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EUROTRASH News Round-Up Monday!

The fans were out roadside in Yorkshire, even in the heavy rain, for some top action. All the results, quotes and video from the north of England and Tour of Romandie in Switzerland. Michael Goolaerts’ death still a mystery – Top Story. The 2019 Giro d’Italia starts on Saturday and the team announcements have started to come in. No Italian Grand Tour for Alejandro Valverde, Egan Bernal and Gianni Moscon. Deceuninck – Quick-Step team for California, knee injury forces Daan Olivier to retire, Sunweb and Janneke Ensing split and ‘in the INEOS team car’ video from Yorkshire. A full EUROTRASH Monday.

TOP STORY: Death of Michael Goolaerts Still a Mystery
A year after the death of Michael Goolaerts during Paris-Roubaix, it is still unknown what was the exact cause. On 8 April 2018, the 23 year-old Goolaerts started in his first Paris–Roubaix. On the second cobbled sector, at Briastre, after 109km, he suffered cardiorespiratory arrest before he crashed from his bike. He was resuscitated by paramedics and transferred by helicopter to CHRU-Hospital in Lille where he died later that evening.

The French public prosecutor who is in-charge of the case has so far been unable to find the exact cause of the young riders passing. “The death of cyclist Michael Goolaerts during Paris Roubaix in 2018 is not caused by doping, nor by a heart defect,” Het Nieuwsblad quotes the public prosecutor in Cambrai, France. “There is no toxicological or physiological reason that can explain his death. Nothing was found in his blood.” The investigation is continuing. The investigating judge is now investigating Goolaerts’ medical past, hoping to find something that can explain the heart attack. All riders of the then Vérandas Willems-Crelan team were interviewed in the study. Nick Nuyens, Wout van Aert and Stijn Steels have already spoken to the public prosecutor.

Goolaerts won the provincial individual time trial championship title of Antwerp in the newcomers category in 2010 and the individual time trial championship title in the juniors category in 2011. In 2012, he was part of the teams that won Belgian national junior championship titles in the team pursuit and the team sprint on the track. He also finished 8th in the junior Ronde van Vlaanderen.

In 2013 Goolaerts joined Verandas Willems as a stagiaire in the second half of 2013, and went on to secure a full-time contract with the team the following year. In 2015 he joined Lotto Soudal’s development team. In 2016 he won stage 1 of the Tour du Loir-et-Cher and was 9th in the Nationale Sluitingprijs and rode with Lotto Soudal as a stagiaire at the end of the year before rejoining Vérandas Willems–Crelan for 2017. He had a top-10 placing in the GP Briek Schotte and made the early breakaways in the Tour of Flanders, where he was in the front group for over 200km. In 2018 he was 9th in Dwars door West–Vlaanderen before he rode Paris-Roubaix.

In May 2018 it was announced that the cobbled section where he crashed would be renamed ‘Secteur Pavé Michael Goolaerts’ in his honor, and that his family would unveil a monument.

The memorial on ‘Secteur Pavé Michael Goolaerts’:

Tour de Yorkshire 2019
While many were expecting a bunched sprint in Selby, one man managed to hold off the hungry pack to capture the biggest win of his career. Indeed, after being part of a 6-man breakaway, Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Charles) managed to hang on to the lead all the way to the line. The Dutchman captures victory ahead of Filippo Fortin (Cofidis) and Jonas Van Genechten (Vital Concept-B&B Hotel) and conquers the general classification leader’s jersey after Stage 1 of the Tour de Yorkshire.

Despite a few rain showers, hundreds had gathered in Doncaster for the start of stage 1 of the 5th edition of the Tour de Yorkshire. On the menu: 182.5kms all the way to Selby and fairly wet conditions. After an extremely fast start, it took 13 kilometers for the first breakaway riders to power away: Vermaerke (HBA), Hennessy (DHB), Asselman (ROC), Bigham (RPC), Flynn and Nally (both GBR). Despite counter-attacking efforts from Fouche (WGN) and Kenway (VIT), the front six stayed clear in the lead, enjoying a gap that reached 2:10 at km 30.

Teams Dimension Data and Ineos moved to the front of the pack and started chasing from then on. At the first intermediate sprint in Elloughton (km 72) claimed by Hennessy ahead of Vermaerke and Bigham, the gap had dropped to 1:55.

On the climb up the only hill of the day (Baggaby Hill, km 135), Flynn was the first rider to be dropped by the front group while Hennessy captured the most climber’s points at the top. Meanwhile the gap over the pack again grew and reached 2:20 at the summit.

The second bonus sprint was again claimed by Hennessy but the Canyon DHB rider eventually called it a day and stopped his effort having accomplished his mission of clinching the best climber’s jersey.

The pressure increased on the shoulders of the four escapees as the peloton moved closer: 1:55 with 25kms to go and still 40 seconds ten kilometers from the finish. It looked as though we were heading for a bunched sprint as the gap dropped to 13 seconds with a kilometer left. But in the final moments of the stage, Jesper Asselman managed a final effort and made it clear to the line holding off the hungry pack to claim victory. Second place went to Italian Filippo Fortin (COF) while Jonas Van Genechten clinched third spot.

Stage winner and race leader, Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Charles): “This is definitely the biggest victory of my career and I still can’t believe it. It’s really awesome and I will never forget today. The plan was to get in the break and go for the best climber’s jersey. On the climb I had no explosivity in my legs though so was angry. I kept pushing out of frustration but I thought we’d get caught because the gap was going down really fast in the last 50km. We kept riding really hard and everyone worked well together. In the last few kilometers I realized it might be possible and gambled to start my sprint at the right moment. I went full gas and looked under my elbow near the line and saw there was a big gap behind and I couldn’t believe I was going to win. We are really happy with this result and it was a beautiful victory. Now let’s see what happens about defending the leader’s jersey. The last day looks really tough but maybe this jersey will give me an extra boost. Yorkshire is an awesome place to ride your bike and the fans are always incredible. It’s fantastic that they came out in this weather and it gives you goosebumps to ride through crowds like that. It’s really cool to be here – like being in one of the Classics or the Grand Tours – the public are so enthusiastic. I will never forget today.”

Tour de Yorkshire Stage 1 Result:
1. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles in 4:05:45
2. Filippo Fortin (Ita) Cofidis
3. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
4. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles
5. Gabriel Cullaigh (GB) Team Wiggins-Le col
6. Ethan Hayter (GB) Great Britain National Team
7. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
8. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data
9. Christopher Lawless (GB) Ineos
10. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin.

