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Como - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie pictured during the 112th Il Lombardia 2018 - a one day race from Bergamo to Como (241 KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Il Lombardia finished off the season with a great finalé and a worthy winner in Thibaut Pinot. All the action from Lombardy, Gran Piemonte, Tour of Turkey and cyclo-cross in Lokeren and Gieten with video and results. Tom Dumoulin talks 2018 – TOP STORY. In other cycling news: The Shanghai criterium, contract news and cycling’s greatest finish starring Iljo Keisse. Big coffee for EUROTRASH Monday!

TOP STORY: A Season of “Successful Novelties” for Tom Dumoulin
Tom Dumoulin has confirmed his status on the top rung of the pro cycling ladder this season with second places in the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the time trial World Championships, plus a fourth place in the World Championship road race. The Sunweb leader chose many new challenges, all of which turned out to be good despite a start to the season. Dumoulin explained to Dutch media, NOS.nl, that he struggled with mental problems.

For Dumoulin, 2018 was a year of experimenting. “Defending my Giro title and what comes with it, that was new. Two big Tour, riding for the overall classification, that was totally new. Seeing how far I could go in the road race at the World Champs, that was something that I had not done before. All novelties that are mostly successful. I am satisfied with that.”

“The second place in the Tour, on the final stage”, recalls Dumoulin as his highlight of the season. “That last time trial was also very special, with everything that preceded it. Those were things that I had not shown before.”

Yet the Giro/Tour combination is not one that Dumoulin would choose in the future. “It’s a huge attack on your body, I noticed that. It requires a lot. I’m only 27, if I do this every year, I will not improve. I want to make some more steps and I think it would get in the way of that more than help me.”

“Spring is never my strongest period. I was going to do a bit of everything,” Dumoulin looks back on the first months of 2018. “Everything was just a bit too extreme. That did not work at all. I was stressed and everything was against me. That may have been my biggest victory this year. I struggled with myself and was not mentally good in my skin. That I overcame that and that I rode so well afterwards, that is what I am most proud of.”

In that period, Dumoulin also faced family problems with the death of his uncle and aunt. “That was extra intense for everyone around me and for me. After Tirreno-Adriatico the switch clicked. It was good that I literally and figuratively crashed out. I think I needed that, because then I really went and looked in the mirror: ‘Tom, you’re not really doing well at all’.”

A hard but successful year for Tom Dumoulin:

Il Lombardia 2018
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ won the race of his dreams as he rode away from his last opponent, Bahrain-Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali, the defending champion, for a brilliant solo victory on the shores of Lake Como. Belgium’s Dylan Teuns of BMC rounded out the podium of the 112th Il Lombardia NamedSport.

Eight riders took off from the start: Davide Ballerini (Androni-Sidermec), Umberto Orsini, Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF), Florian Sénéchal (Quick-Step Floors), Franck Bonnamour (Fortuneo-Samsic), Jonathan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin), Michael Storer (Sunweb) and Marco Marcato (UAE Emirates). Within a quarter of an hour they had a 6 minute lead, the peloton held them at around that gap as the big wait for the Madonna del Ghisello had begun.

On the Muro di Sormano the break was caught, and LottoNl-Jumbo took control with five men on the front to launch Roglič in a solo attack. Pinot and Nibali were the only ones who could catch Roglič and then drop him. World champion, Alejandro Valverde, looked to be able to follow, was distance by the summit.

Pinot and Nibali were joined by Roglič, who wasn’t too far behind by the top of the Sormano, and eventually by Egan Bernal (Sky). On the road to the final climb of the Civiglio, the four built up a lead of 40 seconds on the big chasing group.

On the final climb, the Civiglio, Roglič and Bernal cracked and were caught by the chasing group and the Lombardia 2018 battle would be between Pinot and Nibali. Pinot attacked Nibali and before the summit the ‘Shark of Messina’ was in trouble. With a lead of 20 seconds, Pinot plunged into Como.

The happy Frenchman crossed the finish line as behind him Nibali was caught by the chasers, but the Italian attacked from the group to take his second place at 32 seconds. Ten seconds later; Dylan Teuns (BMC) brought in the chase group of Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida), Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) for third place.

Read the PEZ Lombardia Race Report HERE.

Il Lombardia 2018 winner, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ): “I don’t know if it was an attack from far out but I wanted it badly, so when I saw Nibali attacking, I thought it was the perfect move. In addition, with Primoz Roglic and Egan Bernal who are two strong riders, when we got a gap of 40 to 50 seconds, I understood it would be complicated for the others to come across. Clearly, this is the most beautiful win of my career. Had I been able to choose one race to win, it would have been this one. This is a true achievement. My goal was to be alone at the top of Civiglio. I didn’t want to face another duel against Nibali in that downhill.”

2nd, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “It was a shame to have found Pinot with an incredible condition. On the last climb, I felt very tired but I wanted the podium; I found the last energy and I attacked again. It went right. Among the Monuments, Il Lombardia it’s my favorite race. After the crash at the Tour, today’s second place represents my sporting redemption. I wanted to do a great race but the legs were not super and so I ran mostly with my head. Now a little rest and then I will start working for a wonderful next season.”

3rd, Dylan Teuns (BMC): “I had really good legs today and in the end, I couldn’t gamble for the win because Pinot was really strong on the Sormano and we never saw him again. This is a hard race and one that I like so, I can be really happy with a podium finish at a Monument. It’s a dream to win a race like this and I think I made the first step by being on the podium today and I hope I can come back and win one day. The Sormano is an important point of the race, it’s maybe the most difficult point, and I tried to follow the bigger riders there but, it was not easy. The attack from riders including Pinot and Nibali was really strong and I was just 20 meters or so behind. I tried to find my own speed from there and I came to the top of the climb in fifth position but not too far back, maybe only 20 to 25 seconds behind. On a fast descent like that, it was hard to close the gap though. In the end, once the group was gone after the descent of Sormano, we never saw Pinot again. We saw Bernal coming back as well as Roglic and Nibali, who we caught on the last climb but he went on to attack in the descent. I think the strongest won for sure today. I missed the victory this season, which comes to an end for me today. Now, I can enjoy some rest and reload the batteries in order to come back stronger hopefully. I don’t know what I need to improve on but one thing I can do is keep trying. I hope one day, the big victory will come in a Classic. That is what I dream about.”

