EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
All the Vuelta a España news you need is here on EUROTRASH Thursday: Why is the Vuelta so good? – Top Story. Race reports from Veenendaal-Veenendaal and the Grote Prijs Stad Zottegem. Riders, summit finishes and team news from the Spanish Grand Tour. It’s not all Vuelta, we also catch up with more rider contracts, the Tours of Britain, Down Under and Germany and Craddock’s ‘Fight for Paris’ concludes at Houston’s Alkek Velodrome. Café con leche?
TOP STORY: Why is the Vuelta a España so good?
As the third Grand Tour of the season prepares to roll down the start ramp in the Andalusian City of Malaga, we ask the question ‘why is the Vuelta so good?’ Could it be the short stages, the hilly profile or the many summit finishes? Yes, those reasons all contribute to an exciting race, but the reason could down to desperation in the riders.
Richie Porte, Rigoberto Urán and Vincenzo Nibali all had their Tour de France hopes dashed by crashes, an overall win in Spain would put them back in the driving seat or saddle. Fabio Aru and Nairo Quintana have not had the best of season. Quintana has won a stage in the Tour de Suisse and stage 17 of the Tour de France this year and Aru didn’t finish the Giro d’Italia and has zero wins. Both riders need a big win to justify their large pay packets.
Then there are the riders without a contract for next season and those who are looking for form for the World championships in Innsbruck-Tirol (Austria) at the end of September, plus a load of young guys looking for the big break. All this, and Astana’s Lopez and the Yates twins, adds up to attacking racing… not to mention that the Sky team won’t be strangling the race for their leader, unless they have a secret weapon.
See the PEZ Vuelta a España Preview HERE.
Vuelta – Bring it on!
Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo) has won the Dutch semi-classic Veenendaal-Veenendaal for the third time in his career. This makes the 25-year-old sprinter of Team LottoNl-Jumbo the record winner.
Groenewegen won the bunch sprint in Veenendaal after an impressive lead-out by Gijs Van Hoecke and Timo Roosen. Team LottoNl-Jumbo controlled the race in a superior way and brought Groenewegen in an ideal position to the sprint. Groenewegen’s victory is his twelfth of the season. It’s also the twenty-ninth for Team LottoNl-Jumbo.
Race winner, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo): “This is a victory for and from the entire team. The team controlled the race from the start. My teammates were really strong. Although I didn’t have a good feeling in the beginning. Winning three times here is wonderful. I won my first race as a professional here three years ago. Therefore, this race is special for me. It’s a Dutch race, we are a Dutch team and we wanted to win here. It worked out. Super. We were the only WorldTour team at the start. So you know that everyone will look at you and that it will be a difficult day. It was very difficult to control, with one rider fewer. There was a lot of twisting and turning, but the boys did a good job. I’m very happy that after my heavy crash in the Tour and a difficult BinckBankTour, I’m slowly becoming my old self again. This gives confidence.”
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 4:20:57
2. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
3. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) Israel-Cycling Academy
4. Bas Van Der Kooij (Ned) Alecto Cyclingteam
5. Edward Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Sebastian Lander (Den) Riwal Ceramicspeed Cycling Team
7. Asbjørn Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Waoo
8. Jason Van Dalen (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam
9. Frantisek Sisr (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.
Grote Prijs Stad Zottegem 2018
Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) won the Grote Prijs Stad Zottegem (1.1, 21/08). The renewed race included six passages of the famous Paddenstraat cobbles. The start was very nervous. It took over 110 kilometers before a breakaway was formed. That breakaway was the good one. A leading group of 25 riders went clear, with Jérôme Baugnies present for Wanty-Groupe Gobert.
In the final there was a battle between three riders for the win: Lasse Norman Hansen, Aimé De Gendt and Baugnies. Hansen accelerated twice, but Baugnies and De Gendt returned in his wheel. In a sprint with two, Baugnies was faster than De Gendt. For Baugnies it is his fourth season victory after Internationale Wielertrofee in Oetingen (1.2) and the kermesses in Melle and Pollare. At the end of July Baugnies crashed out of the opening stage of Tour de Wallonie.
Race winner, Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “This was a terrific course for me. It is not easy to get the WorldTour teams at the start here. That did not make the race any easier. It was an open race in which it was difficult to create gaps. I knew that it would never be a sprint. In the opening phase thus I used so much energy in different attacks. Eventually we created a gap with a large group, which was ideal for me. I was able to recover a bit and refuel for the final, where Hansen rode away. I knew he is very strong and it was not easy for us to catch him. Aimé De Gendt was the ideal compagnon de route in the chase.”
“At the last time Paddestraat, Hansen accelerated again. De Gendt and I could close the gap once more. Aimé did 80% of the work, he was the angel who saved me. I was not the strongest of us three, but you do not only race with the legs, also with the mind. I had to play some poker, because after a crash in Tour de Wallonie I was out of competition for over two weeks. But I was able to train well. But I still felt a difference with riders who rode BinckBank Tour for example. This is an exceptional year for me. I have been riding on a high level since Liège-Bastogne-Liège. That caused some great results. I am still aiming for a victory at Druivenkoers in Overijse (where Baugnies won three times in a row), but also in Grand Prix de Wallonie and Grote Prijs Jef Scherens in Leuven.”
Grote Prijs Stad Zottegem Result:
1. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 4:38:47
2. Aime De Gendt (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Lasse Norman Hansen (Den) Aqua Blue Sport at 0:11
4. Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:21
5. Kevyn Ista (Bel) WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic at 0:30
6. Pawel Bernas (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 0:55
7. Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 1:09
8. Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan at 1:19
9. Jeroen Meijers (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
10. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 1:22.
Grote Prijs Stad Zottegem podium:
La Vuelta’18: Vincenzo Nibali Will Wear No. 1
Vincenzo Nibali officialised his participation to the 73rd edition of La Vuelta after he got the green light from the doctors following his crash up to l’Alpe d’Huez that forced him to pull out of the Tour de France with a broken vertebrae after stage 12. The Italian will have the bib number 1 on the start list at the beginning of the Spanish Grand Tour in Málaga on August 25th.
Four winners of La Vuelta will be in contention again this year: Alejandro Valverde (2009), Vincenzo Nibali (2010), Fabio Aru (2015) and Nairo Quintana (2016). Among them, the race organization designated ‘El Tiburón’ (The Shark, in Spanish) as the first man on the starting list with the bib number 1. It’s a mark of gratitude to his record book that includes the three Grand Tours (La Vuelta 2010, Giro d’Italia 2013 and 2016, Tour de France 2014) but also Il Lombardia (2015 and 2017) and Milan-Sanremo (2018).
“A successful La Vuelta for me would mean being a protagonist in some nice stages, Nibali informed. As I’m still in a recovery process, it’s hard for me to think of the overall classification with so few days of training behind me”. After his first withdrawal in the nineteen Grand Tours he started, he resumed riding sixteen days before the start in Andalusia. His Bahrain-Merida team has other cards to play on GC with the brothers Ion and Gorka Izagirre. “Ideally, for me personally, I’d love to win several stages in the last week of racing”, Nibali added.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing in Spain, the Sicilian continued. The courses are beautiful and I feel less pressure at La Vuelta than at the Giro and the Tour. The rhythm of a day in Spain reminds me of the south of Italy. Of course my best memory remains my overall win in 2010, the first Grand Tour I won. It’s been a milestone in my career”.
Nibali was the first ever winner of La Vuelta crowned in Madrid with the red jersey (La Roja) that has become the trademark of the Spanish race. “Very few riders in activity have a record book as brilliant as his”, noted Javier Guillén, the general director of the event. “It’s a luxury to have Nibali in contention once again. In addition to having won it, he showed his commitment to the race last year by doing his best to climb on the second step of the final podium [as in 2013]. He’s an elegant rider, combative and charismatic. He deserves the bib number 1.”
More information about La Vuelta 18: www.lavuelta.com
Eight Uphill Finishes to Enlighten La Vuelta 18
Uphill finishes are the trademark of La Vuelta in its modern era, since 2010. There are usually between seven and ten of them. This year, there are eight. But there are many more climbers in contention!
As early as on stage 2, the day after the inaugural 8-km individual time trial in Málaga, La Vuelta returns to the Caminito del Rey where Esteban Chaves won a stage classified as an uphill finish in 2015. It’s not the case this year. “This time, the finish line will be located in front of the Visitor Centre and not on the river dam”, explained technical director Kiko Garcia. “Therefore, the race will end a bit further down, after three to four kilometers of an uphill at 4 to 5%. We can expect a group of 50 to 60 riders to contest the stage victory. If he’s on good form, Peter Sagan can give it a try. It also suits riders with the same characteristics as Alejandro Valverde.”
The course of the 73rd La Vuelta has gradual difficulties. The first uphill finish is relatively short but seriously steep at Alcafar on day 4. On stage 9, Dan Martin will return to La Covatilla where he claimed his first Grand Tour victory in 2011. La Vuelta hasn’t passed there since. Three stages (13, 14 and 15) in the Asturias province look very promising. La Camperona, a grueling nearby summit in the province of León, saw the victories of Ryder Hesjedal in 2014 and Sergey Lagutin in 2016. Les Praeres is an unprecedented finale with gradients up to 20 to 21%. On the other hand, Lagos de Covadonga is very well known. 20 stages of La Vuelta have ended up there since 1983, the latest winner Nairo Quintana being eager to doing it again.
The other novelty of the 2018 La Vuelta is the Balcón de Bizkaia. “It’s just as hard as Les Praeres”, Garcia warns. It’s a recently asphalted road on the Mount Oiz in the Basque country. The final part of the mountainous program is located in Andorra. Stage 19 is flat but set to be concluded at La Rabassa where Alessandro Ballan was the last winner in the history of La Vuelta in 2008, just two weeks before he won the world championship in Verona, Italy. Stage 20 is the big one on the eve of the final parade in Madrid. It features five climbs including three classified in the first category before the hors-category coll de La Gallina due to designated the overall winner of the 73rd La Vuelta. “It’s debatable whether stage 15 or stage 20 is the queen stage”, Garcia analyzed. “They’re both very complicated with several difficulties before the uphill finish.”
