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EuroTrash Flemish Monday!

It has been a very good week-end for British riders with Ian Stannard winning Het Nieuwsblad and Mark Cavendish taking the honors in Kuurne. Video, reports, rider quotes, results and ‘Top Story’ from Belgium. Plus: GP Lugano, Women’s Hour Record, Roubaix teams, GP Samyn, Richmond 2015 and riding in Italy.

TOP STORY: Three against One!
After watching Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad you might be wondering how a solo Ian Stannard can beat three men from the Etixx – Quick-Step, especially men of the caliber of Tom Boonen (Roubaix x 4, Kuurne, Wevelgem & Flanders x 3, E3 x 5, etc.) and Niki Terpstra (Qatar x 2, Roubaix, National champion x 2, etc.) and the less successful Stijn Vandenbergh. Well, it came down to nerves, cunning and luck. The three Etixx riders could have attacked one after the other, but then the chase group including Sep Vanmarcke and Greg Van Avermaet could have crossed the slim gap and then the tactics would have got really complicated, although they would have teammate Zdenek Stybar to help. It played into the hands of Stannard who sat on for 40 kilometers, covered all the attacks and then got rid of Vandenbergh and Boonen and out-sprinted Terpstra. Sounds easy, but I’m sure it wasn’t.

So what should they have done? Tom said it himself after the race: “We should have waited for the sprint.” Why didn’t Vandenbergh and Terpstra ride and Tom save his sprint for the finish.

When we spoke to Boonen earlier this year he said of the problem of having too many of your teammates in the front as a problem: “You know that makes it hard sometimes, it was also the first time for me to be in that situation and it can be a little bit confusing. ‘What do you have to do?’ Do you try to keep it together for one guy even though you don’t know if you will win or like what we did and try to have somebody in the breakaway and when Greg went have someone to stay with him straight away. That was also something that kind of blocked us, it was a strange situation. It’s something we really have to talk about: How can we take care that this doesn’t happen again. If we get beaten by a guy who is much stronger then OK, that’s not a problem. But if you have four guys in a group like that, then I think we could have handled that differently and I think we will in the future. Sometimes it’s an advantage; sometimes it’s a disadvantage because everyone looks at you.”

So they either didn’t learn from their mistake or were beaten by a stronger guy.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad  2015

header-hetnieuwsblad15Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2015
Ian Stannard (Sky) out smarted and out sprinted three Etixx – Quick-Step riders to take his second Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in a row. Niki Terpstra, Tom Boonen and Stijn Vandenbergh towed Stannard to the finish and then couldn’t get rid of the big man from Chelmsford before the line.

The early break went up the road in the first 10 kilometers, including: Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Matt Brammeier (MTN-Qhubeka), Christophe Laborie (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Michael Reihs (Cult Energy), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Louis Verhelst (Cofidis), Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) and Albert Timmer (Giant-Alpecin). They held a good lead until the Muur van Geraardsbergen after 83 kilometers, when Etixx – Quick-Step, Sky and Lotto-JumboNL began to chase. With a lot of work from Sky’s Bradley Wiggins and Bernhard Eisel brought the lead back to 3 minutes by the Kaperij climb.

By the Kruisberg the lead was down to 2 minutes as Brammeier put the pressure on in the break along with Timmer, Gougeard, Van Melsen, Verhelst and Laborie. Then on the Taaienberg Tom Boonen hammered on the front of the peloton causing the usual splits. Boonen was joined by Luke Rowe & Stannard (both Sky), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Edvald Boason Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) and Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step) and eventually 20 other riders. Up front Brammeier and Timmer had under a minute. On the Wolvenberg (50 kms to go) Rowe jumped across to Brammeier, but Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx – QuickStep) brought them back.

Vandenbergh and Boonen split the bunch on the Haaghoek cobbles at Haaghoek to be joined by Niki Terpstra, Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Steve Chainel (Cofidis). Vanmarcke was looking very strong, but punctured and Chainel was dropped and by the Leberg; Boonen, Terpstra and Vandenbergh were away with Stannard along for company. From then on Stannard sat on the Etixx – Quick-Step powered group as behind on the final climb, the Molenberg, Vanmarcke and Van Avermaet jumped away with Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step) in tow.

