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Trofeo Laigueglia 2019 - 56th Edition - Laigueglia - Laigueglia 203.7 km - 17/02/2019 - Scenery - photo Roberto Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2019

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Colombia, Provence, Murcia, Oman, Laigueglia and Almeria – A full weekend of cycle sport with results, reports, photos and video in a packed EUROTRASH. Cycling sees its first bionic man as Bart De Clercq races with a new hip – Top Story. Other cycling news: Volta ao Algarve and Ruta del Sol previews, teams for the Tour of the Alps, Veneto stages of the 2019 Giro d’Italia and Rosón sacked by Movistar. Coffee time Monday!

TOP STORY: Cycling’s First Bionic Man!
After 513 days, Bart De Clercq made his comeback to competition in the Tour of Oman on Saturday with an artificial hip. On January 2 2018, his second day as Wanty-Gobert rider, De Clercq crashed on a training ride. After several hip operations there was no improvement in his condition, so in autumn an artificial hip was the last solution. De Clercq is the first professional rider to compete with an artificial hip, and hopes to find his best form later this year.

The last time the 32 year old Belgian climber pinned on a race number was in the Omloop van het Houtland on 20 September 2017. De Clercq finished the Oman stage 1 in 98th position in the same time as the winner; Alexander Kristoff.

Bart De Clercq: “I have had a difficult year, the worries continued to pile up. Every time I made progress I suffered a relapse. Since the pain was permanent, it was not easy to live with. But I set myself goals again and again. I have always been motivated in the hope of returning as soon as possible. I am relieved to be able to take my place back in the peloton. I think my condition is not bad. I feel that I make progress every week. But my last race dates from September 2017, so I expect some tough first races. I see this Tour of Oman mostly as a step-up race. I want to raise my level race after race.”

First thought was that there is hope for my mother-in-law and her two new hips getting a pro contract. On the other hand there has been a few ‘bionic’ riders in the past…

Bart De Clercq training in Spain:

Tour Colombia 2019
UAE Emirates hoped to win stages in Colombia with Fernando Gaviria, but the top sprinter had to drop out ill. Gaviria’s teammate Juan Sébastian Molano stepped up and won Stage 3. Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) took back the leader jersey.

Six riders made the break of the day: Fabio Duarte, William Muñoz, José Castro, Brayan Ramirez, Steven Cuesta and Marvin Angarita made the split. After a fast start the leading group was quickly thinned down to four riders: Angarita, Duarte, Muñoz and Ramírez. The speed was high in the peloton which forced sprinters Marco Benfatto and Andrea Guardini to abandon.

Stage 2 winner and overall leader, Alvaro Hodeg also had a hard time: the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider was dropped by the peloton, which meant there would be a new wearer of the leaders jersey at the end of the day. The four escapees started the Alto El Nano, the penultimate climb of the day, the Alto El Nano, with the peloton not far behind, and so were soon caught.

Daniel Felipe Martinez, Oscar Sevilla, Sergio Henao and Nairo Quintana attacked, but they did not get much freedom. Marc Soler and Martinez also tried their luck, but in the end there would be a sprint from what was left of the bunch.

Juan Sebastian Molano started his sprint at the right time, and managed to keep Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Diego Ochoa (Manzana Postobon) behind him. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) finished in 27th place in the same time as Molano and took back the overall lead.

Stage winner, Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates): “It was a beautiful moment, to get my first win with my new team and doing so here in Colombia – it’s fantastic. Gaviria unfortunately was not well. I had a big responsibly and I was able to repay the enormous trust given to me by the team. I felt great all day, on the climbs my legs were good and I found myself secure in the finishing straight for the sprint. The work of my team-mates getting there was perfect all day. I want to thank the team who kept me going throughout the stage.

Fernando Gaviria forced to withdraw from Tour Colombia: The decision not to start the Tour Colombia’s third stage was taken between UAE Team Emirates sprinter Fernando Gaviria, who has a viral respiratory infection, and the team’s medical staff. The desire is to allow Gaviria to fully recover his health in order to return to his best so that he can compete. “I’m sorry to leave the race and go home, but I have to think about my condition and recover my best health,” Gaviria said. “I’m not able to ride at my best so I think the best decision is to stop myself now. Thanks to everyone, all the fans who’ve always supported me and who I know, who are also supporting me in this moment.”

Tour Colombia Stage 3 Result:
1. Juan Sebastian Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates in 3:42:52
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Diego Antonio Ochoa Camargo (Col) Manzana Postobon
4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana
5. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky
6. Edwin Avila (Col) Israel Cycling Academy
7. Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
8. Juan Arango (Col) Colombia
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar
10. Edison Munoz (Col) Orgullo Paisa.

Tour Colombia Overall After Stage 3:
1. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First in 7:19:37
2. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First
3. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:02
5. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 0:08
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu) Sky at 0:09
8. Ivan Sosa (Col) Sky at 0:10
9. Chris Froome (GB) Sky
10. Sebastian Henao (Col) Sky

Stage 3:

A canny attack inside the final kilometer of the action-packed Stage 4 caught all the other riders off-guard, allowing Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) to bolt away and solo to a beautiful victory on the streets of Medellin, where the Tour Colombia returned three days after the opening team time trial. The Liège–Bastogne–Liège and double World TTT Champion expertly negotiated the last corners of the day and arrived with a handful of seconds over the peloton, pulling on the orange jersey, which rewards the overall leader of the race.

The tough circuit in Medellin whittled down the bunch to around 50 riders and without any team in firm control, multiple attacks were launched after the breakaway got caught. But it was only under the flamme rouge – when Jungels put in a massive acceleration and powered away, seizing the moment – that the bunch was left without any response and the Luxemburger got to celebrate with his arms in the air.

Stage winner and overall leader, Bob Jungels (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I am happy that the team is going so well and I took my first win in this beautiful country. It surprised me to see this stage described as one for the sprinters, because it included a hard 1.5km climb which we tackled six times, and to make things even more difficult, the breakaway contained some dangerous guys for the GC. But my teammates did a fine job controlling things and gave me the confidence that I could pull it off in the finale, when there weren’t so many fast men left in the group. The Tour Colombia leader’s jersey is such a special bonus and it makes me proud to wear it. The plan is to honor it and do our best to defend it, but it will be difficult, because the next stages are very hard and there are many riders who are stronger climbers than me. But I feel good, and as I said, we will give our best.”

Tour Colombia Stage 4 Result:
1. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 3:04:37
2. Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:03
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Esteban Villarreal (Ecu) Ecuador
5. Hideto Nakane (Jpn) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane
6. Diego Antonio Ochoa Camargo (Col) Manzana Postobon
7. Weimar Alfonso Roldan Ortiz (Col) Medellin
8. Edwin Avila (Col) Israel Cycling Academy
9. Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
10. Daniel Muñoz Giraldo (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec.

