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Les Gets - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Contador Velasco Alberto (Spain / Team Tinkoff - Tinkov) pictured during the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2016 - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2016

EUROTRASH Alberto Monday!

The Tour de France build-up has started with the Critérium du Dauphiné and Alberto Contador took first blood in the French battle, but don’t get carried away with the result, just yet – Top Story. Results, reports, quotes and video from the Dauphiné, Luxembourg and the Heistse Pijl. In other cycling news: Movistar announce Tour short-list, Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team weekend notes and a compilation video by Astana from the Giro d’Italia.

TOP STORY: Contador on Form
Looking at the result of the Critérium du Dauphiné prologue, it would seem that the Tour de France favorites are on the way to the fitness needed for the French battle next month. But should we really be basing a three week Grand Tour prediction on a 3.9 kilometer time trial? Just because Alberto Contador beat Richie Porte by 6 seconds and Chris Froome by 13 doesn’t guarantee a Tour de France win, especially when you remember that 19th overall is Porte’s best finish in the French race. Also if this was the case, Fabio Aru finishing at 1:08 down on Contador in the Dauphiné prologue would rule him out of a good Tour performance.

Reading through the comments from the riders, they seem surprised at their present form. Contador pointed out he was surprised at his win: “I knew that I could do well. I didn’t think that I could win.” Froome for his part said he was short on top form: “I’m in good shape but I’ve still got some work to do.” Porte didn’t want any pressure, pointing out that “I’ve flown under the radar so much this year. No one has even mentioned my name.”

So let’s not read too much into the top men’s present form.

Les Gets - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Contador Velasco Alberto (Spain / Team Tinkoff - Tinkov)   pictured during the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2016  - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2016

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Critérium du Dauphiné 2016
The 4km uphill Prologue time trial from Les Gets to Mont Chéry gave Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) the opportunity to win the inaugural stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné for the first time in his career on a steep course that suited the climbers. Richie Porte (BMC), second, and Chris Froome (Sky), third, joined the Spaniard on the podium.

The 3.9 kilometer Dauphiné prologue hill climb had an average gradient of 9% and ramps of 19%.

Early leader was South African climber Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida) with 12:30, next to take the ‘Hot Seat’ was Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE), but was soon bettered by Tour of California winner Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step) in 12 minutes. 2015 winner, Chris Froome (Sky) took an early start to avoid the forecast rain and was the first rider to go under 12 minutes with 11:49.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) was next to finish and was a good 13 seconds faster than Froome and didn’t have long to wait as Richie Porte (BMC) came in 6 seconds slower than the Spaniard. Contador takes the first leaders jersey into stage 1 of seven.

Les Gets - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Contador Velasco Alberto (Spain / Team Tinkoff - Tinkov)   pictured during the prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2016  - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2016

Prologue winner and overall leader, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “I knew there was a good trial on this course but I didn’t know if it were tough enough to win. My legs were missing speed, my heart was beating like crazy but I can’t say it’s a surprise to beat Chris Froome however, I didn’t expect to win. It was a very hard time trial, especially from km 2 to 1km to go with a gradient of more than 20%. You had to do the first part really fast and keep the rhythm there as well. The fact it was hard suited me really well. Today was a perfect a perfect day. We had a short race, we had to do it a full pace and from now we will take the race day by day. The time gaps are very small and some teams, especially Sky, came here to win. They brought a team with four or five riders that could claim the GC. I think they are the ones that will go for it. My goal here is to keep building my form for the Tour de France. It will be a long week and the squad and myself will stick to our goal of fine-tuning for the Tour. Aiming at the GC here will be a big wear for us, so we will let other teams take that responsibility.”

2nd, Richie Porte (BMC): “That last 500m! It was just such a hard prologue. I haven’t raced for the good part of a month and a half and I’ve flown under the radar so much this year. No one has even mentioned my name. I think it’s good to be coming into this race with less pressure. There was certainly no hiding today so I think it is good for me in the big picture. At the end of it I could hardly stand up. It’s a nice way to start a race, it’s a bit different to a normal stock standard flat prologue. I’m planning to stay out of trouble for the rest of the stages. We’ve got a strong team and there’s no easy day here really. I think it’s good that Tinkoff have to defend the jersey now. We’ll save it all, as much as we can, for the weekend.”