Tour de Yorkshire Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles in 4:05:34
2. Filippo Fortin (Ita) Cofidis at 0:05
3. Jacob Hennessy (GB) Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes
4. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel at 0:07
5. Kevin Vermaerke (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
6. Daniel Bigham (GB) Ribble Pro Cycling at 0:10
7. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles at 0:11
8. Gabriel Cullaigh (GB) Team Wiggins-Le col
9. Ethan Hayter (GB) Great Britain National Team
10. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias.

Yorkshire stage 1:

The bunch sprint expected for Stage 2 eventually occurred in the streets of Bedale. After catching a 6-man breakaway group, the pack made it bunched to the finish where Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin) proved to be the fastest. The German, son of legendary sprinter Erik Zabel claimed the win ahead of Van Poppel and Lawless. Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Charles) keeps his overall leader’s blue jersey.

The sky was just as grey over Barnsley for the 126 riders still in the race. A good way to warm up was to attack and that’s exactly what Fabien Grellier (TDE) di as soon as the first kilometer. The Frenchman was eventually caught by three other riders at km 7: Stewart (DHB), Scott (SCB) and (McGlinchey (VIT). The gap grew rapidly and reached 1:25 at km 9 but the pack started chasing under the influence of team Dimension Data.

Just before the first intermediate sprint (km 20,5), won by Stewart, two Wiggins-Le Col riders manage to take off on a counter-attack. Fouché and Scott (WGN) eventually catch up with the front four while the gap again increases over the pack: 2:50 at km 31.

Approaching the climb of the day, James Fouché decided to power away on a quest for mountain points. He reached the top of the Côte de Lidley (km 69) on his own with an advantage of 15 seconds over Stewart and McGlinchey and 1:55 over the pack. On the descent, the leading rider was joined again by his former companions.

The gap carried on dropping as the peloton entered the circuit of the next World Championships around Harrogate. At the second bonus sprint (84,5), claimed by Jacob Scott, the pack had closed in at 55 seconds. With 16kms to go, Stewart and McGlinchey feeling the pack moving closer broke away. While their former companions were caught they continued their efforts helped out by Rolland (VCB), Ourselin (TDE) and Williams (SCB). But the front five were finally reeled in by the pack in the final four kilometers.

The pack remained bunched all the way to the final straight in Bedale. Helped out by his Katusha-Alpecin team mates, Rick Zabel powered to the line claiming victory ahead of Boy Van Poppel (ROC) and Christopher Lawless (INS). Son of six-time Tour de France green jersey Erik Zabel, the German claims his first win of the season. The overall leader’s blue jersey remains on the shoulders of Jesper Asselman (ROC) while Van Poppel takes command of the points classification and Jacob Hennessy remains best climber.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin): “I’m so, so happy to win a race. I really couldn’t believe it. I just realized it when I went to the podium and I was standing here. Tears came to my eyes. As a bike rider you want to win, and my last win was four years ago. Normally I am a lead out guy and I don’t have too many chances for myself. It’s just a super nice day for me that I can see ways to win races at the professional level. I don’t know how, but I came in a good position in the last 500m, then I saw the 300m sign and I know I can do a long sprint. I thought ‘OK, I must go for it. If someone comes over me at least I tried.’ I was so afraid when I came in the last 50m because I’m not a guy who wins often and I thought today maybe I can win, and I was so afraid if someone comes over – it was such a relief when I crossed the line. Short stages are always full gas, and it was a headwind all day, but we still raced pretty hard. The last five kilometers were pure chaos, and I was close to crashing a few times. We just started here with five guys but we’re really motivated. There are some good sprinters here. I’m just so happy I can win a race. It’s also really important for the team because we haven’t won so much this year. To get a win here is really amazing. Thanks to my teammates who kept me out of the wind all day. They really believed in me. A few times today Nathan Haas said, ‘Hey man, you can win today. I believe in you.’ If you don’t try, you never win. That’s what I thought about in the last 500 meters. I had good momentum – I just started 10-15 wheels back. With 100 meters to go, I thought ‘Man, keep going, you can finish on the podium.’ At 50m I was still hopeful and then I crossed the finish line first. Thank you so much to the team.”

Race leader, Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Charles): “It was a tough stage, especially on the World Championships circuit, and my team had a good day because we defended the blue jersey and also got Boy [Van Poppel] in the green one. Hopefully the next few days will be equally good but it gets a lot harder from now on with a lot of steep climbs and I hope I can stay up there.”

Tour de Yorkshire Stage 2 Result:
1. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin in 3:09:16
2. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles
3. Christopher Lawless (GB) Ineos
4. Andrew Tennant (GB) Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes
5. Daniel McLay (GB) Great Britain National Team
6. Andreas Nielsen (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
7. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
8. Michael Rice (Aus) Hagens Berman Axeon
9. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
10. Connor Swift (GB) Madison Genesis.

Tour de Yorkshire Overall After Stage 2:
1. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles in 7:14:50
2. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:01
3. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles at 0:05
4. Filippo Fortin (Ita) Cofidis
5. Jacob Hennessy (GB) Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes
6. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel at 0:07
7. Christopher Lawless (GB) Ineos
8. Kevin Vermaerke (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon
9. Thomas Stewart (GB) Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes
10. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 0:11.

Yorkshire stage 2:

It promised to be an eventful day on the Tour de Yorkshire Stage 3, and the show was at the height of expectations. A group of favorites including around 30 riders powered away with over 50kms to go including Van Avermaet and Froome. Only 21 remained together all the way to the finish line in Scarborough where Dane Alexander Kamp (Riwal Readynez Cycling Team) claimed the win. The blue jersey changes shoulders and goes to Chris Lawless (Ineos).

Wind was to be the main topic of the day over the 132kms of the hilly course by the North Sea. The 114 riders took off just after 3:00 PM under the rain, but as the conditions got dryer, 9 riders managed to break away at km15: Cuming (MGT), Sicard (TDE), Carpenter (RLY), Reza (VCB), Scott (WGN), Zijlaard (HBA), Bradbury (SCB), Mottram (VIT) and Archibald (RPC). At km 22, the front group could enjoy a 130 advantage. Robert Scott was the first to reach the top of the Côte de Silpho (km 38.5) as the gap grew to 1:55. It even reached 2 minutes at the first intermediate sprint (km 48) won by Mottram.

