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Foto Fabio Ferrari - LaPresse 13/05/2018 Pesco Sannita-Gran Sasso D'Italia (Italia) Sport Ciclismo Giro d'Italia 2018 - edizione 101- tappa 9 PESCO SANNITA - GRAN SASSO D’ITALIA Nella foto: Durante la gara Photo Fabio Ferrari - LaPresse May 13, 2018 Pesco Sannita-Gran (Italy) Sport Cycling Giro d'Italia 2018 - 101th edition - stage 9 PESCO SANNITA - GRAN SASSO D’ITALIA In the pic: during the race.

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Simon Yates has been the strongest so far in the first nine days of the Giro d’Italia. All the news, views and video from Italy and the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. Tim Wellens speaks out – Top Story. In other cycling news: JLT Condor win first round of OVO Energy Tour Series, Aevolo at Redlands Classic, teams for the Tour of Utah and Cofidis extend sponsorship to 2022. Giro coffee time.

TOP STORY: Tim Wellens Has His Say
After Lotto (FixAll) Soudal’s Tim Wellens won Giro stage 4 to Caltagirone in Sicily he had quite a few things to say, first of all about his win: “I was lucky enough to have very strong teammates. So I started with a bit of an advantage at the beginning of the climb. I didn’t have to go full-on from the bottom; I could wait for the last 200 meters. I’m very happy with winning as early as on stage 4 so the rest of the Giro will just be a bonus, whatever comes next. I’ll ride stress free now.”

Then in further conversation with Sporza he had a go at ex-dopers, particularly Alejandro Valverde. “It is true that I am not a fan of riders that go even faster after a doping suspension. It annoys me that Valverde never clarified what happened back then [Operación Puerto]. Then I care less about a guy like Thomas Dekker. He at least comes clean about what happened. That hurts the sport, but to get cured a little pain is needed.”

Wellens is well known for not asking for TUE’s even though he suffers badly from a heat allergy. Which brings us to the present point of controversy – Chris Froome and his salbutamol positive/adverse control, whatever you want to call it. Wellens was a little more reserved in his thoughts on the multi-Tour winner: “I cannot say too much about that, he has not been convicted yet and is still riding. The others I’m talking about were suspended. It is proven that they did bad things.”

So, not everyone has forgotten the man from Murcia’s past.

Winning Wellens:
Foto Fabio Ferrari - LaPresse 08/05/2018 Catania-Caltagirone (Italia) Sport Ciclismo Giro d'Italia 2018 - edizione 101- tappa 4 CATANIA - CALTAGIRONE Nella foto: durante l agara. Photo Fabio Ferrari - LaPresse May 08, 2018 Catania-Caltagirone (Italy) Sport Cycling Giro d'Italia 2018 - 101th edition - stage 4 CATANIA CALTAGIRONE In the pic: during the race

Giro d’Italia 2018
Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates made it a Mitchelton-Scott one-two as they crossed the Stage 6 finish line on Mount Etna. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) placed third. Yates moved into the overall lead with 16 seconds over Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) with Chaves in 3rd at 26 seconds.

Thursday was another stage for the GC favorites, with Mount Etna providing the stage for a battle of the favorites. The 164 kilometer stage ran from Caltanissetta to Etna. The finishing climb up Mount Etna ran for 15km at a 6.5% average gradient.

The first 50km of racing saw many attacks, knowing that a break could lead to some trouble later in the day, the peloton were watchful. Eventually a break of 28 riders went clear. The peloton, lead by BMC and Astana, worked very hard to keep the break in check and as they edged towards Mount Etna, the lead was down to around minute. As the race hit the climb, the peloton fractured on the steep gradients.

Esteben Chaves made his move to catch and drop Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF), the Colombian was then caught by his teammate, Simon Yates, for them to cross the finish line together. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) rounded off the podium.

Read the full race report HERE.

Stage winner, Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott): “It’s been a fantastic day for us as a team but we have to keep our feet on the ground. A lot of things can still happen in the Giro with many more climbs ahead but we have something to enjoy now. I’ve worked very well in Colombia to prepare for the Giro. With a lot of work and a lot of love, it’s not impossible to win great races. I’ve been a bit lucky to make the breakaway with only one effort, but it’s beautiful to win here today. Stage win plus Maglia Rosa and Maglia Azzurra… how cool is that! When he came across, Simon Yates told me, ‘Come on, you’ve won the stage!’ At least that’s what I understood. It’s not only today but, if you look at our team’s results since January, we’ve done great so far.”

Overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “I’m really happy. I arrived here at the Giro to try to win and I’ve been trying from the start in Israel to take the Jersey. Today I finally realized my goal. I want to win this Giro, of course. From the beginning I said that I believe we have the strongest team and I still think so. It’s not just the climbers but the guys for the flat, too – real powerful guys. I think we can do a really good job in defending the jersey. Of course it will be difficult – there are many hard stages – but I’ve confidence in the guys around me. I have the confidence to be the captain until Rome. We came here as a team and I’ll try to win.”

5th on the stage and 4th overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida): “It was a very difficult day. I thought that many of the other teams played good tactics today and that made it really tough. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to maintain this good form throughout the rest of the Giro d’Italia. I also think that we are all a bit worn out from these Sicilian stages that featured up and down courses. Many of us were not brilliant today. We climbed quite fast, but without making the difference”

9th on the stage and 10th overall, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates): “Day by day I’m feeling better and better. I appreciate that there are some riders who are stronger than me now, but the Giro is very long and it’s still only the 6th stage. Today the goal was to avoid losing seconds and I put in a good performance, so I’m satisfied.”

