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EUROTRASH Lombardia Monday!

Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team made sure he won the Tour of Lombardy with a very controlling ride. That’s the TOP STORY and we have video, results and reports from Lombardia, Milano-Torino, Gran Piemonte, Sparkassen Münsterland Giro and the Tour de l’Eurométropole. Marcel Kittel leaves Giant-Alpecin and more contract news. A big EuroTrash Monday.

TOP STORY: Has Nibali Saved his Season?
First, his season hasn’t been that bad with a second in a row National road championships, the Trittico Lombardo, Coppa Bernocchi, Tre Valli Varesine and second in Coppa Ugo Agostoni, 3rd Memorial Marco Pantani, 4th Overall in the Tour de France with a stage win and now the Giro di Lombardia victory. He didn’t ride the Giro to save his strengths for the Tour and he couldn’t get on the podium (4th at 8:36 to Froome) and then he was thrown off the Vuelta for holding onto a car. Many riders would love to have a palmarès including those results. A win for an Italian in Lombardia is always going to be big home news and any Classic win is something to be proud of, but Nibali is a Grand Tour winner with a win in all three. This year, DNS, 4th and DNF doesn’t look great.

Il Lombardia cycling race

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Giro di Lombardia 2015
Vincenzo Nibali was one of the favorites for Sunday’s Giro di Lombardia and his all powerful Astana team made sure he was at the front when it mattered. Behind him; Daniel Moreno (Katusha) came close to catching Nibali after his attack, but in the end the man from Messina held him off by 21 seconds at the line. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) was 3rd at 32 seconds with the remainder of the final split a further 14 seconds behind.

After a wet start, eventually an 11 man group escaped with: Stefan Schumacher (CCC Sprandi), Enrico Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Matteo Busato (Southeast), Dennis Van Winden (LottoNL-Jumbo), Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin), Pier Paolo de Negri (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Marco Canola (UnitedHealthcare), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18), Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling) and Oscar Gatto (Androni-Giocattoli). They took a maximum lead of nearly 9 minutes, the peloton was controlled mostly by Astana with help from Etixx – Quick-Step and Movistar. By the start of the Madonna di Ghisallo they were down to 2:30.

On the Ghisallo; Benedetti and Canola dropped the other while Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step), Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Tom Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin), Matteo Trentin, Carlos Verona, Lukasz Wisniowski (Etixx – Quick-Step), Jon Izagirre (Movistar), Robert Gesink, Timo Roosen (Lotto NL-Jumbo) and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) rode away from the peloton.

On the Muro di Sormano; Kwiatkowski and Wellens caught and passed Benedetti and Canola. Behind Astana continued to keep the speed high and by the top there were only 20 riders left in the chase group with many top men behind, including last years winner Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) and two time winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC). The Civiglio climb saw the end of Kwiatkowski and Wellens hopes and the lead group was down to nine riders: Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Katusha), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Diego Rosa (Astana), Mikel Nieve (Sky), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Sergio Luis Henao (Sky).

Nibali made his first attack and Sky’s Sergio Henao pulled him back. Nibali attacked again on the climb with 17 kilometers to go and had a gap which he made the most of on the descent building up more than 40 seconds. The group behind couldn’t organize themselves to make a proper chase. On the final climb, the San Fermo della Battaglia, Pinot jumped away in pursuit, and was joined by Moreno before he left the Frenchman to get with in 12 seconds of Nibali. That was as close as the Spaniard got to Nibali and by the line the Italian had 21 seconds.

Giro Il Lombardia 2015

Lombardia’15 race winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana): “I knew the roads very well because I often train around Sormano, San Fermo and the villages near Lugano. That made it even nicer to win today. On Friday I reconned the race route to study the new race finish, with the innovation of the Civiglio climb followed by San Fermo. I liked the idea of a long range attack, because it was a very hard finish which did not suit the really light climbers. I carefully measured the distance from the Civiglio to the finish line, with the descent and then the valley road to the foot of San Fermo. I checked how far apart the climbs were, because I knew that the Civiglio could be the crux of the race. The art of descending: I can’t explain how I descend the way I do. You either have it or you don’t, I think, although, as a descender, Sagan is even crazier than I am: at least I try to keep a margin for error. Everyone knew that I wanted a result today, which meant that I was very closely marked on the way up the Civiglio. We all had the same number of kilometers in our legs, and it wasn’t easy to invent a race-winning move, but I managed to come up with something at the top of the descent. I was kept constantly aware of what was happening behind me. I built a good lead and I knew the reaction from the chasing group would be strong, but I rode at a very even pace and, once I reached at the top of San Fermo, the ride into Como seemed to go by in a moment. I have always wanted to win a big one-day classic, and I’ve come close in the past. I’ve always been competitive in one-day races although, since I started concentrating on three-week tours, I’ve lost some of my acceleration. But when there are very hard climbs, like today, it’s easier for a climber like me, and finally to take the win here means a lot to me. I’ve often had good form here, only for a fall or a bit of bad luck to intervene. But now I have won, and I’ve always said that a win in Il Lombardia is worth a Liège-Bastogne-Liège.”

