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El Once - Colombia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - sfeer - illustratie pictured during 3rd Tour Colombia 2020 (2.1) - Stage 6 from Zipaquira to El Once/Alto del Verjón (182.6KM) - Photo: Dario Belingheri/RB/Cor Vos © 2020

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The Colombian’s love cycling, specially if they are winning – All the news and video from the Tour Colombia, Tour De La Provence, Vuelta a Murcia, Trofeo Laigueglia, Clasica de Almeria and the New Zealand national championships. Tom Pidcock no Van der Poel copy – Top Story. Team news from Algarve and Andalucia. Doping in Costa Rica, Colorado Classic’s TV Streaming and 2020 for LUX Cycling. Monday EUROTRASH cycling news time.

TOP STORY: Tom Pidcock: “I don’t copy Mathieu van der Poel”
Tom Pidcock ended his cyclo-cross season this weekend with the Middelkerke and Hulst cyclo-cross races. After a break, his focus will be on the road and mountain biking, which makes the link with Mathieu van der Poel obvious. Yet he would rather not be compared with the Dutchman.

“I have been doing this all my life, changing bikes,” said Pidcock, who took the silver medal two weeks ago in the Cyclo-cross World championships in Dübendorf, in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws. “If Van der Poel, or Van Aert, had not been there, I would have done so. They have shown that the combination is perfectly possible. That makes it easier for me to get this project sold.”

For the coming season, the British rider, who turns 21 in July, is setting the bar high with the hope of becoming a World champion in mountain biking, on the road and in the time trial. “I will have a world title in four disciplines with the Under 23s. It’s never been done, and that’s why I want to try it.” Those titles come on top of his World championships victory in cyclocross, which he achieved in Bogense a year ago. He also hopes to qualify on the mountain bike for the Olympic Games.

The next step is to become a full-time professional. That is something for 2021, says Pidcock. The usual teams are already competing for his signature, but the Brit keeps all options open. “Why not grow with Trinity? Maybe I can continue to develop together with this team and we can go the same way as Mathieu van der Poel’s team. Van der Poel inspired that idea.”

Van der Poel is given the opportunity at Alpecin-Fenix ​​to continue combining road cycling, mountain biking and cyclocross. According to Pidcock, he can never join the three disciplines in a traditional team. “You can do crosses and races on the road today in any WorldTour team, just look at Jumbo-Visma, but I also want to include mountain biking. I don’t want to be with Van der Poel’s team, because they already have Mathieu.”

Road, cross and MTB for Pidcock:

Tour Colombia 2.1 2020
Second consecutive success for Sebastian Molano in the Tour Colombia 2.1 on Stage 3. The UAE Team Emirates sprinter hit the target on the road from Paipa to Sagamosa, 177.7km. Molano beat his countrymen; Edwin Ávila (Israel Start Up Nation) and Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step). Molano came off Hodeg’s wheel, overtaking him and launching himself in the middle of the road in a powerful sprint that left no way out for Ávila’s return.

Stage winner, Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates): “Today’s stage was different from yesterday’s, since the altitude difference of the route was heavy and in the end it was felt in the legs of all the riders. I also felt sensations of fatigue, but I knew it was normal on a day of this type and I held on, and then made a good sprint. Tomorrow’s day will also be demanding but also stimulating, I like the stage very much.”

Tour Colombia 2.1 Stage 3 Result:
1. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates in 3:57:00
2. Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Israel Start Up Nation
3. Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Julian David Molano (Col) Colombia-Andina
5. Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
6. Umberto Marengo (Ita) Vini Zabu’ KTM
7. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Travis McCabe (USA) Israel Start Up Nation
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos
10. Idar Andersen (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team.

Tour Colombia 2.1 Overall After Stage 3:
1. Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education First in 7:27:10
2. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First
3. Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Education First
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First
5. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 0:40
6. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:45
7. Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos at 0:46
9. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos
10. Jhonatan Manuel Narvaez Prado (Ecu) Ineos.

Colombia’20 stage 3:

Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) won Stage 4 of the Tour Colombia 2.1 and took the overall lead. On the final climb to Santa Rosa de Viterbo, the stage victory seemed to be going to Richard Carapaz (Ineos), but the Ecuadorian lost his momentum in the final metres and the Colombian struck.

Seven riders went for the long escape, their lead fluctuated for a long time between two and a half minutes and three and a half minutes. After half way the peloton started to reduce the time differences and at 13 kilometres from the finish the peloton caught the leading group. With the final climb in sight, Ineos took the lead. The nervousness increased and there was a crash 8 kilometres from the finish, with several NTT riders involved. Ineos continued to keep the high pace as Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz had plans.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step and EF Education First kept a close eye on things. Carapaz made an attack 4 kilometres from the finish, causing an elite group to form. A kilometre later, the Ecuadorian went again, and saw he had a gap. It looked like he had the win in the bag, but Julian Alaphilippe, Higuita, Bernal and Dani Martinez were pulling him back. The Frenchman would also not win, because on his wheel Higuita was waited for his chance to take the sprint. The Colombia national champion forced his way to the front for the win. Alaphilippe had also looked good for the win, but Higuita and Bernal passed him before the line. Higuita is also the new overall leader. His teammates, Martínez and Caicedo, are in second and third place at 12 and 14 seconds. Bernal is at 0:50 and Carapaz at 0:56.

Tour Colombia 2.1 Stage 4 Result:
1. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First in 3:58:47
2. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:01
4. Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Education First at 0:02
5. Torstein Træen (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team
6. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos
7. Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
8. Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education First at 0:04
9. Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Colombia-Andina
10. Fredy Emir Montaña Cadena (Col) EPM-Scott.

Tour Colombia 2.1 Overall After Stage 4:
1. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First in 11:25:47
2. Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Education First at 0:12
3. Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education First at 0:14
4. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos at 0:50
5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos at 0:58
6. Fredy Emir Montaña Cadena (Col) EPM-Scott at 1:14
7. Aldemar Reyes Ortega (Col) EPM-Scott at 1:28
8. Gavin Mannion (USA) Rally Cycling at 1:30
9. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 1:31
10. Diego Antonio Ochoa Camargo (Col) EPM-Scott.

Colombia’20 stage 4:

It was three from three for Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) on the penultimate stage of Tour Colombia 2.1 from Paipa to Zipaquira (180,5 km), ahead of Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck – Quick-Step). Today’s victory allows Molano to take the overall points ranking, as well as the UAE team claiming their 10th victory of the season. Molano set himself up for the sprint by taking the wheel of Hodeg before making his move. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider pushed Molano close in the finish though Molano was the strongest coming through fast on the left hand of the road in the technical finish.

Stage winner, Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates): “The finish was very complicated, given the technical final. It is thanks to the teamwork and the experience of teammates like Henao and Richeze that I was able to win: Max was once again fantastic, without him I wouldn’t be here as the winner. Hodeg is very strong and today he launched with great power, but I also have good legs and I have taken advantage of the team’s work, so in the sprint I did not have any doubts and I could overcome my rivals.”

