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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

We are in the final week of the Vuelta a España and it’s starting to look like a two-horse race with only 25 seconds between Simon Yates and Alejandro Valverde, but there is less that 2 minutes between the top five riders. Reports, results, quotes and video from Spain and the GP Wallonie. Contract rumors are the Top Story, but we also have contract certainties. Plus: Vital Concept sponsor, Madrid Challenge, Milano-Torino, Grandpiemonte and Il Lombardia teams, UAE Tour, World’s riders, Hincapie Team plans 2019 and on the bike video from stage 17. Where is the coffee?

TOP STORY: More Contract Rumors
The end of the cycling year is looming and most riders have already a new or extended contract for 2019, but some rider’s situations are not settled just yet and the rumor mill is busy.

It seems that Mark Cavendish will leave Dimension Data after three years with the African team. Will he retire or is there a team who wants his services. La Gazzetta dello Sport report that Cavendish is considering an offer from Bahrain-Merida, this after a return to the Sky team was suggested. Allegedly Dimension Data had offered him a contract with a 40% salary reduction.

Also according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Dimension Data already has a replacement for Cavendish. Giacomo Nizzolo will leave Trek-Segafredo for the South African team. In eight seasons Nizzolo has taken 18 victories and is at the moment riding the Vuelta a España.

Jan Bakelants told La Dernière Heure that he will leave AG2R-La Moniale at the end of the season, his fourth with the French team. Bakelants is linked to the CCC team of Greg Van Avermaet, but team boss Jim Ochowicz prefers younger riders according to Het Nieuwsblad. Lukasz Wisniowski (Sky) and Pawel Bernas (CCC) are said to be joining the ex BMC set-up. The team is still looking for five riders. “Besides classic riders, I am also looking for climbers and time trialists who can win in the one week races”, said Jim Ochowicz.

Dirk Demol will be leaving Trek-Segafredo for a DS job with Katusha-Alpecin in 2019, but it seems that Alain Gallopin will not be behind the wheel of a team car next season. Although, according to Het Nieuwsblad, the Frenchman could be working with the Trek women’s team.

New team or retirement for Mark Cavendish?

Vuelta a España 2018
BMC’s Rohan Dennis claimed his second stage win at this year’s Vuelta a España after powering around the Stage 16 individual time trial to set a time 50 seconds faster than his teammate Joey Rosskopf, who helped secure a BMC Racing Team one-two on the 32-kilometer course. Overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) took time out of all his GC competitors, except LottoNL-Jumbo’s Steven Kruijswijk who finished 4th at 41 seconds and moved into 3rd place overall.

Just as he did on stage 1 in Malaga, the reigning Australian national time trial champion came into the race as one of the favorites, and he proved why by settling into his rhythm quickly to post the provisional best time at the first intermediate checkpoint, 12:10.

After also setting the fastest time at the second checkpoint, 27:04, Dennis was able to power towards the finish line on the flat final run in and, after leaving everything out on the road, he stopped the clock at 37:57, the only time under 38 minutes, to move into the hot seat. It was a long, and at times nervous, wait for Dennis, who started his effort early, but ultimately his impressive show of power and speed was more than enough to see him punch the air with delight when he stepped back onto the top step of the podium in Spain. Joey Rosskopf, the American national time trial champion, finished 2nd, 50 seconds behind Dennis just a shade faster than Jonathan Castroviejo (Sky) in 3rd.

Simon Yates took 7 seconds out of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and now leads by 33 seconds as Kruijswijk moved to third at 52 seconds. Nairo Quintana was the loser of the day, now 4th at 1:15. Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) was 6th at 1:03 at 1:30 and moved into 5th overall at 1:30, pushing Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) into 6th at 1:34.

PEZ Stage 16 Report HERE.
• Note: Canadian readers can watch the Vuelta LIVE with a subscription at Flobikes.com

Interview with stage winner, Rohan Dennis (BMC):
How was it out there?

“It was a good little hit out. I tried to control it at the start and finish and make my move in the middle section and it worked out perfectly. I knew I was on a good one just looking at my power on the Garmin. Really, I didn’t know what Kwiatkowski and some of these later guys could do. All I knew was what Castroviejo was doing at that time and he’s a pretty good indicator of if you are doing well or not. But, I think the big performance of the day goes to Joey Rosskopf. He’s the best teammate, easiest guy to be at the back of the bus with, and he got second so I’m really happy for him.”

How did you pace the effort?
“I just stuck to my plan today. My coach and I set a target for each climb and the pacing and I just stayed calm. Really, in the final it was just about controlling it after the hills. In the back of my mind I was thinking that in two weeks’ time I have to go 20 kilometers longer so try to control this and hopefully you can still get the win, and don’t destroy yourself. I was hoping there would be a big gap between the other riders and me, but I was surprised that Kwiatkowski wasn’t up there more but he’s had a bad run with a few crashes and he’s been going for the GC so he’s been using much more energy than me each day. I’ve been able to relax and save it for today and I’m happy that it was my teammate Joey who got second.”

After winning both time trials, your goal coming into the race, you now leave the race to focus on your next goal. How is everything looking for the World Championships?
“Everything is looking good for the World Championships. I’ll be heading home now and preparing specifically for the time trial and team time trial, so hopefully I will have one more box ticked by the end of the season. So far, I think the Vuelta has been the best preparation for the Worlds in Innsbruck. It has been tough, especially the first nine days with the heat which really knocked me around. Luckily, it started to cool down and I started to feel better and better. I’d rather feel better as I get further into a Grand Tour than worse. So, I think this race has been the perfect preparation for the World Championships.

Overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “I did a really good ride, I was really well in the very beginning and on the hard climbs I had the perfect pacing strategy, but in the final, I was just dying like everybody else and it wasn’t nice. Thirty-three seconds over Valverde is not that much, I had much more of an advantage in the Giro, over a minute and we all know how that finished in the end, but there’s still a long way to here and we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Kruijswijk has been strong everyday so far and slowly getting better with each stage. He’s also normally good in the third week of a Grand Tour and a real diesel engine. He’s a good guy and now he’s up to third we’ll have to be very wary of him.”