The pack led by teams CCC, Roompot-Charles and Katusha-Alpecin kept good control on the escapees and started moving closer. At the summit of the Côte de Hooks House Farm (km 60.5), once again conquered by Davis, the gap was 1:50 and then 50 seconds at the second bonus sprint (km 67) won by Mottram.

Just after the third climb of the day, the Côte de Lythe Bank (km 75) where Davis again claimed the most mountain points, the pack broke into several bunches. A group of over 30 riders powered away including the likes of Blue Jersey, Jesper Asselman (ROC), Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) and Chris Froome (INS). The surviving breakaway group was rapidly gobbled up with over fifty kilometers to go and the gap grew for the front riders. At the top of penultimate climb of the day, the Côte de Grosmont, the favourites led by Vinjebo (RIW) at the top could enjoy a 55 seconds advantage overt their closest chasers.

The final climb up the Côte de Ugglebarnby (km 101.5) proved to be too hard for Asselman to keep up with the top guns and only 21 riders remained at the front while the race leader lost ground (120 adrift at the top).

That group including 5 Riwal riders, 4 Ineos men and 3 members of team CCC continued their fast progression towards Scarborough. They remained bunched on the final straight by the sea. The sprint was eventually claimed by Alexander Kamp (RIW) ahead of Chris Lawless (INS) and Greg Van Avermaet (CCC), giving the Dane the biggest win of his career so far.

Crossing the line close to 2 minutes later, Jesper Asselman loses his overall leader’s Blue Jersey that goes to Chris Lawless. In the new GC, the Brit is in the same second as Kamp and has a 6 seconds lead over Van Avermaet. He also takes command of the points classification while Robert Scott is the new best climber.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Alexander Kamp (Riwal Readynez Cycling Team): “It was hard in the crosswinds but my team did a terrific job and I had some power left to finish it off at the end with a good sprint. I didn’t think too much and went with my instinct, and luckily I won. It was a fantastic victory and I’m in good shape so hopefully I can still be in contention tomorrow.”

Race leader and 2nd on the stage, Chris Lawless (Ineos): “I’m a bit disappointed about not winning the stage but it’s always nice to be leading the race and this is a bonus for us. Tomorrow is a hard stage and I’m going quite well but I’m a sprinter, not a climber, and we’ll have to see if it’s beyond what I can do. I’ll try my best to go until the end and we’ll see how it goes.”

Tour de Yorkshire Stage 3 Result:
1. Alexander Kamp (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team in 3:23:24
2. Christopher Lawless (GB) Ineos
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
4. Rasmus Tiller (Nor) Dimension Data
5. Scott Thwaites (GB) Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK
6. Owain Doull (GB) Ineos
7. Matthew Holmes (GB) Madison Genesis
8. Andreas Nielsen (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
9. Nick van der Lijke (Ned) Roompot-Charles
10. Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin.

Tour de Yorkshire Overall After Stage 3:
1. Christopher Lawless (GB) Ineos in 10:38:15
2. Alexander Kamp (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:06
4. Andreas Nielsen (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team at 0:10
5. Scott Thwaites (GB) Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK
6. Connor Swift (GB) Madison Genesis
7. Nick van der Lijke (Ned) Roompot-Charles
8. Owain Doull (GB) Ineos
9. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Ineos
10. Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin.

Yorkshire stage 3:

After an action packed day in the hills of northern Yorkshire, three riders managed to make it clear to the finish line in Leeds. While title holder Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) conquered the day’s win, this fifth edition of the Tour de Yorkshire went to Christopher Lawless (INEOS) making the best of his slim lead in the GC prior to the final day.

The splendid Halifax Piece Hall welcomed the riders of the Tour de Yorkshire in style. Thousands had gathered to cheer on the remaining 108 men taking on the fourth and final stage of the event. On the menu, after taking off from this historical location of Britain: 175kms of racing on a course to Leeds including five hills. Wearing the overall leader’s blue jersey at the start was Chris Lawless (INS) who knew it would be hard to defend his leadership.

At km 4, nine riders managed to break away : Lafay (COF), McEvoy, Walker (both MGT), Hivert (TDE), Rolland, Courteille (both VCB), Irizar (EUS), Scott (SCB) and Hayter (GBR). Their advantage grew to 1:40 at km 12. At the top of the first climb of the day, the Côte de Goose Eye (km 22), the front group led by Scott had a 2:10 lead.

Arnaud Courteille was then the first to reach the summit of the Côte de Barden Moor (km 39.5) while the gap reached 3 minutes. At the first intermediate sprint, in Kilnsey (km 58), won by Scott ahead of Irizar and McEvoy, the peloton remained 2:50 adrift. The third hill of the day, the Cote de Park Rash was once again claimed by Courteille. After the summit, team Ineos took control of the chase and the gap started dropping. At the feeding zone, the front 9 saw their lead drop to 1:15. The first man to struggle at the front, and even quit the race was McEvoy.

On the climb up the Côte de Greenhow (km 128), three of the front men powered away: Lafay, Hivert and Courteille. Meanwhile, team Riwal pushed harder at the front of the pack reducing the number of riders in the peloton and moving closer to the break. At the top, Courteille conquered enough points to virtually claim the best climber’s jersey while the front three enjoyed a 30’’ advantage over Rolland and Hayter and 55 seconds over the pack.

On the final climb of the day, the Côte de Otley-Chevin (Km 154), Rolland and Hayter were caught and the front three started feeling the pressure of a group of 29 riders including all the favourites. At the top, Courteille led the way ahead of Hivert and Lafay but Dunbar (INS) powered away in a counter-attack. The Irishman managed to catch the leaders and went on to conquer the second bonus sprint. He then continued on his own at km 164.

Dunbar was eventually caught by Van Avermaet and the blue jersey Lawless. With 5kms to go, the front three could enjoy a 10 second lead over a group including Kamp and 20 seconds over the Froome group of over twenty men. The three men finally made it clear all the way to the line.

