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La Planche des Belles Filles - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO (Spain / Team Trek Segafredo) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 5 from Vittel to La Planche des Belles Filles, 160.50 km - foto Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The 2017 Vuelta a España will be Alberto Contador’s last professional race – Top Story. In a full EUROTRASH we have all the race news from the BinckBank Tour with reports, results and video. Other cycling news: Bora-Hansgrohe Vuelta line-up, PRO Ötztaler 5500, contract news from: Quick-Step Floors, Sky, Bahrain-Merida, Astana, Katusha-Alpecin, Wanty-Groupe Gobert, Cofidis, UAE Team Emirates and Katusha-Alpecin, Rafa Valls breaks hip, road titles at Canada Games and a Tour of Britain up-date.

TOP STORY: Goodbye Alberto!
Alberto Contador has announced that the 2017 Vuelta a España will be his last race as a professional bike rider. In a personal video, the leader of the Trek-Segafredo team explained that he had thought long and hard over the decision and believes that the Tour of Spain is the best possible scenario to say goodbye to cycling and to all of his fans in the way they deserve.

Translation of the video:
Hi all: I’m making this video to inform you about two things, one is that I will participate in the next Vuelta a España, from August 19, and the second is that it will be my last race as a professional cyclist. I say this in a happy way, without sadness. I have thought about this decision very well and I don’t think there is a better farewell than in my home race in my own country. I’m sure these will be three wonderful weeks, enjoying all your affection, and I’m eager to take the start. Greetings and see you all on the road from August 19!

Luca Guercilena, General Manager Trek-Segafredo: “It has been an honor to work with such a great champion. Alberto Contador has been showing his fighting spirit and his professionalism all year long. To give you one example, in this year’s Tour de France he demonstrated his personal motto in a way we only could admire: ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way.’ Even after the crashes that took him out of the fight for the first places in GC, he kept fighting and battling for a stage win and to move up some places in GC. That showed how strong he is, both mentally and physically.”

“It was great to have him in the team, even it was only for one season, and we will keep giving it our all to help him to achieve a big result in his last Vuelta a España and it goes without saying we wish him the very best for his future afterwards!”

Verbania - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Alberto Contador (Tinkoff - Saxo)  pictured during  Giro d’Italia 2015 - stage-18 - from  Melide to Verbania - photo IB/LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2015

The triple winner of La Vuelta a España, Alberto Contador will take the start of his last race on August 19th in Nîmes. As homage to his brilliant career, he’s been assigned the race No. 1 by the organization. It’ll be his fifth participation in an event he won three times (2008, 2012 and 2014) and finished fourth last year (behind Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome and Esteban Chaves). He never tackled it as defending champion in the past, so for the first – and last – time, he’ll be identified by the race number 1 as the organization decided to put his team Trek-Segafredo on top of the start list.

“That Alberto chooses Spain and La Vuelta to call it a career is a great honor for the whole organization”, the general director of La Vuelta Javier Guillén declared. “We are wholeheartedly grateful to the generosity he always demonstrated as a rider and that he shows once again with this decision. Alberto is – and will forever be – part of the history of cycling in our country and elsewhere.”

Contador became the fifth cyclist to win all three Grand Tours, at 25 he made his debut at La Vuelta in 2008 one year after he claimed his first Tour de France and three months after he won his first Giro d’Italia. With this record, he rejoined Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault [only Vincenzo Nibali joined that club since].

On the penultimate day of the coming La Vuelta, he’ll return to the Alto de l’Angliru where he received his first leader’s jersey nine years ago. It was also his first solo stage win, attacking in the last five kilometers of the climb. He doubled up the day after at Fuentes de Invierno with one week to go and caught the heart of the fans.

On his second participation, he wasn’t back to his best level after a forced six-month break in 2012. Race leader Joaquim Rodriguez looked like he had the red jersey sealed, but Contador launched an expected attack in the Collado La Hoz, 52km before the finish in the breathtaking surroundings of the Picos de Europa while some of his team-mates were part of the breakaway, waiting for his move. The Pinto native turned the race upside down! It remains the biggest exploit of the modern era of La Vuelta.

In 2014, Contador didn’t seem ready to start La Vuelta after crashing badly at the Tour de France. Ten days prior to the opening team time trial at Jerez de la Frontera, he changed his mind and decided to give it a try. Luck was on his side this time with Nairo Quintana crashing against the clock while wearing the red jersey. Bluffing as much as he possibly could in his fragile shape, he fended off Chris Froome, Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez to win the penultimate stage atop Los Ancares and reach the start of the conclusive time trial at Santiago de Compostela with an advantage of 1:37 over Froome.

Contador has been Froome’s nightmare at La Vuelta, last year when he combined forces with Quintana on stage 15 to Aramon Formigal while the British favorite of the race was trapped at the back. Following his ninth place overall at the Tour de France last month, the most prolific Grand Tour rider of the recent years has decided to call it an end to his career before turning 35 in December.

In this years Vuelta Contador might not be able to equal the record of four overall victories, but as it will be his ‘last goodbye’ he has nothing to loose with an epic attack or two. This Vuelta could be one of the best.

Alberto makes his announcement:

BinckBank Tour 2017
Few riders would be in a position to contest a hard sprint at the BinckBank Tour just days after riding almost the whole of the last week in the leader’s jersey at the Tour de Pologne, but today, Peter Sagan did just that. The UCI World Champion, brought to the line by his BORA-hansgrohe teammates, took on a long sprint before securing his 98th professional victory. After his third stage victory in this race, the Slovak rider will begin tomorrow’s stage in the green jersey of race leader.

The BinckBank Tour has something for every type of rider, and on Monday, on a gentle and flat 169.8km Stage 1, it would be the sprinters who took centre stage. While the terrain itself didn’t feature any challenges for the riders, without any climbs to trouble the peloton, on a day like today it would be the riders who would make the going tough, keeping the pace high and covering the distance rapidly. While much of the stage took place on open roads, there were some excursions onto narrower paths as the day went on, while towards the finale in Venray, there would be some roundabouts and street furniture to negotiate, making racing dangerous as speeds increased in the final kilometers.

