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L’Alpe d’Huez EuroTrash!

Which mountains will the 2015 Tour de France climb? L’Alpe d’Huez looks a popular choice with a return of Pra-Loup after 40 years. Race reports and video from the Tour of Beijing and Putte-Kapellen, plus loads of the latest team and rider news for a full sack of EuroTrash. Café au lait?

TOP STORY: 2015 Tour de France Route
The rumours are flying about as to where next years Tour de France battles will be fought out, but we will know on Wednesday when the course is unveiled in the Palais de Congrès in Paris. The route will take an anti-clockwise direction round france with the Pyrenees coming before the Alps and the finish in Paris on July the 26th.

We have known for a year that the Grand Départ will be in the Dutch town of Utrecht on July the 4th with a 13.7 kilometer time trial. Stage 1 heads towards the coast to finish in Neeltje Jans. Stage 3 is rumoured to be starting in Antwerp, Belgium and finish on the summit of the Mur de Huy, like Fleche-Wallone, which is also organised by ASO. From there the race will head towards Brittany where there should be a time trial, some say individual, but maybe a team test. A local newspaper suggests that it will be in Rennes.

After the first rest day on Monday, July the 13th, the race will head to the Pyrenees for two summit finishes, before tackling the Massif Central to finish the second week and take the Tour into the Alps. Rumour has it that the climb to Pra-Loup for the first time since 1975. The other hot rumour is that the finish of the last Saturday of the Tour will be on l’Alpe d’Huez. As always the final stage will be in Paris with the last finish line on the Champs-Élysées, probably with a late start to allow everyone to get to the French capital in time.

To find out the full details you will have to wait until Wednesday and of course we will have the full low-down on PEZ.

Tour de France 2015 – Unofficial Trailer/Promo:

header-beijingTour of Beijing 2014Philippe Gilbert’s third-place finish on Monday’s Stage 4 mountain-top finish of the Tour of Beijing kept him in the leader’s jersey with one day of the race to go.

Gilbert said he appreciated the help from the BMC Racing Team’s other six riders to stay in the leader’s red jersey he earned Friday by winning a smog-shortened stage that also finished going uphill. “We did a great job as a team, first controlling the breakaway and then riding a steady tempo,” he said. “The guys rode a nice speed – not too fast, just perfect.” When eventual stage winner Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp) attacked in the last 300 meters of the 157-kilometer race, Gilbert kept him in sight, finishing two-seconds later, just behind runner-up Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) and in front of Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida). With only a 117-km stage from Tiananmen Square to a circuit around the Olympic precinct remaining, Gilbert is three-seconds ahead of Martin and nine-seconds in front of Chaves. “Three-seconds is not much, but it is better to have an advantage than to be behind,” the former world road champion said. “Let’s cross our fingers that the race can go like normal tomorrow and that I can win the general classification.”

In addition to the early pace-making by Yannick Eijssen, Martin Kohler and Rick Zabel to keep a four-man breakaway in check, the BMC Racing Team also relied upon Dominik Nerz and Tejay van Garderen to set a high tempo as the final climb began. The last turn at the front came in the last kilometer from Samuel Sánchez, who won his Olympic road race title in Beijing in 2008. “Philippe told me he wanted me to set a high tempo,” Sánchez said. “Today was all about working well as a team and helping Philippe.” Sánchez finished 14th on the day and is 13th overall. “I am very thankful for what Samuel has done for me the whole season,” Gilbert said. “He has been there for almost every win I have had this year.” BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri agreed. “Samuel was exceptional finishing it off and the team rode great,” he said. “It really counts to come to China at the end of the year and have motivation and want to ride and take risks. It is something to say ‘bravo’ to the team.”

Stage winner Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp): “There was headwind all the way and it’s not a hard climb. It’s big chain ring and you’re going 30kph. The GC would have been a bonus, but the guys rode incredibly all day, in fact all week they’ve been incredible. It’s always been a lot of fun, this race. It’s my third time here and I’ve enjoyed every year. It’s just a pity it’s not continuing but I’m sure it will be back in the future.”

