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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The Tour de France is in full swing as the leave the cobbled behind and head for the hills. Sunday’s excitement finished any idea’s of overall victory for Richie Porte, a case of history repeating? – Top Story. All the stage reports and results from France, plus the Österreich-Rundfahrt. Achievement of a lifetime: Heinrich Haussler, Stephen Williams joins Bahrain-Merida, Marc Hirschi U23 European champion, Kenny Nijssen wins Wattmeister Challenge and becomes trainee at Katusha-Alpecin and Peter Sagan – Mister Cool. Monday coffee time.

TOP STORY: Richie Porte Out of the Tour… Again!
BMC’s Tour de France overall classification hope, Richie Porte, has crashed out of the 2018 Tour de France on Sunday’s stage 9 to Roubaix. It wasn’t the famous north of France cobbles that finished the Australian’s aspirations as he hit the tarmac before the start of the cobbled sections after only 10 kilometers. It looked like a fractured collarbone would be the diagnoses of the X-Ray machine.

Porte has not had the best of luck in the French Grand Tour, or for that matter any Grand Tour. His best place was 5th in the 2016 Tour de France. Apart from that he has been 19th, 23rd, 34th 48th and 72nd in France and 7th and 81st in the Giro d’Italia and 68th in the 2012 Vuelta a España. A good palmarès, but not setting the World on fire, his record in the shorter stage races is much better with wins in Paris-Nice, Tour Down Under, Suisse and Romandie, is much better.

BMC presumably paid him a lot of money to be their leader at the Tour de France, but he has crashed out both years. Possibly the ‘Tour Winner’ tag has been a bit of a leap of faith for the man from Tasmania.

For his sake, lets hope he has a pre-contract contract already signed with Trek-Segafredo for next year.

Tour de France 2018
Three years after finishing second to Alexis Vuillermoz at Mûr-de-Bretagne, Ireland’s Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) won the Queen Stage 6 of Brittany ahead of another AG2R-La Mondiale rider, Pierre Latour, to score his second Tour de France stage win five years after the first one in the Pyrenees. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) retained the yellow jersey.

Five riders went clear right after flag: Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Samsic), Damien Gaudin and Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) and Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). The peloton gave the green light to Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ) to go and greet his folks at Plouvien, after 11km, at the beginning of a hugely popular stage. The maximum time gap was recorded at Commana before the ascent to the highest peak of the first part of the Tour, the Roc’h Trévézel where Quick-Step took over from BMC at the helm of the peloton: 7:15 at km 65. Former polka dot jersey holder Smith crested the first two categorized climbs of the day in first position.

Quick-Step tried to split the race into echelons after the Roc’h Trévézel. They managed to split the bunch into three groups. Caught in the second group; Nairo Quintana, Vincenzo Nibali, Ilnur Zakarin, Jakob Fuglsang and Dan Martin made it back as Astana and later Movistar were forced to chase hard. Primoz Roglic was even further back in the third group. Soon after LottoNL-Jumbo brought him back before Carhaix (km 106), he crashed on a central reservation and chased again. Gaudin attacked from the front group after Pichon won the intermediate sprint at Plouguernével, km 135. 20km further, Gaudin and his former breakaway companions were reunited, with an advantage of 1:25 over the peloton in which Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) crashed.

Grellier was the last man caught at km 165, before the first passage on the finishing line on the Mûr-de-Bretagne where Tom Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) extended his lead in the King of the Mountains classification. Jack Bauer (Mitchelton-Scott) countered and went solo. The Kiwi took three seconds bonus at the bonus point while Geraint Thomas (Sky) got two. Successively, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) had mechanical problems in the last 5km. The Frenchman made it across but not the Dutchman. Bardet lost contact with the first part of the peloton after Dan Martin attacked with 1.2km to go, following an acceleration by Richie Porte (BMC). Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) countered but failed to catch the Irishman, while Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) settled for third in front of his arch-rival in the uphill finishes; Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step).

PEZ stage 6 Race Report HERE.

Stage 6 winner, Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates): “This is such an amazing feeling for me because I’ve had so many second places at the Tour since winning my first stage in 2013. I was really relaxed all day and I was really looking forward to having a crack. When we got closer to the finish I was a bit nervous because of the head wind and I didn’t think it was going to happen. Then the race went really hard during the first part of the climb and a lot of riders got dropped and at that point I noticed that I didn’t have any team mates left so I thought why not have a try – and I did. It was the same place that I tried to attack in 2015, but got boxed in. It was a case of waiting for everybody to be in the red, because I know I can go further into the red. I put in an explosive attack that I didn’t know I still had, but there was no way I was letting anyone beat me to the line. Thankfully the legs were there and they took me all the way. Getting this victory – especially as the team’s leader and not just a GC rider – makes the tour a success already and now anything else is a bonus.”

Overall leader, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “It was a great ride by Martin and I was expecting something like that from him. He is good at picking the right moment. I think if you win a stage like this after attacking from that point then you are the strongest guy. We tried to do a good job and Richie tried to set a good tempo for himself and to try and take some seconds over the rest of the contenders. I just hung in there as well as possible to maybe try to sprint but in the end, I had no power anymore. It was a super hard final climb and the tempo never slowed down. But I am happy that I could stay up there and only a few guys could hold the tempo on the climb. Overall, it was a good day and I have another day in yellow to look forward to. For sure, I am now thinking about the stage to Roubaix. It’s going to be a hectic stage and maybe the hardest one of the week but first, we have two stages to get through and you always have to concentrate in the Tour. Something can always happen but I hope to go into Roubaix in yellow. It’s the closest stage to Belgium and I like the cobblestones so, let’s go for it.”