6th overall, Rohan Dennis (BMC): “It was a bit crazy at the start. There was no control. We tried our best to set a tempo but no one really wanted to respect that. We were all in the front but they all wanted to be in the breakaway today. We decided to sit back and let it work itself out and unfortunately 28 guys went up the road but you win some, you lose some. The guys then did an awesome job to keep it within three minutes and then we got some help from other teams. Thinking about the Etna climb, I’ve still got some work to do obviously but I was actually pretty happy with my climb today. There were points when I was in trouble but I stayed calm and I actually rode back onto the group where the winners came from at the end of the day. I took confidence from the fact that they can go a little bit deeper than me, in terms of spikes in power, but they can’t sustain it. I just need to keep reminding myself of that. Nothing changes after today. Obviously, I don’t have the pink jersey but that’s not an issue for me. I knew that was going to happen eventually. I was hoping not today and that I would get a little bit more confidence from the race but there is still time. I am not that far behind the leaders. What I am thinking is that if I can stay somewhat within reach, I can hopefully still perform well and that the time trial will help me out. It was amazing to wear the pink jersey. It was something I was hoping for but you never really expect it. Plus it was a massive bonus that it was the third Grand Tour leader’s jersey that I have worn. However, even if it was my first one, it would have been just as special.”

12th on the stage and 13th overall, Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data): “The start today took a long time to establish – eventually a big group went with Jacques there but was kept within reach as Chaves was there. It was not an easy day – but Igor, Jaco, And Ryan guided Louis and I very well until the base of Etna. It was hard tempo for the first 12km were I was left in the final 20 or so guys… and then for the final 6km as it pinched up steeper the attacks flowed. I did my best to not jump as I knew I would suffer if I followed immediately. With about 2.5km to go I was detached, but kept my cool and tried to limit the loss still hoping to maybe grab the white jersey. I just missed it sadly, but it’s certainly within reach later in the week and really I’m so pleased to be up there with the best again on one of the most iconic climbs around and in the Giro d’Italia!”

Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): “I had a bad day and crashed at high speed, but I’m just lucky that by hitting a car I didn’t get worse injuries. Domenico did well, so all in all, the day was good for us.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 6 Result:
1. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott in 4:16:10
2. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:26
4. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana
7. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar
8. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Chris Froome (GB) Sky.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 6:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 22:46:03
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:16
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:26
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:43
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:45
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 0:53
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 1:03
8. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1:10
9. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:11
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 1:12.

Stage 6:

Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) out-sprinted Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) to the finish line on Stage 7 on Friday, as Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) took third spot.

The stage was a flat, fast stage, following on from the intensity of Thursday’s climb up Mount Etna. After leaving Sicily behind, the stage was the first on the Italian “main land”, with the peloton taking on 159km from Pizzo to Praia a Mare.

As soon as racing started, a break of three riders, darted ahead and formed the break for the day. The break consisted of Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli), Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo) and Maxim Belkov (Katusha-Alpecin). The nature of the course meant the sprinters were not going to miss out on an opportunity, and ensured the break was brought back with 16km to go.

There were a few hopeful attacks as the group moved towards the finish line but again, the sprint teams neutralized all the moves. The race came alive as the peloton headed into the city of Praia a Mare. Bora-Hansgrohe started to form for their leader Sam Bennett. The pace was high, but the Bora team showed a great effort. On the final meters Bennett stayed on the wheels of Quick-Step Floor rider Elia Viviani and waited until he made the final move and took his first Grand Tour Victory. It is his first Giro d’Italia win after having placed once second and no less than five times third at the Corsa Rosa.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retained the Maglia Rosa with 16 seconds over Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and 26 seconds on his teammate Esteban Chaves.

Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It’s a big relief! I was close so many times at the Giro, but today to get the timing right was key. It’s not easy to pass Viviani, but I knew my time would come, even there might be some people who thought it will never come. A big thanks to my team BORA-Hansgrohe, all the guys support me really well all the time. Today my plan was to take the wheel from Viviani instead of doing all the lead out for him like the first stages. But I needed patience because I didn’t want to be early again, and then a was closed at some point, but in the end the timing was perfect and everybody could see how fast I am.”

2nd on the stage and points leader, Elia Viviani, (Quick-Step Floors): “We lost a lot of positions in the last 5km in the tunnels. My guys and I had to spend a lot of energy to come up. I was on their wheel but Bennett was always on my wheel. He was tactically very good. Modolo went early but I also went early. In such a sprint on the seaside, the wind has a strong effect. That’s how Bonifazio came third from behind. The last three stages were also heavy in my legs. Every sprint has its different story. This one, with 5km to go, you’d think I wouldn’t be able to win but the team brought me back to the front. We are fast but today we were beaten by a faster one and we’ll move on to the next challenge.”

3rd on the stage, Niccolò Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida): “I had bad luck with 15 km to go, when I got a contact with another rider and I broke my front wheel. It was not easy to get back to the peloton. Thanks to my teammates that helped me to be there in front positions for the final. Maybe I made a mistake in waiting and I had to sprint earlier.”

Overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “It was a very special day, of course – my first time leading a Grand Tour – so I felt a bit nervous at the start but it went well because the breakaway went early. Etna was my favorite climb on paper, with punch and rest, unlike tomorrow. Montevergine is a steady climb. But if my legs are good, maybe I’ll go again. I still have to look for some time on the climbs. Normally, over three weeks, I’m quite a consistent rider.”