Tour of Beijing Stage 4 Result:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 4:12:14
2. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:02
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
4. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
5. Julian Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek at 0:10
6. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano
8. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Sergey Chernetski (Rus) Katusha
10. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky at 0:13.

Tour of Beijing Overall After Stage 4:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 15:19:47
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:03
3. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:09
4. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:11
5. Sergey Chernetski (Rus) Katusha at 0:23
6. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano
7. Julian Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek
8. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Pieter Serry (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:26.

Stage 4:

Philippe Gilbert won the overall title at the Tour of Beijing on Tuesday’s Final Stage 5 to earn the BMC Racing Team’s 30th win of the season and help the American squad finish second in the final UCI team standings.

Gilbert and his BMC teammachine SLR01 crossed the finish line in the peloton at the end of the 117-kilometer circuit race around the Olympic pavilion in Beijing to secure a three-second victory over Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp). Esteban Chaves (ORICA-GreenEDGE) finished third, six seconds back. Gilbert’s overall win was the first of his career of a WorldTour stage race and seventh on the year, the most by a BMC Racing Team rider during 2014. The 30 victories also matched a BMC Racing Team record, set last year. “This is a big win, not only for me, but also a big one for the team,” Gilbert said. “I knew the team was really good here, which gave me confidence. And when you have confidence, there is less pressure. This was a great experience and I am glad my name will be in the palmares. It is a very special victory for me to win in a place like China.” Gilbert’s other victories this season included his win on Stage 2 that gained him the red leader’s jersey, back-to-back victories at Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Gold Race in April and two stages and the overall title of Ster ZLM Toer in June.

Just as it did on Stages 3 and 4, the BMC Racing Team was hard at work protecting Gilbert and his lead during Tuesday’s stage. Yannick Eijssen, Martin Kohler, Dominik Nerz, Samuel Sánchez, Tejay van Garderen and Rick Zabel each took turns riding the front to reel in a two-man breakaway that enjoyed a 1:20 advantage heading into the final eight-kilometer lap around several of the 2008 Olympic venues. After the pair was caught in the last kilometer, Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) took the win ahead of Greg Henderson (Lotto Belisol) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky). “The team rode great again today to keep things safe and keep Philippe out front,” BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri said. “Everyone worked hard right to the very end because we were afraid of gaps in the last kilometer. At 60 kilometers an hour, a small gap is more than three-seconds. So a big thanks to all the riders and staff who worked really well to wrap things up right at the end of the season.”

Helped by Gilbert’s victory, the BMC Racing Team finished second behind Movistar Team, which won the UCI team classification for the second consecutive year. Tinkoff-Saxo, which had been second heading into the Tour of Beijing, finished third. BMC Racing Team Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said the momentum of the BMC Racing Team winning the world championship team time trial last month carried through to China. “All the riders were very motivated to go after the team ranking because we knew it was important for (team sponsor) Andy Rihs and (BMC Racing Team President/General Manager) Jim Ochowicz,” Ledanois said. “Before we came here, we spoke with all the riders about getting a good result. And we did it. This was a big result. All of the team and staff can be very proud.”

Break away rider Lotto Belisol’s Tosh Van der Sande: “In the beginning Mangel and I didn’t have a high pace. We accelerated in the last four laps. They only caught us with about four hundred metres to go. I felt really strong and was confident to go to the finish and sprint with the two of us. It’s a pity. The last lap I heard we had one and a half minute lead. Then I believed in it. We went full gas. Winning the last race of the season would have been great. I have been close to the win a few times the past races. This motivates me for next season. I joined a break twice and could wear the KOM jersey for two days here, so I can be satisfied about the Tour of Beijing.”