2nd on the stage, Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I was not missing too much. We figured that if we arrived at the bottom of the climb well placed with either Alexis (Vuillermoz) or me, and if Romain (Bardet) was not in any trouble, then we would go for it. And I thought that was indeed the case at the bottom of the climb. I made an effort with a little more than a kilometer to go to the finish. Then Dan (Martin) attacked. And when I saw that, I accelerated at the same time as Richie (Porte); I told myself this was the time to go. But the wind gusted from the right, and I was glued to the barriers. So I was missing a little. Romain lost 30 seconds today. That’s a pain, but it’s not a huge amount of time over three weeks. We will catch it back later.”

5th on the stage and 9th overall, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a fast stage and a very tough finale. Similar to almost every day so far, our team was strong and the guys put me and Peter in a perfect position. When Martin attacked nobody was able to follow. I was in the wheel of Thomas and Porte, but they couldn’t close the gap. I thought about giving it a go with 1km to go, but it was headwind so I decided to stay with the others. In the end, it was a good result, a lot of guys lost some seconds, so I am happy to finish 5th without any time losses.”

Break rider, Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I had to take advantage of this day to take my chance. Firstly it was interesting for the team to have someone in the break. Secondly, I wanted to grab points for the mountain jersey. On the first two climbs I could gather some points, but also on Mur de Bretagne I had to come on top first to recapture the mountain jersey. Unfortunately I was caught 1 kilometer before the top and Tom took all the points. That is a disappointment. The riders from Direct Energie broke the cooperation in the group by attacking at 30 kilometers from the finish. The rhythm broke and we had to put a lot of energy into the chase. Then our gap on the peloton came down quickly. I am still glad I tried it. I prefer to attack rather than to stay in the peloton. After all, I rode around in the polka dot jersey for three days, something I never expected before the Grand Départ. Now I want to recuperate as good as possible to assist Guillaume Martin. Do I still think of the jersey? It will be difficult on the longer climbs. But you never know what happens.”

Julien Vermote (Dimension Data): “As planned, we took it on from after the intermediate sprint, it was necessary to be in front there because afterwards the roads were really narrow en twisty, so we brought our guys already into a perfect position for the first time up Mur de Bretagne, we survived the climb with the riders that we wanted to be in the final, so we were able to drop Tom-Jelte off in the perfect position to the foot of the final climb.”

Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale): “My rear wheel broke. I had to change my bike with Tony (Gallopin) three kilometers from the finish. And so the effort to do that just killed me for the Mur. It’s never a good thing to concede time like that. The whole pack was rolling very fast when I had my problem. But of course these are just the hazards of sport. Apart from that, everything’s fine. There are always twists and turns at the Tour de France. Today luck was simply not on our side.”

Tour de France Stage 6 Result:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates in 4:13:43
2. Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:01
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:03
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
10. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 6:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 22:35:46
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:03
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:05
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:12
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 0:18
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:45
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:51
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:52
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:53.

Stage 6:

Stage 7 was the longest stage of this year’s Tour de France, at 231km, included only one fourth category climb, and was made for the fast finishers. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) came from no where to swoop in for the stage victory ahead of Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) and Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

It took some time for the break to form, and with good reason, since whoever went on the attack would more than likely be staying out on the front much of the day – if not the whole distance. Two solo attacks quickly gave up, clearly not relishing the idea of a day on their own, only for Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) to go off alone again, this time with a little more than 190km remaining. In spite of being on his own, Offredo built up an advantage of nine minutes, but the peloton wasn’t overly concerned with so much of the day remaining.

For the second day, winds saw the peloton break into echelons, but this didn’t stop the bunch making the catch with 90km remaining. Another attack came to nothing, however, as the sprint teams had decided to stake their claim on the stage and once again, with 40km remaining, it was back together for what would be the last time – the sprint teams making certain of that. Some final twists and turns saw the bunch thrown left and right as the fast men began to kick. It looked like it was going to be another stage for Fernando Gaviria as his Quick-Step Floors team had given him the perfect lead-out, but Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) swept past the Colombian to win by a bike length. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) gained 3 seconds overall on Geraint Thomas (Sky) in second place.

Stage 7 race report HERE.

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo): “Finally. In the first two stages, I didn’t have enough power in my legs. But I felt that it improved every day. In the fourth stage, my timing was wrong, but I felt good. Compared to last year, I feel more pressure now. The fact that I’m winning the stage here is beyond great. The team did a very good job today and I’m grateful for the confidence that I get from the team. I positioned myself in Kristoff’s wheel and with two hundred meters to go I thought: this is the moment. This really gives a lot of confidence for the coming stages.”