2nd on the stage, Joey Rosskopf (BMC): “I felt better than expected for having raced two weeks already. You never really know what to expect I guess. Some days I get on the bike and feel empty and some days I feel all right. Luckily it was one of the good days. I can’t really ask for much more than to be second to Rohan. It’s nice to be able to have a goal, a focus, and actually be able to come through with it, and get a positive result. Every time you commit to a goal, you’re going out on a limb and it doesn’t always pan out. So, it’s nice to be able to see your goal all the way through and turn it into a good performance.”

2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde: “Overall, I felt fine during today’s effort. To be honest, I was trying to clock a good early reference and went really strong. Then, halfway through the TT, where the headwinds were heavier, I struggled a bit more to find a good pace. However, I was able to gain some time back again into the last few kilometers, which means that I was able to finish strong. I think I did a good time trial – it was just that Yates, Mas and Kruijswijk were better. Me as only team leader? I don’t think that should be the case. You can say I’m closer to Yates than Nairo, but Nairo’s still there, and having the two of us up there, able to contest the red jersey, is something which should benefit the team as a whole much. I’m 38 years old, and if I have to switch my role to a top lieutenant one, I won’t hesitate. We’ll have to play our strategy well tomorrow. The finish in Balcón de Bizkaia is an explosive one, which suits Yates really well, not only me. It will be five against Yates, but he’s showing to be really strong in the race. In my case, it doesn’t matter what happens in the next few days: I’m really happy with what I’ve achieved in this Vuelta, and if I crack at any point, I’ll remain as happy.”

4th on the stage and 3rd overall, Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo): “This is very beautiful, I had a very good day and I wanted to deliver a good time trial. I knew that on a good day, I could finish in the top ten, but to finish fourth, that is very good and above expectations. The course suited me, but you never know what the competition will do. I started really well, maybe a little too fast, and I was able to ride a steady time trial well. If you finish within a minute from Dennis, you have done very well. In the end, the differences are still quite big. We are going to take it day by day. We will all give our maximum and then we’ll see where we end up on Sunday. So far all is going really well.”

4th overall, Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “I think we defended ourselves well and rode at a decent pace, considering our characteristics. We already knew we were going to lose time, but I think we did fine. We’ll just have to carry on and try to make this gap up in the next few days. There’s three decisive mountain stages coming up now, Balcón de Bizkaia should be key. All the energy we squeezed out of our legs today could be a crucial factor on tomorrow’s developments. My legs continue to hurt, that’s normal – but we’ve got to continue fighting. The really good thing for us is that Valverde is still doing strong, and that’s important for the team. Having another chance for the GC is a double threat for our rivals and a double opportunity for our team.”

11th overall, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m not a TT specialist, so the goal today was to ride quite strong, try to limit my time losses but not go into the red zone because there are some very hard mountain stages ahead where we’d like to try our chances and be competitive. My form is where it should be after two weeks of a hard Vuelta and if I hadn’t suffered from crashes and unfortunate mechanicals, I think I could be in a better position. However, that’s cycling, and I look forward to the last 5 stages.”

Vuelta a España Stage 16 Result:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC in 37:57
2. Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC at 0:50
3. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Sky
4. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:41
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:51
6. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 1:03
7. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar at 1:05
8. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 1:07
9. Simon Geschke (Ger) Sunweb at 1:10
10. Kasper Asgreen (Den) Quick-Step Floors.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 16:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 64:52:58
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:33
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:52
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:15
5. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 1:30
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 1:34
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:53
8. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 4:04
9. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 3:15
10. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:43.

Stage 16:

The Canadian Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac) won the Vizcaya Stage 17 of the Vuelta a España on Wednesday. He was part of the day’s escape and suffered on the hard ramps to the Balcón de Bizkaia to appear through the fog to take the victory. In the GC battle; Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors) managed to take 8 seconds from overall leader Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) jumped to 4th overall as Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) lost time.

On the climb of La Reineta (Arboleda) the large group escaped, including: Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti (Bahrain-Merida), Alexandre Geniez (AG2R-La Mondiale), Omar Fraile (Astana), Alessandro De Marchi, Dylan Teuns (BMC), Rafal Majka, Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-hansgrohe), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Andrey Amador (Movistar), Pieter Serry (Quick-Step Floors) Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data), Simon Clarke, Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) ), David De La Cruz, Jonathan Castroviejo (Sky), Jai Hindley (Sunweb), Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), Jose Mendes (Burgos-BH), Cristian Rodriguez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Jesús Herrada, Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Héctor Sáez (Euskadi Murias). Behind; Mitchelton-Scott kept the pace for their leader Yates. With 100 kilometers to the finish the lead was over 7 minutes and it looked like the escape would succeed and by Gaztelugatxe it was over 8. The best placed rider was David De La Cruz (Sky) at 12:01 shy of the red jersey.

Mitchelton-Scott decided to lower the gap and with the help of a very motivated Euskadi-Murias, they brought it down to 5 minutes with 30km to go. The Astana team also started to chase, thinking more of setting up Miguel Angel Lopez for the finalè than catching the break.

On the dreaded final ramps of Oiz, BMC set the pace, followed by Omar Fraile and then De la Cruz, but it was Woods, Majka and Teuns who rode away on the tough parts of the climb. Woods attacked in the last kilometer to take the victory.

In the GC group Pello Bilbao (Astana) set the pace on the first kilometers of the final climb, then Valverde attacked at the beginning of the hardest part to make a selection. Adam Yates worked for his brother, the overall leader Simon, holding the group together until Enric Mas made his move taking Valverde with him for the two Spaniards to take 8 seconds from Yates.

Stage 17 PEZ Stage Report HERE.

Stage winner, Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac): “My wife had a stillbirth two months ago. We lost the little guy. His name was Hunter. The whole time I was going up the climb, I was thinking of him. I wanted to win so badly for him, and I did it. It was a very difficult climb, De Marchi was pacing it pretty evenly at first. I was able to breathe well and relax. When the first attacks went, I felt like one of the strongest guys and thought I responded well. I managed to answer some of those early attacks, but then Juanma came on the radio and told me to stay relaxed. To wait, wait, wait. The climb is only as hard as your form is bad, and this year I felt good, I love this area. Basque Country is special to me. I felt so good, and in those last few hundred meters, I could hear all the fans screaming my name. I had Juanma in my ear telling me to do it for my family, and I just channeled all my energy into thinking how tough this year has been, I used my little guy Hunter as inspiration.”

