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EuroTrash Amstel Thursday!

The cobbles are gone and the hills are on the horizon. We preview the Amstel Gold Race and have race reports from Brabant and Amorebieta with results and video. Trains are the Top Story and in other cycling news: The Tour of Utah, Cavendish & Boonen, Movistar for the Giro and the best from Roubaix. EuroTrash Thursday coffee time.

TOP STORY: Train Crossings and Bike Races
During Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix the barriers came down on the peloton and some of the riders dodged through, Bradley Wiggins being one of the top name riders. French champion, Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr), actually hit his head on the barrier in his rush to beat the TGV. It is estimated that twenty or thirty riders went through the level crossing ‘illegally’. The front group was neutralized until the race came back together, so there was no advantage. French railway, SNCF, have asked the police to investigate this ‘irresponsible’ act of crossing a closed train crossing, especially as it was witnessed by millions of TV viewers.

Riders will be riders and they take chances all the time during a race, maybe not in front of a speeding train, but dropping down an Alpine pass at nearly 100kph on a bike is hardly a safe way to earn your money. So to cross a railway line when you think it’s safe is probably nothing in comparison. Of course had the organizers consulted the train time-table, the whole problem could have been avoided or at least handled in a better way. How busy are the French trains on a Sunday morning? Delaying the train for 5 minutes wouldn’t have caused too many people a problem. Road traffic is stopped all the time for bike races and in the case of the Tour de France; some roads are closed for the day.

Rumors that the TGV train was sponsored by Shimano have been found to be untrue.

Nothing new:

Uwaga, pociąg!Wersja z 1937 roku (wyścig Paryż – Nicea)Wersja z 2015 roku do sprawdzenia tutaj: https://bit.ly/1OrLrxrvia Nos.nl

Posted by Eurosport on Monday, 13 April 2015

header-brabantse15Brabantse Pijl – Flèche Brabançonne 2015
BMC’s Ben Hermans solo’d the final kilometers to win the Brabantse Pijl- La Flèche Brabançonne, he made a late attack with David Tanner (IAM Cycling) and then set out on his own before the last 3 kilometers. The Orica-GreenEDGE team chased hard behind for Michael Matthews, but they could not pull the Belgian back and Matthews had to be happy with second. Philippe Gilbert took third for BMC as Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) was fourth and Davide Rebellin (CCC-Spandi-Polkowisc) was fifth.

After two hours Alex Kirsch (Cult Energy), Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne Seche) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) escaped to a 4 minute lead as Orica-GreenEDGE and BMC chased. Kirsch couldn’t hang on, leaving Delaplace and De Gendt to get on with it. In the end the pair were caught with 30km. Next to go up the road was Tanner and Hermans with a chase group between. The chase failed, but Hermans and Tanner built up a 30-second lead with 7 kilometers to go. It looked like the move would fail and it did for Tanner who was dropped and caught by the bunch and Hermans pushed on to take the victory by only 2 seconds.

Race winner Ben Hermans (BMC): “I was very scared, you don’t have too many possibilities to win the race in this way, especially if you are not explosive and don’t have the sprint like Philippe. I was in a good position there and I had to push all the watts I had. Luckily it was enough. I think the race was pretty hard in the beginning, but I was going good in the wheels and saving energy. I have done this race several times and suffered more in the beginning, so I knew I was good. I also told Philippe that if I have to go in a counter attack, you need to tell me – or if I have to make the race hard. Luckily, it turned out good. Everything was in the right place for me to win the race.”

2nd Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE): “I had really good legs today and my team positioned me really well but unfortunately I had no teammates left in the last 15km. I just had to play my cards hoping that another team as going to bring it back. Unfortunately I won the sprint to the line but it was second, not first. This is a race that suits me and that I enjoy racing. It’s really nice weather today and it’s a positive race to prepare for the Ardennes too. I’ll be back next year, trying to win it.”

3rd Philippe Gilbert (BMC): “I told Ben he deserves this, he is always working for the team. When you have someone like this and they win, it is always nice.”

4th Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal): “The situation this year is different than last season, when I had taken part in some Flemish classics. Now I specifically prepared for the Ardennes classics. After Milan-Sanremo I took some rest, then I went on a training camp and last week I participated in the Vuelta al País Vasco. The legs felt good today. I tried a few times to escape from the chase group, but I didn’t succeed. I had the feeling Matthews shadowed me. The fourth place isn’t what I had hoped for, but it proves that my shapes is fine and it gives me confidence for the Ardennes races.”

10th Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling): “This 10th place rewards the collective performance of the entire IAM Cycling team because we were so close with David Tanner near the end. It was a strange race because Orica really pushed a hellish pace behind the early break. We took advantage of David’s escape in order to stay in the first places in the pack without having to pull. Sylvain Chavanel managed to rejoin the group after crashing, and we tried to stay in contact for this furious finale. At the last climb with 500 meters to the line, I went left, because I still felt strong, but at the same time Michael Matthews made the same move, and closed the door on me. It’s a shame, but that’s part of the facts of racing.”

14th Rasmus Guldhammer (Cult Energy) didn’t feel too well: “My legs felt quite bad today and it was a really tough race due to the terrain, the weather and the way it unfolded. But I think in time I’ll realize that it was a good result during the circumstances even though I didn’t pull a top-10. When Gilbert made his move, I couldn’t respond directly but I made my way back on the final descent before the uphill finish where I was simply empty. Now, I need to recover as fast as possible and to start focusing on Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race.”