On the Paddestraat cobbles (30 kms to go), Boonen took a small lead forcing Stannard to pull him back, but with the chasers at only 15 seconds the Etixx men had to keep the speed up, which suited Stannard perfectly. Into the last section of cobbles Boonen tried again, but Stannard had it covered. Next to go was Terpstra, but when he was caught Stannard himself threw in an audacious jump with 3 kilometers to go which was too much for Vandenbergh and Boonen, only Terpstra could hold his wheel. Into the last meters Terpstra moved in front of Stannard, firstly to slow him to allow Boonen to catch up, but when it became obvious it wasn’t going to happen, the Dutchman started the sprint. Stannard was happy to take his wheel and power past for his second Omloop win.

Race winner Ian Stannard (Sky) told TeamSky.com after the race: “I couldn’t be happier. It’s nice to do the double sweep at the race, but after the difficulties I had last year breaking my back it’s nice to have got myself back to where I was. Being with those three guys I knew they were all committed to trying to win. As a team they haven’t won it for 10 years and it’s a big one missing off Boonen’s palmarès. I knew they were going to race hard. With Sep Vanmarcke and Greg van Avermaet chasing behind it put the pressure on them. I could just sit back, play a bit of poker and enjoy the ride. I just wanted to get a free ride for as long as I could. That was my idea. When they all started attacking me it wasn’t a great feeling. When Boonen went I was thinking ‘right, what do I do here?’ I knew if I rode him back I’d get attacked. I paced myself back a little bit. I could feel the wheel behind was trying hard to stay with me. So I felt like it was going pretty good and then I just took my chance. All the guys got me into the climbs perfectly. I felt a bit of pressure when you’ve got a Tour de France winner putting it all on the line for you. You can only really finish it off can’t you! The whole team has really lifted a level since last year. We were always at the front and always perfectly positioned. Quick-Step took me to the end and I only had to race the last 4km (laughs)!”

2nd Niki Terpstra (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It looked like it was going to be a nice day, everything went well, and then we came in front with three guys. All it took was a small acceleration on the Haaghoek. Stijn did it, and then Vanmarcke took over. We then saw some gaps in the front of the peloton. So I told Tom we would go full throttle at that moment. We went fast on the Leberg. The gap was there and we basically made it a team time trial with one guy on our wheel. It was a smart move by him, any of us would have done the same thing. In the final we attacked with the three of us in front. But after a few attacks he countered and then attacked. In the end I was alone with Stannard. I was in front for the sprint. I saw it was 300 meters and I decided not to go yet. Then I accelerated at 200 meters. Normally that is perfect for me, but I didn’t have the perfect sprinting legs after the big effort all day. I thought I had him until 50 meters in front of the finish line. I had nothing left in my legs at that point. Looking back, maybe it would have been better to wait for the sprint with Tom and not attacking, but it’s a question of moment and circumstances. Stannard was really strong in the end against our attacks, and deserved the win. Of course we wanted the win and this is disappointing. But it is also motivation for the upcoming races.”

3rd Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Today we made a mistake in the final. We were in control of the race with three riders in the front group. In the final kilometers we attacked. Niki went first, Stannard reacted, and then I countered with my move. I was pretty sure at that time that it was the right moment to do it. But Stannard had the strategy to ride on the wheels of us three in the lead group, and save his energy until the final kilometers, so he was a bit fresher. He was also strong today. So, he caught me. The best thing to do at that point would have been to stay calm and wait for the sprint. But we had been full gas for the last hour, so really it was about instinct at that point. So, Niki attacked again, then Stannard, and then the final sprint was between those two guys. There is a thin line between a great race and a costly mistake and unfortunately we took the risk of not waiting for the sprint, and it didn’t work out. It would have been great to win the race, but that’s cycling. Congrats to Stannard. He rode a smart tactical race and his reactions to our attacks were impressive. His sprint was also strong. As a team we rode super strong today and while we unfortunately fell short of victory, we know what we are capable of for future races.”

4th Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx – Quick-Step): “When Tom accelerated on the Taiienberg and a small group went away, I was a little bit behind. I was with Vanmarcke in the second group. We came back together, and on the Haaghoek I accelerated a bit together with Tom and we were able to make the selection. We quickly gained a gap with four riders and we pushed full gas until we had enough of an advantage to decide the race. Unfortunately we didn’t win, but we were strong collectively. The team will try again immediately tomorrow.”