6th, Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida): “It was my last race with the TBM’s jersey and I closed with a good 6th place. We all made a great team performance. After the Vuelta, I was thinking about going down, but I recovered for the World Championship and even today I was fine.”

7th, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I didn’t expect such an early attack today. I missed the moment when Pinot went, but then I also thought it’s still far from the finish. Roglic and Bernal had to pay for their efforts in the end, but Pinot was super strong and deserves the win. I had really good legs today and gave it everything. I attacked lots of times, but it was difficult in my group with three guys from Bahrain covering. But I am really proud how we presented BORA – hansgrohe as a team today. It’s also nice to finish off the season with a good result and strong legs, it pushes my motivation to be ready for next year.”

8th, Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida): “It is a race that I have always liked and in which I often arrive with the first ones. When Vincent attacked we protected him from behind and then he made a “great number”. I am happy with my season in which I have been very continuous, the victory has been missing but I have achieved good results.”

Il Lombardia Result:
1. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 5:53:22
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:32
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:43
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 0:48
10. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:22.


Gran Piemonte 2018
Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli of Bahrain-Merida concluded his 2018 season with a victory at the GranPiemonte eight months after he opened it with a powerful stage win at the Dubai Tour. He out-sprinted Frenchman Florian Sénéchal from Quick-Step Floors and his compatriot Davide Ballerini in front of the spectacular hunting palace of Stupigini. Ballerini’s result secured success for his Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec team in the Ciclismo Cup.

Gran Piemonte winner, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida): “With 2km to go, I realized the bunch was split and I told my team-mate Kristjan Koren to ride as hard as he could after the last curve because we knew that Androni and Bardiani had good lead out trains. When he gave me the way with 500 meters to go, [Paolo] Simion [of Bardiani-CSF] took the lead and I decided to launch my sprint at 350 meters even though it meant a very long sprint. The final stretch seemed to be never ending although I was able to deal with the gap I straight away got for myself. For sure, this victory is dedicated to my baby girl due to be born in about ten days from now. She’ll be named Vittoria! It’s been a season of many second places, including some at a very high level, so it’s nice to finish it off with a win.”

2nd, Florian Senechal (Quick-Step Floors): “Second is a good result but I think it was possible for me to win today because when Sonny [Colbrelli] launched his sprint from more than 300 meters, I looked to the left side. After that, I was coming back fast but too late. I’m happy… but not completely happy. I said this morning that I was mostly afraid of crashing but I wasn’t scared. I’m from the north of France and I’m used to racing in Belgium on bad roads. We train for that at Quick-Step and we are used to sprinting with different riders. We have Viviani, Gaviria, Hodeg, Jakobsen… we’re full of sprinters, so every race that comes down to sprint, we go for it.”

3rd, Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec): “In reality, I had to lead Manuel [Belletti] out and I started doing it but in the last curve, a gap was created behind me. When I looked back at 500 meters to go, I saw a Katusha – Alpecin rider [Jhonathan Restrepo] behind me and Sonny launched his sprint. He took an advantage of ten meters straight away and I couldn’t close it. But my third place helps secure the final victory as a team in the Ciclismo Cup. That’s what we’ve been looking for since the beginning of the year.”

Gran Piemonte Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida in 4:20:50
2. Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
3. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4. Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
7. Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
9. Barnabás Peák (Hun) Quick-Step Floors at 0:02
10. Simone Velasco (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia.

Gran Piemonte’18:

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 2018
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) claimed victory again on Thursday after an action-packed Stage 3 of the 54th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. Contenders for the overall win tried to make the most of the demanding roads leading to Marmaris but the Irish sprinter held on to take his second win in a row, his sixth on the Turkish roads. Bennett dominated Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors) and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) in a reduced bunch gallop to also maintain his overall leadership.

A peloton of 137 riders lined up on the shores of Fethiye ahead of a fast-paced day of racing. Seven of them quickly attacked and formed the breakaway of the day. The wearer of the red jersey Beñat Txoperena (Euskadi-Murias) was at the front to hunt more KOM points on lumpy roads. He was accompanied by his teammate Fernando Barcelo and also Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin), Aldemar Reyes (Manzana Postobon), Kenneth Van Rooy (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and two riders from the Turkish National Selection, Muhammed Atalay and Feritcan Şamlı.

They quickly built a 1:55 (km 15) gap before Sam Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe picked up the pace in the pack to defend the Turquoise jersey the Irish sprinter claimed on Wednesday. The lead increased to 2:45 with the only categorized climb of the day (cat 2, km 33.3). Aldemar Reyes summited first. Beñat Txoperena was second and will still wear the red jersey on stage 4, featuring three categorized climbs and a summit finish at Selçuk.

Kenneth Van Rooy claimed the intermediate sprint at km 65.2. The Belgian took the time bonus and was trailing 10 seconds behind the race leader on GC but the gap to the peloton was down to 1:40 as Bahrain-Merida and UAE Team Emirates were working with Bora-Hansgrohe at the front of the bunch.

Muhammed Atalay and Feritcan Şamlı made sure they would take the two first places in the Beauties of Turkey sprint to defend the white jersey held by their teammate Onur Balkan. The gap went down under 1 minute when the race entered the last 30km. Şamlı and Van Rooy were then dropped on a hilly section with 27 km to go. In the pack, UAE Team Emirates picked up the pace with Przemyslaw Niemiec at the helm. Beñat Txoperena was also dropped with 25 km to go while Joaquim Silva (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) tried to enjoy the demanding roads leading to Marmaris with an attack from the bunch.

