EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The season is at ‘full gas’ with the peloton fighting over the Tour of Oman, Ruta del Sol and Volta ao Algarve. All the reports, results and video action. Plus the Hulst cyclo-cross. Vuelta to start in Holland 2020 and the Tour in Denmark in 2021 – Top Story. Previews of the Setmana Valenciana and the UAE Tour, the first three Dutch stages of the Vuelta’20, new course for the Eschborn-Frankfurt 2019 and Suffolk star of the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour. To finish: a touching video tribute to Paul Sherwen from the riders who knew him. A packed EUROTRASH Thursday.

TOP STORY: Dutch Start for Vuelta – Danish Start for Tour
Unipublic, the owners of the Vuelta a España have announced that the Spanish race will start in August 2020 in the Dutch City of Utrecht. According to Europe 1, the 2021 Tour de France will start in Copenhagen, the first time that Denmark has hosted the Tour de France and also the most northerly start for the Tour de France.

The 75th edition of the Vuelta a España will start with three stages and 410 km in The Netherlands, through the provinces of Utrecht and North Brabant. Utrecht is first city in the World to hosts all three Grand Tours (read the full press release bellow).

Apparently there was some confusion over the announcement as it was published, deleted and republished by Europe 1 and different Danish media. Europe 1 eventually confirmed that ASO’s Christian Prudhomme had said that: “It will be Copenhagen for the first time in 2021. This is the meeting between the world’s largest cycling race and the world’s largest bicycle city.”

The 2021 Tour will start with a flat 13 kilometer individual time trial. Stage 2 will cover 190 kilometers from Roskilde to Nyborg, then stage 3 would be from Vejle to Sonderborg over 170 kilometers. There would then be a rest day to travel back to restart in France.

The Tour in Utrecht in 2015:

Tour of Oman 2019
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) doubles up with a second stage victory in a row, after a spectacular day of racing on the way to Qurayyat on Stage 3. The Kazakh champ, who won the race overall last year, was extremely aggressive in the final 50km, making the most of the wind to wear the peloton before claiming the stage win and the red jersey in the final climb. The Spanish puncheur Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) came second, ahead of the Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (CCC).

Stage winner and overall leader, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “Today I really have to thank my teammates for all their hard work, all the time they kept me out of trouble during the echelons and they put me in the perfect position at the start of the final climb. The final 50 km it turned out to be hard and hectic, but I’m thrilled I managed to win another time. I’m feeling very strong after the training camp on Tenerife with the team, so I want to thank all my trainers that pushed me during this camp. It’s a great period for our team, with so many great results in a short time, I’m proud to ride for this team and want to thank all of our sponsors for making this possible. Of course, I hope I can win the overall race again, but there are still many hard days to come.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Jesus Herrada (Cofidis): “The stage was made very difficult because of the wind but thanks to the help of my teammates I managed to find myself in the leading group and play the stage victory. I’m happy with my 2nd place because Lutsenko was really strong today. The race is not over yet and the Green Mountain stage on Wednesday will be crucial.”

Tour of Oman Stage 3 Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 4:35:48
2. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:01
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
4. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:04
6. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles at 0:06
7. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:11
8. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
9. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
10. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data.

Tour of Oman Overall After Stage 3:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 11:37:37
2. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:18
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:20
4. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:24
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:27
6. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles at 0:29
7. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data at 0:30
8. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:34
9. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
10. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) sprinted to victory on Tuesday after a hard-fought Stage 4 of the Tour of Oman. The Italian champ snatched his first win of the season ahead of Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) and Clément Venturini (AG2R-La Mondiale) after the early attackers were caught by a reduced bunch inside the final kilometer – a perfect boost for him ahead of the Classics. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) retains the red jersey on the eve of the Queen stage with the summit finish in Green Mountain on Wednesday.

Stage winner, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida): “I’m very happy, I was looking for the victory and it arrived! My thanks go to all my teammates who have given me a lot of help during all day long. I knew the last km and I started sprinting at the right time. It was all perfect! In recent days, I suffered a lot of heat and only today I had the right feelings. I have to thank Greg Van Avarmaet who did not lock me up in the sprint, he was a true gentleman. Now I look with more confidence at the classics in Belgium and Milan-Sanremo. My condition is growing day by day.”

Overall leader, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “Today we took control of the race right from the start, the team showed that they want to work to defend my GC lead, which is great. It was all about the final today, where I tried to deliver a sprint, but it was too hectic for me in the final kilometer. In the end, I finished twelfth in the bunch sprint. So, another day is done and now we can fully focus on the most important stage of this Tour, the Green Mountain stage. I know this climb, as I finished second behind my teammate Miguel Angel Lopez last year. It’s a very hard climb, so the only thing I can do is giving everything that I’ve got. I’m confident, but for sure, it won’t be easy. I will need all the help of my teammates, just like in the past few days.”

3rd on the stage, Clément Venturini (AG2R-La Mondiale): “It was a difficult day with 2,800 meters of vertical gain and three steep climbs. The last climb 30km from the finish caused the selection. The whole team, protected me perfectly all day and I was really riding in great conditions. Silvan and Oliver placed me perfectly at 300 meters from the line. I’m happy with this new podium, but I think I did not have enough confidence in myself. I had a moment of hesitation and I launched my sprint a touch delayed. It’s a shame. Given their palmarès, I’m almost embarrassed to be launched by guys like Oliver or Silvan! I must now realize that I can play for the win in this kind of race.”

Tour of Oman Stage 4 Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida in 3:17:09
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
3. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
6. Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Iuri Filosi (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
8. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles
9. Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis.

Tour of Oman Overall After Stage 4:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 14:54:46
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:14
3. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:18
4. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:24
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:27
6. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles at 0:29
7. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data at 0:30
8. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:34
9. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
10. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) took his third stage win in four days on Wednesday with another display of power on Green Mountain at the end of Stage 5. The Kazakh champ overcame the last early attacker, Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie), in the final 200 meters to establish his dominance while Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) came third. Ahead of the final stage to the Matrah Corniche, Alexey Lutsenko is set for his second overall victory on the Tour of Oman.

Stage winner and overall leader, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “First of all, I want to dedicate this victory to my wife, who had a miscarriage of our twins last December. With these three wins, I want to honor them all three. My wife and I went through a very difficult time together, it was very hard. The team supported me all the time in this period, and I’m happy I can reward them as well for this support. It was a perfect race for us, as everything went exactly how we planned. The team protected me very well until the second part of the climb and then it was up to me to follow my most important rivals. My main goal was to keep the red jersey, but when I saw the last man from the breakaway just in front of me, I gave it my all and took the victory. It was an important and emotional victory for me and the team, and now we focus on tomorrow to secure the overall win.”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida): “After the bad fall in Australia I have not had an easy time and this 2nd place is a kind of reward for the hard work I did during the Teide training camp. My next race will be Paris-Nice and here in Oman I had the answers I was looking for.”