2nd, Dani Moreno (Katusha): “Yes, I am very happy with my performance. It was a nice race and I was able to get a very strong result. I am happy to bring this podium in Lombardia to Team Katusha. I know the victory was very close, but I did all I could in this race, so I can be satisfied with the result. It’s a pity “Purito” missed Il Lombardia because of his knee, maybe we could realize different tactics today. Anyway, I think today’s podium is a good result for me and this is a really strong finish of the season.”

Marcel Wyss (IAM Cycling): “The Tour of Lombardy is really a separate race. To get a result here, you have to have all the best qualities. For my part, I was not able to fight at the front, but I had to finish this classic as a way to forget the bad season I have had. I will take some rest to prepare for the 2016 season in order to regain the level I had two years ago. I never felt comfortable all day. I just had no juice, no legs, and it was illusory to think that I would have a chance to do something special in such a difficult race.”

Jérôme Coppel (IAM Cycling): “I returned home from Richmond very late since there were problems with my flight. I only got to our team hotel late Saturday night. In addition to that, I have not yet caught up with the sleep that I needed. So I chose to get into the break because it was the best thing for the team, the best way I could help. But we have to recognize that on such a course, one cannot pretend to be fit for long. I am still happy with the sort of results I have for the second half of this season, with my title as time trial champion in France, and then having had a good Vuelta, and the bronze medal in the worlds time trial. This will give me the chance to end the season full of motivation for 2016.”

Giro di Lombardia Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 6:16:28
2. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:21
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:32
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:46
5. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana
6. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky
7. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:56
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
9. Sergio Luis Henao (Col) Sky
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:10.

The Tour of Lombardy:

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Milano-Torino 2015
Astana’s Diego Rosa won Milano-Torino on Thursday with a strong attack on the final climb of the day with around 3 kilometers to go. Wout Poels (Sky) jumped after him, but Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) caught him and headed off after Rosa, but couldn’t catch him before the line. Fabio Aru rode into 3rd place by passing Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) in the last kilometer.

Samuele Conti (Southeast), Alessandro Malaguti (Nippo-Fantini), Nicolas Lefraçois (Novo Nordisk), Luca Chirico (Bardiani-CSF) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) escaped in the first 10K’s to a maximum lead of 5 minutes. Movistar and Astana didn’t let them take any more tome and with 40 kilometers to go they had just over 3 minutes, at 30 out they had 2 minutes and with 25 kilometers to race they were caught. New World TT champion, Vasil Kiryienka, kept the speed high for an attack by Leopold Konig, but Astana pulled him back. On the last climb of the day there were many attacks before Rosa succeeded in escaping and heading for the finish.

Milano-Torino ​cycling ​race

Race winner, Diego Rosa (Astana): “I knew that I was in good form today. Normally, I work for the team, so today was a big opportunity for me. What is more, I live nearby in Alba, so there were lots of fans at the roadside, cheering me on. This is my first win as a professional, and to take it here in Turin is beautiful. I have to thank the team for their work. Now let’s see what we can achieve on Sunday.”

2nd, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Today I didn’t feel so much comfort. I’ve been home from USA for just two days and I could feel that the body clock wasn’t adjusted fully. But I’m satisfied both with my second place and in the end also with my shape. Today was an important test ahead of Lombardia and I think that my legs will respond better on Sunday. The condition is there and that’s probably why I was able to push on and attack. I was unsure about how competitive I would be on the final climb so I decided to attack early on, nearly at the bottom of the climb to try to open up the legs. My teammates supported me the entire day and Poljanski and Chris Anker were very important on the way to the final climb, where they positioned me, and also on the climb where Chris did a lot of work at the front. I could see that they were fighting for me – that was a boost. Normally I want to win in a situation like this, but I’m satisfied today. Diego Rosa was very strong, he attacked at a good moment and it wasn’t possible for me to catch him before the finish line after I had attacked the last time.”

Milano-Torino Result:
1. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana in 4:27:51
2. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:16
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:18
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:20
5. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:23
6. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 0:32
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 0:36
10. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:39.

Milano-Torino:

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Gran Piemonte 2015
Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale) made a late jump from what was left of the peloton at the end of the Italian Semi-Classic, Gran Piemonte. He held off Matteo Trentin (Etixx – Quick-Step) by 4 seconds as Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) brought in the bunch.

Roman Campistrous (AG2R-La Mondiale), Serghei Tvetcov (Androni-Sidermec), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18), Gianluca Brambilla & Michal Golas (Etixx – Quick-Step), Lawrance Warbasse (IAM Cycling), Chun Kai Feng (Lampre-Merida), Giacomo Berlato (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Alan Marangoni (Cannondale-Garmin), Timo Roosen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Sky), Fabio Felline & Marco Coledan (Trek Factory) made up the day’s break. They were never allowed much more than 2 minutes by the Movistar team. With 70km to go the chasing bunch split, but with 50km to go it was all back together as the escape was being pulled in.

Golas crashed 30km out and the break started to fall apart with Felline, Roosen and Brambilla out front with Lampre-Merida leading the bunch all the way into the last 10 kilometers. What was left of the break was caught with 7 kilometers to go and it was time for Bakelants to solo to the finish.

