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EuroTrash Crash Thursday!

The first days of the 2015 Tour de France have been a crash-fest, we lost the yellow jersey wearing Fabian Cancellara and the white jersey Tom Dumoulin, a load of other riders have lost a lot of blood and skin, but the battle still rages on. Video, results, rider quotes and reports from France and Austria. Transfer season is on us and we have news from Gastown and a Tour mechanic’s video.

TOP STORY: The Transfer Rumor Mill
Every year during the Tour all the talk is about ‘who is going to which team next year?’ OK, we are also talking about the great racing so far, but everyone wants the gossip on the rider transfers. The contracts might already be signed, but no one is allowed to make any official announcements. Sky seem to be making the most ripples in the whispering circle as quite a few rider’s contracts finish at the end of the year and David Brailsford will be having a sweep out, so it has been said. Richie Porte is on his way, many say to BMC and World champion Michal Kwiatkowski will be replacing him. French couple; Sylvain Chavanel and Jérome Pineau will not be with the Swiss team, IAM Cycling in 2016, where they are going is unknown, possible retirement. So far there has been no mention of a replacement sponsor for Europcar, this will free twenty-six riders onto the market, could the face pulling of Thomas Voeckler disappear from the peloton? It seems sprinter Bryan Coquard is on the shopping list of a few teams and he wants to be part of a solid squad that can give him a lead-out. Etixx – Quick-Step may lose Kwiatkowski, but also the contracts of Mark Cavendish and Rigoberto Urán also finish at the end of 2015. Urán has not set the World on fire since joining the Belgian team, apart from his stint in the pink jersey and 2nd overall in the 2012 Giro, he hasn’t added many wins to his palamrès. Cavendish, on the other hand, can be phenomenal. He could win a handful of stages in a Grand Tour or none. He can also win a one race and a flat, short stage race, or nothing. But he does seem settled at Etixx – Quick-Step.

So, as usual, we know nothing and we will have to wait for the ‘official’ announcements.

Red with the black next year, Richie?
Giro d'Italia 2015 stage - 15

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Tour de France 2015
The 2012 winner of the Flèche Wallonne, Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodriguez (Katusha), found the way to glory again atop the Mur de Huy on a crash marred Stage 3. Runner up on the stage, Chris Froome (Sky) took the yellow jersey with an advantage of only one second over Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step) who missed out on the lead for the third consecutive day. The 2013 winner of the Tour de France is already 36 seconds ahead of arch-rival Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in the overall classification.

Bryan Nauleau (Europcar), Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka), Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) and Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) rode away from the gun at the initiative of Nauleau for a maximum lead of 3:45 after 47.5 kilometers as they passed through Eddy Merckx’ native town Meensel-Kiezegem, where a statue was unveiled in tribute to the world’s greatest cyclist who turned 70 in June.

Approaching the first climb of the Tour de France, the Côte de Bohisseau, the peloton was about to rejoin the breakaway riders when a big crash occurred. William Bonnet (FDJ.fr), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEDGE) were the first three riders forced to pull out. Yellow jersey wearer Fabian Cancellara (Trek) was also involved in the crash. Due to the extraordinary circumstances of the crash at a very high speed, the race was neutralized to allow the injured riders to be back in the peloton. Twenty five minutes after the crash, a new start was given at the top of the Côte de Bohisseau with 50km to go.

41 kilometers out, Sky put the hammer down. Tinkoff-Saxo, then Astana also accelerated and split the peloton in two parts. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) made their way back to the first group. Angelo Tulik (Europcar) attacked on the Côte d’Ereffe but Sky brought him back as they decided to keep Chris Froome out of trouble by pulling the bunch at high speed in the lead up to the Mur de Huy. Tinkoff-Saxo took over from the British team with 10km to go.

Luca Paolini (Katusha) led the peloton of around 40 riders into the Mur de Huy. Froome and Contador went in a duel but couldn’t follow an acceleration by Rodriguez 400 meters before the top. Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) kept his slipstream for a while but it was Froome who manage to rejoin him right on the line, too late for winning the stage but the Brit was strong enough to make a difference of 11 seconds over Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), 18 seconds over Contador. Chris Froome is now back in the yellow jersey two years after winning the Tour de France.

Read the full race report HERE.

Tour de France 2015 - stage 3

Stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha): “I started the day with some fear after a bad night following my crash yesterday and some knee pain in the morning, but during the day I really felt good and then better and better. The team supported me also very well. It is a pity we had to lose Dmitriy Kozonchuk. I did not see the crash as I was in front of it, but I could hear it. The speed was really high headed in the direction Mur de Huy. I even had to ask Giampaolo Caruso to slow down a bit. On the Mur everything went well. I attacked with 400 m to go. That is the perfect distance for me. I am explosive and this Mur suits me so well. The last time I wanted to wait a little longer and then I was closed in by others. I did not want to take that risk this time and I went full gas and it was perfect. I am so happy after the fabulous work of the team too. My condition is good. Also yesterday it was good. I just lost time due to flat tire and a crash at a bad moment. In the end I did not lose too much time. Paris is a long way to go and I am still very ambitious. This mountain jersey is nice. I would be happy with it in Paris but my real goal is a good GC. Tomorrow is the pavé. That is not at all my specialty. I just hope to not crash and not lose too much time, and then the Tour can really start. But it has not been bad so far. I am proud and happy.”