IAM Cycling’s David Tanner was with Hermans until very near the finish: “I am disappointed because, as has happened many times before, I was not missing much to play for the win. It’s just the story of my life at the moment. I got to within less than 2 kilometers of the finish, and my regret is that I did not have the strength to follow Ben Hermans when he made his move. He was the strongest, but I would have been pleased with 2nd place. However, I will come away with good points from today, and am pleased that I have found my legs again after having crashed near the end at San Remo. I struggled at the Tour of the Basque Country and had to abandon. I hope to confirm these good sensations that I have felt today with a strong ride on Sunday at the Amstel Gold.”

Early break rider Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “It was not very fun today. It took a while before a front group was formed, we had to fight eighty kilometers long. When I jumped away I hoped to get several riders with me, it stopped after two. Then you know it won’t be easy, although we worked together pretty well. We didn’t get much more than four minutes lead. The good thing was the team didn’t have to work in the peloton, that’s why my attack was useful after all.”

Late break rider Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka): “The legs felt okay today but I was without any water in the final 20km which became a problem as started to not feel so good in the final. I tried to go early before the sprint with 3 other guys but unluckily the gap was closed so my legs were no longer fresh enough for the final hill.”

Brabantse Pijl – Flèche Brabançonne Result:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC in 4:45:14
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:02
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
5. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
6. Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin
7. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek
8. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot Oranje
9. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling.

Brabantse Pijl:

header-klasika15Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta 2015
Five years after his last pro success in the Cinturó de l’Empordà, José Herrada (Movistar) got back to winning ways and rewarded his team-mates for all the efforts done by all of them, including himself, during the prestigious ‘Basque week’ of cycling. The Spanish allrounder claimed the victory in the 61st Klasika Primavera Amorebieta on Sunday as the strongest in an 18-man move including two Movistar riders (Herrada and Soler).

Herrada and Soler made the selection to the front group, always keeping a gap between four and six minutes, through the first of three climbs to Montecalvo, where several attacks from the Catalan reduced the Blue duo’s opposition to initially six riders, later only three as Evgeny Shalunov (Lokosphinx) was the last man able to join the two Spaniards. At the end of the descent leading up to the final climb, Herrada attacked and left the Russian behind with Soler staying vigilant on Shalunov’s wheel, to start a late solo he ultimately solved with about thirty seconds. Behind, a struggling Marc (winner of the King of the Mountains) managed to finish in 6th place, with Giovanni Visconti in 8th to confirm the team victory.

Herrada’s success is a reward to one of the most loyal, consistent domestiques in Eusebio Unzué’s squad, taking the Movistar Team’s account in 2015 up to fifteen with seven different riders (Valverde x4, Lobato x3, Malori x3, Quintana x2, Rojas, Moreno) and increasing the straight of Amorebieta wins to four in the last seven editions.

Race winner José Herrada (Movistar): “When I joined the Movistar Team, I knew my role was going to be different from other squads. I had many chances to snatch another win before this, I came close, but it’s obvious that winning in the WorldTour is always difficult and you’ve got to work for the team leaders at most times, though it’s a pleasure to do it. We had to spend a lot of time at the front in both Catalunya and País Vasco, but that left me with great racing pace and it paid off here, as we showed. It’s true that pain from my crash in the Itzulia’s first day is still kicking, but my body responded pretty much well after that and I did a nice job for my team-mates.

“We started the race with a clear idea in mind that anyone into the team could win. There was a big split forming up, I went after it and started pushing early since I knew we could have a chance to contest the win. The team started to push behind only with a big margin so they could still have a chance if we didn’t feel well, but fortunately, we were riding strong. Marc also did a hell of a job; he was with me until the very end, already rode fantastically well into a breakaway in Catalunya… he’s aiming high. Since I saw Shalunov making part of the break, I knew he was going to be hard to be; he’s strong and he never surrenders – that’s how he behaved today. I wasn’t certain I was going to win until the last 2k.

“This victory goes to my family, they’re always by me side; also to my girlfriend, the whole team… and myself! The team is always contesting the victories no matter the race, chances for us domestiques are not usual and we must take advantage. We’re used to this job, but it’s a very rewarding win for me.”
Thanks to Movistar for the race report.

Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta Result:
1. José Herrada (Spa) Movistar in 3:56:20
2. Evgeny Shalunov (Rus) Lokosphinx at 0:29
3. Carlos Barbero Cuasta (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 2:35
4. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Skydive Dubai
5. César Fonte (Por) Rádio Popular ONDA Boavista
6. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 2:42
7. Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx at 4:02
8. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
9. Kirill Sveshnikov (Rus) Lokosphinx
10. Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

The action from Amorebieta (commentary in Euskera):

header-bmc15-plainStatement: Van Avermaet Investigation
The BMC Racing Team is aware of today’s hearing by the Belgian Cycling Federation, Koninklijke Belgische Wielrijdersbond, in which Greg Van Avermaet appeared in relation to the investigation of Dr. Chris Mertens.

Based on information currently available to the BMC Racing Team, Van Avermaet will not be withheld from competition.

