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Talavera de la Reina to La Covatilla - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratiepictured during 73rd La Vuelta ciclista a España (2.UWT) Stage 9 from Talavera de la Reina to La Covatilla (200.8 KM) - photo Luis Gomez/Cor Vos © 2018

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Never a dull moment in la Vuelta a España! News, views and video from Spain, plus the Tour of Britain, Brussels Classic, GP de Fourmies and the Antwerp Port Epic. ONE Pro turns to the women – Top Story. In other cycling news: Roompot-Crelan team, no Worlds TT for Primož Roglič, contract news from Trek-Segafredo, Bahrain-Merida, Lotto Soudal and Katusha-Alpecin. To finish; the cobbles of Candelario. ¿Tiempo para un café con leche?

TOP STORY: ONE Pro team to Go Woman’s WorldTour
The British registered UCI Continental ONE Pro Cycling Team will not stop at the end of this season, instead the team will continue in 2019 as a women’s team at WorldTour level. “We see the opportunity within the women’s side of the sport and this is something that is very exciting. Our existing partners have been notified and the change of direction has been met with great positivity.”

“ONE Pro Cycling has always been about effecting positive change in the sport of cycling that goes far beyond winning bike races. We believe that the greatest opportunity to do this now lies within the women’s side of the sport and our passion and ambition has only increased to make this change of direction a success.” ONE Pro Cycling wrote on their website. They aim to have finalized the team no later than the end of September.

ONE Pro Cycling took six UCI victories so far this season, five of them by Emils Liepins, the best result in the Heistste Pijl where he beat Wouter Wippert in the sprint. Hayden McCormick provided another success in the New Zealand Cycle Classic. The ONE Pro team are at present riding the OVO Energy Tour of Britain with Pete Williams, Emils Liepins, Hayden McCormick, Chris Latham, Tom Baylis and James Oram.

The team will bring a lot of experience to the woman’s peloton, lets hope it’s not just a way of stepping up the ladder with less financial outlay.


Vuelta a España 2018
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) out-sprinted Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) at the end of Stage 6 on Thursday. The Frenchman took his first Grand Tour victory since the two stage victories in the 2014 Vuelta a España. Overall leader, Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), finished in the bunch to retain the red jersey. But his teammate Thibaut Pinot lost 1:40 as did Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb).

Three riders attacked from the gun: KOM, Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis), Richie Porte (BMC) and Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH). They had a lead of 3:20 after 5 kilometers, but then Quick-Step Floors and Trek-Segafredo started help Groupama-FDJ leading the chase and the lead dropped to 3 minutes.

Mate took the KOM points on the Cat 3 Alto del Garrobillo, 93km from the finish. The peloton were at 3:48 at the summit, but the peloton brought them back to 2 minutes with 80km to go. Mate was also first on the Cat 3 Alto Cedacero. The lead went up to 2:30 with 53km to go and with 45 kilometers remaining the lead was 1 minute. Cubero tried to go solo with 33km to go but he was pulled in 4 kilometers later. Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) crashed with 25km to go which split the peloton. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) was delayed by the fallers, while Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) had a mechanical problem 6 kilometers later, but both lost 1:40 on the day.

In the sprint Bouhanni cut across European champion, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott), but was not penalized and was probably the fastest man at the finish. Favorite for the win, Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) left his sprint a little to late and finished third behind Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Bouhanni.

PEZ Race Report HERE and ROADSIDE PEZ stage 6 HERE.

Stage winner, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis): “It was a really hard and very fast in the finale. I really determined to win today after what happened yesterday. I was really annoyed with the false information. In the finale, I know how to win when I have the legs, I went from train to train and wheel to wheel.”

Overall leader, Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ): “It was a good day for me, but a stressful stage because of a big three-quarter wind face or side. I had fun wearing the red jersey but it was stress. Tonight I keep first place but it is a mixed record. The goal of the team was to stay with Thibaut Pinot who unfortunately took a border. It’s a hard blow and it will annoy him but he will find the pressure to attack… “

4th on the stage, Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m pretty satisfied because I succeeded in being in the lead group when the bunch was split, that was a great chance and I’m happy I could exploit it. Unfortunately I did not manage the approach to the final roundabout as well as I could have. I was not in the best position when Quick-Step Floors launched the sprint, but because it was pretty early, it allowed me to overtake some riders and get closer to a podium finish.”

9th on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The stage started quite slowly but in the final kilometers it got fast with many splits in the peloton. I wanted to try for the sprint but I wasn’t very well positioned in the last straight to the finish line. I tried to recover positions but it wasn’t possible.”

Vuelta a España Stage 6 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 3:58:35
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
7. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana
8. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana
9. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Michael Mørkøv (Den) Quick-Step Floors.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 6:
1. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 22:26:15
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:41
3. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:48
4. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:51
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:53
6. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 1:11
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:14
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:18
10. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 1:23.

