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Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 04/09/2018 - Cycling - OVO Energy Tour of Britain - Stage 3: Bristol to Bristol - Clifton Suspension Bridge.

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The Tour of Britain and the Vuelta a España are in full swing – All the news, views and video in a full EUROTRASH Thursday. Was the bike to blame for the AquaBlue Sport team demise – Top Story. Loads of other cycling news: Teams for the Canadian WorldTour races, Paris-Tours preview, more contract announcements, Kanstantsin Siutsou positive and on the bike video from the Vuelta. A big coffee time!

TOP STORY: Single Chainring Bike to Blame for AquaBlue Sport Team Folding?
We announced the demise of the AquaBlue Sport Team in last Thursday’s EUROTRASH and since then there has been a few different thoughts on why the team hung up its wheels.

Adam Blythe stated in an interview on the Bradley Wiggins Show on Eurosport, that the team bike and its limited gearing due to the one chainring and ten sprockets was the problem. The ex British champion said: “3T bikes to be honest [led to this], I think they make great handlebars but terrible bikes. We’ve been on one chainring all year haven’t we? It’s terrible. It’s just like a track bike with gears on it. There’s only one chainring and if you imagine you’re doing a climb, normally you’d have a 38 ring to drop down to but now you’ve just got a 10 cassette that goes up to a 42 with a 50 chainring on the front. So you’re knackered, you can’t race around in a one-day race let alone a two-week race or one-week race. Day one I was like this is not a good idea, but the team signed up to a contract with it and that was it, so we had to deal with it.”

Should Blythe and his teammates be angry at the bike, including 3T and SRAM, or the team management who accepted money (you would hope) and agreed to ride it. At the time there were not many who thought the bike gearing was a good idea for pro cycling and that has been proven by the team. Even the management had started to blame the bike for the lack of results.

The problems started early for Blythe as he was disqualified from the Tour of Oman back in February for making a ‘irregular bike change’ due to problems with his bike. Of course disk brakes didn’t help, but that is another subject all together.

Blythe now has the problem of no team, no races for the rest of the season and some hope of receiving his wages. “The main thing is just getting paid. I’ve got a family to look after now, so the main thing is I just get paid. I’m happy to be off that bike to be honest, it’s behind me,” Blythe confirmed.

Blythe: ‘I’m happy to be off that bike to be honest’:
Wadi Dayqah Dam - Oman, Sultanate of Oman - February 15 : BLYTHE Adam of Aqua Blue Sport, VAN AVERMAET Greg (BEL) of BMC Racing Team, CAVENDISH Mark (GBR) of Team Dimension Data pictured during stage 3 of the 9th edition of the 2018 Tour of Oman cycling race, a stage of 179.5 kms between German University of Technology and Wadi Dayqah Dam on February 15, 2018 in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, 15/02/2018 - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 20187

Vuelta a España 2018
It was a flawless day for Quick-Step Floors, in which the Michael Mørkøv – Fabio Sabatini – Elia Viviani trio shined in the finalé, after the team had again controlled the breakaway and then set the tempo on the sole categorized climb of Stage 10.

The sprint train massed at the front of the bunch as they passed the five kilometers-to-go mark, sheltering Viviani from the crosswinds, and didn’t panic even when Lukas Postlberger (Bora-hansgrohe) tried to stir things up under the red kite with a late attack. Michael Mørkøv countered that move with 750 meters to go and kept pressing, before peeling off the front and leaving Sabatini to take over lead-out duties. The experienced Italian launched his countryman with 150 meters to go and the whirring legs of Elia Viviani generated a speed which couldn’t be matched by any of his opponents as the Italian fast-man took his 17th win of the season. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) took second and third.

The break of the day was started by Jesus Ezquerra (Burgos-BH) who escaped after 8 kilometers. He was joined by Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin) after 30 kilometers, but they were caught with 30 kilometers remaining for the sprint teams to take over the race to the line.

Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) held his overall lead of 1 second over Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and 14 seconds on Nairo Quintana, also Movistar. World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) took over the point competition with his third 2nd place of the 2018 Vuelta.

Read the PEZ Stage 10 Report HERE.

Stage winner, Elia Viviani (Quick-Step floors): “Four stages in the Giro, two now in the Vuelta, I think it’s safe to say this has been a truly incredible season. I’m in a great moment of my career and in a perfect team, so I try to take advantage of this every single time. This win is for all the guys in the squad, who are always giving everything for me, making sure I get a chance to fight for the win. The guys did an astonishing job, proving we are the strongest and fastest here. I’m not talking only of Saba and Michael, but also about today’s birthday boy Laurens, Dries, Kasper, Enric or Pieter, who rode superbly and were really faultless. With such a great lead-out, all I had to do was start my sprint with 150 meters to go, and when you have good legs and the timing, you can’t lose from this situation. It’s never easy to do a perfect lead-out, but we pulled it off and I’m very proud of the boys.”

Overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “It could have been much, much worse today, we were expecting a bit more of a crosswind, but it was more of a headwind so it was ok. I was just on the side of the road and I must have hit something or run over something and I had a double puncture which is not ideal but it could have been much worse. I’ve had some bad experience before having a puncture and waiting, then changing for my own bike or the wheel. Today we changed for Michael Albasini’s bike and it was a little too big, so we had to change again, but it was ok. It was quite a relaxed day and really nothing happened once the breakaway went away. The sprinters did all the work today, so full credit to those guys and for us it meant a relatively easy day. I wasn’t sure if there would be any attacks coming from Valverde, but in the end there wasn’t and that’s ok.”

2nd on the stage and leader on points, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a relatively calm stage and, as expected, it all came down to a very fast sprint finish. The guys worked again very well and in the last climb, with 30km to go, they pulled hard in the front, trying to break the peloton. I gave my best in the finale and although I finished second, I am now in the green jersey. I’m happy for that and I’ll try to keep it for as long as I can.”

Simone Petilli Health Update
After receiving medical attention, Simone Petilli, who crashed with 41km to go, suffered a concussion after briefly being unconscious. He also suffered a deep cut on the left eyebrow arch, which required stitches and some of his teeth are broken. He was taken to Zamora Hospital in a good and stable condition. He was able to interact with team doctor Michele De Grandi and the CAT scan has excluded neurological problems. Petilli was later discharged from the hospital and returned to the team’s hotel.

Vuelta a España Stage 10 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors in 4:08:08
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Nelson Andres Soto Martinez (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
8. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
9. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 10:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 41:03:00
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:01
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:14
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:16
5. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:17
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:24
7. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:27
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:32
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:43
10. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:47.

Stage 10:

Alessandro De Marchi (BMC) took his third individual stage victory at the Vuelta a España after an impressive solo attack in the closing kilometers of Stage 11.

The intensity at the start of the day saw the peloton cover 49 kilometers in the first hour of racing and despite various strong moves trying to go clear, the breakaway took over 100 kilometers to form. Eventually the break formed including Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida), Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale), Omar Fraile (Astana), Alessandro De Marchi, Nicolas Roche and Dylan Teuns (BMC), Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Léo Vincent (Groupama-FDJ), Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal), Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott), Winner Anacona (Movistar), Ryan Gibbons (Dimension Data), Pierre Rolland (EF Education First-Drapac), Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin), Sergio Henao (Sky), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural-Seguros-RGA) and Mikel Bizkarra (Euskadi-Murias).