No further statements about the case will be made by team officials prior to a decision being rendered by the Belgian Cycling Federation on May 7.


header-amstelAmstel Gold Race 2015
The Amstel Gold Race is Holland’s biggest one-day race and is run in the hilly region of Limburg, starting in Maastricht and taking in thirty-four climbs before finishing on the Cauberg. The course is made for riders like Philippe Gilbert, strong and powerful, with a burst of speed on a climb, but not a pure climber. Amstel is not a race for the cobbled Classicsmen, but does suit some of the Grand Tour riders. Full coverage on PEZ with race report on Sunday with the best photographs and more coverage through the week.

Website: www.amstelgoldrace.nl

Check-out Ed’s Amstel Gold Race preview HERE.

***More team news will be added when we receive it.***



header-giantalp15Giant-Alpecin team for Amstel Gold Race
Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race runs 258km through the hills of Limburg as the riders will overcome 4000 climbing meters. The only UCI World Tour one-day race on Dutch ground celebrates its 50th anniversary this Sunday. Famous climbs that have to be challenged include the Cauberg, Gulpenerberg and Eyserbosweg.

After finishing sixth on the Cauberg last year, Simon Geschke (GER) will not line up for Sunday as he continues to recover from a fractured collarbone from a crash in Tirreno Adriatico (ITA).

Team Giant-Alpecin aims for a good result with Tom Dumoulin (NED) who is in excellent shape, having won last week’s final stage in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. The race will start in Dumoulin’s home city Maastricht before riding through his training area. To support Dumoulin in the final, the team will look to its climbers Warren Barguil (FRA) and Georg Preidler (AUT), who recently performed well in the Vuelta Ciclista Catalunya stage race in Spain.

“Tom Dumoulin (NED) will be our man for the final as he will be joined by a talented team with the experienced Roy Curvers (NED) as team captain,” said team Aike Visbeek (NED).

“The weather forecast is looking good so I expect a traditional Amstel Gold Race that will be decided on the Cauberg. I am satisfied when we can make it among the top ten on Sunday.”

Warren Barguil (FRA), Roy Curvers (NED), Koen de Kort (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Georg Preidler (AUT), Albert Timmer (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).

Warren Barguil:
Cambrils, 26-012015, Warren Barguil

header-tinkoff-saxo15Valgren lines up alongside Kreuziger to head Tinkoff-Saxo at Amstel Gold Race
The first of three Ardennes Classics, notorious for its 34 steep bergs and over 4,000 altitude meters along the 258km, obstacle-laden route in Limburg. Michael Valgren and Roman Kreuziger lead Tinkoff-Saxo in a challenging attempt to repeat the team victory from 2013.

Heading into the Dutch World Tour classic, Tinkoff-Saxo’s sports director Sean Yates elaborates on the team ambitions.

“We are going to Amstel with a good lineup. We aim to be active, show the team colors and initiate our race strategy and then we’ll see how it materializes during the race, where you constantly have to be on your toes. We have Kreuziger, who is a previous winner, however he’s primarily targeting Liège-Bastogne-Liège. But the guy I actually think the race suits the most is Michael Valgren. So it will be a big occasion for him to step up”, says Sean Yates.

Tinkoff-Saxo’s lineup for Amstel Gold Race is Roman Kreuziger, Michael Valgren, Manuele Boaro, Ivan Rovny, Jesper Hansen, Evgeny Petrov, Robert Kiserlovski and Chris Anker Sørensen.

“We will naturally be ready for a move like when Roman won in 2013, but the decisive moment is the last time up Cauberg, where Valgren has the capacity to go hard for a short while and that’s what it’s all about in Amstel combined with a constant awareness of positioning in the pack. For Valgren, maybe this years is a bit too early against the likes of Rodriguez and Gilbert but he has power and he will receive support from the rest of the guys, who will make sure that him and Roman conserve as much energy as possible”, adds Sean Yates.

The young Danish champion Michael Valgren has proved capable in the undulating terrain of the Ardennes winning the U23-edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège twice. But he notes that the shorter climbs of Amstel Gold Race might suit him better, if he can find the race rhythm on the tricky parcours.

“It’s a race that I indeed look forward to. I rode it last year and it’s a very cool race, if you ask me. I think I can do a good result if I hit the day and I have a role on the team where I can try. Then I just hope that the legs are where they should be. Amstel suits me well, as I might have to drop a few kilos to be really competitive on the longer climbs of Liége. However, in Amstel you don’t get a single chance to relax and it can even be a fight to get something to eat”, comments Michael Valgren, who adds that refueling is essential on the 258km route from Maastricht to Valkenburg:

“You constantly have to be at the front going into the climbs, and since you face a new climb almost constantly, you have to plan and concentrate. If you have the legs but don’t refuel, you will fall short of energy before the finale”.

Risky race route
Amstel Gold Race is renowned and dreaded for its obstacle-filled race route, where road furniture and traffic calming measures require constant attention, as the teams and favorites fight to enter the 34 climbs like Gulpenerberg, Eyserbosweg and Cauberg in front. According to Sean Yates, it’s simply not just about the legs.

“It’s a race that goes a long way back, it has a good setup and atmosphere and the Dutch really like their cycling. However, they also really like their road furniture and the area around Valkenburg is known for this. The parcours is full of obstacles, which also shapes the spirit of the race, but one mistake and the race can be over”, explains Sean Yates.

