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EUROTRASH Double Froome Thursday!

The Spanish Grand Tour is only ten days away and the news from the la Vuelta is starting to come through and it looks like the competition is going to be hot. We also have the Eneco Tour and the Tour de l’Ain with reports, results, rider quotes photos and video. We preview the Arctic Race of Norway, plus contract news and a bit of trouble for David Boucher. Café con leche?

TOP STORY: Froome to Start la Vuelta a España
2015 Tour de France winner, Chris Froome announced that he will ride the Spanish Grand Tour starting on Saturday the 22nd of August in Puerto Banús with a 7.4 kilometer team time trial. Froome joins a top line up: Nairo Quintana & Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Nibali, Aru & Landa (Astana), Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha), Tejay Van Garderen (BMC), Fabian Cancellara (Trek) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo). In an interview with Spanish sports-paper AS, Vuelta director Javier Guillén said: “If you had told me before the start of the year, I wouldn’t have believed it. It’s the icing on the cake. It’s good that so many important riders have thought to make more of a big year. Froome’s decision is fantastic for the Vuelta and for cycling.”

Chris Froome, if he wins, will join a select group of riders who have won two Grand Tours in the same year: Fausto Coppi (Giro/Tour ’49 & ’52), Jacques Anquetil (Vuelta/Tour ’63 & Giro/Tour ’64), Eddy Merckx (Giro/Tour ’70 ’72 ’74 & Vuelta/Giro ’73), Bernard Hinault (Tour/Vuelta ’78 & Tour/Giro ’82 ’85), Miguel Indurain (Giro/Tour ’92 ’93), Giovanni Battaglin (Giro/Vuelta ’81), Marco Pantani (Giro/Tour ’98), Stephen Roche (Giro/Tour ’87) and Alberto Contador (Giro/Vuelta ’08).

Could it be Chris Froome (Tour/Vuelta ’15)?

Eneco Tour 2015
Elia Viviani (Sky) took a hard won Stage 1 of the Eneco Tour for the first leaders jersey. He got the better of Danny van Poppel (Trek), Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) and super sprinter, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal). Lotto Soudal, Etixx – Quick-Step and Orica-GreenEDGE had their sprint trains battling for supremacy, but Viviani had the sense to stick to Greipel’s wheel for a perfect lead-out from the big German who jumped too early.

Stage 1 was 183.5km starting and finishing in Bolsward. the early break was made up of Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin), Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Laurens de Vreese (Astana), Jesper Asselman (Roompot), Nico Denz (AG2R-La Mondiale) and David Boucher (FDJ.fr), gaining a maximum lead of nearly 8 minutes. This was cut to 3 minutes with 40 kilometers to go. Three intermediate sprints 1 kilometer apart were all taken by the break and they were caught before the last 10 kilometers. Lotto Soudal took control along with Orica-GreenEDGE and Sky. This went wrong for the Australian team as they lost Jens Keukeleire and it looked like Sky had lost out as Viviani was left with only Andy Fenn, but Fenn put him on the wheel of Greipel to be taken to the finish line perfectly.

Stage -1 ENECO Tour 2015

Stage winner and overall leader, Elia Viviani (Sky): “This was the perfect sprint for me. With 500 meters to go I could see which was the perfect wheel for me to follow. The team were amazing for me. We stayed in the front to avoid the crashes and then in the final kilometer Andy Fenn took me to the best wheel. I took Griepel’s wheel and he started fast but I waited a second and then I went. He started too early maybe but I had good legs. After a long break after the Giro this was a good start to the second part of the season.”

3rd, Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC): “Van Poppel’s wheel was a good one and I tried to move up in the last 50 meters, but it was too short. I had good speed and was feeling strong enough to come across. It was a pity that the finish line came too fast.”

5th on the stage, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling): “I am reassured by this 5th place, but I can do better. I recently won a stage at Wallonie, and I am well prepared for this race. The team has done a great job for me, but we are not yet pitch perfect. At this level of racing, the details become even more crucial, and I am confident that we can do much better at the next sprint finish. The race today was very nervous in the last sixty kilometers. The team paid a heavy price with crashes, but luckily there were no severe injuries. Then we still managed to turn it on again, and I enjoyed a lot of great help to position me for the finale.”

14th, Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida): “My regret is double, because first of all I had the opportunity to be captain of the team in a sprint. During the season I had worked with satisfaction in the lead-out trains for my team mates. I could not exploit this chance and I’m even more upset because I was in a good position at 500 meters to go, just before I had to brake in order to avoid touching an opponent.”

Four riders of Wanty-Groupe Gobert were involved in two separate crashes. Enrico Gasparotto, Frederik Backaert and Marco Marcato only have some abrasions. However, Mirko Selvaggi sadly won’t be able to take the start on Tuesday in Breda. The 30-year old Italian crashed under the arch of the last kilometer and broke his left collarbone. He will have surgery in Herentals, Belgium.

Eneco Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky in 4:06:18
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
5. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
6. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
7. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-GreenEDGE
8. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
9. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
10. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Roompot.

Eneco Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky in 4:06:08
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek at 0:04
3. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot
4. Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana at 0:05
5. Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC at 0:06
7. Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:08
8. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:10
9. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
10. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana.

