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Santuario del Acebo - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - sfeer - illustratie pictured during Vuelta Espana 2019 / Tour of Spain 2019 - stage -15 from Tineo to Santuario del Acebo (154.4KM) - Photo: Dario Beligheri/RB/Cor Vos © 2019

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The Vuelta a España has had a few crazy days – Reports, quotes and video. Plus race action from the Brussels Classic, OVO Energy Tour of Britain, Antwerp Port Epic, GP de Fourmies/La Voix du Nord and Izegem Koers. Tom Pidcock to race with the top men this winter – Top Story. Teams for Milano-Torino, GranPiemonte and Il Lombardia, rider contracts and stagieires, Domenico Pozzovivo out of hospital, Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen returns, Yuzzu new sponsor for Lotto Soudal. Loads of cycling news Monday EUROTRASH.

TOP STORY: Tom Pidcock to ride elite cross
Last winter, Tom Pidcock raced a large part of the cyclocross season with the elite riders. Only in the World Cup races and the World championships did he still compete with the U23, his own age category. Now, at the age of 20, he is definitely taking the step up to the highest category.

Thomas Pidcock is the U23 World champion and also won the World Cup last season. But as a third-year U23 rider, he is one step higher than the others. That means he will take on Mathieu van der Poel and – if he is fit – Wout van Aert at the World championships in Dübendorf, Switzerland.

Pidcock is currently preparing for the road World Championship in Yorkshire, where he is one of the top favourites in the U23 race. Due to his crash in the Tour de l’Avenir, he was somewhat behind, but he still hopes to get in top shape in time to make the rainbow jersey in front of his own Yorkshire people. After the road World championships he takes a short rest before a fairly full cyclocross season. His season will consists of the complete Superprestige, all World Cup races and a number of other crosses. If he takes a step forward from last winter, he very likely to be fighting it out with the top men. Last year, he was fourth in Gavere (Superprestige) among the pros and he was on the podium in Hulst (Brico – now Ethias Cross).

On October 8, Tom Pidcock will announce at a press conference in London which team he will be with on the road and MTB next year. Now that his current team, Wiggins-Le Col, has stopped, it is rumoured that the young Brit also wants to set up his own team on the road. During the winter he already does this with the TP Racing Team. According to WielerFlits, the possibility that he will make the move to the WorldTour next summer is an option, and that could be with Team Ineos. It is no coincidence that Pidcock has already completed a number of training camps with the team in recent years. On the other hand, he recently stated in an interview that he was also interested in the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team based in Belgium.

The young Briton also seems well on the way to imitate Mathieu van der Poel with regard to his program. Pidcock wants to combine the road with mountain biking in 2020. This year he tried MTB for the first time and did not do too badly, including a National title. “Yes, I do compare myself with Mathieu,” he told the British website Cyclist this week. “Had Mathieu not changed the tradition of combining different disciplines, I might have been the first…”

Tom Pidcock:

Vuelta a España 2019
An extremely dynamic day of racing in the basque hills saw Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick Step) outplay his rivals to solo to victory in Bilbao on Stage 12. The Belgian star claims his 6th La Vuelta stage win, ahead of the Basque rider Alex Aranburu (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). The battle went on for the whole stage, as it took more than 100 kilometres for the attackers to break away from the bunch. The favourites also had a dig at each other but Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) showed no sign of weakness. He retains La Roja on the eve of the infamous climb up Los Machucos.

The riders anticipated a nervous day with wind exposed roads and a very tricky finale. Attacks fly non-stop from the start but nobody manages to stay ahead of the bunch until Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin) opens a small gap on a downhill section after 100km. He is joined by 18 more attackers: José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar), Manuele Boaro (Astana), Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida), Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), Fran Ventoso (CCC), Philippe Gilbert, Tim Declercq (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott), Nikias Arndt (Sunweb), John Degenkolb, Jacopo Mosca (Trek-Segafredo), Valerio Conti, Marco Marcato (UAE Team Emirates), Alex Aranburu, Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Fernando Barcelo and Cyril Barthe (Euskadi-Murias).

Lopez tries, Roglic resists
The peloton finally lets them go and the gap goes up to 4:20 as the attackers storm into the last 50km. Marco Marcato drives the breakaway for Valerio Conti. Felix Grosschartner accelerates in the penultimate climb of the day, the Alto el Vivero (4.3km, 7.7%). Tsgabu Grmay joins him in the final kilometre of ascent. The chasers trail by 40 seconds at the summit, 26.6km away from the finish. The gap to the bunch is slightly down: 3:47.

The chasers get back to the leading duo at the bottom of the steep Alto de Arraiz: 2.2km at 12.2%. Philippe Gilbert accelerates twice and drops everyone 1.3km before the summit. Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) attacks but Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and the rest of the GC contenders follow. Philippe Gilbert holds on to a 3 second lead to snatch the win ahead of Alex Aranburu. The peloton crosses the line at 3 minutes and Primoz Roglic retains La Roja.

See the ‘PEZ Stage 12 Report’ HERE.

Stage winner, Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick Step): “There was a lot of headwind in the first part of the stage, but that didn’t stop us, and we attacked and joined many moves, but the bunch reacted each time. It was pretty chaotic, but we kept attacking and at one point, I went full gas on a descent. Tim came across, some other guys joined us, and together we opened a small gap which we kept increasing. Tim was so important, he did a brilliant job, especially before the last ascent, where he closed the gap on the two leaders, and I’m grateful to him for his help. From there, all I had to do was race smart and stick to my plan, which I did and now I’m satisfied it all paid off. On the last climb, the atmosphere was crazy! It was like in the classics, with all the flags and everything, and the fans gave me a lot of motivation. I am happy to score a tenth Grand Tour stage win – a nice number – and I’m happy that it came in the beautiful Basque Country, which in my opinion is very similar to Flanders, as they have a profound love for cycling also here.”

Overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a big fight for the breakaway before they eventually went. Still, it was a beautiful day. The team was very strong and they did a great job to keep me in a good position in the climb so nobody gained time on me. I like this area, I’ve already won races in the Basque Country. I don’t know Los Machucos, it will be my first time up there. I know there are very steep ramps, it will be a hard climb for sure. The team will have to work from km 0, to control who’s in the breakaway and then control the stage. The GC guys will attack in the last climb. We’ll be alone and it will be about making it to the top as fast as possible.”

2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “There was such a tough fight for the breakaway, it was a really fast start. We stayed together and fully focused, all the team riders, before we were able to send Rojillas out to the front. After that, we just tried to survive and look to tomorrow’s stage. When López attacked into the Arraiz climb, I was a bit boxed in into the group, behind Pogacar, and it look a bit for me to react to that move, but in the end, it was not a problem. Tomorrow’s stage will be quite harder, and surely more decisive.”

3rd overall, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana): “I only attacked to see how the others were feeling. Still, I knew it would be hard to open differences in that kind of climb. We stayed focused until the finish. Tomorrow will be quite an important stage. We hope to have good legs to do something interesting. Primoz Roglic is human. If he were a machine, of course he would be unbeatable… But he is human and we’ll find his weakness.”

