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EuroTrash Contador Thursday!

The Vuelta has taken a turn for the worse for Nairo Quintana, but Alberto Contador has stepped up to the lead. All the latest video, results and comments from Spain and Alberta. Other cycling news: Voigt goes for the hour, New Lombardia, more transfers and a Tour of Britain preview. A packed EuroTrash.

TOP STORY: No Dopers in the 2014 Tour
After 719 samples of blood and urine had been collected at this years Tour de France, none have been found to be positive for any banned substances. The announcement was made by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation in collaboration with the French Anti-Doping Agency. 197 samples were taken before the Tour start, the other were taken from targeted riders based on an intelligence led anti-doping program. 517 tests were also for the biological passport system. All samples will be stored for retrospective testing.

Surely that must be good news? There will still be people claiming that dopers will be getting away with it, like Lance Armstrong who never failed a dope control, but that was a long time ago and the tests are more strict, plus the new generation are not so stupid. Long may it last.

Incredible Tour de France Motivation:

header-vueltaVuelta a España 2014
Last year’s winner of the only individual time trial of the Vuelta; Fabian Cancellara (Trek) clocked an early best time of 47:13 in Stage 10. He was immediately followed by Vassil Kiryienka (Sky) who rode faster (48:00) than his team leader Chris Froome (48:32).

Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) took his revenge from last year over Cancellara. The triple world champion beat the man from Switzerland by 11 seconds while his team-mate Rigoberto Uran placed 3rd at only15.

In the race for GC, red jersey wearer Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was hampered by a nasty crash in the downhill. The Colombian struggled to resume racing but he eventually crossed the line 4:07 down on Martin and 3.28 down on Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) who rode to the fourth best time of the day and took over as the race leader. However, Colombian hopes for a top three finish aren’t over as Uran and Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) are third and fourth overall respectively. The other Colombian loser of the day was Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) who dropped down to 18th. It was also a hard day for Froome who made a few tactical mistakes and never found the right rhythm. He’s now 5th, 1:18 down on Contador and just 19 seconds ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) who limited his loss to finished 17th.

How do you feel being back in the lead of a Grand Tour? “I’m extremely happy with the position I had on GC before the time trial and the position I have after the time trial. Had I been told twenty days ago that I’d wear the red jersey today, I would have laughed. My first week at the Vuelta gave me the confidence I needed for the time trial. It was impossible for me to do better than this. I expected to clock more or less the same time as Froome but it’s much better than I thought.”

What was your approach of this time trial and what’s your comment on Nairo Quintana’s crash? “I had the feeling to have started well but you never know how the others are going at the same time. I wanted to ride at a regular pace. I knew the last part was for the specialists so I had to use the hill to my advantage. The downhill wasn’t just a question of luck, it was a question of staying focused. I went and recognized the hill and the downhill in the evening and again in the morning. It went well for me. Quintana is one of the many riders who were in contention for the overall win. He’s an excellent rider and he’s got many Vueltas ahead of him. But we’ll keep a close eye on him in the coming climbs.”

Before the time trial, you were racing on the offensive uphill. Now that you have the red jersey, will you defend or attack again, starting from tomorrow? “All eyes are on me now. If I manage to win the Vuelta, it’s incredible after my crash at the Tour de France. But I want to take it day by day and with no pressure. I had great legs at the Dauphiné and I didn’t win the race. It would be perfect to lose the red jersey and take it back at Santiago but it’s going to be complicated. My goal is to have it at Santiago. Anyway, for now, I prefer to be ahead than behind.”

Stage winner Tony Martin (OPQS): “A success in a time trial is never normal. Especially today, it was a hard course and I had some problems with the heat at the end. It was one of the hardest time trials this year. It was hilly and technical with a lot of corners and bumpy roads so you had to concentrate the whole race. It was not 100% for me. I was really not sure about the win. But I’m really happy now to see that my condition is right in the direction of the world championship. It’s a good day for me and for the team with Uran moving up on GC. It was complicated not to over pace in the first climb and save the power for the second part of the race. On profile it looks like it always goes down but there were some strong head wind. It was unclear if it was a race for time trial specialists or climbers. I got some time back over Cancellara in the descent. The gap between us is not that big at the end. Now I know that I still have to work a little bit. I think I can still make things better. It was a good test for me today. I wanted to win for the team as we didn’t have a victory at the Vuelta so far. I’m happy with my season so far. Now I only have to crown it all with a fourth straight victory at the world championship. I’m confident I can win it again.”

3rd on the stage and 3rd overall Rigoberto Uran (OPQS): “We prepared for this time trial very well,” Uran said.”Together with the staff we analyzed all the details, and at the end I think I did very well. I’m behind the three-time UCI World TT Champion Tony Martin, who is also my teammate, so to go 1-2 and finish behind such a great time trialist is really an ideal result for me and the team. I took a good tempo immediately and I had good feeling. When Davide Bramati told me on the radio that at the second intermediate time I had the same time of Tony, I couldn’t believe it! It was really important to have that time gap from the team car, and to know we had a chance to go 1-2 I really went full gas. I lost some time in the last part, but to be honest the last 10 kilometers were really for big engine like Tony. I’m happy that we pulled off this great achievement, and I’m virtually on the GC podium again. We are where we are supposed to be at this point of the race. But La Vuelta is still long and the overall is wide open. Tomorrow there is another uphill finish. We will see what can happen. I’m feeling OK, and I can count on a great team around me, so we will see. This result has really put us all in a great mood.”

Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “I felt good uphill but in the downhill, my brakes weren’t working well enough. The damage could have been worse. I’ve lost time and I’ll have to help Alejandro [Valverde] to make the final podium once again. Crashes happen in cycling. We must overcome them. My intention is to recover and continue the race looking at trying to finish on the podium. As for the consequences of my crash, we’ll see how I feel tomorrow morning.”

Chris Froome (Sky): “It was a very tough day for me today, to be honest I started off way too fast, I think out of the blocks for the first 10 to 15 minutes to the foot of the climb I got a bit carried away and chased it a little bit, and I paid the price for it all the way up that climb and then just never came back from the red there. I’ve lost a lot of time today, but I’m still fifth overall just over a minute down, and going back to the goal I had when I came into this race, I’m going to keep fighting every day, push through to the end, I’m going to give it my all, and I’ve got a great team to support me here. Winning the Vuelta, this is going to be really difficult, I’m going to be here fighting every day, try and use the team as best I can, I will give it the best I can, hopefully I’m going to come up and up during the race, I’ve already felt through the first week of racing I’m getting that race rhythm back in the legs and hopefully that’s going to pull me into the last week in good form. I’m going to fight all the way through. I’m here to fight to the end I’m not just going to throw the towel in because I’m a minute down.”

Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida): “I’m very happy with what I managed to do today. My performance is above my expectation. I’ve just done my best time trial since I turned professional. Therefore I’m high on GC (4th) just where I wanted to be. My goal of finishing the Vuelta in the top 10 seems reachable.”

BMC’s Samuel Sanchez said he was inspired by the presence of past Euskaltel-Euskadi manager Igor Gonzales de Galdeano, who followed him in the BMC Racing Team car: “I immediately had good feelings today and the team was kind enough to host him (Galdeano), which pushed me emotionally. For sure, my performance came from my heart and my legs. But I have to say that from the car, (BMC Racing Team Sport Director) Valerio Piva managed my time trial the best, telling me every single turn and the right rhythm. The Vuelta is really long again. Today we did a good step up and tomorrow I hope to make another one. We will see, day-by-day. I was sorry to hear about Quintana’s crash. I also had some risky moments in a few of the corners. You always have to stay focused in a time trial like that.”

The full PEZ race report here.

Vuelta a España Stage 10 Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 47:02
2. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek at 0:11
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:15
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:39
5. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 0:48
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC at 0:49
7. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:58
8. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:01
9. Jesse Sergent (NZl) Trek at 1:13
10. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 10:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 36:45:49
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:27
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:59
4. Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida at 1:12
5. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:18
6. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 1:37
7. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 1:41
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 2:27
9. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 2:36
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 2:59.

Stage 10:

Stage 11 started in Pamplona, the home town of five-time Tour de France winner Miguel Indurain. Many skirmishes took place in the first hour of racing in which 50km were covered, many of them being launched by Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr). Another crash led Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to abandon the race, so did Steve Morabito (BMC), Maxime Bouet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr).

32 riders broke away with race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) being present in the front group. At Tafalla (59 km), Valverde won the intermediate sprint ahead of Contador!

Le Bon, Pim Ligthart (Lotto Belisol), Vasil Kiryienka (Sky) and Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida) escaped after 63 kilometres and built up a lead of 4 minutes the 77 kilometer mark. Kiryienka continued on his own on the Puerto de Lizarraga, but was reined in with 9km to go at the bottom of the final ascent to the Santuario de San Miguel de Aralar.

Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano) took his chance with 6km to go. Robert Gesink (Belkin) chased him down and stayed alone in the lead until 2 kilometers to go. On several occasions, Chris Froome (Sky) looked in difficulty but he always managed to hold on. Fabio Aru (Astana) attacked one and half kilometer before the summit and held off Contador, Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Contador retained the lead but Valverde came closer at 20 seconds thanks to the time bonus at the finish and in the sprint in Tafalla.

Some questions for the stage winner Fabio Aru (Astana): What’s your feeling about winning your first stage at the Vuelta? “Incredible! I’m extremely happy to win here. I found myself really well after the Giro. This victory is dedicated to my team, to my family, to all the people to have helped me reach this level. I prepared for this Vuelta very well. It’s been a very competitive stage from the start. When I manage to ride away with 2km to go, I couldn’t believe it. I was going away from those great champions! It’s important for me to win here but I’m still in a learning process.”

This morning, your road captain Paolo Tiralongo said that you first had to follow those champions and look at them in eyes before you’d launch an attack. Did you completely take his advice? “Yes I tried to stay at the contact of those riders until the last few kilometers after I saved energy during the whole stage and I attacked them when I felt it was the right time. Tiralongo is a very important person for me. We’ve been training together in the mountains for the Vuelta bringing our families to Sestrières. I listen to his advice carefully.”

Are you surprised to win so early at your first participation to the Vuelta? “Yes, it’s incredible. I’m surprised that I can win even though I knew I came here with a good preparation. The tests I underwent evidenced it. As soon as the Giro was over, I put that performance behind me and we’ve planned the second part of the season with the team.”