Overall leader, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “It was a pretty calm day but you still had to be focused as guys tried twice to force echelons and that made it kind of nervous but overall, it was a good day. It was a long day and it was a little bit more relaxed but with a really fast final. I am happy I could take those three extra seconds in the bonus sprint. It was an open sprint with nobody in front so it was good to give it a try and take some seconds to make sure I am safe for the next stage. Now, I can probably keep the jersey to Roubaix and overall it’s been a nice week so far. Tomorrow is going to be flat but shorter than today and I think it is going to have the same outcome. I feel like I can focus on Sunday and try to be up there and we will see what happens.”

3rd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “As expected, we had a fast finishing sprint today. The guys had done an excellent job all day and they were perfect in the final kilometers to put me in position for the finale. I took third and I’m pleased with my performance and my form. I said it before, it’s a long Tour de France and we will fight for our chances every day.”

5th on the stage, Christophe Laporte (Cofidis): “It’s a lot better even though the day has dragged on. The team really went out of their way to protect me, and Anthony Turgis did a great job of placing me. We were even a little too early in the lead especially in the bend located 2 km from the goal. But this time we have not known the misdeeds of a fall. I managed to find a wheel of a sprinter and managed to get back in the last two hundred meters. I still have a little trouble finding the opening because there is really a group of very dense sprinters and it goes in all sides. But I do not despair of finding this fault by the end of the Tour and even as soon as possible.”

7th on the stage, Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott): “It was a long boring day, with not much wind. There was one point where it got a bit exciting and we were on good side of the split again, but then it settled back down. The peloton was just flat, tired from two tough days maybe. I wasn’t going to sprint, I was at the back with five kilometers to go but I thought if I could get up there I would try. I knew with the head wind it wasn’t going to be as fast and I got on a good wheel and had a go. I just wanted to get my head back in the game after a disappointing two days for me.”

Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data): “It was another quick finish today after a long stage. For us, the wheels kind of fell off our sprint train with 2km to go. We had Cav on my wheel and after the corner I heard him yelling. That normally means he’s not on the wheel anymore, when I looked back I couldn’t see him so I went to the front to speed it up so that it would least give Cav the chance to move and he could still contest the sprint. We’re going to keep trying, we have another chance tomorrow and I think it’s another slightly uphill finish. We have a great team here that’s been riding well together and showing fight so hopefully we can get a reward for our efforts.”

Tour de France Stage 7 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 5:43:42
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
6. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
7. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
8. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
9. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 7:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 28:19:24
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:06
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:08
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:09
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:15
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 0:21
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:48
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:54
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:55
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:56.

Stage 7:

Dylan Groenewegen equalled Fernando Gaviria and Peter Sagan as he bagged his second stage win in Amiens in Stage 8. In six sprinters’ stages, the three top sprinters of the 105th edition have scored twice. Greg Van Avermaet extended his lead by one more second ahead of the much anticipated stage including cobblestones.

170 riders started stage 8 in Dreux. Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe) was the first man to escape from the bunch but his only intention was to stop on the road side to applaud the peloton. It was all together on a slow motion at km 5 and until Laurens ten Dam (Sunweb) launched the first attack at km 23. He was quickly rejoined by Fabien Grellier (Direct Energie) and Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) but he decided to sit up and wait for the peloton at km 36.

The maximum time gap to the peloton was 6:35 after 37 kilometers, so Minnaard didn’t even get the chance to become the virtual leader of the Tour de France. Their advantage of the leading duo was down to two minutes with 40km to go as three teams regulated the speed of the bunch: mostly Antwan Tolhoek for LottoNL-Jumbo, Thomas De Gendt for Lotto-Soudal and Tim De Clercq for Quick Step. Minnaard was first to surrender at the 10km to go mark. Grellier was reeled in 6km before the end. Team Sky seized the reins of the peloton before the fight of the sprinters’ teams.

Philippe Gilbert rode away from the bunch in the streets of Amiens but it was all together again with 1.5km to go. Peter Sagan launched the sprint but André Greipel and Dylan Groenewegen successively passed him. The Dutchman from LottoNL-Jumbo took his second stage win. Second and third on the line, Greipel and Gaviria were eventually disqualified by the judges. Stage 6 winner Dan Martin lost more than one minute because of a crash with 17km to go.

Photo Report HERE.

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo): “This is very beautiful. We have worked really hard for this. It was about fighting for a good position all day. I chose Greipel’s wheel and when I saw him going shoulder to shoulder with Gaviria I thought: now is the moment. I have to thank the team for their trust and support. This would have never been possible without my teammates.”

Overall leader, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “Everything is going well. I was hoping for one day in yellow but not as many as this. I am really enjoying it every day. It is something special and it will be great if I can keep it in Roubaix. It will be nice to go onto the cobbles with the yellow jersey and hopefully I get an extra day after tomorrow. It is definitely going to be different as this is the first time that there has been this many cobbles on a Tour de France stage. You will have GC riders being protected by their team but they aren’t going for the win, they are just going up there to not lose too much time. I think there will be a small group of riders who can have a little bit of freedom so it will be pretty strange. I think it is going to be really hectic, really fast from start to finish and I think positioning will be key on every sector. For us, it will be a team effort. We are a team and have had a lot of guys working for Richie and me over these past few days. They are doing a great job so far and hopefully, we can keep up the good work tomorrow and get ourselves into position with Richie in my wheel. That would be the best and then he just has to try and follow for a long as possible and for sure, he can then maybe even gain time on the other contenders. A lot of things can happen tomorrow and there will be a lot of stress around. I hope to be good. Having no problems, no crashes and no flat tires would be a great thing already and then if I don’t have any of those problems, I think I can be up there in the final and hopefully, Richie is with me.”

