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EuroTrash Kristoff Monday!

A Flanders filled EuroTrash Monday and the star of the show has to be Alexander Kristoff. De Ronde and De Panne both got the Norwegian domination. Race reports, results, rider quotes and video from Belgium, Limburg and GP Indurain. Previews from Basque Country and Dauphiné, news from Quick-Step, Van den Broeck and Tour of America’s Dairyland Race Venues.

TOP STORY: No Win for Etixx – Quick-Step
The spring is just not going the way of the Etixx – Quick-Step team, this is the time of year that the Belgian based team should be racking up the victories and even though they have the fire power… no wins in the most important races. Yes the team lost Tom Boonen, yes Zdenek Stybar has been having teeth problems and yes Stijn Vandenbergh still hasn’t got a clue about team tactics, but they still have Niki Terpstra and the weight of a country’s expectations on their shoulders. It could be worse, Sky had a new fancy bike and the promise of Bradley Wiggins as a domestique, neither of them seemed to work and Geraint Thomas finished 14th.

header-rvvDe Ronde van Vlaanderen 2015
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the 2015 Ronde van Vlaanderen by out-sprinting his breakaway companion Niki Terpstra (Etixx – Quick-Step), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was third ahead of his chase partner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo). Kristoff and Terpstra had a lead of seven seconds over Van Avermaet, at one point had 30 seconds over the chasers, but Terpstra stopped helping the Norwegian on the run in to the finish line.

The break of Jesse Sergent (Trek), Damien Gaudin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Ralf Matzka (Bora-Argon18), Matthew Brammeier (MTN-Qhubeka) and Dylan Groenewegen (Roompot) were joined by Lars Ytting Bak (Lotto Soudal) and Marco Frapporti (Androni) to put seven up the road and at one point had 7 minutes in hand over the Sky led bunch. All was going well for the leaders until the Shimano neutral service car collided with Jesse Sergent bringing him down causing a broken collar bone. It wasn’t a good day for the Shimano cars as another one crashed into the back of the FDJ team car as it was stopping to attend to Sebastien Chavanel. Cars and rider were all damaged.

On the second climb of the Oude Kwaremont the break was caught and the peloton were ready for the real action to come. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) was very keen to make a split before the Koppenberg, his efforts say off quite few riders including Bradley Wiggins. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) attacked after the Koppenberg to gain 30 seconds, then on the Taaienberg Terpstra attacked to be joined Van Avermaet who pulled a group made up of the top riders.

Lutsenko tried again to be joined by Van Avermaet and Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida), but were caught before the Kruisberg leaving 26 riders out front, Sep Vanmarcke missed the move. It was then that Terpstra and Kristoff made their move as Vanmarcke tried to catch up. Giant-Alpecin, Lotto Soudal, Sky and BMC all had men in the chase, but the lead went to half a minute. Thomas attacked, but had Stybar for company and were brought back. Van Avermaet and Sagan put in a hard effort to catch the two leaders, but only just failed. In the end Kristoff was by far the stronger of the two and Etixx – Quick-Step picked up another podium place, but no win.

Flanders winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): “As a young kid I always dreamed of winning in Flanders and now the dream has come true. I was a little bit nervous at the end when Niki stopped working. I was afraid the group behind us would catch us, so I just kept up a high speed. I knew if I kept a good speed, but not 100%, that I could still do a good sprint. This has been a great week; it really could not be better.”

2nd Niki Terpstra (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I thought it was a good breakaway partnership, he’s a fast rider for sure, but when we went away we still had three climbs to do. So I thought it was possible for me. I hoped to attack there and do something. But on the climbs he was super strong. On the Paterberg he set such a good pace that I could hardly even pass him. He showed his strength in the last weeks and it was true again today. In the last 10 kilometers when he was still there, there wasn’t much left to do. In the last 3 kilometers I stayed on his wheel because everyone knows how fast he is in the sprint. I hoped he was too tired to have a perfect sprint at that point. But even then, I came next to him when I launched my sprint, he accelerated, and then showed he was the best guy on the roads today. He deserved the victory. I have to be happy with my 2nd place. It’s a big result in a big Monument. Of course I’ve had too many 2nd places and my goal is to win, but considering the situation I am satisfied and am excited for next week at Paris-Roubaix. I’m showing my shape is very good and I am so proud that I will be wearing the No. 1 on my jersey as the defending winner. We will see what can happen next Sunday.”

3rd Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “In the end, I am happy I am on the podium, I had the legs to win, I think. I was feeling really good the whole day. I tried to make the race hard and when they went, there were were still some teams to control the race, so I didn’t have to go. In the end, we didn’t see them back anymore. I was just hoping they would wait for me a little bit because Kristoff is so much faster than Terpstra in the sprint and last year they didn’t want to ride with me when I was with Stijn Vanderdenbergh, so I was hoping today I could come back. But I couldn’t make it anymore.”

5th Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal): “I’m really happy with this result, it’s a surprise. In Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke I already surprised myself, but I hadn’t expected this at all. The team gave me the task to respond to moves of the second-line favorites from the Taaienberg on. I already thought that was ambitious, but I felt really strong. On the Kruisberg I even accelerated. Kristoff and Terpstra attacked afterwards, it was impossible to bridge to them. At the end I jumped away and only Lars Boom joined me. He took over and together we rode to the finish where I beat him for the fifth place. This race is a monument and close to my home. Of course I dream about it. That I am fifth at my debut is really special. Next Sunday I’ll start in Paris-Roubaix and then I’ll take some rest. Afterwards the team and I will decide about my race program for the rest of this season.”

8th Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal): “In the first part of the race I could hide really well in the bunch. Marcel Sieberg was my guide. On the second ascent of the Oude Kwaremont I kept an eye on all movements and I reached the top in the first part of the peloton. After the Koppenberg Lotto Soudal had three riders in the first group. On the Kruisberg there was an acceleration of Tiesj. Next it were Kristoff and Terpstra who attacked. I was boxed in at that moment. Afterwards the gap was too big to make the jump on the second part of the climb, on the Hotond. I was afraid I wouldn’t make it if I did. André pulled at the front of the group and also one Sky rider chased. I had hoped also Astana and BMC would help. Tiesj and I did well on the third ascent of the Oude Kwaremont. I had a difficult moment on the Paterberg. Sagan and Van Avermaet created a gap there. The differences between the three groups fluctuated. Tiesj and I had agreed to attack or respond to attacks in turn. Eventually Tiesj got away with three kilometers to go.”