Does this victory increase your desire to perform by the end of the Vuelta? “My desire to perform is always big. I’ll try to bring home the best possible result. Let’s see day after day. There are another ten stages and some of them are very hard. I’ve never done two Grand Tours the same year so I have no idea of what I’m able to do by the end of the Vuelta.”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “It’s a very competitive Vuelta but we’re only at half way into it. I’ve got good feelings. I’m happy about that. Quintana’s crash is a very bad news. He was an important rider of the Vuelta. 2014 is a crazy season for the Grand Tours favorites who have to go home injured before the end: Froome and I at the Tour, Joaquim [Rodriguez] at the Giro… Froome doesn’t seem to be the same as at the Dauphiné this year or at the Tour last year but we always have to be careful of him. In a single day, he’s likely to recover all the time he lost. With Valverde, the difference is close to nothing : only 20 seconds, it’s very tight. I congratulate Aru for what he did today but I’m not surprised. Watching the Giro on TV, he reminded me of myself: he’s courageous and he’s got good changes of rhythm. He’s gonna be a star.”

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It’s been a good day, in quotes. Nairo’s crash happened right next to me. We were in about 40th position: Imanol [Erviti], Nairo and I. Several riders crashed in front of us and while I could see it coming and I managed to avoid it, he couldn’t and went down. From here, I send my encouragements to him and my team-mates do it too. He was unlucky yesterday. When such things happen once, it gets repeated many times during the Vuelta. Now I’d sign up for things to happen to me until the end of the race as it did today. I wasn’t thinking of sprinting for time bonus but ahead of the sprint I’ve seen Contador moving up and I went behind him. Aralar has been hard, also for the kind of asphalt but mostly because we rode fast from the bottom. Aru deserves to win. He’s been great in the climb. I came second and with the time bonus I took, considering that it was a mountainous day and how strong Contador was, to come closer to him at the end of the stage makes me happy. I have to lead the team once again. On many occasions I’ve been the team leader and that’s just once more. I don’t like the way we came to this situation but I have to deal with it as it comes. Having Nairo along was better. Now I have to face this alone and keep fighting.”

Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano): “After I attacked, I’ve realized there was too much wind to keep riding alone so I stopped my effort, it wasn’t worth it. Movistar controlled really well. I struggled a bit but I haven’t missed much for staying with the best climbers. I finish 45 seconds behind them, it’s not too bad. I’m not at my best yet but I’m getting better and that’s what matters for now. In this final climb, I preferred the steep sections. I think a steep climb like in the second last stage (Puerto de Ancares) will suit me and I hope to do well there.”

Samuel Sánchez (BMC): “My goal before the start in Jerez was to fight in the first positions of the GC in the second part of the Vuelta and here we are. I feel good, but I also have to hope that someone ahead of me fails on some of the remaining stages.”

Steve Morabito (BMC) was unable to continue after being run over by at least one race motorbike when a large pile-up happened 25 kilometers into the 153.4-km race: “I don’t understand what happened,” Morabito said. “I had some riders coming from my right side and a few seconds later the motorbikes ran over me when I was on the ground. It was pretty painful.”

Robert Gesink (Belkin) attacked with 5km to go, but was finally caught with less than 1.5km to go: “Not so much with the 10th place, but I am very happy by the way I raced. I was feeling good, and I wanted to give it a go by myself at 5km to go. Maybe in the end, it was a bit too early. If you don’t try, you never win. If I feel good, I will try again in the coming days.”

Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka): 
Today was really hard. I tried to get in the break but it was not possible. The pace was too high in the beginning and they kept closing every gap. Eventually the break would only go at 65km. I got over the first climb all right but then there was always a big fight for position leading into the final climb. I lost some power while fighting for a good position so I didn’t have too much left for the final climb. It is okay though, my legs are feeling and there are still plenty stages coming for me.

Read the full race report here.

Vuelta a España Stage 11 Result:
1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana in 3:41:03
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
3. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:07
6. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:14
7. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 0:15
8. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
9. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 0:18
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 11:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 40:26:56
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
3. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 1:08
4. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:21
5. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 1:35
6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 1:52
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 2:13
8. Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Lampre-Merida at 2:22
9. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 2:55
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 3:51.

Stage 11:

header-alberta14Tour of Alberta 2014
Tom Dumoulin has taken his fourth win of the season with a convincing victory in the opening 4 kilometer prologue of the Tour of Alberta. Tom was the only rider to go around the tough course with an average speed of over 40 km/h and the decision to use the Giant Trinity Advanced SL bike rather than go for the road bike as many did proved rewarding.

Simon Geschke just missed out on a top ten, coming home in 12th, 23 seconds down on Tom’s time, with Daan Olivier next back in 18th position. With their combined results, Team Giant-Shimano now also lead the team classification.

The short, 4 kilometer effort to get the second edition of the Tour of Alberta underway was a tough opening test for the riders with a finish that split opinion as to the choice of weaponry for the stage. The tough hill finish saw most riders choose their road bike with clip-on aero bars, but Dutch time trial champion Tom stuck to what he knew worked well for him with his Giant Trinity Advanced SL time trial bike.

The choice paid off as he stormed around the opening part of the course before holding enough speed at the bottom of the climb to climb well right to the finish, spreading his effort and finishing strongly. The team came into the race looking for a strong prologue from both Tom and Simon and both did not disappoint with Simon finishing not far off the pace on the same time as ninth.

Prologue winner Tom Dumoulin: “In Holland, it’s eight hours later, so we decided that I start early. It felt like starting in the middle of the night already, so the earlier the better. The altitude is 1,200 meters here and I’m coming from sea level. You do notice the difference, but eventually it didn’t make a big difference in my performance and the result. I paced myself well on the early section and kept some energy for the last hill, and it worked out pretty well. We now have more of an idea of the challenge on GC and I will now do everything with the team to get this jersey home.”