Eneco Tour stage 1:

On Tuesday afternoon Lotto Soudal took it’s thirtieth official UCI victory. André Greipel won Stage 2 of the Eneco Tour with the start and finish in Breda. The whole team helped to prepare the sprint and Jens Debusschere was the lead-out man for the Gorilla. Greipel is now second overall, five seconds behind Jesper Asselman (Roompot), who rode in front till the last fifteen kilometers together with Gijs Van Hoecke. Lotto Soudal let Stig Broeckx help in the chase and later also Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot pulled at the head of the bunch. The other five did their job perfectly as well. Greipel will wear the points jersey on Wednesday.

Stage - 2 ENECO Tour 2015

Stage winner and 2nd overall, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “Today’s stage was quite relaxed, with only two riders in front. We had a plan. Maybe it was a bit too early to come to the front for us, but it turned out Stig Broeckx, Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot were strong enough to keep us in front till three kilometers to go. Then we could rely on the experience of Marcel Sieberg, Greg Henderson and Jürgen Roelandts. Afterwards Jens Debusschere took over and I finished it off. It was a great team effort, the guys nearly carried me to the line. There was a bit of a headwind and the team really made the difference, I’m grateful to the guys. As planned Jens was my lead-out man today. Hendy is not up to his best yet after his crash in the Tour. I already worked good together with Jens during the Tour. Yesterday we also tried to win. I didn’t need to get back in the rhythm after the rest I took after the Tour, it just didn’t work out. The competition is really strong here at the Eneco Tour. Yesterday it was hard to stay together. Tomorrow’s another opportunity with the stage to Ardooie, where I already won in 2011 and 2010. I’m second on GC, but I don’t think about taking over the leader’s jersey. I now wear the points jersey, but there are some really hard stages still coming up, we’ll see if I can hang on to that one.”

Crash victim, Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling): “I don’t know what happened except that I lost control of my bike and fell on the side. I walked away without any real injury, but I was not able to get back to the head of the main group to lend a hand to my teammates. It’s pretty annoying because we saved ourselves the whole day to play for the win in the sprint. But cycling has never been an exact science. I scuffed my elbow and my right knee has lost a bit of skin, but it is nothing serious. I certainly am still motivated to do the work that I can tomorrow and in the coming stages in order to help IAM Cycling have the success that it is capable of at the Eneco Tour.”

Eneco Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 4:12:52
2. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Katusha
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek
6. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
7. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha
8. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Eneco Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot in 8:18:55
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:05
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
4. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek at 0:09
5. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Katusha
6. Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana at 0:10
8. Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC at 0:11
10. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step.

Eneco Tour stage 2:

Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step) showed some of his old class by comfortably winning Stage 3 on Wednesday. The Belgian team controlled the finalé and placed Boonen in the perfect position for the win ahead of Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) and Elia Viviani (Sky). Jesper Asselman (Roompot) kept the leader’s jersey by a 1 second over Boonen and Viviani.

The break of the day was made up of: David Boucher (FDJ.fr), Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). Theuns took all three ‘Golden Kilometer’ sprints for the 9 seconds bonus, which moved him up to 5th overall at the end of the day. The break was over with 20 kilometers to go. Nathan Haas (Cannondale-Garmin) went for a long solo, but the sprinter teams pulled him back and then Giant-Alpecin hammered on the front to soften the sprinters with Etixx – Quick-Step finishing the job off. Démare went for a long sprint, but Boonen latched onto his wheel to come round for the win.

Stage - 3 ENECO Tour 2015

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Winning is everything, this is why I still do this. The past week I’ve worked hard in the sprint, to try and win a stage here. You can tell I’m really happy with this win after three consecutive bunch arrivals. Three times really is a charm! The past two days were okay, but always a little too early. Today actually didn’t go perfectly either in the last kilometer. Demare and I touched wheels, but I remained upright. I stuck with it, launched in the last meters and won the stage. I know I don’t have a lot of results this year after my crash at Paris-Nice. That’s why I really wanted to train again for my sprints, to see what I could salvage out of the last part of my season. Also, in the next races before the UCI World Championship, it’s only about sprinting for myself. So, this one gave me some important confidence in that area. I still want to do well on Friday and Sunday. Let’s hope we can get more good results in the next days.”

Overall leader, Jesper Asselman (Roompot): “It will be very nice to ride the time trial, starting in last place and riding in the white jersey. I’m going to give it all tomorrow and see where I end up.”

13th on the stage, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling): “Nervousness ruled the peloton in the final two rounds. We were really with the knife between the teeth in the race during that final half hour. But the team did a very good job. We were a long way back before the final corner, but Heinrich Haussler placed me in an ideal position under the red flag. I just did not manage to have the luck I needed to bring home a win. In fact, I took Boonen’s wheel believing that he would launch his sprint, but his teammates delayed a little, and then we had a wave of riders passing on the right side. I was blocked in, and I had no chance to get free again in time to play for the win. In this type of exercise, experience counts too and I have not lost hope that I will have greater success in finishes of a similar type.”

