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Peter Sagan changes his bike during at the box of "the Yas Marina Circuit", the forth stage of Abu Dhabi tour cycling race. Abu Dhabi, UAE, 11 ​October​ 2015.​ ANSA/​​CLAUDIO PERI

EUROTRASH Abu Dhabi Monday!

We’ve had a real race-fest the last few days: Paris-Tours, Paris-Bourges, Gran Premio Città di Peccioli – Coppa Sabatini, Giro dell’Emilia, Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli and the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour. Loads of video, reports, results and rider quotes. Contract news, Tour de Yorkshire, Kris Boeckmans and Tom Boonen health up-date and video of the Peter Sagan pit-stop. Another full EuroTrash Monday.

TOP STORY: Abu Dhabi Tour, why?
The Abu Dhabi Tour looked to be a success, but who for? The riders didn’t seem that interested in riding in 40 plus degrees Celsius over deserts, being sand-blasted with the hot wind. They did perk up when the prizes were on offer, but many of them were very tired at the end of a long season. The fans were quite thin on the ground also, but then Abu Dhabi isn’t a cycling nation, but they do like to sponsor sports events. I just get this feeling of déjà vu with the Abu Dhabi Tour, it reminds me of the Tour of Beijing, when it started it was a great race, we were told by the UCI (don’t mention the pollution), in much the same way we have been told how good Abu Dhabi is. Apart from the money, do we need it? This last week has seen a lot of good races in Europe, they didn’t have to top stars, but were every bit as exciting as Abu Dhabi, probably more so. And can someone explain to me what the pit-stop thing with Peter Sagan (see video at the bottom of the page) was all about?

Will the Abu Dhabi Tour still be running in five years?

Pit-stop madness:
Abu Dhabi tour cycling race

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Paris-Tours 2015
France is a good place to race for Etixx – Quick-Step rider Matteo Trentin. The Italian rider won Paris-Tours out of a three-rider breakaway he initiated on Sunday, adding a third victory at a French race to his four total wins in the 2015 season. He’s now won five career races in France out of eight.

Trentin, out of a large breakaway, attacked on Cote de Beau Soleil with 9.5km left to race out of 231 kilometers in total distance. Gianni Meersman made sure his teammate had the chance by pulling back the chase group to two riders up the road at 10.5 km out.

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) were the only riders who could stay with him. Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff-Saxo) bridged briefly, but was distanced. The three riders tried attacking each other, but to no avail. They eventually worked together and built a lead of about 30 seconds as they headed into the final kilometer.

Van Avermaet suffered bad luck, with a mechanical just before the trio prepared for the sprint and was unable to contest for the win. Trentin, meanwhile, stayed on the front and launched his sprint first against Van der Sande who was unable to pass him, and Trentin raised his hands as the winner.

The 2015 edition of Paris-Tours was also the fastest of any edition, at 49.64km/h average speed. Trentin crossed the line after four hours, 39 minutes, and 12 seconds of racing.

109th Paris - Tours 2015

Race winner, Matteo Trentin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “The team decided to ride for Niki Terpstra and I. The breakaway went away immediately, in the first part of the race. Fortunately I noticed movement in the front, as people were preparing attacks in echelons. I was able to enter this breakaway with Meersman and Yves Lampaert. They did a great job for me in the race. We worked well together and the breakaway built a good advantage. In the first three hours we rode at a speed of more than 51 kilometers per hour. Then we slowed down a little bit. On the penultimate climb I decided to attack. I knew it could be the key point of the race. In the last days I checked a few videos on YouTube, and knew that this climb was the most important in almost all of the recent editions. I attacked also to leave behind some pure sprinters, like Arnaud Demare (FDJ). On the last climb Van Avermaet attacked, but we managed to stay with him. So we went to the finish with three. I was afraid of Van der Sande. I knew I was the fastest of the three, but he is also a fast guy. They put me in the first position in the last kilometers. I didn’t panic. I stayed cool, and at 350 meters to go I launched my sprint. I won, and I was really happy. After Le Tour de France I worked hard to have a nice last part of the season. I won four races in the second half of the year. Also, in any race other than the UCI World Road Championship, I was always there. I was on a few podiums. It was also mentally important to do well today. I was a little disappointed at the UCI World Road Championship in Richmond. My goal was to be in the top 10, but I couldn’t do it. After that race I trained even harder than before. I devoted myself completely to my preparation. This victory was the result. I’ve never been so strong in my career, which is a big mental boost. Year-by-year I am growing up. I hope this last part of the season can be the beginning of a new chapter of my career, and I can further improve going into next year. This win, which is the first one-day victory of my career, gave me a lot of morale. I have big motivation to keep working hard so I can try to become a better ride. Now I will recover with my family, and in a few weeks I will start thinking about next season.”

2nd, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal): “I am disappointed that I just missed out on the victory, but I am also satisfied with this performance; so I have mixed feelings. Uphill I could just follow Trentin and Van Avermaet, both were really strong. The three of us could create a sufficient gap, in that phase it wasn’t easy for the others to still bridge to the front. With one and a half kilometers to go I noticed Van Avermaet got a flat tyre, from then on I focused on Trentin. I had hoped he would start sprinting sooner, but he rode the perfect sprint. When he moved to the right for a moment I thought I could get out of the wind, but pretty soon Trentin changed his direction. It’s not a disgrace to be beaten by him and I sprinted really well. I didn’t think about trying something before the sprint, that isn’t my strong point, I was counting on my fast legs. We were with four teammates in the front group. We knew the best riders would try to get away on the penultimate or last climb. That’s why we were riding attentively at the front. We had agreed to respond to attacks in turn, no group should get away without a Lotto Soudal rider. The race went perfectly. It was a tough day. The beginning of the race took us along open fields and there was much wind. We took off with a bunch of strong riders and immediately we worked well together. It was obvious that it would be very difficult for the peloton to close the gap on us, also because so many teams had a rider in front. Everyone did his part of the job, if you would keep riding at the back of the group you could get in trouble because of the wind. There was no moment for recuperation. At the end of the day we had an average speed of 49 kilometers an hour.”

3rd, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “At first, I thought maybe I could still sprint because I did not flat directly, But in the final corner, I felt it was going to be tricky. When they started sprinting, it was already totally flat and my race was over.”

