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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The 2019 Vuelta a España has hit the mountains and ‘Superman’ Miguel Angel Lopez moved back into the overall lead – Reports, results and video from Spain. Reason for Bjorg Lambrecht’s fatal crash – Top Story. In other cycling news: The strange case of Kevin De Weert’s suspension, teams preview the Deutschland Tour, Ben Swift returns to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, yet more transfer news and Remco Evenepoel shows off the European ITT Champion’s jersey. Thursday EUROTRASH coffee time.

TOP STORY: The Cause of Bjorg Lambrecht’s Crash
The unfortunate crash of Bjorg Lambrecht in the Tour of Poland was probably caused because the Belgian rider rode over a reflector that had been incorporated into the road surface. As a result, he lost control of his bike, the Public Prosecutor of Rybnik concluded.

Lambrecht died on 5 August due to a fall in the Tour of Poland. On the third stage to Zabrze, the Lotto Soudal rider crashed heavily, ending up in a deep ditch and landing on a concrete pipe. Lambrecht sustained a large tear to his liver, which cost him his life. In the days that followed, it was announced that an investigation would be started into the cause of the fall.

This week the investigator announced that it was an unfortunate accident, in which Lambrecht had not touched another bike and he was not pushed. “Two UAE Emirates riders close behind him saw him riding over a reflector that was set in the road surface. As a result, he lost control of his bike, with his front wheel suddenly turning to the right and then to the left,” prosecutor Malwina Szendzielorz-Pawela explained to Polish media.

Given the findings from the discussions with the UAE Emirates riders, it is expected that the case will be closed and is considered an unfortunate accident where no one was to blame. Before the investigation is completed, the investigator first wants to interview the competition doctor and organiser Czeslaw Lang. It is not yet known when these interviews will take place.

Bjorg Lambrecht – RIP:

Vuelta a España 2019
On the day after Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) claimed La Roja in Calpe, his countryman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) powered to victory in Alicante on Stage 3. The Irish National champion dominated the sprint ahead of Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) and Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) after some intense racing on Monday. This is the first time in the race history an Irish rider wins the stage while another one leads the general classification. Roche retains his 2 seconds lead ahead of Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

A 175-man pack starts from Ibi after Mickaël Delage (Groupama-FDJ) pulls out of La Vuelta 19 due to a throat infection. Three riders immediately go on the move. The Polka-dot jersey Angel Madrazo, back at the front on the day after his breakaway to Calpe, went with his teammate Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) and their former Caja Rural-Seguros RGA partner Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias) joined them. The three Spaniards work well together to build a gap of 6:14 after 39km.

Deceuninck-Quick Step is the first team to help Team Sunweb control the pace at the front of the bunch. They are joined by UAE Team Emirates and then Bora-Hansgrohe. The attackers’ lead is down to 3:30 after 80km of racing. Angel Madrazo takes the 3 KOM points atop the Puerto de Biar (km 116). The peloton trails by 3:17.

Jumbo-Visma accelerate, Gaviria fades
The pack accelerates again in the valley leading to the Puerto de Tibi, where Jumbo-Visma turn the heat up. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) attacks, many riders try to counter, but Angel Madrazo manages to stay ahead to take 3 more KOM points at the summit. Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) can’t keep up with this pace.

The peloton catches the last attackers with 39km to go. The tension keeps rising, with Jumbo-Visma setting a hard pace on wind exposed roads. Things remained under control and the wide straight roads in Alicante offered the perfect ground for Sam Bennett to take his 12th victory of the year, the first on a Grand Tour.

See the full ‘PEZ Stage 3 Report’ HERE.

Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I always feel the pressure of expectation and always want that win on a sprint stage. The boys were really amazing today, they made the win possible and I’m really grateful. The lead out was messy with Shane being pushed off my wheel by Trek and Jempy also having to fight hard but both those guys did a super job! Really happy to take my 4th Grand Tour stage victory and hopefully my first of many at the Vuelta. Red Jersey and a stage win: Huge day for Irish cycling and one we can all cherish.”

Overall leader, Nicolas Roche (Sunweb): “Today has been more stressful than we thought. The team did a great job on keeping ourselves at the front. The unexpected came with 50km to go, with teams trying to put us under pressure. It was a fast finish, so it was important to be on your toes for the final kilometres. It’s quite special (to have another Irish win the stage with Sam Bennett). Last night, Sam sent me a text and I said: “Man, you need to win tomorrow.” We spoke about it today, that in social media there was some buzz about him winning while I was in Red. I’m really happy for him. He was under a lot of pressure to get a stage win and he’s done it. And I’m happy for myself to be able to keep the jersey. We have a similar scenario tomorrow and I have two favourites: Sam and Max (Walscheid). Im taking things day by day and I’m here to support Wilco Kelderman for GC as he is in a great condition.”

2nd overall, Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team): “This is La Vuelta and people come here to see their favourite riders triumph. And today, the Colombians got to see Colombian riders on the podium, like they hoped for. It’s been a very nervous finale. They wanted a bunch sprint and we stayed up front in order to avoid splits and crashes. I hope I’ll have the strength to win La Vuelta.”

