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Covadonga EuroTrash!

The battle for the Vuelta crown raged on the slopes to the Lagos de Covadonga, but there was also racing in Canada, Britain, Belgium and France. Lots of cycling news, video, comments and results in a packed EuroTrash Monday. Big coffee time!

TOP STORY: Who Should Contador be Watching?
On the climb to the finish of stage 15 at the Lagos de Covadonga Alberto Contador seemed more interested in putting time between himself and Chris Froome. In the process he lost 11 seconds to Alejandro Valverde and 9 to Joaquim Rodriguez. When Contador, Valverde and Rodriguez had their gap on Froome, it should have been down to Rodriguez to make the pace as he wanted (and did) move up. Contador was in the perfect position to leave the work to the other two, but didn’t. Contador might be thinking he needs more time in the bank on Froome for the final time trial, which makes sense, but Valverde is looking more and more like the danger man. Earlier in the week Valverde was sprinting for the odd bonus seconds and let’s not forget Señor Valverde is not known for his loyalty. All is fair in love and bike racing I guess.

Tour of Spain - Stage 15

header-vueltaVuelta a España 2014
Stage 12 consisted of a flat circuit around Logroño to be covered eight times for 166 kilometers.

Austrian rider Mathias Krizek (Cannondale) attacked from the gun but nobody went with him so he spent most of the stage alone at the front. His maximum lead of 9 minutes was at the second passage of the finishing line after 41.2, where Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) took 2nd place for Green jersey points.

FDJ.fr took care of most of the chase with a bit of help from Giant-Shimano. With about 600 metres to go, Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) and Andrea Guardini (Astana) crashed and took many riders down. Thanks to a perfect lead out, John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) took his third stage win ahead of Tom Boonen (OPQS) and Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana). Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) retained the lead without any problem.

Some questions for stage winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano). How did you manage to avoid the crash? “I didn’t see the crash, I only heard the crash behind me. I had no time to look back. I was there to do my own sprint. I focused on myself and on my lead out man. Ramon Sinkeldam did a great job today. It’s very nice to finish the job like this. At the end it’s perfect but before it was very hectic to sit in this position.”

What’s your feeling about your performance so far after twelve days of racing? “I’m very happy. I came here to win stages. Now I’ve already bagged three stages. It’s great for the team. We’ve also Warren Barguil in the general classification. He’s close to the first positions. As a team we’re doing really good. We can trust each other. That’s the most important.”

You didn’t look very confident this morning. How come? “A couple of days ago I crashed pretty hard. I’m still suffering from that crash. All the climbs also cost me a lot of energy. I hope that my legs will feel better in the next few days but my condition is still not perfect. It’s a really big injury with a lot of skin off and I miss a lot of power in my legs.”

How important is it for you to win at the Vuelta before the World’s? “I definitely want to win. The Vuelta is a great race and it’s also a good preparation for the World’s. But for setting goals for myself at the world championship, my legs have to be better than they are now.”

2nd on the stage Tom Boonen (OPQS): “I was in good position and even the power was good. But today to take the win I had to launch first. The speed was really high and it was clear that the guy who started first would have won the race. Degenkolb was watching me and technically he was perfect. He used the road perfectly, launched at the perfect time, and was super strong. If I would have started a little bit earlier I would have won I think, but that’s the way it goes in the sprint. It’s the first time I’ve been sprinting this week and it’s nice to be there to contest a sprint again. But to be honest, I can’t be happy, because I was aiming to win.”

3rd on the stage Jacopo Guarnieri (Astana): “I wasn’t racing for winning the stage. I wasted a lot of energy to bring Guardini to the front but he lost my wheel with 1.5km to go. That’s where the crash happened I guess. I’m third behind Degenkolb and Boonen, it’s flattering but through the years, I’ve lost the speed I had for sprinting myself. I do a better job as a lead out man. I’ve seen how Giant-Shimano worked today. They had a fantastic train. Boonen was perfectly positioned behind Degenkolb but he couldn’t pass him.”

Most combative rider Mathias Krizek (Cannondale): “Before the start, I was determined to make a breakaway but clearly not alone! I went up the road and I expected someone to come with me but nobody did. At some stage, I almost stopped for a piss and I was still hoping for a group of riders to come across but nothing like that happened. So I went on again and I took my rhythm. I didn’t ride too hard because there are difficult stages to come. I had no illusion. Alone against the peloton, there was nothing to do. But I didn’t get bored all this time by myself. It was even nice. Laps after laps, the fans had learned my name and they’ve been great encouraging me everywhere.”

Tinkoff-Saxo’s DS Philippe Mauduit: “In case of roundabouts in the finale and curves like today, Alberto [Contador] prefers to get his team-mates to stretch the peloton. He feels safer this way. Once he passed the last roundabout, he sat up and let the sprinters go.”

Geoffrey Soupe (FDJ.fr): “Nacer [Bouhanni] was on my wheel. We were looking for the 500m to go mark to launch our sprint when Pelucchi and Guardini crashed into each other. It was impossible to avoid them and we also crashed. It’s a pity because the team had worked all day for that sprint. Fortunately, there’s no consequence for Nacer nor myself.”

Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo): “At some point, a dog entered the parcours and wanted to bite Tosatto. Fortunately, it didn’t succeed. Seriously, it was a calm day, we rode calmy all day. In the two last laps, as expected, the sprinters took over and we stayed in the front. Fortunately, Alberto stayed out of the big crash and for us that was the most important thing.”

Vuelta a España Stage 12 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 4:11:18
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
5. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
6. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
7. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek
9. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
10. Guillaume Boivin (Can) Cannondale.