Gorka Izagirre crashed on Wednesday during stage three while riding in the main peloton, 50km from the finish line, the Ormaiztegi-born rider crashed against a traffic signal and suffered a big blow to his head. Always conscious, yet bewildered, the Basque allrounder responded to all stimulus from sports director José Luis Jaimerena and the race doctors, before being immobilized and moved to a medical center nearby, where any serious injuries were ruled out following a scanner check. “He has some bruises and a blow in his left-side temple,” explained José Luis Laguía from the hospital, “and also feels a bit dizzy and in pain, but it’s not dangerous at all. He’s coming back to the team hotel with me and José Luis Jaimerena, with no other checks expected.”

Eneco Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 3:54:25
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
4. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
5. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Roompot
6. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
7. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha
8. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek
10. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Eneco Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot in 12:13:20
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick Step at 0:01
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:05
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:06
6. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Trek at 0:09
7. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
8. Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Katusha
9. Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Eneco Tour stage 3:

Tour de l’Ain 2015
Mike Teunissen (LottoNL-Jumbo) triumphed in the prologue of the Tour de l’Ain today and is the first leader of the French stage race. On his Bianchi Aquila CV, the 22-year-old Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider was the fastest man on the 3.8-kilometer course in Bourg-en-Bresse. The difference with runner-up Alexandre Geniez (FDJ.fr) was minimal, just six-hundredths of a second.

Teunissen was not the only Team LottoNL-Jumbo rider punching into the top of the ranking. Trainee Twan Castelijns recorded the fifth-fastest time, while Timo Roosen was good for 12th. “I got it and nobody can take this from me now,” Teunissen said after his winning effort. “My advantage was that I started as second-to-last. The other boys had already set good times, and so I knew what I had to do.”

With a time of 4’31”, Teunissen, who finished second in the Prudential RideLondon & Surrey Classic last week, broke Wilco Kelderman’s mark set in 2011. “I needed an average speed of more than 50 kilometers per hour, and that’s not easy on a course with two sections with tricky corners. But London went well, and I knew that my shape should still be there.”

Teunissen, still a neo pro, expects to have a good night of sleep. “After London, I made a mistake by going back to watch the final kilometers before I went to bed. That left me with the idea like I had ruined an opportunity, and that feeling kept me awake all night. This time, I think I’ll quickly fall asleep and that I’m going to have some sweet dreams.”

The yellow jersey will hang around Teunissen’s shoulders during the first road stage tomorrow, and the youngster will do everything to retain the jersey. “I want to get involved in the sprints during the stage, and take bonus seconds. In the bunch sprints, Nacer Bouhanni will certainly be a problem, but if I’m well-placed, I can do well. And we have some guys here who know what’s required in a sprint.”

Erik Dekker was delighted with the performance of his team. “The guys really rode on their limits today. They really went for it,” the Sports Director said. “At the start, I was able to look them in the eye, and I really saw that they wanted to fight. In the end, we did great as a team. We’ve won the team classification, just as in the prologue of the Tour de France. With the arrival of the new time trial bike, confidence has returned.”
Thanks to the LottoNL-Jumbo team for the race info.

Tour de l’Ain Prologue Result:
1. Mike Teunissen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 4:31
2. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:01
3. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:01
4. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Europcar at 0:02
5. Twan Castelijns (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:02
6. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:04
7. Nans Peters (Fra) French Espoirs at 0:05
8. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:05
9. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis at 0:05
10. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 18 at 0:05.

Tour de l’Ain Overall After the Prologue:
1. Mike Teunissen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 4:31
2. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr
3. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:01
4. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Europcar at 0:02
5. Twan Castelijns (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
6. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis at 0:04
7. Nans Peters (Fra) French Espoirs at 0:05
8. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
10. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 18.

Prologue winner, Mike Teunissen:

On Stage 1 Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) won the bunch sprint ahead of Anthony Maldonado (Auber 93) in second and Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-La Mondiale) in third. Prologue winner Mike Teunissen (LottoNL-Jumbo) was fourth on the stage and dropped to second overall at 5 seconds to Bouhanni.

Tour de l’Ain Stage 1 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 3:38:26
2. Anthony Maldonado (Fra) Auber 93
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Mike Teunissen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
5. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
6. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18
7. Barry Markus (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Europcar
9. Jeroen Meijers (Ned) Rabobank Development
10. Pierre Gouault (Fra) Auber 93.

Tour de l’Ain Overall After Stage 1:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 3:42:52
2. Mike Teunissen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:05
3. Alexandre Geniez (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:06
5. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Europcar at 0:07
6. Twan Castelijns (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:08
8. Nans Peters (Fra) French Espoirs at 0:10
9. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Argon 18.

Nacer Bouhanni:
Halle - Ingooigem 2015

David Boucher thrown out of Eneco Tour
David Boucher has been sent home from the Eneco Tour by his FDJ.fr team because he managed to get in the break of the day with Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Frederik Veuchelen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) on Wednesday’s stage 3. The break was only caught with 20 kilometers to go, but the team were not pleased that he went against orders. Boucher also claims that his contract with FDJ.fr has not been renewed for 2016.

Boucher leads the stage 3 break:
Stage - 3 ENECO Tour 2015

Weening to Roompot
For 2016 Pieter Weening will move to the Dutch Pro-Continental Roompot team. Team manager Michael Zijlaard said: “We are delighted with the arrival of Peter, he has been one of the best Dutch pros, for that matter cycling fans will I think very much like that next year he will ride in our orange kit. Moreover, Pieter with his experience contribute to the further development of our young riders.”