5th on the stage, Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Merida): “I already took lots of 5th places and I was looking for more, but I still feel like I’m missing some percent of my top shape. I was dropped a bit on the last climb and I had to come back, so my position was not good enough for a better result.”

KOM, Ángel Madrazo (Burgos-BH): “I’m very happy to take the King of the Mountains jersey. This was my first goal at La Vuelta 19. I would have enjoyed to fight for the stage victory as well, but it just couldn’t be. Contending for the blue polka-dot jersey? I will take that day by day. We’ll see where I can collect points for that matter in the next few days, but my main goal is to get a stage win for Burgos BH. I hope to deliver that on the Northern stages, once we reach the big mountains.”

Vuelta a España Stage 3 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:25:02
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bahrain-Merida
6. Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
7. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
8. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
9. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC
10. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 3:
1. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb in 9:51:14
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:02
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 0:08
4. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:22
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:33
6. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:35
7. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First at 0:37
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:38
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:46
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Vuelta’19 stage 3:

Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) doesn’t waste any time. The Netherlands national champion claimed on Tuesday his first Grand Tour stage win in El Puig, four days before turning 23 years old. The Irish champ Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) came close but a few millimetres prevented him from taking a second victory in two days. Nicolas Roche (Sunweb) made it safely to the finish to retain La Roja while Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) abandoned on the eve of the first mountain stage of La Vuelta 19.

The 175 riders who finished stage 3 also start Stage 4 in Cullera. Two of them attack from the gun: Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal), who won a stage through a breakaway at La Vuelta 18, and Jorge Cubero (Burgos-BH), one of the most aggressive riders from last year’s edition. They open a gap as high as 7 minutes after 30km and Sam Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe move to the front of the bunch to control the break.

Kruijswijk abandons, Uran crashes
The first shock of the day happens halfway through the stage with the abandon of Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma). The Dutch rider was one of the main favourites for the overall victory but his team reports he suffers from a sore knee and couldn’t keep going.

Fabio Jakobsen’s Deceuninck-Quick Step join the chase as the race enters the last 100km. The gap steadily decreases: 3:50 with 82km to go, 2:05 with 63km to go and 1:15 when Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) crashes with 57km to go. The Colombian rider quickly gets back on his bike and returns to the bunch with his teammates’ help. He requires assistance from the medical car to receive treatments on his left arm.

The Wolfpack surges
Jelle Wallays sets a strong pace in the only climb of the day, the Puerto del Oronet, and the gap is back up to 1:55 at the summit (km 129.5). Jorge Cubero sustains a mechanical with 31km to go and Wallays remains alone at the front with a lead of 1:20. The Belgian rider is eventually caught 18km away from the finish.

Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) jumps ahead of the bunch with 5.5km to go. The pack catches him 1.2km away from the line and Fabio Jakobsen’s train take over to lead the young Dutch sprinting star to a maiden victory in his first Grand Tour.

The ‘PEZ Vuelta Stage 4 Race Report’ HERE.

Stage winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was a really tight finish and I just threw my bike to the line and closed my eyes. I found out that I had won only when I saw the guys from the team cheering. I am very happy, I really can’t put it into words. I came here to discover and learn, but I was confident I could pull it off and now I’m just savouring this victory. On Monday we hesitated a bit and at the end we were disappointed, but today we took the initiative and dominated the finale. Tim controlled the breakaway, Rémi showed again how strong he is, then Styby and Max provided a superb lead-out and proved again why they are some of the best in the business. I want to thank the entire Wolfpack, because without them this great victory wouldn’t have been possible.”

Overall leader, Nicolas Roche (Sunweb): “Last time I kept La Roja for only one day so I’m happy to do more this time. In the first part of the race, I actually was able to enjoy wearing it. It was more relax than yesterday and I was able to chat with some friends in the bunch. Then obviously coming into the last kilometres it was more stressful and I had to make sure we were out of trouble. Tomorrow will be a completely different scenario. I expect fireworks from the Colombian riders. I know it is going to be very difficult to keep the red jersey, it might be very ambitious to aim at doing so, but I am going to do my best and fight until the last meter. The team is feeling on a high spirit and I believe it will remain like that in the next days whether I keep the jersey or not.”

2nd on the stage and points leader, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Disappointed to take second place but genuinely delighted for Fabio on his first Grand Tour stage win. Unfortunately, everything that could go wrong went wrong in the final. I lost maybe 5 positions when I went the long way around the roundabout and had to really fight to get back up to the leading positions. Our riders had already made a huge effort working to pull the race back so my thanks to them for that, it simply meant I was fighting for myself to get on the right wheel and I simply ran out of metres. The legs were great so we’ll fight again!”

3rd on the stage, Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates): “It wasn’t a normal sprint for me as I didn’t feel at my best so wasn’t able to kick as usual. I didn’t have the legs that I normally have but I hope I can improve as the race goes on. I’ll keep trying.”

KOM, Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH): “We’ve been pushing hard and bringing battle since the start of La Vuelta 19. Today it was up to my mate Jorge Cubero to go in the breakaway and I was able to take a point for the Polka-dot jersey myself. Tomorrow and the day after are very hard stages with lots of points to chase. We’ll have to see where I can break away to increase my tally. The legs feel very good. And the most important is to keep going mentally.”