Vuelta a España Overall After stage 12:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 44:38:56
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:24
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:12
4. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:24
5. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 1:52
6. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 1:55
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 2:17
8. Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida at 2:26
9. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 2:59
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 3:55.

Stage 12:

At the start of Stage 13 fourteen riders made the initial breakaway: Cunego (Lampre-Merida), Gaudin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Lutsenko (Astana), Sagan & Longo Borghini (Cannondale), Van Summeren (Garmin-Sharp), Clement (Belkin), Aregger (IAM Cycling), L.L. Sanchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Wyss (BMC), Breen (Lotto Belisol), Popovych & Stuyven (Trek), Thomson (MTN-Qhubeka), but Popovych, Van Summeren and Aregger were dropped.

49.6km were covered in a fast first hour with Europcar working hard to bring the race together as they had missed the break. Orica-GreenEDGE set the tempo for the bunch as soon as the gap reached 3 minutes. Van den Broeck (Lotto Belisol), Elissonde & Fischer (FDJ.fr) and Lancaster (Orica-GreenEDGE) abandoned the race. On the climb of the Alto del Caracol; Cunego, Gaudin, Lutsenko, L.L. Sanchez and Wyss rode away from the others in the break as Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) and Maxime Médérel (Europcar) escaped from the bunch, for a short time.

With 15km to go, Lutsenko went solo, but was caught with 7km to go due to the FDJ.fr team chasing for Nacer Bouhanni. With 2.5km to go of the summit finalé, Gianluca Brambilla (OPQS) tried his luck but was countered 500 metres further by Dani Navarro (Cofidis) who soloed to victory.

Some questions for the stage winner Dani Moreno (Cofidis). Does this victory mark the end of your period of injuries and bad luck? “Absolutely. Look, the truth is that I’ve worked hard since the end of October to reach what I’ve achieved today. Last year my season ended with a nasty crash at the Tour of Burgos [in early August]. This year I started well with 8th at the Vuelta a Andalucia. I felt I was ready for the Tour de France as I came 9th at the Dauphiné but at the Tour I’ve suffered from the rain and the cold, also from the pressure and I was nervous because of my birthday, then the heat came and I went home. Mentally, it was very hard to be at home during the Tour. I went to recce some stages of the Vuelta. Despite the few days of competition I had, I came to the Vuelta with the aim of winning a stage.”

You won a stage of the Dauphiné (in 2010), but is this the best victory in your career so far? “Yes for sure. The level of this Vuelta is the highest of the history. I’m proud to have won a stage already, even though I firstly had in mind the three stages in the Asturias [his region], but my desire of winning remains intact. Whatever can happen in the next few days will be a gift. As professional cyclists, we don’t have many opportunities. We must make the best of them. Now I’m 12th on GC, it would be fantastic to finish in the top 10.”

Is that why you have changed from a role as a domestique to a leader’s position at Cofidis? “Yes, purposely. I’ve worked for important captains like Heras, Vinokourov, Klöden, Beloki, Contador… [he didn’t mention Lance Armstrong but although he was a team-mate of his in 2009, they never took part in the same race as team-mates]. I was already a bit old when I decided that I wouldn’t be a domestique forever. I’ve done well changing role to target new goals and have different illusions.”

You were mostly known as a friend and faithful team-mate of Contador. However, he rode behind you in the ascent to the Aralar. Have you spoken with him since? “Yes we did. I wanted to win the stage and he wanted to drop Chris Froome. I was disappointed when I saw him coming across but we race for different teams and everyone pursues his goals.”

3rd on the stage Wilco Kelderman also moved up to 13th overall: “I picked a right moment to attack, I attacked full from the back of the group. It was OK. The guys did a good job today. I did not have a really good day. I didn’t feel so good on the climbs. In the end, I motivated myself, and my teammates helped me. I tried to stay with Robert, and then I could attack in the end. So it turned out good.”

Belgian champion Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol): “In the end there weren’t many sprinters left, Bouhanni and myself, but it was a bit too hard for me. I don’t have many favorable circumstances at the Vuelta. I’ve had flat tyres and crashes like on Thursday in Logroño. I have good legs but it’s not enough. It’s frustrating. I really hope to have a chance to sprint on Wednesday at La Coruña…”

Breakaway rider Damien Gaudin (AG2R-La Mondiale): “It’s been a while I didn’t break away in a bike race. It feels good. We didn’t make it to the finish but I enjoyed. This is my first Grand Tour since 2010. I want to finish it to gain power for the Spring Classics next year. I feel better and better at the Vuelta. I won’t need to race too much before my goals in April.”

Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida): “The legs didn’t respond well. Tomorrow, it’ll be a mountain stage again. Firstly I have to recover the best I can. It was a very explosive finish today. Orica set a high pace in the hills. That’s what damaged my legs.”

Breakaway rider Luis Leon Sanchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “My goal was to make the break today. I was lucky to be in, but I couldn’t finish the job. Our advantage dropped down quickly from two minutes to half a minute. The head wind made it difficult for us at the front.”

2nd overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “At the beginning we rode at the front of the bunch because we were not happy with the composition of the two breakaways. Then other teams have taken the responsibility. I’ve fought for the stage win but I couldn’t control everything. At the end I decided to just follow the other GC contenders.”

Race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “It’s been a fast start and I’ve thought of the coming stages. Today like stage 9 to Valdelinares are days that have consequences on riders’ physique the day after. In the final ramp, I just kept my rivals under control. Tomorrow, the most difficult part of the Vuelta begins. I have the red jersey now but nothing is granted. I hope the race won’t be decided by time bonus because I’m not very good at that. If winning a stage is compatible with the overall victory, I’d like to but the GC remains my priority.”