In the final sprint, title holder Van Avermaet took the day’s win ahead of Lawless and Dunbar. After capturing the blue jersey the previous day in Scarborough, Lawless managed to keep his overall leadership and win this 5th edition of the race. The Brit becomes the first home winner of the event, taking the victory by a slim 2 second advantage over Van Avermaet and 11 seconds over Dunbar. Lawless also won the points classification while Courteille finishes best climber.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Greg Van Avermaet (CCC): “I am really happy that I won the stage. Winning the overall title would maybe have been better but in these circumstances, with Team INEOS being that strong, it wasn’t possible. I think I made a good move, attacking on the last climb to bridge over to Dunbar. Lawless was still on my wheel at that point but, it was the only option to try to win something. I was fighting from Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to Liège-Bastogne-Liège for a win and I missed out on a win in my bigger goals. Of course, I was disappointed in those races as I was expecting more from myself. This win makes it a little better as it’s a nice way to end this first part of the season but for sure, the Classics was my bigger goal. Overall, I am really happy with how this race has gone though. This is my last race before my rest period and, it’s been a hard week of racing in difficult conditions but, I am really happy with the way me and the team have raced. The course of this race is really good for me. It’s really hard but I can survive and I have a good sprint. I knew it would be really hard to win the General Classification. It was good that I was third yesterday so I got some bonus seconds and had an advantage over some other riders. I knew Team INEOS and Riwal were really strong but I was hoping that they may battle each other more and I would be ready. For this reason, we saved the team to the end. It was good that we could bring Dunbar back and I could jump, and it was only Lawless who could come with me. Tactically, I don’t think I could have done more so I’m happy with a stage win and second overall.”

Overall winner and 2nd on the stage, Chris Lawless (Ineos): “If someone had told me coming in that I’d win this race I’d have called them a liar. I didn’t think it was possible! I managed to get to the bottom the Chevin without getting dropped. Then around halfway up it I starting losing distance with the main guys. I knew the climb with 5km to go wouldn’t be too bad for me, and I knew I could go hard for that amount of time. If I could just get back over the Chevin to that group then I might have a chance of staying up there. Doull did a really good job of getting me back over the top of the Chevin. When Greg went on the climb with 5km to go we already had Eddie up the road. I knew I just had to follow Greg. I didn’t do a turn getting across to Eddie and then as soon as we got there I just told Eddie to ride. I knew even if I got second I’d still win (overall). I’ve got to really thank the team for putting the faith in me and still backing me. I’ve not had a good history of performing on courses like this. The team looked at how I was going yesterday and said ‘we’re going to give you a shot.’ I’m so happy they did!”

Tour de Yorkshire Stage 4 Result:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC in 4:40:03
2. Chris Lawless (GB) Ineos
3. Eddie Dunbar (GB) Ineos at 0:02
4. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data at 0:09
5. James Shaw (GB) SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling
6. Matthew Holmes (GB) Madison Genesis
7. Alexander Kamp (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
8. Gabriel Cullaigh (GB) Wiggins-Le Col at 0:12
9. Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Scott Thwaites (GB) Vitus Pro Cycling.

Tour de Yorkshire Final Overall Result:
1. Chris Lawless (GB) Ineos in 15:18:12
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC at 0:02
3. Eddie Dunbar (GB) Ineos at 0:11
4. Alexander Kamp (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team at 0:15
5. James Shaw (GB) SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling at 0:25
6. Matthew Holmes (GB) Madison Genesis
7. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Dimension Data
8. Scott Thwaites (GB) Vitus Pro Cycling at 0:28
9. Connor Swift (GB) Madison Genesis
10. Nick van der Lijke (Ned) Roompot-Charles.

Yorkshire stage 4:

Tour de Romandie 2019
On Stage 2 of the Tour de Romandie, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ) did what he does best: dropping his escape companions and holding off the peloton. Doing it in the rain, is also a habit, he won the third stage victory of his career in this event. Stefan Küng likes odd years in the race organized by former professional Richard Chassot. He won in 2015 in Friborg, in 2017 in Bulle. Every time in the rain. Each time finishing solo.
This time, he quickly isolated himself at the front of the race with Bagdonas (AG2R-La Mondiale), Arcas (Movistar), Brown (EF Education First), Backaert (Wanty-Gobert) and Imhof (Swiss Selection). The gap Was never huge: 3:50 at the foot of the Mollendruz pass at 91km and 3:00 50 kilometers from the finish, the sprinters teams were not concerned at this point, but didn’t see Küng till after the finish.

Stage winner, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ): “I had a look at the stage profiles and realized this was a good day for me, I knew that if I had a minute with 20km to go, then I’d have a chance. Of course, you’ve got to get in the right break and then to be able to drop the other guys, have the legs and hold off the peloton, so it’s complicated. But I pulled it off and it’s a great win for me. I really like the Tour de Romandie – it’s a home race in Switzerland and have enjoyed some beautiful moments in the past.”

Jan Boven, DS of overall leader Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “Today was a tough day. Not only in terms of the course itself, but also because of the harsh conditions. A strong leading group got away at the start. Kung was five minutes down in the GC, so we couldn’t allow them too much of a gap. In the beginning we went after them to keep them within three, four minutes. In the end, the sprint teams took over, but they lacked the confidence to take them back. The team positioned Primoz and Steven well in the front all day and they stayed out of trouble.”

2nd on the stage, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “That was a tough day in the saddle today. It was raining all day long and we knew that it will be difficult to close the gap due to the wet roads. But congrats to Küng, he rode a smart race. I gave my best to win the sprint out of the bunch and I am satisfied that it worked out. That was more or less the only chance for the sprinters here at the Tour de Romandie, but I will support my teammates in the upcoming stages.”

3rd on the stage, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida): “Too bad that one of the escapees brought it home. We were present in the final and Jan Tratnik led me perfect out. I opened the sprint early, then Sam Bennet Bora-Hansgrohe was able to pass me. All in all, I can say it’s a good result.”

10th on the stage, Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Gobert): “Despite the cold weather I had a good feeling all day. With Backaert in de front we could settle in the peloton. I managed to sprint to a top ten which is satisfying for a World Tour race. This rewards a good collective performance, because my shape is not optimal yet. I will see what I can do tomorrow. The race profile is hard, but without long climbs. The hill finish suits me, so with good sensations maybe I can survive and sprint to a good result. In my opinion, only around 40 riders will be left to battle for the stage victory and I hope to be one of them. The breakaway could be dangerous, because I have no idea about which team is willing to control the stage.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 2 Result:
1. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ in 4:10:59
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:59
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Patrick Bevin (NZ) CCC
7. Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
10. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 2:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 8:32:13
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
3. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:12
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 0:13
5. Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar at 0:14
6. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:15
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:17
8. James Knox (GB) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:18
9. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Winner Anacona (Col) Movistar at 0:19.

Romandie stage 2:

David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) won Stage 3 on Friday around Romont. Gaudu beat the favorites on the final climb to take his first WorldTour victory. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma), 3rd on the day, remains at the top of the overall standings. Davide Villella of Italy (Astana) put in the first attack as Gaudu remained in his wheel before jumping at 400 meters. His acceleration was followed by Rui Costa, Roglic, Michael Woods and Felix Großschartner who managed to finish in the same time as the Frenchman.