This is the eighth success of the season for Sacha Modolo (the previous one was the 5th stage of Tour de Suisse) and the 23rd victory for the Lampre-Merida team in 2014: “It’s so good to end the season winning the last race. My team mates and me tried hard to obtain this success and so it’s even more satisfying having got it. After the victory in Tour de Suisse, I lived a bad period mainly because of some health problems, but with the help and the support of the team I could hang in. I’m happy to have given to the team and to the sponsors a good morning!”

Tour of Beijing Stage 5 Result:
1. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 2:40:10
2. Gregory Henderson (NZl) Lotto-Belisol
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin
6. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Shimano
7. Davide Appollonio (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
9. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
10. Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Movistar.

Tour of Beijing Final Overall Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 17:59:57
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:03
3. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:09
4. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:11
5. Sergey Chernetski (Rus) Katusha at 0:23
6. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano
7. Julian Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek
8. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Mikael Chérel (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:26.

The final stage 5:

header-putteNationale Sluitingsprijs – Putte-Kapellen 2014
Lotto Belisol could finish the season with a victory today. Belgian champion Jens Debusschere won the last race on the Belgian calendar, in Putte-Kapellen. Team mate Jonas Van Genechten joined him on the podium as third. Tom Van Asbroeck became second.

The race consisted of eight laps of almost 22.5 kilometres. Pim Ligthart was part of a front group of originally eleven riders. The Dutchman of Lotto Belisol stayed in front the longest together with Sinkeldam, Terpstra and Vanbilsen. With one lap to go all escapees were caught. In the final kilometres Kenny Dehaes took off with two others, one was Zdenek Stybar. The peloton closed the gap and there was a bunch sprint. The difference between Debusschere and Van Asbroeck was really tiny, the jury had to take a look at the photo-finish. Victory for Debusschere was the verdict.

Race winner Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol): “I wanted to pull the sprint for Jonas Van Genechten today. With 450 metres to go I got to the head of the peloton. Jonas lost my wheel and I continued. It was close, but I just stayed in front of Tom Van Asbroeck. The difference was so small it was impossible to know if I had won, I had to wait for the jury to take a look at the photo-finish. I’m really happy I won. The last five race days (Eurométropole Tour stages 2,3 and 4, Binche-Chimay-Binche and Paris-Tours, LTB) I stood on the podium as second or third. Now I can start the off-season with a good feeling.” Belgian title as highlight: “I can be quite positive about this season. I had expected more from the classics. I wanted to set a result myself in Dwars door Vlaanderen and I became sixth. That’s not bad. Then there was my victory at the Belgian Championship, of course the highlight of my season. A victory in Paris-Tours would have made my season complete. I finished last season with four victories, which I all gathered in the last weeks. I set another step forward this year. I hope to continue my evolution next season. In a few weeks I will go on a holiday and I will also move to another house this winter.”

Nationale Sluitingsprijs – Putte-Kapellen Result:
1. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol in 3:56:11
2. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
4. Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Veranclassic-Doltcini
5. Maarten Van Trijp (Ned) Rabobank Development Team
6. Bart De Backer (Bel) Selectie-Individuelen
7. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Remco Te Brake (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental
9. Tim Vanspeybroeck (Bel) Team 3M
10. Andrew Ydens (Bel) T.Palm-Pôle Cont. Wallon.

Putte-Kapellen: A real Belgian race:

header-tinkoffsaxoThree Grand Tours in a Season?
Tinkoff-Saxo is convinced the idea to have the world’s best four riders compete head-to-head in the three Grand Tours will be beneficial to the sport of cycling. Right now, all teams have the unique opportunity to take the challenge and shape their team and riders programs accordingly. What if the world’s best riders battled it out against each other in all three Grand Tours in 2015? What started as a simple idea by Tinkoff-Saxo’s CEO, Stefano Feltrin, a few months ago, could very well become a turning point in cycling.