2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “In yet another flat stage that finished with a fast bunch sprint, the team worked hard to keep Rafał and me safe and out of trouble. I was well positioned in the final stretch but I think I started my sprint a bit early and couldn’t hold off the other sprinters coming from behind. Tomorrow is another day where we will take our chances and make sure we finish without incidents.”

10th on the stage, Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “It was again a nervous final. I am glad I was able to avoid the crash, because I was just behind Dan Martin at the moment of the pile-up. I was very lucky, although it took energy to return. I chose the wheel of Gaviria, but no team took control. That made it very dangerous. Tomorrow I will discover the cobblestones in Roubaix. I hope to have the legs to be in front. The most important thing is to protect Guillaume Martin and position us well from the first section. Sunday is an important day for the GC. And why should I not be able to achieve a good result at the end of the stage? I already have a few top 10 places, now I am aiming for top 5.”

Crash victim, Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates): “Obviously I’ve felt better. But it could have been a lot worse. It was just a case of wrong place, wrong time. There was a break ahead of us, someone moved across and took my front wheel away. I couldn’t do anything about it. I know the time loss isn’t the best thing, but the guys did a great job of bringing me back up. Thankfully nothing is broken, so now I need to focus on tomorrow’s stage, survive the cobblestones and then we’ll see how things are after the rest day. I’ve already won a stage and as I’ve said – anything else is just a bonus.”

Tour de France Stage 8 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 4:23:36
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
5. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
7. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb
8. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data
9. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
10. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 8:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 32:43:00
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:07
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:09
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:16
5. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 0:22
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:49
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:55
8. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:56
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:57
10. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC.

Stage 8:

Two and half years after a life threatening accident, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) took his first Tour de France victory following six second places in six participations. A Paris-Roubaix winner in 2015, he achieved his goal in Roubaix as he out-sprinted yellow jersey Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Belgian champion Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors) at the end of Stage 9. Richie Porte abandoned the Tour de France in a crash before the cobblestone sections.

Five riders rode away right after the start: Omar Fraile (Astana), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo), Jérôme Cousin and Damien Gaudin (Direct Energie). They were joined after 20 kilometers by Chad Haga (Sunweb), Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ), Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) and Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie). But the main fact of the early part of the race was the abandon of Richie Porte (BMC) who broke a collarbone in a crash at 7km. José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) was also forced to pull out. The maximum time gap was 3:49 at 35km.

Tolhoek was ejected from the breakaway as he punctured on the first cobbled sector at 47 kilometers. Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) was the first GC contender to puncture but he made it back. Team Sky put the hammer down with 65km to go. The peloton was split for a while. Race leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) put the pressure on with 50km to go on the seventh cobbled sector where Bardet sustained a second flat tyre. Chris Froome (Sky) crashed with 46km to go but without any consequences. Other crashes affected Mikel Landa (Movistar) and Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First).

Gaudin and Janse van Rensburg rode away with 37km to go. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) was first to bridge the gap 20km before the finish. At the bonus point with 18km remaining, Van Avermaet took 3 seconds, Stefan Küng (BMC) 2 and Dan Martin (UAE) 1. Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step) accelerated on the cobbled sector of Camphin-en-Pévèle. Van Avermaet and John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) accompanied him. Bardet had a third flat tyre with 6km to go and took his place in the Landa group. Degenkolb won the sprint from the leading trio in Roubaix with Philippe Gilbert beating Peter Sagan for fourth place. Van Avermaet extended his lead in the overall ranking before the first rest day.

PEZ Race Report from stage 9 HERE.

A very emotional stage winner, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo): “Pure happiness. I was chasing this victory for so long, and it’s really hard to describe. It was a really hard fight the whole day. It’s also a victory of the team. We really had a plan to stay out for the trouble all the time and it really worked out really well. It’s unbelievable. I was focusing on the race, trying to stay calm. I felt good and then [in the sprint] you don’t have to think. In relation to what has happened in the last two years, this is pretty unbelievable. So many people said he’s done, he’s over, he will never come back. I am so happy to show all these guys who didn’t believe me that I am still there, I am still alive. I think that’s also what I took out of this accident: that you have to be happy after such a horrible crash that you are still alive, you’re still there. I was fighting my way back, and I am so proud. This is a very big victory, since a very long time. I have been through a lot of things in the past, and it was such a hard time. I want to dedicate this victory to one of my best friends who passed away last winter. This was really something for him because I said no, I am not done. I have to make at least one really big victory him, he was like my second Father. It’s so great now to be on the highest level again. There’s no way to make it more dramatic, more fantastic, than winning a stage like today. It can’t get better than this.”