Overall leader, Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “We employed our secret weapon in Adam over the last kilometers, that’s why we’ve been saving him for this final section of the race and Jack was around the mark also. The whole team were there today, and they did a fantastic job. I lost a few seconds in the sprint there in the end, it’s no shame to lose a few seconds to Valverde in a sprint and I put time into a few other people so all in all it was a good day. We expect aggressive, attacking racing from Valverde and Movistar – I don’t think he knows any other way to ride and he has a very strong team around him. Of all the stages left I was most afraid of this one but there’s still a lot of hard racing to come. Tomorrow should be a sprint day and we can hopefully take it a bit easier, although you never know, and then we have Andorra. I think those stages will suit me better than today, but we’ll see.”

2nd on the stage, Dylan Teuns (BMC): “Today was one of the stages in this last week that I was targeting and I made it into a good breakaway so I achieved the first goal of the day. It was a good group and I knew who the strongest guys in the breakaway were. It was no different to the other breakaways I have been in really with Majka, De Gendt and Mollema all there. It was good to have a lot of strong guys in there and for me, personally, it was good to have De Marchi with me as we were able to control the other guys a little more. We knew that the final climb would be the key point of the stage and De Marchi brought me to the bottom in a good position before setting a perfect tempo for me. I didn’t need to watch the other guys from the back of the group because he was setting a really good pace until the last steep 3.5 kilometers. From there, I just had to manage the stronger guys. I knew not to go from too far out because I saw the other day, when I was third, that it was hard to go early. So, I followed the other guys and in the end, I made my final attack maybe a little too early as Woods came back and then attacked me. I had to leave a little gap in the final and then I went all out for the sprint and I came really close but unfortunately just not close enough.”

3rd on the stage, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Today wasn’t my day. I tried it, I gave it my all but after spending several stages in the breakaway in this Vuelta, my legs aren’t fresh. Maybe it was due to the rest day and the time-trial but I didn’t feel too well today. However, I gave it a try, I took my chances and I finished so close to the podium in this brutal stage.”

2nd overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It isn’t going too bad for me so far (smiles). Eight seconds on Yates today – it’s always good to take back some time, though he remains in front. We knew it could be a day with lots of changes, lots of things happening to everybody, coming from a rest day and a tough time trial like Tuesday’s. We saw many contenders struggle. The whole stage and most notably the opening section of the final climb were really fast-paced today. I felt better than yesterday. I didn’t really know where to attack, though I wanted to do so. I had talked to Nairo, he told me he was doing well, but at the third week of the Grand Tours, you never know how your body will react.”

3rd overall, Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors): “Finishing in the top 3 would be a dream, but the goal remains the same, to take it day by day. I had good legs and could cope with the pace of the Yates brothers, who controlled things on Balcon de Bizkaia, and then with Alejandro’s kick, and this only helps my confidence grow as we race towards the finale in Madrid. My teammates are fantastic, they help me as much as they can and I am satisfied of how things are going so far. Hopefully I will have the same level until we get to Madrid, on Sunday.”

KOM, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “Mission accomplished today and I am very happy with that. At the start of the stage I remained at the back of the bunch to make sure I wouldn’t waste any energy by joining any moves on the first flat kilometers. As we were approaching the top of the first climb, I moved up towards the front of the pack. I crossed the top first and soon after the break was established. There were many strong riders in our group and I knew this was the break of the day. We immediately cooperated well and from then on it was my goal to get first to the top of the next climbs, that’s why I tried to save some energy at first. Two of Maté’s teammates were part of the front group and I expected they would try to make it difficult for me. I wanted to discourage them by sprinting at the end of the second climb and it worked. I knew that the steep last kilometers of the last climb would be too tough for me. I followed as long as I could, but still got dropped before the steepest part. I had already done a lot of pulling on the previous climbs, so my companions wouldn’t want to attack. Now it’s all about defending my jersey on Saturday. That will be the most important day in the battle for the KOM jersey. I now have some advantage over my opponents and that’s always good of course. I think Mollema and King (4th with 56 points, LTS) will be my most dangerous opponents. Maté, who’s now second in the KOM classification, has been ill for a few days now. Maybe he can recover the next two days and take part in the battle on Saturday. It would be great if the four of us would all be in the break and we have to sprint for the points on each climb.”

7th on the stage, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Dimension Data): “Today’s stage was really hard. The team gave me the opportunity to go in the breakaway by following the moves in the beginning. I was happy to make the break, first with 22 riders and then I was really happy that Merhawi made a big effort with three other guys to come across so we had a big group of 26. It was a really hard stage, because it was a difficult course, but we also had to ride it at a high pace, because the Euskadi Team was riding at the front of the peloton because it was their home region. The final climb was steep and hard, but my legs were feeling ok, so I am very happy with my ride today. It is my first grand tour, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I was just trying to do my best. Today’s result has given me a lot of confidence, I am very happy for the team to give me this opportunity and grateful to Merhawi for his help in the breakaway.”

Crash victim, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates): “I would like this be an end to my back in 2018. I took an impact to my lower back, which worries me, as well as the pain. We were descending at 70 km/h and it could have been a lot worse. I apologize for how I reacted after the crash but with adrenaline was running, I was aching and you lose the control sometimes. I hope to recover quickly. We’ll see tomorrow morning, it depends on how I get through the night.”

Vuelta a España Stage 17 Result:
1. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale in 4:09:48
2. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:05
3. David De La Cruz (Spa) Sky at 0:10
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:13
5. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:38
6. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC at 0:44
7. Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (Eri) Dimension Data at 0:48
8. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:51
9. Jai Hindley (Aus) Sunweb at 0:55
10. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:48.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 17:
1. Simon Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 69:05:34
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:25
3. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors at 1:22
4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 1:36
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:48
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2:11
7. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 4:09
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 4:36
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 5:31
10. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 6:05.