2nd overall, Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Like yesterday, the team was always around me. I was pretty nervous as was everyone in the peloton, as it always is in the first week at Le Tour. The team rode 100 percent today for me, especially Kwiatkowski. He was unbelievable. After everything I did for him in the past years, he gave it back in the last two days. It’s amazing for me and I want to thank him as the World Champion for being such a supportive teammate the whole race. The story of today started with the big crash. Everything was neutralized. I was a bit confused as to what was going on, if they would neutralize longer or just for a moment. I heard about the big crash, and all the riders who went down, and I was sad about it. I was hoping for a big fight for the yellow jersey. I was close to wearing yellow today, but if I were to have been this close with an even bigger fight it would be even nicer. I wish a speedy recovery to all the riders who were involved. As for the rest of the race, it was really hard even compared to yesterday. It was not just the Mur de Huy. The other climbs before were really up-and-down, with small roads. I felt already in the last 20 kilometers that I was pretty tired. Maybe it is because of all the chaos of the last two days. I couldn’t sleep so well yesterday. It was not my day today and I really had to suffer. On the last kilometer on the Huy I was dying. I was really fighting to survive. I was looking around the corner and looking for the sign with the time. It was around 30 seconds and still 100 meters to go. It felt so long, one of the longest feeling 100 meters of my career. The staff told me I was close to Froome with yellow, and I was a bit surprised. I kept giving all in function of limiting the gap for the stage of tomorrow. So, I am disappointed, but also quite happy because I didn’t expect to even be this close. I am looking forward to tomorrow. The whole team is motivated for the cobbles and we will again fight for yellow.”

3rd overall and 6th on the stage, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC): “We saw some pretty bad crashes out there and a lot of confusion with the race being neutralized for a while. In the end, I would say the day was a pretty big success. Froome gained a little bit, but I was able to distance a couple people and keep most of the important guys pretty close. I really have to give it to the team today. They did a perfect job of keeping me safe and at the front.”

5th on the stage and 4th overall,Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal): “I’m really glad with this fifth place on the Mur de Huy. It was a race like I had expected; we arrived at the bottom with 40 to 50 riders. The teammates helped me to get in a good position and I could turn up the climb as one of the first. I tried to hang on to the same rhythm, so I wouldn’t explode. At a certain moment I was riding at the front, but in the last 200 meters the others were stronger. Nonetheless, a fifth place is a nice result at a finish of which I know it doesn’t completely suit me. That proves the condition is good. On the moment of the big crash I just had a puncture. That way I was lucky, otherwise I might have crashed as well. Now I could pass the riders involved and I immediately saw that some were severely injured. The neutralization was a good decision. Many riders were involved and the damage was huge. People are always talking about the safety of the riders; now everyone could take a pause for a moment. I hope everyone will be spared from bad luck tomorrow, because it will be very nervous with the cobbles. We have a team that’s good at this. Sieberg is in top shape, André is very strong, Jens is a rider for the classics, just like Lars and I don’t say ‘no’ to it myself. Depending on the wind I think we will get to the finish with a large group. And then we’ll see. We have different cards to play.”

8th overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “We saw some time differences today. I might have lacked a bit of sugar in the finale but I’ve always said that we will see bigger time differences in the mountains. Froome was very strong. He nearly won the stage today. But there are still many days of racing. You must stay positive. The yellow jersey gives you confidence, you tell yourself you’re well but it also creates pressure and responsibilities. Still I would love to hold it. Tomorrow on the cobbles, it will be a matter of survival. It’s an incredible Tour with a lot of stress, tensions and nerves everyday. Every year the stress is stronger and you leave a lot of energy. We must be very careful, anything can happen.”

Break rider, Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling): “I tried to get into the right break. During the morning briefing, we discussed the possibility of taking the polka dot jersey. We started out well and had nearly four minutes on the peloton pretty quickly. Unfortunately, the teams of the favorites took part in the chase, and we were not given enough time to fight for the points on the climb. The peloton overtook us just as we suffered that terrible crash. I did not see it firsthand, but the decision to stop the race was in my opinion justified given the number of riders who fell. But the nervousness in the bunch is such that many riders do not respect anything in the peloton.”

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka): “It was quite nervous leading up to the point of the crash as everyone was fighting for position before the first climb of the day. There was a touch of wheels up front and all I saw was guys on the floor. We were going so fast on that downhill that there wasn’t even chance to brake and about 30-40 riders went down. I crashed on the grass so I am okay. Daniel and Tyler look a bit worse than me but they still look okay to continue.”

Merhawi Kudus (MTN-Qhubeka): “We had massive support today from before the start with so many fans coming out to see us. There were Eritrean flags everywhere so when I started I was really motivated. Unfortunately it was a bad race. I have never seen anything like this before, everybody gets so nervous and there was a massive crash. So when I was riding in the peloton I was a little bit scared and didn’t ride right in front but actually I was feeling good.”

Laurens ten Dam (LottoNL-Jumbo) managed to remount after the crash: “I said that they had to pop my shoulder back in. I have trained very hard, so I don’t want to abandon the race even before we enter France. As long as I’m in the race, it’s possible that I can recover. Tomorrow, I’m going to try it on the cobblestones. It will be painful, but afterwards, I have four days to recover. The Alps are just in two weeks and maybe everything is different at that moment.”

Fabian Cancellara (Trek) will not start stage 4 due to an identical injury he sustained in E3 Harelbeke last March, but this time the L3 and L4 vertebrae on the right side were the culprits, not the L2 and L3 on the left side he injured in Harelbeke: “This is incredibly disappointing for me,” said Cancellara. “The team was on a high with the yellow jersey and were very motivated to defend it. We have had a lot of crashes and injuries since the start of the season, and we finally had a great 24 hours but now it’s back to bad luck. One day you win, one day you lose. It was very hard to come back in shape after my crash in Harelbeke and getting the confidence,” Cancellara added. “The yellow jersey gave me a huge boost for the cobblestone stage tomorrow. I guess I have to keep the positive and look forward to the second part of the season.”

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) abandoned due to an impression fracture in his glenohumeral joint: “It was nervous all day and with 60km to the finish a rider in front of me went down and I tried to pass him on the right side, but I was hit by one of the riders next to me and crashed headfirst. I slid into the grass and immediately knew that it was wrong. I am very sad that what should have been a beautiful day became a disaster.”

Tour de France Stage 3 Result:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha in 3:26:54
2. Chris Froome (GB) Sky
3. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:04
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:05
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:08
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:11
7. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana
8. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 3:
1. Chris Froome (GB) Sky in 7:11:37
2. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:01
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:13
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:26
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:28
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:31
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:34
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:36
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 1:03
10. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:04.