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “After the crash, I just had to switch to trying to do my own race. It’s a bike race and it goes on so, I tried to do my best for the whole team and keep the jersey. The closer we got to the finish, the more I started believing and this result is a big disappointment for me. Maybe the race wasn’t long enough for me really. I have a good sprint after six hours and today it was only 3 hours 30 minutes. I tried to do my own sprint instead of waiting for him [Degenkolb] but next time, I will try again and try to beat him. I was really aiming for that win in yellow and it didn’t happen but that’s how it goes. Overall, I kept the jersey and made a great race out of the stage and this is also something. I was really happy with my shape and it’s been special to wear the yellow jersey. Losing Richie was a big disappointment for the whole team because we were here to bring him to Paris. You have some bad luck one year and you normally come back and then everything goes well. But for this to happen two year’s in a row is sad for Richie. He was well-prepared and in good shape in Switzerland so we really believed in him. I wish him all the best in his recovery and hopefully, he is back soon. Now, we will try to make the most out of the second and third week. It will be a little bit more relaxed but we will try to do as good as possible.”

5th on the stage and leader on points, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The stage today to Roubaix was like Paris-Roubaix in April but also different. It was just as harsh, tough and tricky but it was different because we also had to work for Rafał Majka’s GC chances. I think we did a very good job. I was at the front in all the pavé sectors, except one, and when Rafał was caught up in two crashes and lost contact with the front group, all the guys put a great effort to bring him back each time. We can be satisfied with what we achieved.”

10th on the stage, Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I did not force myself in the beginning of the stage. I also worked for our leader Guillaume Martin, but he had a hard time today. At a certain moment I decided to go for my own chances. I tried to follow as good as possible and I was spared from bad luck. I was held up a few times, a bit but could still stay in the favorites group. My communication did not work anymore, so I did not know for which spot I was sprinting. Above all I am glad that I was still in the favorites group. With this achievement I prove that besides the sprint I can also take on the heavier work. It is a pity that I suffered from a laryngitis this week, otherwise there something more was possible. But today I proved that I have worked well towards this Tour. I can ride reasonably uphill for a sprinter, so that should not be a problem in the upcoming days.”

Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I wanted really to race, but I had three punctures and we constantly had to chase from behind. Luckily we managed our efforts, we did not panic, I certainly have world-class teammates. I knew that the guys in front of us couldn’t be going faster. It’s a miracle that I’m still in the thick of the race. I did not puncture once during the reconnaissance. It’s no one’s fault, just bad luck. It’s a shame because I really was having a lot of fun. These are the types of stages that write the legend of our sport. Now, we’ll think about recovering tomorrow.”

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates): “That was incredibly hard and I have a new level of respect for the guys that ride Paris-Roubaix. It was an amazing experience and – in a strange way – I loved every minute. It would have been nicer without all the crashes, but at the end of the day my bike was faultless, we made it to the finish line and we’re still in the fight for the podium. Even after the crash yesterday, the team still believes in me 100%, so I have to give it everything. I stayed relaxed and composed, made sure I ate and drank before the cobbled sections and hung back when I needed to, knowing that the team would help me pick my way back to the front when the time was right.”

Richie Porte was forced to abandon the Tour de France after a devastating crash early into stage 9 which left him with a fractured right clavicle, BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Max Testa confirmed. “Richie has been discharged by the hospital and the diagnosis is that he has a non-displaced right clavicle fracture. He will need to rest for a week before he considers starting to ride on the home trainer. From what we know at this point, it looks like a straightforward injury and one that is quite common in cycling. We are expecting him to be back on the bike training in probably three to four weeks and potentially racing in six to eight weeks. We will continue to monitor Richie’s recovery and adjust the plan accordingly.”

Richie Porte is understandably disappointed about being forced to abandon the Tour de France. “Obviously I’m devastated. For the second year in a row I am ending the Tour de France like this. I was on the ground before I knew it and straight away felt pain in my right shoulder. I want to say a big thank you to my teammates for their incredible work over the first nine days. We had a great first week and I’m so disappointed that I won’t be continuing to Paris. I hope to recover as fast as possible and get back to racing.”

Tour de France Stage 9 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo in 3:24:26
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
3. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:19
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
8. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:27
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
10. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 9:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 36:07:17
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:43
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:44
4. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 0:50
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:31
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:32
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:33
8. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 1:42
9. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar.

Stage 9:

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt – Tour of Austria 2018
It was day of glory for the Kazakh Champion Alexey Lutsenko at the Tour of Austria. The Astana Pro Team rider took a nice victory at Stage 6 of the race, in the final out-sprinting his breakaway companion Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida). Together, Lutsenko and Mohoric made a decisive move close to the top of the first category climb, the Schanzsatte after more or less 80km of racing. The duo was able to get a good advantage of 50-55 seconds over the chasing group of 6 riders and to hold it until the finish line in Wenigzell. In the uphill sprint Alexey Lutsenko was just the strongest, taking his maiden win in the jersey of Kazakhstan Champion.

The stage started in Knittelfeld and finished in Wenigzell after 167,4km of racing. With three categorized climbs and a few hills in the second half of the distance this stage was a perfect moment for attacking riders to try to win from a breakaway. Thus, the first hour of racing was full of attacks and, finally, a big group could break away together with three Astana Pro Team riders: Alexey Lutsenko, Zhandos Bizhigitov and Andrey Zeits. The attack of Lutsenko on the first climb was the crucial moment of the stage. After Mohoric joined the Kazakh Champion, the two riders did a very good job together, keeping a solid advantage over the chasers and the peloton. On the last long downhill with around 15km to go Matej Mohoric tried to attack, but Astana rider did not give him a chance. Finally, two riders came together to the finish, where in sprint Alexey Lutsenko took a nice win.