This route must please Colombian climbers. Quintana, Rigoberto Urán and Miguel Ángel ‘Superman’ López are on their toes, as well as Richard Carapaz, the Ecuadorian revelation of the Giro d’Italia. Vincenzo Nibali, Fabio Aru, Richie Porte, the Yates twins, the Izagirre brothers, Wilco Kelderman, Steven Kruijswijk, Igor Antón, Rafal Majka, Ilnur Zakarin, David De La Cruz, Michal Kwiatkowski, Alejandro Valverde, Pierre Rolland, Michael Woods and Dan Martin are among the established climbers on the provisional start list. New ones are also knocking at the door and it’ll be interesting to follow Sepp Kuss, Jai Hindley, Bjorg Lambrecht, Jack Haig, Herman Pernsteiner, Nic Schultz, Edward Ravasi…
THE EIGHT UPHILL FINISHES:
STAGE 4 | Alfacar. Sierra de la Alfaguara
STAGE 9 | La Covatilla
STAGE 13 | Valle de Sabero. La Camperona
STAGE 14 | Les Praeres. Nava
STAGE 15 | Lagos de Covadonga. Centenarios 2018
STAGE 17 | Balcón de Bizkaia
STAGE 19 | Andorra. Naturlandia.
STAGE 20 | Coll de la Gallina. Santuario de Canolich.
More information about La Vuelta : www.lavuelta.com
A Very Competitive Team for the Vuelta
Next Saturday, the last three-week Grand Tour of the season will depart from Málaga. The 73th edition of the La Vuelta will cover a total distance of 3,254.7 kilometers ending in Madrid on 16 September.
The race is set to start with a 8km individual time trial while the riders roll down the ramp at the Centre Pompidou Málaga. As usual for the Spanish race, also this year route presents a lot of climbs with a total of nine mountains top finishes including, for example, the one in La Camperona and the one in Lagos de Covadonga.
General Manager Brent Copeland: “As always, at team Bahrain Merida we go into the grand tours with the best possible team selected. This year Vuelta is a fantastic mix of mountain stages and medium mountain stages, flat stages as well as individual TT, so it has been a challenge to select the best team rosa, however together with the technical staff we believe we have a very competitive team in order to make the racing as exciting as possible. The amount of climbing in this years Vuelta has helped us lean more towards a team that can support this type of terrain.”
Sport Director Gorazd Štangelj: “We have a very strong team with men who can do well on both the GC and the stage win. There are experienced athletes like Franco Pellizotti and young debut like Mark Padun and Hermann Pernsteiner. Our GC rider will be Ion Izagirre, with Vincenzo Nibali who can certainly make a good Vuelta. As usual, it will be a very special race, different from Giro d’Italia and Tour de France and with already a lot of climb starting from the second stage.”
The prologue in Malaga will mark for Vincenzo Nibali the return to the race after the incident at the last Tour: “I have been training for about only a couple of weeks and for this reason I think it will be very difficult to aim for the general classification. I will see day by day and I hope to be able to do well in some mountain stages anyway.”
First Vuelta, however, for Ion Izagirre: “I finished the Tour with a good condition and also in San Sebastian the sensations were good. It will be my first Vuelta in my career and will race for the GC. I made several stages recon – especially the climbs in the north of Spain – and I like the route. There are also 40km TT and this is an advantage for me.”
TBM’s line-up for La Vuelta:
Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti, Ion Izagirre, Gorka Izagirre, Ivan Garcia Cortina, Luka Pibernik, Hermann Pernsteiner and Mark Padun.
UAE Team Emirates for the Vuelta a España 2018
The Emirates team will race the Vuelta a España, August 25 to September 16, with a well-balanced roster. The team’s cyclists have shown in the past a good ability in the Spanish tour and young riders bring freshness and enthusiasm.
Italian Fabio Aru and Irishman Daniel Martin will lead the team. Aru won the race in 2015 and counts two stage wins from 2014, and Martin won a stage in 2011 among his five participations. Valerio Conti will also take part. The Italian won the stage in Urdax-Dantxarinea in 2016.
The Norwegian duo, national champion Vegard Stake Laengen and Sven Erik Bystrøm, will lead on the flats. They will join three Italian Vuelta debutants: Simone Consonni, who will sprint, and climbers Simone Petilli and Edward Ravasi.
“I really like the Vuelta for many reasons: the route, the climbs and especially the fans who have always shown great affection towards me,” Fabio Aru said. “I approach it with great enthusiasm and a desire to do well, also to repay the affection and support shown to me by the team, the sponsors and the fans since the Giro d’Italia.
I arrive from a first part of the season in which I did not get the results I was looking for, but from the defeats you can learn important lessons and all this gives me great motivation. It will be a tactically open Vuelta, the nine summit finishes will lend themselves to attacks. And I must beware of short stages, they will have a big impact on the general classification.
The competition is spread wide and level, thinking of Lopez, the Yates brothers, Urán and the captains of Movistar. Without forgetting that Nibali is making his race return.”
Team manager Joxean Matxin said: “We will have the chance to aim for outstanding results with high-calibre and experienced riders and, at the same time, to help some make a step ahead in their careers.
Aru will be our man for the general classification, in addition we will be able to count on Daniel Martin, back from an excellent Tour de France and looking for more good results in some stage finishes particularly suited to him.
Consonni will have the opportunity to show his talent in the sprints. And Petilli and Ravasi will have the responsibility of supporting Aru and Martin the best they can on the climbs, in addition to Conti.
I also think the contribution of the Norwegian duo Laengen and Bystrøm will offer a well-rounded, robust team. Among other things, Bystrøm won the 2014 world championships as an Under 23 in Spain.”
Team Sky has announced its lineup for the Vuelta a España
Having enjoyed a period of sustained success – winning the last four Grand Tours, including the Giro d’Italia in May and the Tour de France last month – the team will now be looking to leave its mark on the Vuelta a España.
The squad of Michal Kwiatkowski, David de la Cruz, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Jonathan Castroviejo, Sergio Henao, Salvatore Puccio, Pavel Sivakov and Dylan van Baarle represents an exciting blend of youth and experience – riders making their Grand Tour debuts at the start of their careers; riders who have experience of winning Grand Tours with Team Sky; and riders looking to make the final step in performance as GC riders in their own right.
Fresh from winning his home race, the Tour of Poland, earlier this month, Kwiatkowski is set for a strong Vuelta.
Kwiatkowski said: “Vuelta selection is another important step in my career. I’ve never raced two Grand Tours in one season, so I am intrigued to see how my body will react to that challenge. But I don’t feel any pressure – just excitement before a new experience.
“It’s been a busy summer for me. Just six days after the Tour de France I started in the Tour of Poland and was able to stay in top shape, winning my home race. This year I’m trying to finish the season with a slightly different approach. I think that staying in a racing rhythm might just suit me.”
La Vuelta has been De la Cruz’s main focus for 2018 and he is excited about racing his home Grand Tour in Team Sky colors.
De la Cruz said: “It’s so exciting. The Vuelta has been my big goal of the season. I’ve worked really hard in the months following the Giro d’Italia and finally it’s time.
“I felt really comfortable during Vuelta a Burgos and feel really at home in the team. Everyone was working perfectly together there and I’m really looking forward to La Vuelta. It’s my home race and it’s going to be special to do it with Team Sky.”
Twenty three year old Geoghegan Hart will make his Grand Tour debut in Spain after an impressive second season at Team Sky.
Geoghegan Hart said: “I am really excited to be lining up for my first Grand Tour. It is something I have been building towards since I first started with Team Sky, and in many ways for years prior to turning pro.
“I am really looking forward to doing the lap of Spain with such a strong squad, and trying to learn as much as I can along the way.”
Speaking ahead of his first Grand Tour, Sivakov said: “I’m delighted to be starting my first Grand Tour with Team Sky. I never expected to experience a Grand Tour in my first season with the team.
“The team always believed in me and I know this will be a special experience. I have learnt so much this season and now can’t wait to take the next step in my development by testing myself across three weeks.”
Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford outlined his belief in the versatile lineup.
Brailsford said: “We always enjoy racing at La Vuelta and historically we’ve enjoyed great success at this race, finishing on the podium four times before winning in 2017. We’ve had a great season to date, winning both the Giro and the Tour, and we’re determined to finish the season well.
“Our lineup has a real mix of youth and experience. There are several riders in this team who are looking to make big strides forward in their respective careers – Kwiatkowski, de la Cruz, Geoghegan Hart, Sivakov and van Baarle – who will be supported by an incredible trio of experienced riders in Castroviejo, Henao and Puccio.
“In Michal Kwiatkowski, I believe we have a rider who is capable of one day winning a Grand Tour. He has already showed his ability in one day races and now he is progressing well in his development as a stage racer. He has stepped up and won week-long World Tour stage races this season and for the second year running was a key performer in our recent success at the Tour de France. This Vuelta provides another opportunity for him to further himself and gain valuable experience as a GC rider.
“David de la Cruz is in a similar situation and continues to develop as a GC rider. He comes into the race in great form and has shown real signs of progression in his first season with us. I’m really excited to work with him during this race.
“In Tao Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov, we have two young riders who I’m convinced will experience success in Grand Tour in the future. They’ve both enjoyed strong seasons and we’re especially delighted they’re making their Grand Tour debuts with the team. Both Tao and Pavel’s selection reflects the great attitude both riders have adopted since joining Team Sky. Their willingness to make the sacrifices neccessary to succeed, commitment to hard work, and most importantly their desire to learn, have been exemplary and I couldn’t be more proud of them.
“Dylan van Baarle’s development this season has also been very pleasing and the Vuelta will be key in his progression. After the heartbreak of just missing out on our Tour de France team, I’m so impressed with how he’s kept his focus and he’s more than deserving of this key anchor role in this Team.
“With Jonathan Castroviejo, Sergio Henao and Salvatore Puccio we have an experienced trio that have all been a part of winning Grand Tour teams with us – they are right up there with the world’s best at their specific roles. They’ve got an abundance of experience that will complement the other riders as we look to finish the Grand Tour season strongly in Spain.”
Team Sky 2018 Vuelta a España line-up:
Jonathan Castroviejo – Spanish – age 31
Immediately fitted into the Team and made a massive contribution in his first season with Team Sky, Castroviejo demonstrated his world-class versatility at the Tour de France, riding superbly in support of Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome. The Spanish national time trial champion will have his eye on La Vuelta’s opening eight-kilometre TT in Malaga and is sure to be a huge help to the team across the medium and high mountains in his home Grand Tour.
David de la Cruz – Spanish – age 29
Seventh overall at the 2016 Vuelta a España, De la Cruz has pedigree at his home Grand Tour, and will be hoping to step up this year. He’s settled in quickly at Team Sky, winning the final stage at Paris-Nice; racing strongly in support of Chris Froome at the Giro d’Italia; and earning his first stage race podium appearance for Team Sky by taking third at the Vuelta a Burgos. ‘DLC’ will look to build on that Burgos form and impress on home roads.