Tour of Alberta Prologue Result:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano in 5:59.700
2. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 0:14
3. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:17
4. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale at 0:18
5. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare
6. Phillip Gaimon (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:19
7. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development at 0:22
8. Zach Bell (Can) Team SmartStop
9. Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEDGe at 0:23
10. Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling.

Tour of Alberta Overall After the Prologue:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 5:59
2. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:00:14
3. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:17
4. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale at 0:18
5. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare
6. Phillip Gaimon (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:19
7. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development at 0:22
8. Zachary Bell (Can) Team SmartStop
9. Christian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:23
10. Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling.

The prologue:

In a very close sprint, Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development) got the better of Garmin-Sharp’s Ramunas Navardauskas at the end of Stage 1 in Lethbridge after 142 kilometers; it was so close Zepuntke wasn’t sure he had won. Under heavy skies 14 riders broke away on the first of the six loops out of town, it didn’t last and they were replaced by Matthew Hayman (Orica-GreenEDGE), Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear) and Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bissell Development), they built up a maximum lead of 4:30.

Van Hooydonck was eventually dropped and Hayman and Carpenter were pulled in on the final climb with 6 kilometers to go. Daniel Eaton (Bissel Development) made a failed late attack, which set up the sprint. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) held the overall lead by 6 seconds from Zepuntke.

Stage winner Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development): “Actually I thought I was second, because Navardauskas came with such speed up to the finish. He took over, and I was like, “oh, that was close”. But then I saw all of the cameramen and the guys come up to me, so I thought, “OK, I am the winner of today”. So I’m very proud. All of my teammates, too, did a good job. It’s very nice.”

Overall leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano): “I was actually suffering, and I didn’t have my best day. I think the cold caught me a little bit, but I kept the jersey, and the team rode really, really hard. There were three really strong riders in the front, and we had some difficulty bringing them back. Luckily some other teams started helping. Then we caught them just before the last climb, and it was enough to keep the lead. So I’m really satisfied about that.”

Tour of Alberta Stage 1 Result:
1. Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development in 3:18:03
2. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
3. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
4. Dion Smith (NZl) Hincapie Sportswear Development
5. Benjamin King (USA) Garmin-Sharp
6. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare
7. Tyler Magner (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development
8. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Garmin-Sharp
9. James Oram (NZl) Bissell Development Team
10. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin.

Tour of Alberta Overall After Stage 1:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano in 3:24:09
2. Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development at 0:06
3. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 0:14
4. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:17
5. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale at 0:18
6. Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare
7. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 0:19
8. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development at 0:22
9. Christian Meier (Can) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:23
10. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE.

Stage 1:

header-lombardiaNew Lombardia Course Revealed
The 108th Il Lombardia course was announced on Wednesday, the race will run over a completely revised, 254km route between Como and Bergamo. 
The UCI WorldTour race, held on the 5th of October and organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport, will also take in over 3,000m of climbing. 25 teams of 8 riders have also been announced for the ‘race of the falling leaves’.

The Route: 
Starting in Como, will take in the villages of Cantù, Erba, Asso and Onno before hitting Bellagio at 58km and the start of the Madonna del Ghisallo (754m), a beautiful and challenging 10.6km climb with gradients over 14%.

The race will then continue through Asso, Pusiano, Oggiono, Galbiate and the first feeding zone at Pescate before the Alta Brianza and Meratese areas and into the Bergamo province in Calusco d’Adda.
After a first passage through the city of Bergamo, the race will begin a loop back with a series of testing climbs that will decide the final winner.
Riders will then face the Colle dei Pasta (413m), Colle Gallo (763m) and, after the second feeding zone in Cene, the Passo di Ganda (1060m), which featured in the 18th stage of Giro 2011.

After a fast descent through Selvino and Rigosa towards the bottom of the valley, the road will climb back towards Bracca (600m) and take in the technical descent towards Zogno and Brembilla. Riders will then begin the classic climb of Berbenno (695m), just 26km from the finish.
A fast descent towards Almenno San Salvatore takes the riders through Almè and back to Bergamo to face the final kilometers through the old Città Alta to the finish on the Sentierone.

Final Kilometers: The route to the finish line climbs towards Bergamo Alta, entering at Porta Garibaldi, up the Boccola ascent and its 200m of cobblestones towards Largo Colle Aperto, a climb that doesn’t drop below 10%, and includes peaks of 12%. The final descent is wide with a flat surface. The final two kilometers takes in three technical turns, a 90 degree bend at 1800m with the road narrowing under Porta Sant’Agostino, a left turn at 1000m and at 250m from the line, driving towards the grand finale.

The Teams:
 25 teams of 8 riders, 18 UCI ProTour plus 7 wildcard teams: Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela (Ita), Bardiani-CSF, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spa), Colombia (Col), IAM Cycling (Sui), Neri Sottoli (Ita) and NetApp-Endura (Ger).



header-tourof britainTour of Britain 2014
The British stage race starts on Sunday the 7th of September and runs to the next Sunday, the 14th September. The first stage is a circuit race in Liverpool city centre and the final day in London is split with a 8.8 kilometer time trail in the morning and a 88.8 kilometer circuit race in the afternoon.

