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Tour de France 2017 - 19/07/2017 - Etape 17 - La Mure / Serre Chevalier (183 km) - France - Nairo QUINTANA (MOVISTAR TEAM) et El Diablo

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The 2017 Tour de France is coming to its summit, but there hasn’t been many high points – Top Story. Results, reports, quotes and video from the last two stages. In other cycling news: Alejandro Valverde on the mend, Brian Cookson to participate in the Tour de Pologne, Simon Špilak re-signs with Katusha-Alpecin, Laurens Ten Dam with Sunweb, Haimar Zubeldia retires, Sunweb stay with Mini, Tour of Utah news and Tour videos from Lotto Soudal and Sunweb. EUROTRASH coffee time!

TOP STORY: 2017 Tour de France Over?
The way Chris Froome and his Sky team rode on stage 17 over the Col du Galibier and down to Serre Chevalier shows how strong the Kenyan born rider and his men are. From the start in La Mure the white Sky jerseys were on the front of the peloton and when they his the climbs it was ex-World champion Michal Kwiatkowski who rode himself to a standstill to keep his man, Froome, to the fore. Not only is Froome looking strong, but his teammate Mikel Landa is sitting comfortably in 5th place overall at 1:24.

So what, or who, could upset the balance? Obviously Romain Bardet and his AG2R-La Mondiale team are the next strongest, and lets face it, if it wasn’t for them and Warren Barguil the 2017 Tour would have been finished last week. Fabio Aru has had moments of brilliance, but is now looking tired and outclassed. Dan Martin also has been outstanding, but was let down badly in the crosswinds of stage 16. Where would the Irishman be now if he hadn’t been involved in the Richie Porte crash. Alberto Contador showed some of his old ‘cojones’ on stage 17, but it didn’t work. And we better not mention the Colombian duo of Nairo Quintana and Esteban Chaves. Quintana is not his usual self and you would be excused for thinking Chaves wasn’t riding.

Today’s stage 18 (Thursday) finishes on the Izoard, will this be the coup of the Froome leadership, or a damp squib? Will the 2017 Tour de France come down to a time trial? No, probably not.

Bring on the Vuelta a España!

Tour de France 2017
Australia’s Michael Matthews claimed his second stage win and the third one for Sunweb after his team pulled the bunch almost all day to keep Marcel Kittel behind. Crosswinds made it a spectacular finale in the Rhône Valley with a small group including Chris Froome and most of the GC contenders but not Dan Martin and Alberto Contador in contention for the stage victory. Edvald Boasson Hagen was second again, by very little.

174 riders started Stage 16 in Le Puy-en-Velay. Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) was a non-starter due to illness. Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Thomas Degand (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) were the most active riders in the first hour of racing. At the Côte de Boussoulet (km 20.5), they were in the lead with Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis). All skirmishes made the race too hard for Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) and many other riders, so Sunweb put the hammer down. Chavanel was the last breakaway rider reeled in at km 44.5. George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo), 12th on GC, abandoned the Tour de France.

As a long downhill was following the col de Rouvey with 100km to go, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) didn’t give up. He decided to attack from the green jersey group to bridge a gap of two minutes to the yellow jersey group led by Sunweb. He firstly did it in the wheel of his team-mate Julien Simon. He was later drafted successively by Nicolas Edet and Cyril Lemoine who waited for him. He was always accompanied by Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) who had no interest to help him come across to the peloton and become one more rival to Alexander Kristoff. It took Bouhanni 50 minutes of chasing to make it back to the pack with 56km to go.

Crosswinds caused some tension in the peloton in the run-in to Romans-sur-Isère in the Rhône Valley. GC riders started jostling for positions with 20km to go. Team Sky sped up with 15km remaining. It reduced the front group to 28 riders. Among the top ranked riders overall, Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors), Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) were missing. With 2km to go, Daniele Bennati (Movistar) tried to anticipate the sprint but he had to surrender 600 meters before the line. In a tight finish, Michael Matthews (Sunweb) out-sprinted Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) who missed out for the second time by very little after the photo-finish declared Kittel the winner on stage 7 in Nuits-Saint-Georges. Chris Froome (Sky) retained the lead while Martin dropped from fifth to seventh overall.

Stage race report HERE and ‘Roadside’ HERE.

Romans-sur-Isère - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Michael James MATTHEWS (Australia / Team Sunweb) - John DEGENKOLB (Germany / Team Trek Segafredo) - Edvald BOASSON HAGEN (Norway / Team Dimension Data) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 16 from Le Puy-en-Velay to Romans-sur-Isère, 165.00 km - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 20176

Stage winner, Michael Matthews (Sunweb): “Today our plan was open and we were prepared for different scenarios, as it was difficult to predict how the stage would unfold. Once we heard that there were splits in the peloton we were all really motivated to push on and extend the gap. From then on it was an eight-man team time trial to the finish and I was able to finish off the job in the last 500 meters. I’m so grateful for these opportunities and to take the win after the guys worked incredibly hard today is really special.”

