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Beringen - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Remco Evenepoel (Belgium / Team Deceuninck - Quick Step) celebrates his overall victorie pictured during stage 5 of the Baloise Belgium Tour 2019 cycling race with start in Tongeren and finish in Beringen on June 16, 2019 in Beringen, Belgium, 16/06/2019 - photo PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2019

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

A race full EUROTRASH Monday: Tour de Suisse, Critérium de Dauphiné, OVO Energy Women’s Tour, GP Canton d’Argovie Gippingen and young star Remco Evenepoel took the Baloise Belgium Tour. The Case of Juan José Cobo – Top Story. Other news: Hammer series to South America, Deceuninck – Quick-Step uses electric BMW, Arctic Race World’s first race using only electric cars, Chris Froome thanks for the support and Ion Göttlich won’t be with Peter Sagan at the Tour de France. Monday coffee time!

TOP STORY: The Case of Juan José Cobo
The UCI has announced that their Anti-Doping Tribunal has found Juan José Cobo “guilty of an anti-doping rule violation (Use of a prohibited substance) based on abnormalities from 2009 and 2011 detected in his Biological Passport and imposed a three-year period of ineligibility on the rider.” Cobo can appeal the decision through CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, within a month.

When a final decision is made, and it goes against Cobo, the 2011 Vuelta a España win would go to second placed rider, Chris Froome, making him Britains first grand Tour winner, as Bradley Wiggins didn’t win the Tour de France till 2012. It would be Froome’s seventh grand Tour win. Obviously Froome hasn’t said anything due to his accident in the Dauphiné and subsequent surgery, but fourth placed Bauke Mollema, is ready to move up to the third step of the podium if Cobo is disqualified.

After training on Thursday, the Dutchman was told that he may have retroactively become third in the 2011 Vuelta a España. “Cheers on my first podium in a Grand Tour?!”, Mollema wrote on Twitter. “I don’t know how that goes officially. He can probably still appeal, but it looks like there will be a podium place on my palmarès. Not much will change for me, but it is nice if you can say that later. Although this is not the way you want it, by hearing it eight years later,” he said to Dutch media.

“I don’t know why it has taken so long, but I have not been the only one who has questioned Mr Cobo’s performance curve,” says Mollema. “Everyone already had that thought back then. This news confirms that. That victory in a Grand Tour by him did not fit in with his achievements, if you look at the years before and after. Then he would have had to race more regularly in other competitions at the front and be in the top 5 or top 10 in Grand Tours.”

Johan Bruyneel, ex-US Postal manager, has his view, more so about the short comings of the UCI than Señor Cobo. He made this statement on various social media:
“Before I want to go into the details about the following topic, I want to stress that I’m not trying to defend the rider in question, my only purpose is to try to understand some questionable facts which seem to have occurred in the Juan Jose Cobo biological passport case.
I would like to address the following words to the UCI and it’s President David Lappartient and also to his predecessor Brian Cookson (he was in charge of the UCI at the moment the case was opened):

Dear UCI,
Dear Mr. Lappartient,
Dear Mr. Cookson
I understand that the case of anomalies in the bio pass of Cobo was opened in 2014… and that there have been several proposals from UCI to Cobo about a ban + fine, 1 in 2015, which he refused and a 2nd one in 2017, which he also refused. I understand that in the 2nd case there was a proposal for a reduced money fine. Now finally in mid 2019, 5 years after the decision to sanction the rider and 8 years after his Vuelta win, you announce your final decision, after having tried to negotiate with the rider.

I think everybody is entitled to a full and frank explanation from the UCI of what happened during this lengthy process, why did you negotiate the amount of the fine, and especially also why it has taken so long, particularly since there hasn’t been any retro-active testing of old samples with new detection methods. So I think it’s fair to ask: what changed between 2014 (opening of the case) and June 2019?

If it’s a clear cut case, and there is no doubt that the cyclist has doped, how can you explain a delay of 5 years before announcing your decision?

In the extremely unlikely case that you might reply, please do not hide behind answers like “the anti doping commission is independent from the UCI and we have no control over their agenda and decisions” (We all know that this is not true).”

Cobo on the Angrilu:
Anglirú - Spanje - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Vuelta 2011 - Tour of Spain - Ronde van Spanje - etappe-15 Avilés > Anglirú - Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Team Geox - TMC) - foto Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos ©2011

Tour de Suisse 2019
Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida) took his first win in the rainbow jersey. The Australian was the best in the 9 kilometer Prologue Stage 1 of the Tour of Switzerland on Saturday. The World champion was ahead of Maciej Bodnar (Mitchelton-Scott) by a fraction of a second, Michael Matthews (Sunweb) was third at 2 seconds.

Lienhard kicked off the Tour of Switzerland
Fabian Lienhard was the first driver to start his Tour of Switzerland at a quarter to three. Naturally, the Swiss was the first person to take a seat in the hot-seat. But this didn’t last long: a few time trial guns started.

Bevin sets first target time
Patrick Bevin was one of those time trial guns. The New Zealander noted a time of 10 minutes and 58 seconds, with which he set a first target time. He, too, was not allowed to sit for long. Maciej Bodnar quickly jumped eight seconds below Bevin’s time, but the Pole was unlucky that top favorite Rohan Dennis had started his time trial soon after him.

Just the best time for Dennis
And so his seat in the hot-seat was short-lived. The world champion dived under the time of Bodnar with a fraction of a second, so that Dennis took the lead. Not surprisingly, Dennis was allowed to sit for a longer period of time.

Best time for Dennis, Thomas best classification rider
Michael Matthews, Soren Kragh Andersen and Kasper Asgreen… all came close to Dennis’ time, but they just fell short. Classification riders like Egan Bernal at 23 seconds and Geraint Thomas at 17 seconds had to give up a bit more, but they kept the damage limited.

Team Ineos classification riders did well compared to the other classification riders. Rui Costa at 37 seconds, Simon Spilak at 38 seconds, Enric Mas at 43 seconds, Wilco Kelderman at 1:28 lost a lot more than Thomas and Bernal.

Dennis first leader
In the last half hour – partly due to the rain – nobody came close to the time of Rohan Dennis, as a result of which the Australian booked his first victory in the rainbow jersey. Ultimately, Bodnar remained in second place, followed by Matthews. Tomorrow the Australian will start in the leader’s jersey.

Stage winner and overall leader, Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida): “Today it was a hard one, it was quite a mental battle for me because in the last months my results they were very far away from what I expected. Finally, today I made it and it’s a great feeling to be back on that top step. Tomorrow I will be in yellow jersey and I will do my best to defend it. The penultimate stage will be another ITT and I feel confident to repeat today performance. And then there is the Tour de France I’m looking forward to it.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I think it was a good start to the Tour de Suisse. I’m satisfied with my performance today and my form has been building well in the last few days. We had prepared this time trial very well and I think being beaten by the world champion by a fraction of a second is a good sign, even if, of course, a victory would have been excellent. I could have taken a curve faster or pushed a bit more at some other point, but that’s part of the game. We have a long race ahead of us and from tomorrow I’ll be working for the rest of the squad, trying to get the best result we can.”

7th on the stage and overall, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “This was my first race day after the Tour of California and an extended period training at high altitude, so it was a bit challenging for me but I felt well, especially in the final part of this short course. I sprinted to a top ten result but the Tour de Suisse is long and tough, so we’ll have to fight every day.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 1 Result:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida in 10:50
2. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 0:02
4. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb
5. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:03
6. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 0:05
7. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:08
8. Patrick Bevin (NZ) CCC at 0:09
9. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
10. Tom Scully (NZ) EF Education First at 0:11.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 1:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida in 10:50
2. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 0:02
4. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb
5. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:03
6. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 0:05
7. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:08
8. Patrick Bevin (NZ) CCC at 0:09
9. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
10. Tom Scully (NZ) EF Education First at 0:11.

Suisse stage 1:

At the Tour de Suisse, Astana continued its fantastic Sunday with an amazing solo victory from Luis Leon Sanchez in Stage 2 of the race. Sanchez attacked with 11 kilometers to go and immediately opened a solid gap. He was able to stay clear right to the finish line in Langnau im Emmental, taking a very emotional win.

With 2 climbs on each of the three local circuits, the second stage provided a good opportunity for the riders who like and know how to attack. The Astana team went on the front of the bunch at the bottom of the penultimate climb with around 40 kilometers to go, to set the pace. Firstly, it was Yuriy Natarov and Rodrigo Contreras and later, Andrey Zeits and Luis Leon Sanchez, who created a huge selection in the main group. Omar Fraile made a strong attack with 31 kilometers to go, but he was caught. But due to this attack, the group was split into parts. With 11 kilometers to go Luis Leon Sanchez went solo and this was the winning move.

Stage winner, Luis León Sanchez (Astana): “I am so happy I could win today, I did not expect I could be so strong in the final, but I was lucky to hold the gap until the end. We knew we have to do this race as hard as possible as there are many big sprinters in the peloton. We had to try to escape the bunch sprint to get a chance to fight for the victory. The team was super strong on the last two climbs and later when I saw a moment, I’ve made my attack. For a few kilometers, the situation still was on the limit as the peloton was really close, chasing me hard. But in the end, I’ve managed to resist and to win! I want to thank my teammates, they did phenomenal work during the whole day and, especially, in the final. It is a great moment for me to win here at the Tour de Suisse. Also, I want to congratulate Jakob Fuglsang and all Astana on the big success at the Critérium du Dauphiné.”

