What's Cool In Road Cycling

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The Innsbruck World road championships may have just finished, but Elite race winner, Alejandro Valverde is looking forward to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics – Top Story. Race reports and video from Binche-Chimay-Binche and the Sparkassen Munsterland Giro. We look-forward to the weekend with Paris-Tours and the Giro dell’Emilia. Other cycling news: Victor Campenaerts’ Hour Record test, Giacomo Nizzolo ends season, André Greipel looks back, contract news and la Vuelta photo competition winner. A full Euro trash bag.

TOP STORY: Valverde for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
New World champion Alejandro Valverde may be 38 years of age, but he plans on riding the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020 and if he is in his present form – win!

Showing that ‘age is no barrier’ to top performance, Valverde said when he arrived back in Spain on Monday after his Innsbruck success: “This victory is beautiful, I could even retire! No, I won’t, don’t worry. I still have a year left in my contract but I confess that I would like to get to the Tokyo Games. It could be the right moment to say goodbye. I think my retirement may be there, it would be my fifth Games and if I have the level, I would like to go. It’s the medal I’m missing.”

The rider from Murcia has done his homework on the Olympic road race in Tokyo; the race in Japan has 4865 meters of climbing, very similar to the 4670 meters in Innsbruck. But that is two year away, what about next season – His Rainbow year? “Next year? The Tour de France is not on the program, but with the Tour I can’t say with certainty ‘I won’t be their.'” Sounds like a Classics/Giro d’Italia early season with a Vuelta/World championships finish, and a possible Tour de France thrown in.

Valverde’s will close his 2018 season with the Giro di Lombardia on October 13th. “I’m very hungry for success. I have done everything in cycling, so what comes now will be a gift.”

Valverde’s home town of Murcia welcomes the World champion on Tuesday:

Binche-Chimay-Binche – Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke 2018
Danny van Poppel (LottoNl-Jumbo) won Binche-Chimay-Binche – Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke on Tuesday afternoon. The fast-finisher of Team LottoNl-Jumbo didn’t wait for a bunch sprint on the cobbled uphill finish street and surprised all others with a late, but impressive attack. The victory in Hainaut region of Belgium was Van Poppel’s third of the season and the 32nd for the LottoNl-Jumbo team.

After several skirmishes, all easily nullified, Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) kicked clear of the lead group, to opened a 25-second gap. Despite not being favored by the long and exposed roads inside the last ten kilometers, Zdenek continued to press on, hoping he could repeat his 2014 victory, but the pack’s concerted efforts reabsorbed him with the flamme rouge in sight.

As Quick-Step Floors’ Yves Lampaert made a fast move on the inside of the splintered field towards the front with 800 meters to go, Danny Van Poppel jumped away and powered to a solo victory in the small Walloon town. Lampaert took second place for his eighth podium of the season. Van Poppel won his weight in liters of beer for his win. Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s Timothy Dupont had to finish in the top 10 to take the season long Belgium Cup, his 8th paces secured Dupont trophy for the second time in his career.

Race winner, Danny Van Poppel (LottoNl-Jumbo): “This is really nice and funny that I win my first and my last race of the season. The shape is still good and I wanted to ride. It is nice to end the year this way. The team did a great job and everything fell into place. It is never easy, but this time, everything worked out well. That’s the difference with some other races this season. We were able to play two cards at the end, with Dylan (Groenewegen) and me. Dylan gave me the chance to go for it and I’m glad I could finish it this way.”

Quick-Step Floors DS, Rik van Slycke: “The race was closed in the first part, due to the headwind, so it was on the local laps that we tried to put things in motion, but it didn’t work, as many riders were still fresh. Eventually, we managed to put two guys in a big group of twenty riders, before forcing a selection and reducing the number of the men up front to just eight. Styby went from afar, and despite not getting too much space, he really believed he could make it and gave everything out there. When he got caught, Lampaert came forward and took a solid second, while Mikkel finished not far off, after helping the team throughout the race. I think we can be happy with how we raced today, animating the race and trying to seize every opportunity.”

3rd, Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale): “Binche-Chimay-Binche is an end-of-season race where you never really know what to expect. Some riders are tired and others are super motivated to get a result. I have nothing to regret today. I could have gotten 2nd if I had been positioned better. But Van Poppel was just stronger. I am in good shape, and I have accumulated a string of good placings recently. So I really have high hopes for Paris-Tours (October 7th). And with the new parcours with sections going through the vineyards will make the race more open, which will suit me. It will be my last race of the year, and I would love to impose myself.”