Tour Colombia 2.1 Stage 5 Result:
1. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) UAE Team Emirates in 4:06:00
2. Alvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4. Travis McCabe (USA) Israel Start Up Nation
5. Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling
6. Juan Francisco Rosales Hernandez (Mex) Canel’s Pro Cycling
7. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos
8. Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Israel Start Up Nation
9. Lars Saugstad (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team
10. Diego Antonio Ochoa Camargo (Col) EPM-Scott.

Tour Colombia 2.1 Overall After Stage 5:
1. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First in 15:31:47
2. Daniel Felipe Martinez Poveda (Col) EF Education First at 0:12
3. Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education First at 0:14
4. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos at 0:50
5. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos at 0:58
6. Fredy Emir Montaña Cadena (Col) EPM-Scott at 1:14
7. Aldemar Reyes Ortega (Col) EPM-Scott at 1:28
8. Gavin Mannion (USA) Rally Cycling at 1:30
9. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 1:31
10. Diego Antonio Ochoa Camargo (Col) EPM-Scott.

Colombia’20 stage 5:

Sergio Higuita (EF Education First) won the Tour Colombia 2.1 overall. The 22-year-old rider saw his teammate Daniel Felipe Martínez sprint to victory on the Alto del Verjón in the Final Stage 6, but he finished in second place to confirm the overall victory.

The early escape was quickly formed and consisted of 14 riders. Álvaro José Hodeg took several sprint defeats this week and so the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider decided to go on the attack. Hodeg was joined by a group including Etienne van Empel, Matteo Jorgenson, Fabio Duarte and Juan Pablo Suarez.

The group of 14 riders had several minutes on the peloton, the men from EF Education First led the chase for leader Higuita. They eventually received support from other teams and the lead came tumbling down. The difference before the start of the Alto Patios (2.3 km at 7.5%), the penultimate climb of the day, was already halved to 1 minute. In the peloton the pace was increased by the men of Colombia Tierra de Atletas-GW Bicicletas, which meant that quite a few riders were distanced. But it only became serious when Ineos increased the pace.

The British team of Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz was riding so fast that Bob Jungels and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) had to sit up. The break had meanwhile been swallowed up, but the experienced Robinson Chalapud tried to ride on his own to the foot of the Alto del Verjón. Chalapud was joined by Walter Pedraza. Pedraza was caught before the final climb by the Ineos train, but Chalapud managed to gather a nice lead on the group of favourites for the final victory. Everyone was waiting for Bernal or Carapaz to attack, but the latter had bad luck at a very bad moment.

The Giro winner had a bike problem, but was soon able to continue on his way and return through the cars. Óscar Sevilla, Didier Chaparro and Hernan Aguirre attacked, but they were soon recaptured by the chase group, towed by the returned Carapaz for leader Bernal. The pace was too high for a good number of riders. With 6 kilometres to go, only ten riders were still on the wheel of Carapaz. One of them was Miguel Eduardo Flórez (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) who also managed to surprise in the Vuelta a San Juan by winning the queen stage to the Alto Colorado.

The 23-year-old Flórez had another good day and, with 4 kilometres to go, crossed in one go to Chalapud, who was still off the front. Chalapud and Flórez started with a small lead in the last 3 kilometres, but this was the time for Bernal to attack, but he was unable to get the EF Education First riders off his wheel. Higuita, Jonathan Klever Caicedo and Daniel Felipe Martínez had to bite their teeth to hold the wheel of Bernal, who continued a killer pace hoping to go solo. The four managed to catch Florez and Chalapud, but Bernal was not strong enough to get away, so there would be a sprint between Bernal, Higuita, Martínez and Flórez.

Flórez was the first to crack, Bernal was also unable to cope with the speed and Martínez was the strongest in the last uphill metres, with Higuita on his wheel to be the winner of the 2020 Tour Colombia 2.1. Martínez also finished second overall with Bernal third.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Daniel Martinez (EF Education First): “It’s been such an awesome week the way the race has unfolded and the way the team has worked relentlessly for us has been phenomenal. I can’t thank Rigo, Tejay and Lawson enough. What an amazing way to start the season and it makes it all the more special that it’s my home country.”

2nd on the stage and final overall winner, Sergio Higuita (EF Education First): “Last year I was riding for another team in Europe, but I was dreaming that I would one day race in front of my home country. Last year it was only a dream to one day win this race. It’s an incredible feeling to cap off all the hard work the team did this week.”

Tour Colombia 2.1 Stage 6 Result:
1. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First in 4:24:09
2. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First
3. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos at 0:03
4. Miguel Eduardo Florez (Col) Androni Giocattolli-Sidermec at 0:09
5. Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education First at 0:14
6. Robinson Chalapud (Col) Team Medellin at 0:52
7. Hernan Ricardo Aguirre (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas at 1:08
8. Diego Andres Camargo (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas at 1:16
9. Freddy Emir Montana (Col) EMP-Scott
10. Torstein Traeen (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development at 1:29.

Tour Colombia 2.1 Final Overall Result:
1. Sergio Higuita (Col) EF Education First in 19:55:50
2. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First at 0:08
3. Jonathan Caicedo (Ecu) EF Education First at 0:34
4. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Ineos at 0:55
5. Miguel Eduardo Florez (Col) Androni Giocattolli-Sidermec at 2:01
6. Freddy Emir Montana (Col) EMP-Scott at 2:36
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) Colombia at 3:09
8. Hernan Ricardo Aguirre (Col) Colombia Tierra de Atletas at 3:15
9. Torstein Traeen (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development at 3:19
10. Sergio Henao (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 3:22.

Colombia’20 stage 6:

Tour De La Provence 2020
Stage 1 of the Tour de la Provence was won by Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-samsic). The Frenchman was the fastest in the sprint after a flat stage, ahead of Italian Jakub Mareczko (CCC) and Giacomo Nizzolo (NTT). Bouhanni pulled on the first leader’s jersey.

Four riders managed to escape on the way to the finish in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Johan Jacobs (Movistar), Charles Quarterman (Trek-Segafredo), Romain Combaud (Nippo-Delko-One Provence) and Louis Louvet (St Michel-Auber93) formed the escape of the day. The peloton saw NTT, Arkéa-Samsic and Israel Start Up Nation leading for Giacomo Nizzolo, Nacer Bouhanni and Hugo Hofstetter and so that the difference was limited. The maximum lead for Jacobs, Quarterman, Combaud and Louvet was only 4 minutes.

With more 20 kilometres to go, the riders came through the finish for the first time. The four escapees were the first to cross the line, but the difference to the peloton had shrunk to just over 1 minute. Jacobs, Quarterman, Combaud and Louvet managed to hold off the peloton for a long time, and at 6 kilometres they were still off the front, but they were caught 3 kilometres further on.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step took control of the peloton, they didn’t have a sprinter, but it was to set the sage for Rémi Cavagna. The French time trial rider didn’t get much of a gap. In the bunch sprint it looked for a moment that Jakub Mareczko was on his way to his first win for CCC, but it was Bouhanni who had the perfect sprint and managed to pass the Italian for his second win of 2020, after a stage win in the Saudi Tour. Mareczko had to settle for second, while Nizzolo was third.