14th overall, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates): “There was a lot of wind in the final, but not enough to break the group. We raced well all day, occupying the leading positions.”

Vuelta a España Stage 4 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 4:04:16
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Fernando Gaviria (Col) UAE Team Emirates
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Marc Sarreau (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
6. Szymon Sajnok (Pol) CCC
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
8. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Juan Sebastian Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates
10. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 4:
1. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb in 13:55:30
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:02
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 0:08
4. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:22
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:33
6. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:35
7. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Education First at 0:37
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 0:38
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:46
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Vuelta’19 stage 4:

Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH) claimed a spectacular stage win at the Javalambre Astrophysical Observatory after his third long-range attack already in La Vuelta 19. His breakaway companions dropped him three times in the gruelling final climb but the Spaniard came back inside the last kilometre to claim his biggest career win. The overall contenders also lit some fireworks with Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) dropping everyone to get back the leader’s red jersey he already wore after stage 1.

The 174 riders who finished stage 4 also start Stage 5 from L’Eliana. The climbing challenges of the day get riders excited and it takes 11km of battle for two riders from Burgos-BH to get away: Angel Madrazo, featuring in a third breakaway at La Vuelta 19 to defend his polka-dot jersey, and the Dutchman Jetse Bol. José Herrada (Cofidis) joins them at km 16 and the peloton trails by 2 minutes.

The peloton lets go
Angel Madrazo summits the first climb of the day, the Puerto de Alcublas (km 31.7), to take 5 KOM points and make sure he’ll keep the polka dots if he makes it safely to the finish. Nicolas Roche’s Team Sunweb drive the bunch at an easy pace and the gap hits 10:25 after 70km.

Madrazo takes 3 more KOM points atop the Alto Fuente de Rubielos (km 98.6) and the gap increases again: up to 11 minutes when UAE Team Emirates start pulling, with 65km to go. They don’t fully commit to the chase and the gap is still up to 10:20 with 25km to go.

Valverde opens the race
Team Ineos accelerate in the last 20km to bring the attackers’ lead down to 6:58 at the bottom of the final climb, with 11.1km to go (average gradient: 7.8%). José Herada (Cofidis) sets the pace and Angel Madrazo struggles to keep up. He appears to be definitely dropped with 4.8km to go… but he gets back to his companions inside the last kilometre and produces a phenomenal effort to drop them and take the win!

In a reduced bunch, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) goes on the move with 4km to go and Nicolas Roche can’t follow. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is still chasing when Miguel Angel Lopez counter-attacks. The Colombian finishes 47 seconds behind Madrazo and 12 seconds ahead of Alejandro Valverde and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma). Lopez recovers La Roja as Roche drops 2:17 on the line.

See the ‘PEZ Stage 5 Report’ HERE.

Stage winner and KOM, Angel Madrazo (Burgos-BH): “To win here is one of the biggest achievements as a cyclist and for me it’s become a dream come true. With 50km, Herrada pushed in a climb and I was dropped. I was able to come back thanks to my mate Jetse Bol. The team was telling me to save energy for tomorrow, for the mountain points… And I told them: ‘No, no, we need to go for it, we can’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today.’ When I came back in the last kilometre, I saw José (Herrada) was faltering and I accelerated for Jetse… And in the end I was the winner! The polka-dot jersey has helped me. I was going for the KOM points. And when we saw the gaps, I told the team we had to keep pushing. Grand Tours need teams like us who are ready to kill themselves on flat and mountain days to appear on TV.”

Overall leader and 4th on the stage, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana): “The last climb was super tough, but my teammates once again did a fantastic job for me, working hard during the day and almost the whole last climb, placing me really well, when a few teams started to increase the pace. In a moment I just decided to try and to see if I can do something on this climb. I had good legs today and when I saw nobody really follows me, I continued pushing hard until the finish. The last part before the finish was hard, but I managed to get some seconds on my rivals. It was just the first mountain stage and more climbing stages are still to come, but at the moment I am happy with my performance and with the red jersey that I’ve got back. Also, I am happy to bring this jersey back for my team, which was really perfect today.”

7th on the stage, 9th overall and Best Young Rider, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates): “I felt really good at the start of the climb. When Lopez attacked I just set my own pace and tried to follow Valverde. I’m happy with today and looking forward to the next days. It’s still only the first mountain stage so anything can happen.”

11th on the stage and 8th overall, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “It was the first hard mountain stage and while the breakaway might have been small, it was strong and it made it to the finish. I want to give a huge compliment and thanks to Paweł, who worked almost the whole time for us and was so strong, as well as Felix. They both brought us into position for the last climb which saw me move up into eighth in the GC but it is still a long way until Madrid.”

25th on the stage and 17th overall, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates): “Today I didn’t feel as good compared to Sunday. In the final part of the stage I was lacking energy and my leg and knee ached.”

Vuelta a España Stage 5 Result:
1. Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Burgos-BH in 4:58:31
2. Jetse Bol (Ned) Burgos-BH at 0:10
3. Jose Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:22
4. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:47
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:59
6. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma
7. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 1:29
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:41
9. Sepp Kuss (USA) Jumbo-Visma
10. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:46

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 5:
1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana in 18:55:21
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 0:14
3. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:23
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:28
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sunweb at 0:57
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 0:59
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:17
8. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:18
9. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 1:49
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 1:50.

