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Alberto Contador on stage 9 of the 2016 Vuelta a España

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The Vuelta a España has been full of excitement with different stage winners and overall leaders most days. We take a look at Alberto Contador’s bad luck and his relationship with black bikes. Full results, reports, quotes and video from the Vuelta, Bretagne Classic and Poitou-Charentes. Rider transfers at Trek-Segafredo, Giant-Alpecin, LottoNl-Jumbo and Etixx – Quick-Step. Plus news from Lampre-Merida and the Tour of Britain.

TOP STORY: Bad Luck for Berty?
When Alberto Contador looks back on the 2016 season, he might come to the conclusion it has not been one of his best (unless he wins the Vuelta). Crashing seems to have been his problem, both sides of his body hit the tarmac in the Tour de France and abandoning the French race was not far away. Now in the Vuelta a España the road surface came up to meet the Spaniard at the end of stage 7 and the photos of his ripped Tinkoff jersey and shorts looked very familiar.

Contador described his most recent crash: “With 400m to go on a left corner I was hit by someone that likes braking a lot and crashed on my left side. I took a big hit on my calf and my quad, and in general I have extensive superficial wounds on the entire left side of my body. It hurts a lot but it seems that there’s nothing broken.”

Contador did think his 2016 Vuelta was over: “When I arrived at the hotel, I saw it was really bad. I couldn’t walk properly because of the pain in the calf muscle. I really thought my Vuelta was over. But then, with all the people keeping sending messages to me, shouting for me for kilometers… I can’t go home after all this.”

Well done to Contador for riding on, but does he believe in bad luck? “I try not to, but at the Tour I crashed riding a black bike. Yesterday, I rode a black bike and I crashed again. So, I’m sorry but I won’t race in a black bike again.”

Bad news for black bikes, and is there any place for superstition in modern cycling?

Nice color combination:
Alberto Contador on stage 9 of the 2016 Vuelta a España

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Vuelta a España 2016
Simon Yates made the best of the tremendous work by his Orica-BikeExchange team throughout the 163.2 kilometers of Stage 6 of the Vuelta to surge in the last three kilometers and earn his best victory to date in Ribeira Sacra. The Briton, overshadowed by twin brother Adam in recent seasons, caught Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling), the last man out of a 11-man breakaway, to win on his own, ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo).

The peloton paid homage to the victims of the earthquake in Italy with a minute silence.

The serious breakaway of the day began after 45 kilometers and involved 11 riders: Andrey Zeits (Astana), Kevin Reza (FDJ), Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Gert Dockx (Lotto Soudal), Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling), Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida), Laurent Didier (Trek-Segafredo), José Mendes and Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Argon 18). But the peloton, led in turn by Darwin Atapuma’s BMC and by Orica-BankExchange, never let the escapees gain more than 2:30.

The group split on the ascent of the Cat 2 Alto Alenza, the only classified climb of the day. Last year’s king of the mountain Omar Fraile went on his own and took his lead close to three minutes with 50 km to go while his former companions Zeits, Bakelants, Frank, Didier and Losada kept chasing at 1:20. Losada, who missed a corner and Didier was dropped.

Aberto Contador’s Tinkoff team took over from Orica-BikeExchange at the front of the bunch, quickly followed by Alejandro Valverde’s Movistar, who seized the reins in the twisted finale, which saw Lotto Soudal’s leader Bart De Clercq crash heavily.

Zeits, Bakelants and Frank caught Fraile 19 km from the line and Frank seized his chance to attack. Bakelants and Zeits were caught 5 km from the line as Dani Moreno (Movistar) and Yates chased down Frank. The Briton caught the Swiss rider and dropped him with three kilometers to go, going on to clinch his most prestigious victory to date, a month after the end of a four-month doping ban. Darwin Atapuma (BMC) retained his overall lead.

Full stage report HERE.

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Stage winner and 10th overall, Simon Yates (Orica-BikeExchange):
How great is it to win this after the problems you had this season with your suspension?
“I’m very happy to come back and win this. I worked extremely hard for this.I just want to enjoy this moment. I trained extremely hard during this period.”

We saw Orica-BikeExchange lead the way during the stage. Was it planned?
“In the beginning, we tried to make it hard, knowing it was super technical, twisty with bad conditions. We first wanted to make it a hard race and to surprise a few teams. I think we did pretty well in making it an extremely hard race. Then I managed to attack at exactly the right moment.”

In the past two seasons, Adam had better results than you. Were you frustrated during this period?
“There’s nothing to be frustrated about. I’m always happy when he wins a race. I wonder why everybody asks me that question. But I also know I just have the talent to win. Thats what I’ve been doing. I managed to be patient. I’m not stressed or anything about my past results. They are not so bad for a young guy. I’m just happy to continue my progression.I’ve been slowly progressing since I turned professional and this is kind of a step up.”

Did you discuss the tactics in the finale with Esteban?
“During the stage, obviously we had a great plan in the beginning. And when we were in the final stages of the race, Esteban spoke to me and said I could win the stage, that it was a good stage for me. It’s good when your leader encourages you to go and win. He’s a great guy and we get on very well. In the finale, we saw that a lot of guys were tired from what we did in the beginning and I wanted to capitalize on that move and give it everything to win.”

2nd, Luis León Sánchez (Astana): “It was a crazy finish, I didn’t know who was at the front. I thought I was sprinting for the win but when I saw the scoreboard I realized I was second. It’s an ugly feeling but I have to think I was close and there’s a lot of Vuelta ahead. I think I made the acceleration at the right time because I had great legs after the tough slope. The Movistar pace really hurt and the Orica rider played it perfectly. For us it wasn’t that good, but we are still in the first week. We had bad luck with Miguel Ángel [López] heading home but we have to keep on trying. As a team we have to be great as we won the Giro and we were fighting at the Tour with Fabio Aru. Here we have to do the best we can. When Orica started pulling I was wondering if they wanted to play the Chaves card or they were working for Gerrans, but they finally did the right choice. It was a beautiful stage to see”

3rd, Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo): “It was a hard profile, a hard temperature but we rode like a team. From the car, I got all the information I needed in the race and in the finale. And Haimar and Riccardo worked hard for me by bringing me bottles and taking me to the front. They gave me a great support. But Simon Yates was very strong in the last hill. When a rider wins like this you can only say: chapeau! I cannot be angry. I always want to see the positive side of things. And it is that I feel good and if I keep riding like this I think I can finally get a victory. It’s not finished.”