Louis Meintjes
 (MTN-Qhubeka): “The stage was really fast and we had Jay in the break which was really good for us. The speed was on all day though as some teams didn’t want the break to get away. In the end we placed 5 guys in the top 50 and Sergio was right at the front so it wasn’t a bad day for us at all.”

The last rider of the breakaway Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “I looked back and they couldn’t work with me anymore – it was time to go for the finish.”

Catch the full race report here.

Vuelta a España Stage 13 Result:
1. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis in 4:21:04
2. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:02
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:05
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
6. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
7. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 13:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 48:59:23
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:08
4. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:20
5. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Team Katusha at 1:35
6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 1:52
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 2:13
8. Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida at 2:37
9. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 2:55
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 3:51.

Stage 13:

After the intermediate sprint at Cabezon de la Sal at 35.7 kilometers was won by John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), 24 riders took off after around 40K’s of Stage 14: Niemiec & Serpa (Lampre-Merida), Wagner (Belkin), L.L. Sanchez & Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Levarlet (Cofidis), Sicard & Martinez (Europcar), Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Fröhlinger (Giant-Shimano), Kolobnev (Katusha), De Clercq & Hansen (Lotto Belisol), Erviti (Movistar), Meintjes, Venter & Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka), Boonen & Verona (OPQS), Rowe (Sky), Paulinho & Zaugg (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Felline (Trek).

The lead for the escape was 5:30 at the top of the Collada La Hoz climb where LL Sanchez crested the summit in first position and went on to take over from his team-mate, Lluis Mas, in the lead of the KOM competition. Sanchez and Arroyo, both from Caja Rural, attacked on the Puerto de San Glorio at 110 kilometers and were joined by ten riders of the break: Sicard, Martinez, Kolobnev, Erviti, Verona, De Clercq, Hansen, Hesjedal, Zaugg and Meintjes.

The peloton didn’t chase the breakaway down and only lifted their speed just before they hit the final climb to La Camperona. Zaugg countered Hesjedal with 2.5km to go but the Canadian leapfrogged him 250 meters before the finishing line and claimed his second stage win at the Vuelta after stage 12 in 2009 at the Alto de Véléfique.

In the race for GC; Sky accelerated before the final climb. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was first to attack but race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) reacted. The fight at the end was between Contador, Rodriguez, Froome and Aru. Froome regained seven seconds over Contador and passed his former team-mate Rigoberto Uran to move up to third overall. Valverde lost 22 seconds to the main overall riders.

Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and double stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) both abandoned during the stage.

Some questions for stage winner Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp). How hard were those last 2.5 kilometres? “That was 190 hard kilometers. A really tough day but my legs were good. I had a chance to enter the break. I went on my own in the final and it worked out. Breaks like that sometimes get complicated but I had a good rhythm in the end. It was pretty straight forward. Giant-Shimano won the first bonus sprint. They started to control and I just stayed quiet. I put myself in the break soon after that. It was a good group. The guys were committed. We had enough of an advantage in the end. I finished it off. I accelerated to see where the other guys were at. Zaugg responded right away but he also had an easy ride today. With his team leading the race, he didn’t have to do any work all day. I was able to get him at the end.”

Was this part of a tactical plan? “Yeah. It’s pretty clear that being down on GC I was going to chase stages like this one. We still have a lot of good riders in this team so we have to take opportunities as we can. I’m super pleased to get the job done.”

What does this victory mean at this stage of your career as a Giro d’Italia winner (in 2012)? “It’s a good question. I should be thinking a little bit more. I still have a lot of passion for racing at this level. I took my first Grand Tour stage victory in 2009. As it happened in Spain [stage 12 at Alto de Véléfique], I’m glad to repeat it here.”

Since your passion is intact, for how much longer do you intend to race? “I don’t know. I’m under contract for next year with this team that will have another name with Cannondale. I’m motivated for another season, then we’ll see where we go from there.”

This week you’ve made the headlines for some strange reasons. What do you have to say about the controversy? “I’m voiceless. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know how people can say such things [that his wheel kept turning after a crash because his bike was possibly motorized], I don’t know what goes through their mind. I’m just sad. I’m sad that our sport gets tarnished by speculations like that. There are other things I’d like to say but it’s not worth it. I prefer to make the headlines for my win today.”

Are you going to ride the world championship? “It’s not something I’ve been thinking about. On my program, there are Italian one-day races and the Tour of Beijing.”

Tinkoff-Saxo’s Oliver Zaugg came so close to the stage win: “I feel so tired and a bit disappointed. On the one hand I am disappointed but on the other, it wasnt a bad day after all. It was a perfect situation in the breakaway, I didn’t have to work, I was feeling good and I could go for a stage win. The last two kilometers were so steep, I needed one smaller gear. It was very hard and 150 meters from the finish, Hesjedal came really fast up behind me. It was impossible to respond and I just kept my rhythm.”

3rd on the stage Imanol Erviti (Movistar): “It was quite a fought stage; it cost us lots of energy to form the break; actually, it didn’t go away until 40km into the stage. The group was really big and forced the bunch to stay close and ride fast, which made things eve harder, considering today’s route. We had to push forward all day long. Once you’re into the ‘party,’ you must try and contest the win. We fought hard, but Ryder rode superbly and Oliver Zaugg was stronger than me, too. The Vuelta a España organisers look like they’re always looking for these slopes, even under the rocks – seems to be fashionable. These climbs are difficult for my big body, but we do what we can.”

3rd overall Chris Froome (Sky): “I was just trying to ride my own race. Everybody who would attack at the bottom of the last climb would be cooked, so I didn’t want to do that. The result is ok for me but I don’t know about the next two days. Sooner or later, I might pay for those intense efforts I’ve done on that climb. What makes me feel good is that my team is strong.”