9th overall, Brandon McNulty (Rally-UHC): “The plan was to get Rob and I to the base of the climb as fresh as possible. With it being so steep and the weather being quite hot, it was better for us not to follow the initial surges and keep a steady pace. We knew the majority of the guys following the surges would blow up. The plan worked super well and I was able to gradually build speed instead of fading. It’s awesome to have the guys look after me, definitely makes me go just a bit harder up the climb knowing how much the team has helped me throughout the week. At the start of the day we’re a team and willing to sell out for each other.”

Tour of Oman Stage 5 Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 3:44:03
2. Fabien Grellier (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:07
3. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:11
4. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:19
5. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
6. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
7. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:23
8. Fabien Doubey (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 0:30
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:39
10. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:44.

Tour of Oman Overall After Stage 5:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 18:38:39
2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:44
3. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:47
4. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:53
5. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 1:03
6. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 1:14
7. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles at 1:25
8. Fabien Doubey (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 1:31
9. Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally-UHC at 1:43
10. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel at 1:51.

Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data) dominated a fast and furious Final Stage 6 of the 2019 Tour of Oman in a super tight sprint. The Italian sprinter snatched the win on the Matrah Corniche just ahead of this compatriots Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Davide Ballerini (Astana). Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) made it safely to the line to claim his second overall victory in the race, a feat only achieved by Chris Froome before him. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emriates) had to abandon.

Stage winner, Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data): “I am super about today’s victory. The team did a great job all day long. It was not an easy sprint because there were some climbs before reaching the finishing circuit and also there was a kicker with 3km to go. All I can say is I am super happy and thanks to the team, we need to carry on like this now going into the next races.”

Final overall winner, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “I’m delighted to win this race again after last year’s victory. This time I felt even better during the whole race, and together with the support I received from my teammates this edition was even more successful with three stage wins. It’s nice to have this confirmation of my form, now it’s important that I bring this feeling to the first goals of the season. It was a hectic day, with a big crash and a lot of stressful moments. But all the time, especially Hugo Houle, Magnus Cort, and Zhandos Bizhigitov were next to me to keep me out of trouble. But now we’ve finished, I’m most of all very happy that we were able to work like this and to seal this overall win. We will have a small celebration, but the main goals of the season are still ahead of us.”

2nd overall, Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida): “The road has narrowed from two to one lane and I have touched with another rider. We fell and I found myself under different riders and bicycles. Fortunately, I managed to start again almost immediately and, despite several abrasions, I finished the race. This second overall place is an important test of the work I have done so far. I have done without any problem the 20 minutes climb of the Green Mountain and I am in line with my preparation. No regrets here in Oman, Lutsenko proved to be very strong.”

2nd on the stage, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida): “A pity, I left with 300m to go and maybe I had to wait a little longer. I closed the Tour of Oman with one win and two Top Ten. Now, I feel ready for the first races in Belgium next week.”

3rd on the stage, Davide Ballerini (Astana): “I was really close to the stage win, and with a final jump I tried to cross the finish line first, but at the end, it was Giacomo Nizzolo who finished just in front of me. I’m happy with my first podium for Astana Pro Team, but when you’re so close, you always hope for more. But most important is that we took the overall win with Alexey Lutsenko, I’m very proud to have been part of the team that helped him during this Tour. Today’s result and the overall win of Alexey gives me great motivation for the rest of the season.”

6th on the stage, Fabien Doubey (Wanty-Gobert): “This Tour of Oman developed pretty well for me and the team. The third stage was a key moment. I did not get trapped by the echelons. I could hang on to a nice result on the finish at the top (16th) despite being put aside by a competitor at the foot of the climb. I then realised that a good overall ranking was possible. Then I focused on the Green Mountain, which I know well. I was able to accompany the best riders until the final hectometres. In the sprint I did not miss much to grab a top 5 finish. But this 8th place in the stage and the final general satisfies me. This confirms my good winter and my linear progression from year to year. I am always happy to get a top 10 overall in this Tour of Oman where the level is rather high. I showed the team that they were right to trust me in this role. I hope now to maintain this level throughout the season, and why not go get a podium or more in the upcoming weeks. Next races: the Drôme and Ardèche classics.”

Tour of Oman Stage 6 Result:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data in 3:07:12
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
3. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana
4. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data
6. Boris Vallee (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
7. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Katusha-Alpecin
8. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
10. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates.

Tour of Oman Final Overall Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 21:45:51
2. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:44
3. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:47
4. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:53
5. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 1:03
6. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 1:14
7. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles at 1:25
8. Fabien Doubey (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 1:31
9. Brandon McNulty (USA) Rally UHC Cycling at 1:43
10. Quentin Pacher (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel at 1:51.

Final podium:

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol 2019
Lotto Soudal rider Tim Wellens took his second victory of the season on Wednesday during the opening stage of the Ruta del Sol. On the steep slopes of the final climb in Alcalá de los Gazules – where Wellens also won last year – the defending Ruta del Sol champion again proved to be the strongest. The 27-year-old Belgian soloed to an impressive victory; Jakob Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre (both Astana) completed the podium. Wellens will also start in the yellow leader’s jersey in Sevilla on Thursday.

After a fast opening phase of the race, seven riders managed to escape. However, the peloton – with Lotto Soudal attentive on the first rows – did not grant the escapees much advantage. Together with Astana and Mitchelton-Scott, it was Lotto Soudal who took the initiative and kept the advantage of the seven riders in check.

At twenty kilometers from the line, various teams opened up the throttle in an attempt to eliminate some of the pre-race favorites. Eventually, a reduced peloton reached the foot of the final climb in Alcalá de los Gazules where the battle broke loose. On the steep cobbled hill towards the city centre, Wellens first responded to various attacks but then decided to say goodbye to his rivals, on his way to a truly brilliant display of power that resulted in a solo victory. After stage wins in 2017 and 2018 it is now the third stage victory for Wellens in the Ruta del Sol.