GranPiemonte ​cycling ​race

Race winner, Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale): “Yeah, I have won on a Belgian day. It rained: I like that mostly, but today I was not so happy with it because my goal was to ride a really good race in Il Lombardia on Sunday, and preparation is less good when it rains like this. But in the end I was still there, and when I was sure that I was going to finish, I decided it was better to have a good try than just stay in the bunch, just to say afterwards, “Yeah, I finished.” So, when I saw the little ramp 7km from the finish line, I tried full gas. I had a nice gap on the top, and from there I was just going all out, and I was still strong enough to hold off the group. Actually I was only sure when I took the last corner, because it was not looking to me they were really far. I have often been in this sort of situation, and I know the peloton can really speed up on roads like this. So I was never confident, although I knew one thing: if I could take the last corner with a little bit of a lead, normally I would make it to the line. At 1km I looked back once, and I saw them actually pretty close, and I was a bit concerned, but in the end it turned out to be more than enough to celebrate also. It hasn’t been a bad season, although it was a bit difficult in the beginning because I had mononucleosis. I suffered a bit from this in the start of the season. Then I had some good results, I have had three second places in which I thought sometimes I could have won also. But I didn’t, so there was always this regret not to have won yet this season. AG2R expect victories and some good results from me, and I am happy I can pay back their confidence and offer them this nice GranPiemonte.”

17th, Marcel Aregger (IAM Cycling): “A rider got in my way on the finishing straight. I’m disappointed because I had the legs to grab a place in the top-10. Unfortunately, it is not possible to run the race over again. And I do not really want to since we were racing in the conditions more typical in the spring classics. We had tons of rain and cold and then were racing over little roads with all sorts of turns, left here and right there. Personally I am still motivated. Racing my second Vuelta has given me another gear. I hope to prove that next Tuesday at Binche-Chimay-Binche.”

Gran Piemonte Result:
1. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale in 4:17:53
2. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:04
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar
6. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Southeast
10. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin.

Gran Piemonte:

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Sparkassen Münsterland Giro 2015
Etixx – Quick-Step rider Tom Boonen was victorious in the group arrival of Sparkassen Münsterland Giro on Saturday, besting Jans Roy (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) for the 53rd road win of the season for the team. The race came back together with 12km to go in the race, bringing back a five-rider breakaway that had a 4:15 advantage with 85km remaining.

Cycling: Sparkassen Munsterland Giro 2015

“It was a nice race, with a lot of corners and a few cobblestone sections,” Boonen said after his win. “So it was a good, technical parcours. We controlled the entire race as a team, with the help of a couple other teams in the peloton. In the final Tony Martin tried to attack, in both the penultimate and last lap of the circuit. However, the peloton caught him. So we prepared for the sprint. The benefit of the circuit was that we saw the finish a few times. So when I entered into a right-hand corner inside the final kilometer, I anticipated and entered from the outside, so I could maintain a high level of speed as I exited. I then launched at around 300 meters to go. I went full gas with the speed I maintained through the corner, and I won. It’s always a good feeling to win, and it is proof my condition is there. I now go to Abu Dhabi Tour. I hope to do well there, and try to contest a couple sprints. We’ll see what can happen.”

Sparkassen Münsterland Giro Result:
1. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:10:23
2. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
4. André Looij (Ned) Team Roompot
5. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal
6. Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Pascal Ackermann (Ger) Rad-Net Rose Team
9. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Christian Delle Stelle (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

Cycling: Sparkassen Munsterland Giro 2015

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Tour de l’Eurométropole 2015
Jens Debusschere has won the Stage 1 of the Tour de l’Eurométropole. The stage started in La Louvière and finished after 164 kilometers in Chièvres. In the bunch sprint, Debusschere was faster than Raymond Kreder (Team Roompot) and Timothy Dupont (Roubaix-Lille Métropole).

After fifteen kilometers an early break of six riders went. Simone Antonini (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Christophe Prémont (Verandas Willems), Alexander Geuens (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace), Thomas Wertz (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Jayde Julius (MTN-Qhubeka) and Arthur Vanoverberghe (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) managed to get a maximum lead of 4:30. Christophe Prémont won all the GPM’s and starts in the mountain jersey tomorrow.

With only thirty kilometers left, the breakaway was caught. Quickly, eight riders took off: Olivier Le Gac (FDJ.fr), Pim Ligthart (Lotto Soudal), Ludwig De Winter (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Giuseppe Fonzi (Southeast), Jan Dieteren (Leopard Development Team) and Emiel Wastyn (Verandas Willems). They didn’t get more than 25 seconds from the peloton. Five of the eight attackers didn’t want to settle with a bunch sprint and attacked again. Le Gac, Ligthart, Wallays, Van Melsen and Wastyn got caught with only five kilometers to go.

In the bunch sprint, Jens Debusschere showed his fast legs and won in front of Raymond Kreder and Timothy Dupont. Jürgen Roelandts became fifth. This victory is his fourth win of the season, after he already won a stage in the Tirreno-Adriatico, GP Wallonie and Omloop van het Houtland. Also this win is the 40th UCI win for Lotto Soudal this season! In the general classification Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondial) keeps his yellow jersey.