Silva was reeled in 19km away from the finish and the leading trio with Würtz Schmidt, Barcelo and Reyes were then 40 seconds ahead of the bunch. The early attackers were eventually caught with 12km to go, on the last uphill section of the day. Astana Pro Team and Team Katusha Alpecin set a high tempo ahead of the finale and Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors) was part of the dropped riders when Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), the overall winner in 2017, went on the move with 11 km to go.

Attacks kept flying in the run down to Marmaris but a reduced bunch made it together to the Mediterranean shores. Already winner on day 1, Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors) showed strong legs again but it wasn’t enough to edge Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), who retains the Turquoise jersey ahead of the queen stage on Friday.

See stages 1 and 2 in EUROTRASH Thursday.

Stage winner and overall leader, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I thought it would be harder on the climb but I was actually comfortable. They only went hard the last 500 meters and I could hang on for that. The descent was pretty fast. A lot of guys came back when I thought maybe they wouldn’t. It was a hard fight for the wheels then, but my guys did a great job and looked after me all day, on the climb as well. I was on the Quick-Step train again in the last 500m. There was a slight hesitation at 220-230m to go and I decided to hit it instead of letting guys come over the top of me. At that moment I thought, maybe I’ve gone too long here, but I was able to hold onto it so I’m delighted.”

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 3 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:16:27
2. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
4. Patrick Bevin (NZ) BMC
5. Ahmet Orken (Tur) Turkish National Team
6. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
7. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
8. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Pol) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
10. Mikel Aristi Gardoki (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 3:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 10:09:52
2. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors at 0:10
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo at 0:22
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
5. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:23
6. Josu Zabala Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:24
7. Fernando Orjuela Gutierrez (Col) Manzana Postobon at 0:25
8. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:26
9. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana.

Turkey stage 3:

Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) and the Queen Stage 4 of the 54th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey lived up to the expectations as the champion of Asia, winner of the Tour of Oman earlier this year, made the most of the summit finish at Selçuk on Friday: he claimed victory ahead Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) and Eduard Prades (Euskadi-Murias) to also take the Turquoise jersey from the shoulders of Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe). The Irish sprinter will wear the Green jersey as he looks for another victory Saturday on stage 5 while Aldemar Reyes (Manzana-Postobon) is the new leader of the KOM standings after a hard day at the front.

The challenges lying ahead of the 137 riders lining up in Marmaris got attackers excited. The battle for the breakaway was a fierce one, with Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida) among the most aggressive riders, and nobody managed to get away before the race hit the slopes leading to the Sakar Pass (km 36). Grega Bole (Bahrain-Merida), Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH), Jon Irisarri (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and a Colombian duo, Yecid Sierra and Aldemar Reyes (Manzana-Postobon) eventually managed to jump ahead in the cat-1 climb before Nikolay Mikhaylov (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM), Iljo Keisse (Quick-Step Floors) and Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) joined them.

Grega Bole summited the climb first, ahead of Aldemar Reyes, who took the virtual leadership of the KOM standings after already scoring points at the front on stage 3. The gap to the bunch was then stabilized around 2:20. The attackers brought their lead up to 3:20 en route to the intermediate sprint (km 114.2) dominated by Iljo Keisse.

Diego Ulissi’s UAE Team Emirates set the pace in the bunch and the gap was down to 2:30 when the race entered the last 70 km. Iljo Keisse was first at the Beauties of Turkey sprint (km 152.6) and Nikolay Mikhaylov was dropped off the front group with 42 km to go. Delko Marseille Provence KTM and BMC Racing Team also participated in the chase and brought the attackers’ lead under 1 minute with 28 km to go to the summit finish next to the House of Virgin Mary.

Grega Bole was once again the first atop the Mount Bülbül (cat 3), just ahead Aldemar Reyes, with the pack trailing by 40 seconds for the last 15 km. Reyes dropped back to the peloton and Diego Rubio got back to Bole with 13 km to go. The leading duo was eventually reeled in right at the bottom of the last climb, at the same time as the race leader Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) was dropped after setting his teammate Jay McCarthy for the finale.

The pace was extremely high from the beginning and no one managed to open a proper gap in the first part of the climb despite many attempts. Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) attacked 3 km away from the summit but Manzana Postobon controlled his move and a group of 20 riders got back to him with a little more than 1 km to go. Diego Ulissi kicked first but Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) perfectly timed his move to dominate the uphill finish and take the Turquoise jersey.

Stage winner and overall leader, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “It was a long day out there and it was really hard but the team looked after me all day in the peloton. Going in to the final 5km I was still feeling strong and we were in a perfect position going up the climb. It was important to make sure I followed the wheels and so I was checking Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) and Nicholas Roche (BMC) because I knew they were strong and would be close. Then right at the end I followed Ulissi until he attacked and he got a slight gap but I had the legs to go past Eduard Prades (Euskadi-Murias) and then Ulissi, just before the last few meters. It’s a really important win for me. Earlier this year I won the General Classification at the Tour of Oman but I didn’t win a stage there (two third place finishes and one second placed finish) so to win here is special and hopefully I can go on to win the race. I have had a good season with a Gold medal at the Asian games, my win at (Tour of) Oman and the National Championships and other big wins elsewhere and of course like I say, it is great to win here. I have a strong team. 90% of us are from Kazakhstan and so it is a big motivation for us to win the race and I will do my best. Tomorrow is a sprinters day and we just need to make sure we don’t lose any time and control the breaks the best we can.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates): “It was a hard but quite calm climb most the way up. We were going slow together and a lot of the main riders were keeping their position. I tried my best in the final sprint, but he was just faster and more powerful than me and I couldn’t have done anything more at the end. I thought I was there but then he came up right on my wheel and unfortunately he had the strength to just beat me to it.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Eduard Prades (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias): “I went with Ulissi as I knew he’d be close and in contention to win because he was so strong here last year. He went with his sprint again and I tried to stay close to his wheel in to the last km and I managed to get there with a few meters left. I thought I was in a good position but Lutsenko came from behind us both and was really strong. I’m happy I’m right up there in the GC now and we will see where we might be able to grab a few seconds back. Anything is possible now.”