2nd on the stage, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data): “This was a really hard stage. The team did very well to keep me at the front all day. Everybody did such a great job. Unfortunately, in the last corner, I was a bit too far down. I knew I had to be at the front at that point but sometimes these things happen. I was probably the fasted rider on the last stretch and I almost made it. It’s a shame. This was a good chance for me.”

4th on the stage, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “It was a really hard stage all day long. I’m happy with how we rode. I think everyone was always in the front and we were never surprised which is how you have to be in these kinds of races. So I’m really proud of the team. Ok, we didn’t win but I think the most important thing is that you do everything right and then the result will also be pretty nice. I think it was a pretty hectic final. I didn’t know the corners very well. You can look in the book but I was a bit surprised that it was such a hard corner and I had to brake a little bit harder than expected. I think with the head wind it was really hard but I tried.”

9th on the stage, Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I had in mind to try it in the final kilometers, but when Bennati went, the pace was already too high. I was a little too far back then in the final corner – I overtook two or three guys on the home straight in the headwind, but I would have needed to be there in around fifth position already.”

Overall leader, Chris Froome (Sky): “It was quite a crazy stage. With the selection coming not long after that climb with 20 kilometers to go, it meant that quite a lot of the GC guys were actually quite far up in the bunch, ready for that split. So maybe there weren’t the biggest differences on the GC that we could have expected on a crosswind stage, but at the same time I think a few guys on the top 10 – Dan Martin, Louis Meintjes – did get caught out unfortunately for them. The rest of the GC guys all seemed there and willing to roll through to keep the positions at the front. I think for myself and Mikel Landa we were just glad to be on the right side of that split. I believe these next two days are the biggest consecutive days in this year’s Tour de France. It’s hard to say exactly how selective they will be, or whether it will be a case of the four of us who are all within half a minute just chasing each other’s shadows. Or it could be blown wide open – that still remains to be seen. But on the upside I think both myself and Mikel Landa are feeling great coming into this last week of the race. Certainly for me that was the goal for of my preparations for the Tour – to come into the third week feeling the way I’m feeling now. I’m quite looking forward these next few days in the Alps now.”

2nd overall, Fabio Aru (Astana): “I want to thank my teammates for this day, they did a great job during the whole stage, keeping me in front in the group and supporting me really well. It was hard day with very high speed, it came right after the rest day and many teams wanted to do this stage harder. But, we managed to pass it quite well.”

7th overall, Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors): “It was a really tough stage and we suffered out there. It was difficult without Matteo and Philippe, who were forced to say goodbye to the race earlier. Their presence would have probably made the difference today. Can’t say it’s the best situation for us, but the team is upbeat and optimistic about our chances now that the race is heading into the Alps for two days”

8th overall, Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m disappointed of course. I don’t know if we will change the tactics over the next days. We have to wait and see starting tomorrow, but I don’t think I’m the only guy to lose time today. Maybe it changes things a little, but that is racing.”

9th overall, Damiano Caruso (BMC): “Yesterday I talked with the directors and they said that tomorrow there is going to be wind. So I thought that maybe it would be possible that there would be gaps in the last 20km. This is what happened. It was a good day for us. We’re still missing a victory but it is good that we improved our position on GC.”

18th overall, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “This fast paced stage, with an average of over 45km/h, did not suit me on paper. Yet she did prosper for me. I had some trouble to get started and the heat made the stage twice as heavy. Bearing in mind these circumstances I am very pleased. At the end of the stage I felt well, and I knew that the decision would be made in the end. I finish in the 2nd group and limit the damage. Today we counted the gaps in seconds, but tomorrow it will be in minutes. I want to use all the strength I have left in tomorrow’s stage. Then we’ll see where I can get.”

Green jersey, Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors): “It is as it is. I can’t change any of the things that happened today. The stage suited Matthews better with that tough uphill start, where I lost contact. But I won’t think of the points I lost today, although I’m not happy with this, I’ll just focus on the next stages and take it day by day.”

Tour de France Stage 16:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb in 3:38:15
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
5. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
6. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
8. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Romain Hardy (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 16:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 68:18:36
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:18
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:23
4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:29
5. Mikel Landa (Spa) Sky at 1:17
6. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 2:02
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 2:03
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates at 6:00
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 6:05
10. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 6:16.

Stage 16:

Summary – Stage 16 – Tour de France 2017 por tourdefrance_en

Five years after starting cycling at the age of 22, former ski jumper Primoz Roglic became the first Slovenian to win a Tour de France stage as he soloed to victory in Serre-Chevalier after riding Alberto Contador off with 6.5km left in the ascent to the col du Galibier. Chris Froome retained the overall lead but Fabio Aru lost his second place to Rigoberto Uran.