Stage winner and overall leader, Nacer Bouhanni (Arkea-Samsic): “This is a victory for the entire team. I was a bit too far back just before the start of the sprint, but I managed to move up to the wheel of Nizzolo. The team did a really great job. Maxime Bouet was in the lead for a long time to control the race. In the final we knew how to count the escape. It’s nice to take victories now. I was a bit frustrated after the final stage of the Saudi Tour. Maybe we can win another stage.”

Tour De La Provence Stage 1 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic in 3:16:35
2. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT
4. Pierre Barbier (Fra) Nippo-Delko-Provence
5. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start Up Nation
6. Christopher Lawless (GB) Ineos
7. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
8. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb
10. Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo.

Tour De La Provence Stage 1 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Arkea-Samsic in 3:16:25
2. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) CCC at 0:04
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) NTT at 0:06
4. Charles Quarterman (GB) Trek-Segafredo
5. Johan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar
6. Louis Louvet (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 at 0:07
7. Romain Combaud (Fra) Nippo-Delko-Provence at 0:09
8. Pierre Barbier (Fra) Nippo-Delko-Provence at 0:10
9. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Israel Start Up Nation
10. Christopher Lawless (GB) Ineos.

Provence’20 stage 1:

A demanding 175km long Stage 2 with a sharp climb up to the finish line was on the menu at the Tour de la Provence. It all came down to the last ascent as several riders tried to distance themselves, but in the end, it was Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana), who launched a late attack and rode solo to glory. Lutsenko made the Astana team’s result even better by taking third place on La Ciotat. Sunweb’s Wilco Kelderman was second.

From the drop of the flag, the day’s breakaway formed as a trio went up the road. The escapees built up an advantage of several minutes over the pack, where Astana took over control of the pace. The Kazakh team put in a strong effort to decrease the gap of the break, setting up for an attack on the last steep ascent. The gap was around 2 minutes as the race started to tackle the second last climb of the day, however, the trio was caught with 23km to go, on the top of the penultimate ascent.

The race headed onto the final climb of the day, a steady 4,7km long and 7% steep climb, as several riders tried to attack. The Astana riders stayed in a good position at the front of the reduced bunch, waiting for the final kilometres to launch an attack. As two riders tried to go clear, Aleksandr Vlasov managed to bridge across and increased the pace. The Russian champion was able to distance himself from the pack. In a masterpiece of cycling, the young rider rode solo to glory, taking the team’s first victory of the season.

Stage winner and overall leader, Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana): “I am so happy with this stage win. It is my first season with Astana and therefore the win now is something really special for me. We were together on the climb to protect Lutsenko, and as the two guys attacked I bridge across to close the gap and then, as I saw I had a gap I just went full gas. To now be wearing now the leader’s jersey is really great, I am so happy. I also want to say thank you to my team for the trust they gave me. Of course, we will try to do our best in the upcoming days to keep the jersey.”

Tour De La Provence Stage 2 Result:
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana in 4:30:57
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:24
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Education First
5. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Ineos
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
9. Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.

Tour De La Provence Overall After Stage 2:
1. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana in 7:47:22
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:28
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:30
4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) EF Education First at 0:34
5. Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana
6. Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic
9. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Ineos
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.

Provence’20 stage 2:

Nairo Quintana (Arkea-Samsic) was unstoppable on Stage 3 of the Tour de La Provence on Saturday. The Colombian rode away on the flanks of Mont Ventoux for the stage win and the overall lead. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) was second, Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) third.

The Queen Stage of the Tour de La Provence climbed the Giant of Provence, Mont Ventoux, so selection was ahead for the overall classification riders, although five escapees thought otherwise. Rémi Cavagna, Timothy Dupont, Johan Jacobs, Bryan Alaphilippe and Jérémy Leveau wanted to get ahead of the climbers. Their maximum lead was 5 minutes, but when it started to shrink, 50 kilometres from the finish, Cavagna went solo and held on to his 4 minute lead to the foot of the Ventoux. The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider did not stand a chance of winning the stage.

Thanks to Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ, the pace in the peloton was extremely high, so that Cavagna was caught at 7 kilometres from the finish, that was when the race started between the favourites. Nairo Quintana was the first to make a move. Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) was able to follow for a while, but then had to join the group of pursuers with Alexey Lutsenko and Hugh Carthy. Overall leader Alexander Vlasov (Astana) tried to defended himself on the Ventoux climb. The Russian crossed to the group with Lutsenko and Carthy, but was unable to cope with the attack from Quintana, who raced away for more than a minute. Vlasov would finish the stage in fourth place, behind Lutsenko and Carthy and lost the leader’s jersey to Quintana.

Stage winner and overall leader, Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic): “If you have self-confidence, the legs will follow automatically. I am very happy and this also gives confidence. Not just for me, but for the entire team. We knew we could strike and we did. It is clear that there is a good chance that a good final ranking will follow. So we did well, as planned. I have driven a large part of the Ventoux alone, but this race is not just the climb of the Ventoux. The team worked hard for three days to protect me. When the first selection was made, it was up to me. I went early, but it was at the right time. Now it’s time to keep the jersey on Sunday.”

Tour De La Provence Stage 3 Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic in 3:36:26
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 1:28
3. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education First
4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana
5. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Ineos at 2:11
6. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 2:12
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb
8. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:25.

Tour De La Provence Overall After Stage 3:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic in 11:24:12
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana at 1:04
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 1:28
4. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education First at 1:38
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 2:16
6. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Ineos at 2:21
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:22
8. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 2:26
9. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:35.

Provence’20 stage 3:

Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) was the final overall winner of the 2020 Tour de la Provence. The Colombian did not get it as a gift in the final stage to Aix-en-Provence, but managed to reach the finish without a problem. The Final Stage 4 victory went to Owain Doull, who was too fast for his fellow escapees in the sprint.

After the impressive ride of Nairo Quintana on the Mont Ventoux, there was still a difficult final stage from Avignon to Aix-en-Provence. The Colombian from Arkéa-Samsic started the last stage in this Tour de la Provence with a seemingly unassailable lead, but of course Quintana still had to keep an eye on things.

The first attack came from Rémi Cavagna. The French Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider was the first to start the climb of the Mont Ventoux on Saturday and on Sunday he also felt like a whole day ahead of the peloton. After the first intermediate sprint; Cavagna was joined by a group containing Ian Stannard, Fabio Felline and Chris Harper. At first the peloton gave the group of 9 riders some space, but AG2R-La Mondiale and Groupama-FDJ decided to increase the pace just before the Côte de 3 Termes. The escape was picked up before the summit by Thibaut Pinot, Gianni Moscon and Pavel Sivakov, who divided the mountain points in that order. Overall leader, Quintana and his Arkéa-Samsic team were put under considerable pressure, but an unselfish Warren Barguil helped to ensure that the Colombian could join Pinot, Sivakov and Moscon. And it didn’t take long before a regrouping took place. This turned out to be the moment for Romain Combaud, Owain Doull, Ian Garrison and Matthias Brändle to make their move.