Stage 6:

Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale) took a solo win in Pozo Alcon, on Friday’s Stage 7 with a strong attack with 2km to go. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) out-sprinted Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) for second place as Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) held the overall lead. Second placed Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) lost 25 seconds and dropped to 6th overall at 1:06.

The break of the day escaped from KM 0: Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Michael Woods (Education First-Drapac), Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo), Nicola Conci (Trek-Segafredo), Edward Ravasi (UAE Team Emirates), Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Oscar Rodriguez (Euskadi-Murias) had a 1 minute lead within 10 kilometers. Bora-Hansgrohe and Groupama-FDJ kept the lead to under 4 minutes.

The lead at the start of the first climb of the Alto Collado de Laude the lead was 3:05, by the summit it was down to 2:55. With 50km to go it was down to 2:05 and 1 minute 45 kilometers out.

Michael Woods went for the win on the final climb, but LottoNL-Jumbo and Movistar ended his move with 13km to go. Luis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) had a go in the finale that saw Michal Kwiatkowski crash with 8km to go. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) also mad a move but Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) was the one who managed to open a small gap in the last 5km. Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale) crossed to him and rode straight to the finish.

PEZ Stage 7 Report HERE.

Stage winner, Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale) : “Unbelievable! It’s a bit like when I won the stage at the Tour de France! Often, when I wait for the sprint, I am fast, but I finish only in 4th, 6th, 8th place… And then there is a little regret. Today I waited for the right moment to attack. I knew I had to find something to not regret, exactly. And that’s what happened. For me the solo victories are the most beautiful. I do try and grab mine in this way. This morning, the plan was to go in the breakaway, which we did with Alexis (Gougeard). My teammates then placed me very well 20 kilometers from the finish, especially on the small roads. I stayed in contact with the best, in the top 10. When we arrived on that straight road, I had hatched my plan and my directeur sportif supported me. This is a nice revenge after my complicated summer. When I joined the AG2R-La Mondiale team, everything went well at first. But then I had a lot of bad luck: crashes, illness, my abandoning the Tour… Nevertheless, the team has always supported me. I’m happy to thank them today. It feels good!”

2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It wasn’t an easy stage at all and the heat made it even more challenging. The last climbs were tricky and difficult but I managed to stay with the leading group of climbers. Rafał was pulling to close the gap to Gallopin but with Davide and Jay being at the back to help Emu, he was alone. Still, I felt better today and I managed to win the group sprint.”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “The best conclusion from today’s stage is that we didn’t experience any major setbacks, because today’s finish, as everyone could see, was pretty difficult. The roads were pretty bad in general, even if the last few kilometers were of better condition. At one of the descents we went from a lot of patches on the road to better tarmac, people got a bit too enthusiastic, someone took too many risks and there was a crash. A Sky rider went down, three others also fell down after him and me – I was in fifth place in that moment – I was just lucky not to fall in that place. After that, I decided to sort of respect our rivals, didn’t want to attack them as they were getting back on the bike, I just tried to get the bonus seconds and wait for the line. It’s sad to see someone like Kwiatkowski getting out of direct contention for such a reason, it’s never nice when you’re battling against someone and such things happen.”

Vuelta a España Stage 7 Result:
1. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 4:18:20
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:05
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
4. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
5. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
7. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
8. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:07
10. Sepp Kuss (USA) LottoNL-Jumbo.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 7:
1. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 26:44:40
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:47
3. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:48
4. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:51
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:59
6. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 1:06
7. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 1:11
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:14
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:18
10. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 1:23.

Stage 7:

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) took the win on the uphill finish on Stage 8 in Almaden to claim his second stage win in the 2018 Vuelta. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo) were 2nd and 3rd at the end of a very fast 195.1km. Frenchman Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) held onto the overall lead.

Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin), Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH) and Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias) made up the break of the day and built up a maximum lead of over 12 minutes after 82 kilometers on the only climb of the day; the Alto de Españares. Trek-Segafredo, Bora-Hansgrohe, Cofidis and Quick-Step Floors started a steady chase and the lead was cut to 10 minutes after 100 kilometers.

The gap came down 5:15 with 50km to go and then 1:50 20 kilometers out. Tiago Machado went solo with 7km to go but was caught by the peloton one kilometer later. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) looked set to claim his first stage win at the Vuelta since 2015, but the ‘Old Fox’ Alejandro Valverde timed his move to perfection to get the better of the World champion who finished 2nd for the second day in a row.

Stage 8 PEZ Race Report HERE.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): Alejandro Valverde: “I do am really surprised with this victory, to be honest. Even if I knew this finish would be tougher than a normal sprint, I didn’t expect it to be that steep. Arrieta was insisting to me on the radio, after our staff had arrived to the finish before the race, that it was an excellent finish for me. He told me: ‘Just follow the wheel of the one who overtook you yesterday.’ I told him: ‘Look, ‘Arri’, I won’t go chase the stage win. I’ll try to just not lose time, and that’s it.’ If you look at the finish, it was so nervous already before entering Almadén, but the team worked so hard to bring me to the front. Since it was uphill all the way to that roundabout with 500 meters to go, I sort of got into the mood to go forward, follow Peter’s wheel and contest the win.”