7th, Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling): “To be honest, this is definitely the hardest race I have ever participated in, it was completely different from a stage in the Tour de France, for example. We were again faced with a lot of nervousness throughout the day. We rode flat out from the start of the day till the finish, without respite. Judging from the profile, this classic did not seem so complicated because there are no obvious climbs, or at least nothing really tough. But this Sunday, with the wind and the echelons, we were full gas from the start. I did manage to finish seventh, which is not really a success, but I still don’t have any regrets. Roger Kluge did a great job for me all day. If I’m being completely objective, we may have been missing one more rider at the front to be able to finish the job. But when you’re facing guys like Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin, for example, I have to admit that going for the win was never going to be easy, even with more man power. I gave it my all for this last race of the season, especially since it will be the last race I will wear this Australian champion’s jersey. I just lacked some punch for that final climb, and unfortunately I was not able to do anything more.”

Pavel Brutt (Tinkoff-Saxo): “We did 50 km/h in average. It was a very hard race. I was the only rider from the team in the front group, while other teams had four riders. On the penultimate climb, I attacked with two guys and then Van Avermaet rode up to us. I lost a couple of meters on the descent and couldn’t close the gap again. I fought alone between the front trio and the main group and tried to secure the 4th place but I was caught with two-three kilometers to go. I had burned my last match and I didn’t have legs to sprint for the 4th place. We had a lot of crosswind in the beginning of the race and I made it into the front group after a big explosion. It was a very tough race and the wind increased in the finale, which was unfortunate for me, because I was trying to stay clear of the group behind. It was the final race of the season for us, so I wanted to use all of my energy but it didn’t turn out how I had hoped in the last couple of kilometers.”

Nic Dougall (MTN-Qhubeka): “I think I took 5 years off my life expectancy today. It was really fast for the first 2 hours in the break of 30. I think I did a bit too much work early on and when it really started getting hard I was in a lot of difficulty. A few of us dropped and got caught by Johann’s group. I tried to help him as much as I could because he was riding well. I imploded at 190km and was completely empty. It was good to try something today but unfortunately the legs weren’t really there to get a good result.”

Johann van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka): “Today was so fast and really windy. From the start the peloton was split into pieces with groups everywhere. Nic was attentive and made the front split of 30. This was still not the greatest situation for us with only 1 of our riders up the road. I stayed alert and eventually went in an 18 rider group. We never got the gap under 2 minutes so we were racing for 25th place. I got caught behind a small crash from an IAM rider and lost the wheel of Terpstra. Not having that much power left, I lost connection with them so eventually finished 39th. I think we could have done a lot better today. I’m happy to end the season now with lots of great memories and races. Now to put the legs up and start thinking about 2016.”

Paris-Tours Result:
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:39:12
2. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:04
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:20
5. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
8. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Mike Teunissen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
10. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal at 0:02.

Paris-Tours:

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Abu Dhabi Tour 2015
Andrea Guardini (Astana) flashed to victory in a bunch sprint at the end of Stage 1, the ADNOC stage (Qasr Al Sarab – Madinat Zayed, 159.5km), of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour.

The first breakaway of the race formed after just 4km, when six riders escaped the bunch: Paul Voss (Bora-Argon 18), Will Clarke (Drapac), Songezo Jim (MTN- Qhubeka), Francisco Mancebo (Skydive Dubai), Michael Thompson (Team Wiggins) and Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare). At 24km their lead reached its maximum of 4:05. The breakaway riders covered 35.5 kilometers in the first hour of racing. Before the first intermediate sprint, in Liwa (70km), Thompson lost contact with the lead group. Clarke, Bazzana, Mancebo and Jim filled the first four places at the sprint. After 95km, only Voss and Mancebo remained at the head of the race. At the second intermediate sprint, in Liwa (101.5km), Voss and Mancebo filled the first two places in the sprint, with Jim third at 1:50 and Henao fourth at 2:06 at the head of the peloton. After the second intermediate sprint, Voss relented, leaving Mancebo alone in the race lead.

After approximately 128 kilometers, Tunisian national champion Rafaa Chtioui (Skydive Dubai) darted out of the peloton, passed his team-mate Mancebo and moved to the head of the race. Chtioui held off the chasing peloton until the final kilometer. The peloton, led by team-mates of some of the fastest sprinters in the world, accelerated around the final curve with 500m to go, before Guardini shot ahead of this rivals to win the first ever stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour.

Abu Dhabi Tour 2015

Stage 1 winner, Andrea Guardini (Astana): “Other riders suffer in the heat, but I like these conditions and I knew that I could do a really good job today. The first hour was really slow because of the strong headwind. Coming into the final kilometer, there was confusion in the peloton. The last curve was at 500m, and I went around it in third position. I knew that I was too near the front, so I held back. Luckily I was close to Bennati. When Peter [Sagan] kicked, he pulled Bennati with him at around the 250m mark. Peter sportingly left the corridor along the barriers open, and I came through. Normally, I should be working for Peter Sagan and not the other way around. It was an unusual day but we also know that Peter, despite being the World Champion, is a generous person and a great team member. With 50km to go, he told me he wouldn’t do the sprint but instead, the team would work for me. I told him we would all sacrifice ourselves to help him but he didn’t feel in good shape and decided I would be doing the sprint.”

3rd on the stage, Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I assumed the fact I would be doing the sprint and I pushed as hard as I could in the final kilometers with the rest of the squad doing a great job to support me. It was an incredible sprint but it suited Guardini, who was faster today. I could have gotten second place but I think I relaxed a split second and Boonen grabbed the opportunity right on the finish line. It was an emotional finish for me because it is not often I have the brand new World Champion working for me!”

White jersey wearer, Songezo Jim (MTN-Qhubeka): “It was our plan to get one rider into the breakaway of the day. I managed to jump away with four others, so the team didn’t need to work. It was really hot out there, but I’m happy that could take the white jersey.”

World champion, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “The World Championships and the obligations I had in the period afterwards took their toll on my form. It was nearly two intensive weeks of public and media events during which I didn’t have the sufficient time to rest and recover. I simply didn’t feel in shape today and the heat didn’t make things easier. We will see how I feel in the coming days and we will adapt our strategy. The squad worked so hard this year for me, so it was only natural for me to work for them today. If I don’t feel in great shape and I can help Bennati or any other rider, then I will do it in the benefit of the team. This is a team and we all work for each other.”

Adu Dhabi Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana in 4:21:11
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
4. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai
5. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
6. Edwin Avila (Col) Colombia
7. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
8. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
9. Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
10. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Alpecin.

Adu Dhabi Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana in 4:21:01
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:04
3. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:06
4. Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 18 at 0:07
5. Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Skydive Dubai
6. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare at 0:08
7. Songezo Jim (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:09
8. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai at 0:10
9. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
10. Edwin Avila (Col) Colombia.