Pieter Weening:
Tour de France 2015 - stage 20

Arctic Race of Norway 2015
With the participation of Norwegian stars Alexander Kristoff and Edvald Boasson Hagen as well as Tour de France top contenders Mathias Frank, Bryan Coquard, Louis Meintjes and Rein Taraamäe, the third edition of the Arctic Race of Norway is ready to get underway in Harstad on August 13. The world’s northernmost bike race also has a bright future as partnership with the main sponsor has been extended for the next three years.

Harstad, the hosting town of the first ever Arctic Race of Norway’s grand finale won in a thrilling manner by the event ambassador Thor Hushovd in 2013, welcomed the 131 participants of the third edition. The municipality of the Troms County is the starting point this time around but the event is once again an unknown affair as even the Norwegian cyclists ignore the exact difficulty of the new venues since they only travel so far north once a year. Edvald Boasson Hagen’s first participation is highly expected along with Tour of Flanders winner Alexander Kristoff who is the world’s most successful pro cyclist in 2015 up to date although he’s hungry for more after returning home from the Tour de France empty handed. Experts predict the race to be decided by time bonus on the last day of racing in Narvik on August 16.

“I’ve only come to this part of Norway at the age of 19 for the 2006 national championship I finished second to Lars-Petter Nordhaug but never this far north”, Boasson Hagen declared. “Two years ago, I had an injured shoulder from the Tour de France and last year, I was riding the Eneco Tour so I’m looking forward to discovering the Arctic Race of Norway. Since I won a stage at the Tour of Denmark last week, I can say that I’m on good form but I actually don’t know how much tired I am after the Tour de France but I’m hoping to win something here as well.”

Norwegian sprinters will face the fierce competition of Europcar’s Bryan Coquard who was André Greipel’s runner on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. “The Arctic Race of Norway is my come-back race”, said the Frenchman. “This is my first time here but my team-mates Angelo Tulik and Tony Hurel who have done it before have spoken highly of northern Norway. It’s an amazing place for a bike race. I hope to win at least a stage. I’m able to do that. I expect Kristoff to be very strong at home but he’s not the only sprinter in contention.” The field features up and coming fast men Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida), Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling), Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon 18), Daniel McLay (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Jonas Ahlstrand (Cofidis) but also experienced men Theo Bos and Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka).

Among GC contenders, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) who finished eighth overall at the Tour de France and Rein Taraamäe (Astana) who won the Tour of Burgos in Spain last week will be closely watched out. “After I got sick with fever (38°) in the same room as Lars Boom at half way into the Tour de France, I wanted to bounce back quickly”, the Estonian explained. “With my win in Burgos, I’m super motivated for the last part of the season. I’m not sure if the course of the Arctic Race of Norway is hard enough for me. I’m not a punchy climber but tactics can help.” “I felt tired at San Sebastian one week after the Tour de France but I think I have recovered and I’m targeting a good result in stage 3”, Frank echoed. “GC should result from stage 3, so I’m motivated for GC as well.”

Beyond the third edition expected to be another thrilling one, the Arctic Race of Norway has led the way to guarantee the organization of the event over the years to come with the extension of its partnership agreement with Statoil for additional three years (2016-2018). As announced by the CEO of Statoil, Eldar Sætre, the international energy company will continue as Main Partner of the Arctic Race of Norway, including the organization of the Arctic Heroes of Tomorrow Race, which has become a key event for the next generation of Norwegian and international cyclists ahead of the last stage. “The North of Norway is an important region for Statoil and we want to contribute to promote and develop the area. Arctic Race of Norway has through its first two years established itself firmly on the international cycling calendar and as an attraction in the north. We are glad to renew the constructive partnership with the Arctic Race and look forward to this year`s race and the three following years”, Eldar Sætre added this morning.

The Arctic Race of Norway will be broadcasted on TV in 180 countries, including a live coverage by nine broadcasters (Eurosport 1 in Europe) and full stage coverage on stages 3 and 4 on TV2 Norway. The audience will witness the new challenges put together by the Norwegian salmon farmers who sponsor the King of the Mountains jersey, including 500 KG of salmon given to the first rider that reaches the summit of Lavangseidet on stage 2. “Through the ages, Norway will always be known for its seafood as much as its wonderful landscapes”, race ambassador Thor Hushovd told the press in Harstad. In addition, the total winner of the salmon jersey and his team will be offered a dinner with one of the world’s best chefs.