Setting the tone for what would undoubtedly be a fast, combative stage, the break went away as soon as the commissaire started the day, a group of four quickly building an advantage of two minutes on the peloton. While the sprinters wouldn’t want to be denied a fast finale, there was plenty of time to reel this escape group in towards the end of the day, and so the break was left to their own devices. The pace was fast, with both the escape and the peloton riding at high speeds in the beautiful Dutch weather, with the gap never exceeding two minutes as a result. Keeping watch at the head of the peloton, BORA-hansgrohe’s German Champion Marcus Burghardt made sure that as the finish edged closer, the break was slowly brought back in, and with there being no race leader to protect, the other teams in the bunch were working with the German rider to make this happen. Safe in the bunch, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, had his eye on the stage victory, and was being protected by his teammates ahead of the finale

The gap dropping ever lower, there was a risk of making the catch too early, allowing another, more dangerous breakaway to go ahead. With this in mind, as the gap hit almost thirty seconds, the peloton reduced its speed and allowed the escapees an extra minute, confident they would be able to bring this back quickly in the final kilometers. In the space of just 10km, the group managed to reduce the gap from 1:40 to just fifteen seconds, and with the break looking over their shoulders and seeing the mass of the peloton looming large, they knew that after more than 160km on the front, it would be all back together for the final sprint. In the final kilometers, a succession of roundabouts and street furniture made the going hectic, splitting the bunch as the sprint trains massed to bring their riders to the line. With the other sprinters starting some way back, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, spurred into action closer to the line. As others dropped off, the distance just too far to maintain their speed, Peter kept going, taking his 98th professional victory and his third at this race.

Venray - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) - Phil BAUHAUS (Germany / Team Sunweb) - Magnus Cort NIELSEN (Danmark / Team Orica Scott)  pictured during the BinckBank Tour Stage 1 from Breda to Venray (169,9 km) - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage 1 winner and overall leader, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I was very lucky in the finish, because I was certain that I’d been passed on the line, but I took the win purely because I threw my bike at the last second. I didn’t even know I’d won until five minutes later. I didn’t want to go too early in the sprint – I wanted someone in front of me – so I waited until a little later before I went. The line was just too far away then, so I let Rüdi and Groenewegen keep the gap, and after that I started my sprint behind them so I had a better line, taking advantage of having two guys in front of me, but still Bauhaus did a great sprint. I’m going to keep going and fighting at the race. Tomorrow is a big day for everyone with a 9km time trial – it’ll be tough and we want to make the most of it for BORA-hansgrohe. It’s a good day for Maciej Bodnar, and I’ll try not to lose time myself.”

BinckBank Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 30:50:09
2. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Sunweb
3. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott
4. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
5. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
6. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
8. Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
10. Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

BinckBank Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:49:59
2. Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana at 0:01
3. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Sunweb at 0:04
4. Elmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:05
5. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott at 0:06
6. Mark Mcnally (GB) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:10
8. Boy van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
9. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac.

Stage 1:

Stefan Küng (BMC) proved why he is becoming known as one of the best time trialists in the world on BinckBank Tour Stage 2, setting the only time under 11 minutes to secure his first individual time trial victory at a UCI WorldTour race and move into the leader’s jersey.

Küng was one of the first riders to roll off the ramp, and despite the wet conditions, he settled into his rhythm quickly and with the parcours being completely flat, the Swiss national time trial champion was able to power around the 9km course before clocking a time of 10:58 on the line.

It was a long and nervous wait in the hot seat over the next two and a half hours but as the final riders set off, Küng’s time remained unshaken and eventually it proved to be enough to secure the stage win and move into the leader’s jersey.

Maciej Bodnar who came in as the fastest Bora-Hansgrohe rider, making the most of a drier course for his run to take second with a time of 11:02. Despite racing under much wetter conditions, UCI World Champion Peter Sagan, clocked the 18th best time of the stage, finishing at 11:23.

Voorburg - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Stefan Kung (Team BMC Racing Team) pictured during the BinckBank Tour Stage 2 from Voorburg to Voorburg ITT (9 km) - photo Cor Vos © 2017

Interview with stage winner and overall leader, Stefan Küng (BMC):

Congratulations, Stefan! What was it like out on the course today?
“It was a tricky time trial. It’s a city parcours, so there were lots of corners, lots of signs and painting on the road and with the rain, it made it a big challenge. I think I was able to push all the way through, but with all the roundabouts it was hard to know exactly when to push. On a time trial like this, you are always on the line of how much risk you want to take because you want to go as fast as possible, but you don’t want to go down, and I think I managed to do that well today.”

You had a long wait in the hot seat. Were you nervous at all as you watched the other riders out on the course?
“It was more of a cold seat because it wasn’t too warm today. I was waiting around two and half hours, and now I’ve finally won, so I am really happy. I couldn’t watch the race all the time because you are nervous already at that point so, I actually took the time and read. A lot of good guys went off at the beginning, even before me, but I was watching Tony Martin (Team Katusha – Alpecin) anxiously. Unfortunately, he crashed, and I wish him all the best. Also at the end, I watched Peter Sagan (Bora – hansgrohe) as on a parcours like this, which was pretty technical, he can do amazing stuff on his bike. You are always nervous right up to the end because you never know and you don’t win the race until the last person has crossed the line so now I am really relieved.”

When you saw some of the riders that you had beaten, did you think that you had the winning time today?
“It was a really difficult parcours. Even when I went out, the roads were wet, and it was raining slightly, and there was a lot of tricky corners, and we saw that a few guys crashed. You had to be focused, and there were about 20 turns. You had to remember which turn to take in which way and without an intermediate check point it was all out until the end. When I saw I had the best time, I knew I had beaten good riders like Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb), Maciej Bodnar (Bora-hansgrohe) and Jos Van Emden (Lotto-Nl-Jumbo) but you never know. You just have to hope that you still have the best time at the end.”

And looking ahead to the rest of the race?
“The goal is to take this jersey all the way to finish. It is going to be hard as there are some difficult stages, a lot of difficult stages actually with the race heading to the Ardennes and then the finish in Geraardsbergen. But I am coming out of the Tour de France, and I am in good shape so, we will fight until the end.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Despite its short length, today’s time-trial course was very technical, with many twists and turns. I was lucky that I got off the ramp before the heavy rain started pouring but still, the road wasn’t completely dry. The strongest TT riders and specialists started a few minutes later and were also able to take advantage of the same conditions, which meant that the weather didn’t turn into an advantage for me. Taking second place, just 4 seconds off the winner, is a pity but despite that, I’m satisfied with my performance and my result. I’m much stronger in less technical time-trials, with fewer curves and stop-and-goes but my result today showed that my accelerations were very strong.”

8th overall, World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I think I had a good result under such tough weather conditions. It is never easy to race when the conditions aren’t the same for everybody but, of course, there is nothing we can do, it’s part of a time trial. Overall, I’m satisfied with what I achieved today and, especially, that I didn’t crash under the heavy rain. It’s a real pity Bodi didn’t take the win today, he was strong and got so close.”

BinckBank Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC in 10:58
2. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:04
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:05
4. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:08
5. Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:10
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:12
7. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo at 0:14
8. Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC at 0:15
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:17
10. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo.

BinckBank Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC in 4:01:07
2. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:04
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:05
4. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:08
5. Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:10
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:12
7. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo at 0:14
8. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:15
9. Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:17.