Tour Colombia Overall After Stage 4:
1. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 10:24:13
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:02
3. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First at 0:04
4. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First
5. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 0:12
6. Jonnathan Narvaez (Ecu) Sky at 0:13
7. Ivan Sosa (Col) Sky at 0:14
8. Sebastian Henao (Col) Sky
9. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:18
10. Hernando Bohorquez (Col) Astana at 0:26.

Stage 4:

Julian Alaphilippe savored his third victory of the year, and Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s fourth in three days, at the end of the hard Stage 5, which took the riders over a mountainous 177.2km-long course around La Union, packing five classified climbs, more than 2,000 vertical meters and a finish at 2,519 meters, enough to make an important selection in the peloton and bring significant changes to the overall standings.

The day started with Bob Jungels in the orange jersey, which the Luxemburger donned after powering to a solo win on the previous stage, and continued with his French teammate booking a place in a strong breakaway group which contained several riders that posed a serious threat to the general classification. After the first intermediate sprint, which Julian won, the leaders nudged out their advantage to three minutes, and even though the fierce tempo of the peloton eroded it to a minute by the time the escapees entered on the final lap, they victory played between those at the front.

Before the road went up one more time and the riders faced again the 5% average gradient of the 7.4km-long Alto La Union, Alaphilippe accelerated off the front together with Ivan Sosa (Sky) and built a ten-second gap over what was left of the escapees’ group. On the toughest segment of the climb, the Colombian got out of the saddle and gained several bike lengths, while an attack from behind saw Daniel Martinez (EF Education First) join him.

Julian didn’t panic and rode his own pace, always dangling around 15 seconds behind the newly-formed duo. Together with Richard Carapaz (Movistar) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), the 26-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider began to make up ground on the fast descent and came back to the duo inside the last kilometer. Despite leading out the sprint, Alaphilippe remained cool as a cucumber and expertly navigated through the final corners, before kicking out with 200 meters to go, on a short uphill drag.

As the confetti rained down, Julian triumphantly punched the air to celebrate another victory which confirmed his good early-season form, that so far has netted three wins and three other podiums in less than two weeks of racing.

Just like last year, his victory at the Tour Colombia took Alaphilippe to the top of the general classification, where teammate Bob Jungels sits in fifth place, but despite having the orange jersey on his shoulders, the Frenchman insisted the overall isn’t a priority.

Stage winner and overall leader, (Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I am very happy! Coming here, my goal was to win a stage and I am delighted I could bring another one for the team after those of Alvaro and Bob. It was a very hard day, but we knew it was going to be like this, so that’s why I jumped in the breakaway, where we rode full gas despite many having tired legs after what has been a tough week of racing here. Today, I won with my head and heart after a great effort and I want to enjoy this beautiful moment. I have a few seconds over the next riders in the standings, but I’m not thinking of this now. We’ll see tomorrow what the race will bring and how things will unfold.”

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana): “A very difficult and nervous stage with a super hard route with narrow roads and always up and down. Anyway, our team passed it very well. It was our plan to have someone in the break, especially in such a dangerous break as today. And, it was nice to have Davide and Rodrigo there. In the final Bernal attacked first, and I understood it could be dangerous, so I immediately reacted with a counterattack. I could open a gap and continued pushing hard. Later, Rodrigo provided me a good help to catch the break in front. I did my best in the final, finished second. Not bad. Tomorrow is the decisive stage, will see, what we can do on the final climb.”

Tour Colombia Stage 5 Result:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:16:44
2. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana
3. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar
4. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First
5. Ivan Sosa (Col) Sky at 0:06
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:42
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First
8. Alejandro Osorio Carvajal (Col) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
10. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky.

Tour Colombia Overall After Stage 5:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 14:40:46
2. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First at 0:08
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:23
4. Ivan Sosa (Col) Sky at 0:29
5. Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:53
6. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 0:55
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 0:57
8. Lawson Craddock (USA) EF Education First
9. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 1:05
10. Oscar Miguel Sevilla Rivera (Spa) Medellin at 1:27.

Stage 5:

Nairo Quintana won the Final Stage 6 of the Tour Colombia. The Colombian leader of the Movistar team was the best on the 15.8 kilometer Alto de Palmas, after a heated battle with his compatriots. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) lost the leader’s jersey to Miguel Ángel López (Astana), the final overall winner.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step controlled a four-man escape including Edwin Ávila, Diego Ochoa, Wilmar Paredes and Alex Cano Ardila. With a small lead they started the final climb of the Alto de Palmas (average 7%, max. 15%).

At the foot of the climb it was Chris Froome who set the pace for the Sky team. The first attack came from Kevin Rivera (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec), just before Winner Anacona of Movistar made his move to join Rivera. Sky did not go crazy and kept their own pace on the climb for Iván Ramiro Sosa and Egan Bernal.

The pace of Anacona was too much for Rivera. Behind it, Miguel Ángel López lifted the pace with 7 kilometers to go and made a selection. Nairo Quintana was the next to attack and so jumped across to Anacona in the lead. Bernal was sitting on his wheel.

The EF Education First couple Rigoberto Urán and Dani Martinez could not follow, and had to lead the chase. Overall leader, Julian Alaphilippe was dropped and Martinez took over the virtual lead. Anacona rode hard for Quintana who was only in 13th overall, Bernal was the best placed in 9th.

After Anacona was burnt out, Quintana eased off allowing Urán, Martinez, López and Sosa to return to the front. The crowds of fans in the finalé caused problems for Quintana and Sosa and so López and Bernal escaped.

López managed to get rid of his competitors and looked like he would win the stage, but from the behind Quintana and Sosa came back to the Astana-leader. Quintana was strong enough to take the stage victory and 3rd place was enough for López to secure the overall victory in his own country.

Stage winner and 5th overall, Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “It’s always been hard to win in Colombia when we had a chance to race here. The two editions of this Tour Colombia have been of a very high competitive standard, and these previous stages were fierce, of brutal competitiveness. However, the love and passion of the fans and all the cheer I had from them all day gave me that final bit of energy I needed to launch the final attack and take the victory. The incident with the spectator? It’s an analogy of life. It happens sometimes – you stumble, you fall down, you’ve got to get back on your feet, rise again and keep fighting to win. That’s what we did today. It’s a victory full of emotions, a day of big happiness, a day when we really worked hard together with the rest of the team, who kept me calm for the entire race. It’s also a celebration I want to share with all Colombians, all Latin people, those who came over from abroad to meet this region, and especially those from here – stay happy, continue to enjoy cycling. Hopefully events like these can live on and prosper!”

Overall winner, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana): “It was another hard day in the mountains, and once again I have to thank my team for super work and great support during the day. Today’s success is team’s success, for sure! I tried to do a smart race, I think I attacked in the right time and, finally, have got a result I was looking for. The final was, maybe, too hard, but I did it until the end and won this race. I am super happy with this victory, especially, because I won here in Colombia!”