Overall leader and 4th on the stage, Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “This season has been incredible for me so far! I’ve made some big steps this year and this jersey is definitely another step in the right direction and that makes me happy. I wasn’t sure I would survive the climbs, but I tried to do my best and gave everything. Leading both the GC and the best young rider standings is great and it gives me great pleasure, but for now I’m focused on tomorrow’s stage, when we’ll try to keep the race together and go for a bunch sprint with Elia.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a very hard stage! Our strategy today was to go for the stage win and the yellow jersey. We knew all bonus seconds would be valuable, not only at the finish but also the intermediate sprints. The team did again an excellent job of pulling and controlling and in the finale I was in the smaller leading group, ready to contest the sprint. Astana did a good job for Luis León Sanchez while in the group there wasn’t a lot of collaboration, so we couldn’t bring him back. It’s a pity I missed the yellow jersey by less than a second but I’m satisfied with the performance of the squad. I’m tired after today’s effort but I feel well. The next two stages could suit me but we take nothing for granted and we will give our absolute best every day.”

Tour de Suisse Stage 2 Result:
1. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana in 4:01:21
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:06
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
7. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana
8. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
9. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Ben Swift (GB) Ineos.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 2:
1. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:12:16
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida at 0:01
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
5. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First at 0:06
6. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:10
7. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:17
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 0:18
9. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Ineos at 0:19
10. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

Suisse stage 2:

Critérium de Dauphiné 2019
Twenty four hours after creating a big surprise in the individual time trial, former cyclo-cross champion Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) out-sprinted hot favorite Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) in a bunch gallop in Voiron at the end of Stage 5. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) rounded out the podium as Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retained the overall lead before the last three stages in the mountains.

Bagot, De Marchi and Rossetto on the early move
141 riders took the start of stage 5 at Boën-sur-Lignon. Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data) was a non-starter due to sickness overnight. Yoann Bagot (Vital Concept-B&B Hôtels) was first on the attack right after flag off. He was rejoined two kilometers further by Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) and at km 8 by Alessandro De Marchi (CCC). It didn’t take any longer for Bora-Hansgrohe to seize the reins of the peloton as the deficit was 3 minutes at km 10 of racing. The Mitchelton-Scott team of race leader Adam Yates was prompt to take over and get South African champion Daryl Impey to set the pace of the peloton. The maximum time gap of 3:25 was recorded at the foot of the côte de St-Symphorien-sur-Coise, at the top of which (km 48) De Marchi scored one KOM point after Rossetto had passed first atop the côte de St-Galmier (km 28).

Rémi Cavagna is the new breakaway killer
De Marchi also passed first at côte de Givors (km 87) but it was Bagot’s turn at côte de Vienne (km 111.5). After dropping to two minutes, the time difference went above three minutes again with 80km to go. Rémi Cavagna was designated by Deceuninck – Quick-Step to set the pace of the peloton. He rode too fast with 60km to go, so he was called back to avoid an early regrouping before he resumed his work. With 25km to go, the time difference was down to 55 seconds.

Van Aert surprises again
It was all together again 1.2km before the finishing line in Voiron. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) tried to anticipate the bunch gallop in the curvy finale but they were pulled back and Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) launched from far out a powerful sprint. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) couldn’t pass the Belgian who is the first rider to win two stages of the Dauphiné in a row since Chris Froome took the last two in 2015. But it’s surely something exceptional to add a bunch sprint victory to a time trial best time!

Stage winner and 5th overall, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “This is unbelievable. I never expected to beat Sam Bennett here. We knew that it was going to be very sinuous and technical with all those roundabouts in the last two kilometers. It was necessary to be in position fairly early. My teammates brought me well and I positioned myself behind the lead-out of Bennett in the slipstream of Alaphilippe. I launched my sprint in the last corner. When I passed Julian, I knew I had it: my second win in a row. What a great week. I did not expect to be able to win here, but I did want to try and sprint for my green jersey. From tomorrow on I will be riding in support of our leader Steven Kruijswijk and try to take the green jersey back to Belgium.”

Overall leader, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “Nothing really happened until about 60km to go. The wind was picking up a little bit but still, it wasn’t the right direction or it wasn’t strong enough to do anything. So it was just a bit of stress in the peloton. No more. I don’t know much about tomorrow’s finale in particular. The downhill at the end could be decisive but it’s not worth risking your life for gaining ten seconds. Any stage from now on is pretty hard, the last two are quite short and selective but as I said yesterday I’m feeling good. The sensations are good.”

2nd on the stage, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Unfortunately, it was not to be today. The boys rode super well for me but the finish was super chaotic and earmarked by many attacks. I saw that Alaphilippe was coming around the corner so I was a little bit boxed in for a second, but I managed to take second place. I am disappointed but I am grateful to the guys for working so hard to pull the break back.”

KOM, Casper Pedersen (Sunweb): “There weren’t so many points up for grabs in the last four days, so I’ve been trying to save some energy for tomorrow. Today we were going for Joris Nieuwenhuis but towards the final, I lost him so I couldn’t help him anymore and I dropped back. Stage 6 is the day I can keep the polka dot jersey, which is what I really want. That’s what I’m aiming for. I strongly hope to make the breakaway tomorrow.”

22nd on the stage, Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Gobert): “This day was rather calm, even if the breakaway didn’t get more than a 3 minute advantage. I think the majority of the peloton was happy to have an easier day after a very exhausting beginning of the Dauphiné. The final was very nervous, with announced crosswinds. We did the maximum to protect Guillaume Martin and guide him to the last 3 kilometer without clutters. It is a pity to not claim a better result in this particular sprint, but the essential was not losing time and avoid crashes. This Friday, it will be a rather Ardennes stage, we’ll see what the weather brings. We are here with a good collective, ready to serenely take on the last three mountain days. Personally, I feel good, better than during the spring and the Tour de Romandie. I’ve been working towards May and I gradually gain in power. I’m not at 100% yet, but I’ll be there in a couple of weeks, hoping to be at the start of the Tour de France.”

Critérium de Dauphiné Stage 5 Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma in 5:00:34
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
5. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
7. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Mads Schmidt Würtz (Den) Katusha-Alpecin.

Critérium de Dauphiné Overall After Stage 5:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 17:28:00
2. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 0:04
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First at 0:06
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:07
5. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma at 0:20
6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:24
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:25
8. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:26
9. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:30
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:40.

Stage 5:

Hot favorite Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) took the highly expected stage win at Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne but it was a very tight finish with his breakaway companion Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) at the end of Stage 6. Third man over the line was Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) who finished a few meters behind. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retained the overall lead.

Alaphilippe first in action
139 riders took the start of stage 6 in Saint-Vulbas-Plaine de l’Ain under the pouring rain. After a very fast start, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was first to ride away from the peloton. He took Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) with him. As some riders tried to go across, the peloton split in two parts with race leader Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) in the first group. Team Sunweb considered to bring the breakaway back as it was Casper Pedersen’s intention to go for the King of the Mountains competition but they surrendered and Mitchelton-Scott returned to the front of the peloton, albeit with no interest to chase the leading trio down. The time gap went up to 10:40 at km 85 between the first two of the eight climbs of the day, after which Alaphilippe had already accumulated just as many KOM points as Pedersen.

Alaphilippe first atop all the climbs… except for the last one
At col du Frêne (km 131.5), Alaphilippe became the virtual lone leader of the KOM competition meanwhile the peloton had a deficit of 13:50 but his position on GC, 16:04 adrift, wasn’t a big concern for the Mitchelton-Scott squad that controlled the pack for most of the race despite the crash of Nic Schultz along with Jakob Fulgsang (Astana), the winner of the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné whose right elbow was injured in that incident. The Frenchman was also first at côte de Châteauneuf (km 144.5), côte d’Aiton (km 154.5), côte de Saint-Georges-d’Hurtières (km 165) and côte du Bocher (km 203.5) before the leading trio tackled the final loop including the second category col de Beaune after passing the finishing line in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne 16.5km before the end with an advantage of 9:35. Mühlberger was ahead of Alaphilippe atop the last climb while De Marchi was in difficulty.

Alaphilippe by the smallest margin
Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert) attacked from the group of the favorites led by Team Ineos up the hill. He was brought back before the top. Mühlberger gave a hard time to Alaphilippe till the very end even though the Frenchman managed to get him launch the sprint. The current world’s number 1 did his best to overhaul him but had to throw his bike on the line to be declared the winner by the photo-finish. This is his second stage win at the Critérium du Dauphiné after stage 4 to Lans-en-Vercors last year. It’s also his tenth win this season. He tops the tally of international pro cycling. Now the King of the Mountains of the Dauphiné, he is on the track for doing just as well as last year at the Tour de France.

Stage winner, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I’m always hungry and every victory is important, but to take a stage at the Dauphiné – my first race of the season in France – is really special and makes me extremely happy. The stage was long and hard, but we worked well together and opened that huge gap. In the sprint, I knew that Gregor was explosive and that with the headwind it was important not to go too early. It’s a beautiful win, good for my confidence before the Tour de France, and the fact that it brought me also the blue jersey makes it a really perfect day.”

Overall leader and 8th on the stage, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “It wasn’t a full gas stage. That’s what you expect when it’s not a mountain top finish. The three guys away were quite far on GC, everyone else was happy with what we were doing. In the last climb, we expected the race to be a little harder. It’s a short stage tomorrow and the day after, so I’m sure a lot of guys want to break away. There’ll be a long climb of 20km to finish with. I almost haven’t done anything like that this year yet but I feel good. It’s hard to say what will happen. We’re all still very close on GC.”