Stage 1 Sunday 7th September Liverpool city centre 104.8km
Stage 2 Monday 8th September Knowsley to Llandudno 201km
Stage 3 Tuesday 9th September Newtown to The Tumble 179.7km
Stage 4 Wednesday 10th September Worcester to Bristol 184.6km
Stage 5 Thursday 11th September Exmouth to Exeter 177.3km
Stage 6 Friday 12th September Bath to Hemel Hempstead 205.7km
Stage 7 Saturday 13th September Camberley to Brighton 226km
Stage 8a Sunday 14th September London individual time trial presented by TfL 8.8km
Stage 8b Sunday 14th September London circuit race presented by TfL 88.8km.

Website: https://www.tourofbritain.co.uk/

Giant-Shimano Tour of Britain Team
Marcel Kittel (GER) returns to stage race action this weekend at the week-long Tour of Britain, heading a strong team focused on stage results.

Kittel will have two riders from his lead-out formation at the Tour de France here with him in the form of Albert Timmer (NED) and Tom Veelers (NED). Bert De Backer (BEL) also makes a welcome return to racing after his fall back in June at the ZLM Toer.

The race gets underway with a perfect opportunity for a sprint in Liverpool with a flat circuit of 13.1km to be covered eight times. Stage two could be another good chance before a tough hill finish on day three.

The race comes to a climax in the capital, London the following Sunday with a split day of an individual time trial in the morning followed by another flat circuit in the afternoon where you can expect another fast finish.

“The first goal here will be to target the flat stages for a sprint with Marcel,” said team coach Marc Reef (NED). “The race presents plenty of different opportunities and it will be quite open for the riders to take their own chances.

“With just six riders on the team it makes it quite hard to control and this means that we will also have to be opportunistic where we can. I hope that Albert can also try for a nice result on the GC but there is no pressure for this and we will take it day by day.

“Teun [van Erp – Scientific Expert] has analysed the finishes on google maps and using the GPX files from the race, and this helps us in making our plan for each stage.

“Bert also returns to racing here and he will use this race to build his shape for the last part of the season. We look forward to having him back.”

Brian Bulgac (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Marcel Kittel (GER), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED), Tom Veelers (NED).
Coach: Marc Reef (NED).

BMC Racing Team Roster: Friends Life Tour of Britain
Two-time runner-up Stephen Cummings headlines the BMC Racing Team’s squad for the Friends Life Tour of Britain. Cummings finished second in his home country’s tour in 2008 and 2011. The Tour Méditerranéen winner will be joined by five others for the eight-day, nine-stage race that begins Sunday in Liverpool.

Download the BMC Racing Team’s official roster card (PDF with bios, statistics, etc.):

Stephen Cummings (GBR), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Peter Velits (SVK), Rick Zabel (GER).
Sport Directors: Yvon Ledanois (FRA) & Max Sciandri (ITA).

Movistar for Britain
Local hero Alex Dowsett and Spanish road champion Ion Izagirre feature in Blues’ lineup for eight-day, nine-stage event.

After a pleasant experience in 2013, the Movistar Team will be back in their O2-sponsored kits at the 11th edition of the Friends Life Tour of Britain, coming a week in advance in 2014 to share dates with the final stages of the Vuelta a España (September 7-14). ITT Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alex Dowsett will lead a six-man squad also including Giovanni Visconti, Pablo Lastras, Enrique Sanz, Sylwester Szmyd and Spanish road race champion Ion Izagirre.

Nine stages -a double sector with a morning time trial (8.8km) will close the action in London (Sunday 14)- make for an exciting race, starting in Liverpool and racing on English and Welsh roads. A mountain-top finish -The Tumble (Cat-1; Tuesday 9), over slopes exceeding 10% (4km)- and several lumpy stages, including day seven (Saturday 13) over 226km and the ascents of Ditchling Beacon (Cat-1) and Bear Road (Cat-1) prominently feature.

Sky Announce Tour of Britain Line-Up
Defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins will lead Team Sky’s squad at the 2014 Tour of Britain, which begins in Liverpool on Sunday 7 September.

Wiggins returns to the Tour of Britain after winning the race in 2013 and this year he will line up alongside fellow British riders Ian Stannard and Ben Swift as part of a six-man squad.

The 2014 Tour of Britain starts in Liverpool this weekend and finishes in London on Sunday 14 September, taking in eight tough stages along the way. Following the spectacular Tour de France Grand Départ leaving from the UK last July this is another opportunity for fans to see Team Sky on British roads.

On Sunday 7 September Liverpool will host to two major cycling events. In the morning Sky will host the first ever Sky Ride Liverpool event, where cyclists of all ages and abilities are able to enjoy a fun day of cycling through a traffic-free route in the city centre, which is free for all to enter. This will be followed in the afternoon by Stage One of the Tour of Britain, the country’s largest professional cycle race.

Sir Bradley Wiggins will be joined in a six-man line up by: Ian Stannard, Ben Swift, Bernhard Eisel, David Lopez and Sebastian Henao.

Speaking about racing the eleventh edition of the Tour of Britain, Sir Bradley Wiggins said: “The Tour of Britain is a special race for me so to be returning as defending champion is a real honour.

“It’s always been a tough race but the support we receive from the fans is incredible, and it’s our home tour so I’ve always enjoyed racing it.

“From the start of the year it’s always been a goal of mine to race to the Tour of Britain. The race is growing in stature year on year and it’s our chance to go there with a strong team and race in front of home fans to thank them for their support over the season.