After 25 kilometers the group had 4:30 which put Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ)in the virtual overall lead, the main bunch reacted on the penultimate climb of the Alto do Trives to cut back the advantage.

Teuns and Pinot attacked with 65 kilometers remaining however the rest of the group chased them down and they were all together again with 50 kilometers to go, 3:30 up on the Movistar led peloton. The break split once again after a solo move from Bauke Mollema saw a more select eight-rider group. On the day’s final categorized climb, the 8.8-kilometer long Alto del Mirador de Cabezoas, De Marchi went solo before being joined by Jhonatan Restrepo just before the summit of the KOM.

The duo’s advantage over the first chasing group was over 50 seconds inside the final five kilometers before De Marchi launch a solo attack which eventually saw him take the stage victory. Jhonatan Restrepo came in 28 seconds later. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finished with the top men to hold his 1 second advantage on Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).

See the PEZ Stage 11 Report HERE.

Stage winner, Alessandro De Marchi (BMC):
Congratulations, Alessandro! Talk us through the moment you decided to attack inside the final five kilometers?

“If I waited for the sprint then I think I would have been second. The only option was to try everything on the last climb. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I had the best legs but the win was mine.”

It took around 100 kilometers of racing for the breakaway to form today. How were you able to find the right move?
“At one moment today, I said to myself that I just needed to keep trying and going because every moment was a battle. Every move was looking like the good one and then they would come back. It was really difficult and I just thought I would do the maximum that I could and we would see.”

What does today’s victory mean to you?
“For a rider like me who tries a lot, you need to be first at the line sometimes. You need to be there in the results. I have missed a few good results in the last season but now I can say that I understand what I have to do. Sometimes you think you are missing something of yourself and you lose the feeling [of winning] but you need to be patient and the right moment will arrive. I had the feeling of liberation in the last kilometer. I waited a long time for this moment and the last three years have been up and down a lot. Today, I found myself again.”

Was it important to have two teammates in the breakaway with you?
“The presence of Dylan and Nico in the breakaway was the key as I could play in the front and I was sure they were helping me to control from behind. The whole day was full gas and each move looked like the right one. So, you couldn’t lose concentration for one second. It was a fight for five hours. I think it was the hardest win I have ever had. Sometimes it’s more about luck. First of all, you have to be lucky and then you have to have the legs. I was not sure if I would be able to drop Restrepo because he is quite fast, and that attack I did was really the only option. I was lucky in the end that it was ok.”

Overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “It was a really crazy race today and the boys rode great again, they’re going to be tired now. It was ok for me, I was in the peloton just trying to save energy. We worked hard over the first 100 kilometers marking and closing the moves, trying to control it but there comes a point when you can only control it for so long. There was some danger in the break, like Pinot, and for us we had Jack in there doing a great job. Movistar took it up for the final 80 kilometers at the head of the bunch. They have the best two GC riders in the race and closest to me overall – it was their decision to pull, but sooner or later someone was going to come up there and set the tempo. I think everyone was respecting a stage like today with the roads around here being very technical and it was really hard. I am looking forward to the mountain stages to come, there’s only been two real GC days so far and I am looking forward to getting stuck in.”

2nd on the stage, Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin): “De Marchi was stronger than me today. I tried to follow him on the last climb, but I was cramping and could not. But I am happy; this race was high level. My shape is good and I will try again in the next stages. I saved my legs in the first week as I was focused on this stage so I tried to do the maximum, but it was so crazy in the first two hours of the race. I had a flat tire in the first hour so I spent a lot of energy coming back to the group. It was all day full gas. When De Marchi went I tried to go, but he was just better today.”

3rd on the stage, Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida): “My breakaway’s teammates were all high-quality riders and it was not easy also to surprise the three BMC athletes. When De Marchi and Restrepo attacked I lost the moment. I saw the team cars in the front and so I tried to recover but it was too late. I feel very good and I’m happy to stop at the end of the season when I can still give something to the sport I’ve always loved.”

4th on the stage, Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale): “It was a huge battle from the first kilometers. It took nearly 100 kilometer for the breakaway to take shape. After doing my job to protect Tony, I actually managed to be a member of the group of 18 riders who did manage to get away. There was not a lot of agreement in the group, though since there were some pretty big names in there. And in the end it was all out war. We were constantly active and attacking. I was not the strongest in the group, and I even felt a bit overwhelmed in a group with such big names. The day also was very demanding with almost 4000 meters of climbing, adding in also the rain showers. But before this Vuelta, I had never raced more than nine days in a row. So I am pretty happy to finish in 4th place during this difficult 11th stage.”

2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It was a really tough stage. The hilly route, the high speeds… happily, the weather was lenient with us, even if it rained a couple of times. It was fierce at the front for the first half of the stage, I think there wasn’t a break until 105km in. Just like in most other times, we had to take responsibility at the front of the bunch for nearly hundred kilometers, even if we had Winner at the front. Letting Pinot have such a time gain was adding another potential GC threat to the least, and we weren’t happy about that. Some other teams might not be racing for victory, but it’s not our case. Mitchelton? It’s their philosophy. They never push to defend a result, they push when they think they can inflict harm on their rivals. However, it doesn’t mean we’re automatically going to win the Vuelta by pushing into such moments. There are many strong rivals whose chances still remain equal to ours – it’s just that we put courage on the road today. Some others don’t care about either winning or losing, but it’s not our case. We knew it would be an important day, and we did things right.”

4th overall, Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida): “It was a very tough stage and in the final Movistar made a very strong pace. The team helped me a lot and I thank them. In the last few kilometers my brother Gorka gave me a great help first uphill and then in the very tricky descent.”

6th overall, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I felt good today and Rafał and Davide were amazing. It is a pity though that this strong effort was marred in the closing kilometers of the stage. In the last descent, with 15km to go, I had to change bikes and although it was done as fast as possible, the strong pace of the race ahead meant that I would cross the finish line just a few seconds behind the group of GC contenders.”

Vuelta a España Stage 11 Result:
1. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC in 4:52:38
2. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:28
3. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:59
4. Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:24
5. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 1:45
6. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:46
7. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC at 1:48
9. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky at 1:50
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 11:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 45:57:40
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:01
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:14
4. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:17
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:24
6. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
7. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:27
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:32
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:43
10. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:47.

Stage 11:

OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2018
Commonwealth Games time trial champion Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) took victory in Stage 2 of the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain after sprinting to win from a day-long breakaway in Barnstaple, Devon on Monday. The Australian rider, who last claimed a road race victory in February 2015, beat breakaway companion Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF) after the pair had been a part of the stage’s five-man escape group that went clear in the opening 15 kilometers following the start at Cranbrook, one of England’s newest towns.

However Tonelli’s six-second time bonus on the line plus, his slender advantage over a strong chasing group containing the likes of Wout Poels (Sky), Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Quick-Step Floors duo Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels just behind means he moves into the OVO Energy Green Jersey of race leader. Despite sitting level on time with Tonelli in the OVO Energy Green Jersey classification, Meyer played down his chances of claiming overall victory in London on Sunday. Italian Tonelli, whose sole professional victory to date came in this year’s Tour of Croatia, was pleased at claiming the OVO Energy Green Jersey.