Stage winner, Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal): “Today was an easy day. The breakaway went early and afterwards the team of the leader controlled the race. Only in the last lap we had to work. At one and a half kilometers to go, I still had four teammates in front of me. Sean De Bie, Tosh Van de Sande, Kenny Dehaes and Jürgen Roelandts put me in a perfect position to do my sprint. The tempo that they rode was so high that nobody else could pass us. Jürgen started his lead-out on the right moment and I just had to time my sprint. This was just a perfect lead-out! My prologue wasn’t that bad, but also not super good. A better result wasn’t possible. I did my very best and couldn’t go faster. But the overall feeling in the prologue was good. Tomorrow will be the second decisive day for the general classification. If there is as much wind as today, they will definitely race. I know the climbs in the local lap well. Occasionally, I ride those hills on training. A top 10 in the general classification is still possible. Both Jürgen, Sean and myself are still close in the GC. We will wait and see how the race goes.”

4th, Nikolay Trusov (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Today we had a windy stage. The last part of the race was very controlled. I want to thank my teammates for supporting me, especially Gogl and Tosatto, who were protecting me during the stage. Michael Mørkøv brought me into a good position in the bunch sprint. It was very, very fast, faster than 70 km/h and I ultimately took 4th place. I’m satisfied with this result, but of course, I wanted more. Tomorrow I expect a different stage, it will be hillier and we will ride on the Gent-Wevelgem parcours. I think tomorrow’s stage is not for pure sprinters but I’ll see if I can reach the finale in the first group.”

8th, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling): “I was not missing much to grab a better result today, but a sprint is always a bit special. The final was very nervous when Aleksejs Saramotins and Sondre Holst Enger had to give all their energy in the last two laps to ensure that we stayed in contact with the leaders. The finish line came after a slight downhill, and for such a finish, we really had to have perfect timing. For this first stage Jens Debusschere and his team were simply the strongest. However, I what I will take away from this is that we have a very good team, and are in an excellent position to have a strong showing here in Belgium. So if we didn’t get the victory today, we will certainly have one by the end of the week.”

Tour de l’Eurométropole Stage 1 Result:
1. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 3:46:22
2. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot Oranje
3. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
4. Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Daniel Mclay (GB) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
7. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis
8. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
9. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha
10. Roy Curvers (Ned) Giant-Alpecin.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Overall After Stage 1:
1. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 3:57:45
2. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:03
3. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:12
4. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:15
5. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:17
6. Olivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems
7. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:18
8. Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC at 0:19
9. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:20
10. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha at 0:21.

Belgium has often smiled on IAM Cycling in general and Jonas Van Genechten in particular. His first success of the season came in July at the Tour de Wallonie. Now he has once again had the opportunity to raise his arms in triumph at the finish of Stage 2 on Friday in Poperinge for the Eurométropole Tour. On the heels of extraordinary team work, and in spite of the abandonment of Aleksejs Saramotins in the middle of the stage, Jonas Van Genechten dominated the sprint, beating both Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) and Louis Verhelst (Cofidis). Completely in control in the final straight, Van Genechten chalked up IAM Cycling’s fourteenth victory of the season. Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), who finished in the peloton, retains his lead in the overall classification.

Stage winner, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling): “To be quite honest, after the first stage, we were clearly still not satisfied, hungry for more, we were disappointed. With the team that we have brought here, we have the strength and talent to accomplish great things. Last night we had a small meeting to talk precisely about how we can change and improve in our approach to the finish. And it turns out that that focus has paid off. Everything worked perfectly on Friday. The team sacrificed themselves 100% for me. This victory is a tremendous relief for me, especially since there are not a lot of opportunities to win remaining this season. It takes a lot of the pressure off. Now I would like to ride for my teammates, for instance for Sondre Holst Enger. He sacrificed himself for me these past two days, and I would like to return the favor.”

Theo Bos (MTN-Qhubeka): It was the first time I have been part of a final in a very long time, Tour of California was the last time actually, it was very painful but I enjoyed it. There was a lap with a few climbs, my job was to try survive and then make a good sprint. I did the lap in the past but never got to the finish in the first group. Today the weather was perfect, sunny and no wind so I gave it a good go. The whole team supported me for the entire stage and that gave me extra drive to want to dig deep. In the last kilometers I was alone and had to follow the moves of the other teams. That went well but at 1km to go I got passed by a lot of riders just before a crucial right hander. I just had to hang on and suffer from there. I didn’t have the strength to come back to the front and do the sprint. I felt the legs were good and I did a good race but I’m disappointed with my timing in getting to the front in the last kilometer. Overall though, I’m happy the legs are strong again and I could be part of a final after 200km of racing. The goal for the final 2 stages will be to do a good sprint now.”

Tour de l’Eurométropole Stage 2 Result:
1. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling in 4:26:51
2. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
3. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis
4. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ.fr
6. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Justin Jules (Fra) Veranclassic-Ekoi
8. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Floris Gerfs (Ned) BMC
10. Dennis Coenen (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 8:24:36
2. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:03
3. Matthias Brandle (Aus) IAM Cycling at 0:12
4. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 14
5. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:15
6. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:17
7. Olivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems
8. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:18
9. Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC at 0:19
10. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha at 0:21.