Break rider, Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was already a big effort to even make it into the group, which did cost me a serious amount of energy. We decided together with the Sports Directors, to fight for a stage win, not for a second place. We knew that it would be hard to distance riders like Gilbert on the final climb, therefore I launched my attack earlier, but on the descent, I had a lot of headwind, which made it even harder. Of course, I was disappointed right after the finish line, but it is how it is. I took the chance and gave it a try.”

Vuelta a España Stage 12 Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 3:48:18
2. Alex Aranburu (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:03
3. Fernando Barceló (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
4. José Joaquín Rojas (Spa) Movistar at 0:22
5. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb at 0:26
6. Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:29
7. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
8. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Astana
9. Tim Declercq (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Valerio Conti UAE Team Emirates at 0:31.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 12:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 44:52:08
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:52
3. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 2:11
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3:00
5. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 3:05
6. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 4:59
7. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 5:42
8. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 5:49
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 6:07
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 6:25.

Vuelta’19 stage 12:

Sensational Slovenians! The 20 year-old prodigy Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) took his second stage win of La Vuelta 19 atop the infamous Alto de Los Machucos and only his compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) was able to follow him all the way to the summit on Stage 13. Roglic increases his GC lead to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), now trailing by 2:25. And Pogacar climbs on the overall podium and takes the white jersey as the best young rider 17 seconds ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).

Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) doesn’t start due to a muscle damage. The other riders participating in La Vuelta 19 follow again the trend they’ve been setting since the start of the race with a hard battle for the break. Attacks fly from the start but the break only manages to get away in the last kilometre up the cat-3 Alto de la Escrita (km 39.4). There are 29 riders at the front. The best classified on GC is Education First’s Sergio Higuita, 14th with a delay of 10:21. The polka-dot jersey and winner at Javalambre Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) is also there, as well as Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), winner in Ares del Maestrat, and Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step) on the day after his victory in Bilbao. The leaders open a gap of 2:55 after 55km.

The attackers keep fighting on a rolling route. Jesus Herrada takes 3 KOM points atop the Alto de Ubal (km 56.6). Wout Poels (Ineos) claims 5 in the Collado del Ason (km 86). Herrada is back on top with the cat-2 Puerto de Alisas (km 106). The gap to the bunch increases to 8:25 and Sergio Higuita moves ahead of Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez (3rd overall, best young rider) on the virtual standings.

Saez, Latour and Quintana tried… But Pogacar and Roglic were too strong
Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias) attacks his breakaway companions as the race enters the last 50km. He enjoys a 1:45 gap to his chasers atop the Puerto de Fuente Las Varas (29.1km to go). Astana up the tempo in the bunch and bring the gap down to 6:30 at the summit. Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ) are 58 seconds behind the leader atop the Puerto de la Cruz de Usaño (19.2km to go), the main chasing group trails by 1:59 and the gap to the bunch is down to 5:07.

Bouchard drops down to the chasing group to help his leader Pierre Latour. Bruno Armirail catches Saez with 6.5km to go, and then Latour goes solo in the lead in the last 4.5km. Nairo Quintana is the first GC contender to attack, 6km away from the summit. But nobody can keep up with the Slovenians Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) when they accelerate inside the last 4km. They get back to Latour with 1.5km to go and Pogacar takes it home, 27 seconds ahead of the Frenchman, Valverde and Quintana.

Video and photos in the ‘PEZ Stage 13 Race Report’ HERE.

Stage winner and 3rd overall, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “At the start I didn’t know I would feel so good on the last climb. In fact, I just wanted to survive because after stage 7, my goal was simply to not lose too much time. But in the end it was an incredible day for me. When I heard over the radio that nobody was following me and Roglic, I realised that it was a good opportunity to go for the stage. And with Roglic it’s always difficult to go against him because he’s really strong. I could do that today and I’m really, really happy.”

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a very hard and difficult stage, with a steep final climb. On top of that, it was a majestic day for Slovenian cycling. I am feeling better and better. We must keep the focus, if we do that we have a good chance of keeping the jersey. One day less until Madrid but many difficult stages are coming up.”

2nd overall and 4th on the stage, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “For the time being, Roglic is the man in the best form in the field, and Pogacar is also showing an impressive pace in the mountains. Seeing how Roglic was moving into the group, I felt he was going to try an acceleration at some point to split our group, and that’s what he did. In those final kilometres, and once the Slovenians rode away, we two, Nairo and myself, tried to keep our own pace, just giving our maximum, trying to lose as little time as possible. What can we do now? We’ll see. We lost some time today against Roglic, but maybe we can inflict him some pain in the upcoming stages – or maybe not. Let’s continue day-by-day, as we’ve done all over this Vuelta. Now it’s about those two big mountain days in Asturias.”

3rd on the stage, Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I missed out on the victory, but that’s how it goes. I wasn’t off by much. This day also proves that I am getting better. The sensations are much better. It’s been a long time that I have been having trouble getting back to form, and it would have made me very happy to win. Yesterday we missed the break and it was important to make up for that today. We ended up with three at the front including Clément (Venturini) and Geoffrey (Bouchard). Geoffrey was able to score more points for the climber’s jersey, and then at the end of the stage, he rode himself inside-out for me. There are some nice opportunities still to come, and I really want to raise my arms in victory before the end of this Vuelta.”

5th on the stage and overall, Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “We’ve given it a try, but Roglic has shown to be the strongest man in the race at this moment. I tried to go into that attack halfway through the climb because I was the one furthest down in the GC, and felt OK in that moment. It’s easy to stay on others’ wheels and see what happens, but in my case I wanted to attempt it, because if you don’t try, you don’t really know hoe you’re doing and which chances you stand. Hopefully the people won’t say you just stayed in the middle, not cracking but not trying either. We’ve seen how everyone’s legs are doing right now, and we’ll need to try other strategies. Let’s see if we can go on another long-range move. There are many decisive stages ahead, and it won’t be easy, it’s a complex situation right now. The only thing I know is we’ll keep on trying.”

6th on the stage and overall, Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I knew the finish as we were here two years ago. Pawel was again strong and brought me onto the final climb. Felix, in the breakaway, was also attacking and then helped me in an important moment. Really good job from the team again. I think with today’s result and the overall, we can look confidently into the final week of the Vuelta. Tomorrow will be a chance for Sam again, and we will try to help him as much as we can.”

KOM, Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH): “Today was a very hard stage for me. I couldn’t take the points because many riders were interested in scoring. I like that fight, it gives more value and more importance to that polka-dot jersey. We’ll have to keep fighting. I have rivals such as Herrada, Bouchard or Henao, and then you have the GC guys who will score a lot with the summit finishes.”

Vuelta a España Stage 13 Result:
1. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 4:28:26
2. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
3. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:27
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
7. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 1:01
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:08
9. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 13:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 49:20:28
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2:25
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 3:01
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 3:18
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3:33
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 6:15
7. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 7:18
8. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 7:33
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 7:39
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Merida at 9:58.

Vuelta’19 stage 13:

Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) enjoyed one of the very few flat stages of La Vuelta 19 to take a second stage win, in Oviedo on Stage 14. A crash derailed the sprinters in the last kilometre and the Irishman stormed to victory ahead of Max Richeze (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal). Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) was delayed by the crash but he didn’t fall himself. The Slovenian retains La Roja ahead of two big mountain stages.