Yvon Madiot was very satisfied but not so surprised. The whole team knew at the beginning that David Gaudu’s form and the profile of the stage could be a hit. Gaudu is now 2nd overall, 6 seconds behind Roglic and is a serious candidate for the final overall standings.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ): “In the end, the guys made a huge amount of money to put me in, I felt I had strength, and at the bottom of the bump, I put myself in the best position, I managed to get back to the front posts quickly I thought G. Thomas was going to put in a big attack, it was actually an intense rush, I attacked 400m from the line, out of the corner and nobody could get me back. I did not believe it too much, I said to myself, that somebody will go back to me and make no, today it smiled on me and I am very very happy. We will see the stage tomorrow, the conditions are announced very difficult with a finish at the top. After there is a lap of 17km that will not necessarily be favorable but we will see at the end of tomorrow’s stage. The team’s Tour de Romandie has already been successful with Stefan’s victory yesterday and mine today.”

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): “I hesitated for a moment and Gaudu took it. I was in a good position but I didn’t make up my mind because I was waiting for someone to go. Unfortunately my indecision went in favor of the strong Frenchman who did a great sprint. I would have preferred to bring home the success, but at least I can see that my condition is good, and this will be very important in view of the big stage tomorrow.”

5th on the stage and 4th overall, Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): “After the Tour of Turkey, I took a rest, therefore I was feeling good and fresh as I came to Tour de Romandie. On the first stage I went quite deep, therefore I had to recover yesterday. Today I felt really good and of course I wanted to fight for a stage win. However, tomorrow is the queen stage, and we will go for Emanuel and for me too, we will see what happens.”

6th on the stage, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert): “The start of the race was very fast, with quite a few attacks. My teammates worked very well by always being present in the groups of escapees. We were not in the good breakaway, which was no problem, because Jumbo-Visma controlled the race. Afterwards we rode grouped all day. In the final I was very well placed to start the climbs. Education First accelerated in the hills of the last climb, which provoked a selection. The final battle for the victory was decided in the last 300 meter. I am satisfied with my performance, but I was hoping for more. The last climb was a bit neutralized, because nobody attacked. My idea was to follow the first attack, but as no one dared to attack I waited for the sprint in the final 300 meters, which is not my specialty. I had the legs to win, not merely to sprint for a place of honor. But this is a good sign for this Saturday. My legs are good, I hope to survive the cold!”

Tour de Romandie Stage 3 Result:
1. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 3:50:53
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
4. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
5. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 0:03
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Davide Villella (Ita) Astana
9. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal
10. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 3:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 12:23:02
2. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:06
3. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:08
4. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:19
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 0:20
6. Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar at 0:21
7. Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:25
8. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:27
9. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First at 0:28
10. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:29.

Romandie stage 3:

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) claimed his second stage win in the Tour de Romandie in Stage 4. In the shortened stage to Torgon, the Slovenian impressively sprinted to the victory, after he had countered all attacks with teammate Steven Kruijswijk in the final kilometers. Thanks to his victory, Roglic extended his lead in the overall standings. For Roglic it’s his fifth victory of the season. It’s the eleventh for the Jumbo-Visma team.

The queen stage was shortened due to bad weather conditions. The organization decided to cancel all climbs along the way except the final climb to Torgon. An early breakaway of eight riders colored the stage. They took a maximum lead of two minutes and was caught on the final climb. Team Jumbo-Visma controlled the stage all day long and ensured that both Roglic and Kruijswijk could start the final climb in an ideal position. In the final kilometers, Kruijswijk attacked and countered all attacks, together with Roglic, after which the Slovenian finished it off in an impressive way.

Stage winner and overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a tough, wet and cold stage. I am happy that I was able to win today after yesterday’s bad sprint. The team did a perfect job again and put Steven and me in an ideal position at the foot of the final climb. Steven then did an excellent job. I can’t thank the team enough for what they did. And my own shape is good too.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): “I knew I was good, but such a long climb was an unknown factor for me too. In the last period, I had prepared myself more for the classics and I concentrated on the more explosive climbs. I’m therefore satisfied with my performance and in the end, I also had the strength to make a good sprint, even if against such a fit Roglic it was practically impossible to win. Now, I’m back in second place in the standings and the hope is to make a good final time trial to keep at least the podium.”

6th on the stage and 5th overall, Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Due to the short stage, the race was fast and all happened on the final climb, as always. Emu and I were able to stay always in a good position in the first group, after the team delivered us perfectly. Shortly before the finish I increased the pace, I felt good and wanted to try something. But Roglic was just too strong today, however, I am satisfied with my performance so far here.”

14th overall and 23rd on the stage, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert): “This morning, at the start, I didn’t want to have any regrets, so I raced willing to take risks and daring to attack. Which I did in the final climb, first halfway through the climb and later with 1.5 kilometers to the top. Which unfortunately costed me my place in the first group. I went into the red and the slopes continued after the top of the GPM until the finish line. But I can’t have regrets, because it was not my intention to follow and wait until the final time trial. The conditions were not favorable for me. First, the rain paralyzed me a bit. Further, I prefer a repetition of climbs, so the shortened course didn’t suit me. And the final climb was not in my favor. Unless this I had a good feeling and I was able to attack which is encouraging. The final time trial on Sunday is for specialists, I will start without pressure. It will be a good exercise to progress in this discipline.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 4 Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 2:42:21
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos
4. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
7. Jan Hirt (Cze) Astana
8. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin.

Tour de Romandie Overall After Stage 4:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 15:05:13
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:12
3. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:16
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 0:26
5. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:29
6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:37
7. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First at 0:38
8. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:39
9. Carlos Betancur (Col) Movistar at 0:57
10. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin at 1:00.

Romandie stage 4:

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) took his second final overall victory in the Tour de Romandie. In the Final Stage 5 time trial in Geneva the Slovenian put the icing on the cake. He was the only one to clock a time under twenty minutes, taking his third stage win this week. Roglic clocked a time of 19:58, beating World hour record holder, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) by 13 seconds, Filippo Ganna (Ineos) by 15, with CCC’s Patrick Bevin 1 second slower. Roglic extended his winning overall lead to 49 seconds over Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) with Geraint Thomas (Ineos) third at 1:12.