Sergio Henao – Colombian – age 30
Colombian national road champion Sergio Henao is one of the fiercest and most consistent competitors in the peloton. The 29 year old defended his national title in February before riding a strong Ardennes campaign and supporting Chris Froome to victory at the Giro d’Italia. Now the 2017 Paris-Nice winner will add his climbing prowess and experience to a strong Vuelta lineup in what will be his ninth Grand Tour.
Tao Geoghegan Hart – British – age 23
Tao Geoghegan Hart has enjoyed a superb second season at Team Sky, building on the progression he made during his debut year at World Tour level. The Hackney-born climber impressed at the Criterium du Dauphine as Geraint Thomas’ key man in the mountains and has earned two strong individual results in 2018, securing fifth overall at the Tour of California and Vuelta a Burgos. The 23 year old has more than earned his Grand Tour debut.
Michal Kwiatkowski – Polish – age 28
Fresh off a superb team performance at the Tour de France and overall victory on home roads at the Tour of Poland, ‘Kwiato’ has enjoyed another special season in Team Sky colours. One of the strongest and classiest bike riders on the planet, the 2014 world road race champion will have chance to continue his momentum, having also won the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this year.
Salvatore Puccio – Italian – age 28
After joining the team in 2012 Salvatore Puccio has established himself as one of the most well-rounded domestiques in the sport. The Italian has been part of winning teams in his last two Grand Tour appearances, having helped Chris Froome to Vuelta a Espana and Giro d’Italia victories. Set to turn 29 during the race, Puccio’s Classics know-how should also prove key in the hustle and bustle of a peloton fighting for position.
Pavel Sivakov – Russian – age 21
Another rider making his Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta, Sivakov has enjoyed an impressive first season as a pro after lighting up the under-23 ranks. An exciting stage race prospect, the Russian, who resides and trains in France, is an accomplished climber who can also time trial at a high level. The Vuelta provides a great opportunity for him to gain experience whilst helping the team in the mountains.
Dylan van Baarle – Dutch – age 26
Starting his fifth Grand Tour but first as a Team Sky rider, the Dutchman will make his Vuelta debut in 2018 and brings added firepower to the lineup. A former overall winner at the Tour of Britain and the current Dutch national time trial champion, Van Baarle is an established Classics rider who can also climb at a high level. His all-round capabilities make him a superb team player across three weeks.
Porte Returns to Racing to Headline BMC Racing Team’s Vuelta a España Roster
Richie Porte will make his return to racing on Saturday (25 August) as he headlines BMC Racing Team’s strong and well-rounded Vuelta a España roster.
Sports Director Jackson Stewart said that Porte will be joined on the start line for the third and final Grand Tour of the year by a team that brings a wealth of experience and talent to the race.
“I think we will start the Vuelta a España with a focused and well-rounded roster and myself and Klaas Lodewyck are both very motivated about going into the race with such a high caliber team. For Porte, this is his first race back after his crash so at first, we will need to see how he is feeling. But, I believe he will only grow stronger the further into the race we get so, initially we will try to focus on several stages in particular and from there, we will watch how the General Classification develops,” Stewart explained.
“We know that Rohan Dennis is very motivated for both time trials and that he has the ability to achieve success on those particular stages if not more throughout the race. With Alessandro De Marchi, Nicolas Roche and Francisco Ventoso on the team, we have three riders who have all won individual stages of the Vuelta a España and not only do they bring this experience with them but they also have the strength to try something this year if the opportunity presents itself. Dylan Teuns, Brent Bookwalter and Joey Rosskopf are also all coming into the race in good form and I think we can expect to see strong efforts from them in the breakaways. Overall, we are looking forward to our last Vuelta a España as BMC Racing Team and particularly with this group of riders, all of whom have played such a big role in the team’s success over the past few years.”
Richie Porte, who will be racing at the Vuelta a España for only the second time in his career, set himself the target of lining up at the three-week race after disappointingly crashing out of the Tour de France.
“Of course, I would like to do well in my last Grand Tour for BMC Racing Team but you never know where your form is when you haven’t had an ideal run into a race. After crashing out of the Tour de France, I had to have some time off and it took me a while to get back to work due to my injuries. I have put in some good training since then but I won’t be lining up in the shape I was in before the Tour de France,” Porte said.
“At first, I think I will definitely be taking the race day-by-day. The last week is pretty hard so you don’t know what could happen there but, we have a great team lining up with lots of good options. There’s definitely also a carrot dangling in front of me at the Vuelta with the UCI World Championships being a climber’s course so it will be good preparation for that.”
Porte will be joined at the Vuelta a España by:
Brent Bookwalter (USA): 2012
“I have raced the Vuelta a España once before in 2012 and it’s been such a long time since I was there, that is almost feels like a new race for me. I definitely feel like I have grown a lot as a person and as a rider since then so, I am excited to go back this year and hopefully have a little more impact on the race than I did in 2012. I didn’t do a Grand Tour last year and I think that created a little more desire and hunger to get back to the insanity of a three-week race. This is one of the most competitive races of the season and we have a really deep team so, whether it’s working for one of my teammates or trying to find an opportunity for myself, I think I am just focused on trying to do my personal best every day.”
Alessandro De Marchi (ITA): 2014 (winner, stage 7), 2015 (winner, stage 14), 2017 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
“The Vuelta a España always represents a special moment of the season for me. This year is going to be my fourth edition of the race and normally I would race here after the Tour de France but this year I come into the Vuelta after having raced the Giro d’Italia and obviously, having had a small break in the middle of the season. This small change means I will have a different approach to the race. I think at first I will try to get back into race mode and wait for the opportunities that the Vuelta always offers riders like me. It’s about having patience and waiting for the right day. I will also try to focus on the two individual time trials as I am continuing to try and improve on these kind of efforts. The Vuelta is also a good way to prepare for the UCI World Championships so it’s important to be good especially at the end of the three weeks.”
Rohan Dennis (AUS): 2014, 2017 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
“The prologue and the stage 16 time trial are definitely my main objectives at this year’s Vuelta a España. The rest of the race for me will be about seeing what Richie wants to do when it comes to the General Classification or helping any of the other guys, if they want to try and go for a stage. After that, the race will be a key part of my preparation for the UCI World Championships. We are trying to mimic the lead up to Worlds from last year. Obviously I didn’t get to the stage 16 time trial at last year’s Vuelta but for me the time trial in Bergen was going really well right up until I hit a corner a bit too fast. We also saw this race program work in 2014 and again in 2016 when I raced the Tour de France before Rio so, it’s the perfect preparation for me.”
Nicolas Roche (IRL): 2008, 2010 – 2013 (winner, stage 2), 2015 (winner, stage 18), 2017 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
“I’m looking forward to racing at the Vuelta a España again. This will be my eighth edition of the race and I always enjoy racing it. I also have a lot of good memories from this race and I have always gone well here.”
Joey Rosskopf (USA): 2015 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
“I am excited to be back racing at the Vuelta a España. It was the first Grand Tour of my career in 2015 in my first year with the team but, I am hoping to make it through in a lot better shape than I did that year. I think we are taking a super strong team so we will see how the race plays out but I would definitely like to do as best I can in the two time trials. I always like to try and perform well in my national champion’s skinsuit and I am always motivated for those. I think the second time trial is more interesting to me. The first is maybe a bit short and with all of the fresh legs in the peloton at the start of the race, it will be hard for me. However, if I can make it through the race in good shape, I would like to see what I can do on stage 16. I have surprised myself in the past on a late time trial at a Grand Tour in 2017 at the Giro d’Italia.”
Dylan Teuns (BEL): 2016
“I am feeling good about going back to the Vuelta a España. It was a really nice experience racing there two years ago at my first Grand Tour so I am excited to go back. My shape is really good at the moment. In Poland, I had two second places and a good week of racing and I was also able to test myself in Hamburg on the Waseberg. I am definitely looking forward to the Vuelta. It would be good to be able to have the chance to fight for a stage win one day. Also, it is a good preparation for the World Championships so I am excited to start.”
Francisco Ventoso (ESP): 2005, 2006 (winner, stage 6), 2015, 2017 (winner, stage 1 TTT)
“I am super happy to be racing at the Vuelta a España with BMC Racing Team this year. It is my home Tour so it is really nice for me to ride in front of home crowds and on home soil. It is even more special for me this year as there is a time trial in my local region so that will be very nice for me. We have a really nice group of riders racing and I think everyone is motivated to try and do something and to make a good result at the end of the three weeks.”
Sports Directors: Jackson Stewart (USA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL).
Richie Porte hoping for better luck:
Uran headlines #PinkArgyle Squad for Vuelta
The 2018 Vuelta a España begins this Saturday in Malaga, Spain. It’s anticipated to be another difficult edition, with nine summit finishes — six of those coming over eight stages during the Vuelta’s second half — and two individual time trials. There are six flat stages and four mid-mountain days as well. But the numbers alone don’t do the challenge justice.
As EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale head Vuelta sport director Juanma Garate notes, “It’s a hard Vuelta without many opportunities for the sprinters. Lots of technical, narrow roads. Flat stages, on paper, all of them have an area of wind. It’s important to ride with focus. We can’t ride in the back and relax. There’s no time for that. Flat stages, on paper, all of them have an area of wind. We need to focus every day from day one one.”
In keeping with the usual #PinkArgyle Grand Tour tradition, find comments from each of our Vuelta riders and Garate on each rider’s selection, below.
RIGOBERTO URAN (COL)
Garate says: “Rigo is our leader and will contest the general classification. We have the space to show how good he is and how good we are with this team at the Vuelta.”
Uran says: “This team is really strong for this Vuelta. I have strong guys for the climbing days, guys for the flat stages and guys for the wind. I’m really happy with the team for this Vuelta, and I believe we can do something special.”
Uran’s best Vuelta memory: “I have always good memories in all my race. Always I enjoy every day in all my races.”
MIKE WOODS (CAN)
Garate says: “He’s in good shape at the moment. He showed that at Utah. Mike is an important piece for our strategy with Rigo and also to contest stages with an uphill finals. One those steep, short climbs, Mike is a specialist.”
Woods says: “After crashing at Tour of Utah, and having the wound get infected, I’ve had to adjust my expectations. I’m not ruling out any possibilities, but based off of how I have been feeling over the past week, I am going to try and play things safe over week one and build from there. With the length of a Grand Tour, anything is possible. If I can come around, my goals will be to target a stage win in week three and do whatever I can to help Rigo in his general classification pursuits. We’re bringing a team with a lot of talent to this year’s race, and with Rigo motivated for the GC, I expect to see lots of pink at the front of the race.”