A 163-man pack rolled out from San Vicente de la Barquera without Domingo Gonçalves (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), forced to abandon due to a stomach bug. A group of six riders broke away after 10km: Silvan Dillier (AG2R-La Mondiale), Luka Pibernik (Bahrain-Merida), Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Salvatore Puccio (Ineos), Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis). The gap was up to 1:40 when Fabio Jakobsen’s Deceuninck – Quick-Step and Sam Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe started driving the bunch, at km 16.

They quickly received the help of UAE Team Emirates, Mitchelton-Scott, Trek-Segafredo and Jumbo-Visma. The gap was controlled at between 1 and 2 minutes. Stéphane Rossetto was dropped from the leading group with 67km to go. The attackers’ lead was 2:07 when the race entered the last 50km.

Valverde and Pogacar hit the deck
The intensity picked up in the last 40km. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Jempy Drucker (Bora-Hansgrohe) attacked on the only climb of the day, but Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) quickly reeled them in. The gap to the front of the race was down to 50 seconds at the summit (22.6km to go).

Diego Rubio was dropped from the leading group with 13km to go. The peloton only trailed by 27 seconds. The last attackers were caught inside the last 5km. Everything looked set for a bunch gallop but there was a massive crash with 1km to go. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) wasn’t involved and he stormed to victory. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) was delayed but he didn’t fall. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) suffered a slow speed crash. No change on GC as the incident happen in the last kilometre.

More photos in the ‘PEZ Stage 14 Race Report’ HERE.

Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “First and foremost, I really hope the guys that came down in that crash are okay. Today was the first time in a while on this race that the sprinters had an opportunity for a fast finish. The win means so much to me. Win number 13: my lucky number. I want to say a huge thank you to the guys for working so hard for me. They controlled the race all day and made sure the break didn’t make it to the line again on this race. Let’s hope win number 13 brings even more luck our way. Morale is super high in the team and I’m grateful to everyone for making today’s win possible.”

Overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “I wasn’t really involved in the crash. I was there but I didn’t crash. For us GC guys it’s the main menace, especially in sprint stages, we have to be up there but we want to take as few risks as possible. I don’t know the climbs in the coming days. I didn’t ride them before. I just saw the profiles and all the info. We have two really hard days coming up, especially tomorrow’s last climb, it’s really difficult. And the day after tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful, they say it’s the Asturias’ Galibier. I look forward to racing there. My rivals will attack for sure and try to bring a full gas race from the start. I have to be ready and we have to be ready for that with the whole team.”

2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I was almost still as I crashed. I don’t think it’s going to affect me; the wrist hurts just a little bit, I don’t think it’s too serious, just the blow. Actually, I felt near the finish like a crash was going to happen. It was an uphill finish, there could be some splits, and everyone wanted to stay near the front. Fast speeds, lots of nerves, two riders touched wheels, and everyone went down. I think I’m OK – I just want to get to the hotel and recover. Other than that crash, the day went pretty well for us, even if it wasn’t easy: 2300m of vertical gain, and a huge pace over the final climb. Two big mountains days coming up – let’s make the most of them.”

3rd overall, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “The crash was a pretty hard one. I don’t know what happened. We were at high speed and a lot of guys fell to the ground. I’m okay but I think I hit Mezgec on my crash. I don’t know how he is. I hope everyone is okay and no serious injuries are sustained by anyone.”

5th on the stage, Clement Venturini (AG2R-La Mondiale): “François Bidard did a huge job for me in the end. He knew how to wrestle with the strongest in the final to get me in the best position at the base of the final incline. Then there was a wave that caused the crash right next to me at the worst possible time. The slightest extra effort costs you immediately. It all cut me off in the middle of my effort, which was far from ideal. Then there was a gap and I hesitated before going. It is very frustrating. I have proved that I can be present on this type of finish. Now what remains is to develop the collective confidence. All else will follow.”

Vuelta a España Stage 14 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe at 4:28:46
2. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:02
4. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:05
5. Clément Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar
7. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC
8. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
9. Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb
10. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 14:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 53:49:19
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2:25
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 3:01
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 3:37
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 5:21
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 7:02
7. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 8:12
8. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 9:25
9. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 10:31
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 9:58.

Vuelta’19 stage 14:

More and more success for Jumbo-Visma at La Vuelta 19: Sepp Kuss soloed away from his breakaway companions on Stage 15 to take his first Grand Tour win atop the Puerto del Acebo while his leader Primoz Roglic proved once again to be too strong for his rivals. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) attacked the Slovenian with 7km to go but there was no shaking ‘Rogla’. The youngsters Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) finished together, 41 seconds behind Valverde and Roglic, who holds on to La Roja on the eve of another summit finish atop the Alto de la Cubilla.

The intensity was high from the start, with riders trying to go for the early break away and Movistar setting a high tempo as they aimed to isolate Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) early in the stage. Marc Soler (Movistar) attacked on the first ascent up the Puerto del Acebo (8.2km at 7.1%) and a group of 17 attackers got away on the downhill and the valley after 54km of hard racing: Marc Soler (Movistar), Quentin Jauregui (AG2R-La Mondiale), Ion Izagirre (Astana), Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal), Tsgabu Grmay (Mitchelton-Scott), Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data), Tao Geoghegan Hart and Vasil Kiryienka (Ineos), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Dani Navarro and Ruben Guerreiro (Katusha-Alpecin), José Herrada (Cofidis), Óscar Rodríguez, Sergio Samitier (Euskadi-Murias).

Jumbo-Visma controlled the gap around 3 minutes on the second climb of the day, the cat-1 Puerto del Connio (11.7km at 6.2%). Sergio Samitier attacks at the bottom of the penultimate climb, the Puerto del Pozo de las Mujeres Muertas. Ben O’Connor and Dani Navarro joined him with 45.5km to go and they had a differences at the summit (40.1km to go) and the chasers trailed by 1:45 and the gap to the bunch was up to 5:23 with Jumbo-Visma still setting the pace.

Valverde with Roglic, Lopez with Pogacar
The chasing group is back only 15 seconds behind the leading trio when Sergio Samitier attacked again, with 17km to go. Vasil Kiryienka joined him with 11.5km to go, only to be dropped on the first slopes up the second ascent of the Puerto del Acebo. The chasers were 40 seconds behind. Sepp Kuss caught Samitier and dropped him 6.5km from the summit.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) opened the game between the GC contenders with 7km to go. Only Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) could follow him. With 3km to go, they had opened a 29 second gap on Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe). Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was 25 seconds further behind.

Sepp Kuss kept riding strong at the front and soloed to victory, 39 seconds ahead of Ruben Guerreiro. Roglic and Valverde finish together, at 2:14. Miguel Angel Lopez and Tadej Pogacar dropped 41 seconds on the leader of La Vuelta 19 and Nairo Quintana lost 1:36.

See more photos and the ‘PEZ Stage 15 Race Report’ HERE.

Stage winner, Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma): “This is amazing to believe. The Vuelta is incredible for us at the moment. This is an incredible day. We were attentive from the beginning and at the front. Some of the teams sent dangerous guys up to the front, so I decided to go with them. The gap was big enough to go for the stage win. Otherwise I was going to help Primoz on the final climb. I had no strategy on the final climb, I just went full gas, I celebrated the final kilometre with the fans. The passion they have is fantastic and that is why cycling is such a big sport. On bad days they are there for you, they shout you to the top. They always support, that is why I love cycling. To grab this kind of victory is not easy, I always work hard to be in a good shape. The team gives me opportunities. This is the third Grand Tour I’ve participated in. I get chances to race for myself, like today. I’m really grateful to the team.”

Overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “Sepp was obviously really strong and it was really nice to have him take the stage win. I had good legs myself so it was ok [for Kuss not to wait]. I just followed [when Valverde attacks]. He is the closest rival and when he goes, it’s nice if I can follow. It was a hard attack but it went ok for me. It was a really hard climb, full gas all day and we just try to do our best. There are still some hard days to come. We have to maintain the focus with the whole team.”

2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I had good legs, and so I tried to attack from almost the foot of the climb, to see what happened. Everyone pretty much struggled up here, as well the two of us in the lead as the ones in pursuit. Should I have gained no advantage with that attack, you could argue the move was nonsense, but 40 seconds is a nice gap. I worked well with Roglic, we went ahead and opened a good distance with the other GC contenders. Thanks to the team, for giving me a chance to be here again contesting the Vuelta, and thanks to Soler – such a nice job! We did what we had to do, battling hard from the beginning and sending Soler into the breakaway. Marc really tried, yet once he saw the stage victory was becoming hard for him, he stopped to help me out. As during the whole race, we continue to go day-by-day; we all have been suffering a lot in this Vuelta, but we’re happy to be in this second place so far. It will be more of the same tomorrow; a very demanding stage, as always here in Asturias. A Vuelta win for ‘Grandpa’? … Grandpa hasn’t said his final word!”

3rd overall, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “It was another really fast day and the start was really hard. Towards the end it was getting hotter and hotter and we still went full gas on the last climb, so I am really happy that I could hold third place in the overall and the white jersey. When Valverde attacked, I was a little tired, but also I didn’t want to waste more energy by accelerating so early on the climb. Instead I decided it was best to follow Lopez as he is still the closest to me in the GC.”

6th overall, Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was really a tough day, with attacks and fast speeds right from the start. We had with Pawel one in the day’s break and in the final he and Felix rode really strong. Felix brought me into position and increased the pace to force a split among the chasers. We are in the final part of this Vuelta and have to be concentrated. We will do our best to achieve at the end a result we can be proud of.”

5th on the stage, Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida): “We were a good group and above all a big one. We worked well together, but maybe we could do better. The plan was to try to join the break and I managed to do it, then I had good legs, but not good enough to win. I’m happy with my result anyway.”

KOM, Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH): “Today was an easy day, if we can say. It started full gas and I followed the gruppetto because you can’t always be in the breakaway. I’m making the most of the points I took in the first days. It’s up to the others to score and overtake me. There are different stages where we can score lots of points. The two stages of Madrid and the one in Avila suit my characteristics for instance.”

13th on the stage, Marc Soler (Movistar): “When Kuss rode away, I tried to follow his move but was impossible for me. The rivals into the second group continued to attack to follow him, and that pace I was able to match, but it was becoming harder and harder for me to aim at a stage win. The team asked me on my earpiece how I felt things could go – I told them I would do whatever they asked me for, I was honest because I didn’t think I could win it. Being able to contest the GC without the Calpe loss? Well, it’s all about circumstances, you never know. I lost time there, but I could have lost it anywhere. It’s all about a process. Keeping on learning and hopefully not losing time at all someday. We’ll keep on fighting, trying to give Alejandro more chances to improve his current position and finding some weakness in Roglic. Alejandro is doing really great – years don’t make him slower, he’s still in great form. We’re willing to do our best for him. We came here to win, and we’ll keep on trying.”

Vuelta a España Stage 15 Result:
1. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma in 4:19:04
2. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:39
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Ineos at 0:40
4. Óscar Rodríguez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 0:53
5. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain-Merida at 1:49
6. Ben O’Connor (Aus) Dimension Data at 2:05
7. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 2:11
8. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 2:14
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
10. Sander Armée (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:48.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 15:
1. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 58:10:32
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2:25
3. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 3:42
4. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana at 3:59
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 5:09
6. Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 7:14
7. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 9:08
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 9:15
9. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 9:44
10. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Bahrain-Merida at 11:39.

Vuelta’19 stage 15:

Brussels Cycling Classic 2019
In his first Brussels Cycling Classic participation, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) hit the jackpot! The fast Australian beat the German Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and the Belgian Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates) with an ultimate jump in a nail-biting sprint in Brussels. Ewan sprinted to his tenth victory in Lotto Soudal colours.

Early in the race, seven riders went on the attack but the sprint teams immediately took control. Some counter-attackers joined the front group at around 45 kilometres from the line. In a soaking-wet finale of the Brussels Cycling Classic, the peloton split to pieces on some technical sections and at ten kilometres from the line, the escapees were caught. An attentive Caleb Ewan made the cut and also teammate Nikolas Maes – who acted as the perfect guide during the finale – was part of the heavily reduced bunch. It was Ackermann who started the royal sprint early and seemed to be heading for his second consecutive win. Ewan didn’t agree with that and like a jack-in-the-box and with an ultimate jump to the line, the Lotto Soudal rider sprinted to his tenth victory of the season!

Race winner, Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal): “I am very happy with the victory during my first participation in this race. To be honest, I didn’t feel great today and I was struggling on the climbs. But once the adrenaline kicked in, it went better. It was a pretty stressful day and also the rain and the narrow roads made it quite a difficult race. There was also a lot of stress in the bunch. So, all those things made the race that – I think, usually would be easier – a lot harder. Luckily, the team did a great job to keep me at the front during the difficult moments. In the end, especially with the slight uphill finish and the headwind, it really was a grind to the finish line. But I think I just timed my sprint really well. I don’t know if I was the strongest sprinter today but I think I timed it the best and luckily, I still had that little extra in the legs to take the win.”

3rd, Jasper Philipsen (UAE Team Emirates): “Today I had good legs and with the team we raced really well, always in the front and ready for any moves happening in the race. The goal here was to try to win with me or with Alex and we went very close, it only came down to a matter of a few centimetres. We hope that next time luck will be on our side.”

Brussels Cycling Classic Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal in 4:25:35
2. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
4. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana
5. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FJD
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
8. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles
10. Kaden Groves (Aus) Seg Racing Academy.

Brussels Classic’19:

OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2019
Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen returned to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in style on Saturday, winning the opening Stage 1 of the 2019 race between Glasgow and Kirkcudbright in Scotland.

Groenewegen, a two-time stage winner in the event, beat Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) and former European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) to the line in the Dumfries & Galloway market town after a textbook lead-out from his Jumbo – Visma Cycling team-mates.

He takes the OVO Energy green jersey of race leader going into Sunday’s second stage in the Scottish Borders.

Team Jumbo Visma had worked tirelessly on the front of the peloton throughout the stage south from Glasgow city centre, with little assistance from other teams. Their work kept the day’s breakaway pinned with never more than a two minute advantage, as Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes), James Fouche (Team WIGGINS Le Col), Jacob Scott (Swift Carbon Pro Cycling) and Dries de Bondt (Corendon-Circus) toiled in the warm Scottish sunshine on the race’s longest day.

Consolation for Townsend was the Eisberg Sprints jersey, Wahooligan Combativity Award and a position second in the general classification thanks to time bonuses, three seconds behind Groenewegen.