The chase group contained a fine mixture of top names, including Roglic, Alaphilippe, Jungels and Poels, who all now sit 12 seconds off the lead. Top Brit and recipient of the Adnams Best British Rider Award in front of huge crowds in Barnstaple was Hugh Carthy of EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale. The Lancastrian is 10th overall, three seconds ahead of British trio Scott Davies, Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data) and Ethan Hayter (Great Britain), with Davies also holding the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey and winning the HIGH5 Combativity Award for stage 2 after also being a part of the race-winning breakaway. Fellow escapee Matthew Teggart (Team WIGGINS) takes over the Eisberg Sprints Jersey while Meyer moves into the lead of the Wahoo Points Jersey.

Stage winner, Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott): “It was always going to be close. I heard that the gap was one minute with 10 kilometers to go, and that there was a strong group of favorites coming fast from behind, so I wanted to push on. It’s been a few years since I rode in this race, but I remember getting caught twice inside final kilometer. I didn’t want déjà vu to happen again. I was pretty confident that with my track background that I could negotiate a sprint against whoever I had to go up against. Coming into the finish, I got the Italian [Tonelli] to go up to the 500m to go mark – I knew I had him covered from there. The favorites’ group are within seconds on GC, and I’m not going to be able to go up the climbs as fast as them. I’ve ticked off a major accomplishment – to get my win for the season on the road – so that’s fantastic. I can’t see me wearing the leader’s jersey at the end of week.”

Overall leader, Alessandro Tonelli (Bardiani-CSF): “I went in the breakaway and that was my job for today – the jersey is a special prize. I pushed hard in the final kilometers as my DS told me that I could get the Green Jersey – and here I am. When we arrived at the top of the last climb and we had a minute gap, Cam Meyer and I pushed hard to get to the finish. It was close – the other riders were coming quickly behind us!”

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 2 Result:
1. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in4:14:46
2. Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:01
3. Patrick Bevin (NZ) BMC at 0:02
4. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
5. Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar
6. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky
8. Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb
9. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
10. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:09.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alessandro Tonelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 8:15:30
2. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Patrick Bevin (NZ) BMC at 0:08
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:12
5. Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar
6. Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb
7. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
8. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
9. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
10. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 0:00:19.

Stage 2:

Quick-Step Floors’ Julian Alaphilippe issued a warning shot to his rivals by sprinting to victory at the end of a breathless Stage 3 of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain in Bristol on Tuesday. The Frenchman, who won the King of the Mountains prize at this summer’s Tour de France, out-sprinted Patrick Bevin (BMC) and ONE Pro Cycling’s Emils Liepins to win a reduced bunch sprint on Ladies Mile, Clifton Down. Kiwi Bevin moves into the OVO Energy Green Jersey, level on time with stage two winner Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott), with Alaphilippe just two seconds in arrears.

The Bristol Stage combined spectacular man-made wonders – a double crossing of Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge – with the local area’s best natural features as the race wound its way through Cheddar Gorge and across the Mendip Hills.

An energetic start to proceedings had seen a break struggle to stick, and when it eventually did it contained a former winner in Bristol – Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) – as well as Frenchman Angelo Tulik (Direct Energie) and British pairing Ben Swift (Great Britain) and Jon Mould (JLT Condor). Their advantage never went far above the minute margin, and their hopes were finally extinguished on the fast run to the day’s final SKODA King of the Mountains climb of Providence Lane on the outskirts of Bristol.

An initial attack from Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) sparked off a charge up the steep slopes, with British youngster Tom Pidcock (Team WIGGINS) leading the much-reduced peloton over the top. BMC then hit the front, leading the charge up the unclassified Rownham Hill climb to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, with Bevin’s overall challenge at the forefront of their minds.

Coming onto the long, 900-meter finish straight Quick-Step Floors’ Bob Jungels took over from BMC, lifting the pace and setting up perfectly for Alaphilippe, who headed home Bevin and the fast-finishing Emils Liepins, with Great Britain youngster Ethan Hayter a highly creditable fourth.

Overnight leader Alessandro Tonelli finished 43rd, losing almost a minute to relinquish the OVO Energy Green Jersey, slipping to 25th overall. Alaphilippe also took over the Wahoo Points Jersey, while the Eisberg Sprints and SKODA King of the Mountains jerseys remain with Matthew Teggart (Team WIGGINS) and Scott Davies (Dimension Data) respectively.

Stage winner and 3rd overall, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors): “I’m happy to win, especially today as it’s my first race after a good break. My team did a really good job today – Bob [Jungels] and I have tried since the start of the Tour to win, so I’m happy to take the victory today. In the end I was in a really good position – Bob did a really good job and voila! This is my first time in the race, and I’m really happy to be part of this race. I’m surprised to be active in the race, especially in the final kilometers – maybe it’s because I’m fresh. I really like the parcours here.”

Overall leader, Patrick Bevin (BMC): “It was hard all day – I’m not sure if the TV pictures did it justice, but the pace never really came off. It was a classic Tour of Britain day. Every kilometer today was tough – the guys did a great job, we got it right over the final climb, I had team-mates around me until the end. The stage win would have been really nice, but we’re still in the hunt for the overall. It was frantic. The first big break that went worried too many teams – Sky and Bardiani-CSF chased that down hard. We had about three or four kilometers where it was relaxed, and then we went back to race mode! The aim of the team was to keep guys up there on GC until the team time trial; you can’t get better than leading the race. If we can hold it tomorrow, we’ll see how things shake out. I always love coming to Britain to race. The organization put on a really great race – I look forward to coming here every year.”

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 3 Result:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors in 2:47:41
2. Patrick Bevin (NZ) BMC
3. Emils Liepins (Lat) ONE Pro Cycling
4. Ethan Hayter (GB) Great Britain
5. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
6. Connor Swift (GB) Madison Genesis
7. Mads Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin
8. Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar
9. Dion Smith (NZ) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 3:
1. Patrick Bevin (NZ) BMC in 11:03:11
2. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:02
4. Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar at 0:12
5. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky
6. Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
8. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
9. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:19
10. Scott Davies (GB) Dimension Data at 0:22.

Stage 3:

André Greipel snatched his second stage win of the week on Stage 4 of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain as he reigned supreme in Royal Leamington Spa. The Lotto Soudal rider headed home Sacha Modolo (EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale) and OVO Energy Green Jersey wearer Patrick Bevin (BMC), who extended his lead at the top of the standings by virtue of his four-second time bonus on the line. Greipel’s win, coming at the end of a 183.5 kilometer stage that started in Nuneaton, was his seventh in Tour of Britain race history.

From the start in the centre of Nuneaton to the finish alongside Royal Leamington Spa’s Jephson Gardens, huge crowds lined the route of the Warwickshire stage to welcome the modern Tour of Britain to the county for the first time, with thousands of school children celebrating the start of term by watching the world’s best race pass.

A six-rider break was the main feature of the stage, with Madison Genesis’ Matt Holmes taking out all three Eisberg Sprints to move into the red jersey, while Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data) retook the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey from his team-mate Scott Davies.

The final remnants of the group were reeled in on the fast approach to Leamington Spa to set up a thrilling sprint finish, with Greipel taking a comfortable victory ahead of Modolo, and overall contender Bevin.