5th, Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “Oh la la. This was a tough race, the temperature and the rain made it very difficult. In the final Timothy was in front and thus I could spare myself in the peloton behind the riders of LottoNL-Jumbo. In the sprint Van Poppel accelerated impressively on the last cobblestones section. I finished fifth, but a podium spot was possible for me. It was very close between the top-7. I went through a difficult period after my crash in Tour du Limousin in August, where I lost a lot of my good condition. For a while I slept badly because of pain in my back. I had a difficult month but now I feel much better. In my two final races of the season Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours I will aim for some more good results.”

8th and winner of the Belgian Cup, Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “At first I tried to win the race today. We were in front with a nice group in the final, but unfortunately we were caught in the final lap. In the sprint I was on Arnaud Démare’s wheel. But he had to let go on the cobbles and thus a top-5 was out of reach. For our main sponsor Wanty this victory in the Belgian Cup is of course magnificent. We were riding on their home soil. For the second time in my career I am the final winner of the Belgian Cup. This win is a reward for my regularity and all the teamwork of the past year. In the upcoming days I will ride Paris-Bourges, Paris-Tours and Tacx Pro Classic as my season’s end.”

Binche-Chimay-Binche – Memorial Frank Vandenbroucke Result:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 4:33:02
2. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:03
3. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Taco Van Der Hoorn (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
5. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
7. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) Vital Concept Cycling Club
8. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:07
9. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Cees Bol (Ned) Seg Racing Academy.


Sparkassen Munsterland Giro 2018
Sunweb’s Max Walscheid out-sprinted to the win the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro on Wednesday, after fantastic team work saw him brought into perfect position to finish the team’s hard work with the race victory.

Maxim Belkov (Katusha-Alpecin), Alexandr Kulikovskii (Gazprom-RusVelo), Lucas Carstensen (Bike Aid), Pascal Treubel (Heizomat rad-net.de), Paul Taebling (LKT-Team Brandenburg), Robert Retschke (Lotto-Kern Haus) made up the break of the day and had a maximum lead of nearly 4 minutes before the peloton pulled them in with 100 kilometers to go. The peloton was split by the chase and cross-winds and was down to around 30 riders by the time the final 20 kilometers. Top sprinters Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) had all made it into the front group.

Elmar Reinders (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) attacked, but was reeled in with 4 kilometers remaining, with Bora-Hansgrohe in control for their sprinters; Pascal Ackermann and Sam Bennett. Strangely, Gaviria attacked just over 2 kilometers out, again it was Bora-Hansgrohe who did the chase work. Next to go was Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), he was also caught and Trek-Segafredo took over the pace setting for Degenkolb going into the final K. Sunweb had placed Walscheid in the front five coming through the tricky bends before the final short straight. Walscheid hit the front on the final bend with Degenkolb on his wheel and it stayed that way to the line.

Race winner, Max Walscheid (Sunweb): “I’m super happy to win one of my favorite races and it means so much to win while I’m in Germany. As a team we were really strong today and we had five riders in the first group after the crosswinds. We kept our nerves and kept the legs quiet to wait for the sprint. We trusted in my ability to win the sprint and in the end I’m super happy to finish it off.”

Sparkassen Munsterland Giro Result:
1. Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb in 4:42:16
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
3. Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
5. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
7. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Leopard Pro Cycling at 0:01
8. Mathias Van Gompel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Lucas Carstensen (Ger) Bike Aid.


Paris-Tours 2018: Crossing the Vine
Victory in Paris–Tours has traditionally gone to either the winner of a bunch sprint or the strongest rider in a small group of attackers. Long streaks are rare in the list of winners of this centennial race, which puts the spotlight on the fast men. Several pretenders are ready to marshal their teams and control the race to ensure it all comes down to a dash for the line. The signs are auspicious for top favorite Dylan Groenewegen, who claimed one of his three Tour de France stage in Chartres, where the race starts on Sunday! However, he is far from the only fast man looking to end the season with a flourish by taking victory on Avenue de Grammont. Arnaud Démare, a two-time podium finisher who finished third in 2013 and second in 2016, will be in the mix, just like André Greipel, who will want to take a prestigious win before changing teams. Edvald Boasson Hagen, Christophe Laporte and Dan McLay have an outside chance under this scenario.