9th Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It’s difficult to say how the loss of my teeth affected my performance, but it’s really not nice to deal with it in such a big race. I was distracted by it and didn’t know what to do. It happened before the second trip up the Kwaremont. Because it’s a bridge, it was moving, so I took it out. It’s not the best feeling to ride without teeth. But anyway, as for my race, I felt pretty good. On the Kwaremont chasing behind Niki we rode away with Thomas, but the gap just wasn’t big enough. Niki was in front of us and it would be dangerous to bring him back. I sat on the wheel of Thomas, and then before the Paterberg I almost closed all the gaps forming between the riders, and it maybe cost me the power I could have used to be with Van Avermaet and Sagan when they went away on the Paterberg. But that is also part of teamwork for Niki ahead. I think my shape was good. But it was an odd race. With my teeth, and all the bizarre crashes happening, it was truly strange. But De Ronde I really think is the most beautiful race in the world, between the parcours and such a big public that truly loves this race. Now I look next to Paris-Roubaix, another race I am so passionate about.”

10th Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling): “It’s a good 10th place, but it still leaves me with a slightly bitter taste. It was a race of attrition and I managed to keep my place in the group of favorites. Kristoff and Terpstra got a gap and I did not react fast enough, which can be said for the others as well. And then it was the same situation when Van Avermaet and Sagan accelerated. I also tried my luck with four kilometers to go because you just need two seconds of the others being inattentive or refusing to react and then you can finish alone. Had that worked, I could perhaps have bridged up to the leading duo, and in a worst case, finished 3rd. But I will remember particularly the excellent work of the entire team. We were united and raced with a collective spirit, which is encouraging for the upcoming races. From my side, I have felt good since the Tour of Catalonia. That’s one reason I am not totally satisfied with my day. I hope I will recover now and can concentrate on having another great race over the cobbles at the Hell of the North.”

Break-away rider Matt Brammeier (MTN-Qhubeka): “I had to go pretty deep to get into the break. We did more than 50k’s in the first hour I think. Getting into the break was my objective for the day and also its kind of my specialty so I put everything into it. I never quite recovered from that effort and after that I just tried to go as deep into the race as possible. As soon as I was caught by the peloton I was a spent force and my race was soon over. I am really happy with how I rode in my first Ronde, it is our teams mission to put 5000 kids on bicycles through Qhubeka this year so it was great to put our message out there again. I think I can be proud of myself and I’m pretty sure I will look back on today as one of my best days on a bike. The atmosphere and support out there was pretty insane, what a day!”

Read the full race report on PEZ here.

De Ronde van Vlaanderen Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 6:26:38
2. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:07
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:17
5. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:35
6. Lars Boom (Ned) Astana
7. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin at 0:48
8. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Martin Elmiger (Swi) IAM Cycling.

De Ronde Action:

header-3daagse15Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde 2015
For the first time in the 39-year-old history of the Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde a rider won three stages in a row. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was that man. Kristoff took his third sprint win in three days beating Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) in a super close sprint at the end of Stage 3a. It took a while for the officials to decide about the winner. In the end the finish photo made clear that Kristoff wins with a margin of 3/10000 of a second, some 5 millimeters.


Thanks to the stage winner’s 10-second time bonus, Kristoff now leads overall by 26 seconds. The final overall classification will be decided in the afternoon 14.2km time trial around De Panne.

Stage winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): I think I’ve never experienced such a close win. A draw would be a nice result too. For me we could have been both on the podium, we both deserve it, though I am happy with this verdict too, of course. I started my sprint a bit from too far, just like I did in Milano-Sanremo. There was more head wind than I expected. Greipel was in my wheel and he almost came around me. I had of course the experience with this short morning stage. It is my fifth Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde and I won this morning stage already two times before. Three in a row is unique but I don’t think I will make four in a row. There are here better time trial specialists than me. I need to go full gas to lose as less possible seconds and to finish as high as possible in the Overall Classification. In theory I can lose a lot in 14 kilometers. With a top three on the end podium I will be happy already.”

Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde Stage 3a Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 2:28:26
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
3. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
5. Jakub Marecko (Ita) Southeast
6. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Roompot
8. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ.fr
9. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar
10. Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles.

Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde Overall After Stage 3a:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 12:01:03
2. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek at 0:22
3. Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal at 0:23
4. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:26
5. Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Katusha at 0:32
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky at 0:54
7. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:56
8. Gerry Druyts (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace
9. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:58
10. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC.

Stage 3a:

It was a week of success in Belgium for Team Katusha and Alexander Kristoff. After winning all three road stages, Kristoff took on the challenge of the Stage 3b individual time trial on Thursday afternoon and managed a third place finish to keep him on the top step of the podium for the general classification. Kristoff is the first Norwegian to win 3 Days of De Panne.

After the early morning road stage won by Alexander Kristoff, the afternoon gave way to stage 3b in the individual time trial. As the race leader, Kristoff was the last from the start house on the 14,2 km course and knew the time he had to beat to retain the race lead. Kristoff not only maintained his GC lead but he also put up a remarkable performance in the time trial and took third place behind Bradley Wiggins (Sky) and Stefan Küng (BMC).

For the overall classification, Kristoff held off Devolder and Wiggins by 23 and 42 seconds in the final, marking the 12th win of the season for Russian Team Katusha and ninth in 2015 for Kristoff. He now looks to Sunday’s Ronde van Vlaanderen, where he hopes to carry his good form.

Overall winner Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): “I was not able to win the time trial but I felt that I did a very good time trial. I managed to push the entire way and I am happy. This is maybe my best time trial ever. I was a little bit behind (Stijn) Devolder halfway through but I think I did better in the second half on the corners and I took a little time back there. I was a little bit scared at the beginning but I managed to keep a good tempo for the ride. This is a big victory, especially since I have not been this good here in the past.”