Stage 17:

Grand Prix de Wallonie 2018
Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) left no doubt who was the strongest in the 59th edition of the Grand Prix de Wallonie on Wednesday, leading himself out in the sprint with five men on his wheel and taking the win by a bike length.

It was the teamwork before the traditional finale climb up to Citadelle de Namur that played an essential role in setting up Stuyven, who clearly was on a good day. Notably, Niklas Eg who pulled for 120 kilometers on the front with a Cofidis rider to help control and bring back the five-man breakaway.

With Irish powerhouse Ryan Mullen putting Jasper Stuyven in a great position in the final 25 kilometers, Stuyven took the race in hand. His attack created the first big selection, and just when the decimated bunch began to claw its way back, he attacked again on a climb with 16 kilometers to go, drawing out a select group of nine, with five riders chasing furiously behind.

The two groups came together ahead of the climb to the Citadelle de Namur – not an easy finish after 200 kilometers – and Stuyven looked to have put himself into a precarious position when five riders came back to his wheel in the last 500 meters after going all-in for the final two kilometers. But he continued to push the pace, taking the final sharp corner first, and jumping for the line. No one had an answer. He crossed the line with enough space to raise his arms and savor the victory.

Race winner, Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo): “It was really cool racing today – the team controlled the race the whole day, right from the start. Neo-pro Niklas Eg did really a perfect job. Our goal was to make the race hard, and we did, and the team put me in a perfect position at 25-30kms to go. I had really good legs, so I decided to make the race hard myself from that point onward. It was a pity that in the finale a few riders came back, and I had no one there to help, but Michael (Gogl) was still suffering from the jetlag (Gogl raced the Canadian classics with Stuyven -ed). But I had good legs, so I didn’t panic. When Barguil went at 1.5kms to go, I knew this was the move I had to counter. I decided to keep going full gas, and obviously, this meant I was racing in the front really early, but I knew that if I could take the last corner first, not many would be able to pass me. I felt really one of the strongest in the race today, and it’s a great feeling to finish it off and grab the win to thank the team for their amazing job. This was a big goal for me today, I know this race, I love this race and have performed well here as a U23 racing with the pros at that time. All in all, I have had good results in the last weeks, and that is motivating to keep going full to the end of the season. It’s not a secret that I would like to grab another win this season. There’s a few beautiful races in my schedule, and I want to give my all and grab my third win.”

2nd, Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis): “I was hoping to win when we went for the line. But when Jesper started his sprint, I was not able to react. It was too fast for me and so I got the best result possible. I’m happy because the legs are running well for quite some time and a podium is always a pleasure. Today the team has once again worked terribly well and it did not take much for me to reward them with a win.”

5th, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “The course was not quite right for me today. Not the legs, but the finish did not really suit me. The finishing line was not steep enough for me. Moreover I was not immediately in Stuyven’s wheel when he accelerated. I was behind a gap and could only return on the flat. At that moment only 500 meters remained, so I could not do much more. In the sprint I clearly miss explosiveness. I feel strong physically. Next week I have to defend UCI points at the Giro della Toscana in Italy. I hope to ride strong there and be in the French selection for the World Championships.”

Grand Prix de Wallonie Result:
1. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo in 5:14:28
2. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis
3. Warren Barguil (Fra) Fortuneo-Samsic
4. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan at 0:05
7. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:07
8. Jeremy Cabot (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
9. Kevin Reza (Fra) Vital Concept Club
10. Sean Bennett (USA) Hagens Berman Axeon at 0:08.


New Sponsor for Vital Concept
From the 1st of January, the French Vital Concept team will be co-sponsored by B&B Hotels, the No.1 independent economic hotel chain in France and will be known as: Vital Concept-B&B Hotels. The hotel company was founded in Brest in 1990 and has 270 hotels in France, with a total of 459 in Europe.

Madrid Challenge
Team Sunweb coach Koen de Haan (NED): “This year the race expands to a two-day race, with a combination of a TTT on the first day, followed by a crit around Madrid on the second day. Unfortunately we lost Floortje on our line-up after a crash during training yesterday, but we will continue to fight for a good result with Liane as her replacement. The TTT is really short and hilly and is the last TTT before the worlds. Despite it being a different type of course, it’s a good last race for us ahead of the world championships to see where we’re at. Sunday is a 100 kilometer criterium with eight bonus sprints, Coryn will be our leader for the final but we can also use our other strong sprinters Leah and Lucinda for the intermediates to try take a good GC result too.”

Madrid Challenge (WWT) 15-16/09/2018

Lucinda Brand (NED), Ellen van Dijk (NED), Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Liane Lippert (GER), Pernille Mathiesen (DEN), Coryn Rivera (USA).
Coach: Koen de Haan (NRD).

Coryn Rivera:
Daventry - England - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Coryn Rivera (USA / Sunweb) - Marianne Vos (Netherlands / WaowDeals Pro Cycling) pictured during Women’s Tour of Great Britain stage- 2 from Rushden to Daventry - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2018

Milano-Torino, Grandpiemonte and Il Lombardia: Invited Teams Announced
On 10, 11 and 13 October, the RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport races Milano-Torino (10 October), GranPiemonte (11 October) and Il Lombardia (13 October) will bring to a close the European cycling season. Further details of the three races will be unveiled in the next few weeks.

The teams of seven riders who will participate in the three races have been announced. These are:

99th Milano-Torino – Wednesday 10 October (21 teams: 15 UCI WorldTeams and 6 UCI Professional Continental Teams):

102nd GranPiemonte – Thursday 11 October (18 teams: 12 UCI WorldTeams and 6 UCI Professional Continental Teams):

112th Il Lombardia – Saturday 13 October (24 teams: 18 UCI WorldTeams and 6 UCI Professional Continental Teams):

Vincenzo Nibali wins Il Lombardia 2017 in Como:

Road to the First UAE Tour – The Middle East Gamechanger
The new UCI WorldTour race will start in Abu Dhabi and will end in Dubai, with a course through the other Emirates. The media will get a first look at what’s in store on 3 October 2018.

