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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The road calendar couldn’t be busier this weekend: The UAE Tour started and the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta del Sol, Volta ao Algarve, Setmana Valenciana and the Tour du Haut Var all finished. World cross champion Mathieu van der Poel starts his road season with a win – Top Story. There is other cycling news: Yoann Offredo to rest, Pierre Latour out of the UAE Tour, Giro’20 stage start from military base and the UAE Team Emirates riders projected on to the World’s tallest building. EUROTRASH Monday coffee time.

TOP STORY: Van der Poel – From Mud to Tarmac!
Mathieu van der Poel won the Brico Cross in Hulst last Sunday, but then on Thursday the Dutch road champion and World cross champion won the stage 1 bunch sprint in the Turkish Tour of Antalya. This was Van der Poel’s first road race of the 2019 season. It wasn’t easy, as the Dutch champ told Het Nieuwsblad: “In the last five kilometers it was really crazy!”

Van der Poel out-sprinted Dušan Rajović and Bas van der Kooij. “Admittedly, they are not the biggest names. But they also did everything to win. The team has worked perfectly all day. In the final phase I had two more riders who were able to start the sprint.” Van der Poel finish off the work of his teammates. “That I immediately win my first road race is good for self-confidence. The goal was to win a stage. That has now been achieved.” Van der Poel took the first overall leaders jersey, but feels the final win would be too much. “It remains to be seen what the coming days will bring. I think, however, the third stage with the uphill finish will be too hard.”

It wasn’t all good news in the Corendon Circus team. Van der Poel’s teammate Maarten van Trijp crashed with 30 kilometers to go. Het Nieuwsblad reports that the Dutchman smashed his front teeth. “That’s a damper. Due to a gust of wind he touched a rear wheel, causing him to fall heavily.”

Sunday and Thursday:

UAE Tour 2019
Primoz Roglic took the lead in the inaugural UAE Tour as Team Jumbo-Visma won the opening team time trial Stage 1 at 57.086km/h, beating Sunweb by 7 seconds, even though Tom Dumoulin’s squad had the best intermediate time with an advantage of 2 seconds. In second place on the finishing line after Roglic, Laurens De Plus became the best young rider in his first race with Team Jumbo-Visma. Bahrain-Merida, the team of Vincenzo Nibali and Rohan Dennis, was placed third.

Winning team and overall leader, Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma): “We are very happy to start the season this way. We have a good team here with very strong time trialists, but that is no guarantee to perform well. You also have to show it in the race and that’s what we did. I am glad that all the training we have done is already paying off. It was a fast team time trial and it went very well. I came first through the last corner and then pulled a sprint. It’s nice to have the leader’s jersey and we certainly have ambitions to win this race. There are still some tough stages coming up, so we take it day by day. We didn’t really decided that I’d cross the line first but I took a strong turn at the end.”

Winning team and 2nd overall, Laurens De Plus (Jumbo-Visma): “This is a dream come true. I wanted to perform well in my first race for Team Jumbo-Visma and I succeeded. We have trained a lot on this in January and all that training effort is immediately paying off. We have a strong, well-balanced team here and we will do everything we can to defend the jersey with Primoz. The jersey for the best young rider is a nice bonus, but no particular goal for me.”

3rd team and 10th overall, Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida): “It was hard, it was a good start for us at the UAE Tour and for our first team time trial as a team, and most of us are new in the team, so it is a really really good start. It was an even effort, we timed it to perfection, couple guys did last pull in last 3km, gave everything they could and get us across the finish line.”

13th team, Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates): “This is a really important race for the team, our sponsors and our home fans so we want to do well. The whole team is on a high at the moment and it’s a race that suits me. I’ve been out to recon the climbs already and feel good, but we are going to take it day by day and try to do our best.”

UAE Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Jumbo-Visma in 16:49
2. Sunweb at 0:07
3. Bahrain-Merida at 0:09
4. Sky at 0:14
5. Movistar at 0:18
6. CCC at 0:24
7. Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:26
8. EF Education First
9. Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:29
10. Dimension Data.

UAE Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma in 16:49
2. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Jumbo-Visma
3. Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Koen Bouwman (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5. Maximilian Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb at 0:07
6. Chad Haga (USA) Sunweb
7. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
9. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb
10. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain-Merida at 0:08.

UAE Tour stage 1 TTT:

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol 2019
European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) won Stage 2 of the Tour of Andalucia Ruta del Sol in a hard sprint through the streets of Torredonjimeno (Jaén). Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) held the overall lead.

In the early stages of the race there was a few escape attempts, but no one managed to stay away until Kevin Van Melsen and Umberto Orsini, who were joined by Alexandr Kulikovskiy, Mattia Viel, Juan Antonio Lopez-Cozar and Dzmitry Zhyhunou. Going through the Sevillian town of Alcolea del Rio, after 40 kilometers, the lead was 7 minutes.

The peloton, led Wellens’ Lotto Soudal team, begun to reduce the gap and at the first intermediate sprint in Bujalance (Córdoba) difference was down to only 1:50. The points were taken by Van Melsen from Kulikovskiy and Zhyhunou. At the next sprint in the Cordovan town of Canete de las Torres; it was Kulikovskiy first, followed by Van Melsen and Viel.

After 180 kilometers the break only had 1 minute and on the Cat 3 Alto de Porcuna they were caught. Dries Van Gestel, Adam Yates and Jelle Vanendert crossed the summit in that order. In the last kilometers Astana and Mitchelton-Scott took command of the peloton and led the race to the sprint where Trentin crossed the finish line first.

Stage winner, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott): “I think I actually did a really good sprint because it was uphill and I really never slowed down speed, I could switch gears coming up to go harder so I am really happy. Corinta went really far from the finish and with about 150 meters to go he slowed down and I knew if I could hit the front with around 250 meters then it would be ok. I timed my sprint as best as I could and it finished perfectly. It was really nice to have the guys riding on the front today and it is why we have had so many victories this season. It is a little bit like one for all, all for one. We saved Jack a little bit of course for his GC ambition but we just decided to smash the climb a little bit. Simon was riding a little bit before and I think having climbers riding on a sprint day and sprinters riding on a climb day, it just shows how we are together and how much we care one another.”

3rd on the stage, Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida): “Today was very long stage and we went easy to the last kilometers and the team did amazing job. They put me to the front and after the last corner I thought that the finish line was a bit closer. Anyway I am happy and I feel good and I have good legs. I had a good opportunity to take the victory, but all is OK.”

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Stage 2 Result:
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott in 5:55:28
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
3. Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
4. Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
5. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Gobert
7. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept-B&B Hotel
8. Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Michaël Van Staeyen (Bel) Roompot-Charles
10. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani-CSF.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Overall After Stage 2:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 10:19:40
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:05
3. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana
5. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane at 0:09
6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
7. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
9. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert at 0:13.

Andalucia’19 stage 2:

After he won the opening stage of the Ruta del Sol, Lotto Soudal leader Tim Wellens also took the Stage 3 time trial win. He finished the 16.3km between Mancha Real and La Guardia de Jaén in 22 minutes and 25 seconds. He beat Astana teammates Jakob Fuglsang and Ion Izagirre by 2 and 9 seconds. The 27-year-old Belgian extends his GC lead to 7 seconds.