Bevin also takes over the Wahoo Points Jersey with a 10-point advantage over Greipel, and his BMC team will start the stage five team time trial in Cumbria on Thursday, last of the 20 teams at 14:02. First off on the stage from Cockermouth to Whinlatter will be JLT Condor, who will get the OVO Energy Tour of Britain’s first team time trial underway at 13:05. The 14 kilometer test against the clock rises over 350 meters across its length, ascending Lorton Vale to finish at the Forestry Commission’s Whinlatter Visitor Centre in the heart of the Lake District.

Stage winner, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “All the big teams in the peloton aimed for a stage win today, and so did we. Jens Keukeleire made a very strong impression today in the pursuit of the break. He rode at the front of the peloton until we had caught all escapees. Moreno Hofland and Jasper De Buyst did a great job positioning me for the sprint. They led me into the last corner perfectly and that was very crucial. I won the sprint thanks to that optimal position in the corner. Jasper brought me into the perfect position for the sprint. I was where I wanted to be. Our plan worked out brilliantly. It was my plan to go full from the corner, at 300 meters from the finish, which was far but I made it. I’m happy that I could give the team another stage win here. We have five riders left in the team after Jelle Vanendert had to abandon, so that’s one man less to help control a breakaway as we also need enough riders in the sprint preparation. James Shaw had a mechanical in the last kilometers, so he couldn’t be of service anymore. The riders in the break were also strong and that’s why it lasted so long to catch them. But in the end it all came back together and we could do the sprint as planned.”

Overall leader, Patrick Bevin (BMC): “It was an interesting bunch finish, having a corner with 350m to go. It was always going to be a bit dicey, so I made the call before the stage to come out of there first. I led the sprint out from there; I wasn’t going to win it from there, but I came third and picked up bonus seconds. We had a plan this morning to ensure there were no surprises today. The break was quite tough to pull back; if the finish was a bit different it would have been hard to pull them back but the big, wide, windy roads did for them. My team-mates looked after me really well and we were rewarded with a bit more time. At the end of the day one team-mate did the majority of work today, so that won’t have a huge effect on tomorrow. I don’t I think I’ve ever done an uphill team time trial. It’s new for me and the team, but we’re good at them so we’re going to try and keep that momentum going.”

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 4 Result:
1. André Greipel (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:22:04
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
3. Patrick Bevin (NZ) BMC
4. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Movistar
6. Emils Liepins (Lat) ONE Pro Cycling
7. Romain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie
8. Daniel McLay (GB) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
9. Andrew Tennant (GB) Canyon-Eisberg
10. Gabriel Cullaigh (GB) Team Wiggins.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 4:
1. Patrick Bevin (NZ) BMC in 15:25:11
2. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:04
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
4. Jasha Sutterlin (Ger) Movistar at 0:16
5. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky
6. Christopher Hamilton (Aus) Sunweb
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
8. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
9. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:23
10. Scott Davies (GB) Dimension Data at 0:26.

Stage 4:

Van Avermaet Looking to Repeat Success in Quebec and Montreal
Greg Van Avermaet returns to Canadian soil this week looking to repeat his previous success at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal.

Greg Van Avermaet, who claimed the win in Montreal in 2016 and has been on the podium five times collectively in Quebec and Montreal, highlighted the races as two of his biggest goals in the second part of the season. “I always love racing in Canada, especially because the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and Montreal are two races that really suit me. I have raced well in the past and I’m hoping to return to the podium again this year,” Van Avermaet said.

“The circuit in both races is not easy, which is better for me because I always have a better sprint after a long, hard race. I’ve had a good rest after the Binck Bank Tour and I’m looking forward to getting back into racing this week.”

Sports Director Fabio Baldato said Van Avermaet’s six teammates will be dedicated to helping the Belgian get a good result.

“We have a strong team lining up in Canada this week. Obviously Greg is a former winner in Montreal, as is Simon Gerrans who has won in Quebec twice and once in Montreal. The team will work hard to get a good result for Greg at both races, but we also have options depending on how the races play out. Damiano Caruso is coming in with good form and he can be a second option in Montreal,” Baldato explained.

GP Cycliste de Quebec / GP Cycliste de Montreal (7 and 9 September)
Rider roster:

Damiano Caruso (ITA), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Simon Gerrans (AUS), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sports Director: Fabio Baldato (ITA).

Greg Van Avermaet:

Ulissi Looking to Defend Canadian Title as Italian Leads UAE Team Emirates to North America
UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi returns to the stage of his last one-day race win as the Italian gears up for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal. Ulissi took home first place in the GP Montreal last year, his second one-day victory in UAE colors, and will be hoping for a repeat performance this time round.

Joining Ulissi will be former European Champion and 2018 Tour de France stage winner, Alexander Kristoff, alongside teammates Rui Costa, Alexandr Riabushenko, Manuele Mori, Marco Marcato and Jan Polanc. The team will be guided through the races by Sports Director, Simone Pedrazzini.

Commenting ahead of the race, Diego Ulissi said: “The GP Québec and the GP Montréal are two races that I particularly like. They are classics that are similar to the world championships. Among the two, I like Montréal because it’s a little harder than Québec and it’s more open to attackers. I had a fever a few days ago so I am not heading into the races in the best shape , but let’s see how my body will respond under force. I hope I can defend the title I won last year in Montréal.”

Sports Director Simone Pedrazzini added: “We have different tactics that we can take advantage of. Alexander Kristoff can sprint, Rui Costa and Diego Ulissi can try to force some moves. In the first race in Québec, it seems like a given that it could be a sprint, in Montréal the attacks could decide things, like what happened in the past with Ulissi. We are well equipped for the races and we are going to try to take advantage of the various options on offer.”

The only UCI World Tour races to take place in Canada, the GP Quebec and GP Montreal have been a feature on the tour since 2010. Both are comparable to the one-day races that take place in Europe, each over 200km and featuring a considerable amount of climbing. However, unlike the direct routes in Europe, these races will be played out on circuits. GP Quebec will feature 16 loops of a 12.6km circuit, whilst GP Montreal will challenge riders to 17 loops of a 12.1km circuit.

Preview Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec and Montréal
This week Lotto Soudal is staying in Canada for the Grand Prix Cyclist of Québec and the Grand Prix Cyclist of Montréal; the only WorldTour races on the calendar in Canada which took place for the first time in 2010. The two GP’s are similar: a total distance of 200 kilometers divided over 16 local laps with some challenging hills. The fifth edition of the GP de Montréal was a success for Tim Wellens because he won the tough edition after he got rid of his competitor Adam Yates in the finale.

During the GP de Québec, which takes place on Friday, the cyclists must overcome an elevation gain of 186 meters per lap of 12.6 kilometers. This results in an elevation gain of 2,679 meters over a total distance of 201.6 kilometers. The finish lies after a hill of one kilometer with an average gradient of 4%. Since Peter Sagan is riding the Vuelta this year, he will not be able to succeed himself, so we are looking forward to other punchers. The GP de Montréal, which is scheduled on Sunday, has an elevation gain of about 4,500 meters divided over local laps of 12.2 kilometers and a total distance of 195.2 kilometers. Lotto Soudal is participating with a motivated team and hopes that Tim Wellens can write a piece of history in Canada.

Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Soudal: “We are heading for Canada with one outspoken leader: Tim Wellens. Both races are difficult, and he has already proven in the past that he can perform well on those courses. Wellens is our absolute leader, for the GP de Québec as well as for the GP de Montréal. The difference between the two races is that the GP de Québec is always more closed: often a big group escapes early in the race and certain teams take over the race after a while. The winner is always someone with a lot of power: either a strong sprinter or a better climber who can just stay ahead of the peloton. That’s how a rider such as Michael Matthews was able to win the race but also types such as Robert Gesink or Rigoberto Urán.”