“Cycling’s now more popular than ever before in the UK with over a million more people are getting out on their bikes. This is great for the sport we love and Sky and British Cycling have been at the heart of this transformation, so having a Sky Ride start on the same day as Stage One in Liverpool is brilliant. Hopefully it will inspire people to go on Sky Ride in the morning and then cheer us on in the afternoon.”

The Team Sky squad for the 2014 Tour of Britain will be:
Bradley Wiggins, Bernhard Eisel, Sebastian Henao, David Lopez, Ian Stannard, Ben Swift.

OPQS to the Tour of Britain
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has announced the selection that will participate in the Tour of Britain, a 1376,7 km, nine-stage race from September 7th until September 14th.

The Tour of Britain features an opening flat stage in Liverpool, six hilly stages, and a two-stage day to conclude the stage race in London. There is an 8.8km ITT, and an 88.8km flat stage (Stages 8a and 8b).

“We have a good team for both the GC and the sprints,” Sport Director Brian Holm said. “Mark Cavendish will be present and we’d like to put him in the best position possible to contest a few sprints, but we also have riders who can compete for the overall. Riders such as Michal Kwiatkowski and Niki Terpstra can certainly be a presence in the ITT. We have a competitive team. It will be nice to be there, especially with how supportive the British public is. The love of cycling in the UK was evident at the opening stages of the Tour de France this year, and we saw how popular cycling was even at Tour of Britain in 2013. We are there to fight every day, both for stage victories and a good placement in the GC.”

Mark Cavendish (GBR), Michal Golas (POL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Mark Renshaw (AUS), Niki Terpstra (NED), Julien Vermote (BEL).
Sports Director: Brian Holm (DEN).

Belkin aiming to shine in Britain
Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM hopes to light up the Tour of Britain, which runs September 7-14 across the breath of England. The race opens with a circuit course in Liverpool and ends with an individual time trial in London.

The race will also feature a short, but steep mountaintop finale that should have a major impact on how the fight for race victory shapes up. “I think if we can win a stage during the week, we would be happy with that,” said Belkin Sports Director Jan Boven. “For the GC, we need to look at it day to day. It’s not an easy race.”

Looking for opportunities
Major British stars Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and defending champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky) will be the centre of attention, but Belkin will be trying to elbow its way into the action.

“I don’t expect to see sprints every day, but Cavendish and [Marcel] Kittel (Giant-Shimano) will both be there, so their teams will be working to control the stages,” Boven said. “There is one day with an uphill finish, and that will be the important day for the GC, along with the final time trial. We will be looking for opportunities.” Boven said the team will ride for Barry Markus in the sprints, and Lars Petter Nordhaug for the GC.

Tankink promises big fight
One of the key members of the team will be cagey veteran Bram Tankink, who promises the team will put up a big fight. “Everyone is excited to race in England. The sport is really growing in Britain, as we saw this summer with the Tour de France starting in Leeds,” Tankink said. “The Tour of Britain is a beautiful race. We won it a few years ago with Lars Boom [in 2011]. It will be hard in the sprints, with Cavendish and Kittel there, but there are only two days for real sprints. The rest of the days are quite hard, so we will have our chances to try to win a stage.”

Tankink is also hoping to use the Britain tour to earn a spot for the Holland’s nine-man squad for the upcoming world road cycling championships in Spain on September 28. “I got sick last weekend, but I am feeling better now and I can train, but I don’t know how it’s going to affect my condition,” Tankink said. “Normally, the goal would be to be strong at the Tour of Britain, and then race the worlds. I think I can still make a good British tour. You never know how your body reacts after sickness.”

TEAM line-up:
Lars Petter Nordhaug, Barry Markus, Rick Flens, Bram Tankink, Maarten Wynants and Jetse Bol.
Sports Director: Jan Boven.

Tour of Britain promo:

header_trekfrtJens Voigt targets Hour Record on September 18
42-year-old Jens Voigt has one more surprise up his sleeve. The recently retired German has scheduled September 18 as the date to attempt to break Ondrej Sosenka’s 49,7 kilometer mark. The attempt will happen in the Vélodrome Suisse in Grenchen.

“It’s a huge challenge for me, both physical and mental,” says Voigt. “This is a huge project and probably it’s going to come as a surprise for many people. Everybody knows that Fabian (Cancellara) was working on it together with Trek, so when he decided to re-assess his plans because of the rule change (to allow pursuit-style bikes) it sparked my interest. We have been doing some discrete tests in the velodrome in Roubaix prior to the Dauphiné and we believe that I have a fair chance.”

“It’s a fascinating event: it’s super hard, but it’s a great discipline. Man and machine against the clock. A lot of logistics comes in play: when, where, how, etc. But I didn’t have to convince anybody: both Trek and our GM Luca Guercilena were all exited when I told them about my idea. They gave me a lot of support. Luckily we could use some of the blueprints that were being drawn for Fabian, so we kind of hit the ground running.”

“I look at this as one last present for my fans. I want to give them something to smile about – before the final curtain falls. But also: I want to do a good performance. This is not a circus act. The ‘hour’ has lost some of its magic over the last years. Maybe my attempt could kick off a new round of hour-record attempts. I could establish a mark for everyone to give it a try. Make a bridge, you know. I raced against Boardman, Indurain and Sosenka. And I’m racing with Fabian and his generation. If I make it, it would be sandwiched between those names. I can pave the way for them. I have no illusion to keep the record once Fabian and other specialists start having a go. But I kind of like the idea of telling me grand children about it, when they sit on my lap when I’m 75.”