“At the finishing straight, I wanted to overtake Sagan on the right side, but Peter inadvertently boxed me in, and I was afraid I couldn’t pass. I stopped pedaling for a split second, went to the left-hand side, Nizzolo was also sprinting from there, I hesitated a bit… until I saw an empty space to go for my sprint, and I could overtake Peter from there. It’s a victory which gives you massive motivation. Beating Sagan, who had this stage marked down as a clear chance, and put all of his team to work at the front of the bunch – it’s just spectacular. We’ll carry on with tomorrow’s stage with a mentality of remaining up there with the top contenders, and hopefully have a hot at the red jersey. Up until today, my goal was not losing time and claiming stage victories, like the two I’ve obtained. Tomorrow’s stage will be a clearer picture of what could happen in the remainder of the Vuelta. Nairo is feeling great, and either me or him -hopefully both of us- will try to stay there. After La Covatilla we’ll see if we focus entirely on Nairo’s chances or it’s my task to still contest the race alongside him. What I’m right now is really, really calm: two stage wins… it’s a relief for me.”

Overall leader, Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ): “Today has been easier than the two previous stages. The finale was complicated but we stayed in a good position at the front. When you see how strong Valverde is going right now, even beating Sagan in the sprint today, it will be hard to fend him off tomorrow at La Covatilla. He is the favorite to claim the red jersey. I’ve never done tomorrow’s final climb. I would have preferred something shorter and steeper. It seems to be a succession of climbing stretches. There are 4,000 meters of elevation so we’ll already be tired when we arrive at the bottom and then we’ll see how it goes.”

2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Yet another hard and hot Vuelta stage where the entire team worked very well. We managed to keep a small break, the guys then pulled hard to bring it back and I was in a good spot for the sprint. I gave my all in the hard, final meters but it wasn’t enough to win. Still, I feel my form is improving each and every day. I would have liked to double Bora-Hansgrohe’s victories today and I congratulate Pascal Ackermann for his win in Brussels.”

10th overall, Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors): “When we did the briefing this morning in the bus and I looked at the profile of the finish, I thought it was for Peter (Sagan) or Alejandro (Valverde) and they were there. After eight stages things are good for me. Tomorrow is the first real mountain day. I want to be in the top 10 of the general classification at the end of La Vuelta and I’ll try to win a stage.”

KOM, Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis): “I’m happy for Alejandro (Valverde), he’s a very good friend and an amazing rider. He’s a legend of our sport so I’m happy for him and for cycling. Tomorrow is a very important day for the KOM classification. After two days recovering, I need to take points to keep the jersey. We will try.”

Vuelta a España Stage 8 Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 4:35:54
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Danny von Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
4. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
7. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 8:
1. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 31:20:34
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:37
3. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:48
4. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:51
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:59
6. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 1:06
7. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 1:11
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:14
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:18
10. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 1:23.

Stage 8:

The second summit finish at La Vuelta’18, and the second stage win for Ben King (Dimension Data). The American soloed to victory on Stage 9 ahead of Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) while the favorites battled it out in the final kilometers. Colombian climbers Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) showed the strongest legs but it was Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who took the red jersey, one second ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

Eleven riders got away from the start with KOM Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) who was defending his mountains lead. He was joined by Dylan Teuns (BMC), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Ben King (Dimension Data), Reto Hollenstein (Katusha-Alpecin), Thomas Leezer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH), Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis) and Aritz Bagües (Euskadi-Murias). Their lead steadily increased to 5 minutes on the first climb of the day, the Cat 1 Puerto del Pico (52.3km). Mate took the top points. Mate also took the most points available at the Cat 3 Alto de Gredos (68.6km) as well as the Cat 2 Puerto de Peña Negra (98km). The gap was then 6:20 and it increased to 9:55 with 55km to go. Ben King was then a major threat for the red jersey as he started the day at 6:34 to Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ).

With hard 20 kilometers to go the lead was down to 7 minutes. King attacked on the narrow, steep, cobbled climb of Candelario (182km) to go solo and opened a gap of 1:30 on the chasers and 6:15 to the peloton at the bottom of the final climb, the Alto de La Covatilla with 9.8km to go. Bauke Mollema jumped after King 9km from the summit and got within 20 seconds 2km from the finish line, but then ran out of steam.

Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) set a hard pace for teammate Emanuel Buchmann as overall leader Rudy Molard was dropped with 6km to go. Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) also struggled with 2km to go, before Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) attacked one after the other. There weren’t many gaps amongst the top men, but Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took the red jersey 1 second ahead of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

The PEZ Stage 9 Race Report HERE.