“We simply need to be on our toes, as it’s not just a matter of having the legs. We got to focus on positioning the team at the bottom of every climb and save energy for the final burst in the finale. We are here to do our best and perform but we have to be realistic, however, it’s time for many of our riders to step up”.


header-lottosoudal15Lotto Soudal team for the Amstel Gold Race
On Sunday 19th April it’s time for the Amstel Gold Race, the first of three Ardennes classics. Tony Gallopin, Tim Wellens and Jelle Vanendert, who already was second twice, are part of the Lotto Soudal selection.

Herman Frison, sports director: “We go to the Ardennes classics with another type of riders than to the Flemish spring races. With Jelle Vanendert, Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens we have three riders who can set a top result. Jelle has proven in the past that he can conquer a place on the podium. Tony and Tim have proven it in other races. The previous editions have taught us that the race is often decided on the ultimate ascent of the Cauberg. I think Jelle, Tim and Tony each have their specific qualities to play a role, depending on the weather conditions. I hope all three of them are in front in the final.”

“We know our opponents. BMC with Gilbert, Katusha with Rodriguez, Movistar with Valverde, Etixx – Quick-Step with Kwiatkowski and Orica – GreenEdge with Gerrans and Matthews. They will take control of the race. Everyone is convinced they know where the race will be decided, everyone knows where Gilbert likes to attack, everyone knows who’s fast at the finish. The mental aspect is important as well. It’s all about being attentive and strong enough to choose a good position and to take off on the right moment after more than 250 kilometres with lots of turns and a route that goes up and down all the time.”

Jelle Vanendert: “I had a normal preparation, almost identical to last year. I’ve always done it this way. In February and March I have to get race rhythm, but this is my time of the year. When I was fit, I always set good results here. When you have finished second two times you can win here as well. Of course it’s not so simple to do it. There’s no doubt that I’m good. I hope I perform optimally, that the circumstances are right and that I make the right tactical decisions.”

“Of course Tony and Tim want to set a good result as well. Other teams have different options as well, that can definitely be an advantage. It all depends on how they feel and how I feel; for each of us there are circumstances in which we can win. But we are respectful and professional enough to handle that in the right way. People often ask me which of the three races suits me best, but it are the same riders that come to the front. In the Amstel I finished second two times, while I think Liège-Bastogne-Liège might suit me best, although I never finished in the top five. On the other hand I already was fourth once and two times sixth in the Flèche Wallonne.”

Tim Wellens: “This is only my second Amstel Gold Race, the course is almost the same as last year, but the way I stand at the start is different. Last year I had to open the race, now I feel a lot stronger, thanks to the preparation with training camp on Tenerife and the Vuelta al País Vasco. The circumstances on training camp were perfect, beautiful weather, good roads, many uphill kilometres. Last year I was limited to follow in the Basque Country, now I could make the race.”

“This year I am one of the guys who have a protected status. It’s an advantage for the three of us, the pressure is divided. That’s a big difference compared to being the only leader. The important points on the course are obvious. From the Kruisberg and Eyserbosweg on the route goes over very narrow roads, where it is difficult to return from the background. Then we reach the Cauberg really quickly, the place to be. Last year I was part of a group that took off just before the climb, and although we stayed pretty long in front, the favourites still caught us.”

Tony Gallopin: “I decided to sacrifice my participation in the Flemish classics for the Ardennes classics. I watched television with a special feeling the past few weeks, because I really love those races. Next Sunday we’ll know if this turns out well, but this choice gives me confidence. The preparation went smoothly. The Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège are two different races. The Amstel is a really nervous race, where you have to be very concentrated, with a specific finish. Liège-Bastogne-Liège is more historical, the roads are smoother and it’s just a bit higher in the hierarchy for us riders.”

“I hope to set a result as high as possible on Sunday. If I’m one of the last ten riders on the Cauberg, I will be able to play a role in the absolute final phase and I will be very satisfied. My sprint in a small group is an advantage I think. Guys like Gilbert and Rodriguez will choose to attack and I hope to follow them. Also Tim and Jelle have that ambition. They can read the race very well, they have the feeling for the right moment and have a very good condition. With the three of us we have to put Lotto Soudal in the picture.”

Selection Lotto Soudal:
Stig Broeckx, Tony Gallopin, Pim Ligthart, Jürgen Roelandts, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Herman Frison and Frederik Willems.

Tony Gallopin:
TDFR 2014 - stage -11

header-iamcyclingAmstel Gold Race – Aleksejs Saramotins: “We must be able to fight after 250km in order to be well-placed for the last time up the Valkenberg”
The Netherlands will host the Flemish classics specialists for a final mano-à-mano between Maastricht and Sibbe. This is an event where the puncheurs find fertile ground for their qualities. After having earned two top-10s with Martin Elmiger at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, IAM Cycling hopes to build on this momentum, and shoot for a podium in one of the upcoming monuments of cycling.

Aleksejs Saramotins had no less a remarkable Hell of the North by taking 13th after spending more than 200 kilometers at the head of the race, marked by a mini-controversy after a large portion of the chasing peloton crossed illegally through closed railway barriers. Saramotins is already thinking about his next appointment with the best cyclists in the world. “I had no trouble getting to sleep Sunday night. I slept well and then on Monday I simply rode one hour on the home trainer to get rid of the toxins. This week will be dedicated to recovery and maintenance so that I will be able to give the best of myself for the Amstel Gold Race. I do not know if I’d rather go in the break or stay in the peloton. It’s 50/50; for a breakaway, you just have to ride as fast as possible, while in the peloton there is the stress to keep position and avoid crashing on the narrow roads near the end.”