The chasers finished 50 seconds later, while the peloton crossed the finish line 2 minutes behind the winner. Another Astana rider Dario Cataldo was 9th, keeping his 3rd place on the general classification.

Stage winner, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “It was a very hard day on the road, especially, after yesterday’s mountain very cold stage. There was a battle in the first 60 km of racing for the breakaway. But, finally, a group of around 20 guys could go away. I was in this group together with Zhandos Bizhigitov and Andrey Zeits. I want to thank both for the huge help they provided me in the break. Zhandos and Andrey did an amazing job in front of our group pulling hard and increasing the gap over the peloton until the first climb of the day. Later, I decided to take responsibility on myself, attacking on the climb. I went solo, but later it was Matej Mohoric, who joined me. We had a good collaboration between us until the finish, where, probably, I could save some more energy for a good sprint. I am really happy with this win! It is very important result for me since it is my first victory in the jersey of national champion. This is my first race after a very tough Giro d’Italia and it is great to get a win here!”

2nd on the stage, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida): “I am satisfied because I gave my best today. I’m sorry that I didn’t win today, but Lutsenko was stronger throughout the day. I just tried to stay with him on the climbs and hoped to beat him at the sprint. It is still OK. I gave by best and that is the most important for me.”

Odd Eiking (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “It was a very fast race from start till finish. I was part of a big breakaway before the top of the first climb. I attacked over the top of that one with five other riders. I felt very good and thought we would catch the two leaders. We saw them on every climb, but they resisted till the finish. In the end we also got tired. In the final there was a strong headwind, so it was difficult for me to bridge to the leaders all by my own. But all in all I am happy with this third place today.”

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt – Tour of Austria Stage 6 Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 4:19:25
2. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida at 0:07
3. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:50
4. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data at 0:54
5. Simone Sterbini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:59
6. Ángel Madrazo (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 1:03
7. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vérandas Willems-Crelan at 1:38
8. Riccardo Zoidl (Aust) Team Felbermayr-Simplon Wels at 2:12
9. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 2:14
10. Paweł Cieslik (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt – Tour of Austria Overall After Stage 6:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy in 21:54:52
2. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aust) Bahrain-Merida at 0:18
3. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 0:48
4. Patrick Schelling (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic at 0:53
5. Javier Moreno (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 0:54
6. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain-Merida at 1:01
7. Riccardo Zoidl (Aust) Team Felbermayr-Simplon Wels at 1:12
8. Ángel Madrazo (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 1:33
9. Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:45
10. Ildar Arslanov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo at 1:49.

Austria stage 6 podium:

Stage 7 – Tour of Austria 2018 started in Waldhofen with 4 laps to the final climb of the Sonntagberg.

The strategy for the Bahrain-Merida team from the start was to dominate and make it possible to go into an early breakaway, and in the penultimate lap to watch out for Hermann Pernsteiner and help him go a GC jersey takeover. The plan was looking feasible, but a bad crash happened where Mark Padun and Hermann Pernsteiner suffered injuries. Unfortunately, Mark Padun crashed into the metal fence and had to pull out from the race. He was taken to the local hospital in Ybbs, where doctors diagnosed a neck injury, a cut and 3 broken ribs. Bahrain-Merida doctor Carlo Guardascione was monitoring the treatment of Padun who will have an overnight stay in the nearby hospital. Padun received 12 stitches and his condition is stable. Hermann Pernsteiner continued the race with an injured shoulder and the Bahrain-Merida mechanics had to change his damaged bike.

Matej Mohorič and Antonio Nibali were in the breakaway with ten more riders, Giovanni Visconti, Enrico Gasparotto, and Kanstantin Siotsou in the peloton trying to keep eyes on their leader, Hermann Pernsteiner.

Matej Mohorič felt great and made a tremendous job to support and help Antonio Nibali to the last climb of Sonntagberg, where Antonio Nibali used all his energy to get his first professional victory.

And at the end, Antonio Nibali took a clean victory for Bahrain-Merida Team. He put the strawberry on the cake for the week in Austria where Team Bahrain-Merida took four victories in 7 stages. A victory of Matej Mohorič, two victories by Giovanni Visconti and a sweet victory for Antonio Nibali on the penultimate stage. Matej Mohorič took over the points competition from Giovanni Visconti, Hermann Pernsteiner is still in second place in the GC, 18 seconds behind Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy), and the best Austrian rider.

Stage winner, Antonio Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “It was an amazing effort. Matej, I thank you and all in my team. Now I finally got my first professional victory. I’m not a dilettante any more. I am so happy!”

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt – Tour of Austria Stage 7 Result:
1. Antonio Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 3:38:57
2. Paweł Cieslik (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 0:03
3. Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo at 0:15
4. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida at 0:35
5. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 1:08
6. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy at 1:12
7. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aust) Bahrain-Merida
8. Riccardo Zoidl (Aust) Team Felbermayr-Simplon Wels
9. Louis Meintjes (SA) Dimension Data
10. Patrick Schelling (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic at 1:20.