Abu Dhabi Tour stage 1:

Elia Viviani (Sky) out-sprinted Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Fabio Sabatini (Etixx – Quick-Step) on Friday to win Stage 2, the Capital Stage, from Yas Marina Circuit to Yas Mall (129km).

Daniel Patten (Team Wiggins) attacked in the first kilometer. Five riders crossed the gap to join him: the Black Jersey Paul Voss (Bora-Argon 18), the Moroccan national champion Soufiane Haddi (Skydive Dubai), the Giro d’Italia d’Italia stage winner Maxim Belkov (Katusha), and two talented UnitedHealthcare riders; Alessandro Bazzana and Federico Zurlo. At the Yas Marina Circuit Intermediate Sprint (km 54.8), Haddi sprinted easily to maximum points, with Belkov, Bazzana and Patten in his wake.

The breakaway reached its maximum advantage of 3:04 at the 57 kilometer mark. Back in the peloton, a crash at 70K left the Green Jersey Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step), the White Jersey Songezo Jim and his MTN-Qhubeka team-mate Theo Bos (MTN-Qhubeka) on the ground. Boonen and Bos sustained injuries which led to their abandonment.

At the second Intermediate Sprint (Emirates Palace – 91.3kms) Bazzana and his team-mate Zurlo led Haddi, Patten and Belkov, giving Bazzana the lead in the Intermediate Sprints competition.

At 112km, the breakaway led by just 14 seconds. Patten, who had started it all, launched a final, solo effort, to no avail. Then Rafaa Chtioui (Skydive Dubai) attacked out of the chasing peloton for the second day running, joining Belkov and William Clarke (Drapac), another of yesterday’s marauders.

Chtioui then persisted alone, to be caught by Katusha’s Anton Vorobyev 6km from the finish. These two held off the peloton admirably, but were eventually caught, as the team’s set up the final sprint. Sagan led in the home straight, only for Viviani to come off his wheel to take the stage win and the race lead. The World Champion had to settle for second place, with Boonen’s team-mate Sabatini third.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Elia Viviani (Sky): “I am riding strongly in this final part of the season, and the support from my team has been excellent. Yesterday, the team worked all day, but I lost position on the final corner and I had to make up too much ground to make the top three. Today we decided to do no work, and to leave me two team-mates for the lead-out. About 1km from the finish, I had to make a big effort to get on Sagan’s wheel. On the final corner, Palini and another rider moved on the inside, but I did not like the look of it and held back. Sagan went, and I knew I had to wait, but not too long because he is so strong. But sprinting is my job, and I managed to get past him, and I am delighted to have taken another win. The conditions today were considerably better than yesterday, and it was a good day for me and the team.”

Young jersey wearer, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Viviani is a pure sprinter and a very good one, so his victory doesn’t come as a surprise. He was in my wheel and that’s the game. My teammates did a very good job for me today and Bennati gave me a super lead-out. It was a short stage, which is better when the weather is like this; so overall it was a nice day. Tomorrow is a mountain stage and we will see what we can do.”

Etixx – Quick-Step rider Tom Boonen suffered bad luck as he crashed after the first intermediate sprint at the Yas Marina Circuit, about 55km into the stage. He withdrew from the race as consequence of the crash. Immediate hospital examination of Boonen underlined a left temporal bone fracture. Boonen, who lost consciousness for a short moment immediately after the crash, was later conscious and lucid. He will remain in the hospital overnight under observation. Further examinations will be performed on Saturday and an update will be released.

Paul Voss (Bora-Argon 18) was disqualified from the race following an argument and punching Federico Zurlo (UnitedHealthcare) after one of the intermediate sprint.

Adu Dhabi Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky in 3:02:07
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Alpecin
5. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
8. Christopher Latham (GB) Team Wiggins
9. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
10. Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Argon 18.

Adu Dhabi Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky in 7:23:08
2. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:04
4. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:06
6. Soufiane Haddi (Mar) Skydive Dubai
7. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Skydive Dubai at 0:07
9. Federico Zurlo (Ita) UnitedHealthcare at 0:08
10. Maxim Belkov (Rus) Katusha.

Abu Dhabi Tour stage 2:

Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) won Stage 3 – the Al Ain Stage – of the first Abu Dhabi Tour, Al Ain (Al Qattara Souq) to Jebel Hafeet after 142 kilometers, taking the lead in the overall General Classification.

Rafaa Chtioui (Skydive Dubai) and Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare) immediately jumped clear to build up a maximum lead of 2:37 by the 47 kilometer mark. At the first Intermediate Sprint of the day (Hamdan Bin Mohammad Stadium, 79km) Bazzana was first, ahead of Chtioui, with Andrea Guardini (Astana) then Elia Viviani (Sky) at the head of the bunch 2:24 later. At the second Intermediate Sprint (Green Mubazzarah, 128km), Chtioui beat Bazzana to the line with Viviani and Ben Swift (Sky) crossing third and fourth, 1:25 later. At the foot of the final climb up to Jabel Hafeet, Bazzana was quickly caught. Chtioui persisted, to be caught with 9 kilometers remaining.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) attacked with 7km to go, to no avail. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) attacked with 5.6 km to go, and was followed by Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step), and then Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) counter-attacked alone. With 3km remaining, Chaves led Wouter Poels (Sky) by 18 seconds and Fabio Aru (Astana) by 21 seconds. With 700 meters remaining, Poels caught Chaves. The Dutchman launched his sprint, only to slip on the last bend. Chaves took the stage win, with Aru at 12 seconds and Poels at 21 seconds. Victory brought him the race leaders Red Jersey, sponsored by ADNOC, and the lead in the Best Young Rider competition’s White Jersey, sponsored by The National.

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Stage winner and new overall leader, Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE): “It was a very hard climb, and even harder in the heat. The first part was hard, the final kilometers less so, but you needed to have the legs. The racing was hard, too. We are in the middle of the desert and the temperatures were unbelievable, so it was important to keep my body temperature down. The team was great. They worked hard for me all day, bringing me water and ice for my back and head. I poured 30 to 35 bottles of water on my body. I am really happy with this win. It was a hard climb, but I did not raise my hands in celebration because the rider in front of me crashed, and it would not have been correct to celebrate. I would like to send my commiserations to Wout Poels, and also say to the race organizers, ‘Congratulations, Abu Dhabi Tour.'”