As a rouleur and puncheur, Saramotins, who comes from Latvia but lives in Nice, recognizes the differences of the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, and the Amstel Gold Race, but also knows what qualities a rider must have in order to hope to be able to lift his arms in victory at the finish in Sibbe. “For Flanders, we face cobbles typically in good repair and on relatively short climbs. At Roubaix, there are no climbs, but the pavé sections create the natural selection. And then Amstel, there are some cobbled section, but the climbs are longer and demanding. You have to be strong enough to fight after 250 kilometers in order to be well-placed on the final ascent of the Valkenberg which is located less than a kilometer from the finish.”

Sylvain Chavanel (F), Dries Devenyns (Bel), Martin Elmiger (S), Reto Hollenstein (S), Thomas Degand (F), Vicente Reynes (Sp), Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat), David Tanner (Aus).
Manager sportif: Rik Verbrugghe. Directeur sportif: Kjell Carlström.

Sylvain Chavanel:

header-cult-leftCULT Energy Pro Cycling take on Amstel Gold Race
This Sunday, the biggest one-day race ever is coming up for CULT Energy Pro Cycling. The Danish team will be participating in the Dutch 260 kilometer long and hilly Amstel Gold Race. It’s one of the five “monuments” which also count Milano-Sanremo, Ronde van Vlaanderen, Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. This Sunday, the race celebrates its 50th edition anniversary.

The race takes place in the southern part of Holland in the Limburg region where the terrain is fairly undulating and the roads are narrow and winding. The climbs are not long but the large number of them makes the race physically demanding as it tends to slowly but surely empty the fuel tank. The race organizers have moved the finish line several times throughout the years. Before 2013, the finish line was on the top of the steep and 1.2 kilometer long climb of Cauberg. But from the 2013 edition, the organizers moved the finish line two kilometers further away and created a more tactical finale.

CULT Energy Pro Cycling will be riding for Fabian Wegmann who has been rather consistent in this race in his entire career and in spite of a long-lasting flu in the last few weeks, the multiple German champion still hopes for a top-10 result. Besides Wegmann, Rasmus Guldhammer has been showing promising form this spring and he might pull a surprise result in Amstel.

DS, Michael Skelde states: “It’s with a mix of sheer joy and nail-biting excitement that we look forward to Amstel Gold Race. Naturally and as it should be, with a huge amount of respect as well. This is our first Classic and we’re all looking so much forward to participating. Due to Fabian’s unfortunate illness, we can’t allow ourselves to expect seeing him finish with the first group of riders on Cauberg, which doesn’t mean he isn’t going to try. We are forced to take part in an early break in order to make our way to the front of the race and to flash the colors before the big names open the finale. My hope is that we’ll be able to take on a creative role and that our debutants make their way through this prestigious race.”

CULT Energy Pro Cycling line-up:
Fabian Wegmann, Linus Gerdemann, Rasmus Guldhammer, Alex Kirsch, Russell Downing, Troels Vinther, Christian Mager and Michael Reihs.

Fabian Wegmann:

header-bmc15-rosterBMC Roster: Amstel Gold Race
Three-time Amstel Gold Race champion Philippe Gilbert headlines the BMC Racing Team’s roster for Sunday’s WorldTour race in The Netherlands.

Marcus Burghardt (GER), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).
Sponsor: Andy Rihs (SUI).
President/General Manager: Jim Ochowicz (USA).
Sport Director: Valerio Piva (ITA).


header_movistar-leftValverde, Quintana in Ardennes classics
Movistar Team’s two biggest leaders to race together in Flèche Wallonne (Wednesday 22nd), Liège-Bastogne-Liège (Sunday 26th) as Spaniard seeks for success right from the Amstel Gold Race (Sunday 19th).

Movistar Team heads into the Ardennes trio this weekend with a strong lineup including its two main references. Both Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde will be racing in Flèche Wallonne (205km, Wednesday 22nd) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (253km, Sunday 26th), both races having witnessed two victories each by the Spaniard, last winner in Huy with a great finish in 2014. The Amstel Gold Race (251km, Sunday 19th) will be Valverde’s opening goal, searching to increase an already considerable palmarés.

Imanol Erviti, José Herrada, Gorka Izagirre, José Joaquín Rojas, Rory Sutherland and Giovanni Visconti will join Valverde in all three races, with John Gadret replacing Quintana in Limburg on Sunday. José Luis Arrieta will be the sports director throughout the week.

Alejandro Valverde will lead Movistar in Amstel:
Strade Bianche  men elite 2015

header-MTN14-leftMTN-Qhubeka: Amstel Gold Race
Jacques Janse van Rensburg to play key role

The Ardennes Classics get underway this weekend with the Amstel Gold Race set to run its course on Sunday, 19 April. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will take to the start of the 258km UCI World Tour event with high ambitions.

It will be the first time our African team compete in Netherlands most premier cycling event and we sure hope to leave our mark on this great, traditional race. The route which includes 34 noted climbs, totalling over 4000m of ascent ensures that only the strongest riders will be in contention for the win. None of the climbs could really be categorized as all that long, but the steepness of the gradients will see your powerful and explosive climbers come to the fore.

Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will take to the start with Kristian Sbaragli, Serge Pauwels, Youcef Reguiui, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Matt Goss, Johann van Zyl and Songezo Jim making up our roster. It will also be a special day for sport director, Michel Cornelisse as we race in his home country for the first time this year.