173 riders started Stage 17 at La Mûre. One non-starter: Marcel Sieberg (Lotto Soudal). A crash occurred after 20km of racing, involving polka dot jersey holder Warren Barguil (Sunweb) and green jersey holder Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) among others. A 33-man breakaway group was formed at the same time with Cyril Gautier and Mathias Frank (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jonathan Castroviejo and Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Michael Gogl, Jarlinson Pantano and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Amaël Moinard, Nicolas Roche and Danilo Wyss (BMC), Darwin Atapuma and Ben Swift (UAE), Rudy Molard (FDJ), Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), Pawel Poljanski (Bora-Hansgrohe), Robert Kiserlovski (Katusha-Alpecin), Thomas De Gendt and Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Michael Matthews, Simon Geschke and Albert Timmer (Sunweb), Nicolas Edet and Dani Navarro (Cofidis), Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), Thomas Voeckler and Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Alberto Bettiol and Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac), Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida), Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Brice Feillu and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Oscaro). Defending Barguil’s position in the King of the Mountains, Matthews out-sprinted De Gendt atop the col d’Ornon (cat. 2, km 30). The duo forged on so Matthews also collected 20 points at the intermediate sprint to reduce his deficit to Kittel to only nine points. But Kittel called it a race at half way.

De Gendt and Matthews also climbed to col de la Croix-de-Fer in the lead until they got caught by Navarro. All eyes were on Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) who attacked from the yellow jersey group, followed by Nairo Quintana (Movistar) who couldn’t hold his pace. Contador bridged a gap of four minutes to come across to his team-mates Mollema and Pantano. De Gendt and Navarro stayed away until 89km to go, after which Trek-Segafredo strongly led the peloton on the way to the col du Télégraphe and the col du Galibier, the highest peak of the Tour. Roglic was first to attack at the exit of Valloire with 45km to go meanwhile the yellow jersey group led by Team Sky was 3.30 adrift. Contador and Pauwels went with him. Atapuma and Frank rejoined them 11km before the summit. With 6.5km remaining in the ascent, Roglic attacked again and it was the decisive move.

In the yellow jersey group, Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) and Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) successively attacked. Fabio Aru (Astana) struggled and eventually lost contact. Winning the sprint for second place behind Roglic in Serre-Chevalier, Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) moved into second overall in the same time with Bardet while Aru dropped to fourth with a deficit of 53 seconds. Roglic who hails from Strahovlje in the Slovenian mountains was famous for an horrific crash as a ski jumper in Planeca in 2007. As a neo pro, he won the big time trial of the Giro d’Italia in the Chianti area last year. He delivered in the French Alps the 49th stage victory at the Tour de France for the LottoNL-Jumbo team that is the second longest serving after Movistar since they have taken part in the race since 1984 as Kwantum-Hallen and been known as Rabobank for many years.

Full race report.

Serre-Chevalier - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Primoz ROGLIC (Slowenia / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 17 from La Mure to Serre-Chevalier, 183.00 km - foto NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Primoz Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo): “This is unbelievable, incredible, winning this stage, over the Galibier… I have no words for it. At this moment, I do not realize what I have just achieved. That will come later and maybe then I will realize what a big win this is. The plan was to attack on the Galibier and go full-gas in the descent. I made plans for this stage earlier on. It is extra special that my girlfriend and my family are here today. Everywhere, I saw Slovenian flags today. It was amazing.”

3rd on the stage and overall leader, Chris Froome (Sky): “I expected it was going to be a bit of a shadow chasing match between the main GC guys and that was my mentality going over the climb today, just to follow the other guys. Not necessarily doing too much with tomorrow in mind but it’s interesting to see this late in the game some guys struggling out there. Fabio Aru was the most noticeable GC contender who lost a bit of time today. Let’s see. Tomorrow is the last hard, hard stage, a mountain top finish on the Col d’Izoard. It’s still all to race for. I didn’t expect Fabio Aru to lose time today. That was probably the surprise of the day, but again I have to thank my team-mates. They emptied themselves today, each and every one of them to make sure I was safe until the final and I’m really, really happy with how the day panned out. Izoard is the last big mountain stage for us in this year’s Tour de France but the time trial is certainly something I’m looking forward to on Saturday. It’s something I’ve worked really hard at before coming to this year’s Tour de France. I’ve been up to Marseille and looked at the route already and I think it is a good route for me. I’d be happy going into that time trial with the gaps we have now.”

7th on the stage and 6th overall, Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors): “I attacked because I wanted to test my rivals. I didn’t go too deep, but this doesn’t mean I wasn’t tired. Actually, everybody’s tired 17 days into the race, so this is turning more into a mental battle. I’m glad we left this stage behind and I got to jump one place in the GC. Contador was in front of me and missed a corner, leaving a gap to the others, so that was that. It’s already in the past and now my focus is on the Col d’Izoard, tomorrow. The war of attrition will continue there and Disco Dan is ready to dance!”