22nd on the stage, Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I tried it but on the final climb as the climbers increased the pace I couldn’t go with them and therefore I finished some seconds behind them. However, I am satisfied because if you never try you will never know. Tomorrow will be another day and another chance for our team.”

Turkish Airlines KOM, Aldemar Reyes (Manzana-Postobon): “I’m very happy. I am on the podium, and it feels great. Yesterday we tried to take some points but it was the first part of the job and we had to finish it off today. It was a hard day and I felt a bit tired, but we kept fighting to get what we wanted so I’m happy. When we attacked on the first climb we had an agreement that nobody would challenge me for the Turkish Airlines Red Jersey points but Grega Bole (Bahrain Merida) opened a gap near the summit. He’s a very strong rider and I was second in the first two climbs which was ok for me. We’ll have to see how we defend this jersey but right now I can enjoy it and tomorrow we will see.”

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 4 Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 5:24:22
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
4. James Knox (GB) Quick-Step Floors
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC
6. Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
7. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
8. Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
9. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 4:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 15:34:30
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:04
3. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 0:06
4. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:10
5. Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
6. Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
7. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
9. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC.

Turkey stage 4:

Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors) proved again on Saturday he’s not only the future of sprinting but also the present, with a dominant victory on Stage 5 of the 54th Presidential Tour of Turkey. The young Colombian stepped up after his leader Fernando Gaviria had to abandon with a broken collarbone. In Manisa, he out-sprinted John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin). With the time bonuses he snatched along the day, Haas is second overall, only 4 seconds behind Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) on the eve of the final stage to Istanbul.

It was a hard battle between the 135 riders lining up in Selçuk before a group of attackers could get away. The bunch was still together for the intermediate sprint (km 27) dominated by Alex Kirsch (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic) ahead of two GC contenders, Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) and Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo), who enjoyed the opportunity to take time bonifications.

Attacks kept flying after the sprint and it’s only after 40km a group of cinq attackers managed to get away with Rafael Reis (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Amaro Antunes (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Nikolay Trusov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Aime De Gendt (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Onur Balkan (Turkish National Team). Alexey Lutsenko’s Astana Pro Team set the pace in the bunch to control the gap around 2:30. Aime De Gendt summited first the only categorized climb of the day (cat 3, km 53.4) but none of the attackers posed a threat for the red jersey worn by Aldemar Reyes (Manazana-Postobon).

The pace seriously increased when teams tried to split the peloton in a windy section when the race entered the last 50km. Quick-Step Floors and Bora-Hansgrohe were particularly active but the peloton mostly stuck together. The acceleration brought the gap down to 1:20 with 38 km to go.

Sprinters’ teams collaborated with Lutsenko’s teammates and the gap steadily decreased en route to Manisa. Onur Balkan went solo to come first at the Beauties of Turkey sprint (km 125.8) and extend his lead in this classification. The Turkish National champion was eventually the last attacker to be caught by the pack, with 6 km to go. Quick-Step Floors took the reins to make sure Alvaro Hodeg would take the victory ahead of John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin), who took 4 more bonus seconds.

Stage winner, Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors): “I am proud of how the team controlled the race today, especially the last kilometers, which were perfect. They were all amazing and I want to thank the guys, because without them it wouldn’t have been possible to pull it off and get my fifth success in the Quick-Step Floors jersey. We knew the final it was a bit uphill and with some headwind, so I followed the instructions of Max, who placed me perfectly to open the sprint in the last 100 meters. Every victory is special, but this is really something, because it came in my last race of the year and I am happy I could repay the squad for the trust they put in me. The Tour of Turkey ends tomorrow and we hope we will finish it off in style.”

Overall leader, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “Today was a nervous day, up to 30 km we did not let go the breakaway, it was a lot of attacks before first intermediate sprint, where bonus seconds were given. After that, a group of five people escaped, we let them go for 2-2.5 minutes and always kept this time. At the finish we had a massive sprint, it was a bit nervous, there was a strong wind and there were moments where we got a little stress. Tomorrow is the last day of the race and we will try to defend the leader’s jersey. Tomorrow will be tomorrow.”

2nd on the stage, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo): “I waited to go out and I was sitting in a great position on the wheels. I knew I’d found the right one to follow but I waited and maybe I didn’t quite go early enough to start my sprint. I don’t think I can leave it that late really and he’s super quick so I couldn’t get past him. I needed a few days to get up to where I wanted to be with my fitness but as the week has gone on I’ve felt good. It’s been hard and we’ve come close a couple of times now. There’s one stage to go and one last win tomorrow would round it off perfectly. We just have to have a trust and belief in the team’s plan and hopefully we can go away with a victory.”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin): “It wasn’t really the plan to make up time on GC at all. It was a straight forward plan from the start to just be up there at the finish, so it’s a nice bonus. The last 15km was pretty chaotic and we didn’t really know what was happening at the front but I’ve an awesome team. 61 Maxim Belkov and 66 Reto Hollenstein were amazing for me to get up there and Reto was my man, he’s always helping me. They’re just a super squad and they all put in another real shift again. It’s just so fun riding here and then for them to put me in position again like that is amazing. The team have done amazingly. Even if it’s top three and we can consolidate that we’d be really happy with it as a team. To get such a good hit out and enjoy ourselves at the same time, in the last race of the season, it’s what it’s all about. I’m just really proud of each and every member of our team – they’re brilliant.”

Beauties of Turkey competition leader, Onur Belkan (Turkish National Team): “It was really hard for me today and the first 40km it was really windy and tough going, so the break couldn’t get away. After that I managed to get in the lead group which I wanted to do for the Turkish people. I wear this with pride and I gave it my all today. Tomorrow I just have to be careful and make sure we don’t get caught up in any crashes. If I can just get to the finish then the jersey is mine. I’m really motivated to do that and I am proud of what we have done this week as a team. It was great to attack off the front and get the points. The crowd were waving and spurring me on and it was really enjoyable for me and for the fans to see me wearing this jersey.”