Vuelta’19 stage 5:

Press Release – Lotto Soudal
Following an incident at the eve of La Vuelta and after an earlier warning, the management of the Lotto Soudal cycling team has decided to temporarily suspend its ‘Performance Manager’, Kevin De Weert, with immediate effect, for the remainder of the duration of the race.

The team management will not make any further comments until a conversation between General Manager John Lelangue and Kevin De Weert takes place, after his return in Belgium.

A later up-date:
Kevin De Weert responded for the first time after his suspension. The former rider put his hand on his heart: “It was stupid of me,” quotes Sporza. “This is mainly the result of months of frustration because I did not feel welcome within the team.” According to De Weert, there is a chance that he will leave Lotto Soudal.

“In such a working environment it makes no sense to continue. In recent years I have proven that I do a good job as a team manager and therefore I have confidence in myself. I don’t want to fight this conflict/incident in the press,” concludes De Weert, who has an appointment with the team leadership next Wednesday.

Kevin De Weert when he was Belgian coach:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Deutschland Tour
Julian Alaphilippe returns to action for the first time since San Sebastian, won by Remco Evenepoel, who’ll also be on team.

This week, Julian Alaphilippe resumes his stellar season, which so far has brought him twelve victories and a top 5 overall and two stages at the Tour de France, which he animated until the very end. The leader of the UCI World Individual Classification is set to race for the first time since 2015 in Germany, where he’ll be joined by a solid squad ready to take on the hilly parcours of the Deutschland Tour, which promises again four action-packed days.

Winner of five races in what has been a dazzling neo-pro campaign, European ITT Champion Remco Evenepoel will be at the start, just a few days after the 19-year-old Belgian signed a new contract that will keep him with the Wolfpack until the end of 2023. The six-man team for the 34th edition of the race will also include Danish Champion and Ronde van Vlaanderen runner-up Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, Enric Mas and Pieter Serry.

“We start with a strong squad. Some of the guys, like Julian and Enric, will ease back into racing after a very hard Tour de France, but they have the same motivation and desire, just like the rest of the team. If you look over the parcours, you can see it’s a tough one, which should lead to some spectacular racing, so we look forward to the stages ahead, hoping they will bring more nice results for us, just like last year”, said sports director Davide Bramati, who’ll lead the team from the car together with Geert Van Bondt.

29.08–01.09 Deutschland Tour (GER) 2.HC

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Kasper Asgreen (DEN), Remco Evenepoel (BEL), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Enric Mas (ESP), Pieter Serry (BEL).
Sports Director:Davide Bramati (ITA) and Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Remco Evenepoel:

Deutschland Tour
Marc Reef – Team Sunweb coach: “We’re looking forward to riding on home soil at the Deutschland Tour this week. We should have one full bunch sprint day and the other three stages all have harder finales where we could see a reduced sprint finish or a late attack succeed. The team will work to set up and position Cees on the days that end in sprints. We will look to also race aggressively with Jai, Marc, Chris and Lennard, who all have shown good shape recently and who can go for solid results at this race both in stages and the overall.”

Cees Bol (NED), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Jai Hindley (AUS), Marc Hirschi (SWI), Lennard Kämna (GER), Max Kanter (GER).

Cees Bol:

A Brave Team for the Deutschland Tour
The Deutschland Tour 2019 set off on 29 August to finish on 1 September. Four stages, for more than 700 kilometres, with the start in Hannover and the finale stage in Erfurt. Last year Matej Mohoric was the overall winner and again this year the success should go probably to a strong sprinter or a Classic rider.

Sonny Colbrelli is well motivated, fresh from his 9th place at the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg last Sunday. “I did two weeks training in the mountains around Livigno – the Italian rider explained – and on Sunday I already made a Top Ten. I like the Deutschland Tour and the uphill finish of the last stage could be a springboard for the overall.”

Vincenzo Nibali and Damiano Caruso return to the races after the Tour de France. “Last year” – says Damiano Caruso“I finished in 5th position and this year I hope I can have a good race. I haven’t competed since the end of the Tour and I’m curious to see what my condition will be.”

For SD Franco Pellizotti: “As for last year’s edition, this will also be a hard-fought race that will probably be decided for a few seconds. Sonny will aim not only to win a stage but also to the overall. Vincenzo is back and will be free to do his own race depending on his feelings.”

TBM’s line-up for Deutschland Tour:
Vincenzo Nibali, Antonio Nibali, Sonny Colbrelli, Andrea Garosio, Damiano Caruso and Marcel Sieberg.

Line-Up: Deutschland Tour
Our six-man selection for the four-stage Deutschland Tour packs a wealth of experience for the race which gets underway with a 167km stage from Hannover to Halberstadt.

This includes important roles for Jay Thomson and Mark Renshaw, who will be working to position both Mark Cavendish and Reinardt Janse van Resnburg for the respective sprint opportunities on offer.