Woods’ best Vuelta memory: “Stage nine last year. The day before we had been informed that the team would likely not continue. Instead of being this disjointed and depressed unit, the team really came on stage nine to ride a great race. I managed to finish third on the stage, which was one of my best results in my career at that point, and I experienced a huge range of emotions after the finish line, however, as I rode back to the team bus the most dominant feeling was pride. I was proud of how we rode as a team and with how we handled the tough news.”
DANI MORENO (ESP)
Garate says: “Dani Moreno has the most experience in the Vuelta on our roster. I expect him, as he’s done in the past, to be close to his leader. He’s a confidence man. He speaks the same language as Rigo. That’s important.”
Moreno says: “I hope to be where I’ve always been – at the front with the best. Luck and focus will be the two most important factors. We’ve already done the hard work to get it right.”
Moreno’s best Vuelta memory: “I have many good Vuelta memories. The two that stand out most are the day I set myself up as a leader in Valdepeñas de Jaén and the victory I took in Finisterre in front of Cancellara. Nobody expected that one – except for me!”
PIERRE ROLLAND (FRA)
Garate says: “When he is good and when he is motivated, we know Pierre is able to do really great things, especially in the mountains. And here at the Vuelta, same as Mike, we can use him strategically on the mountain stages.”
Rolland says: “My main personal objective is to win a stage, so that I can add my name to the list of riders that have won a stage at each of the three Grand Tours. I will race offensively when the route is good for my strengths. I leave the team at the end of this season, and I would really like to finish my story with EF in the most beautiful way.”
Rolland’s best Vuelta memory: “My best memory is always the arrival in Madrid. The Vuelta is such a difficult race, and the finish is always a happy experience.”
SIMON CLARKE (AUS)
Garate says: “He’s done a lot of races with Rigo, and Rigo has a lot of confidence in Simon. He’s going to be his shadow, all day long. For me, it’s important to have Simon because I know when he’s there he keeps us out of trouble.”
Clarke says: “After the Tour de France and our misfortunate with Rigo, we’re all jumping at the bit to have another crack at what we weren’t able to achieve in July at the Tour.”
Clarke’s best Vuelta memory: “My first Vuelta in 2012 when I was able to win a stage and take the polka dot jersey overall. That was a special Vuelta for me.”
MITCH DOCKER (AUS)
Garate says: “Mitch is going to be my road captain. I’m super happy with how he does the job. His condition is good, he’s very professional. His post-stage analysis is really good. In the debriefs, we can fix our mistakes, because the point of view he has is really good.”
Docker says: “I’m expecting big things from the team in this Vuelta. It felt like we’re on the cusp of a great result in the Giro, had some bad luck in the Tour and now its our turn. We have a really solid team of experienced riders. Personally I’m looking forward to working with Rigo for the first time and with Mike again after the Giro. No doubt Tom and I will have some fun in the flatter stages too.”
Docker’s best Vuelta memory: “Groveling across the line up the Bola del Mondo in 2012 to officially finish off the suffering of my first Vuelta and my first Grand Tour. It was such a sense of accomplishment.”
TOM VAN ASBROECK (BEL)
Garate says: “He’s our fast man, the man who will try to do a few finals. He knows he’s here to help the team, but he will have his opportunities. He will have several opportunities if he can climb as well as he did at BinckBank last week. The last hour of the race is always hilly —so there are opportunities for reduced sprints.”
Van Asbroeck says: “I want some nice results in the sprints, maybe even win. You never know. My condition and preparation have been excellent so far, so everything is possible. The team will be competitive in the general classification and the mountain stages, so this will only motivate me more for the sprints.”
Van Asbroeck’s best Vuelta memory: “When we finish the Vuelta and have a great dinner with the team and our family after a successful three weeks of racing at the highest level, that’s always the best.”
SEBASTIAN LANGEVELD (NLD)
Garate says: “Sebas will be in a role similar to Simon. Langeveld, Simon and Mitch should work really well together for positioning throughout the Vuelta and in taking care of the train for the faster finishes for Tom and our general classification efforts.”
Langeveld says: “With Rigo targeting the GC, there’s always a lot of unseen work to do. Besides helping the team as much as I can, I would like to do a consistently solid three-week performance.”
Langeveld’s best Vuelta memory: “My best memory is definitely winning the Vuelta with Denis Menchov in 2007.”
EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale for 2018 Vuelta a España:
Simon Clarke (AUS), Mitch Docker (AUS), Sebastian Langeveld (NLD), Dani Moreno (ESP), Pierre Rolland (FRA), Rigoberto Uran (COL), Tom Van Asbroeck (BEL), Mike Woods (CAN).
Sport Directors: Juan Manual Garate (ESP) and Fabrizio Guidi (ITA).
Uran for the podium?:
Cofidis Presents Several Assets to Illustrate Itself at La Vuelta a España
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits and its eight warriors have donned their clothes of light as they head towards Andalusia and Malaga, where the 73rd edition of the Vuelta a España will be held. The third and final three-week national tour will take place no less than 3254 km from Saturday 25 August to finish in Madrid on Sunday 16 September. And to say that there will be something to do on the 21 stages including 2 individual time trial and the trifle of 46 passes to climb.
With 20 participations, 13 victories but also to his four rankings of best climber thanks to David Moncoutié (2008-2011) and Nicolas Edet (2013) since his arrival in the professional peloton in 1997, the formation North-East marked the Tour of Spain’s footprint. For this 2018 edition, Cédric Vasseur, the general manager of Cofidis Solutions Crédits, in perfect agreement with his sporting direction has made every effort to find the front of the scene. “We must honor our selection as the team invited by the organization among the best teams in the world. We found a balance by selecting Nacer Bouhanni as the leader for sprint finishes. He has already managed to win twice on La Vuelta 2014. His physical freshness should compensate for his lack of confidence due to his abandonment following gastric problems in the Tour of Poland. To place it ideally with the red flame, we had bet on Geoffrey Soup. The latter, following its heavy fall occurred during the 2nd stage of the Tour du Limousin is unfortunately not suitable for this role. To compensate for this absence, we chose to replace him by Kenneth Vanbilsen.
With the Spanish trio composed of Jesus Herrada (only to double after the Tour de France) his brother José and Luis Angel Maté, who will start in his garden as a native of Marbella, we can also aim for the highest step of the podium. And the other three, namely Stéphane Rossetto, Loïc Chetout and also Mathias Le Turnier for his baptism of fire on a Grand Tour are likely to bring us great satisfaction by playing the fighters as they know how to do it.”
Cofidis, Solutions Credits:
Nacer Bouhanni (Fra), Loïc Chetout (Fra), Jesus Herrada (Spain), José Herrada (Esp), Matthias Le Turnier (Fr), Luis Angel Maté (Fr), Stéphane Rossetto (Fr), Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel).
Replacements: Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel), Daniel Teklehaimanot (Ery), Cyril Lemoine (Fra).
Julien Jurdie presents the eight riders racing the Vuelta a España
After five Tours de France and eleven Giri d’Italia, Hubert Dupont is preparing to take the start of his sixth Vuelta a España. Ahead of starting his twenty-second Grand Tour, Dupont, who comes from Lyon in France, has had to abandon only one of the three week tours that he has started, and has finished seven times in the top 20 of the general classification.
Born March 17, 1986. 32 years old.
Height/Weight: 185 cm/65 kg
Vuelta: 5th participation
Main results: 20th GC Santos Down Under Tour and Paris-Nice (2018) ; 18th Tour de France (2015).
“Mikaël has prepared well for this Vuelta, which will be his second Grand Tour of the season. He has a lot of experience in three week races. He proved again in the Giro that he can slip into a breakaway during a mountain stage and play for the stage win. He will be our road captain.”
Born June 29, 1992. 26 years old.
Height/Weight: 177 cm/56 kg
Vuelta: 3rd participation
Main results: 3rd TTT Vuelta a Valencia (2018), 20th GC Tour de l’Ain (2018).
“Despite his youth, Clément already has a great deal of experience in Grands Tours. In addition to his work for the collective, he can play his personal card on some difficult stages.”
Born November 13, 1980. 38 year old.
Height/Weight: 174 cm/58 kg
Vuelta: 6th participation
Main results: 11th Giro d’Italia (2016-2011).
“Hubert is a metronome and a good road captain. He’s nearing the end of his career and wanted to race the Vuelta again. Few riders in the peloton have competed in as many Grand Tours as he has. He will be able to aim for a good overall place, and slip into breaks during the difficult stages that he likes.”
Born May 24, 1988. 30 years old.
Height/Weight: 180cm/70 kg
Vuelta: 2nd participation
Main results: Tour de France stage winner and yellow jersey (2014), Winner Classica San Sebastian (2013), Paris-Nice (2015) stage winner.
“Tony’s participation in the Vuelta was not planned at the start of the season, but since he was forced to abandon the Tour, that changed the plans a little. He is returning to this event eight years after his first participation. The sensations are there, and we hope that success will not be far behind. We certainly know that he is capable of taking a stage, but he could also look to do well in the general classification.”
Born November, 14. 1987. 30 years old.
Height/Weight: 190 cm/73 kg
Vuelta: 3rd participation
Main results: Tour du Haut Var (2015), 21st Tour de France (2014).
“Ben is an experienced rider. He has already proved his abilities at a Grand Tour. He is strong enough to perform as the third rider to keep our squad high in the overall team standings, and he is a valuable worker for the whole group.”
Born April, 16, 1988. 30 years old.
Height/Weight: 182 cm/84 kg
Vuelta : 6th participation
Main results: Vuelta a España stage winner (2013-2016), 11th Giro d’Italia (2018), Winner Tre Valli Varesine (2017).
“Unlike when he raced the Giro (taking 11th), Alexandre will not be at the start of the Vuelta to aim for the overall classification. He has already shown in the past (stage wins in 2013, 2016), that he knows what to do when he is in a position to take a stage victory. He has prepared well in the mountains, and is capable of doing great things.”
Born March 5, 1993. 25 years old.
Height/Weight: 176 cm/66 kg
Vuelta: 3rd participation
Main results: La Vuelta a España stage winner (2015), 4th Quatre Jours de Dunkerque (2018).
“Alexis is a warrior, strong enough to succeed solo as he proved in his during his first participation in the Vuelta in 2015. He is a key rider for the team and able to win.”
Born March 12, 1994. 24 years old.
Height/Weight: 177 cm/72 kg
Vuelta: 1st participation
Main results: 5th GC Tour de l’Ain (2018), 13th Ruta Del Sol (2018).
“In his second year as a professional, Nans has shown that he has progressed physically. He has not been very far from taking a victory either. He is ready to discover how to race a three week tour. He will be there to learn, to work for the team, but he will also have the freedom to seize an opportunity should it pop up.”