The much-anticipated merger between the Dubai Tour and the Abu Dhabi Tour will create a bigger, better and more successful race – The UAE Tour, the one and only WorldTour race in the Middle East – which will be ideal for strong, all-round riders. The 2019 edition will start in Abu Dhabi and end in Dubai, while the 2020 Race will reverse the route. Organizers expect to expand the race to include more stages as it develops.

The race organizers consist of the Sports Councils of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in partnership with RCS Sport. A trio which brings a depth of experience, including nine editions of Emirates’ tour racing (with five Dubai and four Abu Dhabi Tours) and which guarantees vision, experience and the right know-how.

In line with cycling tradition, the route and jerseys will be unveiled only early next year. However, the new logo, the official advertising campaign and associated promotional activities will be shown in a dedicated event at the beginning of October. This will also provide the opportunity to talk about the 2019 format of the former “Abu Dhabi Tour Challenge”.

The first edition of the Challenge, in 2017, consisted of two time trials and an elimination race on consecutive days on the Yas Marina cycling circuit, and attracted almost 900 total entries. In 2018 a new multidisciplinary format was launched, with the support of Mark Cavendish as Ambassador and Tag Heuer as official timekeeper. It consisted of three different stages, with the first round on the iconic climb of Jebel Hafeet and the other two staged on the Yas Marina F1 Circuit.

UAE Tour Educational Project
Also due to be unveiled in October will be the new edition of the Educational project: an hour-long workshop created exclusively for UAE schools focusing on familiarizing students with the history of the bicycle, the benefits of cycling and road safety. In the last three years, almost 4,000 children between 8 and 12 years old, and from thirty different schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra attended the Educational project. Thanks to the new UAE Tour, in 2019 the project will also be extended to several schools from the other Emirates.

Yousif Mirza, UAE Team Emirates rider, commented: “I am fortunate to have been able to realize my dream of being a professional cyclist. I am able to travel the world and have the honor of representing the United Arab Emirates in the most important World Tour races. It started with the joy I felt riding my bike as a child, which I would like more young people in the UAE to experience. I am proud to support the Educational project which, together with the UAE Tour, will be a great way to inspire future UAE champions.”

H.E. Aref Al Awani, Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary, commented: “Since the beginning, we’ve been working to create a race more and more appealing to fans and riders. This merging represents an opportunity to become bigger, stronger to better promote cycling culture in the Middle East and the UAE worldwide,” said.

“We are very proud of the last five years’ achievements of the Dubai Tour, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors, partners and volunteers because we were all part of the same team. Now, we’re going to create a new one, together with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council. And I’m really proud to be part of this new team because challenge is the spice of life and a trait common to both the Abu Dhabi and Dubai Sports Councils”, added H.E. Saeed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council General Secretary.

Mr. Osama Al Shafar, President of the UAE Cycling Federation, commented: “Both Sports councils have gained a great technical and organizational experience in recent years. The decision to join forces and create the UAE Tour guarantees a great future for professional and amateur cycling in the Emirates”.

“This choice made by both partners demonstrates a real awareness of, and positive response to, the necessity for change in order to grow. From my perspective, the ability to have a longer race is an opportunity to have a good mix of stages, open to all kind of riders, like the Italian Tirreno-Adriatico, an opportunity to better explore the UAE territory”, said Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director.

Brief history of cycle racing in Middle East
Dubai Tour: it all started five years ago in 2013, with the opening of the cycle path in the desert of Al Qudra, a project strongly supported by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The opening of the cycle path was alongside the official launch of the Dubai Tour’s first edition: a four-stage race that would start the following year.

The very first lineup was impressive: Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara, Taylor Phinney, Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel, the World Champion Rui Costa, Joaquim Rodriguez and Vincenzo Nibali. The winner was the talented American Taylor Phinney.

The 2015 Dubai Tour was upgraded to 2.HC status category on the UCI Asia Tour, allowing the Organizing Committee to invite ten WorldTour teams and the course length increased and the steep climb of Hatta Dam at stage 3 is introduced. First on GC after the final stage was Mark Cavendish.

Then, in 2016, thanks to the presence of icons as Sir Bradley Wiggins, Fabian Cancellara and Philippe Gilbert, the Dubai Tour experienced an amazing media boom and visited four different Emirates. Winner of that edition was the German Marcel Kittel. The following year the race grew again: for the first time was a five-stage race through six different Emirates. The 2017 Dubai Tour was won by Kittel once more. In 2018, in the last ever Dubai Tour in history, the first on GC was the Italian sprinter and Olympic gold medal-winner Elia Viviani.

Abu Dhabi Tour: the first Abu Dhabi Tour press conference in March, 2015, revealed for the first time the details of a race which would pass through Abu Dhabi’s Empty quarter – with an astonishing start from the luxury resort of Qasr Al Sarab – the most famous landmarks of the capital city, then on top of Jebel Hafeet with a Grand finale on the iconic Yas Marina circuit.

In just four editions the Abu Dhabi Tour increased the numbers of countries covered by the official broadcasters to 184 and the roll of honor includes the names of Esteban Chaves, Tanel Kangert, Rui Costa and Alejandro Valverde. Milestones include, gaining the UCI WorldTour status in 2017 and, last February, the extra stage (from four to five), which enabled organizers to add an individual time trial in the fourth race day.

Eddie Dunbar Joins Team Sky
Team Sky are delighted to announce the immediate signing of Eddie Dunbar.

Dunbar, who is set to make his Team Sky debut on Saturday at Coppa Agostoni, has agreed a deal to the end of the 2019 season. The Irishman, 22, was contracted to Aqua Blue Sport for the 2018 season, but – following the closure of the team – Aqua Blue and the UCI have granted Dunbar permission to leave his contract early and sign for Team Sky.

Eddie Dunbar has certainly caught the eye in 2018, racing to an impressive eighth at both the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour de l’Avenir, and he will hope to carry that form into the Italian Classics, in the colours of Team Sky. “I’m really grateful for the opportunity I’m getting after the situation I’ve found myself in,” Dunbar told TeamSky.com.