2nd on the stage and 4th overall stefan Küng (BMC): “In the last five kilometers, I struggled a little bit and that might have cost me a few seconds,” Küng said. “But in general, I am very happy. I didn’t know how my condition was when I came into this race, so to finish it off like this gives me a lot of morale for the upcoming races.”

Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) 5th overall: “Before the time trial it was my goal to stay in top ten, but I was hoping for a place in top five. That I actually finish as fifth in GC is really satisfying. When you look at the other names in the top ten, this is a really strong performance. I took a fast start because the first part was really technical and suited me best. At the time check after 5.4 kilometers I was only twelve seconds slower than Wiggins. At the finish I followed at fifty seconds of him. In the second half of the race I lost the most time. It came down to power, I knew I would lose time there. A time trial over a maximal distance of fifteen kilometers suits me. To show off my skills even better the time trial had to be shorter. I notice I’ve made a big evolution since last year. I feel good and can play a role in my type of races. I proved that in Dwars door Vlaanderen and E3 Harelbeke. These Three Days of De Panne-Koksijde are actually three mini classics in a row. In the first stage I laid the foundations for a good GC, by bridging to Lars Bak and Jens Debusschere together with Bystrøm, Devolder and Kristoff. If you want to get a good overall result you have to be very concentrated and be attentive all the time for the corners, wind and all other obstacles on the course. It is tough mentally. That’s why I’m so glad I set such a good result.”

Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde Stage 3b Result:
1. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky in 17:50
2. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:10
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:18
4. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek at 0:19
6. Jesse Sergent (NZ) Trek at 0:28
7. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:31
8. Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:34
9. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:35
10. Jens Mouris (Ned) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:41.

Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde Final Overall Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 12:19:10
2. Stijn Devolder (Bel) Trek at 0:23
3. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:42
4. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:50
5. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:58
6. Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Soudal at 0:59
7. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 1:13
8. Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:16
9. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:17
10. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 1:20.

The final stage 3b:

header-volta-limburg15Volta Limburg Classic 2015
Stefan Küng led a 1-3-7 finish by the BMC Racing Team on Saturday at the Volta Limburg Classic while scoring his first road race victory as a professional. Two days after finishing runner-up to Bradley Wiggins (Sky) in the final time trial of Driedaagse De Panne-Koksijde, Küng was using his time trial talent again after slipping two others with 16 kilometers to go in the 198 km race. Küng sat up and coasted his BMC teammachine SLR01 across the line with both arms in the air 27 seconds before Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) edged Dylan Teuns for runner-up honors. Amael Moinard, in seventh, was the BMC Racing Team’s third rider in the top 10. Manuel Senni represented the BMC Racing Team in the day’s main breakaway of seven riders. With 40 km to go, the escapees were joined by chase groups that contained two more BMC Racing Team riders, Küng and Danilo Wyss. From there, Küng attacked with 22 km to go and only Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Dimitri Claeys (Verandas Willems Cycling) could initially follow.

Küng’s first professional season has already been a productive one. In February, he won the world individual pursuit championship on the track after riding on the BMC Racing Team’s winning team classification squad at the Dubai Tour. That added to European Under 23 titles won in the road race and time trial last year while competing for the BMC Development Team.

Race winner Stefan Küng (BMC): “Winning solo is always the best way to win,” Küng said. “When I was out there, I thought about the time trial at De Panne. In my head, I was thinking about how I did that one for training. Now I had to show that I was good. There was a climb and then a headwind before a left turn into a tailwind. Danilo said to me, ‘go’ and then I just went full gas and didn’t look back.”

Sport Director Jackson Stewart said some course reconnaissance on Friday set the stage for the BMC Racing Team’s fifth win of the season: “We rode the finishing circuit just to have a look and see if you could solo it in, plus we knew we weren’t going to see it on any of the laps. We knew it would be hard to chase on the narrow roads and that there would be a tailwind in the end. Kung was so impressive today. As great as our teamwork was, he really did a lot of the work himself.”

Cult Energy Pro Cycling’s Rasmus Guldhammer finished 5th: “It was a very tough race due to the pace, the terrain and the cold but I actually felt strong throughout the day. Naturally, I was in a world of pain in the final 15 kilometers but that goes for everyone. I tried to take my turns and contributed in the chase but I didn’t have the power in the tank to finish on the podium but I’m happy about my effort today.”

Volta Limburg Classic Result:
1. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC in 5:02:30
2. Maciej Paterski (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 0:27
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
4. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
5. Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy
6. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Trefor-Blue Water
7. Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC at 0:29
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:31
9. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:35.

Volta Limburg Classic:

header-gpindurain15Gran Premio Miguel Indurain 2015
Just over ten months ago Team Katusha rider Angel Vicioso wasn’t sure if his career was suddenly over when he suffered a complex threefold right femur fracture in the 2014 Giro d’Italia. But Vicioso felt there was more to give to the sport of cycling and his comeback victory in Saturday’s Gran Premio Miguel Indurain confirmed that the 37 year-old Spanish rider still has what it takes to win in professional cycling. It was his first victory for Katusha in a week that brings the total team wins to 13, seven of them coming in the last 8 days.

Last May 15 in the sixth stage of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, Vicioso, along with teammates Joaquim Rodriguez and Giampaolo Caruso, went down in a massive crash and had to abandon the race. Vicioso’s injuries were the most severe and one day later he underwent a 3,5 hour operation where his thighbone was repaired and screws were used to fixate the femoral neck. What followed were months and months of rehabilitation and hard training on the road to return to the sport.

The Gran Premio Miguel Indurain is the most successful race for Team Katusha. Since 2010 a rider from the team has either won or been on the podium in this popular Spanish one-day race. Vicioso now joins teammates Joaquim Rodriguez, Daniel Moreno and Simon Špilak in the winner’s circle.

The Gran Premio Miguel Indurain was held around Estella in Navarra, Spain (192,7 km). The race is famous with its hilly profile with a steep uphill finish on the way to Basilica de Puy. The race was controlled by Movistar, but Team Katusha in every moment also was in front to protect its interests in this race. Closer to the final of the race, Katusha became very active with a number of attacks. Angel Vicioso was among the riders, who attacked on the final kilometers together with Beñat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre (both Movistar) and Janier Acevedo (Cannondale-Garmin).