Clément Chevrier out of the Vuelta a España
After having suffered a crash that required a certain period of assessment, the doctors have concluded that Clément Chevrier will not be able to start the Vuelta a Espana this weekend. Julien Duval will be called up to take his place, provided the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) validates the change of riders.
Trek-Segafredo Announces 2018 Vuelta a España Line-Up
The 73rd edition of the Vuelta a España kicks off in Málaga, in the deep South of Spain, on August 25 and Trek-Segafredo has organized a strong eight-man squad that will vie for top results in the season’s third grand tour.
Bauke Mollema, former stage winner at the Vuelta (2013) will headline the eight-man team. He will be joined by Markel Irizar, Gianluca Brambilla, Fabio Felline, Giacomo Nizzolo, Matthias Brändle, Nicola Conci and Kiel Reijnen.
Sport director Yaroslav Popovych said this about the line-up for Vuelta: “We are coming to the Vuelta with big goals, but goals that we believe we have a very good chance of achieving. On the one hand we will try to hunt for stage victories, in the flat stages with Giacomo Nizzolo, who has showed in the recent Tour of Poland that he his in good shape. Then, we also have Gianluca Brambilla and Fabio Felline who will show their full support to Bauke but who can also go for stage wins from a breakaway. And we have Matthias Brändle who can do really well in the prologue and the TT.
On the other hand we have Bauke Mollema, who came with great legs from the Tour de France, finishing 2nd in ‘his’ race, the Clásica Ciclista San Sebastián and who is aiming for the overall. The whole team will be there to protect him and to bring him to Madrid in the perfect position and as highly ranked as possible. We strongly believe he can attain a top five if all goes well.
To make our line-up complete we have Markel Irizar as an excellent and experienced, strong rouleur for the flat stages, Kiel Reijnen and his fast legs to help Giacomo in the sprints and grand tour rookie, Nicola Conci, who is here to learn in the first place but who can also be of great help in the mountains.
I see a lot of opportunities for us in this Vuelta. We have a very strong team assembled and it will be a very exciting three weeks for all of us.”
The complete Trek-Segafredo line-up for the Vuelta a España 2018:
Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), Matthias Brändle (AUT), Nicola Conci (ITA), Fabio Felline (ITA), Markel Irizar (ESP), Bauke Mollema (NED), Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA), Kiel Reijnen (USA).
Bauke Mollema – Aiming for the overall:
Preview: La Vuelta a España
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will head to the final grand tour of the season, La Vuelta a España, with a strong team spearheaded by our South African climber, Louis Meintjes.
The 2018 La Vuelta a España gets underway on Saturday 25 August with an 8km prologue in Malaga, riders will then have to complete a total distance of 3254km over 21 stages before reaching the finish in Madrid, on 16 September.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will rally around South African, Louis Meintjes, as he targets a top general classification result at La Vuelta a España. The tough final week of La Vuelta will certainly suit Meintjes, as his tendency to get stronger as a 3-week tour progresses will be further buoyed by the fact that the queen stage, stage 20, takes place in his home European base of Andorra.
Igor Anton and Merhawi Kudus will be alongside Meintjes in the high mountains, but as the trio proved at the recent Vuelta a Burgos, they are all able to challenge for stage victories on the most difficult of days too.
South African sprinter, Ryan Gibbons will start his second grand tour of the season, and will have free rein on the sprint stages of this years La Vuelta. While the sprinters stage options are limited, Gibbons inclusion ensures our African Team will be in regular contention for top stage results throughout La Vuelta.
Steve Cummings, Ben King and Johann van Zyl will form the backbone of our strong climbing line-up. With 46 summits spread across the 21 stages, the trio will be tasked with laying down the foundation to our overall race ambitions.
Completing our line-up will be Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier. The young Eritrean has been mightily impressive in his first season as a neo pro and starts his debut grand tour, primarily to gain valuable experience, while supporting our protected riders.
Louis Meintjes (RSA), Igor Anton (ESP), Merhawi Kudus (ERI), Ryan Gibbons (RSA), Steve Cummings (GBR), Ben King (USA), Johann van Zyl (RSA), Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (ERI).
Louis Meintjes – Rider “I am looking forward to this year’s Vuelta a España with Team Dimension Data. It’s been a challenging year for the team and for me personally too, but we have worked hard to prepare well and build up nicely ahead of La Vuelta. At Vuelta a Burgos I think we definitely showed that we were on the right track as the entire team was riding really well. With the same team as in Burgos, now heading to La Vuelta, we have some positive momentum going into the race. Certainly, three weeks of racing is a different kind of beast but the goal for me is to be consistent throughout, take advantage when I am feeling good and try to achieve the best GC result possible.”
Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director “We have three very difficult weeks ahead of us but this is exactly what we have prepared for. We know La Vuelta always produces some of the most difficult grand tour stages, but that also makes it one of the most exciting races of the year. The team is really motivated to be part of the action and there is the feeling that we definitely have unfinished business with the 2018 season. Louis has been getting better and better, he is a world class rider and grand tours are what he specializes at. We will back him 100% at La Vuelta and we have a strong team to do so.”
In 1957 a large black silhouette of a bull appeared on the Spanish horizon, changing the countries landscape forever. Artist Manolo Prieto was commissioned a year earlier by the Osborne sherry company to create an icon for the Veterano brand. What he unwittingly designed was later going to become a part of Spanish modern heritage. In 1994 the EU passed a law prohibiting all outdoor advertising for alcohol. By then the large black bulls with “Veterano” emblazed on them were nationally renowned and a public appeal to the courts resulted in the hoardings being blacked out. The court’s ruling that the bulls had become part of the landscape and have “Aesthetic or cultural significance”, making them public domain.
Keep an eye out as the Vuelta route is sure to pass some of the 91 Bulls scattered across Spain on the way to Madrid.
Vuelta a España
Max Walscheid will replace Phil Bauhaus at the Vuelta a España, who is unable to start the race due to slow recovery from sickness. Walscheid will take over the role of sprinter from Bauhaus with the team to continue their sprint focus in Spain. More here.
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED): “It’s too bad for Phil, who was our designated sprinter for the Vuelta, but with Max we have a strong replacer with who we can continue our sprint focus into the Vuelta. It will be the first Grand Tour for Max, and a new experience for him in a challenging environment. The Vuelta will be good for his long-term development and we will give it our all.
“We’re very pleased to have Wilco at the start, which could be considered a small miracle after another difficult period recovering from a complicated injury. He has worked hard to come back, but we don’t know how stable his level will be throughout the three weeks of racing. We’ll have to take a day by day approach with the aim to keep him in the GC and see where he stands going into the third week. We’re also excited to have three more riders making their grand tour debut with Jai, Michael and Martijn. Heading to Spain will be great for their long-term development and we’re looking forward to seeing what they do with the opportunity.”
Vuelta a España (WT) Line-Up:
Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Jai Hindley (AUS), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Michael Storer (AUS), Mike Teunissen (NED), Martijn Tusveld (NED), Max Walscheid (GER).
Coach: Aike Visbeek.
Movistar Team Announces Vuelta a España Lineup
2016 winner Nairo Quintana and 2009 victor Alejandro Valverde are Telefónica-backed squad’s biggest names at Saturday’s Málaga start.
Eusebio Unzué has defined the eight-man squad that will fly the Movistar Team flag at the 73rd edition of the Vuelta a España (Saturday 25th August – Sunday 16th September). Two former winners of the race, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, headline a roster completed by Andrey Amador, Winner Anacona, Daniele Bennati, Richard Carapaz, Imanol Erviti and Nelson Oliveira.
The 2018 Vuelta a España will mark the 39th consecutive appearance -all-time record- for the Blues in the Spanish Grand Tour, a race where they’ve achieved four overall wins, 12 podium finishes and 58 stage victories (Statistics).
The Telefónica-backed squad, which will travel to Málaga on Wednesday, will have to tackle a demanding course (Race guide) that includes two ITTs -an opening, 8km stage + a 32km effort in Cantabria on week three (stage 16, Tuesday 11th)- and plenty of mountains in its second half. Three consecutive mountain-top finishes in Asturias and León -La Camperona, Les Praeres and Lagos de Covadonga, Friday 7th to Sunday 9th- will be decisive, together with the Andorra stages on the final weekend and the finish up the Balcón de Bizkaia (Wednesday 12th).
Mikel Landa to skip Vuelta a España
Basque climber from Movistar Team still in pain after crashes in TDF + Klasikoa; focus on full recovery before drawing late-season schedule.
Mikel Landa and the Movistar Team have agreed to postpone the Basque rider’s return into racing, the Murgia native’s participation in the 73rd Vuelta a España ultimately ruled out.
Landa is still struggling with pain after the fractures sustained at a crash in the Clásica San Sebastián. Combined with the blows suffered at a previous crash on stage nine of the Tour de France, the Spaniard’s current health situation has advised against his entry in the eight-man roster, which will also be announced on Monday.
“We’ve fought the hardest we could during the last 15 days, trying to make sure Mikel could reach a high degree of recovery, but it wasn’t possible,” explains the Movistar Team’s general manager Eusebio Unzué. “He’s gone through good and bad moments during these two weeks, but in the end, and at the time we had to make a choice, he just doesn’t have sufficient guarantees to go and take the start of the Vuelta.”
“Pain in the lumbar zone of his back after the fracture, added to the two broken ribs he suffered in San Sebastián, have combined to make it unfeasible to go to Málaga with the health and fitness he needed. We will now focus on making sure he recovers completely, and after that, we’ll evaluate if he feels fit enough to take the start of the Tour of Britain. It’s an eight-day competition, and it’s also a very intense race. If he’s able to race there, we think he might gain the form he needs so he can be eligible for the Spanish national team in the World Championships.”
“We want to enormously thank everybody at Deportivo Alavés, and most notably Dr. Javier Barrio, for offering their services and facilities to Mikel so he could carry out his rehabilitation and giving him all of their support, as well as Dr. Mikel Sánchez and the Advanced Physiotherapy Unit, for always following and supporting his progress closely.”
Peter Sagan Returns Down Under in 2019
The 2019 Santos Tour Down Under has had early confirmation that BORA-hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan, three time UCI World Road Champion will take to the start line.
BORA-hansgrohe’s Peter Sagan said his start to the 2018 season in Australia at the Santos Tour Down Under and the success achieved at the race, set up the ideal foundation for the rest of the season and the victories that have followed.
“Once again I am looking forward to being at the Santos Tour Down Under. This race holds a special place in my heart as it was my first race as neo pro in 2010,” said Peter Sagan.
“This year at the race saw me take honours on the People’s Choice Classic and the overall win on Stage 4 in some tough conditions. The changes to the 2019 course will be exciting and the finale at Willunga Hill will be a spectacle for sure.”