2nd on the stage, Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The team gave me a chance to fight for a stage win today. After 13km of racing a breakaway went up the road. We were a really small breakaway with only three riders but we worked really good together and were able to open up a huge gap. In the last 15 km the attacks were flying but I was able to counter every attack, and held Alaphilippe and De Marchi under control. Finally, just us two battled for the victory. In the finale, I missed only some centimeters to Alaphilippe.”

3rd on the stage, Alessandro De Marchi (CCC): “It was not easy to get into the breakaway and the key moment, when the group was formed, was on the downhill from the first small bump, where we made the selection. That moment marked the start of a really long day for us. It was quite funny because the beginning of the stage looked similar to yesterday’s finale, with three guys breaking away and the peloton chasing. It was a really hard and long race because the other riders were strong and the parcours was demanding. In the end, it was all about the legs and I did what I could against these two guys. Maybe I needed a steeper climb because today it was quite fast up the hill and the duo was very quick when they attacked. I was able to come back two or three times and I tried to launch my own attacks but with 500 meters to the top I fell behind. I think I’m going in the right direction, heading into July and I was still third which is a good confidence boost. My two previous breakaways didn’t have an impact on my legs today. Yesterday the course was not too demanding and we were pushing strong only in the last 50 kilometers. Today I was feeling okay and it was not about yesterday’s effort but the current form.”

28th on the stage and 18th overall, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert): “The last climbs was not approached on a high pace, but I had to do a big effort to ride to the wheels of the Movistar and Ineos riders. So I preferred to attack in order to gain some advantage and climb at my own rhythm. It was difficult on my own, because the climb was rather rolling. I was back in the wheels at the top to finish in the first group. I keep the same offensive spirit, with the will to take risks to win a stage this weekend. The general classification might follow, we will have to be attentive in the climbs this Saturday, on roads we rarely ride on.”

11th on the stage and 22 overall, Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Gobert): “I tried to attack from the start, but I didn’t have a good feeling in the beginning of the stage. I knew we had to ride in the front at one crucial point during the penultimate climb. We were still five of the team at the bottom of the last climb, which we climbed at a good tempo. I managed to stay well positioned, but I was a bit too far at the end of the descent to claim a good result. I came closer during the last 500 meter, but I finish at the gates of the top 10. It’s a pity. I have an excellent feeling, and we showed again that we have a strong collective. We can take on these two mountain stages with confidence, especially because Guillaume arrives at a good shape. We will give everything to help him for the general classification, personally I will try my best to assist him as long as possible. Last year, I’ve know a black day on Saturday, which I hope not to encounter this year. But the essential is to help the team and to prepare the next weeks well.”

Critérium de Dauphiné Stage 6 Result:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 6:00:54
2. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) CCC at 0:22
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Ineos at 6:10
5. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
7. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
10. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana.

Critérium de Dauphiné Overall After Stage 6:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 23:35:04
2. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 0:04
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First at 0:06
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:07
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:24
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:25
7. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:26
8. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:30
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:40
10. Wout Poels (Ned) Ineos.

Stage 6:

Wout Poels (Ineos) won Stage 7 at the eleventh hour as he overhauled Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) who had attacked in the last two kilometers of the uphill finish to Les Sept Laux-Pipay. Time gaps between the favorites were tight but Fuglsang took over from Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) in the overall lead by the small margin of 8’’. It was an epic stage in stormy conditions on the eve of the grand finale in Champéry, Switzerland.

Julian Alaphilippe on the offensive again
132 riders took the start of stage 7 at Saint-Genix-les-Villages where Davide Ballerini (Astana), Jens Debusschere and Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin), André Greipel (Arkea-Samsic) and Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) were non-starters. After several unsuccessful skirmishes, 22 riders took off after 20km of racing: Gianni Moscon and Dylan van Baarle (Ineos), Jack Haigh and Damian Howson (Mitchelton-Scott), Mikaël Chérel (AG2R-La Mondiale), Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), Alexey Lutsenko and Magnus Cort (Astana), Jesper Hansen (Cofidis), Ruben Fernandez (Movistar), Lennard Hofstede (Jumbo-Visma), Niklas Eg and Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Woods (EF Education First), Rémy Mertz (Lotto-Soudal), Mark Padun (Bahrain-Merida), Joey Rosskopf (CCC), Quentin Pacher (Vital Concept), Kevin Ledanois (Arkea-Samsic) and Rob Power (Sunweb). Woods took 3’’ of time bonus at the intermediate sprint in Nuances (km 34.5) ahead of virtual race leader Lutsenko who got 2’’. At that point, the Mitchelton-Scott team of race leader Adam Yates was two minutes adrift.

Alaphilippe and Hofstede chased down by 27 riders
Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Edward Ravasi (UAE Team Emirates), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Pierre Rolland (Vital Concept-B&B Hôtel) and Jérémy Maison (Arkea-Samsic) rejoined the leading group in the downhill of the col de l’Épine. After cresting in the first position, Alaphilippe continued to speed up. Only Hofstede went with him. The leading duo was 30 seconds ahead of the 27 chasers and 3 minutes ahead of the peloton in Chambéry, km 56. The maximum deficit of the bunch was 4:30. Theuns waited for the peloton before the col du Granier where Alaphilippe and Hofstede passed in that order with an advantage of 1:15 over the Lutsenko-group. Hofstede crashed in the downhill but made it back at the bottom. Moscon and Maison rode away from their group. A new chasing group was formed behind lone leader Hofstede when Alaphilippe sat up with 40km to go meanwhile the peloton was timed two minutes adrift.

Wout Poels avenges Chris Froome
20 riders formed the front group in the third climb of the day up to col de Marcieu. Woods and Lutsenko rode away 2km before the summit. It became a leading quintet with 20km to go with Woods, Lutsenko, Chérel, Moscon and Hansen. Power, Cort, Grossschartner and Haig came across to make it a 9-man group at the head in the final climb 17km before the end whereas Movistar took over from Mitchelton-Scott at the head of the chasing peloton. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) attacked with just over 11km remaining under the pouring rain. Michael Kwiatkowski (Ineos) accompanied him. With 10km to go, Woods, Lutsenko and Hansen opened the road. Woods and Lutsenko were first rejoined by Kwiatkowski 7km away from the ski resort of Pipay. All GC contenders were together again with 4km to go. Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) attacked with 3.2km remaining. The next to try was Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) one kilometer further. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) caught him and forced Yates to chase with Bardet, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) while Wout Poels (Ineos) overhauled Fuglsang and Buchmann to avenge his leader Chris Froome who quit the race three days before in dramatic circumstances. Poels won stage 7 ahead while Pinot, Dan Martin and Yates finished in that order. Fuglsang took the lead with 8’’ over Yates one day before the conclusion of the 71st Critérium du Dauphiné.

Stage winner and 5th overall, Wout Poels (Ineos): “It’s really nice for the team and it’s a gift for Chris [Froome] also. I felt pretty strong all day. The team did an amazing job. 500 meters before the line, I thought it would be difficult to catch the two guys away but in the last corner I came and just round over them. It’s very nice to win here.”

2nd on the stage and overall leader, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “When we started, it looked like it was going to be a nice day. We were hoping for a good weather the whole day but in the last climb it was so cold… Half of me was just saying ‘ok let’s get to the finish as fast as possible’, that was the only thing I wanted to do. I’m happy with the jersey and I hope to defend it tomorrow although the last day is going to be a difficult day. The short format will make it a hard and interesting racing with the jersey, it might not be as enjoyable as when I won the Dauphiné two years ago. I took the jersey on the last day.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was indeed a queen stage today, but the rain made the final ascent even harder. Huge thanks to the whole team, the boys supported me the whole day and always brought me into position. I rode in the group of favorites, and wanted to wait with a final attack as long as possible. Then I thought, now or never and launched and gave it a try. Fuglsang went with me but as Poels bridged across it was just too late to react. Of course, a victory would have been excellent but I will give my best tomorrow to make that one second up to the podium.”

17th on the stage and 15th overall, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert): “We’ve seen all conditions today! I was warm in the beginning and cold at the end. I was even refrigerated at the bottom of the last climb. I was already in difficulty on the penultimate climb. I was missing sugar and didn’t have a great feeling. Despite everything I managed to stay with the group during the last climb. Finally, I am not far from the major roles and the battle for the win. It was a complicated day, but this is of minor importance, because the final classification was no goal in this Dauphiné. It was rather a pity to miss the breakaway. I reacted with a short delay, otherwise it would have given me the opportunity to start the events with some advantage. But there’s another nice stage waiting for us on Sunday, in which I want to find back the outposts!”

Critérium de Dauphiné Stage 7 Result:
1. Wout Poels (Ned) Ineos in 4:01:34
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:01
3. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:10
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates
6. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:13
8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First at 0:16
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 0:30
10. Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:34.

Critérium de Dauphiné Overall After Stage 7:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana in 27:36:40
2. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:08
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First at 0:20
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:21
5. Wout Poels (Ned) Ineos at 0:28
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 0:32
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:33
8. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 1:12
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:20
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 1:21.

Stage 7:

The Final Stage 8 of the 71st Critérium du Dauphiné went to Dylan van Baarle (Team Ineos) throughout a breakaway from far out. The Dutchman beat Australia’s Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) whose team-mate and former race leader Adam Yates pulled out as many riders got sick the day after they faced very difficult stormy conditions. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) won his second Dauphiné after 2017 meanwhile Tejay van Garderen (EF Education) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) rounded out the final podium.