Turkish Airlines KOM, Aldemar Reyes (Manzana-Postobon): “Today went well. We had to pay attention to the breakaway but it was good for us nobody got away and there were no rivals at the front. It meant I could have quite a relaxed day and save some strength because I had spent two days at the front and it was demanding. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow, we hope for something similar to today and if not I’ll try to be in the break and fight for the points. We know we’ll have to be at our best to win this classification and it would be a great achievement. It’s a World Tour race so it would be a very important podium for my career and for the team.”

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 5 Result:
1. Alvaro Jose Hodeg (Col) Quick-Step Floors in 3:15:12
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
3. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
4. Sam Benett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Edward Theuns (Bel) Sunweb
7. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Sprandi
8. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
9. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
10. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE-Team Emirates.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 5:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 18:49:42
2. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:04
3. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:04
4. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 0:06
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:09
6. Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo at 0:10
7. Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
8. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC.

Turkey stage 5:

Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) anticipated the final bunch gallop in Istanbul with a brilliant attack 1km away from the finish to take his third stage win on the Final Stage 6 of the 54th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey. The Irish sprinter surprised all of his rivals and resisted to claim victory ahead of Eduard Prades (Euskadi-Murias) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC). With the bonus seconds he took on the line, Prades edged Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) in the overall classification. Prades and Lutsenko have the same overall time but the Spanish rider wins thanks to a better score when adding their places on the six stages of the race.

The battle for the prizes still up for grabs in the final stage of the 54th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey was a fierce one again. It caused the peloton to split in two groups after 30km of hard racing. They soon got back together and no one had managed to break away in a first hour that saw the riders cover no less than 49km.

Grega Bole (Bahrain-Merida) summited first the cat-3 climb of the day ahead of the red jersey Aldemar Reyes (Manzana-Postobon). The two riders were tied in the KOM standings but Bole was set to climb on the final podium, as he dominated the only cat-1 climb of the race, on stage 4.

A group of three riders eventually got away after the summit: Danilo Wyss (BMC), Louis Vervaeke (Sunweb) and Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise). They quickly opened a 2 minute gap on the peloton while five chasers jumped from the bunch: Pawel Cieslik (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Nikolay Mihaylov (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM), Beñat Txoperena (Euskadi-Murias), Christophe Masson (WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic) and Muhammed Atalay (Turkish National Team).

The two attacking groups got together on the Osmangazi bridge, the World’s fourth longest suspended bridge, just ahead of the intermediate sprint (km 83.7) won by Preben Van Hecke. The gap to the peloton had then stabilized around 3:15. Van Hecke pushed alone after the sprint and opened a 40 second gap to his companions before being caught ahead of the last 50km. The peloton, led by Team Katusha Alpecin, Quick- Step Floors and Trek-Segafredo, was only 1:35 behind the race leaders at that point.

Sam Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe also participated and the gap was down to 1 minute when the race entered the last 40km. Muhammed Atalay and Christophe Masson were then dropped from the leading group. Mikhaylov and Van Hecke were also dropped as the race went 100m under the Bosphore, through the Eurasia tunnel (km 134). The gap was down to 20 seconds when Pawel Cieslik went first through the Beauties of Turkey sprint, 13.3km from the finish.

Louis Vervaeke tried to keep the break alive as far as possible but he was caught with 6.5km to go. It looked like a bunch gallop would decide the final results of the 54th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey in front of the Blue Mosque but Sam Bennett surprised everyone with a spectacular attack 1km from the line. The Irish sprinter stormed to the line and Eduard Prades (Euskadi-Murias) finished second to take 6 seconds and win the overall classification.

Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Firstly, I want to thank the BORA – hansgrohe boys for their amazing work today. The whole team came together to put me exactly where I needed to be before I attacked. I can’t thank them enough. With the top10 on GC sitting so close on time, I knew I needed to just ride when the moment was right and it paid off! Attacks were imminent and the legs felt good so I made sure to get the win for the team and to take home the Sprint Jersey too. I’m so happy that this is how I’ve finished my 2018 season. The guys were great today and they delivered me perfectly. The bunch kept coming back when we were at the front but then going in to the last corner we were in the front there positions. I looked to see if Trek Segafredo or Quick-Step Floors were there but they weren’t behind me and so I made the jump round the last bend. I know the finish here pretty well and what it’s like, so I made the jump and went hard on the climb as much as I could. If you do that then you can recover round the corners. I looked back and saw I had done it when I got round the last corner because they were gone. But that wouldn’t have been possible today without the team, they were brilliant. It feels like I’ve managed to get some redemption after my crash here last year. For that and the type of finish it was today I think it was probably my favorite win out of any I’ve had. It’s great for morale going in to next season. I really want a leadership role at Paris-Nice and the Giro d’Italia and I’ll speak to the team in the next couple of weeks to plan out the season. But this has definitely got my spirits high going in to next year.”

Overall winner and 2nd on the stage, Eduard Prades (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias): “We knew looking at the GC that it was nearly impossible because there wouldn’t be many opportunities. But I liked the finish and it is one I know well so I knew it wasn’t impossible if I could get in the right position. I managed to get in the right wheels up the climb and hold my strength in to the corners and I knew I had a chance. When I got round the end in to the last km I knew I had to watch (Nathan) Haas as he was a rival and I was in a better place than him on the climb and I managed to match him and get round. My Vuelta (España) was ok and I finished 4th on a stage which helped my confidence and here I knew there was only one real chance for GC on stage 4 and I have been in a good position all week and it’s given me this opportunity today. It’s been a great year for me and the team and we have had some good wins now like this one of course, the Vuelta and others and it’s just the best way to finish the season.”

2nd overall, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “This race was not easy. The last two stages were very nervous, there were a lot of attacks, since the gaps were only a few seconds and all the main competitors were very close in the overall standings. Of course, it is pity that I could not win, but the race is a race. Nevertheless, I am pleased with the victory at the hardest and longest mountain stage of the race. This is my last race in this season, and to finish it on the podium is also a good result. In addition, this season was another step towards my development as a leader for the week races with an overall victory at the Tour of Oman at the very beginning of the year and a podium and queen stage victory at the Tour of Turkey at the end.”