The motivation behind the idea to have the world’s top riders competing together was to bolster interest, not only among cycling fans but also well beyond. Given the absence of major international sports events in 2015, the “Three Grand Tours” proposal by Tinkoff-Saxo will undoubtedly benefit the sport of cycling, putting it in the spotlight of the world’s media. It will be first time ever that audiences around the world will be able to watch a clash of all four cycling titans across the season, in the world’s three most prominent races. Very few riders have tried it before and its appeal will certainly go beyond the novelty factor. It might even be the biggest sports story next year and capture the attention of audiences that don’t usually follow cycling. If this is standard practice in all major sports why shouldn’t it be as well in cycling?

According to Feltrin: “this isn’t a joke or a publicity stunt. We are very serious about it and we feel it is a proposal that will help cycling move forward. The fact our team owner Oleg Tinkov is putting on the table an important financial incentive is further proof of our intentions. The offer of €1 million by Tinkoff Credit Systems could also be matched by other sponsors. We first approached the other teams during the recent Vuelta and we are encouraged by the recent positive reaction to our idea. We look forward to further discussing it with the key stakeholders. Team Movistar manager, Eusebio Unzué, has stated the idea was good while Team Sky manager, David Brailsford, thinks it has a lot of merit. They both agree it is a question of making the right program, so we invite them to make this in the interest of evolving cycling.”

There is no doubt this will be physically a very demanding undertaking and Tinkoff-Saxo is well aware of that. Its captain, Alberto Contador, has publicly stated he would be gunning for the Giro-Tour double and the last victorious rider in that attempt was Italy’s Marco Pantani more than 15 years ago. Tinkoff-Saxo considers very encouraging the fact that Vicenzo Nibali, winner of the 2014 Tour de France, has also announced he would be taking the Giro-Tour double next year. The routes of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España still haven’t been made public but the recently-unveiled Giro makes that attempt still difficult but feasible. As Oleg Tinkov noted, “the Giro d’Italia course in 2015 is hard and impressive, but not cruel. There are very few transfers, short stages and a mild final week.”

Recent developments in the recovery of the riders between each stage and the attention they receive will certainly help towards achieving the goal. With 30 riders in their squads, the big teams can schedule their season in order to have a fresh group that will help its captain in each Grand Tour. In addition, training is done much more scientifically now compared to the past and even if they aren’t at 100% of their potential, the world’s top riders can have a serious shot at winning. In addition, the current very stringent controls will ensure that riders stay within legal limits and no doping incidents tarnish this incredible endeavor.

For Bjarne Riis, Team Manager: “racing in the three Grand Tours isn’t an issue in itself for the world’s best riders, they will not have any problems with that. However, winning or going for a podium place in all three is another thing and that will narrow it down to very few people. I think there is a very small number of riders that are able to accomplish such a remarkable feat and we still don’t know who they might be, because it hasn’t been done before. That’s the beauty of this challenge. I believe Alberto Contador can aim at the podium in all three Grand Tours in one season and I think he has the capacity to do it. Nevertheless, I think that extraordinary physical capacity alone will not be enough. It is a very important factor but a rider needs three more crucial elements: The ability to recover between races, the mental strength and a perfect preparation and planning of the season. As I said, maybe just a handful of riders combine all the elements to undertake such an extraordinary challenge. Do we know who they are? Not yet, because we have never had the opportunity in the past, so it would be excellent to see it happen, as soon as next year.”

Aiming at three Grand Tours might leave the door open for other riders to prepare for just one and claim it. It is a risk Tinkoff-Saxo acknowledges and is willing to take as it can only help the sport of cycling evolve.

Marco Pantani, the last Giro/Tour winner in the same year, maybe not the best example:

header_movistarMovistar Team complete most successful season
Valverde claims World No. 1 title as telephone squad repeats last year’s success as best WorldTour team in 2014; colossal performance sees the Blues taking 34 victories -including Quintana’s Giro d’Italia, the first Grand Tour won in Movistar colours.