4th overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida): “We avoided risks today and that is important. Two long stages await us tomorrow and on Sunday. The climbs are not so hard, but I think that the Gran Sasso can reveal something more than tomorrow’s route. We will ride up to 2,000mt altitude and even if I did not see it, they told me it is a demanding ascent, in the final 5km in particular. My shape is very good. I’m not completely satisfied with yesterday’s result, but I’m happy for my legs, because I’m among the climbers who seem to ride better so far. Mitchelton-Scott have an advantage, because they have two riders for the GC and plenty of strong climbers. Froome and Aru are growing, Pinot and Lopez are strong rivals. There are still many riders to keep an eye on.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 7 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:45:27
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
3. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
4. Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
6. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
7. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
9. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC
10. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto FixAll.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 7:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 26:31:30
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:16
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:26
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:43
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:45
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 0:53
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 1:03
8. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1:10
9. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:11
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 1:12.

Stage 7:

Richard Carapaz (Movistar) took down another wall in his astonishing progression as a WorldTour cyclist with his biggest victory to date, a maiden stage success in a three-week stage-race. The rider from the Carchí region in Ecuador did so in style, leaving all GC contenders behind with a brutal acceleration with 1.5 kilometers remaining of the climb to Montevergine di Mercogliano at the finish of Stage 8 and soloed to the finish…

Under soaking rain, ‘Richie’ was still comfortable and near the front of a big group containing all favorites, with Groupama-FDJ and Sky in the lead, which was bringing back all remnants of the day’s escape, having reaching the foot of the 16km ascent with a 1:30 deficit. Always fresh and reacting to all moves at the gentle slopes fo the climb, Carapaz profited from a slight breather by his rivals and some vigilance in the group to launch his attack; overtake Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo)), still in the lead after the break; and reach the line with seven seconds over the fastest riders in the group, to claim his 3rd pro victory in Europe after the Queen stage and GC wins in the recent Vuelta a Asturias.

Montevergine di Mercogliano - Italië - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Richard Carapaz (ECU - Movistar) pictured during the 101st Giro d’Italia 2018 - stage 8 from Praia a Mare to Montevergine di Mercogliano (209 KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner, Richard Carapaz (Movistar): “I’m so happy, so excited about this win. It’s a magnificent one. I can’t really believe I’ve got this. It’s been a very tough few weeks of work to reach this Giro in good condition. It had already been great to win in Asturias, since it was my first victory in Europe, yet notching up this really big one here in the Giro is incredible.

“With the rain, we knew it was going to be a climb quite more difficult than normal, so slippery, especially on the hairpins, where it was difficult to keep balance. There were lots of nerves at the foot of the climb, but later on, there was some big selections and things became calm after that. I was having great legs from the beginning of the ascent and wanted to try it before the finish because I knew I wouldn’t stand much of a chance if going just for the sprint. I told the team car I was going to attack, I saw an AG2R rider jumping after Sky put on an easier pace and I saw there was a good moment to attack with 2km to go. Once I jumped, I saw I had the legs to keep this pace until the finish, and it all turned out well.

“Our next goals? It will really be day-by-day after this. It’s our time to really get to know the Giro. It’s a long, tough race, and with everything that’s left before Rome, we must take things easy. Whatever good comes after this will be welcome – and I’m sure many more chances will arise following this victory. For the time being, it’s all about enjoying this victory. Another tough stage is coming up tomorrow – we’ll try to rekindle our goals and maybe keep on trying to get some more good results.”

2nd on the stage, Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Today was a hard stage, especially the rain in the finale made the race difficult. The team worked good together and supported me the whole day. On the last kilometers, I thought I’ll give it a try and went up the road. Of course, to win the stage would have been nice but I am satisfied with my second place, after my crash and the time loss I look confident into the next mountain stages. The giro is still long, we will see what happens.”

Overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “It was a more difficult stage than I expected because of the rain but no drama. We rode a nice tempo, safely. I tried to get some bonus but I got boxed in. It was a really fast climb. It was hard to make a difference. I expect more of a selection tomorrow. I had really good feelings again today. When Froome crashed, I heard about but it didn’t realize it was him. He looked okay after.”

Ben O’Connor (Dimension Data): “Today was a little disappointing. The guys did a really good job today looking after me and when it started to rain in the finale I wanted to be near the front and I was, with Ben King putting me in the top 20 wheels. I didn’t want to stress about the slippery conditions by being in front and the climb wasn’t too difficult either. So I was just sitting in and biding my time, nothing was going to go early as we waited for the break to come back. With about 5km to go, Alex our DS said there were more hairpins so I wanted to move up to be even closer to the front. I was keen to try something and get that white jersey. Sadly, Froome fell in front of me at that point and I had nowhere to go, so I went into a wall. My chain came off and got stuck in the frame, my brake pads were out of alignment so I lost a fair chunk of time. Ben King and Natnael were there to help me, and they did as much as they could before I had to go alone for the last 2 or 3km. When I got back to the group I was pretty cooked and then they started sprinting to the mountain top, and I just couldn’t sprint after the effort to get back. So it was a bit disappointing but tomorrow is a big day, and if I feel like I did today, I’d like to try be on the move.”

Break rider, Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates): “Today’s conditions suited me well. When the breakaway went, it was just the right size and we rode well together. Unfortunately Mitchelton-Scott wouldn’t let us go too far up the road and in the end the gap wasn’t big enough to keep the peloton from catching us on the summit finish. We went for the Stage win and missed out today, so we will have to try again tomorrow.”