Stage winner, Ben King (Dimension Data): “I think the second win hasn’t sunk in yet. I don’t think I have suffered that much in my career. Being chased by a guy like Mollema is a lot of pressure and it took a lot to keep believing and keep suffering that much. But I know what it means to me, what it means to the team and to the people who support and believe in me. I think it was a mental battle between us in the last bit and 20 seconds is not a big gap. We were just separated by meters on the climb and it just stayed the same and we completely fired, dying a thousand deaths. I’m really proud and happy to be out front again and fly the flag for the team and Qhubeka. It was a special day, and a special La Vuelta so far and it’s not even over.”

Overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “I wasn’t thinking of the red jersey today, that’s not something I expected. I just followed the best riders up front, I was a couple of seconds behind and it’s a bit of surprise to be honest. But it’s a good surprise, obviously I’m happy with this jersey. I’m getting a bit used to this after the Giro. I knew my condition was good. It’s still very tight. We can see the riders who finished a bit ahead are Colombians, so they’re better used to the altitude, and we finished at 2,000m so I think that’s what made the difference. Now I’m going to enjoy the rest day and establish a plan with the team ahead of the next GC battle.”

2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I’m a bit frustrated not to take the red jersey, but we have to be satisfied with the situation. I’ve always said this is one of the climbs that suits me the least and of all the time I did it, this is the best one. I felt good, I didn’t see someone stronger than me. We were all on the limit. Today we saw that me and Nairo (Quintana) are doing well. The idea was to be the best, and to have Nairo attack like he did. He didn’t have to wait for me but to go for it and try to open the race. There are hard days ahead. It’s already been a hard La Vuelta but the rest of it will be even harder.”

3rd on the stage, Dylan Teuns (BMC): “This is a good result for me. When you do an effort like this, you try to finish it off but in the end, there were only two guys stronger than me. It’s a pity but there’s no shame in being third. The last climb was really tough. In the last 3km, I really felt the pressure and I had to go all out for in the final 1.5km to make sure I held of the chasers behind. At the beginning of the stage, there was a little bit of a plan to try and go in the breakaway but I wasn’t going to spend a lot of energy to get into it and actually, I didn’t have to do that so I was happy to be there and overall, I am happy with how my day went.”

4th overall, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a tough stage and the climb to La Covatilla tested the riders. I’d like to thank my teammates for their hard work today, we executed the plan we had. Together with Rafał we stayed with the leading group on the long climb but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to follow the attacks in the final kilometers and lost contact to the main GC contenders. I’m sorry about that, especially after everybody in the squad gave his best during 200km. I still haven’t recovered from my crash the other day, but I feel confident I will get there and fight in the coming stages.”

16th on the stage and 11th overall, Fabio Aru (Astana): “Today was a demanding and long stage, with a summit arrival at 2,000m of altitude. However, I feel that day by day my condition and especially my race pace is improving. I was feeling very well when the pace was regular, then with 1,5 km to go there were some attacks and I had to defend, however they were not too bad and I was able limit the gap. Tomorrow we have a rest day, then some stages that aren’t too demanding, so I’m confident I can continue to improve my fitness.”

Vuelta a España Stage 9 Result:
1. Benjamin King (USA) Dimension Data in 5:30:38
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:48
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 2:38
4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 2:40
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 2:43
8. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 2:46
9. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 2:49
10. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 3:02.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 9:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 36:54:52
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:01
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:14
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:16
5. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:17
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:24
7. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:27
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:32
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:43
10. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:48.

Stage 9:

Brussels Cycling Classic 2018
The Brussels Cycling Classic was an occasion for the fast men, who finished the day with a hectic fight for the win on the line. As is typical for the Belgian classic races, the race was characterized by a number of hellingen, which, however, didn’t spoil the sprinters’ party. In the bunch sprint in Brussels, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) took the win convincingly over Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) and Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) in 2nd and 3rd places.

The second ascent of the day saw several attacks, after which a group of 6 was able to establish itself at the head of the race. During the day, the advantage of the group hovered around 2:30 and the race situation remained largely unchanged. Entering into the last third of the course, under the tempo meted out by Groupama-FDJ, the gap slowly began to whittle down. On the penultimate climb, several riders broke free from the peloton and tried to bridge the gap to the leading group, but Bora-Hansgrohe remained attentive and came to the front of the main field to pursue the attackers. With 15km remaining, several riders in the breakaway hit the deck, and everything came together a few kilometers later. Not long afterwards, the sprinters’ teams took a renewed interest in setting the tempo and the preparations for the final sprint began in earnest. Bora-Hansgrohe was also in position at the front as the team attempted to navigate Pascal Ackermann into a good position for the final sprint. As expected, it came down to a bunch sprint between the fast men in Brussels. However, just before the finish line, many riders went down in a crash. In a hectic sprint, Pascal Ackermann was able to pull of a convincing victory, his first win on Belgian soil.

Race winner, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The race was not easy today. We had to contend with 13 ascents and that made the race quite difficult. The team rode fantastically and worked for me the whole day. I am very happy about my win here in Brussels, because it is my first victory on Belgian soil. I hope that I am able to achieve more success here in the future.”