Turkish at Home Beauties of Turkey competition winner, Onur Belkan (Turkish National Team): “Our aim was to get a stage win but we couldn’t do it so to win this jersey is amazing for me and the team. It’s great to wear it for so many days. I’m really pleased with this and it gives me a sense of pride. My main goal now in the future is to use this as a platform to build my career. It’s obligatory if I’m to succeed as a professional rider at this level. I know that I can perform to this standard but for now I will just enjoy this moment.”

Final KOM winner, Grega Bole (Bahrain Merida): “I didn’t expect to win this jersey of course so it’s a nice way to finish (the season). I went on the attack on the queen stage (stage 4) and I knew I could sprint so if I had the chance to get the points I could. Today our plan from the start was to control the breakaway and we didn’t let anything go until the first points. The team did a great job for me to get me in position and I managed to get the points I needed. As I say I never really expected this and especially as I had the injury (before the world championships). But my form has improved as the week has gone on and it’s great to win this, so I am happy.”

3rd on the stage, Danilo Wyss (BMC): “We had a big fight to make the breakaway at the beginning with more than 50 kilometers of attacks and we all tried to go in the breakaway. In the end, it was quite a good move. We were originally three riders, and then five more joined. We had a small chance to stay away. The sprinters’ teams were controlling us quite well but I think Astana Pro Team would have liked us to stay away because of the General Classification. In the end, we tried to stay away as long as possible. It’s a strange feeling to end the BMC Racing Team chapter after 11 years. I had a great time with the team and a great experience so there is a bit of emotion.”

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 6 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:36:28
2. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 0:06
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
4. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Sunweb
5. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
6. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC
8. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo
10. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Final Overall Result:
1. Eduard Prades Reverter (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias in 22:26:16
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
3. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:04
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:09
6. Rúben Guerreiro (Por) Trek-Segafredo at 0:10
7. Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
8. Matteo Fabbro (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC.

Final stage 6:

# Video Soon. #

Telenet Superprestige Cyclocross – Gieten 2018
One day after what was feared to be an ankle break for Mathieu van der Poel, the European champion won the first round of the Tetenet Superprestige in Gieten. He rode Wout van Aert off his wheel as Toon Aerts finished in third place at 1:30.

The question on Saturday was whether Mathieu van der Poel would get to the start after his injury in Lokeren. After riding to the race on the road and a test on the course, the decision was made that the European champion would start.

The fastest start on the sand of Gieten went to Toon Aerts, but when he made a mistake, Van Aert and Van der Poel took over. For a while Van der Poel stayed on the wheel of the world champion, but on the second lap Van der Poel took the lead and put Van Aert under immediate pressure. The World champion first lost a handful of seconds, then 15, a lap later it was 20 and at the half-way mark in the race the difference was almost 30 seconds.

With Van der Poel and Van Aert firmly in the top two places, it was mainly the battle for the third podium place that fascinated the spectators. The chase group consisted of Toon Aerts, Michael Vanthourenhout, Lars van der Haar, Daan Soete and Marcel Meisen. Aerts, the winner of the first two World Cups of the season, was able to distance the others in the final laps to finish ahead of his teammate Van der Haar, with Meisen and Soete taking 5th and 6th.

Race winner, Mathieu Van Der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “It was very good, the swelling and pain immediately after the incident was already a big part of Saturday night thanks to an ice machine, some tests this morning were also positive and for the rest we have very firmly taped the ankle. After yesterday, this was the last thing I expected, but as I said, I had hardly any trouble during the race. I had no problem to put full power on my pedal and this is also a course that is perfect for me.”

2nd, Wout Van Aert (Cibel-Cebon): “Mathieu quickly put me under pressure, I made a mistake that caused a small gap and I was not able to return. I would have preferred to be closer to Mathieu at the finish, but on the other hand my gap on everyone behind me is also very big and that is positive. Although my second place was pretty fast as good as a certainty, I kept giving everything until the finish. To continue making progress you have to look up your limits a few times.”

3rd, Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions): “I took an excellent start, but due to a mistake in which I drove the leg of a barrier, I lost touch with Mathieu and Wout. But to be honest, I do not think I could have followed them when they accelerated. With Lars I did try to get closer, but even then they rode even further away. A little bit against my nature, I started to race more tactically to be third on a course that is less my style”

Telenet Superprestige Cyclocross – Gieten Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 48:03
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Cibel-Cebon at 0:31
3. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:30
4. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:40
5. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon-Circus at 1:49
6. Daan Soete (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 2:03
7. David Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus at 2:17
8. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal at 2:23
9. Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Sunweb at 2:26
10. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 2:52.

Cyclocross Gieten’18:

Brico Cross – Lokeren 2018
Round 4 of the 2018/19 Brico Cross series in Lokeren on Saturday was full of drama, but not the best for Mathieu van der Poel as he crashed and badly sprained his right ankle. The European champion shrugged it off saying he would hope to start in Sunday’s Superprestige.

The course featured a wooded, undulating course, one sand pit and multiple ditch crossings. Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) and Wout van Aert (Cibel-Cebon) didn’t waste any time and put the pressure on from the start.

Van der Poel landed awkwardly after the drop-off and fell awkwardly on his right ankle. He tried to rejoin the race, but could not pedal and was carried off the course on a stretcher. It is thought that Van der Poel has a sprained ankle, not a fracture.

Van Aert took control of the race, but the World champion punctured and was passed by much of the race. Daan Soete (Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice) kept out of any trouble and held off a chasing Telenet Fidea Lions powered group for victory. Teammate, Laurens Sweeck, out-sprinted Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions) for second. Van Aert got a bike change after his puncture and moved up to second place and looked to be pulling Soete in, but cracked on the final laps to finish sixth.