4th, Ben Hermans (BMC): “I waited a little but too much to attack and I was 50 meters short to catch Simon Yates. He timed his attack perfectly, just behind the motorbike and it killed me. I need a little bit of luck to win in a Grand Tour. In previous days I was stronger than Yates and today he won. Orica led an impressive tempo, only half the peloton resisted. It was very hard for 80 km and it wore us all out. But I still have some power left for the finish. It’s a missed opportunity.”

5th, Kenny Elissonde (FDJ): “The outcome is a bit of a surprise. I did everything to go in the break. I couldn’t but eventually I finished 5th, it’s not so bad! There were not a lot of us left in the last climb. Luis Leon Sanchez attacked from the top, I followed him but I’m not a sprinter, just a climber. I’m in shape, I’m waiting for the mountain but I must stay a little bit more focused because I do the beginning of the stages, and also the end. I must just find a precise goal and hope it will work out.”

Overall leader, Darwin Atapuma (BMC): “At the moment, I am at the best possible place in the classification. I’m happy. I’m enjoying the moment. I think the team deserves that and I do as well. It was a long, tricky day, but the team worked really well to help me to keep the red jersey. In the descent, 15km from the finish, Philippe [Gilbert] crashed. I was in his wheel and, luckily, I didn’t go to the ground as well.

Break rider, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling): “I really thought I could win. But the final part was slightly uphill and it was super hard. The peloton started chasing full gas and didn’t leave me a chance. I want to win a stage. I gave everything today. I’m going to try again. The legs are good and that’s the main good news from this stage. But when I saw that in the 2nd category climb the Orica started to pull, I knew it would be hard to go all the way.”

Break rider, Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale): “It’s too bad that we could not cooperate at the front. The others didn’t seem to understand that two minutes over the peloton was really not enough. Really hats off to Fraile and Frank to have raced so badly. I had left a little bit of strength in my crash yesterday but I still wonder what Frank thought about when he attacked like he did with a 3-km climb ahead and the peloton 40 seconds behind. And then Zeits did not want to ride with me. It was really rubbish.”

Break rider, Omar Fraile (Dimension Data): “Since the start of the break, we knew it would be difficult as we had Losada and Mendes with us. I had to attack, make a gap and hope the peloton would slow down. I tried, but it was very windy and it was too hard. But the most important thing is that I tried it and I’m feeling well. We are at the beginning of the Vuelta and there’s a lot left. From the first day I said I wanted a stage and that’s what I will keep fighting for. But KOM points come along as I try to win, I won’t say no to that.”

KOM, Alexandre Geniez (FDJ): “As far as my sensations go, it was not worse than yesterday but when I saw the size of the gruppetto, I realized lots of riders are tired. I hung out at the start but since I had nothing to hope for and since the heat doesn’t do me any good, I’m going to take it easy in the next two days, that should be a little more relaxed. And then there’s a hell of a finish to look forward to on Saturday!”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “I’m happy there weren’t any incidents and making it to the finish out of trouble every day can be considered a success. There were a few really dangerous descents but, fortunately, it wasn’t raining. Even though it seemed today would be a stage for other riders, it was a stage for the GC contenders. We all had to be very attentive and well positioned. The race was full on during the entire day and, combined with the heat, it was a stage that took its toll. I think that in this Vuelta there will be a lot of surprises in the final week. It will be a long race with very demanding stages that hardly have a meter of flat terrain, and that will show. I feel well, although we haven’t had any major climbs yet. However, the sensations are good.”

Vuelta a España Stage 6 Result:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange in 4:05:00
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:20
3. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:22
4. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC
5. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) FDJ
6. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar
7. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:29
9. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
10. Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 6:
1. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC in 21:45:21
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:28
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky 0:00:32
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:38
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:38
6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 1:07
7. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 1:12
8. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Sky at 1:14
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:22
10. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 1:28.

Stage 6:

Jonas Van Genechten rewarded his IAM Cycling team in their last Grand Tour when he out-powered a bunch depleted by a crash shortly before the line to win Stage 7 of the Vuelta in Puebla de Sanabria. The peloton had just reeled in escapees Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) when Alberto Contador and several other riders crashed, splitting the pack. Van Genechten did not miss his chance to surge and hand his team, who fold at the end of the season, their third victory in three Grand Tours this season.

After several attempts the break of the day took shape at kilometer 12 with Victor Campenaerts (LottoNl-Jumbo), Johan Le Bon (FDJ), Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal), Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Vegard Laengen (IAM Cycling) and Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis). The Spaniard collected the points on offer on the third category Puerto de Allariz (25.3km) and Alto de Fumaces (80km), but the lead of the six never exceeded 3:32.

Astana raised the tempo and the escapees were pulled back with 43.5 km to go as a split took place in the peloton, trapping Samuel Sanchez and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) at the back. Sanchez managed to returned on his own. The Kazakh team, emulating Orica-BikeExchange the previous day, kept pulling and Dario Cataldo went with 30 km to go. The Italian was quickly joined by his team-mate Luis Leon Sanchez, Italy’s Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step), Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) and the relentless Maté, who collected the points at the top of Alto de Padornelo. On this climb, attacks took place from all corners of the bunch but to no avail.

With 15 kilometers to go, the five retained a slim 30-second lead but the final descent was too long to hold the chasing pack at bay. Luis Leon Sanchez and Clarke refused to call it a day and were only caught 300 meters from the line. At the junction, Contador and several others, including Samuel Senchez, missed a corner and the peloton reached the final stretch in disorder, allowing Van Genechten to sprint for the biggest win in his career. Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff) was second and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was third. Darwin Apatuma (BMC) retained his overall lead.

Race report HERE.

Puebla de Sanabria - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Vangenechten Jonas (Belgium / IAM Cycling) - Bennati Daniele (Italie / Team Tinkoff - Tinkov) - Valverde Belmonte Alejandro (Spain / Team Movistar) pictured during stage 7 from Maceda to Puebla de Sanabria - Vuelta Espana 2016 - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2016

Interview with stage winner, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling):
It’s your first stage win in a Grand Tour, how does it feel?
“It’s the greatest line on my record. I hope to go on like this. It’s my first Grand Tour. In this Vuelta, there are a few possibilities left but there are scarce. There’s the stage to Peniscola (stage 16) and then Madrid (stage 21). It’s my second year with IAM Cycling and this year we won a stage on every Grand Tour, it’s exceptional for my team. Spain is my second country, I ride here a lot. It was important for me to win here.”

How did it go in the last kilometer?
“There were two riders in the front (Luis Leon Sanchez and Simon Clarke), there was nothing I could do against that. Tinkoff was leading the pack and I was focusing on my position. I was in 4th of 5th position with 500 meters to go. They were caught when we launched the sprint but I didn’t want to have any regrets, to be blocked along the barriers and that’s why I went to the left. I did something great.”