9th, Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “It was a fast and tiring day. I did not feel great during the race, but my legs improved in the final. I did not want to start the sprint too early, but when I wanted to launch my sprint there was a massive crash. I was pretty well placed, but the crash messed everything up. I had to brake and accelerate again. Too bad I could not get closer to the winner, but this performance confirms my good level. Last week I was sick, and I still have not got rid of it. I hope to be at 100% back soon. Tomorrow I get a new chance in Fourmies. Last year I rode all day long in front. Now I will focus more on the sprint.”

Brussels Cycling Classic Result:
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:35:12
2. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
3. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:01
4. Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
5. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
6. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Vital Concept Cycling Club
7. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Wb Aqua Protect-Veranclassic
8. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Cofidis
9. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

Brussels Classic:

OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2018
André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) sprinted to victory on Stage 1 of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in the city of Newport. The Lotto Soudal sprinter headed home Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton SCOTT) and Fernand Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) alongside the River Usk at the end of the 175-kilometer stage. With the opening day victory Greipel takes both the OVO Energy Green Jersey and Wahoo Points Jersey heading into the second stage in Devon.

A six-rider break had swept up most of the day’s honors with Nicholas Dlamnini (Dimension Data) taking the Skoda King of the Mountains jersey and Matthew Bostock (Great Britain) the Eisberg Sprints Jersey. As the race rolled through Carmarthenshire, Powys and Monmouthshire it was Rory Townsend (Canyon Eisberg) who was the last to be caught approaching the final Skoda King of the Mountains climb at Belmont Hill on the edge of Newport, with under 10 kilometers remaining.

That sparked an attack from home favorite Geraint Thomas (Sky), with the Tour de France champion creating a move that dragged clear Quick-Step Floors duo Julian Alaphilppe and Bob Jungles over the top of the climb. The latter held on to his slender advantage until hitting Usk Way, being swept up by the BMC led peloton under the one-kilometer to go marker, before his teammate Gaviria hit out at the head of the sprint. Behind the leading trio of riders in the bunch finish was Gabriel Cullaigh of Team WIGGINS, who took fourth on the road and the Adnams Best British Rider prize.

Stage winner and overall leader, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “After some difficult months it’s nice to take the win today in the opening stage of Tour of Britain. We have a good team over here for the sprints, as we demonstrated today. There was a steep climb at seven kilometers from the finish, where Alaphilippe and Jungels opened up a gap. Eventually it was Jungels who was solo ahead and our team did a great job pulling him back. We caught him with one kilometer to go. Then Jasper De Buyst did a really strong lead-out. Fernando Gaviria surprised us a little bit, but I stayed focussed on my own sprint. And I managed to finish it off. We knew there would be attacks on the last climb, so we gambled and didn’t pull behind the early breakaway. We left that to other teams, because we knew we needed to be with as many teammates as possible after the top. That turned out to be the right decision and after a perfect sprint we took the win. It’s great to win a bunch sprint again. I’ll keep on giving my all in these last races for Lotto Soudal. There are two or three more chances for sprinters at this Tour of Britain, we’ll try our best on those occasions too.”

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 1 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 4:00:54
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
4. Gabriel Cullaigh (GB) Team Wiggins
5. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Ethan Hayter (GB) Great Britain
8. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
9. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 1:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 4:00:44
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:04
3. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
4. Gabriel Cullaigh (GB) Team Wiggins at 0:10
5. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Ethan Hayter (GB) Great Britain
8. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
9. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky.

Stage 1:

GP de Fourmies/La Voix du Nord 2018
Just like in the Brussels Cycling Classic, the sprinters came to the fore at today’s 86th edition of the Grand Prix de Fourmies. Bora-Hansgrohe was very active during the race, often positioned at the front of the peloton to control the advantage of the break. The last few kilometers saw a flurry of attacks, however, at the end of the day it all came down to a mass sprint. After yet another impressive display of teamwork, Pascal Ackermann sprinted to victory ahead of Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) and Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors).

The beginning of the race saw a flurry of unsuccessful attacks. The first four attempts to form the breakaway of the day were quickly reeled back by the peloton, however, after 25km, a five-man group managed to free themselves from the main field. A few kilometers later, two riders gave chase and were able to bridge the gap to the leading group. The escapees led the race for much of the day, however, the teams of the sprinters were careful to ensure that their advantage did not grow too significantly. During the day, Bora-Hansgrohe was active at the head of the peloton and, together with the other sprinters’ teams, led the chase after the breakaway. The leading group began to split on the first local lap in Fourmies and a few of the escapees were reabsorbed by the peloton. Ultimately, the efforts of the leading group were to remain in vain, and the remaining escapees were caught with 20km remaining. Shortly afterwards, the attacks came thick and fast from the peloton, with three riders breaking free and establishing themselves at the head of the field. They managed to build up a relatively small lead but their attempts were rendered futile by the chasing peloton. On the final lap the sprinters’ teams upped the tempo and preparations for a fast finale got well and truly underway. In the end, as expected, it all came down to a mass sprint, in which Pascal Ackermann emerged victorious after a fantastic performance by the Bora-Hansgrohe riders.