“This iconic Australian race is the perfect start to the UCI World Tour season. It has it all, a challenging course, warm weather and the passionate fans that cheer for us day in day out. We are always thankful for the fans.”
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Hon David Ridgway said Peter Sagan is the most popular and celebrated cyclist in the world right now and the first rider to be confirmed to compete at the 2019 event.
“We have seen the impact of Peter Sagan’s presence at the Santos Tour Down Under over the last two years with cycling fans coming out in droves to see their cycling hero,” said Minister Ridgway.
“This year’s TDU attracted a record 46,000 event specific visitors from interstate and overseas, generating $63.7 million into the visitor economy. We expect Peter Sagan’s return to South Australia in 2019 will see even more cycling fans cheering road side for this rock star of cycling.”
Santos Tour Down Under, Race Director, Mike Turtur said it doesn’t get any better than the UCI World Champion in their rainbow stripes crossing the finish line with their hands in the air taking a stage win.
“Peter Sagan is a gentleman of the sport and the most popular cyclist in the world. This year not only did we have the honour of having the rainbow jersey at the race, but we saw him in the rainbow stripes win twice – at the People’s Choice Classic and Uraidla on Stage 4,” said Mike Turtur.
“He has gone on to win Paris-Roubaix, and three stage wins and the overall green jersey at the Tour de France. He’s had a good year, so he knows that starting here in Australia is beneficial, as clearly he likes to hit the ground running.”
Peter Sagan is not the only rider who has gone on to do well so far this season after starting at the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under. Michael Valgren, Astana Pro Team won the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Amstel Gold and Marc Soler, Movistar Team won Paris-Nice overall.
The 2019 Santos Tour Down Under will be held from 10 – 20 January 2019.
For further event information visit tourdownunder.com.au @tourdownunder #TDU
Peter Sagan Down Under:
Deutschland Tour 2018: Thomas, Dumoulin and Bardet to Enlighten the Revived Deutschland Tour
Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, runner up Tom Dumoulin and Romain Bardet are the big names of the Deutschland Tour set to serve as the platform for the new generation of German cycling. Local heroes of today (Marcel Kittel, André Greipel, Pascal Ackermann), tomorrow (Maximilian Schachmann, Nils Politt, Lennard Kämna) and after tomorrow (the young guns of the continental teams) are on their toes for the race due to take place from August 23 to 26. From Koblenz to Stuttgart, the whole German cycling community is involved in the event.
Young German national champion Pascal Ackermann, 24, who already has six victories under his belt this year, will pin the bib number 1 on Thursday at the start in Koblenz the day after the team presentation in which the riders will travel by ski lift from the city’s castle to the Deutsches Eck at the confluence of the Rhein and Mosel rivers. The symbol of the German unity lays there. The sprinter of Bora-Hansgrohe – one of the two German WorldTour teams lining up, the other one being Team Sunweb – is also the symbol of the passing of the baton between two generations of fast men used to win a lot.
Ackermann described the Deutschland Tour as “a very nice and very interesting race”. Part of it is held on his usual training roads. “It’s fantastic for us to have a national Tour again”, echoed Marcel Kittel. “Finally the Deutschland Tour is back”, added André Greipel with the same enthusiasm ahead of the highly anticipated bunch sprint in Bonn. “The profiles of the stages are perfect”, said Maximilian Schachmann. “Stage 2 and stage 3 are like classics in the Ardennes.”
The Deutschland Tour is back on the international cycling calendar after a 10-year break. It’s the only stage race likely to host the world’s best riders on German soil. Some big stars have answered the call indeed. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) will resume racing in Koblenz after winning the Tour de France last month. So do runner up Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and one of his most worthy challenger Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale). Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), the King of the Mountains of the 2017 Tour de France Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic) add their names to list of the favorites.
“Bis bald Deutschland” (see you soon, Germany), Bardet concluded – in German – in a video message in which he said he’s looking forward to being back racing in the country where he started the 2017 Tour de France he completed in third place overall. He kept found memories of Düsseldorf and praised his team-mate Nico Denz. He’ll quickly realize that the Deutschland Tour isn’t just another race. “It’s a platform to prepare the future of German cycling and associate all the present and coming members of the German cycling community”, said Claude Rach, the General Manager of the German subsidiary of Amaury Sport Organization. “We also organize the Ride Tour for anyone to ride their bike in their city on closed roads, the kinder+Sport mini tour for kids from 5 to 12 years old, the Newcomer Tour for U17 girls (on Saturday), the Jedermann Tour, an amateur race for everyone (on Sunday).”
The participatory calling of the event, “Deutschland. Deine Tour”, is also featured in the drawing of the route. 1500 suggestions from the fans have contributed to determine the course, making it a subtle one. Their names will appear on the leader’s jersey. The Deutschland Tour will be broadcast on regional and national TV channels, including ZDF on Saturday and ARD on Sunday. Cycling lovers might already be familiar with Schachmann, Nils Politt and Lennard Kämna whose talent enthralls the world’s cycling scene. Throughout this race, they can get to know the likes of promising cyclists Joshua Huppertz or Alexander Krieger, but the Deutschland Tour is an opportunity for all ambitious riders to take their chance.
The 22 teams and the main entered riders:
Bora-Hansgrohe: Ackermann, Konrad
AG2R-La Mondiale: Bardet, Bakelants, Denz, Vuillermoz
Team Sunweb: Dumoulin, Kämna, Walscheid
Lotto-Soudal: Greipel, Hansen, Sieberg
Katusha-Alpecin: Kittel, Spilak, Zabel, Politt
Dimension Data: Eisel, J. Van Rensburg, Renshaw
Quick-Step Floors: Schachmann, Hodeg
BMC Racing Team: Caruso
Team Sky: Thomas, Knees
Bahrain-Merida: Mohoric, Haussler, A. Nibali
Wanty-Groupe Gobert: Martin
Israel Cycling Academy: Hermans
Roompot Nederlandse Loterij: Weening
Rally Cycling: Joyce
Leopard Pro Cycling: Krieger
Lotto-Kern Haus: Huppertz
Sauerland NRW p/b SKS Germany: Grosser
Heizomat Rad-net.de: Haller
Dauner D&DQ-Akkon: Mamos.
More information about Deutschland Tour on www.deutschland-tour.com
Deutschland Tour Route 2018:
Team LottoNL-Jumbo Return to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain with Primoz Roglic
Grand Tour stage winner Primoz Roglic will return to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain with Team LottoNL-Jumbo this September, just weeks after he finished fourth in the Tour de France.
The Dutch squad claimed the overall victory in last year’s race with Lars Boom, and their six-rider team for the 2018 edition of the UK’s most prestigious men’s stage race once again offers strength in depth.
Slovenian Roglic headlines their line-up; the 28-year-old has already won over 20 professional races in his short professional cycling career, including overall honors at the Tours of Romandie and the Basque Country in 2018.
He has won stages in the Tour de France in both 2017 and 2018, and narrowly missed out on a podium finish in this year’s race. Two of the three riders who finished above him – Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome – are also confirmed to ride the OVO Energy Tour of Britain.
“Primoz is one of the most exciting riders in the world right now – and probably the fastest descender in the peloton,” said Race Director Mick Bennett. “He’s an aggressive, attacking rider; he doesn’t respect status and hierarchy; and he’s always fascinating to watch.
“We saw in last year’s race that Team LottoNL-Jumbo had the strength-in-depth to deliver Lars Boom to a deserved overall victory, and a repeat performance – albeit with a different leader – could be on the cards once again.”
Also selected for Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s roster are Giro d’Italia stage winner Jos van Emden, who finished eighth in the European Championships time trial in Glasgow earlier this month, Critérium du Dauphiné stage winner Koen Bouwman and experienced domestique Maarten Wynants.
Pascal Eenkhoorn, who won a stage of the Colorado Classic stage race in Denver last week, and one-day specialist Gijs van Hoecke have also been named on the team’s provisional roster.
The 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain will feature the strongest ever line-up in race history, with reigning Tour de France and Giro d’Italia champions Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome competing for Team Sky. Lotto Soudal’s André Greipel – a five-time stage winner – will also return to the eight-day event.
Also confirmed are Team Katusha-Alpecin’s Marcel Kittel and Alex Dowsett – both of whom, like Greipel, are former stage winners and race leaders in the Tour. The race’s provisional start-list will be published on Friday 24 August.
For the second year running, each stage of the race will be shown live and in full on ITV4. Presenter Matt Barbet will be joined former pro rider Yanto Barker and Rebecca Charlton, with Marty MacDonald and Rob Hayles providing the commentary. Eurosport will also air daily live coverage.
The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep, taking place between Sunday 2 and Sunday 9 September 2018.
Harry Tanfield signs with KATUSHA ALPECIN
Team KATUSHA ALPECIN has reached an agreement with 23-year old Harry Tanfield and look forward to working with the young British cyclist over the next two years. Tanfield currently rides for UCI Continental team Canyon Eisberg and will step up to the WorldTour in the 2019 cycling season. Tanfield, who wore the Tour de Yorkshire 2018 leader’s jersey this season after winning the race’s opening stage into Doncaster, is still pinching himself.
Tanfield: “The WorldTour has always been the ultimate ambition. I have a foot in the door now and have two years to prove myself. I don’t pretend to think I have made it. The hard work starts now and the challenge is for me to show I can progress as a rider.”
Tanfield specializes in one-day races as well as the individual time trial, and recently took second place behind Geraint Thomas in the Great Britain National Championships (ITT). Earlier results from 2018 include that stage win in the Tour de Yorkshire as well as second place finishes in the one-day races of Midden-Brabant Poort Omloop and Ronde van Overijssel, both 1.2 rated races.
General Manager José Azevedo will officially welcome Tanfield on board his KATUSHA ALPECIN squad on January 1, when the Yorkshireman will line-up alongside fellow Brit Alex Dowsett.
We’ve been watching Harry with our partner Canyon for a while. He’s not only a talented time trial rider. We have seen on this year’sTour de Yorkshire that he has all the skills to win big races. While this is a big step for him now, we as a team will provide him with the best possible support to continue his positive development, said Azevedo.
Canyon Eisberg sports director Tim Elverson has spoken of his pride at Tanfield’s elevation to cycling’s top tier. He sees it as another feather in the cap of his British UCI Continental outfit, who are busy preparing for next month’s Tour of Britain.
Elverson: “I’m super happy. It is great Harry’s work has been recognised because he really does deserve it. It underlines Canyon’s commitment to our relationship and also shows we are operating at a level where we can deliver someone to the WorldTour.KATUSHA ALPECIN are getting a very strong, young rider. Hopefully they can help him progress to the next stage and that is to be a reliable WorldTour rider. I have no doubt that is what Harry will become. And from everyone at Canyon Eisberg, we wish him the very best of luck.”