What did you see from the crash in the last kilometer?
“I didn’t see the crash, which means I was well placed. It was behind me. I was in 5th position since the red flame. I believe the crash did not change anything for the sprint. I saw that Alejandro Valverde and Philippe Gilbert were there. Gianni Meersman was not far, and Tosh Van deer Sande. I knew it would be between us.”

Confidence is the key for sprinters. Where do you find yours?
“It’s the great problem with sprinters. You can spend a whole season looking for it. You must find your marks and not be afraid. Confidence is one of my flaws. I try not to think too much and count on my luck. I’m not of the same calibre as Greipel or Kittel, I’m far less powerful. I feel better in slightly uphill finishes.”

IAM Cycling stops at the end of the season, are you looking for a team?
“It’s almost done. But nothing’s official yet. There are quite a few teams that I like but I chose a team with a tradition for classics and sprints. It’s on its way.”

2nd, Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff): “At three kilometers I tried to go for the sprint and maybe win the stage for the bonifcation. I almost won but the guy from IAM Cycling blocked me a bit but that’s normal. I could not try to come back. We lost the stage but we managed to keep Alberto in a good position, that’s the main thing.”

3rd, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “Everybody arrived at the finish with no strength left. We didn’t know if the break would make it, we could see Luis León and Clarke but we had to catch them. We finally did it 100 meters from the finish. We will see how it goes tomorrow, from now on, we will go day by day. I have great feelings even if the race has been hard. The crash took place because there’s a lot of tension and everybody wants to go in the first positions.”

4th, Philippe Gilbert (BMC): “There’s not much to say really. I was fourth on today’s stage so it was not really a good result. The main thing is that I have nothing wrong with me from the crash yesterday. I definitely missed this opportunity today to win the stage, but we will see for later. I’m not sure exactly which stage will be suited to be as we are now heading for the mountains and then the rest day, but a stage similar to today’s is another good opportunity.”

9th, Romain Hardy (Cofidis): “I don’t know how far I finished, in the top eight? (9th). I was a little surprised by the Astana move. There was no sidewind, more of a headwind. But they really hurt in the end. I was not concerned by the crash yet I was in the wheel of Bagdonas, who sent Contador to the ground. It was a hectic sprint in the last three kilometers. In the sprint, I didn’t feel so good today. Now I’m going to try to go in a break and see how it goes.”

Overall leader, Darwin Atapuma (BMC): “Today it was a fairly quiet stage for me because the team worked well and controlled the stage and let me conserve my energy. Like yesterday the breakaway wasn’t a threat to the GC so we were happy to let them get away as long as they were kept at a realistic distance ahead. We reacted quickly when Astana Pro Team put the pressure on and we stayed calm to bring Samuel Sanchez back to the group. The only tricky and dangerous part was the finish and I needed to brake to avoid the crash, but I stayed alert and got to the finish line without any problems. I never thought that I would have the red jersey for 4 days as I have been taking things day by day. I’m very lucky to keep it for a fourth day but the most important thing for me is that I have good condition. The GC contenders are so strong here that I expected the overall leader to change but I am enjoying every moment in red for as long as I can keep it.”

Near stage winner, Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac): “In a way I am disappointed, but you must keep pulling way and time will come. You could see from earlier on that Astana were setting something up. I knew it was for Luis Leon. I watched for Talansky with always an eye on Luis Leon. I knew they were going to use Dario Cataldo as a launch pad. So when he went I thought I’ll get in front of him and then Luis came across and we were just full gas to the line. Luis was so strong it was petty hard to match his pulls. It was not so much of a disappointment because I was racing for second place anyway. Luis showed what a classy bike rider he is and how strong he was today.”

Break Rider, Luis Ángel Maté (Cofidis): “There was not enough collaboration in the break. They weren’t the best break mates, they lacked a bit of energy. It allowed me to stay stronger in the end but, ideally, there should have been more guys in the break. In the end, everybody was strong but there was no collaboration. We had Brambilla, who said he couldn’t pull because he had Meersman behind, and I think it was a mistake. If the five of us had pulled, I am sure we would have made it. To win is another story, but at least we would have gone to the line. We have raced just six days but it’s true that there have been good opportunities. You have to chose the good days and today I thought it was one. This Vuelta has an attractive course, with a lot of interesting days and I will try to be strong on those.”

KOM, Alexandre Geniez (FDJ): “In the Vuelta, these are false transition stages but for me it went better. I had recovered a bit. The finale was dangerous, we saw it with Contador’s crash. Tomorrow, I know I’m going to lose the polka-dot jersey. I spent a good time in it but I don’t focus on it. If I have to take it back, it will have to be through a breakaway. I first must be in it.”

Break rider, Victor Campenaerts (LottoNl-Jumbo): “I felt good and was happy that I could go along with the escape, of course, you hope that the sprinters’ teams are not interested in this stage. But if you see the gap remains the same, you know that the peloton is controlling the break. With only 40 kilometers to go, suddenly there was the pack and I tried with Mate (Cofidis) to stay as long as possible in front, but that was just for fun. With Astana on the front and with 40 kilometers to go, you know it does not make sense anymore. I have a good feeling and I hope that I can hold this the coming weeks, I look forward to the time trial in the last week. I wonder how my legs will feel in my first grand tour.”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “With 800m to go I was very well positioned so I told Benna to go for the sprint. With 400m to go on a left corner I was hit by someone that likes braking a lot and crashed on my left side. I took a big hit on my calf and my quad, and in general I have extensive superficial wounds on the entire left side of my body. It hurts a lot but it seems that there’s nothing broken. We have a long transfer to the hotel of 120km now – I will rest for the night and tomorrow morning we will assess my situation.”

Vuelta a España Stage 7 Result:
1. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) IAM Cycling in 3:55:44
2. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
5. Kevin Reza (Fra) FDJ
6. Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
9. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
10. Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 7:
1. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC in 25:41:21
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:08
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:42
4. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:48
5. Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-BikeExchange
6. Leopold König (Cze) Sky at 1:09
7. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 1:32
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:38
9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar
10. David de la Cruz Melgarejo (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step at 2:11.

Stage 7:

Russian Sergey Lagutin (Katusha) out-sprinted Frenchmen Axel Domont (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie) on the final ramp of Stage 8 for his biggest win. The battle between the GC leaders put Darwin Apatuma (BMC) into the leaders red jersey ahead of teammate, Alejandro Valverde and tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky). Alberto Contador bounced back from his crash in stage 7 to move up into 7th overall.