These four attackers did get the space to build a nice lead, because after more than fifty kilometres the difference with the Quintana group was suddenly more than three minutes. With NTT Pro Cycling and EF Pro Cycling we saw some new teams leading the pack. We had to wait for the last twenty kilometres and the Côte de la Cride (3.8 km at 4.8%) for the real spectacle.

Doull, Combaud, Garrison and Brändle started the Côte de la Cride with a 2 minute lead. The riders of EF Education First tried to close the gap for their strong sprinter Magnus Cort, but the American team was faced with an impossible task to regain the leaders. The speed had come mainly from Astana. The Kazakh team didn’t only want the stage victory, but Aleksandr Vlasov and Alexey Lutsenko also wanted to test leader Quintana one more time, with the aim of cracking the Colombian on the not too steep Côte de la Cride. It was up to Gorka Izagirre and Alex Aranburu to thin out the chasing group, but Quintana had no problems and managed to fight the last attack on his leader’s jersey.
Astana did not succeed in rattling Quintana, but they did succeeded in narrowing the gap to the escape to 45 seconds with 12 kilometres to go. The break continued to work together well, although the four started to look at each other just before the last kilometre, but it was Combaud who could not help himself to go at 800 metres out. The Frenchman turned out not to be strong enough to continue his attack and had no chance in the sprint. The stage victory went to Doull, ahead of Brändle and Garrison. Quintana crossed the line a few seconds later as the overall winner.

Stage winner, Owain Doull (Ineos): “It was a hard day and we worked together really well as a four. I was quite confident with the finish and I knew most of the guys, and I had good legs so I was quite happy to wait for the sprint. Around the 30km (to go) mark when we still had around four minutes I thought we had a chance. If we stayed together on the climb, I knew the run-in from last year was really fast. If we stayed as a group and rotated fast I knew we’d have a chance. With around 2 or 3km to go I knew we’d stay away – then it starts to get a bit tactical and thinking about the sprint. This is my first professional win in Europe. I’ve won one race before in Australia. It’s nice to get the team’s first win of the year and it’s a good sign before the Classics.”

Final overall winner, Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic): “It is a great joy to win the general classification of the Tour de la Provence, this is what I wanted, as well as all my teammates of the Arkéa-Samsic team which were still dazzling today. We have worked a lot to achieve this performance, and the fact of having achieved it opens a new era for the whole Arkéa-Samsic team. I am in good shape, and on the next races I’m going to compete in, I can hope for good things. I’m happy to have won a stage and the general classification of this Tour de la Provence 2020. My first two victories of the season acquired here in France are somehow gifts for all cycling fans, and all the French supporters who follow me, and who support the Arkéa-Samsic team. This gives me strength, these encouragements, helps me even more to sublimate myself… I am happy tonight is a good start to the season for me, but also for my team, which has shown great cohesion over these four stages of the Tour de la Provence. We are all having a great week, with this great victory from Nacer, obtained on the first day of sprinting, which put the Arkéa-Samsic team on the right track straight away during this competition.”

Tour De La Provence Stage 4 Result:
1. Owain Doull (GB) Ineos in 4:07:32
2. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Start Up Nation
3. Ian Garrison (USA) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:02
4. Romain Combaud (Fra) Nippo-Delko-One Provence
5. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:06
6. Damien Touze (Fra) Cofidis
7. Pascal Eenkhorn (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
8.Magnus Cort (Den) EF Education First
9. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo.

Tour De La Provence Final Overall Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic in 15:31:50
2. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Astana at 1:04
3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 1:28
4. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education First at 1:38
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 2:16
6. Eddie Dunbar (Irl) Ineos at 2:21
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:22
8. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 2:26
9. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
10. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:35.

Provence’20 stage 4:

Vuelta a Murcia 2020
Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans took its first victory of the season, thanks to a perfect day for Xandro Meurisse in Stage 1 of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia. The rhythm on the sloping roads leaving the Spanish Coast in Los Alcazares was fast. Xandro Meurisse was part of the early breakaway of eleven riders. Not many teams were unhappy with the composition of this leading group, so the advantage gradually grew past 10 minutes.

The Belgian rider focused on the final. Many riders tried to escape from their breakaway companions, but finally nobody was able to create a gap before the approach to the final 3 kilometre climb. Meurisse rode a strong and tactically good last technical kilometre through the centre of Caravaca de la Cruz, distancing his competitors. The Circus-Wanty Gobert-Tormans rider took his first victory of the season and will defend the leader’s jersey on the final day on Saturday. The peloton finished more than 16 minutes later.

Stage winner and overall leader, Xandro Meurisse (Circus-Wanty Gobert): “When the breakaway is formed after 20 kilometres, you know it’s going to be a long day. But the collaboration was good and all teams were represented with at least one good rider. We soon understood that we had chances to succeed, unless Movistar Team wanted otherwise. I focused on a couple of dangerous riders, but others did the same with me. Despite some attempts, I didn’t manage to break away. We studied the final climb well with the team, so I knew perfectly how to position. The final 75 meter were very steep, but I had a slight gap! This situation is new for me. I’ll have to defend a leader’s jersey for the first time. I’m confident about the Alto Espuña, and I also count on my teammates!”

2nd on the stage and overall, Adam De Vos (Rally): “That was probably the hardest bit of biking I’ve ever done. The last 30 km we had such a huge gap we were able to really mess around. I don’t think there was more than a couple actual paceline pulls, the only way we were moving forward was haymaker attacks.”

Vuelta a Murcia Stage 1 Result:
1. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert in 4:24:00
2. Adam De Vos (Can) Rally Cycling at 0:04
3. Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC at 0:11
4. Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
5. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:17
6. Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana at 0:20
7. Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:23
8. Sergio Garcia Gonzalez (Spa) Kometa Xstra at 0:29
9. Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar at 0:37
10. Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Fundacion Euskadi-Orbea at 0:50.

Vuelta a Murcia Overall After Stage 1:
1. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert in 4:24:00
2. Adam De Vos (Can) Rally Cycling at 0:04
3. Josef Cerny (Cze) CCC at 0:11
4. Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Arkea-Samsic
5. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:17
6. Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana at 0:20
7. Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:23
8. Sergio Garcia Gonzalez (Spa) Kometa Xstra at 0:29
9. Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar at 0:37
10. Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Fundacion Euskadi-Orbea at 0:50

Murcia’20 stage 1:

It was a great day for the Astana Pro Team in Murcia: Luis Leon Sanchez won Stage 2 of the race after his late solo attack, Omar Fraile won the sprint for the second podium place, taking also the red jersey of the best climber, Nikita Stalnov finished 5th in the general classification, while Astana was the best team.