This group managed to get a half minute of advantage and to hold it until the finish line. In the powerful uphill sprint Angel Vicioso was the rider, who took a perfect win ahead of Ion Izagirre (Movistar) in 2nd and Intxausti (Movistar) 3rd. Another Team Katusha’s rider Daniel Moreno was 6th.

Race winner Angel Visioso (Katusha): “I am so happy! Especially after my crash last year, which I thought would end my career. Also, I am happy with this victory, because I really like this route. I take part in this race for the fourth time in a row and I was always good here. Today I was lucky and my family was here to support me. I am happy I was able to win in front of their eyes. The race was hard, we had to fight against a strong Movistar team. They were very active with a number of attacks, but Katusha also was there. Claudio Cozzi directed us so well. For me this is my first victory in 4 years, my debut win for Team Katusha, and I am really happy to bring it to my team!”

A special message from Katusha teammate Joaquim Rodriguez via Twitter after the race: “On May 15 I thought you would have to retire, and only you said no. No one deserves this more than you. You gave us a less in overcoming.”

Gran Premio Miguel Indurain Result:
1. Ángel Vicioso (Spa) Katusha in 4:56:42
2. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar
3. Beñat Intxausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:02
4. Janier Alexis Acevedo Calle (Col) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:14
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:39
6. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha
7. Amets Txurruka (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Francisco Mancebo Perez (Spa) Skydive Dubai at 0:41
9. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:46

Vicioso snatches win from Movistar:
gpindurain15-vicioso-620

header-vascoVuelta al País Vasco 2015
The Tour of the Basque Country or the Vuelta al País Vasco or if you prefer, the Euskal Herriko itzulia starts today (Monday) for five hard road stages and finishing with a hilly 18.3 kilometer individual time trial on Saturday. Many of the top team are riding as it is perfect training for the Ardennes classics.

The opening stage in Bilbao, 162.7km in total distance, includes three categorized climbs before descending into a flat finish, but is undulating throughout the parcours. Category 2 Alto de Vivero, 4.3km with an average gradient of 8.6%, will be an important moment at 13.5km to go in the race.

Stage 2, 175.4km from Bilbao to Vitoria-Gasteiz, starts easy but heads into Category 1 Alto de Orduna (7.6km at 8.3% average gradient) before the riders negotiate five Category 3 climbs, including the last two in a local circuit. The stage descends into a flat finale.

Stage 3, 170.7km from Vitoria-Gasteiz to Zumarraga, will likely be where the big action begins for the General Classification. There are eight categorized climbs that are close enough together along the parcours to allow for little recovery between them. There is another two-lap finishing circuit, but also some technical sections of descending all the way until a very slightly uphill finish.

Stage 4, the 162.2km queen stage from Zumarraga to Arrate, is yet another hilly affair with seven categorized climbs. The Alto de Arrate will likely play a role in the overall, as it is 7.3km at 6.71% average gradient, and the summit is just before the finale. There is then a tricky technical descent with turns until 100m to go in the stage.

Stage 5 from Eibar to Aia, the 155.5km penultimate stage, includes a final lap along the parcours of the ITT the next day. This stage includes nine categorized climbs and also the key point of a Category 2 finishing climb. This 1.5km ascent includes ramps between 12 and 17 percent, with the 17 percent being the last portion of the climb.

Finally, there is the individual time trial. Though a bit shorter in distance, it is no doubt challenging and can play a role in the GC. There is a descent for the first 10.7km before ramping up at the Alto de Aia (3.5km, 8.71% average gradient). There is then a descent before a final climb of 1.5km, with the summit just a couple hundred meters from the line. There are ramps between 12 and 17 percent, with the 17 percent being the last portion of the climb before finally flattening out just prior to the line.

Race website: https://vueltapaisvasco.diariovasco.com/index.php

Stages:
Tour of the Basque Country (Monday, April 6th – Saturday, April 11th):
Monday, April 6th: Bilbao – Bilbao, 162.7 km.
Tuesday, April 7th: Bilbao – Vitoria-Gasteiz, 175.4 km.
Wednesday, April 8th: Vitoria-Gasteiz – Zumarraga, 170.7 km.
Thursday, April 9th: Zumarraga – Eibar-Arrate, 162.2 km.
Friday, April 10th: Eibar – Aia, 155.5 km.
Saturday, April 11th: Aia – Aia, 18.3 km.

header-katusha15Team Katusha for the Vuelta al País Vasco
In the coming days Russian Team Katusha will start in the UCI WorldTour stage race Vuelta al País Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country). The Vuelta al País Vasco will be held next week from April 6th to 11th. Last year Simon Špilak finished 4th overall.

The Team Katusha roster:
Maxim Belkov, Alexander Kolobnev, Sergey Lagutin, Daniel Moreno, Joaquim Rodriguez, Simon Špilak, Angel Vicioso and Ilnur Zakarin.
Sports directors are José Azevedo and Claudio Cozzi.

Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodriguez:
tdf14st10-rodriguez620

Lampre Merida Team f_chiariSpain again on the WorldTour calendar for Lampre-Merida
The blue-fuchsia-green team will take part in Vuelta al Pais Vasco from the 6th to the 11th of April.

Rui Costa will be the captain of the team, he recently obtained 4th place in Paris-Nice and in Milano-Sanremo he was making a good performance before he got involved in a crash. The Portuguese top rider will receive the support by a strong group of team mates. Bono and Plaza will guarantee perfect shelter from the wind, Serpa and the young gun Conti will give their support on the climbs, Polanc and Mario Costa will have the task of joining the breakaways and to support Rui Costa.

The additional value to the team will be Diego Ulissi, who’ll be back to races in Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He’s aware that he won’t be competitive as the other top riders, so he’ll be available to give his contribution to achieve the team’s goals.

“Rui Costa will be our captain, he demonstrated in the recent races he took part in that his form is good,” sport director Mauduit said. “It won’t be easy to achieve the top results, because Vuelta al Pais Vasco is always a demanding race and the opponents’ quality level will be very high. It will be fundamental to act as a united group in order to face in the best way the characteristics of the course and to support Rui in the best way as possible, also considering that Ulissi will be the additional value to the team. The fourth stage with the arrival in Eibar and the 5th stage with the summit arrival in Aia will be the key ones for the overall classification, but don’t forget the final individual time trial.”