“Sometimes a Team folding is the way the sport goes. I just had to be professional about it and understand the situation. Luckily Sky came along and they offered me a block of Italian races which is good preparation for Innsbruck. It’s all fallen into place for me – and I can’t wait to get started now.” Dunbar added: “This is a great opportunity for me to spend the last few weeks of the season with a Team I’ll be riding for next year. It will make the transition a lot easier. It’s really helpful to have this opportunity to familiarise myself with everything, especially the riders and the staff, ahead of next season.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford welcomed Dunbar’s arrival, commenting: “Eddie is a talented young rider and we’re delighted he’s agreed to join us. Obviously the circumstances, with Aqua Blue folding, aren’t ideal for anyone at the Team, or the sport in general. You never like to see teams go through something like that. But we’re pleased to be able to offer Eddie an immediate route back in with Team Sky. We have been watching him for a while and it’s clear that he has great potential. He particularly impressed at the Tour de Yorkshire and Tour de l’Avenir this year and we hope he can build on those performances with us. We’re looking forward to integrating him into the Team during the remainder of 2018, allowing him to hit the ground running in 2019, and hope he can form a part of our next generation as we continue to build for the future.”

Eddie Dunbar:

Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens About their Selection for the Worlds
Federal coach Kevin De Weert has officially announced the Belgian line-up for the World Championships in Innsbruck. Lotto Soudal riders Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens will both be taking part in the road race on Sunday 30 September, while Victor Campenaerts will ride the time trial on Wednesday 26 September.

The Belgian national team for the men elite road race consists of eight riders. Benoot and Wellens are in a team with Laurens De Plus, Ben Hermans, Xandro Meurisse, Serge Pauwels, Dylan Teuns and Greg Van Avermaet.

Tim Wellens: “We go to Austria with four leaders. In theory I am the one who can wait the longest. Tiesj Benoot and Dylan Teuns can attack earlier in the finale. And we also have Greg Van Avermaet up our sleeve. With this quartet we have a strong line-up to be able to play along in the finale. The other four riders will definitely play their role in the run-up to that finale.”

“It’s a very tough course in Innsbruck. It will be a matter of following as long as possible and playing all or nothing at the end. I think the last climb, which is very steep, will be decisive. We only have to cover that climb once. The climb on the local lap, which we need to ride seven times, is a smoother climb, but after several ascents that will become tiring as well. It will be a matter of being as fresh as possible at the foot of the last climb. Afterwards there’s still a technical descent towards the finish. I hope to be in the shape of my life.”

Tiesj Benoot: “At this moment I’m still suffering a bit here at the Vuelta after my crash at the Tour. I hope that with today’s rest day and tomorrow’s time trial my body can recover a bit. It’s a very tough course at the Vuelta, with many elevation meters. It’s also a hard race, something that’s difficult to simulate on training. Hopefully I can benefit from riding the Vuelta in the upcoming weeks, also at the Worlds.”

“I am looking forward to defending my country. As Belgians we don’t need to wait until the last climb to try something, we need to join the moves earlier. I’ll have to wait how I feel after the Vuelta to determine my exact role. I do hope to get some super compensation after the Vuelta.”

Three Lotto Soudal Ladies are part of the Belgian line-up for the women’s road race on Saturday 29 September: Valerie Demey, Julie Van De Velde and Kelly Van den Steen. Bjorg Lambrecht and Brent Van Moer of the Lotto Soudal U23 team will participate in the U23 road race on Friday 28 September. Brent Van Moer will also contest the time trial for men U23 on Monday 24 September.

Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot:
Overijse - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Tim WELLENS (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) - Tiesj BENOOT (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during the Flanders Classics UCI Europe Tour 58nd Brabantse Pijl cycling race with start in Leuven and finish in Overijse on April 11, 2018 in Overijse, Belgium, 11-04-18 - photo JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Hincapie Racing Team Sets Sights on the 2019 Season
The Hincapie Racing team was unable to meet the recent UCI deadline for declaring as a Professional Continental team. However, the team still anxiously looks toward the 2019 season, remaining committed to a program that will eventually lead toward the goal of becoming a World Tour team.

While Arapahoe Resources, BMC Switzerland, and other current and new sponsors have pledged support for the 2019 season, George and Rich Hincapie are making a public appeal for other partners to come forward who share their vision for the team.

Unique to investing in the Hincapie Racing team is the opportunity to leverage all of the Hincapie businesses, including Hincapie Sportswear, the Gran Fondo Hincapie series, the Hincapie Cycling Society, Hotel Domestique, and the Experience Domestique cycling camps. The Hincapie brand has a global market presence, with an audience extending beyond the traditional fan base of professional cycling and into the novice cyclist, travel enthusiast, gourmet foodie, as well as fans of George Hincapie himself.

Founded in 2012, the Hincapie racing team has grown from a young development team to a contender in the Professional Continental ranks, graduating four alumni to the next step in cycling (Toms Skujins, Larry Warbasse, Dion Smith, and Joey Rosskopf). Much of the team’s success has come from the support of Mark Holowesko, of Holowesko Partners, and Ken Griffin, of Citadel Financial, and the team is incredibly thankful for their years of assistance. The Hincapie brothers look forward to the possibility of new partners for the future of the team.

“The Hincapie Racing Team’s primary goal is to develop American professional cyclists and deliver wins for U.S. fans in World Tour races,” says George Hincapie. “We hope to find the right partner to take advantage of our expertise and realize that vision, capitalizing on an already-established global brand and many decades of experience in the sport of cycling.”

The Hincapie team training:

Francisco Ventoso to Continue Mentor Role with Continuum Sports
Vuelta a España and two-time Giro d’Italia stage winner Francisco Ventoso has extended his contract with Continuum Sports beyond the 2018 season, a move that will see the Spanish rider continue his road captain role.

General Manager Jim Ochowicz highlighted Ventoso’s experience and ability to mentor young riders as key factors for his contract extension.

“Francisco Ventoso is currently in his 15th season as a professional cyclist so there are not many riders in the peloton with his level of experience. In his two years at BMC Racing Team, Francisco has demonstrated excellent road captain and mentor skills for the young riders which makes him an asset to the team. He has played a crucial role in the classics season, as well as at stage races and Grand Tours, so Francisco’s versatility means we can send him to any race and count on him to support the team,” Ochowicz said.