Stage 3:

After missing out on the yellow jersey for three days in a row, Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step) made it in Cambrai after breaking away solo with 3.1 kilometers to go at the end of Stage 4. He was a member of a front group comprising of all GC favorites, with the exception of Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) following a spectacular stage on the cobblestones in north of France. The German scores his fifth stage victory at the Tour de France and moved into the lead for the first time with 12 seconds lead over Chris Froome (Sky).

As a consequence of the crashes the day before, former yellow jersey wearer Fabian Cancellara (Trek), Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEdge) and Andreas Schillinger (Bora-Argon 18) were non starters. Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Perrig Quémeneur (Europcar) and Frédéric Brun (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) went from the gun. The quartet had a maximum lead of 9:10 after 37 kilometers, after which De Gendt crested the only categorized climb of the day in first position atop Namur’s citadel.

Fights for positioning in the peloton ahead of the first cobbled section increased the speed of the bunch, so the leading quartet only had 1:25 on the Belgian pavés from Pont-à-Celles to Gouy-lez-Pieton. Sky was the most active team at the service of race leader Chris Froome. After the cobbled section, Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and Rigoberto Uran changed bike, the bunch slowed down and the advantage of the breakaway went up again to 3:55 at the feed zone in Binche. It was all together with 40km to go between the second and the third cobbled section.

Alternatively, GC riders – mostly Vincenzo Nibali – and cobblestone specialists on the hunt for the stage win sped up on the cobbles, but all favorites remained together until Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) had a mechanical in the second last section with 23km to go. The Frenchman was forced to stop twice and let his rivals go. The 35-man front group also included the main sprinters with the exception of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and André Greipel (Lotto Soudal). Tony Martin had a flat tyre in between the last two cobbled sections, but he made it back into the leading group quickly with the assistance of his Etixx – Quick-Step teammates Julien Vermote and Michal Golas.

Martin attacked with 3 kilometers to go as everyone else looked ready for a sprint finish. There was no reaction from Sky. Chris Froome was obviously happy to lose the yellow jersey to the German. Giant-Alpecin led the chase but it was too late. The triple TT world champion crossed the line three seconds ahead of John Degenkolb. German riders have won two stages in four days and lead both the overall and the points classifications with Martin and Greipel.

Read the full race report HERE.

Cycling: 102nd Tour de France / Stage 4

Stage winner and overall leader, Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I wasn’t really thinking about anyone following me when I attacked. Maybe everyone saw when I had a flat tyre in the last cobbled section. I had to change to Matteo’s bike. Maybe they thought I was more on the limit than what I actually was when I launched in that moment. It’s also possible no one expected such an early attack. I think inside 4 kilometers to go everyone was on their hands and knees. It was just the right moment for me to try my chance. I found some extra power. I got a good gap. I knew this finale really well. I was here before for training for two days. I did 180 kilometers of the stage, I knew every little detail. I knew if I could make it to the last kilometer, which was a little more technical with the cobbles and the hard left hand turn, I would have a chance. My goal was the last corner, and somehow I made it. I’m thrilled about my solo victory and my race leadership. It really surprised me that I could make it, because I was really tired after chasing back after the flat. The last three days I missed the yellow by just a few seconds. My goal was to get it on the first day and I was sad I missed it. I came closer, but I never had it. Yesterday was super hard. I knew the chance was there, but it was obviously not my kind of stage. So, the pressure was getting bigger and bigger. Today I was really motivated. Today’s stage suited me much better so I can play with my power. I am more of a classics style rider than a climber. For today’s stage I had all the support from the team and I really wanted to get the yellow for me and especially for the team. Crossing the line in first, knowing I won the stage but also that I got yellow, makes me super happy that I can give everything back to the team that they gave me in the last days. I am also proud to wear this yellow jersey for Germany. I was proud to wear my German TT Champion jersey in the opening time trial, and now I can show the German fans something else special with my GC lead. This moment has been wonderful and I really hope this brings more people into being fans of cycling, including those of the German public. The goal is now to keep the yellow jersey as many days as we can going into the rest day. There are a few hard finals, but I believe I can stay in front with the support of my team. We also have the team time trial coming up. I think we have a fighting chance of holding on to this jersey until the first rest day. Of course, I think we also have chances to fight for good stage results in the next days. As you could see from my support today we have nine strong guys at this race. We will do our best to defend this jersey and go for more good results.”

3rd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I am in the team with Alberto and that is important to understand. I did my very best to help him and make sure that I did my part in keeping him in the first group. Then I was almost dropped from the first group after I had closed a gap but I was able to recover a bit for the final sprint. But I didn’t expect that I could finish 3rd, as I had spent a lot of energy. I’m very happy with the result today, as I spent much energy and I’m glad that Alberto got through the stage in a nice way – this is the most important. No matter how hard the stage is, we all work for Alberto and if we can do something for him in the GC then I’m satisfied with the outcome. It’s difficult to both win stages and help Alberto, which is my main focus. We will see if I can take a stage win in one of the flat stage in the next days, but it’s very dangerous and it’s a bit like lottery. Maybe you win but you can also crash, so I have to be really careful.

4th, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “Going into every cobblestone section, there was a fight for positioning because everybody wanted to have their leader in front. We kept it pretty good in the front. We were always there, always ahead of the situation. I think we did a good job. I would have preferred to have won the stage, but Martin chose a good moment.”

5th on the stage, Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka): “It was a very good stage today. The team did well to keep me in front at all the important moments. I was feeling fine all stage and pretty good over all the cobble sectors. I was able to always stay in the first group and I thought in the end Giant would ride to have a sprint for Degenkolb but that didn’t happen. With Martin ahead I thought I would start the sprint early to have even the smallest chance of victory because my legs were still good, but we were not going to win the stage but I had to try. I am happy though and I am feeling really good at the moment.”