Brico Cross – Lokeren Result:
1. Daan Soete (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice in 1:01:58
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 0:05
3. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:10
4. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal at 0:27
5. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts-777 at 0:41
6. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Cibel-Cebon at 0:57
7. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:17
8. David Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus at 1:57
9. Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 2:13
10. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) Corendon–Circus at 2:25.


Tour de France Skoda Shanghai Criterium 2018: Thomas and Sagan Head to Shanghai
Shanghai will set the stage for the grand finale of the season. The Chinese city will again roll out the red carpet for the stars of the Tour de France in their final outing before starting to prepare the 2019 season. About four months after parading around the Champs-Élysées at the end of the final stage, Geraint Thomas will pull on the yellow jersey in the heart of Shanghai to cap what has been his most successful season to date, in which he also won the Critérium du Dauphiné. In China, the Welsh rider will clash with some of the protagonists of last summer, including Peter Sagan, who also stepped onto the podium after claiming his sixth green jersey.

White jersey Pierre Latour, thirteenth overall and best young rider in the Tour, and his AG2R leader Romain Bardet, sixth overall in the Tour and silver medallist in the Worlds in Innsbruck, Austria, are also heading east. Among the other big names of the July race, Marcel Kittel has no fewer than fourteen stage wins under his belt, while European champion Matteo Trentin has two. It’s twice less than what is on Luis Leon Sanchez resume, who had made himself a specialist of barouder stages with downhill finish between 2008 and 2012. Time to head to Shanghai!

Key points:
The second Tour de France Skoda China Criterium will take place on the grounds of the Expo 2010 in Shanghai on 17 November. Yellow jersey Geraint Thomas, green jersey Peter Sagan and white jersey Pierre Latour will bring down the curtain on their 2018 season in the largest city in China.
Ø Joining the three distinctive jerseys of the Tour de France will be Romain Bardet, sixth overall and best French rider in the July race, as well as Marcel Kittel and European champion Matteo Trentin.

Main contenders (as of 8 October):
Team Sky: Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Owain Doull, Jonathan Castroviejo
AG2R-La Mondiale: Romain Bardet, Pierre Latour, Alexis Vuillermoz, Axel Domont
Katusha-Alpecin: Marcel Kittel, Rick Zabel, Nils Politt, Marco Mathis
Bohra-Hansgrohe: Peter Sagan, Juraj Sagan, Erik Baska, Daniel Oss
Bahrain-Merida: Sonny Colbrelli, Antonio Nibali, Giovanni Visconti, Meiyin Wang
Astana: Jakob Fuglsang, Tanel Kangert, Alexey Lutsenko, Luis Leon Sanchez
Mitchelton-Scott: Matteo Trentin, Mathew Hayman, Luka Mezgec, Carlos Verona

Team Bahrain Merida Renews with Yukiya Arashiro in 2019
We are delighted to announce our Japanese star Yukiya Arashiro extends his contract with Team Bahrain Merida for 2019 season. He is a rider with a wealth of experience in different race discipline. After the injuries in Tour of Japan and Binckbank Tour, he made it to recover and back to the peloton within a short period of time, which shows his perseverance and professionalism as a pro rider. There is no doubt that Yukiya is one of the most steady and trustworthy men in our roster.

“I had many injuries from the crashes this season. But I’m very grateful to many staff of the team who took care for me each time. I’m glad that I can continue with Team Bahrain Merida next year, and I am convinced that next season will be a wonderful season,” says Yukiya Arashiro with full of confidence for his bright future with Team Bahrain Merida.

From Brent Copeland, our general manager: “It is with great pleasure that we announce the renewal of Yukiya’s contract. He is the most popular Japanese cyclist and a very hard and dedicated athlete with a vast amount of experience. I have been working together with Arashiro for 3 years now and each year has been more pleasurable. He always gives 100% to whatever role he is assigned on the team and this can vary a lot as he is a very complete rider who can cover many areas. We are thrilled to have him continue with us and we looking forward to another exciting season with him as I am sure all his fans and supporters are, especially the fantastic Japanese supporters of Team Bahrain Merida.”

Yukiya Arashiro:
Bermeo - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Gorka IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI (Spain / Team Bahrain - Merida) - Yukiya ARASHIRO (Japan / Team Bahrain - Merida) pictured during 58th Itzulia Basque Country stage 2 from Zarautz to Bermeo (167,4 KM) - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2018

Artyom Zakharov remains in Astana Pro Team
Astana Pro Team extended the contract with the Kazakh rider Artyom Zakharov. The new agreement has been signed for the 2019 season.

“The new contract is a big news for me. I am very happy that the team’s management and Alexandr Vinokurov personally trust me and support me on the way to my goals, the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo. I feel like I can improve both, on the road and track. In Astana Team I have everything I need for that. In the upcoming season I will try to reach new results on the road and, of course, will work hardly to get a quote for the Games in Tokyo,” said Artyom Zakharov.

Artyom Zakharov (26) is riding his third season in Astana Pro Team. Last year he won the road race of the Kazakhstan National Championships, while in 2018 he was third in the same discipline. Zakharov is a track rider and this season he won two bronze medals at the Asian Games in Indonesia (individual pursuit and omnium). Besides, he was twice third at the Asian Track Championships.

“At the moment the main goal of Artyom Zakharov are the Olympic Games and the team is doing its best to provide the rider with the best conditions to help him to succeed. Zakharov has some good progress in road races, he is a strong team’s rider, who can always provide a support to the leader. However, so far all forces are for the track disciplines. The following season will be the key and we expect Zakharov will win a quote to represent Kazakhstan at the Games in Tokyo,” said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Artyom Zakharov:

With Christoph Pfingsten, BORA – hansgrohe Completes its Roster for 2019
After the German WorldTour team re-signed Christoph Pfingsten for another year, the BORA – hansgrohe roster now is complete. 27 riders from 10 different countries, among them eight Germans, form the 2019 team.