2nd on the stage and 2nd overall, Fabio Aru (Astana): “We had two contenders, Vincenzo and myself, so we tried everything, but Chaves showed that he was the strongest today. I didn’t see what happened to Poels because I was just bit further back, but I am sorry for him. The season has finished well for us. I have tried to honor every race that I have started, even when I have not been at my very best. I had a lot of commitments in September, and I was not in a position to train in the best way, but I have tried to do my job and give everything I had.”

3rd on the stage and 3rd overall, Wouter Poels (Sky): “I caught him on the last part of the climb, just before the downhill section. I knew he was very tired, so I sprinted on the final rise, but on the final bend I fell. I don’t win a lot of race, and when you come so close… What can I say? That’s cycling.”

4th on the stage and 5th overall, Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida): “The climb was long and demanding, the weather so hot. The priority was to have a pace which could allow me to limit the gap from the pure climber. I’m satisfied, I succeeded in preceding many cyclists who usually are more competitive on the climbs. It’s unusual to race such kind of stages in such unusual landscape, I think the riders realized a good show.”

Adu Dhabi Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 3:28:04
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:12
3. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:21
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:31
5. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare
6. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:19
7. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
8. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
10. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 1:30.

Adu Dhabi Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 10:51:12
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:16
3. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:27
4. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare at 0:41
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 1:29
7. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18 at 1:40.

Abu Dhabi Tour stage 3:

The Colombian rider Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) has won the inaugural edition of the Abu Dhabi Tour, defending the race leader’s Red Jersey in the Final Stage 4 around the Yas Marina Circuit. The stage was won by the Italian rider Elia Viviani (Sky).

At km 1, Lukas Postlberger (Bora-Argon 18) attacked, to be joined by Adam Phelan (Drapac), Francisco Mancebo (Skydive Dubai), Daniel Patten (Team Wiggins) and Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare). However the race came back together 1.5 kilometers later. On the second lap, Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick Step) and Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) attacked, and were then joined by Alexey Lutsenko (Astana). During the third lap, Mancebo, Marcus Burghardt (BMC), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and Federico Zurlo (UnitedHealthcare) formed a chasing quartet behind the leading trio. The four chasers were then whittled down to the pairing of Mancebo and Zurlo.

At the first Intermediate Sprint, at the end of lap 5, Lutsenko took the first of the €6000 special prizes, chased by Brambilla and Vorganov, with Zurlo and Mancebo at 1:06 and the group at 1:57. During Lap 7, Mancebo and Zurlo were caught by the group.

The second Intermediate Sprint, at the end of lap 10, was taken by Brambilla, with Lutsenko and Vorganov in his wake, with Viviani at the head of the peloton at 1:50. The third Intermediate Sprint, at the end of lap 15, was taken by Vorganov from Lutsenko, Brambilla, and Faria Da Costa, the latter, at the head of the group, 0:43 down. Vorganov dropped back into the group on lap 17. Then on lap 18, at the very moment Brambilla and Lutsenko were caught, Mancebo and Will Clarke (Drapac) darted out of the peloton, only to be caught at the start of lap 19. The final lap, lap 20, was ridden at a very high pace, and in the final bunch sprint, Elia Viviani (Sky) emerged triumphant ahead of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Andrea Guardini (Astana).

Abu Dhabi 2015 cycling race: fourth stage

Stage winner, Elia Viviani (Sky): “With two stage wins and the points title, this race has gone perfectly for me. Andy Fenn was really strong, and Ben Swift too. They led me into the best possible position before the final corner. I knew Sagan was on my wheel because I glimpsed the Rainbow Jersey to my right. I opened my sprint with 150m to go and, although it was very close, he didn’t come past. I have taken a big step up this year with Team Sky, with my stage win in the Giro, and a total of 9 wins, even if I would have liked to have made it ten.”

Overall Winner, Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE): “Can you imagine? First a mountain stage win, then my first GC in a professional stage race. I am very, very happy. As I follow my winter training program, I will be remembering this race.”

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Second is not first. But the season is finished and I’m happy for that. The pit stop is nice. We tried to do like Formula One. Was fun for fans. Riding on the circuit was very special and different: very cool, very fast. Is built for cars but is good, the final lap was very very fast, big turns. But was good.”

Adu Dhabi Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky in 2:22:43
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
4. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC
5. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
6. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Giant-Alpecin
7. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai
8. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar
9. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar.

Adu Dhabi Tour Final Overall Result:
1. Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 13:13:55
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:16
3. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:27
4. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare at 0:41
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:23
7. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:29
8. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
10. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18 at 1:40.

Abu Dhabi Tour stage 4:

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Paris-Bourges 2015
Sam Bennett won the 65th edition of the French classic Paris-Bourges. At his penultimate race of the season, the 24-year-old Irishman secured the fifth sprint win of the year. After 190 profiled kilometers, Bennett was able to accomplish the perfect lead-out of his team. In a top-notch field, he won ahead of Nacher Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek). On Sunday, Bennett will start at Paris-Tours – the traditional end of season in the European calendar.

Race winner, Sam Bennett: “Coming into the finale it was pretty dangerous but the guys kept me in a good position on the last 10km. Then before the 1km-to-go banner Shane took over. From that point, he was on the front with me on his wheel. I thought it was too early but obviously he just had massive, massive power. He brought me till 250 meters. He did over 1km in front! And then I was able to accelerate from his wheel. It was a long sprint but it was great. I just want to thank the team for the massive support. Paris-Tours might be different, and longer for sure, but the win today definitely boosts the confidence. I didn’t really know how my legs were. But I could accelerate hard and hold it. The legs are good. So hopefully we can do something on Sunday.”

Paris-Bourges Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18 in 4:20:57
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
4. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ.fr
5. Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
6. Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Daniel McLay (GB) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
8. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Paris-Bourges finish:

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Gran Premio Città di Peccioli – Coppa Sabatini 2015
Eduard Prades (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) was the winner of the Gran Premio Città di Peccioli – Coppa Sabatini on Thursday, 198 kilometers in the province of Pisa. Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Conti (Lampre-Merida) and Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale) tried to split the peloton near the finish, but it was Prades who took the win. This is the second victory this season for the Catalan, he won a stage of the Tour of Portugal.

Zilioli (Androni), Van Overberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Cam (Bretagne) made the break of the day, but they were caught with 18 kilometers to go.