4th overall Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez (Katusha): “The winner of the Vuelta will be the most consistent of the favorites. I’m happy with my result today because I gained some time over my direct rivals. Everyone does his own race. It’s going to be complicated until the end. Chris Froome is a Tour de France winner and one of the world’s best cyclists. We can’t rule him out.”

Overall leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “There were incredibly steep sections on that climb! It was never ending. Only riding 100 metres seemed very long. I’m happy with the result. Some riders have taken a bit of time on me, but not much. I’ve gained more over Alejandro [Valverde]. I knew that Froome suffered up to Aralar because it was the day after the time trial. Some riders pay for these efforts. I like tomorrow’s stage. There’ll be a lot of attacks, I’m sure. Today I had three team-mates with me and one was in the front group. We have a great team.”

2nd overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It’s a gap that we got between the other contenders and us today, but I don’t think it’s so, so important. To be honest, I didn’t really know the climb and I attacked from the foot, yet the climb was too hard for me. The roads were coarse, the bike was sticking to the pavement. I lost time, but I’m OK with today’s result. Froome showed he’s going to be a strong rival for the remaining stages, he’s still there. We will go step by step; there are two important stages left before the rest day, starting with tomorrow’s Los Lagos, a really different climb to today’s. Maybe it’s not up to me to cause the splits, but others – no matter Purito, Froome… We’re four or five riders in quite similar condition to each other and really dropping the others could be difficult. Let’s see how we recover and tackle tomorrow’s course.”

Robert Gesink (Belkin): “It was hard. It wasn’t my best day, that’s for sure. If this has been the worst, than I cannot be too sad about it. I was suffering all day. I wasn’t feeling fresh, but you never feel fresh after two weeks of racing. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. If you feel this bad every day, and you keep climbing spots on GC, it’s not too bad, is it?”

Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) rode close to Gesink to finish 26th on the stage, slotting into 14th overall: “It was OK in the end. I am satisfied with this result today. In the beginning, it was hard. When the group went away, with [Robert] Wagner, that was good to have him there. On the second-to-last climb, it already was hard for me. At the end, I rode my own tempo up the hill.”

Samuel Sánchez (BMC) finished 28th, 4:17 down and slipped to seventh overall: “Today was a really hard stage made harder by the warm temperatures and high pace from Omega Pharma-Quick Step on the first category climb. This final uphill did not suit my strengths, so I did what I could to defend my position.”

5th on the stage Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka): “Today was a really good day, my legs felt really good. The final climb was really steep, I saw so many sign boards and thought we had to be really close to finish at one stage until I saw the 1 km to go banner in the distance still (laughs). I am really happy with my result but I must say both Jacques and Jaco were just fantastic today. It was a good day for the team.”

Mikel Landa (Astana): “The last climbs was new this year – it’s just too hard for anything but pure power, it’s not a rhythmic transition.”

Read the full stage 14 report here.

Vuelta a España Stage 14 Result:
1. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp in 5:18:10
2. Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:10
3. Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar at 0:30
4. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha at 0:39
5. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:42
6. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:52
7. Romain Sicard (Fra) Europcar at 1:44
8. David Arroyo Duran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 2:02
9. Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:15
10. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 2:36.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 14:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 54:20:16
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:42
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:13
4. Joaquím Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 1:29
5. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:07
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 2:15
7. Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC at 3:26
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 4:14
9. Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida at 4:36
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 4:37.

Stage 14:

Stage 15 would finish for the 19th time in the history of la Vuelta a España at the Lagos de Covadonga and as every other time there would be a battle royal to the summit. An early crash caused the abandonments of Lloyd Mondory (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Anthony Roux (FDJ.fr). Eventually after many skirmishes, a breakaway was formed at 28km’s, including John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano), Przemyzlav Niemiec (Lampre-Merida), Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Kristoff Vandewalle (Trek). As the race passed through the feed zone at 88 kilometers they reached a maximum advantage of 11.

Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) crashed after 8km of climbing to the Alto del Torno and it took his team-mates, particularly stage 14 winner Ryder Hesjedal, twenty kilometers to bring him back to the group of the favorites before the ascent to the Lagos de Covadonga. Cameron Meyer rode away from the leaders with 11km to go but one kilometer further, Niemiec rejoined him and then dropped him with 5km to go. It was the right move as none of the favorites caught the Pole despite fighting among themselves.

Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano) was very active while Samuel Sanchez (BMC) and Dani Navarro (Cofidis) ouldnt hold the main group. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) attacked a few times after Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) initiated the hostilities. The Spanish trio formed of Contador, Rodriguez and Valverde and rode Chris Froome (Sky) off, but the Brit limited his losses once again. Contador retained the lead despite losing a few seconds to Valverde and Rodriguez. Warren Barguil was rewarded for his fighting spirit as he took 10th place overall.

On Monday, stage 16 from San Martin de Rey Aurelio to La Farrapona (160.5 km) is considered by many as the Queen stage of the Vuelta.

Questions for Przemyzlav Niemiec (Lampre-Merida). Have you been able to attack at the right time from the breakaway group because you had done this finale to the Lagos de Covadonga two years ago? “Yes I knew this finale but yesterday, I was already in the breakaway and I got dropped. So this morning at the briefing, we agreed that I would save my legs for tomorrow. But there were many attacks and I found myself by coincidence at the front in good company. Since the peloton gave us quite a lot of space and the stage was short, I tried to attack with 5km to go in a difficult section of the climb and I kept my advantage. This is my first victory for Lampre so I thank the team and the Galbusera family to have given me the possibility to ride in the World Tour.”