Rui Costa:
Evento Merida 2014

header-lottonl-jumboleftPais Vasco exciting challenge for Bennett
George Bennett is Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s main man for the overall in next week’s Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. The New Zealander wonders what he can pull off in the autonomous Spanish region after knee problems forced him to abandon the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.

“There’s still some irritation, but my knee is OK,” Bennett said. “Since Catalunya, I passed many days trying to heal my knee, but I’m back on the bike doing easy rides. My general condition is completely unknown to me. For sure, I will know a lot more after the first days. If I don’t lose too much time there, I can be strong enough by the decisive stages.” The 24-year-old from New Zealand is ready to fight. “It’s always a special opportunity to lead a team, and I’ll fight as much as I can for the boys,” he added. “I’ve done the training. Let’s see how much the injury has set me back.”

Frans Maassen
Sports Directors Erik Dekker and Frans Maassen head to the Basque Country with a number of riders that struggled with their condition over the past few weeks. “We will find out how good we are during the week. Of course, we want to achieve results, but for some, it’s going to be too difficult.”

Team line-up:
George Bennett, Brian Bulgac, Martijn Keizer, Bert-Jan Lindeman, Nick van der Lijke, Timo Roosen, Mike Teunissen & Kevin de Weert.
Sports Directors: Erik Dekker & Frans Maassen.

George Bennett:
george-bennett-lottonl-jumbo15-620

header-lottosoudal15Lotto Soudal: Vuelta al País Vasco
The hardest one-week stage race according to Mario Aerts, preparation for the Ardennes classics for Jelle Vanendert

​The 55th edition of the Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco, the Tour of the Basque Country, is just like the past years a WorldTour stage race suited for the climbers. From Monday 6th April until Saturday 11th April the peloton has to cover the Basque hills. Sports director Mario Aerts analyses the chances of the Lotto Soudal riders.

Mario Aerts, sports director: “We have several riders who can go for a good GC. A top ten spot is the goal. That won’t be easy, because the tradition goes that there are a lot of strong riders at the start. Bart De Clercq proved to be in shape last week in the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. Maxime Monfort is our second guy for the overall standings. Also Louis Vervaeke could show himself. Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens just came back from a training camp in Tenerife. So it will be awaiting how they recover from the first stages. But they can both choose a stage to shine. The same goes for Jelle Vanendert. This stage race is the ideal preparation for the Ardennes classics, in which they will compete.”

“Tosh Van der Sande has a chance in the second stage to Vitoria. He gained a lot of confidence because of his bunch sprint win for the fourth place in the opening stage in Catalunya. Dennis Vanendert could go for an attack, and maybe the attack could last until the finish line. We will see day by day how we handle the race. The overall standings will play a role in this choice.”

Hard stage race
“The Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco is the hardest one-week stage race there is. I’ve experienced it myself as a rider (as a rider Mario participated ten times, LTS). The tempo is fast and the climbs come in a rapid succession. The same hills come back each year, sometimes in a different order, but the race directors add new climbs each edition. There are plenty of climbs in this region. The second stage, to Vitoria, normally is the least hard stage where a group of eighty to ninety riders arrives at the finish together. Now extra climbs are added. For the GC riders all stages are worth paying extra attention.”

For Jelle Vanendert the Vuelta al País Vasco is the last preparation for the Ardennes classics. How does he try to peak in that period?

Jelle Vanendert: “The Vuelta al País Vasco is the last straight line towards the Ardennes classics. Like Mario Aerts said, this is a hard race. I’ve never set a really strong performance in this race. This is because I train a lot in the period towards the Ardennes triptych. If I have a chance to score I will take it, but the main goal is to prepare myself for the Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

Peak in the Ardennes classics
“Until now, the season was very good for me. Except my crash in the Ruta del Sol, my preparation towards the classics was good. I’ve completed all my scheduled trainings, except this week I had to adjust my training scheme because of the bad weather. I shortened my road training, and trained more on the rollers. I’m someone who can peak to certain races. It’s not easy to explain how I succeed in it. First of all I make sure I have a good basic shape and I build further on that with intensive trainings and races. Often, riders try to be good just with training. I train a lot to improve my basic shape and try to grow stronger in races, like next week in the Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco.”

“It’s never a guarantee for success, but I feel good two weeks before the Amstel. The Amstel, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège suit me all three. In the Amstel I was two times second (in 2012 and 2014, LTS). On the Cauberg you can really make differences. This remains the case even as the finish line is drawn several hectometres further. I’ve got a small preference for La Doyenne, but I would be very happy to win one of these three races in my career.”

Selection Lotto Soudal:
Bart De Clercq, Tony Gallopin, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Kurt Van de Wouwer.

Tony Gallopin: Successful in the Basque Country:
Classica San Sebastian 2013

header-tinkoff-saxo15Tinkoff-Saxo looking to boost shape and create opportunities at tough País Vasco
Tinkoff-Saxo enters Vuelta al País Vasco with the ambition of building race shape during the demanding six days of racing. With several riders, including Rafal Majka, bouncing back from a period of illness, Tinkoff-Saxo scans for possibilities to build power and animate the race.

Lining up at the start is Rafal Majka, Robert Kiserlovski, Edward Beltran, Evgeny Petrov, Bruno Pires, Pawel Poljanski, Chris Anker Sørensen and Oliver Zaugg. Tinkoff-Saxo sports director Sean Yates notes that the team starts with no absolute captain but expects the riders to support each other and animate the race, when the possibilities arise.

“Initially, our team captain was Kiserlovski, who should secure a GC result. But right now he’s in the process of getting back into shape after a tooth operation that required a break. We got Rafal, who is looking to boost his shape ahead of the Ardennes Classics, and we hope that he’ll do well during some of the harder stages in the second part of País Vasco”, says Sean Yates and adds about the race objectives:

“We have strong names on the roster, but right now they are a mixed bag of guys, since some of them are getting back from injuries and sickness and others are in the process of building their shape. So everyone will get their chances and they are ready to support each other. We are going into the race with the ambition of giving the guys a chance to prove themselves, but ultimately you can only do as well as the legs allow. That’s why, considering the competition of guys like Quintana, who has shown strong shape, we need to be realistic”.