Wellens began the time trial with a five-second advantage on Fuglsang, Izagirre and Jack Haig. It promised to be a very intense battle against the clock to defend his yellow jersey. The course included the Alto de 7 Pillillas, a third-category climb. One and a half kilometres after the summit, Wellens came through in second place at the intermediate point.

For a long while, Adam Yates had the best time, but Kruiswijk, Izagirre and Fuglsang set a better time. All eyes were then on Tim Wellens, who gave his all during the final uphill slopes to the line. In the end, he improved the top time by 2 seconds and he could celebrate for the second time this week.

Stage winner and overall leader, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “We prepared the time trial really well. To get a good view of the course, Kevin De Weert did a recon the day we arrived. The start was tough, then there was a descent and the end went uphill again. We made a plan to go for the victory here, but to put that into practice is another thing. It turned out perfectly though. It is fantastic to be rewarded for all the hard training work I did. This is my first time trial win as a pro and also my second victory in three days. Of course I am really happy with my shape and the results. However, the advantage in the general classification is limited, so I expect that tomorrow’s 120 kilometres long stage will be a spectacle. I think the Astana riders will attack me already from the first climb. They have various riders who are well-positioned in the general classification. It will not be easy, but we will surely give our all to defend the lead. There are no bonus seconds to earn and the finish lies after a long descent, so that is to my advantage.”

4th on the stage and overall, Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma): “I think I can be happy with this result. You always hope for more, but I’ve driven a maximum. The feeling was good. It was a difficult course with lots of uphill and long wide runs. Tomorrow there is a very difficult stage where everything can happen.”

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Stage 3 Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 22:25
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:02
3. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 0:09
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
5. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:15
6. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:16
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:19
8. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:22
9. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida at 0:26
10. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 0:47.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 10:42:05
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:07
3. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 0:14
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:18
5. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:21
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:28
7. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida at 0:39
8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 0:56
9. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:04
10. Oscar Rodriguez Garaicoechea (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 1:16.

Andalucia’19 stage 3:

Vuelta a España champion Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) claimed his first victory of the 2019 season on the Queen Stage 4 of Ruta del Sol, after a powerful attack on the final Cat 1 climb. The Brit went solo from 26km to go and successfully held off six-chasers to take the stage victory. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) finished 7th in the chase group and took the overall lead.

In the opening kilometres of the stage seven-riders, including Esteban Chaves, jumped away and hovered just over one-minute ahead of the peloton. Eventually, four others successfully bridged across as they headed over the first climb of the day. The teams that didn’t have a rider in the break started to chase and on the first category climb of the l’Alto de Purche, Astana put the pressure on and split the peloton, with a select group of 30 making the junction to the escapees.

On the third climb of the stage Simon Yates, Pello Bilbao (Astana) and Sergio Samitier (Euskadi–Murias) rode away from the leading group, but shortly after Adam Yates and the other race favorites bridged across to make a leading group of 10 riders. Simon waited for the right moment and countered an attack from Bilbao. The Brit was able to open up a solo lead with nobody able to follow.

As the road continued to go up, Yates’ advantage continued to increase and he reached the summit of the Alto d’ Hazallans with 22km remaining and a healthy lead of 47 seconds. Knowing the descent well, the 26-year-old continued to increase his advantage, crossing the finish line in Granada 26 seconds ahead of the first chase group, including Sergio Higuita (Equipo Euskadi), Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), Adam Yates and the three from Astana; Ion Izagirre, Pello Bilbao and Fuglsang. The Dane now leads by 7 seconds from Izagirre and 11 seconds from Kruijswijk.

Stage winner, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “I had better legs than the first few days, today I was feeling really good so of course I am really happy to win. We wanted to make it a really hard race, Astana did most of the job on the first climb then the race kind of evolved from there over the next climbs. I’m not high up on GC so I thought I’d have a bit more freedom and we wanted to put pressure on Astana and the other teams. We didn’t really want to ride behind so I went early and the selection was made and then the rest of the racing it sorted itself out. I never normally win this early in the season, I had a really good winter so I hope to continue that trend and keep it going.”

7th on the stage and Overall leader, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “We did a very good race, our main goal was to take the lead and we did it. At the last two climbs of the day we put Tim Wellens under a big pressure with our attacks, and also Mitchelton-Scott helped us with their attacks. It worked perfectly for us. Simon Yates was strong today, maybe I could follow his attack, but I preferred to control my closest rivals since he was out of the GC. The overall classification was our priority for today, so I just followed our plan. The team did a great job, all my teammates were so strong. In the final I had a huge help from Ion Izagirre and Pello Bilbao. We did a good downhill and had a full control over the race until the finish. I am happy to become the leader of the race. We still have one difficult day tomorrow, but in the same time we have a strong team to fight to the finish line to keep my lead.”

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Stage 4 Result:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 3:01:03
2. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) Equipo Euskadi at 0:26
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
4. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 1:20
9. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Héctor Carretero (Spa) Movistar at 2:51.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Overall After Stage 4:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana in 13:43:41
2. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 0:07
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:11
4. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:21
5. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:57
6. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:08
7. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) Equipo Euskadi at 1:12
8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 1:43
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:53
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 3:41.

Stage 4:

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) won the 65th Tour of Andalucia ‘Ruta del Sol’ overall after finishing 5th on the Final Stage 5 from Otura (Granada) to Alhaurin de la Torre (Málaga). Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) won the stage in a sprint ahead of Enrique Sanz Unzue (Euskadi Basque Country), Carlos Barbero (Movistar) and Tosh Van Der Sande (Lotto Soudal). Ion Izaguirre, also of Astana, and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) joined Fuglsang on the final overall podium.

From the start of the stage there were many attempts to escape, with no success, but this kept the seed up near 60kph. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) was one of the stars of the day from the start and with four other riders; Carlos Verona (Movistar), Wesley Kreder (Wanty-Gobert), Nick van der Lijke (Roompot-Charles) and Fausto Masnada (Androni-Sidermec), he instigated the first break of the day. Matej Mohorič (Bahrain-Merida) tried to cross to the leaders, but didn’t manage.

The strong pace set by the peloton at the start of the first mountain pass of the stage brought back the break. Before reaching the Cat 2 Alto de Agrón, another group of four riders, led by Simon Yates, again, formed a new break. First over the summit was Yates, followed by Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal) and Oscar Riesebeek (Roompot-Charles).

The leaders managed to increase their lead, and on the second mountain pass of the day, Cat 3 Alto de Alhama, it was Yates first again with Marczynski and Tolhoek second and third. When the lead got to 4 minutes, the Astana riders begun to chase at the head of the peloton, reducing the gap.

Again it was Simon Yates first on the Cat 3 Alto del Navazo, followed by Tolhoek and Riesebeek. The gap had narrowed, but the break held the peloton at more than 2 minutes in the second hour of the race. Entering the town of Casabermeja (Málaga) the peloton had lowered the time to 1:10.