What about the repeated successes from Polish riders this year? “Polish cycling is having a great season. With only three riders, Michal Kwiatkowski, Rafal Majka and myself, we have qualified nine riders for the World’s in Ponferrada. The whole year has been successful, from the first results of Kwiatkowski in the early part of the season to my victory here today and of course the magical moments for Majka [double stage winner and King of the Mountains at the Tour de France and winner of the Tour de Pologne].”

How do you see your future? “I’ve got no contract for next year. I hope this victory will help for my future. It makes me more serene. For two years at Lampre, I’ve raced as a helper for Michele Scarponi. I’ve loved that job because he was winning a lot. I’d like to do that again. It’s nice to win but it’s also nice to help a winner.”

3rd on the stage Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez (Katusha): “This is a very fast Vuelta. Every day we arrive to the finish so tired that the attacks can’t be blistering. A few times, we [Katusha] have set the pace and every time they attacked us. I would have enjoyed a bit more collaboration to make sure I moved up to the podium. I would have like to go to tomorrow’s stage with a bit more of serenity and be able to race for the stage win. Maybe Contador wasn’t interested in riding at a steady pace. Alejandro [Valverde] knows his game. The stages on Thursday and Friday will suit him…”

Race leader and 4th on the stage Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “We’ve missed an opportunity to distance Chris Froome. Had I been alone, I would have made a difference but I also had to Alejandro Valverde and Purito. I spoke with Valverde but we also had to deal with Purito’s changes of rhythm. We’ve never ridden uphill at a steady pace. However, I feel the victory closer and closer. I’ll keep living it day by day. My advantage is really tight, notably over Valverde. Everything can change in a single stage but my legs are getting better and better. I’m very satisfied with my shape. La Farrapona tomorrow and Puerto de Ancares on Saturday are the two key stages but I’m confident.”

Chris Froome (Sky): “As I said I’m just trying to ride my own rhythm here and do the best I can each day.”

Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp): “I fell in a ravine. I had to scramble out on my own with the help of spectators. Ryder Hesjedal saved me. He’s been brilliant to get me back into racing, especially after winning yesterday’s stage. Fortunately he did so because I had fantastic legs today. It would have been a pity to lose everything on that crash.”

Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano): “It’s been hard! I’ve tried to ride at my own rhythm as a response to the attacks of the leaders. I’ve also tried to regain some time to position myself higher on GC [10th now]. This stage wasn’t made for staying in the wheels and waiting. It’s not my style of racing to be waiting anyway. Some riders look really tired and will lose time now. I hope it’ll rain tomorrow in stage 16.”

Breakaway rider Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE): “It was going to be close. I knew the Lampre rider Niemec was the best climber in the group. I tried to stay with him but he attacked me in the last four kilometers and I couldn’t go with him. I’m not disappointed. I haven’t had the best Vuelta. I’ve been sick, so to finally be up the front is good for me. Hopefully I’ll make it through the rest day and I’ll have another go in the last week.”

Robert Gesink (Belkin) defended his top-10 position: “It was my maximum effort. I have to be happy with that. I felt better than yesterday, so that’s a good thing. It was tough, but it was a good race. The descent off the first climb was really, really slippery, and we went like 5kmh. That wasn’t really fun, but in the end, it dried up. Tomorrow will be brutal. It will be 5,000 meters of climbing. Now I need rest and a hot shower.”

Daniel Teklehaimanot
 (MTN-Qhubeka): Today was a really tough day with lots of climbing and some wet descents we had to contend with. In the final Sergio was up the road with the favourites while the rest of our team came in with the big bunch. We will rest and recover as much as we can now before tomorrows big stage.

Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida): “Luckily we got another stage victory for the team. We are very happy. Niemec was looking for it for a long time. Yesterday he was already at the front but he didn’t have the legs to finish it off. So at least we have two stages wins after mine. I’ve lost a few positions on GC [13th] but I’m happy. I’m calm. I’ve done my best. My legs have reached their limit in this Vuelta.”

Read the full PEZ race report.

Vuelta a España Stage 15 Result:
1. Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida in 4:11:09
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:05
3. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:10
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:17
6. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:28
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 0:44
9. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:00
10. Giampaolo Caruso (Ita) Katusha at 1:02.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 15:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 58:31:35
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:31
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:20
4. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 2:22
6. Rigoberto Urán (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 2:57
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 4:55
8. Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC at 5:02
9. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 5:11
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 6:36.

Stage 15:

header-alberta14Tour of Alberta 2014
Jonas Ahlstrand has taken his second stage win of the season on Stage 2 of the Tour of Alberta, sprinting to the win after another day of the team controlling the race for Tom Dumoulin’s overall lead. Jonas also fought hard for the bonus seconds at the intermediates, and together with Tom finishing in the front group this was enough for Tom to keep his overall lead for another day here in Canada.

The stage was another up and down parcours, with little flat in the 145km route between Innisfail to Red Deer. The day’s break took nearly 100km to get away, and so Jonas was on point to fight for the intermediate bonus seconds, defending Tom’s overall lead.

Once the break pulled away the team kept their advantage to no more than one minute and in the final kilometers the race was all back together. Before this though Jonas had to overcome the final climb which he managed successfully before getting into position for the fast finish. He pulled through in the final few hundred metres to take his second win of the season, his first win since April.

Stage winner Jonas Ahlstrand (Giant-Shimano): “It was a really big fight for the break today with nothing getting away,” confirmed Jonas after the stage. “It wasn’t until 40km to go until six guys got away so I went for the intermediate sprints and then when the break went we controlled the gap at a minute and no more.”