5th Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo): “I don’t race to be the best man in the race, I always aim to win. The team kept me out of the wind all day, but after my punctures I knew it was going to be very difficult. I fought until the very end for my teammates and the fans along the side of the road, but unfortunately, it was not enough. Ahead of the Taaienberg I was exactly where I wanted to be, but with a few hundred meters to go to the foot, I flatted. Maarten Wynants gave me his wheel and told me I still had a chance. Thanks to an adrenaline boost I was able to return to the front. I knew at that point that I had to make it a hard race, for tactical reasons. Unfortunately I punctured again and Etixx – Quick-Step and Stannard benefited from this. We were one man short in the chase, otherwise we could have bridged to the leaders.”

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling): “When we hit the Haaghoek sector, I was a little behind and I saw them go. So after that I wanted to catch up on the Molenberg, I attacked with Philippe Gilbert and Marco Marcato. But Marcato left a 10 meter gap, so we rode until we could make it back on the last sector. A race in Belgium gives you very few options. If you waste energy at the wrong time, like when I was a little behind, then you will have very little luck since the legs will tell the whole story in the end. I didn’t feel too bad, but then in the final section my legs were a bit heavy. I am very happy, though, to be back in Belgium. The Belgian public, the atmosphere, it’s all what is special about racing in Belgium.”

Jens Debusschere (LottoNL-Jumbo): “When we covered the cobbles at Haaghoek for the second time I was just behind a crash. It wasn’t a decisive moment yet, but it did cost me energy to close the gap on the first part of the peloton. On the Kruisberg we were well positioned with the team. On the Molenberg, the last hill of the day, I had to brake because of a move of another rider. So I couldn’t even try to join the chase with Vanmarcke or Gilbert. The last twenty kilometers the peloton dropped the pace, I wanted to do my best to still get a nice result.”

Break-away rider Matt Brammeier (MTN-Qhubeka): “We had a good group out front today with the right combination of teams, riders and a couple of strong guys. As soon we got in it I knew it was a good group and we could go quite far. As every climb went by I just tried to push on and make it to the next climb and make it as deep into the race as I could. I made it up to the Haaghoek and then I tried to do as much as I could for the guys but I got a flat tyre there at the end which was a bit of bad luck. Maybe I could have done a few more pulls then but I would’ve exploded in the end anyway, so I am happy with my performance.”

Marco Marcato (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) was in a second chase group with two-times winner Gilbert (BMC) and Chavanel (IAM Cycling): “I didn’t feel bad at all if you look at my stomach problems which prevented me from completing the Volta ao Algarve. I just missed that moment on the Molenberg. Maybe I should have chosen Gilbert’s wheel but that is a split second decision.”

Full race report HERE.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad Result:
1. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky in 4:58:41
2. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:08
4. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:15
5. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:24
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
7. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:29
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 4:36
9. Luke Rowe (GB) Sky at 4:55
10. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr.

2015 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the final kilometers:

header-kuurne15Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne 2015
After the disappointment (disaster) of Saturday’s Het Nieuwsblad, the Etixx – Quick-Step team worked super hard to make sure they took the win in Kuurne. In the finalè they contained a late rush from BMC’s Philippe Gilbert and piloted Mark Cavendish to the finish line where he showed the in-form Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Elia Viviani (Sky) how to sprint.

The day started cold and at a steady pace as many of the peloton had raced the day before. After around 30 kilometers the break of the day formed with Mattia Pozzo (Nippo-Vini Fantini) Sjoerd van Ginneken (Team Roompot), Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar), Xandro Meurisse (AN Post), Fredrik Backaert, Dimitri Peyskens (Team 3M), Thomas Vauborzeix (Veranclassic-Ekoï) and Eugert Zhupa (Southeast). They managed to gain 3 minutes on the Katusha and Etixx – Quick-Step led bunch.

Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) put in an attack when the bunch reached the Côte de Trieu. By the next climb of the Oude Kwaremont, 19 riders were between escape and chase groups. With 50 kilometers still to go to Kuurne and MTN-Qhubeka, Cofidis and AG2R-La Mondiale all chasing, the race was all together and ready for a bunch gallop. Gilbert had other ideas and went for a solo ride with 4.6 K’s left, but the combined strength of Katusha, Sky and Lotto Soudal pulling the ex-World champion back with 800 meters to go. Katusha looked to be in control for Kristoff with Viviani stuck to his wheel. Kristoff hit the front first, but Cavendish had the speed to come round first Viviani and then the big lead-outNorwegian for a well needed Etixx – Quick-Step win.