8th on the stage and 9th overall, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo): “I couldn’t win, that was the objective, but this is sport. Today there were too many kilometers for me to overcome alone. If I had taken the first breakaway, I would have had no problems, but to take the break at kilometer 70 made me lose many options. It was a tremendous effort on Croix de Fer with the break at five minutes; I had to pedal very strong. I told Nairo to come, but he couldn’t, and in then in the Galibier, with so many attacks, I paid for it. I had to come from behind in Croix de Fer, and it was a tremendous effort, over 24kms of climbing. It’s like when you are training, and you do a mountain à bloc, and then you pay for it for the rest of the day. Here has been the same at the last mountain. I tried to save energy, but there were many attacks, and although I could top the final climb with the favorites group, I couldn’t fight for the victory. It’s a pity, because there are not many opportunities left. I feel well, and I am eager, but this Tour has been very problematic for me.”

9th on the stage and 8th overall, Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates): “My legs felt good today and the team worked really well together. Having Atapuma in the breakaway helped me in the last bit and we gave it a good try. Tomorrow is a mountain stage and another important one. I think we will see more time gaps and hopefully we can make a big enough difference to improve the result.”

13th on the stage and 17th overall, Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data): “When Roglic attacked on Col du Galibier, I followed him together with Contador. It would have been a perfect situation for me had we worked well together and kept a high pace all the way to the top. Unfortunately, Contador didn’t pull, which was a bit of a problem for us as Frank and Atapuma then came back. I guess Contador just didn’t have the legs for it at the end. Anyway, Roglic was the strongest guy today and he ended up getting away to take the win.”

16th on the stage and 11th overall, Damiano Caruso (BMC): “We knew today would be super hard and it was. I tried to stay as long as I could with the General Classification favorites. I was dropped but then came back and was dropped again. I went ‘à bloc’ and after that I just tried to ride my own race and get to the finish line as fast as possible. I think tomorrow will be another tough day so I’ll aim to recover as much as possible”

22nd on the stage and 15th overall, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was a very difficult stage today, marked by a strong pace from the start of the first climb to the Col de la Croix de Fer. I was able to stay with the GC leaders until the initial part of the climb to the Col du Galibier but as the pace picked up, I decided to keep my own rhythm. On the final descent to Serre Chevalier, I rode a bit more conservatively. I think it wasn’t worth it to take too many risks in order to gain, probably, no more than 20 seconds. Overall, I’m satisfied with my performance so far – I’m 15th in the GC and I’ll give my best again tomorrow.”

20th overall, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “It’s a miracle that I’m still in the top 20. I was dropped early but thanks to the enormous work of Pieter Vanspeybrouck I could return before the Croix de Fer in the Froome group. At that moment I had already digged deep. I have tried to hang on Télégraphe and Galibier for as long as possible, but my legs were completely empty. My only goal was to reach the summit. I was still well surrounded by Thomas and Pieter. Then we rode a good descent. We came back in the wheel of Minnaard, who took some strong turns. It is thanks to my teammates that I keep my place in the top 20. I feel tired after almost three weeks of racing. Since the Grand Départ I had to dig deep every day. At this moment, my body is in need of recuperation. I want to ride a good stage to Izoard tomorrow, then on to Paris!”

Points leader, Michael Matthews (Sunweb): “After getting 50 points yesterday I knew that it was game on. I knew beforehand that I had to be active to get those 20 points today and was aware that even if I did get those points it was still going to be difficult. You never want to see a guy out of a race like this, it’s been such a good battle up to this point and I hope Kittel is ok.”

Abandoned green jersey, Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors): “I am very disappointed and I don’t know how to describe my feelings at the moment. To go home with five stage victories is great, but to go home because of a crash and before hitting Paris is a major disappointment. I couldn’t do anything to avoid that crash and lost some skin on my shoulder, back, elbow and hip, which are a bit swollen. I tried to carry on, but pedaling was just painful, especially as in the last couple of days I had to fight with stomach problems and a cold. Now I will take some time to recover before returning to racing and I’m confident the joy of winning five stages at the Tour de France will help me overcome these difficult moments.”

Tour de France Stage 17:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo in 5:07:41
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:13
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Warren Barguil (Fra) Sunweb
6. Mikel Landa (Spa) Sky at 1:16
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 1:43
8. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 1:44
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 17:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 73:27:26
2. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:27
3. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:53
5. Mikel Landa (Spa) Sky at 1:24
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 2:37
7. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 4:07
8. Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates at 6:35
9. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 7:45
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Sunweb at 8:52.