The second and the last stage of the Vuelta Ciclista a la Region de Murcia started in Santomera and finished on the streets of Murcia after 179.6 km of racing and four climbs. Astana riders were very active from the start: Yevgeniy Gidich and Zhandos Bizhigitov tried to join a breakaway group, but finally, just two riders were able to break away. However, both were caught on the top of Alto Espuña (Cat 1).

Five riders went away from the peloton on the slopes of the next climb Collado Bermejo (special cat) with Omar Fraile and Oscar Rodriguez among the attackers. With around 30km to go it was Alejandro Valverde and Lennard Kamna, who counterattacked, but they both were caught back inside the final 10km. The leading group of 9 riders, including Astana’s Omar Fraile and Luis Leon Sanchez was preparing for a sprint, but with 2km to go Sanchez made a decisive attack to win the stage.

The Belgian rider Xandro Meurisse (Circus-Wanty Gobert) won the final classification of the race. Omar Fraile won the red jersey as the best climber, also, as the winner of the only special category climb on the Collado Bermejo, Fraile was awarded a trophy in memory of Marco Pantani.

Stage 2 winner, Luis León Sanchez (Astana): “I am so happy to win at home in Murcia! This is a special race for me, and I am so excited to get another success here. This means a lot for me! It was a very difficult day on the road, and we all gave our best to win. The team was super today and I want to thank all guys for a great support. I think, our team did a very strong stage, especially with Omar Fraile and Oscar Rodriguez in the breakaway. I also was up there among the leaders, but on Collado Bermejo I did not feel too good. I thought it won’t be possible to fight for a stage, but later on descent I was able to catch the yellow jersey’s group, while inside the final 10 kilometres we caught two leaders. Together with Omar Fraile we played well our cards, and in a moment I saw a possibility for an attack and I just went away. This victory means a lot for me and I am happy to bring it to my team.”

5th on the stage and final overall winner, Xandro Meurisse (Circus-Want Gobert): “Movistar Team increased the pace from early on. I predicted Valverde’s attack, but I was surprised that Kamna, my competitor for GC, was able to follow him. I was accompanied by his teammates and couldn’t solve this problem quickly. Luckily some riders of CCC Team came back and collaborated to bring me back in pole position. I suffered a lot today on this hard course, but with the finish in sight and the yellow jersey on my shoulders I could give a little more! I’m very happy with this victory and the support of the team. My confidence before the race was good, thanks to the presence of my strong and experienced teammates. They all did their part of the job and I hope this victory will stimulate all of us to continue this success!”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Josef Černý (CCC): “We were really strong as a team all day. When Valverde and Kämna attacked, we had four riders in the chase group and the guys from Astana Pro Team also helped with the chase, so we were able to bring the groups back together for the finale. We wanted to race for the General Classification with me, and go for the stage win with Matteo Trentin but there were a lot of attacks in the finale and Sánchez was really strong. I tried to follow him but I had no more power left after the tough stage, so I am happy with third place again. After coming back from Australia, I continued to train well and I have been feeling good on the bike so I was expecting to be strong here in Murcia but I never expected to be second overall so, I am really happy. The team kept me in a good position all day, on the climbs and even in the downhill when there were some gaps so this was a team effort.”

3rd overall, Lennard Kämna (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Well, what can you do. I tried everything until the end to win this race, unfortunately it didn’t work out. When Valverde attacked for the first time, Felix did a great job to ride at a high pace behind him. When we closed the gap, I made a move and the 5 riders went away. We had to do something when not everybody was riding in the group and the gap started to come down. Valverde went again and I was able to follow. It looked quite promising at some point; however, it wasn’t enough. But still I am happy with my results here and especially with my performance. My next race is Algarve and with an ITT at the very end I think I can do also quite well over there.”

Vuelta a Murcia Stage 2 Result:
1. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 4:21:48
2. Omar Fraile Matarranz (Spa) Astana at 0:07
3. Josef Černý (Cze) CCC
4. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
5. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Vicente Garcia de Mateos Rubio (Spa) Aviludo-Louletano
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
8. Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) CCC
10. Kamil Malecki (Pol) CCC at 5:25.

Vuelta a Murcia Overall After Stage 2:
1. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert in 8:45:55
2. Josef Černý (Cze) CCC at 0:11
3. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:17
4. Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 5:49
5. Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana at 5:58
6. Jefferson Cepeda (Ecu) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 6:01
7. Hector Carretero (Spa) Movistar at 6:15
8. Sergio Garcia Gonzalez (Spa) Kometa Xstra at 11:16
9. Antonio Jesus Soto Guirao (Spa) Fundacion Euskadi-Orbea at 11:35
10. Adam De Vos (Can) Rally Cycling at 12:46

Murcia’20 stage 2:

Trofeo Laigueglia 2020
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) won the 57th edition of the Trofeo Laigueglia. The Italian, who was riding for his national team, escaped with three others and finished solo in Laigueglia.

On Sunday the Italian cycling season started with the Trofeo Laigueglia. After a lively start, the Italian race saw two relatively unknown countrymen ride away from the pack. Antonio Di Sante and Matteo Baseggio escaped the peloton after more than 20 kilometres, and their lead increased to almost 9 minutes. In the peloton, the men of Arkéa-Samsic rode a strong pace for Diego Rosa. The French team were alone, as the Italian team also had men at the front.

Di Sante and Baseggio rode in the spotlight for a long time, but were swallowed up more than 50 kilometres from the finish line by the peloton, which had thinned out considerably thanks to acceleration of favourites such as Andrea Vendrame, Diego Rosa and Mauro Finetto. It was Rosa who, together with Ciccone, Marco Tizza and young talent Biniyam Ghirmay, who managed to build up a lead on the chasing group. These four worked together in the following kilometres, increasing the difference to more than 30 seconds.

At the front, Ciccone appeared to have the best legs. The Italian rode up the Colla Micheri so fast that his fellow escapees had to let him go. Ciccone came over the top of the Micheri with a 10-second lead and managed to distance Rosa and Ghirmay, who fought for second and third place in the final kilometres. After the arrival of winner Ciccone, the faster Ghirmay managed to take second place, ahead of Rosa. It is the second victory for 25-year-old Ciccone in a one-day race, after being the best in the Giro dell’Appennino two years ago.

Race winner, Giulio Ciccone (Italia): “I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I felt really good. Diego may have thought he was the strongest rider, but I played it smart in front, but I finally managed to place the decisive attack. I have suffered some unnecessary defeats in the past, making me a bit smarter. I was a little scared of the last flat kilometres, but luckily I managed to finish it. I am very happy. Before the start, I still had some doubts about my condition, since the Trofeo Laigueglia is only my first race of the season. In the final, however, I felt that the legs were good. I also have to thank my teammates, the young selection really did a great job. They have a bright future ahead of them.”