13 riders in the lead, including Alaphilippe
115 riders have taken the start in Cluses. 8 non-starters: Darwin Atapuma and Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Michael Woods and Alberto Bettiol (EF), Pierre Rolland and Cyril Gautier (Vital Concept), Thomas Degand (Wanty-Gobert) and Casper Pedersen (Sunweb). 12 riders took off at km 12: Dylan van Baarle (Ineos), Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott), Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Felix Grossschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe), Carlos Verona (Movistar), Sébastien Reichenbach (Groupama-FDJ), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto-Soudal), Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida), Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) and Warren Barguil (Arkea-Samsic). Alaphilippe secured the white and blue polka dot jersey in the first two climbs of the day and Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) made it across by himself to increase the number of escapees to 13 at Les Gets, km 20.

Adam Yates pulls out
Alaphilippe kept on scoring KOM points as he passed first at col du Corbier (cat. 1, km 49), 3:45 before the peloton led by Astana after a time difference of 4:05 was recorded at the bottom of the climb. The maximum time gap was 4:25 before runner up Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) pulled out due to sickness with 50km to go. He was the fourth of the twelve pre-race favorites to call it a race after Chris Froome, Tom Dumoulin and Woods. 30km before the end, different teams seized the reins of the peloton, successively UAE Team Emirates, AG2R-La Mondiale and Ineos. A few attacks took place in the front group in the cat. 1 côte des Rives. Haig went solo and formed a leading duo with Van Baarle 15km before the end.

Second stage win for Ineos after Froome’s accident
Eventually, no attack took place in the yellow-blue jersey group and Astana was back at the helm in the last climb to Champéry. Haig and Van Baarle forged on. Van Baarle won stage 8, making it a double for Team Ineos on the final weekend of the Dauphiné after Wout Poels won the queen stage at Les Sept Laux-Pipay. It’s his second victory of the 2019 season after the overall classification of the Herald Sun Tour in Australia in February. Fuglsang came home safely to win his second Critérium du Dauphiné after 2017. The Danish winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège this year is in the form of his life ahead of the Tour de France.

Stage winner, Dylan van Baarle (Ineos): “The plan was for Gianni [Moscon] and myself to go in the breakaway to try to help Wout [Poels] but it ended up a little bit differently. I’m so happy this week. It was with ups and downs. Everybody knows what happened with Chris [Froome]. The team did a really great job after that. I’m just really happy. In the past I really struggled in this race but I’ve trained so hard to be really good here. I’m happy this result comes out.”

Final overall winner, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “I was expecting the day to be even harder than it eventually happened to be but my team controlled it in a perfect way from the beginning. For me, it was a jump in a blue limousine until the finish. We got a nice group sent out. I don’t know what happened to Adam Yates but it seems that he stopped for some reasons and Steven Kruijswijk got some problems. The cold yesterday has affected a few people. Compared to 2017, this victory is special because I got to ride in the yellow-blue jersey. It was maybe more spectacular two years ago when I also won two stages. This one makes me super happy also. My next race is the Tour de France. I’m looking forward to it. I think I’m on the right way. Up to now it’s been a fantastic season for me. I hope it can get even better. Everything seems to come really easy and perfect, with no stress. The whole Astana team is riding super strong this year. Everybody is lifting everybody. There’s a good atmosphere.”

Points Competition winner, Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma): “It’s been a hard day because I was sick this morning but all I wanted was to complete the stage to be able to keep the green jersey till the end. It’s been a nice week but now I’m exhausted. The last three days have been long but I overcame the difficulties although we didn’t experience high altitudes.”

3rd on the stage, Carl Fredrik Hagen (Lotto Soudal): “Of course, I am a little disappointed with third place, as a cyclist you always go for the win. But it is the first time I ride the Critérium du Dauphiné so I am really happy with my performance. The first part of the race was really hard but I really wanted to be in the breakaway today. Eventually, the break went clear on the second ascent of the day. We started working together quite well and on the penultimate climb, the attacks started. At first I was following Barguil but then the next attacks were launched. If Alaphilippe had joined me a little earlier on the penultimate climb, I think we maybe could have caught the leading duo. I was pulling harder than him and eventually he needed to let go at around five kilometers from the finish. It has been a great week for the team. Protecting the white jersey of Bjorg was the main goal the last few days, so I worked for him. Bjorg started today’s stage with an eleven-minute lead, so I was free to go in a big breakaway today. Finishing third at the end is a really good result and I learned a lot this week.”

7th on the stage, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I’m very satisfied with my week of racing. It’s been hard. We raced seriously every day and at the end I have a stage win and the polka dot jersey. I can be happy with that. I enjoyed wearing this jersey, it motivated me for going to the front again today. I never gave up. I tried to win one more stage today after I secured the KOM. But I’ve paid for my efforts of three days on the attack. I feel good. I’m very happy with my shape even though I’ll have to recover before the Tour de France.”

9th on the stage and 14th overall, Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Gobert): “I had a good feeling from the start and I even doubted to follow the breakaway. I saw the group of twelve escaping, but finally I preferred to stick with the favorites. It is a pity that Fabien and Guillaume were sick, but Marco Minnaard helped me well, giving me confidence. I was never really in difficulty, but I was happy to stick with the favorites on top of the penultimate climb. Afterwards, I had to pull out all the stops to follow on the last slopes towards Champéry. I won positions during the last kilometer in order to manage the sprint. I am happy to conclude this Dauphiné with a top 10. My week was positive. I would have never believed that I was capable to integrate the top 15 in the final classification of such a high ranked race, because I’m not a pure climber. I am proud on my performance. I can address the next challenges with confidence, in order to prepare the summer. We have a good collective, we can we confident. But I will first rest and recover well from this difficult edition. Then I leave for an altitude training camp with the team in order to arrive fresh in July.”

10th on the stage and 3rd overall, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a tough final stage, but at least the weather was better than yesterday. I stayed all the time with the group of favorites, among the yellow jersey. Once again, the team did a great job and protected me the whole day. I finished in 10th place and made it onto the podium. I am more than happy, it is a big result for me to finish a stage race like this on the podium. I am looking forward to the Tour and hope to make the one or other good result there.”

17th overall, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert): “I didn’t have big hopes for this last stage this morning, with bellyache. I suffered from the exhausting weather conditions this week, like the majority of the peloton. We didn’t have an easy week, but my condition was good. This closing weekend tarnishes the final evaluation, because this last stage was the one suiting me best on paper. I could have reached a better general classification, but above all I will construct the continuation of my preparation for the Tour on my 2nd place in the second stage.”

Critérium de Dauphiné Stage 8 Result:
1. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Ineos in 3:05:48
2. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Lotto Soudal at 0:50
4. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 1:12
5. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
6. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:16
8. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 1:59
9. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
10. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Critérium de Dauphiné Final Overall Result:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana in 30:44:27
2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First at 0:20
3. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:21
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Ineos at 0:28
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:33
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 1:11
7. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 1:12
8. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 1:21
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:24
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:38.

Dauphiné stage 8:

OVO Energy Women’s Tour 2019
Canyon//SRAM Racing’s Kasia Niewiadoma made light of inclement conditions to win the OVO Energy Women’s Tour’s first hill-top finish at Burton Dassett Country Park, Warwickshire, on Wednesday. The Polish rider, who won the 2017 race, out-sprinted Sunweb’s Liane Lippert after the duo had broken away from the peloton with Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) on the first of three ascents of Burton Dassett.

Longo Borghini’s team-mate Lizzie Deignan finished third on the stage, while German rider Lippert replaces her compatriot Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) in the OVO Energy green jersey of race leader with just two stages in Wales to come. Lippert moves into the OVO Energy Green jersey, although on equal time with Niewiadoma, and was surprised to take the lead.

A trio of riders – Charlotte Becker (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope), Femke Markus (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and last year’s Warwickshire winner Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-Scott) – built an eight-minute lead. Becker was the first to lose contact from the front on the day’s second SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb with Markus and Roy being caught before the second passage of the finish line at Burton Dassett. Roy’s efforts earned her the Wahooligan Combativity Award, while Niewiadoma’s victory moves her to within a point of Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) in the SKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey. Both the Eisberg Sprints jersey and HSBC UK British Cycling Best British Rider jersey remained on the shoulders of Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) and Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) going into stage five.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM): “Once I saw all the stage details I knew this one was for me. I really like this kind of climb – short, punchy; hills where I can really make an advantage over the others. I knew I needed to be there and have a great position at the bottom of the climb and then see what happens. I felt like a piece of crap, I felt so bad because of the rain and cold. But once you attack you go into this weird suffering mode, you forget about everything and you just want to get to the line first. Once I crossed the finish line, I thought about this morning’s conversation with my boyfriend [professional rider Taylor Phinney] because he woke up and told me I was going to win today. He doesn’t say that often. I thought: ‘OK, he believes in me.”

Overall leader and 2nd on the stage, Liane Lippert (Sunweb): “I was already on the team bus when I heard I was in the leader’s jersey and I had to climb off and everyone was cheering for me, it was funny. I went all out and saw Kasia in front of me. I tried to get closer but she was super strong and I’m happy with my second place. I first need to realize what just happened. I’m in the leader’s jersey now and it’s my first UCI Women’s WorldTour podium finish ever. I have a really strong team. Now I’m in the jersey but we’ll see. I hope to [win the overall], I will try my best.”

OVO Energy Women’s Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM in 4:18:29
2. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb
3. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo at 0:07
4. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam at 0:09
5. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 0:11
6. Elizabeth Banks (GB) Bigla
7. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla
8. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling
9. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels Dolmans at 0:13
10. Marta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling.