The latter finished in the top-10 in all four stages of the 2018 edition of the race, as he ended up 7th on GC and third in the points classification. He was also 12th at the recently completed Cyclassics Hamburg event. While Cavendish raced at the Tour de Pologne where he took a 6th place on stage three after which he played a crucial support role at the European Road Race Championships for his Great Britain team.

They will be ably supported by Enrico Gasparotto and Tom-Jelte Slagter, both of whom will likely be looking at what opportunity the final stage may offer, being one which could well decide the overall race winner.

Both most recently competed strongly at the Arctic Race of Norway with Gasparotto securing 9th on the GC after two top-10 stage finishes, while for Slagter a 7th place on stage three’s Storheia summit finish was an excellent result, not only on the day but for the overall ambitions of the team.

“I’m looking forward to racing the Tour of Germany again this year. Last year’s race was very tough with some exciting final stretches into the respective finishes. It’s great to have the event back yearly after its long period away from the calendar. It will be my final race in Germany and I would like to perform well after some illness last week. I hope to find the form again and enjoy the nice roads and the hard racing.”

“We will have a good team for the race and will be looking to help Reinhardt. Last year he was very strong and played a part in the stages and the GC. He showed good legs in Hamburg Classics and proved he has bounced back from the Tour strongly.”Mark Renshaw.

Roger Kluge Previews the Deutschland Tour
After Sunday’s EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg, Lotto Soudal will stay in Germany a little longer to take part in the Deutschland Tour, which kicks off this Thursday. Just like last year, the organisation of this Europe Tour race designed an attractive course that offers opportunities for sprinters, punchers as well as attackers. Roger Kluge will ride through his home country during the Deutschland Tour and previews the four-day stage race.

Roger Kluge: “I felt good in the Cyclassics Hamburg last Sunday but unfortunately, I broke a spoke in my front wheel, so I was forced to change bikes. I still tried to come back but at only 30 kilometres to go, with the narrow roads and the high pace at the front, I knew it would be almost impossible. I recovered from the Tour really well, I had a solid training block and I look forward to start racing at the Deutschland Tour. I am super motivated and happy to race in my home country. Usually, the roads are really nice and the Deutschland Tour is well-organised. They really want to bring back the race to where it was in the past, towards an eight or nine-day stage race.”

“I had a peek at the course and the first stage should be a first sprint opportunity. The finale of both stage two and three is hilly, but it could be something that also suits Caleb Ewan. We definitely have one sprint opportunity with Caleb, maybe even two or three, depending on how the race unfolds. On Sunday, there’s a short uphill finish, so that will most likely be a day for the general classification riders.”

“With fifteen WorldTour teams at the start, it will be high-level racing. The fact that there are only teams of six riders will make it a little more difficult to control the race for a possible sprint. I haven’t checked the start list yet but there should definitely be two or three other teams who want to have a sprint as well. It could be an open race from stage two onwards, but that will mostly depend on the size of the breakaway. As the teams are smaller, an early attack that goes till the finish is a realistic scenario. It will for sure make for some exciting racing!”

“My role will be pretty much the same like I did during my last 70 days of racing and that is to protect Caleb. Jens Keukeleire is definitely the right man to take my place if the terrain gets a little too hard for me. Jasper De Buyst won’t be at the start, so definitely in the first stage, I will most likely be the final guy to bring Caleb as far as possible. But like during the Tour, we won’t do a lead-out. I will assist Caleb the best I can and we’ll try to win a stage.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Caleb Ewan, Frederik Frison, Jens Keukeleire, Roger Kluge, Nikolas Maes and Jelle Vanendert.
Sports director: Herman Frison.

Caleb Ewan:

Reigning British Road Race Champion Ben Swift Returns to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain
Yorkshire’s Ben Swift will line up for Team INEOS at next month’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain, 10 years after claiming his first ever professional victory in the race.

Swift’s participation in the UK’s leading cycle race comes just weeks after he won the HSBC UK | National Road Championships in Norwich.

In his first season as a professional, Swift memorably won the penultimate stage of the 2009 Tour in Yeovil a decade ago aged just 21.

The 2007 SKODA King of the Mountains winner and a nine-time finisher in the race, he also recorded five top-10 finishes during the 2014 edition and placed eighth overall two years later riding for Team INEOS’ predecessors Team Sky.

Team INEOS’ full six-man roster for this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be announced next week.

“I love the Tour of Britain and can’t wait to race on home roads in the national bands,” said Swift. “That’s something I’ve dreamt of doing since I started my career.”

“It’s going to be a special week and we’ll hope to do something special on the road too. I know we’re taking a strong team to the start in Glasgow and we look forward to seeing great support out on the roads.”

OVO Energy Tour of Britain race director Mick Bennett said: “We’re honoured that the reigning British road race champion will be competing in this year’s race. I’ve enjoyed watching Ben’s career since he made his Tour of Britain debut in 2006 and have a feeling he’ll be in the mix for success this September.”

The 2019 OVO Energy Tour of Britain, which begins from George Square in Glasgow on Saturday 7 September and concludes for the first time in Greater Manchester on Saturday 14 September.

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 and helping to build a great cycling nation.

ITV4 will once again screen live free-to-air coverage flag-to-flag of each stage in the UK, along with a nightly highlights programme of the best of the action.