At the summit of the Cat 3 Alto del Valle de la Vida, Simon Yates was solo, followed by Guillaume Martin and Fausto Masnada. The gap at the intermediate sprint was only seconds and it wasn’t long before the pack was all together.

The last kilometers to Alhaurin de la Torre saw Matteo Trentin come out on top at the finish line. All the top men on GC finished in the bunch for Jakob Fuglsang to take the final overall victory from his Astana teammate Ion Izagirre Insausti and Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma). Pello Bilbao (Astana) was 4th and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 5th.

Unsurprisingly Astana won the team prize, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) the points, the sprints to Michael Van Staeyen (Roompot-Charles) and Simon Yates took the KOM.

Stage winner, Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott): “In the last two kilometres it was roundabout after roundabout after roundabout, we knew it because we checked it yesterday and I said to the guys the best way to win today is to have a clear run to the last kilometer and that’s what they did. Chapeau to Affini, he was dropped and he came back and he did a massive pull to get into the last roundabout, so as a first year as a pro it was a really really good one. Also all the other guys too, when you see Chaves pulling on the front for a sprint it really is something nice. I feel really good and confident now for the next races.”

Final overall winner, Jakob Fuglsang (Astana): “I am very happy with my win. Our team lives a very nice moment now at the start of the season and I am happy to bring the team the 6th GC victory in a row. I was able to come in a good shape to the start of the year and I felt very well during this week. But, also, I can say that this is the team’s win, the team’s success. Today’s victory brings me additional confidence in myself and proves I worked in a right direction during the winter. We are still in the early period of the season and all the big goals are still lying ahead. But, we are on the right way to it.”

2nd overall, Ion Izagirre Insausti (Astana): “It could not be better in this race, we were strong, we races well together, we had one goal and we achieved it. I am happy with team’s success and with Jakob’s victory. Also, it is good for me to be on the final podium. I feel on form at the beginning of the season and I will continue to improve for my next goals.”

3rd overall and 10th on the stage, Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma): “It was a very good first week of racing for me. You always have to wait and see how you have come through the winter. I didn’t expect to be in this shape already and I am happy with my performance. It is a boost towards the races and goals that are yet to come.”

5th on the stage, Colin Joyce (Rally-UHC Cycling): “The team rode amazing today. We had a plan, we stuck to it and it delivered a solid result for the whole team. I’m grateful for the opportunity to race for the win but my first thoughts are of the team and how they rode unbelievably and totally sold out for me.”

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Stage 5 Result:
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott in 3:58:19
2. Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country
3. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar
4. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Colin Joyce (USA) Rally-UHC Cycling
6. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
7. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane
8. Lars Boom (Ned) Roompot-Charles
9. Eduard Prades (Spa) Movistar
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol Final Overall Result:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana in 17:42:00
2. Ion Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana at 0:07
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 0:11
4. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:21
5. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:57
6. Jack Haig (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:08
7. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) Equipo Euskadi at 1:12
8. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom–RusVelo at 1:43
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:53
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 3:41.

Ruta del Sol final stage 5:

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta 2019
The Queen Stage 2 of the Volta ao Algarve went to young talent Tadej Pogačar of UAE Team Emirates. The Slovenian managed to neutralize a late attack by Wout Poels (Sky) on the final climb to Fóia, and then sprinted to victory and the leader’s jersey. Poels eventually had to settle for second place. Enric Mas (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was third and Sam Oomen (Sunweb) finished fourth.

The early break included six escapees: William Barta, Olivier Le Gac, Brian van Goethem, Rafael Reis, Bruno Silva and Jesús Nanclares, they had a maximum gap of 2 minutes, which was not enough and they were caught before the climb of Pomba. CCC duo of Riccardo Zoidl and Amaro Antunes escaped and worked well together, but at the start of the final climb to Fóia the pair were caught. Team Sky took control eight kilometers from the top and the group started to cracked. Two kilometers later there was a group of thirty riders at the front as the overall leader, Jakobsen, had been dropped.

Four kilometers from the line Fabio Aru lost contact, followed by his UAE Team Emirates teammate Valerio Conti. Tao Geoghegan Hart kept the pace so high that no one thought of attacks, except for Amaro Antunes again. The 28-year-old Portuguese rider managed to escape from the others, despite his earlier attack. Poels wanted the stage victory and jumped past Antunes.

Poels had not taken into account Pogačar, who crossed to Poels and put a few lengths into him which turned out to be enough for his first professional victory. Pogačar will wear the leaders jersey in the 30.3 kilometer time trial in Lagoa.

Stage winner and overall leader, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates): “This is a real dream. It is my best day as a cyclist! It is fantastic to win in this way, after an uphill finish and against these respected rivals. I want to thank everyone who helped me get here. But I also want to thank my team UAE Emirates, for years of trust and freedom. I feel supported by the team, which helps me to get better. I will race tomorrow in the leader’s jersey. I’m going to do my best to defend the jersey.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 2 Result:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 4:58:25
2. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:01
3. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:03
4. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 0:05
5. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC at 0:07
6. David de la Cruz (Spa) Sky at 0:21
7. João Pedro Lourenço Rodrigues (Por) W52-FC Porto at 0:24
8. Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:27
9. Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
10. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Dimension Data at 0:49.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Overall After Stage 2:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 9:51:24
2. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:01
3. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:03
4. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 0:05
5. David de la Cruz (Spa) Sky at 0:21
6. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:51
7. João Pedro Lourenço Rodrigues (Por) W52-FC Porto at 1:29
8. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC at 1:42
9. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 1:46
10. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb.

Algarve’19 stage 2:

Stefan Küng (AG2R-La Mondiale) took the Stage 3 individual time trial in Lagoa. Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) finished in second place and Yves Lampaert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) came third. Overall leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) was 5th and held on to his lead in the general classification.

The route was exactly the same as last year’s individual time trial and Stefan Küng was the big favorite before the start. The Trek-Segafredo pair of Mads Pedersen and Ryan Mullen set the first best times, which both eventually proved good enough for a place in the top 10. Mullens was only beaten by Yves Lampaert, Stefan Küng and Søren Kragh Andersen. Küngs time proved to be the fastest for the win.

Tadej Pogačar’s ride was the most noteworthy. The 20-year-old Slovenian beat some fast riders and eventually only gave away 17 seconds to the winner Küng. In the overall rankings he took a lot of time; at the start of the day he had a 1 second lead over Wout Poels (Sky), he now has 31 seconds on Enric Mas (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).

The Spaniard, Mas, climbed from third to second. In third place Kragh Andersen is now at 36 seconds. Wout Poels at 37 and David De la Cruz at 57.

Stage winner, Stefan Küng (Groupama-FDJ): “I was able to perform very well today. I already drove this time trial last year, so that was an advantage. So I knew exactly what was coming and where I had to use my powers. I kept myself a little at the beginning and I could make the difference towards the end. At the end I could keep my pace well under control. It is the first race of the season, so it is the first time that you can compare with the others and only now do you know where you stand. We worked hard in the winter to put all the dots on the i. So it’s nice that I can immediately win at the first real test. It is not over until it is over. So you are always a bit tense, even if you think it will turn out to your advantage. You have to wait until the last rider finishes, so I was pretty nervous. Fortunately, I was able to win. Tomorrow we expect a sprint stage and after we were already second on the opening day, we are on the hunt for a new victory.”