Jacob Scott led the race over all three SKODA King of the Mountains climbs to take the best climbers jersey, already with a five point advantage on fellow escapee James Fouche.

Stage winner and overall leader, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma): “The legs are good again, things were a little less good after the Tour. I was a bit tired and unhappy in the races afterwards. Fortunately I could win again today. The team did a great job for me. We controlled the race all day with Koen Bouwman and Pascal Eenkhoorn. It was a hectic final, with a short climb at the end. We got over it well. Then we rode fast to the finish. I could finish it off there. I was on the wheel of Trentin, and sprinted full gas. I’ll look at the road book this evening and hope to win another stage. I think tomorrow’s a new chance and I will try again.”

2nd overall, Rory Townsend (Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes): “It was an absolutely epic stage, the stage itself it started really hard, it seemed like a lot more people were interested in trying to get away this year, I think maybe just the nature of the course means that people don’t necessarily know what they’re going to get out of the race so maybe there’s a little bit more interest in the breakaway so yeah it took a while to go and then once it was the right formation of riders we were away but it seemed like quite a nervous day, we never got more than a minute forty and for 200 kilometres you’re always sort of looking over your shoulder which is not always too much fun but all in all we’re really happy with the day. The Wahooligan combativity is a nice extra bonus, that for me is the icing on the cake because to be voted by the people watching at home is so flattering, really, really nice.”

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 1 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 4:39:49
2. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
5. Ben Swift (GB) Ineos
6. Boris Vallee (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
7. Trond Håkon Trondsen (Nor) Team Coop
8. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Matthew Bostock (GB) Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 1:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma in 4:39:39
2. Rory Townsend (Irl) Canyon DHB p/b Bloor Homes at 0:03
3. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy 0:00:04
4. Bagdonas Gediminas (Ltu) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 0:05
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:06
7. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus at 0:10
8. Ben Swift (GB) Ineos
9. Boris Vallee (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
10. Trond Håkon Trondsen (Nor) Team Coop.

Britain’19 stage 1:

Former European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) moved into the race lead of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain after sprinting to a dramatic victory in Kelso, Scottish Borders, on Sunday’s Stage 2.

Trentin pipped Jasper de Buyst (Lotto Soudal), Mike Teunissen (Jumbo-Visma) and Davide Cimolai (Israel Cycling Academy) to the line after a reduced peloton caught brave solo attacker Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) on the final cobbled 50 metres.

Trentin, who placed third in Saturday’s opening stage in Kirkcudbright, gained crucial time bonuses on the line as a result of his win. This, combined with the distancing of overnight leader Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) on the final SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Dingleton, put the Italian rider into the overall lead of the race.

After a three-rider breakaway had toiled in the warm Scottish Borders sunshine for much of the day, the race burst into action on the Scott’s View SKODA King of the Mountains climb, with Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) and Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal) attacking and bridging to the three leaders. That spurred an intensified chase and catch on the run to Melrose, with Trentin grabbing three bonus seconds at the intermediate Eisberg Sprint in Melrose at the foot of the final climb at Dingleton.

Over the climb Pavel Sivakov (Ineos) went clear but was reeled in by the chasing of Mitchelton-Scott on the front of the bunch, which split the field in half, with overnight leader Groenewegen in the rear part of the peloton.

Attacking with three kilometres to go, Dowsett looked like he was going to upset the remaining sprinters, but despite being welcomed into Kelso’s main street by a wall of noise the British time trial champion was caught with 50 metres remaining, holding on to finish seventh on the stage.

Trentin now leads by 11 seconds overall from Cimolai and De Buyst, while also taking the Cetaphil Points jersey lead. The Eisberg Sprints jersey moves over to Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R-La Mondiale), while Jacob Scott (Swift Carbon Pro Cycling) retains the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey. His Swift Carbon team-mate Peter Williams won the public vote for Wahooligan Combativity award for his efforts in the day’s breakaway.

Stage winner and overall leader, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott): “We planned this morning to let Jumbo work through the day and then try to make it as hard as possible on the final climb, we knew that Groenewegan is likely to be dropped if we do everything right. It happened, I still had three guys with me and two of them Durbridge and Cameron Meyer started to pull straight away from the top of the climb and Cam was still really good to bring me and Edmonson into the last corner. I wasn’t expecting van der Poel to attack to be honest because I saw him as one of the main favourites for today, but I don’t know what he wanted to do, we actually also tried to contest the intermediate sprint just before the climb to get some seconds for the GC because in this race that’s something I can do but I need to have seconds over the time trialists because otherwise they’re going to smash me in the time trial [Stage Six]. That’s all, so far today was the perfect day for us.”

7th on the stage, Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin): “I was looking for an opportunity at about 15k to go but the pace was a bit too high and nothing really presented itself. Then at 3km to go, Mitchelton and Israel couldn’t really decide who was going to do the pulling and there was some hesitations. I saw Cummings went and if he’s going then you know it’s a sign that it’s a good opportunity to go and I jump onto him. I just went straight over the top. I glanced once or twice and didn’t see anyone. Then I went over the bridge and caught a glimpse of them. It was pretty heartbreaking them coming around me with 50-100metres to go.”

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 2 Result:
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott in 3:55:53
2. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy
5. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Ben Swift (GB) Ineos
7. Alex Dowsett (GB) Katusha-Alpecin
8. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
9. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
10. Danilo Wyss (Swi) Dimension Data.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 2:
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott in 8:35:25
2. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:11
3. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:13
5. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First at 0:16
6. Ben Swift (GB) Ineos at 0:17
7. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
8. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
9. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
10. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott

Britain’19 stage 2:

Antwerp Port Epic 2019
The Antwerp Port Epic (1.1, 08/09) offered again a route for strong riders. The 197.6 kilometre on the programme around the port of Antwerp contained 37 kilometre of unpaved roads and 31 kilometre of cobble sections. Enough elements to create a big spectacle and an exhausting race. Wanty-Gobert was in an ideal situation, with Cédric Beullens in the early breakaway. The strong riders ended up in the front during the last race hour, with Aimé De Gendt in a group of six, with Belgian champion Merlier and Terpstra. Timothy Dupont managed the join the leaders in the final 10 kilometre. After a succession of attacks, Aimé De Gendt escaped alone with 3 kilometre to go, resulting in his first pro victory. The party of Wanty-Gobert was completed by the 3rd place of Timothy Dupont.

Race winner, Aimé De Gendt (Wanty-Gobert): “In the beginning of the race I adopted a wait-and-see approach, because the early breakaway with Cédric Beullens was an ideal situation for our team. I moved towards the front as the race progressed, and finally ended up in the good breakaway. However, the presence of sprinter Merlier meant it was not a guarantee of success. The addition of Timothy Dupont to our group was a key moment in this hard final, because it permitted us to play the team game. All pieces came together like a puzzle: I took my first pro victory and Timothy joined me on the podium! I’m feeling good these last couple of weeks. Last week in the Scherens GP for example, I was caught by the peloton in the final kilometre. Sometimes you need some luck, and today it was on my side! It’s become a habit of Wanty-Gobert to perform well at the end of the season, so I hope we can add some more victories to our counter. I’m leaving for Italy now, afterwards I’ll be at the start of the Wallonia GP.”