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt – Tour of Austria Overall After Stage 7:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy in 25:35:01
2. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aust) Bahrain-Merida at 0:18
3. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 0:44
4. Patrick Schelling (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic at 1:01
5. Riccardo Zoidl (Aust) Team Felbermayr-Simplon Wels at 1:12
6. Javier Moreno (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 1:21
7. Ángel Madrazo (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 1:41
8. Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:58
9. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic at 2:13
10. Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo at 2:18.

Antonio Nibali wins stage 7:

Bahrain-Merida concluded the extraordinary week in Austria with another success. Giovanni Visconti managed to take his third stage win ahead of Lutsenko (Astana) and Van der Lijke (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) in the final Stage 8 of the Tour of Austria. Breakaway win for the Italian rider who went clear with a 5-man group after 21kms into the race and out-sprinted his break-away companions to claim his third success of the season.

What a week for Team Bahrain-Merida, they have many to celebrate: 5 stage victories with Matej Mohorič, Giovanni Visconti (3) and Antonio Nibali; the 2nd place in the General Classification of Hermann Pernsteiner, who takes the Best Austrian’s jersey as well. Moreover Giovanni Visconti grabs the points classification victory, with Matej Mohorič second. Bahrain-Merida could only be the winner of Team Classification.

Stage winner, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): “It was very close today, because Lutsenko is a great champion and we were very tired due to this hard and challenging week and today’s stage was also very fast. I’m so happy that I hardly know what to say. 3 stage wins for me in eight days and 5 for the team. Moreover we took second overall. It has been a great week! I’m very happy.”

Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida): “It can seem easy when you win so many stages and you do a good GC, but it really wasn’t. It was a tough race also because they were not long stages, but very fast. It was a good work ahead of next targets.”

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt – Tour of Austria Stage 8 Result:
1. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida in 3:36:01
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
3. Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
4. Nikolay Mihaylov (Bul) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
5. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data
6. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vérandas Willems-Crelan at 0:49
7. Marco Maronese (Ita)Bardiani-CSF
8. Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana
9. Manuel Porzner (Ger) Tirol Cycling Team
10. Shane Archbold (NZ) Aqua Blue Sport.

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt – Tour of Austria Final Overall Result:
1. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy in 29:11:51
2. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aust) Bahrain-Merida at 0:18
3. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 0:44
4. Patrick Schelling (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic at 1:01
5. Riccardo Zoidl (Aust) Team Felbermayr-Simplon Wels at 1:12
6. Javier Moreno (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 1:21
7. Ángel Madrazo (Spa) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 1:41
8. Giovanni Carboni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 1:58
9. Matteo Badilatti (Swi) Team Vorarlberg Santic at 2:13
10. Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo at 2:18.

Giovani Visconti on the stage 8 podium:

The Achievement of a Lifetime: Heinrich Haussler
Far behind riders of the stature of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Mark Cavendish, in the history of the Tour de France there have been almost three hundred men who only got a fleeting taste of glory. As the countdown to the start of the race on 7 July continues, letour.fr is retracing the steps of 10 champions who clinched a single stage win. In 2009, Heinrich Haussler, an Aussie riding under a German licence, delivered a performance for the ages in the Vosges to claim a solo win in Alsace.

He is good at almost everything… especially at covering up his tracks. Young Heinrich Haussler left his native Australia for Germany, the country of his father, to pursue his dream of becoming a pro cyclist. As hoped, he joined the elite peloton at a young age and soon stood out as a promising sprinter: not when he claimed the stage to Alcobendas of the 2005 Vuelta, rather when he finished third in the finale in Madrid, beaten only by Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel. Four years later, Heinrich rocketed to a stage win in Paris–Nice, but the real show of strength came in Milan–San Remo, where Mark Cavendish pipped him on the line, and the Tour of Flanders, where he led the peloton home a minute behind winner Stijn Devolder. At the start of the 2009 Tour, it was clear that the German, now riding for Cervélo after launching his career with Gerolsteiner, was ready to go head-to-head with the fastest men in the world.

The state of grace
“Cav” held the advantage in the first few stages. Heinrich Haussler also had to work for team leader Thor Hushovd, helping him to claim the stage to Barcelona. However, management gave him the green light to attack, which he did in stage 13, a long, hard slog through the Vosges. Haussler joined Christophe Moreau after just three kilometers, with Rubén Pérez, Rigoberto Urán, Juanma Gárate, Jens Voigt and Sylvain Chavanel adding to the numbers another four kilometers down the road. As the peloton came within 45 seconds of the breakaway, he initiated a new selection at km 57. Only Pérez and Chavanel made the cut this time round, with the rest of the group falling back to the peloton. Haussler, still riding under a German licence one year before switching back to Australia, was untouchable on the climbs. The Euskaltel rider got dropped 5 km from the top of the Platzerwasel, 46.5 km before the line, with the Frenchman bonking and losing contact on the descent. Neither the incessant rain that pounded the peloton throughout the five-hour race nor the chill (9 °C on the Route des Crêtes) that put out the favourites’ fighting spirit blunted the edge Haussler. He was in the form of his life. Heinrich Haussler crossed the line in Colmar with a tearful celebration of what remains his sole stage win so far. The 34-year-old will be racing in the 2018 Tour de France as an all-terrain domestique for Vincenzo Nibali.