“Trek developed a really good bike for me, based on the super fast SpeedConcept, and we did some testing with different skin suits, helmets, positions, etc. I’m training very hard for the attempt. I have the Tour de France as a base layer and then I did some altitude racing in Utah and Colorado. My near-win in Colorado Springs, where I was caught with 700 meters to go, was a good reference in terms of power output. I basically was out there for one hour by myself. I had this attempt in mind that very day, besides taking the stage, of course.”

“Why I do this? Why not! Everyone saw the memo from the UCI. It’s been four months and I honestly find it quite strange that nobody has given it a try so far. We have 18 WorldTour teams, plus more than a 1000 pro continental riders and an immense group of amateurs that also can have a go. I’m not to blame that I take the chances that life – or in this case the UCI – gives me. I’m the first one that’s brave enough to do it. Everybody had the same time frame to be ready for it.”

“The hour record is one of the oldest events in our sport. I want to put a little bit of light and focus on this. The UCI wanted to give back some recognition to the event and I follow their reasoning. It will be no pleasure cruise, but I’m really convinced that I can make it. It’s never 100 percent sure, of course, but I worked hard and I will keep working hard until the day is there.”

Welcoming this announcement, UCI President Brian Cookson said: “I’m delighted that one of the most popular riders of the modern era, Jens Voigt, is going to make an attempt on this, the most iconic of all the UCI’s records. It is exactly what we hoped would happen when we changed the rules earlier this year to allow the use of modern track bike design and technology. Jens has proven over a long career to be one of the very best riders at the long lone effort, and cycling fans around the world will be delighted with this news. Having been present myself at two previous Hour records, I’m sure his attacking style and willingness to commit himself 100% will provide a superb spectacle. And, like Jens, I too am hoping that this will be the beginning of a new wave of interest in ‘The Magic Hour’, as it was known in a previous golden era of our sport.”


KAT14_Logo_624_317Jacopo Guarnieri to join Team Katusha
The Russian WorldTour Team Katusha is happy to announce its signing of an agreement with the Italian sprinter Jacopo Guarnieri (27). The contract has been signed for 2015 and 2016.

“First of all, for Team Katusha the arrival of Jacopo Guarnieri is a significant strengthening of the sprinters group around our leader Alexander Kristoff both in the classics as well as in the stage races. Moreover, Guarnieri is a strong rider, able to reach top results for himself as well,” said general manager of Team Katusha Viacheslav Ekimov.

Amongst the best results of Jacopo Guarnieri, who comes to Team Katusha from Astana, are two stage victories at the Tour de Pologne (2009 and 2010), a stage win at Circuit Franco-Belge (2010) and a stage win at Driedaagse De Panne (2011). Further a second place at GP Costa degli Etruschi (2009) and a second place at the Giro del Friuli (2010). In the current season Guarnieri took two podium places in stages in Tour of Austria and Tour de Pologne.

Driedaagse van de Panne 2011 stage-3

header_OPQS_PROPQS Reaches Agreement with David de la Cruz
Will Ride for Team Until 2016
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has reached an agreement with 25-year old David de la Cruz for the next 2 seasons (2015-2016).

Career highlights for the Spanish rider include a top 10 GC finish in the 2014 edition of AMGEN Tour of California after placing 2nd on the Mountain High finale of Stage 6.

The path to cycling for De la Cruz has been unique.

“I didn’t know I had a talent for the sport until I was 18, when I started to ride my bike to the supermarket where I worked, after an injury,” De la Cruz said. “One day I asked the local team guys if I could train with them and they said yes. That is where my career started. If you would have told me, at 18 years of age, that I would be riding for one of the best teams in the world by the time I was 25 I would have told you that you’re crazy. Now I am here signing a contract with OPQS and I am proud and happy. I know a few of the guys from the team, especially Michal Kwiatkowski when we were teammates on Caja Rural. When I talked with Patrick Lefevere he explained that my role on the team would be to help the GC guys in the mountains, but that I can also be useful in the right moments. I will do all that I can to grow as a rider. No one can understand how happy I feel right now and I will do everything 100 percent to continue to develop as a rider on this team.”

“We think this guy has his best years in front of him,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “He has already shown his potential the past two years, such as when he was 2nd on the queen stage at Tour of California. We knew about him and that he could be a rider that could strengthen the group of climbers we already have on the team. When I spoke with him, we came to an agreement quickly. I think he can be a factor in the climbs next year and we’re happy to have him with us at OPQS.”

Team NetApp Endura in Mallorca  2014

header_trekfrtFränk Schleck and Riccardo Zoidl with Trek Factory Racing through 2016
Trek Factory Racing is pleased to announce that Fränk Schleck and Riccardo Zoidl have re-signed with the team on multi-year contracts.

Fränk Schleck signed a new two year contract and will remain with TFR as a team leader for stage races and the hilly Classics. Schleck had a solid 2014 season after returning to the WorldTour. He finished 12th in the last Tour de France and showed steady results in the mountain stages. He won the national road championships and narrowly missed out on a stage win in Paris-Nice.

Fränk Schleck: “I’m very happy to stay with the people I have been with since 2011. Trek Factory Racing is special to me: it’s a group of friends, not just team mates. If you spend so much time together on the road, you’re happy to do it with friends.”