5th on the stage and overall leader, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m very happy. The result is a reward for the careful preparation that went into this trial, from studying the route and the specific directions from my sports directors over the radio. I gave it 100%, I made the best use of my energy and obtained this nice result. Tomorrow and the day after I can count on my excellent team mates to defend the yellow jersey.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 3 Result:
1. Stefan Küng (Swi) Groupama-FDJ in 24:33
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:02
3. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:05
4. Ryan Mullen (Irl) Trek-Segafredo at 0:08
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:17
6. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:31
7. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo at 0:36
8. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Sky
9. Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:42
10. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:43.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 10:16:14
2. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step 0:00:31
3. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:36
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:37
5. David de la Cruz (Spa) Sky at 0:57
6. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 1:08
7. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 2:12
8. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 2:13
9. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb at 2:35
10. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC at 2:43.

Algarve’19 stage 3:

Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma) won the Stage 4, the penultimate stage of the Tour of the Algarve. The Dutch sprinter had a mechanical problem in the last 10 kilometers, but was brought back to the peloton by his team and then easily out-sprinted Arnaud Démare (Goupama-FDJ). Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) held the leader’s jersey.

The stage to Tevira was an opportunity for the sprinters as the only climb of the day came in the first two hours, then the sprinters teams could form their lead-outs to help their sprinter win. Luís Fernandes, Nikolay Mihaylov, Jesús Nanclares, Fábio Costa and Oscar Pelegri were the riders who attacked early in the stage. They were caught 20 kilometers from the finish after which the sprinters’ teams started preparing for the sprint.

The sprint preparation was not easy for Jumbo-Visma as Groenewegen had a mechanical problem 10 kilometers out, which meant he had to change bikes. The whole team dropped back to get Groenewegen to the front in time for the finish. With 3 kilometers left, the blue-black of Jumbo-Visma was again on the front.

Groenewegen then got the perfect lead out from Mike Teunissen in the last kilometer, this put him in a winning position in the last 150 meters. Only Démare could keep the Dutchman in sight, but he too could not give Groenewegen any opposition.

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (Jumbo-Visma): “I am very pleased with this result. In the first stage we were very unlucky because of the crash, but today we took revenge. It was a stressful final, because I had problems with my spoke eight kilometres from the finish. It was important not to panic and the team quickly brought me back. Today, my teammates were really great and the lead out was very good. This is the yellow-black lead out that we want to see. If we can do this all season, it will be a great year. I am very grateful to the boys and happy that I was able to take my second win of the season here.”

Overall leader, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “The day went well, the team kept everything under control. It gave particular attention to the last 20km, when the race rhythm shot up. In the final, the group was broken up and there were some changes, but it’s important that I’m competitive tomorrow. I’m happy to have managed the stage and to have the opportunely to face the last stage in the yellow jersey, this means a lot for me and I’m enjoying a fantastic experience.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 4 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 4:56:07
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
4. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
8. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
10. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 15:12:28
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:29
3. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:30
4. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:31
5. David de la Cruz (Spa) Sky at 0:57
6. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 1:08
7. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 2:12
8. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 2:13
9. Marc Hirschi (Swi) Sunweb at 2:35
10. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC at 2:36.

Algarve stage 4:

Zdeněk Štybar (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) won the Final Stage 5 of the Volta ao Algarve. After a stage of 173.5 kilometers he was the best of a break-away group on the climb of the Malhão. Race leader Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) was attacked by Enric Mas (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Wout Poels (Sky), but he held on to take the final victory.

On the run up to the final climb to Malhão a group of thirteen riders finally managed to get away: Andreas Schillinger, Jonas Koch, Tim Declercq, Stefan Küng, Jasper De Buyst, Frederik Frison, Nikolas Maes, Maarten Wynants, Nils Politt, Mads Würtz Schimdt, Mads Pedersen, Kenneth Vanbilsen and Vicente García de Mateos.

Forty kilometers before the line; Sky and Sunweb took the initiative to try to put young Tadej Pogačar in trouble. David De la Cruz put the pressure on and split the favorite’s group, but it was not enough to rattle the yellow jersey.

Declercq, De Buyst, Koch, Pedersen and Küng held out from the lead group ahead of a depleted peloton. De la Cruz decided to attack, he was joined by Søren Kragh Andersen, Steve Cummings and Zdeněk Štybar. They rode between the peloton and the front riders, but with 12 kilometers to go the caught the front group.

De la Cruz was the danger-man as he was sitting in 5th place overall. This meant that UAE Team Emirates had to work hard in the peloton. CCC’s Amaro Antunes didn’t think the race was fast enough, and attacked before the climb. Sam Oomen (Sunweb) responded, but everything came together again. The chasers were still a minute behind the three remaining front runners: Kragh Andersen, Cummings and Štybar.

The front trio had more than a minute before the Malhão. Kragh Andersen set a fast pace, that Cummings couldn’t handle. Štybar held the wheel of the Dane for a long time and attacked in the final kilometer. The Czech took care of the 10th victory of the 2019 season for Deceuninck – Quick-Step.

In the GC group it was Antunes who attacked first. He was countered by Oomen and another group, and once again Pogačar had little problem. The young Slovenien was on the wheel of Enric Mas when he made his move, but could not follow. Wout Poels kept his position until then, but when he saw Pogačar in trouble he started to chase Mas. Pogačar rode at his own pace knowing that he had 31 seconds on Mas. It was Poels who managed to claim 3rd place behind Štybar and Kragh Andersen. Mas finished 4th for 4th place overall, as Pogačar was joined by Kragh Andersen and Poels on the final podium.

Stage winner and 6th overall, Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “I am very happy, because in the past two years I have always been on the attack on this stage and in 2018 I was caught with one kilometer to go, but now I finally managed to finish it off. It’s a big reward for me, it’s my first victory of the season and it augurs well ahead of the Classics, where I hope to be in the best shape. I joined that attack because I felt there was a chance of going all the way, as I knew that the up-and-down parcours would favor such an action and make things difficult for the chasers. The victory is important because it serves as confirmation of the good winter preparation I’ve had and also a confidence boost. It was a perfect day for us, with me taking the victory, Tim featuring in the breakaway and Enric showing his strong legs in the final”

6th on the final stage and overall winner, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “I knew that it would be a difficult day, the stage was raced at high speeds and my direct rivals launched attacks for the overall,” said Pogačar “I had great support from all of my team-mates, who worked at the front to the group to give 100%. When the attacks started, I saw that I had fresh helpers at my side, this was a big morale boost in addition to a big concrete advantage. I’m proud of all of my team-mates. I achieved a dream today. And to win a stage race so early in my professional career is hard to believe. I began without thinking of the overall, but after the crash in the first stage that ruled out the designated captains, I found myself at the front and the stage win gave me the yellow jersey. My team-mates’ support reinforced my belief and my place at the front.”