However, the changes made to the Paris–Tours course could make all past performances moot. The addition of 12.5 kilometers of vineyard tracks and seven all-new climbs in the final 60 kilometers makes this the ideal terrain for long-range attacks. Several ambush specialists will give it a shot in the Vouvray area, especially Philippe Gilbert, whose brilliant form makes him a legitimate contender ten years after the first of his two wins here and seven after his latest participation. Niki Terpstra, the teammate who succeeded him as the winner of the Tour of Flanders, will be banking on a similar scenario. AG2R La Mondiale’s Olivier Naesen and Alexis Gougeard and Katusha’s Tony Martin will also pin their hopes on a lively race. The revamped course means anyone could light the fireworks, including last year’s runner-up Soren Kragh Andersen and 2014 winner Jelle Wallays. And, who knows, perhaps Sylvain Chavanel can pull an ace from up his sleeve in the last race of his career…

Key points
The 112th edition of Paris–Tours will get going on Sunday, 7 October at 11:25 am with sprinters such as Dylan Groenewegen, Arnaud Démare and André Greipel tackling their last major race of the season.
Ø The major changes to this year’s course could well play into the hands of long-range attackers who can break the sprinters’ teams. It is the ideal scenario for Belgians Philippe Gilbert and Olivier Naesen… and many more.

Main contenders:

Quick–Step Floors: Gilbert, Lampaert (BEL) and Terpstra (NED)
Lotto Soudal: Greipel (GER), Wallays and Debusschere (BEL)
Wanty–Groupe Gobert: Offredo (FRA), Van Keirsbulck (BEL) and Eiking (NOR)
Sport Vlaanderen–Baloise: Rickaert and Capiot (BEL)
Vérandas Willems–Crelan: Devolder (BEL)
WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic: Ista, Vantomme (BEL) and Spengler (CHE)

AG2R La Mondiale: Gougeard (FRA), Naesen, Vandenbergh (BEL), Dillier (CHE)
Groupama-FDJ: Démare (FRA), Guarnieri (IRA), Konovalovas (LIT)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Laporte, Turgis (FRA)
Direct Energie: Chavanel, Petit (FRA)
Team Fortuneo-Samsic: B.Feillu, Gérard (FRA)
Vital Concept Cycling Club: Manzin, Le Bon (FRA), Van Genechten (BEL)
Delko Marseille Provence KTM: Siskevicius, Smukulis (LIT)
St Michel-Auber 93: R.Feillu, Touze (FRA)
Roubaix Lille Métropole: Antomarchi (FRA)

Team Sunweb: Geschke (GER) and Kragh Andersen (DEN)

Israel Cycling Academy: Boivin (CAN), Enger (NOR)

Team Lotto-NL Jumbo: Groenewegen, Leezer (NED), Jansen (NOR)
Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij: Van der Hoorn, Vermeltfort (NED)

Euskadi Basque Country–Murias: Aberasturi (ESP)

South Africa
Team Dimension Data: Boasson Hagen (NOR) and R. Janse van Rensburg (ZAF)

Team Katusha Alpecin: T.Martin (GER), Dowsett (GBR)

United States
EF Education First–Drapac p/b Cannondale: Vanmarcke (BEL) and McLay (GBR).

2017 Paris-Tours won by Matteo Trentin:

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED): “The parcours have changed this year in comparison to previous years, with 12.5 kilometers of dirt roads into the last 65 kilometers of the race, which will give the final a new dimension. Søren will be our leader for the day and we will race offensively from the gun and try to be in the early break. In the final we’ll work to move with the important moves that go so that we can support Søren for as long as possible. We expect that in the end it will be a selective group of riders that will go for the win and we hope to be amongst the contenders.”

Paris-Tours (UCI 1.HC)

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Cees Bol (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Max Kanter (GER), Martijn Tusveld (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Max Walscheid (GER).
Coach: Marc Reef (NED).

Simon Geschke at the Worlds’18:

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Paris-Tours
Our squad will have several cards to play this weekend, including two-time winner Philippe Gilbert

One of the last major classics of the season, Paris-Tours runs this year its 112th edition, one whose route has undergone some significant changes from what the riders were used to in the past, with the addition of 12.5 kilometers of vineyard tracks and seven new climbs, all jammed in the final 60 kilometers, thus giving a whole new dimension to the race created in 1896, same year as Paris-Roubaix.

Shortened to 211 kilometers, Paris-Tours will kick off from the beautiful city of Chartres, in the Eure-et-Loir department, where double winner Philippe Gilbert will be among those at the start, a decade after first winning the French Classic. For the 36-year-old Belgian, it will be the last European appointment of the season, before flying to Asia, where he is set to take part in the inaugural Hammer Hong Kong and the Tour of Guangxi.