Stage 2 TT:

Edging closer and closer to his 100th professional victory, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan took his 99th win on Stage 3 of the BinckBank Tour. While the Slovak rider made it look easy, Peter was clear the racing in Belgium was hard, with the final kilometers especially challenging due to wet conditions that split the peloton with a crash before the Flamme Rouge. Peter moves up to 4th in the GC race, and will wear the blue jersey of points leader on stage 4.

The race crossed the border from the Netherlands into Belgium, and with it came the promise of Flandrian cobblestones and the infamous Belgian weather. The 185km route was fairly flat, with a couple of short climbs, but nothing that would trouble the determined peloton. After a short day’s time trialling on Tuesday in difficult weather conditions, the sprinters would be eager to get back on the road and challenge for the win on a flat finalé. The twisting finish would bring with it its own challenges, but with poor weather predicted at the finish, getting to the line in one piece would be a challenge all of its own.

Starting the day back in the rainbow stripes of UCI World Champion, there was no pressure on the Bora-Hansgrohe riders to protect the race lead for Peter Sagan. For this reason, the team would be able to take the day relatively easy, with no compulsion to chase down the break – leaving the hard work to the race leader’s BMC team. The group of five escapees made the most of the flat start, managing to quickly build an advantage of three minutes. While the peloton was pushed along by a tailwind, reducing the gap to less than a minute, with the bulk of the stage still to go, there was no hurry to make the catch just yet, and the bunch backed off, allowing the break to extend their lead a little, and the addition of some cobblestones to the route allowed the break to add even more time as the larger group worked to make sure they came through safely.

Just 50km remaining, the pace increased, with the familiar jersey of German National Champion, Marcus Burghardt, riding hard on the front for the Bora-Hansgrohe team, keeping the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, safe to contest the finish. Hitting the finishing circuit, which would be raced twice, the gap was decreasing rapidly, and while the peloton nervously tackled the street circuit, decreasing its speed to do so, the advantage had all but gone, and with 6km remaining, the catch was made – just as the twists and turns of the finish really got technical, the damp roads making the going treacherous. A late crash followed by a late attack strung out the peloton, but Sagan had everything under control – even before he crossed the line, teammate Rudi Selig was celebrating Peter’s 99th professional victory, with both hands in the air 100m before he had taken the win.

Ardooie - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe) Edward THEUNS (Belgium / Team Trek Segafredo) - Rudy BARBIER (France / Team AG2R La Mondiale)  pictured during the BinckBank Tour Stage 3 from  Blankenberge to Ardooie (185 km) - photo Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and 4th overall, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It wasn’t easy today. It was a reminder that we’re racing in Belgium because today was like riding a Spring Classic. It was crazy – all day on the front, the team trains were up there trying to pass each other and control the pace. In the end, it started to rain, and it was very dangerous, with a crash in the finale. I’m very happy because BORA-hansgrohe worked very well together and took another victory, which was amazing for us – I’m very happy. We’ll see whether I can take my 100th victory soon – first we have to survive until tomorrow. It’s good to be back near the top of the GC as well. If I take the GC again, it will be on a day where there are a lot of groups and gaps on the road – it’s all about taking the seconds. For that reason, we will have to take it day by day.”

Overall rider, Stefan Küng (BMC): “It was a pretty stressful and nervous day. There was a little bit of wind but not that much. Everyone was nervous and you could also tell that everyone was in good shape because they started panicking early. I need to say a big thanks to my team. They did a really good job today. First pulling at the front and then protecting me and keeping me out of trouble when it was a little chaotic and overall today went quite well for us. Jempy Drucker tried something and Loïc Vliegen was up there in the sprint so it was a good day for the team and I am happy to still be in the leader’s jersey. It is nice to keep the jersey, and we will try to continue to hold on to it but Peter Sagan (Bora – hansgrohe) looked in strong form, and now he is within five seconds of the overall lead. You never know what will happen so we will keep fighting and I will enjoy another day in the jersey tomorrow.”

11th on the stage, Kenny Dehaes (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “Unlike Monday I was almost able to sprint today. It was a chaotic final, definitely in the end with the rain. I could still move up in Greipel’s wheel with 2 kilometers to go. In the chicane they crashed next to me when I was in fifteenth position. As a result, I lost some positions. Then I hung on the last kilometer. A rider before me had to leave a gap, so I had to make up two bike lengths before we began the sprint. I caught a group of 10 riders with only 300 meters to go. As a result, I soon was “a bloc” in the sprint. On Wednesday I want to contest a good sprint in Lanaken.”

Break rider, Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I went into the offensive because I expected a nervous stage with echelons. In retrospect, that didn’t turn out to be the case. The wind was different as expected. I said to my fellow companions not to start too hard. Twice we were almost caught because of strange behavior in the peloton. Problem was that two companions (Allegaert and Reinders) were already in the break on Monday, so they were no longer fresh. Now I will focus on Sunday’s stage to Geraardsbergen.”

BinckBank Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:14:01
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
3. Rudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
5. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC
6. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott
7. Jonas Rickaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) Team UAE Emirates
9. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Sunweb.

BinckBank Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC in 8:15:08
2. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:04
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb at 0:05
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:08
6. Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:10
7. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:12
8. Matthias Brändle (Aut) Trek-Segafredo at 0:14
9. Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC at 0:15
10. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:17.

Stage 3:

BORA – hansgrohe unveils Vuelta line-up
Rafal Majka will be the team leader supported by strong climbers like Buchmann, Konrad and Poljanski. Michael Schwarzmann will be BORA – hansgrohe’s men for the sprints. Leo König will not take part in the Vuelta.

“I think we have a well-balanced squad to support Rafal but also to go for stage wins. Rafal will be our GC leader with the goal to finish in the top five. But we also want to win a stage, and I think there will be chances for Buchmann and Konrad in some stages.”Ralph Denk, Team Manager

“After his long-lasting knee irritation, Leo feels better now. He had his first race in San Sebastian, but we think he is not ready yet for a three-week tour, the intensity for his knee could be too high. To not take any risk for his long-term perspectives he won’t race the Vuelta.”Jan-Niklas Droste, Team Doctor.

Cesare Benedetti (Ita), Emanuel Buchmann (Ger), Michael Kolar (Svk), Patrick Konrad (Aut), Rafal Majka (Pol), Christoph Pfingsten (Ger), Pawel Poljanski (Pol), Andreas Schillinger (Ger), Michael Schwarzmann (Ger).

Tour de Suisse Champion Spilak comes back to Ötztal
Slovenia‘s Simon Spilak will return to the magic place where he laid the foundations for his overall win of this year‘s Tour de Suisse: welcome back to Sölden in Ötztal! The two-time winner Tour de Suisse winner and his WorldTeam Katusha Alpecin will also take part in the very 1st edition of the PRO Ötztaler 5500 on 25 August, probably the world‘s toughest one-day cycle race in the UCI calendar.