7th overall and points winner, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I am very happy, it’s been an unforgettable week, and I want to thank everybody: my teammates, our staff, these incredible fans and the organizers. The atmosphere here was amazing and the welcome and cheers we received every day from the Colombian people were truly overwhelming. There’s a lot of love for cycling here and it’s been a huge pleasure to ride again in Colombia and enjoy so much success together with the Wolfpack. We knew a tough stage was in store today, but nevertheless, we took the responsibility and I am proud of how the boys controlled the breakaway. The climb was hard and I knew it was going to be difficult against all the Colombian riders, but I did everything that I could and I have no regrets. I am leaving with a stage win and the points jersey after what has been an unbelievable week for our team and I am now looking forward to recovering before my next goals of the season.”

Tour Colombia Stage 6 Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 3:57:19
2. Ivan Sosa (Col) Sky at 0:08
3. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana
4. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 0:16
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 1:01
6. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First
7. Jhojan Orlando Garcia Sosa (Col) Manzana Postobon at 1:27
8. Didier Alonso Chaparro Lopez (Col) Orgullo Paisa at 1:32
9. Sergio Henao (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 1:36
10. Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu) Sky at 1:40.

Tour Colombia Final Overall Result:
1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana in 18:38:32
2. Ivan Sosa (Col) Sky at 0:04
3. Daniel Martinez (Col) EF Education First at 0:42
4. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 0:54
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:04
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 1:31
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:33
8. Sergio Henao (Col) UAE Team Emirates at 2:41
9. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar at 2:46
10. Rodrigo Contreras (Col) Astana at 2:47.

Final stage 6:

Tour de La Provence 2019
Reigning World Champion for Individual Pursuit, Filippo Ganna of Team Sky, won the Stage 1 time trial of the fourth edition of the Tour de La Provence on the 8.9km pan flat course at Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer.

The 22-year-old Italian beat the time of Sebastian Langeveld by 9 seconds – the mark posted by the Dutchman from EF Education First stood as the best time for almost two and half hours – while Frenchman Rémi Cavagna of Deceuninck-Quick Step settled for third place, 10 seconds adrift. This is Ganna’s first ever pro victory on the road. Earned on Valentine’s Day in the presence of his parents, Daniela and Marco – who represented Italy at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics for rowing – and is also his first win for Team Sky since transferring from UAE Team Emirates.

GC favorite Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ clocked the 15th best time with a deficit of 27 seconds while Astana’s Spaniard Gorka Izagirre follows the Frenchman at 29 seconds. The race remains wide open ahead of two hilly stages in which Ganna will try to defend the unique leader’s jersey of the Tour de La Provence that is a replica of the La Vie Claire winning jersey of the Tour de France in 1986 and 1987.

Stage 1 was flagged off by Bernard Tapie, the owner of Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond’s team who invited his former riders for lunch, with Jean-François Bernard, Bernard Vallet, Charly Bérard, Marc Madiot and Jean-François Rault all being in attendance.

Stage winner and overall leader, Filippo Ganna (Sky): “I’ve started the new season on a high note. It was a fast course. When I saw that it was a bit windy, I realized I had to do it seriously. We joke before the start that I had to ride one pursuit of 4km and straight after that, another one. To have the leader’s jersey in the first stage race I do this year is very important and beautiful. We have a good team to defend the jersey as long as I can.”

Tour de Provence Stage 1 Result:
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Sky in 10:05
2. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First at 0:09
3. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:10
4. Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar at 0:15
5. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:18
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:19
7. Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:20
8. Owain Doull (GB) Sky at 0:21
9. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First at 0:24
10. Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 at 0:25.

Tour de La Provence Overall After Stage 1:
1. Filippo Ganna (Ita) Sky in 10:05
2. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First at 0:09
3. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:10
4. Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar at 0:15
5. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck – QuickStep at 0:18
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:19
7. Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:20
8. Owain Doull (GB) Sky at 0:21
9. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First at 0:24
10. Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 at 0:25.

Stage 1 podium:

Movistar’s new signing, Eduard Prades, claimed Spain’s first-ever stage victory at the Tour de La Provence, winning Stage 2, while his compatriot and national champion, Gorka Izagirre of Astana, moved into the lead thanks to the four seconds bonus awarded to the third-placed rider. That gave Izagirre two seconds of an advantage over home favorite Thibaut Pinot.

French riders upped the tempo on the steep Route des Crêtes overlooking the Mediterranean Sea with Direct Energie’s Lilian Calmejane taking the King of the Mountains jersey and Groupama-FDJ positioning their three climbers – Thibaut Pinot, Rudy Molard and best young rider David Gaudu – in the nine-man group that contested the stage victory in La Ciotat. Tony Gallopin of AG2R-La Mondiale launched the sprint but Prades’ top-end speed enabled him to claim his first victory for a World Tour team at the age of 31. Inaugural time-trial winner Filippo Ganna crossed the finishing line with a deficit of 1:27.

Stage winner and 8th overall, Eduard Prades (Movistar): “I’m very happy. It’s something I dreamt about when I changed team. It’s impressive to achieve it only in my second race of the season [after the Santos Tour Down Under]. It’s a way to repay the team for the confidence they’ve shown in me. There were several riders of a high level in the front group but I knew that I could race for the win if I recovered well on the downhill; I could go for the stage win. I’m a versatile rider. I’m pretty fast and I go quite well over the climbs, so I’m a rider for one-day races and one-week stage races.”

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale): “The team placed me perfectly at the approach to the route des crêtes, which was the last climb. In the final ten kilometers, I was at the break, but I suffered. I was able to use my experience to keep the pace. I have been in the south of France for ten days, so took the opportunity to review this climb. I have often been on holiday in La Ciotat, and have also often participated in La Marseillaise, so I know the surroundings. Inevitably at the line I was disappointed since I believed I could take the victory. But with a little hindsight, I am still happy with my performance. This is only my second day of racing after the time trial yesterday, so I can’t be too critical. Personally, I find this a reassuring result, and collectively, we responded well to the situation. I’m well placed in the general classification, and I’m not too worried.”

3rd on the stage and overall leader Gorka Izagirre (Astana): “It’s been a hard stage. For me it was the first racing day of this year. It’s been a very explosive finale. Towards the end, I almost crashed but I eventually came third and the time bonus puts me in the lead. I’m very happy with that. Now that I’m in the [multicolour] jersey, we’ll try to hold onto it but Groupama-FDJ has a very good team so we’ll have two very hard days ahead of us.”

Tour de Provence Stage 2 Result:
1. Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar in 4:50:15
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
3. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana
4. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
5. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Sky
6. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:16.

Tour de La Provence Overall After Stage 2:
1. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana in 5:00:45
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:02
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:06
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:10
5. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First at 0:11
6. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:15
7. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Sky
8. Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar at 0:21
9. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:26
10. Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Corendon-Circus.

Stage 2 podium:

Stage 2:

The 2012 World Champion Philippe Gilbert of Deceuninck – Quick-Step claimed the 75th victory of his pro career as he out-sprinted the other 22 members of the front group on the Paul-Ricard car racing circuit of Le Castellet, home of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix on Stage 3. Closing in third place – despite being on antibiotics due to sickness – Tony Gallopin of AG2R-La Mondiale moved up on GC, now just two seconds adrift in the same time with Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot. Despite a shortage of team-mates, Astana’s Gorka Izagirre retained the lead ahead of the conclusive stage.