Joining him in the Quick-Step Floors squad that will take on uncharted territory on Sunday will be Dries Devenyns, Fabio Jakobsen, Belgian Champion Yves Lampaert, Jhonatan Narvaez, Florian Sénéchal and Niki Terpstra, third last year at Paris-Tours, when Quick-Step Floors captured a remarkable third consecutive victory on the famous Avenue de Grammont, setting a new record for a trade team at the prestigious one-day race.

Sports director Brian Holm looks with confidence to Paris-Tours and its revamped course, which could bring plenty of twists and turns to what used to be known as the “sprinters’ classic”.

“We are going with a strong team at the start, comprising riders who can all do very well on small roads, gravel section and punchy climbs. It’s a new route compared to last year, and all these extra ingredients will make for a different race and a different tactic, but one thing is for sure: the finale will bring plenty of fireworks”, said Brian Holm. “Having won the last three editions, I think it’s safe to say that this is a race that suits us well and which we like. All our riders can be in contention when things are decided and we will do our best to bring home another good result from Paris-Tours.”

07.10 Paris – Tours Elite (FRA) 1.HC

Dries Devenyns (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Fabio Jakobsen (NED), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Jhonnatan Narvaez (ECU), Florian Sénéchal (FRA), Niki Terpstra (NED).
Sports Director: Brian Holm (DEN).

Two-time winner Philippe Gilbert:

A Strong Climbing Squad for Giro dell’Emilia
The series of end-of-season races held in Italy continues with “Giro dell’Emilia” on Saturday, October 6th. As tradition the one-day race starts in Bologna and ends with the challenging finishing loop in San Luca.

Team Bahrain-Merida will line up a strong climbing squad led by Vincenzo Nibali, to tackle the 207.4km course, that features 40km of climbs and a total altitude difference of 1.800 meters.

“It’s usually a very tough race” Sports Director Alberto Volpi explains “With such a demanding final, every tactic would be useless, if you haven’t legs and you aren’t in good form. We have guys as Visconti, Mohorič and Pozzovivo that will assist our team leader Vincenzo Nibali and will work to create the conditions to facilitate his performance in the finale.”

In fact, the key moment of the race will be the final circuit: 4 laps of 9.3km including the climb up to San Luca (2.1 km with average slopes nearly 10% with maximum of 18%, that riders will face five times). “It’s a climb perfect for attackers, just remember last year’s triumph of Visconti, thanks to a smart team tactics” Volpi adds Our task will be to make the most of everyone’s skills, to be protagonists in the final part of the race with the aim to support our captain and create the perfect scenario to help him to try to take the win.”

Team Bahrain-Merida line-up for 101st Giro dell’Emilia:
Manuele Boaro, Matej Mohorič, Antonio Nibali, Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti, Domenico Pozzovivo, Giovanni Visconti.

BMC Racing Team Rosters Announced for Trio of Italian One-Day Races
BMC Racing Team will head to the start line of Giro dell’Emilia on Saturday (6 October) and Milano-Torino and Gran Piemonte next week (10 and 11 October) with three competitive rider rosters.

Sports Director Valerio Piva said that Dylan Teuns will lead the team at the first two Italian one-day races.

“We will start with Giro dell’Emilia and that is a difficult race especially when we reach the finishing circuits which will see the riders go up the steep climb to San Luca six times. I think this is a final for Dylan and he will be our leader for this race. Then, it will be a similar situation for us at Milano-Torino with the uphill finish on the Superga climb also suiting Dylan’s strengths. Damiano Caruso and Alessandro De Marchi have also shown recently that they are in top shape and I think they can be protected riders too at the first two races,” Piva explained.

“Gran Piemonte is a different race this year and it’s a flat race so I am expecting it to be one for the sprinters. We don’t have a pure sprinter in our selection so we will take this race as it comes and see if there is something that we can do. We have strong teams for these three races and I think the rest of the guys can look to take opportunities and try to move in the early breakaways.”

Teuns is feeling confident in his form going into the trio of races.

“I am looking forward to these three one-day races. Last year, I had really good legs at Giro dell’Emilia but unfortunately, I had a mechanical in the final so, I am motivated about seeing what I can do there and at Milano-Torino. The finish of both of these races suits me and I am feeling good right now, my shape is still good at this late point in the season. We will have to wait and see what happens but hopefully, as a team, we can do three good races,” Teuns said.

Giro dell’Emilia (6 October)
Rider Roster:

Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Alexander Evans (AUS), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Dylan Teuns (BEL)
Sports Director: Valerio Piva (ITA)

Milano-Torino (10 October)
Rider Roster:

Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Alexander Evans (AUS), Freddy Ovett (AUS), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Dylan Teuns (BEL)
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Fabio Baldato (ITA).