OVO Energy Women’s Tour Overall After Stage 4:
1. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb in 13:47:56
2. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM
3. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo at 0:03
4. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling at 0:07
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 0:09
6. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 0:24
7. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 0:26
8. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling at 0:28
9. Elizabeth Banks (GB) Bigla at 0:31
10. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla.

OVO Stage 4:

Britain’s Lizzie Deignan claimed her first victory since returning from maternity leave in Friday’s Stage 5 of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in Builth Wells, Powys, to move into the race lead with just one stage remaining. Deignan, the race’s 2016 champion, out-sprinted Thursday’s stage victor Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) and her Trek-Segafredo team-mate Elisa Longo Borghini in the Royal Welsh Showground after the trio broke clear on the day’s final SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb of Eypnt with approximately 22 kilometers remaining.

The Yorkshire rider leads Niewiadoma by just one second going into Saturday’s finale in Carmarthenshire, with Boels Dolmans rider Amy Pieters a further 31 seconds in arrears. In addition to retaining her lead in the HSBC UK | British Cycling Best British Rider jersey, Deignan also moves to the top of the standings in the Breast Cancer Care points jersey.

Niewiadoma’s efforts on the climbs see her take the lead in the SKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey, while 2018 overall champion Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) retains the Eisberg sprints jersey. Overnight race leader Liane Lippert (Sunweb) finished 22nd, losing two minutes and 19 seconds to fall away in the overall classification and lose her OVO Energy green jersey.

The German had been in the main pack featuring all of the general classification contenders approaching the final SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb of Epynt, before the race was sparked into life by the aggressive riding of Trek-Segafredo duo Deignan and Longo Borghini. That saw the final two riders from the day’s breakaway, Erica Magnaldi (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) and Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans), reeled in and the chasing pack splintered, with just 20 riders reaching the Royal Welsh Showground within two minutes of Deignan. First over the summit of the Epynt climb moved Niewiadoma into the SKODA Queen of the Mountains climb, with a one-point advantage over previous incumbent Christine Majerus (Boels Dolmans).

Stage winner and overall leader, Elizabeth Deignan (Trek-Segafredo): “I can’t quite really describe it; it was probably the nicest win I’ve had in a very long time. I really savored it and really enjoyed it and I will do for a long time. It was instinctive (the attack), it wasn’t the plan but I kept looking over at Lisa [teammate Longo Borghini] and noticed she was looking back at me and at one moment I just thought go on then we’ll give it a try. I went and Kasia [Niewiadoma] took over then. Her takeover was much stronger than my initial attack and I kind of survived with them two over the top and we worked together then until the finish.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM): “Hannah Barnes was pacing pretty hard from the bottom of the climb. It was funny because when I wanted to attack, then Lizzie went, so we kind of went at the same time. We continued and at the top of the climb there were three of us: Elisa [Longo Borghini], Lizzie and myself. From then on we tried to go full gas. Tomorrow is going to be the final battle. I’m actually pretty excited and curious to see how it’s going to be because of course Trek has a strong team and they’re going to control the race from the start. Although there are so many teams eager to fight and split the race, we’ll see.”

OVO Energy Women’s Tour Stage 5 Result:
1. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo in 3:54:35
2. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:02
4. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:17
5. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans
6. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 0:19
7. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Elizabeth Banks (GB) Bigla
9. Ane Santesteban Gonzalez (Spa) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling
10. Marta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling.

OVO Energy Women’s Tour Overall After Stage 5:
1. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo in 17:42:24
2. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM at 0:01
3. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 0:32
4. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 0:50
5. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans
6. Elizabeth Banks (GB) Bigla at 0:57
7. Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Movistar at 0:58
8. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:00
9. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla
10. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 1:02.

OVO Stage 5:

Great Britain’s Lizzie Deignan became the first rider to win two OVO Energy Women’s Tour titles as she sealed the 2019 crown on Stage 6 at Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire, on Saturday. The Trek Segafredo rider, who only returned to racing in late April following maternity leave, finished eighth in a reduced bunch sprint to pip Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM Racing) to the overall crown by two seconds – the smallest winning margin in race history.

Dutch rider Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans) claimed the final stage, beating Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb) and Roxane Fournier (Movistar) to the line. Pieters placed third overall, 23 seconds behind Deignan, while her team-mate Christine Majerus finished fifth to cap a successful week for the Dutch team.

Deignan crossed the line in eighth position in the 33-rider front group to take victory, having doubled her overnight one-second lead thanks to a mid-race time bonus from the Eisberg Sprint at Penygroes. As well as the OVO Energy Green jersey the Trek Segafredo rider takes the Breast Cancer Care Points jersey through her consistent finishing across the six stages, and the HSBC UK British Cycling Best British Rider jersey.

The stage win for Pieters was her third in OVO Energy Women’s Tour history, being added to previous victories in Stratford-upon-Avon (2016) and Stoke-on-Trent (2017). With Majerus and double stage victor Jolien D’hoore providing the perfect lead-out, the Dutchwoman was delighted with the win.

Defending OVO Energy Women’s Tour champion Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) took the Eisberg Sprints jersey for a second year, getting into a group of 11 riders that broke away early on the Carmarthenshire route to seal the jersey at the first intermediate Eisberg sprint. The final classification jersey went to Warwickshire summit finish winner Niewiadoma, who withstood the challenge of Majerus for a one-point advantage in the SKODA Queen of the Mountains jersey, while the aggressive riding of Sarah Roy (Mitchelton Scott) was rewarded with the Wahooligan Combativity Award.

Stage winner and 3rd overall, Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans): “The plan was to try to win the stage. I think we had a good plan and a good week with the whole team, so I think we need to be happy with this. The girls did a really strong lead-out for me and I’m happy that I could finish it off. I felt really good today and I’m happy with that because it was a really hard week and I’m happy that the last day I was still good.”

Final overall winner and 8th on the stage, Elizabeth Deignan (Trek-Segafredo): “It means a huge amount. I think the last time I came here I was probably one of the favorites to win the race – this time I wasn’t a favorite, so it was a different experience. It was totally a team experience. I won through just grit and determination. I’m away from my daughter for a reason. I’m here to do a job and I’ve got a fantastic team around me. I don’t want to let them down. It’s a huge honor. I’m just delighted, lost for words really. The perspective you gain from having a year out of the sport is amazing. My attitude is just about enjoying it, I’ve never had that attitude before and it’s really paying dividends. I’m in the best team in the world I feel like from a support perspective and just the women around me just lift me up.”

OVO Energy Women’s Tour Stage 6 Result:
1. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans in 3:27:02
2. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb
3. Roxane Fournier (Fra) Movistar
4. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
5. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans
6. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Movistar
7. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling
8. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo
9. Marta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling
10. Alexandra Manly (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott.

OVO Energy Women’s Tour Final Overall Result:
1. Elizabeth Deignan (GB) Trek-Segafredo in 21:09:25
2. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM at 0:02
3. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 0:23
4. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 0:49
5. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg at 0:51
6. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 0:54
7. Elizabeth Banks (GB) Bigla at 0:58
8. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla
9. Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Movistar at 0:59
10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:01.

OVO Stage 6:

Baloise Belgium Tour 2019
Jan-Willem van Schip (Roompot-Charles) cleverly won the opening Stage 1 of the Baloise Belgium Tour on Wednesday. The Dutchman was part of the early break, he shook off his five fellow escapees and stayed ahead of the pack. He also took the overall lead.

The stage from Sint-Niklaas to Knokke-Heist was completely flat and apart from two cobblestone sections, had few obstacles over 120 kilometers. The finish was on the traditional”De Wandelaar”. The escape came about early in the stage, which was plagued by heavy rain. Glenn Debruyne, Tom Dernies and points race World champion, Jan Willem van Schip had joined forces and were joined by David Boucher and Thomas Sprengers. The five took a maximum lead of 5 minutes from the peloton, although they always kept them within reach. Deceuninck – Quick-Step in particular was concerned with the pursuit.

With a lead of one and a half minutes, the leading group started the last 25 kilometers. Van Schip took the Golden Kilometer 15 kilometers from the finish. The Dutchman from Roompot-Charles grabbed a 7 second bonus and then carried on with his attack; Debruyne and Dernies were able to catch him. Behind; the peloton were within half a minute and the sprinter’s teams had joined the pursuit.

Van Schip dropped Debruyne and Dernies again in the last 5 kilometers to go solo. The peloton came close, but the Dutchman managed to hold his ground. With a few seconds in hand, Van Schip crossed the line in Knokke-Heist. Tim Merlier, riding for the first time in the colors of Corendon-Circus, won the sprint for second place, ahead of Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).

Stage winner and overall leader, Jan-Willem van Schip (Roompot-Charles): “That’s what you do it for! I want to do my job well. If you succeed, can you still be enthusiastic? Otherwise you really have to do something else… It didn’t go the way I wanted it in 2019 on the road. It was always just not. It just didn’t work. Last week I changed my bike position after consulting with a partner. I had thought of anything and everything, but apparently it was all a bit too extreme. Too calculated. And see, today I had the feeling for the first time that I had great legs. Or maybe it’s psychological. That is also possible… I wanted to be good here on that first stage. I really wanted to join that early break. Once that worked out, I did it step by step further along in the ride. I’m an optimist. Usually too optimistic, actually. I always think I’ll make it. That usually doesn’t work, but that way I stay focused. Today we succeeded. When it broke in the leading group, I felt that I still had something left. But it was still too far. I waited, my companions made many moves and when they stopped I went alone.”

Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Jan Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Charles in 4:15:14
2. Tim Merlier (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 0:04
3. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles
5. Roy Jans (Bel) Corendon-Circus
6. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Belgium
7. Daan Soete (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
8. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:06
9. Arne Marit (Bel) Belgium
10. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Cycling Academy.

Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jan Willem van Schip (Ned) Roompot-Charles in 4:14:57
2. Tim Merlier (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 0:15
3. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:17
4. Glenn Debruyne (Bel) Cibel
5. Tom Dernies (Bel) Natura4Ever-Roubaix-Lille Metropole at 0:18
6. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles at 0:21
7. Roy Jans (Bel) Corendon-Circus
8. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Belgium
9. Daan Soete (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal
10. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:23.

Baloise Belgium’19 stage 1:

Shaking his head in disbelief and with his arms high in the air while getting a raucous welcome from the hundreds of spectators who got to witness his first victory since making the jump from the junior ranks to the World Tour, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) crossed the finish line in Zottegem at the end of the action-packed Stage 2 of the Belgium Tour.

The writing was on the wall in the last couple of races, where he helped the team capture two stage wins and the overall classification at the Hammer Limburg, and Remco confirmed not only the hype which he carried from his junior days, but also the immense potential he has showcased on a consistent basis in the past two years. On Thursday, on a 180km-long stage that featured cobblestones segments and demanding hills, including the mythical Muur-Kapelmuur, the young Belgian continued to shine, taking the race by the scruff of its neck and storming off the front of the leading group with over 20 kilometers to go.

At that point, what had been the pack numbered around twenty riders, four of whom were Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s, and only one was able to join Evenepoel, Victor Campanaerts (Lotto Soudal). Evenepoel hammered it at the front, helping the move open a 20-second lead with ten kilometers to go and take a serious option of going all the way. When they entered the final seven kilometers, Campenaerts crashed on a left-hand bend, leaving just the 19-year-old in the front.

Unfazed by this incident or the furious chase that ensued behind, Remco soldiered on and continued to show incredible grit and determination, stretching out his advantage, while also picking up vital bonus seconds in the Golden Kilometer. Fifty meters from home, the Belgian prodigy finally sat up and let everything sink in, as he savored his shining moment before jumping in his family’s arms and celebrating his amazing exploits, which saw him become the 12th different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to taste success this season.

Stage winner and overall leader, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It’s my first pro win and it really means a lot to me. When I crossed the finish line, I saw my parents and that was just so beautiful. For me it’s very important that they were here and I could share this moment with them. It’s incredible when you see the names here at the start, I never thought I could actually win my first race here, despite bringing a good form into the race. The harder the race was, the better I felt, so I tried to save my legs as much as possible during the stage, especially as I knew I could do something in the finale. That’s what I did on the penultimate climb and I felt it was the perfect moment, as behind me they had some doubts and were looking at each other. Having done a recon last week, I knew the parcours and I pushed hard going into the corners as the kilometers ticked down. The race is far from being over and I really don’t think about the GC. I just want to enjoy this moment together with the team. Thirteen is supposed to mean bad luck, but surely, not for me. I love this number, it’s my lucky number and winning on June 13 with bib number 13 on my back and on home turf makes it even more special.”

Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:26:04
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:42
3. Tim Merlier (Bel) Corendon-Circus
4. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles
5. Davide Martinelli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
6. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Belgium
7. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
8. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
9. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
10. Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 8:41:03
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:51
3. Tim Merlier (Bel) Corendon-Circus
4. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Belgium at 0:57
5. Davide Martinelli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:59
6. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy at 1:00
7. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
9. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles at 1:01
10. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel.

Baloise Belgium’19 stage 2:

Tim Wellens took the victory in the time trial Stage 3 of the Belgium Tour. In Grimbergen, the Lotto Soudal rider powered to his second victory against the clock. In a time trial which became a thrilling game of seconds, Wellens set a winning time of 10:46, improving the time of runner-up Van Hooydonck by 1 second. With Victor Campenaerts, another Lotto Soudal rider finished in the top three, the European time trial champion stopped the clock at 10:48 and completed the podium. Wellens and Campenaerts are now 2nd and 3rd in the general classification, respectively, at around one minute from leader Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).

The almost pan flat 9.2 kilometers long course in and around Grimbergen was one for the powerhouses. Matthias Brändle (Israel Cycling Academy) set the first target time (10:52), but not much later, the Austrian rider needed to leave the hot seat for Van Hooydonck. After a strong time trial, Victor Campenaerts finished at only one second from Van Hooydonck, who set a time of 10:47. Tim Wellens was the final Lotto Soudal rider to leave the start ramp. After an impressive ride and a powerful sprint to the line, Wellens managed to beat the time of Van Hooydonck by one second. Remco Evenepoel, remains the overall leader, came near the time of Wellens but in the end, it was the Lotto Soudal rider who could celebrate his fourth victory of the season.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “After an earlier time trial victory in the Ruta del Sol, I managed to take my second win against the clock today. This performance proves that I took a significant step forward in the time trial area. Beforehand, I thought the time trial would be a little more crucial in the fight for the overall but due to the time losses yesterday, that is not really the case, or at least to a lesser extent. Nevertheless, it is of course a beautiful victory! Tomorrow’s stage will be a little different due what happened yesterday. Then, I made a tactical error as I did not join Evenepoel and Victor. But with that, I certainly don’t mean that I was stronger than Remco because he was really impressive! I will start with a one-minute disadvantage tomorrow. Of course we will race on my preferred terrain tomorrow but it will be difficult. Making up one minute on somebody who’s in great shape, is not an easy thing. Within the team we have – with for example Victor Campenaerts – some cards to play. We will do our utmost but it certainly won’t be easy.”

Overall leader and 4th on the stage, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I made a small mistake in the first corner and I lost a bit of time there, but overall I did a good race and can be content with it. Congrats to Tim, he was the strongest today. I am glad I get to wear this beautiful jersey for at least one more day, as it makes me proud to lead the Belgium Tour.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal): “Maybe I started a little too slow today. I got up to speed in the second part but there’s barely room for errors in a time trial of nine kilometers. I did not really feel to be suffering from yesterday’s crash but of course, I often ride a time trial after an easy stage or a long period of preparation. Yesterday, I had to spend a lot of energy and I also crashed. Remco Evenepoel put me – mentally – with both feet on the ground yesterday. I can say that I did not ride my best time trial today, which is not a fun thing of course. But in my development as a rider, I have to deal with situations like these. I will need to learn from that, something I certainly will try to do.”

Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 10:46
2. Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Belgium at 0:01
3. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:02
4. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:03
5. Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
6. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:05
7. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:06
8. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo at 0:08
9. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Corendon-Circus
10. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Total Direct Energie at 0:11.

Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 8:51:52
2. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:57
3. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:00
4. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 1:03
5. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo at 1:06
6. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:17
7. Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:18
8. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Belgium
9. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:19
10. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel at 1:28.

Baloise Belgium’19 stage 3:

Victor Campenaerts won Stage 4 of the Baloise Belgium Tour on Saturday. After 25 kilometers he attacked on the first climb of the day, the Chambralles. It was part of the bigger plan of Lotto Soudal. He was accompanied by five riders. A bit later, Lemoine and Turgis crashed out of that group. With Campenaerts up front, Deceuninck – Quick-Step was under some pressure. They were forced to set the pace in the peloton. With the high pace, the bunch was falling apart on the first of two ascents of the Roche aux Faucons. On the second time up the Roche aux Faucons at 16 kilometers from the finish, Tim Wellens attacked and created a small gap.

An impressive Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) managed to close the gap on his own and continued to dictate the pace. Only two riders were able to follow him: Campenaerts and Andreas Lorentz Kron (Riwal Readynez Cycling Team). The trio sprinted for the win in which Victor Campenaerts was the strongest.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal): “We came to the Baloise Belgium Tour with the intention to win. Before today’s stage, it didn’t look good, so we had to take risks if we still wanted to win. We have given our all right from the start. I went on the attack after 25 kilometers, but maybe a bit too inconsiderate. That’s why the breakaway group only consisted of six and later four riders. A bigger group had probably been an advantage for us. Still we managed to keep a good pace and created a three-minute gap. We tried to survive till the end, but on Roche aux Faucons, the peloton was getting pretty close. It was at that moment that Tim attacked. But Remco Evenepoel was too strong and managed to close the gap on his own. Luckily, I could keep up with him to the top, together with Kron. From that moment on, it went downhill all the way to the finish line so I could fully concentrate on keeping his wheel. I succeeded and I didn’t crash like two days ago! Evenepoel was riding hard for the general classification and I knew I could win this sprint and I had more energy left in the tank than in the stage to Zottegem. I’m very happy with my first professional win which is not a time trial. We didn’t want to make it a hard race because we wanted to win the stage, but to win the general classification of the Baloise Belgium Tour. But I have to admit that winning two stages in a row as a team, is a great consolation prize.”

Overall leader and 3rd on the stage, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Today is a day I will always remember. My team did a tremendous job – Eros, Pieter, everybody in the squad – they were all superb and I want to thank them for their help. From my part, I gave it my all on this legendary parcours, in front of an amazing public, and retained the leader’s jersey, which gives me a lot of joy going into the final day. The stage wasn’t easy, as the guys from Lotto applied pressure immediately, but I could rely on a great team and that gave me a lot of confidence. In the final, when Wellens attacked, I didn’t panic, just tried to control the gap before attacking in the false flat near the top of the climb. We caught him, and when I saw he was losing ground after Campenaerts’ acceleration, I pushed as hard as possible. In the sprint, I didn’t have enough to fight for the win, but Victor was anyway stronger, so congrats to him. I still lead the GC, but there’s one more day to go and we must remain calm, continue to control things and hopefully deliver Fabio for a bunch sprint.”