Soon all 24 teams of the PRO Ötztaler 5500 – a UCI category 1.1 cycle race – will announce their participating team members. Among them also Switzerland‘s WorldTeam Katusha Alpecin with two-time Tour de Suisse overall winner and Tour de Romandie winner Simon Spilak. The Slovenian top athlete has wonderful memories of Ötztal as the place where he could assure his victory in this year‘s Tour de Suisse. The organizing committee is looking forward to welcoming another star – Orica cycling pro Simon Yates, wearing the White Jersey of the Tour de France as best young rider.

On occasion of the PRO Ötztaler 5500 the cycling pros conquer the original marathon race track two days prior to the classic 37th Ötztaler Cycle Marathon. Spilak is greatly impressed by the race‘s key data: “The 217.4 kilometer long course with 5500 altitude meters seems really difficult! Actually, I like steep mountains very much. But the distance is extreme. I hope that my legs are in a good shape so that I can go for the win.”

Spilak banks on strong Helpers
Slovenia‘s super star can trust in excellent supporters like Sven Erik Byström, the U23 Road cycling world champion (2014), Robert Kiserlovski, who came tenth in the Giro d‘Italia two times, and Russia‘s Maxim Belkov, stage winner at the Giro d‘Italia (2013). Also Netherlands‘ expert climber Mauritz Lammertink, winner of last year‘s Luxembourg Tour, is part of the magnificent Katusha Alpecin team. Tiago Machado from Portugal, winner of the 2014 Tour of Slovenia and third in the demanding Dauphiné Libéré two times, ranks among the most skilled mountain stage cyclists too!

Gennadi Mikhaylov, the team‘s sport director, will take care of the cyclists during the PRO Ötztaler 5500: “For us it‘s a completely new race in the calendar. Rarely I saw such an amazing elevation profile! Therefore nobody can say how the race will develop until its end. I, personally, think that the crucial point is Timmelsjoch Pass. Thanks to Simon Spilak we try to go for the win, of course, and we hope for cold weather because he likes it.”

Jörg Ludewig eagerly looks forward to a Superlative Cycling Sports Weekend
Former cycling pro and Eurosport expert Jörg Ludewig, sponsor representative of Alpecin at the Team Katusha Alpecin, knows the Ötztaler Cycle Marathon like the back of his hand. In previous Ötztaler races his best ranking was the second place! “I am very curious about tactics in the pro race. The winner‘s time could easily be very close to the amateur marathon race. However, I am sure that we are going to have a much faster and new record time at Timmelsjoch,” states the German expert. In the early stage of the pro race he bets on the Continental and Professional Continental Teams as they always start very speedy. “Later the big Teams will get even harder. I also think that one of the talented Austrians will be on the podium. I am very much looking forward to a highly interesting cycle race weekend full of superlatives in Sölden‘s splendid surroundings.”

Team Katusha Alpecin:
Maxim Belkov, RUS
Tiago Machado, POR
Sven Erik Byström, SWE
Matvey Mamykin, RUS
Robert Kiserlovski, CRO
Simon Spilak, SLO
Maurits Lammertink, NED.

Simon Spilak:

Philippe Gilbert Renews Contract
The Ronde van Vlaanderen and Amstel Gold Race winner has signed an extension with Quick-Step Floors.

One of the exponential riders of this season’s spring campaign, Philippe Gilbert has agreed on a new contract with Quick-Step Floors, which will see him ride for the current World Tour team classification leader until 2019.

The 35-year-old Belgian joined the squad at the start of the season and has enjoyed a fantastic spell so far in the iconic blue jersey, winning Ronde van Vlaanderen, after attacking 55 kilometers from the finish, and sprinting to another memorable win, at Amstel Gold Race, a classic whose symbol he has become in the past decade. An overall victory at Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde and a Tour de Suisse stage success completed what’s been one of Gilbert’s best seasons ever.

Philippe Gilbert – who will be in action this week at the BinckBank Tour – explained the reasons behind his decision to stay with the squad and his goals for the future: “It was my dream to extend the contract and I knew that after winning De Ronde and Amstel this would be possible. I’m super happy to continue for two more years with Quick-Step Floors! I am sure I can still win some big races and that I will get my chances. It would be a dream come true to win races like Paris-Roubaix and Milano-Sanremo with this team. That’s also one of the reasons why I wanted to sign for two more years, to build up and increase my chances.”

“We knew Philippe’s quality when he brought him aboard and to see him showcasing it on numerous occasions throughout the season made us very happy, so I don’t think this new contract comes as a surprise. He’s not only an important asset for the team and an intelligent rider who constantly delivers results, but also someone from whom our young riders can learn and can look up to”, Patrick Lefevere – Quick-Step Floors’ CEO – added.

Philippe Gilbert:
Valkenburg - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Philippe GILBERT (Belgium / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during the Amstel Gold Race 2017 - foto Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

Michal KwiatkowskiWIATKOWSKI Extends with Team Sky
Kwiatkowski: “I’m really happy to be a part of the Team Sky family”

Michal Kwiatkowski has described his delight at extending his Team Sky contract in the midst of an ‘amazing’ season.

Kwiatkowski said it was an easy decision to make, believing he is in the best place to continue his development and win more races across the next three years.

He said: “I’m really happy that I have the opportunity to re-sign for the next three years. I’ve had great support from the team for the past two seasons – both last year, when I had a really difficult season, and this year, which has been great. I’ve only been here for one and a half years, but it feels like far longer. That’s what I need – to feel supported, like part of a family, otherwise it can be difficult. I’m really happy to be a part of the Team Sky family. I’m looking forward to the future with Team Sky because I believe it’s the best team for my abilities and I truly believe I can win lots more races in the future here.”

The Pole has enjoyed a sensational 2017, winning Strade Bianche, Milan-San Remo and San Sebastian, as well as playing a major role in Chris Froome’s fourth Tour de France victory.

“So far it has been the season of my career and I’m happy that it’s not over yet,” continued Kwiatkowski. “It’s been amazing. I’ve found my spot in the team, have won some really big races, and performed well at the Tour de France, which I was aiming for.”

Kwiatkowski received rave reviews for his performance in France, with pundits suggesting he should target a Grand Tour in the future – but the 27 year old isn’t in any hurry.

“Some people would like to put me in a box and say I should go in this direction, or that direction, but I truly believe it’s all about being patient and doing things step-by-step. If I continue to work on my climbing and time trialling, if I can perform well in one-week stage races like Paris-Nice and the Dauphine, and if there are signs that I could perform well in a Grand Tour, then yes, I will take that chance. I think I am in the best place to do that.”