Break rider, Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto FixAll): “The plan was to be in the breakaway today, either me, Tim Wellens or Sander Armée. Joining the breakaway is of course easier said than done. It took a while until eventually seven riders got the freedom. Katusha did still ride to catch us because they got no rider in the break, but eventually they stopped pulling at the front. 70 kilometers had been covered until then. Unfortunately, Mitchelton-Scott kept the advantage limited to six minutes. You know that is not enough with a climb of seventeen kilometers at the end. I tried to escape from the breakaway but had a bad moment and was eventually distanced. The peloton was quickly approaching, so I realized pretty fast the break would not last till the very end. But I am happy with my shape and I hope other opportunities will follow in the rest of the Giro.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 8 Result:
1. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar in 5:11:35
2. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:07
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo
5. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 8:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 31:43:12
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:16
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:26
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:41
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:43
6. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 0:53
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 1:03
8. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 1:06
9. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1:10
10. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:11.

Stage 8:

The Maglia Rosa, Britain’s Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) won Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia to extend his overall lead on Sunday. The 25-year-old crossed the line ahead of Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and teammate Esteban Chaves. With a time gap to their other rivals, Yates now leads the race by 32seconds from Chaves who moves up into second overall, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) drops to third at 38 seconds.

Fourteen riders rode off the front as the flag dropped for the 225km stage and with Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo) the closest threat on the general classification at six-minutes 40seconds down, Mitchelton-Scott let them ride out to a sizable advantage. Happy to let them contest the stage, Svein Tuft and Sam Bewley rode tempo with the margin hovering between seven and eight minutes.

After hours on the front, Astana then took up the chase inside the last 40km and brought the stage victory back into contention. With 20km to go Mitchelton-Scott moved back to the front with Roman Kreuziger before Jack Haig took the reins and put in another mammoth effort to end the day of the final surviving breakaway riders before peeling off and leaving the rest up to his leaders with less than three kilometers remaining.

It was Giulio Ciccone (Bardiani-CSF) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) who were the most active in the final two kilometers, but they were chased repeatedly by Pinot with Yates and Chaves on his wheel. Timing his run to perfection, Yates left it to the final 100m to launch from the wheel and come around for a prestigious victory in the pink jersey.

Full PEZ Stage Race Report HERE.

Gran Sasso d’Italia - Italië - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Simon Yates (GBR - Mitchelton - Scott) - Thibaut Pinot (FRA - Groupama - FDJ) pictured during the 101st Giro d’Italia 2018 - stage 9 from Pesco Sannita to Gran Sasso d’Italia (225 KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “That one was for the boys, the big guys who’ve been riding on the front all day. They’ve had a couple of tough days, always riding on the front on some really long stages. That’s for those guys. From the beginning of the stage today, we were always thinking that if we kept the break close enough then it might be possible for the stage. Once Astana showed some interest in the stage then I knew it was possible. You never know deep into the final. It was a very long stage, a hard race in the end, I’m really tired but I’m happy that I managed to win the stage. I said from the beginning that we came here to win.”

4th on the stage and 5th overall, Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida): “It was a very hard stage, that hurt a lot. Just after the last attack of Ciccone, with 600 meters to go I tried to go and I thought to push until the end. Unfortunately there were riders faster than me and there was some headwind against me as well. I will keep on trying. The Maglia Rosa is still near, until the time trial I will try and fight for it. Tomorrow is the rest day and I will completely rest and I won’t even touch my bike.”

6th on the stage, Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe): “What can I say, I hoped for a better result but as the other climbers increased the pace in the final meters I couldn’t follow them or overtake them. But I achieved another top ten result and didn’t lose much time in the overall. Tomorrow is rest day, where I will relax and charge my batteries for the next part in this Giro d’Italia.”

11th on the stage and 14th overall, Ben O’Connor (Education First-Drapac): “It sure was a long day today. Conservation was key for 160km until Jaco, Ben and Ryan got Louis and I into position for the very long climb up to the Gran Sasso. The group slowly whittled and Ben King was great going back to get some final food to then make Louis and I be in the front with 8km to go. The wind switched and became head/cross which made being opportunistic kind of impossible. Also with the day being so long today wasn’t just raw numbers – it essentially came down to how well you cope with endurance. I managed to hold on with the top guys until 900m to go, and then after a mini explosion I was able to finish just outside the top 10 in 11th. The dramatic mountain vale of the Gran Sasso made for an amazing Giro Stage.”

15th overall, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates): “It has been a difficult day for me. I could not keep up with the pace of the other riders on the final climb. I didn’t have a good feeling so the result was not what I had hoped, and I’m not happy about it. These things can happen during the period of 21 days, it is part of our sport. I’m human. Tomorrow there will be a rest day, then we will be ready to face the remaining two weeks during which I am aiming to improve my riding and results.”

Break rider, Manuele Boaro (Bora-Hansgrohe): “We went in the break and we tried to go for it. Thereafter the aim was to help Pozzovivo in the final, but after the whole day in the break it was very difficult for me. It’s the mother’s Day and it would’ve been nice to make a present, but we must be happy with today’s result because Pozzovivo finished with the best riders again.”

Break rider, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): “We were in two men in today’s break. It was a good attempt, but neither Boaro nor me wanted to exhaust ourselves, because we know that the final was very hard. Then the group set a high pace and they caught us. But we take a good result with Pozzovivo anyway, so all in all it was a good day.”

Giro d’Italia Stage 9 Result:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 5:54:13
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:04
5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar
6. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:10
7. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:12
8. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb
9. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana
10. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:24.