Gran Premio Città di Peccioli – Coppa Sabatini Result:
1. Eduard Prades Reverte (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in 4:48:11
2. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot
3. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Southeast
4. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Southeast
5. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Southeast
6. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
7. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Colombia
9. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Eduard Prades (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA):
Coppa Sabatini 2015

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Giro dell’Emilia 2015
Jan Bakelants (AG2R La Mondiale) is showing some good end of season form, after his win in the Gran Piemonte, just before the Giro di Lombardia, he took the Giro dell’Emilia by attacking his two breakaway companions to solo home. Bakelants joined Andrea Fedi (Southeast) and Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)on the third climb of five of the San Luca. Behind; the chaser was hard and the group was down to around ten riders who could not catch the three away. On the final ascent of San Luca, Bakelants made his move and finished 2 seconds ahead of Fedi, with Madrazo 1 second further back. Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini) was first of the chasers at 12 seconds with the rest in ones down the climb.

10th, Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka): “Today was a difficult race because of the weather and the really fast start. We did 50km in the first hour today. When the break went away it was easier but on the climb it was getting harder again. In the circuit we were full gas and I just tried to stay in a good place. The team were really good today again and helped me a lot. My legs were okay and I could stay with the front guys but it was not possible to catch the break and go for a win. I am happy to finish my season with this result of 10th place.”

Giro dell’Emilia Result:
1. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale in 5:08:17
2. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Southeast at 0:02
3. Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:03
4. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 0:12
5. Eduard Prades Reverte (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:20
6. Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida
7. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:33
8. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Southeast at 0:38
9. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:48
10. Merhawi Kudus Ghebremedhin (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:00.

Giro dell’Emilia:

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Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli 2015
The Gran Premio Beghelli saw a select bunch sprint decide the race victor with Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) being the fastest. Manuel Belletti (Southeast) was 2nd and Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) took 3rd place.

Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka) and Jef van Meirhaeghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) formed the two rider break of the day. Riding at a maximum of 4 minutes ahead of the peloton, Merhawi was able to get the better of the Belgian at all the intermediate sprints and GPM’s to win both those classifications. The escape was not going to survive the chase from the peloton though and they were caught with 60km to go. The final local circuit contained a climb that would be raced at full gas on each occasion, as expected, and the peloton became drastically thinned out. Few kilometers later, 10 riders succeed in escaping from the peloton, but their attack was soon over and, except for a breakaway of two riders, Zilioli and Lammertink, which was neutralized at 40km, no other attempts revealed to be successful. On the last passage on the climb of Zappino, Valerio Conti, winner of the past edition of the race, and Jan Bakelants, recent winner of Giro dell’Emilia and of Gran Piemonte, escaped from the peloton, but the sprinters’s teams led the chase and closed the gap. Coming into the final there was a bunch sprint of approximately 40 riders and Colbrelli had the fastest final kick.

Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4:36:11
2. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast
3. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Southeast
5. Leonardo Duque (Col) Colombia
6. Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
9. Pier Paolo De Negri (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
10. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot.

Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli:

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Tour de Yorkshire 2016 Start and Finish Locations Announced
Tour de Yorkshire organizers Welcome to Yorkshire and Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.) have selected six towns across Yorkshire to host a start or finish for the Tour de Yorkshire 2016. Racing will begin and end in Beverley, Doncaster, Middlesbrough, Otley (Leeds), Scarborough and Settle. The three day men’s race will be held between Friday 29 April and Sunday 1 May. The women’s race will be held on Saturday 30 April.

Welcome to Yorkshire received fourteen expressions of interest to host a Tour de Yorkshire start or finish in 2016 or 2017. A small number of 2017 start and finish locations have also been confirmed today, with Bradford, Harrogate and Fox Valley Sheffield announced as hosts.

The inaugural Tour de Yorkshire was held in May this year and attracted one and a half million spectators and over six million global television viewers.

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “From the first moments of the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, everyone who was there knew it was something special. I’m delighted that we are able to bring the 2016 race to all four corners of Yorkshire. It is testament to how much the county has taken the race to its heart that we have been oversubscribed for next year’s starts and finishes.

“The Tour de Yorkshire is an event in the cycling calendar that riders want to race in and we look forward to welcoming some of the world’s best riders back to Yorkshire next year.”

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France, said: “Yorkshire is so perfectly suited to international racing and the landscapes create wonderful chances for riders to shine. Many of the teams and riders said that the Tour de Yorkshire reminds them of the Tour de France’s Grand Départ, with the routes, crowds and atmosphere once again combining to create a very special race”.

Next year’s Tour will be also see a return of the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride and a chance for Tour Makers to volunteer on the race route and help welcome spectators at the event.

Several of the host towns announced today are also home to Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries, a direct legacy of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire, which aim to offer every child in Yorkshire access to a bike. So far nearly one thousand children have borrowed a Bike Library bike, through school visits, led rides and community activity.

The full 2016 race route will be announced in December 2015 – this announcement will include exact start and finish locations and the distance and profile of the race.

Big time cycling hits Yorkshire:
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Maxim Belkov, Pavel Kochetkov, Dmitriy Kozonchuk and Alexey Tsatevich stay with Katusha
Team Katusha finalizes its 2016 season roster by prolonging contracts with four Russian riders. Maxim Belkov, Pavel Kochetkov, Dmitriy Kozonchuk and Alexey Tsatevich will again spend their next season in Team Katusha.

Maxim Belkov in 2015 had some interesting results, including first place in the point and mountain classifications of the Tour de Romandie. Pavel Kochetkov just few days ago took a nice third podium place in the Tour of Almaty. In addition, Pavel did a very strong debut in the Giro d’Italia where he wore the mountain jersey for a few stages. Dmitriy Kozonchuk in this season was one of key team riders in such successful races for Team Katusha as Milano – Sanremo, Liège – Bastogne – Liège, Tour of Qatar, Tour of Norway, Tour des Fjords and Tour de Suisse. Alexey Tsatevich in 2015 took a strong third place in the Trofeo Laigueglia as well as a few stage podiums at the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe and Tour of Alberta.

“Each of these guys has a set of qualities and skills which our team needs. Some riders as, for example, Alexey Tsatevich and Pavel Kochetkov were able to get personal results. Others, like Maxim Belkov and Dmitriy Kozonchuk, were fully dedicated to the team’s interests and did their jobs perfectly. We can see important progress in each of these riders, so I am happy they all stay in Team Katusha. In signing these contracts, we have fully completed our 2016 roster, which will consist of 28 riders,”
said general manager Viacheslav Ekimov.

Maxim Belkov:
Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2015 (1.UWT)

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Drapac Professional Cycling Confirms New Riders for 2016
Nathan Earle transfers over after two years with Team Sky. The Tasmanian World Tour rider is keen to race with an Australian Team. Career highlights for Earle include wins at Tour of Taiwan, Tour of Japan and New Zealand Cycling Classic.

