlin has proved himself to be one of the most reliable and strongest domestiques in the peloton, capable of providing support on a multitude of terrain. Sütterlin is a strong rouleur who was part of his team’s success at this year’s Giro d’Italia and who has picked up good results himself too, in both the classics and time trials. The German can also deliver a punchy finish, which he showed by taking the win in a tricky finale at the Vuelta Ciclista Comunidad de Madrid in 2017.
“After six nice years with Movistar I think the time is now right to try something new,” explained Sütterlin. “I’ve looked at Team Sunweb for a while and I really like how the team works. My goal for the future is to become a high-level classics rider and finish with the team in the top positions in races such as Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, as well as helping and working for the team leaders in the sprints and in the overall at the grand tours. I am very excited for this next step in my career.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “We are pleased to welcome Jasha to our team as we’ve been watching him closely for the past few years. Jasha will add a lot of strength to our roster as he is very good on a lot of different terrain. He has proven to be strong in the Flemish classics, has a bunch of experience as a GC domestique under his belt and is able to produce a solid TT(T) too. He will be very valuable to us on these fields and we aim to help him to continue to improve in the TT and his role within the classics.”
Nico Denz (GER)
A strong one-day racer, versatile Denz has shown his abilities on the flat lands and tricky days in the saddle; with eighth place at the infamously difficult Le Samyn testament to Denz’s ability to handle the toughest conditions. The German took his first victory towards the end of last season at the Tour de Vendée, showing his strength on the slightly rolling circuit before delivering a punchy sprint to finish it off, proving that he is a rider that can perform well on a lot of terrain.
On joining the team Denz said: “After five years in France I was looking for a new challenge, and Team Sunweb seems like the best place for me to make the next steps in my career. I know many riders from the team and I like the way they ride together in races. I am really looking forward to a new environment, and becoming a part of the team’s successes.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “Nico is a rider who can perform well on various types of terrain and he can handle hectic situations well. His second place on a tricky Giro d’Italia stage shows how versatile he is. A good addition to our classics team, Nico will also add some more depth to our sprint train. We want to continue his development as a good all-round rider who can bring strength to the team on different parcours.”
Jérémy Bellicaud (CC Etupes) First Newcomer with Wanty-Gobert
Jérémy Bellicaud is leaving CC Etupes for Wanty-Gobert this winter. De 21 year old French rider is the first newcomer within the ranks of the yellow-blue team and follows the footsteps of Guillaume Martin and Fabien Doubey, both coming from the collaboration with development team CC Etupes. The future neopro stood out this season in the Tour de Savoie by winning the young riders classification thanks to a 3rd place in the general classification. Furthermore, he showed his excellent climbing capacities in the Tour du Piémont Pyrénéen by finishing 2nd in the general classification. He achieved several top 10 places in stages in both races, and in the Tour of Rwanda and in the Giro della Valle d’Aosta. The young rider from the Charente Maritime region signed for two seasons with Wanty-Gobert, until the end of 2021.
Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “The collaboration with CC Etupes is very good. Our experience with the growing processes of Guillaume Martin and Fabien Doubey proved very interesting. We want to continue this work by giving a chance to a new excellent young French climber. We invested in our group of climbers the last couple of years by providing them with a good racing schedule and altitude training camps. The effectiveness was proven, so we will continue in the same direction to truly fulfill the potential of more young talents in the future!”
Team Sunweb Recruits Three Top Talents
Team Sunweb are delighted to announce the signing of three top talents from the U23 circuit; Alberto Dainese (ITA), Mark Donovan (GBR) and Thymen Arensman (NED) to their WorldTour program. Dainese joins the team until the end of 2021, with Donovan contracted until the end of 2022, while Arensman joins Team Sunweb in the summer of 2020 until the end of the 2022 season.
Alberto Dainese (ITA)
One of the most exciting sprinters in the U23 peloton, the 21-year-old Dainese is a rider that can also get over the short and punchy climbs, before battling it out in the fast finishes. Dainese had a strong 2018, taking nine wins throughout the year, along with other strong top ten results such as second place at the Italian national championships. This season the SEG Racing Academy rider has improved yet again and already has an impressive five victories to his name, including a hat-trick of wins at the tricky Tour de Bretagne; highlighting his punchy kick to the line.
Dainese said: “I chose Team Sunweb in order to continue my development after my year in SEG Racing Academy, where I already learnt a lot thanks to the structured team and the guidance they offered me. For me, Team Sunweb is the best place to continue working in a structured environment like this. My goal is to develop myself and learn a lot from the experienced teammates I will have, in order to be competitive in the WorldTour bunch sprints in the future. For sure I am very motivated to already show myself in my debut year with the team.”
Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts added: “Alberto came on our radar last year and we have since followed him really closely. We see him as one of the fastest guys in U23 peloton and this is also the direction where we want to develop him in the coming years with the team. We have a lot of knowledge in our team regarding sprinting and we believe we will give him the best possible surroundings to become one of the leading sprinters in the future.”
Mark Donovan (GBR)
Donovan impressed as a junior in 2017 taking three victories, two of which were GC wins. In 2018, Donovan continued to shine as a GC rider in his first year as an U23, leading the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia before ultimately finishing in a very impressive fourth place. Following that, he took seventh at Tour Alsace before a good 11th place overall at the Tour de l’Avenir. Donovan has also proven he is capable of strong results in one-day races, with a series of solid top 15 finishes at races such as Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Flèche Ardennaise.
On joining the team Donovan said: “Team Sunweb have proved themselves over the past few years to be one of the top WorldTour teams in the world, winning races like the Giro d’Italia and the TTT world championships. There is also a big focus on developing young riders like Marc Hirschi this year and many examples from the past; I think it will be the perfect place for me to grow in the next three years. For my first year I think it’s important for me to learn as much as possible, and get used to racing in the WorldTour. It’s going to be a big step up but I’m really excited to get into it and learn from the best. Over the next few years I’m hoping to continue to improve as a climber, as well as helping the more experienced riders as best I can.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “We have been in contact with Mark for quite a while and he joined our camp in January, making a good impression there. He showed his physical potential already last year, especially in the Baby Giro where he wore the Maglia Rosa and finished fourth place in GC. This year he has had some bad luck but we believe in him as a rider with big potential for the future, with his aggressive style of racing also one his qualities. Together with our experts we will make him a versatile program in the first years, to further develop him gradually and see in which direction and specialization it will lead to in the future.”
Thymen Arensman (NED)
As a junior, Arensman delivered an impressive string of results, finishing in the top ten of all three stage races he competed in. Making the step up to U23 level in 2018, Arensman proved just how versatile a rider he is by taking a strong third place at Paris-Roubaix Espoirs. However, his breakthrough performance came at the Tour de l’Avenir where he finished a superb second overall at the age of just 18.
“The choice to join Team Sunweb was made fairly quickly and easily for me,” explained Arensman. “Team Sunweb fits my personality very well and I share the same vision as the team. There was a clear click in the conversations we had. The future perspective for me from Team Sunweb also appealed to me a lot; I also get the freedom to finish my university studies and to get through the winter with some cyclo-cross. My goals in the first years are mainly to develop and really discover myself as a rider. In the U23 category I stand out well as a GC rider who also can ride very well over cobblestones. The WorldTour is of course very different and my goals are to discover my capacities and to keep developing myself as a person and cyclist at Team Sunweb.”
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef added: “Since juniors Thymen has already showed his qualities on different terrains; not only on the road but also in cyclo-cross. He used those qualities last year in his first U23 season where he finished third in Paris-Roubaix and later in the season went on to climb with the best riders in his age group at the Tour de l’Avenir, finishing second on GC there. With Thymen and our support structure we want to focus on the long-term; in the beginning he will have a combined program of road and cyclo-cross, aiming to grow slowly and step-by-step, developing him as rider.”
Alberto Dainese, Mark Donovan and Thymen Arensman:
Jefferson Cepeda Joins the Professional Team of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
The work with the young values of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA continues producing results. The Ecuadorian Jefferson Cepeda (Playón de San Francisco, Sucumbíos, 1996) has been immediately incorporated into the professional group of the green squad, rewarding his excellent season and his undeniable qualities. Cepeda has signed a contract for the rest of this season and one more year.
The South American cyclist will debut with his new teammates next week in Vuelta a Burgos, once he has returned from his country, where he is preparing the final part of his season, that began competing against the professionals in the demanding Tour de Colombia (18th). Later, he was proclaimed Pan-American champion in Mexico, a title highly valued in the continent.
The premiere of his second adventure in Europe could not conclude better. Cepeda won the Vuelta a Navarra, with an authentic exhibition in the final day. Then he won one stage of the Vuelta a Salamanca, where he finished second in the overall, and won in Ataun, being a key player in several successes of his teammates in other races.
Cepeda becomes the second rider of the development squad of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA that promote to the pro team during this season, after Joel Nicolau. They are only two examples of the fantastic work of a team that, so far this year, accumulates twenty-five wins with ten different cyclists.
Jefferson Cepeda: “I am very happy for this opportunity. I have fought and sacrificed a lot, coming from so far to try to prove that I could be a professional cyclist, leaving everything behind for this goal that now becomes a reality. This time here has helped me to show that I am ready to ride against the professionals. It has been a good year for me since I started the season in the Tour de Colombia. I tried to learn everything I could; then I won the Pan-American and the Vuelta a Navarra, the second one already in Europe with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.”
“Now I will be back to Ecuador for a few days to prepare myself as much as possible for my debut as a professional cyclist. The goal is to do the things in the best way, learning from the team and adapting to the category as quickly as possible. My dream has always been to ride one of the three GT, and now I know that working hard and with discipline I can do it.”
Erić, Guarischi Set to Bring Blues Youth and Experience
23-year-old Serbian combines great team support abilities with sprinting potential and good strategical skills; Italian, 28, hopes to become a road captain for the Movistar Team with her vast experience – more than a decade in the pro peloton – and strong power for the sprints
The Movistar Team announced Friday that Barbara Guarischi (Lecco, ITA; 1990), from Team Virtu, and Jelena Erić (Kraljevo, SRB; 1996), member of the Alé Cipollini squad, have both signed two-year contracts (2020 + 2021) with the Teléfonica-backed squad, which make them become the Blues’ first two additions to their roster for their third season in cycling.
Guarischi will add her enormous experience to the group directed by Sebastián Unzué and Jorge Sanz: despite being just 28, she’s already spent eleven years racing UCI events. A great rouleur with a very strong sprint, her palmarès includes a stage win in the Giro (2015), another one in the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour (2019) and victories in the now-defunct Trophée d’Or, Route de France – both in 2014 – and the Sparkassen Giro from the UCI World Cup (2015).
In turn, Erić signs with the Movistar Team few weeks after claiming her best pro victory, a stage in the BeNe Ladies Tour, where she proved her strategical skills and power with a strong break effort against top sprinters. An 11-time national champion – currently holding both road race and time trial titles – the Balkan also finished 2nd – to Lourdes Oyarbide – on the final stage of the Vuelta a Burgos.
“These are two strong reinforcements, two riders who have plenty to offer to this sport,” explains Sebastián Unzué, manager for the women’s Movistar Team. “Erić is already a world-class domestique for all kinds of races, yet she’s got potential to reach even further. Aged just 23, with huge room for improvement and good sprinting abilities – we’ve already seen at the BeNe Ladies Tour she knows how to finish off a break – her signing is a major improvement for the team in all areas, and offers us a stronger chance to contest victories at many events.
Guarischi is already a veteran, despite being just 28. She’s raced for many different organisations, knows the peloton well and has taken part in all the big races in the WorldTour, which will be a boost of experience for our roster. She’ll be an important asset to us in the classics, and we’re also confident she’ll be able to get her speed back and contest some sprints during the season. With Barbara, we aim to have a ‘sports director on the bike’, a woman who helps us find a good position in the bunch and tackle different race situations with intelligence and skill.”
Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team Wishes Vincenzo Nibali the Best of Luck for the Future
Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team is grateful for the three successful years of its partnership with one of the greatest cyclists of our time, Vincenzo Nibali. ‘The Shark’ has represented Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team’s colors on three Grand Tour podiums and achieved many other remarkable results with the support of the team and its world-class technical and sponsor partners, led by Merida.
Vincenzo, one of only seven cyclists in history to win all three Grand Tours, was the first rider to sign with the newly established Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team. In 2017, the team’s debut season, ‘The Shark’ stood on three Grand Tour podiums – twice at the Giro d’Italia and once at the Vuelta a España – in the team’s red, blue and gold colors. Together we have achieved many great results since then, including the breakthrough win at the iconic Milan San Remo classic, an amazing win at the Giro di Lombardia and most recently on the challenging slopes of Val Thorens, winning Stage 20 of this year’s Tour de France.
Our team members and riders are honored to have worked with such great talent. Vincenzo was one of the first people to believe in the Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team vision and we wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors, both on and off the bike.
Grazie di tutto, Vincenzo.
NEW! Ride with the Wolves During the December Training Camp
Live as a pro rider together with the Deceuninck – Quick-Step Team
The autonomous region of Valencia has traditionally been the area for winter training for professional cyclists for more than four decades. The region has become the preferred location for both professional teams and individual riders: over the last couple of years almost all World Tour and Pro-Continental teams have been on one or more annual winter training camps in the region around Calpe. Calpe provides perfect weather conditions and great terrain for winter training camps, and that’s why so many teams are coming to this region.
For more than a decade now, Calpe – with its stunning Ifach rock – is where the Wolfpack prepare the new cycling season, our temporary home where riders, staff and suppliers convene to make up the roster for next year. The training camp in December is an important step in the preparation for next season, the place where the riders start to put in more workload ahead of what they hope it will be another successful and memorable year.
“In this region we can find everything, all kinds of terrain. Flat roads to train along the coast, up and down parcours to kick off the preparation and long climbs to get used to the mountain pace. It’s not only this. Also, the incredible landscape of Calpe and the fascinating surroundings it boasts give this place a magic aura for training. Thanks also to the professionalism and passion of the hotel that hosts us and provides us all the facilities to focus solely on training, this experience is always a perfect one. This is the place to be for all cycling aficionados. What’s better than training with us during the winter time?”, said Julian Alaphilippe, the main star of this year’s Tour de France.
You Can be Part of This Training Camp!
Spend a week or 4 days with the team, while being treated as one of the pros. Ride your proper program and be joined in your group on the road by one of the wolves. At Seminars held by experts, learn everything on training, nutrition, mechanics etc. Enjoy personal well-being and gastronomyin the 4* venue. Be part of the Deceuninck – Quick-Step Pro Team in December and experience a cycling camp like a pro, with the pros, benefitting of the same conditions and services as our riders!
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The Gredos Mountain Range: The Origin of Bernard Hinault’s Extraordinary 1983 Vuelta
A Vuelta that took off from the Autonomous Community of Valencia, continuing to Catalonia, passing through the Pyrenees, brushing against Navarra, visiting Asturias, with a historical epilogue in the Gredos Mountain Range before the grand finale in Madrid. The 1983 and 2019 editions of La Vuelta have a lot in common. The extraordinary turn of events brought about by Bernard Hinault 36 years ago may serve as an inspiration to more than one in the next edition of La Vuelta.
In the final kilometers of the 20th, and second-last, stage of La Vuelta 19 (74th edition) – that will join the Arenas de San Pedro with the Gredos Platform – the riders will climb the Serranillos Mountain Pass. When they do, they will come across the exact place where Bernard Hinault turned around the 38th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour in 1983.
It was during the 17th stage, which took off from the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca. The day’s route featured four climbs: Peña Negra (1st category’s final climb of La Vuelta 19), El Pico, Serranillos and La Paramera. That day, Hinault started 10 seconds behind the leader, Julián Gorospe. The outcome of that stage was the French champion’s final hope. And it happened: Gorospe reached the velodrome finish-line in Ávila 20 minutes after the Breton imposed his top speed on Marino Lejarreta and Vicente Belda. He lost all hopes of winning under the unbeatable rhythm of a young Laurent Fignon, working hard for his leader, the “badger”.
In all historical debates about La Vuelta, the Ávila stage from the 6th of May 1983 is considered to be one of the race’s greatest feats since it came into existence in 1935. Maybe even the greatest. It stands out both from a geographical, as well as from a historical point of view. Beyond its borders, Spain is usually described like a round frying pan, with mountainous borders that flank its coastline: from the Baetic Mountains in the South, to the Pyrenean massif that separates Spain from France in the North. Besides Switzerland and Austria, both embedded in the Alps, and the microstates of Andorra and Liechtenstein, Spain is the most mountainous country in Europe, taking into account the proportion of its relief when compared to its surface area. The Central System is a plateau of average altitude which explains why, unlike the other two Grand Tours of the cycling calendar, La Vuelta can be determined 1500 meters above sea level and not necessarily at 2000 meters.
The Serranillos Mountain Pass peaks at an altitude of 1570 m. On paper, it was not the biggest attraction of La Vuelta 1983. But the Lagos de Covadonga, that made their first appearance in the race itinerary that year, was. (Thibaut Pinot was proclaimed the 21st winner on this mythical summit in 2018). There were high expectations for the Lagos. One of them, Lago Enol, pronounced almost like the “badger’s” last name, served as a hook to promote “Lagos de Hinault”, long before he ceded victory of that iconic mountain pass to Marino Lejarreta at the end of the 13th stage of that Vuelta. The Frenchman didn’t manage to take the yellow jersey over from the late Alberto Fernández whose name continues to be honored year after year in one of La Vuelta’s climbs (this year it is La Cubilla, the finish-line of the 16th stage and winner of the “most viral high-altitude finale” contest).
Hinault was the favorite to win La Vuelta 1983, a race he had already won before. La Vuelta 1978 was the first victory among his ten Grand Tours, and also the last one organized by El Correo Español – El Pueblo Vasco, before the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation (REFC) handed the reigns over to Unipublic, its current organizer. In order to give La Vuelta back its prestige after being tarnished by a complicated 1982 edition (the first one in which the winner – Ángel Arroyo – was stripped of his title for doping), the organizer seduced the quadruple winner of the Tour de France and World Championship winner Giuseppe Saronni. Hinault, beaten in the prologue of Almussafes by his teammate Dominique Gaigne, had the wind in his favor at the start but suffered the consequences of a sudden change in the weather at the very moment that the favorites were taking off. The French rider only held onto the yellow jersey for one day, after winning it at Castellar de Nuch (Stage 5). He lost it the next day to Marino Lejarreta, who wore it for the first time, despite having been declared winner – a posteriori – of the previous edition. Things only got worse and the French rider lost 2:13 to his rival in the uphill I.T.T to Panticosa (Stage 8). Julián Gorospe, Alberto Fernández, Álvaro Pino and then Gorospe again took successive leadership of the general classification. Then, there was Ávila and it all came down to a duel between Hinault and Lejarreta. That is how the majority of fans remember it, also partly because it was the first edition to be broadcast live on TV with the soundtrack of “Me estoy volviendo loco”, by the techno-pop group Azul y Negro that marked a turning point in the history of La Vuelta’s songs.
La Vuelta 1983 paved the way for a new generation of Spanish cyclists such as ‘Perico’ Delgado and Miguel Indurain. Hinault remembers it as “the toughest victory to achieve” from all of the ten Grand Tours under his belt, especially because he did not expect such a high level from the national riders. His knee was so painful that he had to have an operation and miss the Tour de France, won by his best La Vuelta teammate. Laurent Fignon finished 7th in the general classification and confirmed that his legs were ready to win a Grand Tour.
The appearance of Fignon in La Vuelta 1983 marked the divorce between Hinault and his sporting director, Cyrille Guimard, which led to the creation of Bernard Tapie’s team La Vie Claire. The team was described at the start of this year by Dave Brailsford, principal of Team Ineos, as “the pioneer of current cycling”, for the resulting re-evaluation of cyclist salaries. This 14th of September 2019, maybe someone will have to explain to the riders that depart from Arenas de San Pedro just how much they owe the Gredos Mountain Range.
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