Race winner, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I almost can’t believe it. I’m just speechless. I knew that I’m in good form, but I didn’t expect to win two races on the same weekend. The guys did an excellent job and rode on the front of the peloton for such a long time. At the end of the day, we managed to pull off our plan perfectly and I want to thank my teammates for their fantastic support.”

GP de Fourmies/La Voix du Nord Result:
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:46:56
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Quick-Step Floors
4. Leonardo Bonifazio (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
5. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
7. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis
9. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana
10. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy.


Antwerp Port Epic 2018
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck has won the first edition of the Antwerp Port Epic (UCI 1.1). The Antwerp Port Epic is the successor of the Schaal Sels. With 33km of cobblestones and 30km of unpaved roads it is quite a tough race. Already early in the race, trainee Alfdan De Decker faced a double puncture, after which he left the race. Wanty-Groupe Gobert took the control in the race halfway. Marco Minnaard, Fabien Doubey and Wesley Kreder reduced the pack. Later a breakaway of around ten riders was formed, with Kreder and Van Keirsbulck.

It did not go fast enough for Guillaume Van Keirsbulck. He accelerated together with two Roompot riders. One by one the Dutch riders were dropped. After a Van Schip crash at just over 20 kilometers from the finish, Van Keirsbulck steamed solo to the finish line near the MAS museum in Antwerp. In the sprint for second place, Wesley Kreder (4th) stranded on a sigh from the podium after a splendid race. Frederik Backaert completed the top-15. For Van Keirsbulck it is his second WGG victory after Le Samyn in 2017. For Wanty-Groupe Gobert it is the fourth UCI victory in less than two weeks, after the GP Stad Zottegem (Baugnies), Schaal Sels (Dupont) and Druivenkoers (Meurisse).

Race winner, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “It was a tough race today. I gave my teammates the task to make the race hard early in the race. They did it in a solid way. We got away with a group and on the next unpaved section I accelerated again, this time with Van Schip and his team mate. Eventually we were left with two in the battle for the victory. Unfortunately Van Schip crashed, but that was also my luck, because dropping him would not have been easy. I kept the pace high, until Van Schip had to let go in the chase. I had little race information, so I continued to ride all the way to the finish, where it appeared that Van Schip was already far behind. I like to ride the cobblestones and off-road sections. This victory is a nice farewell present for the team after two good years. Maybe I still have something in mind for the upcoming weeks.”

Antwerp Port Epic Result:
1. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 4:55:23
2. Aksel Nõmmela (Est) BEAT Cycling Club at 1:37
3. Taco Van Der Hoorn (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 1:37
4. Wesley Kreder (Ned) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 1:37
5. Jan-Willem Van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 1:37
6. Sjoerd Van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 1:37
7. Piotr Havik (Ned) BEAT Cycling Club at 1:47
8. Wout van Aert (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan at 2:17
9. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Development Sunweb at 3:57
10. Jeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 4:20.

Antwerp Port Epic:

Building a Strong Team Around Wout Van Aert in 2019
Now that the deal between Sniper Cycling and Roompot Vakanties has been officially announced, our next step is to work out the practical details in order to build a competitive team for the coming season. For Wout van Aert, one of the spearheads within the team, there will be a central role in team Roompot – Crelan next year before making his move to the World Tour. Van Aert still has a commitment with Sniper Cycling that expires on 31 December 2019. We are loyal towards ongoing contracts and expect that our riders are too.

With Roompot Vakanties a new, stable title sponsor was brought in to enable us to strengthen our team in various areas and to better support Wout van Aert during his road program. After all, we not only get a valued partner, but also some excellent riders, experienced staff members and a well functioning sporting structure and framework. In short, the collaboration with Roompot means that we, Sniper Cycling, can build a stronger and more competitive team to support Wout van Aert even better than before and to continue our growth process.

Wout Van Aert:
Siena - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Wout Van Aert (BEL - Verandas Willems - Crelan) pictured during Strade Bianche elite 2018 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Primož Roglič will not race the Individual Time Trial at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck-Tirol In order to focus on the Elite Men’s Road Race
Rising star of the world cycling scene, and one of the pre-race favorites for the Individual Time Trial at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck-Tirol, Lotto NL-Jumbo rider Primož Roglič has revealed that he will be focusing on the Road Race this year.

Roglič, currently at a high-altitude training camp in Kühtai (2020m above sea level) near Innsbruck, where his Lotto NL-Jumbo team colleagues were on a training camp earlier this year, confirmed his decision in an interview with the organizers, saying: “I took the decision about ten days ago because I had some problems with my elbow after the Tour [de France]. I had a stone it in after a crash, which I had removed. A week later it was inflamed so I had to have it opened up again. I still haven’t ridden my TT bike, so I can’t really train to get a good result. I will [only] start when I can fight for a win, so I won’t do it.”