4th on the stage and 7th overall, Loïc Vliegen (Wanty-Gobert): “I was the only rider able to follow Tim Wellens and Remco Evenepoel on the Roche-aux-Faucons. However, I had been feeling upcoming cramps for 20 kilometer and in sight of the top I had to let go. I had been surprised by higher temperatures than the previous days and made the mistake to drink too little. I was dehydrated, but luckily I recovered and I was able to escape from the peloton with 2 kilometer to go and finish 4th. So tonight I go to bed with double feelings. On the one hand I am very satisfied with my current form, especially after a moderate start to the season, but on the other hand I am disappointed, because more was possible without cramps.”

Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 3:40:17
2. Andreas Lorentz Kron (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
3. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Wanty-Gobert at 1:02
5. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates at 1:04
6. Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Corendon-Circus
7. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
8. Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Total Direct Energie
9. Daan Soete (Bel) Pauwels sauzen-Bingoal
10. Jetse Bol (Ned) Burgos-BH.

Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 4:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 12:17:11
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:53
3. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:58
4. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 2:27
5. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates at 2:28
6. Andreas Lorentz Kron (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team at 2:30
7. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Wanty-Gobert at 2:37
8. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel at 2:38
9. Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
10. Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot-Charles.

Baloise Belgium’19 stage 4:

One of the oldest stage races in the world, which came to life one year before the Giro d’Italia was born, is now in Remco Evenepoel’s palmarès, after the talented teenager – a double Junior World Champion – etched his name in the history books following a mighty performance which he pulled off in a truly spectacular fashion. What the Belgian prodigy has done over the past week hasn’t been anything short of impressive, from his stage 2 superb and spirited ride, when he zipped clear of the peloton – making winning races look simple – to the composed display on the tough penultimate day, when he remained cool as a cucumber, despite being put under pressure, and all but sealed the overall victory.

Even a crash, that occurred inside the final kilometer of Stage 5, which Fabio Jakobsen couldn’t contest due to an overnight stomach bug, could not stop the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider from triumphing in front of his home fans at the age of 19 years and 142 days and less than six months since turning pro. Sunday’s overall result was the latest in an astonishing series that started in January and included the Vuelta a San Juan best young rider jersey and a fourth place on GC at the Tour of Turkey. Having scored the squad’s 37th win of the year, Remco paid tribute to his extraordinary teammates for their unwavering support throughout the week. Victorious also in the points classification, Remco – who became the fifth different Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to have won the Belgium Tour.

The win in Beringen went to Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept-B&B Hotel), who was the best of a disrupted mass sprint. The ‘break of the day’ included Zhandos Bizhigitov, William Clarke, Tom Van Asbroeck, Emils Liepins, Kevin Van Melsen and Gijs Van Hoecke. Deceuninck – Quick-Step controlled the race for Remco Evenepoel’s overall lead and for sprint leader Fabio Jakobsen.

When Deceuninck – Quick-Step started to close the gap, Corendon-Circus, Vital Concept-B&B Hotels and Cofidis joined in the chase. At the start of the final circuit of Beringen (20km) the difference was only a minute. When the peloton almost caught the front runners at three kilometers from the finish, Jakobsen crashed. The Dutchman would therefore not participate in the stage sprint. The escape was only caught 500 meters from the finish. The disrupted mass sprint was eventually won by Bryan Coquard, but the biggest concern was for the fallen riders. Evenepoel was among them, but he was able to reach the finish and celebrate the final victory. Alongside Evenepoel on the final podium were Lotto Soudal teammates Victor Campenaerts and Tim Wellens.

Stage winner and 7th overall, Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept-B&B Hotel): “I had started in this race with stage wins and a solid final classification in mind. I have succeeded in both. I was not bothered by the crash, but it turned out well. I was able to finish the work of the team mates on the finish line. My sixth win this season. For me, this is a nice end piece of this five-day event. Do I think we deserved that wildcard? Unfortunately I don’t decide on that, but I think so. Both the team and I belong in the Tour, I think. In the meantime I am in the situation. I have no other choice. But it remains a sour apple to bite through. That is where my full focus is going now: The national championship are being held in my neighborhood. I live barely 20 kilometers away. This way I can change my mind during this period, although I realize that I will not have it easy at the start of the Tour. After the title fight I have a vacation, followed by a training camp. I then resume competition in the Cerami GP (July 25) and the Tour of Wallonia (July 27 to 31).”

Final overall winner, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Being the youngest winner of the race is a great achievement, but it hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m thrilled and at the same time extremely grateful to the entire team, who continued to protect me today and make sure I seal this beautiful victory. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this race is that alone you can’t do too much and in order to reach your goals, you always need a great team. I had one by my side and I consider myself lucky. We raced as one and this is, without any doubt, one of the best things of the entire week. This week has been a rollercoaster of emotions, but I remained calm at all times and overcame every hurdle, including today’s crash. Fortunately, there were no consequences and the bad luck ended up helping me, as I could cross the finish line alone and get that big round of applause from the fans, something I will forever cherish. Now I’m going home, enjoy two days of rest with my family and some pizza, and then I’ll continue my build-up for the two races at the Nationals, the ITT and the road event, where I want to help the team keep the jersey.”

10th on the stage, Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Gobert): “I had a good feeling today and I decided to go for the breakaway. The peloton came dangerously close in the last kilometer and I’ve chosen Tom Van Asbroeck’s wheel to approach the sprint. Unfortunately, my chain dropped and I lost speed. I reaccelerated, but there was no hope left. This top 10 is only a meager consolation, because I really wanted to claim a place of honour, with a top 5 within reach. But I make a positive conclusion after this Tour of Belgium and the previous weeks. I found my good feeling back after having worked for a long time to come back after my crash in Ruta del Sol. This is positive and encouraging for what comes next, some one day races in Belgium next weekend.”

Baloise Belgium Tour Stage 5 Result:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel in 3:17:15
2. Pierre Barbier (Fra) Natura4Ever-Roubaix Lille Métropole
3. Emīls Liepins (Lat) Wallonie-Bruxelles
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
5. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
6. Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Corendon-Circus
7. Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) CCC
8. Corné Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions
9. Davide Martinelli (Ita) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
10. Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty-Gobert.

Baloise Belgium Tour Overall After Stage 5:
1. Remco Evenepoel (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 15:49:17
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:52
3. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:22
4. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 2:28
5. Andreas Lorentz Kron (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team at 2:29
6. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
7. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
8. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) Wanty-Gobert at 2:38
9. Aimé De Gendt (Bel) Wanty-Gobert at 2:29
10. Pieter Weening (Ned) Roompot-Charles.

Baloise Belgium’19 stage 5:

GP Canton d’Argovie Gippingen 2019
Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) raised his arms in triumph after 185.9 kilometers in Leuggern at the GP Canton d’Argovie Gippingen. The Norwegian won in his comeback to racing after his victory in the general classification at the Tour of Norway, beating Andrea Pasqualon in a rapid sprint finish. Kristoff had already won the GP Canton d’Argovie Gippingen last season and in 2015. With today’s success, the Norwegian registers his fifth win of 2019, while pushes the UAE Team Emirates win tally to 19.

Race winner, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): “Today I felt good and I wanted to repay the good work done by the team to control the breakaway. They gave me good support in the run to the finish but I still found myself a little boxed-in for the sprint. I was in about fifteenth position, other guys jostled ahead of me but I had the strength to go past them on the line. I am very happy with the win, and look forward to benefitting from the hard work of my teammates for more opportunities at the Tour du Suisse.”

2nd, Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Gobert): “The start of the race was rather easy with a three man breakaway and Bora-Hansgrohe and UAE controlling the pace in the peloton. The last two laps were hard, but we knew both teams would give everything to conclude the race in a sprint. The whole team worked well for me, in particular Boris Vallée in the first race half and Wesley Kreder in the second race half. In the final I could count on a very strong Yoann Offredo. In the end, I lost by only 3-4 centimeters, it was really close. But I am happy with this second place, because I am surrounded by two champions on the podium! I am traveling to Spain now for two weeks of altitude training camp, to finish the work I started last month. I want to be at my best for the Tour de France!”

GP Canton d’Argovie Gippingen Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates in 4:26:57
2. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert
3. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
4. Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
6. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Total Direct Energie
7. Fabian Lienhard (Swi) IAM Excelsior
8. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Marco Tizza (Ita) Amore i Vita-Prodir
10. Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott.

Gippingen’19 podium:

Hammer Expands to South America
The Hammer Series continues to expand and in 2020, the revolutionary team-vs-team race series will kick off in Colombia, bringing the all-out racing to some of the world’s most passionate cycling fans.

The new race Hammer Colombia will debut February 7-9, 2020 and will include the first women’s Hammer Series event taking place on the same days as the men’s. Both races will follow the unique Hammer format, with Climb, Sprint and Chase disciplines over three days.

The Colombian Sports Ministry, Coldeportes, and the Ministry of Tourism will bring the Hammer Series to the Coffee Cultural Landscape of Colombia and the first edition of Hammer Colombia will be held in Pereira, the capital city of the department of Risaralda. Together with Quindio and Caldas, this region is known as the “Coffee Triangle”. In 2021 and 2022, Hammer Colombia will take place in Quindío and Caldas, respectively, showing off the beautiful scenery and landscape in this famous coffee region.