“It’s great to have Nathan Earle on board, I think that he has masses of untapped potential and he seems as motivated as a neo, even after a couple of years in Europe. I believe we can give him opportunities in some top quality racing in 2016, and we will see him rise to the challenge,” Tom Southam, Sports Director said.

“I am excited to get 2016 underway with Drapac Cycling, a team I have always followed with interest. It will be a great team environment for me with a good core group of guys and some familiar faces, which I believe will only benefit my performance. Being a Tasmanian, it is great to be back on home soil, to be riding for an Australian team and still have the opportunity to race around the world,” Earle said.

Gavin Mannion joins Drapac Professional Cycling as the first American to ride for the squad. Mannion finished 4th in the General Classification at this year’s USA Pro Challenge and 3rd in the General Classification at Tour of the Gila. Mannion spent the 2015 season riding with Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis.

“Gavin Mannion is a rider that we have been following for a long time. He pulled out some great rides at the back end of the year and his talents will be a major boost to the team in 2016,” Southam added.

“I am looking forward to the new setting and my new teammates. Moving to the Pro Conti level is the next step up for me and I am honored move up with the professional environment and support structure of Drapac. Adapting to the new team, racing a much longer and more demanding calendar across the world will be the main challenges for me and I am up for them. I have always gotten along well with Australia teammates and directors in the past and feel Australians have a similar mentality to myself so I look forward to the year ahead,” Mannion said.

These two riders join Dutch strongman Jens Mouris and young Australian Jason Lowndes showcasing the enhanced versatility of the Drapac program.

“We have brought together a strong and increasingly diverse roster for 2016, which we believe will continue the growth and results in our race program,” Jonathan Breekveldt, General Manager said. “Drapac Professional Cycling has developed a strong productive program over the last decade and we look to our third season as a professional continental team with enthusiasm.”

Drapac Professional Cycling has applied for a UCI Professional Continental License for the third year and will look to open the 2016 season in Australia at the Australian National Championships.

The team is currently racing in Abu Dhabi Tour, then heads to Hong Kong Cyclothon and closes out the season at Tour of Hainan. Tour of Hainan will showcase young talent Brad Evans who steps on to the Tour of Hainan roster from Pat’s Veg Cycling.

“I am very excited to be riding with Drapac Professional Cycling as a trainee. I have had a good year for the teams development program Pat’s Veg with three NRS stage wins and strong consistency across the season. It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to race with a professional team as renowned as Drapac. I look forward to proving my abilities at the next level. Racing the Tour of Hainan is a massive opportunity. I’m keen to learn and soak up advice from the seasoned professionals in the team like Graeme Brown,” Evans said.

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BORA – ARGON 18 and Björn Thurau separate by mutual agreement
The management of BORA – ARGON 18 and Björn Thurau decided mutually to terminate the joint agreement on 31 December 2015. Björn Thurau signed for the German team this current season, coming from Team Europcar. In accordance with the regulations of the International Cycling Union UCI, Björn Thurau can switch to a new team in the 2016 season.

Ralph Denk, Team Manager of BORA – ARGON 18: “Björn wants to ride for a team next season where he can make better use of his qualities. Björn is a passionate rider, who is known for his aggressive riding style. He couldn’t prove it very often in our team for tactical reasons this season. As we further focus on potential GC riders next year, he expects new impetus from a change as well as a race environment that is more suitable for him. I wish him and his new team many successful races.”

Björn Thurau: “In a team it’s like in real life: following an initial euphoria you notice that you have different ideas about the common path. That happens. I’d like to thank Ralph Denk for handling the separation straightforward, because now I’m free for my new team. My signing will be announced in the coming days.”

Björn Thurau:
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Reihs signs for CULT Energy-Stölting Group
CULT Energy-Stölting Group has signed a one-year contract with the 36 year-old Danish veteran, Michael Reihs. The experienced and highly skilled road captain started at Phonak Hearing Systems in 2001 before moving home to continue his professional career at Team Fakta in 2003.

This year, he completed a total of 58 international races and sports director, André Steensen is relieved that Reihs decided to embark another season on he road: “Including Michael in the 2016 roster was very important to us because he possesses a vast experience while his serenity helps wiping out the natural tension amongst the young riders before and during the races. This year we have used him with great success as road captain because his social skills combined with his good positioning capability in the field enables him to assemble the team near the front and make the sound tactical decisions when necessary. Even though he’s usually not topping the results, I think that he has had one of his best seasons. This year, he has been able to hit the morning breakaways during the spring campaign and in other races, he has been delivering the captains at the forefront of the peloton going into the finale. Obviously, we are happy to sign him for the team next year and he will be crucial in the development of our talents as well as being our right-hand man on the road,” says DS, André Steensen.

Michael Reihs is proud to be offered a new contract: “CULT Energy-Stölting Group was the obvious choice for me. Naturally, riding at this level requires a lot of days on the road and without solid support from the family you cannot succeed and they were all for the decision. I’m actually a bit proud having received the offer as I don’t get as many results anymore. But I still believe that I can help and give something to the team, I’m still top motivated and I train as hard as it takes to remain competitive,” says Michael Reihs and continues:

“It has been a demanding year physically and mentally as we all knew it was going to be. We had a tough spring during the cobblestone campaign and finishing the classic season with Amstel Gold Race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege where we flashed the jersey on a number of occasions. I’m really looking forward to continuing my partnership with Skelde and I’m excited about getting to work with a new bunch of talents in 2016,” concludes Reihs.

Michael Reihs:
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Alafaci extends contract, Trek Factory Racing completes roster for 2016
Italian Eugenio Alafaci has extended his contract with Trek Factory Racing, continuing with the USA registered WorldTeam for the 2016 season. Alafaci, 25, first signed with TFR in its maiden year (2014), and has proven to be an amiable and tireless workhorse for the team the past two seasons.
“I’m really happy to continue with the team for next season,” expressed Alafaci. “I can tell you that for me it is like a big family here, so I wanted to stay with my mates and all the staff. When I am on the road racing I really enjoy the time with them and that is super important for our job, and, of course, I am also happy for the racing.

“It means a lot to stay in the same team with Giacomo [Nizzolo], he is one of my best friends in my life, so for that I always give 110% for him – and for all my mates! I see myself as a man for the team – in Italian we say ‘uomo squadra’! So for next season I will continue to give all my support to the team and I am sure that we will have more victories and results – I really believe in it, and I will give 110% for my boys.”