Giro d’Italia Overall After Stage 9:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 37:37:15
2. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:32
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:38
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:45
5. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:57
6. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 1:20
7. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:33
8. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 2:05
9. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
10. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 2:25.

Stage 9:

4 Jours de Dunkerque – Tour du Nord-pas-de-Calais 2018
In a frenetic, windy day with a difficult final, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) took the Stage 1 win from Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Wouter Wippert (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij). Dupont moved into the overall lead.

171 kilometers from Fort Mahon Plage to Ecques was rode at high speed by the bunch. From the start there was a strong wind and so the race was animated by four rider breakaway that was not caught until the final 3km of the race. The bunch lead by the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team pulled in the breakaway and the battle for the final sprint started. The finalé was not an easy one with many bends on difficult roads. The Wanty team tried to control the sprint for Dupont, but Bouhani got the better of the bunch.

Due to a high speed fall, Juan Josè Lobato (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini) had to abandon the stage with a broken left collarbone.

Overall leader, Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I really hoped for a victory today, but with a second place behind Bouhanni and the leader’s jersey on top I cannot complain. But I am in need of a first 2018 victory! Someone like Greipel did not perform well today, while I have finished top 5 for three consecutive days. It is a matter of minor factors. The team is very strong here and did a great job in the sprint preparation. At 500 meters from the finish I was positioned perfectly. But then a wave came from behind, and I had to pick in at 60 km/h. That takes energy, otherwise I would have been closer to the win. Tom Devriendt rode an excellent sprint preparation, but everyone from the team is in form here. One by one they did an excellent job. I am very content with it. Of course I want to defend this leader’s jersey, but Xandro Meurisse is basically our man for the final classification. He is in super shape and has already won the Saturday stage with arrival at Mont Cassel.”

4th on the stage, Eduard Grosu (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini): “A very nervous stage today also because of the strong wind. After 10km of race I’ve been involved in the fall also if the unlucky one has been Juan Jose Lobato injured, I just had to change my bike. The bunch continued to ride at high speed and I had to spend energies to be back inside. Thanks to the very good work of my teammates I’ve been able to be in the final battle for the victory, but I’m a little bit sad for the final result. In the last meters I started in the right way the sprint, but then I was a little bit closed without reaching my maximum speed. I feel in a good condition and I could play my chance in some other stage.”

4 Jours de Dunkerque Stage 3 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 4:10:38
2. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
4. Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
5. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
7. Mikel Aristi Gardoki (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
8. Rudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Bram Welten (Ned) Fortuneo-Samsic
10. Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

4 Jours de Dunkerque Overall After Stage 3:
1. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 12:25:00
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club
3. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:02
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
5. Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Vital Concept Club at 0:03
6. Brice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
7. Jérémy Leveau (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 0:04
8. Jan Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:05
9. Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 0:07
10. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:08.

Stage 3:

Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept Club) took Stage 4 of the Four Days of Dunkirk on Friday. The Frenchman booked his second win of the season in Mont Saint-Eloi, ahead of Jasper de Buyst (Lotto Soudal) and Wouter Wippert (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij). Coquard also takes over the leader’s jersey from Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) with his victory.

From the start in Dainville – over a distance of 172.5 kilometers – several hills were waiting for the riders, including the rising last kilometer to finish in Mont Saint-Eloi. This inspired Julien Duval, Lasse Norman Hansen and Jonas Rickaert to go on an adventure. The three rider break took a maximum lead of more than three minutes, but the peloton had things under control. The nervousness in the leading group increased with the approach of the final. Julien Duval appeared to have the best legs at the front; the Frenchman chose to attack with thirty kilometers to go. Norman Hansen went on the chase, but later saw the helplessness of his mission.

Duval had half minute on the peloton 25 kilometers out. Just before entering the final lap – 16 kilometers from the finish line – The AG2R-La Mondiale rider was caught. This followed attacks by Valentin Madouas and Julian Antomarchi. The latter managed to hold a gap of about ten seconds. At five kilometers from the finish line, Antomarchi was still ahead, but in the end it came down to a sprint and it was Bryan Coquard who had the fastest legs.

4 Jours de Dunkerque Stage 4 Result:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club in 4:08:46
2. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
4. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Vital Concept Club
7. Mikel Aristi Gardoki (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
8. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
9. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. Romain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie.

4 Jours de Dunkerque Overall After Stage 4:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club in 16:33:36
2. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:10
3. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:12
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
5. Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Vital Concept Club at 0:13
6. Brice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
7. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport
8. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:14
9. Jérémy Leveau (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
10. Jan Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:15.

Stage 4:

André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) won the demanding Stage 5 that finished on the Cassel climb in an impressive manner. The fifth stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque would prove a thorough test for the riders. Nine local laps of 14.6 kilometers were scheduled with each time two climbs included. The opening phase of the stage went really fast with the peloton averaging around 47 kilometers an hour. The bunch, with Vital Concept at the front, was determined not to let anybody escape.

Finally, after the first ascent of the Casselberg, a group of eighteen riders managed to set up a breakaway including Lotto Soudal rider André Greipel. The advantage of this group increased up to four minutes with 70 kilometers to go. This was the sign for Wanty-Group Gobert to take the initiative at the front of the bunch and keep the advantage of the eighteen escapees limited. Meanwhile, Koning and Saez attacked out of the leading group and took one minute advantage over the chasing group. Eventually, they were caught by the chasers. With around twenty kilometers left to race, the Belgian Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis) and the Dutchman Oscar Riesebeek (Roompot-Nederlandse) accelerated in the front group. Greipel did not hesitate and joined them. The understanding between the riders was good and they quickly had a considerable gap over the chasers. Alexis Gougeard tried to bridge from the peloton to the three riders but could not make it in time. On the slopes of Cassel, it was Riesebeek who could not follow the pace of Claeys and Greipel. The German launched his attack with one kilometer remaining, distanced Claeys and won solo.