Stage winner, Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was a pretty fast sprint coming after a tight curve. I managed to get a good position and I launched my sprint 120 meters before the end. It was the right timing. I came to the Tour de La Provence to add racing miles, that’s why I didn’t try anything before and put all my eggs in the basket of a sprint finish. In a cycling season, there’s always the question on when to get the first win. A victory delivers confidence, rest and serenity. It’s my first one on a car racing circuit but I knew Le Castellet thanks to having trained here with BMC before a Team Time Trial World Championship. I’m delighted to leave it with the sweetness of a victory.”

Overall leader and 5th on the stage, leader Gorka Izagirre (Astana): “It’s been a very difficult day. I saved myself well, but Groupama-FDJ were up there with three riders and they massacred me! I believe it’ll be another difficult day tomorrow because the gaps are very tight. Now Tony Gallopin will be another rider to watch out closely because he is only two seconds down.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale): “Today, I thought more about time bonuses. I’m still a bit on the limit on the climb, not quite able to follow the best in the business, with a large team, but I’m dealing with it. I’m still missing a little form, and I’m less present than last year at this time. But that’s normal since I started racing a little later, and my season’s timing is a little different compared to other years. I will be discovering new races. In addition to that, I have been a little sick and taking antibiotics. Tomorrow we will try again. Everything is still to play for. There are time bonuses during tomorrow’s stage as well as at the finish line. I know the finish well since I have ridden it several times. The sprinters will be eager to make their mark, but I am going to plan on playing my card.”

Tour de Provence Stage 3 Result:
1. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:25:10
2. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
5. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana
6. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert
8. Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
9. Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Sky.

Tour de La Provence Overall After Stage 3:
1. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 9:25:55
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:02
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First at 0:08
5. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:10
6. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:15
7. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Sky
8. Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar at 0:21
9. Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 0:26
10. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:32.

Stage 3 podium:

Stage 3:

John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) won the Final Stage 4 of the Tour de La Provence ahead of Simon Clarke from EF Education First who gained enough time bonus to equal race leader Gorka Izagirre of Astana on time – but it was the Spanish national champion who was declared the fourth overall winner of the event following Thomas Voeckler, Rohan Dennis and Alexandre Geniez thanks to his advantage of just 13 hundredths of a second gained in the opening time trial.

The German winner of Milan-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix in 2015 claimed his first win of the 2019 season in a sprint finish at the end of an eventful stage that started in style in front of the Popes’ Palace in Avignon.

Third on the line of the intermediate sprint behind Philippe Gilbert and Clarke after 12km of racing, Tony Gallopin of AG2R-La Mondiale took a one-second bonus that enabled him to round out the final podium. King of the Mountains Lilian Calmejane from Direct Energie threatened Izagirre’s lead throughout a royale breakaway that also included Stage 1 winner Filippo Ganna.

Best young rider David Gaudu of Groupama-FDJ was the last attacker along with Eddie Dunbar of Team Sky. Third on the line, Anthony Maldonado from the French Continental team St-Michel-Auber 93 eventually deprived Gallopin of the final victory as he took third place, and the Parisian had to settle for fourth without any time bonus.

Stage winner, John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo): “It was a very, very hard day and I was not sure if I could survive until the end. I understand now why there are not so many sprinters here. It is a hard parcours for sprinters, and I really didn’t expect it to be that hard. I have to thank the whole team, they did an amazing job at the end to bring the break back. There were two really strong guys, and we had to go super fast in the downhill and then catch them in the last moment. It’s always good to get the first win, especially in the beginning of the season. I am very happy with the team.”

Overall winner, Gorka Izagirre (Astana): “I’m very happy, very very happy. It’s been a very demanding and stressful finale but we made it. Mission accomplished. It’s a very big victory. I’m normally a team worker. I’m glad I got confidence from the team to ride for myself.”

4th on the stage and 3rd overall, Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I finish third in the general just 1 second behind the winner, and I finish 4th in the stage today. I wasn’t missing much the whole week. Friday and Saturday, I was just missing half a wheel. So I will leave feeling pretty frustrated. In the end, we come away with no victory either in the general classification or for a stage.
Even today, the team believed in our chances and did a great job. The positive point to take away from this is that the form is definitely there, and that is important.”

Tour de Provence Stage 4 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo in 3:52:11
2. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
3. Anthony Maldonado (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Damien Touze (Fra) Cofidis
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
10. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis.

Tour de La Provence Final Overall Result:
1. Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana in 13:18:06
2. Simon Clarke (Aus) EF Education First
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:01
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:02
5. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:10
6. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:15
7. Edward Dunbar (Irl) Sky
8. Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar at 0:21
9. Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 0:26
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:29.

Overall winner Gorka Izagirre:

Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Costa Cálida 2019
Great start for Astana Pro Team at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Costa Cálida: the riders of the Kazakh team completed the whole podium of the first stage! Pello Bilbao became the stage winner after his attack inside the final kilometer as Omar Fraile and Luis Leon Sanchez took second and third podium places.

The first stage of the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia of 188,8 km started in Yecla and finished in San Javier. A group of 7 riders attacked from the peloton and went away on the only climb of the day Alto Cabeza de la Plata (4.2 km long, 4.9% average gradient) with four riders of Astana Pro Team inside this group: Pello Bilbao, Jakob Fuglsang, Luis Leon Sanchez and Omar Fraile.

This group worked very well during the final part of the race, holding an advantage of 15-20 seconds over the main peloton. With 2 km to go Luis Leon Sanchez tried to attack, but was caught by the reigned world champion Alejandro Valverde. The new attack from the side of Pello Bilbao became the decisive one: the Astana rider was able to get a small gap, enough to take the win.

In the sprint, Omar Fraile and Luis Leon Sanchez completed the podium with 2nd and 3rd places, while Jakob Fuglsang finished 6th.

Stage winner and overall leader, Pello Bilbao (Astana): “It is a very nice victory for me! Honestly, it was not easy to do the decisive move today, because it was supposed a day for sprinters. We have fast guys in the team, but maybe not for the pure sprint. So, this was the reason we decided to do the last climb really hard to try to reduce the group to have more opportunities in the final. The team did an impressive work on the climb and we did not expect to create such a small leading group. Anyway, we decided to continue going 100% until the finish line. In the end, when we realized we arrive in this group, we started to attack thinking on stage victory. Luis Leon did a very strong attack, hard to follow, but Alejandro Valverde could close the gap. Immediately, Jakob made his attack, but he also was caught. My attack was the third one and I could get a small gap, which made me possible to arrive alone at the finish. So, for sure, it was an impressive team work and amazing team strategy at today’s stage. We can be proud with the result.”