Trofeo Laigueglia Result:
1. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Italy in 5:10:27
2. Biniam Girmay (Eri) Nippo-Delko-One Provence at 0:32
3. Diego Rosa (Ita) Arkea-Samsic
4. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:17
5. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Vin Zabù-KTM
6. Evgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
7. Davide Gabburo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 1:21
8. Macro Tizza (Ita) Amore & Vita-Prodir at 1:48
9. Andreas Kron (Den) Riwal-Readynez at 1:55
10. Filippo Conca (Ita) Biesse Arvedi.


Clasica de Almeria 2020
Before the race was decided in the expected bunch sprint, a five-man leading group set the scene at the 187km-long one-day race, the Clásica de Almería. The peloton, led by Bora-Hansgrohe, had proceedings well under control, and was able to reel back the escapees 55km before the finish. After everything came back together, the sprinter’s teams began the jostling for positions ahead of the fast finalé. The Bora-Hansgrohe team showed its strength and put the pressure on over the last few kilometres. In the finishing straight, the previous year’s victor, Pascal Ackermann, was able to time his sprint to take the win in Roquets de Mar. As he crossed the line, he became the first rider to have won this race back to back.

Race winner, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m really happy to have gotten this win, and I hope to be able to continue the rest of the year in this way. I finished second two times in races here in Spain this year, so it was nice to finally cross the line first. It was a tough race because of the wind. We expected crosswinds, and tried to split the field several times, with several other teams also trying the same. But my teammates did an amazing job today, putting in 100 percent for me, so I’d really like to thank them for that. In the end, we made a little mistake with our lead-out, but I was able to follow the wheel of another rider, and I knew when I had to launch my sprint from behind him, and in the end, it worked out.”

2nd, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): “The team did a good job today. When I needed them they were alert when it split up so we were at the front. Going into the final the guys put me into the right position. In the final kilometre I think I did a good job in positioning myself for the sprint and I came onto the wheel of Ackermann in the last 400m. In the end I had the speed but it took me too long to get to maximum speed so he got to the line first. Second place is a good result for me and I’m happy with it but I’ll be looking for the win next week in Algarve.”

Clasica de Almeria Result:
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:24:04
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cofidis
4. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert
5. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start Up Nation
9. Juan José Lobato (Spa) Fundación Euskadi-Orbea
10. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic.


Archbold seizes the New Zealand National Title
The experienced Kiwi signed off Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s 55th victory at the Nationals.

February 16 is a date Shane Archbold will never forget! The 31-year-old – who in 2016 suffered a career-threatening injury at the Tour de France – sprinted to an emphatic win at the New Zealand National Championships, held in Cambridge, over a 173km-long course. As a result, for the next twelve months he’ll get to sport the Silver Fern jersey on some of the biggest races in the world.

Sunday’s race was divided into two halves: a hilly one featuring two ascents of the Muangakawa Road (2.9km, 8.3%) and a pan-flat one consisting of five laps. It was there, with 60 kilometres to go, that George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) attacked together with one other rider and eked out what looked to be a race-winning advantage. Unfazed by the maximum gap that stood at around four minutes, Shane Archbold kept pulling behind together with a small group, before powering away with two riders.

Another acceleration dispatched the two and saw Shane go in pursuit of Bennett, now alone in the lead. With ten kilometres left, our rider was 1:15 behind his countryman, but continued to push hard on the pedals and chip away seconds from Bennett’s lead, to whom he bridged across at the 4km-to-go mark. Beaming with confidence after this strong and superb ride, Shane led out in the sprint, kicking out with 200 meters to go and easily dispatching his companion en route to his maiden national title.

“I am so stoked to pull on this jersey. To know that I am the new National Champion and will get to show this beautiful jersey in some of the biggest races in the world is an incredible feeling, especially as the title is not something I ever thought would happen after the last few years with so many injuries. When I attacked inside the last 20 kilometres, I said to myself it was now or never. After dropping the other guys, I continued to believe and gave it my all to make the catch. In the sprint, I knew I had the upper hand and that was that”, Shane said, overcome with joy, after taking Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s eighth victory of the season.

The upcoming UAE Tour will be his first race in the Silver Fern jersey and Archbold didn’t hide his enthusiasm at the thought he’ll soon show off his new jersey: “I don’t have too many opportunities, but when I get one, I try to make it count! This was the case also today. I am incredibly happy to wear this jersey as part of the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team and can’t wait for the next race with Michael Mørkøv and Sam Bennett, to make together with them a very colourful lead-out train.”

2020 New Zealand Road Championships Result:
1. Shane Archbold (NZ) Deceuninck – Quick Step in 4:14:42
2. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 0:02
3. Dylan Kennett (NZ) St. George Continental Cycling Team at 0:55
4. Aaron Gate (NZ) Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy at 0:56
5. Ollie Jones (NZ) at 1:04
6. Dion Smith (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:07
7. Logan Griffin (NZ) at 1:10
8. Hayden Mccormick (NZ) Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy at 1:43
9. Luke Mudgway (NZ) Black Spoke Pro Cycling Academy at 1:45
10. Finn Fisher-Black (NZ) Jumbo-Visma Development Team at 2:53.

Shane Archbold – 2020 new Zealand champion:

Van Avermaet and Geschke ready for racing at Volta ao Algarve
After a strong performance at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Greg Van Avermaet is ready for his second race in this season, Volta ao Algarve, where the Olympic champion will be joined by Matteo Trentin and Simon Geschke, who secured third overall at the Santos Tour Down Under in January.

CCC Team will line up the five-stage race with a diverse roster and multiple objectives, Sports Director Valerio Piva said. “Once again, Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin will line up together at Volta ao Algarve so, the first objective will be to try to win a stage. We saw them both racing well in Spain so I think we can build on this further in Portugal. We have a lot of our Classics group lining up at this race and for me, this is important as it allows us to continue working together ahead of the first races in Belgium,” Piva explained. “Traditionally, the General Classification is won on the climbs so for that, we will take the race day by day. Of course, Simon Geschke is coming into the race after a strong performance in Australia so I’m sure he will be motivated to continue racing well and then Paddy Bevin will also join us so, the time trial on stage five will definitely be another target for us.”

Greg Van Avermaet is looking forward to the next race of his early season after a solid performance in Spain. “I feel good after five days of racing in Valencia and I’m looking forward to racing in Portugal. It’s good to be back into the racing rhythm as the legs are getting better every day. So far, everything has gone well when it comes to building my shape before the Classics season. Volta ao Algarve is the next step in my preparations. Of course, I’ll do what I can for the team and try to achieve the best possible result. Looking at the parcours, the two stages that suit me best are stage one and the fourth stage which finishes on the Malhão climb,” Van Avermaet said.

Simon Geschke, who climbed to a career-best third place result in a WorldTour stage race at the Santos Tour Down Under, is looking forward to racing in Europe for the first time this year.

“Volta ao Algarve is a really nice race, I’ve only done it once but I like the parcours. I think that my shape will be good as after a strong race in Australia in January, everything has gone well with my training. Coming home with the result I achieved at the Tour Down Under gives me the confidence for short stage races. For me, the key stages at Algarve are both with mountain top finishes and the time trial. I am looking forward to this time trial as it will be a test for me and for sure I would like to finish it with a good result. I did quite well at the time trial two years ago and now it is quite similar. I’ll try not to lose time on the other stages and ride well in the time trial and hopefully, I’ll have good result on GC.”