Lotto Soudal’s Jasper De Buyst was involved in a crash right after the finish when he was heading to the team bus. After an examination in hospital, it became clear he suffered a severe contusion of the right shoulder and a crack in the jawbone. He also broke some upper teeth. The injuries are being evaluated in order to decide if a participation in the upcoming Tour of Belgium is feasible.

Stage winner, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “The stage did not go as planned, but in the end, I don’t mind because I managed to win. The intention was to make it a hard race together with Jasper De Buyst and Rémy Mertz. When after the first ascent in Cassel already six riders got clear, I rode together with a dozen riders to that group. That way, a group of eighteen riders was formed. With 25 kilometers to go, I attacked together with Claeys and Riesebeek. We had agreed to keep working together until the last climb. One and a half kilometers from the line, I went all in and won. It is only the second time of my 151 victories that I can win in this way. I am now only four seconds behind on Claeys in the general classification. It will all be decided tomorrow. We will see how the stage goes but is has already been a successful 4 Jours de Dunkerque with two victories for me and a second place for Jasper De Buyst. We will see if we can put the cherry on the cake.”

2nd on the stage and overall leader, Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis): “I had good legs and I felt comfortable all day long. Anthony Turgis also helped me a lot and finally finishing 2nd at Cassel makes me happy. Still, nothing is played. The gaps are really very small and with André Greipel it will be difficult. But you never know with the shirt on your shoulders and the help of my teammates I’m ready to defend it to the end.”

4 Jours de Dunkerque Stage 5 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 4:27:55
2. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis at 0:06
3. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
4. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:19
5. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini at 1:04
7. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Casper Pedersen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport
10. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM.

4 Jours de Dunkerque Overall After Stage 5:
1. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis in 21:01:53
2. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:02
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:04
4. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:19
5. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:50
6. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:52
7. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:57
8. Brice Feillu (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic at 0:58
9. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 1:04
10. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Stage 5:

Olivier Le Gac won the Final Stage 6 of the Four Days of Dunkirk on Sunday. The Frenchman of Groupama-FDJ was part of a leading group of eleven, who surprised the peloton. Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis) added the final classification to his name, ahead of André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Oscar Riesebeek (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij).

The peloton started the final stage without Bryan Coquard. The winner of the third stage was ill and took a rest with a view to his participation in the Tour of Belgium. At the first intermediate sprint André Greipel narrowed his deficit in the overall ranking – four seconds on Dimitri Claeys – by taking three bonus seconds. A break of eleven riders (Gougeard, Le Gac, Pedersen, Finetto, Ourselin, Saez, Trusov, De Gendt, Vachon, Meurisse, Antomarchi) escaped and took a 2 minute lead.

The sprinters teams lined up in the peloton for the final, which consisted of ten local laps of 7.1 kilometers in the streets of the coastal town of Dunkirk. Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini, Lotto Soudal and Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij struggled to pull back the eleven. With a slight advantage, the leaders went under the red flag of the last kilometer. Olivier Le Gac surprised his fellow escapees with a late attack. Behind him Casper Pedersen (Aqua Blue Sport) came second, Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) finished third.

The peloton had failed to make the catch and came in at about ten seconds. Because of this Greipel could not compete for the stage victory and the bonus time to knock Claeys off his throne. In the end the German had to make do with second place in the standings. Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij’s Riesebeek took third place in the final overall.

Overall winner, Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis): “I was not too confident before the start given the gap separating me from André Greipel. And the first sprint bonuses that turned in his favor did not come to reassure me. I secretly hoped that we do not return on the escaped to avoid a massive sprint. But we must also not leave too much margin to Alexis Gougeard. It was really complicated but I could count on the support of all the guys. I want to thank for the fantastic work all day long. This victory makes me happy because it came at the right time to reward me for the efforts and sacrifices made in recent weeks. I have had a lot of bad luck since the beginning of the season. I was alone with my family at altitude to train for three weeks. It was not easy, but today luck is on my side.”

3rd on the stage and 6th overall, Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “Yesterday I had already discussed with my roommate Wesley Kreder that I could join a big breakaway. Together with Gougeard I was the last rider to jump to the big leading group. I collected bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints for a top 10 spot in the final GC. I wanted to drop myself down to the peloton to assist Timothy Dupont, but sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren encouraged me to stay in the front group. Gougeard kept on riding à bloc and so we stayed ahead of the peloton. Suddenly I had to aim for a stage victory. Unfortunately this flat course was not ideal for me, but I still managed to get a third place. With an average of almost 46km/h it was a very fast final stage. There has been a lot of change in terms of mentality in the team lately. All teammates have sacrificed themselves during this stage race. I am a member of the team for nearly two years now, and I had never seen such a collective block before. Also in the peloton, riders tell us that they are amazed at how we ride here. Everyone rides 100% for each other, which is not always easy. Thus we succeed in riding for one leader in a more efficient way. A rider doesn’t have to be ashamed to drop from the peloton is he has done his work. This is also emphasized by the team management. All the hard work was rewarded with good results, we only lack a victory. It is a joy to be a member of such a motivated team.”