With Tinkoff-Saxo divided into four squads during Vuelta al País Vasco all at different races and camps, Yates notes that it isn’t feasible to aim for a top GC result at all races.

“We have groups of riders at the Classics, Circuit de la Sarthe, Training Camp on Tenerife and here at País Vasco, so even for a team of our stature it’s necessary to tone down the race ambitions at some races. We aren’t pressuring Rafal Majka to deliver in the GC, he has goals at the Amstel, Fleche and Liége, but if he’s feeling well, then we know that he can do well in the kind of terrain that the pack will face”.

“Chris Anker and Pawel Poljanski were both doing well just before Criterium International but they had stomach issues during the race. However their shape is good and I know that they want to do a good performance. It’s a hard race route with an 18k TT on the final day, however we’ll probably be racing in more friendly weather conditions than what we traditionally witness at País Vasco”, finishes Sean Yates.

tinkoff-pais-vasco15-620

header-giantalp15Giant-Alpecin to País Vasco
Team Giant-Alpecin is back in WorldTour stage race action next week at the six-day Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco. Tom Dumoulin (NED) returns to racing here after two weeks of training and preparation, building for his season’s objectives and the Dutch time trial champion will have an eye on the final day’s individual time trial.

Dumoulin is joined by Lawson Craddock (USA) who made a return to racing at last week’s Volta Catalunya, as well as road captain Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Carter Jones (USA) and Daan Olivier (NED) who were also racing in Catalunya. The team is then completed by Caleb Fairly (USA) and Cheng Ji (CHN) who recently raced at the Criterium International, as well as Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE) who will line-up for the first WorldTour race of his young career.

Team coach Christian Guiberteau (FRA) said ahead of the race: “Pais Vasco is one of the hardest one-week races on the calendar so you have to be quite open minded coming into it. We come here with Tom as a leader as he prepares for the Ardennes Classics, and this race was selected as one of the best for this.

“The goal for the team as a whole is to go for stage opportunities where we can and also for Tom to test himself in the time trial. Hopefully we can have a good race and come out of it having shown ourselves and worked on our processes as a team.”

The six-stage race features three tough rolling stages before two mountain-top finishes and then a final 18.3km individual time trial. It’s a race that often attracts some of the world’s best climbers but the different stages will present various opportunities for the strengths of Team Giant-Alpecin.

Line-Up:
Lawson Craddock (USA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Caleb Fairly (USA), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Carter Jones (USA), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Daan Olivier (NED).
Coach: Christian Guiberteau (FRA).

Tom Dumoulin:
giant-aplecin15-dumoulin-620

header_movistar-leftQuintana back in País Vasco
Tirreno-Adriatico overall winner joins Movistar Team’s five Basque riders in Itzulia, which he conquered in 2013. Two years after his victory in the 2013 Itzulia, Nairo Quintana will lead the Movistar Team from Monday in the 55th Vuelta al País Vasco. The Basque event features plenty of mountains on stages three (Zumárraga), four (Arrate) and five, finishing atop of the ‘wall’ of Aia, which the riders will climb again during the 18km TT showdown on Saturday 11.

The telephone squad’s five Basque riders, Spaniard José Herrada and Italian Giovanni Visconti will join the Colombian in the biggest week of racing in Euskadi.

Vuelta al País Vasco (Monday 6-Saturday 11, 2.UWT):
Igor Antón, Jonathan Castroviejo, José Herrada, Beñat Intxausti, Gorka Izagirre, Ion Izagirre, Nairo Quintana, Giovanni Visconti.
Directores: José Luis Arrieta, José Luis Jaimerena.

Nairo Quintana:
power2max-quintana

header-iamcyclingTour of the Basque Country – Kjell Carlström: “The aim will be to do well as a team”
After spending a week in Catalonia, or getting familiar with the cobbles in Belgium, a portion of the peloton is off again to the Iberian Peninsula for the Tour of the Basque Country. Renowned for being very demanding, this is a race feared by the pack. “This is a very hard race because of the terrain, but also because of the weather,” directeur sportif Kjell Carlström explained. “In addition to the frequent showers that you get in this region this time of year, it can often be very cold. And to add to the difficulty, the roads are winding and narrow.” Yet in spite, or maybe because of how demanding this race is for the riders, it remains an important opportunity to hone form, and represents a key step on their preparation for future races. “If a rider is looking great, or even just good at the Tour of the Basque Country, that usually is an excellent signal that he is ready for the Ardennes classics,” Carlström confirmed.

The Swiss IAM Cycling team will be heading to Spain with definite ambitions and realistic goals. “It is a WorldTour race, so it is important to do well,” Carlström, himself a former racer, explained. “This level of competition allows us to see where our level is in relation to our competitors at this point in our preparation. For the IAM Cycling team, we are coming to this race with the specific goal to do well as a team, riding together and working well as a team. As far as some of the individual riders in the line-up, we always have high hopes for Sébastien Reichenbach, who should feel comfortable on this terrain which is suited to his strengths. But we’ll have to wait and see how his recovery has progressed after his little accident last week. He suffered a hematoma on his right kneecap, so we’ll have to see what he can do and whether his knee problem has been resolved. But we also have other cards to play, such as Jérôme Coppel, who is a very interesting rider for the mountains. We will be able to be active on several different terrains with our group, which is pretty homogeneous by now.”

Riders:
Clément Chevrier (Fr), Jerôme Coppel (Fr), Jonathan Fumeaux (S), Jarlinson Pantano (COL), Sébastien Reichenbach (S), Patrick Schelling (S), David Tanner (AUS), Larry Warbasse (USA).
Directeurs sportif: Mario Chiesa, Kjell Carlström.

Jerêrome Coppel:
iam-cycling-coppel-jerome

header-etixx-qr15Etixx – Quick-Step to Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
Etixx – Quick-Step has announced the selection that will participate in Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, an 844.8km stage race from April 6th until April 11th. The race includes five road stages and a crucial final ITT of 18.4km in Aia. Known as a hilly stage race, there aren’t many opportunities for the pure sprinters, but there are stages that can end in a reduced group sprint or the possibility of a bunch arrival for those who make it over the previous climbs of the day.