Tour stage 17:

Summary – Stage 17 – Tour de France 2017 por tourdefrance_en

Valverde: “upbeat, ready to keep fighting”
Alejandro speaks to local media at Murcia’s Hospital de Molina on his current recovery status; thanks doctors, team and peloton colleagues, fans at start of long, intense rehabilitation.

Just over two weeks after the crash that took him out of the 2017 Tour de France only 7km into the opening time trial in Düsseldorf, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) spoke to the media at a press conference in the Hospital de Molina, near his home in Murcia. Joined by Dr. Francisco Esparza, who is following his recovery the closest, and the center’s main officer Pedro Hernández Jiménez, Valverde explained the current status of his recovery – which is sidelining him for the rest of the 2017 season- and thanked all support he has received all over the world at one of the hardest moments of his professional career.

“I knew it was a serious crash since the very moment I crashed. I couldn’t see the injury to my tibia, because we wear very long overshoes, but I could see my knee, and I knew it was really a mess, completely shattered. I thought my sporting career had ended there. However, after the surgery, I started to be aware of what my real injuries were, and realized that the crash was serious, but I had good prospects of full recovery. It will be a long way to cover, we’ll have to put much work on it, but I’m calm because I know I can get to what I was before the crash.”

“The season is over. We have to do things right, not trying to overreact and hurt ourselves. It would be nonsense to try and recover faster than we should. For the time being, we must wait for the kneecap to completely recover – it’s tied to the knee with screws, but still needs to fix itself- and also the talus and calcaneus on my ankle, which are also broken. Once we get everything right, and provided that we’re taking all efforts needed to ensure the best mobility on my leg, I’ll be able to get on my bike for very mild efforts. We can’t still talk about any schedules for my full recovery. There will be a time later on to plan on our goals for the next season, once we finish with rehab. However, despite not being able to train, I’m really keeping myself fit with this hard process. We spent both the whole morning and afternoon at the hospital, working for as much as we can. There’s no other choice possible: if I want to get back as strong as I was, we must work hard.”

“I want to thank the Hospital de Molina, Dr. Esparza, all of the people working here. Also the Movistar Team, for treating me so well after my crash, and our sponsor Telefónica, for their admiration – I’m really glad to have them by my side. The University Hospital of Düsseldorf, whose attentions were outstanding. I’m feeling good, even if it’s hard and painful. I’m upbeat, ready to keep fighting, and all of the work we’re doing is the best to return as soon as possible, though always considering it’s a long recovery. I’m also very thankful towards the fans all over the world. It was amazing to see people from so many places sending me their support, and also colleagues from the whole peloton asking myself and my team-mates about how I was doing. Support like this makes everything quite easier. I must get well for them and fight to get back to the place I was before the crash.”

UCI President Brian Cookson will Participate in the Tour de Pologne Amatorow
The amateur event will take place on the same day as the spectacular conclusive stage for the Tour de Pologne.

According to tradition, every year the Tour de Pologne Amatorow is the event that brings out all cycling fans to pedal on the same roads as the pro riders competing in Tour de Pologne – UCI World Tour. As always, the location will be in Bukowina Tatrzanska, with the group setting off from the BUKOVINA Resort to take on part of the route which will then be ridden by the pros on the challenging circuit in the heart of the Tatra Mountains. There will be a show within the show on Friday, August 4th; in fact, this year, that which has always been regarded as the reigning stage in the Tour de Pologne will also be the final stage in the Polish stage race. This year the mountains will decide who will wear the yellow jersey on the final podium.

Many illustrious names from the world of two wheels will be lining up for the start of the Tour de Pologne Amatorow. Headlining among these is the name of the President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), Brian Cookson, who already paid a visit to the Tour de Pologne last year, attending among other things the final in Krakow for the Nutella Mini Tour de Pologne, the event dedicated to kids which is held in conjunction with the Polish stage race every day.

“I’m delighted to be back this year to watch the final stage of the Tour de Pologne, and to take part in this wonderful mass participation event, as well as to attend the kids’ race. Those three events fit perfectly with the UCI’s mission which is to develop and oversee cycling in all its forms, for all people. From a competitive sport, as a healthy recreational activity, as means of transport, and also just for fun. It is a real pleasure to see the Tour de Pologne and cycling in general growing so rapidly in the country. I want to thank the organizers for their continued support and dedication to our sport,” says UCI President Brian Cookson.

“We are proud to have President Cookson with us, both to watch the race and to participate in the amateur event. With the final finish line coinciding with the spectacular stage in Bukowina Tatrzanska, accompanied by the Tour de Pologne Amatorow, the race will experience an unforgettable closing day, full of thrills and excitement. The Tour de Pologne Amatorow means a lot to us, and so does the Nutella Mini Tour de Pologne; these events enjoy growing numbers year after year, as does the passion for cycling and the number of people who ride in Poland. These are important achievements for us,” says the General Manager for the Tour de Pologne, Czeslaw Lang.