3rd, Chris Froome (Sky): “It was only a four-kilometre prologue, but that was really tough. There were gradients of 20 per cent, and I was running out of legs and just squeezing every bit out for the line,” said Froome. “I’m happy with the numbers and the feelings I had on the bike. I’m in good shape but I’ve still got some work to do, and we’re a month out from the Tour still. I’m glad that’s out of the way.”

11th, Daniel Navarro (Cofidis): “Although I would have liked to finish in the top 10, I am both happy with my fitness and my performance. This is a good start that gives me the serenity before the three mountain stages of the weekend. I will nevertheless be vigilant on the Chalmazel-Jeansagnière stage on Tuesday. I’m confident in my chances of entering the top 10 for the third time in my career.”

14th, Enrico Gasparotto (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I’m happy with this performance. It was a difficult prologue. I managed my effort. I’m used to train with watts. It helped me a lot. I tried to ride as regular as possible. I saved energy for the last kilometer and especially for the last 500 meters. I think I make a chance in the first stages. The last three stages are too difficult and really suit the climbers.”

Critérium du Dauphiné Prologue Result:
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff in 11:36
2. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC at 0:06
3. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 0:13
4. Dan Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:21
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:24
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:25
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:29
8. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:31
9. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 0:37
10. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar at 0:39.

Critérium du Dauphiné Overall After Prologue:
1. Alberto Contador ((Spa)) Tinkoff in 11:36
2. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC at 0:06
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:13
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:21
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:24
6. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:25
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:29
8. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:31
9. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 0:37
10. Jesus Herrada (SPA) Movistar at 0:39.

Dauphiné Prologue:

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Tour de Luxembourg 2016
André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) carried his form from the Giro d’Italia through to Luxembourg to take the victory on Stage 1 ahead of Adam Blythe (Tinkoff) and Amaury Capiot (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). Marcel Sieberg and Greg Henderson gave the German a perfect lead-out and after the win he dedicated it to his Lotto Soudal teammate Stig Broeckx who is in a coma after brain surgery due to his crash in the Tour of Belgium. Jempy Drucker (BMC) held onto the overall lead after his prologue win on Wednesday.

Hesperange - Luxembourg  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Andre Greipel (Germany / Team Lotto Soudal)  pictured during stage 1 of the  Tour de Luxembourg 2016 - from Luxembourg to Hesperange (170,6 km) photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “The stage today was a bit cat and mouse with the breakaway at times, but in the end, the team took responsibility to chase it down and set up the sprint. Sander Armée pulled hard at the front to catch the breakaway, but the finale was rather sketchy due to the wet roads and many corners. I found myself a bit too far back at one time and became slightly boxed in. However, I was able to find the wheel of my teammates and we were able to launch our lead-out train. I think we performed a textbook lead-out, and it went just like we had planned. I was really happy that I could be there right at the finish to complete all the hard work of the team. In the current circumstances, it isn’t always easy to gear the mind towards racing and to ride aggressively, which is the frame of mind you need to have during the sprints. It is difficult during these times to always be in race mode, but I think that this victory today was an important way for us to show our support for Stig. It also shows how we come together as a team and keep fighting.”

2nd on the stage, Adam Blythe (Tinkoff): “It was a good race today – the stage was pretty chilled then got quicker and quicker in the final 25-30km. In the finale there were lot of corners and I was fighting my way up, and I came out of the last corner about 350m to go in a good position. With about 300m left there was a little lull, and I hit them then and it nearly worked out. California was good for me – it was a hard race and I’m still a bit tired from the traveling but it was a good one to build on. We’ll continue to take it day by day, but I think there are other opportunities for us here.”

Tour de Luxembourg Stage 1 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 4:13:07
2. Adam Blythe (GB) Tinkoff
3. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
4. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis
6. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
7. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Stölting Service Group
8. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
10. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) ONE Pro Cycling.

Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC in 4:17:27
2. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton at 0:03
3. Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC at 0:04
4. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:05
5. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:06
6. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:07
7. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Leopard Pro Cycling
8. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:09
9. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Stölting Service Group at 0:10
10. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Stage 1:

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) had the perfect finish at the end of Stage 2 of the Tour of Luxembourg after 162.8 kilometers to the Col de Schifflange. Maurits Lammertink (Roompot-Oranje Peloton) was second on the stage and moved into the overall lead thanks to the bonus seconds and overall leader, Jempy Drucker, crashing before the battle for the stage. Alex Kirsch of Stölting Service Group was 3rd on the stage and is now also 3rd overall.

The break of the day was made up of Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo), Aksel Nömmela, Carmelo Foti (Leopard), Pontus Kastemyr (Differdange-Losch), Martin Mortensen (ONE Pro), Etienne van Empel (Roompot-Oranje Peloton) and Thomas Deruette (Wallonie Bruxelles-Group Protect). After about 80 kilometers; Périchon, Mortensen, and Kastemry were out front and were joined by Tim Kerkhofen (Roompot-Oranje Peloton), but they were all caught before the final climb where Kirsch led out to be passed by Gilbert and Lammertink.

Schifflange - Luxembourg  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Philippe Gilbert (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Maurits Lammertink (Netherlands / Roompot - Oranje Peloton) pictured during stage 2 of the Tour de Luxembourg 2016 - from Rosport to Schifflange (162,8 km) - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

Winner’s Interview with Philippe Gilbert
Congratulations, Phil. How do you feel after your stage win?

“I am really happy to win especially after a long break and all the problems that I’ve had. It’s an important win for me.”

It was a hectic final climb today, were you aware of what was going on behind you?
“I heard on the radio that Jempy had crashed but at this point at the race, there is nothing that you can do to help. We really rode well today as a team so it is disappointing for him.”

Going into tomorrow’s stage, are you feeling confident after today?
“In the professional cycling world, there are no little races so it is always important to win. I am now sitting second on GC, nine seconds behind, so if Lammertink is smart he can definitely win the race but we will see.”

Previous overall leader, Jempy Drucker (BMC): “The guys did a super good job all day and I was really thankful for that. Heading onto the final climb, I was super motivated was holding onto Phil’s wheel but then I got knocked and crashed into the barriers. It obviously disappointing to have lost the leader’s jersey but it was a great experience to wear yellow, especially in Luxembourg, and I am really happy that Phil could go on and take the win today.”

Tour de Luxembourg Stage 2 Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC in 3:55:59
2. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
3. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Stölting Service Group
4. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis at 0:03
5. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Stölting Service Group
8. Dion Smith (NZ) ONE Pro Cycling at 0:06
9. Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles-Group Protect
10. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis.

Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 2:
1. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton in 8:13:23
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:09
3. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Stölting Service Group
4. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:11
5. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:16
6. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Leopard Pro Cycling
7. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:23
8. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Huub Duijn (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton at 0:24
10. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis at 0:26.

Stage 2:

Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) won Stage 3 of the Tour de Luxembourg from the successful break, which included Orica-GreenEDGE’s Christopher Juul-Jensen, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) and Turgis’ teammate Luis Angel Maté. Maurits Lammertink (Roompot-Oranje Peloton) held his overall lead, but now has only 7 seconds on Turgis and still has 12 seconds on Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Alex Kirsch (Stölting Service Group).

After a fast start; the first break eventually escaped, it included: Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Loic Vliegen (BMC), Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE), Brice Feillu (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Mathias Brandle (IAM Cycling). They had a maximum lead of 4 minutes, but by the time they hit the finishing circuit the five riders only had 1:30. Heavy rain slowed the attack and the group were caught and replaced by the winning break of Turgis, Juul-Jensen, Frank and Maté.

The group were held close by the Roompot team for overall leader Maurits Lammertink. At the finish they had 12 seconds to fight for the victory.