Fresh from his Tour de France victory, Chris Froome took a break from his Vuelta a España preparations to pay tribute to teammate Kwiatkowski. He said: “Kwiato has had a brilliant year. He’s obviously had some great wins himself, but to me his performance in the Tour de France epitomized everything about him and what he brings to Team Sky. As a rider he is just so versatile and selfless. Whether that’s riding at the front on the flat, his understanding of how a race is unfolding, getting his teammates into the right position in the sprints or being last man in be mountains. He’s the definition of an all-round rider and we’re lucky to have him.”

The 2017 season is far from over for ‘Kwiato’ and the former world champion is particularly excited to race on British roads at the Tour of Britain in September.

“I will return to racing at the GP de Plouay,” he revealed. “Then I will race the Tour of Britain, I hope to do the world team time trial championship, and then the world championship road race, before finishing my season at Il Lombardia. Right now I’m an altitude camp in Livigno, preparing for the second half of the season. Racing in Britain always brings back memories of the massive crowds at the 2012 Olympics and the start of the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire. The Tour of Britain is always the same. It’s a race that suits me and I was happy to finish second in 2014. We will see how it goes this year – I will have a big motivation to be in good shape as it’s just one week before the world championships.”

Michal Kwiatkowski:

Kristijan Koren to Ride for Bahrain-Merida
Bahrain-Merida Team announced another new rider to join the team. Kristijan Koren, an all-rounder currently riding for Cannondale-Drapac, will wear the Bahrain-Merida jersey in 2018.

Kristijan Koren is a 30 years old cyclist from Slovenia who turned professional in 2010 with Liquigas–Doimo. He remained with them for 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons and accomplished some significant results. In 2011 he was 3rd in National Road Championships Time Trial and 6th Overall at Tour of Slovenia. In 2012 he was 3rd overall at Tour of Slovenia and also won 4th Stage in this same race. In 2014 he was second at Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli, 4th overall at Tour of Slovenia and came in top 10 in some other races that same year. From 2015 he is with Cannondale-Drapac. This season he came 8th on National Road Championship Road race and was also on the start list for the 2017 Giro d’Italia.

Brent Copeland, General Manager of team Bahrain-Merida said: “Having Kristijan in the team Bahrain-Merida is something we are very proud to announce. He is an exceptionally experienced rider who completes an area of the team roster which we were not able to fulfill during our first racing season and this makes him an even more important asset to the team, Kristijan is one of the hard working domestiques in the peloton who will bring some of his experience to the classics in Belgium as well as many other races which his eight years as a professional has taught him, we are excited about him joining and welcome him to the team.”

Kristijan Koren is excited to join the new team: “After 8 years of being in similar circles, it is time for a real change. I am really happy to announce joining BAHRAIN MERIDA Team in the next season. I would also like to thank the management of Liquigas Cannondale Team, that introduced me to cycling elite in 2009, and my current team, Cannondale-Drapac. It was a pleasure riding for them but I am also looking forward to new challenges. In BAHRAIN MERIDA I will also be able to speak in my own language since quite a lot of my teammates will be Slovenes. I am also looking forward to working with Vincenzo Nibali again. I was a part of his team when he was 3rd at 2012 Tour de France and now I will be happy to help him achieve new podiums. This time in a different jersey and on a different bike. But first I want to finish this season well for Cannondale-Drapac.”

Kristijan Koren:

Magnus Cort Nielsen Signs with Astana
Danish rider Magnus Cort Nielsen comes to the UCI WorldTour Astana Proteam. The deal between the rider and team’s management was signed for the next two seasons (2018 and 2019).

“Joining Astana next season is an exciting challenge for me and I hope I will have a chance to show my ability in the big Classic races, and, of course, also help the team in the Grand tours. There is already a talented group of Danish riders in the team and I look forward to riding with them and the rest of the guys in 2018. I would like to thank everybody at Orica-Scott, who helped me to develop as a rider over the last three seasons, I have really enjoyed my time there and made some great friends,” said Magnus Cort Nielsen.

Magnus Cort Nielsen (24) is an all-rounder, who feels good in all terrains: in one-day and classic races as well as in stage races.

After turning into professionals in 2015 Magnus has reached a number of solid results, including two stage wins at the Vuelta a España (2016), a success at the Clasica de Almeria (2017), a stage win at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana (2017) and recent second place at the UCI WorldTour one-day race Prudential RideLondon – Surrey Classic.

“Astana continues the stretching of its positions for the spring classics season, and I am sure Magnus can be a rider, who will help us. The combination of endurance and powerful finishing sprint is a recipe of success in the classic races. Besides, in the last season Magnus Cort proved, he is able to win the Grand tour stages and to support team’s leader in his fight for the general classification in the same time. I am happy Magnus will become a part of Astana,” said general manager Alexandr Vinokourov.

Magnus Cort Nielsen:

Katusha-Alpecin Sign Australian Nathan Haas
Team Katusha-Alpecin has made a two-year agreement with Nathan Haas, bringing the Australian rider to the team for the 2018 and 2019 cycling seasons.

“We are happy to announce the signing of Nathan,” said general manager José Azevedo. “He brings to us his strength in both the Ardennes classics and one-week races. He’s an interesting rider as he is basically an all-arounder in that he is strong and experienced in sprint finals but is also an option to support a leader in a key role for stages races.”

“I am happy to sign with Team Katusha-Alpecin. I have achieved many top results but now I want to go one step further and would like to win races. The way like Katusha-Alpecin races, full of passion, dedication and no doubt commitment to their leader, has always impressed me,” said Nathan Haas.

Nathan Haas, 28, turned professional in 2010. Haas led a successful career in mountain biking before switching to road in 2009. His early road career saw winning results in the 2011 Herald Sun Tour and Japan Cup. Once a member of a WorldTour team, Haas, a native of Brisbane, Australia, obtained the overall victory in the Tour of Britain (2012), a repeat win in the Japan Cup (2014), and stage wins in the Herald Sun Tour (2014) and Tour of Burgos (2016). He is currently riding for Dimension Data, where he has finished ten times in the top 5, including the Tour Down Under and Amstel Gold Race, both in fourth place.

“The philosophy in the team, the entire KATUSHA project with the own apparel brand, the KATUSHA Café and travel events is very exciting. I believe, the stories haven’t been told yet,” added Nathan Haas.

Nathan Haas:
Lerma - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Nathan Haas (Australia / Team Dimension Data) pictured during Vuelta a Burgos 2016 stage 4 from Aranda to Lerma - photo Louis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2016

Odd Christian Eiking joins Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Wanty-Groupe Gobert announces its first new signing for next season. The Norwegian Odd Christian Eiking joins the team for two seasons. At the age of 22, Eiking is a promising rider in the peloton. In his first two pro years at FDJ, he repeatedly showed his good legs when the road went up. He finished 21st in the 2017 Tour de Suisse and finished 13th in the recent Tour de Pologne. The Norwegian already completed his first Grand Tour with La Vuelta last year. Eiking is enthusiastic about the next year.