After a flurry of new signings and three contract extensions, Trek Factory Racing has completed its roster for the 2016 season, which will number 25 riders, slightly pared back from the 27 in 2014.

General Manager Luca Guercilena: “I think we needed some change because this season was not super and on top of this we know with the new reform we need aggressive riders and ones that can be more combative on the climbs. It is really important, notably in the Grand Tours, that we are present in the overall classification, and all the stages relevant to this. This year we were highly competitive in the Tour de France and need to be consistent the same way across all three Grand Tours.

“We also needed ‘fresh air’. We wanted to change a little bit to start again with a group of riders that are ready and able to fight. And, as usual, we wanted young talent to develop, and that is still the most important thing.

“We lost Danny Van Poppel and Bob Jungels, two strong, young riders, but we added guys like [Peter] Stetina and [Kiel] Reijnen, who are not so young but young still for the WorldTour, and can do something, especially in the USA races. And [Ryder] Hesjedal is a big value that we have added to the team and we are expecting from him good results. And with a guy like [Jack] Bobridge, who we know is a huge talent, we want to see him get back to his form at the highest level possible. And then we have [Edward] Theuns and [Niccolo] Bonifazio, who I actually consider some of the best riders in the EuropeTour ranking.”

The USA registered UCI WorldTeam has always boasted a global roster but for 2016 upped its North American contingent, adding a Canadian for the first time, and doubling its Americans to two.

Guercilena: “Obviously, we must also pay attention to the desires of our sponsors, and the US market is always growing for Trek and this is why we also need to adapt our roster to have some Americans on board and we think that we have found some good guys.”

Trek Factory Racing 2016

Returning:
Eugenio Alafaci, Julian Arredondo, Fumy Beppu, Fabian Cancellara, Marco Coledan, Stijn Devolder, Laurent Didier, Fabio Felline, Markel Irizar, Bauke Mollema, Giacomo Nizzolo, Yaroslav Popovych, Gregory Rast, Fränk Schleck, Jasper Stuyven, Boy Van Poppel, Riccardo Zoidl, Haimar Zubeldia.

New:
Julien Bernard, Jack Bobridge, Niccolo Bonifazio, Ryder Hesjedal, Kiel Reijnen, Peter Stetina, Edward Theuns.

Eugenio Alafaci:
Santos Tour Down-Under 2015 stage - 2

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LottoNL-Jumbo signs Bouwman
Team LottoNL-Jumbo signed 21-year-old Koen Bouwman for two years, through 2017. He raced with SEG Racing Academy in 2016, an international talent development project with the ambition to develop youngsters into pro riders. Bouwman already had a chance to debut in the Team LottoNL-Jumbo jersey as a stagiaire this fall.

“This is like childhood dream come true,” Bouwman said. “It’s fantastic that I got a contract after my internship, which already felt very good. I hit it off immediately, with both the riders and the staff. I learned quite a bit and I’m looking forward to keep improving over the next two years.”

Bouwman wants to be of value for the team in the tougher stage races. “In the espoirs level a race couldn’t’t last long enough for me. The longer, the better. Towards the end, I always got less tired than others. With the pros, it will be different off course, but I think I should be able to support the leaders on the hills and in the mountains.”

Nico Verhoeven
Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s aim is to turn young talents into skilled pro riders. Nico Verhoeven is happy to take on the challenge with Bouwman. “During the Tour of Britain, Koen reached a high level and he was really valuable to the team. He is a strong boy. He can climb and despite his slender weight, he can do a good time trial as well. That’s a nice combo.”

Koen Bouwman:
Dutch National Championships Time Trial Espoirs

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Ferrari, two more years in Lampre-Merida
Lampre-Merida will continue to benefit of the speed, the qualities and the cycling skills of Roberto Ferrari. The thirty-two years old Italian cyclist signed the contract renewal which gives him the opportunity to race in the team of the manager Brent Copeland until the end of the 2017 season.

Ferrari, pro since 2007 with 12 victories in his career, was the cornerstone of the blue-fuchsia-green lead-out train which gave to the team many satisfactions in the season, especially in the Giro d’Italia with the two victories of Modolo.

“It’s special to continue my career in Lampre-Merida, I could not have ask for something better,” Ferrari said. “In the past three season which I spent in the team, I appreciated the high level of the structure and the perfect group spirit and I my profile as cyclist evolved to a role as lead-out rider for the sprints, in addition to some personal chances to battle for a top result. The two years deal is something important, I’ll try to do my contribution for helping the team to achieve as many successes as possible and to eventually obtain personal satisfactions.”

This is the comment by Brent Copeland: “Ferrari is a great guy for the group and he’s top important rider because he can play the double role of captain for the sprints and of leader of the lead-out train.
There are few athletes as Roberto in the cycling world, that’s why it’s so important for the team having prolonged the deal with him for 2016 and 2017.”

Roberto Ferrari:
Santos Tour Down-Under 2015 stage - 2

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Lemarchand signs for one year with CULT Energy-Stölting Group
CULT Energy-Stölting has made another signing for the 2016 roster as 28 year-old Frenchman, Romain Lemarchand has agreed on a one year commitment. The French rider started his career at Auber 93 in 2008 and has been a pro rider before at AG2R and Cofidis.

Sports director, André Steensen says about the signing: “Romain has been struck by a number of unfortunate incidents this season. In the first part of the 2015, he was held back with allergy problems and later, he experienced a very bad crash in Austria after he had started showing progress. I know he has worked hard to get back so he is definitely fit for the next season and I believe that Romain will reach his former level if he avoids illness and injuries. If he can follow up on the aggressive style of riding he has shown when he was at his best, I reckon Romain will be able to achieve personal results. As a teammate, Romain is very well liked and he always sticks to plan so I truly hope that he will have a season where he can display his full potential without crashes and illness,” says DS, André Steensen.

Romain Lemarchand states: “Personally, I’m not proud of the season I had because of many problems like my asthma-related allergies and my crash in Tour of Austria. I was not able to ride for two months, which obviously was a long and difficult time for me. But I’m very happy to be on the team in 2016 and I’ve taken on my winter training already. I’m looking forward to being at 100% of my potential in 2016 and hopefully helping the team to win a lot of races,” concludes Lemarchand.

Romain Lemarchand:
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Keizer signs new contract with LottoNL-Jumbo
Team LottoNL-Jumbo and Martijn Keizer will continue together through 2017. The team and the Dutchman extended the original contract by one year, from 2016.