Volta ao Algarve (19-23 February)
Rider roster:

Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Bevin Patrick (NZ), Simon Geschke (GER), Michael Schär (SUI), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Gijs Van Hoecke (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL)
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Fabio Baldato (ITA)

Van Avermaet in Spain:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Volta ao Algarve
Remco Evenepoel is back in action after his victory at the Vuelta a San Juan.

Three overall classification victories, 15 stage wins with a dozen different riders, and several distinctive jerseys, most recent of which was taken home by Tim Declercq last year – it’s safe to say that Volta ao Algarve has been a kind race with the Wolfpack, who returns at the start of the 46th edition (19-23 February).

Two stages for the sprinters, two uphill finishes – on Alto da Fóia (7.4km, 6%) and Alto do Malhão (2.6km, 9.4%) – and a 20.3km-long individual time trial, which for the first time in eight years is scheduled on the last day, make up the parcours of the Portuguese race, where Remco Evenepoel will return to competition after his Vuelta a San Juan triumph, at the beginning of the month.

Youngest ever rider to come out on top at the Argentinean race, the 20-year-old Belgian – whose palmarès since turning pro counts now seven victories – will be joined by Dutch Champion Fabio Jakobsen, another Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider who has enjoyed a strong start to the season and winner of a Volta ao Algarve stage at the previous edition, João Almeida, Davide Ballerini, Tim Declercq, Yves Lampaert, and Florian Sénéchal.

“Algarve is one of the nicest races you can do in the beginning of the year. That doesn’t mean it’s easy; the parcours is an up-and-down one, which makes it a perfect test before the big races of the spring. Fabio, who won a stage in Valencia, will count again on Davide for the lead-out, but also on Florian, who starts his season next week, while João and Tim will be there to control the race”, explained sports director Tom Steels. “Remco will find a good course for him, but at the same time demanding. The technical time trial on the final stage will be an important test for both Remco, who we hope will get a good GC result, but also for Yves, who podiumed in the Algarve ITT last year.”

19.02–23.02 Volta ao Algarve Cofidis (POR) 2.Pro

João Almeida (POR), Davide Ballerini (ITA), Tim Declercq (BEL), Remco Evenepoel (BEL), Fabio Jakobsen (NED), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Florian Sénéchal (FRA).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) and Tom Steels (BEL).

header uae
UAE Team Emirates for Volta ao Algarve (2.Pro)
UAE Team Emirates have announced their squad to take on the Volta ao Algarve from 19 – 23 February.

As reigning champions the Emirati team will be hoping to repeat the success of 2019 by Tadej Pogačar and go into the race with several options.

The 2020 race features a summit finish on the Alto da Fóia on stage 2, an uphill finale at Malhão on stage 4 and a 20.3km time trial in Lagoa on the concluding stage.

Rui Costa will aim to continue his good form which saw him win a stage and wear the leaders jersey at the Saudi Tour, and impress on home soil. Alexander Kristoff will be looking to dispute victory in the sprints while Mikkel Bjerg will hope to put in a good performance on the final TT.

Sports Directors Simone Pedrazzini (Swi), Bruno Vicino (Ita) and technical assistant Manuele Mori (Ita) will lead the following 7 riders:

-Mikkel Bjerg (Den)
-Tom Bohli (Swi)
-Alexander Kristoff (Nor)
-Joe Dombrowski (USA)
-Rui Costa (Por)
-Ivo Oliveira (Por)
-Jan Polanc (Slo)

Rui Costa: “Volta Algarve is special because it’s the only race in the year where I can enjoy racing in Portugal. I haven’t raced in Algarve since 2014 but it’s always a very hard race. The first stage will be for Kristoff and the sprinters but the second day will finish on a climb that will affect the GC. We will go there for a short training camp before to recon this and other important stages. I think the overall may come down to the final time trial. I’m in good form at the moment and I’ll hope to capitalise on that and give all my supporters at home something to cheer about.”

Mikel Landa Debuts at the Ruta del Sol
The Ruta del Sol, also known as the Vuelta a Andalucia, sets off from Alhaurín de la Torre on Wednesday 19 February and finishes on Sunday the 23rd with a 13 kilometres individual time trial in Mijas. It’s the 66th edition of the Spanish race, consisting of an extremely mountainous route. The general classification will most likely be decided on the third stage featuring four climbs over 180kms along with the international time trial.

Our Sports Director Gorazd Štangelj is positive about our competitive line up for the race: “Compared to the Volta Valenciana there is no a real uphill finish, but some stages end downhill and therefore those who are left behind climbing can recover. I think the final ITT will have a lot of twist and turns will decide the GC. We have a very competitive team with the leader Landa, but also Bilbao and Teuns who have shown that they are doing well. Then there are Mohoric and Caruso and two fast wheels like Cortina and Colbrelli.”

It’s another exciting race for our team as we welcome Mikel Landa, Damiano Caruso and Sonny Colbrelli as debutants in our Team Bahrain McLaren kit.

Mikel Landa is looking forward to being at the start of Alhaurin de la Torre: “I am very happy to start this new experience with the new team. I want to kick off the season well and to work with my new teammates. I have already participated at Ruta del Sol several times and, as usual, it’s a complete and tough race with good teams and excellent riders who have already shown that they are in good condition. It’s my first race, so one of the objectives is to check my preparation, and if I have the opportunity to win, I will certainly not back down.”

Damiano Caruso is eager to test his preparation in his first race of the season “This is my 11th season as a pro rider, but the excitement is always that of the first day of school. I arrive from the training camp at Teide, and I want to find the feeling with the races again and to compare myself with others to understand how I’m doing.”

Sonny Colbrelli is excited about his first Team Bahrain McLaren race “Finally we start again with the races! I’m very happy that my season starts with such a challenging race such as Ruta del Sol, where I will have a couple of chances to try and win. I just finished the preparation with my teammates at Tenerife, where I worked a lot on the endurance with an eye on the Belgians classics.”

TBM’s line-up for Ruta del Sol:
Mikel Landa, Pello Bilbao, Damiano Caruso, Sonny Colbrelli, Ivan Cortina, Matej Mohoric and Dylan Teuns.

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UAE Team Emirates for the Vuelta Andalucia
UAE Team Emirates continue their racing calendar on the Iberian peninsula with the Vuelta a Andalucia which also runs from 19-23 February.

The team will look to the experienced David de la Cruz, who won a stage on his last appearance in Andalucia in 2018 and will aim to repeat his success. Brandon McNulty, who comes to the race after placing 4th overall at the recent Vuelta San Juan in Argentina, will also look to do a good ride in the time trial on the final day.

The team will be lead by sports directors Andrej Hauptman (Slo) and Aurelio Corral (Spa).