After the stage win of the previous day for the IAM Cycling team: Chance or luck plays an integral part in constructing a team’s success. It became clear that the good fortune that followed IAM Cycling throughout the second stage of the Eurométropole Tour, was conspicuously absent on Stage 3 in Belgium. Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) took his share for the win. After a final stretch of about 300 meters, Theuns outpaced Michael Van Staeyen and Louis Verhelst, both Cofidis.

Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling): “We cannot have the perfect chance to win every day, unfortunately. We did exceptional work on Friday, as we did also on Saturday. Each team member tried to make the perfect contribution to build up to another win. But sprints are like this; it’s just like an authentic Belgian kermesse. The race is so nervous, everyone starts to bang shoulders. It’s amazing. We tried to place ourselves in the best way to approach the finale, and I am satisfied with the attitude that we had. The team did a lot of work, even if the outcome was not as great as we would have liked. I am here to help Jonas Van Genechten one hundred percent. I just got back from the world championships in the United States, and to be quite honest, I was not feeling that great at the start of the race. Finally, the days go by and I am re-finding my good condition. I hope I can confirm this in upcoming races.”

Tour de l’Eurométropole Stage 3 Result:
1. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 3:44:28
2. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis
3. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
5. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot
6. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling
7. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha
9. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Roy Curvers (Ned) Giant-Alpecin.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Overall After Stage 3:
1. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 12:09:04
2. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:03
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:11
4. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:12
5. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:15
6. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:17
7. Olivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems
8. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:18
9. Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC at 0:19
10. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha at 0:21.

Stage 3:

The Swede Jonas Ahlstrand (Cofidis) won the Final Stage 4 of the Tour de l’Eurométropole at the end of 153.8 kilometers from Mons to Tournai. The last stage had to climb the Col de la Croix Jubaru nine times. Lammertink (Team Roompot), Julius (MTN-Qhubeka), Laborie (Bretagne-Seche Environnement), Van Zummeren (Verandas Willems), Fournier (FDJ.fr) and Ista (Wallonie-Bruxelles) made the break of the day, but in the end Ahlstrad took the sprint from Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling) and Raymond Kreder (Team Roompot). Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale) held on to his advantage from the prologue to take the final overall victory.

2nd on the stage, Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling): “The last sprint was again very nervous because everyone of course wanted to play their chances. With Jonas Van Genechen, we were on Heinrich Haussler’s wheel but it was hard to keep the position. Then Jonas led me out perfectly; he did a terrific job trying to launch me. So I am naturally a little disappointed because all these great riders made sacrifices for me, and I could only manage second place. That’s a good result, but being so close to the win…When I am in good condition, the small climbs like we had on Sunday in the final circuit do not bother me. I am a sprinter, but climbs that aren’t too intense will not cripple me. Now I will turn my attention to Binche-Chimay-Binche, my next race on Tuesday. There are only two races to go for me this season, bit I really want to have another victory.”

2nd overall, Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo): “It’s always a pity to finish second, but it was the highest possible place this week. We tried to do something, but Gougeard was too strong. It was nice to go for a good result in the general classification. Normally, I’m working for our front men, but the team supported me this time. I’m grateful for that. I’m finishing my season with a good feeling and I’ll take this with me into the next year.”

8th on the stage, Theo Bos (MTN-Qhubeka): “It was a good day. It was pretty hard because of the climb on the circuit, especially the last 3 times up the climb when the GC guys were racing for the bonuses. I know the lap well from last year and always believed it would come back for a bunchy. In the final I was together with Stauff and he took me to the front before the last corner. From there I followed the sprinters teams. Maybe if Stauff and I waited until after the corner and then went together more would have been possible but that’s always easier said in hindsight. I’m pretty happy with 8th place at the moment but it would be nice to do a better result next week.”

Tour de l’Eurométropole Stage 4 Result:
1. Jonas Ahlstrand (Swe) Cofidis in 3:22:19
2. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling
3. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot
4. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Roubaix Lille
7. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Theo Bos (Ned) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Overall After Stage 3:
1. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 15:31:19
2. Martijn Keizer (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:07
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:11
4. Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling at 0:16
5. Olivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems at 0:18
6. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:19
7. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:21
8. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:22
9. Tom Bohli (Swi) BMC
10. Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Katusha at 0:25.

The final stage 4:

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Team Giant-Alpecin Parts Ways With Marcel Kittel
Team Giant-Alpecin announces that it will rescind the contract with Marcel Kittel (GER) at the end of this season. He had one year remaining on his contract. The German sprinter recently indicated to the team’s management that he wished to make a fresh start. Kittel wishes to get the difficult 2015 season behind him and achieve new goals in new surroundings, rather then doing so in the improvement-driven elite sports environment of Team Giant-Alpecin.

Kittel experienced a disappointing season. A series of minor injuries and setbacks prevented him from living up to expectations, and having to start all over again in building up his form several times during the season, as well as the unsatisfying performances according to his standards, made it a hard year for Kittel.