“It was a matter of time to get this team spirit in the team. In Circuit de la Sarthe we already performed this for Guillaume Martin, and here in Dunkirk we could repeat that for Timothy Dupont and myself. We showed us one of the strongest teams and in the sprint preparation we were not inferior to a WorldTour team like Lotto Soudal, without real specialists in our team. This is encouraging and motivating for the future. I hope we can also extend this in bigger races like Dauphiné and Tour de France. Personally, I am also happy that I was able to contribute to Timothy’s sprint preparation, something I wasn’t able to do last year. I felt really good on the Saturday stage to Cassel. Now I rest for a few days before going to the Ardennes for a short training period. Then I build via Boucles de l’Aulne and Plumelec towards the Dauphiné, my next goal this season.”

4 Jours de Dunkerque Stage 6 Result:
1. Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 3:50:50
2. Casper Pedersen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport
3. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4. Aime De Gendt (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Paul Ourselin (Fra) Direct Energie
6. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
7. Hector Saez Benito (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
8. Julien Antomarchi (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
9. Florian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
10. Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo.

4 Jours de Dunkerque Final Overall Result:
1. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis in 24:52:54
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:01
3. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:02
4. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:12
5. Casper Pedersen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport at 0:41
6. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:46
7. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:50
8. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:52
9. Julien Antomarchi (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole at 0:53
10. Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:56.

Stage 4:

JLT Condor win opening round of OVO Energy Tour Series in Redditch
JLT Condor kicked off their OVO Energy Tour Series title defense with victory at the opening round in Redditch to pull on the leaders’ green jerseys, while British Cycling’s development squad Team Breeze took the honors in the women’s premiere.

The men’s win on the night went to Team WIGGINS’ Gabriel Cullaigh, who out-sprinted Tobyn Horton (Madison Genesis) and Tom Moses (JLT Condor) from a select group of six riders who contested the finish on the 1.4-kilometer Worcestershire circuit.

Cullaigh was full of praise for his team-mates, who returned to the Series after a year’s absence, saying: “We rode aggressively as a team – you’ve got to ride like that in the Tour Series. We never missed a beat today.

“Getting into the final lap with the six of us together I knew I could win it – I just had to keep the pace high and lead coming out of the final corner. Tobyn was coming up quickly but I knew he wouldn’t get past me.”

For Cullaigh, Redditch is the first Tour Series race he has completed, having endured a baptism of fire with a young Great Britain team in 2015.

He added: “It feels mega. Three years ago I was racing here with the Great Britain team – I didn’t really know I was going to be doing it until a few days before the Series started, so every race I had a horrible time. To come back this year with good form, and to be able to lay that ghost to rest, feels decent. I’m happy with that.”

Cullaigh’s win helped WIGGINS to fourth on the night, behind leaders JLT Condor, Madison Genesis and Canyon Eisberg.

Meanwhile, the women’s OVO Energy Tour Series opener went to Megan Barker, who helped her Team Breeze take the team prize and the Series lead for the first time in their two years of competition.

Barker was one of three riders clear when the race was briefly neutralized after a crash, but the trio managed to retain their lead after the re-start, with Barker heading home Anna Henderson (Team OnForm) and Worcestershire-based Nikki Juniper (NJC-Biemme-Echelon).

Speaking afterwards about the mid-race interruption, Barker said: “It mixed it up a little bit! I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but we basically had to commit and go from there.

“Up the hill I forced the other two to go a little bit – I think they panicked a little bit as I was telling them that we could get caught! I waited until the final bend and then I went for it.

“It was an attacking race from the start. My Team Breeze team-mates were getting involved brilliantly – I knew that if there was going to be a split one of us would be in it because we were always up there. I ended up making the move that stuck by counter-attacking one of my team-mates, so that worked really well. I was finding it tough so I thought everybody else would be, too, so I really dug in.”

Team Breeze take the early lead ahead of NJC–Biemme-Echelon and Team OnForm, with seven further events to come.

The Brother Fastest Laps went to Chris Opie (Canyon Eisberg) and Rebecca Durrell (Storey Racing), while James Lowsley Williams (Canyon Eisberg) and Henderson took the Eisberg Points jersey for the intermediate sprints in each Series.

For full results from the men and women’s races, please click here.

Action resumes at Round Two in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire on Tuesday 15 May. For more details please visit www.tourseries.co.uk

The 2018 OVO Energy Tour Series is coming!

Islas wins KOM jersey, Hoehn 8th overall at Redlands Classic
The Aevolo team made its presence known this past week at Redlands Bicycle Classic. Each challenging stage was met with tenacity and doggedness by the entire team, and it paid off.

The final stage, Sunset Loop Road Race, saw Fernando Islas claim the king of the mountains jersey while Alex Hoehn sealed an excellent eighth place overall.

“I am very happy,” Islas said. “The team is working a lot for me and for Alex, I am satisfied that I was able to gain this result. It’s a big victory for me because it’s such a big event here. I am happy to be able to continue helping the team, and to continue to learn and improve each day. Of course, the team is happy after winning our first stage last year with Gage Hecht and now the KOM classification. It shows we did the job well, little by little. We’re all young, and it was up to me to fight for this classification but we’ll see because we have plenty of strong riders, like Luis, Alex, who finished in the top ten on GC. We continue racing and doing a good job.

“The team was keeping on point. I was listening to my director, Mike Creed, over the radio who was keeping count on the points. We didn’t worry about winning the sprints, only to gain some points because most of the riders in the competition were further back. Not just to fight for every point but what was necessary.”

Islas said he plans to go back to Mexico and recover before planning his next race. Hoehn performed consistently over the course of the four day race, finishing in the top ten almost every day to capture one of the biggest results of his career.