“Francisco is a team player on and off the bike. His professionalism and positive attitude contribute significantly to the team dynamic and for this reason we are very happy to extend Francisco’s contract for the 2019 season.”

Francisco Ventoso; The 2012 Spanish road race champion has 27 professional wins to his name, as well as 14 Grand tour and 35 Monument participations.

“I feel really good in the team. It was really important for me to continue with the team because this year I continued to enjoy my time on the bike, in training and races. I am happy here so it was an easy decision to re-sign with Continuum Sports. I was part of the team in the fantastic spring classics season in 2017 and although it’s really difficult to repeat this kind of success, this is the ambition and goal for me to be there again to support Greg Van Avermaet and the team in the best races of the season,” Ventoso said.

“We will see some changes with CCC as the new title sponsor and new riders coming to the team, but the structure will more or less be the same and I am excited to see what the team will look like in 2019. I want to say thank you to Jim Ochowicz for working hard to find a sponsor and for the confidence he and the team have in me.”

In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Francisco Ventoso with Bahrain-Merida’s Manuele Boaro:

Astana Pro Team renews with Dmitriy Gruzdev
The experienced Kazakh rider Dmitriy Gruzdev will stay in the roster of Astana Pro Team at least for one more season. The new agreement for 2019 has been signed recently.

“I am very happy to extend my contract for another year. I passed this season not in the way I’d like to do it due some health problems. Now, everything is going well, so, I hope the upcoming season will be much better. My main goal is the team’s success and I am ready to give my all to help Astana to reach the biggest results. Surely, I’d like to find a few races, which could suit me, to try to fight for a personal result too,” said Dmitriy Gruzdev.

Dmitriy Gruzdev (32) is spending his 7th full season with Astana Pro Team, being one of the most experienced Kazakh riders in the UCI WorldTour. Having some strong abilities in the time trial races, Gruzdev won the individual time trial for three times at the Kazakhstan National Championships and twice at the Asian Cycling Championships. In 2012 he was 6th in the ITT at the UCI Road World Championships.

This season Gruzdev helped Jakob Fuglsang to finish on the final podium of the Tour de Suisse and started the Tour de France (he was forced to quit the race after 12 stages).

“Dmitriy had a quite difficult season, because he suffered from some health problems. But, he is still an important part of the team’s strategy both, at the classics and stage races. I believe, everything will come to a good in the next season and Gruzdev will be able to pass it on the highest level,” said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Dmitriy Gruzdev:

Jarlinson Pantano renews contract with Trek-Segafredo
Trek-Segafredo is happy to announce Colombian Jarlinson Pantano has extended his contract with the team. The 29-year old climber will stay on board and continue wearing pinstripes for two more years.

Pantano, who won a stage in the Volta a Catalunya earlier in the season, is currently recovering from an acute toxoplasmosis infection, which prevented him from racing in the Vuelta a España. His treatment and recovery are going well, but it’s still unclear on whether he will return to competition this season.

Pantano: “I am really happy to stay two more years with Trek-Segafredo, a team that is very special for me. I had been dreaming to join them since I was a kid and the past two years have given me everything I had expected and more. So in the next years, I want to keep going for it and give it my all for a team that I have so close to my heart. I hope that I can still bring a lot of great results. Unfortunately this year, things still haven’t turned out the way the team and I wanted and expected, but I am sure and confident that there are still better years and things to come.”

General Manager, Luca Guercilena: “Jarlinson is a very complete rider; he’s obviously a strong climber, but he also manages well in a TT or a sprint with a reduced group. Over the past years, he has proven his abilities to win tough races, and we are confident that he will do so again in the future after this year has not gone well for him. But thanks to his positive attitude, he always keeps fighting and believing in his chances, and by doing so, he sets a great example for both riders and staff. We are confident he will be back to his top form again, I am pleased that he will stay with Trek-Segafredo for the two coming seasons.”

Jarlison Pantano:

Bahrain-Merida Announce Two years’ Contract Renewal for Iván Garcia Cortina
It has been the second season for 22 years old Spanish cyclist Iván Garcia Cortina in Team Bahrain-Merida. He is one of the most talented young riders in the world. In the team they see his huge potential for development, especially in classics and in helping other sprinters. In the last two season, since Iván is a part of the team, he showed a good performance and also achieved good results. He is a great team-mate, always in a good mood and optimistic with a big smile on his face. Iván brings a good atmosphere in the team.

General manager of the team Brent Copeland told us: “Ivan is a truly talented rider who we, at Team Bahrain Merida, believe he has a very good margin of improvement and we will do all we can to help him achieve his goals. We have seen how dedicated he has been to his profession and we think that his ability can be seen in various areas and roles in the team. Although Iván is very fond of the Belgium classics, we are very happy to announce the renewal of his contract for another two years. We are sure that all fans will be just as pleased with this news as we are, especially the Spanish followers of our team.”

Iván Cortina commented on his contract renewal for another two years during his racing at Vuelta a España: “Yes, Team Bahrain Merida is the best team for me to improve and learn in all of most important races of the UCI calendar, like the classics, and I’m very happy to continue in the team for 2 more years with all of this amazing staff and team mates.”

Iván Garcia Cortina on Vuelta stage 13:

Climbing Talent Amaro Antunes to Make WorldTour Debut with Continuum Sports in 2019
Portuguese climbing talent Amaro Antunes will continue his development when he joins the WorldTour ranks in 2019 with Continuum Sports, following his first year at the Professional Continental level with CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

The 27-year-old will contribute to the climbing and General Classification ambitions of the team, which will be sponsored by Polish shoe and bag manufacturer CCC in 2019, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

“We are excited to welcome Amaro Antunes to Continuum Sports. Amaro is one of the biggest talents to come out of Portugal and will be the first Portuguese rider to race with Continuum Sports in the history of the team. Although this is his first season at the Professional Continental level, Amaro has already impressed in the past few years with some solid results against WorldTour riders. We feel we can continue to develop Amaro’s raw talent and help him to reach his potential,” Ochowicz said.