The team’s CEO, Iwan Spekenbrink commented: “Marcel has meant a lot to the team and has been a great ambassador for us. Therefore, we immediately decided to respond positively to his request and release him from his contract. His request came very late in the season, but nevertheless he looks able to find and join a suitable team, which makes it realistic to actually release him. Marcel is a great athlete and it will be good for the sport of cycling, for the fans and, most importantly, for Marcel himself if he can produce great sprints again next season, which was an additional argument to respond favorably to his request.”

Kittel said: “After my last setback, where I had to skip still more races, it became clear to me that I want to make a fresh start after a physically and mentally difficult year. When I shared this wish with the team, I was aware that it’s uncommon to release a rider from his contract before the end of the term. Therefore, I very much appreciate that Team Giant-Alpecin placed my personal wishes above the concern of losing a rider so late in the season and that it was receptive to my request to try and find a new team, which is something quite rare in the hard world of elite sports. I knew it would not be easy to make it happen this late in the season, but fortunately I expect to be able to find a suitable team, where I will race for the next few seasons. I am looking forward to it.”

In a way, the release of the powerful sprinter also symbolizes the team’s commitment to its elite sports DNA, the “Keep Challenging” approach – which is very demanding for the athletes and the organization in its focus on continuous improvement of both the athletes and the innovative supporting environment.
Marcel Kittel experienced beautiful highlights in his career thanks to this approach, his teammates and, of course, his great talent. The Keep Challenging approach enabled the team to identify Kittel’s sprinting potential and help him transform from a time trial rider into one of the most successful sprinters of recent years, with many wins, including multiple Grand Tour victories, which excited fans all over the world.”

The team’s decision to grant Kittel’s wish to be released and to remain close to its DNA is a choice for the long term and reflects Team Giant-Alpecin’s commitment to ensuring the continuous development of the athletes and the team, as well as the breakthrough of new cycling stars.

Spekenbrink concluded: “We want to thank Marcel for the great contribution he has made to the team since 2011. We really enjoyed his sprinting talent and the unforgettable moments we shared together, and we will continue to be proud of the sprints he will deliver in the future, as he will always be a ‘product of our school.’ We wish Marcel all the best in his future career.”

Marcel Kittel:
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Oliver Zaugg, Tour of Lombardy winner in 2011, to wear the colors of IAM Cycling in 2016
IAM Cycling is continuing its campaign to sign the riders who will join the team for its second season in the WorldTour. After having signed Leigh Howard, Vegard Stake Laengen, and Oliver Naesen, the Swiss professional team has secured the services of Oliver Zaugg for the 2016 season.

The 34 year old (born May 9, 1981) climber from Pfäffikon, Switzerland, has for years lived with his family in the Ticino region of the country. Zaugg, who is coming to the team having raced the past three seasons with Tinkoff-Saxo, has had two major successes in his career: a stage win in the 2011 Tour of Spain after which he surprised the whole cycling world with his victory at the Tour of Lombardy that same season. The following year he succeeded in finishing a strong 8th place in the Tour of Lombardy. In 2014, he finished in second place during a difficult stage of the Tour of Spain and also notched up a seventh place overall in the 2014 Tour of Austria.

For 2015, luck has not been with Oliver Zaugg. Though he started off strong with a good 18th place in the Tour of Dubai, Zaugg was unable to race for a large portion of the season after he suffered a hard crash at the Tour of the Basque Country.

IAM Cycling welcomes him to the team and believes that he will once again be at the front of the action next season.

Oliver Zaugg:
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Quaade signs one year contract with CULT Energy-Stölting Group
CULT Energy-Stölting Group has signed a one year contract with time trial specialist, Rasmus Quaade. The 25 year-old Dane had a rough spring campaign where he was constantly weakened by illness but in the late part of the season, he re-found his strength, delivered a powerful performance in Tour of Denmark and finished 5th overall in Poitou-Charentes.

André Steensen says: “Rasmus had a season where he had to make the transition to the professional field and this season, he has had far more focus on road racing than before. Most of us remember that Rasmus took on the challenge in the spring campaign and showed a lot of guts by participating in a number of breakaways in for instance Liege Bastogne Liege, which requires stamina and dedication. In addition, we have seen that as the season has progressed, he has become stronger all the time, and his performance this fall in Poitou-Charentes and the Tour of Britain provides us with high hopes for the next season. With a pro-season behind him and a good winter break where he can recover, I’m confident that he will be able to combine his TT skills with his road race experiences, which will provide us with opportunities in several stage races with a time trial, and therefore we look forward to continuing working with Rasmus for the next season.”

Rasmus Quaade says: “I’m definitely content with my final part of the season while I can’t say the same thing about the early months of the year where I was struck by illness most of the time. However, I’m happy about being able to continue my development at CULT Energy-Stölting Group. I’m grateful that the management has been aware of my track career and has allowed me to take part of the 4000 meter Danish national squad. I’m confident that I’ve grown as a rider this year and I’m looking forward to bringing my experiences into 2016,” says Quaade.

Rasmus Quaade:
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Matteo Tosatto to continue with Tinkoff-Saxo in 2016
The statesman of the professional peloton will continue providing his invaluable services to Tinkoff-Saxo for another year, his sixth with the team. His experience and determination will be an asset in the squads that will help Alberto Contador and brand new World Champion, Peter Sagan, in 2016.