22 Teams : main contenders

South Africa
MTN-Qhubeka : Boasson Hagen (Nor), Bos (Ned), Ciolek (Ger), Meintjes (Rsa)
Bora-Argon 18 : Bennett (Irl), Voss (Ger)
Team Giant-Alpecin : Sinkeldam (Ned), Hupond (Fra)
Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise : Wallays Jens (Bel)
Cult Energy Pro Cycling : Gerdemann (Ger), Wegmann (Ger), Downing (Gbr)
United States
BMC Racing Team : Dillier (Sui), Hermans (Bel)
Team Novo Nordisk : Peron (Ita)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team : Förster (Ger)
Bretagne-Séché Environnement : Hivert (Fra), Hutarovich (Blr)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits : Ahlstrand (Swe), Petit (Fra)
Team Europcar : Coquard (Fra)
Lampre-Merida : Cimolai (Ita), Bonifazio (Ita), Serpa (Col)
Team Coop-Øster Hus : Galta (Nor); Jensen (Nor)
Team FixIT.no : Eidsheim (Nor)
Team Frøy-Bianchi : Andersen (Nor)
Team Joker : Laengen (Nor), Hoem (Nor), Eiking (Nor)
Team Ringeriks-Kraft : Fløtten (Nor)
Team Sparebanken Sør : Vangstad (Nor)
Astana Pro Team : Taaramäe (Est), Kangert (Est)
Team Katusha : Kristoff (Nor), Byström (Nor), Zakarin (Rus), Haller (Aut)
Tinkoff-Saxo : Mørkøv (Den), Zaugg (Sui)
IAM Cycling : Frank (Sui), Elmiger (Sui), Clement (Ned), Enger (Nor)

Website: https://www.letour.fr/arctic-race-of-norway/

Arctic Race of Norway stages:
Thursday, August 13th: Harstad – Harstad 213.5 km.
Friday, August 14th: Evenskjer – Setermoen 162.5 km.
Saturday, August 15th: Finnsnes – Mälselv 183 km.
Sunday, August 16th: Narvik – Narvik 165.


Giant-Alpecin to Arctic Race of Norway
Team Giant-Alpecin heads to Norway with a young team looking to gain experience and battle for results in this spectacular four-day race.

The team will be captained by Thierry Hupond (FRA) who returns to this race for a third year in succession, and he will be joined by the young American Carter Jones, returning from a short break following illness, as well as Ramon Sinkeldam (NED) who returns to racing following his debut Tour de France.

Lars van der Haar (NED) lines up here as he continues to build for the coming cyclo-cross season, and Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE) returns to the race he made a debut at last year with the WorldTour team when riding as a stagiaire.

The six-rider line-up is completed by 22-year-old stagiaire Maximilian Walscheid, starting his first race for Team Giant-Alpecin.

“The race presents different opportunities for our riders here, starting with the first two stages where we have sprint opportunities with Ramon and also for Max here too,” explained coach Dirk Reuling (NED). “Stage 3 is a tough uphill finish of around 3,5 km, and we will support Fredrik and Lars for the finish here. It should be a nice diverse tour and will show ourselves, and challenge for results every day.”

Lars van der Haar (NED), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Carter Jones (USA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Maximilian Walscheid (GER).
Coach: Dirk Reuling (NED).

Van der Haar and Ludvigsson:
Rund um Koln 2015

BMC Roster: Arctic Race of Norway
Ben Hermans, who finished third Saturday at the Tour de Pologne, and Swiss national time trial champion Silvan Dillier will be part of the BMC Racing Team’s six-man roster for the Arctic Race of Norway.

The four-day race begins Thursday. The BMC Racing Team won the inaugural edition of the race in 2013 with then-Norwegian national road champion Thor Hushovd.

Tom Bohli (SUI), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Campbell Flakemore (AUS), Floris Gerts (NED), Ben Hermans (BEL), Dylan Teuns (BEL).
Sport Director: Yvon Ledanois (FRA).

Ben Hermans:

Tinkoff-Saxo with options open at Arctic Race of Norway
Tinkoff-Saxo brings a squad of five riders, including two stagiaires, to Arctic Race of Norway. Without a fixed plan, road captain and team leader Michael Mørkøv will seek to put the team strategy into effect, as a stage win remains the main objective for the northernmost race in the world.

Tinkoff-Saxo is set to participate in the 3rd edition of the Arctic Race of Norway that despite its short lifespan has turned heads by sending the professional field racing north of the Arctic Circle. According to sports director Sean Yates, Tinkoff-Saxo sends an underdog team, featuring two promising stagiaires, to seek out possibilities.

“We will not have set-in-stone tactics at the Arctic Race. From our point of view, everyone will have their chance to show their face, get their 15 minutes of fame and possibly get a result. From my perspective, every rider of our squad has a chance and should get out there, get in the mix, get in the breakaway and maybe get a result. We can’t pretend as a team that we can win the GC but each individual rider can try”, says Sean Yates before adding about the team line-up:

“Michael Mørkøv is a respected member of the team, a good road captain, who can lead by example and can have a chance for himself. Up to now, a lot of the time, he worked for others but he showed that he was strong in Denmark, where he took a stage win. Juraj Sagan also showed in Denmark that he was quite strong and if he gets in the right mood, he could get a stage result. I can’t say we will win a bunch sprint with Michael Kolar or a stage with Juraj, we need to take our chances”.

Tinkoff-Saxo lines up Michael Mørkøv, Michael Kolar, Juraj Sagan as well as stagiaires Michael Gogl and Antwan Tolhoek, who will race in the fluorescent team jersey for the first time. Despite being scheduled to race, Oliver Zaugg has had to withdraw from the lineup due to illness.

Arctic Race of Norway features 700 kilometers spread on four diverse stages with tough competition from the local teams. Sean Yates predicts a race that will be difficult to control.

“Alexander Kristoff will try to win a couple of stages. As a result, it will be an open race with lots of attacking. That might suit us. If you make the right move you might have the chance to do a good result, as it could be difficult to control from behind. Others might not want to give too much lead because the race is only four days long and they might have a rider that could win the GC with the mountain top finish. There are 22 teams of which six are continental, nine pro-continental and seven WorldTour. For sure, all the local teams will want to show their face because the race is broadcast on TV”, comments Sean Yates.