Stage winner and overall leader, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “The team played a really important role in today’s victory. Due to the strong wind, the peloton was strung out all day but as a team, we managed to stay on the front rows of the peloton. Last year learnt us that we had to start the final kilometer in pole position, which the team also did. In the run-up to the final climb, some teams attempted to form echelons but we had been briefed very well, so there was no reason to panic. Once on the final climb, I was not sure if I had to attack or wait. The situation last year – when I was at the front with only one other rider – was a lot easier. After I responded to Izagirre’s attack, I gave my all until the line. I could really turn the experience of last year in my favor. It was difficult to sprint out of the saddle on the cobbles but sprinting while seated suits me really well. That is for sure an advantage on a finish like today. Of course, I want to keep the leader’s jersey until Sunday. The time trial – which should suit me fine – will be of crucial importance. In my opinion, Izagirre will be the man to keep an eye on because he proved in Paris-Nice last year and during the Tour of Valencia this year to have good time trial abilities. But I also worked on my time trial skills and I look forward to seeing the result of that. The queen stage – which finishes in Granada – is scheduled on Saturday but the time trial will be even more decisive for the general classification.”

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Stage 1 Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:24:12
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:05
3. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana
4. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:09
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
7. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane
8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo
9. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 0:13.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Overall After Stage 1:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:24:12
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana in 0:05
3. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana
4. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:09
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team
7. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane
8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo
9. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 0:13.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta 2019
First race of the season and first win for Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step). Jakobsen didn’t waste any time on Stage 1 of the Volta ao Algarve – at 199.1 kilometers, the longest of this edition, which took the peloton from Portimão to Lagos – notching up his maiden victory of the season, and the ninth of the team since January, following a spectacular sprint.

As soon as the peloton rolled through the neutralized zone on Wednesday, five riders from local Portuguese Continental teams sparked a move and put around three and a half minutes between them and the pack, which was headed by Tim Declercq, who confirmed his “El Tractor” nickname, pulling for dozens and dozens of kilometers and making sure the gap remained a stable one.

With two insignificant climbs featuring in the first part of the course, the stage was never going to be a problem for the sprinters’ teams, who slowly made their way to the front of the bunch, bringing back both the original breakaway and the duo who attacked inside the final 40 kilometers, when it became clear that the first move of the day was all but doomed.

A big pile-up in the bunch, which occurred with seven kilometers to go, left only 30-40 riders at the front, Deceuninck – Quick-Step being well-represented there, with the likes of Yves Lampaert and Davide Martinelli, who organized the sprint train and stretched out the field going into the last kilometers. Under the flamme rouge, former Czech Champion Zdenek Stybar ramped up the pace, before Florian Sénéchal took over and provided a flawless lead-out for Fabio Jakobsen.

The Dutchman accelerated some 150 meters from the line, going past Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates) and easily holding off the charges of Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-hansgrohe), who rounded out the podium in Lagos, which hosted a stage finish for the third consecutive year. The small group that arrived to the line together with Jakobsen contained also Vuelta a España runner-up Enric Mas, who just like his teammate, kickstarted the season in Algarve.

Stage winner and overall leader, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It’s amazing to win my first race of the season after all the training in the winter, it’s a perfect start to the year. Both my family and the team supported me, I worked hard for this and it feels great to get a victory against so many strong sprinters and don the first leader’s jersey. We trained here in the region this year and did a recon of the stage, so we knew the roads and that the small climb inside the final three kilometers was going to be hard and quite crucial. The boys kept the pace high there and protected me, before putting me in a perfect position for the sprint. This result motivates us even more and hopefully our great week will continue.”

3rd, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a very fast and hectic finale. Unfortunately, Patrick crashed with many others and lost time for the GC. I finished third, of course I wanted to win but we will try it again.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 1 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:52:59
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb
7. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
8. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
10. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Overall After Stage 1:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:52:59
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb
7. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
8. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
10. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma.

Algarve’19 stage 1:

Brico Cross – Hulst 2019
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus) closed his cross season on Sunday with yet another win. The world champion took his 32nd victory of the winter season in Hulst. Lars van der Haar (Telenet-Fidea) and fast starter Tom Pidcock (TP Racing) joined him on the podium.

The start is always crucial on Hulst’s highly technical course. Tom Pidcock clearly understood that. The British top talent is usually not a good starter, but he managed to dive in first and to start all technical passages at the front. Belgian champion Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea) and World champion Mathieu van der Poel followed closely, but were visibly under pressure by the high pace of the Briton.

Pidcock rode on the front for the first and the second lap. It was only after a quarter of an hour that the British champion wanted a wheel to sit on. It was the World champion, Mathieu van der Poel, came through as he was the only rider able to hold the young Pidcock. In the remainder of the race, Van der Poel took it easy at times and seemed to hold back to give the British champion some time in his wheel. In the end Pidcock had to give in.

When Van der Poel saw that Lars van der Haar was coming after him, he decided to press the accelerator pedal dropping Pidcock and finishing the second half of the race without too much worries. Van der Poel closed his season with his 32nd victory.

Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus): “I was particularly bothered by my back, because of those running sections yesterday. I heard that more boys suffered from it. It was still quite a tough race. The course is very beautiful, I’ve said that from the beginning. It is certainly an added value for the calendar and also World Cup worthy. Tuesday I leave for Antalya, I am still fresh. In itself I come out of the season well. The most difficult thing is to stay fresh in the head. For the physical I am less afraid than the mental. It has been mentally a difficult season, the weeks before the World Cup. The skiing week has pleased me and the Tour of Antalya will be fun, so I’m mentally ready. Now it’s nice to race around with slightly fewer expectations in the coming weeks. I was free to choose what I wanted to race. It was not an obligation to go to Antalya, but I wanted to do something for Corendon. Otherwise I still go on an training camp, I would rather go to a race rhythm and some extra training “

Brico Cross – Hulst Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon Circus
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet-Fidea
3. Tom Pidcock (GB) TP Racing
4. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
5. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal
6. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux Bingoal
7. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon-Circus
8. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Sunweb
9. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
10. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice.

Set. Valenciana Marks First 2019 Stagerace for Blue ladies
Xorret de Catí climb to decide GC outcome of Spanish event (Thu 21st – Sun 24th), which the Movistar Team will tackle after seven-day training in Alicante with its full, 12-woman roster.

The women’s roster of the Movistar Team will gather all attention this week, as they try to build on a favorable momentum for the men after victories for Prades (Provence) and Quintana (Tour Colombia) plus Alejandro Valverde’s Vuelta a Murcia GC podium. The squad managed by Sebastián Unzué and Jorge Sanz will be racing from Thursday at the 3rd Setmana Valenciana (UCI 2.2), a four-stage event through Sunday 24th.