Race winner Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I am super happy to win here in Kuurne. Raced it two times and won it two times. Especially after the unfortunate result of yesterday, it was nice to get a win today on the Classics Opening Weekend. The lads were super good. They committed 100 percent to me the whole day. We had a strong team here and they looked after me. Even in the front group that formed after the Oude Kwaremont, there were 19 guys there and we had five of our riders present. I think we’re one of the strongest teams and this shows the strength and depth of Etixx – Quick-Step. You saw it yesterday too. I mean, sure they didn’t win, but it was still an incredible display of strength by the team. So, we did the same today and to be caught, and flip the table so everyone then became 100 percent committed to the sprint, it was great. Tom’s won here three times, but he said on the bus this morning that he’d be my lead-out today. It could have been easy for him to want to go for his fourth win. But to commit for the sake of the team, and do what we had to do to win a race here is nice. Everyone turned their eyes to today and it was a good atmosphere from before the race all the way to the finish line. As for the sprint, it was far from easy against guys like Kristoff and Viviani. Kristoff is one of the best sprinters in the world and he is in super form. I’m proud to get a victory in my first sprint against him this year. It was hard all day and it wasn’t easy in the sprint. But I had great support from Etixx – Quick-Step and I’m happy to finish the job for the team. I think we’ve had a dozen wins now, and this is already a fifth of what we had last year for the entire season. I’m happy that I’ve contributed six of them, including my overall victory in Dubai. Everything is going well and I’m super motivated with this kind of support from Etixx – Quick-Step. Now I go next to South Africa for Cape Argus to represent Etixx – Quick-Step, and our partner Klein Costantia. It will be nice to go down there, see our owner Mr. Zdenek Bakala, and also support the charity action of MAD Charity. I will then come directly back for Tirreno-Adriatico. I am very happy with my form and we will see what happens next.”

4th Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNL-Jumbo): “When you look at the riders who defeated me today, I’m allowed to be satisfied with my result, those three riders are a little bit stronger and a lot more experienced than me. Especially the experience made the difference. I was also a little unlucky because, with 1,5 kilometers to go, I lost the slipstream of Robert Wagner. Because of that, I had to make my own way to the front. That was tough. All of them kept me out of the wind. I had a quick chat with Sep and he told me that he was going to give it all for me. That was just perfect. I was at the right place at the right time. I made a little mistake myself when I lost Robert’s slipstream. I had to pay for it in the end, the fourth place was the highest I could reach today.”

8th Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka): In the finale I was pretty close to Edvald and we were a little far back but were also moving up quickly. At 400m a rider hit the barrier and we had to stop pedaling for a few seconds and we lost our rhythm. Without this obstacle maybe we could have done better. As a team we still rode well to close the big after the Oude Kwaremont. We tried our best today and we can now only look forward to the next races.

Marcel Sieberg (Lotto Soudal): “I was riding on the front rows of the peloton on the Kwaremont. There fell a gap which I and some others closed in the descent. That way I got in a breakaway with Kris Boeckmans. Kris and I didn’t pull too much because Etixx – QuickStep had five guys in the group. It thought we could make it, especially with such strong riders. We didn’t know for sure how big the group behind us was and who’d do the work. There was a lot of headwind on the way to Kuurne, that was no advantage for us. The peloton closed the gap just before the start of the two local laps. Our whole team was still present, so we decided to put all on the sprint for Jens Debusschere. We came to the front in the last five kilometers. It was quite windy but we managed to stay together. I set up the sprint with one kilometer to go and led Greg Henderson and Jens Debusschere to 500 meters. Because of my acceleration I closed the gap on Gilbert. I have a good feeling after this Belgian opening weekend, better than last year. Now I’m going to Paris-Nice.”

Full race report HERE on PEZ.

Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:29:00
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
5. Daniele Colli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
6. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
7. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot
10. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling.