Etixx – Quick-Step rider and UCI World Road Champion Michal Kwiatkowski returns to the race after finishing 49″ down to 2014 winner Alberto Contador in the overall. Tony Martin also returns to the race. Martin, currently the German TT Champion and a three-time UCI World TT Champion, won the Stage 6 ITT in 2014, with Kwiatkowski placing 3rd.

Riders:
David De La Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), Michal Golas (POL), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL), Tony Martin (GER), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Petr Vakoc (CZE), Julien Vermote (BEL), Carlos Verona (ESP).
Sports Directors: Brian Holm (DEN) & Jan Schaffrath (GER).

Michal Kwiatkowski:
kwiatkowski-lombardia14-620

header-bmc15-rosterBMC: Vuelta al Pais Vasco
The BMC Racing Team’s roster for Vuelta al Pais Vasco includes Samuel Sánchez, past winner (2012) runner-up (2009) and seven-time stage winner of the Spanish race.

Among the riders joining him are world hour record holder Rohan Dennis, past world road champion Philippe Gilbert and Tour of Oman runner-up Tejay van Garderen, who was also a part of the BMC Racing Team’s world championship-winning team time trial squad.

The six-day WorldTour stage race begins Monday.

Roster:
Darwin Atapuma (COL), Brent Bookwalter (USA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Peter Stetina (USA), Tejay van Garderen (USA).
Sport Directors: Yvon Ledanois (FRA), Jackson Stewart (USA).

Samu Sánchez and Philippe Gilbert ride País Vasco:
Ster ZLM Toer 2014 stage - 5

header-dauphineCritérium du Dauphiné 2015: A Preview of July
The route for the Critérium du Dauphiné was revealed this morning in Lyon, in the presence of Rhône-Alpes Regional Counsel President, Jean-Jack Queyranne and Amaury Sport Organization Director of Cycling, Christian Prudhomme. The 2015 edition, that will debut and finish in the Savoie, will propose, via the nine regions it will cross, a selection of ascensions to satisfy as much the climbers as the more adventurous combative riders. The 67th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné will be held from June 7 to 14 over a demanding course that promises to be a wide open race and will feature the reintroduction of an unprecedented team time trial and four mountain top finishes. From Digne-les-Bains to Pra-Loup, on the same roads that will be used during the Tour de France in July, riders will have to demonstrate consistency in the mountains to be in with a chance of donning the Yellow and Blue Jersey after the arrival at Modane.

The 67th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné will get up and running with a short and hilly circuit located around Albertville. This circuit actually could give ideas to riders capable of escaping from the peloton and coping with the short Villard climb (1.2 km at 8.7%) six times. During the first days of the race, the sprinters plans will be subjected to the wheelers, who will most likely try to use the wind to their advantage and a torturous route in arriving in the Dombes district (on stage 2). In the Loire Department, the team time trial, which hasn’t been a part of the race since 1980, will be back this year and offers the teams the chance to get, on a rolling 24.5km course, a preview of the Tour de France TTT at Plumelec on July 12.

After a long route (228km) that will lead the riders to Sisteron (10 June), the second half of the race will feature severe gradients that should allow the more incisive climbers to standout. From Thursday July 11, the strong riders will come to the fore on a stage that can’t be overlooked by those who are looking ahead to the month of July. The 5th stage, identical in every respect to stage 17 of the 2015 Tour de France, will feature a grueling finish, which will include the Allos climb and its vertiginous descent before tackling the climb to Pra-Loup, where Criterium du Dauphiné race director, Bernard Thevenet, defeated Eddy Merckx 40 years ago on the tour de France. The return to Rhône-Alpes on Friday 12 June will be highlighted by five major difficulties, including the Rousset climb and the two-kilometre ascension towards Villard-de-Lans, as a preamble to a weekend that will not leave much observation time to the contenders for the overall victory.

After the opening 30 flat kilometers of a short 7th stage, a succession of five very demanding climbs, among them the Croix Fry climb (11.2 km at 7%) and the Aravis, that will serve as the first peloton breaker before the riders take on the daunting Amerands ascension (2.7 km at 11.2%), before the final climb towards Saint-Gervais-les-Bains. While the peloton will have to wait for the new and spectacular Montvernier switchbacks, also on the program of stage 18 of the Tour de France, to see the road rise again on Sunday the 14th, it is a safe bet that the general classification will be determined on the Modane hilltops on the final stage.

The stages:
Sunday 7 June, stage 1: Ugine > Albertville, 132 km
Monday 8 June, stage 2: Le Bourget-du-Lac > Parc des Oiseaux Villars-les-Dombes, 173 km
Tuesday 9 June, stage 3: Roanne > Montagny, 24,5 km (Team Time Trial)
Wednesday 10 June, stage 4: Anneyron – Porte de DrômArdèche > Sisteron, 228 km
Thursday 11 June, stage 5: Digne-les-Bains > Pra-Loup, 161 km
Friday 12 June, stage 6: Saint-Bonnet-en-Champsaur > Villard-de-Lans – Vercors, 183 km
Saturday 13 June, stage 7: Montmélian > Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, 155 km
Sunday 14 June, stage 8: Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc > Modane Valfréjus, 156,5 km.


[Critérium du Dauphiné] Parcours 2015 en 2D por tourdefrance


Les meilleurs moments du Critérium du Dauphiné… por tourdefrance

header-lottosoudal15Jurgen Van den Broeck goes to the Giro
It’s exactly five weeks before the start of the Giro d’Italia in Sanremo. The Lotto Soudal roster is almost ready. Jurgen Van den Broeck, André Greipel and Maxime Monfort are definitely part of the selection. Van den Broeck returns to the Grand Tour where he conquered a top ten place in GC for the very first time.

Jurgen Van den Broeck: “Of course I’m really pleased the team selected me for the Giro. It was already obvious for a while now that I won’t go to the Tour and that’s fine. Taking part in the Giro is a return to the place where it all began for me as a GC rider (in 2008 Van den Broeck finished as sixth, LTS).”