“I stayed in the wheels on the final climb and made it over the top in the top ten. The run in was quick and I was able to follow the wheels and wait until 200m to go to launch my sprint.”

“During the winter together with the team we really focused on building my strength and I have made a big step this year. There are still more opportunities for bunch sprints here so I hope that we can continue to challenge for stages as well as the overall.”

Giant-Shimano team coach Aike Visbeek added: “The fight for the break today was a long one so the guys had to be alert and focused to make sure that Tom was in a good position and also not to let any dangerous moves go. Jonas went for the intermediate sprints to protect Tom’s lead and this worked out well with him winning the first one. When the break went in the final 40km the team rode well to not let the gap get more than a minute. Jonas was strong at the end today, getting over the climb in a good position and rode intelligently in the final kilometers. He has trained well for this race and is really focused.”

“It is nice to show that even when riding for the overall we can still challenge for stage wins here.”

Theo Bos (Belkin) narrowly missed the stage victory: “I started the sprint early today, coming from behind and trying to create a gap. Unfortunately, someone was on my wheel who could pass me. But that’s cycling. I’m really satisfied. I didn’t expect to sprint today on such a hard course, but my legs felt good on the climbs and I’m really pleased with that. I’m looking forward to the coming days, which suit me better.”

Tour of Alberta Stage 2 Result:
1. Jonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Giant-Shimano in 3:02:14
2. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
3. Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development
4. Eric Young (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
5. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale
6. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
7. Nicolai Brochner (Den) Bissell Development
8. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
9. Nicky Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin
10. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare.

Tour of Alberta Overall After Stage 2:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano in 6:26:23
2. Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development at 0:09
3. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 0:14
4. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:17
5. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
6. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:18
7. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale
8. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare
9. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development at 0:22
10. Christian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:23.

Stage 2:

Sep Vanmarcke of the Belkin team powered to victory on Friday, taking a three-up sprint to the finish line at Edmonton-Garrison airfield to win the 157.9km Stage 3. The Belgian from Kortrijk, easily defeated breakaway companions Ramunas Navardauskas (Garmin-Sharp) and Leigh Howard of Orica-GreenEDGE.

Stage winner Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin): “I knew the last 500 meters were really tricky, and that Howard was the fastest,” said Vanmarcke, a classics specialist who narrowly missed winning Paris-Roubaix last year. “I wanted to be second in the last corner — it was tricky, with gravel — and I was ready to go. Then I gave it my all. I really wanted to win a stage here.”

Belkin’s Dutchman Nick van der Lijke placed 9th just seconds later in a lead group of chasers that contained the race leader, Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano), who maintained the gold-and-white jersey as leader of the race. Windy conditions split the field with 56 kilometers remaining, a group of 25 riders emerging off the front, marked by Van der Lijke and Vanmarcke. “Luckily, I made it, with Nicky,” Vanmarcke explained. “And we didn’t have to work knowing our teammates were behind. So, I could sit back and wait for the final.”

Meanwhile, the Belkin team led the chase aiming to bring sprinter Theo Bos, who placed a close second on Thursday, to the front for another shot at victory if Vanmarcke and Van der Lijke were caught. When the catch didn’t happen, Vanmarcke attacked with 9km to go to form the winning trio.

Belkin Sports Director Michiel Elijzen: “It was a tough day today, a lot of wind. With two in the front group, Sep finished it off brilliantly. A good win. And big compliments to Nick.”

The 2014 Tour of Alberta continues Saturday with a rough-and-tumble, 163.5km fourth stage from Edmonton to Broadmoor Lake Park, out in the wide-open prairie of Alberta’s Strathcona County. The wandering course includes six sections of “Canadian Pavé” and other challenges on “dust-controlled” roads.

Tour of Alberta Stage 3 Result:
1. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin in 3:12:11
2. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
3. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica GreenEDGE at 0:11
5. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
6. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare
7. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
8. Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development
9. Nicky Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin
10. Nicolai Brochner (Den) Bissell Development.

Tour of Alberta Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano in 9:38:45
2. Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development at 0:08
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp at 0:13
4. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 0:14
5. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:15
6. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 0:16
8. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 0:18
9. James Oram (NZl) Bissell Development at 0:23
10. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:26.

Stage 3:

Saturday’s 163.5km Stage 4 from Edmonton to Strathcona County, crossed six sections of “Canadian Pavé” and also three stretches of gravel roads. For the finale there was a tight, short 2.8km circuit.

Six riders escaped10km into the stage, it included UnitedHealthcare’s Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), Bruno Langlois (5-hour Energy), Aurelien Passeron (Silber Pro Cycling), Greg Daniel (Bissell Development) and Jake Kauffman & Janvier Hadi Garneau-Quebecor). Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly-Maxxis) and Travis Livermon (Team SmartStop) managed to cross the break after 40 kilometers.
When they were six, the lead was over 3 minutes before the gravel, then when they were eight the lead was 4:15 after 70 kilometers. At that point the peloton started to chase, with the Optum team doing most of the work they were pulled back to 2 minutes.

25 kilometers out; Garmin-Sharp and Belkin took over and the lead of 1:40 came down to 30 seconds with 10 kilometers remaining. Apart from Orica-GreenEDGE trying to split the bunch, it result was always going to be from a sprint.

Stage winner Theo Bos (Belkin): “They timed it really well, my teammates. I only followed,” said the Dutchman from Hierden, 31. “In the end, I waited to make my sprint, and when I attacked I knew it was enough to win.”