Differdange - Luxembourg  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   and Hoogerland Johnny (Netherlands / Roompot - Oranje Peloton) - Weening Pieter (Netherlands / Roompot - Oranje Peloton) - Duijn Huub (Netherlands / Roompot - Oranje Peloton)Maurits Lammertink (Netherlands / Roompot - Oranje Peloton)  pictured during stage 3 of the Tour de Luxembourg 2016 - from Eschweiler (Wiltz) to Differdange (177,4 km) - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

3rd on the stage, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling): “This was a good test for the Tour of Switzerland, we wanted to make the race hard today, and we certainly succeeded. So far, I have not made any great efforts in this event because I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks in the prologue or the initial stages. My goal from the beginning was to try something in one of the hard stages. I am satisfied with today’s performance. I wasn’t prepared to risk anything in the technical final descent today, so this third place is completely fine. And I am certainly planning on trying something in tomorrow’s stage again. The legs are good, and it offers yet another test for my form, even if tomorrow’s final climb is only about half as long as today’s”

Loïc Vliegen (BMC): “It was a hard day for me as Škoda Tour de Luxembourg is my first race in five weeks. There were lots of attacks of the front of the bunch at the start and it wasn’t until we had covered 50 kilometers that the breakaway stuck so it was hard to make the move across. When we were out in front, the weather, especially the wind, made it really difficult but I am happy with how I did today. It was a good training exercise for me and I also think that we put pressure on the Dutch team, Roompot – Oranje Peloton. I am happy with my condition right now, there is still a little bit of work to do, but I am definitely on my way to being at my best for my next race.”

Tour de Luxembourg Stage 3 Result:
1. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis in 3:57:12
2. Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-GreenEDGE
3. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
4. Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis
5. Dion Smith (NZ) ONE Pro Cycling at 0:12
6. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
8. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Stölting Service Group
10. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Tour de Luxembourg Overall After Stage 3:
1. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton in 12:10:44
2. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis at 0:07
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:12
4. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Stölting Service Group
5. Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:13
6. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:19
8. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:24
9. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:26
10. Huub Duijn (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton at 0:27.

Stage 3:

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) won the Final Stage 4 of the Tour de Luxembourg, but that was not enough to take the overall lead from Maurits Lammertink (Roompot-Oranje Peloton) who finished second on the stage. Gilbert’s teammate, Dylan Teuns (BMC) finished third on the stage as Alex Kirsch (Stölting Service Group) finished third overall.

The final stage took in seven climbs including four times up the Pabeierbierg on the finish circuit. The break of the day included André Greipel (Lotto Soudal), Eduardo Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Preben Van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Pirimin Lang (IAM Cycling). They built up a lead of 8 minutes, but were caught at the start of the finishing circuits.

The speed lifted on the circuit and the peloton split into many groups on the tough course. The overall leaders managed to get into the lead group and Gilbert proceeded to attack, but could not get rid of Lammertink by enough time to take the overall win, but did have the stage.

Luxembourg - Luxembourg  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Philippe Gilbert (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Maurits Lammertink (Netherlands / Roompot - Oranje Peloton)   pictured during stage 3 of the Tour de Luxembourg 2016 - from Mersch  Luxembourg (178,2 km) - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner and Philippe Gilbert
Congratulations, Philippe! How do you feel after today’s win?

“I feel great! It’s been a successful day for me; winning today’s stage, moving into second on the GC and winning the points classification! I was really only thinking about the stage today and not the classification. I stayed really focussed throughout the whole stage and then when we hit the final 5.5km final lap, I never moved out of the first top ten positions. It was a very tricky lap and I started the last climb strong but I knew that I needed to wait for the final hundred meters to make my effort because it was really steep at the end.”

Going into today’s stage, did you have a stage victory in mind?
“I was definitely hoping that I would win today’s stage. All the guys who had raced here before said that this was a finish for me, so that gave me added motivation to do well going into the stage.”

And then looking ahead to your next race?
“I have two days rest and then I am heading to Tour de Suisse. After this race I definitely think that I am in good form so we will see what I can do there.”

BMC DS, Jackson Stewart: “It’s always great to see the riders win stages and we knew it would be a good stage for Phil today. Not only was he able to win but he also took maximum time bonuses and moved back up into second place on the GC. One of the other highlights from today was that Dylan [Teuns] finished third and it’s really good to see some of our younger riders getting results. I think over the past 5 days we have had some of the worst things that can happen in a race, with a crash taking out the leader’s jersey and sickness with [Tom] Bohli, but we’ve also had some of the best things, like winning three out of the five stages and finishing with a good place on the GC.”

Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling): “We were tasked with the job of getting someone in the main breakaway, after trying yesterday for over 50 kilometers to get in the break, it worked out a little faster today. Unfortunately, in contrast to yesterday’s stage, I didn’t have the best of legs, so I was missing some strength that I would have liked to have on the final circuit. And considering the amount of time we had gained while in the lead, I did harbor some hope that we could take it all the way to the finish. But the main field, especially Orica-GreenEDGE and One Pro Cycling, did their best to track us down, which caused the lead to dwindle quickly. Now I will head off to race at the GP Gippingen, which takes place quite close to my home. I am naturally very much looking forward to that event.”

Tour de Luxembourg Stage 4 Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 4:17:44
2. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:01
4. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5. Huub Duijn (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton at 0:03
6. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Stölting Service Group
7. Dion Smith (NZ) ONE Pro Cycling
8. Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:06
9. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:08
10. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Tour de Luxembourg Final Overall Result:
1. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton in 16:28:21
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:09
3. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Stölting Service Group at 0:19
4. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis at 0:22
5. Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:24
6. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:28
7. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:32
8. Huub Duijn (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton at 0:37
9. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:48
10. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 0:52.

Final Stage 4:

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Heistse Pijl 2016
Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s sprinter, Dylan Groenewegen, beat a small group at the end of the Belgian one-day-race, the Heiste Pijl in Heist op den Berg after 195,2 kilometers. Team-mates Timo Roosen, Robert Wagner and Tom Van Asbroeck escaped in a group that lasted until 1.5 kilometers to go. Team LottoNL-Jumbo was visible before that final sprint as well. Paul Martens and Maarten Wynants rode aggressively during the first part of the race and Sep Vanmarcke was part of a breakaway of six riders early on. In the final part of the race, a leading group of 13 riders formed with Timo Roosen, Robert Wagner and Tom Van Asbroeck. They were caught on the final climb of the day, setting up the final sprint.

Heist-op-den-Berg - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Dylan Groenewegen (Netherlands / Team LottoNL - Jumbo) wins the stage in a massive bunch sprint before Wippert Wouter (Netherlands / Cannondale Pro Cycling Team) - Kruopis cycling team during the Carrefour Market Heistse Pijl cycling race with start in Turnhout and finish in Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium  - photo Cor Vos © 2015

Race winner, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo): “I was led out by the team to the foot of the final climb, so I was able to bridge to the first group, I came through the final turn in fourth position and started to sprint with 250 meters to go. It’s great to reward my team-mates’ aggressive style of racing like this. It was a tough race with a cobbled climb that hurt. Because we had three in the leading group, the rest of the team was able to save energy. With four kilometers to go, I hit a hole in the road quite hard. I felt that my tyre was soft in the final 1.5 kilometers, but not too much to affect my sprint.”

LottoNl-Jumbo DS, Nico Verhoeven: “Sometimes everything goes to plan, today, that was the story. We were part of every breakaway. Our first plan was to sprint with Dylan, but if that final breakaway was able to stay in front, Tom Van Asbroeck could have done it. Dylan saved his energy, during the whole race and was led out to the foot of that final climb eventually. That’s why he was able to finish it off. With only 1.5 kilometers to go, he noticed that his tyre was slowly getting soft, but he was able to reach the finish with it. A few minutes after the race, his tyre was flat. We were lucky.”

Heistse Pijl Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 4:03:55
2. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale
3. Aidis Kruopis (Lit) Veranda’s Willems
4. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Matti Breschel (Den) Cannondale
7. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
8. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda’s Willems
9. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise

Heistse Pijl:

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12-man Shorlist for Tour de France Unveiled
Nairo Quintana leads Movistar Team’s pre-selection for ‘Grande Boucle’; official, nine-man group to be decided after the National Championships in Europe, in three weeks’ time.

Movistar Team unveils on Friday a twelve-man shortlist Eusebio Unzué has made official just a month before the 103rd Tour de France starts in the Manche department on Saturday, 2 July. Nairo Quintana headlines the Blues’ preselection, which also includes Giro d’Italia podium finisher Alejandro Valverde.