Kuurne final kilometers:

header-gpluganoGP Lugano 2015
Lampre-Merida added another victory after the win of Rafael Valls in Oman with the success of Niccolò Bonifazio in the GP Lugano, Switzerland. The young Italian sprinter is only 21 and won the sprint after 184.9 kilometers, getting the better of Francesco Gavazzi (Southeast), Matteo Montaguti (AG2r-La Mondiale) and Rasmus Guldhammer (Cult Energy) in fourth. The break of the day included: Monsalve (Southeast), McCarthy (Tinkoff-Saxo), Pibernik (Lampre-Merida), Coppel & Lang (both IAM Cycling), Bérard & Gretsch (AG2R-La Mondiale), Boem (Bardiani), Stortoni (Androni Giocattoli ), Antonio Nibali (Nippo-Vino Fantini), Dougall & Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka), Martinez & Quintero (Colombia), Brugger, Eckmann and Vaccher (Roth) – who led the race until 30 kilometers to go. Then another group of 8 riders formed before the last climb to Ruvigliana. On the descent to the finish Lampre-Merida pulled it all back together for Bonifazio to take the win.

Race winner Niccolo Bonifazio (Lampre-Merida): I’m very satisfied with this first of the season victory, GP Lugano is a demanding race and so this result makes me happy. The past season ended with many victories, so I could spend a calm winter and I trained with huge passion and with the aim of improving my skills. The 2015 began in Australia and from there my condition went better and better and now the level of my competitiveness is good, that’s why today I could avoid being dropped on the climbs.
I thank the team that supported me and I share this joy with my teammates.”

4th Rasmus Guldhammer (Cult Energy): “We were rocketing up towards the finish line and I was moving up to third place but the guy in front of me boxed me in close to the barrier so I had to break and move up on the other side of him with 50 meters to go and then it was too late. However, I’m happy about this result and the way we are riding together. Naturally, off the road, it’s been a rather chaotic week with the stolen bikes in mind but on the road, we’re getting stronger all the time.”

9th David Tanner (IAM Cycling): “I’d prefer to fight for victory helping a teammate faster than me in this kind of arrival. Today everyone had his own chance. We stuck together all day and were very good about anticipating the moves. We had two riders, Pirmin Lang and Jérôme Coppel, in the group of 17 that escaped, and so all the rest of us had to do was sit tight in the wake of the teams who had to work to bring them back. Then Jonathan Fumeaux and Sébastien Reichenbach both tried an attack on the final climb, but each time the peloton was able to reel them back in. Personally, I did not have that great of legs. I improved as the laps progressed, and then waited for the sprint knowing that I was not one of the best twenty riders in contention for the win.”

Ivan Basso (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I, personally, felt in top shape and that gives me great confidence for the next races and my personal goal, which is to help the team. I am already focused on the work I have to do this week, which will mainly consist of fine-tuning and paying considerable attention to the small details. I have to be in top shape for the Tirreno-Adriatico, where we’ll provide support to our team leader, Alberto Contador. At Tirreno, we will have to go head to head against some of the best teams but we have put on a lot of hard work in the last few months and we are convinced it will pay its dividends. We are ready to fight and take Alberto Contador to victory at the Tirreno-Adriatico.”

GP Lugano Result:
1. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:38:08
2. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Southeast
3. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy
5. Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Cult Energy
6. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
7. Javier Mejias (Spa) Novo Nordisk
8. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling
10. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini.

Bonifazio takes Lugano:

header-STIDame Sarah Storey sets a new UK and Paralympic Hour Record
Cycling legend and leader of Team Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International Dame Sarah Storey, put herself in the record books with a new UK and Paralympic Hour Record and the second furthest distance travelled by a woman cyclist in an Hour at the London Olympic Velodrome. With our supporter packs at the ready, we jumped on the train and into the heart of London to soak up the atmosphere and most importantly give our cheers and support to Sarah! Family, friends and the Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International team gathered in anticipation to watch Sarah’s challenge and enter the record books. Her distance of 45.502km was an incredible feat and only 563m short of the existing World Hour Record, set in 2003.
Press Release by Sports Tours International.


header-paris-roubaix2015 Paris-Roubaix: 25 Teams Selected
Twenty-five cycling teams have been selected to take part to the 113th edition of Paris-Roubaix which will take place on April 12th:

In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following seventeen UCI WorldTeam are automatically invited to the race:
AG2R La Mondiale (Fra), Astana Pro Team (Kaz), BMC Racing Team (USA), Etixx – Quick Step (Bel), FDJ (Fra), IAM Cycling (Sui), Lampre – Merida (Ita), Lotto Soudal (Bel), Movistar Team (Spa), Orica – GreenEDGE (Aus), Team Cannondale – Garmin (USA), Team Giant – Alpecin (Ger), Team Katusha (Rus), Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (Ned), Team Sky (GB), Tinkoff – