EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The BinckBank Tour, Vuelta a Burgos, Tour of Utah and the Arctic Race all finished on Sunday – Reports, results and video. The passing of Felice Gimondi – Top Story. The Vuelta a España starts on Saturday and the first team announcement are in. In other cycling news: Loads of rider contracts, transfers and stagieires, Tom Dumoulin leaves Sunweb, Elia Viviani shows off his European champions jersey and happy birthday to la Vuelta a España’s leader’s red jersey. Monday EUROTRASH news time!

TOP STORY: Arrivaderci Felice Gimondi
The Italian cycling legend Felice Gimondi died on Friday the 16th of August. The buzzard of Bergamo, won three Giri d’Italia, one Tour de France and one Vuelta a España. Gimondi died of a heart attack while swimming in the sea in Sicily. He was 76 years old.

Gimondi made an impression at a young age. At 22, in his debut year as a pro, he won three stages and the final classification of the Tour de France. He also broke the reign of five-time winner Jacques Anquetil. In his 14-year professional career, he fought duels on the bike with riders such as Jan Janssen, Raymond Poulidor, Luis Ocaña and Eddy Merckx.

Gimondi won his Giro d’Italia victories in 1967, 1969 and 1976, and won the Vuelta a Espana in 1968. The Italian is one of the seven riders who has all three major Tours on his palmarès. The other riders in that list are Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Chris Froome.

He was also a big star in the Classics. His honors list includes the Tour of Lombardy (1966 and 1973), Milan-Sanremo (1974) and Paris-Roubaix (1966) and many top placings in other classics such as the Tour of Flanders (fourth in 1976, second in 1969) and Liège-Bastonge-Liège (seventh in 1969). In 1973, at the age of 30, Gimondi took the World title in Barcelona, ​​Spain. Gimondi finished his cycling career in 1979 with 158 professional victories.

Probably his biggest adversary, Eddy Merckx said of the death of Gimondi: “This time I lose twice. First I lose a friend and then the opponent of all my life. We competed for years on the roads against each other, but we became friends at the end of our careers. We had spoken two weeks ago. What can I say? I am destroyed.” The great champion added: “Felice was first and foremost a great man, a great champion, unfortunately he has been taken away. It is a great loss for cycling. All the struggles we had together come to mind… A man like Gimondi is not born every day, a part of my life goes with him. He was one of the best in history.”

Gimondi died of a heart attack on Friday afternoon while swimming in the sea near the Sicilian village of Giardini-Naxos. He was rescued from the water, but it was too late. Gimondi would have turned 77 on September 29.

BinckBank Tour 2019
After yesterday’s third consecutive win by Bennett, Tim Wellens scored another hat-trick in the BinckBank Tour on Thursday. The Lotto Soudal rider took his third stage victory in Houffalize after earlier ones in 2015 and 2017. During the short but action-packed 96 kilometers long Stage 4, De Plus, Hirschi and Wellens proved to be the strongest riders in the race. Marc Hirschi launched his sprint for victory quite early, but it was Tim Wellens who conquered – with an ultimate jump to the line – not only the stage victory but also the leader’s jersey.

Lotto Soudal rider Stan Dewulf opened today’s forth BinckBank Tour stage as he set up the first breakaway of the day, together with Iljo Keisse. At around 50 kilometers from the line, the race was set on fire inside the bunch, which resulted in an elite group being formed at the front, including Lotto Soudal riders Stan Dewulf and Tim Wellens. Just as the chasing group was about to join, Wellens decided to attack solo, but soon, he dropped back to the reduced bunch. Right after starting the final local lap, the front group once again split to pieces under the impetus of De Plus. At first, only Tim Wellens and Marc Hirschi seemed able to answer that acceleration but García Cortina could bridge to the front some kilometers later. The Spaniard was dropped on the ultimate climb of the day, which meant De Plus, Hirschi and Wellens would battle for the win in Houffalize. At ten kilometers from the line, the tactical game began but eventually, the trio would sprint for victory. Marc Hirschi launched his sprint early but Wellens was still able to pass the Swiss rider with an ultimate jump to the line. In addition to taking the stage victory, the 28-year-old Belgian now also leads the general classification.

Stage winner and overall leader, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “We had a difficult week but thanks to the support of Bjorg’s parents, we decided to – after the guys continued in the Tour de Pologne – also take the start in the BinckBank Tour, with a stage victory as the objective. A good general classification would be the logical consequence of that. The past three stages were quite dangerous at times – something typical to racing on Flemish roads – but we managed to not lose any time. Today, the second part of the BinckBank Tour kicked off with a stage that could possibly be decisive. We tried to make it a hard race today. When I was riding alone at the front for a moment, I dropped back because I was wasting energy. A few moments later, I still felt strong enough to respond to the acceleration of De Plus and go to the line together with him and Hirschi. Due to the short distance, I was a little afraid that time differences would remain limited, but eventually we worked together really well. I get on great with Laurens De Plus so we would make sure one of us could take the stage, but eventually it was a sprint man to man.”

“Before the stage, I rewatched the final kilometers a couple of times, which certainly helped me going into the final corner. I knew that I couldn’t go full gas immediately, so I stayed on Hirschi’s wheel. Eventually, I could beat him with an ultimate jump. I wasn’t sure that I won but eventually, it was enough to take the stage win and the leader’s jersey. Saturday’s eight kilometers long time trial is something that should suit me but that is also the case for De Plus. I hope to still lead the race on Saturday night. We have a kind of ‘Classics team’ for Sunday’s stage in Geraardsbergen and they should be able to assist me as good as possible. Of course, I want to keep this jersey but there are still some difficult stages to come.”

4th on the stage and overall, Ivan Garcia (Bahrain-Merida): “It was really hard race. I was in the second group and I decided to attack them on the downhill, and I did catch the first group but on the bottom of the big climb. It was hard to keep with them, but I made it. In the golden sprint I got dropped twice but the third one I won, and at that point I was out of energy, so in next small climb I had no more power and decided to keep my tempo. Finally, Valgren and Neasen caught me, but at the end I won that sprint, so I was 4th. I’m happy as it was a really hard parcour and for a rider like me it is a good result.”

Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe): “We controlled the race over the first lap, but then other teams started to attack and tried to make the race as hard as possible. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep up and fell back somewhat. However, we spent a lot of energy during the first three stages, and I think this got to our legs a bit today. Tomorrow there’s yet another flat stage, and so we’ll try to net another good result with Sam. Jay and I will try to not lose any time, because you never know what can happen on the parcours of these Belgian and Dutch races. Perhaps we can try something during the last stages.”

BinckBank Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 2:20:41
2. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb
3. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:05
4. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:23
5. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension Data at 0:26
7. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:33
9. Dion Smith (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC.

BinckBank Tour Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 13:32:46
2. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb at 0:04
3. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:14
4. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:36
5. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:38
6. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:39
7. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension Data at 0:42
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:49
9. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
10. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb.

Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) became the first ever Colombian rider to notch up a win at the BinckBank Tour, emerging as the fastest in Venray after a perfect lead-out of Florian Sénéchal and Zdenek Stybar, who guided him through the peloton in the hectic finale of Stage 5.

The longest day of the race was controlled by Deceuninck – Quick-Step as soon as the bunch exited the neutralized zone and a six-man breakaway formed on the flat roads that took the riders from Belgium to the Netherlands. Surprisingly, the sextet stayed at the front just 35 kilometers, before being pegged back by the group from where four riders quickly jumped and established a three-minute buffer.

Tim Declercq and Iljo Keisse continued to police the front of the peloton and cut back the deficit to the leaders, whose adventure came to an end inside five kilometers to go. Deceuninck – Quick-Step made themselves prominent under the flamme rouge, winding up the pace for Alvaro Hodeg, who was glued to their wheel. The young Colombian was dropped off in excellent position by 2013 BinckBank Tour overall winner Zdenek Stybar and kicked out within sight of the line, holding off Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and scoring Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 17th stage victory at the race.

Stage winner, Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was the sprinters’ last opportunity here and the guys did again an amazing job the entire day, just as on the previous stages. They protected me from start to finish and gave me a really superb lead-out, and all I had to do was finish off their great work and bring another victory to the team. It feels nice to be the first Colombian to win at the BinckBank Tour and I’m very happy with what we achieved.”

2nd on the stage, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The guys did an amazing job to bring the stage to a bunch sprint, and they looked after me very well in the finale as well. At the 1 km mark, I decided to go it alone. I saw that Deceuninck-Quickstep was very well organized, so I tried to follow them. However, I didn’t want to take any risks along the barriers, so I couldn’t get out from behind with enough time to go. I only managed to do so in the last 50 to 100 meters. However, second place is still a very decent result, and I’ve got to be happy with that.”

4th on the stage, Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Gobert): “I want to thank the team, Tom Devriendt and Wesley Kreder in particular, they positioned me with 1 kilometer to go. I’ve chosen the wheel from Sam Bennett, but today Deceuninck-Quick Step had the better train. It was rather nervous, and a crash behind us destabilized the sprint trains. I had to overtake on the left, while Bennett passed on the right. Ik had to interrupt my effort twice. There was a possibility to do much better, it is a pity…”

BinckBank Tour Stage 5 Result:
1. Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:54:48
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
5. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Ineos
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8. Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Boris Vallee (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
10. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles.

BinckBank Tour Overall After Stage 5:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 17:27:45
2. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb at 0:04
3. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:14
4. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:25
5. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:28
6. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:34
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:38
8. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
9. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
10. Dion Smith (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott.

Filippo Ganna (Ineos) sealed an impressive individual time trial victory on Stage 6 of the BinckBank Tour.

The Italian national time trial champion recorded a strong time of 9:16 on the 8.3km test around Den Haag. His compatriot Edoardo Affini (Mitchelton-Scott) was closest to Ganna’s time, but the Team INEOS rider comfortably won the stage by five seconds. It is Ganna’s third time trial win of the season, with victory in the time trial at Tour de Provence and national championships marking a strong start to his Team Ineos career.

Stage winner, Filippo Ganna (Ineos): “It was my first victory in the Italian national jersey today and I was very happy with my performance and my time too. Now I will focus on supporting Dylan van Baarle on the final stage, I’m feeling better after a small crash two days ago and I feel better, luckily I didn’t do too much damage, so I can help.”

Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I was actually feeling good today, but the data on my powermeter was not quite what I had expected. At the start, it was rather windy but I concentrated myself fully on the race and of course put in my best effort. We have had fantastic team spirit this week and we will go into tomorrow’s race fully motivated.”

BinckBank Tour Stage 6 Result:
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos in 9:16
2. Edoardo Affini (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:05
3. Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:08
4. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:11
5. Harry Tanfield (GB) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:15
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:16
7. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
8. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb
9. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:18
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:20.

BinckBank Tour Overall After Stage 6:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 17:37:10
2. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb at 0:08
3. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:12
4. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:40
5. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:43
6. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:45
7. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb
8. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:49
9. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension Data at 0:53
10. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:54.

Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma) claimed the overall victory in the Final Stage 7 of the BinckBank Tour. The Belgian leader of Team Jumbo-Visma attacked early and had a big enough lead at the finish to pass Tim Wellens in the overall standings. De Plus finished third on the stage.

After a leading group of fifteen riders was reeled-in in the final of the final stage of the Belgian-Dutch stage race, De Plus attacked just before the golden kilometer. He was then joined by Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC). The three worked well together and held their lead until the finish. De Plus could no longer sprint for the stage win, but his advantage over his closest competitors in the battle for the overall victory was big enough.

For De Plus, it is his first individual victory after he turned professional in 2016. For Team Jumbo-Visma it is the 41st victory of 2019 and the fourth overall victory in a WorldTour stage race. Earlier this year, Primoz Roglic won the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie for Team Jumbo-Visma.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale): “Today, I was at home on my training roads. I ride regularly with Greg (Van Avermaet) and Laurens (De Plus) when I’m at home. I’m really happy to win this final stage. With 25 kilometers to go to the finish, I saw that the peloton was going to break apart, and that the final decision would be made by the leaders. This is my fifth victory as a professional, and the fourth in August. I think that around this time of year, some of the peloton is getting tired and I’m still very motivated. This year again I came out of the Tour de France in good shape, and I’m taking advantage of that right now. Now we’ll head to the one day races in Hamburg, Plouay and the two events in Canada. I’m in first place in the world ranking for the one day races, and I would like to try to defend this position. I know that I am not the best in the world, but this ranking rewards my consistency, and I am proud of it.”

Overall winner and 3rd on the stage, Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma): “This is hard to believe. It’s just incredible. I never thought it would actually happen. Tim was so strong in the Ardennes that I thought it was impossible to do it. Before the start of the stage I was aiming for a podium place. But I felt really good and with an eye on the time bonuses in the golden kilometer I decided to attack in order to secure my podium. To my surprise, I actually got away with Oliver and Greg after the Bosberg. Those guys are real cobblestone specialists, so for me it was a matter of trying to stay with them. I was close a couple of times, but I was so looking to finally take a win. I am really happy that it worked out: my first victory as a professional cyclist. I live near Geraardsbergen. The fact that I win here in front of my family, friends and fans is extra special. I dedicate this victory to my good friend Bjorg Lambrecht and to the team. The support and confidence I received this week was great.”

3rd overall and long time leader, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “The entire week went according to plan, but with three riders still within twelve seconds, it would be a difficult mission today. It looked pretty good until the Golden Kilometer, where I made a bad judgement call by focusing maybe too much on Hirschi. I was happy that the bonification seconds were gone. I knew that De Plus would go full gas together with Naesen and Van Avermaet. I tried to close the gap, but it was already too big and I didn’t succeed in bridging to the three riders at the front. To be honest, I didn’t have the best feeling anymore in the final lap. I also felt a little less good compared to the previous days. It is true that I did not have any teammates by my side in the finale, but the guys had already spent a lot of energy in the early parts of the race, in which there were a lot of attacks. Eventually, it came down to a battle man to man. I wasn’t there when De Plus attacked, which has cost me the overall victory. I can still be proud on my performance, which I delivered together with the team this week, but at the moment, it is a major disappointment to miss out on the BinckBank Tour victory. But De Plus of course deserved to win the race. You can’t say he stole the victory after the things he showed today and last Thursday, but for me it is a bitter pill to swallow at the moment.”

2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Greg Van Avermaet (CCC): “I think it was quite perfect to go away like that and I was happy to be there. I think it was a great move for the stage win and the GC. It’s too bad I ended up with nothing because I didn’t get the stage win and I didn’t get on the podium for the GC. I was feeling really strong and thinking I could win the stage. I think maybe I went a bit too early in the sprint but it’s easy to say afterward. I’m quite happy with my legs and how it went. It’s always a big pity to be second, especially today because I’ve been chasing a win already now for a few months. It’s always sad, but I was happy to have the legs and be up there with the best to do a good race. I’m always happy to have good legs at this point in the season because it depends on how you come out of the Tour de France. I was second in San Sebastian and second here today, and fourth in GC, which means I’m in really good shape. Of course, winning is the most important but if it’s not there you have to take confidence out of a few good top ten places.”

Three stage wins and points jersey, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m very happy about our performance at the BinckBank Tour. The guys rode very strong all week and supported me throughout the past seven days. I’m also very satisfied with my three stage wins, second place and the red sprint jersey. Today, I also felt really good and managed to keep up without extreme difficulty, and I honestly didn’t expect this. Now I’ll take some time off to recover and be ready for the Vuelta. I’m really looking forward to it, and seeing what I’ll be able to achieve there.”

BinckBank Tour Stage 7 Result:
1. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale in 3:52:40
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
3. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:04
4. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First at 0:25
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:26
6. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
7. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension Data at 0:35
8. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
9. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:38
10. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos.

BinckBank Tour Final Overall Result:
1. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 21:29:55
2. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:35
3. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:36
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:37
5. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb at 0:44
6. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:06
7. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 1:13
8. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 1:16
9. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First at 1:19
10. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 1:21.

Vuelta a Burgos 2019
Ivan Sosa claimed a superb solo victory atop the Picon Blanco summit finish of Stage 3 to move into the overall lead at the Vuelta a Burgos.

The young Colombian finished second on the same climb last season but went one better in 2019, leading home Oscar Rodriguez (Euskadi) by 17 seconds after seeing off the mid-climb challenge of Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz (Movistar).

The result saw Sosa move into the overall lead, in addition to pulling on the mountain and young rider jerseys.

David de la Cruz launched a pair of accelerations on the climb to help break apart an elite lead group. The Team INEOS rider held on well to finish fourth on the day and sits 30 seconds behind Sosa on GC.

The team had continued to work hard throughout the day, getting through a lot of work on the front of the peloton. After big turns from Vasil Kiryienka and Ian Stannard, it was Sebastian Henao who took it up on the early slopes of the climb.

Kenny Elissonde then blew the group apart, before De La Cruz launched a move to kick things off. Movistar duo Carapaz and Antonio Pedrero were initially able to follow the acceleration of Sosa but the defending champion eventually pushed clear to seal an impressive win.

8th on the stage and 6th overall, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert): “The battle for the early breakaway was longer than on the previous days. Afterwards, the peloton calmed down and we focused on the final climb. The team surrounded me again well during the stage, and brought me into a good position before the Picon Blano. I felt good until a moment of weakness with 2 kilometer to go. In addition, we were not well protected from the wind. I gave my all, even if I hoped for more. But two more days are awaiting us, and my regularity is satisfying.”

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 3 Result:
1. Ivan Sosa (Col) Ineos in 3:58:21
2. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country at 0:17
3. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:24
4. David de la Cruz (Spa) Ineos at 0:30
5. Kevin Rivera Serrano (CRc) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
6. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 0:37
7. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels at 0:49
8. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 1:07
9. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data at 1:10
10. Rui Pedro Carvalho Vinhas (Por) W52-FC Porto at 1:12.

Vuelta a Burgos Overall After Stage 3:
1. Ivan Sosa (Col) Ineos in 11:11:47
2. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country at 0:17
3. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:24
4. David de la Cruz (Spa) Ineos at 0:30
5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 0:37
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 0:59
7. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels
8. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data at 1:07
9. Rui Pedro Carvalho Vinhas (Por) W52-FC Porto at 1:12
10. Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo at 1:14.

The phenomenal streak of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA continued on Stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos. Álex Aranburu added the second win for the green squad in Burgos. The Basque cyclist imposed himself on the uphill finish, demonstrating his power on the ramps of the Roman City of Clunia.

To achieve the success, the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA team worked hard throughout the day. First, Jefferson Cepeda, collaborated in the chase of the breakaway; then the rest of the team members put Aranburu and Aberasturi in good positions in the decisive final kilometers of the stage.

Aberasturi, winner two days ago in Lerma, was fundamental in the triumph of his partner. He led the small bunch into the last kilometer. Then, Aranburu took advantage of his strength to beat the Belarusian Riabushenko and the Portuguese Rui Costa, both of UAE Emirates. For Álex it was his second victory of the season.

Stage winner, Álex Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “We completed a perfect stage. The whole team has supported me in the approach to Clunia. Cristian and Sergei have been very close to protect me. I knew we had to make a hard climb to have more options and it came out as we had planned. The end suited Aberasturi and me, although it is true that more to me than to him. I asked him to set the pace, he did it and everything went perfectly. In the first stage I could almost win, in the second one Aberasturi did it and today we were able to achieve the victory again. Two out of three is very good. Neila is a very beautiful stage, also looking forward to the Tour of Spain. We will give it all and try it.”

2nd on the stage, Aleksandr Riabushenko (UAE Team Emirates): “All day long I felt great and approached the final climb with determination, knowing that as a team we could also count on Rui Costa. When the road started to climb, I moved to the front of the bunch, waiting for the best time to jump, but at 300 meters I found myself a little boxed in and I had to brake to come around again, losing the right moment to try to follow Aranburu.”

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 4 Result:
1. Alexander Aranburu Deba (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in 4:07:55
2. Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
3. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
4. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels
5. Jonnathan Narvaez (Ecu) Ineos
6. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar
7. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels at 0:06
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
9. Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo
10. César Lima Fonte (Por) W52-FC Porto.

Vuelta a Burgos Overall After Stage 4:
1. Ivan Sosa (Col) Ineos in 15:19:51
2. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country at 0:17
3. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:24
4. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 0:28
5. David de la Cruz (Spa) Ineos at 0:30
6. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels at 0:56
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 0:59
8. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data at 1:04
9. Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 1:11
10. Rui Pedro Carvalho Vinhas (Por) W52-FC Porto at 1:12.

Ivan Sosa timed a late attack to perfection to win Stage 5 and seal the overall title at the Vuelta a Burgos.

Sosa had weathered a number of attacks in the closing kilometers from his general classification rivals, before taking off in the final kilometer to chase down solo leader Rui Costa (UAE-Team Emirates) and storm to victory.

It was his second stage win of this year’s race, which ensured he sealed back-to-back victories in the Vuelta a Burgos, having won last year’s edition with his previous team, Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec.

The action really kicked off with 23 kilometers remaining as Movistar, with their leader Richard Carapaz needing to make up 28 seconds on Sosa overall, picked up the pace on the front of the peloton.

This both reduced the size of the bunch and reduced the gap to the early break which had all-but capitulated by the start of the unclassified final climb – the Laguanas de Neila.

There was a GC stalemate with nobody willing to attack, until Carapaz made the first move with 2.5km remaining, which was swiftly followed by second-placed Oscar Rodriguez (Euskadi Basque Country – Murias).

Demonstrating his maturity, Sosa did not panic and was paced back to the two escapees by David de la Cruz, who sacrificed his own GC hopes, and then Kenny Elissonde to bring the race back together ahead of the final kilometer.

Rui Costa, who was no threat to the overall picture, was allowed to break free for a short period until Sosa attacked from the GC group, caught and then surpassed Costa to round off a superb team performance.

Stage and overall winner, Ivan Sosa (Ineos): “In the final kilometers, the team helped me to so much, they went full gas and it was fantastic. As we were approaching the final kilometer, I was a bit on the limit, so I tried to accelerate and bridge to Rui Costa as he looked strong. And then I was able to attack again. I’m so happy with the team, happy that they believed in me, as this is such a big result for me. I’m very excited about this win.”

5th on the stage and 5th overall, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert): “We concluded a nice week with the team with another good day. It was very enjoyable to work well collectively with this group. Marco Minnaard, part of the early breakaway, accomplished his task in order to be ready to second me in the final. I confirm my regularity once more. This climb suited me better than the previous mountain top finish, because it was longer, but I didn’t have the legs to follow winner Sosa. I came here to achieve a good general classification, I succeeded, so I can go home satisfied. My next challenge is the Tour du Limousin.”

2nd on the stage and 10th overall, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): “Today I went very close to winning, but Sosa was very strong and he managed to push on in the hardest part. Practically every day I tried to make the best of my good condition to take a result, and as a team we worked well, unfortunately there was someone there to beat us every time. Now I have a few weeks to prepare for the Canadian classics with the Quebec GP and the Montreal GP.”

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 5 Result:
1. Ivan Sosa (Col) Ineos in 3:33:53
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:08
3. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data at 0:14
4. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert
6. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country
7. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:22
8. Mikel Bizkarra Etxegibel (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country at 0:37
9. Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 0:41
10. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels at 0:43.

Vuelta a Burgos Final Overall Result:
1. Ivan Sosa (Col) Ineos in 18:53:44
2. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country at 0:31
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 0:42
4. Antonio Pedrero (Spa) Movistar at 0:46
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 1:13
6. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data at 1:18
7. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotels at 1:39
8. David de la Cruz (Spa) Ineos at 1:44
9. Nikolai Cherkasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 1:52
10. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 2:05.

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah 2019
Using the final kilometer as a launch pad, Ben Hermans of Israel Cycling Academy accelerated away from his main competitors for a masterful solo victory on Stage 3 presented by BYUtv Thursday at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. The Belgian claimed his second stage victory in two days in a time of 3 hours and 20 seconds, and increased his overall lead in the seven-day event, known as “America’s Toughest Stage Race.”

Biding his time on the tough 85.9-mile (138.3 kilometer) course, Hermans used the steep incline on the third and final finishing circuit in North Salt Lake to launch his attack. He quickly caught and passed the final two riders up the road, Kyle Murphy (USA) of Rally UHC Cycling and Lawson Craddock (USA) of EF Education First, to continue alone to the finish line. Murphy held on for second place, crossing the line seven seconds back. Niklas Eg (DEN) of Trek-Segafredo was third, eight seconds behind Hermans.

The fourth day of racing provided bright sunshine with unrelenting high temperatures and 5,895 feet of elevation gain. Stage 3 presented by BYUtv started at Antelope Island State Park, which sits on the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. Fast and furious racing marked the first half of the race until finally a break of six riders was able to escape the 102-rider field. The final riders were reeled in with five kilometers to go on the stage.

Craddock made the first decisive attack from the shattered peloton, bringing Murphy with him. The pair continued ahead to catch and pass the remaining riders from the original breakaway. It was Hermans who launched the final attack to drop his closest challenger in the General Classification, James Piccoli (CAN) of Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling, then catch and pass Craddock and Murphy for the win.

Hermans increased his lead in the General Classification (G.C.) to 44 seconds over Piccoli, and 1 minute and 6 seconds on Eg. Murphy moved up two spots to fourth overall, 1 minute and 46 seconds down. Finishing 10th on the stage, João Almeida (POR) of Hagens Berman Axeon, remained in seventh overall, and retained the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey.

Alex Howes (USA) of EF Education First was part of the break and took top points in all three KOM of the day to claim the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain jersey.

Finishing sixth on the stage, Craddock claimed the Utah Sports Commission Sprint leader jersey. A four-time stage winner in Utah, Travis McCabe (USA) of Worthy Pro Cycling, was voted the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite in the Best Sprinter category.

Stage winner and overall leader, Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy): “Our team was under pressure, but we never lost control of the race. Our team was really strong and I didn’t have to do much until the last kilometer. On the last kilometer, I made a good attack for 30 seconds and I could make a gap. This was enough for a stage win. I only was thinking about the win in the last kilometer. (In) the last two kilometers, I saw that all the guys were pretty empty and I still had really powerful legs. It’s not in the pocket, there are three stages to go. You can always have bad luck or a bad moment. For the moment, it looks really good. I never underestimate my contenders. I will still have to look at Piccoli.”

2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Kyle Murphy (Rally UHC): “I wanted to win so bad, but Hermans is just a machine. I’m happy,”

KOM, US champion,Alex Howes (EF Education First): “It was pretty flat the first part of the stage. It was super fast. We were coming off the island just ripping along. You could tell that a lot of people wanted to be in the breakaway. Our team in particular, we wanted to put a little bit of pressure on Israel Cycling Academy and make sure that Ben was really up to snuff to hold the jersey, and he certainly seems to be.”

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah 2019 Stage 3 p/b BYUtv Result:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy in 3:20.27
2. Kyle Murphy (USA) Rally UHC at 0:07
3. Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:08
4. Keegan Swirbul (USA) Worthy Pro Cycling
5. James Piccoli (Can) Elevate-KHS
6. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 0:11
7. Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First at 0:21
8. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:36
9. Scott Bowden (Aus) Team Bridgelane at 0:38
10. João Almeida (Por) Hagens Berman Axeon at 0:42.

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah 2019 Overall After Stage 3 p/b BYUtv:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy in 10:30:24
2. James Piccoli (Can) Elevate-KHS at 0:44
3. Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 1:06
4. Kyle Murphy (USA) Rally UHC at 1:46
5. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 2:02
6. Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First at 2:04
7. João Almeida (Por) Hagens Berman Axeon at 2:38
8. Rob Britton (Can) Rally UHC at 3:12
9. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 3:17
10. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Cycling Academy at 3:44.

Marco Canola of NIPPO-Vini Fantini-Faizanè surged to victory in a thrilling Stage 4 presented by America First Credit Union at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Friday. In a fast and furious circuit race, the Italian claimed his second victory in downtown Salt Lake City in three years, in a time of 1 hour and 56 seconds.

In a hard-fought sprint, second place went to four-time Tour of Utah stage winner Travis McCabe (USA) of Worthy Pro Cycling. Brendan Rhim (USA) of Arapahoe l Hincapie powered by BMC rolled across the line in third. With points at the line and top points in two of three intermediate sprints, McCabe took over the Utah Sports Commission Sprint leader jersey.

Overall race leader Ben Hermans (BEL) of Israel Cycling Academy finished ninth and retained the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall Leader jersey. With little change in the overall standings, Hermans continued to hold a 44-second advantage over James Piccoli (CAN) of Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling, and 1 minute, 6 seconds lead over Nilkas Eg (DEN) of Trek-Segafredo.

Huge crowds turned out along the 6.7-mile (10.8-kilometer) course, including on the steep ascent of State Street that extends from the iconic Eagle Gate to the Utah State Capitol. After eight laps, the 102 riders completed 53.7 miles (86.5 kilometers) and a total of 4,460 feet of elevation gain. A group of 16 riders escaped, but the decimated field led by NIPPO-Vini Fantini-Faizane was back together in the final kilometer to battle for the top step of the podium.

Finishing in the main group, João Almeida (POR) of Hagens Berman Axeon remained in seventh overall and retained the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey. Very dynamic in the breakaway, Hayden McCormick (NZL) of Team BridgeLane was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Bernat Font Mas (ESP) of 303 Project was voted the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite, in the category of Most Inspiring Comeback.

For the first time in race history, Canyons Village at Park City Mountain will host both the start and finish on Saturday, Aug. 17 for Stage 5 presented by University of Utah Health. A winding trail across Summit County will take the race past Jordanelle and Rockport reservoirs for a total 85.1 miles (137 kilometers) and 5,236 feet of climbing. The route will twist around Kimball Junction for a possible General Classification shakeup in the final KOM through Utah Olympic Park.

Stage winner, Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane): “The director said we have to win today. We have one more chance and we have to take it. We have to ride like a strong team, and we wanted to bring it all together on the last climb. I felt again this great feeling to win here in Salt Lake. It’s really fantastic for me. I like this city. It’s really perfect for me. Three days ago, I couldn’t think to win again, because I had a big crash, so I’m really, really happy. It was really hard today to beat Travis (McCabe).”

2nd on the stage, Travis McCabe (Worthy Pro Cycling): “That was a big goal coming into this week. I won it in 2017 and 2018 so we’re going to try to take it again for the third time. A win would have been fantastic, but Canola knows this course better than I do. It’s his second time winning it. I’m happy that he took it and glad that I was able to come away with second after spending two hours in a miserable break. I think it allows people to come off work, watch a brutal race that is two hours long. We had people lined up on the course the entire time. It’s a great afternoon environment and then it gets people out in the city. I think doing it at night is a pretty cool experience and I hope that the Tour of Utah does it again next year.”

3rd on the stage, Brendan Rhim (Arapahoe-Hincapie p/b BMC): “The goal of the race today for us was to have representation in the break, and then for me to sit back and sprint at the end. TJ (Eisenhart) got into the break. We had some good representation. He would have been a good guy if the break had made it. I sat back, waited, waited, waited and then sprinted with 300 meters to go. It was a good day.”

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah 2019 Stage 4 p/b America First Credit Union Result:
1. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane in 1:56:54
2. Travis McCabe (USA) Worthy Pro Cycling
3. Brendan Rhim (USA) Arapahoe-Hincapie p/b BMC
4. Pablo Andrés Alarcon Cares (Chi) Canel’s-Specialized
5. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Cycling Academy
6. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo
7. James Piccoli (Can) Elevate-KHS
8. Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
10. Griffin Easter (USA) 303 Project.

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah 2019 Overall After Stage 4 p/b America First Credit Union Result:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy in 12:27:18
2. James Piccoli (Can) Elevate-KHS at 0:44
3. Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 1:06
4. Kyle Murphy (USA) Rally UHC Cycling at 1:46
5. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 2:02
6. Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First at 2:04
7. João Almeida (Por) Hagens Berman Axeon at 2:48
8. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 3:17
9. Rob Britton (Can) Rally UHC at 3:22
10. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Cycling Academy at 3:54.

Australian Lachlan Morton of EF Education First out-sprinted his breakaway companion at the line to win Stage 5 presented by University of Utah Health in a thrilling photo finish at Canyons Village at Park City Mountain. Morton, who won the 2016 Tour of Utah, scored his fourth career stage win in Utah Saturday in a time of 3 hours and 5 minutes.

Morton made his way into the 11-rider breakaway, which escaped early in the 85.1-mile (137-kilometer) stage. The steep slopes of Olympic Parkway at Utah Olympic Park are where Morton and Hayden McCormick (NZ) of Team BridgeLane launched their attack and blazed a trail to the finish line together.

In a hard-fought sprint, McCormick took second place by a tire-width difference. The battle for third place was taken by Simone Velasco (ITA) of NIPPO-Vini Fantini-Faizanè, who outmaneuvered the chase group which included Stage 4 winner and teammate Marco Canola (ITA) and Evan Huffman (USA) of Rally UHC Cycling. Velasco crossed the line 18 seconds behind the winner.

Belgian Ben Hermans of Israel Cycling Academy retained his Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Leader’s yellow jersey by finishing safely in 16th place. With little change in the overall standings, Hermans holds a 46-second lead over James Piccoli (USA) of Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling, and a 1 minute, 10 second margin over Niklas Eg (DEN) of Trek-Segafredo. Finishing in 14th place, João Almeida (POR) of Hagens Berman Axeon moved up one spot in sixth overall and retained the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey. Morton’s teammate and 2015 Tour of Utah champion Joe Dombrowski moved up from sixth to fifth in the G.C.

Stage 5 presented by University of Utah Health started and finished in Canyons Village at Park City Mountain. The breakaway escaped early from the 101-rider field and pushed the gap to over four minutes as they raced passed Rockport Reservoir. The move included Morton, Travis McCabe (USA) of Worthy Pro Cycling, and two Team BridgeLane riders, McCormick and Dylan Sunderland (AUS). With less than 10 kilometers to go, Morton countered an attack by Sunderland and only McCormick was able to cover his acceleration.

In his third day in a breakaway, McCabe collected top points in the two intermediate sprints and finished 10th on the stage to solidify his lead in the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey competition. Kevin Vermaerke (USA) of Hagens Berman Axeon was voted the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite, in the category of Most Promising Rookie.

Stage winner, Lachlan Morton (EF Education First): “I’m not normally one to look at the finish, but I had a feeling. So five minutes before the start, I went and rode the last 300 meters. The only chance to come around is in the last 50 (meters). Very perfect timing for me, which I’d love to say that I planned, but sometimes luck falls that way and you get the win. The BridgeLane guys played it really smart, and as I would expect from an Australian team, they’re always pretty cagey. So my only play was to try to get rid of one of them before the top, and just take one to the line. That’s how it played out.”

2nd on the stage, Hayden McCormick (Team BridgeLane): “Today I wanted to try and get the KOM jersey, which was the main goal of the day. Obviously, I tried to win the stage. It was a good day, nice to redeem myself a little bit after yesterday.”

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah 2019 Stage 5 presented by University of Utah Health Result:
1. Lachlan Morton (Aus) EF Education First in 3:05:54
2. Hayden McCormick (NZ) Team BridgeLane
3. Simone Velasco (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM at 0:18
4. Macro Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane
5. Evan Huffman (USA) Rally UHC
6. Dylan Sunderalnd (Aus) Team BridgeLane at 0:26
7. Michael Rice (Aus) Hagens Berman Axeon at 0:29
8. Samuel Boardman (USA) Wildlife Generation Pro p/b Maxxis
9. Matt Zimmer (USA) DC Bank Pro Cycling at 0:31
10. Bernat Font (Spa) 303 Project at 0:49.

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah 2019 Overall After Stage 5 presented by University of Utah Health:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy in 15:34:34
2. James Piccoli (Can) Elevate-KHS at 0:46
3. Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 1:10
4. Kyle Murphy (USA) Rally UHC at 1:48
5. Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First at 2:08
6. Joao Almeida (Por) Hagens Berman Axeon at 2:34
7. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 2:47
8. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 3:10
9. Rob Britton (Can) Rally UHC at 3:53
10. Matteo Badilatti (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy at 4:15.

Belgian Ben Hermans of Israel Cycling Academy successfully fended off all challengers to earn the top prize at the 2019 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah in front of huge crowds in Park City on Sunday. Hermans rode a masterful race to finish fourth on Stage 6 presented by Utah Sports Commission and take the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall Leader title.

Stage 6 presented by Utah Sports Commission found a select group of riders battling for the overall victory on the Hors Category climb of Empire Pass, followed by the thrilling descent into Park City. American Joe Dombrowski of EF Education First attacked multiple times on Empire Pass before blasting downhill solo at speeds reaching 70 kilometers per hour and took his first victory in four years.

João Almeida (POR) of Hagens Berman Axeon led the four-rider chase group across the finish line, 24 seconds behind Dombrowski for second place. Keegan Swirbul (USA) of Worthy Pro Cycling was third and Hermans fourth.

The 15th edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, known as “America’s Toughest Stage Race,” included 477 miles of racing and 37,882 feet of elevation gain. Over the course of seven days of hard racing, three different riders wore the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall Leader’s yellow jersey. Hermans climbed into the lead on Stage 2 presented by Monster Hydro in Powder Mountain Resort and never lost time.

The final G.C. time for Hermans was 18 hours and 46 minutes. James Piccoli (CAN) of Elevate – KHS Pro Cycling, who won the Prologue, was fifth on Stage 6 and finished second in the G.C. With the stage win, Dombrowski moved to third overall. Placing fourth overall was Almeida, who claimed the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey. Swirbul jumped up three spots to finish eighth overall.

The start of Stage 6 presented by Utah Sports Commission featured a group of 23 riders who broke away from the 101-rider peloton at the first of two Utah Sports Commission Sprint lines in Kamas. Kept on a short leash by Israel Cycling Academy, the escapees were reeled back in on the bottom of Empire Pass, the second Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climb before the battle for stage and G.C. podium places.

Hayden McCormick (NZ) of Team BridgeLane defended the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain Leader jersey. Racing aggressively throughout the seven days of racing, Piccoli was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Fans selected Tony Baca (MEX) of 303 Project as the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite in the Overall Fan Favorite category. EF Education First finished as the best overall team.

Overall winner and 4th on the stage, Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy): “From the first time that I did this race in 2014, I had a good feeling with this race and I kept getting better results in the G.C. It’s really amazing. I really enjoy it here. It’s amazing to ride for these crowds. And to be there on the podium in the yellow jersey is really, really nice. I think now it’s for sure the toughest race, it’s even the toughest race of Europe I think. It’s hard to climb at this altitude.”

Stage winner and 3rd overall, Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First): “I wanted to win the stage today. I know Empire. I’ve done this climb a number of times in training and obviously have done this climb quite a few times in the race. Eventually I decided to ease off on the climb and hopefully some guys would come back. And then, maybe it would present another opportunity to go just at the very top (of the climb), because if you have a gap on the descent, normally you can keep it to the line. And it worked out.”

Sprint jersey winner, Travis McCabe (Worthy Pro Cycling): “I think the heat, the altitude, the short(er) stages, everything adds up to making it one of the toughest races in the U.S. It’s full gas every day. There’s no respite, there are no days that are easy. We really wanted to come out, showcase Worthy Brewing, showcase how strong of a domestic team we have, and also just get the results. Keegan (finishing) third today, me taking the sprint jersey, Serghei (Tvetcov) third in the Prologue and second in the Salt Lake City stage, I think we’ve showed the depth that we have on a smaller team. It feels great. I love Utah, it’s one of my favorite races all year long, and proud to have the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey again.

Tour of Utah Managing Director John Kimball: “It was a great week of racing. We are so proud of this state and we wanted to showcase it to the world. Thank you to the Miller family, for our nine host communities, for the over 50 corporate partners that step up to make this race happen, and most importantly, to the volunteers that step up and really contribute to pull this thing off. This is our 15th year. The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is proud to say that we’re going to be back next year. We look forward to working with the UCI in getting those dates this fall and we’re excited to see where we are going to go next year.”

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Stage 6 p/b Utah Sports Commission Result:
1. Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First in 3:11:09
2. João Almeida (Por) Hagens Berman Axeon at 0:24
3. Keegan Swirbul (USA) Worthy Pro Cycling at 0:26
4. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
5. James Piccoli (Can) Elevate-KHS at 0:30
6. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 1:24
7. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Cycling Academy at 1:39
8. Kyle Murphy (USA) Rally UHC at 1:58
9. Rob Britton (Can) Rally UHC at 2:06
10. Lachlan Morton (Aus) EF Education First at 2:11.

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Final Overall Result:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy in 18:46:09
2. James Piccoli (Can) Elevate-KHS at 0:50
3. Joe Dombrowski (USA) EF Education First at 1:32
4. João Almeida (Por) Hagens Berman Axeon at 2:26
5. Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 2:57
6. Kyle Murphy (USA) Rally UHC at 3:20
7. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 4:08
8. Keegan Swirbul (USA) Worthy Pro Cycling at 4:40
9. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 5:22
10. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Israel Cycling Academy at 5:28.

Utah’19 final podium (video soon):

Arctic Race of Norway 2019
Mathieu van der Poel continued his winning streak in road racing… four months after he last competed and bagged the Amstel Gold Race. The Dutchman powered to victory from a 33-man leading group that contested Stage 1 of the Arctic Race of Norway in a very competitive mode at the front. His switch from mountain-biking has been impressive again.

The strong motivation of Norwegian champion Groendahl Jansen
119 riders started stage 1 of the 7th Arctic Race of Norway at 13.39 in Å. Despite many skirmishes after the flag off, no breakaway managed to take shape until Jonas Hvideberg (Uno-X Norwegian Development Team), Adam De Vos (Rally UHC) and Otto Vergaerde (Corendon-Circus) took off after 25km of racing. Crosswinds gave ideas to ambitious riders like Astana’s Magnus Cort and Norwegian national champion Amund Groendahl Jansen of Jumbo-Visma. Their actions put an end the adventure of the leading trio. Groendahl Jansen attacked again before the first intermediate sprint and won it on the first passage onto the finishing line in Leknes ahead of last year’s runner up Markus Hoelgaard (Uno-X Norwegian Development Team) and Kazakh national champion Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) after 59.5km of racing, including 48.36km covered in the first hour.

33 riders at the front, including Van der Poel, Barguil, Lutsenko and Taaramäe
It was all together when Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) passed first atop the 2nd category KOM at km 64 but the Englishman’s acceleration led to the formation of a 33-man leading group that included most of the GC favorites: Lutsenko, Hugo Houle and Cort (Astana), Hoelgaard (Uno-X Norwegian Development Team), Brendan McNulty (Rally UHC), Cummings and Enrico Gasparotto (Dimension Data), Warren Barguil and Franck Bonnamour (Arkéa-Samsic), Ilnur Zakarin and Pavel Kotchekov (Katusha-Alpecin), Rein Taaramäe, Jonathan Hivert and Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie), Amund Groendahl Jansen, Floris De Tier, Pascal Eenkhorn and Danny van Poppel (Jumbo-Visma), Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy), Benjamin De Clercq, Preben Van Hecke and Jordi Warlop (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus), Quentin Pacher (Vital Concept-B&B Hôtels), Christophe Laporte and Loïc Chetout (Cofidis), Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Mauro Finetto (Delko Marseille), Dimitri Peyskens (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Sindre Lunke, Lucas Eriksson and Kim Magnusson (Riwal Readynez) and Artiz Bagues (Euskadi-Murias). Vital Concept was the unhappiest team with the composition of the first split so they pulled the peloton for their sprinter Bryan Coquard. Having missed the move, Team Coop and Joker Fuel of Norway also took turns at the head of the peloton. They maintained the gap under 1’20’’ and brought it down to less than 50’’ but they surrendered with 40km to go.

Cruel end for Cummings
Lutsenko put the hammer down with 27km remaining. He crossed the finishing line first with a little advantage with 24.5km to go and that was another three seconds of time bonus under his belt before Hoelgaard got two more ahead of Pasqualon. Calmejane, Eenkhorn and Cummings made it across to the Kazakh rider. It enabled Cummings to extend his lead in the King of the Mountains competition. The 33 leaders were all together again 14km before the end. Lutsenko won the last intermediate sprint with 10.5km remaining, ahead of Cort and Neilands. Barguil, Cort and De Tier reacted to Cummings’ attack with 8.5km to go. Hoelgaard rode across to the quartet, so did Groendahl Jansen and it was up to Van der Poel to bring the attackers back. But Cummings went again solo with less than 5km to cover. He stayed ahead until 50 meters to go when Van der Poel passed him in a powerful winning sprint ahead of Van Poppel and Pasqualon.

Stage winner and overall leader, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “It was a very hard race indeed. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw on my computer that our average speed was over 50km/h after three hours of racing. It was hard all day and I kind of liked it like that. At the end, I had to gamble that Jumbo-Visma would be closing the gap [on Stephen Cummings] as well as myself. There were a few other strong guys at the front. It was a difficult situation but with 7 or 8km to go, I already had in my mind that I was waiting for the sprint. I didn’t have many options so I was just waiting and trying to time my sprint perfectly. Many riders aren’t contending the GC anymore I think, because of this breakaway today. It’s gonna be very hard to defend the jersey.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Gobert): “It was a fast day. I understood from the start that the breakaway had a good chance to battle for the victory today. Several ten rider groups tried to escape from the peloton from the first kilometer, but the peloton didn’t let go. I tried two to three times myself, before joining the good group. Afterwards, the final was animated by some attacks, but Jumbo controlled for the sprint. I’ve chosen Van Poppel’s wheel, because he disposed of the most solid team. I maybe had to position myself more towards the back, like Van der Poel, in order to come from the back with speed. But this 3rd place is satisfying, because Van der Poel was untouchable. I could have finished 2nd, but I started my effort too late. I want to be in the mix for the sprint again this Friday, but for the victory this time. I won’t be satisfied with a place of honor anymore, I want to win if my legs permit it. And on Saturday, I’ll try to follow the best as long as possible, as I’m the only rider from the team in a position to go for the general classification. The climb is not long, but very steep, so I can handle this with good legs.”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 1 Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 3:45:14
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
3. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert
4. Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
6. Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension Data
8. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team
9. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
10. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Arkéa Samsic.

Arctic Race of Norway Overall After Stage 1:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 3:45:04
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:03
3. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:04
4. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert at 0:05
5. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team at 0:06
6. Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 0:07
7. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana at 0:08
8. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:09
9. Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:10
10. Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Bryan Coquard became the first Frenchman to win a stage at the Arctic Race of Norway. At the end of Stage 2 in Svolvær, with the wonderful scenery of the Lofoten islands as a backdrop, he out-sprinted Mathieu van der Poel who extended his lead in the overall classification ahead of the queen stage. The Dutch prodigy has put his hands up for defending his “midnight sun” jersey up to the Storheia summit.

Four Scandinavians in the lead
117 riders started stage 2 of the 7th Arctic Race of Norway in Henningsvær at 14.08. Erik Nordsætter Resell (Uno-X Norwegian Development Team), Henrik Evensen (Joker Fuel of Norway), Viking of the Day Håkon Aalrust (Team Coop) and Tobias Mørch Kongstad (Riwal Readynez Cycling Team) got clear off the peloton after 2km of racing. Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Cycling Academy) went in between. The deficit of the peloton led by the team-mates of race leader Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) reached 2 minutes at km 10. Van Asbroeck kept losing time and surrendered just before the first intermediate sprint at Lofoten Links (km 18.5) where the bunch was timed 3:15 behind Mørch Kongstad, Resell and Evensen who crossed the line in that order. The leading quartet made of three Norwegians and a Dane covered 46.4km in the first hour of racing.

Markus Hoelgaard’s brave attack near the end
Former Belgian champion and double winner of the Tour of Flanders Stijn Devolder did a lot of work at the head of the pack to maintain the time gap at a maximum of 3’30’’. Several teams interested in a bunch sprint finish in Svolvær took over from Corendon-Circus before the last hour of racing: Vital Concept-B&B Hôtels, Delko Marseille, Wallonie-Bruxelles, Cofidis, Wanty-Gobert. Mørch Kongstad crossed the line the of the second intermediate sprint in first position with 33.5km to go while the time difference was 1:50. 15km before the end, Aalrust and Resell sped up in order to keep the breakaway alive. Resell forged on by himself with 8km remaining. He got reined in just before the last intermediate sprint won by his team-mate Markus Hoelgaard with 5km to go. The wearer of the best young rider jersey continued on his own.

Danny van Poppel in the gutter
It was all together again 2km before the end. Danny van Poppel, second on stage 1, was diverted to the grass by a wave in the peloton with 1.5km to go and that meant one top sprinter was out of contention. Cofidis gave a strong lead out to Christophe Laporte but it was Coquard who timed it at perfection and didn’t give room to Van der Poel to overhaul him. It was the eighth victory of the 27 year old French rider this year while the Dutchman has now 9’’ lead over Alexey Lutsenko and Hoelgaard.

Stage winner, Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept-B&B Hotel): “Mathieu van der Poel is very, very strong but I never thought he was unbeatable. I was sure that I could beat him if I was on a good day and in a good position for sprinting. It was a very tactical day today. We played a bit with the other teams. Only Stijn Devolder and Patrick Müller worked at the front of the peloton for most of the stage. In the finale, Kevin Reza and Jérémy Lecroq led me out as we kept Quentin Pacher for the overall classification. Kevin was amazing in this role. I positioned myself in the wheel of Christophe Laporte and I managed to pass him. I’m very happy. We came to the Arctic Race of Norway for winning a stage. Yesterday we messed up a bit with only one rider at the front out of 33 but Quentin remains in contention for the GC. The Arctic Race is already a successful one for us after today’s win.”

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “I’m not really disappointed. I know that after a stage like this one, I’m not the fastest in the bunch. I think I did quite a good sprint. I didn’t feel very good after the hard stage we had yesterday. My legs were hurting a little bit. Let’s hope tomorrow will be better. For someone like me coming from mountain biking efforts, the climb is better than a long one but we’ll see how the climbers attack. Normally it should be a little bit too hard for me. Maybe if I have a super good day, I can follow them.”

4th overall, Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Gobert): “We had an easier day today, although we finished the stage with an average of almost 47 km/h. The team positioned me very well, therefore I want to thank my teammates. But the sprint as fast and dangerous. A lot of riders tried to be in the mix at the front, and I preferred to not take too many risks, because two important days are awaiting us. I’m already thinking about the finish in Storheia. There are probably six or seven better climbers than me on this climb, but I want to achieve a top 10 in the general classification. The stage on Sunday will be difficult as well, but first I want to focus on the race on Saturday and take the race day by day.”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 2 Result:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel in 3:31:11
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
3. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
4. August Jensen (Nor) Israel Cycling Academy
5. Louis Bendixen (Den) Team Coop
6. Herman Dahl (Nor) Joker Fuel of Norway
7. Emils Liepins (Lat) Wallonie Bruxelles
8. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Arctic Race of Norway Overall After Stage 2:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 7:16:09
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:09
3. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team
4. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert at 0:11
5. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:12
6. Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 0:13
7. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
8. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana at 0:14
9. Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:16
10. Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Norway’s Odd Christian Eiking of Wanty-Groupe Gobert claimed his first win of the 2019 season on home soil as he clinched the Queen Stage 3 of the Arctic Race of Norway atop the unprecedented and grueling Storheia Summit. Second on the line, French national champion Warren Barguil from Arkéa-Samsic took the overall lead with a slim advantage of three seconds over Kazakhstan national champion Alexey Lutsenko. A tight finish is expected in the conclusive stage in Narvik!

Bryan Coquard in the breakaway of the day
117 riders started stage 3 of the 7th Arctic Race of Norway in Sortland. Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg was in attendance. Storvatnet climb was located right after the flag off. It was suitable for early attacks. King of the Mountains Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) passed the Storeidet hill in first position at km 18, after which the breakaway of the day was formed by five riders: stage 2 winner Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept-B&B Hôtels), Kristian Sbaragli (Israel Cycling Academy), Danny van Poppel (Jumbo-Visma), Erlend Blikra (Team Coop) and Thimo Willems (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise). Coquard won the first intermediate sprint at Myre, km 44.5 and the second one at Sortland, km 84. The leading quintet was able to carve out a maximum advantage of 3:20 with over 100km remaining. Corendon-Circus and Astana led the peloton to decrease the gap. Sbaragli won the KOM at Storvatnet, km 90, with an advantage of 1:55 over the peloton. After two hours of racing, the average speed was 44.3km/h.

Astana, Katusha-Alpecin and Delko Marseille chasing
Katusha-Alpecin and Delko Marseille seized the command of the peloton. Trainee Juri Hollmann and Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz were their designated riders for pacing. With Yuriy Natarov pulling as well, Astana continued to show that their ambitions to win the Arctic Race of Norway with Lutsenko were high. Stabilized earlier around 1:15, the deficit of the bunch was back up to two minutes when Coquard took the third intermediate sprint ahead of Van Poppel at Stokmarknes with 34.5km to go. Job done, the French sprinter sat up and awaited the peloton. 25km before the end, the deficit of the peloton was 1:25. Van Poppel was next to sit up at the 10km to go mark while the time gap was reduced to 45 seconds.

Storheia too steep for Mathieu van der Poel
Blikra attacked at the bottom of the finishing climb with 5.5km to go. 1km further, Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) sustained a mechanical and got a bike change. Blikra was the last breakaway rider to be reeled in with 3km to go. Loïc Vliegen (Wanty-Gobert) was first to go clear off the bunch and Barguil the second to up the tempo in a steep part 2.5km before the finish. With 2km to go, race leader Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) had to let four riders go: Lutsenko and Hugo Houle (Astana), Eiking and Barguil. Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie) and Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) made the junction inside the steep last kilometer. 400 meters before the line, Eiking powered to victory as Barguil and Lutsenko couldn’t hold onto his wheel. They crossed the line in that order with Barguil taking the lead of the general classification over from Van der Poel, with an advantage of 3 seconds over Lutsenko and 15 seconds over Neilands.

Stage winner, Odd Christian Eiking (Wanty-Gobert): “It feels amazing! I get my first win of the year here on this finish against those very strong guys, it’s fantastic. With 1km to go, the other guys at the front slowed down and I saw some riders coming from behind. I knew that I had to go early to surprise them. I went as hard as I could with 400 meters to go. There was a moment I thought it was not going to work but I had enough of a gap to stay upfront till the line.”

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic): “I have mixed feelings about my result. I put my money on Odd Christian because I knew his motivation and I saw his legs. He’s in a great shape. I said he could win and he was stronger than me indeed. I came close to him. There was no more I could do. It’s not a bad result for me. It’ll be tight tomorrow. Only one bonus sprint would be enough for Lutsenko to be on the same time as me but I have faith in my team-mates.”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 3 Result:
1. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Gobert in 4:07:32
2. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:05
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:13
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie at 0:17
5. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
6. Hugo Houle (Can) Astana at 0:23
7. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data at 0:32
8. Simon Carr (GB) Delko-Marseille Provence at 0:36
9. Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
10. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana.

Arctic Race of Norway Overall After Stage 3:
1. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic in 11:23:56
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:03
3. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:15
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie at 0:18
5. Hugo Houle (Can) Astana at 0:30
6. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana at 0:35
7. Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team at 0:37
8. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension Data at 0:48
9. Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally UHC
10. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team at 0:52.

Norwegian riders made a 1-2 in the conclusive stage of the Arctic Race of Norway with Markus Hoelgaard and national champion Amund Grøndahl Jansen but the overall victory went to Alexey Lutsenko who came third on the line in Narvik and beat Warren Barguil by only one second.

Battles for time bonus and KOM
116 riders started Stage 4 of the 7th Arctic Race of Norway in Lødingen. Many skirsmishes took place in the first part of the race. Green jersey holder Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) broke away at km 18 along with his team-mate Lasse Norman Hansen and five other riders but they got brought back before the first intermediate sprint at Kongsvik, km 27.5, where Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) out-sprinted Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) and Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy). Therefore, the race leader extended his advantage over runner up Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) by two seconds. The second fight of the day was for the King of the Mountains. At Gullberget Summit, km 47, Jonas Hvideberg (Uno-X Norwegian Development Team) crested in first position ahead of Tom-Jelte Slagter (Dimension Data) and Van der Poel who participated in a 14-man breakaway that generated a six-man strong front group at half way into the race: Hvideberg, Slagter, Andreas Vangstad (Joker Fuel of Norway), Tom Van Asbroeck (Israel Cycling Academy), Pascal Eenkhorn (Jumbo-Visma) and Otto Vergaerde (Corendon-Circus).

Nine riders in the lead
Pavel Kotchekov (Katusha-Alpecin), Johan Le Bon (Vital Concept-B&B Hôtels) and Kenny Molly (Wallonie-Bruxelles) bridged the gap to make it a 9-man leading group with 50km to go. Astana and Arkéa-Samsic were the most committed teams at the helm of the peloton, especially the Kazakh team eager to put Lutsenko in a position to contest more time bonuses. The breakaway split and four riders entered the finishing circuit in the lead: Van Asbroeck, Eenkhorn, Vangstad and Hvideberg. The peloton didn’t catch them before the second intermediate sprint of the day with 31.5km to go where Vangstad passed first in front of Eenkhorn and Hvideberg. It was all together again with 29km remaining.

Odd Christian Eiking is the King of the Mountains
Stage 3 winner Odd Christian Eiking of Wanty-Groupe Gobert went on the hunt for the King of the Mountains salmon jersey with 26.5km to go. Jimmy Janssens (Corendon-Circus), Kristian Aasvold (Coop), Lucas Erikson (Riwal) and Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin) got a gap at 20km to go. It was all together again with 17km remaining. Lutsenko beat Barguil for the third and last intermediate sprint with 10km to go. Markus Hoelgaard (Uno-X Norwegian Development Team) went clear in the last climb with 6km to go. He forged on and fended off the return of Grøndahl Jansen of Jumbo-Visma who chased by himself in the last kilometer but couldn’t bridge the gap onto his compatriot. Lutsenko rushed to third place, which awarded him four seconds bonus, the equivalent of his deficit to Barguil, but one second on the line between them two made the Kazakh champion the seventh winner of the Arctic Race of Norway rather than the French champion.

Schackley and Gråsvold win the “heroes of tomorrow” races
The “heroes of tomorrow” races were contested in Narvik before the arrival of the Arctic Race of Norway. Scotland’s Anna Schackley won the girls’ race ahead of Norwegians Elise Marie Olsen and Anne Dorthe Ysland while Norwegian boys captured the top 4 places with Dennis Gråsvold taking a solo win 4 seconds before Tord Gudmestad, Sindre Hvesser Brein and Johannes Staune-Mittet. Britain’s Adam Scarffe finished 5th.

Stage winner, Markus Hoelgaard (Uno-X Norwegian Development Team): “I didn’t plan exactly that but that was one of the places I considered if there was an opportunity for attacking there. It was a perfect moment because the group stopped after riding flat out, so I went for it. I felt good all day and I had really good help from my team. When I got a gap, I knew it would be very difficult to catch me. I rode full gas to the finish and luckily I made it. I’ve always liked the Arctic Race of Norway and I’ve always come to this race in a good shape. It was really good to be second overall last year but as a cyclist you always dream of winning so I rate today’s performance even higher.”

Overall winner and 3rd on the stage, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “I am so happy with this victory! It is an amazing feeling to fight until the last meter and to win! I had a huge support from my team, and I want to thank all teammates for this week and for this victory! It is our team’s success! Yesterday we had a super hard stage and the final climb did not suit me really well, but I knew that today’s profile would suit me much better. So, I was motivated to do something, and I succeed. I knew I had to attack on the local laps, and I did my best. I attacked for many times, but every time Barguil was on my wheel. He did a great race too. It was hard to drop him on the last climb, so I put everything on the final sprint and this tactic worked out very well. This is my first win this season in the jersey of the Kazakh champion and I am really happy to bring this victory to my country in the Day of Sports in Kazakhstan. Also, I am happy to bring the 11th overall victory to Astana Pro Team and to our main sponsor Samruk-Kazyna. As I know this is a record-breaking achievement for our team.”

3rd overall and 9th on the stage, Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy): “Third overall is a good result for me and a good result for the team. I’m happy with my performance. It’s been a good week for us. We have to be proud of this result because the other two guys on the podium are some of the best cyclists in the world. It’s nice to be there with them.”

KOM, Odd Eiking (Wanty-Gobert): “It surprised me to see after the stage yesterday that I was in second position in the mountains classification. I decided during today’s local laps to go for this salmon jersey, because I felt quite good. I wanted to grab the change to take revenge in this Arctic Race, after coming back rather disappointed from the Tour de France. Mission accomplished!”

Arctic Race of Norway Stage 4 Result:
1. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team in 3:35:32
2. Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Jumbo-Visma
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro at 0:03
4. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:04
5. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
6. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie
7. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension Data
8. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
10. Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team.

Arctic Race of Norway Final Overall Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 14:59:27
2. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:01
3. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:19
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie at 0:23
5. Hugo Houle (Can) Astana at 0:40
6. Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (Nor) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team at 0:42
7. Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team at 0:43
8. Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) Jumbo-Visma at 0:51
9. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension Data at 0:53
10. Stephen Cummings (GB) Dimension Data at 1:12.

Vuelta a España 2019
The Spanish Grand Tour starts this Saturday, 24th of August in Torrevieja with a team time trial. Route and rider previews coming up on Tuesday and Wednesday here on PEZ. The team news has started to come in, here are the first announcements:

Team Sunweb Present 2019 Vuelta a España line-up
Team Sunweb are pleased to announce the riders that will be racing at this year’s Vuelta a España. The race offers various opportunities for the team throughout the three weeks of action, as they focus on a good GC result and stage success.

Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts discussed the race: “The race starts with a 13.4 kilometer team time trial in Torrevieja and we will then race over some familiar roads from our training camps on the Costa Blanca, heading north to the first high mountain stage in Andorra, followed by a 36 kilometer individual time trial in Pau. The race then moves through the Basque Country and Asturias before the final week in central Spain and the finish in Madrid.

“With two time trials and eight hilltop finishes, including the brutal Alto de Los Machucos and Alto de La Cubilla to sort the GC, there looks to be five or six opportunities for sprinters and the rest of the stages will likely go to breakaways or a decimated bunch.

“Our main goal will be to target a good GC result with Wilco. We bring strong support with Nicholas, Australians Robert and Michael, and also all-round talent Martijn, who we are really happy to see on our line-up after a really difficult period recovering from his Paris-Nice crash. Max will be taking aim at stage success in the flat sprints, backed up by Grand Tour debutant Casper and our road captain Nikias.”

Nikias Arndt (GER), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Casper Pedersen (DEN), Robert Power (AUS), Nicholas Roche (IRL), Michael Storer (AUS), Martijn Tusveld (NED), Max Walscheid (GER).
Coaches: Arthur van Dongen (NED) and Luke Roberts (AUS).

AG2R-La Mondiale Team for La Vuelta a España
Julien Jurdie presents the riders from the AG2R-La Mondiale team who will take part in the Vuelta a España starting on August 24th in Salinas de Torrevieja. At 29, Silvan Dillier will play the dean of the team racing in the Vuelta a España whose average age is 26 years.
By way of comparison, the average age of the team who raced the Giro d’Italia was 29.875 years, and the Tour de France team had an average age of 29.5 years.

François Bidard
Born 19 March 1992, 27 years old
2nd participation
Principle results:
3rd in stage 6 Tour de Suisse (2019) ; 6th in stage 19 Giro d’Italia (2019)

“For the first time in his career, François will race two Grands Tours in the same season. He proved at the Giro d’Italia and at the Tour de Suisse that he has gained another level physically. He recuperates very well from his efforts, and he always remains calm. François will be an important element in our efforts throughout the Vuelta.”

Geoffrey Bouchard
Born 1 April 1992, 27 years old
1st participation
Principle results:
Champion of France Road Elite Amateurs (2018) ; 19th UAE Tour (2019)

“Geoffrey will participate in his first Grand Tour for his first year as a professional. After a spring dedicated to his apprenticeship among the pros, he has found a very high level, as he was able to show at the recent Tour de Pologne where he was an important part of the team.”

Clément Chevrier
Born 29 June 1992, 27 years old
3rd participation
Principle results:
22th Olympic Test Event (2019); 26th Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

“We line up with a very young team at the Vuelta (read The Number below), and Clément is the rider on the squad who knows this Grand Tour the best. For his third participation, his role will be to be present during the difficult stages, and he can also try his luck in a breakaway.”

Silvan Dillier
Born 3 August 1990, 29 years old
2nd participation
Principle results:
7 wins including a stage of the Giro d’Italia (2017), Road Race Champion of Switzerland (2017) ; 2nd Paris-Roubaix (2018)

“At 29, Silvan will be the oldest member of the team at this Vuelta! He missed the Tour de France following his fractured collarbone, but he quickly returned to a top level. As road captain, his role will be varied: a strong rouleur, he will play the pace leader in the team time trial; his experience in the classics will be very useful during the nervous stages. He can also win a stage himself.”

Dorian Godon
Born 25 May 1996, 23 years old
1st participation
Principle results:
Winner of the prologue Boucles de la Mayenne (2018-2019)

“This will be the first Grand Tour for Dorian, who once more proved his qualities this year by winning the prologue of the Boucles de la Mayenne for the second year in a row. He will bring his freshness and will be an asset during those tense moments to protect our leader.”

Quentin Jaurégui
Born 22 April 1994, 25 years old
2nd participation
Principle results :
2nd Boucles de l’Aulne, 3rd Paris Camembert, 4th stage 4 UAE Tour (2019) ; winner GP de la Somme (2015)

“Quentin knows how to do the job of a helpful teammate at a Grand Tour. He is close to Pierre and he knows how to anticipate race moves to protect his leader. He is a rider who can stay strong in the medium mountain stages. And he has a good finishing speed, so he can win a stage at this Vuelta.”

Pierre Latour
Born 12 October 1993, 25 years old
2nd participation
Principle results :
Winner of a stage at the Vuelta (2016) ; Time Trial Champion of France (2017-2018) ; Best Young Rider Tour de France (2018).

“Pierre has had a very disrupted season with his big crash in mid-February before the UAE Tour. After having to give up his spot at the Tour de France, he has been able to prepare well all July. His return to the Tour de Pologne (6th place overall) shows that he is not very far from his best level. He will be our leader at the Vuelta where he can aspire to do beautiful things.”

Clément Venturini
Born 16 October 1993, 26 years old
1st participation
Principle results:
4 victories, 16 top 10s in 2019

“Clément is in good shape, but he has sometimes been a bit unlucky this year. He can get over some of the tougher climbs in good position, has a good turn of speed, and he has been very consistent since the beginning of the season. He’s missing a big win, and it may well come at the Vuelta this year where he does not have to deal with too many other sprinters.”

Lotto Soudal Heads to La Vuelta with Team of Attackers
On Saturday 24 August, the 74th Vuelta a España will be kicked off with a team time trial in Torrevieja. Lotto Soudal will be at the start with these eight riders: Sander Armée (33), Thomas De Gendt (32), Carl Fredrik Hagen (27), Tomasz Marczyński (35), Tosh Van der Sande (28), Brian van Goethem (28), Harm Vanhoucke (22) and Jelle Wallays (30). This team of attackers will hunt for stage success in Spain. In the past, Armée, De Gendt, Marczyński and Wallays have been able to win one or multiple stages in La Vuelta. Hagen, van Goethem and Vanhoucke will make their Grand Tour debut.

Sander Armée will ride the Vuelta for the fifth time in his career. During the 2017 edition, the 33-year-old super domestique captured his first and at the moment only professional victory by completing an early breakaway and finishing solo in Santo Toribio de Liébana. Armée will undoubtedly want to show his aggressive style of racing and climbing abilities once again this year.

After the Giro and Tour, Thomas De Gendt will be at the start of his third Grand Tour of the season. Last year, his never-ending urge to attack was rewarded with the mountains jersey; that way, he became the eighth Belgian to take home this jersey after a Grand Tour. Following a first stage victory at the Vuelta in 2017, the breakaway king will for sure target new successes.

Carl Fredrik Hagen sees a strong first season at Lotto Soudal rewarded with a Vuelta selection. The 27-year-old Norwegian will ride his first ever Grand Tour and will find the ideal terrain to show his climbing qualities. Also youngster Harm Vanhoucke makes his Grand Tour debut at La Vuelta and will be able to gather experience on his favorite mountainous terrain. Just like Hagen and Vanhoucke, Brian van Goethem will for the first time get a taste of what it’s like to be racing for three consecutive weeks.

Jelle Wallays will head towards La Vuelta for the fourth time, a race in which he took a sensational win last year. During stage eighteen – on the way to Lleida – the 30-year-old Belgian defended together with his two breakaway companions a small advantage all day long, but a strong and smart Wallays played it cool, resisted to the chasing peloton and triumphed. Tomasz Marczyński will be at the start of La Vuelta for the fourth time. The Polish climber could celebrate twice in the 2017 edition; Tomasz won both the sixth and twelfth stage. This year’s Vuelta will be the fifth participation for Tosh Van der Sande. The 28-year-old Belgian can rely on his strong sprint at the end of a hard day, which already resulted in various top ten results in the final Grand Tour of the season. Tosh already proved to be in excellent shape with his recent stage victory in the Tour de Wallonie.

Line-up La Vuelta Lotto Soudal:
Sander Armée, Thomas De Gendt, Carl Fredrik Hagen, Tomasz Marczyński, Tosh Van der Sande, Brian van Goethem, Harm Vanhoucke and Jelle Wallays.

Thomas De Gendt will be on the attack:

CCC Team Brings Mix of Youth and Experience to the Vuelta a España
The third Grand Tour of the year, Vuelta a España, gets underway this Saturday (24 August) with CCC Team lining up at the start in Salinas de Torrevieja with a motivated roster aiming for stage wins. CCC Team will bring a mix of youth and experience to Spain, with more than half of the team making their debut in a three-week race Sports Director, Jackson Stewart explained.

“We will go to the Vuelta a España with less of a General Classification focus but, we will rally behind Víctor de la Parte and support him in his home tour. We will start motivated to perform well in the team time trial and take every opportunity we can in the breakaways throughout the race,” Stewart said.

“Patrick Bevin and Will Barta are very motivated for the time trial events and both have proven that are capable of delivering a good result on those stages. Jonas Koch, together with Szymon Sajnok, and guided by Fran Ventoso, will look for some success in the few sprint stages, while Paweł Bernas and Nathan Van Hooydonck will have opportunities throughout the race to ride aggressively in the breakaways. It looks like a dynamic Vuelta route and we have several riders excited to ride their first Grand Tour.”

Vuelta a España (24 August – 15 September)
Rider Roster:

Will Barta (USA): First time racing
“I am absolutely thrilled to be starting in my first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a España and I would like to thank CCC Team for giving me this opportunity. I’m hoping to gain a lot of experience and see how I can carry myself over a three-week race. In the race, I would like to help others and take any opportunities that present themselves for me. I am also looking forward to Stage 10, which is an individual time trial. I think my form is good at the moment, as I have been putting in some good training in Nice, and hopefully, the time riding in the hot weather here will pay off in Spain.”

Paweł Bernas (POL): First time racing
“It’s my first Grand Tour and one of the goals is to finish the race. I also want to showcase myself in the breakaways and ride aggressively. This is the plan and we will see how the race will go. In the Grand Tours, some of the breakaways make it to the line and some don’t, so you need to have some luck as well. I will definitely look for any opportunity and hopefully, that will turn into some nice result. After the Tour de Pologne, I’m getting back to my top form. I was racing quite a lot lately at a high level and at the end of the Tour de Pologne, I felt that my legs were tired. I’ve had a chance to get some rest and start the proper preparation for the Vuelta in Mallorca by doing longer training rides and some speed sessions. I believe that my form is exactly where I need it to be and I should line up at the start of this three-week race in optimal shape.”

Patrick Bevin (NZL): 2016
“I’m very excited to be back for the Vuelta a España. My motivation is super high after recovering from broken ribs and I’m really looking forward to pinning a number on again. My major goal is the time trial, although I feel like it’s going to be a Vuelta with a number of opportunities to really have a go at stage results as the race develops. I have done my final preparation in Andorra so, I’m really looking forward to the stage which is held there, where I know what lies ahead when they drop the flag.”

Víctor de la Parte (ESP): First time racing
“I am really happy to make my debut in my home Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España. It’s been a long time since my last race but, I have been working very hard at the altitude training camp in Andorra in the past month. Due to lack of racing, the first week may not be easy for me but, I’m very motivated to start the race off on a good note. There are some hard stages ahead of us, which should suit me and for sure I will try to enjoy the mountains where I feel at my best.”

Jonas Koch (GER): First time racing
“I’m really looking forward to the race. The high altitude training camp in Livigno was very important, as I was able to cover hundreds of kilometers in the mountains there. I also had some good weeks of training at home so, my form should be optimal. It’s my first Grand Tour and of course, you want to finish it on your first attempt and I also want to give it a go in the breakaways on stages which suit me. In the sprint, I’m ready to both support the team or go for a result myself.”

Szymon Sajnok (POL): First time racing
“I’m trying to approach the Vuelta a España without too much stress and expectations. It’s going to be my first long race, but I’m optimistic and ready to fight. My goal is to get a nice result on the flat stages. Even though I had a few crashes and had to miss the Tour de Pologne, I feel that my form is still good and I’m very motivated to showcase myself. I’ve been preparing for the race in sunny Mallorca, where I’m with my coach and will try to get used to the Spanish weather which we will have to deal with in the upcoming weeks.”

Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL): First time racing
“I don’t really know what to expect from my first Grand Tour. Obviously, I want to perform well in the opening team time trial, as I have worked hard on this with my personal coach and team’s Head of Performance, Marco Pinotti. As for the rest of the race, I would like to represent the team in the breakaways and see how far I can get. I believe that my form is good. I spent some time at an altitude and I feel like I am climbing pretty well for a classics guy. I also went on a mini-training camp to Luxembourg to do some intense and specific work on both the road bike and the TT bike and I look forward to testing myself across the upcoming three weeks.”

Francisco Ventoso (ESP): 2018, 2017, 2015, 2006 (winner: stage 3), 2005
“My goal for the Vuelta a España is to try to win a stage and it doesn’t matter if it’s me or somebody else from our team. Winning a stage is the most important objective for us and we will do everything we can to accomplish that. I believe that my form is good. After the Giro d’Italia, I haven’t raced much but, I did a long block of altitude training in Andorra, where I spent one month. After that, I did two races in Belgium and one in London and I feel strong. I’m confident in myself and in our team and I believe we can win a stage in Spain. Another important goal is to take the leader’s jersey and to do that we need to do really well on the first day of racing, in the team time trial.”

Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA) and Gabriele Missaglia (ITA).

Patrick Bevin looking for a win in Spain:

Young TBM with Big Appetites for La Vuelta 2019
The Vuelta a España is the third and final Grand Tour of the 2019 summer race season, and the Spanish race always provides an exciting finale to the year for GC specialists and big opportunities for many riders to grab their carrier chances.

The 2019 route for the Vuelta a España has been described by the organizers as even “more spicy”, with a depart in Alicante and a brief detour into France as well as three brand new summit finishes.

There will be up to eight summit finishes in total and two time trials.

The race has Costa Blanca start, and the province will play home to three stages, including an opening team time trial in Torrevieja.

The second time trial will be between 36km long, and comes in the second week in Pau, France.

Vladimir Miholjević and Rik Verbrugghe, TMB sport directors, David Bailey, TBM head of performance and Paolo Artuso, TBM trainer have chosen a fine-tuned lineup that can give their 100% and more on their individual basis and deliver their all for the image of Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team.

The common thoughts of Miholjević, Verbrugghe, Bailey and Artuso is: “The selected team includes a mix of climbers and sprinters to match the varied stages in this year’s edition of the La Vuelta 2019.

With the unfortunate loss of Domenico Pozzovivo following his recent accident the GC objective has become a secondary priority over stage wins.

For the sprint stages we have Phil Bauhaus with support from Heinrich Haussler, Luka Pibernik and Yukiya Arashiro. For the mountainous stages Dylan Teuns and Mark Padun will take opportunities for stages wins with support from Herman Pernsteiner and Domen Novak.

Mark Padun will also be team’s GC rider for this race. It’s a great opportunity for a young, talented rider like Mark who is showing good condition and a willingness to take such responsibility after his recent race performances at Adriatica Ionica and San Sebastián. All together we bring a young, talented team looking to gain more experience in Grand Tour racing as a part of their development for the future”.

Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team lineup for La Vuelta 2019:
Yukiya Arashiro / Phil Bauhaus / Dylan Teuns / Heinrich Haussler / Mark Padun / Domen Novak / Hermann Pernsteiner / Luka Pibernik

Team Sunweb and Tom Dumoulin Part Ways
After an incredible eight-year journey filled with countless successes, Team Sunweb and Tom Dumoulin are set to go their separate ways at the end of the 2019 season.

Joining the team as it was then Team Argos-Shimano back in 2012, a 21-year-old Dumoulin set off on his path of development as a GC rider. 2014 was his breakthrough year as a time trial specialist, with four wins that included his first national title and a bronze medal at the world championships. In 2015 Dumoulin went on to shine in red at the Vuelta a España, eventually finishing the race in a very respectable 6th place after a relentless fight. Success continued for the Dutchman into 2016 with a TT Olympic silver at the Rio games, but the focal point of his career thus far would come just one year later, as he and the team secured the overall win at the 2017 Giro d’Italia. The successes for Dumoulin continued throughout the season with a double world championship title in Bergen, as he secured the individual time trial win and was a part of the team’s TTT gold medal squad. 2018 would be the first year he and the team tackled the Giro-Tour combination, doing so to near-perfection as they secured two second places.

After a continual upward path of development over the years, the extraordinary journey will come to an end after 2019.

Tom Dumoulin explained: “As a rider you always search for the highest achievable and you constantly ask yourself whether you are still in the right place, what is the best team for you and where the best options and opportunities are. There has always been interest from other teams, that’s normal, but the facilities here have always made me not to speak with other teams. After the disappointment of missing the Tour and finding myself sitting at home, I started to consider that a new environment could be refreshing. That’s why I decided to focus on the interest of some teams. There were great offers and this phase of my career felt like the right time to take it.

“It really does hurt to leave. My heart is here and together we have achieved great things that I’m very proud of. I’ve proven with Team Sunweb that winning a Grand Tour is possible with this team and I have no doubt that I could do it again with them. I know that the grass will not always be greener than at Team Sunweb and I want to emphasise that without them, I could never have got to where I am today. I will always remain grateful for the opportunities that I have had, and the opportunity that the team now grants me to allow me to explore my options within a new team.”

Team Sunweb CEO Iwan Spekenbrink added: “We’re really proud of everything we’ve achieved together with Tom over the years. He’s grown alongside the team into one of the world’s best riders and he is a true champion. Having enabled that development within the environment we offer our riders is something we are really proud of and will always hold on to. Our vision is to bring riders as far as possible and make the most out of them – this is what we believe we have done here.

“It’s been a difficult year for Tom with the setbacks he has experienced and it’s normal for any person at this age to take a step back and reassess their situation. Tom opened up to thoughts that a new environment could be refreshing and we decided to respect his request and cooperate to make a move possible. Tom means a lot to the organisation, and the organisation means a lot to him; we achieved a lot together. We’re of course sad to see him leave, but in the end that’s top sports, athletes go and next generation promising athletes come. However, we are choosing to look back positively and with enormous pride on our amazing years with a truly fantastic athlete, Tom Dumoulin. We are thankful for the years with Tom and wish him all the best for the future.”

Tom Dumoulin – Giro winner:

Classification Core Team Jumbo-Visma Concluded with Acquisition of Dumoulin
Team Jumbo-Visma has strengthened itself for the next three seasons with Tom Dumoulin. The coveted rider completes the classification core, which should be able to win a grand tour.

“I’m looking forward to contributing to that goal, winning a grand tour”, says Dumoulin, who was on the highest step of the podium in the Giro before. “I was looking for a new sporting challenge and Team Jumbo-Visma is the right team for this. I’m looking forward to it. I started my cycling career with the Rabobank Continental team, a predecessor of the current Team Jumbo-Visma. That’s why this step feels a bit like coming home. It’s nice to represent the colours of the Dutch team.”

Team Jumbo-Visma has the ambition to structurally compete for the final victory in grand tours. CEO Richard Plugge sees the realisation of that ambition coming closer with this spectacular reinforcement. “You’d better race with each other than against each other”, he refers to the fights that Dumoulin fought with Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk, for example. “We can now put together the strongest possible team in the fight against a team like Ineos. Making our dreams and ambitions come true is getting closer and closer.”

Since 2013, Plugge has been working steadily to achieve his goals and considers signing the 28-year-old Dutch GC contender and time trialist a striking next step. “We have grown step by step and always want to improve. Taking part in the final victory in grand tours has always been a goal and a plan. This is warmly supported by Jumbo and Visma and our other partners. We will continue to work together on this. In this case by making the arrival of Tom possible.”

In sports director Merijn Zeeman, Dumoulin meets an old acquaintance at Team Jumbo-Visma. “As a neo professional, we worked together. That was very pleasant and I liked it very much. After that we always kept in touch”, the rider from the Dutch province of Limburg concludes.

Romain Bardet Ends his Season
Romain Bardet, in agreement with the general management of the AG2R La Mondiale team, decided to put an end to his 2019 season. In 55 days of race, Romain Bardet, 15th at the Tour de France and winner of the polka dot jersey as the best climber, earned 11 top 10 placings.

Romain Bardet: “Despite the joy of winning the polka-dot jersey as the best climber of the Tour de France, the 2019 season did not reach the goals I set for myself. After a few days of personal reflection and discussions with the management of the AG2R La Mondiale team, it became clear to me that I needed to recharge myself physically and mentally to come back stronger next season. The level of competitiveness that I want to reach requires freshness in all areas. I will take advantage of the next few weeks to rest, while continuing to remain physically active, and define the contours of a 2020 season that looks already very exciting. I thank the team, staff, team partners, and the fans for their trust in me and support throughout the season.”

Vincent Lavenu: “Romain Bardet has been the cornerstone of the team for several seasons. He commits to his profession an indisputable energy and determination. The polka dot jersey, won with conviction and with the support of the team in a sometimes difficult sporting context, once again underlines all his qualities as a sportsman and a man. He has thus fully assumed his role as leader. After conscientiously analyzing his season with the sports and medical staff, it appeared that it was necessary for Romain to put an end to his racing in 2019. It is a thoughtful and well-considered decision that will allow us to define with him the profile of the 2020 season and its goals, which will be high as always.”

Romain Bardet – Tour KOM:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step Add Mattia Cattaneo to 2020 Roster
The 28-year-old Italian becomes the latest rider to join the Wolfpack.

A pro since 2013, Mattia Cattaneo will return to the World Tour next season, after the man from Alzano Lombardo penned a two-year deal with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, the most successful team of 2019. Cattaneo has a diverse skill set, reflected in his palmarès, which includes the prestigious Girobio, incidentally, Italy’s last overall victory at the race, several other wins, as well as a string of top 10 placings in many top races.

In the past couple of years, Mattia has proved himself to be a consistently strong rider, having ridden six Grand Tours, most recent of which was this year’s Giro d’Italia, where he finished second on stage 15, to Como. In addition to it, this season he also took an extremely impressive fourth place overall at the Tour of the Alps and an emphatic solo success at the Giro dell’Appennino.

“I am very, very happy to join the Wolfpack. For me it is a dream, because I have raced with Androni Giocattoli for three years, but my objective was to come back to the World Tour and with Deceuninck – Quick-Step I am going to the best team in the world in my opinion”, an elated Mattia said after signing the contract.

“I am looking forward to helping the squad continue to be successful, as well as hopefully getting my own opportunities. Being an Italian, the Giro is always going to be the race closest to my heart, but in the past, I have raced Ronde van Vlaanderen and I fell in love with this event; also Il Lombardia is very special to me, as it starts in my home town and covers roads that I know very well.”

Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere also shared his thoughts on this transfer: “Mattia has shown himself to be a very solid and consistent rider. From a young age he was very strong, which you have to be to win the Girobio, one of the hardest races on the U23 calendar. Since then he has been really consistent, and off the back of the strong year that he has had so far, we recognized him as somebody that can give us continuity across a lot or races, work hard as a member of the Wolfpack, and hopefully create and seize his own opportunities.”

Mattia Cattaneo winning the 2019 Giro dell’ Appennino:

Johan Jacobs: Swiss Power for the Movistar Team
Former cyclo-cross specialist and runner-up in 2019 Paris-Roubaix Espoirs takes leap towards WorldTour with Telefónica-backed squad: signs two-year contract, will cover only his second season 100% focused on road races in 2020.

The Movistar Team announced Friday that Johan Jacobs (Zürich, SUI; 1997), a current member of the Lotto-Soudal U23 squad, has signed a two-year contract (2020 + 2021) with the structure managed by Eusebio Unzué. It’s the Telefónica-backed squad’s sixth confirmed signing for next season, after Gabriel Cullaigh, Íñigo Elosegui, Enric Mas, Dario Cataldo and Davide Villella.

2020 will be only the second full season for Jacobs (22) focused entirely on road cycling, following a long, successful career in cyclo-cross – including national titles and victories in World Cup races. That has not kept the Belgium-based, Swiss rider from snatching impressive results: 2nd in the 2019 Paris-Roubaix Espoirs – the last man able to follow the wheel of British sensation Tom Pidcock – 7th in the Ronde van Vlaanderen Beloften and winner of the ITT + GC of the Ronde van Vlaams-Brabant, one of the most important Belgian races for amateurs.

A strong rouleur and time trialist, Jacobs took the start yesterday, together with the Swiss national team, in the Tour de l’Avenir, one of his final races as an amateur before joining the WorldTour with the Blues next January.

Johan Jacobs:

Simone Petilli Reinforces Wanty-Gobert for Two Seasons
Italian promising rider Simone Petilli is leaving the UAE formation after four seasons at World Tour level, to join the colors of Wanty-Gobert. As a climber, Petille reinforces Wanty-Gobert for the mountain races and Ardennes classics. Petilli, 26th in the Giro in 2017, feels at his best on mountain top finishes. The graduate in accounting was among the best riders of his generation in the U23 category. He won a stage and the general classification in the Ronde de l’Isard and finished 5th in the general classification of the Tour de l’Avenir in 2015, and was twice best young rider in the Settimana Coppi e Bartali. The 26 year old, living at the shores of the Como lake, signed for two years with Wanty-Gobert, until the end of 2021.

Simone Petilli: “I’m happy to join the Wanty-Gobert formation for two seasons. Dropping down one level from a World Tour Team to a Pro Continental Team might seem a step back, but for me it mainly means that I’ll be able to play my own cards. I want to continue my progression in this Belgian team and take my first pro win. I hope to align the Tour de France on top form, after having discovered the Giro and the Vuelta. I’m grateful to UAE for my first years in the pro ranks, but I wanted to acquire more responsibilities. I can’t wait to discover a Belgian team, with a true cycling culture.”

Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “Simone Petilli is a young Italian climber who maybe passed too soon to the World Tour. I showed he’s one of the best climbers of his generation, and he made the right choice to join our team who permits young riders to develop. It is a nice challenge for us, and for him, to guide him in the footsteps of Guillaume Martin. We built a group of climbers a couple of years ago, which will be reinforced by Petilli.”

Simone Petilli:

Zhandos Bizhigitov Stays in Astana Pro Team
The Kazakh rider Zhandos Bizhigitov will stay in Astana Pro Team for another season. The agreement has been signed recently for 2020.

“This is my third season in Astana Pro Team and during the first half of the year I felt like I am really improving. Indeed, I am still missing something for a high personal result, but in the same time I think I did a good job for my teammates, for example, at the Tour of Oman or the Tirreno-Adriatico. Also, together with the team I did a strong Asian Championships. It was an important competition for Kazakhstan since the Olympic Games are coming in 2020. However, there are some more races further ahead in the second half of the season and I am motivated to fight for a good personal result. I am very happy that I’ve got an offer from Astana Pro Team for one more year. I’d like to continue improving in the classic races, but also, as every rider I am dreaming on the Olympic Games. I will do my best to bring Kazakhstan as much points as possible and maybe I will get a chance to represent Kazakhstan in Tokyo,” – said Zhandos Bizhigitov.

Zhandos Bizhigitov, 28, is passing his third season in the Astana Pro Team. In 2017 he won the Kazakhstan National Championships in the individual time trial, took a bronze in the road race of the Asian Road Championships and debuted at the Giro d’Italia. Twice, together with the Kazakhstan National Team Bizhigitov won the team time trial at the Asian Road Championships, in 2017 and 2019. In 2019 Zhandos worked hard to help Alexey Lutsenko to win the Tour of Oman, Jakob Fuglsang on the way to his podium at the Tirreno-Adriatico and Merhawi Kudus to reach the podium at the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey.

These days Zhandos Bizhigitov is taking part in the BinckBank Tour.

“Zhandos did a huge work over these three years and we can see his progress, both in the classics and stage races. He became an important part of the team, always loyal and ready to help to his teammates. Many times, during these seasons we saw Zhandos in the races, which ended successful for Astana Pro Team. I am happy to have Bizhigitov in our team for another year and I hope he can do another step ahead, which will bring him personal successes too,” said Alexandr Vinokurov, general manager of Astana Pro Team.

Zhandos Bizhigitov:

The Van Poppel Brothers Join Wanty-Gobert
Brothers Danny and Boy Van Poppel will be reunited, as from 2020, in the Wanty-Gobert colors. The brothers rode together for three years, after their start in the World Tour in 2013 in the Vacansoleil-DCM team, under the direction of Hilaire Van der Schueren. Their paths went separate ways after one year with Vacansoleil-DCM and two years with Trek. While Boy stayed with Trek until moving to Roompot last summer, Danny switched to Sky and later Jumbo-Visma. The Dutch riders have chosen to integrate in the same team, for the next two seasons, by reinforcing Wanty-Gobert.

The junior, Danny, 26 years old, took victories in Halle-Ingooigem, Binche-Chimay-Binche and stage wins in the Vuelta and the tours of Wallonia, Poland, Burgos, Luxembourg and the Arctic Race. He finished 5th in Ghent-Wevelgem and 7th in Dwars door Vlaanderen this year.

Boy Van Poppel, 31 years old, is also a fast rider. He took a 4th place in Nokere Koerse and a 5th place in the Tour of Limburg this year. He also came close to the victory in the Tour de Yorkshire (2nd and 4th) this season.

The two inhabitants of Poppel are linked to the Belgian formation until the end of 2021.

Danny Van Poppel: “I’m very happy to join Wanty-Gobert. This offers me new opportunities, together with my brother! The older we get, the more we realize how special it is to have the chance to form a good duo. Hilaire Van der Schueren believes in me for several years already, and in our tandem, both in good and bad times. It’s good to join this Belgian team. I cannot wait to be with Wanty-Gobert next year, after the abiding interest and the good memories with Vacansoleil-DCM. For me personally, pleasure is most important, but I’m also very ambitious. I want to battle for every opportunity, and this together with a new Wanty-Gobert sprint train. And why not at the Tour de France?”

Boy Van Poppel: “Wanty-Gobert is a growing team, so it is a challenge to join them for the next two seasons. For some time we wanted to be reunited in the same colors. It is special to battle, in the race, for the positioning in the sprint. I’ll meet several known faces of riders and staff, apart from my brother, within Wanty-Gobert, because of my time with Vacansoleil-DCM. It’s an advantage to work together among siblings. It’s always easier to create automatisms, and there’s an extra motivation to give all I have. I’m looking forward to work for the team again, after this season during which I had the opportunity to play my own cards and collect some places of honor. The best is yet to come!”

Hilaire Van der Schueren: “I already directed both brothers within Vacansoleil-DCM in 2013, but unfortunately the team didn’t continue and I had to let them go. Since then, I always kept an eye on Danny and finally he is joining our team next year. I’m looking forward to it, because I know their capabilities and I can work well together with them. We’ll have a happy marriage! Danny has the ability to achieve podium spots in the classics, with his elder brother as a guide, and their friend Wesley Kreder. The arrival of a new sprinter, next to Timothy Dupont, Alfdan De Decker and Andrea Pasqualon delights us and will permit us to score on different fronts at the same time.”

Merino, Teruel, Biannic Remain with Movistar Team in 2020
Three key riders of Telefónica’s squad, useful in the mountains and the classics, to fulfill their third straight season in Blue colors; Sebastián Unzué / Jorge Sanz-led outfit already with 11 confirmed riders for next year.

The Movistar Team confirmed Friday three contact extensions for the 2020 season with its current riders Eider Merino, Alba Teruel (ESP) and Aude Biannic (FRA). With those three, the Telefónica-backed squad now has 11 riders confirmed in its roster – still not closed – for next year, after previous renewals for Alicia González, Sheyla Gutiérrez, Lourdes Oyarbide and Gloria Rodríguez (ESP) plus the signings of Katrine Aalerud (NOR), Sofia Bertizzolo, Barbara Guarischi (ITA) and Jelena Erić (SRB).

Merino, 25, continues to be one of the most talented climbers in Spanish cycling. The national road race champion from 2018 was 9th this season at the Emakumeen Bira, as well as 16th in the Giro Rosa, winner of two races in the Basque Country (Zaldibar and Gorla) and 5th in the new UCI event Emakumeen Nafarroako Klasikoa. The Basque will remain for a sixth consecutive year alongside Alba Teruel, who continues to improve as a rouleur, sprinter and domestique, still very young as she will turn 23 on Saturday. 4th at the opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos and 6th in the Spanish Series round of Dos Hermanas, the Valencia native continues to gather experience and show her commitment.

Alongside them stays Biannic, 28, with her vast international experience and her valuable skills for all kinds of races, whether it’s shining in the toughest classics or supporting her leaders in the stage-races. French road race champion in 2018, she snatched a brilliant bronze medal this June and took 7th place in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad back in March.

“These were three fundamental pieces for us to retain so we could build a solid team for next season,” reflects Sebastián Unzué, manager for the women’s Movistar Team. “They are three ladies who have been a part of our team since the beginning, and we wanted to thank them for their great work and commitment since then. Aude is a ‘life insurance’ for us in every race she takes part in. A true allrounder, one able to do well wherever she’s required and, above that, an excellent domestique. We couldn’t allow ourselves not retaining her, because she’s such a huge asset for us.”

“Eider is one of our go-to riders to aim for GCs in the hardest stage-races, A pure climber who also does really well against the clock. Her consistency and climbing abilities make her a solid rider for the most mountainous courses. In turn, Alba has become a really valuable team rider in the last two years. Sometimes her work is not valued enough or can’t be watched from the TV, yet she’s a spectacular rider, who is always willing to help the others and also takes advantage from her individual chances. She continues to progress, and I’m convinced she will continue to grow next season and take huge steps forward.”

Aude Biannic:

João Almeida to Turn Pro with Deceuninck – Quick-Step
The young Portuguese has signed a contract that will see him ride for our squad until 2021.

Hailing from Caldas da Rainha, João Almeida has made a name for himself as early as 2016, when he won the national junior road race and time trial titles, a performance he repeated this year, but in the U23 ranks. In between, he became the first ever Portuguese rider to triumph at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, concluded seventh overall at the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir and came very close to winning the 2018 Girobio, finishing runner-up after being caught behind a crash on the final day.

A strong all-rounder, João has been on Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s radar for some time now, joining the team during our winter training camp on two occasions and impressing each time with his talent, mentality and work ethic, which have now landed him a two-year contract with the UCI World Team Classification leader, an agreement that will see him become the first ever Portuguese rider in the history of the squad.

“Deceuninck – Quick-Step was always my first choice and joining them is a dream come true. The atmosphere is great and I could see during the training camps that there’s a great bond between everyone – riders and staff – and this is an aspect that I really like. Also, when I made my decision, it was important that Deceuninck – Quick-Step is a squad known for helping young guys grow. I’m looking forward to my first pro season, when I hope to help the team, learn and improve as much as possible”, said the 21-year-old, who comes across from the Hagens Berman Axeon team and is currently riding the Tour of Utah, where he leads the best young rider classification and sits seventh overall after three days.

“We are known for our knack of spotting young guys, promoting them on the World Tour and developing them into successful riders over time. The latest in this long line is João Almeida, who we have been following for a few years, thus getting an idea what he is capable of. The strong and consistent results he has had underline his talent and ambition, and knowing he will ride for our outfit gives us a lot of satisfaction”, explained Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere after the transfer of João, the 160th rider to sport the team’s jersey.

João Almeida:

Sofia Bertizzolo’s Versatile Talent Reinforces Movistar Team
Italian young prospect – will turn 22 next Tuesday – winner of the 2018 UCI WorldTour under-23 classification, joins Telefónica-backed squad adding her excellent potential for all kinds of races.

The Movistar Team announced Thursday it has reached an agreement with Sofia Bertizzolo (Bassano del Grappa, ITA; 1997) for the next two seasons (2020 + 2021), which marks the Telefónica-backed squad’s fourth signing for next season after the confirmed additions of Jelena Erić, Barbara Guarischi and Katrine Aalerud.

The squad managed by Sebastián Unzué and Jorge Sanz will strongly rely on Bertizzolo’s talents as one of the biggest prospects in the peloton. Winner of the under-23 classification of the UCI Women’s WorldTour in 2018, the young Italian from Team Virtu is able to perform well in almost every single scenario.

4th in the Ronde van Vlaanderen (2019), 2nd at a sprint finish in the Bira (2019), 8th in the Flèche Wallonne (2018) and a top-20 overall + best young rider in the Giro Rosa (2018), Bertizzolo’s all-rounding capabilities will be a huge asset for the Blues as of next January.

“Sofia’s signing was a priority for us coming into next season,” explains Sebastián Unzué, manager for the women’s Movistar Team. “It’s a really exciting addition for us, with an enormous margin for progression, arguably one of the biggest up-and-coming talents in the sport. Able to perform strongly at races as different as De Ronde, the Ardennes, sprint finishes, becoming the best young rider in the Giro at just 20 – those are impressive results for her age, and we’re so proud to have talents like her with us next season. We just hope she continues to learn, grow and improve, so we can do great things together in the future.”

Sofia Bertizzolo:

Elia Viviani Presents European Champion Jersey
The Italian sprinter will sport the new garment next Sunday, for the first time since taking gold in the Netherlands.

Last week, Elia Viviani pulled off a magnificent victory, one of the finest of his career, at the European Championships in Alkmaar. One of the pre-race favorites on the pan-flat course, the 30-year-old didn’t wait for the bunch sprint, instead going on the attack a long way from the finish, taking advantage of the havoc created by the strong crosswinds. Into the home straight, Elia found himself together with Deceuninck – Quick-Step teammate Yves Lampaert, which he out-sprinted for his ninth win of the season.

“When I rode the parcours of the Yorkshire Worlds and saw how hard it was, I shifted my attention to the European Championships and made that race one of my primary goals of the season. I recovered after the Tour de France, had a good condition and came to the start with plenty of confidence after my victory in London. The race was atypical, many were betting on a mass gallop, but it got split early and things were completely different from that moment on. Being there in the finale with a Wolfpack teammate showed our strength and made the victory even more memorable”, a delighted Elia said when recollecting last Sunday’s race.

“When I came to Deceuninck – Quick-Step two years ago, I had many goals and I am grateful to the team for helping me achieve them. I took stage wins in all Grand Tours, I won the National Championships last season, and now the European Championships, two beautiful jerseys that I’m very happy will always be on my palmarés. Wearing this garment makes me even more motivated for my last goals of the year.”

Elia Viviani will make his first outing in the European Champion jersey next week, at the Cyclassics Hamburg, Germany’s only World Tour race, which he won in the last two years.

The new European champion – Elia Viviani:

La Roja Turns 10: A Leaders Jersey First Worn by Mark Cavendish, Followed by Philippe Gilbert, etc…
La Vuelta 19 will be the 10th edition of La Roja: a jersey that, little by little, has earned a place in international cycling. The red (La Roja), that designates the leader of the general classification of La Vuelta, is a reference in today’s cycling, as are the maillot jaune in the Tour de France and the maglia rosa in the Giro d’Italia. Mark Cavendish was the first to wear La Roja. He was also the first British rider in the red jersey; a year before Chris Froome, who holds the record for leading La Vuelta for the longest time since 2010… at the moment.

La Vuelta’s very first red jersey was awarded at night, at the end of a 13 km time-trial through the streets of Seville. The team HTC-Columbia won with a time of 14:06. The first rider to cross the finish-line was Mark Cavendish, who mathematically obtained the leadership in the individual general classification. “It is an honor for me to be the first to wear La Roja”, declared the Isle of Man sprinter “but this jersey belongs to the entire team. I am just 10% of the victory”.

On the 28th of August 2010, on a hot Andalusian summer’s night, the cycling community was probably still unaware that La Vuelta was about to write a new page in its history. With a red jersey designed by Custo Dalmao that mimicked the skin of a cheetah (“the fastest animal on earth”) Mark Cavendish went to bed, the fastest cyclist on earth on the roads at that moment.

Red was the new color chosen to designate the race leader. It succeeded the orange one of the first two editions – won by Belgian rider Gustaaf Deloor (in 1935 and 1936) – the white one of 1941, and the orange one again in 1942, a first foray into the red in 1945, a white one with a red stripe (from 1946 to 1950), a yellow one that made an appearance in 1955 and lasted until 1998 (except for the orange one in 1977 – the year that Maertens won 13 stage victories as well as the general classification) and, finally, the golden jersey worn by the La Vuelta leader from 1999 to 2009.

A decade ago, Javier Guillén – who took the reins of the race as its General Director in 2009 – decided to link La Vuelta to the “most successful color in Spanish sports”. It was the golden era of the Spanish national soccer team (the Roja), world champions in 2010 and European champions in 2008 and 2012. Besides, red is, along with yellow, one of the two colors that make up the Spanish flag.

“It is my first stage in my first Vuelta and I’m wearing La Roja. This doesn’t take my focus away from my main goal, though: to win several stages”, explained Mark Cavendish, disappointed at having lost in the sprint in Marbella to the FDJ’s Belorussian, Yauheni Hutarovitch. He did not win while wearing the red jersey, but he did wear green in Burgos and in Salamanca (his second and third stage victories, respectively). We would have to wait until stage 6 of La Vuelta 12 to see a rider raise his arms as he crossed the finish-line, while wearing the red jersey: it was Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodríguez, in Jaca.

Philippe Gilbert, another important name in contemporary cycling, followed on from Mark Cavendish by wearing La Roja in 2010. It was in Málaga, specifically in the Gibralfaro Viewpoint… a climb to which he was perfectly suited, at that time. He overhauled Serafín Martínez 500 m from the finish-line. “Every time I’ve come to La Vuelta it has been with the objective of winning a stage and preparing for the World Championships”, reminisced the rider who would go on to wear the Valkenburg rainbow jersey in 2012, following two stage victories in Barcelona and La Lastrilla. “It has been an honor to be able to wear La Roja for five days”.

“The leader still wore yellow when I started watching La Vuelta. It coincided with the back to school period and I’d watch the race on TV after school, before training”, said the Belgian rider.

At Xorret de Catí, Gilbert ceded the red jersey to Igor Antón – who became the first “martyr” of that new tunic. He had to abandon the race following a fall 6km from the finish-line in stage 14, with a finale in Peña Cabarga. He was having one of the best moments in his career. Vincenzo Nibali took the leadership from him, becoming – despite a second stint in the lead by Purito – the first rider to win La Vuelta wearing the red jersey in Madrid. A new chapter of La Vuelta history.

Just days away from the start of this decade’s final edition, there are 35 riders in La Roja’s list of winners:

· Chris Froome, 27 days (20 + 7 stripped from Juan José Cobo)
· Vincenzo Nibali, 20 days
· Alberto Contador and Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodríguez, 17 days
· Nairo Quintana, 14 days
· Simon Yates, 11 days
· Fabio Aru, 7 days
· Esteban Chaves and Tom Dumoulin, 6 days
· Philippe Gilbert, Igor Antón, Chris Horner and Alejandro Valverde, 5 days
· Sylvain Chavanel, Bradley Wiggins, Darwin Atapuma, Michal Kwiatkowski and Rudy Molard, 4 days.
· Jonathan Castroviejo and Michael Matthews, 3 days
· Mark Cavendish, Rohan Dennis and Jesús Herrada, 2 days
· Jakob Fuglsang, Daniele Bennati, Pablo Lastras, Bauke Mollema, Janez Brajkovic, Nicolas Roche, Dani Moreno, Peter Velits, Peter Kennaugh, Rubén Fernández, David de la Cruz and Yves Lampaert, 1 day.

Among them are 14 nationalities. Spain is at the top of the list, followed by the UK, which has seen five British riders in the lead of the Spanish tour (two of them, eventual overall winners: Chris Froome and Simon Yates). Spain has a total of 53 days wearing the red jersey; the UK 45, Italy 28, Columbia 24, France 8, Netherlands seven, Belgium six, USA and Australia five, Poland four; and Denmark, Slovenia, Ireland and Slovakia one.

Up until now, seven riders have made history by wearing the leader jerseys of the three iconic Grand Tours: Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Rohan Dennis.

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