“As far as the GC is concerned, Stage 3 with the summit finish is the decisive one. Stage 2 looks also very hard, it’s very up and down. Stage 1 I think will be decided with a sprint. Stage 4 has a hard finishing circuit, but by then the GC will be more or less decided and the GC teams will try to control it. The race is only four days long, there is a mountain top finish but only 3.5km long, enough to decide the GC but not to create huge differences”.

Tinkoff-Saxo sends two stagiaires, Michael Gogl and team debutant Antwan Tolhoek, to the Arctic Race of Norway.

“In what regards the stagiaires, there are three in our team and they aren’t allowed to do WorldTour races. Colorado can be a tough race and in our race program, the Arctic Race is the most suitable and, most probably, the other teams will not attend with their A-squad but with several stagiaires. For Tolhoek this will be his first race ever with Tinkoff-Saxo, while Gogl raced in Denmark, where he rode very well”, finishes Sean Yates.

Michael Mørkøv:

MTN-Qhubeka for Arctic Race of Norway
Meintjes and Janse van Rensburg return to racing after Le Tour
The Arctic Race of Norway gets underway on Thursday and MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will once again take part in professional cycling’s most Northern race.

The UCI 2.HC event is comprised of just 4 stages, the first 2 looking to suit the fast riders while the final 2 stages probably more suited to a puncheur. That being said, with only 6 rider teams and 4 stages from which to decide the GC winner, we expect a very attacking and exciting racing each day.

MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will send a highly motivated team to one of the most scenic races in the world, led by Edvald Boasson Hagen. Edvald comes fresh off a stage win at last week’s Tour of Denmark. Gerald Ciolek and Theo Bos who both played significant roles in Edvald’s Danish triumph will also start on Thursday.

The final 3 spots on the Arctic Race roster are filled by 3 South African riders. After both completing their debut Tour de France’s this year, Louis Meintjes and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg return to action as well. The final rider will be our trainee, Jayde Julius, he gets his first start in our African teams stripes.

Louis Meintjes – Rider
I am happy to be back racing after the Tour de France. I had a good break after the Tour with my parents visiting me in Italy but now I am looking forward to the rest of my season, starting here at the Arctic Race.

Jayde Julius – Rider
I am really looking forward to my first race with the guys. I know it will be completely different to racing on the amateur level but thank goodness I have had some experience racing pro races already as an u23. It is going to be a great experience which I can’t wait for.


Alexander Kristoff back to racing in Norway
After a short break after the Tour de France, Team Katusha’s leader Alexander Kristoff comes back to racing. From August 13th to 16th Kristoff will lead Katusha in the 2.HC Arctic Race of Norway. Last year Alexander won two stages and took the second place in the general classification of this race.

The team’s line-up: Alexander Kristoff, Sven Erik Bystrøm, Ilnur Zakarin, Marco Haller and Sergey Lagutin, all directed by Claudio Cozzi.

Alexander Kristoff, overall this year?
Cycling: 39th 3 Days De Panne 2015 / Stage 2

IAM Cycling team for the Arctic Race of Norway
The third edition of the Arctic Race of Norway is ready to kick off. Born out of the accomplishments in past Tours de France by the recently retired Thor Hushovd, the event plays on the popularity of cycling in the country, in spite of the fact that sometimes the weather conditions can be difficult. This is a race that has always offered a great deal of suspense in all editions. Each time, the overall rankings were decided on only the last stage, using the time bonus game at the finish line.

For its second participation in this event organized by Amaury Sport Organization (ASO), IAM Cycling has selected six riders who will be likely to shine throughout the race, no matter whether the stages are reserved for sprinters, or those hillier stages that will ultimately decide the overall. Pirmin Lang has distinguished himself as the perfect teammate, and has taken all possible care to be in top form in order to help his team leaders after racing the Tour de Wallonie. “After the Swiss road race championships, I took a week off, and then after that I started to work hard in order to be on top form for the rest of my program. I did not join the riders at the Bernina training camp. I stayed home and slept in a tent that simulates altitude. And since I am not a big fan of scorching heat, I resolved to train early every morning between 7:30 and 12:30. I did some great endurance sessions, and I followed the program prepared by my coach Marcello Albasini. This proved effective because I was able to do the work I needed to do at the Tour de Wallonie. And the reward was there since we came away with a victory. In Norway, my freshness should be an asset and allow me to help our guys who could win a stage and even the overall classification. For the sprints, we will rely on Sondre Holst Enger, and we should be able to put two or three guys on the front of the pack with 500 meters to go. As for the general classification, I think that Martin Elmiger will show his strength in those two more difficult stages.”

Stef Clement (Ned), Martin Elmiger (S), Sondre Holst Enger (Nor), Mathias Frank (S), Pirmin Lang (S), Marcel Wyss (S).
Directeur sportif: Kjell Carlström.

Martin Elmiger:
TDFR 2014 - stage -15

Cult Energy to the Arctic Race of Norway
Thursday August 13th, CULT Energy Pro Cycling participate in the Norwegian stage race covering 4 stages as near the polar circle we’ll get this season. Stage one is a 213 kilometer long and quite flat course in and around the town of Harstad. On the local circuit in the finale, the peloton will be challenged with narrow roads and a short climb.