Gran Piemonte (11 October)
Rider Roster:

Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Alexander Evans (AUS), Freddy Ovett (AUS), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Dylan Teuns (BEL)
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Fabio Baldato (ITA).

Dylan Teuns to ride all three races:

Victor Campenaerts Satisfied But Cautious After Hour Record Test
Right after Victor Campenaerts conquered the bronze medal at the time trial World Championship on Wednesday, he travelled to a Swiss town called Grenchen. There, the European time trial champion tested if attacking the world hour record would be possible. On Friday, Campenaerts did some specific training sessions and mostly concentrated on getting used to the track. Yesterday, Campenaerts did a test in which the purpose was clear: riding as many kilometres as possible during 30 minutes, just above the actual hour record pace. The current hour record is set by Bradley Wiggins, who managed to cover 54.526 kilometres in one hour. Victor Campenaerts is satisfied about how the test turned out, but remains cautious.

Victor Campenaerts: “In my opinion, the test went well. During half an hour, I managed to maintain an average speed of 54.8 kilometres an hour. Of course, I realize that 30 minutes at such a pace is a big difference to maintaining it for the entire hour. There will still be a lot of work to actually break the hour record. Before this test, two different scenarios were possible. On the one hand, the test could be disappointing and the project would be postponed, most likely until after the Olympic Games of 2020 in Tokyo. On the other hand, the result of the test could be positive and I would, together with the team, evaluate if planning an attack on the hour record would be possible in the short run. However, this doesn’t mean within weeks, or even months, more than likely in the course of 2019. So, the fact that the test went well, doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be an immediate attempt to break the record. But of course, it’s a promising sign.”

“At the moment, I’m in an excellent shape thanks to my participation in the Vuelta and my built-up to the World Championships. There hasn’t been any specific preparation for this test. So, there’s still a margin for improvement, in terms of training as well as location. So let’s not be too confident and let’s certainly not jump to conclusions. It was simply a good sign that the simulation went well. We will, within the team and at an appropriate time, evaluate when a possible attack on the hour record will be possible.”

Victor Campenaerts – 3rd in the 2018 Worlds TT:

Giacomo Nizzolo Ends Season with Immediate Effect
Further examination and tests have discovered the injuries Giacomo Nizzolo sustained from a crash at the Tour de l’Eurométropole on September 22 are more severe than were first revealed, and force Nizzolo to end the season with immediate effect.

Trek-Segafredo head physician, Gaetano Daniele: “Giacomo was involved in a massive crash at the Tour de l’Eurométropole. Last week, during his bike trainings, he was still feeling pain in the hip and in the groin. We decided yesterday to perform an MRI that revealed two microfractures in the right acetabulum region. Unfortunately, this means that Giacomo will be off the bike for three weeks and cannot participate in the planned races in Italy and China.”

Giacomo Nizzolo: “Every time you end a season with a crash, of course it’s not ideal. Coming off the Vuelta in good shape, I would have liked to exploit it at the best in the final races of the season. The blow in Belgium has been quite severe though, I felt that right away, but we had to wait and see for a few days how my injuries would evolve. Today I got the results of the further examinations we undertook and unluckily I have two microfractures that don’t really leave me much of a choice.”

“I am of course very sad that I won’t be able to race in the Hammer Series in Hong Kong and in the two races in Italy, Beghelli and Tre Valli, which were for me a real goal after finishing the Vuelta in such a good condition. It’s a pity, but I will focus on my recovery now and I will just anticipate the period of rest I had planned after the season and will restart training earlier to build up for what’s next.”

Giacomo Nizzolo:

André Greipel Looks Back on Eight Successful Years with Lotto Soudal
Since 2011 André Greipel is the one who brought most of the victories to Lotto Soudal. A team where he became one of the best sprinters in the world by winning no less than 95 UCI races in eight years. Maybe he can add one on Sunday at Paris-Tours, his last race in the Lotto Soudal shirt.

De Panne 2011 stage 1:

Together with Lotto Soudal, André Greipel looks back on a period, which is – like the one of every professional athlete – marked by ups and downs, but especially on a time with numerous highlights. That’s why André Greipel highlights his eight most beautiful and most memorable moments of his career with the team and talks about how he experienced them:

Stage 4 in Volta ao Algarve, 19/02/2011 (Albufeira – Tavira)
“I believed it to be very important to start the season well with my new team and I hoped to obtain a victory as soon as possible. Back then, Philippe Gilbert was also a part of the team and had already won a stage, taking some pressure off on a collective level. In February, during the fourth stage of the Tour of the Algarve I was guided perfectly and brought in a good position by among others Roelandts and Sieberg. This perfect lead-out allowed me to beat Michal Matthews and to claim my first victory with the team.”