Kristian and Serge are coming off strong rides at Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl and both riders hope to be key figures in the finale on Sunday. Jacques will hope to continue with his excellent early season string of performances as he targets the Ardennes week of classics too. With 3 riders hungry for results and a strong team of support riders, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung hope to show its stripes at the head of the Amstel Gold Race this Sunday.

Jacques Janse van Rensburg – Rider
I am really excited to be racing the Ardennes classics and I really hope to get a good result in either Amstel Gold, Fleche or Liege if luck is on my side. I think my strengths on the short to medium length climbs are well suited to the Ardennes classics. These races will be my last few in Europe before taking a short break after a successful first part of my season.

Michel Cornelisse – Sport Director
It is really special for me to be going to Holland’s most important race of the year with the team. It will be great for MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung to show off our colours in my home country this weekend and with our in-form riders I am hoping we can play a role in the end result.


header-lottonl-jumboleftImportant first Amstel Gold Race for Kelderman
Wilco Kelderman will make his Amstel Gold Race debut on Sunday with a different plan. The Team LottoNL-Jumbo youngster would have liked to fight for a top result, but after catching the flu over the weekend, he understands that will be a difficult task.

“Wilco would like to get in the mix in the classics in the future and had it up to him, he would have done so this year already, but we need to lower our aims after last weekend,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman said.

“Wilco isn’t at his best because of his illness. It’s a real bummer as he made the Amstel Gold Race a big goal this season. It’s still an important race for him, but maybe in another way now. Wilco would still love to show himself, but, just as important, he will do so to gain experience. In the classics experience is key.”

Wilco Kelderman
Kelderman is disappointed to be held back after the flu, but he looks optimistically towards the next Ardennes Classics.

“I’m still suffering from a little cold, so unfortunately, I’m not in a great shape,” Kelderman explained.

“That’s tragic because the level in Amstel is so high that you have to be one-hundred per cent. If you’re a few percentage points less, you just won’t able to compete.

“The last time things went good for me, but the Amstel Gold Race probably comes a bit too early now. You never know, though. Besides that, next week, I’ll be riding La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

Paul Martens
Paul Martens proved that he is back on track in Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl after his round with the flu at the beginning of the month. Zeeman is counting on the German with the fast legs on Sunday.

“Paul gained a lot of confidence by his eleventh place in the Brabantse Pijl. Besides that, he has shown that he can do well in Amstel in the past,” said Zeeman, referring to a tenth place in 2011.

“We have a lot of confidence in Paul. We will make a team effort to help him achieve a good result. A top ten is an appealing and ambitious goal.”

Home Race
Above all, Zeeman wants to see his riders getting involved at the front on Sunday.

“The Amstel Gold Race is our home race. It’s an important race for our sponsors. We really want to show ourselves. We will work hard to make sure we do so.”

Team line-up:
Jos van Emden, Wilco Kelderman, Tom Leezer, Nick van der Lijke, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Paul Martens, Timo Roosen & Bram Tankink.

Wilco Kelderman:

header-sky-leftTeam Sky Rider Line-Up
Team Sky has confirmed its rider line-up for Amstel Gold Race:
Philip Deignan, Nathan Earle, Sergio Henao, Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, Lars-Petter Nordhaug, Wout Poels and Xabier Zandio.
*rider line-ups subject to change.

Wout Poels:

header-katusha15Team Katusha for Amstel Gold Race
On Sunday, April 19th, the Russian WorldTour Team Katusha opens the 2015 “Ardennes week” with the famous classic Amstel Gold Race in the Netherlands. This year the race celebrates its 50th anniversary. In addition to the Amstel Gold Race the “Ardennes week” also includes two more classics: La Flèche Wallonne and Liège – Bastogne – Liège.

The team’s roster:
Giampaolo Caruso, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Sergey Lagutin, Alberto Losada, Daniel Moreno, Tiago Machado, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alexey Tsatevich.
Sports director is José Azevedo.

Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodriguez:
Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco stage-3

header-etixx-qr15Etixx – Quick-Step to Amstel Gold Race
Etixx – Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in the 50th edition of Amstel Gold Race, a 258km one-day race to open the Ardennes Classics of the 2015 season on Sunday, the 19th of April. Amstel Gold Race features 34 climbs, most notably the Cauberg (1.2km, 5.8% average gradient, ramps of 12%), which is climbed four times including just before the finish.

UCI World Road Champion Michal Kwiatkowski returns to the Ardennes Classics, and will try to improve on his 5th place finish in the 2014 edition as the leader of Etixx – Quick-Step. He also finished 3rd in La Flèche Wallonne and Liège – Bastogne – Liège. Kwiatkowski will be supported by Michal Golas, Tony Martin, Gianni Meersman, Julian Alaphilippe, Petr Vakoc, and Julien Vermote. These riders prepared for the Ardennes Classics through races like Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. The team is completed by Stijn Vandenbergh, who was a protagonist in the Cobbled Classics including a solo attack at Paris-Roubaix last Sunday.

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Michal Golas (POL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Tony Martin (GER), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Petr Vakoc (CZE), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL) & Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Michal Kwiatkowski:
Cycling / Feature : Michael KWIATKOWSKI (Pol)

header-wanty-leftWanty-Groupe Gobert Line-up for Amstel Gold Race
Wanty-Groupe Gobert takes the start in the 50th edition of the Amstel Gold Race this Sunday. After the Volta a Catalunya, E3 Harelbeke, Ghent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, it’s the sixth WorldTour race of the season the Belgian team received a wildcard for.