“Amaro will play a key support role in the team as well as enjoying his own opportunities. His climbing aptitude is already proven and with our expertise in time trials, we can make improvements in this discipline which will naturally contribute to his stage race results. It will be exciting to see what Amaro can do when he makes the move to the WorldTour.”

Amaro Antunes garnered attention on home soil in 2017 when he claimed a stage win and fifth overall at the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta, before winning the penultimate stage and finishing in second place at the Volta a Portugal em Bicicleta Santander Totta.

“It’s a dream come true for me to join the WorldTour with Continuum Sports. It’s a big motivation for me and I’m looking forward to getting started next year. My main goal will be to get a good result at the most important WorldTour races and to help the team as much as possible,” Antunes said.

“It is an honor and a big responsibility to work with some of the best cyclists in the world when I join the team. This will be an amazing opportunity to continue to improve as a rider and learn from my new teammates.”

In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Amaro Antunes:
Malhao - Portugal - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Amaro Antunes (W52-FC Porto) pictured during the Volta ao Algarve em Bicicleta 2017 stage 5 from Loulé to Malhao (179.2k - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2017

A fast rouleur will join UAE Team Emirates
Bohli will be in the Emirati team roster in 2019 and 2020.

UAE Team Emirates has reached a deal to sign a two year contract with Swiss rider Tom Bohli.

Born in Uznach on January 17, 1994, ever since he was young he has been able to successfully alternate action on the track (2012 Juniors World Champion in the pursuit) with road racing (besides success in the Juniors, most notably in road racing and time trial National Championships, he has scored one victory as a pro: the time trial prologue in the 2016 Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen).

Bohli is built with remarkable physique, perfect for protecting even larger rider from the win.
Speed and resistance are in his blood, and he can become an essential support for Kristoff.
The young Swiss cyclist, who has been in the pros since 2016, will also be bringing his skills as rouleur and time trialists, which will be useful in the prologues, to the Emirati formation.

“I’m excited about my move to UAE Team Emirates” said Bohli. “For the first time in my career I’m changing jerseys, joining a sports group that’s quite different from the one I grew up in. I know I’m going to find a highly professional atmosphere founded upon an important project; I’m sure the conditions will be perfect for me to give my best.”

Saronni and Bohli:

Leah Thomas is the latest new signing to Cervélo Bigla for 2019
The Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team is pleased to welcome Leah Thomas to the team. This announcement comes after the signings of Sophie Wright and Nikola Nosková as the team continues to reinforce and innovate its structure.

Thomas will shift her focus from what has been a predominately U.S. based race calendar to the UCI Women’s World Tour.

The 29-year-old has already enjoyed success in Europe after winning the Tour de Feminin in the Czech Republic this year and will be looking to add to that with the Swiss-based team. On Sunday, Thomas won the prestigious Chrono Champenois time trial in France.

“Signing a U.S. rider is important for our partners but she’s also an important personality towards the Olympic Games,” team manager, Thomas Campana said. “The plan with Leah is to help her get a spot in the time trial in Tokyo. She’s very focussed and keen to make her way in the European World Tour races. That was a decisive factor for us and her overall qualities are very good and we want to help her to reach her goals.”

Thomas says making this move to a predominantly UCI World Tour calendar is instrumental in her development.

“As a young adult, I promised myself to keep seeking out new experiences that push my comfort zone. I know that Cervélo Bigla will push me in all the necessary ways to become a better cyclist while providing structure, consistency and the support necessary to develop significantly as an athlete. I am grateful that they see promise in my athletic ability and are willing to develop a program with me to help me reach my full potential,” Thomas said.

With regard to the role she sees herself playing in the team, Thomas said, “My goal is to be one of the main support riders, yet tactically and physically strong enough to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they arise, and force other teams to respond in the race to my strategic moves. I am an all-rounder with a strong time trial. I am a decent climber and bring considerable endurance to the table in long, aggressive races, useful in domestique roles as well as the pursuit of GC results. On a personal front, I hope to further refine my time trial skills in the coming season and explore other areas of potential strength,” she concluded.

Leah Thomas:

Trek Confirms Italian Letizia Paternoster to Join the Team in 2019
With Letizia Paternoster Trek has signed another young talent to join the ranks of the new women’s team in 2019. Letizia Paternoster is mostly known for her performances on the track but has also secured three victories on the road this year. She’s only 19 and in her first professional season, but the young Italian has made the transfer from racing track as a junior to mixing it up with the big stars in elite road cycling with ease.

Letizia was one of the most talented junior athletes to come out of Italy in some time. She is a multiple Junior European and World Champion on the track and has won titles in numerous disciplines, including Individual and Team Pursuits, Omnium, Madison, Elimination, Scratch, and Points Race. In 2017, she also won both the road and time trial titles at the National Championships and went on to claim the bronze medal in the Junior road race at the World Championships in Bergen, Norway.

Letizia turned pro at the beginning of this year and is currently racing for the Astana Women’s Team. She won her first pro race, the GP della Liberazione, in April, but winning a stage and the overall in the Festival Elsy Jacobs (Luxembourg) put her on everyone’s radar.

She finished tenth in the spring Classic Gent-Wevelgem and ninth in Crescent Vårgårda, both WorldTour one-day races – impressive results for a neo-pro who just stepped up from the Junior ranks. And Letizia also won bronze in the U23 European Championships Road Race in July.

Letizia Paternoster: “I am excited and hugely motivated to join a big international team like Trek. My career at the Elite level has started pretty well this year at the Astana Team, now I have a new opportunity to keep growing and learning from a group of strong and competitive teammates.”

Paternoster will continue to combine both road and track racing and has big goals set in both disciplines.

“I am also happy that Trek will allow me to keep competing on the track, in addition to the road calendar, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in mind. A new exciting phase of my career is starting now, and I look forward to giving the best of me. I am grateful for the trust Trek Factory Racing has put in me, and I am determined to reward them by living up to the expectations and bringing valuable results to the team.”

Letizia Paternoster:

Vuelta a España 2018: Tackling Alto del Balcón de Bizkaia
Cranking out a 24% gradient at one point, this is one of the toughest climbs the WorldTour will take on in 2018. They faced in on Stage 17 of the Vuelta a España, and this is what it looked like…

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