Odd Christian Eiking: “I am excited about joining the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team next year. I am already very much looking forward! I noticed the team during the last years in big international races as Volta Catalunya and of course during the first participation and performances in the recent Tour de France. I am more of a climber-puncher type and I hope to keep improving over the next years in the team. One week races and the one day classics are my preferred type of races. Especially the Ardennes classics should suit me well. My main goal is to win races and achieve good results during the whole season.”

Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “Eiking is really the style of rider we are looking for: a young talent, ambitious, a winner and a good climber. He will be a major asset around Guillaume Martin in the toughest races.”

Odd Christian Eiking:

Quick-Step Floors Adds Jhonatan Narvaez to 2018 Roster
The talented and versatile Ecuadorian is the first transfer of the team for next season.

Jhonatan Narvaez, one of the most promising riders of the U23 scene, will make his pro debut in 2018 with Quick-Step Floors, after signing a three-year contract with the most successful team of the past seasons. Hailing from the Sucumbios province, in northeast Ecuador, Narvaez has a diverse set of racing skills which he showcased on both road and track from a tender age and which have helped him make a name for himself and build an eye-catching palmarès.

As a junior, Jhonatan broke a six-year-old world record in the individual pursuit, after stopping the clock in 3:13:309, a time two seconds faster than the previous benchmark, rivaling the ones of professionals; a double Pan American Junior Track Champion back in 2015, the Ecuadorian showed soon after these performances that he’s cut also for road cycling, as he won races ending up in reduced bunch sprints over riders twice his age and cruised to a maiden U23 individual time trial title.

He burst into European cycling last year, climbing with the best at the prestigious Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc and finishing fifth overall, as well as winning the KOM classification. Following his strong season, he moved to the US-based Axeon Hagens Berman and didn’t waste any time in proving his credentials, first by finishing in the top 10 at Volta ao Alentejo, before becoming the first South American winner of the Circuit des Ardennes.

At the same time, the 20-year-old climber got to rub shoulders with many seasoned pros in the America Tour and continued to impress; in April, he took a stage victory at the Tour de Gila, which he completed in sixth overall, and most recently he finished the Tour of Utah, arguably the toughest race in the United States, in the top 15.

“I became a rider from a very young age thanks to my father and brother, who were passionate about the bicycle. Cycling is a sport that is in my blood since discovering it and which I love very much. I’ve had a great road so far and I want to thank to all those who believed in me and stood by my side, from my family to the Axeon Hagens Berman team, with whom I spent this season”, an emotional Jhonatan said.

“Not anyone can become a pro with Quick-Step Floors and to sign a contract with them makes me very proud. It’s fantastic to turn pro with the best squad in the world, one consisting of many great riders”, Narvaez continued. “I am ready to learn and work hard in order to succeed. Long-term, I have two big goals: to wear the leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour and to win Liège–Bastogne–Liège, a fascinating and tough race which I became very fond of after riding the U23 version earlier this year.”

“We know Jhonatan for a few years now, ever since he raced for our former feeder team Klein Constantia. It didn’t took him too long to prove what he is capable of and I’m delighted to see he developed even further and put together a nice string of performances. We’ll look to help him continue his progression and nurture his talent as he’ll make one step at a time and adapt to the rigours of the pro peloton”, said Patrick Lefevere of the first Ecuadorian rider in the history of Quick-Step Floors.

Jhonatan Narvaez:

Bert Van Lerberghe joins the Cofidis team
Belgian rider Bert Van Lerberghe will wear the colors of the Cofidis team next year. He signed a contract which will commit him two years with the formation, for the seasons 2018 and 2019.

“If I signed with the Cofidis team, it is simply because it is a sure bet for the international squad, which has a varied and high-profile racing program that will help me pass the next stage of my Career,” he explains.

Bert Van Lerberghe is 24 years old and is in his third season with the team Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise. He finished 12th in Ghent-Wevelgem, a classic on the World Tour calendar. He also ranked 5th in Nokere Koerse, 2nd in the Tour of Overijssel, 4th in the Tour du Luxembourg and in the Tour d’Oman. He is a regular boy, author of 44 top 10 since he joined the professional ranks.

He details his rider profile and what he expects from this new adventure: “I have in mind the Flemish classics, I want to enter a collective race to allow the team to achieve the best possible results on these I’m also a runner of cobblestones, although I also have a good speed. Are not afraid and I am ready to help my leaders also in this field.”

Bert Van Lerberghe is currently on the roads of the BinckBank Tour, formerly Eneco Tour, which he took third place in a stage last year. Last Sunday, he participated with the Belgian national team in the European Championships.

Bert Van Lerberghe:
Oostduinkerke- Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Bert Van Lerberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise)  pictured during Driedaagse De Panne Koksijde 2016 - Stage 2 - from Zottegem to Oostduinkerke   - photo Davy Rietbergen/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

First Contract Renewals and Extensions for UAE Team Emirates
Until now, seven riders have been chosen by UAE Team Emirates to prolong their professional commitment.

The management for the Emirate formation has announced the following contract renewals, which will last two years:
– Matteo Bono (Italy, born 1983)
– Kristijan Durasek (Croatia, born 1987)
– Roberto Ferrari (Italy, born 1983)
– Simone Petilli (Italy, born 1993)

Contracts have also been extended for one year, with a new expiration at the end of 2019, for the following riders:
– Simone Consonni (Italy, born 1994)
– Valerio Conti (Italy, born 1993)
– Marco Marcato (Italy, born 1984)

“We are continuing to move forward with the goal of building a formation that can be increasingly competitive and in order to achieve certain objectives we want to build the team roster around a solid base,” explained team manager Carlo Saronni. “The seven riders whose contracts have been renewed or extended have proven to have the right skills suited to our project and to the values that comprise it. We are happy to be able to include them in our group once more.”

Roberto Ferrari:
Nakheel - Dubai - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Roberto Ferrari (ITA - UAE Abu Dhabi) pictured during  stage - 1 of the Dubai Tour 2017 - 181 km - 31/01/2017 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

Florian Sénéchal commits future to Quick-Step Floors
The 24-year-old Frenchman will bolster the team’s depth in the northern classics
09-Aug-2017: A rider born to take on the treacherous but at the same time fascinating cobbles which every spring lure the riders just as the enchanting sirens used to do with Ulysses and his sailors as they returned home from the decade-long Trojan War, Florian Sénéchal has agreed on a two-year contract with Quick-Step Floors, which will see him make the step to the World Tour in 2018.