Stage two from Harstad to Setermoen will most likely be controlled by the team winning stage one as we can expect another bunch sprint decision in the Setermoen military camp. Finally, the climbers will have their chance to shine in stage three starting in Senja and holding a steep uphill finish between 6 and 10% average gradient all the way to the finish line in Målselv.

The fourth and final stage will start and finish in Narvik including a very hard final circuit that might be crucial for the overall outcome of the race.

CULT Energy Pro Cycling will be on the start line with this powerful line-up: Russell Downing, Rasmus Guldhammer, Linus Gerdemann, Alex Kirsch, Chrstian Mager and Fabian Wegmann.

DS, Michael Skelde says:
“This is a race divided in two. The first two stages favor the sprinters while the final two days favor the punchy climbers. I saw Rasmus Guldhammer in very good shape during Tour of Denmark and I hope he brings it along to Norway as well. The route also suits Fabian (Wegmann) and I think he’s just as motivated as Rasmus to do a good result,” concludes Skelde.


Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
Lampre-Merida for the Arctic Race
In more than 20 years of history, Lampre-Merida have never raced so far north. From 13 to 16 August, the blue-fuchsia-green will participate in the Arctic Race of Norway, which will take place exclusively above the Arctic Circle.

The sport director Vicino will direct six riders from five different Nations (Belarus, Colombia, Ethiopia, Italy and Portugal): Niccolò Bonifazio, Davide Cimolai, Mario Costa, Tsgabu Grmay, Ilia Koshevoy and Josè Serpa Perez.

“The key moment for the overall classification will be the summit arrival of the third stage: our trio of climbers Grmay, Koshevoy and Serpa will have the opportunity to be protagonist and we’ll check on the road who’ll be the most competitive,” sport director Vicino explained. “The course of the race will offer one or two chances for the sprinters too and we’ll be ready to exploit them thanks to Bonifazio and Cimolai. Mario Costa’s role of helper will be as usual of maximum importance.”

Looking for stage wins, Niccolò Bonifazio:
Coppa Agostoni 2014

Tinkoff-Saxo Riders with Ongoing 2016 Contracts
As the team management is finalizing the squad for the 2016 season, 14 riders have contracts that run into next year. As existing riders with a clear knowledge of the team philosophy, this group will form an essential and deeply-rooted part of Tinkoff-Saxo’s roster ahead of the next season.

For Steven de Jongh, Head Sport Director of Tinkoff-Saxo, these 14 riders constitute part of the backbone of the team: “These extremely talented riders need no introduction. Their palmares speaks for itself, as they are among the who’s who of the professional peloton, with some of them household names”.

“Together with some of the soon-to-be-announced extensions, these riders, obviously, form the core group upon which we will build the squad that will tackle the next season’s challenging goals. Whether 2015 is their first year with Tinkoff-Saxo or they have been with us for many years, I’m happy and privileged to head such a select group of riders”.

“Alberto Contador will be our team leader and will focus on the Tour de France in 2016 while Peter Sagan will be the man that will captain Tinkoff-Saxo in the classics, among other races”, concludes de Jongh.

The Tinkoff-Saxo riders who already have contracts for 2016 are, in alphabetical order: Ivan Basso (ITA), Daniele Bennati (ITA), Maciej Bodnar (POL), Pavel Brutt (RUS), Alberto Contador (ESP), Robert Kiserlovski (CRO), Roman Kreuziger (CZE), Rafal Majka (POL), Sergio Paulihno (POR), Michael Rogers (AUS), Ivan Rovny (RUS), Juraj Sagan (SVK), Peter Sagan (SVK) and Michael Valgren (DEN).


Vuelta a España 2015
The third Grand Tour of the year, la Vuelta a España, starts on Saturday 22nd of August in Puerto Banús with a short 7.4 kilometer team time trial. The teams have started to announce their rider line-ups, here are the first from IAM Cycling and Giant-Alpecin. There will be much more to come over the next weeks and of course their will be the full PEZ coverage.

Vuelta website: www.lavuelta.com

IAM Cycling for the Vuelta
The Tour of Spain is looming on the horizon with no fewer than 3359.8 kilometers facing the peloton as it travels between the popular resort of the Costa del Sol, Puerto Banús and Madrid. As the third and final grand tour of the season, the Vuelta starts Saturday, august 22nd with a 7.4 kilometer team time trial between Puerto Banús and Marbella. Ten days before one of the major objectives of the season, the IAM Cycling team has unveiled the names of the nine riders who will be called on to fly the Swiss team colors over the roads of Spain.