-Alessandro Covi (Ita)
-Brandon McNulty (USA)
-Valerio Conti (Ita)
-David de la Cruz (Spa)
-Yousif Mirza (UAE)
-Edward Ravasi (Ita)
-Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor)

David de la Cruz: “I’m really excited to race the Vuelta Andalucia. It is always a hard race and having seen the route, it won’t be any different this year. Stage one and four stand out as the days which will count most for the GC and then the final time trial also will be key. On a personal level I feel good with a little bit of nervousness which I guess is normal at this time of year during the first races when riders are finding their form. In Vuelta Valenciana I got to blow off the cobwebs and got the hard racing miles that I needed and I expect to be more competitive in Andalucia. It’s a race I have special memories with since my win there in 2018.”

Two Doping Cases in Costa Rica
The 2019 Vuelta a Costa Rica has again delivered two positive doping tests. The anti-doping agency of Costa Rica has suspended Fabricio Quirós (29) and Orlando Quesada (31) this week for violating doping rules.

The CONAD-CR did not disclose by which means Quirós and Quesada were caught. Last December, Quirós finished seventh in the Vuelta a Costa Rica after he had won the penultimate stage. Quesada was 52nd in the overall rankings.

Several doping cases from the Vuelta a Costa Rica have come to light recently. Roberto Argüello (20) was caught blood-doping and last week it turned out that Amil Munich (21), the son of the vice-president of the cycling association, tested positive for androgenic anabolic steroids.

Vuelta a Costa Rica 2019 stage 5:

How Colorado Classic’s TV Streaming Model Can Change Cycling
The Colorado Classic® presented by VF Corporation today announced the continuation of its innovative TV streaming model and the launch of a new 2020 video series to celebrate and empower female athletes while furthering conversations about social change.

“We believe that the key to advancing the business opportunities and consumer engagements for women’s cycling is through increased exposure,” said Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group, the organisers of the Colorado Classic.

“As we continue to develop the defining elements of the Colorado Classic and the supporting media platform, broadcast coverage is a major focus — in a way that is both free and readily accessible for the consumer while also financially sustainable for the race.”

Ahead of its women’s only debut in 2019, the Colorado Classic set out to explore and invest in new ways to create and stream content. Pioneered and put to the test last season, the race organisers used cutting-edge and cost-efficient bonded cellular technology to capture the live coverage, which was streamed for free each day in its entirety, from the start line through the awards ceremonies.

The multi-dimensional live stream was distributed through 30 different outlets —including social media, strategic partners like Global Cycling Network, Altitude Sports, Kiswe simulcasts and the event’s TourTracker mobile app — and received more than 350,000 views from fans in 144 countries. When viewed on social media, the live feeds had more than 35,000 engagements as fans liked, commented and shared the live coverage.

Not only did fans get to see the live content when, how and where they wanted it, this model also eliminated costly airtime on networks. In 2019, the total production costs of the race broadcast were approximately one-third the cost of the TV production and distribution of past races.

“By applying these new cost-efficient cellular technologies to capture the live coverage, and then streaming it through a strategic network of partners and social media outlets, we’re able to put our race on a global stage for a fraction of the cost,” said Rob Simon, Executive Producer and CMO of RPM Events Group. “This approach makes cycling events more financially viable and sustainable while giving our fans a high-definition, immersive and social TV experience.”

To put it in numbers, in year one of the Colorado Classic (2017), the cost-per-view was $3.10 while in 2019 the cost-per-view was five times less expensive, at only $0.63 per view.

The Colorado Classic will continue to evolve this model in 2020 and is committed to sharing their learnings with the industry to help reduce financial barriers for the broadcast of fan-based athletics everywhere.

Additionally, a custom content video series titled “HERoes” will be released throughout the year, profiling women cyclists, teams and staff as they tell their real and unfiltered stories about the sport.

“We realise it’s not enough to just provide four days of competition, we have to develop a platform that celebrates the sport, the athlete and creates meaningful connections in the community,” said Diaz. “We are committed to telling the stories beyond the race and will amplify our original content HERoes video series.”

All this is part of a year-long initiative the Colorado Classic will launch in the spring, which takes their commitment to women’s cycling far beyond its four-day race. Centred around the pillars of exposure, opportunity and equity, the initiative will include media appearances, community engagements, corporate dialogs, a Women’s Advisory Committee, targeted engagements with business and community leaders, and this innovative global streaming network.

“Change doesn’t happen because someone wants it. Change happens when people commit all their energy to getting the world to take notice. Our entire organisation and business is focused on delivering and demonstrating our message of opportunity and equity,” said Diaz. “We are proud to lead the charge and will look to like-minded organisations and individuals to join us in this powerful change to culture.”

To learn more about the Colorado Classic, visit www.coloradoclassic.com or follow @coloradoclassicpro on Instagram and Facebook.

LUX Cycling for 2020
The LUX Development Corp, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation led by Olympic Medalist and Tour de France veteran Roy Knickman, works closely with USA Cycling to coordinate race schedules for the junior men and junior women teams. Last year fourteen members from LUX raced internationally with the USA Cycling National Team, with eight representing the USA at World Championship events. This weekend kicks off the 2020 season for LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized with the Valley of the Sun Stage Race.

The LUX team has become the top junior development team in the US with worldwide recognition. Over the past four years LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized has produced 3 World Champions, 24 National Champions and 30 National Championship Medalists earning a grand total of 200 wins in 10 countries. For 2020 LUX has expanded the women’s team and race schedule. The women’s program is led by former National Team member Ryan Kelly, and is unique in that it has professional U-25 riders to lead and teach the junior riders.

Key events for 2020 include: Valley of the Sun Stage Race (AZ), Tour of the Southern Highlands (GA), Joe Martin Stage Race (AK), Healthy Aging Stage Race (Holland), Redlands Bicycling Classic (CA), Cascade Cycling Classic (OR), National Road and Track Championships (TN), Junior Tour of Ireland (Ireland), Aubel-Thiminster-Stavelot (Belgium), Ronde des Vallees (France), Colorado Classic (CO), World Track Championships (Egypt) and the World Road Championships (Switzerland).

LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized’s 2020 roster includes: Kyle Chromy, Olivia Cummins, Luke Feuerhelm, Kayla Hankins, Clara Honsinger, Luke Lamperti, Gabrielle Lehnert, Brody McDonald, Logan McLain, Lilly McLeod, Summer Moak, Faith Montreuil, Ian Oelrich, Matthew Riccitello, Kaia Schmid, Jared Scott, Colby Simmons, Ava Sykes, Noah Ta-Perez, Zoe Ta-Perez, and Blake Wray.

LUX/Sideshow p/b Specialized continues to strengthen their program with the goal of giving their athletes the materials, support and guidance to develop as individuals, and to succeed at the highest levels of the sport. These young adults represent the next generation of professional athletes.

For more information on how your donation is helping to make a difference, we invite you to visit our website at luxcycling.com.

Lux Team Video from LUX Development Corp on Vimeo.

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