The climbs of Barxeta (Cat-3) and Barx (Cat-2), during a hilly opening stage to Gandia on Thursday (126km); and the steep, grueling Xorret de Catí (HC), 4km at nearly 12% average gradient (Saturday 23rd), will be the most demanding points of the Spanish event. At this first multi-day effort of the season, the Telefónica-backed squad will be racing with local rider Alba Teruel, Mavi García, Eider Merino, Lorena Llamas, Lourdes Oyarbide, Roxane Fournier – 6th at the Blues’ debut in the Vuelta CV Féminas – and Sheyla Gutiérrez.

The Movistar Team will be coming to the Setmana Valenciana after a seven-day training camp in Calpe, where the foundation for their second season in the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar has been set with different physical tests, technical meetings and numerous sponsor duties.

Setmana Ciclisma Valenciana – FEB 21-24
Hans Timmermans – Team Sunweb coach: “Our first race of the season, we’re looking forward to opening our year on a high note at Valenciana. In this race Floortje will have her first opportunity to explore her GC chances and Coryn will have the sprinters role. Both have a super strong team around them to support these goals. The first day is already an important one for the GC, but it could also come to a reduced sprint so we’ll bring both Floortje and Coryn into position for the final climb here. The second stage looks set to be a sprint day and the third will be another important day for the GC. The final stage looks to be a little more open, so we will once again focus on both Floortje and Coryn here. We’ve just come out of a really good training block in Calpe and were able to do some recons of the race, so we’re totally prepared and really motivated for a good race. It’s also Susanne and Janneke’s first race for the team so that brings more motivation for a good race.”

Susanne Andersen (DEN), Janneke Ensing (NED), Juliette Labous (FRA), Floortje Mackaij (NED), Pernille Mathiesen (DEN), Coryn Rivera (USA), Julia Soek (NED).

Coryn Rivera:

Versatile CCC Team Rider Roster Heading to Inaugural UAE Tour
CCC Team is heading to the start line for the first of seven days of racing at the inaugural UAE Tour this Sunday (24 February) and will be lining up with a competitive and versatile rider roster.

Sports Director Jackson Stewart said CCC Team will have multiple cards to play at the second UCI WorldTour stage race of the year.

“The first test of the race will come on stage one with the opening team time trial. This will set the scene for the remainder of the race so, as always, we will go there ready to give 100 percent in this discipline. We have been working hard, in training and with our partners, to be ready for our first TTT as CCC Team. I think all of us are looking forward to seeing what we can do,” Stewart explained.

“Overall, we will head to the UAE Tour with a well-rounded team. We will focus on the sprints with Jakub Mareczko, who has shown great potential already this year, and then I think Patrick Bevin, who is coming back to strong form after his crash in Australia, could once again produce a good result in the General Classification. However, we will have a versatile line-up with Victor De La Parte, Alessandro De Marchi, Łukasz Owsian, Serge Pauwels and Joey Rosskopf joining Bevin and Mareczko so I think we can make the most of every opportunity.”

Patrick Bevin is looking forward returning to racing after mixed fortunes at the Santos Tour Down Under.

“After the highs and lows of the Tour Down Under, I’m itching to start racing again. It took some time to shake off my injuries from the crash but I think I have managed them pretty well and I’m starting to get back to where I want to be. It will be good to see what I can do here,” Bevin said.

“We will immediately be able to gauge how the team is going with the team time trial on stage one. The first TTT of the year can always bring some surprises, and with a full WorldTour team line-up, it will be a tough challenge but, we will use it as a way of testing ourselves ahead of the rest of the race.”

UAE Tour (24 February – 2 March)
Rider roster:

Patrick Bevin (NZL), Victor De La Parte (ESP), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Jakub Mareczko (ITA), Łukasz Owsian (POL), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA)
Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Steve Bauer (CAN)

Patrick Bevin:

An ambitious team for the UAE Tour
The UAE Team Emirates will show its best on home turf for the new global-reaching tour.

The new UAE Tour, taking the best from the former Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour, will unite the seven Emirates of the UAE and become even more challenging.

The race features a team time trial, a challenging finish to the Hatta Dam, three days for the sprinters, and two in the mountains: the traditional Jabel Jafeet finish and the new 20km Jabel Jais climb that should decide the race overall.

“I’m truly happy to race this new event,” Dan Martin said. “It’s a beautiful nation and for the first time we can take it all in a week-long race.

We have a strong team and the chance to play for the win almost every day. I went early to the UAE to preview the mountain stages.

In the last race, Vuelta Valenciana, my feelings were very good. I thought of the UAE race all winter and so I hope to be able to get the best result possible.

Clearly for our team this race has significance and we are going try to win at all costs. We have a group of strong riders coming to race, which tells you something about how important it is for us. We are going to try in every way to make an aggressive race with the hope of reaching the top of the classification.”

“Our goal is to win,” Rui Costa added. “We have three leaders for the overall classification and tactically, we can play ourselves well. It’s always great to ride on those home roads of our sponsor, it gives a certain motivation. I have good memories of 2017 when I was able to win the overall of the Abu Dhabi Tour.”

“I’m motivated and focused on this home race,” Fernando Gaviria said. “This year I began strongly in Argentina, but I was a little big suffering from a cold in Colombia, so I had to pull out after two stages. I hope to have recovered 100% to be able to aim for a stage win, which would surly please the sponsors and our management.”

Rui Costa (Por), Daniel Martin (Irl), Fernando Gaviria (Col), Alexander Kristoff (Nor), Vegard Laengen (Nor), Oliviero Troia (Ita), Diego Ulissi (Ita).
Sports Directors: Joxean Fernandez Matxin (Esp), Marco Marzano (Ita), Neil Stephens (Aus).

Preview UAE Tour
The United Arab Emirates Tour is the third WorldTour race of the year. This stage race originated from the merger between the Dubai Tour and the Abu Dhabi Tour, therefore being new on the calendar. It will be contested from Sunday 24 February until Saturday 2 March. The seven-day UAE Tour will kick off with a team time trial. Apart from a few flat stages through the desert, there are also two tough uphill finishes. Lotto Soudal rider Bjorg Lambrecht and sports director Mario Aerts look ahead to this first edition.

Bjorg Lambrecht: “This race is very similar to the Abu Dhabi Tour of 2018, but it lasts a little longer now. On paper, the course looks promising, so I think it will be a really beautiful stage race. With among others Roger Kluge and Maxime Monfort, we have a solid squad to complete the team time trial. It is not my strongest suit, but I progressed a lot by riding several team time trials last year. I am looking forward to it, because it is an important discipline. Only by practising, you can improve. We are aiming for a stage win with our leader Caleb Ewan. Sander Armée is in excellent shape as well, so we will both try to end close in the mountain stages. Furthermore, Maxime is very experienced to guide us and to put us in the right position.”