“Another big difference between the two GP’s, is the hill just before the finish. In the GP de Montréal, the finish lies after a hill of about 500 meters, while the hill in Québec is twice as long. As soon as the course turns away from the water, it is a difficult three kilometers with twisting roads who constantly go up and down and of which the last two kilometers are false flat. Nevertheless, in Québec they are heading for the finish with a large group while in Montréal, a small group is competing for the victory. There, the selection is made much earlier because the first hill of the local lap is also the hardest one. Especially in the last two laps the pace is very high, and they ride uphill fast, so that only the strongest riders survive in the end.”

“It may seem easy to sprint for the victory but if you have cycled already 200 kilometers, it isn’t. In the end, there are no sprinters left which make these races not suited for riders such as André Greipel. Tim Wellens does have the power to sprint after a difficult race, so he has the best chance within the Lotto Soudal line-up. For that reason, everyone is riding for Tim on Friday as well as on Sunday. Of course, a lot depends on the weather conditions: when he won, the weather was for example very bad and Tim is always good when that’s the case. We know how we must make the race hard: the harder the finale, the better for Tim. If a group escapes, we must start up the battle. Then Tim can for example, depending on the situation during the race, attack two or three laps before the end and thus try to survive until the finish.”

“It will be a tough weekend. After the Grand Prix de Québec on Friday, we must take the bus for a trip of approximately 400 kilometers. When we get there, the riders will go for a relaxing ride and do the recon of the local lap. The day after we must race again, and we will also try to make the race hard.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Lars Bak, Jens Debusschere, Adam Hansen, Nikolas Maes, Rémy Mertz, Harm Vanhoucke and Tim Wellens.
Sports director: Herman Frison.

Tim Wellens – Giro stage winner:

Strong Bahrain-Merida Team Ready for Canada Grand Prix Races
Two outstanding and exciting races are ahead of Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team, Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal.

The first challenge in Canada will be the one in Québec with 16 laps in the heart of the ‘Vielle Capitale’, a unique venue for the city circuit. One lap is 12,6 km long with the 201,6 km in total. The race will be particularly well suited to a hilly terrain and punchers and steep descents and with the straight for the fast sprinters to the finishing line.

The second challenge is Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal, an extremely high caliber competition. The riders will complete 17 laps through Montréal. One lap is 12,1 km with the total race distance of 205,7 km. A demanding climb with a difficult cadence will be a true test for all the riders.

Matej Mohorič, TMB leader for Canadian GP races is looking forward to the challenges across the Atlantic: “This year we are coming to Canada with a very strong team. I have been feeling very good lately having won Binck Bank and Deutschland Tour last month. I have since recovered from those efforts and hopefully that will make me even stronger for the races in Quebec and Montreal. I am more looking forward to the second race, I think it suits me better. On the team we also have Colbrelli, Gasparotto and Pozzovivo, who have done well here in the past – we are all very motivated and I think we can work well together to achieve a good result. There will also be Haussler, Bole and Koren. I think we are one of the strongest teams on the start-list.”

Rik Verbrugghe, TBM sports director for the race, is optimistic: “The two races are in a circuit, each one has two hard climbs which make the race really difficult. Anyway, we are going there with a great team and we hope that Matej Mohorič deserves his team leaders status after his great season, performance and stage victory at Giro and victories at the Binck Bank Tour and Tour of Germany, Sonny Colbrelli is our best sprinter and he is definitely more hungry for the victories after bad luck and flat tyre he had in Plouay. Hopefully the GP Quebec as a more sprinters race is a good playground for him. Enrico Gasparotto and Domenico Pozzovivo with their offensive style will for sure be able to perform well in these races and such climbs. Enrico has big experience at Canada races and did great results there. Heinrich Haussler is a rider with such experience and could always make a day and shares his all to his teammates. Kristijan Koren and Grega Bole are hard workers, experienced and give themselves to the team to the point of perfection. We have a great team that will support Matej, Sonny…”

Our goals are victories, podiums, top 10s…

Bahrain-Merida Team line up for Canadian GP races:
Heinrich Haussler, Matej Mohorič, Sonny Colbrelli, Enrico Gasparotto, Grega Bole, Kristijan Koren and Domenico Pozzovivo.

Grands Prix Cyclistes Québec et Montréal
Alexis Vuillermoz: “I had some very difficult times mentally after I had to abandon the Tour de France. It’s so unfair to have to leave the biggest race in the world because of an irresponsible spectator. The healing of my fracture to the scapula went well, and thanks to my friends and family, I digested my disappointment. I got back on the bike on August 10, and since then I have trained well. I am finding those good sensations again, which were confirmed in my return to racing at the Tour of Germany. I am happy to compete again at the GP Quebec and Montreal. I like Quebec, which I have visited many times during my career as a mountain biker as well. And I enjoy these two races, their atmosphere and their organization.
 Last year, I finished fourth in Quebec, which has a circuit with a very explosive final that suits me well. I was both happy with my performance and disappointed since I came so close to taking my first podium in a one day UCI WordTour race. This year, even with very few days of competition since July, I hope to be back in the thick of the race and continue on a good path until racing the Tour of Guangxi (China, October 16-21).”

In 2017, riders from the AG2R-La Mondiale team finished in the fourth place at both the GP Cyclists Quebec and Montreal with Alexis Vuillermoz in Quebec City and Jan Bakelants in Montreal.

Silvan Dillier not racing in Quebec
Though initially included in the lineup for the Grand Prix Cyclistes Quebec and Montreal, Silvan Dillier has been forced to withdraw. Having crashed during training on Monday, he is suffering from a deep cut on the chin that required stitches, and the resulting soreness of the impact, according to Dr. Eric Bouvat, medical officer of the AG2R-La Mondiale team. Dillier will be able to resume training in a few days. Silvan Dillier will be replaced by Quentin Jaurégui.

Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montréal
Team Sunweb coach Arthur van Dongen (Québec): “We head to Canada with a strong selection to compete for a top result with Michael. After a good few last races and a solid result here last year we’re looking forward to another good race in Québec. Riders will complete 16 laps of a hilly circuit with a punchy climb to the finish in Old Québec. We’ve got a solid team to support our goal with Søren, Sam and Nikias expected to be there into the final, and Roy, Chad and Tom there for support during the earlier parts of the race. Michael finished 3rd here last year and we will be looking to match that result again for 2018.”

Team Sunweb coach Arthur van Dongen (Montréal): “Just a few days after Québec we have another difficult race in Montréal. Once again Michael will be our leader and Søren, Sam and Nikias will be the guys to support him on the final laps. The parcours consist of 16 loops around a 12.2 kilometer city centre circuit with some demanding climbs along the way. We’ll be searching for a podium spot with Michael, with the course suiting him well.”

Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (7 Sept) and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (9 Sept)
Line Up:

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Nikias Arndt (GER), Roy Curvers (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Michael Matthews (AUS), Sam Oomen (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED).
Coach: Arthur van Dongen (NED).

Chad Haga:
Etna - Italië - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie Chad HAGA (USA / Team Sunweb) pictured during the 101st Giro d’Italia 2018 - stage 6 from Caltanissetta to Etna (164 KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to GPCQM
Our squad will go into the two one-day races with a firm grip on the World Tour team classification.