“I wanted to honour the faith Canyon has put in me through Tim (Elverson) and Nick Allen (Canyon UK), so joining KATUSHA ALPECIN was always the dream. I had just set out on a training ride when José (Azevedo) rang me. I was over the moon. Now I just can’t wait to get started. I have to thank everyone at Canyon Eisberg but especially Tim. We’ve worked together for three years and it has been a great ride,” added Tanfield.
Nathan Van Hooydonck Re-signs with Continuum Sports with Eye on Classics Development
Nathan Van Hooydonck is the latest rider to extend his contract with Continuum Sports in a move that will see the Belgian rider continue his classics mentorship with Greg Van Avermaet in 2019.
General Manager Jim Ochowicz is excited to see Van Hooydonck continue his development as a rider, a pathway that began with BMC Development Team.
“Nathan Van Hooydonck’s progression with BMC Racing Team is a testament to the success of BMC Development Team so we are thrilled to extend Nathan’s contract. Since Nathan turned professional mid-way through the 2017 season, he has shown great potential in the classics and with our focus on these races, Nathan will be able to learn from the best in the business, including Greg Van Avermaet,” Ochowicz said.
“Nathan has also proven to be a valuable teammate in stage races and when given his own opportunity he is able to make the most of it, as we saw this year at the Dubai Tour when he was fourth overall. We look forward to seeing Nathan make his Grand Tour debut in the near future and continue his progression as a rider.”
Nathan Van Hooydonck acknowledged the opportunity to learn from Van Avermaet as motivation to re-sign with Continuum Sports. “At this point in my career I need to help my leader in the best possible way. As a classics rider, I do a lot of races with Greg Van Avermaet and I knew if I went to a different team then I would have to help someone else. Greg and I really get along and I feel very loyal to him so at this time, I couldn’t imagine riding for another leader. That was the main reason I decided to stay in the team,” Van Hooydonck said.
“I have always felt appreciated in the team and that is very important to me. I have a good relationship with my coach, Marco Pinotti, and the team is very professional and one at which I can best develop as a rider. I would like to end this season well and then in 2019, be there for my leaders to support them whenever they need me. If there is a chance to go for a nice result myself, I will take it on with both hands.”
In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.
Nathan Van Hooydonck:
Majka, Poljanski and McCarthy Renew with BORA – hansgrohe
Rafal Majka, who is still known as one of the best climbers in the peloton, is eager to end a series of bad luck and prove his talent together with the German squad the next two seasons. Also Pawel Poljanksi and Jay McCarthy renew their contracts until 2020. While Poljanksi is one of the key support riders of the team when it comes to climbing, McCarthy is a promising allrounder, who took already two WorldTour wins in 2018.
“I am very happy to stay with BORA – hansgrohe another two years. The last one and a half years have been far from perfect, but I am very well prepared for the Vuelta, and hope to back on the road to success in Spain. I cannot imagine a team which backs its riders more than Ralph Denk and his staff. As a rider it is very important to work in professional environment and good atmosphere, both is perfect at BORA – hansgrohe and the sprit in the team is great. I want to thank Ralph Denk and all the sponsors for their trust in me. We are truly a bunch of enthusiastic people here and I am happy to be part of them.” – Rafal Majka.
“BORA – hansgrohe is one of the best cycling teams in the world, and I am proud to stay with them at least until 2020. Besides the hard work everybody is putting in a very professional way, there is always room for jokes and we have a lot of fun together. I really enjoy my time here at BORA – hansgrohe and I am very happy to stay with them.” Pawel Poljanski.
“I am happy to be able to stay two more years with the BORA – hansgrohe family. I have close friends in this team and feel really comfortable riding here and get a lot of opportunities and chances. That last two years I have grown as a cyclist, while the team has established to become a great WorldTeam, therefore I am fortunate enough to stay with the team in the upcoming seasons – onwards and upwards!” Jay McCarthy.
Patrick Bevin Looks to Continue Development with Continuum Sports
After experiencing one of the most successful seasons of his career in his debut year with Continuum Sports, New Zealander Patrick Bevin has extended his contract beyond the 2018 season.
Patrick Bevin shows great potential and can continue to build on a strong start with the team, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.
“In the eight months since Patrick Bevin joined us at Continuum Sports, he has impressed with his time trialling, teamwork, and professionalism, so we knew we wanted to keep him in the team when we secured CCC as our title sponsor for the 2019 season. Patrick has clocked some impressive time trial results throughout the season, including second in the Pais Vasco and AMGEN Tour of California time trials, and it is only a matter of time before he stands on the top step of the podium. Patrick’s strength in the discipline has seen him play a crucial role in our team time trial success, most notably at the Tour de France which was a key reason for his selection,” Ochowicz said.
“Patrick’s dedication to the team has not gone unnoticed and it’s not unusual to see him doing huge efforts at the front of the race to pull a breakaway back, or put pressure on the peloton. At 27-years-old, Patrick is still young and I’m looking forward to seeing his progression in the coming seasons which will no doubt include some personal breakthrough results.”
The 2016 New Zealand national time trial champion emphasized the structure and performance focus of the team, currently operating as BMC Racing Team, as motivation to re-sign.
“I have enjoyed the performance environment of this team. This year, I have been part of a lot of great results and improved mine at the same time. Together this creates a great atmosphere to be included in and one I look forward to continue being a part of,” Bevin explained.
“Personally I want to continue to improve my time trials. I have markedly improved my time trial results this season over a range of terrains and distances and I want to continue this trend into even better results for the coming seasons.”
In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.
Rodrigo Contreras Comes to Astana Pro Team
Astana Pro Team has signed a one-year agreement with a young Colombian rider Rodrigo Contreras, who will join the team from January 1st 2019.
“This is a huge opportunity, which my life provides me. I step on a new way to reach new goals and dreams. First of all, I hope to be able to do my best to help Astana Team to reach new victories and triumphs. I am waiting from myself an improvement of my abilities day by day to become a strong athlete and real professional rider. For me it is a big honor to join this great Astana Pro Team,” said Rodrigo Contreras.
Rodrigo Contreras (24) is a young rider, who already showed some great abilities in the individual time trial races. Thus, recently he won a prologue and an ITT for 42 km at the Vuelta a Colombia. Also, during this season Contreras won an individual time trial at the Central American and Caribbean Sports Games and at the South American Games. On the national level Rodrigo won two races in the final general classification: Vuelta al Valle del Cauca and Vuelta al Tolima.
In 2017 he was twice second – at the Colombian National Championships and Pan American Games, both times in individual time trial.
“We know Rodrigo Contreras as a young rider with a big potential in time trial races. So far he showed some strong results on the continental level, and we expect he will develop his skills in the WorldTour as well, at least, in our team the rider will get all necessary conditions for his development step by step. I am optimistic on Contreras’ arrival in Astana Pro Team,” said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.
#PinkArgyle Bolsters Sprint Options with Moreno Hofland Signing
EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale is proud to welcome Moreno Hofland into the #PinkArgyle family in 2019. The 26-year-old has spent the duration of his career racing for Dutch and Belgian teams.
“I’m really looking forward to riding for an international team,” said Hofland. “I like to explore myself through learning, and there’s no better way to learn than through differences. I’m the only Dutch guy on my current team, which is mainly Belgian, and that can be isolating sometime. I think it’s really cool to have Danes, Italians, Spanish, Colombians, Australians, Dutch and, of course, Americans working together. This will be new for me, and I always like to try new things.”
The 26-year-old has won two stages of the Tour of Utah, a stage at the Tour of Yorkshire and three stages and the overall at Tour of Hainan. Amongst his 13 victories, he considers a stage win at Paris-Nice in 2014 his proudest achievement.
“I’ve raced the Giro d’Italia three times, and in my first try, I came second on a stage,” said Hofland. “I’m also proud of that. My biggest dream is to win a stage in a Grand Tour.”
Hofland is eager to embrace the opportunistic style of racing on offer with EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale. He anticipates playing a key domestique role during the Classics seasons and sitting on the back end of the #PinkArgyle sprint train in the scrappy, punchy sprints in which he’s historically excelled.
“I was expecting to do more racing for myself in my current team, but I ended up mostly helping out my teammates,” said Hofland. “I want to work for Sebastian [Langeveld] and Sep [Vanmarcke] in the Classics, but I also hope I can try for my own chances again. I have a talent for sprinting, and I wasn’t able to show it these last two years.”
“Moreno is a guy that showed great promise and won a lot of bike races early in his career and then moved into the role of being a lead-out rider for Greipel,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He lost a little bit of his killer instinct when he was taken out of that sprinter role. We’re going to put him back in that role and help him achieve results for himself.”
Cycling is a family sport for the Hoflands, who named their sons after cycling legends: Moreno and Fausto. Hofland’s younger brother – that’s Fausto – also raced in his teens.
“I started with swimming, but in the end, when I was 14, it became boring to me,” said Hofland. “It was always the same thing in the pool. My dad is a cyclist, and he was still racing his bike then. I saw this every day. He took me one time to train at the local club, and I immediately fell in love. The sprinting, the chasing, the winning. It was so much fun. My brother got involved, too, and it became a thing to do together as a family.
“I’m the same rider as my dad a little bit,” Hofland added. “It was nice to see what he achieved and see possibilities for myself. He was not a pro but a well-respected amateur in Holland. My main goal when I was a kid was to be better than him.”
Now Hofland strives to be better than himself. “I want to improve every day,” he said. “My ambitions for next season are to get back into sprinting again and to win races. My biggest goal for 2019 is to win a WorldTour race, and, of course, with the Classics team we have, I want to be there with Sep and Sebastian. I want to help them win a big one.”
Yves Lampaert continues with Quick-Step Floors
The reigning Belgian Champion added two more years to his contract with the World Tour team classification leader.
A key member of the Wolfpack since 2015, when he stepped up to the World Tour with Quick-Step Floors, Yves Lampaert has signed a two-year extension to his contract with the most successful squad of 2018, a decision the 27-year-old native of Izegem took lightly after his best season since turning pro.
Now in his fourth year with the team, Yves continued to work hard, develop and show that he’s one of the pillars of Quick-Step Floors, while at the same time seizing the opportunity every time he had the chance. Not only that his contribution could be seen and felt in a wide range of races, from Classics to Grand Tours, Yves also confirmed his prowess for one-day races, by becoming in March the only rider in history to win Dwars door Vlaanderen on consecutive years and later by taking a maiden victory at the Belgian Road Race Championships.