3rd overall, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC): “I am just happy to have gotten through this stage unharmed. My team was incredible. They sat in the wind, on the front. They are just some hard-hitting head bangers. They paved the way for me all day. I barely had to lift a finger.”

8th on the stage and 4th overall, Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal): “It wasn’t easy today, but among other Sieberg and Greipel made sure I was positioned well at the beginning of every sector. It’s good that I could stay with the first group, but I was ‘à bloc’ at every sector. I wanted to attack the last two kilometers, but a very strong Tony Martin was first. Chapeau! There weren’t any problems today, but still I’m glad this stage is over. Everyone was very nervous and a crash can happen everywhere.”

14th on the stage, Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo): “We rode as a team at the front and commanded respect that way, racing collectively was key today. As a team, we showed a great fighting spirit. We knew it could be dangerous today, but fortunately I rolled through the day well. I’m satisfied with that. Unfortunately, Sep punctured twice in the final kilometers. That cost us a result.”

8th overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I’m very satisfied with today because my sensations were very good. I also congratulate the team for their effort because they worked very well today including Peter Sagan, who did some excellent work for me. So I wish to thank them a lot. The objective today was to pass the day without problems and the only problem I had during the race was with my rear wheel in the last 25 kilometers. As we entered the last three kilometers I thought about the possibility of changing my bike but I decided to continue and fortunately I could. It would have been very risky to change bike in the last kilometers.”

Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling): “It has not always been easy, but all the guys went all out for me. The pace was high and the nervousness was ever-present in the pack. I have lost some time due to crashes, and it has not been easy to get back on track today. But after two very difficult stages, I saw the end of the tunnel, even if my injury did cause me to suffer over the cobbles. The Tour de France is far from being finished. I must remain attentive every stage leading up to the first rest day, but also during the team time trial where we have a pretty good chance to do well. Then it will still be soon enough to start thinking about the mountains that are coming.”

Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) had two punctures in the final kilometers: “I did everything I could to be good today and when it ends likes this, there’s obviously disappointment. After my first flat, I managed to return, but on the final pavé section, I needed to take risks to get back to the front. Because of the dust, I quickly couldn’t see a thing anymore. When I punctured again, I knew it was over.”

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “The goal of my attack was to stay in front till after the third of six cobbled sectors in the finale, to help the teammates. But a nervous peloton made that impossible. The first cobbled sector and the intermediate sprint caused an acceleration of the bunch, so our advantage shrunk quickly. At the start I saw Westra, it’s not like him to be at the start that early and we decided to go in a break together. We hoped to be with about ten riders, but it was only a quartet. And with the headwind it was hard. I took the only point for the KOM classification today. I don’t think about it in the first ten days, but because I was riding in front, I could better be first at the top.”

Tour de France Stage 4 Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 5:28:58
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin at 0:03
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka
6. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
7. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Katusha
8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
9. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 12:40:26
2. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 0:12
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:25
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:38
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:39
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:40
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:46
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:48
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 1:15
10. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:16.

Stage 4:

Summary – Stage 4 (Seraing > Cambrai) – Tour de… por tourdefrance_en

Stage 5 was a day for the sprinters and Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) snatched his second win of this Tour in similar weather conditions as the first in the rain and wind of Zealand. Another sprinter didn’t have such a good day, France’s Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) crashed after only 11 km and was forced to abandon. In the finalé, Greipel overpowered Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step) to strengthen his green jersey lead, while another German, Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step), retained the yellow jersey.

The stage was rainy and windy, but that didn’t stop Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) from making a break, Edet gave up and returned to the bunch leaving Perichon out front for 90 kilometers. On slippery roads, crashes were many and involved riders of the calibre of green jersey holder Andre Greipel, French sprinter Bryan Coquard, Belgum’s Greg Van Avermaet and Trek Factory leader Bauke Mollema of the Netherlands. All escaped unhurt and his slip-up did not affect Greipel, who won the intermediate sprint behind Perichon in Rancourt after 89.5 kilometers to add 17 points to his green jersey tally. After the sprint, the bunch regrouped and splits took place when Sky, BMC and Tinkoff-Saxo lifted the tempo shortly before a sharp turn at 110 kms. Richie Porte, Rafal Majka, Thomas Voeckler and Peter Kennaugh were among the dropped riders.

The bunch was gearing up for a mass sprint when, 25 km from the line, another major slip involved some 30 riders, among them Frenchmen Thibaut Pinot and Jean-Christophe Peraud, both on the Tour podium last year. They made it back to the bunch as the sprinters trains became organized. John Degenkolb’s Giant-Aplecin and the royal guard of Mark Cavendish – Michal Kwiatkowski and Tony Martin – led their sprinter out, but Greipel was the fastest man with Peter Sagan pushing into second place.

Read the full race report HERE.

Tour de France 2015 - stage 5

Stage winner and green jersey wearer, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “With 350 meters to go I didn’t look so good, I was a bit boxed in. But when I got more space, I gave all I got. It was a tough finish, the kilometer before the last five hundred meters wasn’t completely flat and there was a headwind. I think it was a pure sprint. There was no lead-out for any of us, it was man to man. Sagan moved up quickly at the left, I hadn’t seen him, but it’s the result at the finish line that counts. I could count on a strong Marcel Sieberg again, who perfectly led me to the front; he is in the shape of his life. Also Tony Gallopin and Lars Bak did more than just their job. Because of the injuries of Adam and Greg we had to change our strategy, but the team was strong as always. As a sprinter it’s a luxury to have such a dedicated team. Because of my result at the intermediate sprint and the stage win I took important points for the green jersey classification. It’s the first time I’m in this situation, but on the moments that I can I will fight for the points. We always said that green could only be an option after a stage win. Tomorrow the wind will make it another nervous stage and the finish in Le Havre is probably too hard for sprinters. But I won’t worry about that until tomorrow!”