2nd, Omar Fraile (Astana): “Of course, I am happy with this team success! That’s something great! The first half of the race was quite calm, while we increased the pace on the climb. The group split in parts and we could go away. We all worked really hard in our leading group to keep the advantage. In the final Luis Leon attacked first, but later Pello counterattacked and very fast got a few meters of advantage. It was a nice move, which brought him a stage victory. And, in the sprint we just did our best. The main thing is that our team is looking very solid, we are in good form and happy with the way the race started for us. Tomorrow will be a hard day, so, we will keep on fighting.”

3rd, Luis León Sanchez (Astana): “This is a good start of the race for us. Actually, it was our plan to attack on the climb, because with no bonus seconds at the finish we had to avoid sprint to have a possibility to fight for the general classification. Today’s last climb was quite hard, but in the same time after we crossed the top there was still a long way to the finish. We have a strong team here and for sure, we had to try something. Yuriy Natarov started pulling hard at the bottom of the climb and later it was Dario Cataldo, who pulled strong, forcing many riders to drop. Finally, at the top a small group of leaders has been created with four guys from our team. Yeah, despite a hard chase behind us, we managed to stay away until the finish line. In the end we tried to play our cards not only to gain seconds to the main group but also to win the stage. So, Pello won and we took also second and third places. It was a perfect day for us, but the most important thing we showed we have a strong team. Tomorrow’s stage is a bit similar to the stage we had today. The last climb will be closer to the finish, but, maybe, a bit easier than today. So, we hope to maintain our lead, but anyway we are ready to fight.”

Simon Geschke has been forced to abandon the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia after a crash in the closing kilometers of stage one which left him with a broken right elbow, CCC Team doctor, Dr. Dario Spinelli confirmed. “Simon crashed not far from the finish of today’s stage in Spain and he was able to get back on his bike and cross the line. However, he was experiencing a lot of pain in his right arm so, he was immediately taken to hospital for observation. X-Rays revealed that he has sustained a broken right elbow. He will require surgery at home in Germany but providing everything goes to plan, Simon should be able to resume training around one week later. We will continue to monitor Simon’s recovery to determine when he will be able to race again,” Dr. Spinelli explained.

Geschke is disappointed about being forced to abandon his first race with CCC Team. “I crashed on a roundabout inside the last ten kilometers of the stage. The rider in front of me went down first and the pace was pretty fast so I just couldn’t get around him. I tried but, I hit his bike and then went down. Immediately, I felt like there was something not quite right with my elbow and the X-Ray just confirmed that for me. Of course, I’m very disappointed. I felt like I was in good shape and that I was on track for the spring. I definitely could have imagined a nicer start to my first race with CCC Team,” Geschke said.

Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Stage 1 Result:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana in 4:15:02
2. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana at 0:03
3. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
7. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:09
8. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie.

Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Overall After Stage 1:
1. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana in 4:15:02
2. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana at 0:03
3. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
5. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
7. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:09
8. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-Hansgrohe
9. Marco Haller (Aut) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie.

Stage 1 podium:

The Astana Pro Team conquered the two-day Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Costa Cálida, taking not only the final general classification of the race, but also all the stages and classifications.

Luis Leon Sanchez won the Final Stage 2 to become the overall winner of the race, taking also the points classification. Friday’s stage winner Pello Bilbao stepped on the third step of the final podium, while Jakob Fuglsang won the jersey of the best climber. Astana Pro Team won the final team classification.

The second stage of the Murcian race started in Beniel and finished in the city center of Murcia. The stage was characterized by two hard climbs: Alto Collado Bermejo (7.2 km, 7.1%) more or less in the middle of the stage and the Alto de la Cresta del Gallo (4.4 km, 6.5%), a short but very steep climb with only 12 km from the finish line.

It was the reigning World champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who launched an attack on the steep slopes of Alto de la Cresta del Gallo and only Sanchez who could follow his move. On the top of the climb Valverde had a small gap, but the Astana rider was able to close it, joining the World champion at the front of the race for the last kilometers. In the sprint; Sanchez out-sprinted Valverde taking the final win in the general classification.

Pello Bilbao, who finished 5th in this stage, completed the final podium with third place. Also, Omar Fraile and Jakob Fuglsang finished 5th and 6th in the overall classification. Luis Leon Sanchez won the point classification and Jakob Fuglsang won the king of mountain jersey, while Astana won the team classification.

Stage and overall winner, Luis León Sanchez (Astana): “First of all I have to say about a great team work today. All together we did a very nice and strong race. Yeah, it was quite difficult to control Valverde on the final climb, but I was able to follow him and later to control him inside the final kilometers. I did my best in the final and I am happy to take this win. It is an important result for me since this is my home race. But, the most important is the way we raced yesterday and today. That was really great!”

2nd on the stage and 2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “Racing in my home region with this jersey on for the last two days already was a victory for me. Every race I take the start of has that special feeling in the rainbow colors. If I’m able to win after that, it’s even better, but I feel like we’re doing just fine at the moment. Runner-up in Valencia, 2nd again here – we’re still missing a victory, but I’m close, and my legs on the climbs feel really good, close or even better than the strongest guys uphill. At the Cresta del Gallo, I knew Luisle could make up some terrain against me in the downhill, but I had to give it a try with all I had. I jumped solo, though the gap I had built wasn’t enough for Luisle not to catch me. We had a couple of good turns together as he caught me, but later on, he started saving more energy because he still had the race leader behind from his own team and couldn’t continue to push. That energy I spent in the end helped him win. In the end, it’s one-two for our Murcia region, just like last year, in both the stage and overall – it’s good to have someone from here win and continue to show some of the best cyclists in the world are from Murcia.”

Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Stage 2 Result:
1. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana in 4:14:33
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:13
4. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
6. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country
7. Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:16
9. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana
10. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:29.

Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia Final Overall Result:
1. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana in 8:29:38
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
3. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:10
4. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:13
5. Omar Fraile (Spa) Astana at 0:16
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
7. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:19
8. Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
9. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country
10. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:35.

Final podium:

Tour of Oman 2019
Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) won the first stage of the Tour of Oman on Saturday along in Al Sawadi Beah a Suhar Coniche. After 138.5km, he topped the sprint ahead of Frenchmen Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis). The Norwegian now leads the race and wears the classification jersey after the win today, the ninth victory for him in Oman.

Alexis Guerin (Delko), Emiel Panckaert (Sport Vlaanderen), Michael Schaer (CCC) and Sergio Rodriguez (Murias Team) marked the stage with an escape. They never gained much ground and were pulled in with five kilometers to race thanks to the sprint teams.

Stage winner and overall leader; Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): “Marcato and Bystrøm provided a good lead-out for me and put me in a good position. There was a tailwind in the final straight which made it really fast; I was seated the whole sprint. I timed it well. I am proud of how the team worked. It was a very good team effort. The team has had a great start to the season and I’m happy to contribute to it and get my first victory of the year here in Oman.”

Tour of Oman Stage 1 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates in 2:54:50
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
3. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
4. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data
5. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Direct Energie
6. Mikel Aristi Gardoki (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country
7. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles
8. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana
9. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Emils Liepins (Lat) Wallonie Bruxelles.