Tinkoff-Saxo is pleased to announce Matteo Tosatto’s renewal for 2016 and looks forward to having him by the side of our captains in next season’s races. His experience, determination and focus are the key factors that make him an important member of a Grand Tour squad and helper of big-name riders.

Tosatto will now embark on the final races of the season in Italy and Abu Dhabi. Ahead of the races and the 2016 season, Tosatto elaborates on his renewal with the team, his goals, his nearly 20 years as a professional rider and what keeps him motivated to fight at the top of professional cycling:

How do you about feel renewing with Tinkoff-Saxo?
“I’m, obviously, very happy to be with this team for another year. I was already thinking about continuing and after the Giro d’Italia I saw I was still at a very good level and I could be useful to the team in 2016. I had a number of offers from other teams but staying with Tinkoff-Saxo was my priority. I wanted to continue being part of the group of one of the world’s best riders, Alberto Contador, and with Peter Sagan now crowned World Champion, I am convinced I made the right choice.”

What motivates you after nearly 20 years as a top-level professional rider?
“At this stage, motivation is mental. It’s my head that drives me and the goals and objectives I have. It’s extremely important to have clear goals in order to stay motivated. If you don’t have this mental drive it will be very difficult to have the physical stamina to keep on riding. My goals might change every year but they keep me concentrated and willing to train, to live an athlete’s life and go to races in top form.”

“I could even say that in some occasions, in 2015 I felt better than 2014, especially at the Giro. I raced in top form and never felt worn out, even after the toughest stages. I raced in the Classics, the Giro and the Tour in very good shape, always pushing myself to stay motivated. One year more or one year less doesn’t make much of a difference physically, it’s your head that dictates your state.”

Since goals are so important, which are your main ones for 2016?
“One of the team’s main goals is for Alberto to be at the Tour de France in peak form, with a very strong squad around him. As a result, my main goal is to be at 100% of my form, physically and mentally, at the Tour in order to give my best for Alberto, the way I did this year at the Giro and Tour. If the team, prior to that, calls me to help Peter in the Classics, then I will be there to support the new World Champion, again in the best shape I can be.”

How much different is training at 41 to training at a younger age?
“It’s considerably different. You have to train more to achieve the same result. When you are younger, you are explosive, physically you are much fresher and you can recover faster. As you get older, you have to be more careful with your nutrition, your daily schedule, your sleeping hours, in general you have to live the life of a top athlete and abide to stricter rules. However, that doesn’t bother me and I know that this is also due to the evolution of the sport in recent years.”

How much has cycling evolved since 1997?
“There has been a huge change in professional cycling in the last 20 years. It requires much more sacrifices now and no matter what race you take part in, the peloton has a very high level of preparation. There has been a tremendous evolution as well in the technical aspects and there is an unprecedented attention even to the smallest details in materials, clothing down to sunglasses and helmets.”

“Twenty years ago going to a wind tunnel was unheard of, while now one of the first things you do early in the season is to find your optimal aero position on the bike by carrying out wind tunnel tests. The way we race as well has changed. In the past, riders had more freedom while now we follow a much stricter tactical plan and we are in constant contact with the sport directors, at least in the major races.”

Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
“In hindsight, I don’t think I would change anything because I started young, I had my chances to win, I won a stage at the Tour and the Giro, I pulled on the pink jersey and had my satisfactions. I then found my personal dimension in this sport, which was to be a key helper to team captains. That helped me as well and gave me the opportunity to be in big teams, supporting big-name riders. I don’t consider this to be a minor achievement and the fact that there are various teams that would like to have me in 2016, at 42 years of age, in their squad is an important recognition of my value.”

“The Tour stage I won in 2006 is the victory I’m most fond of because the Tour is the most beautiful and important race in this sport. I haven’t had the opportunity to take part in the Olympics and represent Italy and it is something I would have liked to do. However, I have no regrets with what I have achieved in my career and I am now fully focused on the remaining races in Italy and Abu Dhabi and on helping my captains next year.”

Matteo Tosatto:
TDFR 2014 - stage -10

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20-year-old Sam Oomen Joins Giant-Alpecin in 2016 for 3 years
Team Giant-Alpecin is pleased to announce that Sam Oomen (NED) has signed a contract to race with the team for three years, until the end of 2018. With this contract, the second-year espoir turns pro at age 20.

Oomen, currently riding for Rabobank Development Team, is recognized as one of the biggest talents of his generation. This year he won the opening stage and final GC of the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour; won two stages at the Tour des Pays de Savoie and placed second in the final GC; and finished second at the Tour Alsace, fourth at the Tour de l’Avenir, and eighth at the Tour de l’Ain.

“We are very proud that Sam has chosen to ride for us,” explained Team Giant-Alpecin coach Marc Reef (NED). “With his talent and palmarès in the U23 category he is a very interesting rider, and we are happy that he has recognized the value of our team and our top sports vision. The Keep Challenging approach is very demanding, not least for the riders, but we are pleased that Sam wants to start this process together with us. We are confident that our approach will enable him to develop optimally as a rider.”

Oomen said: “Team Giant-Alpecin showed their interest from the beginning of the year and have been concerned with who I am as a person. They’ve made a good plan for my development for the next three years, and I got the feeling that they really want to work with me.