2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Today the team did a nice race and Alberto finished safely and I got 2nd place just missing a little bit. I was too far back in the last hundred meters and I was just a little bit late but overall it was good. I was simply too far back in 10th position with a hundred meters to go and I couldn’t catch Greipel. It’s hard to beat a rider like him and I’m happy with my 2nd place. I was free to do my own race in the last five kilometers and I tried to position myself but a lot of riders came from behind and I had too many meters to make up in the final hundred meters. This is how it went today and each stage has its own story. It was also very crazy today with rain, wind and a lot of crashes and I’m happy with how we finished. Everybody wants to be at the front on a day like this to protect their team leaders and that creates tension in the group. We will see what happens tomorrow, it will depend on the conditions and if there is wind, because I want to help and protect Alberto but maybe I can do a good result in the finale.”

3rd on the stage, Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It was a bit chaotic, I went around Sagan and I kicked, and I saw Demare kick, and on his right Kristoff. So if I pass I could drag strip Kristoff into the finish. Greipel and Sagan just came around past me at the end. I didn’t feel great in the sprint, but no one felt great after a stage like today. I was going OK, but they just were going faster. Nothing went wrong. We were a man short in the end as Matteo was not 100 percent after his crash today. But really I was just beaten by two very strong guys. One of them already won a stage, this is his second, and he’s in the green jersey. So congratulations to Greipel as he deserves this victory. My teammates efforts today in setting me up for the sprint, and protecting Tony in yellow, absolutely complemented each other. I have to give them a lot of credit for how well they were going. We stayed in front the whole day and both objectives required that. Now we look forward to tomorrow. It’s a bit difficult for the pure sprinters, that finish. But there are 21 stages at the Tour de France. There are still a few more opportunities. My confidence is good. I think everyone still has high morale after Tony’s win yesterday, and I think for sure we’ll keep going to try to get more wins at this Tour.”

Overall leader, Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I couldn’t sleep so well last night, I fell asleep maybe at 2 o’clock in the morning and woke up early again, But it was OK for me. I woke up feeling well, thinking directly about the yellow jersey. It gave me a lot of power and morale today in the race. I hope I can find more sleep in the next nights, or else I won’t see Paris (laughs). As for the race, I tried to do my job for Cav in the finale. I wanted to lead him until the last kilometer and a half, and stay safe for yellow. I don’t know what happened with the sprint after that. I did my job for Cav as well as I could and didn’t take any risks. I think the team did well today going into the sprint. We avoided crashes and were always in good position. The race was super stressful. A lot of nervousness, crashing, and fighting for position. I couldn’t really enjoy the day as I didn’t have time to think about being in yellow. In the end of this kind of stage we were lucky to stay upright. It wasn’t really a day for celebration. We will see about the next days. We have some very good riders that can be active in different kinds of stages. With our team you never know what we can do in the next days and weeks. I just want to keep yellow as long as possible, but I am also realistic that when the big mountains come I probably cannot stay with the best riders. Especially since I didn’t train for those kinds of stages.. My goal is to stay in yellow until the TTT, not the big mountains.”

5th on the stage, Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka): It was another stressful stage but for the most part I was able to stay in the front and when there was a split we had good representation in front. I was feeling good but the original plan today was to ride for Tyler. All of us actually crashed near the end but we also all got back to the front okay. Daniel did well to help bring me back quickly and then the other guys also got back. After the crash the plan for the sprint had to change and we would now ride for me. I was in a good position on Kristoff’s wheel and I made my sprint down the right. There soon became no space for me to move up anymore against the barrier but I am happy with how I am feeling and the team was great today.”

10th on the stage and 6th overall, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “A Garmin-Cannondale guy slipped away just in front of me and I went down with two guys. Today was really dangerous with the wet roads and the wind. Knowing how quickly you can go down in the Tour, I hope this is my only time. It was not such a hard fall, so I think I will be 100 percent for tomorrow.”

14th on the stage, Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling): “We had to stay alert the entire day. The roads were very slippery, and the wind prompted some teams to try to cause breaks in the group. I crashed once with a lot of other guys about 25 kilometers from the line. I got up without any trouble. So I was able to help and protect Mathias Frank until we reached the 3 kilometer banner. At that point I decided to mingle a little with the sprinters and take my chances. I have a good feeling, and I hope that I will continue to feel this good.”

3rd overall, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC): “Everyone thought today was going to be the relaxed day of the tour, but the wind and the rain made it anything but relaxed. Luckily, I have one of the strongest teams here. All the guys just sat on the front all day. I never had to leave third position. It costs a bit of energy, but it is worth it to stay ahead of the splits and the crashes.”

Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo): “For me, days like today could be done by bus, but actually, it went quite well. The roads were slippery, but fortunately, I wasn’t bothered because we have good tyres. As a team, we worked hard to be in a good position, but that was even harder than it perhaps looks on television. We had to fight for every inch all day long.”

Tour de France Stage 5 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 4:39:00
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka
6. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
7. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
8. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
9. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 5:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 17:19:26
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:12
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:25
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:33
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:38
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:40
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:46
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:48
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 1:15.

Stage 5:

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Tour of Austria 2015
It’s easy to believe that the Tour of Austria has already been quite a success for the IAM Cycling team. After Sondre Holst Enger’s victory on the first stage, it was David Tanner’s turn to raise his arms at the end of the Stage 2 in Grieskirchen. Finishing solo, the Australian attacked the field with 500 meters to go to the line in a technical and slightly dangerous finalé, and managed to roll in a second ahead of the next rider, to take the win. The overall lead remains with Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) who has two seconds on Tanner.