The last French winner of the Junior Paris-Roubaix (2011), Florian rode as a stagiaire for the outfit managed by Patrick Lefevere one year later, before going to the development team for the 2013 season, during which he showed his quality in a various range of races, from the Tour du Finistère and the U23 Paris-Tours to Paris-Arras Tour and Okolo Jiznich Cech, which he won.

Now, after four years spent in his home country, the last of which saw him finish his beloved Paris-Roubaix in 12th place, he will ride for the WorldTour leader, a decision which he says was very easy to take: “It’s difficult for me to express how excited I am to join Quick-Step Floors. This is one of the best teams in the world, with such a tremendous winning history. I’ve been a big fan of this squad since I can remember, and the way they race has always been a big inspiration and motivation for me as a rider. I want to thank Cofidis for my time there, for all the beautiful experiences and the many good friends I’ve made there, as I now look forward to racing with Quick-Step Floors and starting a new chapter in my career.”

“My goal is to be there in all the races and give my very best, but I have a special love for the Classics and it would be a big dream to win one of these iconic races with this fantastic team. Quick-Step Floors have fostered so many champions in the past 15 years and I’m sure they can also help me boost my abilities as a rider”, concluded the 24-year-old Florian, who hails from a small village just a few kilometers away from Troisvilles, the first cobblestone sector of Paris-Roubaix.

Patrick Lefevere – Quick-Step Floors’ CEO – is confident that Florian Sénéchal can add another element to the team’s ambitions for the northern classics, races which have been the outfit’s bread and butter ever since its inception: “Florian is a strong and talented rider, whose addition to our squad I am sure will bear fruit, as he brings considerable experience, despite his young age. He is willing to learn and improve, and at the same time, is motivated and driven by passion for this sport, all important attributes to succeed as a rider at the highest level.”

Florian Sénéchal:
Dour - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -    Frederik FRISON (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) - Jesper ASSELMAN (Netherlands / Team Roompot Nederlandse Loterij) - Florian SENECHAL (France / Team Cofidis) - Frederik BACKAERT (Belgium / Team Wanty - Groupe Gobert) pictured during Le Samyn 2017 - Elite Men -  in Dour, Belgium - photo Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2017

Ian Boswell First American to Join Roster
A two-year deal for the 2018-2019 cycling seasons puts Ian Boswell in position to be the first American rider on the Katusha-Alpecin squad.

“I am really happy to have Ian Boswell with us. He brings a lot of experience with him and I believe in him. The time has come that Ian can make the shift from his domestique role to one as a leader. The reason why we’ve contracted him is because we trust him. In five years with Team Sky he shown to be reliable, and also in three Grand Tours. In this year’s Tour of California he showed no problem in assuming the role as a leader. We haven’t seen the best of Ian yet. Ian is not only loyal, but strong and promising as well,” said general manager José Azevedo.

“I am very excited about Team Katusha-Alpecin. After 5 years in the same team, it is a big but important step for my own development. The talks with José Azevedo were very good from the beginning and I liked where he sees me as a rider. I hope to bring my experience into the team and look forward to race with strong riders like Ilnur Zakarin or Simon Špilak. And of course, also to be able to ride for the victory one time or another for myself,” said Ian Boswell.

Boswell, age 26, hails from Bend, Oregon where he was active in a variety of sports throughout his high school career. He gained early cycling experience at Bissell (2010) and at the Axel Merckx-led Trek-Livestrong team in 2011-2012, where he took podium places in both the Tour of Utah and Tour De L’Avenir and honed his skills as a climber.

Since 2013, Boswell has ridden with WorldTour Team Sky, where he has continued to add to his palmares, earning 5th in the 2017 Tour of California as a team leader and overall winner in the Hammer Series with his team.

Ian Boswell:

Broken hip for Rafael Valls
Rafael Valls broke his hip whilst on training, which brings his 2017 season to an end. Valls will soon undergo hip surgery. The Spanish rider will be replaced by Adam Hansen in Lotto Soudal’s line-up for the Vuelta. The Australian had initially not been selected, but this late change will allow him to go on with his record-breaking run of Grand Tour participations. The sports directors and medical staff hope that his saddle sore will be sufficiently healed, but there is no doubt that Hansen will start his nineteenth Grand Tour in a row with determination.

Rafael Valls, as well as Jürgen Roelandts and Frederik Frison, will no longer race this season and Louis Vervaeke is still recovering from over-fatigue. The number of riders available for the last part of the season has therefore decreased significantly.

The first stage of the BinckBank Tour took place today between Breda and Venray, on a flat 169,8 kilometer course which suited the sprinters. De Vreese, Reinders, Allegaert and McNally took off in the first kilometer and they managed to open a two minutes and forty second gap to the peloton. The breakaway stayed at the front for most of the day but in the end the breakaway was caught back three kilometers before the finish line. Peter Sagan took the win in the sprint, ahead of Phil Bauhaus and Magnus Cort Nielsen. André Greipel crossed the line in ninth place. Sagan becomes the first leader of this year’s edition, one second ahead of Laurens De Vreese, who took nine bonus seconds in the Golden Kilometer.

Rafa Valls:

B.C. & Quebec Win First Road Titles at Canada Games
Cycling competition at the Canada Summer Games resumed on Tuesday with the Road events, starting with the individual time trial for men and women. British Columbia and Quebec collected all the medals, with each winning a gold, while Quebec also won both silver medals and one bronze, and British Columbia took the other bronze medal. Quebec took four of the top-10 spots in each race.

The women raced 13 kilometers, with Ontario’s Katherine Maine setting the early fast time of 19 minutes and 17 seconds. Eventually she would be surpassed by three riders, with Gillian Ellsay of British Columbia setting the winning time of 18 minutes and 59 seconds. Quebec rider Simone Boilard finished four seconds back for silver, with her team mate Catherine Ouellette taking the bronze medal, a further 11 seconds in arrears.

“It’s really cool to win,” said Ellsay. “This is my second Canada Games, so to come back and be able to win the gold medal is pretty special. It was a goal to be top-5, but I didn’t know how good my form was coming here.”

In the men’s 20 kilometer competition, Quebec’s Raphael Auclair, fresh from finishing 14th at the Mont-Ste-Anne Mountain Bike World Cup on Sunday, set the early leading time of 26 minutes and 50 seconds, eventually finishing sixth. Quebec finished 1-2, with a pair of riders who had flown in straight from the grueling Tour of Utah stage race. Adam Roberge, the Under-23 national time trial champion, took the gold medal with a time of 26 minutes and 10 seconds, while Pier-Andre Cote, the national Criterium champion, finished second, 17.87 seconds back. Jay Lamoureux of British Columbia took the bronze medal, 20.3 seconds behind Roberge.

“I wanted to win, for sure,” said Roberge, “but I had just come from the Tour of Utah, so I didn’t know how my legs would feel. At 3K [kilometers] to go I wasn’t sure if I had the win, so I went all out. I didn’t even know that I had won when I crossed the line, and when Pier [Andre Cote] told me I was first, I couldn’t have asked for more. I’m super happy.”