Tour of Alberta Stage 4 Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin in 3:42:50
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE
3. Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team SmartStop
4. Robert Sweeting (USA) 5-Hour Energy
5. Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare
6. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
7. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
8. Nicolai Brochner (Den) Bissell Development
9. Tyler Magner (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development
10. Benjamin King (USA) Garmin-Sharp.

Tour of Alberta Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano in 13:21:35
2. Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development at 0:08
3. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:09
4. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp at 0:13
5. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 0:14
6. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:15
7. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 0:16
8. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 0:18
9. James Oram (NZl) Bissell Development at 0:23
10. Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:26.

Stage 4:

Orica-GreenEDGE’s Daryl Impey won the final Stage 5 and the bonus seconds to take the leaders jersey in the last meters of the race. The 10 second bonus for the stage win was enough to lift him from 3rd overall and leap-frog Ruben Zepuntke (Bissel Development) and race leader from the prologue Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) for the overall win. On a rain soaked stage the Orica-GreenEDGE team controlled the race to keep things together for a sprint. At the end of the 121 kilometers on an 11 kilometer circuit in Edmonton, the Australian team led the South African Impey out perfectly for the win.

Overall winner Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE): “I was so motivated coming back, I really trained hard when I was off,” Impey, who returned to racing at the Canadian six-day event having been cleared of any wrong doing in a recent investigation by the South African Institute for Drug Free Sport, said after his victory. “Tactically we rode well today. We always had a guy up the road and in the moves so we put a lot of pressure on the teams behind and that set it up for me. Coming out of that last corner it was nearly impossible to lose, everybody stuck to the plan, we knew it was always going to be a gamble when we put everything on the finish but I’m just stoked.”

A disappointed Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) finished 16th and dropped to second: “If you’re in for a good laugh, check my results from this year and last year; a lot of second places, and to lose it on the last day again by one second, I cannot believe this happened again. So I’m pretty sad actually, but, yeah, whatever. Next race.”

Tour of Alberta Stage 5 Result:
1. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE in 2:46:22
2. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
4. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin
5. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare
6. Nicky Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin
7. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
8. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare
9. Dion Smith (NZl) Hincapie Sportswear Development
10. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE.

Tour of Alberta Final Overall:
1. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE in 16:07:56
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:01
3. Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development at 0:09
4. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp at 0:10
5. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 0:11
6. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 0:15
7. Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:16
8. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 0:19
9. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin at 0:31
10. James Oram (NZl) Bissell Development.

The final stage 5:

header-brusselsclassicBrussels Cycling Classic 2014
André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) won the Brussels Cycling Classic for the second year in a row. His teammate Tony Gallopin brought the German champion in the right position for the sprint.

Six riders rode off front for a long time: Dernies (Wallonne-Bruxelles), Ghyselinck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Koretzky (Bretagne-Seche), Parrinello (Androni Giacattoli), Rabottini (Neri Sottoli) and Riblon (AG2R-La Mondiale). 55 kilometers from the end the escapees were caught. Several attacks followed, but the race finished with a bunch sprint. Tony Gallopin led Greipel to the front in the last meters and pulled the sprint for him. Greipel was too fast for Elia Viviani (Cannondale) and Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr).

Race winner André Greipel (Lotto Belisol): “The race was pretty relaxed and I felt fine. At the end we made it hard with Lars Bak who attacked. The team performed well. The guys put me in the front with about twenty kilometers to go. With Marcel Sieberg and Tony Gallopin I had two riders to set me up for the sprint. We had talked how to handle it, because there was headwind from 1500 up to 700 meters to go. It would be best if we came from the back, to have shelter.” The big German added: “It worked out really well. I was happy that Tony made such a good lead-out and I could finish it off. It’s great to win this race for the second year in a row. This victory is good for the confidence. Tomorrow’s race is always a bit tricky, we’ll see what happens. The French teams will certainly be active.”

Astana’s Gorazd Stangelj said after the finish: “Grivko tried with 30k to go, Bozic tried later – this race is easy for the peloton to regroup for a mass sprint – but you try and disrupt that.”

Brussels Cycling Classic Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 4:41:02
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
3. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Andrew Fenn (Gbr) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
8. Ralf Matzka (Ger) Netapp-Endura
9. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis.

Brussels action:

header-tourof britainTour of Britain 2014
Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) sprinted to an emphatic Stage 1 victory at the Tour of Britain making a successful return to racing in England after his two stage victories there at the Tour de France this summer. With the stage win Marcel also takes the first leaders jersey of the race into tomorrow’s second stage from Knowsley to Llandudno.

The opening stage was based on a near-flat circuit around the northern city of Liverpool and a bunch sprint was always expected, this didn’t stop the expected early attacks from coming. Four riders formed the day’s breakaway to fight out the intermediate sprints and king of the mountains points on offer. They were Richard Handley (Rapha Condor JTL), Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), Mark McNally (An Post-Chainreaction) and Jonathan Mould (NFTO) building up a maximum lead of 1:44 with 40km to go.

Giant-Shimano set out their objectives from early in the stage as Brian Bulgac started to help control the pace at the head of the peloton. Tom Stamsnijder joined the chase midway through the relatively short 104.8km stage and this helped to keep a check on their advantage.

With 10km to go the break had just over 30 seconds advantage, and with 3.5km to go it was all back together as the sprint formations started to hit the front. The team bided their time and waited until the right moment to come through on the right hand side by the barriers were Marcel held on to take an impressive win and with it the first yellow jersey of the race.

Stage winner Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) gave his reaction straight after the stage, saying: “It was really messy at the finish – it’s always difficult when you have a downhill section in the final kilometer as it becomes really fast and harder to hold position. The team were strong today, controlling the race then we had to come really late for the lead-out. We found a way through on the right and this worked well. It’s good to win the first stage. It’s really nice to see the reaction of the spectators here – a lot of people came out to the race today. It’s a long way until London but it is nice to be the leader here and we will see what we can do tomorrow on stage two. I hope that as a team we will have more opportunities to challenge for stage victories here.”