More information on https://www.letour.fr/en/

Heinrich Haussler winning stage 13 of the 2009 Tour de France:

Stephen Williams Joins Bahrain-Merida Team
Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team is happy to announce a new young rider – Stephen Williams – to join the team as stagiaire for the rest of 2018 season and turn professional rider in 2019.

General Manager of the Bahrain-Merida Team, Brent Copeland, is looking forward to working with the young talented rider: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Stephen Williams to the team. Young talented riders like Stevie are a very important part of our teams strategy. We have been watching him for a while now and his talent was confirmed with the two mountain stages at the Giro Baby where he impressed us all. Together with the technical staff we have closely looked at where Stevie will fit in with our team and we feel he will find the perfect place to start his professional career where he will get our full support. SEG racing academy have been doing a fantastic job at giving the U23 riders these opportunities and we thank them for there collaboration and support on this. We excited and looking forward to Stevie having some racing with us also in the next few months as a stagiaire.”

The 22-year-old talented British climber, Stephen Williams – who recently won a mountain stage at the U23 Giro d’Italia, spending a day in the pink jersey as well – is really excited about this opportunity: “I’m so happy to be joining Bahrain Merida, this is the perfect team for me to learn and develop as a young climber. I’m really excited and can’t wait to start racing with the team” comments Williams who will ride as a stagiaire in the next months and will turn pro with the team in 2019 “I’m over the moon to be turning pro and moving to the highest level of cycling, this will give me the opportunity to race the biggest races in the world. I’ve looked up to Vincenzo Nibali for a number of years now, and to be able to race along side him for the next years is something special for me.”

PEZ spoke to Stephen earlier this year.

Development Team Sunweb’s Marc Hirschi U23 European Champion
Development Team Sunweb rider Mirc Hirschi (SWI) has won the U23 European Road Race Championships in Czech Republic. Having already raced to 5th place in the individual time trial earlier this week, Hirschi continued his strong form taking a sprint win from a small breakaway.

Mirc Hirschi said: “It was a really hard parcours today with a small cobbled climb and another 3km climb. With three laps to go I attacked the peloton and crossed the gap to the front group. Then on the next climb I attacked the front group and got away solo in front. But then on the decent I had a mechanical with my chain and had to get a bike from the neutral car.

“I managed to get back to the Spanish rider in front, then after a French rider came across to make it three. So from there it was down to a sprint finish between us. I’m so happy to take the victory, even more so given the mechanical problem. I’m really looking forward to wear the jersey in the upcoming races.”

Mirc Hirschi:

Kenny Nijssen wins Wattmeister Challenge and Becomes Trainee at Katusha-Alpecin
On Wednesday, July 11th, Kenny Nijssen reached the highest wattage per kilogram on a Tacx Neo smart trainer device. Nijssen reached 6.4 Watt/kg and was rewarded with a genuine internship at Team Katusha-Alpecin. Starting August 1st, Nijssen will be a trainee/stagiaire in the Swiss WorldTour team until December 31st 2017.

“This is really fantastic. I knew I could come close but to win, that is something else. Since my qualification for the Wattmeister finale, I was focused on this day. I saw my wattages were good. I skipped the Marmotte last week, just to give my body some rest for today. Already for many years I have tried to get a chance on a higher level, and now I can prove what I can do in a WorldTour team. I hope to show what I am capable of”, said Kenny Nijssen.

Kenny Nijssen (UWTC De Volharding) is 27 years old. With his 52,5 kg, Kenny Nijssen is a climber. He is especially known in the granfondo world. In 2016 he was the winner of La Marmotte (over Glandon, Télégraphe, Galibier and l’Alpe d’Huez), a granfondo earlier won by pro riders like Laurens Ten Dam and Sander Armée.

In Amsterdam ten riders fought for the trainee contract at Katusha-Alpecin. Nijssen ended his challenge with a score of 6.29 Watt per kg. Second place was for Thijs de Lange with 6.28 Watt/kg. Third was Jeen de Jong (6.05). 2017 Wattmeister Piotr Havik finished fourth.

Wattmeister Challenge was an initiative from bicycle brand Canyon, Katusha-Alpecin and Topcompetitie. The Topcompetitie is a cycling league with eight Dutch races for men at semi-professional level. The Wattmeister was allowed to wear the red Katusha/Canyon jersey in the races. That jersey could only be attacked by the Topcompetitie riders on a smart trainer device (Tacx Neo) under the auspices of specialized exercise physiologist. The winner of Young Rider competition is guaranteed a trainee contract at the WorldTour Team LottoNL-Jumbo.

“We were immediately charmed by this initiative. It is original but also ground-breaking. The participants were highly motivated to become a trainee/stagiair in Team Katusha-Alpecin and, as the Wattmeister is a rider of one of the 17 Topcompetion teams, we know that he will be a rider with experience. Last year we only had positive experiences with Piotr Havik. We are eager to add another Dutch talent to our selection. Now it’s up to Kenny to prove what he can at the highest level”, said José Azevedo, General Manager of Team Katusha-Alpecin.

Peter Sagan – Mister Cool!

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