The Tour of Beijing, final event of the 2014 UCI WorldTour, also put an end to the Movistar Team’s most successful season so far. The telephone squad claimed the biggest honours in the pro scene by conquering both world rankings: The teams’ classification, a back-to-back triumph after their late surge in 2013, and the individual one, thanks to Alejandro Valverde’s excellent performances throughout the year. At the teams’ ranking, the Movistar Team (1,440 points) beat American outfit BMC Racing Team (1,212) and Russian-backed squad Tinkoff-Saxo (1,186 points).

During the fourth year in Movistar colours, Eusebio Unzué’s squad, which celebrated its 35th consecutive seasons in the pro ranks during 2014, improved their already outstanding figues from the three previous seasons, claiming 34 victories -the third best tally for the Blues, after 1998 (36 wins) and 1997 (35)– with ten different riders. 2014 brought the first three-week stage race win for the Movistar Team with Nairo Quintana’s unforgettable success in the Giro d’Italia. The Spanish squad has achieved five podiums in the last seven Grand Tours: Vuelta ’12, Tour & Vuelta ’13, Giro & Vuelta ’14.

The Movistar Team keeps building on a leading project in cycling; added to their sporting success, the squad has involved a true legion of fans, having reached in 2014 the 300,000 mark with a combination of their four main social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube).

Team manager Eusebio Unzué: “Winning both WorldTour classifications makes us immensely happy. It’s a reward to our sponsors’ big efforts to keep us alive, as well as all our collaborators. A prize for everyone making part of this structure, and above all, for all our riders for their extraordinary commitment. It’s not that we were really riding to conquer this victory, but our riders performing extremely well in all races we took part that we jumped into the lead. It’s the icing on top of the cake, the best way to end our season, a top mark for a great year, and something that should be more appreciated than it really is. I don’t know if this is the right moment to defend it, but honestly, I think these are the true world championships in our sport, even though we have to live with two one-day races that put the individual and team rankings at stake. For me, these nine months are the biggest deal, because they value your efforts throughout the whole season. Ever since the first race we did pretty well if we weren’t just outstanding. Alejandro and Nairo were the two taking the most points, but there was a huge team behind team. You can’t win such a ranking with just two individuals. Besides, one of the reasons that makes me even more happy about this result is snatching the win in front of really big squad, the most important in the world. That’s why when you win, even more when you take back-to-back triumphs, you can say you were the best.”

Movistar Team’s 2014 facts and Figures:
· UCI WorldTour team ranking – Winners
· 34 victories, with 10 different riders
– Valverde (11); Quintana (7); Malori (5); Dowsett, Lobato, Jesús Herrada (2); Rojas, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Dayer Quintana, Movistar Team (1).
Grand Tours
– 1 overall victory (Quintana, Giro d’Italia)
– 2 overall podiums (Quintana, 1st, Giro; Valverde, 3rd, Vuelta)
– 5 stage wins (3 – Vuelta; 2 – Giro)
· 8 medals
– World Road Race Championships (Valverde – bronze)
– TT Commonwealth Games (Dowsett – gold)
– Spanish ITT Championship (Valverde – gold; Ion Izagirre – silver; Castroviejo – bronze)
– Spanish RR Championship (Ion Izagirre – gold; Valverde – silver)
– Italian ITT Championship (Malori – gold)
· 6 one-day races
– Flèche Wallonne
– Clásica San Sebastián
– Roma Maxima
– GP Miguel Indurain
– Vuelta a Murcia
– Prueba Villafranca
· 4 stage races
– Giro d’Italia
– Tour de San Luis
– Vuelta a Andalucía
– Vuelta a Burgos
· 99 podiums
· 258 racing days
· 74 races, 14 countries
· 314,666km covered during the season.

GCN with the Movistar team at the Giro’14:

header-europcarVoeckler Fined in Paris-Tours
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) lost out to Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Beloise) in the sprint at the end of Paris-Tours on Sunday and went of to his team bus and was late for the podium ceremonies. Voeckler was fined 200 Swiss Francs and would not be getting the €3,770 prize for his second place.