“I am very satisfied with my season, with good results at the Tour de l’Ain and the Tour de l’Avenir, and I hope to continue like this. I received a good education at Rabobank Development Team, as they gave me the space and opportunity to grow, and I made a huge step in my development there.

“I hope to become a complete rider with strong abilities in the hills as well as stage races. For next year I want to invest a lot, learn from the team, and contribute to the team’s process and my role on the team. I hope to become much stronger and be able to maintain myself at the highest WorldTour level.”

Sam Oomen:
WK in Richmond - Roadrace men under 23 2015

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Van Winden extends contract with team LottoNL-Jumbo
Dutchman Dennis van Winden extended his contract with Team LottoNL-Jumbo through the following 2016 season. He will continue to lead the yellow and black train in bunch sprints.

“Dennis van Winden signs a one-year contract extension,” sports director, Nico Verhoeven explained. “We didn’t extend the contracts of Laurens ten Dam, Rick Flens, Barry Markus and Brian Bulgac on the other hand. Dennis returned with our team in April and had a tough period in the beginning. That isn’t odd when you consider that he didn’t start this season as a full-time professional. He showed a very high level in the second part of this season. He gave us the confirmation in the Tour of Poland and the Vuelta a España. Our sprinters valued him highly as he is important element in the lead-out of the bunch sprints.”

Dream scenario
“I’m very glad to extend with LottoNL-Jumbo,” Van Winden said. “This is a dream scenario for me. It’s great that I have been able to return at this level, and so quickly. The difference between the continental level and the WorldTour is enormous, and I have bridged it. I’ve been back on my bike only since January. It’s easy to improve in the first part of your rehabilitation, until you’re back at seventy per cent it goes quickly, but it becomes quite hard after that point. I faced that during the Tour of California, but it went well afterwards. It was important that I finished the Vuelta. That was the final step for me. I realized that I’m part of a beautiful team and I want to use my experience to support Moreno Hofland and Tom van Asbroeck in the sprints.”

Dennis van Winden:
La Vuelta 2015 stage-19

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African cycling elevated further with more home continent renewals
After announcing a number of new additions to Africa’s Team this week, it is with great pride that Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, who are set to race as Team Dimension Data from 2016, are now able to confirm 6 more African rider renewals.

Youcef Reguigui, our Algerian fast man who took a stand out overall victory at this year’s Tour de Langkawi will remain with Africa’s team next year. Johann van Zyl, who in emphatic fashion won a stage of the Tour of Austria in July, will also continue his professional career with Team Dimension Data. Jaco Venter, our 2015 Vuelta a España road captain is another South African rider who will be racing for his home team next year.

Jay Thomson, now considered an experienced overseas professional, will add further horsepower to our line-up next year and remains a valuable asset in preparing the sprint lead outs. Songezo Jim, after completing his first Grand Tour this year as the first black South African in the history of cycling will look to continue his growth with us as well. Finally, Nic Dougall who has shown tremendous strength and promise this year, particularly in the time trialling discipline, continues with Africa’s Team into 2016.

With Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus, Natnael Berhane, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg all confirmed for 2016 already, the continued development of professional African cycling remains as the main driving force behind our team heading into the 2016 season.

In addition to the 11 African riders mentioned above, and the riders announced earlier this week, Theo Bos and Matthew Brammeier also remain with their original contracts continuing into 2016.

Additional rider signings can still be expected in the coming weeks.

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal
I am really excited that all these riders are staying with their “home” team, it is great to see the hard work and talent shining through this year and we received many of our successes from this group of riders. Largely due to our mentorship program with our international riders who have helped fast-track them to success through their knowledge of the racing and stature in the pro peloton. We are so happy that they can race in the biggest races in the world on our team and show their potential. They are living the dream on their bikes and racing for a cause that helps mobilize others on bicycles too through our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign. Next year will be another big year for our team, a year that we are all looking forward too.

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Gerdemann signs 2-year contract with CULT Energy-Stölting Group
CULT Energy-Stölting Group has signed a two-year contract with the experienced German rider, Linus Gerdemann who won Tour of Luxembourg this season. The previous wearer of the leader’s jersey and Tour of France stage winner is looking forward to the 2016 season: “I think we have had a good season as a new Pro Continental team and I’m looking forward to continuing working on the development of the team. This season we have had a good balance of young and experienced riders and it looks as though we’re going to have a lot of talents in our 2016 roster. I hope to be playing a role as captaine de route as well as pursuing results for the team,” says 33 year-old Gerdemann.

DS, André Steensen comments: “This year, Linus has been a valuable asset to the team. We have been able to benefit from his vast experience and expertise in the finals while he has delivered results on his own as well. It has been a pleasure working with him because he is both a rider who dares targeting the win, but at the same time he has the surplus energy to support our young riders and show them the way. With the talent we have on the team next year, Linus will play a key role and he has a lot of experience from the biggest races that we can all benefit from. By sharing the experience with our talents next year while even delivering results in the bigger races, I believe we will have a Linus Gerdemann at the highest level in 2016,” concludes DS, André Steensen.

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Crash-Cross!
The cyclo-cross season is upon us and here as some cross crash action:


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