The 28-year-old Slovenian, who finished fourth at this year’s Tour de France said that he would concentrate his efforts on the Elite Men’s Road Race instead: “I will do the Road Race; it will be a challenge but I like it – it’s a really long race and a lot of things will happen for sure. I’ve never really raced a World Championships [Road Race] for a result before and, like I said it will be a challenge. It’s a really hard course, especially the last climb. It will be a fight to go over it when we hit it for the last time. I rode it three times today and it was tough.”

Roglič has won the ‘Queen’ stage at the Tour de France for the past two years and a key stage at this year’s Giro d’Italia. Asked whether he felt this gave him an edge over his rivals, he responded: “Yes I think so, especially for myself because I know I can ride hard and be really good. This gives me mental confidence, as well as the training. The truth is we are all starting from zero, from the same place, so you have to always prove yourself, again and again.”

Roglič acknowledged the strength of his main rivals saying: “We’ll see how they finish La Vuelta coming into the Worlds. For sure the course could be good for [Alejandro] Valverde and [Julian] Alaphilippe, but we’ll see. It will be a big challenge for each guy starting here.”

Slovenia will field eight riders, the maximum allowed in a team for the Men’s Elite Road Race, which Roglič, agreed would help his chances: “It may be an advantage that we don’t have a lot of big leaders, but if we select the eight really strong guys for us, we can focus on some goals to fight for as a whole team.”

Roglič is excited by the prospect of lots of Slovenian supporters being at the event and anticipates a great spectacle, on good, wide roads, with big crowds cheering the riders: “Of course it is an advantage it is quite close to Slovenia this time, and we are on fire with the results for all our guys – so what can I say? Come and cheer for us and we’ll do our best.”

Roglič finished: “The parcours does suit me, but when you are going well, the parcours suits you and when you’re not, it’s not so good. So my goal is to try to prepare myself at the highest level possible and then race.”

Primož Roglič:

Bauke Mollema Renews Contract for Two Years
Trek-Segafredo is excited to announce they have come to a two-year agreement with Bauke Mollema, extending his contract with the team through 2020. Ever since Mollema, 31, joined Trek-Segafredo, he has impressed with his tenacious fighting spirit and professionalism.

Luca Guercilena, General Manager Trek-Segafredo: “He is a pillar of the team as one of our respectable leaders. He is a very strong guy, not only physically but also mentally. He proved that once again in the Tour de France this last year, where he came at the start with great ambitions for the GC. When he crashed and fell out of that fight, he changed his tactics immediately and started racing very aggressively in his hunt for a stage win. Unfortunately, he didn’t succeed, but he has proven once again that he is a fighter.

“We saw him do it again in yesterday’s stage 5 at the Vuelta. We are really happy that Bauke will stay with the team for two more years. Alongside Richie Porte we will have two extremely strong climbers sharing opportunities to battle for the GC throughout the season. I am confident that this will turn out really successful for the team and I am looking forward to seeing these two out on the road next year.”

Bauke Mollema: “I am very grateful for the confidence Trek-Segafredo has put in me. I am looking forward to another two great years on this team. When I look at our riders, staff, and sponsors, I can only conclude that we have a great team and I am very happy and proud to be a part of it. In the next few years, I hope to continue getting stronger and also use my experience to push the rest of the team to a higher level.”

Bauke Mollema:

Bahrain-Merida is Happy to Announce the Contract Renewal of Heinrich Haussler
It has been the second season in Team Bahrain Merida for 34-year old Australian road racing cyclist Heinrich Haussler with German heritage. This year, he performed very well on the races and, especially, showed his value and experiences. All of our young riders, which race with him, are excited with Heinrich’s tactical intelligence. He is a real mentor to young riders as Matej Mohorič and others. We are satisfied and happy Heinrich stays in the team and share his knowledge in the team for next two years.

Heinrich Haussler commented: “I’m super happy to say I can be part of this great team for another 2 years. Especially, this year being able to race again and be a part of some very nice team victories has helped me back to loving the sport of Cycling.”

General Manager of the team Brent Copeland said: “Heinrich is a rider that brings a wealth of experience to the team. He is a rider who can cover many different roles as well as supporting the young up and coming riders. We saw the professional effort and dedication he put in after his injury from last year. This not only shows what a true professional he is, but also the love he has for this sport and our team. We are very pleased to keep Heinrich with us and know that the fans are just as excited as us to see him in the Bahrain Merida jersey.”

Heinrich Haussler:

Stan Dewulf to Become Pro at Lotto Soudal in 2019
On 1 January 2019, Stan Dewulf will be joining the WorldTour team of Lotto Soudal. The 20-year-old Belgian, who has been riding for the U23 team of Lotto Soudal for three years, has signed a two-year deal.