David Tanner, directly after crossing the finish line immediately threw his arms around his teammates, saying “Get closer, get closer.” This contact was a way to convey his and his teammates’ happiness, but also Tanner’s way to express his gratitude to everyone after an exhausting day on the bike. “It was a very difficult stage because of the heat, but we were well prepared,” Tanner explained. “However, the final was much more complicated than we had previously thought. That’s what made the selection, especially as regards the sprinters. Sondre Holst Enger was not with the front group at the finish, so I told myself that I had to try my luck. For several days already, I have been feeling really great. And then with this kind of final and this sort of sequences of corners, it was a perfect finish for me. In the last ten kilometers I said to myself “please, don’t panic!” It’s been five years since I have been in this situation, and the more time that passes, the more stressed you get at the thought of not being able to win anymore. On Monday’s stage, I placed myself well, I took some risks, which is inevitable, and then I attacked at the right moment, and that was it. The team did a great job, and it’s a pleasure to ride together.”

Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka): “Today we worked really hard to keep the yellow jersey. Nobody helped us to control the race so it was quite a hard stage. We were able to close the gap to everything that went away and it was a bunch sprint. Gerald was feeling good too so we were able to hold on to the yellow jersey.”

Stage 2 winner, David Tanner (IAM Cycling):
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Tour of Austria Stage 2 Result:
1. David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling in 4:53:45
2. Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis at 0:01
3. Peter Kusztor (Hun) Amplatz-BMC at 0:02
4. Troels Vinther (Den) Cult Energy
5. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Amplatz-BMC
6. Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
8. Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis
9. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
10. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC.

Tour of Austria Overall After Stage 2:
1. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka in 10:01:33
2. David John Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling at 0:02
3. Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha at 0:05
4. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha at 0:06
5. Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis at 0:07
6. Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) Katusha at 0:09
7. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 0:11
8. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
9. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha
10. Danie Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha.

Stage 2:

One day after crashing in the final corner, BMC Racing Team’s Rick Zabel earned his first victory as a professional by winning the sprint from a reduced bunch at the finish of Stage 3 of the Tour of Austria on Tuesday. Zabel out-sprinted Ángel Vicioso (Katusha) and Jan Tratnik (Amplatz-BMC) at the end of the 181.8-kilometer race after a small breakaway group that included teammate Dylan Teuns was caught with two kilometers to go.

Stage winner, Rick Zabel (BMC): “I was one of the last guys to make it over the steep climb on the circuit,” Zabel said. “Fortunately, it was still about 10 kilometers from the top to the finish, so I was able to recover a bit. After the breakaway was caught, there was a bit of chaos because nobody was strong enough to control it any more,” he said. “So I just stayed in the first few positions all the time. Always going from wheel to wheel just to stay in the front. With 400 meters to go, I was already in front, but I waited a bit and a rider from the Amplatz-BMC team passed me,” Zabel said. “So I went on his wheel and he actually did a good lead out for me. In the final meters, Vicioso came close to me, but luckily I was strong enough to hold on for the win.”

Overall leader, Angel Vicioso (Katusha): “This morning I was really motivated to do well in this stage. I am pretty fast in the sprint and that climb in last 10 km could provide a good selection for a smaller group in the finish. I wanted to get some bonus seconds and, why not, to try to get the yellow jersey. Finally, it was quite a big group in the finish, but I was able to do a strong sprint. I started a little bit early, right after we passed the last corner and only Zabel could pass me.”

4th, Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka): “It was a really warm stage and the final was pretty hard which made it a tough day. We controlled the race all stage for the yellow jersey and in the sprint Gerald and I were both up there to compete for the victory. I was in a good position and got another okay result but the victory just doesn’t want to come. I am a bit disappointed.”

7th on the stage and 10th overall, Brent Bookwalter (BMC): “My personal plan coming here was to take it day-by-day and look for opportunities and I will continue to do that. I think we have a few guys here who can ride a good overall. I wouldn’t say we have the best climber in the race, but we have some strong guys on good form who I think will be up there.”

9th, Troels Vinther (Cult Energy): “I can only thank my teammates for putting me in this excellent position in the finale again and their effort at least partially explains my results in the past three days. However, I assure you that it’ll be over tomorrow where we face a grueling uphill finish and I’ll repay our climbers and support them as much as I can until the foot of the final climb.”

Thomas Degand (IAM Cycling): “It was very hot again today, at one point my SRM computer showed that it was 44 degrees Celsius, so it was very challenging. And then there were two climbs at the beginning of the stage that also added to the difficulty of the day. Near the end, a small group broke away, so we took our responsibility in the bunch to get it back, but unfortunately it ended in a bunch sprint. Personally, I’m not feeling too bad, but the instructions are clear: we must protect our leader, Stefan Denifl, for the general classification. So for me tomorrow, I will do my maximum to protect and preserve his strength as much as possible on the last climb and until the finish.”

Stage 3 winner, Rick Zabel (BMC):
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Tour of Austria Stage 3 Result:
1. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC in 4:23:06
2. Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha
3. Jan Tratnik (Slo) Amplatz-BMC
4. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
5. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
6. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
8. Andi Bajc (Slo) Amplatz-BMC
9. Troels Vinther (Den) Cult Energy
10. Clement Koretzky (Fra) Team Vorarlberg.

Tour of Austria Overall After Stage 3:
1. Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha in 14:24:36
2. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:01
3. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC at 0:02
4. David John Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling at 0:05
5. Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) Katusha
6. Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha at 0:07
7. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha
8. Natnael Berhane (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:08
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 0:12
10. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC.

Stage 3:

210 kilometers in the Austrian mountains were on the menu on Stage 4 of Tour of Austria spiced up with a grueling 14 kilometer long uphill finish to Gratwein-Dobratch. Three riders formed the long-lasting breakaway that everyone knew wouldn’t last on today’s mountain stage and the trio was brought back in due time. Hitting the foot of the 14 kilometer long uphill finish, the pack was reduced to 30 riders and within the first few hairpins, the group exploded and the gaps kept growing between the riders until the finish line.

On the final kilometers, Victor De la Parte (Team Vorarlberg) and Jan Hirt (CCC-Sprandi Polkowice) leaped away and on the finish line, De la Parte was the strongest while Ben Hermans (BMC Racing) is the new leader of the race.