“On Wednesday I’ll head to Tenerife for two and a half weeks to optimally prepare myself. Then I’ll try to be as good as possible in the Tour de Romandie and then the Giro starts. The past few weeks I took part in two WorldTour stage races as planned: Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta a Catalunya. In Tirreno I was eleventh. Top ten would have been nicer, but I was close. In Catalunya the focus of the team and me changed when Bart De Clercq took the leader’s jersey.”

“Of course I will do everything I can to do well. I urged the team to select me and now I want to live up to the expectations. The Tour de Romandie will be a reference to see if a top ten in Giro is a realistic goal. I now feel much better than last year at this time of the year, because I had a tough winter period then due to the combination between my rehabilitation after my crash in the Tour and working on the basic condition. It was a long and hard road and I underestimated the impact.”

Manager Marc Sergeant: “I was pretty pleased with the performance of Jurgen in Tirreno. There’s not much difference between the eleventh and tenth place. He lost a few seconds in both time trials and at the summit finish, at the end that was the small difference between the sixth and eleventh place. If he had been 40th it would have been different. Jurgen let us know he really wanted to go to the Giro, we spoke about that and we all can benefit from a good result. Also mentally this is important for Jurgen, I think. He can do what he loves most, ride a Grand Tour.”

“First he’ll ride the Tour de Romandie. Two years ago he finished in top ten and we hope he can repeat that performance. If you want to be good in the Giro, you already have to be good in Romandie. That will also be the goal in the Giro. With a place in top ten I will be satisfied. That seems a correct goal to me for a rider who finished in top five of the Tour the past years and was thirteenth last year in difficult circumstances.”

Jurgen Van den Broeck:
tdf14st16-VDB

header-etixx-qr15Quick-Step extends sponsorship deal with Etixx – Quick-Step for Two More Seasons
Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team today announces a renewal of its long-standing sponsorship by Quick-Step, a trendsetting manufacturer and distributor of hardwood, laminate and luxury vinyl flooring The contract, which was set to expire at the end of the current season, will be extended for another two years, until the end of the 2017 season.

On the eve of the Tour of Flanders, the spotlights are once again on team manager Patrick Lefevere’s World Tour cycling team. With five victories in the last ten editions of this mythical classic, the Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team hopes to add another prize to its trophy cabinet. In this light, the news about Quick-Step renewing its commitment to the team comes as a welcome boost for its talent-packed roster.

A mutually beneficial partnership
Quick-Step’s love of cycling started in 1999 when the flooring division of the UNILIN Group entered the peloton as co-sponsor of the Mapei – Quick-Step Cycling Team. Four seasons later, in 2003, Quick-Step stepped up this commitment when it became one of the main sponsors of cycling team of Patrick Lefevere. The 12 seasons since then have been a success on all fronts. While Patrick Lefevere forged one of the strongest teams in professional cycling history, Quick-Step gradually raised worldwide awareness about its brand.

“Quick-Step has been there since the very start of our team”, says Etixx – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere. “I believe our loyal and mutually beneficial partnership with Quick-Step is one of the most powerful in cycling. Quick-Step is part of the DNA of this team. Together we have written some great pages in cycling history and I’m sure there will be more to come throughout the next two years. We’re proud to have two main sponsors with a profile that is so similar to that of our team: Belgian roots, but with an international impact and likewise recognition. We’d like to thank Quick-Step for their continued trust in us, as a team and as an important way to increase their brand awareness.”

Sharing the desire to win
Paul De Cock, President at UNILIN, division flooring, explains the chemistry between Quick-Step and the world of cycling: “Over the past sixteen seasons, our international sponsoring strategy has been pivotal in enhancing the reputation of our brand. I don’t think that we could have ever found a better match than this one. The resolve of Niki Terpstra, the sheer power of Tom Boonen, the elegance of Michal Kwiatkowski … I think the perfect rider has a lot in common with a Quick-Step floor: a fine blend of robustness and style. What’s more, we share with the team a common passion for design and innovation as well as an eye for the smallest details.”

Since the team welcomed Czech businessman and cycling aficionado Zdenek Bakala on board in 2011, the team has been stronger than ever. De Cock: “His drive and commitment to make a lasting impact on the world of cycling have been an inspiration to all of us at Quick-Step. We look forward to the coming years. Not only do we have some of the most talented riders of the pack, we also have an outstanding staff and top-notch infrastructure in place. I am sure this partnership will continue to prove a successful one, both for the team, and for Quick-Step as a leading flooring brand.”

Etixx – Quick-Step Team Presentation 2015:

2015 Tour of America’s Dairyland Race Venues
In 2014, the Tour of America’s Dairyland (“ToAD”) presented by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board hosted nearly 6,000 racers of multiple categories from Junior to Pro level, from 43 U.S. states and 20 countries across 11 days of racing. Nearly $175,000 in cash and primes was awarded before an amassed record- breaking crowd of 160,000 cowbell-clanging spectators.

Continuing the momentum, ToAD race promoter Midwest Cycling Series, LLC, has released its 2015 schedule for the seventh year of the omnium competition, which will travel to 11 Wisconsin communities, including two new race venues, in as many days, June 18-28, 2015.

Thursday, June 18: Shorewood Criterium Cycling Classic
Friday, June 19: East Troy Cycling Classic (Criterium)
Saturday, June 20: Giro d’ Grafton (Criterium)
Sunday, June 21: Waukesha Carl Zach Cycling Classic (Criterium)
Monday, June 22: Milwaukee Mile Circuit Race at State Fair Park (NEW VENUE)
Tuesday, June 23: Schlitz Park Criterium (Downtown Milwaukee)
Wednesday, June 24: Elkhart Lake Road Race at Road America
Thursday, June 25: Oshkosh Criterium de Titan
Friday, June 26: The Café Centraal Bay View Classic p/b the KK BID (Criterium) (NEW VENUE)
Saturday, June 27: ISCorp Downer Classic (Milwaukee’s Eastside)
Sunday, June 28: East Tosa Gran Prix (Wauwatosa)

Online registration will open by mid-April. Updates will be posted on the Official Website (www.TourofAmericasDairyland.com), on Facebook (Tour of America’s Dairyland), and on Twitter (@ToADcyclingrace).

ToA_dairyland_top

header-redbullDanny MacAskill’s Solar Eclipse Ride
Lot’s of work for one photo. Nice video though.


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