Tour of Oman Overall After Stage 1:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates in 2:54:40
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel at 0:04
3. Michael Schär (Swi) CCC at 0:05
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis at 0:06
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Dimension Data at 0:10
6. Niccolò Bonifazio (Ita) Direct Energie
7. Mikel Aristi Gardoki (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country
8. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Roompot-Charles
9. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana
10. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Oman stage 1:

With an impressive attack at the final climb of the day, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) took the Stage 2 victory after a solo ride in the final 5 kilometers. At the finish line, he managed to stay just in front of a select group that was chasing him. Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) remains the race leader of the Tour of Oman as he sprinted to second place, three seconds behind Lutsenko.

After the start at the Royal Cavalry Oman, the peloton let a small group of riders go for the day’s breakaway. On the 156.5 kilometers to Al Bustan, the peloton chased this group until the penultimate climb, where everything came back together. On the final climb, Al Jissah, Alexey Lutsenko took off. The peloton blew apart on the climb, in the attempt to get Lutsenko back

But the select group of riders behind Lutsenko was not able to catch him before the finish line, as the Kazakh champion finished off his solo attack with a beautiful stage victory. Alexander Kristoff took the second place just behind Lutsenko, maintaining his race lead.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “I was motivated for this stage as I knew it suits me quite well. Last year I was third here, so I knew a stage win was possible. I attacked on the last climb and on the top, I already gained an advantage of 15 seconds. I continued pushing hard, also my sports director led me through the last kilometers, giving me great motivation. The final 2 kilometers were hard, but I’ve managed to keep my advantage until the end. I am really happy with my win. I came to this race with a goal to win at least a stage. So, it’s nice that I achieved this goal already. Tomorrow’s stage suits me as well, but, of course, there are a lot of riders who can do well tomorrow. We will see. Of course, the race will be played on the Green Mountain, this is a very hard climb. I hope to have legs for this climb. I did a very good training camp together with my team on Teide, so I’m hopeful.”

2nd on the stage and overall leader, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): “Today was a very challenging stage, Rui Costa was in the first group with all the riders vying for the final classification. I tried to stick with them for as long as possible, but on the final climb I fell back a bit. I managed to catch up at the end of the descent and there was a little time left to organize a move to try and beat Lutsenko. However, I feel like I’m in good shape and second place is a good result.”

Tour of Oman Stage 2 Result:
1. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana in 4:07:19
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates at 0:03
3. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data
4. Iuri Filosi (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
5. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Katusha-Alpecin
8. Benjamin Declercq (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana.

Tour of Oman Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates in 7:01:56
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:03
3. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data at 0:12
4. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:16
5. Iuri Filosi (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
6. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
8. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
9. Elie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
10. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates.

Stage 2:

Trofeo Laigueglia 2019
Simone Velasco took his first professional victory in his career in the Trofeo Laigueglia. The 23-year-old Italian also gave his team Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM the first victory of this season. Velasco won after an impressive solo in the hilly final section.

Seven riders made the race: Jonas Aaen (Riwal Readynez), Michael Piccot (Biesse Carrera), Giulio Masotto (Colpack), Andrea Ferrari (Iseo Serrature Rime), Evgeny Kobernyak (Gazprom-RusVelo), Federico Burchio (D’Amico UM Tools ) and Emanuele Amadio (Ct Friuli). They had a maximum of 8 minutes.

After the second climb of the day, the Testico, Aen, Piccot, Masotto and Ferrari were left in the lead, although that lead had shrunk considerably. At the start of the four final laps, with the climb of the Colla Micheri (2.6 km at 6.3%) each lap, they were caught. That was the sign for new attacks to come: Simone Velasco, Jacopo Mosca, Alex Cataford and Andrea Toniatti jumped away.

Velasco proved to have the best legs. Behind him a chase group formed including Mosca, Cataford, Giulio Ciccone and Matteo Montaguti, but they could not come close. Velasco had a lead of 18 seconds on Ciccone on the last climb of the Colla Micheri. Kilian Frankiny, Andrea Bagioli and Francesco Gavazzi got together behind.

It was a man-against-man fight between Velasco and Ciccone in the last kilometers into Laigueglia. The gap grew to 42 seconds, big enough for Velasco to enjoy his victory as he crossed the line. Nicola Bagioli sprinted to second place, ahead of Matteo Sobrero.

2nd, Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane): “I knew to be in a good condition and I want to play my chance. I’ve seen Velasco starting his action but I was thinking that was too early to start. We made a very good action behind coming back to all the riders in front of us reaching also Giulio Ciccone, but Velasco was able to resist also to our final forcing, so congratulation to him. Last year I made fourth and now I’m happy to improve with this podium my second place in this important race. To precede Gavazzi in the sprint it was not easy.”

Trofeo Laigueglia Result:
1. Simone Velasco (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM in 5:10:21
2. Nicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane at 0:42
3. Matteo Sobrero (Ita) Dimension Data Continental
4. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
5. Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
8. Ildar Arslanov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo
9. François Bidard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Israel Cycling Academy at 1:18.


Clasica de Almeria 2019
Pascal Ackermann won the Clásica de Almería on Sunday. The German champion of BORA-hansgrohe was the better of his countryman Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) in the sprint from a small peloton. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) sprinted to third place.

Justin Timmermans (Roompot-Charles) and Jetse Bol (Burgos-BH) were in the escape of the day. They were joined by Carlos Verona (Movistar), Juan Antonio López-Cózar (Fundacion Euskadi), Axel Journiaux (Direct Energy), Emerson Oronte (Rally-UHC) and Petr Rikunov (Gazprom-RusVelo). They eventually had a lead of 4 minutes.

Verona went for all the mountain points and appeared to have the best legs on the last climb (Alto de Turrillas, Cat 2). He left his fellow break riders, who were quickly swallowed up by the peloton. There was still 100 kilometers to go to the finish.

90 kilometers before the line and Verona was caught. He was pulled in by the first part of the peloton, which was forty seconds ahead of a second group, the gap grew to one and a half minutes.

The winner would come from the front 30 riders. The biggest names were Matteo Trentin, Pascal Ackermann and Marcel Kittel. Their three teams wanted to make an ideal sprint for their leaders. Mitchelton-Scott rode for Trentin, not Mezgec. The European champion led-out the sprint for his Slovenian teammate, but he was not up to the German sprinters speed. Ackermann gave a strong jump and managed to keep Kittel behind him.

Race winner, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a hard race, 200km and a very fast finish. Huge thanks to my teammates, they did an amazing job today. The whole team protected me from the beginning. In the mountains as well as on the flat sections and they finished it off with a great lead-out. I saw it in the race that Trentin was going to the front and the other one was in the pack and I knew that Mezgec was going for the sprint. It is a nice feeling to win that early in the season, that boosts my confidence for the upcoming goals like Algarve and some Belgium one-day races.”