For more information on the Tour de Pologne Amatorow and to register for the event, visit our website:

Simon Špilak adds Two Years to KATUSHA ALPECIN Contract
Team KATUSHA ALPECIN has reached a two-year contract agreement with Simon Špilak, extending his time with the team through 2019. Špilak, age 31, joined the team in 2012 and has brought many successes over the years.

“I’m very happy to re-sign with Team KATUSHA ALPECIN. I’m feeling very well here and I like how the team works. Furthermore, the staff, managers and teammates are just great and we function as a big family. Therefore, I’m looking forward to the next two years and the achievements to come for me personally and especially for the team,” said Simon Špilak.

General Manager José Azevedo: “When you look at the palmarès of Simon, he definitely belongs in the group of the best riders in the world for one-week stage races. His focus will continue to be on this kind of race, and we hope he can achieve more victories in the future for the team.”

Špilak has had tremendous success in his career, especially while racing in Switzerland, most notably taking wins in 2015 and 2017 in the UCIWT Tour de Suisse. This year’s win included an impressive solo victory on Tiefenbach glacier on his way to the overall. In addition, he took top honors in the 2010 Tour de Romandie and has won both the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain and Rund um den Finanzplatz Eschborn-Frankfurt (2013). Špilak has also won stages in the Critérium du Dauphiné, Artic Race of Norway and Tour of Slovenia.

Simon’s next races will be the Tour de Pologne and the Pro Ötztaler 5500 in Soelden, where he won the stage in the Tour de Suisse 2017.

Simon Špilak:

Sunweb Extends Contract with Laurens Ten Dam
Team Sunweb are pleased to announce the extension of contract with Laurens ten Dam (NED) for one additional year, until the end of 2018.

Experienced Grand Tour veteran Ten Dam joined Team Sunweb at the beginning of 2016 and has shown his upmost dedication to reaching the team’s objectives. Ten Dam has been part of numerous successful campaigns including the team’s recent Giro d’Italia victory and the current Tour de France, where two stage wins have been achieved to date.

Talking about his contract extension, Ten Dam said: “I am really happy in the team and proud to be a player in the team’s successes. Initially the idea was to end my career after the current season, but since it’s going so well and I am still enjoying it so much we decided to postpone my retirement for another year. I’m pleased to stay with Team Sunweb as I’ve really enjoyed the Grand Tours with the team and especially to be part of our Giro and current Tour success. I hope that we can continue to build on these great results in the coming year.”

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: “We’re happy to be able to trust on Laurens’ GC support and experience for another season. His experience has been crucial in stage racing and the depth of his knowledge is of great value for our young riders’ development. His enthusiasm and love for the sport makes him a great example for the whole team.”

Laurens Ten Dam:

Haimar Zubeldia Announces Retirement
Haimar Zubeldia, 40, has announced that Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián on July 29th will be the final race of his industrious 20-year career.

It is a fitting race to call his last, a prestigious classic held in the Basque Country and passes close to where he lives. A race he calls his own.

Zubeldia first turned pro with Euskaltel-Euskadi at the age of 20 where he remained for 11 years before joining Astana in 2009. In 2010, he signed with RadioShack and continued through the team’s metamorphosis over the next years into the current Trek-Segafredo team.

Haimar Zubeldia: “After so many kilometers and pedal strokes the time has come to announce that I will say goodbye to cycling in the Clásica San Sebastián. It has been 20 years of few words and a lot of emotions. I have been very happy, but now I am looking forward to opening the door for other dreams.

“At the age of 20 I was given a hand by the Euskadí team and full of dreams I entered professional cycling into a peloton with Pantani, Zülle, Olano, and Jalabert. It has been 20 years of magic moments like the ones experienced, amongst many others, with Ulrich, Basso, Armstrong, and Beloki.

“And now, 20 years later, I will pin my last bib number in the peloton of Froome and Contador. It has been a privilege to share my passion and profession at the sides of all those great cyclists.

“Euskaltel, Astana, and Trek have been my family, and they have allowed me to live the most unforgettable experiences. All of this, with deep affection, I feel for this sport, in every turn, in every corner.”

Zubeldia, a strong climber, has built his career predominantly as a crucial support rider to the team’s GC leaders. He is currently riding his 16th Tour de France and has finished an impressive five times in the top 10 in cycling’s biggest event. But more than these impressive results, Zubeldia has been a steadfast teammate throughout the years.

Luca Guercilena, General Manager of Trek-Segafredo: “Haimar has been such a pleasure to work with. He is a quiet, intelligent, and hardworking man who has always been very loyal to his team. He has been very consistent in his results and this over an impressive period of 20 years.

“He maybe did not win a lot during his career, but he was always there, a professional in every way. He has been many times the rock to build our team on, a certitude so to say. He has been riding a Trek Bike for the last 10 seasons, and that is an impressive benchmark. Now, after 20 seasons as a pro, a completely new life will begin for which we wish him the very best.”