“This contract extension shows the team has confidence in me,” Keizer said. “It gives me a good feeling. I showed my time trial capabilities several times this season and the support I get during the TT from the team is very important for me. I’m looking forward to try and bag some good results in the smaller tours with a time trial in the next two years. And, Of course, I want to remain important for the leaders in the big races.”

Experience
Keizer, 27 years old, is beginning to become one of the most experienced riders within the team. “I’m still quite young, but it’s true that we have more and more young talents in the team, and I like that. It keeps me young and I can teach them some things. There’s great interaction.”

Nico Verhoeven
Sports Director Nico Verhoeven sees Keizer filling an important role in the coming seasons. “Martijn is very valuable for our team, he’s someone we can always count on. In the mountains, he stands his ground and is able to survive until very late, but also on the flats, he’s very fast. He is available throughout the year on every day and every terrain. Moreover, we see that he is still making progress and therefore, we wanted to continue our collaboration.”

Martijn Keizer:
stage 4 - Criterium du Dauphine Libere 2015

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Kris Boeckmans on his way back
Yesterday, a press conference was held in the Sports Medical Centre “Nottebohm Fitlab” at Brecht regarding the crash of Kris Boeckmans, the consequences and the recovery. Kris talked to the press exactly 41 days after his hard crash in the eighth stage of the Vuelta a España. The medical bulletin after this crash was considerably: several facial fractures, a heavy concussion and a torn lung. Kris remained in an artificial coma for almost two weeks, before they flew him over to Belgium. Today, he is – step by step – working on his comeback.

Team doctor Servaas Bingé: “From the moment he crashed till today, I’m involved in the revalidation of Kris. Almost immediately after the crash, I was onsite. The first minutes, he was conscious but couldn’t talk much as he was in shock. Due to the facial fractures, there was a lot of blood coming out of his nose. This made it very difficult to hook him onto the artificial respiration machines. The urgency doctor of the Vuelta and myself immediately agreed that the best solution was to put Kris in an artificial coma. We did this on the spot before bringing him to the hospital. The medical services in Spain did a very good job on applying first aid.”

“After a couple of days in coma, we started to let him breath on his own. Kris regained consciousness but quickly we discovered that his oxygen absorption wasn’t going fluently. Due to his lung contusion, he couldn’t breathe optimal. This contusion couldn’t be seen during the first examinations, because the lung alveoli can only be damaged after 48 to 72 hours. When we discovered this, we put Kris immediately back to sleep. The days after that, his lung contusion evaluated badly. When he was recovered of this contusion, we were able to transfer him to Genk. Since then, everything went quick. He underwent a facial operation and a couple weeks later he went back home to recover. What concerns us the most is his brain concussion. It’s not his first one and because of that the recovery takes a lot of time. By this time, he can start his revalidation but we need to be very careful that he doesn’t overdo himself.”

Also Kris realizes that he needs to take it slow. Three times a week, he spends some hours per day in the revalidation centre. For the rest of the days he rests.

Kris Boeckmans: “I remember nothing of the days before the crash and the crash itself. The first weeks I had some strange dreams. All the people who visited me in Spain also were in my dreams, but in a very different situation. This was a very confusing period. By means of the stories they – including Thomas De Gendt – told me when I was back home, I tried to recover how far back my memory goes. It seems that I only remember the first stage of the Vuelta perfectly and the days afterwards are just a blur. Only three days after they got me out of the coma, I was perfectly conscious again.”

“From the moment I began the revalidation exercises, I notice my progress. Even though they are only small steps. Physically, I feel a bit better and a part of my body weight already has returned. Of the 15 kilograms that I lost, eight are back. I don’t have pain, but I feel that I underwent some operations. The screws in my cheek can come out next week, they irritate me. My headache gets worse if I need to concentrate for a long period. At that moment I feel some pressure coming up, so then I will take a rest. Every day, I stay in a dark room where it’s completely silent. By doing this, my brain concussion will recovery the quickest.”

“I never thought of quitting as a cyclist. Initially, I didn’t realize how bad the situation was. Yes, I was in a hospital, but I didn’t know why. I wanted to leave that place as quick as possible and re-join the group. By means of the stories my family and friends tell me, the photos and the testimonies, I could draw myself a picture of the situation. Cycling remains an important part of my life and one day I want to be the rider that I was before the crash. When I was watching the World Championships, I could imagine myself riding in the peloton.”

“We don’t have a plan for the future. We take it step by step and see how the revalidation goes. Three times a week, my girlfriend brings me to the revalidation centre to do my exercises. At this time, I’m capable to ride my bike for only five minutes. The kiné therapists and the team doctor are making sure that I take enough rest in between the exercises. For now, we stop after one and a half hour of exercising, where we focus on strength and stability. Step by step we can build up the intensity.

Manager Marc Sergeant: “The crash of Kris was a big blow for the team. We are currently riding a fantastic season, but this crash remains a dark cloud. Almost everyone in cycling send us support messages and we appreciated that enormously. When his situation became worse after a couple of days, I went visiting him in the hospital in Spain. It was an emotional moment to see him like that. Kris was riding his best season of his career. Too bad that it stopped abruptly.”

“We will keep supporting him in the coming two years to become a cyclist again. We know that it won’t be evident to get back on the level he had before the crash, but nothing is impossible. Kris already proved that in the past weeks. His contract extension was already a fact before the crash and this situation won’t change that. As a team, we will support him where possible and give him all the time he needs to become the person and cyclist he was before.”

Kris Boeckmans:
stage 1 of 4e World Ports Classic -2

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Tom Boonen Update
Etixx – Quick-Step announces that Tom Boonen still feels good, and today he moved to the hotel supervised by team medical doctor Jose Ibarguren.

Boonen will pass a CT scan next Thursday, October 15, 2015, after which it will be decided when he will be able to fly back to Belgium.

“I’m pretty optimistic,” Boonen said. “I’m still tired but I’m feeling good. Now I only need to give time for the fracture to heal, and time for myself to rest. I want to thank the medical staff of the hospital. I am in really good hands here. Also I received a lot of visits from the Abu Dhabi sports government. They really looked after me, just as my team is doing, since the moment of the crash.”

“Tom is recovering well” Team Doctor Yvan Van Mol said. “Considering the good clinical evolution, we expect that Tom can start preparing for next season in six weeks.”

Tom Boonen:
Cycling: Sparkassen Munsterland Giro 2015

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Abu Dhabi Pit-Stop
OK, it’s a bit of a laugh, a bike rider having a pit-stop when racing on a motor racing circuit, but why?


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