Dewulf, currently trainee in the pro team, won the U23 edition of Paris-Roubaix this spring, after he already finished third in the junior race in 2015. This year, Dewulf won both the time trial and the afternoon stage on the last day of the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux, which made him finish on the second place of GC. One month later he was second overall at Tour de Bretagne, where he had claimed the third place one year earlier. In between both stage races, he got sixth at Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23. Recently Dewulf won the opening stage of the Ronde van Oost-Vlaanderen.

Kurt Van De Wouwer, head sports department Lotto Soudal U23: “Stan is a rider for the Flemish races. That’s obvious when you take a look at his results, including his victory at Paris-Roubaix. This year he also won two stages at Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux, just over the border with Wallonia, on a course similar to the Flemish Ardennes. On the other hand, Stan already finished twice on the top three of the GC of Tour de Bretagne, a seven-day stage race on a more challenging course. That’s a renowned race, with strong contestants. It’s wonderful that Stan was able to perform so well in two consecutive editions. This also proves that stage races shouldn’t scare him.”

“With these results you need to dare set the step to a WorldTour team. In many cases it’s sensible for a rider to first set the step to a lower level, but for Stan this is definitely the right choice. Also because he is very down-to-earth. It’s hard to predict what the future will bring; if he can become a real leader for the Classics one day. The fact is that we now need to give him the necessary time to further develop himself. It’s an advantage that Stan has been combining cycling with his studies, what should mean that he still has more potential to improve than someone who has already been focussing on cycling only. For the staff of the U23 team this is another beautiful moment, to be delivering a rider for the pro team of whom we hope that he has a beautiful future ahead of him and who can be an asset to the team.”

Stan Dewulf: “I had a good season, with a strong spring, and I feel ready to turn pro both physically and mentally. Last year, I already had an offer from a couple of pro teams, but that came too early for me. I am also very happy that I can set this step in my career within the Lotto Soudal team, after I have been riding for the U23 team for three years. I know that at this team I can combine cycling with my third bachelor year biomedical engineering. Riders like Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens got that chance too. That is very important to me. Continuing my studies, gives me mental rest.”

“Thanks to my traineeship I can already get acquainted with some of the riders and the working of the pro team. As a trainee I was able to ride the Great War Remembrance Race and there will follow some more races in September. I am looking forward to be learning new things and to be riding new races during my first year as a pro. It’s also good for a neo-pro to ride for a Belgian team. I’ll have to wait and see how I cope with this step, but I am definitely very motivated. I’m at my best in the spring races and I hope to have a future in those races. But I’m taking it step by step.”

“I had a great time in the U23 team of Lotto Soudal. It’s a fun team to ride for and I was always surrounded by good teammates and good sports directors. At Lotto Soudal U23 you have the opportunity to ride a varied program, which is good to learn. Kurt Van De Wouwer always had a lot of faith in me and gave me the opportunity to work towards specific races and I am very grateful for that. Last winter, I got the green light to focus on Paris-Roubaix. That’s why it’s so wonderful that I could win that race. That’s definitely the most beautiful moment of my season.”

Stan Dewulf:

Katusha-Alpecin Adds Ruben Guerreiro to 2019 Roster
A one-year contract has been signed with Portuguese rider Ruben Guerreiro, as Katusha-Alpecin continue to build the roster for 2019.

Ruben Guerreiro: “Katusha-Alpecin has always been one of my favorite teams. Former Katusha rider Purito Rodríguez always has been one of my idols. There is also a substantial Portuguese connection in the team which makes it easier for me of course, though I am used to speaking English after having spent four years in American teams. I really look forward to the next step in my career and I feel that Katusha-Alpecin is the right choice.”

Guerreiro, 24, comes to the team from Trek-Segafredo and prior to that, the team of Axel Merckx, who is known to nurture young talent. Ruben, 5th in the WorldTour Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France last Sunday, has chalked up many wins in his career, including the Portuguese National Road championships in 2017. Further he earned a top ten place in the Tour Down Under and 4th in the Herald Sun Tour, both in 2018.
General Manager José Azevedo, also Portuguese, is enthusiastic about the signing of Guerreiro: “I’ve followed Ruben’s career for a long time, starting four years ago when he signed with the team of Axel Merckx. He did good years with Axel, especially in the Tour of California. I like his style of racing. He’s aggressive and always trying to go in the breakaways. In the hard moments he is not someone who tries to hide or to sit in the wheels; he always takes his chance. He’s had some good results, like finishing top ten in the WorldTour Tour Down Under (9th, 2018).”

Guerreiro continued: “Ardennes classics, one-day races and also stage races of one week are my ‘thing’. Due to some health problems I could not always show what I am capable of, but I will next year. I want to be a good teammate as well as to win.”

Ruben Guerreiro:

Vuelta Cobbles
The cobbled climb up through the village of Candelario on stage 9 of la Vuelta on Sunday was quite decisive; Ben King made his winning move.

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