Thomas Degand (IAM Cycling): “The pace of the race was quite fast, especially during the first hour before the break was established. Then the peloton settled into a controlled pace since there were only three riders off the front, and we knew we’d have to have a lot of reserves in order to complete the full 210 kilometers. We climbed quickly and the group started to thin out at the rear. I was still with Stefan Denifl in the front group of 15 to 20 riders. With two kilometers to go, there were many attacks, and then we found ourselves in the second group. I tried to bridge the gap, but we were both on our limit, so we finished as well as we could. For my part, I think I am missing a few good days of racing in my legs since I had that injury earlier in the season, but I feel better and better. I hope this bodes well for the future.”

3rd on the stage, Ben Hermans (BMC): “I did not expect there to be some flat parts on the climb, three or four times you could recover a bit. The final four kilometers, it was everybody for himself. I tried to follow the first guys but I could not close the gap. It is a really steep climb but I know it, I have done it two times before and I really like this climb. So I hope to be good there.”

Tour of Austria Stage 4 Result:
1. Gonzalez Victor De La Parte (Spa) Team Vorarlberg in 5:43:50
2. Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
3. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 0:09
4. Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:14
5. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Natnael Berhane (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:22
7. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis at 0:32
8. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha at 0:46
9. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Team Felbermayr Simplon Wels
10. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 0:50.

Tour of Austria Overall After Stage 4:
1. Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice in 20:08:41
2. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 0:02
3. Gonzalez Victo De La Parte (Spa) Team Vorarlberg at 0:03
4. Natnael Berhane (Eri) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:15
5. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:17
6. Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:23
7. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis at 0:32
8. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha at 0:38
9. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 0:47
10. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Team Felbermayr Simplon Wels.

Gonzalez Victor De La Parte (Team Vorarlberg) wins stage 4:
Cycling / Radsport / Oesterreich Rundfahrt 2015 - 4.Etappe / 08.

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IAM Cycling not extending with Sylvain Chavanel
All good stories must come to an end. Such is the case between IAM Cycling and Sylvain Chavanel, whose contract will expire at the end of the season. The multiple time trial champion of France will not be wearing the IAM Cycling jersey in 2016. Michel Thétaz, the founder of IAM Cycling and CEO of IAM Funds, soberly explained: “For next year, we want to have our pack of wolves more compact and prominent at the front of the peloton in order to usher our sprinters to the finish line more effectively. As a result of this reevaluation, we decided not to extend Sylvain Chavanel’s contract. We are certainly aware of everything that Sylvain has brought to this team. The collaboration has exceeded our expectations. We will never forget his fantastic victory at the GP de Plouay last August, nor his overall qualities as a racer as well as a human being. We have really had two wonderful years together with him. I reiterate my thanks to him for his professionalism and wish him the very best for his future.”

What will Sylvain Chavanel do next year:
Ronde van Vlaanderen 2015 men elite worldcup

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Contract of neo-pro Tiesj Benoot is extended with one year
These days there is lots of attention for the Tour de France, but the rest of the cycling world keeps moving as well. Lotto Soudal and Tiesj Benoot have decided to extend his contract with one year. The 21-year-old neo-pro already had a contract until the end of 2016, now it’s until the end of 2017.

Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Soudal: “When you see what Tiesj already has performed in his first year as pro than it’s logical that we take initiative. It’s our strategy to offer opportunities to young riders, that’s in our DNA, but it’s also fun to set that next step with them, like we did with Tim Wellens. As a World Tour team it’s all about getting points and setting results, but we want to do that with an identity, with a vision. It’s exceptional that a neo-pro, no matter how talented everyone says he is, sets such performances. But I want to give a warning as well: don’t compare him with others. He just turned 21 and like any other rider he will have good and bad days. It’s a big advantage that he has both feet on the ground.”

“The next months and years he gets the opportunity to learn more and to grow. That has to be a reason why riders want to come to our team. Young riders know that they can grow here, can make mistakes and that we look at a period longer than a few weeks or months. Look at Stig Broeckx, Sean De Bie, Louis Vervaeke or Tim Wellens. Together with Tiesj we’ll draw up a program with which he can test his limits. He and we know he is good on several terrains; in the future it will become clear what suits him best.”

Tiesj Benoot: “Of course this recent development gives me a boost. That the team extends my contract after half a year is a signal that I’m doing well. I’m feeling very good in this team and I’m looking forward to be part of the team the next few years as well. It’s nice to have security for the future. But it’s not only with this extended contract that the team shows it has faith in me. I get opportunities to start in the big races like Tour of Flanders and Dauphiné and can save energy for the finale. I get a balanced program that isn’t too hard.”

“I also think it’s important that the team doesn’t put any pressure on me at the moment. This team is perfect for a young rider like me who’s just started his career. There is a great atmosphere and I immediately felt home among the other riders. I’m really satisfied with my first six months and the fact that it is a good season for the team in general, with already a stage win at the Tour for example, is positive for everyone.”

Tiesj Benoot:
Tour of Flanders UCI WorldTour 2015 cycling race

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Record Gastown Grand Prix Women’s Field Racing for New and Improved Women’s Trophy in 2015
In addition to the $25,000 cash purse and thousands more in primes (mid-race lap prizes), the women lining up for the 2015 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix will be racing to get their names on a bigger and better women’s trophy this year, following an impressive restoration and expansion by local artist Ross MacMillan.

Despite many of North America’s top racers being in Toronto for the Pan Am Games cycling events (July 16-25), Gastown already has a record 88 women registered to race, with more scheduled to sign up before race day. With two-time defending champion Leah Kirchmann unable to race in Gastown this year, the July 15th race represents a fantastic opportunity for a new up-and-coming Canadian rider to take a major step onto the world cycling stage. Doing so will require outracing strong riders from pro North American teams such as BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental, Team TIBCO, Pepper Palace Pro Cycling, Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing, as well as tough riders from local teams such as Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes, Glotman Simpson Cycling, EV/DEVO pb Catalyst Kinetics, Team ATAC and others.