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step rider Mark Cavendish, despite crashing into a car at 104.8km, came back to finish 3rd: “I had to change my cleats in the beginning of the stage,” Cavendish said. “I was coming back after and I was behind a car. Someone had to stop for a puncture so the car slammed on its brakes, and there was an island in the road. If I went right, I would hit a traffic island, so I went left and I whacked another car. I hit it with my left leg and I was down on the road. I felt immediately a lot of pain on my quadriceps. It took me a lap to come back even because our team car couldn’t assist me immediately because it was on the front. At that point I wasn’t planning to sprint either, it was painful. But after a couple of laps we decided to just try anyway, but sprint seated because I was in pain. I still got 3rd, but it’s a shame because I really wanted to try and win in front of the British public. But accidents like this are a part of cycling and it’s just a matter of bad luck. I really hope that the luck turns in the next days…”

Tour of Britain Stage 1 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 2:16:35
2. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
6. Markus Barry (Ned) Belkin
7. Daniel McLay (GB) Great Britain
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
9. Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Movistar.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 1:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano in 2:16:25
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:01
3. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:04
5. Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:06
6. Richard Handley (GB) Rapha Condor JTL at 0:07
7. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:10
8. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
9. Markus Barry (Ned) Belkin
10. Daniel McLay (GB) Great Britain.

Stage 1:

header-fourmiesGP de Fourmies / La Voix du Nord 2014
Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto Belisol) won the GP Fourmies on Sunday in a big bunch sprint from Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Italian fastman Elia Viviani (Cannondale). Van Genechten was leading out team leader André Greipel, but the German champion had been boxed in, so Van Genechten took his 3rd win of the season.

The break of the day was made up of: Victor Campenaerts (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Seche Environnement), Arman Kamyshev (Astana) and Romain Pillon (Roubaix-Lille Metropole), but the group fell apart leaving Campenaerts out front until the last 20 kilometers. From there to the finish there were many attempts, but in the end it all came together.

Race winner Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto Belisol): “The team controlled the race from the beginning till the end. André Greipel was the man for the sprint. Tony Gallopin and I could join breakaways in the final. With two laps to go André told us he didn’t feel 100% and then the team started riding for me. The guys did excellent work to catch the escapees. Marcel Sieberg launched the sprint very well. I focused on the sprint without worrying about the escapees. It all turned out well for us. This is my best season, with four nice victories. I hope to have the same condition in the next races and set more good results. Next Sunday I will ride in Leuven, the ‘Grote Prijs Jef Scherens’, also a race that suits me.”

Lieuwe Westra (Astana): “I am focused with these races and Canada and on the World Championships team time trial.”

GP de Fourmies/La Voix du Nord Result:
1. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol in 4:46:03
2. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale
4. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
5. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
6. Baptiste Plackaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
7. Yohann Gene (Fra) Europcar
8. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
9. Rafael Andriato (Bra) Neri Sottoli
10. Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement.

gpfourmies14

header-tinkoffsaxoTinkoff-Saxo extends with Jay McCarthy
Tinkoff-Saxo is pleased to announce that the team has extended the contract with Jay McCarthy. The 21-year old Australian has inked a one-year deal keeping him on the team ahead of the ambitious 2015-season. Team manager Bjarne Riis, who brought McCarthy to the team in 2013, is glad to keep the young talent on the squad.

“For me it was obvious Jay McCarthy should continue. He proved in the last week of the Giro that he could achieve the level we had signed him for a couple of years ago. He had a number of very good stages in the Giro, and after that he went on performing well”, says Bjarne Riis and continues:

“He is still a very young guy and has to improve on many things but he now has a chance to continue next year and work on those areas. I look forward to following his progress”.

McCarthy, who turns 22 on September 8th, was picked up by Tinkoff-Saxo ahead of the 2013-season after a very successful 2012 with 6 victories on his native Team Jayco. Jay has since then progressed steadily on WorldTour-level offering support for the team captains in various races. Among his most noticeable results is a 3rd place on a long breakaway stage in the Giro.

“I’m, of course, very excited about continuing next year. I feel that I’ve had a good development during the last two seasons and I learned a lot from racing with my teammates as well as receiving great support and guidance from the team’s staff”, says Jay McCarthy.

The young Aussie, who’s heading with the team to Canada for the two one-day WorldTour races in Montréal and Québec, is looking to finish of the season strongly while preparing for the ambitious 2015-season.

“We’re going to have a very strong team in 2015, also with the additional signings, and I look forward to helping out as much as possible. I need to continue to work hard and dedicate myself fully but it motivates me a lot being on a very aspiring team. Now I focus on performing well for the team before preparing myself for the next season”, concludes Jay McCarthy.

JayMcCarthy.620

header-pinarelloPinarello Dies
Giovanni Pinarello died on Thursday in Treviso at the age of 92. Pinarello was a professional rider for six years, but is better known for his bike company that supplied bikes to many champions since its inception in 1953. Top riders have won on his bikes, names like Pedro Delgado, Miguel Indurain, Giovanni Bataglin, Bjarne Riis, Jan Ullrich, Alejandro Valverde and more recently Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome with the Sky team.

The Pinarello Dogma F8 – Team Sky:

Hesjedal Motor/Engine Scandal Slowmotion
Sometimes people look for something that isn’t there, this is one of them. Put any bike on the ground with the rear wheel-spinning ant it will go round in a circle. Take a look and then try it yourself.


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