Voeckler has not had the best of seasons with two broken collar bones and at 35-year-old Voeckler must be coming to the end of his career. “I don’t feel old but it’s clear that time passes and that my form maybe isn’t the same. This doesn’t happen often but, considering my current form, it’s almost a pity that the season doesn’t last for another three weeks.”

Thomas Voeckler second to Jelle Wallays in Paris-Tours:
Paris - Tours 2014

header-cofidisCofidis team for 2015
Cofidis, Solutions Credits has announced the 25 riders who will be riding for the French ProContinental team in 2015.

2015 Cofidis team riders:
Jonas Ahlstrand, Yoann Bagot, Nacer Bouhanni, Chainel, Loïc Chetout, Edet, Romain Hardy, Gert Jõeäär, Christophe Laporte, Cyril Lemoine, Luis Ángel Maté, Rudy Molard, Daniel Navarro, Adrien Petit, Dominique Rollin, Stephane Rossetto, Florian Senechal, Julien Simon, Geoffrey Soupe, Turgis, Michael Van Staeyen, Kenneth Vanbilsen, Clément Venturini, Louis Verhelst and Romain Zingle.

A day out with the Cofidis team:

header-Giant-Shimano14European U23 Road Race Champion, Sabrina Stultiens to join Team Giant-Alpecin from 2015
Team Giant-Shimano Women’s Team, to be Team Giant-Alpecin, is pleased to announce that 21-year-old Sabrina Stultiens will join the team from March 2015, following the end of the cyclo-cross season in which she will be competing.

Stultiens, from the Netherlands, has raced for Rabobank-Liv for the past three seasons and despite her young age already has a wealth of experience of professional women’s racing to her name.

She has had her best season to date this year taking the European Championships U23 road race title in July, as well as taking the young riders jersey and eighth overall at La Route de France the following month. Stultiens rounded out her season with a place in the Dutch National Team at the World Championships road race, where she finished 56th.

“I am really looking forward to racing for Team Giant-Alpecin next year,” confirmed Stultiens. “I have had a few good years with Rabo-Liv but I’ve decided to move on and to go for another adventure where I see the opportunity to develop myself further as a person and a rider. The vision of the team, with young riders, and putting development first is really important for me.

“In addition, I hope to strengthen the team. In the harder races I would like to support Claudia Lichtenberg (GER) as best as possible. I would like to develop myself as a climber in the shorter stage races. Cyclo-cross also remains important to me, although I will race less than previous years, and use it to prepare better for the road season.”

Team Giant-Shimano Women’s Team coach, Hans Timmermans (NED) added: “We started looking for a young talented rider with climbing skills and Sabrina stood out as a huge prospect. At the European Championships she proved that she can finish well too. Sabrina is the perfect fit in our team: young, talented, strong climbing skills and most importantly, she’s a team player.”

The contracts of Kirsten Wild (NED) and Marijn de Vries (NED) have not been renewed and the team wishes them the best with their futures.

World champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot and European champion Sabrina Stultiens (both Rabobank-Liv):
Marianne Vos Experience 2014 NVA

header-bretagneDan McLay to Bretagne-Séché Environnement for 2015
After another great season with the Lotto Belisol feeder team, British rider Dan McLay has signed a contract with the French ProContinental Bretagne-Séché Environnement team. The team has eight new signings along with McLay, they are: Pierrick Fedrigo, Jonathan Hivert, Yauheni Hutarovich, Matthieu Boulo, Frédéric Brun and new professionals Maxime Cam and Kevin Ledanois.

Another win for Dan McLay:

header-rural14Amets Txurruka stays with Caja Rural-Seguro RGA
Amets Txurruka has signed a contract to stay with the ProContinental Caja Rural-Seguros RGA team for another season. The Basque rider joined caja Rural in 2013 after riding for the WorldTour Euskaltel-Euskadi team where he won the best young riders’ competition in the 2007 Tour de France. In 2013 he won the Vuelta a Asturia.