For the Jumbo-Visma rider the overall victory in Romandie is also his third overall victory in a WorldTour stage race this season. Earlier this year, Roglic won the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico. For Roglic, these victories are his sixth and seventh win of the season respectively. For Team Jumbo-Visma it’s the twelfth and thirteenth victory. In Tony Martin, the yellow-black formation had a second rider in the top five of the stage in Geneva. The German finished fifth. Steven Kruijswijk also rode a solid time trial and retained his sixth place in the overall standings. Roglic also won the points classification.

Stage and final overall winner, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “I am very happy with my third stage victory and my overall victory. This victory is a team achievement. The entire team was fantastic this week. It shows how we have grown as a team. That’s really nice to see. I really enjoyed it. I had not raced since Tirreno-Adriatico and I trained on altitude in April. These results have come a bit unexpected so I am very satisfied. This was the perfect preparation for the Giro.”

2nd on the stage, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal): “Throughout the week, I already noticed that Roglič was riding on another level, so I knew it would be difficult to beat him today. Of course, I am very disappointed. The prologue, in which I crashed, was a wasted opportunity. I thought about it a lot. I took too many risks and that backfired on me. Today however, I rode the best possible time trial. The first part included some climbing and was really tough but I am very good at riding uphill on my time trial bike. However, there’s still someone who does that even better and that’s Primož Roglič. The team prepared everything to perfection so it’s a pity I can’t reward them with the victory. There was a pretty strong but invariable wind today. So that certainly did not play a part in the victory of Roglič. Due to the headwind and the uphill sections, the toughest part of the time trial was situated in the beginning. Normally, I am more of a relatively slow starter but today, I had the second best time at the intermediate point. That’s of course an indication of the good shape I am in. In the run-up to the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de Romandie has taught me that I easily survive uphill but also that it will be really hard to beat Primož Roglič in the time trials. He always needs to give his all given the good general classification he will pursue. It will be a really tough opponent but of course I will go for victory in all three time trials. Hopefully, I will be able to take the win in one of them. If I could choose, I would prefer to win the first time trial but that will also be the hardest one to do so.”

7th on the stage and 2nd overall, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): “The course of this time trial was very interesting and selective. The last part was very fast and managing my energy well along the way, maintaining the necessary forces to be able to run the whole six kilometers with the road slightly downhill, was fundamental. Placing seventh today in the time trial and winning the final second place is big for my morale. To beat Roglic like this was practically impossible, so my second takes on more value. Now I want to continue to work well and try to get the most out of the Tour of Switzerland.”

9th on the stage and 4th overall, Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Well, I am super happy with my time trial today. All in all, I am happy with my shape and I missed a podium spot by just one-second, but I am not thinking about that, I am focused on my shape, which is good. Now I focus on my regeneration and looking forward to California.”

18th overall, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert): “I had a good feeling during the time trial, especially during the climb, but the fast final didn’t suit me at all. I conclude this Tour de Romandie with a good evaluation. Each day I had a good feeling and I was capable or almost capable to battle for the win. I don’t finish with the result I hoped for, but I’m not far from it. On Friday I finished with a good result, but also with the regret of not attacking during the final. Yesterday the result was bad, but I tried my luck. The stage was amputated, and the steep climb was not in my favor, but I have no regrets. I conclude with an 18th place in the general classification, which is nice to finish a good first part of the season with.”

Tour de Romandie Stage 5 Result:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 19:58
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:13
3. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Ineos at 0:15
4. Patrick Bevin (NZ) CCC at 0:16
5. Tony Martin (Ger) Jumbo-Visma
6. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:22
7. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:37
8. Will Barta (USA) CCC at 0:43
9. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:44
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 0:46.

Tour de Romandie Final Overall:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 15:25:11
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:49
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 1:12
4. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:13
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:17
6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:33
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:35
8. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 2:00
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin at 2:03
10. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First at 2:18.

Romandie final stage 5:

Giro d’Italia 102: Trofeo Senza Fine Awaits the GC Mail Contenders
One month before the final stage of Verona, the Trofeo Senza Fine, awarded to the winner of the Giro, is now displayed at the Palazzo della Gran Guardia in Verona, in front of the Arena. The main contenders for the final victory tell their expectations just over a week from the start.

There are only 9 days before the Giro d’Italia Big Start takes place in Bologna. The 102nd edition of the Giro d’Italia, organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport, will run from 11 May to 2 June, starting and finishing with Individual Time Trials, in Bologna and Verona respectively. In this city, from today until the final stage in a month’s time, the Trofeo Senza Fine awaits its winner.

GC contenders to watch out for at the 102nd edition of the Corsa Rosa are:

Vincenzo Nibali (Ita, 34, Bahrain – Merida)

The only multiple winner of the Giro d’Italia (2013, 2016) in this year’s race is back after one year of absence following his third place overall in 2017. He’s the only grand slam holder (along with La Vuelta a España 2010 and the 2014 Tour de France) to line up in Bologna, and is the clear crowd favorite. At the age of 34, the Sicilian is still one of the favourites for a Grand Tour victory. His recent third place at the Tour of the Alps indicates that his efficient preparation for the Giro at an altitude training camp in Gran Canarias keeps him among the top contenders against the up and coming climbers of the new generation.

Vincenzo Nibali said: “The approach to the Giro was the ‘classic’ one, starting with altitude training on Mount Teide and the return to the races at the Tour of the Alps and, last Sunday, at the Liège. My condition is growing and everything is going well. The Giro starts immediately with a short time trial; a commitment of certain importance that will already challenge those riders who aim for the GC. The first stages should not be underestimated, because even without any particular difficulty in altitude, the routes are very difficult and challenging. Not to mention that everyone, in the first week of the race, has the strength and the desire to show off and some captain might try a surprise move.”

Tom Dumoulin (Ned, 28, Team Sunweb)

The Dutchman is the only other former winner of the Giro d’Italia to start this edition, having snatched the top spot on the exceptional occasion of 2017’s Giro100. Tom Dumoulin is true to his words as he said he fell in love with the Corsa Rosa and the Maglia Rosa when the race started on his home soil in Apeldoorn in 2016 and he has lined up every year since: following his second place to Chris Froome last year, this is his fourth straight participation. No other favorite knows the Giro as well as the “Butterfly from Maastricht”. Aged 28, he has already worn the Maglia Rosa for 17 days, at least one in each Giro he started and only three days less than Nibali. After placing 6th in the UAE Tour and 4th at Tirreno-Adriatico, he’s also conducted an altitude training camp to approach his biggest goal of the year in top shape.