The break of the day included: Gatis Smukulis (Astana), Zico Waeytens (Giant-Alpecin), Axel Domont (AG2R-La Mondiale), Sergey Lagutin and Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha), Pieter Serry (Etixx – Quick-Step), Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida), Loïc Chetout (Cofidis), Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon18) and Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie). The group escaped after 9km and after 105km they 9 minutes over the peloton led by BMC for race leader, Darwin Atapuma. With 40 kilometers to go it was 10:30 and the break was guaranteed to succeed.

At the start of the final climb of the Alto de la Camperona, Restrepo tried to go solo, but the young Colombian cracked on the steepest part of the climb. With 1 kilometer to go; Serry, Lagutin, Domont and Quemeneur were together at the front of the race to fight it out for the victory. Lagutin put in a mighty attack in the last 200 meters, which no one could answer for the win.

In the GC group; Chris Froome tried to shake the race up by lifting the pace on one of the steepest ramps, but after dropping Contador, he suddenly lost his strength and Quintana attacked to take the red jersey. Froome was passed by Contador in the final section.

Quintana now leads overall from his team-mate Alejandro Valverde by 19 seconds with Froome 3rd at 27. Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange) had a bad day and is 4th at 57 seconds, while Alberto Contador jumped to 7th, but is at 1:39.

PEZ photo report HERE.

La Camperona. Valle de Sabero - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Lagutin Sergey (Russia / Team Katusha) pictured during stage 8 from Villalpando to La Camperona. Valle de Sabero - Vuelta Espana 2016 - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2016

KOM and stage winner, Sergey Lagutin (Katusha): “It’s a dream come true. I never thought about this. To win a stage like this in a Grand Tour, at 35-years-old, I still can’t believe it. I guess it proves it’s not all over for me. It was a perfect break, we worked really well together and it was good to have two of us in the break. I could rest in the finale because Jhonathan was in the front. Restrepo did a great job, he deserved the most aggressive rider jersey and he was as happy as I was at the finish. The finish didn’t really fit me. I just caught the right breakaway with some strong climbers and I was able to win the stage. This is the most important victory of my entire career. I’m happy it finally happened to me. We kind of planned our move on the climb. I could see that Restrepo was excited when he attacked and he showed he had good legs. I was able to sit in the wheel of the breakaway, not work and save my energy. All the little things came together for us. All thanks to our sports directors who were talking to us on the radios and telling us what to do. I will try to keep this climbing jersey for the next few days.”

2nd on the stage, Axel Domont (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I didn’t have the legs to follow Lagutin. I have no regrets. All day, I played it safe, I was never in the red. It was almost a win but Lagutin still had a team-mate and he didn’t do any work in the climb. On paper he’s a little bit stronger than me and if you add it up, I didn’t have a chance. He struck with 200 meters to go and it was decisive. I finished second, it’s my best result of the season, my best result as a pro. It’s better to win but I’m not going to complain about a second place.”

3rd, Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie): “The first days, I was hampered by stomach pains and I had to wait for them to go. I was letting myself being dropped every day towards the end of the stage to go for stages like today’s. Today I had good legs but I wasn’t strong enough. I did it on guts. There was no super climber in the beak. I love breakaways and on the Vuelta, if there’s a chance, I’m glad to be par of it. Third isn’t bad, but I believe I can do better. At my age, only victory counts. I’m going to try everyday until the Breton that I am has nothing left in the tank.”

4th, Mattia Cattaneo (Lampre-Merida): “I saw that this climb was very hard and in the last few kilometers I decided to miss my turns to start the climb. In the last kilometer, I didn’t have very good legs. It was very, very close but I did the best I could.”

6th, Jacques Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data): “I was focused on getting into the break today as we knew there was going to be two races on today. The race for the stage and the race for the GC guys. It was already a good job getting into the move. I felt good all day and was really focusing on doing everything right to give myself and the team the best chance at a stage win. In the end I missed a lot of power and ended 6th after giving my best. I am happy with the end result and am happy knowing that I can be even better.”

3rd overall, Chris Froome (Sky): “It was a tough climb. Nairo showed he was in good condition, chapeau to him. Alberto did great, especially after yesterday’s crash. He showed he’s a fighter. Myself? I’m surviving.”

2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “Everybody finished the same way after such an intense week of racing. But we are OK, on the right path. Nairo has the red jersey and I’m second with the white jersey. So far, so good. I’m satisfied by today, with Nairo at the front, Alberto [Contador] behind and then me and Froome. We cannot ask for more. It’s my third Grand Tour this year and I’m fighting every day. 3rd yesterday, everyday with the best… we are super happy. Now the situation has changed, but not so much. We are leaders, and if I have to work, I will. Today I made the tempo. Then, Froome attacked, but Nairo was just stronger. For now, I keep feeling good, fighting for stages, and while there’s strength left, I will keep trying. Before we had the jersey, I had freedom and I still have some. If I keep feeling well, even working for Nairo, I can be at the front. Whichever way the Vuelta ends, I will be really happy with the things I’ve done.”

Points leader, Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Today, that was the only thing I could do for the team: go fetch bottles and pull in the finale to lead out Gianluca Brambilla at the bottom of the climb. Afterwards, I rode at my own pace but it was really hard. I’m going to try and defend the green jersey but it’s not going to be easy tomorrow and Monday because Valverde is very strong and a much better climber than me. But I will try.”

20th overall, George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo): “I made some mistakes before the final climb, so I didn’t start it in optimal form, I pushed as hard as I could, afterwards. I exploded in the end, so I lost some places in the final kilometers. I was really disappointed after Steven Kruijswijk had to leave the Vuelta, but I’m making some new plans and I’m eager to make the most of it.”

Interview with race leader, Nairo Quintana (Movistar):
Is it a revenge from two years ago?

“I always come to this race with a good level and fitness to race well. I was in a position to take the jersey and I did. I hope I will be able to keep it until the last day.”

How was the stage today?
“It was a really quick stage, very hard with a lot of wind. The final climb was very demanding, really steep. But we managed to defend ourselves and respond to the attacks.”

How do you see the next two days?
“There are a lot of mountain stages left. It will be difficult, with a lot of tension. But I believe that with the team, we will be able to defend the jersey. We Colombians always train very hard for this race and thanks to the support we receive from the whole country, we are strong.”

How do rate yourself against Froome?
“Today you could see I was able to respond to all his attacks. I’m confident I’m capable to keep responding to his attacks. I’m in a good shape.”

Do you think we’ll know who has won the Vuelta on Tuesday?
“There are a lot of mountain stages ahead and also a time trial which is going to be crucial for the GC. Each day is really nervous and we won’t know who has won the Vuelta until the last day.”