First stage victory in the Tour, 12/07/2011 (Aurillac–Carmaux) – Stage 10
“A lot of people did not see me as a one of the best sprinters of the peloton, but once you can put a stage victory of the Tour de France on your record, that perception changes immediately. In this regard, that day in 2011 was a tipping point. For the outside world, this victory got me a place among the best sprinters, which made it an important victory for my career as well as for the team. It was a very tough stage with among others a nasty climb at twenty kilometres from the finish line. I had to pull out all the stops to follow but I succeeded and sprinted towards my first victory ever in the Tour.”

Three stage victories in the Tour de France 2012
4th: Abbeville – Rouen, 4/07/2012
5th: Rouen – Saint-Quentin, 5/07/2012
13th : Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux – Cap d’Agde, 14/07/2012

“In 2012 I won three stages in the Tour de France: the fourth to Rouen, the fifth to Saint-Quentin and the thirteenth to Cap d’Agde. In the end, the fifth stage to Saint-Quentin was one of my two most beautiful victories of my career at Lotto Soudal. In the finale, I was held up by a big crash at three to four kilometres from the finish. Greg Henderson brought me from an almost lost position to the front of the peloton again where Sieberg and Roelandts were and still could prepare the sprint, enabling me to take another stage. In the Tour de France of 2012, I had the best lead-out ever: everyone was at his highest level and all riders who were part of the lead-out, Henderson, Roelandts, Sieberg, Bak, Hansen and myself were perfectly in tune.”

Tour de France 2012 stage 13:

National title Germany, 23/06/2013
“A few days before the championship, I had some doubts about participating. Since the course was not far from my residence at that time, I did the recon, so I could see the route with my own eyes. After that, I decided to participate, more as a preparation for the Tour de France, which started a week later, than with the purpose to win the race. The race took place in appalling weather conditions: the rain made the race very tough. In the finale about fifteen to twenty cyclists were left to compete for the victory and the medals. Sibi got away and was 600 meters away from the German title. I was not going to close the gap of course and adopted a wait-and-see strategy. When he eventually got caught, I was able to win the sprint of the reduced group. It was a very special moment because my victory was quite unexpected. It was the first of three times I could wear the national jersey, which is something very special. If you ask any national champion which place the national title occupies on his record, every riders will put it somewhere on top.”

Victory on the Champs-Elysées, 26/07/2015
“At a certain moment you dream about becoming a cyclist. Once you turn pro, you hope to participate in the Tour de France and when you participate in the Tour, you want to win a stage. If you have won a stage as a sprinter, you hope to once win on the Champs-Elysées, the World Championship for sprinters. In 2015, I started the sprint from a lost position, but still was able to seal the victory. This victory proved my perfect shape in that Tour since it was already my fourth victory in the three-week race. The final week I felt a lot of pain in my knee, which almost prevented me from getting to Paris. In other circumstances a lot of cyclists, and maybe me just as well, would have abandoned, but with already three stage victories, I did not want to quit. I went through my pain barrier, so I could ride that last sprint. I was also in great shape and that victory was not only a culmination of that great Tour, but also a fabulous moment in my career; maybe the most beautiful victory ever.”

Tour de France 2015 Champs-Elysées:

Stage 2 in the Giro d’Italia, 6/05/2017 (Olbia – Tortolì)
“I was not sure that I would ride the Giro, but eventually I was at the start in Sardinia. The first two stages were suited to sprinters and if the first stage is a stage in line, as a sprinter you know that you have a chance at the leader’s jersey. During my period with HTC, I already pulled it off in the Vuelta. And in the Giro of 2017, I saw my chance again. In the first stage Lukas Pöstlberger of Bora-Hansgrohe took everyone by surprise by riding off in the final phase, heading solo to the finish and taking the pink jersey. In the evening, we all were a bit down: I did not win the sprint of the peloton either, so I wouldn’t have taken the pink jersey anyway. It was a disappointment, but the second stage made up for it all. The stage towards Tortolì was not considered as a stage for sprinters because it was a bit hillier with also a nasty climb in the finale. Everybody expected a group of forty cyclists to ride towards the finish and that the sprinters would not play a role anymore. The strong headwinds kept the race relatively closed, increasing the chances to sprint. Thanks to great work of Jasper De Buyst, I was able to take part of that sprint and won. The stage victory was a huge relief and the pink jersey was a magnificent bonus. Wearing the leader’s jersey as a sprinter in a Grand Tour is very special!”