Winner Anacona, Jonathan Castroviejo, Alex Dowsett, Imanol Erviti, Jesús Herrada, Gorka and Ion Izagirre, Dani Moreno, Nelson Oliveira and Fran Ventoso are the remaining ten names to compete for the spots. The official selection will be made known after the National Championships in Europe, held in about three weeks.

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Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team Weekend Notes And Quotes
Latvian Under 23 national road champion Krists Neilands, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Irish Under 23 national road champion Eddie Dunbar each figured prominently in races Sunday away from the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team.

Neilands Solos To Victory
Racing in his home country, Krists Neilands attacked with two kilometers to go at the Jurmalas Velomaratons Sunday and soloed to win for the first time this season.

The 87-kilometer race started and finished near the Dzintari concert hall in the city of Jurmala. On the first of six laps of 14.5 kilometers, Neilands and five others broke away. Neilands was the last of the escapees to be caught – on the final lap. But minutes later, the Latvian Under 23 national road champion launched his own race-winning attack.

“This feels good because all victories are awesome,” Neilands said.

Neilands will next be in action later this month when he goes after defense of his national title. The national time trial is June 22, followed by the road race on June 26.

Neilands won for the first time this season:
axeom-neilands-920

Geoghegan Hart Runner-Up At Nations Cup Race
After moving into second overall Saturday on the strength of a runner-up finish, Tao Geoghegan Hart placed fifth on Sunday’s final stage of Course de la Paix U23/Závod Míru U23 to secure a runner-up result in the UCI Nations’ Cup U23 event.

Racing for the British national team, Geoghegan Hart finished 11 seconds back of overall winner David Gaudu (French national team) who also narrowly edged him out for the points classification title on tie-breaker criteria.

“I think my legs are getting better and better at the moment,” Geoghegan Hart said. “I have had a pretty heavy race schedule with a lot of time on the road. But I seem to be holding it together and keeping consistent. Unfortunately, I was pretty tired at Paris-Roubaix, but I came around for this, thankfully. Sunday’s finish was more of a sprint than a summit finish as such, with a short climb, and most of the action came in the last few hundred meters.”

Winner of the one-day classic Trofeo Piva in Italy earlier this year and “best young rider” at the Tour of the Gila, Geoghegan Hart said his fourth top-three finish on the year was as much a learning experience as anything.

“I had a few regrets after the way the summit finish on Stage 2 played out,” he said. “But it was a good experience. More importantly, I know what I would do differently next time in the same scenario.”

Next up for him is a race in France, Tour des Pays de Savoie, with the Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team.

“It is a race I am really looking forward too,” Geoghegan Hart said. “But first, a week at home – which will equally be really great.”

Tao Geoghegan Hart (left) was runner-up overall at Course de la Paix U23/Závod Míru U23:
axeon-paix U23-920

Dunbar Finishes Top 20 in Philadelphia
Competing as part of the Irish national team, Eddie Dunbar notched a 17th-place finish at the Philadelphia International Cycling Classic.

His performance came a week after winning the penultimate stage of the An Post Rás, which was his first competition after breaking his collarbone in April.

In Sunday’s race, the Under 23 Irish national road champion made the lead group after monitoring action in the peloton while one of his teammates was in the day’s breakaway.

“I did not know how my body was going to react to racing after six weeks off,” Dunbar said before the race. “My last race before breaking my collarbone was Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 on April 16 (won by Axeon Hagens Berman teammate Logan Owen). I just kind of built-up slowly as I came back to training. Every day, I built up a little bit more. I went into An Post Rás very fresh and every day I felt a lot of stronger. My only disappointment was on Stage 4. I lost 15 seconds with a mechanical problem, so that was a bit annoying. With that mishap, I would have been right up there overall. But to win a stage, in my home race, in my first race back, was very satisfying.”

Dunbar will also be part of Axeon Hagens Berman’s line-up for Tour des Pays de Savoie, June 16-19.

Dunbar (center) was Ireland’s top finisher Sunday in Philadelphia:
axeon-dunbar-ireland-philadelphia16-920

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Giro 2016 – from the beginning!
Video of Vincenzo Nibali’s Giro d’Italia by the Astana team:


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