PEZ spoke to Haimar a few years ago.

Haimar Zubeldia:
Culoz - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spain / Trek Factory Racing) pictured during stage 15 of the 2016 Tour de France from Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz, 159.00 km - photo JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

Sunweb Extend Vehicle Partnership with Mini
Team Sunweb are proud to announce the extension of their official vehicle partnership with MINI Netherlands until the end of 2019.

MINI has been Team Sunweb’s vehicle partner since 2016 and is through its appearance and performance, a well-established race car in the men’s and women’s WorldTour peloton. It is certainly the fastest of all and by many, considered the most stylish vehicle in the WorldTour convoy. MINI have embraced the positive energy of the sport at the highest level supplying the team with its Clubman and Countryman cars. From three-week long Grand Tours to the cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix; both vehicles provide a comfortable, reliable ride whilst driving on the most demanding racing terrain.

About the extension of the cooperation Bart Verhoef (NED), Head of MINI Netherlands, said: “We’re proud to see the Team Sunweb MINI cars in the WorldTour peloton and we’re pleased to continue our cooperation. It’s inspiring to be partner from such a driven organization with the continual focus on optimization of the team.”

Team Sunweb CEO Iwan Spekenbrink (NED) said: “We are really pleased to have a partner like MINI on board and are happy to be extending our cooperation. MINI is one of our premium brands which we are proud to work alongside and we get a lot of enthusiastic reactions from fans along the road. In cycling, much is asked of a race car and the circumstances can be tough, so high performance equipment is essential. Both organizations are a great fit in terms of philosophy in the ways in which we always looking for the smallest details to further improve and we look forward to another great few years with MINI on the road.”

MINI and Team Sunweb: a good team
MINI provides a perfect suit to all of Team Sunweb’s vehicular requirements, with both MINI Cooper SD Clubman and MINI Cooper SD Countryman, which is produced in Born, the Netherlands, allowing the team to transport nine bikes on it’s roof and comfortably transport all race support essentials inside. With 190 HP and 400 Nm of torque, it can also tackle any mountain stage and has an impressive sprint capacity going from 80 to 120km/h in 6.9 seconds. Its spacious interior is ideal for both daily family-use and cycling lovers.

Weeklong Activities for Cycling Fans at Tour of Utah Begin in Logan with Team Presentation
Papa John’s Autograph Alley, Sprint to the Finish Kids’ Bike Races presented by University of Utah Health and Harmons Healthy Living Expo Provide Free Fun for Families.

In addition to seven full days of professional bicycle racing, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah will deliver daily spectator activities and events. These community celebrations are held at the 10 host venues and at various towns along the 605-mile race route. Events will begin in Logan on Saturday, July 29 with the Team Presentation. Other family-friendly festivities which are held daily during race week, July 31-Aug. 6, include the Papa John’s Autograph Alley, Sprint to the Finish Kids’ Bike Races presented by University of Utah Health, and a variety of activities for fans at the Harmons Healthy Living Expo.

Admission is free to watch the Tour of Utah and for spectators to take part in festival activities, making professional road cycling one of the most unique sports in the world. For reserved seating, all-inclusive hospitality and behind-the-scenes access to teams and athletes, tickets are available beginning at $75 for Experience Packages.

The official venues hosting events in 2017 (in order of event date) are Logan, Brigham City, Snowbasin Resort, Big Cottonwood Canyon, South Jordan City, Layton, Bountiful, Heber Valley, Snowbird Resort, and Salt Lake City. A complete listing of race starts and festival activities can be found on individual stage pages at the Tour’s web site, www.tourofutah.com/stages.

The popular Tour of Utah Team Presentation will be held in Logan on Saturday, July 29 at Logan Country Club. This special event will take place 5:30-7 p.m. and is free to the general public. Limited hospitality tickets will be available for $125 per person. Each ticketed guest will have access to reserved seating, food/beverage service and availability with athletes for autographs and photographs. All spectators will enjoy seeing the professional cyclists and hearing top riders interviewed by announcer Brad Sohner.

One hour prior to the race start each day, the Papa John’s Rider Sign-In and Autograph Alley allows fans to interact with the world’s best cyclists for photographs and signatures. All athletes will parade along a special walkway — Autograph Alley — where spectators will be allowed to interact with the professional athletes. Race announcers will interview athletes from the Sign-In stage, providing insights into the peloton.

Stage finish areas feature the Harmons Healthy Living Expo. Each interactive festival area serves as a gateway to the finish line every day. The Harmons Healthy Living Expo delivers an array of interactive exhibits, official Tour merchandise, concessions, and live entertainment, including jumbo television screens to watch the race unfold as it heads to the finish. Admission is free to the Expo, which will be located adjacent to the finish line for all seven stages. This year is unique in that three host venues — Logan, South Jordan City and Salt Lake City — will have both start and finish festivities for their respective stages, which will offer activities throughout the day in close proximity to the start/finish lines.