“Being in the top ten is really surreal for me,” Hoehn said. “I’ve never done this well at a stage race this big so it is really an honor to kick some butt with my green and yellow hitters. I love being able to race well for the team. It means a lot to me when they sacrifice themselves so that I can stay out of trouble and be fresh for the finish. No one works harder than my team.”

The Aevolo team will head to Minneapolis, Minnesota for North Star Grand Prix next, starting June 13-17.

Race Day Redlands Classic stage 5 sunset loop:

Invitations Confirmed for 17 Teams at 2018 Tour of Utah Stage Race in August
303 Project and Aevolo to make Inaugural Appearances at “America’s Toughest Stage Race”

Eight U.S.-based professional cycling teams have accepted invitations to race this year’s Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. This finalizes a total field of 17 men’s teams to compete Aug. 6-12 at the 14th edition of “America’s Toughest Stage Race.” Competition will include seven UCI Pro Continental teams and five UCI Continental teams, in addition to the five WorldTour squads announced in March.

Returning to Utah for a record 11th time is UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, a Pro Continental team that has raced every edition of the Tour of Utah since 2008. Other familiar lineups from the Pro Continental ranks making repeat appearances are Rally Cycling (10th year), Hagens Berman Axeon (ninth year), and Holowesko-Citadel presented by Arapahoe Resources (sixth year).

Among the first-time entries in Utah are two Continental squads, 303 Project and Aevolo Cycling. They will be joined in the field by Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling, making a second appearance, and Jelly Belly Cycling Team presented by Maxxis, racing for a sixth year.

The last time the Tour of Utah extended invitations to 17 teams was 2012, the second year the event was sanctioned as part of the UCI America Tour. In recent editions, the field has been limited to 16 teams. Rosters for each team can include as many as seven riders, and will be announced the final week of July.


UCI WorldTour
BMC Racing Team (USA) *
EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale (USA) *
Mitchelton-Scott (Australia) *
Trek-Segafredo (USA) *
Team LottoNL-Jumbo (Netherlands) *

UCI Pro Continental
Bardiani CSF (Italy) *
Hagens Berman Axeon (USA)
Holowesko-Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources (USA)
Israel Cycling Academy (Israel) *
Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini (Italy) *
Rally Cycling (USA)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)

UCI Continental
303 Project (USA)
Aevolo Cycling (USA)
Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling (USA)
Jelly Belly Cycling Team p/b Maxxis (USA)
Silber Pro Cycling (Canada) *
* teams announced in March 2018

“There’s no question, winning last year’s Tour of Utah was the biggest result of my career, and one of the best days of my life. The race really does mean a lot to me,” said Rob Britton (Canada), who plans to return with his Rally Cycling squad to defend his 2017 Tour of Utah general classification title.

There are 26 individuals on these teams who have earned either a stage win or a classification jersey in a past appearance at the Tour of Utah. Among the Tour of Utah alumni, three are G.C. winners – – Rob Britton of Rally Cycling (2017), Joe Dombrowski of EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale (2015), and Jeff Louder (2008), who is now a team director with Hagens Berman Axeon.

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah remains a 2.HC-rated stage race on the UCI America Tour, making it one of the premier events for professional cycling teams in North America. It is also one of the prominent road cycling events that is part of USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour.

The Tour of Utah will start on Aug. 6 in St. George for the first time with a prologue, and conclude seven days later in Park City. Additional host venues are Cedar City, Payson City, Antelope Island State Park, Layton City, Salt Lake City, Canyons Village, and Snowbird Resort.

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. More information about the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (tourofutah), Instagram (thetourofutah) and YouTube (Tour of Utah).

Tour of Utah 2018 Host Community Announcement:

Cofidis extends its cycling sponsorship until 2022
Between Cofidis and cycling, the love story has been going on for 22 years. Two decades of success, beautiful adventures, sharing between passionate and involved people.

And our sun has not yet finished shining in the cycling sky as Thierry Vittu, Human Resources Director of the Cofidis Participations Group and President of Cofidis Compétitions says. “We are pleased to announce that Cofidis is extending its partnership with the cycling team until the end of 2022! We have had a great story since 1996 and I do not want it to stop. We have opened a new chapter this year by entrusting Cédric Vasseur with the role of general manager, we want to continue to offer our supporters and our employees great moments of emotion.

Cycling is a sport that has an international influence and a positive image in the minds of people who are still so numerous along the roads. In addition to sponsoring our own professional cycling team, Cofidis is stepping up its actions and investments, whether in France with our disabled sports division, our partnerships with Jean-Pierre Papin’s “9 de cœur” association, the crowdfunding platform “Up my Bike” or internationally where all the subsidiaries of Cofidis engage in their local events (Milan San Remo, La Vuelta, the Tour of Algarve, the Belgian Ardennes classics, The tour of Slovakia etc … ).

In addition, the fervor also materializes internally where all of our employees proudly carry this sponsoring, especially on the roads of the Tour de France, the 4j of Dunkerque, the GP of Denain and the Tour de l’Ain with our advertising caravan.”

Cédric Vasseur, a child of the North, is at the head of the team since the beginning of the season and necessarily, this announcement delighted him.

“I warmly thank Thierry Vittu and the management of Cofidis for this announcement … It is excellent news and a privilege for the whole team to be able to count on a cycling faithful partner since 1997. This new contract confidence with COFIDIS further strengthens our presence both nationally and internationally. This extension of contract also rewards the work of the entire team and will allow us to move forward in serenity by continuing the development of the team to achieve ambitious sports goals.”

Documentaire equipe Cofidis 2017:

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