Tom Dumoulin said: “As always I’m looking forward to heading to Italy to get started with the Giro! It’s a great race with a great course this year. We’re expecting a tough battle but now that the preparations are done it will be nice to get things underway in Bologna.”

Primoz Roglic (Slo, 29, Team Jumbo – Visma)

Primoz Roglic made a household name for himself across the world of cycling three years ago when he lost the inaugural time trial of the Giro d’Italia to Tom Dumoulin by only one-hundredth of a second in Apeldoorn. Both riding for rival Dutch teams (even though Team Sunweb is registered in Germany, its soul is in the Netherlands), they have three stages against the clock on their agenda to fight for the Maglia Rosa, starting with the cronoscalata (uphill time trial) to the San Luca of Bologna on May 11. The 29-year-old Slovenian is unbeaten in the only two races he competed in this year before the Tour de Romandie: the UAE Tour and Tirreno-Adriatico. He also made the Giro d’Italia his number one objective of the 2019 season.

Primoz Roglic said: “I think that a lot of good guys are starting the Giro. We will go all in with our goal, which is to win the Pink Jersey. It will be a really tough race. People say the race suits me, but when you are good, everything suits you. When you are good you can race all sort of climbs. I wanted to do the Giro because there are three individuals time trials, which is what I can do best. There’s also a lot of mountains, which I also like.”

Simon Yates (GBR, 26, Mitchelton-Scott)

Throughout his journey in the Maglia Rosa during the 2018 Giro d’Italia, Simon Yates transformed into a new rider. His 13 days leading the Corsa Rosa changed him as he fully embraced the historical and cultural dimension of the event. But knowing his inferiority to the likes of Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome against the clock, he fought for every second up for grabs along the way and ultimately paid for his efforts in the last three mountain stages in the Alps to eventually finish 21st overall. Yet he learned so much from this experience that he capitalized on his kind of mistakes to win his first Grand Tour three and a half months later. Having bagged La Vuelta, he decided to return to the Giro with the feeling of unfinished business.

Simon Yates said: “I’m approaching the Giro the same way I would do any other race. I really like to try to win every race I start so for me it’s just business as usual. My lead up to this year’s Giro is actually very, very similar to last year. I’ve raced exactly the same number of days as last year. I hope the condition is the same as last time and we will just race a little more conservatively and we will see how that goes. We start directly with a prologue, so we will know how everyone’s form is there. I would like to race aggressively as I do normally. I don’t have my eye on any particular stages, I think the last week is just very difficult and can shape the race. A lot of guys will be conservative until that point and then we will see from there.”

Miguel Angel Lopez (Col, 25, Astana Pro Team)

Like Primoz Roglic, Miguel Angel Lopez has two stage race victories under his belt since the beginning of the season, with the Tour Colombia and Volta Catalunya. They confirm that his status is on the rise after his two Grand Tour podiums last year as he finished third overall in both the Giro d’Italia and La Vuelta. “Superman” is another modern champion who says he loves the Giro and returns, intent on winning it. He didn’t only go back to Colombia for altitude training in his province of Boyacá, but also for the birth of his first child in April. He’s the true leader of the Astana team that is one of the most successful of the 2019 season. Aged 25, he’s also a true favorite for the Giro d’Italia starting in Bologna even though he might hide his very best riding before we reach the big mountains.

Miguel Angel Lopez said: “I am waiting for the start of this Giro d’Italia with great interest and impatience! The result of the last year brought me a huge motivation and now I am really looking forward to coming back to the Giro. Last season’s race became a real show, it was something very beautiful and emotional! I really hope this year it will be the same or even better. At least our team will try to make this edition of the Giro d’Italia unforgettable.”

Other Contenders
Other contenders for the victory in the General Classification of the Giro d’Italia are: Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick Step), already twice a winner of the Maglia Bianca of best Young Rider in 2016 and 2017, of a stage in the Giro and of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege; Mikel Landa (Movistar Team), who was third in the 2015 Giro and winner of three stages at the Corsa Rosa; Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), who has previously finished fifth, sixth and seventh at the Giro d’Italia and is a winner of stages on both the Tour and the Vuelta.

Egan Bernal to Miss the 2019 Giro d’Italia
Egan Bernal will not start in the Giro d’Italia on Saturday. The Colombian leader of the new (ex-Sky) Team INEOS crashed during a training and broke his collarbone.

Bernal won Paris-Nice and took third place in the Tour of Catalonia in 2019. The 22-year-old rider would have started the Giro d’Italia for the first time in his career as a leader in a Grand Tour. It is not yet known how long the climber will be out of action.

The Ineos Tweeted: “Unfortunately we can confirm that @Eganbernal has suffered a broken collarbone in a training accident ahead of the Giro d’Italia. More details to follow.”

Egan Bernal:

No Moscon Either
Gianni Moscon will also not be at the start of the 2019 Giro d’Italia. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, La Corsa Rosa was initially included in the 25-year-old Italian’s program, but after a disappointing spring it has been decided to change his race plans. Moscon has had a disappointing season so far. In Tirreno-Adriatico he had to abandon early and in the spring classics he didn’t show much form. Team Ineos has gone for an alternative program, including the Tour de France.

Team INEOS will now start with climbers Pavel Sivakov, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Ivan Ramiro Sosa and Jhonatan Narvaez, with Salvatore Puccio, Christian Knees and Sebastián Henao expected to complete the squad. The 21-year-old Russian, Sivakov, will start as the new leader on Saturday in Bologna, according to the Italian sports newspaper. Sivakov won the final classification in the Tour of the Alps last week.

INEOS Giro leader, Pavel Sivakov:

Fernando Gaviria will lead UAE Team Emirates at the Giro d’Italia
The Colombian joins top riders who will animate the Corsa Rosa

“Together with the management, directors and coaches of UAE Team Emirates, we decided that I should participate in the 2019 Giro d’Italia.”

Fernando Gaviria confirms that on May 11 he will be in Bologna for the start of the Giro d’Italia.
“With great pleasure, I will return to the roads of the Giro d’Italia, which I feel a special relationship with. With the 2017 Giro, my career took its international dimension.
The points classification jersey and the four stage victories lifted me into the elite sprinters’ group. Those were beautiful and very important moments for me, the thought of having the chance to relive them is exciting.”

The Colombian sprinter has clear objectives for the coming grand tour.
“In the first part of the Giro, the stages will offer sprinters a good number of opportunities. As often happens in the Giro, there will be no straightforward stages, so even we sprinters, and our teams, will always have to fight for the sprint finish. The goal is to make the most of the opportunities to compete in sprints. It will be very difficult to fight for the points classification, because the second part of the Giro will be almost exclusively for the climbers”.