What is going to be your relationship with Alejandro Valverde from now on?
“We’ve already worked very well together. I came here as a leader and I know that Alejandro will help me. It’s a personal challenge for him to finish this Vuelta and I’m sure he’ll do great.”

Interview with 7th overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff):
Which objective did you have for today?

“I can’t say I had a time gap or an objective for today. For now, I’m alive. I just wanted not to lose time to Froome if it was possible. When I saw I had the legs to pass him, I told myself: You have to take advantage of this opportunity. Tomorrow will be another day, with more mountain passes than today. Sometimes, you feel the pain of a crash more two days after, so I will keep going to the hotel by car instead of the bus to have more time to work with the physiotherapist.”

Does today’s result change your plans? From trying not to lose time to take some back…
“For now, I have to take it like I did today. I have not gained so much time, but everything counts. Races are won and lost by seconds nowadays. The start of the Vuelta was really bad for us, with the loss at the TTT and my bad day at Ézaro. From now one, I will go day by day and see how it goes.”

Vuelta a España Stage 8 Result:
1. Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Katusha in 4:09:30
2. Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:10
3. Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:17
4. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:24
5. Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:40
6. Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data at 0:55
7. Scott Thwaites (GB) Bora-Argon 18 at 1:11
8. Gatis Smukulis (Lat) Astana at 1:30
9. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha
10. Loïc Chetout (Fra) Cofidis at 1:44.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 8:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 29:55:54
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:19
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:27
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:57
5. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 1:16
6. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC at 1:36
7. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 1:39
8. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 1:44
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:46
10. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC.

Stage 8:

David de la Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step) broke away with eleven other riders to give Spain its first stage win in this edition of the Vuelta a España and took away the red jersey from Nairo Quintana (Movistar) in Oviedo on Stage 9. The Catalan rider dropped his last breakaway companion, Belgian Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling), in the last 600 meters to give his Etixx – Quick-Step team their third stage victory in this Tour of Spain. Italy’s Moreno Moser (Cannondale-Drapac) was third. Quintana’s Movistar team was content to let the red jersey slip away, the Colombian crossed the line at the top of Alto del Naranco 2:50 after De La Cruz.

After 12 km the group of 12: Dylan Teuns (BMC), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Alexandre Geniez (FDJ), Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), David de la Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step), Moreno Moser and Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac), Mathias Frank and Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling), Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 18) and Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). With De la Cruz only 2:46 behind Nairo Quintana on GC, Movistar took on the chase.

Among the 12 escapees, three riders were battling it out for KOM points. De Gendt was first at the top of the Puerto de San Isidro (2nd cat, 60km), ahead of Geniez and Clarke. The result was the same on the Alto de Santo Emiliano (117km) as the breakaway group led the pack by five minutes. After picking up the points and taking the polka-dot jersey away from Sergey Lagutin (Katusha), De Gendt went on his own for a while but was quickly pulled back. He still collected three more points on the Alto de San Tirso (3rd cat) ahead of Clarke and Geniez.

Attacks by Devenyns and Bakelants shook the leading bunch in the last 25 kilometers, but the two Belgians were reeled in ten kilometers further down the road. Devenyns tried again, this time with De la Cruz.

At the foot of the Alto del Naranco, De Gendt tried to cross to the two front riders, but too late. Devenyns, who will join Etixx – Quick-Step next season, was unable to hang on when de la Cruz attacked and the Spaniard went all the way to his most prestigious victory to date.

Behind; the main pack climbed the Alto del Naranco together and finished within three minutes of the escapees, not enough however to avoid another change of leadership. De La Cruz now leads Quintana by 22 seconds and Alejandro Valverde by 41.

Race report HERE.

David de la Cruz 133(ETIXX QUICKSTEP)Gana la 9ª Etapa de la Vuelta a España entre Cistierna-Oviedo Alto del Naranco

Stage winner and overall leader, David De la Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step):
We saw a lot of emotions on your face at the finish, what did you feel?

“It was a very special moment and a reward after all the bad moments I had in recent seasons. A stage win in the Vuelta and the red jersey on top of it with the level of the filed in this edition is really surprising.”

Did you think the break could succeed?
“I wanted to get in the break because I could see there might be chances to go for the red jersey but when I saw that the peloton did not give us much time and kept the gap around 4:30, I thought it would be hard. I hoped for the gap to go up to eight or nine minutes but they didn’t let us. When we got to the Alto del Naranco knowing that a peloton can easily take two minutes back immediately, I started doubting and riding only with the stage victory in mind. The red jersey was an extra.”

Does it make it special to take the jersey away from Nairo Quintana?
“It’s incredible. It’s been a magic year for the team. We’ve been leaders of the Giro, now leaders of the Vuelta. What we’re achieving is really great with the two previous stage victories by Gianni Meersman. And we’re only halfway through the Vuelta. Getting the red jersey, the white jersey and the stage wins is amazing.”

Joaquin Rodriguez won here three years ago. He must have been an inspiration…
“Even more so now that he has retired. It’s really beautiful to take his legacy this way. He’s a rider who won’t be easy to emulate. Spain will have to wait a long time to find another rider like him. I’m really touched to follow on the footsteps of one of the greatest Catalan riders ever and one of the best in the world.”

What is the plan now for Etixx-Quick Step?
“This doesn’t change our plans. Our stronger rider is still Gianluca Brambilla. Last year he was close to top 10 and he’s in better shape than last year. All the energy we left in today’s stage will have consequences tomorrow but we’ll stick to our strategy of going for stage wins and try to help Gianluca as much as possible.”

Did it help that you knew the final climb?
“I don’t think the fact I had good memories here changed anything. But it’s true I made the podium of the Tour of Asturias on that climb. Today is possibly the reward of the work I did that day.”

How many days do you think you can keep the red jersey?
“If we had to sprint stages ahead of us, it would be better. But it will be really difficult tomorrow without the finale at the Lagos of Cavagonda. I didn’t feel really good yesterday, the climb was too steep for me but generally, my level of climbing is quite good. I prefer not to think about the jersey but keep enjoying this with my team. I’m going to sweat and fight and see where it takes me. I don’t think that this will change my career plan. I’m going to keep trying to get stage victories and see how far I can go. Cycling is made of ups and down. You can’t relax. I don’t want to get carried away. I want to ride a good Vuelta and then we’ll see.”

Points leader, Gianni Meersman (Etixx-Quick Step): “We’re all really happy for David, who’s a great guy, always relaxed, very focused on his job. We all told him this morning: go in the break even if you’re 13th in the GC. He took the break, won the stage, took two jerseys, the white and the red, it’s three jerseys for the team. It’s amazing because he works really hard for the team all year round. We’re all really happy for him today.”