Clasica de Almeria Result:
1. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:27:58
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar
5. José Rojas (Spa) Movistar
6. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
7. Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Lars Boom (Ned) Roompot-Charles
9. Sjoerd van Ginneken (Ned) Roompot-Charles
10. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty-Gobert.


Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Volta ao Algarve
The youngest rider in the last 15 years to podium at the Vuelta a España, Enric Mas is ready to make his debut this season.

Two flat stages in Lagos and Tavira, one rolling individual time trial held around Lagoa and two summit finishes (Alto da Foia – 6km, 7.3% and Alto do Malhão – 2.5km, 9.4%) are on the menu next week at the 45th Volta ao Algarve, the final European race of the month for Deceuninck – Quick-Step, who so far this season has amassed eight victories with five different riders.

Volta ao Algarve will mark also the first outing of 2019 for Vuelta a España runner-up Enric Mas, who will return to the Portuguese event after two years. The 24-year-old Spaniard will be joined by powerhouse Tim Declercq, Fabio Jakobsen – who recently signed a two-year extension with the team – Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert, Davide Martinelli, Florian Sénéchal and Zdenek Stybar.

“For the flat stages we’ll look to Fabio, who can count on Yves, Davide and Florian to lead the sprint for him and Tim to keep the breakaway under control. In the ITT, we think Yves can get a good result, because it’s a course which should suit him, while Zdenek will get some freedom during the week. As for the general classification, our man will be Enric Mas. There’s no pressure on him, it’s his first race of the season and we want to see where he sits”, Deceuninck – Quick-Step sports director Tom Steels – himself a former stage winner at the race – said.

Steels also added a note of thanks to the Portuguese Cycling Federation and the Algarve region: “We’d like to put on record our appreciation for the help and assistance that we have received with managing our logistics for both this race and our recent training camp in Algarve. The camp offered immeasurable help to both our riders and staff in preparing for the early part of the season, including Volta ao Algarve, a race that we have always enjoyed taking part in. We would like to express our particular gratitude to the Portuguese Federation and the management and staff of the excellent Agua hotels Vale da Lapa in Carvoeiro for their assistance and hospitality.”

At the previous Volta ao Algarve participations, Deceuninck – Quick-Step won the overall classification on three occasions (2008, 2013, 2014), as well as 13 stages with ten different riders.

20.02–24.02 Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta (POR) 2.HC

Tim Declercq (BEL), Fabio Jakobsen (NED), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Davide Martinelli (ITA), Enric Mas (ESP), Florian Sénéchal (FRA), Zdenek Stybar (CZE).
Sports Director: Tom Steels (BEL) and Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Enric Mas:

Fabio Aru heads a Young Team in Algarve
UAE Team Emirates travels to Portuguese race

Fabio Aru will race his second event of the 2019 season. The UAE Team Emirates called him in to captain a young team in Volta ao Algarve, February 20-24.

Sports directors Allan Peiper (Aus) and Bruno Vicino (Ita), with help from Paolo Tiralongo (Ita), will have under their control seven riders:
– Fabio Aru (Ita)
– Simone Consonni (Ita)
– Valerio Conti (Ita)
– Kristijan Durasek (Cro)
– Simone Petilli (Ita)
– Tadej Pogacar (Slo)
– Jasper Philipsen (Bel)

The young UAE Team Emirates averages 24.7 years old but is full of talent, with Conti and Consonni coming off a great showing in Argentina, Petilli climbing well in Mallorca and Philipsen already winning at the start of the season in Australia. Pogacar’s natural talent and Durasek’s experience complete the team roster.

“After the good start in the Mallorca challenge, I expect that I will find even more good feelings to confirm the rise in my condition,” Aru said. “The tour offers stages that should provide a good testing ground. Like always, I’m going to ride with grit and go for it in the stages most suited to my abilities.”

CCC Team to Target General Classification at Volta ao Algarve em Bicicletato
Amaro Antunes will lead CCC Team in his home race Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta, which will be held from February 20-24.

The Portuguese race favors good climbers with solid time trial skills and Antunes should be among those competing for a top ten overall, Sports Director Gabriele Missaglia said.

“Amaro Antunes will be the leader and will have the entire team working for him, especially on the mountain stages. He will be racing in front of his home fans and that will be a big motivational factor. Amaro has proven in the past that this race suits him and we want to surround him with riders who can help him succeed,” Missagla explained.

“This year’s course is quite similar to 2018, but the stretch before the final climb on stage two is harder and the race may be more selective. As far as the General Classification goes, the time trial should be the key point, but we will try to make up as much time in both uphill finishes on stages two and five. We will line up with the ambition to win a stage and take a top ten spot in the overall standings. All the riders already have some racing kilometers in the legs after opening their season in Spain, so we hope we can turn that form into nice results this week.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta was a breakthrough race for Antunes in 2017 when he won the uphill finish and secured fifth overall. He is looking forward to returning and showcasing his skills in front of a home crowd.

“It was an unforgettable day and everything went perfectly. I remember that my name was written on the road, all over the climb and people were cheering for me. I felt like a cycling star,” Antunes recalls of his stage victory in Malhão, where this year’s edition will also end.

“I’m very happy to return to my home race, wearing the CCC Team jersey. It will be really exciting to show my team colors to all the people living in my region. I think I’m in good shape after the hard work I did in the off-season. I had a chance to test my form at Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and it was a good week of competition. The team rode very well together and I’m happy with that performance.

“There are two uphill finishes in 2019 Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta, and although they are completely different, both are very hard. I believe that the climb in the last stage should see bigger gaps, since it’s steeper in the final two kilometers.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta (20-24 February)
Riders roster:

Amaro Antunes (POR), Will Barta (USA), Paweł Bernas (POL), Josef Černý (CZE), Jonas Koch (GER), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Riccardo Zoidl (AUT).
Sports Directors: Gabriele Missaglia (ITA), Marco Pinotti (ITA)-

Laurens ten Dam:

Hola Andalusia – Strong and motivated TBM at Ruta del Sol 2019
Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team is looking forward to compete at the upcoming and exciting Ruta del Sol 2019, that will be held from 20 February to 24 February. Andalusian race in terms of GC, the five-day stage race will most likely have a punchy finale on day one, a hilly ITT halfway through the race, and the Queen Stage on its fourth stage with a downhill approach to Granada and the massive Alto de Hazallanas as the last climb and the extraordinary exciting moment of the day.

From all the teams and riders, definitely Tim Wellens, as a title defender and Alejandro Valverde, a local star, UCI World champion 2018 that won 5 GC titles of Ruta del Sol in the past decade will be a big challenge to TBM riders.

Rik Verbrugghe, TBM Sports director has positive thoughts for the strong and motivated lineup that will defend TBM colors; “Our leaders at Ruta del Sol will be Dylan Teuns and Matej Mohorič. Most important goal of the team will be to try to win at least a stage with all the riders of our team. I believe that every one of our team riders is capable for that”.