The winning rider will add their name to a new trophy, which, like the Stanley Cup, has grown taller with the addition of some new rings to accommodate the names of future winners as well as some missing past winners.

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The women’s trophy was created in 2005 to celebrate the 25th running of the Gastown Grand Prix and address the fact that, at the time, there was only a trophy for the men’s race. Race organizers turned to MacMillan, owner of Gastown’s Industrial Artifacts, who was designing and manufacturing unique furniture and decor using recycled materials reclaimed from a variety of BC industries.

The result was a trophy called “Forward,” which was made using recycled wooden casting patterns, (Red Cedar and Yellow Pine) reclaimed from two Vancouver machine shop/foundries (Progressive Engineering Works Ltd. and Reliance Motor and Machine Works Ltd.).

The sprocket pattern at the top is made of Red Cedar and was used by Progressive Engineering Works Ltd. to cast steel sprockets for steam winches on “Victory” ships during the Second World War. The company also built most of the boat deck machinery used on Canada’s Vancouver-built merchant marine fleet. For the female cycling figure atop the sprocket, MacMillan turned to master carver Johann Wieghardt, who fashioned it from a piece of old growth Yellow Cedar reclaimed from the Progressive Engineering Works building when it was torn down in 2004.

That first version of the trophy was unveiled in Gastown in 2005 by women’s champions Verna Buhler (1981-83), Canadian Olympian Sara Neil (1990) and World Mountain Bike Champion Alison Sydor (1991). The trophy now features three distinct sections that represent the race’s three distinct eras.

At the top is the 1973-93 era, which uses a brown cylinder pattern from Terminal City Iron Works (est. 1906) that was used to cast small valve components for water works systems. The race’s earliest era features champions like Buhler, Neil, Sydor and former Road World Champion Marianne Berglund. Also included now is the name of Dawne Deeley (1979), who is Gastown’s earliest known women’s race winner. Deeley won her title riding with the men as previous race organizers say there just weren’t enough women racing to hold a separate event. That happened again in 1989 when the nearby women’s Ore-Ida race in the United States drew all the top women to their race with their big cash prize list.

The middle black ring pattern on the new trophy represents 2002-08, when the race was known as the Tour de Gastown. Notable winners then include legendary racer Ina-Yoko Teutenberg of Germany and three-time winner Gina Grain of Burnaby, who shares the record for most wins with Buhler.

The newest base section is a made from a Tyton bell core box pattern circa 1950s/1960s, which was used by Terminal City Iron Works to cast iron pipe fittings for Vancouver’s municipal water works system. The company also provided much of the pipe fittings, valves and fire hydrants for Vancouver’s municipal water works systems.

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The base of the trophy now represents the Global Relay era and includes the names of its latest winners: Specialized-lululemon’s Lauren Rowney of Australia (2012) and Canada’s Leah Kirchmann of Optum Pro Cycling (2013-14).

This latest era began when message archiving company Global Relay made a $1 million investment to bring the race back in 2012. Since taking on the role as race title sponsor and operator, Global Relay has helped the Gastown Grand Prix women’s race grow steadily in stature with new records set for the size of the women’s field each year. Renovating the trophy to match the stature of the race and celebrate its history is an unmistakable reflection of Global Relay’s commitment to women’s racing.

That commitment also includes: expanding the prize purse to provide equal prizing for women; creating the Global Relay Bridge the Gap Fund, which supports nearly two dozen of Canada’s most promising elite young cyclists (half of them women); becoming the title sponsor of Canada’s national road cycling championships; and becoming the title sponsor of Cycling Canada and the country’s national cycling teams.

“We’re proud to support women’s cycling and make a statement that women’s racing deserves to be supported and rewarded at the same level as the men’s racing,” said Shannon Rogers, President & General Counsel of Global Relay. “Last year’s record women’s field put on an amazing and exciting race that was thrilling to watch. We expect this year’s race to be just as exciting and invite everyone to Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhood for what will be an incredible night of racing on July 15.”

According to MacMillan, the trophy was designed to represent the determination and resiliency of the human spirit to overcome adversity and move forward to the future. There’s no question that women continue to confront significant adversity as they strive to move forward to a future where women’s cycling is equal in every way to the men’s. Thanks to the support of cycling sponsors such as Global Relay, it’s a future that’s closer than ever before.

About BC Superweek: BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest professional road cycling series and features more than $120,000 in prize money available during eight races over nine days. BC Superweek runs from July 10 – 18, and is made up of the Tour de Delta (July 10, 11, 12), UBC Grand Prix p/b Mahony & Sons (July 14), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 15), Giro di Burnaby p/b Appia Development (July 16) and the Beverley by Cressey presents Tour de White Rock (July 17, 18). For more information, visit www.bcsuperweek.ca.

About Global Relay: Global Relay is the leading provider of cloud-based electronic message archiving, supervision, and eDiscovery solutions for the global financial sector and other highly regulated industries. Global Relay is headquartered in Gastown, with offices in New York, Chicago, Raleigh, Halifax, London and Singapore. In 2012, Global Relay invested $1 million to bring back and operate the Gastown Grand Prix, Canada’s most prestigious criterium, which attracts some of North America’s top cyclists and crowds of 20,000 to the streets of historic Gastown in Vancouver each July, as part of BC Superweek. Also, in June 2014, Global Relay joined forces with Cycling Canada to grow cycling in Canada and help Canada become one of the world’s top cycling nations by 2020. The four-year $500,000 partnership is focused on sponsorship of the Canadian National Teams and the Canadian Road Cycling Championships.

For more information about Global Relay, visit www.globalrelay.com
For more information about Global Relay’s Bridge the Gap Fund, visit www.grbridgethegap.com
For more information about the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, visit www.globalrelayggp.org

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A Hard Days Work!
Witness the aftermath of the horror stage 3 crash at the 2015 Tour de France through the eyes of the Orica-GreenEDGE Mechanic Fausto Oppici. Video thanks to Velon CC and GoPro.


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