Giro d’Italia 2017 stage 2:
Tortolì - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Andre GREIPEL (Germany / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during team stage 2 of the Giro D’Italia 2017 from Olbia to Tortolì, 208.00 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage 5 in the Four Days of Dunkirk, 12/05/2018 (Wormhout-Cassel)
“In Dunkirk I won two stages, but the fifth stage is a highlight in my career because, exceptionally, I did not win it in a bunch sprint. In the Tour of Luxemburg, I had already won in that way, so I was glad I could do it again a few years later. I rode solo to the win from afar: I escaped from a small group and rode alone in front for a few dozens of kilometres. Such a victory is unique for a sprinter and I am thus very proud of it.”

Stage 1 and stage 4 in the Tour of Britain, 2/09/2018 (Pembrey Country Park – Newport) & 5/09/2018 (Nuneaton – Royal Leamington Spa)
“Of course, I knew it were my last weeks and races with the team, but I did not really realize it could be my last two victories with Lotto Soudal. These two stage victories brought me joy in cycling and training again after a very hard period. In that manner I have the feeling I did well during the last weeks and had a pleasant and good Tour of Britain. That week in September, I was able to put a lot of stuff behind me, so I could start the final phase of the season and my period with Lotto Soudal in a positive manner!”

Tour of Britain 2018 stage 4:

Kreder, Van Melsen and Doubey Extend
Three loyal riders have extended their contract with Wanty-Groupe Gobert. These are Kévin Van Melsen, Fabien Doubey and Wesley Kreder. All three extend their stay at the team for two years until the end of 2020. The 31-year-old Belgian Kévin Van Melsen from Welkenraedt has been active in the team since 2009. The offensive rider finished 7th in Poly Normande and 8th in the Grand Prix de la Ville de Lillers.

24-year-old Frenchman Fabien Doubey joined the team in 2017. At the beginning of this year our puncher finished 11th in the Tour of Oman. Wesley Kreder joined Wanty-Groupe Gobert again in 2017 after a one-year stay in 2014. The 27-year-old Dutchman finished fourth in the tough Antwerp Port Epic. Recently he was the winner of Izegem Koers kermesse.

Kévin Van Melsen: “I can proudly announce my contract extension at Wanty-Groupe Gobert. I would like to thank Jean-François Bourlart and the sponsors for their confidence in my abilities. For 10 years I have been part of a team that is now like my family. I made good progress in 2018. My role was to assist the leaders until deep in the final. This role requires a little more responsibility, which also motivates me. In 2019 I want to show beautiful things. I am already motivated to assist our leaders Guillaume Martin and Xandro Meurisse.”

Fabien Doubey: “I am happy to be able to extend with a team that gave me a lot of confidence in my first two professional seasons. The team grows year after year. For me personally it feels very good to be part of such a project. I have learned a great deal over the past period. I feel good between the other riders and staff. Next year I hope to take a new step, both on a collective and a personal level. As a former cyclocrosser I have not been on the road for so long, but I would like to contribute to the growth of the team in the upcoming years.”

Wesley Kreder: “I feel good at Wanty-Groupe Gobert. The team appreciates me. In the classics I always work for the collective. In addition to the teamwork, I was able to take a nice victory in Izegem a few weeks ago. I hope to end the season with style in Tour of Taihu Lake in China and I look forward to the next two years! I will continue to dedicate myself to the team and hope to be able to achieve some good results myself.”

Kreder, Van Melsen and Doubey:

Maria Vittoria Sperotto Joins Cervélo Bigla
Maria Vittoria Sperotto is the latest young talent the Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team will invest in, in 2019. The team is in the process of growing its structure to continue to develop world-class athletes for the future and has identified Sperotto as a major talent.

The 21-year-old had a breakout result in 2017 where she won the Tour of Guangxi one day race in China. She’s continued that momentum in 2018 with high profile top ten’s against the best riders in the UCI Women’s World Tour.

The sprinter comes from a track background where she continually performed as one of Italy’s best young riders in the discipline.

“Maria is one of the young modern Italians who is coming through the ranks,” team manager, Thomas Campana said. “We’re seeing a group of young and already successful Italian athletes coming into the World Tour. We are convinced Maria is one of them. She’s very keen to work with us and to grow. She will play a role in the sprints with Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen. Emma is moving into the position Lotta Lepistö held and Maria will move into Emma’s spot. We’re looking forward to seeing her development and progression.”