Dylan Teuns: “My first race of the season at Valenciana was really good for a start of the season and I had some good feelings. I’m looking forward to Ruta. It’s a really good race for me looking to the stages. Unfortunately I was a bit sick the last days so going into the race we have to look how it will go day by day”.

Matej Mohorič: “Ruta del Sol will be the last preparation race for me before the first important goals of this season in March. I have trained well and I was happy with my condition in Volta a Comunitat Valenciana. I don’t expect myself to be at my best just yet, but I am looking forward to the race”.

TBM lineup:
Valerio Agnoli / Dylan Teuns / Ivan Cortina / Matej Mohorič / Mark Padun / Grega Bole / Luka Pibernik

Barguil After Pinot? Another Frenchman Goes for the Glory
The big reveal of 2017 Tour de France will try to relaunch his career at the upcoming Tour of the Alps (April 22-26), with the goal to follow Thibaut Pinot in the Roll of Honor

The 43rd Tour of the Alps, unfolding through five exciting race days from April 22nd to April 26th, looks to be born under a lucky star. Indeed, the first two editions of the new-brand event, formerly Giro del Trentino, drove for the glory either Geraint Thomas (winner in 2017, one year before the triumph at Tour de France) and Thibaut Pinot (TotA reigning champion and winner at Il Lombardia then).

Moreover, Chris Froome chose the Tour of the Alps to refine his condition on the way to a memorable triumph at the Giro d’Italia last year. In the 2019 edition of the euro-regional stage race, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Egan Bernal (Team Sky) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) aim to follow the Brit rider’s footsteps, trying to be in first line at the Tour of the Alps ahead of hunting the “Maglia Rosa”.

At a time, another Frenchman (as the last winner Thibaut Pinot) joins Tour of the Alps’ contenders, with the goal to claim the fuchsia GC leader jersey. In fact, Warren Barguil will be in the frontline to disrupt the plans of the main favorites, as well as other outsiders like Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Beñat Intxausti (Euskadi-Murias) plan to do.

Big reveal at the 2017 Tour de France, with two stage-wins and the overall KOM’s polka jersey, the 27-year-old Breton will lead the Team Arkéa Samsic on Euregio Tirolo-Alto Adige-Trentino’s roads. Thanks to his climber skills and an attacking style, Barguil can make Tour of the Alps’ contention even more uncertain. “Warren considers the Tour of the Alps as an important seasonal goal,” Arkéa Samsic’s Sports Director Roger Trèhin said. “As usual, he will try to inflame the race, showing off his offensive style.”

Well-known for his long-distance breakaways, Barguil celebrated the climax of his career with two Tour de France stage-wins, including the triumph on the legendary Col de l’Izoard, although other two stages won at 2013 Vuelta a España are not to forget.

2019 Tour of the Alps will also give the rising stars the global stage. After the good performances of Colombian Ivan Ramiro Sosa last year, Russian Alexander Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), 2018 Giro d’Italia U23’s winner and overall fourth at the 2018 Tour de l’Avenir, could have his great chance this time.

Meanwhile, GS Alto Garda’s organizers unveiled Tour of the Alps’ 20 teams’ list, completing the field with Italy’s Team Colpack and Giotti Victoria Palomar and Austria’s Felbemayr-Simplon Wels. Team Felbemayr will come back at the euro-regional race after the good performance of the last edition.

The teams for the 2019 edition:

2019 Tour of the Alps’ stages
Monday April 22nd, 2019

Stage 1: Kufstein – Kufstein 144,0 km, 2.100 mt elevation gain
Difficulty: **

Tuesday April 23rd, 2019
Stage 2: Reith im Alpbachtal – Schenna/Scena 178,7 km, 3.050 mt elevation gain
Difficulty: *****

Wednesday April 24th, 2019
Stage 3: Salurn/Salorno – Baselga di Pinè 106,3 km, 2.650 mt elevation gain
Difficulty: ***

Thursday April 25th, 2019
Stage 4: Baselga di Pinè – Cles 134,0 km, 2.730 mt elevation gain
Difficulty: ***

Friday April 26th, 2019
Stage 5: Kaltern/Caldaro – Bozen/Bolzano 147,8 km, 3.100 mt elevation gain
Difficulty: ***

Warren Barguil (r) in action at Challenge Mallorca:

The Giro d’Italia Stages in Veneto Presented at Cosmobike
At Veronafiere the Head of Public Works, Infrastructures and Transports of the Region of Veneto, De Berti, the Mayor of Verona, Sboarina, the President of Veronafiere, Danese and the General Manager, Mantovani, RCS Sport CEO, Bellino and the Giro d’Italia Director, Vegni presented the project in detail. Francesco Moser, Ivan Basso, Giovanni Battaglin (winners of the editions of the Corsa Rosa with final stages in Verona) have relived their triumphs, along with the Deputy Director of La Gazzetta dello Sport, Pier Bergonzi. The two commemorative jerseys of the Giro d’Italia stage in Verona and of the Feltre – Croce d’Aune-Monte Avena stage were also unveiled.

Verona, 16 February 2019 – There are four stages that will take place entirely or partially across Veneto territory in the upcoming Giro d’Italia. They were already announced during the presentation of the Corsa Rosa last November, but today – at Veronafiere within the Cosmobike program – more details have been disclosed with Elisa De Berti, Head of Public Works, Infrastructures and Transports of the Veneto Region, the Mayor of Verona, Federico Sboarina, and the President of Veronafiere, Maurizio Danese, together with the General Manager of the institution, Giovanni Mantovani, the CEO and General Manager of RCS Sport, Paolo Bellino and the Director of the Giro d’Italia, Mauro Vegni.

The Verona Arena, where the Giro d’Italia will finish on 2 June

The stages that will take place in the Veneto Region are the Valdaora / Olang – Santa Maria di Sala (Venice) on Thursday, 30 May and Treviso – San Martino di Castrozza, on the following day. The two stages that will close the 102nd Giro d’Italia are the Feltre – Croce d’Aune-Monte Avena (start and finish in the province of Belluno) on Saturday, 1 June and the Individual Time Trial in Verona with the finale inside the Arena di Verona, where the winner of the Maglia Rosa will be crowned.

Special guests at the event were three winners of the Giro who had their dreams crowned in Verona – inside the Arena surrounded by the tifosi: Giovanni Battaglin (1981), Francesco Moser (1984), and Ivan Basso (2010).

For the 13th consecutive year there will be at least one stage finish in Veneto. With the 102nd edition of the Corsa Rosa, the total number of stages started or ended in the Veneto region is brought to 285.

Rosón Sacked by Movistar
The Abarca Sports organization received today, Friday 15th February 2019 in the morning, an official communication from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) where it was notified of a four-year ban imposed on Jaime Rosón García, due to an adverse analytical finding in his biological passport, dated January 2017.

By virtue of this communication, Abarca Sports informs it has proceeded to terminate the contract linking Rosón to its team, a contract whose provisional suspension had already been previously put into effect. Abarca Sports also wishes to underline that the period when the irregular values in Rosón’s biological passport were found is dated one year before the start of his contract with our team.

Jaime Rosón:

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