Antwerp Port Epic Result:
1. Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Wanty-Gobert in 4:16:59
2. Tim Merlier (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 0:07
3. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
4. Piotr Havik (Ned) BEAT at 0:10
5. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:20
6. Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy
7. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie
8. Jan-Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Charles at 0:34
9. Aaron Gate (NZ) EvoPro Racing
10. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles.

Antwerp Port Epic’19 podium:

GP de Fourmies/La Voix du Nord 2019
The 87th edition of the French one-day race featured a 205 km-long parcours around Fourmies in the north of France. The route contained seven ascents, and as these were not particularly demanding, this left the race finalé to come down to the fast men. After an hour in the saddle, a group of nine was able to ride up the road and establish the break of the day, yet they were never able to stretch the elastic beyond 2:30 minutes.

Bora-Hansgrohe rode attentively in the field and positioned itself amongst the front end of the peloton to control the tempo. As a consequence, the deficit of the field to the breakaway had been reduced to less than a minute in the last third of the course, and several of the leaders gradually found themselves forced to fall back. The final 10 km saw a series of attacks from the peloton, but Bora-Hansgrohe was instrumental in neutralising these, and a few kilometres later, the breakaway was also finally reeled back. The finale was marred by a crash in the finishing straight, which Pascal Ackermann managed to avoid, and as such he was able to maintain his position. Pulling past his competitors with a huge turn of speed, the German took the win in Fourmies and with that, celebrated his tenth victory of this season.

Race winner, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m extremely happy to have been able to defend my title here. It was a very hard race and my teammates put in a lot of work to pull back the numerous attacks before the finale, for which I’d like to thank them very much. I knew that we lined up at this race with a very strong team and of course it’s nice to be able to reward them with the win. I think that I’ve also shown that I’m in good form, and so I hope to be selected for the World Championships.”

GP de Fourmies/La Voix du Nord Result:
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora–Hansgrohe in 4:46:29
2. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
3. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot–Charles
4. Edwin Ávila (Col) Israel Cycling Academy
5. Pierre Barbier (Fra) Natura4Ever–Roubaix–Lille Métropole
6. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek–Segafredo
7. Imerio Cima (Ita) Nippo–Vini Fantini–Faizanè
8. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen–Baloise
9. Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis.

GP Fourmies’19:

Izegem Koers 2019
Yves became the first rider in more than a decade to win the tough kermesse twice.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step returned at the start of Izegem Koers and made sure of stomping their authority over the 164.9km-long race soon after the start. Making his first appearance for our team, stagiaire Jannik Steimle – winner of six races this season – attacked out of the bunch right from the gun together with five men, signalling our squad’s intentions.

It didn’t take long for Yves Lampaert and Pieter Serry to join that move, which had one minute over the peloton, from where another group, containing also fast man Alvaro Hodeg, took off several laps into the race, and bridged across. The new leading group established a 2:30 buffer over the chasers with 100 kilometres remaining and maintained that advantage going into the business end of Izegem Koers.

Two laps from the finish, Lampaert and Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Gobert) pressed on and rode clear of the others, only for four men to join them. Our team had again the numbers, as Alvaro was also there, and this allowed Lampaert, a stage victor this season at the Tour de Suisse, to roll the dice again inside the closing kilometres. The 28-year-old Belgian opened a gap and wasn’t seen again until the finish, where he came over the line a minute clear of Alvaro Hodeg, who ensured a Deceuninck – Quick-Step 1-2.

“It’s always special to win a kermesse. When I was young, I only did this kind of races and I’m happy to be victorious again in one”, said Yves after his second Izegem Koers success, which he added to that of 2014. “We rode full gas from the start and had an average of over 46km/h, which shows just how hard was today. The team did a flawless race, had a perfect tactic and it’s great to celebrate another victory, especially as it came so close to my home and I had a lot of fans here.”

Izegem Koers Result:
1. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick Step in 3:35:47
2. Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:00
3. Krists Neilands (Let) Israel Cycling Academy
4. Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Van Durme Michiels-Trawobo
5. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Charles
6. Gianni Marchand (Bel) Cibel
7. Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 1:34
8. Ivar Slik (Ned) Monkey Town-A Block CT
9. Arjen Livyns (Bel) Roompot-Charles
10. Jannik Steimle (Ger) Team Vorarlberg Santic.

Another win for the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team:

Milano-Torino, GranPiemonte and Il Lombardia: Invited Teams Announced
On 9, 10 and 12 October, the RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport races Milano-Torino NamedSport (9 October), GranPiemonte NamedSport (10 October) and Il Lombardia NamedSport (12 October) will bring to a close the European cycling season. Further details of the three races will be unveiled in the next few weeks.

Today, the teams – of seven riders each – who will participate in the three races have been announced. These are:

100th Milano-Torino NamedSport – Wednesday 9 October (21 teams: 16 UCI WorldTeams and 5 UCI Professional Continental Teams):

103rd GranPiemonte NamedSport – Thursday 10 October (18 teams: 9 UCI WorldTeams and 9 UCI Professional Continental Teams):

113th Il Lombardia NamedSport – Saturday 12 October (25 teams: 18 UCI WorldTeams and 7 UCI Professional Continental Teams):

Thibaut Pinot wins Il Lombardia 2018 in Como:

Eddie Dunbar Signs Three-Year Deal
Eddie Dunbar is looking forward to ‘learning from some of the best riders in the world’ after signing a new three-year contract with Team INEOS.

Eddie Dunbar has enjoyed a successful start to his Team INEOS career, contributing to several key victories since joining the team in September 2018 – and he believes the length of his contract will be key to his ongoing development. “I was over the moon when I found out it was a three-year deal and I was going to be able to stay and learn from the best riders in the world,” he said. “I am delighted to receive the opportunity to develop in this atmosphere.

“Having three years gives you time to work with the team, come up with a long-term plan to see what works for you, and the chance to grow with the team.”

The 23 year old had an instant impact upon joining the team last season, helping leader Gianni Moscon to a trio of wins, including the season-closing Tour of Guangxi. And while 2019 saw him make an eye-catching Grand Tour debut at the Giro d’Italia in support of Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart, he has also had some impressive solo displays – Including taking third overall at Tour de Yorkshire, in a race won by teammate Chris Lawless.

Dunbar has been encouraged by the results of his peers and has been impressed by the faith in youth show by Team INEOS this season. He continued: “We have a lot of young guys in the team that have all impressed this year, with Pavel doing really well at the Giro, Egan winning the Tour de France and Chris winning Tour de Yorkshire. There’s been a lot of standout performances from young riders and that’s a very positive thing going forwards.

“The period starting from Tour de Yorkshire is where I felt I was going really well, through to Route de l’Occitanie where I performed well, and, of course, the Giro. The fact I was able to help the team so much as I could and finish as strongly as I did was massively important for me and at Route de l’Occitanie I came close to winning the opening stage which gave me lot of confidence.”

Looking forward, Dunbar is hoping to race a similar programme to this season in 2020, with a focus on the Ardennes Classics in the early part of the year, before continuing his Grand Tour education.

He added: “I’d like to go back and take on the Ardennes again as they’re definitely races I’d like to improve on. Of course, it would be good to ride another Grand Tour, whether it be the Giro, Tour de France or Vuelta, I don’t mind – but it would be great to get another opportunity in one of those races.”