Ben Swift:

Gazprom — RusVelo: International Team Roster for 2020
Gazprom — RusVelo announces two new riders for the season 2020. Russian Vyacheslav Kuznetsov and Italian Marco Canola will reinforce the team.

Vyacheslav Kuznetsov is one of the most experienced Russian riders in the peloton, he has been competing in the UCI WorldTour for eight years.

“I am very excited about joining Gazprom — RusVelo in 2020. I would like to personally thank Renat Khamidulin for his faith and trust in me. We have a shared vision about my role in the team and I am glad to join the squad consisting of a number of my friends and acquaintances. I am sure it will work out successfully”Vyacheslav Kuznetsov.

Vyacheslav Kuznetsov:

The Italian rider Marco Canola with his nine professional victories and many podium places at the prestigious races will also reinforce the Russian squad.

“Gazprom — RusVelo is a new challenge for me and I am sure it will be a great journey. I am really happy and excited to become a part of this team. I have already seen the service course and how everything is organised in the squad and that really impressed me. Renat Khamidulin and Michele Devoti demonstrated their interest and trust in me. I look forward to the upcoming season”Marco Canola said.

General Manager of Gazprom — RusVelo Renat Khamidulin about the new step in team’s history: “The ideology of the team has not changed. Development of the young Russian riders is our priority and main task. The team was, is and will remain Russian.

Modern sport is constantly changing, and we adapt to these changes. The most talented Russian athletes should be able to integrate more quickly and easily into European cycling. We are convinced that not only physical characteristics are significant for a professional athlete. Intelligence and the ability to build relationships and work in an international environment are vital for the development. I think that attracting foreign athletes to our team is a new stage in the history of Gazprom — RusVelo. That is a well-planned step aimed at the long-term development of the team. I would like to thank our title sponsor Gazprom for the constant support and the opportunity to constantly improve.”

Marco Canola:

Magnus Cort Nielsen Joins EF Education First Pro Cycling
EF Education First Pro Cycling is proud to announce Magnus Cort Nielsen as its latest signing. The Dane will join the team in 2020.

“I’ve heard great things about the team, especially from Matti Breschel,” said Cort Nielsen. “The most important thing for me in selecting a team is its people, and it’s clear that this is a group where I’ll fit in well. As a bonus, the team is located in Girona, where I spend a lot of time training, and speaks English as its main language, which is important to me.”

The 26-year-old ticked several boxes for EF Education First Pro Cycling as well. A proven winner in the WorldTour, Cort Nielsen comes to the team with a Tour de France stage win (2018) and two Vuelta a España stage wins (2016). His most recent victory was at Paris-Nice last March. He’s handy on the flat roads in Netherlands, comfortable in the mountains, and able to play an important role in the team time trial.

“Magnus brings a versatility and winning mindset to the team,” said EF Education First Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He’s a talented rider in various terrains. He was climbing in the front during the last week of the Tour de France, can win from small groups or breaks with his speed, and is a very clever rider in tactically complex situations.”

“I’m happy in many different roles,” said Cort Nielsen. “I’m able to work for a general classification leader, help in the lead-out train or carry a leadership role myself. I hope to have my chances to win some races next year.”

Cort Nielsen hails from Bornholm, a small Danish island in the Baltic Sea. He moved away from home, relocating to mainland Denmark, to join a sports school when he was 16.

“I followed my dream to be a cyclist at an early age,” said Cort Nielsen. “I learned to stand on my own legs early on.”

He lives 2000-kilometres away from Bornholm now, spending the cycling season in Girona and Andorra, but returns home frequently to visit family and friends. He loves science and technology, uses time away from the bike to backpack, and explores the world at every opportunity.

“For me explore the world doesn’t mean traveling halfway around the world,” Cort Nielsen explained. “Adventure lies around every corner. I explore the world by getting out into the it and opening my eyes to experience all that I see rather than go through each day in autopilot.”

Magnus Cort Nielsen:

Anton Kuzmin will join Gazprom — RusVelo in 2020
The Russian cycling team Gazprom — RusVelo signed the 22-year-old rider Anton Kuzmin from Kazakhstan and extended the current agreement with Ivan Rovny.

Anton Kuzmin comes from the continental team Astana City. This season Anton won the bronze medal in the road race at the national championship of Kazakhstan.

“I am very happy to sign my first pro contract with Gazprom — RusVelo. That is a significant step for me, a new level of cycling with a plenty of great races. I am already acquainted with many riders in the team as we’ve previously met at some international races. So, I think it won’t take me long to adapt and to start improving. I can’t wait for the season to start”Anton Kuzmin.

General Manager of Gazprom — RusVelo Renat Khamidulin on a newcomer: “Anton Kuzmin is one of the most promising riders from Kazakhstan. We’ve organised several tests and convinced ourselves that Anton is in great physical condition and what is more important, he is able to significantly improve. He is very motivated and ready to work hard. We are also glad to announce the extension of the current contract with one of the most experienced Russian athletes and a great team player, Ivan Rovny.”