2nd, Dries Devenyns (IAM Cycling): “I cannot use a small mechanical problem as an excuse. David De la Cruz was too strong for me in the last kilometer. I spent the day in a group of tough guys and I was feeling super good but he was simply stronger than I was. Of course it’s frustrating. My goal was to win the stage but there will be other chances and I’m going to try to take another breakaway and hopefully to win.”

3rd, Moreno Moser (Cannondale-Drapac): “I’m glad with this result. Of course I would have liked to win but we were all surprised by the attack by Devenyns and De la Cruz before the final climb and afterwards, we didn’t get on well, it was too tactical. The main goal for the team is to help Andrew Talansky get the best GC result but I will again try to breakaway to win a stage.”

7th overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “I passed the day without problems, let’s see if tomorrow I keep improving. First, I want to maintain this level and then, obviously, if there’s a chance I will attack. But, from now on, I think I have to give my body a bit of time and not want to go too fast. Today I was feeling a bit stiff, not really fresh, but we went through it and tomorrow, we will see how it goes. Yesterday was a good day for me, because the most important thing was to survive and, finally, I even took time off some favorites. Today was a quieter day, we already knew Alto del Naranco is a climb where it is difficult to make gaps. The legs have been good, now the important thing is to rest and to keep working with the physiotherapists in order to be a bit better tomorrow.”

KOM, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “I was fighting for the stage but once I was in the break, I told myself I could also go for the points. It was a great battle with Alexandre Geniez today. There are lots of days left to try and breakaway again but I’m glad about what I did today. I dream of winning a stage in the Vuelta like I did on the Giro and the Tour this year but I don’t know if it will be possible this time. If I can’t, I’ll try again in the future. It would be a great achievement for me to complete my Grand Tour record.”

Vuelta a España Stage 9 Result:
1. David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step in 3:47:56
2. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:27
3. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:33
4. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:51
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling
6. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ at 0:53
7. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Bora-Argon 18 at 0:58
8. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:04
9. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 1:10.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 9:
1. David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step in 33:46:24
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:22
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:41
4. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:49
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange at 1:19
6. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 1:38
7. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 2:01
8. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC at 2:06
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 2:07
10. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 2:08.

Stage 9:

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Bretagne Classic – Ouest France 2016
Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling) managed to stay clear of a speeding peloton to win the GP Ouest France-Plouay WorldTour race. Second placed Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale-Drapac) had been with Naesen and also held off Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) who led the peloton in for 3rd place.

Naesen and Bettiol along with Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) had escaped with 40 kilometers to go. Gougeard was dropped before the final lap and the remaining three only had around a minute advantage as the crossed the line with one lap to go. Martin was next to go and a bunch sprint looked inevitable. In the end Naesen went solo in the final meters for the win.

Plouay - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Dries Devenyns (Belgium / IAM Cycling) pictured during  the 50th Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France 2016 in Plouay, France - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2016

Winner, Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling): “This is by far the biggest win of my career. This is the first time I have succeeded in winning a WorldTour event. That automatically gives such a success a special flavor. When I crossed the line, I realized that this sort of emotion is the reason I train so hard. It’s an incredible feeling to have all those sacrifices finally rewarded. I don’t ride my bike to finish 50th. I like to win. Alberto Bettiol was very strong, but I knew I could impose my strength. With one kilometer to go, I felt that the peloton would not catch us. When I launched my sprint, I immediately found myself alone. I could really enjoy my moment.”

Bretagne Classic – Ouest France Result:
1. Oliver Naesen (Bel) IAM Cycling in 5:58:46
2. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:02
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:05
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange
5. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
6. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
7. Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ
8. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data.

Bretagne Classic 2016:

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Tour du Poitou-Charentes 2016
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) won the morning Stage 3 of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes in a bunch sprint, a day after crashing in stage 2. The Frenchman beat Danilo Napolitano (Wanty-Groupe-Gobert) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) for first place, and after race leader Rom Van Asbroeck (LottoNl-Jumbo) had crashed it was enough for Bouhanni to move back into the overall lead before the time trial stage in the afternoon.

Tour du Poitou-Charentes Stage 3 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 2:15:01
2. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
4. Andrew Fenn (GB) Sky
5. Dennis Van Winden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky
9. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo
10. Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie.

Tour du Poitou-Charentes Overall After Stage 3:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 11:00:22
2. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Team LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:06
3. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:08
4. Sander Helven (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:10
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Trestina-Southeast
7. Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:11
8. Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Roubaix Metropole Europeenne De Lille
9. Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:12
10. Fabien Touze (Fra) HP-BTP Auber 93 at 0:13.

Stage 3:

Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) might be one of the ‘old men’ of the pro peloton, but he can still power it in the time trial as he won Stage 4 of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes. The Frenchman beat Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo) and Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) by 30 seconds on 23km course and took over the lead ahead of the final stage 5.

Tour du Poitou-Charentes Stage 4 Result:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie in 26:51
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:30
3. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar
4. Primož Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:33
5. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky at 0:51
6. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ at 0:55
7. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ at 0:57
8. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 1:02
9. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Giant-Alpecin at 1:08
10. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:12.

Tour du Poitou-Charentes Overall After Stage 4:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie in 11:27:29
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:30
3. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar
4. Primož Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:33
5. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky at 0:51
6. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ at 0:55
7. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ at 0:57
8. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 1:02
9. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Giant-Alpecin at 1:08
10. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:12.

Chavanel won stage 4:
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Team LottoNL-Jumbo won the points jersey, the youth jersey and the team classification at Tour du Poitou Charentes this week. In the Final Stage 5, Tom Asbroeck sprinted to sixth. The sprint in the streets of Poitiers was won by the Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) ahead of Ben Swift (Team Sky) and Romain Feillu (Auber 93). Sylvain Chavanel won the general classification and Wilco Kelderman finished second overall.

In the last stage, between Thouars and Poitiers, a couple of escapes went free but the bunch with 40 men prepared for the sprint behind.

“The lead out was not perfect, Van Asbroeck got stuck in the front and couldn’t sprint for the victory,” Sports Director Frans Maassen.

It was the third time Van Asbroeck sprinted to a finish in the top six, counting his stage win in the second stage. His good results earned him the points jersey.

Wilco Kelderman
Wilco Kelderman finished second in the GC behind the experienced Sylvain Chavanel. The GC was mainly settled in the time trial in the fourth stage, where Kelderman finished 30 seconds behind the Frenchman.

“I had expected that Chavanel would go fast, but I didn’t know the he would beat me by 30 seconds,” Kelderman said. “The race was not difficult enough in the final stage, for me it would have been better if there was a mountain in it.