Sports Manager, Rik Verbrugghe took care to explain the choices made following the meeting of the team managers and Michel Thétaz, founder of IAM Cycling and CEO of IAM Funds. “The team we have decided to take to the Vuelta has been built around two different axes. On the one hand, we want to give a chance to our young riders like Marcel Aregger, Simon Pellaud or even Larry Warbasse. Young riders who are early in their careers and when they are still in a phase of learning, need to have the chance to get a grand tour in their legs, since this will help them progress and improve recovery. These riders have a little less experience, and will have the chance to be guided by guys like Sylvain Chavanel and Jérôme Coppel. With this mix, something positive and constructive should result not only for them but the entire team. And then, our other focus will be to use a part of the IAM Cycling team to help Matteo Pelucchi, our sprinter. Vicente Reynes and David Tanner, for example, will be strong and important assets when helping Pelucchi to try and win those stages that have finishes that suit him. Matteo has proved his level of fitness with two wins at the Tour of Poland, and he should be able to figure in the sprint finishes. Consequently, our goal for this Vuelta will be to be present and aggressive everyday with our younger riders, as well as to win a stage. We will not economize our efforts since it is by being up front and active in shaping the race that the riders gain experience, and that work pays in the end.”

Marcel Aregger (S), Sylvain Chavanel (Fr), Jérôme Coppel (Fr), Thomas Degand (Bel), Simon Pellaud (S), Matteo Pelucchi (It), Vicente Reynes (Sp), David Tanner (Aus), Larry Warbasse (USA).
Manager sportif: Rik Verbrugghe.
Directeurs sportifs: Mario Chiesa, Eddy Seigneur.

Sylvain Chavanel, last Grand Tour?
Ronde van Vlaanderen 2015 men elite worldcup

Giant-Alpecin Vuelta a España Line-up Announced
Team Giant-Alpecin heads to this year’s third and final Grand Tour of the year following successful campaigns at both the Giro d’Italia and this summer’s Tour de France. The main focus for the team will be on day success in the sprint stages. Alongside the sprints the team remains focused on the general development process of our riders.

This year’s Vuelta presents opportunities for different riders to battle for stage wins, over a parcours that features nine summit finishes as the Vuelta celebrates its 70th edition. The race once again gets underway with a team time trial before heading straight into the first uphill finish on day two. The first week continues with both sprint and attacking opportunities as well as a mountain top finish on stage seven.

John Degenkolb (GER) returns to the race having won the green jersey of points leader in 2014 and will be looking to make the most of the sprint opportunities over the three weeks. Team Giant-Alpecin has a strong line-up to support Degenkolb in this, but one that is versatile enough to challenge across other fronts. Degenkolb will be joined by Tom Dumoulin (NED) who will have an eye on the race’s individual time trial on stage 17 as well as the puncheur-stye finishes, together with Lawson Craddock (USA) who showed his progress once again at the Tour of Poland by taking third on the toughest stage of the race.

“Our main goal is to go for stage success with John, as we targeted at the Tour,” explained coach Christian Guiberteau (FRA). “With Koen [de Kort], Luka [Mezgec], Zico [Waeytens] and Tom [Dumoulin] we have a strong lead-out for John. With Lawson we are working towards the longer-term development, and will not target specific GC ambitions but rather we aim to help him learn how to behave as GC rider.

“We have shown at the Giro and Tour that we are ready to take any opportunities as they come and on the in-between stages we will look to profit from the breakaway opportunities. In addition we have Tom D here who will look to target the TT along with the classics style stages.”

Lawson Craddock (USA), John Degenkolb (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Koen de Kort (NED), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL).
Reserves: Bert De Backer (BEL) & Cheng Ji (CHN).
Coach: Addy Engels (NED) & Christian Guiberteau (FRA).

John Degenkolb looking for stage points:
TDFR 2014 - stage -19

Nine riders are selected for the Vuelta
At the end of next week the third Grand Tour of the year starts: the Vuelta a España (22/08 – 13/09). Lotto Soudal has selected these nine riders: Kris Boeckmans, Jasper De Buyst, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Adam Hansen, Maxime Monfort, Jurgen Van den Broeck, Tosh Van der Sande and Jelle Vanendert. Mario Aerts and Frederik Willems are the sports directors for the race.

21-year-old Jasper De Buyst makes his Grand Tour début. For sprinter Kris Boeckmans (28) this is the third Grand Tour of his career, after he participated in the Tour two times. It’s also the third three-week stage race for Tosh Van der Sande (24), who rode the Vuelta in 2013 and the Giro in 2014. Bart De Clercq, who turns 29 on the day of the fifth Vuelta stage, impressed in the Tour de Pologne. He rides the Vuelta for the fourth time. The same goes for Jelle Vanendert (30) and Jurgen Van den Broeck (32). Van den Broeck finished on the eighth place in 2011. This year the Belgian time trial champion already took part in the Giro, together with Maxime Monfort, who is selected for the Vuelta as well. The 32-year-old Belgian will start the Vuelta for the fifth time. His best result was the sixth place in 2011. Thomas De Gendt (28), who showed his skills in the Tour despite of a rib injury, goes to the Vuelta for the third time. Last but not least there’s Adam Hansen (34) who’s on the start list of the Vuelta for the seventh time. It’s his 20th Grand Tour and not to forget his thirteenth consecutive Grand Tour. Since the Vuelta of 2011 he completed all Grand Tours in which he started, if he finishes this Vuelta as well, he breaks the record of Bernardo Ruiz.

Jurgen Van den Broeck:
Belgian National Championships Cycling ITT 2015

La Vuelta a España 1983
Bernard Hinault won the 1983 Vuelta, this is stage 13 to the Lagos de Covadonga where the Frenchman had his hands full with Marino Lejarreta. Great retro action.

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