“I know the ascent of the Jebel Hafeet on the third day, because I finished thirteenth there last year. I will give my all to again do well on that climb. But of course, each year is different. I have marked three stages and my goal is to achieve a good result in at least one of them. The general classification is not a goal on its own, but it would be nice. The most important thing is to finish inside the top ten of a WorldTour race for the first time and to gain confidence towards the next races. My main goal this season is the Tour of the Basque Country. I also aim to perform well in the Walloon Classics. For such kind of finales I was not strong enough just yet last year, but currently I do feel a lot stronger.”

Mario Aerts, sports director Lotto Soudal: “The UAE Tour offers a nice course with lots of variety. Two stages have a summit finish, one on top of a steep dam, three probable bunch sprints and a team time trial. Maybe there will be a few opportunities for echelons, however this was not a crucial aspect in Abu Dhabi the past few years. We are going to see day per day and if it happens, we will have to make sure that our riders are in the right group.”

“Our absolute ambition is to take a stage win. Caleb Ewan will be our best chance of success. He could not fulfil his planned training scheme for a while, because he had his wisdom teeth removed. In the UAE Tour he will reinitiate competition, in the perspective of Milan-San Remo. We have seen in the Tour Down Under that he does not really need a lead-out train. He just has to be in a good position to start his sprint. Roger Kluge and Adam Blythe will be the most important riders to deliver him in the right wheel. When I think back to the recent years in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the build-up to the sprint can be pretty hectic sometimes. There is a very strong field of competitors as well, just think of Gaviria, Viviani or Kittel.”

“Furthermore, Bjorg Lambrecht is free to show what he is capable of in the other stages and for the general classification. Naturally, the competition is really hard, so that will not be easy. Bjorg is young and he still has a big margin of progression. His peak is also a bit later in the season. We shall see how his shape is now, compared to other top riders like Dumoulin, Kelderman and Nibali.”

Stage 1
Sunday 24 February: Al Hudayriat – Al Hudayriat (TTT) (16 km)
Stage 2 Monday 25 February: Yas Island – Abu Dhabi (184 km)
Stage 3 Tuesday 26 February: Al Ain – Jebel Hafeet (179 km)
Stage 4 Wednesday 27 February: Dubai – Hatta Dam (205 km)
Stage 5 Thursday 28 February: Sharjah – Khor Fakkan (181 km)
Stage 6 Friday 1 March: Ajman – Jebel Jais (180 km)
Stage 7 Saturday 2 March: Dubai – Dubai (145 km)

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Sander Armée, Adam Blythe, Caleb Ewan, Adam Hansen, Roger Kluge, Bjorg Lambrecht and Maxime Monfort.
Sports director: Mario Aerts.

Caleb Ewan will be looking for more wins:

Gazprom — RusVelo will compete in UAE Tour
The Russian professional cycling team Gazprom — RusVelo will compete in UAE Tour on 25 February – 2 March.

UAE Tour is the first edition of a new World Tour race, which emerged from the combination of two races: Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tours. The new race features the total distance of 1090 kilometres packed in seven stages held across the seven emirates.

Gazprom — RusVelo rider Artem Nych shared his expectations about the inaugural race: “It is always nice to be back to competing in United Arab Emirates, because of an impeccable organization and friendly atmosphere. I am sure that the new UAE Tour will be an unforgettable race as well. That will be my fourth race this season and I am in good shape right now, hope to see further progress. We’ve had a good build-up during the pre-season training camps and each race we are starting at, we try to fight for the victory. I would like to thank our sponsors and fans who support us, we will do our best to demonstrate worthy results”.

Ildar Arslanov, Igor Boev, Stepan Kurianov, Artem Nych, Alexander Porsev, Sergey Shilov, Anton Vorobyev.

Strong line-up for the race in Bahrain’s neighbourhood
UAE Tour in this existance is in it’s first year, as previously it was two different races (Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour). This year there is a respecting field of GC contenders (Dumoulin, Valverde), while last few years those two tours were known to be sprinters’ races. It will be the first time this year that a lot of GC contenders will test their form. To add to this strong field of riders, Team Bahrain Merida is coming with a GC leader in Vincenzo Nibali, as well as with TT World Champion Rohan Dennis. Phil Bauhaus will be our “go to” rider for the sprints, supported by Marcel Sieberg, Heinrich Haussler and Jan Tratnik, while Damiano Caruso will be Nibali’s helper for the GC position.

The tour goes through all seven emirates and starts in Abu Dhabi with Team Time Trial. There are two mountain finishes on stage 3 (Jabel Hafeet) and 6 (for the first time in pro cycling, 20km, 5% gradient at Jabel Jais), with one punchy finish at Hatta Dam (where Colbrelli won last year). The other 3 stages are sprinter’s stages.

Phil Bauhaus said: “It’s good opportunity for me as sprinter, as well as a sprint train to develop. Last year I won a stage, and this year I feel super strong and I hope I can fight again for a stage win. I had good training after Tour Down Under, and Marcel, Heino and me are super motivated. Tour Down Under was our first race together, and we improved a lot, but we need to continue improving, it’s not something that gets perfect after 2-3 races, so we’ll keep improving, but also I’m confident we’ll do a great job as a team together”.

Our Sports Director Gorazd Stangelj: “We are going to Tour of UAE with a good team. Vincenzo Nibali will be our leader, while Phil Bauhaus will be our sprinter and both will have plenty of support. First stage is TTT and it will be first time for us to ride together so we will see what we could improve for the next important races. This first stage is really iportant for the GC ranking, so we hope we can set a good result. Good team spirit and achieving good results are definitely main objectives of the team at this race”.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step to UAE Tour
Elia Viviani returns to action in a country where he has tasted success on numerous occasions since 2015.

The inaugural edition of the UAE Tour takes place between February 24 and March 2, and Deceuninck – Quick-Step will be one of the twenty squads to line up at the start on the Al Hudayriat Island for a flat but technical 16km-long team time trial, at the end of which the first red jersey, of the GC leader, will be awarded.

Following this first ever TTT held in the Emirates, the next six days of the World Tour event will be split between the sprinters – who’ll get three opportunities to fight for victories and the points jersey – puncheurs (on the gruelling 17% gradients of Hatta Dam) and the climbers, with the latter expected to emerge on Jebel Hafeet and Jebel Jais, two long and challenging ascents that will play a crucial role in the final overall standings.