Wilco Kelderman finished in the peloton and maintained his second place, which also helped him take home the white jersey. “It’s nice that I won a jersey. It was a beautiful race with the stage win of Van Asbroeck and we won the points jersey and the team classification. That makes for a good atmosphere in the team. ”

Maassen knew it would be difficult to win the GC in the last stage. “Before the time-trial, I said that whoever beats Oliveira would win the race, Wilco did it with a minor difference. But Chavanel rode even harder. And, the gap was too big to overcome in the last stage.

‘Good team work’
“I have seen a good team all week, which is nice if you are the sport director behind them,” Maassen added. “With a stage victory, the team classification, second place in the overall standings and two jerseys you should definitely be satisfied.
Thanks to the LottoNl-Jumbo team.

Tour du Poitou-Charentes Stage 5 Result:
1. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4:03:42
2. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
3. Romain Feillu (Fra) HP-BTP Auber 93
4. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Roubaix Metropole Europeenne De Lille
5. Daniel Mclay (GB) Fortuneo-Vital Concept
6. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo
7. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ
8. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Anthony Maldonado (Fra) HP-BTP Auber 93
10. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie.

Tour du Poitou-Charentes Final Overall Result:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie in 15:31:11
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:30
3. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar
4. Primož Roglič (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:33
5. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky at 0:51
6. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ at 0:55
7. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 0:56
8. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ at 0:57
9. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:12
10. Sam Oomen (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 1:20.

Stage 5:

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Trek-Segafredo Reinforces Time Trial Squad with Matthias Brändle
Matthias Brändle will join Trek-Segafredo for the 2017-2018 seasons. The reigning Austrian champion and former hour record holder will reinforce the time trial capacity in the team.

Brändle, 26, currently racing with IAM Cycling, is an all-rounder with results in one day races and weeklong stage races, but it is his prowess against the clock that has garnered him his best accolades: four-time Austrian national champion (2009, 2013, 2014, 2016), and setting the new hour record in October 2014 to become the youngest record holder in over 50 years.

Brändle is excited about his transfer: “Joining Trek-Segafredo is a big opportunity for me. The team is known to have highly skilled trainers, especially for the TT, and I am really looking forward to working with them and to learn from their expertise.”

“Sure, I would love to take [the hour record] back one day, maybe. But right now, I first want to focus on integrating into the team as soon as possible. I want to be a good helper for our leaders, but that said, I also want to keep making progression over the years and in the end win bigger races than what I’ve won until now. Who knows, one day maybe I’ll win the prologue in the Tour de France? If I could wear the yellow jersey, should it be only for one day, I would be happy as a king!”

General Manager, Luca Guercilena: “I am very happy to have Matthias on the team for next season. Over the past few years, he has proven to be very consistent in races against the clock. You don’t break a World Hour record just like that; it means you have the physical and mental strength to push yourself further, to search for your limits, and maybe even to extend them.

“Brändle does not only perform well on the longer distances, but he is also a true prologue specialist, which creates opportunities to take the leader’s jersey in stage races. He has shown to be a very good breakaway rider and can win stages and one-day races. I am confident he will be a great asset to the team.”

Matthias Brändle:
Luxembourg - Luxembourg  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Matthias Brandle (Austria / IAM Cycling)  pictured during the Prologue (2,8 km) of the  Tour de Luxembourg 2016 - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

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Clement signs with Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Stef Clement joins Team LottoNL-Jumbo from January 1st in 2017. The Dutchman is ready for a role as a team captain after two years with IAM Cycling. He signs for two years with the Dutch World Tour team.

“I heard in May that IAM Cycling was about to quit as a team after this season,” Stef Clement says. “At that moment, I was on a mountain with a broken collarbone, doing a training camp at altitude. I didn’t have a good spring and I didn’t have too much to count on in negotiations, but I had to look for a new team. I kept on working on myself since that moment. That’s why I went to IAM Cycling in the first place. To develop myself as a person and as a rider and this is a good moment to return to the place where I want to be the most.”

Important factor
Technical Director Nico Verhoeven is delighted with Clement’s return. “He showed what he’s capable of in the Dauphiné, the Tour de France and the Arctic Race,” he adds. “He’s acting on a high level and might be an important factor in our team for the grand tours. To support Steven Kruijswijk in the Giro d’Italia is going to be a target for him. We are getting stronger with Clement and Van den Broeck.”

“I come to the team to help the overall competitors uphill,” Clement concludes. “I never experienced how it feels to go for a strong result in the general classification of a grand tour. Now I did, I think that I will be able to support our front men more accurately. I didn’t improve in my time trial in Switzerland and while I was busy working on myself, Team LottoNL-Jumbo improved as well. They were the strongest team in time trials, often. That was an eye-opener for me.”

Stef Clement:
Tour de France 2015 - stage 9

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Etixx – Quick-Step and David De La Cruz continue together
The 27-year-old Spaniard inked a deal which will see him stay with the squad beyond 2016.

Etixx – Quick-Step is happy to announce that it has extended the agreement of David De La Cruz, a key support rider whose new contract underlines our focus on the future. On the team since 2015, David is currently riding the Vuelta a España, where he’s put in a really impressive ride in the opening week, which comes as further confirmation of the steps forward he made in the past two seasons under the guidance of Etixx – Quick-Step’s technical staff.

“I am very happy to have reached this agreement. Etixx – Quick-Step is the best team for me, a second home, where I enjoy being. I feel excellent here, I get along with everyone and it is thanks to this relationship with the team and the staff that I’ve developed so much. I want to continue on this path, I want to bring my contribution to the team’s success and try to win a race”, said the Spanish climber, who got to learn the trade at World Tour level in a wide range of races, from the Ardennes Classics to the Grand Tours.

Patrick Lefevere, Etixx – Quick-Step’s CEO, was content with De La Cruz’s decision to stay on board, and is confident that the 27-year-old can take things to a whole new level in the next seasons: “Since joining us, David put himself on the radar with some solid showings, so it was only natural to continue our collaboration. A loyal rider and a really great person, he’s always been there for the team, performing well in a variety of races. Last but not least, we must not forget he’s young and we don’t know yet what his limits are, as he still has plenty of room for improvement.”

David De La Cruz:
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Giant-Alpecin Adds Two More Talents to its Roster from 2017 and Beyond
Team Giant-Alpecin is pleased to announce the signing of two more young talents, joining the WorldTour team from 2017. Chris Hamilton (AUS) will turn professional and join fellow Australian Michael Matthews from next season, while Lennard Hofstede (NED) also makes the step up to the professionals in the WorldTour.