Break rider, Zdenek Stybar (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “Normally my job is to catch the breakaways and to help the team, but today I got green light to join the escape group and do my own race. Taking the points on the climbs wasn’t the plan, but I began scoring them here and there and ended up going onto the podium after the stage. It’s not often that I win something, so I am very happy with this result and how our week went in Portugal.”

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Stage 5 Result:
1. Zdenek Stybar (Cz) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:13:48
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:03
3. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:09
4. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:12
5. Stephen Cummings (GB) Dimension Data at 0:17
6. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:18
7. João Pedro Lourenço Rodrigues (Por) W52-FC Porto at 0:24
8. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 0:30
9. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Sky at 0:31
10. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC at 0:34.

Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta Final Overall Result:
1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates in 19:26:34
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:14
3. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:21
4. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 0:25
5. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb at 1:40
6. Zdenek Stybar (Cz) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:54
7. Neilson Powless (USA) Jumbo-Visma at 2:50
8. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC at 2:52
9. João Pedro Lourenço Rodrigues (Por) W52-FC Porto at 3:27
10. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin at 3:47.

Algarve final stage 5:

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana 2019
The Trek-Segafredo women continued in Europe exactly as they started the season in Australia in January: It was first race, first win in the Tour Down Under, and first European race, first win again as Ruth Winder out-gunned her breakaway compatriots and held off the chasing bunch to win Stage 1 at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.

The race was decided on the two climbs that came in quick succession near the end of the 126-kilometer first stage. The breakaway formed over the top and on the descent of the first climb and gained enough time to just hold off the chasing peloton at the finish.

An ill-timed puncture for Winder – who recently arrived from the United States and was also fighting off sickness – nearly ended her race if not for the work of teammate Anna Plichta.

“I had a puncture right before the first climb, and Anna stayed with me, and she was great,” said Winder. “I felt so calm to have a teammate stay with me, and she got me back to the front safely. Then at the top of the climb there was a break that went, and then before it really, truly went down, and I rolled alongside Elisa (Longo Borghini) and said, ‘Oh Elisa, I want to go!’ And she said, ‘yeah go!’

“It was pretty technical, and I really like descending a lot, so I attacked into the descent. I bridged to the leaders before the last climb. There were five of us going into the final climb, and I was a little nervous at first because I was not sure how I was climbing against the good climbers, so I took really short pulls. I didn’t try and do too much work too soon.”

“Anna did a super job,” echoed director Giorgia Bronzini. “She stopped with Ruth and then pulled her back to the peloton. Not once did Ruth see the wind, she was always in Anna’s wheel.”

Ruth played a savvy game in the breakaway, and when it appeared that the bunch was coming back in the last kilometer, she craftily chose her moment to launch her sprint.

“Coming over the top of the final climb it looked like the gap was going to stay and we worked pretty well together,” continued Winder. “We lost one rider who crashed in the descent, and then coming into three kilometers to go I knew that the gap was around 20 seconds and with under one kilometer to go I looked behind me and I could see them drilling it on the front. I knew it was going to be so close and that they were probably going to catch us.

“We had reconned the course so I knew the finish really well and attacked full gas into the roundabout with 400 meters to go and I went as hard as I could to the line. It was that feeling that the finish line kept getting further and further away and I was certain the entire peloton was going to rush past me in the last second. But it didn’t and I held on for the win. It feels unbelievable to win the first race over in Europe – it’s exciting, and I am happy with the team; the spirit is so good.”

“Ruth was very smart to go for a long sprint because the peloton was coming,” added Bronzini. “It was a perfectly timed move. She was not sure how she would do against the climbers today, so she stayed near the back, and never showed the others in the breakaway how she was feeling.”

“Both Lauretta (Hanson) and Ruth were not at 100 percent health these past few days,” chimed in Director Ina Teutenberg, who was leading the training camp ahead of the race. “Ruth felt better this morning and we decided she was okay to race. It was a good decision!”

Earlier in the race, team captain Trixi Worrack crashed and was forced to abandon. X-rays later revealed a broken collarbone. She will return home Friday to undergo surgery.

“Besides Trixi (Worrack) crashing and breaking her collarbone the team did super well today,” summed up Winder. “It feels good to get this win for them, and for Trixi – I hope that she feels better soon.” Winder’s win also landed her the leader’s jersey.

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Stage 1 Result:
1. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 3:07:33
2. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini at 0:06
3. Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans at 0:08
4. Margarita Victo Garcia Cañellas (Spa) Movistar at 0:15
5. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
6. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-SRAM
7. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Movistar
8. Claudia Koster (Ned) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling
9. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway
10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Overall After Stage 1:
1. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 3:07:33
2. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini at 0:06
3. Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans at 0:08
4. Margarita Victo Garcia Cañellas (Spa) Movistar at 0:15
5. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
6. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-SRAM
7. Sheyla Gutierrez Ruiz (Spa) Movistar
8. Claudia Koster (Ned) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling
9. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway
10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.

After a hilly opening stage, Stage 2 was all for the sprinters, and Trek-Segafredo’s Lotta Lepistö sprinted to the win, giving Trek-Segafredo its second victory in two days at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.

Ruth Winder, the winner of the first stage, also maintained the leader’s jersey in the mostly flat 100-kilometer stage that saw little action off the front with Trek-Segafredo keeping a close eye on any dangerous moves, and most teams content for a bunched ending.

“Today was a more flat stage, and I tried to stay sheltered as long as I could before the sprint. There were some attacks, but the team was always there, so I didn’t have to worry about that at all,” said Lepistö.

After 70 kilometers no breakaway had established, and it was apparent the stage was headed towards a fast finish and the sprinters would have their say.

“In the end, it was a bunch sprint, and it was quite hectic in the last 10 kilometers,” explained Lepistö. “I think we lost each other a little with five kilometers to go, but I still had three of the girls there with me in the last two kilometers. They helped keep me out of the wind and then I used Sunweb’s train in the last 600 meters. I jumped at 250 meters to go and won! I was happy with the win and also that Ruth (Winder) could keep her jersey.”

The race continues Saturday with stage three, a pivotal day for the overall classification. Ruth Winder holds a slim six-second lead over second place with Elisa Longo-Borghini (16th) and Ellen van Dijk (17th) at 15 seconds.

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Stage 2 Result:
1. Lotta Pauliina Lepistö (Fin) Trek-Segafredo in 2:30:14
2. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling
3. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-SRAM
4. Roxane Fournier (Fra) Movistar
5. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
6. Anna Trevisi (Ita) Ale Cipollini
7. Jip van den Bos (Ned) Boels Dolmans
8. Ilaria Sanguineti (Ita) Valcar-Cylance Cycling
9. Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Claudia Koster (Ned) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling.

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Overall After Stage 2:
1. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 5:37:47
2. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini at 0:06
3. Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans at 0:08
4. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-SRAM at 0:15
5. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
6. Claudia Koster (Ned) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling
7. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv
8. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Sunweb
9. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla
10. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway.

23-year old Clara Koppenburg (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) soloed to her first ever victory on Saturday afternoon on the Queen Stage 3 of Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, securing the team’s first road win of the 2019 season along the way.