“We managed to build a well-balanced team for 2019. After Michael Kolar stopped his career this summer, Alex Saramotins and Matteo Pelucchi will leave the team by the end of the season. The signing of Maximilian Schachmann was very important for us, as we now have three key talents of German cycling at BORA – hansgrohe. With eight German riders in total, we also underline our German roots. Jempy Drucker and Oscar Gatto will strengthen our Classics group, but also add lots of experience to our roster. I am confident that we’ll keep progressing in 2019, especially at the Grand Tours we still can improve our results.”Ralph Denk, Team Manager.

BORA – hansgrohe 2019:
Pascal Ackermann (Ger), Erik Baska (Svk), Cesare Benedetti (Ita), Sam Bennett (Irl), Maciej Bodnar (Pol), Emanuel Buchmann (Ger), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Jempy Drucker (Lux), Davide Formolo (Ita), Oscar Gatto (Ita), Felix Großschartner (Aut), Peter Kennaugh (Gbr), Leopold König (Cze), Patrick Konrad (Aut), Rafal Majka (Pol), Jay McCarthy (Aus), Gregor Mühlberger (Aut), Daniel Oss (Ita), Christoph Pfingsten (Ger), Pawel Poljanski (Pol), Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut), Juraj Sagan (Svk), Peter Sagan (Svk), Maximilian Schachmann (Ger), Andreas Schillinger (Ger), Michael Schwarzmann (Ger), Rüdiger Selig (Ger).

Christoph Pfingsten:

Mark Renshaw commits to Team Dimension Data
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is delighted to confirm that Mark Renshaw has signed a contract extension for 2019.

To celebrate the announcement Renshaw has also pledged a special contribution to the Qhubeka charity reinforcing the philosophy that our team rides for a higher purpose, to mobilize people through bicycles.

The 35-year old Australian has been an integral part of the team over the course of the last three years playing a vital role in some of the biggest results in our history.

The highlight being, undoubtedly, as part of the team that secured five stage victories at the 2016 Tour de France in which Mark Cavendish wore the race leader’s yellow jersey as well as the green sprinter’s jersey.

“I’m looking forward to racing my 16th season professionally with Dimension Data for Qhubeka in 2019. This will be my 4th season with the team where we have had some great success over the past 3 years,” said Mark Renshaw.

“I’m excited to meet all my current teammates and all the new riders that will join us next season at our training camp in Cape Town next month. Working with our new sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo next season as well seeing Ryan Gibbons continue to develop will be very exciting, I looking forward to helping him and our other leaders in the sprint finals next season in my favorite position of lead-out rider. I will be sharing all my years of experience on the road to bring the team our best results. The Qhubeka charity is a huge part of this team and I am very proud to be a part of this. Helping put kids on bikes is a big motivation for all riders and the chance to be part of a handover each year in South Africa means a lot to me. This year I will purchase 4 Qhubeka bikes; one for each year I have been with Dimension Data that will help a child in Africa. Finally, a big thank you to Douglas Ryder for the opportunity to once again be part of the World Tour and to all the staff that work so hard during the season to help the riders. I can’t wait for 2019 to roll around.”

The man from Bathhurst’s extension sees the balance of our squad further improved as a hugely exciting crop of young talent will be looking to the experience of the likes of Renshaw as their careers develop.

His extension comes on the heels of the likes of Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Ben King together with the host of new signings to the team.

Team Principal Douglas Ryder, said: “Mark staying with us is a big moment for our team. It’s not just the obvious amount of experience that he has on the World Tour but it’s the huge success that he’s been a part of throughout his career. That will obviously play a big role as we look to stand on the top step of the podium more often in 2019.

“When Mark joined us in 2016 he quickly became part of a success story which I don’t think any of us imagined would have been possible. The memories from the Tour de France in that year are some of the most special we’ve had; and while only one rider crosses the line in first place we all know the role the whole team plays, with the lead-out train vital to that success.

“Mark’s ability to navigate his way through the peloton and position his sprinter in the perfect spot is right up with the best ever; to have him with us not only to continue doing that for our current crop of sprinters but also pass on that knowledge to the rest of our lead-out team, is fantastic.

“He’s not only been a great ambassador for his family and country but the way in which he conducts himself for the team and the Qhubeka charity shows that he ‘gets it’ and we’re looking forward to a successful 2019 together.”

Elizabeth Banks is Excited to Join Cervélo Bigla in 2019
In the latest acquisition, Elizabeth Banks will ride for the Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team in 2019.
The British rider rose through the domestic ranks by winning the National Road Series in 2017. This year, she achieved a UCI podium in her first year as a professional after placing second on the opening stage of Tour de Feminin.

“It is with nervous excitement that I make the next big step in my career by joining Cervélo Bigla and entering the highest level of racing,” the 27-year-old said. “This team has both great ambition and passion for supporting riders to achieve their goals. This, along with their development of cyclists into world-class athletes is why I’m certain it is the perfect place for me to continue to learn and grow as a rider.”

Banks is the latest new signing for 2019 following the announcements of Sophie Wright, Nikola Nosková, Leah Thomas, Elisa Chabbey, Martina Alzini and Maria Vittoria Sperotto.

“We’re excited for 2019 when we will again present a unique structure in cycling. Lizzy is someone who is ambitious and interested in taking deliberate steps towards her development. These are the kind of athletes we like working with. We believe she has a lot to give and are looking forward to providing the tools to unveil her potential,” team manager, Thomas Campana said.

With the 2019 world championships awarded to Yorkshire, Banks said qualifying is one of her short-term goals as the race venue is right on her doorstep. “My long-term goals are to be on the podium at the world road race championships and to represent my country at the Olympic Games. Next year, I hope to support my team leaders in WWT racing, delivering them into the final of the races in the best possible condition. I am also excited to take opportunities where they arise to attack and animate the races and demonstrate the diversity and strength of the Cervélo Bigla squad.”

Elizabeth Banks:

Cycling’s Greatest Finish Starring Iljo Keisse
Relive the most dramatic finish in cycling history with the brilliant Belgian Iljo Keisse and Eurosport’s iconic commentary duo Carlton Kirby and Brian Smith at the 2012 Tour of Turkey.

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