Eros Capecchi, Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, neo-pro James Knox, Davide Martinelli, Florian Sénéchal and Zdenek Stybar have traveled earlier this week to Canada, where in a couple of days they will line out at the start of the only two World Tour one-day races held outside of Europe, which this year run their ninth edition.

First event is the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec (September 7), which will see the riders cover 16 laps of a 12.6km circuit that includes four demanding climbs: Montagne (375 m, 10%), Potasse (420 m, 9%), Montée de la Fabrique (190 m, 7%) and Montée du Fort (1000 m, 4%).

Then, on Sunday, the peloton will take on the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal (195.2 kilometers), another race run on a circuit, this time 12.2km in length; Camillien (1800 m, 8%), Polytechnique (780 m, 6%) and Avenue du Parc (560 m, 4%) are the three difficulties of the day, which should shake up the bunch and be used by the riders as springboard to victory.

World Tour team standings leader Quick-Step Floors will be led from the car by sports director Davide Bramati, who is confident in his riders’ chances: “We look forward to Quebec and Montreal, two important, well-organized and hard World Tour races where we have always been among the protagonists. Stybar comes here after showing a strong form in both the BinckBank Tour and the Bretagne Classic, and will be one of our cards, together with Cavagna and Sénéchal. The team doesn’t lack depth and strength, so you can expect us to try something, as we really want to leave Canada with some strong results in the bag.”

Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec and Montréal:

Eros Capecchi (ITA), Rémi Cavagna (FRA), Tim Declercq (BEL), James Knox (GBR), Davide Martinelli (ITA), Florian Sénéchal (FRA), Zdenek Stybar (CZE).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA).

Zdenek Stybar:
Osimo - Italië - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Tim Wellens (BEL - Lotto Soudal) - Zdenek Stybar (CZE - QuickStep - Floors) pictured during the 101st Giro d’Italia 2018 - stage 11 from Assisi to Osimo (156 KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Paris-Tours 2018: Harvest Time for the Classics Hardmen
The Classic of the Falling Leaves is undergoing a little autumn revolution: all hail the Classic of the Grape Leaves! Paris–Tours has flirted with the vineyards of Touraine throughout its hundred-year history. However, this year’s course heads farther north, taking the riders right into the heart of the Vouvray appellation… and, even more importantly, putting them to the test on 12.5 km of vineyard tracks. Following the start in Chartres, the peloton will be on high alert due to the risk of splits on the windswept plains of Eure-et-Loir and Loir-et-Cher. Then, after 150 kilometers of racing, Paris–Tours will stray from its traditional formula to give attackers a greater chance of success.

By interspersing short, brutal climbs with narrow tracks where riders will have to stay focused at all times, the organizers of Paris–Tours have laid the groundwork for a lively race. The peloton will enter uncharted territory at km 161 with the start of the Château de Valmer track. The 1,500 m Vallée de Raye track, which comes after 162 kilometers and features a climb at the start, could provide a springboard for explosive riders. Shortly after, the peloton will tackle the 2,500 m Grosse Pierre track, with plenty of dirt and fine gravel! The Côte de la Rochère, coming after 151.5 km, is the steepest new climb on the course, with sections reaching 15%. Late attackers will pin their hopes on the 800 m Rochecorbon track, followed by the last climb 10 km before the finish. Anyone who enters the final straight on Avenue de Grammont —which has hosted the finish since 1988— with a gap will have to dig deep to stay away. Even then, the peloton could easily come together for a mass sprint. Nothing is off the table…

22 teams selected
Belgium: Quick-Step Floors; Lotto–Soudal; Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise; Veranda’s Willems Crelan; Wanty Groupe Gobert; WB Aqua Protect Veraanclassic. France: Ag2r–La Mondiale; Groupama-FDJ; Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ; Delko Marseille Provence KTM; Direct Énergie; Team Fortuneo—Samsic; Vital Concept Cycling Club; Saint-Michel Auber 93; Roubaix Lille Métropole. Germany: Team Sunweb. Israel: Israel Cycling Academy. Netherlands: Team LottoNL–Jumbo; Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij. South Africa: Team Dimension Data. Switzerland: Katusha–Alpecin. United States: EF Education First–Drapac p/b Cannondale.

Key points
The 112th edition of Paris–Tours will take place on 7 October on a revamped course that could change the flavor of the race. The route has been shortened to 211 km (versus 234 km in 2017) and peppered with seven climbs and 12.5 km of vineyard tracks in the final 50 kilometers!
Ø A total of 154 riders representing 22 teams will take part in the race. Sprinters such as Arnaud Démare, Dylan Groenewegen, Christophe Laporte and André Greipel will be on the start line, but the new race scenario could favor attackers such as Edvald Boasson Hagen, Jelle Wallays and Niki Terpstra.

Paris–Tours Espoirs / Paris–Tours Kilometer
-Along with the elite race, Paris–Tours is also a major event for under-23 riders. Over the last decade, talents such as Tony Gallopin (2008), Jelle Wallays (2010), Mike Teunissen (2014) and Sam Oomen (2015) took one of their first big wins here. The under-23 race will also face the vineyard tracks this year. The peloton will roll out from Bonneval and tackle the final 180 kilometers of the elite race.
-Under-16 and under-18 riders representing the departmental and regional committees involved in the race will do battle on the final kilometer. This will also be the first time that girls get to race on Avenue de Grammont.
-The late-season classic has also got something in store for children —the Ateliers de Paris–Tours, which will be set up in the finish area from Saturday 6 October. Booths offering an introduction to cycling, safety rules, maintenance and other aspects are a way for children to establish or strengthen their connection with cycling.

BORA – hansgrohe signs Jempy Drucker and Oscar Gatto
Drucker and Gatto have signed two-year contracts with the German-based squad and are going to strengthen the Classics group around Peter Sagan. Both are highly experienced in the northern classic races and thereby bring more options into the BORA – hansgrohe’s roster.

“After the first talks I had with BORA – hansgrohe, I immediately had a good feeling with joining them. I like the way they’ve developed over the past few years to one of the best teams in the world. Therefore, I am really looking forward to joining the BORA – hansgrohe family.

First of all I will be there to strengthen the Classics group around Peter Sagan, so that will be one of my main goals in the upcoming season. I love these races and I am very motivated to team up with him and my former teammates Daniel Oss and Marcus Burghardt. On a personal note, I also hope I still can progress as a rider in this team and help them to become even more successful in the future.”Jempy Drucker.

“BORA – hansgrohe has become one of the biggest teams in cycling, and the way they act is very impressive and was one of the reasons why I wanted to join them. I am also happy to meet some former teammates like Peter and Rafal. For me this change also means a new challenge, new structures, new staff, but my role remains the same. I will be there to fully support the team and help them to reach their goals in the upcoming seasons.”Oscar Gatto.

Jempy Drucker on Marcus Burghardt’s wheel in the 2018 Milan-San Remo:
Sanremo - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Marcus Burghardt (GER - Bora - Hansgrohe) - DRUCKER Jean-Pierre (LUX) of BMC Racing Team pictured during Milano-Sanremo (1.UWT) a one day race from Milano to Sanremo (291KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Astana Pro Team renews with Zhandos Bizhigitov
The Kazakh rider Zhandos Bizhigitov will continue his professional way in cycling with Astana Pro Team in 2019. The agreement between the management and the rider was signed these days.