“I’m excited about signing with Cervélo Bigla,” she said. “It’s a leap forward to work with riders who already achieved a lot of results in the big races. I’ve always thought that this is a tight-knit team who works together to achieve results, I really believe it is the key to success. This team is continuing to grow and I’m glad to be able to be part of it.”

“I think in this team I can be helpful to my teammates, especially when it comes to positioning during key times. I would like to play a role in the team time trial and help the team with whatever they need to get the best results,” Sperotto concluded.

Maria Vittoria Sperotto:

Kevin De Weert to Become Performance Manager at Lotto Soudal
Lotto Soudal confirms the rumors about Kevin De Weert becoming performance manager at Lotto Soudal. For three years, the 36-year-old former pro cyclist has been Belgium’s national team coach, a role in which he achieved some very nice results. He will now continue his career within the WorldTour. For De Weert, who retired from pro cycling in 2015, this will mark a new challenge.

Sports manager Marc Sergeant: “Of course, Kevin De Weert coming to Lotto Soudal means a strengthening to our team. A while ago, we informed the Royal Belgium Cycling League, in all openness, of our interest. Everybody who worked with him the previous years, has been praising the way in which he approaches matters. That positive feedback did also reach us, amongst others, through our riders who were part of the Belgian national team. There will always be different opinions about selections and tactics, but his communication and his results were very positive. Kevin and I had a very comprehensive conversation, we also exchanged some ideas. Afterwards, it became clear to me that he could be the right man for us.”

“The role of performance manager at Lotto Soudal – contrary to some other WorldTour teams – hadn’t been filled out, which is in 2019 inevitable. The function includes a range of tasks within the sports department where Kevin will be involved in the development and the search for the perfect equipment, in the support and guidance during altitude camps and in helping our riders in attaining their goals. During the races, he will fulfill a more supportive role, but not quite like a sports director. We haven’t been going through the best period, but now we obviously want to change things. And I think Kevin will be more than able to help us in achieving that.”

Kevin De Weert: “The function which we have discussed, is a more operational role within the sports department. I don’t go to Lotto Soudal with the ambition of replacing somebody, but to fulfill a role that hasn’t been fulfilled in the past. When I will be present at the races, this will be more at the background of the action. I very much look forward to get started and to help the team in trying to exploit every percent to get the best out of both the team and riders. This can be in the more technical area, through the follow-up of certain projects as well as through guiding certain riders (altitude camps, recons…). I am eager to tackle, together with the other members of the sports staff, the 2019 season.”

“I have learnt a lot during the past few years at the Royal Belgium Cycling League. I was given the chance to manage the national team within the framework of the Union, and I would like to thank them for that. It is with great satisfaction that I look back to what I have achieved, but I just had to grab the opportunity to work at a WorldTour level, within the role I described above. I see this as a new step, but I absolutely wanted to prepare for the World Championships in Innsbruck with the same focus and drive, without thinking about my new adventure at Lotto Soudal.”

Kevin De Weert talking to Dylan Teuns during the Worlds’18 road race:

#CochesAzules La Vuelta’18 In One Picture
The winner of the first edition of the photo contest #CochesAzules – La Vuelta in one picture is the Italian photographer Luca Bettini with his picture Wow start, taken at the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca during the start of stage 10.

The winning picture was chosen by a jury composed by Miguel Llorente, president of Macario Llorente; Javier Guillén, general director of La Vuelta; Fernando Escartín, sport director of La Vuelta and Laura Cueto, press officer of La Vuelta. The prize is a road bike, courtesy of MACARIO LLORENTE, official sponsor of La Vuelta via their Shimano brand.

The contest offered the possibility to the photographers permanently accredited in La Vuelta 18 to send a maximum of two pictures illustrating the event: a representative moment of the race, of cycling and the values that characterize this sport. “Luca Bettini’s picture is a perfect illustration of the show that makes up La Vuelta,” said Miguel Llorente, President of the Jury.

The Finalists Pictures:

Jesús Yáñez/“Para el camino” – Luca Bettini/“Wheely show” – Yon Suinaga/“Comunicando con el mundo”

The PEZ INSTAGRAM Take a look at our Instagram page for a live feed of #PeloPics, #DailyDistractions, and giveaways straight from your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews

Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.

Any comments drop me a line, email address: [email protected] or Twitter. And check the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Page.

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.