Dunbar’s coach Dario Cioni added: “This season Eddie has been really strong from his first race. He had a hard crash in the Algarve but bounced back and was able to complete a great Giro.

“From the first moment, he’s demonstrated that he is a real team player, but he also has the ability to go for his own results when he gets the chance. He’s been up there in the final of some tough races and you can see he’s knocking on the door of a win. One goal for the future for Eddie is to convert those promising situations into victories. He’s a real fighter and I’m confident he can move up another level next season.”

Eddie Dunbar in the Giro:

Bissegger to Race for EF Education First Pro Cycling from August 2020
The 2020 season is set to be a big one for Stefan Bissegger. He will make his move to the WorldTour with EF Education First Pro Cycling in August. Before his WorldTour start, he hopes to make his Olympic debut on the track in Tokyo with the Swiss team pursuit squad.

While the track commands the majority of Bissegger’s current attention, he’s found recent success on the road. The 20-year-old won a stage at Tour de l’Avenir, billed as a U23 Tour de France, and the opening stage at Tour de l’Ain in May.

“Andreas Klier, one of our directors, pointed him out to me,” said EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “We watched his Tour de l’Ain stage win on YouTube – it was truly impressive.”

“He’s a huge talent, and a guy who could get a great result at U23 Worlds,” Vaughters adds. “He’s young, and he has a high ceiling in terms of what he can accomplish.”

Bissegger’s hopes those accomplishments include a medal on the track. His delayed start to the season reflects his Olympic ambitions.

“We made the deal to start for August 1 because of the Olympics,” said Bissegger. “I’m all in for the Olympics, for the team pursuit on the track. The qualification period runs until March next year, after the Track World Championships, and the team is allowing me to focus on that.”

Bissegger has been racing bikes for half of his life. He did his first road race when he 10 on a bike borrowed from his local bicycle store.

“The guy from the store told me I couldn’t start the race on the bike I had been riding around on as a child,” Bissegger explains. “He gave me a bike of his. That bike and that race started it all. And the funny thing is, the guy who gave me the bike, he’s now my trainer. I was 10-years-old. He’s been my side for 10 years now.”

Bissegger raced exclusively on the road in his early junior days. As a U19, he found his way to the track.

“From there, I developed with both disciplines,” he says. “I love them both, but I need to go all in on the Olympics to get there. Switzerland has a good team. We work well together, and we all want to qualify together.”

To qualify for the Olympics, Bissegger will need to focus on the World Cups and the Track World Championships that run from November until January. Worlds are in March. He will focus on the road after the Olympics.

Bissegger’s training on the track translates into the obvious strengths on the road: sprints, the harder the better, and time trials.

“I’m a pretty aggressive rider,” Bissegger notes.

Bissegger has opted to further develop his strengths with EF Education First Pro Cycling in part because of the team’s partners.

“I did an apprenticeship as a bike mechanic,” says Bissegger. “I worked in a shop that carried Cannondales, and I’m a big fan of the bikes. Peter Sagan was a big hero of mine, and he rode for the Cannondale team, and I always dreamed of joining the team – first Cannondale, then Cannondale-Garmin, now EF Education First.”

“I also like the colour pink,” he added. “I’m happy to wear this colour soon.”

Stefan Bissegger:

Team Sunweb Extend Contracts with Andersen, Mathiesen and Soek
Team Sunweb are delighted to announce that Susanne Andersen, Pernille Mathiesen and Julia Soek all extend their contracts with the team until the end of 2020, after good performances throughout the season.

Susanne Andersen (NOR)
A talented sprinter, the young Norwegian burst onto the scene in 2017 when she finished in a very impressive seventh place at the World Championships in her home country, at just 19-years-old. Andersen has had a good first season with the team; picking up several top ten results throughout the year. Her most notable result was fifth place at the tough one-day race of Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, in a strong field of world class sprinters. Andersen is also adept as a lead out rider and has proven to be a pivotal team player this season when working for others.

“I’m really happy to stay with the team for another year,” explained Andersen. “Everyone has been very welcoming in my first year and I feel at home here. I get on really well with the girls and I’ve learned a lot from the trainers here. I think I have developed as a rider this season, both when helping in the lead outs or going for the sprints in the finale myself. I want to keep learning from everyone at the team and continue my progression next year; picking up more good results together.”

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans added: “We knew Susanne was a talented rider when signing for the team and she has continued her development and progression this year. During this season she has become an important support rider in the team and her lead out qualities are exceptional. When she has also had the opportunity to go for sprints herself she has achieved some nice results too. We believe that if she keeps developing as she is, then she will be a rider that will be there for our team consistently deep into race finales.”

Pernille Mathiesen (DEN)
Now in her second year with the team, 2017 U23 European road race and time trial champion Mathiesen has continued to grow and develop as a rider. Originally touted as a time trial specialist, Mathiesen is transforming into a very strong all-round rider with her results this year backing up those abilities. In June she finished with an impressive second place on GC at a tricky edition of the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour, winning the young rider’s jersey in the process. She then followed that result up with second place at IJsseldelta and at both the Danish road race and time trial championships.

“I am happy to sign with the team for another year,” explained Mathiesen. “It has been a good two years at Team Sunweb, with the right people and experts around me and I am looking forward to continuing to work with everyone. I’ve made a good step up this year and I believe that this team is the right place for me to be so that I can make another step forward next year and keep on developing.”

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans added: “Pernille has really come forward to show her abilities this year. Pernille is a machine on the bike and this helps the team to ride in a dominant manner. In the past people saw her as a pure time trialist but she is now more of an all-round cyclist. We believe that there is still room for progression and with the mindset that Pernille shows, we are confident that she will make the next step.”

Julia Soek (NED)
Soek has been with the team since 2014 and is an integral part of the team’s successes both on and off the bike. A rider who is devoted to working for others, Soek’s experience is invaluable during the hectic moments in a race. As a road captain the other riders on the team trust her decisions, whether that be positioning for a sprint finale or where to ride in crosswinds. Soek relishes her role within the team and looks to continue to utilise her experience in the coming year, developing as a rider and helping the team to achieve good results on the road.

“I’m super happy to extend my contract for another year, I feel at home in the team,” said Soek. “I like how we work closely together as riders but also with the team’s experts, so that I can still develop as a rider each year. I’m looking forward to being a part of the team next season again and I hope we can achieve great things together.”

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans added: “Our road captain Julia acts as the glue in the team between all of our riders. She is really important to help guide the processes both inside and outside of a race. Our leaders can trust her fully when she is positioning them in race finales and she also ensures that our young riders feel comfortable within our team; that’s why we’re happy she’s signed with us for her seventh year.”

Ben Swift Extends Team INEOS Stay
British champion Ben Swift will compete in Team INEOS colours for the next two years.

Swift has spent eight years with the team, across two spells, and his latest contract will take him through to the end of the 2021 season.

And the 31 year old openly admits that this current season has helped him ‘find himself’ again as a professional rider, having returned to the team at the beginning of the 2019 campaign.

“I feel like I’ve found a renewed enthusiasm and motivation for the sport this year, so this new contract feels rewarding for many reasons,” he said. “I think that’s down to the team and the way I’ve been riding this year. When you’re really happy somewhere and the environment of the team suits you like it does for me here, it really helps you to get the very best out of yourself.”