“It was pretty tough, the girls did an amazing job, they all did a crazy lead out into the final climb. Claudia [Koster] was in a 13-rider breakaway before, which was super good for us, so I had the best position going into the climb. It was just suffering until the top, and at one point, I was able to accelerate a little bit, and saw I was in the lead, so I just kept my head down, I kept going and never looked back, then I just won.”

They say dreams do come true; “I had a dream last night that I won my first bike race, I went to breakfast, and I told the girls – I said, ‘girls I just dreamt I won my first bike race’ and they asked if it was in a sprint or something, and I said, ‘no solo.’ I don’t know why I dreamt that, but I just can’t believe it what has happened today, I am so happy.”

The plan; “We knew we had to do a lead out into the climb. Our plan this morning was to get Claudia into the breakaway and she did it, which was really good for us. Then the other girls [Sarah Rijkes, Lara Vieceli, Aafke Soet] did a perfect lead out, on the climb we just had to see how Erica [Magnaldi], Ane [Santesteban] and I would be and to make sure we have as many of us in the front group. The plan worked perfectly.”

“I made my attack with 2km to go, but I knew the climb already because I rode it during our training camp in Calpe, I knew what to expect.” The team won the best team on the stage, whilst Clara takes the lead in the general classification by 43 seconds with one stage remaining.

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Stage 3 Result:
1. Clara Koppenburg (Ger) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling in 3:01:13
2. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv at 0:49
3. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini at 0:51
4. Eider Merino Cortazar (Spa) Movistar at 1:12
5. Janneke Ensing (Ned) Sunweb
6. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling at 1:27
7. Julie Van de Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:28
8. Katharine Hall (USA) Boels Dolmans at 1:31
9. Katrine Aalerud (Nor) Norway at 1:34
10. Paulien Rooijakkers (Ned) CCC-Liv.

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Overall After Stage 3:
1. Clara Koppenburg (Ger) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling in 8:39:10
2. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini at 0:43
3. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv at 0:48
4. Eider Merino Cortazar (Spa) Movistar at 1:22
5. Janneke Ensing (Ned) Sunweb at 1:26
6. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling at 1:37
7. Julie Van de Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:42
8. Katrine Aalerud (Nor) Norway at 1:44
9. Katharine Hall (USA) Boels Dolmans at 1:45
10. Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans at 1:55.

Trek-Segafredo didn’t let the disappointment of losing the leader’s jersey and dropping out of the general classification in stage three affect their performance the Final Day Stage 4 as Lotta Lepistö stormed to her second victory in the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, Sunday.

“I am super happy with the win. It was a great Tour for us – three wins out of four – we are all really, really happy. Again, the teamwork was perfect today, and I could not do it without these girls working so hard, today and all week!” said Lotta Lepistö.

It was an expected sprint stage, and with the general classification all but settled, Trek-Segafredo went on the hunt for another win. It may have been a straightforward stage on paper, but out on the road, it took a team effort for Lepistö.

“There were some climbs today, and I got a little bit dropped, by half a minute, but then Anna (Plichta) brought me back,” explained Lepistö. “There was also a lot of attacks today; I think the other teams had nothing to lose, so it was quite a hectic race. Unfortunately, Ruth (Winder) crashed with five kilometers to go, so we were there only with four in the end, but the lead-out was perfect. I started a little bit early because after the final corner there was only 100m to the finish. I started, and then one rider passed me in the corner, but I could still pass her on the finish stretch.”

Lepistö capped off the strong teamwork by Trek-Segafredo, down to four riders in the finale after a mechanical and late crashes.

“Sadly, we had an issue with Audrey (Cordon-Ragot) who had a mechanical. We were behind a barrage, and the neutral service did not stop so we lost her quite early on,” clarified director Giorgia Bronzini. “And in the last 10kms were had two crashes with Anna and Ruth – Anna was able to get back but Ruth unfortunately not. But the rest of the team did an amazing job for Lotta, who just had to follow them and do her best sprint. I am really, really super proud. It was a positive week. What more can I say? For my first experience as a director, I could not ask more than this!”

Eider Merino (Movistar): “We came here with a strong aim to do well, because it was the first race of the season for many of us. The key stage was yesterday with the Xorret de Catí climb, and even if I didn’t find myself doing as well as I expected, things turned out pretty well. We were a bit down yesterday, but it might come down to our desire to do well, our expectations way higher than most people want from us – we always want more. It’s a good fourth place, and as we say here in Spain when you get fourth, it’s been ‘chocolate medals’ everywhere (laughs). We wouldn’t have been able to match such an amount of fourths if we tried. I think we must stay happy with what we got; being the first test of the season, our goal was to gauge how we were doing, and now it’s all about training, learning lessons from here and hopefully improve this result in the near future.”

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Stage 4 Result:
1. Lotta Pauliina Lepistö (Fin) Trek-Segafredo in 2:27:19
2. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Canyon-SRAM
3. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
4. Roxane Fournier (Fra) Movistar
5. Claudia Koster (Ned) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling
6. Jip van den Bos (Ned) Boels Dolmans
7. Eva Buurman (Ned) Boels Dolmans
8. Sandra Alonso Dominguez (Spa) Bizkaia-Durango at 0:03
9. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway
10. Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope.

Setmana Ciclista Valenciana Final Overall Result:
1. Clara Koppenburg (Ger) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling in 11:06:28
2. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale Cipollini at 0:41
3. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv at 0:48
4. Eider Merino Cortazar (Spa) Movistar at 1:26
5. Janneke Ensing (Ned) Sunweb at 1:36
6. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling at 1:47
7. Julie Van de Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:52
8. Katharine Hall (USA) Boels Dolmans at 1:55
9. Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels Dolmans at 1:59
10. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla at 2:04.

Setmana Valenciana final podium:

Tour du Haut Var 2019
Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First) won a small group sprint in Mandelieu-la-Napoul, France on Friday. The Belgian benefited from an adaptable team prepared to react to any scenario on the opening stage of Tour du Haut Var. With the Stage 1 win came the yellow race leader’s jersey.

“I’m really happy to win,” said Vanmarcke. “It’s my first win in nearly three years. It feels so good to be back on the top step.”

Groupama-FDJ showed their cards early, taking control of the pace-setting in the peloton behind the three-rider breakaway. The 154-kilometer stage offered up undulating terrain, and EF Education First Pro Cycling Team had discussed several different plans to approach the tricky route.

“There was a false flat part with 30-kilometers to go,” said sport director Ken Vanmarcke, Sep’s older brother. “If the gap to the breakaway was small, we wanted to anticipate action with Sep and Matti [Breschel]. The gap wasn’t small enough to do anything then, but on the second to last climb, the gap was down to 40-seconds and Lachlan [Morton] tried to go across. The climb was too short for that.”

With initial efforts thwarted, EF Education First regrouped ahead of the last climb “Normally the final would be hard for me with a five kilometer climb,” said Sep. “But I felt really good all day, and I wanted to give it a try.”

Only 20 riders remained in contention over the top, Vanmarcke and Hugh Carthy among them. Crashes and splits on the technical descent further reduced the group. Fourteen riders hit the four-kilometer flat run-in to the line.