“I have had a rough year and a half and Trek has always stood behind me during this time. My performance in this season was good and steady and I am proud of my 12th place in the Tour. I hope to continue working hard and hopefully get some nice results for the team and for myself!”

“There are a lot of young riders on this team and I believe I can lead them – to try and win races together but also to lead by example. I believe I have a lot of experience and I can’t wait to share it with those youngsters. It’s the team that counts. If I can’t win, I’m the first to help another,” said Schleck.

General Manager Luca Guercilena: “Fränk is a hard working athlete who at times can be very hard on himself. He’s been very eager to prove himself in the races that he loves. A big victory is missing, but we know how much effort he put into his training and racing.”

“I am very happy that we found an agreement and that Fränk is staying with us. He will continue to play a leading part in stage races and classics. He will a great support for Bauke Mollema in the defence of the team’s overall ambitions in the Grand Tours,” said Guercilena.

Nationale Radsportmeisterschaft - Frank Schleck

Zoidl also renews with Trek Factory Racing
Riccardo Zoidl’s contract was not due to expire, but both the team and the athlete were willing to renegotiate and extend the existing agreement. The Austrian neo-pro has shown good results in his rookie year in the WorldTour and successfully defended his national road title in June. His skills against the clock and his climbing talent make him a very promising stage racer.

Riccardo Zoidl: “I’m happy and proud with this renewal. I feel very good in this group of people and I feel a lot of trust in me. This new contract means security, but above all it is motivation to keep working hard.”

“My ambitions are to keep making progress and work on my weak points. I hope to be able to land a win soon. That would be wonderful for myself and for the team. Stage races will remain my focus, especially the ones of one week,” said Zoidl.

General Manager Luca Guercilena: “Riccardo has shown strong progression this season. He started really well with a third place overall in the Tour Med and did some good results in the time trials in Romandie and the Giro. We’ve seen obvious improvements from him. He’s ready to take the next step and we’re ready to support his development.”

Tour MÈditerranÈen Cycliste Professionnel 2014 - 5

header-MTNTheo Bos Joins Team MTN-Qhubeka
Former track Olympic silver medalist and 5 time world champion, Theo Bos, will ride in the colours of Team MTN-Qhubeka next season. While racing for the Rabobank and Belkin Pro-Cycling Team outfits over the last 4 years, Bos has been able to take his professional win tally up to 35 race victories. Most recently Bos won a stage in the World Tour event, Tour de Pologne, the overall GC victory at the World Ports classic and 4 stage wins in the crazy bunch sprints of Le Tour de Langkawi earlier in the year. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung is delighted to welcome the Dutchman to Africa’s professional cycling Team.

Rider – Theo Bos
I am really excited to be joining Team MTN-Qhubeka. It is an amazing project that I can’t wait to be a part of. The team race for a cause that is more than just winning races and that is Qhubeka, a social initiative where they aim to put children in Africa on bicycles. I really like this human element to the team. I hope I will be able to bring a fan base with me to the team that will bring new support to the Qhubeka initiative. When I win races I know that I will be able to tell the teams story and that is something that motivates me.

This team has a great culture, I want to win and we will work together to win, our success is the success of Africa. I am really motivated and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead with my new team. I still have many goals I want to achieve in world cycling and I believe that Team MTN-Qhubeka is the right team for me to be able to do so.

Team Principal – Douglas Ryder
Theo Bos is a great sprinter and a rider who has won races all over the world, his addition will add strength and depth to our sprint train in one day races and stage races. As a rider he wins consistently throughout the season which creates a positive feeling in a team and we look forward to him bringing this positive energy to Team MTN-Qhubeka. His top end speed and skills learnt from track cycling is something he is looking forward to assisting our young sprinters with and showing them the way to become future race winners.

Tour de Pologne 2014 stage-3

header-tinkoffsaxoTinkoff-Saxo extends with Ivan Rovny
Tinkoff-Saxo is glad to announce that the team has extended the contract with Ivan Rovny. The 26-year old Russian has inked a one-year deal keeping him on the team ahead of the ambitious 2015-season. Team manager Bjarne Riis, who’s leading the Tinkoff-Saxo squad in Vuelta a España, is satisfied with Rovny’s performance at the Spanish Grand Tour as well as his development throughout this season.

“Ivan Rovny proved to be stable within the team in the Giro this year. And here in the Vuelta he’s doing a very good job for the team and Alberto. He’s strong and he’s there in the crosswinds to offer his help. He’s doing a great job every day and I think it’s natural that his contract is extended. This is his first year with the team and I think he can still develop with us as a rider for the future”, says Bjarne Riis.

Ivan Rovny started his professional career in 2006 at the unusual young age of 19, where he rode with Oleg Tinkov’s team Tinkoff Credit Systems. After a stint on several other teams, Rovny joined Tinkoff-Saxo in 2014, where he has appeared in two Grand Tours – Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España – both times showing immense work effort. Ivan is excited to stay with the team and he looks forward to being a part of the very strong 2015 roster.

“It’s great news for me, I’m excited about staying. I think I’ve worked hard during this season and I want to continue to improve. We will have one of the very best teams in cycling next year and I’m ready to work as hard as possible”, concludes Ivan Rovny.

Ivan Rovny

That Crash!
Not a good 24 hours for Nairo Quintana, if you missed it, here is his TT crash, not the one that finished his Vuelta dream, he waited a few hours for that:

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