Amets Txurruka in the Classica San Sebastian ’14:
Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian 2014

header-garmin-sharpKoldo Fernandez Retires
Garmin-Sharp’s Koldo Fernandez has decided to end his pro career after a season that saw him crash out on the stage 1 team time trial of the Giro d’Italia in Belfast. The 33-year old Basque rider turned professional in 2004 with Euskaltel-Euskadi, moving to Garmin in 2012. He won the Circuito de Getxo in 2009, Tour de Vendée in 2010, points jersey in the 2008 Tour of Murcia and finished twice 2nd and once 3rd in the Spanish national road championships. He also started in eleven Grand Tours.

Koldo Fernandez winning stage 7 of the 2007 Tirreno-Adriatico:
7e etappe  Tirreno - Adriatico 2007

lottobelisol_headerLotto Belisol: André Greipel has the most wins of the international peloton
Lotto Belisol has ridden its last race of the season. Let’s take a look at some figures.

15th in WorldTour
Yesterday it wasn’t only the last race on Belgian soil, in Putte-Kapellen, but also the last WorldTour race. That was the final stage of the Tour of Beijing. Lotto Belisol is fifteenth in the team classification, with 590 points. The team total is the sum of the five best riders of a team in the individual classification. For Lotto Belisol these are Tim Wellens (204) who is 25th, Tony Gallopin (140), Jelle Vanendert (104), Jurgen Van den Broeck (96) and André Greipel (46).

Greipel has the most wins
André Greipel ends the season as the rider who has the most wins of the international peloton. The German has a total of sixteen victories. That’s one more than French champion Arnaud Démare and two more than Alexander Kristoff. The first two victories he gathered at the Tour Down Under. For the second year in a row Greipel conquered the German title. In the Tour de France he was the best in stage six. On 3rd of October he rode his last race of the season and added the Münsterland Giro to his list of victories.

Big Respect to the Gorilla – Tour Down Under 2013 – Andre Greipel by Viral Verse:

header-oricageMore milestones for ORICA-GreenEDGE as third season draws to a close
The Tour of Beijing finale brought to a close a successful 2014 season for ORICA-GreenEDGE. At the conclusion of our third season as the first Australian professional team to race at the top of world cycling, ORICA-GreenEDGE finished with 35 wins, including the team’s historic 100th victory, and ranked a best ever fifth in the world. Amongst the successes were four grand tour stage wins, 15 WorldTour victories, four leader’s jerseys, one monument and six Australian home wins.

General manager Shayne Bannan said the outfit continued to punch above its weight on the world stage: “We’re proud to have again been able to deliver an impressive number of victories right across the 2014 season and we’ve been able to compete with the best out there and that’s what we set out to do from day one. Being able to continue that development into our third year is fantastic to see,” Bannan said. “It’s also pleasing to see the spread of the victories. Twelve different riders contributed to our 34 individual wins and a further three were involved in the team time trial win at the Giro d’Italia. It’s a real tribute to the depth of our team.”

Amidst the 35 victories this season was the team’s 100th. Simon Gerrans recorded the milestone at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, the 34-year-old also posting the teams first ever victory at the Australian championships back in 2012. “Celebrating a century of victories was a real highlight of this season for us,” Bannan said. “To be able to do so in just our third year is an incredible achievement.”

“Each and every rider across the years has contributed to this milestone but it does seem fitting that Simon Gerrans, who constantly delivers for us on the toughest stage, notched up number 100 to accompany the very first that he won for us also.”

Riders will now take a well-earned short break before preparing for an even bigger 2015 beginning with a jammed packed summer of cycling in Australia. “It’s been a long year, but there isn’t much time to reminisce,” Bannan said. “We continue to be 100% committed to performing at home in Australia throughout January and early February – it is the least we can do for our local fans who, often with little sleep, support us all year long. The support we have at home means a lot to us.”

Read about some (of the many) highlights of ORICA-GreenEDGE’s 2014 season here.


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