Gaviria greeted the Giro project immediately with enthusiasm when it came about.
“Given Fabio Aru could not race, the team shifted the focus from the general classification to stages. This meant that the directors had the opportunity to add a nice group dedicated to the sprints to the group it already had hunting stages. It seemed like a good project, able to offer me all the necessary conditions to do well. I had no doubts and I confirmed to the team my desire to race in Italy.”

Gaviria considers that the Giro will be an important junction between the first and second part of the season.
“Participation in the Giro is balanced within my season. The missed Paris-Roubaix participation due to an illness closed the first part of my season earlier. I observed a period of rest and then resumed training with good sensations.
The Giro d’Italia will be a highlight of my first year in the team, then we’ll think about the second part of the season.”

Next week, UAE Team Emirates will disclose the complete line-up for the Giro d’Italia.

Alejandro Valverde to Skip Giro d’Italia
World Champion from Movistar Team still in pain after bone edema in his sacrum following Liège crash; will continue recovery with no risks, looking to find back his best form in the second half of the season.

The Movistar Team confirmed Friday that Alejandro Valverde, one of its main references for the 102nd Giro d’Italia – which starts next Saturday in Bologna – will not be able to take the start of the first Grand Tour of the season.

The Murcia native wasn’t able to recover in time from bone edema in his sacrum after a crash in one of the training sessions prior to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, on Thursday 25th April.

The World Champion will continue to recover, taking no risks, to find his best form in the upcoming weeks and start building up for the second half of his 2019 season.

Valverde not on the Giro start line:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Tour of California
Fabio Jakobsen will rely on a strong team as he’ll go for stage victories at the World Tour race.

In eleven previous participations at the Tour of California, current UCI Team Ranking leader Deceuninck – Quick-Step has won the general classification on one occasion and took home three other distinctive jerseys as well as a staggering 14 stages, results that make our squad one of the most successful in the history of the event at the start of which we return next week.

For Fabio Jakobsen, victorious in three races (Scheldeprijs and one stage apiece in Algarve and Turkey) so far this season, it will be the first outing in the United States, where the 22-year-old Dutch sprinter will be joined by Ronde van Vlaanderen runner-up Kasper Asgreen, Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Danish Champion Michael Mørkøv, Argentinean Champion Maximiliano Richeze and Zdenek Stybar, one of this year’s Spring Classics stand-out riders.

The 14th edition of the Tour of California (12-18 May) features more than 20,000 meters of climbing and starts from Sacramento, where the fast men are expected to be in the spotlight at the finish, this being one of the three opportunities they’ll have to shine during the week. Three other days will smile to the attackers and puncheurs, with the big showdown set to come on Mt. Baldy (8.2km, 8.4%), the gruesome climb that makes its return on the course after two years, and which in the absence of an individual time trial, should be decisive in the fight for the overall victory.

“We are happy to come back every year at the start of the Tour of California, the race that takes place in the home country of our long-time sponsor Specialized, with a stage even finishing in Morgan Hill, where Specialized is based”, said experienced sports director Wilfried Peeters. “Fabio will be our main man for the bunch sprints, where he’ll be guided by Michael and Max, with Tim and Kasper the guys in charge of controlling the peloton. Zdenek and Rémi will have some freedom and we’ll see what they can do on this tough parcours. Overall, we are looking forward to being present there, in what’s always one of the nicest races on the calendar.”

12.05–18.05 Amgen Tour of California (USA) 2.UWT

Kasper Asgreen (DEN), Rémi Cavagna (FRA), Tim Declercq (BEL), Fabio Jakobsen (NED), Michael Mørkøv (DEN), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Zdenek Stybar (CZE).
Sports Director Wilfried Peeters (BEL).

Knee Injury Forces Olivier to Quit Pro Cycling
Daan Olivier is forced to immediately end his professional cycling career. The 26-year-old Dutchman has been suffering from a knee injury since a crash last year, which was exacerbated by top-level sport. The Team Jumbo-Visma rider tells in his blog how he has experienced the past period and how he faces the future.

“Since the Ruta del Sol I felt that the injury moved towards a stage of performance impairing”, Olivier writes. “Already the first day of the Tour of the Basque Country, I felt that the injury got even worse. Now I have come to a point of realization that the past couple of months I have been fighting a losing battle. The injury got worse and I am not feeling rewarded for all the efforts I have put in. It feels hard and unreal that I am forced to abandon not only the Basque Country race, but the race of Professional Cycling. It feels like a dream has fallen to pieces. Cycling has brought me a lot. Those experiences I will never forget, and I am more than grateful that I have been privileged to live this life for almost 11 years.”

Olivier showed that he was ready to turn pro when he was a rider of the Rabobank Continental Team. In 2014 and 2015 he joined Team Giant-Shimano (Alpecin). After a short break, he joined the current Team Jumbo-Visma in 2017. That year, he finished the Vuelta a España.

Team Jumbo-Visma thank Daan for his team spirit and the nice cooperation and wish him the best of luck in his social career.

Daan Olivier:
Rijswijk - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Daan Olivier - pictured during teampresentation LottoNL-Jumbo 2017 in Rijswijk, the Netherlands - foto Carla Vos/Cor Vos ©2016

Sunweb and Janneke Ensing Part Ways
Team Sunweb and Janneke Ensing are parting ways, with La Flèche Wallonne Féminine being the 32-year-old’s last race for the team. The pair mutually agreed to end their agreement after the cooperation on both sides did not match expectations. Both Team Sunweb and Ensing separate on good terms.

Janneke Ensing said: “After some talks with the team we decided that going separate ways is the best option for both sides. Initially it looked like this could be a good fit for me, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I’m pleased that we can part on good terms and now look forward to the next chapter.”

Hans Timmermans, Team Sunweb coach said: “It has become clear that the cooperation has not lived up to expectations on both sides and after extensive talks, there is a mutual belief that parting ways is the best option moving forward. Everyone should work in an environment that is suited to them, so giving Janneke the opportunity to pursue her career elsewhere can only be the right decision. We’re thankful to her for her efforts and time with the team, and sincerely wish her all the best with what’s next.”

Janneke Ensing:

Team INEOS Behind the Scenes – Tour de Yorkshire Stage 3
Jump inside the Sky… INEOS team car to ride alongside Sport Director Servais Knaven as he helped navigate the team through Saturday’s key third stage in Yorkshire:

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