“I am very happy to continue working in Astana Pro Team. The first two years flew away very fast. I was able to get some experience, but, I think more work has to be done to reach really high results. In the next season I want to continue working hard, to get new experience and forces to step on a new level to be ready for the big goals,” said Zhandos Bizhigitov.

Zhandos Bizhigitov (27) his first two seasons as a pro rider spent in Astana Pro Team. Last year together with the National Kazakhstan Team he won the team time trial and was third in the road race at the Asian Cycling Championships. Later, he became the Kazakhstan TT Champion and finished his debut Giro d’Italia. In 2018 Bizhigitov supported his teammates at the Itzulia Basque Country (a stage victory for Omar Fraile), the Tour of Austria (a stage victory for Alexey Lutsenko), the Dubai Tour (second place in GC for Magnus Cort), the Tour of Croatia (third place in GC for Yevgeniy Gidich). Besides, as a member of the Kazakhstan National Team Zhandos supported Alexey Lutsenko on his way to the historical gold medal at the Asian Games in Indonesia.

“I believe that Zhandos Bizhigitov can reach a solid progress in the next season. He has everything to do it, both, talent and big desire. This year was not his best season if we talk about personal results, but, he was really strong as a helper in a set of races where Astana Team has reached the success. I think, having this experience of the first two professional years, the big results will come to him in the next season,” said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Zhandos Bizhigitov:

Gasparotto signs on for Team Dimension Data
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is delighted to announce that Enrico Gasparotto will be joining the team from 1 January, 2019.

The Italian brings with him a wealth of experience and further bolsters both our current rider roster and the raft of new signings made in recent weeks.

The 36-year old’s had a strong 2018; his 3rd place at the Amstel Gold Race the highlight as it saw him on the podium alongside fellow new signings Michael Valgren and Roman Kreuziger. He also won the race both in 2012 and 2016.

Other notable performances include a number of top-10 stage finishes at the Tour de Pologne, Tour de Suisse as well as in Catalunya. While he also took 6th place at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

The Classics specialist has 10 career professional wins, including an Italian road race title, ridden in 12 Grand Tours and featured in 25 Classics.

Enrico Gasparotto – Rider:
“I’m really excited and looking forward to 2019. After 14 years as a professional rider I’m joining a group of completely new people who I have never worked with before. It means that at the beginning it will take a bit of time to get to know each other but that only makes me more enthusiastic.

It’s a great possibility to show the real “Gaspa” and by that I mean the person as well as the cyclist. Right now I’m like a kid at the first day of school! New people who for sure will become friends later.

The team has signed some really exciting and experienced riders to its existing core working group and forming a unit is always special. I’m sure we can transmit our endless enthusiasm and combined knowledge to all the younger guys but more specifically African riders who seems to have so much talent and hunger for the sport. We must be a good example of professionalism and happiness both off the bike and during the racing periods.

The Qhubeka charity is something special and important not only for the team but for an entire continent. With our actions we can help and I mean be a real help that you can touch with our hands, and assist a lot of people to improve their every day life. I’m looking forward to see the happiness of the people receiving bikes. We need the positive vibes that happy faces give us, to achieve big results on the bike.

I’m an ambassador for a Swiss foundation (Greenhope) so I know the potential that cycling and sports in general have.

I’m approaching the upcoming one day races in Canada and these are two real goals for the rest of the year. GP Quebec and GP Montreal are two races that I like and I think also suit my skills.

Obviously the one day races in Belgium during the Ardennes week, and Gp Quebec and Montreal are the most exciting races for me, and as an emotional man, I would like to be there in the mix.”

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal:
“I’m absolutely delighted that Enrico’s agreed to join our team as he brings a huge amount of experience. Not only in how to win, and consistently compete for victory in races, but also the many years that he’s spent in the sport that will be a great asset to the younger riders.

Him joining us, together with our other new signings, will hopefully see our team feature prominently in the Classics and other one-day races while also providing significant back-up for our Grand Tour ambitions.

He’s an exciting personality who I’m sure will integrate into our team easily and, as he’s so passionately highlighted, will help continue in our mission to change lives together with Qhubeka.”

Will Clarke and Alex Kirsch sign with Trek-Segafredo
Trek-Segafredo is excited to announce it has reached an agreement with 33-year-old Australian cyclist Will Clarke and 26-year-old Alex Kirsch of Luxembourg for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

For Will Clarke, who is currently racing with EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale, it will be a happy reunion with Trek and a few staff members from his first professional team Leopard-Trek in 2011. Clarke is a powerful rider and a devoted team player renowned for his hard work in breakaways and pulling relentlessly at the front of the peloton. He is also strong in the time trial, notably short and technical prologues, which has counted for four of the nine victories on his palmarès.

Clarke said: “It’s a huge opportunity for me to be joining Trek-Segafredo. It’s a big professional team that I have always admired, and I really can’t wait to go back. Leopard-Trek was my first professional team, so I’m looking forward to working again with some familiar faces. I am also really happy to be riding with Richie Porte. We are both from Northern Tasmania, and we last rode together in 2008 on the Praties Team where he won the tour of Tasmania. I hope to assist him and the rest of the team in winning some big WorldTour races now. I am really motivated to get the best out of myself for the team.”

Alex Kirsch, the double runner-up at the 2018 Luxembourg National Championships (both TT and road race), arrives from Pro Continental team WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic. Kirsch, proficient in Classic-style races, is 1m95cm tall and one of those guys you love to have in front of you in the peloton. Four years ago, he rode as a stagiaire for Trek-Segafredo and now has made significant progress to step up to the WorldTour.

Kirsch said: “I am looking forward to joining Trek-Segafredo and making my debut in the WorldTour. The team has high ambitions for the classics, which I am excited about. Having now ridden for a Belgian team, I know the roads and the culture very well, and I hope my experience and qualities will add value to the team.

“It will be my goal, of course, to help John (Degenkolb), Jasper (Stuyven) and Mads (Pedersen) go for wins in those races. I’m also sure that with this team, with its structure, will help keep me progressing and to reach another level. I can say that I am super excited!”

Trek-Segafredo General Manager, Luca Guercilena: “Obviously we know Will (Clarke) and Alex (Kirsch) already and we know they are both very powerful riders. We are convinced they will be valuable assets for the team. Will will reinforce our team time trial squad, and Alex will be of great help in the Classics. With them, we have a solid base for our Classics team and our group for the stage races.”

Will Clarke in the TDU:
Lyndoch - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie William CLARKE (Australia / Team EF Education First - Drapac P/B Cannondale) - Nickolas Dlamini pictured during 20th Santos Tour Down Under (2.UWT) stage -1 from Port Adelaide to Lyndoch (145KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Sunweb Add Robert Power and Nicholas Roche to Men’s Program
Team Sunweb are to strengthen their GC squad with their new signings Nicholas Roche (IRE) and Robert Power (AUS). Roche signs a one year contract with the team, whilst Power will wear the team’s colors until the end of 2020.

Robert Power (AUS)
At 23 years old, the young Aussie engine adds firepower to the team’s uphill squad having the typical capacities needed for three-week racing. With a bundle of GC top 10’s early on in his career, a strong 6th place at the 2018 Strade Bianche and his first pro win this year, his strengths as a rider are a great fit to the team’s goals for the upcoming seasons.