With Enrico Gasparotto the Wanty-Groupe Gobert squad has a former winner on the team. The Italian won the race in the south of the Netherlands in 2012. In 2010 he finished on the podium. Marco Marcato came in eighth that year.

“I am ready and I am looking forward to it. I have been training a lot and now I want to show myself,” Gasparotto said.

“I spend about 35 days training, mostly alone, on the Teide (Tenerife), far from my wife and family and that hasn’t always been easy. Ruta del Sol, Volta a Catalunya & Circuit de la Sarthe have all been with this week of racing on my mind. I am now extremely motivated for these races because I really am a rider for Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

It will be Bjorn Leukemans’s tenth Amstel Gold Race. In 2005, 2011 and 2013 he finished in the top ten. Last year the Belgian came in 11th.

Wanty-Groupe Gobert for the Amstel Gold Race:
Enrico Gasparotto (ITA), Bjorn Leukemans (BEL), Marco Marcato (ITA), Mirko Selvaggi (ITA), Marco Minnaard (NED), Jan Ghyselinck (BEL), Francis De Greef (BEL), Yannick Eijssen (BEL).
Sports director: Hilaire Van Der Schueren.


header-utah5Thirteen Men’s Teams Confirmed for Tour of Utah Cycling Event in August
Four Tour de France Contenders Part of “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM”

A collection of 13 of the world’s best international and domestic men’s professional cycling teams have accepted invitations to compete at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Aug. 3-9, 2015. Three additional teams will be added later this spring for “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM”, for a total of 16 men’s teams in the final field of the UCI 2.HC men’s stage race.

Four of these teams will travel to Utah directly from competition at the Tour de France, including three UCI ProTeams registered in the United States — BMC Racing Team, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling and Trek Factory Racing. The South African-based MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung team, registered at a Professional Continental level, is the first team from the African continent to receive a wild card invitation to the Tour de France. It is the second appearance for MTN-Qhubeka (2013) and Trek Factory Racing (2014) at the Tour of Utah. BMC Racing Team, which captured three stage wins at last year’s Tour of Utah, will make its seventh appearance. Cannondale-Garmin, which expects to bring two-time defending champion Tom Danielson (USA) again in August, will race as a Slipstream Sports squad for a sixth year.

Joining MTN-Qhubeka from the UCI Professional Continental ranks will be Team Colombia of Colombia, Drapac Professional Cycling of Australia, and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling of the U.S. It is the first appearance for the South American squad, which scored the overall King of the Mountain classification title at this year’s WorldTour stage race, Tirreno-Adriatico, with climber Carlos Julian Quintero. Known as the “Blue Train,” UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling will make a record ninth appearance at the Tour of Utah, the most of any team. Drapac Pro Cycling returns for a second time, having raced in Utah in 2014.

Continental teams have a strong representation in this year’s field, already including four of the Top Five squads ranked on USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC). Team SmartStop expects to return with Jure Kocjan (Slovenia), who won the Utah Sports Commission Sprint points jersey in 2014. Hincapie Racing Team featured the best two climbers at the 2014 Tour of Utah, returning this year with American Robin Carpenter, who was second overall in the Ski Utah King of the Mountains classification.

UCI ProTeams (*world rankings as of April 12, 2015)
BMC Racing Team (USA), No.5 on UCI WorldTour
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling (USA), No. 17 on UCI WorldTour
Trek Factory Racing (USA), No. 13 on UCI WorldTour

UCI Professional Continental Teams (rankings as of March 25, 2015)
Drapac Professional Cycling (Australia), No. 2 on UCI Oceania Tour
Team Colombia (Colombia), No. 3 on UCI America Tour
Team MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung (South Africa), No. 1 on UCI Asia Tour
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA), No. 5 on UCI Asia Tour

UCI Continental Teams, America Tour (UCI ranking as of March 25, 2015)
Axeon Cycling Team (USA), No. 4 on UCI Oceania Tour
Hincapie Racing Team (USA), No. 7 on UCI Oceania Tour/ No. 5 on USAC NRC
Jamis-Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home (USA), No. 6 on UCI America Tour/ No. 3 on USAC NRC
Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis (USA), No. 2 on USAC NRC
Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA), No. 17 on UCI Europe Tour/ No. 1 on USAC NRC
Team SmartStop (USA), No. 7 on UCI America Tour/ No. 7 on USAC NRC
“Each year we are honored to have such an impressive list of teams competing in the Tour of Utah. To have four teams already committed to travel to Utah from the Tour de France makes a big statement in the sports world about the growing prestige of the Tour of Utah. Our fans and our partners can expect more great racing battles from these world-class teams in August,” said Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, a division of Miller Sports Properties.

Earlier in April, 11 women’s professional and domestic elite cycling teams were announced as part of the field for the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic. The omnium-style competition will take place in Logan, Utah on Aug. 3 and Ogden, Utah on Aug. 4. Four women’s UCI teams were confirmed to compete, including the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team which captured the inaugural Tour of Utah Women’s Edition title in 2014.

The final fields for both men’s and women’s competitions will be announced later this spring. This year’s Tour of Utah will continue as the first internationally-sanctioned cycling competition in North America for men following the Tour de France. The Criterium Classic is sanctioned by USA Cycling as part of the National Criterium Calendar (NCC).