The Sprint to the Finish Kids’ Bike Races presented by University of Utah Health are recreational bicycle races for children ages five to 12. This is an opportunity for children to ride their own bicycles on part of the course used by the pros. It is free to participate, once a parent or guardian has signed a waiver at the University of Utah Health tent in the Harmons Healthy Living Expo. Children must bring their own bicycles and helmets. A Sprint to the Finish race will be held daily except on Aug. 5. Races will be held at 11 a.m. in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Noon in Logan, Snowbasin Resort, South Jordan City and Bountiful, and 1:30 p.m. in Salt Lake City.

Daily highlights during race week include:
Monday, July 31

Logan (start/finish) — It’s the first day of the Harmons Healthy Living Expo for the Tour, located at 138 N. 100 East in the heart of historic downtown. Interactive displays and games begin at 8 a.m.
Brigham City — A celebration for the Tour begins the night before Stage 2 with a free concert by Code Blue Revival, Tour of Utah T-shirt giveaway to the first 250 people, rock wall, face painters, fresh hot dogs and hamburgers for purchase.

Tuesday, Aug. 1
Brigham City (start) — After the race start at 9:45 a.m., children can take part in a special bike race. Then, spectators can enjoy Peach City Ice Cream while they wait on the racers to pass through a second time for a Utah Sports Commission Sprint, expected between 11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 2
Big Cottonwood Canyon — The Utah Transit Authority will operate its ski bus service route along Big Cottonwood Canyon on the day of the ITT. Buses will operate beginning at 7 a.m. from the Big Cottonwood Canyon Park & Ride lot at 6200 S. Wasatch. Bruges Waffles & Frites Food Truck will be set up at the start line of the ITT. The Expo will be located at the finish line at Brighton Resort and opens at 9 a.m.
South Jordan City — The night before the race start, Taste of South Jordan will be held at Heritage Park from 4-9 p.m. Entertainment includes a Kids Zone (speed pitch, bowling, bungee, etc.), Chalk Art Contest, photo opportunities and live music from Canadia (7 p.m.) and Cephas (8 p.m.).

Thursday, Aug. 3
South Jordan City (start/finish) — Prior to Stage 4, the Chalk Art Contest will continue from the Taste of South Jordan. There will also be a Kids Zone, stage performers, street carnival performers, food trucks and Cirque-Tacular Entertainment Aerialists performances.
Layton — Pre-race events for Stage 5 take place 5-9 p.m. and include vendor booths, food trucks, and a free concert in the park featuring Beatles tribute band IMAGINE, (7 p.m.)

Friday, Aug. 4
Layton (start) — Spectator activities from 8-11:30 a.m. include vendor booths, food vendors, kids toys and activities, kids bike race, autograph alley, and fan viewing for the Utah Sports Commission Sprint line, expected between 11-11:30 a.m.
Farmington (county seat) — A Street Party will take place at 10 S. Main Street from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. There will be food trucks, face painting, chalk art on the sidewalk, Dartside dart-tag, music, Utah Highway Patrol’s seatbelt simulator, balloon artist and giveaways.
Bountiful (finish) — Festivities begin with live music at 10:30 a.m., followed by kid’s bicycle rodeo (enter to win two bicycles), an obstacle course for children and adults, and a second local band performing at Noon. Food vendors include Donut Kabobs, Coldstone Ice Cream, El Taco Cart, Taste of Polynesia and Pizza Pie Cafe.

Saturday, Aug. 5
Heber Valley (start) — Heber Valley (start) — Come early to Soldier Hollow to cheer on the amateurs at 9:30 a.m. for the start of The Ultimate Challenge presented by University of Utah Health. Celebrate all week with the Wasatch County Fair Days, including the Mountain Valley Stampede Rodeo on Friday at 7 p.m. and country music concert with Jake Worthington.
Snowbird Resort (finish) — In addition to the Expo, all activities at Snowbird are available (admission fees apply) for the Mountain Coaster, Alpine Slide, Mountain Flyer, Vertical Drop, Bungee Trampoline, Climbing Wall, Kid’s Inflatables and more.

Sunday, Aug. 6
Salt Lake City (start/finish) — The Harmons Healthy Living Expo will be located at 315 E. Capitol Street, with activities from Noon-4:30 p.m.

Tour of Utah 2017 Stage 1 Route Announcement:

The Team Hotel at the Tour
While the riders are racing, Lotto Soudal mechanics and soigneurs head to the next hotel to prepare everything for when the riders arrive.

Michael Matthews Second Tour Stage Win of 2017
The moment Michael Matthews realized he’d sealed the stage 16 victory:

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