Indeed, Swift has enjoyed a happy homecoming this year, despite an early season training crash that resulted in a ruptured spleen. Since then, he’s gone on to enjoy a season to remember, bouncing back in style with a deserved British national road race title.

“I don’t think anybody was expecting me to get back to the levels I’ve achieved this year,” he said, “so it’s hugely satisfying. It’s been a really pleasing season so far. It’s been a really targeted process for me all season – I sat down with my coach, Conor Taylor, at the start of the year and mapped it all out. That relationship has been key and he’s really got the best out of me this year. We’ve stuck to the plan, even when the crash slightly disrupted things, and now we’re working towards the Tour of Britain and the World Championships.”

As well as being a key rider in his own right, Swift’s knowledge and experience has helped play a crucial role in guiding the next generation of young riders on the team’s roster this season – and it’s a role he’s relishing.

“It’s just about leading by example really, and hopefully showing them the right path, be it returning from crashes; preparing for races; being in the heat of the battle – those things can really help the young guys. It’s really satisfying and rewarding to see this young group of riders developing as well as they are,” he said.

Whilst he’s always planning with – in his own words – ‘one eye on the present and one eye on the future’, the World Championships in Yorkshire later this month are in the forefront of his thoughts between now and the end of the 2019 season.

“The Worlds in Yorkshire aren’t far from where I grew up, so it’s massive opportunity for me to try and improve on my fifth place in Bergen two years ago,” he said. “It’s going to be a tough ask, it’s going to be a very difficult race – but I’ll do everything I can.”

Team INEOS Coach, Conor Taylor, added: “To bounce back and race at a consistently high level so soon after the serious accident he suffered in February is testament to Swifty’s attitude and professionalism on and off the bike. He is an exceptional role model to our next generation of riders and we believe his best years are still ahead of him. We look forward to seeing Swifty race for Team INEOS in the British National Champs colours next season.”

Ben Swift:

Domenico Pozzovivo Released from Hospital and Starting Rehab at IRR Institute
Domenico Pozzovivo has left the Hospital Civico Regionale in Lugano this morning, after nearly three weeks recovery.

“On behalf of the rider and of the whole Team Bahrain Merida, we would like to express our gratitude to Prof. Candrian, Dr. Mandelli and the entire medical staff for their dedication and professional care during these weeks” Dr. Carlo Guardascione, TBM Head Medical Doctor says “Pozzovivo underwent successfully 5 surgeries and now he is ready for the rehabilitation. He has been discharged from the hospital this morning and this afternoon he moved to the IRR Rehabilitations Institute of Turin, where he will immediately start an intensive rehabilitation therapy to recover from the left elbow and right tibia injuries he suffered in the training accident, due to a collision with a car about one month ago. Now he will rely on the expertise of the team of rehabilitation specialists of IRR, the official Clinic of Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team.”

Domenico Pozzovivo:

Returning from Injury, Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen Nets Seventh Place on the Second Stage of the Boels Ladies Tour
Today’s stage of the Boels Ladies Tour took the peloton around Gennep in the southeast of the Netherlands. The parcours was almost pancake flat and, like on the preceding stage, it was expected that the day would be decided in a mass sprint. Rain and wind made racing particularly difficult. The Bigla riders were present at the head of the field for quite some time to control the race, and despite several breakaway attempts, the peloton remained largely together. In the last kilometres, the teams of the sprinters dramatically increased the tempo, with the Bigla riders still mixing it up out front. A thrilling battle ensued on the finishing straight to decide the stage, which was again taken out by Lorena Wiebes. After a day spent riding attentively at the head of the peloton, the Bigla riders were rewarded with a top ten result, in the form of Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen’s seventh place.

Team Manager Thomas Campana said after the stage: “At this race, we’re trying to bring Emma back to high-level racing. It’s her third race of the season after a long injury, so it’s fantastic to see that she is already able to compete against the best sprinters in the world after 7 months out. Her teammates focused on bringing her into a good position for the final sprint, and it was excellent to see her take a top ten today, which shows that she’s on her way back to form.”

Another top 10 for Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen at the Boels Ladies Tour
The third stage of the Boels Ladies Tour consisted of a 156.8km long route around Nijverdal. The field rode together for quite some time before splitting into several groups 50km ahead of the finish line. Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen was able to make it into the leading group of around 20, which built up a lead of 30 seconds. A chase group took up the pursuit of the leaders and around 20km down the road, several riders were able to bridge the gap. The final 25km saw many attacks, until a quartet was finally able to get away. Bigla rode actively and attentively at the front of the field, however, in the end the leaders were unable to be caught and fought out the stage victory amongst themselves. In the sprint for the minor placings, Emma was able to pick up yet another top 10 place, this time finishing in ninth position on the stage.

Team Manager Thomas Campana praised the performance of the Danish sprinter, commenting: “She confirmed her result from yesterday’s stage. Today’s parcours around Nijverdal was, in fact, much longer with some tricky climbs, which the peloton took on quite fast. She is definitely on her way back to reaching her previous form, and she is improving day by day, which is excellent to see. I think we can say that Emma is back.”

Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen:

Yuzzu New Partner of Lotto Soudal
Following the extensions of the partnerships with Lotto, Soudal and G&V Energy Group, the team now welcomes a new partner. Yuzzu – the new name of Touring Insurances – will be visible on the bib shorts of the Lotto Soudal riders as of tomorrow during the Brussels Cycling Classic. The collaboration will run at least till the end of 2021, by which Yuzzu will be visible on the shirts as well, from next year onwards.

Kenneth Vansina, Chief Customer Experience Yuzzu: “This is the real start of Yuzzu, the new name of Touring Insurances, Belgian market leader in direct insurances. Our goal is to market our new, fresh name as a reliable insurance partner in the daily lives of our clients, and for us Lotto Soudal seems like a perfect partner. Cycling is a sport which is close to the people and very popular in Belgium. With this partnership, we hope, besides Wallonia – where we already have a considerable market share – to further grow in Flanders.”

“The roots of our company lies in mobility, something we’ll definitely recognise at Lotto Soudal. From now on, we will start with our communication and activation campaigns, of which the sponsoring of Lotto Soudal is a really important one. We have met with the other partners and we noticed a family but passionate atmosphere, in line with our key value ‘dynamic’. Also in the talent development which characterises the team, we recognise an aspect of insurances which we highly value, namely ‘care’.”

John Lelangue, general manager Lotto Soudal: “The moment of the start of the collaboration is very accurate. Yuzzu starts to activate its new name and we will already ride with the logo of Yuzzu on the bib shorts at tomorrow’s Brussels Cycling Classic. Next year, that visibility will be further extended on the shirt. For them, it means the first ever collaboration in sports and we are of course delighted that this happens with Lotto Soudal. Yuzzu has a strong link with mobility, a feature that is also applicable to us. They are a Belgian company, with an important market in Wallonia as well as in Flanders, we are the Belgian WorldTour team. We hope that they, just like our name sponsors and other cosponsors can become a loyal partner!”

Yuzzu is the Belgian market leader in direct insurances and is part of the AXA group. With 165 employees, the company manages the car, motor or home insurances for more than 150,000 clients. Through its multi-channel strategy, Yuzzu combines the online sale of insurances with a service via its shops and callcenter, according to the needs of the client. Yuzzu is the new Touring Insurances.

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