Anton Kuzmin:

Team Sunweb Extend Contracts with Kanter, Heinschke and Märkl
Team Sunweb are delighted to announce the contract extensions of three young and talented German riders. Max Kanter extends his contract at WorldTour level until the end of 2021, while Leon Heinschke and Niklas Märkl extend their stay with Development Team Sunweb until the end of 2021 and 2020 respectively.

Max Kanter
The former two-time German U23 road race champion stepped up to WorldTour level in 2019 after several promising years in the junior and U23 ranks, the latter of which were spent at Development Team Sunweb. As an U23 Kanter took some impressive wins, including two stages at the Olympia’s Tour and one at the famous Tour de l’Avenir, highlighting his ability in the fast finishes. His debut season in the professional ranks has been affected by injury but after taking time to recover and rebuild together with the team, Kanter made his return to racing at the recent Tour de Pologne. Looking to the future, it is Kanter’s abilities and potential as a sprinter and strong one-day rider that shine through.

“I’m really happy to extend my contract with Team Sunweb,” explained Kanter. “I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the team and chasing goals together. For next season I want to develop as best as possible, slowly growing to become a top level professional cyclist. I want to gain experience in WorldTour one-day races and stage races, learning from my experienced teammates and coaches and further developing because of that.”

Leon Heinschke
Heinschke has had a good second season with the team, delivering strong performances throughout the calendar in support of teammates but also picking up good results himself. The highlight of those results was victory at the German U23 road race which took place on a tricky and hilly parcours, with Heinschke delivering a powerful kick to ride away from everyone on the uphill drag to the line. In the coming years with the team Heinschke looks to continue to grow and develop, improving his abilities in every facet of being a bike rider.

“I’m happy to extend my contract with the team because they operate in a way I like,” explained Heinschke. “Over the past two years I have felt that I have made big steps in developing not only as a cyclist with the team, but also as a person and both of those things are very important to me. The goals for the coming years are to continue to develop and grow, both on and off the bike, learning more about the cycling world and how it works.”

Niklas Märkl
Now into his second year with Development Team Sunweb, Märkl has continued to develop as a strong and punchy rider with a fast finish. Starting the season well, he took his first victory of the year in the prologue at the Istrian Spring Trophy and quickly followed that up with sprint success at the Youngster Coast Challenge. A good team-player, Märkl also works strongly in the support of his teammates at races. Looking towards next year, Märkl hopes to build on this season and continue to grow as a rider with the team.

“I am happy with the team and how everything operates both on and on off the bike, and how they work with me,” explained Märkl. “I think for me, the team is the best environment to grow as a rider and as a person. My goal for the near future is to develop as a rider, reaching a higher level with my performances and as a result go for good results in the sprints throughout the year. I also want to learn more about how cycling and everything that surrounds it works in general, helping me to develop as a person.”

Kanter, Heinschke and Märkl:

Frederik Frison Extends for Two Years with Lotto Soudal
Lotto Soudal has extended the contract of super domestique Frederik Frison with two years, which sees the 27-year-old Belgian stay at the team until the end of 2021. Frison turned pro at Lotto Soudal in 2016 after he made the step from the U23 team.

Frederik Frison: “It was quite an easy decision to stay at Lotto Soudal. I feel good within the team and I also know exactly what my role within the team entails and what they expect of me. Also the team is satisfied with my performances and then you don’t need to hesitate for too long. Lotto Soudal really is a group of friends, there’s a family atmosphere and you can be yourself. Of course, it remains your job and you need to perform, but how the team treats their riders, is in my opinion not something you’ll find just anywhere.”

“I am the type of rider that can ride really hard and I’m also a time trialist, so riding at the front of the bunch for our leaders suits me perfectly. When they perform well, or if for example Caleb Ewan finishes the job, it gives me great satisfaction, of course. That way, the motivation and the morale remain high. The coming two years, my role will be more or less the same, but I want to take another step forward, especially during the Classics. My personal ambition is to support our leaders a little further in the finale. A second Grand Tour participation would be nice. That is always good to lay the foundations towards the future and if there would be a Grand Tour on my schedule next year, I would be really looking forward to that.”

“Unfortunately, I had to miss the Cyclassics Hamburg due to illness but I hope to have – after some training sessions – the good feeling again during the Tour of Germany. Afterwards, I will be at the start of the Tour of Britain and some Belgian one-day races. My race schedule for the end of the year is not yet 100 percent clear, both Paris-Tours or the races in China are an option.”

Frederik Frison in Gent-Wevelgem:

Jan Hirt Set to Race for CCC Team from 2020
CCC Team continues to strengthen its 2020 roster with the addition of Czech rider Jan Hirt who will join the team on a two-year contract.

Hirt, 28, will provide another strong option for the General Classification at stage races and Grand Tours, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

“We have been busy recruiting riders who are solid climbers and can really strengthen our ability to go for the General Classification from 2020 onwards, which is something we have lacked this season, so we are looking forward to welcoming Jan Hirt to the team. Jan is often one of those riders who fly under the radar but is consistently up there with the best on the General Classification and his results this year, with fifth at the Tour de Suisse and seventh at Tour of the Alps, are a testament to his ability as a stage race rider,” Ochowicz explained.