The Canada Games cycling events continue on Wednesday and Thursday with the Women’s and Men’s Road Races.

Teams announced for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain
The 20 teams for the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain have today (Monday 7 August) been announced, in a line-up that will feature ten UCI WorldTour teams, plus a further three squads that have competed in one of the two Grand Tours so far in 2017.

All of the top five teams in the current UCI WorldTour rankings – Quick-Step Floors; Team Sky; BMC Racing; Movistar Team and Orica Scott – will be at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.

Returning to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be Team Katusha Alpecin, who have confirmed Alexander Kristoff, winner of the European Championship Road Race and Prudential RideLondon – Surrey Classic on consecutive weekends, and his teammate World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin, who won the Bristol stage last year, as part of their provisional line-up.

“The Tour of Britain is not only a perfect race in my build-up to the World Championships, I will also try to win some stages”, said Alexander Kristoff. “For me it is a return to this race after eight-years. I still have good memories of my participation in 2009. Moreover, I always perform well on British soil. I took my Olympic medal in London as well as the victory in last week’s RideLondon-Surrey Classic WorldTour race. I really look forward participating in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.”

Alongside Kristoff the OVO Energy Tour of Britain looks set to attract the world’s top sprinters, with Team Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish targeting the Tour to return from his Tour de France injury, and Sky’s Elia Viviani publically aiming to add to his four stage wins in the race.

Viviani’s Team Sky teammate Geraint Thomas has already vowed in interviews to race the OVO Energy Tour of Britain for the first time since 2011, with the overall finish of the Tour in his home city of Cardiff for the first time on Sunday 10 September.

Commenting on the line-up, OVO Energy Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said: “We are delighted with this year’s line-up of teams for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain and with riders of the calibre of Geraint Thomas, Mark Cavendish and Alexander Kristoff coming out to say they will be targeting the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, this bodes for a fantastic spectacle for fans at the roadside and watching at home on television.”

“The combination of teams from all three levels of the sport, plus the presence of a Great Britain national team and the continuation of six-man teams will continue to make for open and aggressive racing. While our four domestic UCI Continental squads have worked hard to qualify for their national Tour and to have the opportunity to race against the world’s best in front of their home support.”

Chris Houghton, Managing Director, OVO Energy, said: “As title sponsor, OVO Energy is helping to bring fans and spectators across the country unparalleled access to watch the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorsteps. We believe in powering a sustainable future that is better for everyone through the use of smart technology. Cycling is the ultimate sustainable mode of transport and an innovation-led sport – with cyclists themselves generating millions of watts of energy each day across Britain and adopting the very best technology to manage and measure their performance.”

A trio of teams will make their OVO Energy Tour of Britain debuts in CCC Sprandi Polkowice from Poland, America’s Cylance Pro Cycling and BIKE Channel Canyon.

The latter are one of four domestic UCI Continental teams to have qualified for the Tour following their performances in British events during the course of 2017. The qualification process saw teams score points in British Cycling’s Spring Cup and Grand Prix Series, plus UCI events held in the UK, with JLT Condor heading the table ahead of ONE Pro Cycling, BIKE Channel Canyon and Madison Genesis.

A provisional rider list featuring all 120-riders for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be published towards the end of August.

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain gets underway in Edinburgh on Sunday 3 September, beginning from the city’s iconic Royal Mile outside St Giles’ Cathedral. Following the depart of the world’s top teams and riders in Stage One, amateur cyclists will have the chance to ride around Edinburgh on traffic-free roads in the HSBC UK City Ride.

Spectators are encouraged to register in advance for their free place, by clicking here.

Jonny Clay, British Cycling’s director of cycling, said: “This stellar line-up of riders again reinforces the regard in which the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is held among the world’s best riders and teams. We are extremely proud that, yet again, some of the most recognizable faces in our sport will be racing on British roads, inspiring the next generation of cyclists.”

“This year, that inspiration to participation message is taken a step further with the staging of the HSBC UK City Ride in Edinburgh on the same day that the Tour departs the city. Giving people the opportunity to ride on traffic-free streets and also watch the best in the world compete perfectly encapsulates our major event strategy, and we’re looking forward to seeing thousands of people line the streets of Edinburgh and the other locations on the Tour route.”

The full list of teams for the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is as follows:
• An Post Chain Reaction (Ireland)
• Bardiani CSF (Italy)
• BIKE Channel Canyon (Great Britain)
• BMC Racing Team (USA)
• Cannondale Drapac Pro Cycling (USA)
• CCC Sprandi Polkowice (Poland)
• Cylance Pro Cycling (USA)
• Great Britain national team (Great Britain)
• JLT Condor (Great Britain)
• Lotto Soudal (Belgium)
• Madison Genesis (Great Britain)
• Movistar Team (Spain)
• ONE Pro Cycling (Great Britain)
• Orica Scott (Australia)
• Quick-Step Floors (Belgium)
• Team Dimension Data (South Africa)
• Team Katusha Alpecin (Germany)
• Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (Netherlands)
• Team Sky (Great Britain)
• Wanty Groupe Gobert (Belgium)

OVO Energy, the UK’s top rated independent energy supplier was announced as the title sponsor of the Tour of Britain at the end of April.

Live coverage of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be shown on ITV4 and Eurosport in the UK, with both channels also screening daily highlights of the action.

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step, taking place between Sunday 3 and Sunday 10 September 2017.

Stage One / Sunday 3 September / Edinburgh to Kelso /190km
Stage Two / Monday 4 September / Kielder Water & Forest Park to Blyth / 211km
Stage Three / Tuesday 5 September / Normanby Hall Country Park to Scunthorpe / 178km
Stage Four / Wednesday 6 September / Mansfield to Newark-on-Trent /165km
Stage Five / Thursday 7 September / The Tendring Stage Individual Time Trial / 16km
Stage Six / Friday 8 September / Newmarket to Aldeburgh /187km
Stage Seven / Saturday 9 September / Hemel Hempstead to Cheltenham /185km
Stage Eight / Sunday 10 September / Worcester to Cardiff / 180km

About the OVO Energy Tour of Britain
Re-launched in 2004 after a five year absence from the calendar, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep. The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is the UK’s highest ranked professional stage race and the country’s largest free-to-watch sporting event, organized annually by SweetSpot Group.

Ranked at the 2.HC level by the UCI, the OVO Energy Tour of Britain attracts the world’s top cyclists, including Olympic and World Champions and Tour de France stage winners, to compete on British roads each September, with three-hours of live coverage a day on ITV4.

For further information please visit: www.thetour.co.uk/

Tour of Britain Promo 2017:

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