“Hugh knew Sep had a big chance to win the sprint, and immediately started riding in the front of the group to keep the pace high,” said Ken.

“He pulled into the last corner,” Sep added. “I could focus on the sprint. My timing was good. I made it a long sprint and could hold on to take the win.”

The younger Vanmarcke brother is EF Education First’s Classics captain. “I think we see that Sep is on a really good path for the Classics,” said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “I don’t want to overstate anything because of course the Tour of Haut Var and the Tour of Flanders are completely different things, but he’s obviously in a good place.”

“A lot of the things we’ve been working on for two or three years now are coming to fruition. There’s no magic thing that just started happening. We have the same directors, and a lot of the same riders. It’s just that little by little we’re able to build on things,” said Vaughters. “The serenity of having EF’s support allows us to better execute and plan for the future. Everyone isn’t worried about where their next paycheck is coming from; they’re looking at how to win the race. And that’s showing.”

“We will enjoy the jersey, but we have to be realistic,” said Ken. “Sep won’t have the jersey on Sunday evening. We will try to keep it on the team but on different shoulders. Tomorrow will be another hard day, and on Sunday the final is on a longer climb,” said Sep. “I want to give something back to Hugh. He’s our strongest climber here, and I suspect we’ll work for him this weekend.” “As always, Sep worked this winter,” said Ken. “He’s on the right track towards the Classics.”

Tour du Haut Var Stage 1 Result:
1. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First in 4:00:22
2. Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
3. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Lucas Eriksson (Swe) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
7. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
10. Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles.

Tour du Haut Var Overall After Stage 1:
1. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First in 4:00:22
2. Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
3. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Lucas Eriksson (Swe) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
7. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
10. Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles.

Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) sprinted to the win in the summit finish for Stage 2 at the Tour du Haut Var, besting some established climbers to the line and also claiming the overall lead in the three-day race.

Ciccone already proved he was a man to watch in a tricky stage one, arriving at the finish with a select group of 14 riders and sprinting to third place behind winner Sep Vanmarcke (EF-Education First). He one-upped that in a grueling mountain top finish in stage two Saturday, outgunning Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) to take his first victory with Trek-Segafredo.

“Today was a fantastic day!” said Ciccone. “I really wanted to win to finish off the great work done by the whole team the whole day. Also, in yesterday’s stage, we came really close, but we saw a grandiose Vanmarcke who was obviously more of a specialist for the first stage. Today, on the contrary, the stage was tailored to my characteristics as a rider. We were protagonists the whole day. I really want to thank the whole team and the guys for their work and for the giant opportunity they gave me today. I am happy with my first victory in the Trek-Segafredo jersey, and I want to enjoy it as much as possible!”

While it was the first win for Ciccone, it was also the first victory for Gregory Rast in his new role with the team.

“Yes, it’s my first race as a director! A nice way to start,” admitted Gregory Rast. “What can I say? Giulio has been incredible. He was third yesterday, and now he won today on a mountain top finish. Okay, it’s not the biggest race in the world, but it’s been full gas racing here for both days and when you see the podium… It’s almost a Tour de France podium, and Ciccone beat them all.

“He had unbelievable help from Fabio Felline and Jarlinson Pantano. They did an amazing job, and also the rest of the guys to always keep them up front. He won in a sprint after a long climb with a tricky descent in the middle. And now tomorrow we will be defending the jersey!”

With no time bonus on offer in the stage finishes, seven riders are at the same time in the overall classification. The final day will be decisive, finishing on the challenging Mont Faron in Toulon (5.5 km and 9%).

3rd on the stage and 5th overall, Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale): “At the finish both Alexis Vuillermoz and I were there. I tried to launch him, but the finish was very difficult and we got a little separated. Too bad. It was a bit of a lottery because that last 200 meters you were riding a little blind. Ciccone was really very strong. We are still in the breaking-in phase. I am happy with how I feel even if the form is far from optimal. I am making some hard efforts and that will serve me well in the future. Tomorrow I will discover the climb up Mount Faron. I hope my legs are a little better so that I can put in the best effort possible.”

5th on the stage and 4th overall, Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale): “It was a long and trying day. In the end, we had Romain playing for the win. He tried to take me up to the best. But I had trouble accelerating enough to make the most of my explosivity, and just didn’t have the right timing. But Romain nearly won even while he was trying to launch me. That’s no little achievement. Tomorrow, I’m going to climb Mount Faron, which I know very well because my brother lives in Toulon, and I on occasion I can climb it four or five times a day.”

Tour du Haut Var Stage 2 Result:
1. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 5:19:30
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie
5. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
7. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
8. Hugh John Carthy (GB) EF Education First
9. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
10. Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM.

Tour du Haut Var Overall After Stage 2:
1. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 9:19:52
2. Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
7. Hugh John Carthy (GB) EF Education First
8. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:10
9. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:14
10. Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis at 0:45.

Thibaut Pinot has won the Final Stage 3 and the final classification of the Tour du Haut Var. The French team-leader of Groupama-FDJ was the best on the steep ascent of the Mont Faron. He beat compatriot Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Brit Hugh Carthy (EF Education First), and with his stage win he also pushed Giulio Ciccone out of the leader’s jersey.

The 136 kilometer long stage was pretty hilly. Six riders went out: Mathieu Burgaudeau, Paul Ourselin (both Direct Energy), Kevyn Ista (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Yoann Bagot (Vital Concept-B & B Hotels), Mauro Finetto (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM) and Flavien Maurelet (St. Michel-Auber 93).

Julien Antomarchi and Romain Le Roux were still able to successfully make the cross. Alexander Cataford did not succeed. The lead of the eight leaders was more than 3 minutes. In the peloton, Trek-Segafredo, Groupama-FDJ and AG2R-La Mondiale were in control.

Burgaudeau, Ourselin, Ista, Finito, Maurelet and Antomarchi remained out front. The six had more than a minute’s lead at 20 kilometers from the finish. All that was only the preparatory work on the final climb of the Mont Faron. On this climb of more than 5 kilometers at 9% the course exploded.

Natura4Ever-Roubaix Lille Métropole rider Antomarchi stayed the longest in the lead, but at 3 kilometers from the finish his hopes were over. AG2R-La Mondiale took control and saw leader Giulio Ciccone dropped. Lilian Calmejane, Thibaut Pinot, Kilian Frankiny, Romain Bardet, Alexis Vuillermoz, Hugh Carthy and Nicolas Edet remained.

Carthy placed an attack under the final kilometer banner, but Pinot and Bardet still managed to get over the British climber. Pinot proved to be the best and won the stage. Because Ciccone was already dropped, the final victory went to the leader of Groupama-FDJ. Pinot was in third place in the ranking before the start of the stage, at the same time as Ciccone.