A rider who in the past four years has won eight times in the United Arab Emirates, Elia Viviani will set his sights on the flat stages, where he’ll be supported by a strong lead-out train comprising also Michael Mørkøv and Fabio Sabatini, the two men who have helped him rack up two wins already this season, at the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Road Race.

Alongside them will be Dries Devenyns, Remco Evenepoel – best young rider of the Vuelta a San Juan, where he finished inside the top 10 overall after an impressive ride – neo-pro Mikkel Honoré and James Knox, who are making their first outing since taking part in the Down Under campaign.

“We come here with Elia as leader, he will have a solid and experienced lead-out train to rely on and we are confident that he can win a stage and be in contention for the points jersey. We are also curious how Dries, James and Remco will fare on the uphill finishes and what they can do in the general classification. It’s a strong field here at the UAE Tour and it’s important to see what our level is, but after the excellent start of the season we’ve had, we are optimistic”, explained sports director Geert Van Bondt.

UAE Tour (UAE) 2.UWT Riders:
Dries Devenyns (BEL), Remco Evenepoel (BEL), Mikkel Honoré (DEN), James Knox (GBR), Michael Mørkøv (DEN), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Elia Viviani (ITA).
Sports Director: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL), Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Elia Viviani:

UAE Tour: Lineup
The UCI World Tour peloton heads to the United Arab Emirates this weekend for the inaugural edition of the 7-stage UAE Tour, starting on Sunday.

After a successful opening World Tour campaign in Australia, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will look to improve on our World Tour ranking with another strong performance at the UAE Tour.

The UAE Tour offers something for all types of riders with 3 sprint stages, 2 big mountain summit finishes, 1 punchy stage and a team time trial that will get the race underway.

Our riders to watch
Mark Cavendish
– Making his return to racing at the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina, the UAE Tour with its 3 sprint stages, will provide another great opportunity for the Manxman to get that race feeling in a region where he really enjoys racing.

Amanuel Ghebrigzabhier – While Louis Meintjes and Roman Kreuziger are names that immediately spring to mind when considering our GC options, Ghebreigzabhier’s incredible neo-pro season last year proved that he should be one to watch closely this season.

“I look forward to start the season in UAE. For me, coming from the off-season in Eritrea, UAE Tour is a good race to start with nice weather. This year, they have joined the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tour’s and I think this will make for a nice race. The route looks very nice and many of the top riders in the world are now coming to UAE, so it will be a hard race. I look forward to riding with Cav & Louis and all the guys again, we can have a good week together.”Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier

Key Stages
Stage 3
– While the opening team time trial will certainly set an early tone for the overall GC, the summit finish at the top of Jebel Hafeet will be where the big-name GC contenders will look to make a definitive move.

Stage 7 – There are a number of sprint stages at the UAE Tour and with a host of the world’s top sprinters on the startlist, we should be in for a treat. We look to the final stage where much of the final 80km takes place along the coastline, meaning crosswinds could well be more of a factor than the perfect leadout.

UAE Tour – FEB 21-24
Aike Visbeek – Team Sunweb coach: “The newly named UAE Tour has a few exciting new stages and a couple of the classic stages that we have seen before, with the Hatta Dam and Jebeel Hafeet mountain top finishes. Our main goal is the GC where we have two leaders with Wilco and Tom. We also have a secondary goal with Max for the three sprint stages and bring a new lead-out train with Cees and road captain Nikias. We are looking for a solid result in the opening TTT and with Rob and Cees we have two debutants for this discipline in our team. For Rob it will be his first race and Cees had a really good debut with the team in Australia and really impressed us with some stunning performances.”

Nikias Arndt (GER), Cees Bol (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Robert Power (AUS), Max Walscheid (GER).

Nikias Arndt and Max Walscheid:

2019 UAE Tour – Provisional Entry List
The cycling world’s top names line up for the only Middle Eastern race in the UCI WorldTour calendar. With just a few days until the UAE Tour starts, the entry list is announced, with key riders’ extended biographies.

· UAE Tour Provisional Entry List

An amazing start list at the UAE Tour, the only Middle Eastern race in the UCI WorldTour calendar. All 18 UCI WorldTeams accepted the invitation from the Organizing Committee: 2017 Giro d’Italia winner and former UCI World Time Trial Champion, the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin; last year’s Abu Dhabi Tour winner and UCI Road World Champion, the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, the Italian all rounder Vincenzo Nibali, who boasts four Grand Tour titles so far; 2018’s most successful rider and Dubai Tour winner, the Italian sprinter Elia Viviani; the UCI Time Trial World Champion, Australian Rohan Dennis; and the double Dubai Tour overall champion and winner of stages at all three Grand Tours, the German sprinter Marcel Kittel. Alongside them, other big name riders are on the entry list.

Alejandro Valverde (ESP – Movistar Team)
Valverde, born Las Lumbreras, Spain, 20 April 1980, is one of the most successful riders in the peloton with over 100 pro wins since his debut in 2002 with the Kelme – Costa Blanca team. His palmarès includes four Liège-Bastogne-Liège (2006, 2008, 2015, 2017) victories, five at La Flèche Wallonne (2006, 2014-2017), one GC at the Vuelta a España. Last year El Bala (‘The Bullet’) won the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck-Tirol and the last edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour.

Alejandro Valverde

Vincenzo Nibali (ITA – Bahrain – Merida)
Nibali, born in Messina, Italy, 14 November 1984, is one of the greatest ever all rounders, being one of only six cyclists to have won all three Grand Tours: the Vuelta a España in 2010, the Giro d’Italia in both 2013 and 2016 and the Tour de France in 2014. Lo Squalo – the Shark’s – other achievements include two editions of the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, the 2016 Tour of Oman, and two editions of the Il Lombardia. Last year saw a prestigious victory for Nibali, the Milano-Sanremo, a monument race, with an amazing solo attack.

Vincenzo Nibali

Tom Dumoulin (NED – Team Sunweb)
Born in Maastricht, Netherlands, 11 November 1990, Dumoulin found notoriety in his early career as a time trial specialist before emerging as a great all-rounder. In 2017 he became the first Dutch cyclist ever to win the Giro d’Italia and, later that season, both the World Individual Time Trial and the World Team Time Trial Championships. His palmarès features stage wins in all three Grand Tours (three at the Giro d’Italia, two each at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España), and a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games.