“I am very happy that the team and I made the decision to extend my contract, because I feel that I’m a big part of this family which we call the Wolfpack. I am really motivated to keep growing and improving, which is easy to do with this squad. They have put a lot of trust in me over the years and I have been able to ride my own chances, which I am grateful for. I love how we always shape the race, racing aggressively, trying to make things hard for others and going for the win. It’s great to be part of such an experience”, said Yves, who also laid out his expectations for next season.
“I will again focus on the Classics and hopefully I’ll get to step up and show some great things. I will also maintain a focus on Grand Tours. I did my first Tour de France this year, which was an amazing experience, and it just made me hungry for more!”
Quick-Step Floors CEO Patrick Lefevere showed his delight at having retained the services of Yves Lampaert, who he is confident can still improve: “He’s just 27 years of age, has built a nice palmarès, and maybe more importantly, proved he’s a real team player. I am sure Yves has many beautiful things to show us and knowing he will do this in our jersey over the next two years gives me a lot of joy.”
De Plus chooses to continue his career at Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Laurens De Plus will be racing for Team LottoNL-Jumbo for the next two seasons. According to the nearly 23-year-old Fleming, the formation of manager Richard Plugge offers him the best prospect for the future. “I think this is an ideal team for me”, he explains his choice to ride for the Dutch squad. “Team LottoNL-Jumbo has proven to work well with young riders and to be able to develop them further. Seeing how the team rode in the Tour motivated me. This is a unique opportunity for me to develop further and hopefully to be able to perform well later on in grand tours. The good atmosphere at Team LottoNL-Jumbo is also very important to me.”
According to sports director Merijn Zeeman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo, the ambition of De Plus fits in well with the development that the team is currently going through. “Thanks to Jumbo’s long-term commitment, we are able to look to the long term. We would like to have the greatest talents in our team and therefore we scout intensively in the age category 22 to 25 years. That is the new generation of leaders. We will gradually guide guys like Laurens in this process: from support for our current leaders to opportunities to take the lead themselves.”
Laurens De Plus:
Bak to the Future as Team Dimension Data Bolsters Squad for 2019
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is delighted to announce that Lars Bak has signed a one-year contract to join our team from 1 January, 2019.
Lars Bak, 38, brings a huge amount of experience to our team with a palmarès that includes: 12 professional victories, 19 Grand Tours and 32 appearances at the Classics. He will move across from Lotto-Soudal where he spent the last seven seasons.
“I’m hugely excited to be joining Dimension Data. I’ve been a professional now for 17 years, next year will be my 18th, and it’s always nice to have a new motivation. Of course when I talked to Rolf Aldag he told me about the concept (of the team), I know Rolf from when I rode for two years with HTC so I know that he does the absolute best for his riders. I really would like to perform the role that I’ve done in previous years as a helper, using my experience to help particularly the young guys in the team and everybody else too while of course giving of my best. I still feel motivated and I’m really looking forward to getting new glasses, new shoes, new bike, new kit so maybe I’m old; but I’m definitely still excited! He’s the second Dane to sign with us in as many weeks following the news that Michael Valgren links up with the team in 2019. I’m going to support Michael Valgren a lot, I hope that I can be a mentor, of sorts, to support him and everybody in the team. There is going to be new names in the team and with that comes motivation, fighting for your position and I’m really looking forward to that.”
While for Team Principal, Douglas Ryder, Bak joining is an important cog in the planning for a successful 2019 season. “Lars has a huge amount of experience and I’m thrilled that he’s agreed to join us. His results over the years speak for themselves and he will not only offer consistent quality performances but, crucially, important experience to the rest of the team as we look to taking the next step in our development as a team. He comes from hugely successful environments and we’ll be looking at him to bring those levels of success into our team and push us to greater heights. I’m really pleased with the way that our squad is shaping up for next year; we’ve signed some high-class talent to complement the excellent riders that we have to make the future look very exciting indeed.”
Łucasz Owsian Advances to the WorldTour with Continuum Sports in 2019
Łucasz Owsian is the second Polish rider to sign with Continuum Sports in a move that will see the 28-year-old make his debut with a WorldTour team in 2019.
After seven years with CCC Sprandri Polkowice at the Professional Continental level, Owsian will join Polish shoe and bag manufacturer CCC at the WorldTour level when they become title sponsor of Continuum Sports from 2019.
“We are very happy to welcome Łucasz Owsian to the team. Although this will be Łucasz’ first time riding for a WorldTour team, he has gained a lot of experience at races over the years, including two Giro d’Italia participations. He is known for racing aggressively and was rewarded for this with the mountains jersey at the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain, and narrowly missed out on the mountains jersey at the Tour de Pologne this year after what was a very active week in various breakaways,” Ochowicz said.
“Although Łucasz is not a pure climber, he certainly has the legs to climb well and can make the most of a breakaway opportunity which was evident when he narrowly missed the win on stage 5 of the Tour of Croatia this year. Łucasz will have the opportunity to continue his development with us and learn from some of the most experienced riders in the peloton, so we are looking forward to seeing his progression.”
Łucasz Owsian is relishing the opportunity to graduate to the WorldTour.
“I am very excited to join Continuum Sports because I have been racing at the Professional Continental level for a long time and it is a dream to join the WorldTour. Of course, CCC is a Polish sponsor and I am a Polish rider, so this makes it even more exciting,” Owsian said.
“I am looking forward to learning from riders like Greg Van Avermaet and helping the team as much as possible. I am ready to give 100 percent to do my job for the team. I am not the best climber but when I have good legs I can climb well, so I think I can support the team in a lot of races. I am not a bad time trialist so I know this is an area in which I can improve, especially because of the team’s strength in this discipline.”
In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.
Craddock’s ‘Fight for Paris’ concludes at Houston’s Alkek Velodrome on Friday
Lawson Craddock’s “Fight for Paris” finally comes home on Aug. 24. The Houston native will be at the Alkek Velodrome for a special night of Friday Night Racing that includes a raffle to benefit the Lawson Craddock Youth Cycling League and a ceremony to present the velodrome with the funds he raised while racing the Tour de France with EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale.
“It’s going to be an awesome night,” Craddock said. “I’m really proud to be partnered with great companies like EF, Cannondale and Drapac, and all our other incredible sponsors, who have pitched in and helped set-up what is going to be a really fun event. We’ll be able to watch some bike racing, drink some Karbach beer and grab dinner from food trucks. What more can you want from a Friday night?”
The night is a culmination of Craddock’s decision to search for outside motivation and an opportunity to give back after he was involved in a crash midway through the opening stage of the Tour. He was diagnosed with a scapula fracture and required stitches to a laceration over his left eye. He knew he’d need something special to get through the next 20 stages with his injury. He committed to donating $100 for every stage he finished to the Alkek Velodrome in Houston where his cycling career began. The Velodrome was damaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
When Craddock announced his intention on Twitter, others hopped on the wagon. To date, he has collected a still-growing total of over $265,000 via the GoFundMe.
“When I started the fundraiser, the idea was to help get the Velodrome back on track and back to its best possible shape,” said Craddock. “In my mind, that would help the cycling community grow. Houston is a busy city, and with that, there’s a lot of traffic. The Velodrome provides a safe and fun place to ride a bike.”
“When we first heard what Lawson was doing, our initial reaction was — ‘wow!’” said Alkek Velodrome race director Doug Evans. “Here’s a guy riding in the Tour de France. He’s just had a horrendous crash on the first day and what he does next is an incredibly selfless thing to help our organization. We were and still are blown away by Lawson’s generosity, support, and contribution. We’ll always be grateful for his kindness and selflessness. He did more in 21 days than we could do in 21 years.”
For Craddock, it was extra motivation to push through the toughest race of the season.
“I can honestly say I would not have made it through the Tour without the support everyone showed through their donations,” said Craddock, who ultimately arrived in Paris as the first American Lanterne Rouge, the final finisher of the 2018 Tour de France. “Every single day of the Tour, I woke up and looked at the GoFundMe. I started the stage, and oI looked at the GoFundMe. I ended the stage and looked at the GoFundMe. It was truly inspiring to see the donations roll in every day.
“I remember one of the most difficult stages of the Tour for me, I was dangling off the back during a mountain stage in the third week, and I started to wonder if this was it, if this was my last day. Then someone on the side of the road shouted: ‘Do it for Houston.’ and it flipped a switch in my brain,” recalled Craddock. “I wasn’t out there suffering for myself. This wasn’t about me. It was about doing something for others. The support on the road, on social media, through the GoFundMe, it was absolutely motivating.”
Craddock’s total is bolstered by donations from EF Education First and Cannondale. EF Education First is a partner for Friday night’s event. The world leaders in international education, EF Education First have also committed to donating $6,000 to the Alkek Velodrome.
“At EF Education First, the notion that ‘nothing is impossible’ is among our most important core values; and it’s an attitude that Lawson exhibited in spades during this year’s Tour de France,” said Shane Steffens, president of EF Pro Cycling. “In recognition of this amazing accomplishment, and on behalf of EF, Drapac, Cannondale and all the team’s partners, we are excited to match Lawson’s top GoFundMe donation and provide support to this wonderful gathering of the Houston-area cycling community. We think it is really fun to rally around this meaningful cause, and we are incredibly proud to have Lawson on the team.”
Cannondale auctioned off the SuperSix Evo Craddock rode during the 2018 Tour de France to raise funds for the velodrome as well. When the auction came to a close on Aug. 13 — a nod to Craddock’s bib number during the Tour — an $11,500 bid secured Craddock’s ride.
“This Tour de France showed the character of EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale, and Lawson embodied a strength that stirred even the most casual fan of cycling,” said Jonathan Geran, Cannondale’s global director of sports marketing. “Lawson’s story to ‘Fight for Paris’ transcended cycling, and we are proud to see how he transformed what could have been the end of his race into an opportunity to raise money for the Alkek Velodrome, where his cycling career began. Lawson has inspired a new generation of cyclists and fans while showing the world the true grit of professional riders. Cannondale is proud to support and contribute in a small way.”
With the donations from EF Education First and Cannondale, along with the GoFundMe contributions, Craddock will present Alkek Velodrome with a check for $280,000… and counting.
“The donations have given the track a new lease on life,” said Carl Jones, director of rider development at Alkek Velodrome. “We can make some improvements that will increase the quality of the riding experience. The funds will allow us to expand youth and adult development programs beyond the summer and into the entire year.
“Expanding rider development is the lifeline of the track,” Jones noted. “It secures the track’s future and ensures our vitality. Lawson’s donations also provide the opportunity to expand outside of the track with more community outreach programs.”
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