“Given Jan raced with CCC Sprandi Polkowice until 2017, he is very familiar with many of the staff and riders who are now part of CCC Team so we have no doubt he will fit in well with the team. Jan already has a lot of experience as a professional rider but we believe his best is yet to come and we are excited to see how Jan continues to develop over the next two seasons while working with our performance team. Jan will join fellow climbers Ilnur Zackarin, Fausto Masnada, and our neo-pro Georg Zimmermann, in 2020 and with these four riders, I expect to see CCC Team very competitive in the mountains next year.”

Hirt, who won a stage and the General Classification at Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria in 2016, is relishing the opportunity to return to the CCC family, this time in the WorldTour environment.

“I was looking for a new team where I could have some more opportunities to go for my own results and at CCC Team, I think I have found that. We will have a strong team of climbers next year so we can support each other well and work together to achieve good results for the team. Although CCC Team and CCC Sprandi Polkowice are different teams, I have a lot of friends there and I will feel like I am coming back to a family so, this is was a big part of my decision to sign,” Hirt said.

“Without knowing my race program for next year I do not have a specific race in mind as a goal but I would like to have the opportunity to ride for a result in the General Classification and take a first stage win at a Grand Tour. With such a strong climbing team, I will be proud to try and help my teammates go for a result as well and like this, I think we can achieve some good results for CCC Team. I enjoyed two great years at Astana Pro Team and now, I am looking forward to a new challenge with CCC Team.”

Jan Hirt:

Alexander Vlasov Moves to UCI WorldTour
The 23-year-old Gazprom — RusVelo rider Alexander Vlasov will make his move to Astana Pro Team on January 1st, 2020. The relevant agreement for the next two seasons has been signed between the team and the rider.

This season Vlasov is defending the colours of the Russian Pro Continental team Gazprom — RusVelo. The rider had the current contract with the team for 2020 season, but by mutual agreement of the parties, an early transfer from Gazprom — RusVelo to Astana Pro Team has been agreed.

“When I joined Gazprom — RusVelo, I found myself in a friendly and united team with an excellent organisation of work. From the first months I felt on my place, where I could calmly and confidently develop. I will never forget the victory at Giro d’Italia U23 and my first professional win at a stage of Tour of Austria earlier this year. I am very grateful to everyone: all teammates, staff, management and sponsor of the team for their support. In Gazprom — RusVelo I grew up as a professional. Now I feel that it is time to face the next challenge and to develop further as a WorldTour team rider. I am happy that I will make this step with such a famous team as Astana Pro Team,” — said Alexander Vlasov.

General Manager of Gazprom — RusVelo Renat Khamidulin said: “Alexander did with us all the way in the youth category and made his first steps in a big professional sport; during our work we managed to achieve a plenty of successes, but I am sure that the main victories of this talented athlete are still ahead. The development of an athlete is a long and laborious process in which it is crucial to do certain steps, and the transfer to the WorldTour level will allow Alexander Vlasov to take part in the toughest races around the world. And the most important for us is that this journey he will begin as a part of our friendly team Astana, where the work with the young athletes is also in great focus”.

“Vlasov is spending a very impressive season, demonstrating a high stability and a character to fight until the end. As we could see from his results, the rider is specialising in the stage races, while we were looking for this kind of rider. Vlasov is young and ambitious, he has a great potential, which is easily recognised. In Gazprom-RusVelo the rider has got a solid cycling school, has got a base that allows him already now to fight on the same level with many eminent rivals. It is quite logical that the next step for Alexander is the WorldTour, where the athlete could achieve even greater success. Knowing about his current contract, we came to the management of Gazprom-RusVelo with a proposal to allow the transfer to our team for the future of this talented athlete. And I am happy that we have found understanding in the person of the general manager Renat Khamidulin, who supported this step,” – said Alexander Vinokurov, General Manager of Astana Pro Team.

Alexander Vlasov:

Evenepoel Shows Off European ITT Champion’s Jersey
The Belgian talked about one of his most important wins and its significance.

Three weeks ago, fresh off a sensational victory at the Clasica San Sebastian, Remco Evenepoel took another outstanding win by capturing the gold medal in the individual time trial race at the European Championships. For the 19-year-old Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider, it was an emotional and unforgettable success, for several reasons.

“I had a good feeling already during the warm-up. I was really focused, as I wanted to get the maximum out of my race. It had been a real cruel week for cycling with the loss of Bjorg Lambrecht and I wanted to take those stars for him and also for my former teammate, Stef Loos. I was focused, ready and gave absolutely everything with them in my mind. At the end, the moment that I knew I had won, the emotions came out of my whole body and the feelings I had were a mix of positive and sad vibes.”

Evenepoel’s eye-catching performance was the most recent in a line of victories he notched up in what turned out to be a monster of a year for the young neo-pro, one during which he achieved milestone after milestone and continued to impress everyone with both his talent and extraordinary mental power.

“The win in Alkmaar was really special, one that I will never forget. As I said before, I was really motivated and during the race I felt good and comfortable on my new Shiv, which helped me achieve this extraordinary performance. To get this win in my first pro year it’s a dream for sure and I’m very happy to wear this suit for the next 12 months”, concluded Remco, whose next appearance for the team will come at the Deutschland Tour (29 August – 1 September).

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