Tom Dumoulin

Rohan Dennis (AUS – Bahrain–Merida)
Born in Adelaide, Australia, 28 May 1990, last year Dennis won the Time Trial stage at the Abu Dhabi Tour, one stage at the Giro d’Italia and two at the Vuelta a España, before beating Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) at the Worlds to confirm himself as the best time trialist in the peloton. At the end of the season he moved from BMC to Bahrain–Merida

Rohan Dennis

Michał Kwiatkowski (POL – Team Sky)
Born in Chełmża, Poland, 2 June 1990, Kwiatkowski is an all rounder, with good sprinting, time-trialling and climbing abilities. His achievements include the 2014 road World Championship, the 2017 Milano-Sanremo, two editions of the Strade Bianche, the 2015 Amstel Gold Race, and the General Classification at the 2018 Tirreno-Adriatico.

Michał Kwiatkowski (photo credit: Team Sky)

Elia Viviani (ITA – Quick-Step Floors)
Viviani, born Isola della Scala, Italy, 7 February 1989, was 2018’s most successful rider with 18 victories. He also has an admirable record on the track, with the gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games in the Omnium in 2016. Last year’s wins include the GC at the Dubai Tour, one stage at the Abu Dhabi Tour, four at the Giro d’Italia, three at the Vuelta a España and the Italian National Championship.

Elia Viviani

Fernando Gaviria (COL – UAE Team Emirates)
Born in La Ceja, Colombia, 19 August 1994, Fernando Gaviria is one of the best sprinters in the peloton. He moved to UAE Team Emirates at the end of 2018 season after two stage wins at the Tour de France. His palmarès includes four stages at the Giro d’Italia and the 2016 Paris-Tours.

Fernando Gaviria (photo credit: UAE Team Emirates)

Marcel Kittel (GER – Katusha Alpecin)
Born on 11 May 1988 in Arnstadt, Germany, and a professional rider since 2011, Kittel’s palmarès includes 86 victories, with one stage at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Tour and two overall classification victories at the Dubai Tour (2016 and 2017) alongside 19 Grand Tour stage wins (four at the Giro d’Italia, 14 at the Tour de France – five of them being in the 2017 edition – and one at the Vuelta a España).

Marcel Kittel

Alexander Kristoff (NOR – UAE Team Emirates)
Kristoff, born Oslo, Norway, 5 July 1987, boasts major victories such as the 2014 Milano-Sanremo and the 2015 Tour of Flanders. His palmarès also includes three stages at the Tour de France and last year’s Abu Dhabi Tour first stage.

Alexander Kristoff (photo credit: UAE Team Emirates)

Mark Cavendish (British Isles – Team Dimension Data)
Born on 21 May 1985 in Douglas, Isle of Man (British Isles), Cavendish has won 15 stages at the Giro d’Italia, a mighty 30 at the Tour de France, and three at the Vuelta a España. In 2011, in Copenhagen, Denmark, he became UCI Road World Champion, and boasts one-day-race successes such as Milano-Sanremo (2009) and the National Road Race Championships. “Cav” has won the overall victory at the 2015 Dubai Tour and three stages at the Abu Dhabi Tour.

Mark Cavendish (photo credit: Team Dimension Data)

Caleb Ewan (AUS – Lotto Soudal)
Born in Sydney, Australia, 11 June 1994, Ewan is a talented sprinter who claimed 11 professional victories in his first season, including a stage at the Vuelta a España on his Grand Tour debut. Ewan was in superb form in 2017 too, having won four stages at the Tour Down Under, a stage at the 100th Giro d’Italia, three at the Tour of Britain and the final stage at the Yas Marina Circuit in the Abu Dhabi Tour. At the end of 2018 season he moved to the Belgian Lotto Soudal team.

Caleb Ewan (photo credit: Lotto Soudal)


La Vuelta 20 – Three Stages and 410 Kilometers in The Netherlands
In August 2020 La Vuelta will held its 75th edition. For that special occasion, the Spanish Grand Tour will start with three stages and 410 km in The Netherlands, through the provinces of Utrecht and North Brabant. No less than 34 Dutch municipalities will be visited in three days. The cities (Utrecht, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Breda) and provinces (Utrecht, North Brabant) involved in organizing the event presented the routes of this major international event today in the monumental church of Breda.

Three Challenging Stages
Stage 1 | T.T.T | 23.7km

The first stage will start on Friday evening. The riders in the team time trial will race through the streets of Utrecht. Starting at the Jaarbeurs then cycle eastwards through the city Centre. After a technical first part of the circuit they ride alongside the Singel on the Maliebaan, the oldest cycle path in the Netherlands. The route then heads at full tilt for Overvecht, where the teams make a loop towards Leidsche Rijn. A great opportunity for spectators to see their cycling heroes racing past twice. After leaving the new Leidsche Rijn Centre the teams race to the finish. From the fly-over they will hold a full-on team sprint until they cross the line at the Jaarbeursplein. Utrecht will therefore become the first city to host the official start of the three Grand Tours.

Stage 2 | 183km

The second stage will start on Saturday morning is the beautiful historic centre of ’s-Hertogenbosch. The decor for the first part of this stage is formed by the Zuiderwaterlinie, the Dutch military defensive line dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. After crossing the big rivers the peloton will head at full speed to the Grebbeberg, where the first mountain points of La Vuelta 2020 can be earned. The riders follow their route over the hilly ridge known as the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, with stunning views of the various country estates and castles, as they head for Amersfoort. After a loop through the city of Utrecht, they will sprint to the finish line at the Utrecht Science Park.

Stage 3 | 194km

During the last stage on Dutch soil the spotlight is on the landscape of West Brabant. After the start on Sunday at Breda’s historic castle the peloton will tour through the province. In doing so the riders will come face to face with the Brabantse Wal; the characteristic landscape of West Brabant. They will cycle through the birthplace of sport cycling in the Netherlands, places like St. Willebord, Alphen Chaam and Hoogerheide (known for the cyclocross competitions). After 194 kilometers the peloton races back through Breda for its last few meters in the Netherlands. The finish line is in front of the Chassé theatre; then we will know the winner of the third stage.

The team presentation will be held on the Thursday evening prior to the weekend of the competition, in the newly rebuilt Vredenburg in Utrecht’s City centre.

Spanish Fiesta
Now that the routes are known the organization behind La Vuelta Holanda can get to work on the details of the event. The themes involved will be: celebration, healthy urban living and sustainability. The event will benefit from extra experiences in the form of a variety of activities put on by and for residents, clubs, organisations, partners, businesses and institutions. As Mayor Paul Depla of Breda put it yesterday: “We will make the Vuelta 20 into one big party for the cities and the regions. Not just along the circuit itself, but also in the run up to the start of the Vuelta, the cities and provinces will be colored red”.