Read details about the professional teams competing in the 11th edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah at the official web site. More information about the Tour of Utah can be found by visiting social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (@thetourofutah #TOU15, #TOUWE15), Instagram (thetourofutah) and YouTube (2014 Tour of Utah).

About the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, referred to as “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM,” is a week-long, professional stage race for the best cycling teams in the world. The 2015 event, Aug. 3-9, has been elevated to a 2.HC-rated UCI stage race, making it one of the premier events in North America. For women’s professional and elite teams, a two-day Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic, Aug. 3-4, is sanctioned by USA Cycling on the National Criterium Calendar. Host venues for 2015 are Logan, Tremonton, Ogden, Antelope Island State Park, Bountiful, Soldier Hollow in Heber Valley, Salt Lake City, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, and Park City. The 2014 Tour of Utah covered 753 miles of racing and 57,863 feet of climbing. A total of 16 men’s professional teams, including six from the Tour de France, competed in 2014, bringing 122 athletes from 24 countries. American Tom Danielson of Team Garmin-Sharp claimed the overall men’s title for the Tour of Utah for a second year in a row. The inaugural Tour of Utah Women’s Edition was won by American Coryn Rivera of UnitedHealthcare. For more information visit www.TourofUtah.com.

Tour of Utah:

header-etixx-qr15Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen Race Calendar Update
Quick-Step has released the race calendars of Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen for the upcoming months.

Mark Cavendish will open the next part of his season with the same program of 2014 prior to Le Tour de France. He will race the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, a race in which he won four stages and the points classification the previous year. He will then participate in AMGEN Tour of California. Next on the race calendar of Cavendish is the Tour de Suisse, and finally the British National Road Championship before Le Tour de France.

The big news comes with the race calendar of Tom Boonen as he will return to racing a little more than a month after he crashed at Paris-Nice. He will also participate in Tour of Turkey, which will tune up his condition ahead of the Giro d’Italia.

“After his crash Tom worked really hard to come back as soon as possible,” Sport & Development Manager Rolf Aldag said. “This shows how a big disappointment like his crash, and the inability to ride the Classics because of his injuries, can become a big chance. Riding Tour of Turkey, and then the Giro for the first time in his career, is turning out to be a new challenge for him. He will be an important part of the team strategy. The experience of Tom will be an important element in a few key race situations, as we will go to the Giro with Rigoberto Uran as our leader. We are happy that Tom can be part of the team in such an important race. As for his calendar after the Giro, we will see how his situation evolves at his upcoming races and reshape his calendar in function of his performance and his feeling.

“About Mark, after Gent-Wevelgem he took a period of well deserved rest,” Aldag continued. “He will have the same program as last year, which is also the program he did in the past when he went on to perform well at Le Tour de France. Even last year it was a good approach for him, and he demonstrated this with success at the races. But unfortunately he couldn’t prove how good the approach was due to a crash in the first stage of Le Tour. We believe based on last year and his other career performances that this is the right race schedule for Mark to be in the best shape for Le Tour de France.”

“I’m very excited to start the next part of the season,” Boonen said. “It will be nice to go to the Tour of Turkey, a race I’ve never done before and see what happens. For sure I will be suffering a little bit, but it will be useful for the Giro. As for the Giro, I’m happy to be at the start for the first time in my career to support the team strategy in function of Rigo. This is also a really nice new experience for me. I haven’t raced a lot in Italy in my career due to conflicts with my big objectives. Now, I have that chance. I know I have a lot of supporters in Italy. The Giro has great tradition and it will be great to race there and fight for the Maglia Rosa together with Uran.”

“I’m looking forward to this important part of my season,” Cavendish sad. “Together with the team we decided to go with the same program of last year. Last year it was a successful period with victories at Tour of Turkey, Tour of California, and Tour de Suisse. I also went into Le Tour with a really good feeling. But unfortunately I crashed in the first stage, so everything was over in a second. Of course it’s a pity. I don’t like to miss the Giro, which is a key race that helped me build up my career. I have great memories of that race and I hope to come back to the Giro in the future and do well again. But as of this year I want to focus on the optimal preparation for the Tour de France, and going into the races to return to the high level of performance I had at the beginning of the year.”

‘Cav’ and ‘Tommeke’ training in Spain:
Cycling: Team Etixx - Quick-Step 2015 / Media Day

header_movistar-leftMovistar Team announces Giro shortlist
Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre, Juanjo Lobato head 11-name preselection, nine-man group to be made official after Asturias and Romandie.

Eusebio Unzué has confirmed the Movistar Team’s 11-man shortlist for the 98th Giro d’Italia, starting on May 9th. A young, strong group will see the telephone squad take on the big challenge of the Corsa Rosa after the Blues’ overall victory with Nairo Quintana in 2014.

Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre and Juanjo Lobato are the three leading names of a roster whose last six places will be contested by eight riders: Andrey Amador, Igor Antón, Eros Capecchi, Rubén Fernández, Jesús Herrada, Javi Moreno, Dayer Quintana and Giovanni Visconti. The official, 9-man group will be announced after the Vuelta a Asturias and the Tour de Romandie.


header-paris-roubaixParis-Roubaix 2015
Just incase you missed any of the good bits of this year’s Paris-Roubaix, the nice people at ASO have released this best of video.

US – Paris Roubaix – Best of 2015 por tourdefrance

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