Speaking of his new contract Robert Power said: “I am very excited to join Team Sunweb. I chose to sign with the team because I really like the way the team operates and I think it’s a good environment for me to continue my development as a rider. I also appreciate that they see my potential as a rider and I’m looking forward to taking the next steps here. I think there is a great support structure surrounding the team which I am very much looking forward to being a part of.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED) added: “Robert was a world class U23 rider taking lots of promising results at the beginning of his career and has been on our radar since then. We are very happy to have signed him. He had a difficult few years after turning professional but we believe that he has the potential to make the next steps in his development with the team. He has that very typical physiological skill set which we were looking for to strengthen our roster for a three week race at high level and big intensity. He has a big engine and with the capacity to recover fast he can perform on a very high level in the decisive part of three week stage races. He joins the team initially in a support role but we will provide him with everything needed to make the next steps in his development over the upcoming years to see where it could lead to.”

Robert Power:

Nicholas Roche (IRE)
34-year-old Roche brings a wealth of experience to the team with 20 grand tour starts under his belt and 10 professional wins. The Irishman has high ambitions and looks forward to sharing his experience with the team, alongside his role of providing crucial support in the mountains whilst the team chase their GC ambitions in both stage races and grand tours.

Nicholas Roche commented on joining the team: “I am very happy to join Team Sunweb and to be in a new environment. I am excited about the sporting project and the role that I will have in the team, which suits me perfectly and I’m eager and really looking forward to sharing my knowledge with the younger guys on the team. I think the team and their goals fit perfectly with what I like to do as a rider and will help me get the most out of it, and even give my own development a boost. I’m already looking forward to starting a new season with Team Sunweb.”

Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED) added: “Nicholas of course has the physical capacities that will be really valuable for the team, but he also brings a ton of experience that will be pivotal to his support role for our GC leaders. Over the years he has raced many stage races and Grand Tours at a very competitive and stable level. As a person he is a great fit and has a lot of ambition to be a valuable player for us in the grand tours next season.”

Nicholas Roche:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo extends contracts with Van Emden and Lindeman
Jos van Emden and Bert-Jan Lindeman will stay at Team LottoNL-Jumbo. The team extended their contracts for three years and one year, respectively. On the other hand, Robert Wagner will leave Team LottoNL-Jumbo for another team.

“I can’t think of a reason to leave”, Van Emden said, who joined the team that is now called Team LottoNL-Jumbo in 2008. “They know what they can expect of me and I know what I can expect of the team. It’s nice to see the development of the team closely and contribute to it. Thanks to their guidance I’m still improving myself on some points.”

Just like Van Emden, Lindeman is a valuable rider with his own specialty. “I’m happy with the contract extension. I have my role and I’m appreciated. I’m here to support the leaders and sometimes I get my own chances”, Lindeman explained.

Next year, it will be his fifth season with the team of General Manager Richard Plugge. Lindeman is now riding in the Vuelta a España. Three years ago, he had the biggest success of his career there by winning the seventh stage. Last year, Van Emden won the final time trial in the Giro d’Italia.

Nippo Vini Fantini Europa Ovini: The Colombian Rider Alejandro Osorio Signs a 2 Year Contract
The young Colombian rider, best climber in Tour de L’Avenir and winner of one stage in Giro d’Italia Under23 in Passo Maniva, will become a Pro rider with the Nippo Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team. An international talent, of very high level that gives to the #OrangeBlue the chance to ride with one of the best neo-pro of the 2019.

Alejandro Osorio, Colombian rider born in 1998, will become a PRO with the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team. The winner of the KOM ranking of the Tour de L’Avenir 2018 and winner of one stage in Giro d’Italia Under23, signs a two years contract with the team. The young Colombian rider will arrive in the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team thanks to the AFB Academy (Albertati, Fondriest, Bianco), that discovered and followed the young rider in these first years of career.

The Rider
Alejandro Osorio is 20 years old, but already demonstrated a great talent in high level and international competitions. A strong climber, that in this 2018 season won a hard stage in Giro d’Italia Under23, with finish-line in Passo Maniva, wearing for couple of stages also the Pink Jersey and closing with a final 6th place in the general ranking.

For him also another prestigious result, just one week ago, when he won the KOM ranking of the Tour de L’Avenir, even if his main role in the race was to help his strong teammate Ivan Sosa for the general ranking.

The Declarations
Alejandro Osorio use these words to introduce himself: “I’m super happy to become a Pro in Italy, with the chance to ride big European races. It is a dream that becomes reality. In these 2 years with the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team I hope to learn as much as possible contributing also to the successes of my team. My dream is to participate to many important races, but the Giro d’Italia is my favorite race. After winning a stage in the Giro d’Italia Under23 my dream is to win a stage also among PROs in this wonderful race. My idol? Contador. I really like the approach he had to the races, always attacking.”

The General Manager of the team, Francesco Pelosi, is very proud of this important announcement: “We are happy to announce the signature of one of the best young riders in the world. Alejandro Osorio is undoubtedly one of the most important international riders to go professional in 2019. In the two most important races as Under23, the Tour de l’Avenir and the Giro d’Italia Under23 he has achieved very interesting results, considering also that the best climber jersey at the Tour de l’Avenir conquered it by acting as gregarious for the general ranking to his teammate Ivan Sosa. One of the objectives of the Professional is to launch quality young riders and we are happy to contribute to this mission and to continue on our mission, our team has launched 5 young riders in 2018 in professionalism and will launch at least other 3 in 2019 by adding them to captains of experience fundamental for their growth. Confirming our Italian-Japanese soul thanks to which in 2018 we will have 8 Italians and at least 5 Japanese in our roster, our goal is to be a team always more international, especially when we talk about riders of undoubtedly value such as Alejandro Osorio.”

Together with the young Italian sprinter Giovanni Lonardi, Alejandro Osorio is the second official announcement of the team for the season 2019. Two neo-pro, two new riders, both of them winner of one of the nine stages of the Giro d’Italia Under23 of this year.

Palmarès and top results (under23) 2018:
KOM leader – Tour de l’Avenir 2018
1° Giro d’Italia Under23 – Tappa 4
4° Giro d’Italia Under23 – Tappa 6
5° Tour de l’Avenir – Tappa 7
6° Giro d’Italia Under23 – Classifica General.

Bahrain-Merida suspend Kanstantsin Siutsou
It is with deep disappointment that we have been informed by the Union Cycliste International (UCI) that our rider Kanstantsin Siutsou, has been notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) in a sample collected in the scope of an out-of-competition control on 31st July 2018.

In accordance with our zero tolerance policy, the rider has been suspended immediately.

Siutsou’s contract expires on December 31st 2018 and BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team had notified the rider during the month of June that his contract would not be renewed.

We hold our riders and staff to the highest ethical standards, as Brent Copeland General Manager of Team Bahrain-Merida underlines. “This news is terribly disappointing, we are very severe with any wrong doing with regards to our internal health code, this behavior is not accepted by our team and further procedures will be taken against the rider.”

Kanstantsin Siutsou:

Vuelta a España 2018: The best on-bike action

Velon brings you some of the most exciting moments captured on our teams’ on-bike cameras, from Stages 5-9 of the 2018 Vuelta a España:

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