Current U23 Australian road race champion, 21 year-old Hamilton already showed his talent first hand to the team when he raced to 14th overall, the only non-professional in the top-30, at the Tour Down Under, a WorldTour race in its own right, at the start of the season. The strong all-rounder also won the best young rider classification at this year’s Herald Sun Tour, as well as finishing in the top 10 overall at the Tour de Taiwan. Hamilton has signed a three-year agreement with the team.

Chris Hamilton:
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Also just 21 years of age, Hofstede has grown and progressed while racing for the Rabobank Development Team, achieving strong results along the way. The young GC rider has signed a two-year contract with the team, having shown he’s ready to take the step up with performances including a stage and the overall at the Rhône-Alpes Isére Tour (2.2), as well as third overall at the Tour de Bretagne (2.2). Hofstede also showed his strengths at one-day racing, with a fourth place at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Coach Marc Reef (NED) gave his thoughts on the team’s new signings: “We are very pleased to be signing both Chris and Lennard as we consider them to be very promising young riders with bright futures ahead of them. Chris is a talented climber who can target general classifications in the future. We will take it step-by-step, giving him the opportunity and space to develop. In that line he will race a broad program to also test himself across different type of races.

“Lennard is a versatile rider who we have been following for a longer period as he has shown his strengths over a wide range of terrains, including the more difficult races. We consider this diversity in qualities as very valuable. He has the characteristics of someone who can read the race and organize the team, and in the long term he can potentially grow into the role of a road captain.”

Clearly pleased to be making the step up to the WorldTour with the team, Hamilton said: “I am very proud to join Team Giant-Alpecin. By signing a long-term agreement the team has shown its confidence in me, giving me a steady base and the support of a very professional structure, allowing me to develop. The opportunities that I will have to grow in stage racing especially attract me.”

Hofstede said: “It’s a great opportunity. I think Team Giant-Alpecin is the best team for young riders to develop. I joined the team at the January training camp this year and experienced that I can fit in well and it’s a very close group of riders and staff. There are experienced riders who I can learn a lot from, and I am looking forward to re-joining Arthur [van Dongen] and Sam [Oomen] again. The first period will be primarily about investing time, as well as learning from and working with the team. Currently I have the role of a road captain with Rabobank Development and I hope to learn next year from the current captains so that I can one day have this role again.”

Lennard Hofstede:
Richmond - USA  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Lennard Hofstede (NED  pictured during the Worldchampionships Cycling - Championat du Monde in Richmond - Roadrace men Under 23 - photo’s Wessel van Keuk/Davy Rietbergen/Anton Vos/Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2015

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Tom Dumoulin leads provisional line-up of world-class time trialists
Olympic Games Time Trial Silver medallist Tom Dumoulin leads the latest top riders to be provisionally confirmed for this year’s Tour of Britain, which begins in Glasgow on Sunday 4 September.

The Dutchman who rides for Team Giant Alpecin is one of a quartet of top time trialists to be added to the provisional rider line-up, including Movistar Team’s British Time Trial Champion Alex Dowsett, Team Sky’s Ian Stannard and former Under-23 World Time Trial Championship Silver medallist Ryan Mullen.

The four join a provisional list of ace time trialists that already includes Sir Bradley Wiggins, Taylor Phinney and Rohan Dennis who will be targeting the Tour of Britain’s 15-kilometre individual time trial in Bristol on Saturday 10 September.

Dumoulin, who is the Dutch Time Trial Champion, will make his debut in the Tour of Britain leading Team Giant Alpecin. The 25-year-old won two stages of this Summer’s Tour de France, winning a summit finish in the Pyrenees and an individual time trial, and the opening stage time trial at the Giro d’Italia in May.

Movistar’s Alex Dowsett will ride the Tour of Britain for a sixth time, having won an individual time trial in London in 2011 and worn the Yellow Jersey for a day in 2014 after a memorable breakaway through the Chilterns. The 27-year-old is a four-time British Time Trial Champion.

Ryan Mullen is a former Irish Time Trial Champion who took second place in the 2014 Under-23 World Time Trial Championship. The Cannondale Drapac rider went to school in North Wales, close to where Stage Four will start from Denbigh on Wednesday 7 September.

“It’s one of the races I genuinely look forward to in the season,” said Mullen. “It was the first week long professional stage race I ever rode and I really hope to make a return every year.”

“The crowds are always electric and the whole atmosphere of racing on effectively home roads is so cool. Sadly it’s always an absolute slogging match but it’s one I do enjoy. I think!”

Team Sky’s Ian Stannard, a two time winner of the Het Nieuwsblad classic, is a strong time trialist in his own right, having come second behind Sir Bradley Wiggins in the time trial at Knowsley Safari Park during the 2013 Tour of Britain.

“The addition of riders of the calibre of Tom Dumoulin and Alex Dowsett to the provisional rider list will make the time trial on the Bristol Stage presented by OVO Energy a must-see event,” said Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett.

“It will be a rare treat for spectators to see the likes of Tom and Alex going head-to-head with Sir Bradley Wiggins, Rohan Dennis and others on British roads. We now look forward to seeing who will triumph on what is a tough time trial course.”

Already confirmed for the Tour of Britain are the likes of Olympic medallists Owain Doull and Mark Cavendish, plus multiple Tour de France stage winners Andre Greipel, and Steve Cummings, and former Tour of Britain summit finish stage winners Wout Poels and Edoardo Zardini.

Three-hours of live coverage will be broadcast from each stage of the Tour of Britain, with both ITV4 and the BIKE Channel UK showing the race live, while ITV4 will also air a one-hour highlights program each day.

The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step.

Tom Dumoulin:
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Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
An Important Project has Taken its Early Steps.
In a conference which took place in Beijing, our sports group was officially assigned as basis for the development of the first World Tour team sustained by a Chinese main sponsor, thanks to the cooperation with TJ Sport Consultation(photo, form left: Deng, Orlando Govi, Louis Shi, Mauro Gianetti, Giuseppe Saronni, Li zhiqiang, George Wang, Lowis Liu).

One of the commitment of TJ Sport Consultation, whose president is Mr Li Zhiqiang, is the development of the cycling in all its usage purposes: cycling as a means of transport which promotes a sustainable mobility and cycling as sports to be developped in all its disciplines and categories. The coordinator of this project is Mauro Gianetti.

The World Tour team, which will continue along and will boost the activity of the traditional Italian sports group which collected bunch of successes in more than two decades in the most important cycling races, will be the flag for the promotion of this project and will have long terms tasks that, on the agonistic field, will be four-year terms.

The goals of the team will be the achievement of a high level of competitiveness in the Tour de France and the development of the Chinese cycling in view of the participation to the next Olympic Games.

More details about the group of partners which support the team and the roster will be soon announced.

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