In the same line the CEO of La Vuelta, Javier Guillén, highlighted that the Spanish round will celebrate a special anniversary : “La Vuelta 20 will be the 75th edition of our cycling Tour so we wanted a special start. We could, with the Netherlands as a cycling country and Utrecht as a starting place (first city in the world that hosts all three major cycling tours), give the Vuelta a unique touch.”

Joop Zoetemelk, Javier Guillen and Jan Janssen with the maillots of La Vuelta 20:

Eschborn-Frankfurt 2019: A New Finishing Loop for the German Classic
The 58th edition of Eschborn-Frankfurt offers a selective course through the Taunus area. The German WorldTour race lines-up along the great spring classics. Only three days after Liege-Bastogne-Liège, the pros can look forward to further challenges on May 1st. 187.5 kilometers long and with 3,222 meters of altitude, the German Classic will live up to its name again. The Taunus loop, which was redesigned last year, has proven itself and will be conquered this year in a slightly different sequence. In addition to the Feldberg (11km at 4.8%), the race again leads four times over the famous Mammolshainer hill (2.3km at 8.2%), twice over the Ruppertshain ascent (1.3km at 8.6%) and once over the Billtalhöhe (2.6km at 6.2%). In 2018, Germanys most traditional one-day race was marked by many attacks and the race outcome was open until the final. Reason enough to maintain the Taunus icons and their unique classic character.

The race will be decided on a new loop in Frankfurt, where the riders will cross the Main river with the skyline in sight. Given a slightly different approach to the finish in front of the Frankfurt Old Opera, the last corner is now 500 meters ahead of the finish line. This will make the finishing straight, clearer and longer. The new finish loop in Frankfurt is 6.5 kilometers long and will be raced two and a half times.

In 2018, Eschborn-Frankfurt was broadcasted in 190 countries on 5 continents for the first time. This year, the German Classic has a special treat for its home fans. In addition to the live broadcast from start to finish that will be aired by the regional TV station (Hessischer Rundfunk), German national broadcaster ARD will broadcast live from the race. For the German fans, it’s the first time since 2007 that the race can be followed on national TV again.

Claude Rach, Managing Director of the GesellschaftzurFörderungdesRadsports, the German subsidiary of the race organizer A.S.O: “The decision of the ARD underlines the success of the German Classic. Now we can transport the great enthusiasm from Eschborn, Frankfurt and the Taunus area to all German cycling fans. The ARD broadcast will start just in time for the third crossing of the Mammolshainer hill. Thanks to the unique atmosphere on the course, the Mammolshainer has become an icon, a true hotspot of Eschborn-Frankfurt.”

Taunus icons and new finish are the focus of the race on May 1st
After more than 10 years, German national broadcaster ARD reports live again
Record score for registrations for the ŠKODA Velotour – the Eschborn-Frankfurt sportive

Besides the WorldTour race, 5,500 amateur cyclists will participate in the ŠKODA Velotour. The sportive of Eschborn-Frankfurt offers three routes of 40, 87 and 100 kilometers. As of now, a signing record is emerging. Compared to the same date in 2018, 30% more participants have registered already for the ŠKODA Velotour – underlining the growing attraction of the German Classic.

More information about the race on

SUFFOLK to Host Opening Stage of 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour
Suffolk will host the opening stage of the 2019 OVO Energy Women’s Tour on Monday 10 June, marking the fifth time that the race has visited the county.

The county also becomes the first venue to be confirmed for the 2020 edition of the race, with the news that Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council will partner with event organizers SweetSpot Group in a two-year deal to bring the UCI Women’s WorldTour event to the county in both 2019 and 2020.

Cllr James Reeder, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Health, said: “We are delighted to welcome the OVO Energy Women’s Tour back to Suffolk for a fifth year, and our fourth time of hosting the Grand Depart.

“We are proud to have secured the race in Suffolk for this year and next. This is in no small part due to the success of the previous stages hosted in Suffolk and the strength of our relationship with the race organizers, SweetSpot.

“The Women’s Tour and events like it all contribute to our ambition to make Suffolk England’s most active county. I hope that this year’s race inspires even more people to take up cycling and take part in the wide range of events Suffolk has to offer, such as Women on Wheels as part of an active and healthy lifestyle. It is always a much-celebrated event in Suffolk’s Sporting Calendar, greatly enjoyed by local communities.”

In a joint statement, Cllr TJ Haworth-Culf, Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Cabinet Member for Customers, Communities and Leisure and Cllr Michael Ladd, Waveney District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Tourism said: “It is incredibly exciting that the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is returning to East Suffolk for both 2019 and 2020 as we know our local communities, businesses and schools enjoy getting involved in this sporting spectacle. We are committed to increasing people’s participation in sport and the Women’s Tour will no doubt inspire more people to take up cycling and improve their health and wellbeing.”

In its four previous visits to Suffolk, the OVO Energy Women’s Tour is estimated to have attracted in excess of 250,000 spectators to the roadside and created a net economic impact for the county’s economy of in excess of £3.5 million.

Almost 70% of spectators surveyed following last year’s opening stage, between Framlingham and Southwold, said that the event inspired them to cycle more often.

Commenting on the announcement, OVO Energy Women’s Tour Race Director Mick Bennett said, “We are delighted to be able to confirm that Suffolk will host the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in both 2019 and 2020. Suffolk have been involved as a host venue since the first edition in 2014 so the extension of our partnership for a further two editions of the race shows the support in the county for the event and their aims to get more people more active.”

This June will mark the fourth time that the OVO Energy Women’s Tour has begun in Suffolk with Bury St Edmunds, Southwold and Framlingham having each hosted the Grand Depart of Britain’s biggest women’s procycling race.

Further details of the 2019 Suffolk stage, including the Start and Finish venues for Stage One, will be announced in early March, ahead of the announcement of the full route for the OVO Energy Women’s Tour.

Paul Sherwen – A Cyclist’s Journey
The life of Paul Sherwen in his pro cycling days, recounted by his teammates and legends of professional cycling.

The PEZ INSTAGRAM Take a look at our Instagram page for a live feed and giveaways straight from your phone:

Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.

Any comments drop me a line, email address: or Twitter. And check the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Page.

algarve19Andalucia19cyclocrossEuroTrashfrankfurt19Hulst19latest newsNow on pezOman19ovo womens tour19Paul Sherwenruta del sol19setmana valenciana19tdf21tour21UAE Tour19vuelta20