Stage winner and final overall winner, Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ): “We really wanted to go for it and the team rode well. The goal, from the very first day, was to arrive at the foot of Mont Faron in the same time as the best riders, so that everything was decided on the last climb. I wanted it so much today, we raced hard but missed out at the recent Tour de la Provence. I had to win today.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale): “For a return to racing, I am satisfied. I was competing against guys who were a little sharper. I still have to get back into the rhythm. It would have been the icing on the cake to have won, but I really came with no particular expectations. The team worked very well; there was no downtime. Saturday was a big stage, and there were 15 very intense minutes today. It was definitely what we needed. I have not raced since early October, and I am feeling the lack of competition now, but I am happy with these three days.”

5th on the stage and 4th overall, (AG2R-La Mondiale): “Saturday, I got a little stuck. I really wanted to show that I had a lot of punch. So I set the tempo for Romain. Now today, the legs have responded well. This bodes well for the future.”

Tour du Haut Var Stage 3 Result:
1. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 3:19:52
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:03
3. Hugh John Carthy (GB) EF Education First at 0:05
4. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie 0:11
5. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:13
7. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
8. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:51
9. Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
10. Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:56.

Tour du Haut Var Final Overall Result:
1. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 12:39:44
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:03
3. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education First at 0:05
4. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:11
5. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 0:13
6. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) Groupama – FDJ 0:27
7. Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 0:51
8. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek – Segafredo at 1:14
9. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 1:54
10. Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis at 2:10.

The Haute Var final podium:

Yoann Offredo To Take Mandatory Rest
Yoann Offredo has been suffering from severe fatigue for several weeks and is therefore withdrawing from the Volta Algarve (2.HC). The 32-year-old Frenchman did not start in the individual time trial on Friday. Offredo also misses the Belgian opening weekend with the Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. In 2011 Offredo finished 4th in the Omloop. His return in competition is scheduled for mid-March.

Yoann Offredo: “I am extremely tired because of a virus that is already haunting me since the beginning of the 2019 season. I have lost the good feeling since the Grand Prix La Marseillaise. I have tried to prepare myself 100% for the Flemish classics, which are so important to me. But I am not able to dispute Omloop het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne. From that moment on, I decided not to take part in the time trial in the Algarve, so that I can go home to rest and fully recover from the virus that I am very tired of. I hope to be back in mid-March to join my teammates on a training camp in Spain in order to prepare the rest of the classic campaign.”

Joost De Maeseneer (team doctor): “Yoann has been suffering several weeks from repeated fatigue after a virus. He will rest for ten days and should resume training the first week of March.”

Yoann Offredo in the 2018 Tour stage 7:

UAE Tour: Fractured wrist for Pierre Latour
Preparing to race the UAE Tour, Pierre Latour crashed on Friday morning in training. “He suffered a fracture of his left wrist (scaphoid and lower radius), and will be operated on once he returns to France. He will likely be unavailable for at least six weeks,” explained Dr. Eric Bouvat, medical director of the AG2R La Mondiale.

Pierre Latour will be replaced by Aurelien Paret-Peintre.

Giro d’Italia 2020 is Already Flying with the Frecce Tricolori Aerobatics Patrol
The 2020 Corsa Rosa will feature a stage starting from Rivolto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, home of the Command of the 2nd Storm of Italy’s Aeronautica Militare. It’s the first time in the history of the race that a stage starts from one of their bases. 2020 will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori acrobatic aero patrol.

Rivolto, Codroipo (Udine), 19 February 2019 – The aeronautic military base of Rivolto today hosted a press conference presenting the start of a Giro d’Italia stage in 2020. For the first time in the history of the Corsa Rosa, a stage will start from inside an aeronautic military base. In celebrating the 60th anniversary of the creation of the acrobatic aero squad, PAN or Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale, more commonly known as the Frecce Tricolori, the great collaboration in between the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Frecce Tricolori and RCS Sport keeps on rolling.

In the last decade the Frecce Tricolori have exhibited twice at the Giro d’Italia: in 2009 as the race passed the Rivolto landing grounds and in 2014 when the Corsa Rosa finished in Trieste.

· First ever Giro stage in Friuli Venezia Giulia: Milano – Udine, 18 May 1910
· Recent milestones for the Giro d’Italia in Friuli Venezia Giulia:
· 22 May 2003: first ever climb of the Mount Zoncolan (from the Sutrio side)
· 30 May 2007: first stage finish on the Zoncolan (from the Ovaro side)
· 23 May 2010: Ivan Basso attacks and win on the Zoncolan – on his way to winning the Giro
· 1 June 2014: the last stage of the Giro ends in Trieste; first ever Colombian victory in the history of the race, for Nairo Quintana
· 20 May 2016: first Maglia Rosa for Costa Rica with Andrey Amador in Cividale del Friuli
· 19 May 2018: first stage victory for Chris Froome at the Giro on Mount Zoncolan
· The Frecce Tricolori with the Giro d’Italia winner’s trophy, Trofeo Senza Fine

Mauro Vegni, Giro d’Italia Director, said: “It’s an honor for me to announce the start of a stage from an Aeronautica Militare base, for the first time in the long history of the Giro d’Italia. The Frecce Tricolori are always a great show and will add value to the Giro d’Italia 2020 as they have done in the recent past. I still remember the acrobatics over our heads and the Tricolore in 2009, when we rode through the landing ground of this airport, and in 2014 when the Frecce Tricolori colored the Giro grand finale in Trieste. We have a long and strong relation with the Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia, a relationship made even stronger in recent years with landmark stages such as last year’s victory for Chris Froome on the Zoncolan and the spectacular final stage in Trieste in 2014. Organizing this stage start, unique in history, shows that the synergy between the Corsa Rosa, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Aeronautica Militare and all the other legal institutions involved is once again winning.”

Enzo Cainero, Friuli Giro stages promoter, said: “This new project was born from the collaboration in between us, the Region, the Frecce Tricolori and RCS Sport. I would like to thank them all for the support. In the last decade the Frecce Tricolori already exhibited twice at the Giro and they couldn’t miss the 2020 opportunity, when they’ll have a very important anniversary to celebrate.”

Leut. Maj. Gaetano Farina, Commander of the Frecce Tricolori, said: “Painting the world’s longest Tricolore over the Giro d’Italia once again will be for us a great source of pride. It will be even more important, because we will do it in our home, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori acrobatic squad. Passion, tradition, duty and teamwork are fundamental values that are part of us as the Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale (Acrobatic National Patrol), of cycling and of the Giro d’Italia.”

Giro d’Italia 2009 passage on the landing track of Rivolto military airport:

UAE Team Emirates Welcomed Home with Projection on the World’s Tallest Building
On the eve of the inaugural UAE Tour, riders from the country’s home team were welcomed to the Emirates with an honorary projection on the Burj Khalifa, in Dubai’s Downtown District.

Thousands of fans and members of the public were treated to a 800m high visual display showcasing the team’s iconic logo, alongside pictures of the seven riders who will compete in the seven stages of the UAE Tour from Sunday 24th – Friday March 2nd.

Riders included Tour de France 2018 stage winners Dan Martin and Alexander Kristoff, former World Champion and Abu Dhabi Tour winner, Rui Costa, Norwegian National Champion, Vegard Stake Laengen, Italian all-rounders Diego Ulissi and Oliviero Troia, alongside the team’s new superstar signing Fernando Gaviria.

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