Ernesto Lucena, Director of Coldeportes: “The prestige of Colombia as a powerful country of sports is a reference that today we are trying to strengthen through this type of events such as the Hammer Series. It is a perfect opportunity to show our kindness to the world, especially as a destination for cycling races. Due to the Hammer Series we can say that Colombia is a land of athletes”.

Graham Bartlett, CEO of Velon: “Colombia is the perfect stage for a Hammer race and there’s huge excitement among the teams and riders to race Hammer in such a beautiful, dramatic region of the country. With partners in the Ministry of Sport and Ministry of Tourism we know we can create the most spectacular race possible. Hammer racing goes from strength to strength and we’re particularly proud to announce a women’s race in addition to the men’s. For a long time we’ve wanted to offer a Hammer race for women and with such strong backing from our hosts in Colombia we’ve finally been able to achieve that. We’re all working to make Hammer Colombia a game-changer in pro-road cycling for the fans.”

After the inaugural event in the Netherlands in 2017, the Hammer Series has continued to expand around the globe to include events in Norway, Hong Kong and now Colombia. Last year, Hammer Series online videos had more than 8.3 million views, confirming its popularity among fans.

The opening Hammer event of the 2019 season, Hammer Stavanger in Norway, took place in May and was won by Team Jumbo Visma. The second event, Hammer Limburg in the Netherlands, was staged last weekend, with Deceuninck – Quick-Step beating off their rivals to take top spot.

Between Stavanger and Limburg this year, the total number of online video views has already reached 10 million and continues to rise as fans watch the action on demand. In addition to the live stream, all Hammer races are broadcast in more than 140 countries worldwide.

Esteban Chaves, Mitchelton-SCOTT: “I’m super excited that Hammer will come to my home country. The Colombian coffee area is one the most beautiful ones we have. Bringing together cycling and coffee is a fantastic mix. I can’t wait to show off my culture, my people, my country, my food and everything beautiful about this place. I’m sure everybody will be very impressed by the fans here in Colombia. They love cycling and I have no doubts that people will go nuts when the racing begins.”

Tom Dumoulin, Team Sunweb: “It’s really nice to see the Hammer Series expand to Columbia from next year. Cycling is already super popular in Columbia and coffee goes great with cycling so it seems like a perfect match! The inclusion of a women’s event is really cool. I think that the way they race will really suit this concept and we’re set for a really exciting edition with this included in Columbia.”

Alvaro Hodeg, Deceuninck – Quick-Step: “I’m really happy that we will have a race as great as the Hammer Series in Colombia next year. Especially in such a beautiful region of the country. Cycling and coffee go hand in hand. It will be a spectacular race. See you there!”

Lizzie Deignan, Trek-Segafredo: “I think it’s really positive that women’s racing has been added to the Hammer Series. I’ve been watching the men’s series and I think it’s been really successful so I’m excited that we’re a part of it now too. All-out racing like the Hammer Series will really suit women’s races, obviously we’re used to shorter races anyway but these have a different dynamic. We’re super-aggressive generally so I think it will suit us and we’ll put on a good show. It’s really important that the races will be live streamed, it’s a huge advantage for us that we can race and showcase our sport to the whole world.”

Ivan Sosa, Team INEOS: “The Colombian fans love the action and excitement of cycling so a race like Hammer will be a big hit. Cycling has a huge fan base here so to have the best riders in the world coming here to race is huge. It will also be great for all the riders to experience the atmosphere and the fans in Colombia.”

Deceuninck – Quick-Step Uses All-Electric BMW i8 Roadster at the Belgium Tour
The most successful cycling squad in the world has teamed up with their official car partner BMW Le Couter and Lemmens – Le Couter to make it possible for our outfit to use an electric support vehicle for the first time.

A BMW i8 Roadster, which was specially prepared by BMW Le Couter and Lemmens – Le Couter, was able to support our riders during the Belgium Tour individual time trial, on Friday. Pieter Serry, riding in his home race, had the honor of being the first Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider to be supported by an electric vehicle as he covered the 9.2km flat course around Grimbergen in a time of 11:31.

The Roadster is a plug-in hybrid that combines a BMW three-cylinder high-performance combustion engine with a BMW electric motor. Most importantly, the Roadster has a total electric range of 53 kilometers, meaning it can easily cover the distance needed to support the team during the individual time trial. This range is covered while producing no CO2 emissions, thus helping to protect the environment in which our riders perform.

Electric power by BMC:

Arctic Race of Norway 2019:
The Arctic Race of Norway aims to become the world’s first cycling race using only electric cars.

Help reduce emissions
The Arctic Race of Norway wants to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is the biggest challenge the world faces today, and it is in the Arctic that climate change is the most significant. This makes this initiative in the world’s northernmost professional cycling race even more relevant.

Due to the distance between Northern Norway and the places where the cycling teams usually reside, the Arctic Race of Norway and its Official Partner Hyundai provide cars for all the teams that participate. This initiative has translated an opportunity into reality.

“Hyundai provides all the cars to the Arctic Race of Norway. The car manufacturer strongly believes in the development of electric cars and wanted to use electric cars on the race. We thought it was a good idea. This helps reduce emissions. We also have plenty of clean electric power in Northern Norway”, says Knut-Eirik Dybdal, CEO of the Arctic Race of Norway.

Overcoming infrastructure challenges
But when the ambition of using electric cars came to the table, some challenges also emerged. It is no secret that the infrastructure for electric cars in Northern Norway, in the form of charging stations, lags behind the rest of the country. This is what the Arctic Race of Norway aims at improving.

“We took this as a challenge and contacted the hydropower companies in the region to see if they could help solve this issue. The response was overwhelming. We now have a solution in place, which means that several cars in this year’s race will be powered by clean power produced in Northern Norway”, says Dybdal.

Hydropower companies came up with a solution
The power companies Nordkraft, Lofotkraft, Hålogaland Kraft, Vesterålskraft and Trollfjord joined forces to finance a mobile charging station that will be used during the Arctic Race of Norway. Vesterålskraft CEO Halvard Pettersen is pleased with the cooperation.

“We are far behind with the electrification of the car fleet in Northern Norway, primarily because there are not enough charging stations. Through the initiative of the Arctic Race of Norway, we have found a mobile solution for this year’s race. And we will keep working to find permanent solutions.”

Beneficial for Northern Norway
Though this project, the Arctic Race of Norway directly contributes to the development of Northern Norway. Mobile charging stations to be used during the bicycle race will be available for other sports and cultural events in the region, during the whole year.

“We will use a mobile solution in 2019, but our vision is to develop several permanent charging stations in the region during the coming years. This will make it easier for local people and companies to embrace new technologies”, says Dybdal.

Aiming for zero emissions in the car fleet
Hyundai is also pleased that the Arctic Race of Norway will be the world’s first cycling race that only uses electric cars.

“Our aim is zero emissions in our fleet in Norway. That is why it is a great opportunity to help develop the necessary infrastructure in Northern Norway, thanks to the Arctic Race of Norway”, says Hyundai Motor Norway Marketing Director Christian Stenbo.

The aim of the Arctic Race of Norway is that its entire fleet comprising 120 cars becomes fully electric within three years.

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France: “Proof, if ever it was needed, that the Arctic Race of Norway is much more than just a cycling race. This project is a significant step forward that goes to show how our sport is focused on the future and throwing its weight behind the transition to a more responsible and eco-friendly world. Like the Tour de France, the Arctic Race of Norway is merely a visitor to the landscapes it goes through and, therefore, it has a duty to protect this grandiose yet delicate natural environment.”

Key points:
The Arctic Race of Norway will be the first professional bicycle race to use only electric cars.
Ø The lack of charging stations was a challenge, but a solution is now in place.
Ø This year, at least 45 electric cars will follow the ARN peloton.
Ø The Arctic Race of Norway is the world’s northernmost professional cycling race.

The best of Arctic Race of Norway 2018:

Froome’s Thanks for ‘Overwhelming Support’
Chris Froome has thanked Team INEOS fans and the wider cycling family for their overwhelming support in the wake of the crash he suffered on Wednesday lunchtime.

Speaking from the University Hospital of St Etienne, where he continues his post-surgery recovery, the four-time Tour de France champion expressed his thanks to the thousands of well-wishers who have sent him messages.

“Firstly, I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has sent their best wishes to me since the crash.

“This is obviously a tough time but I have taken a lot of strength from the support over the last three days. The outpouring of support has been really humbling and something I would never have expected.

“I’d also like to extend my gratitude to the Team, especially Doctor Richard Usher and his medical staff, who have been exemplary since the crash. In addition, I am so thankful to the emergency services and everyone at Roanne Hospital who assisted and stabilized me, as well as the surgeons, doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of St Etienne, who have really gone above and beyond the call of duty, for which I am ever so grateful. I know how lucky I am to be here today and how much I owe to all the paramedics and medical staff on the race.

“Whilst this is a setback and a major one at that, I am focusing on looking forward. There is a long road to recovery ahead, but that recovery starts now and I am fully focused on returning back to my best.

“Finally, I want to thank my wife Michelle and my family. They’ve been with me every step of the way and their love and support will motivate me to return as quickly as possible.”

Froome in his hospital bed:

Ion Göttlich Not Good Enough for the Tour de France / Video by Eurosport
Peter Sagan will not have on of his expected lead-out men with him at the 2019 Tour de France. Ion Göttlich is just not good enough.

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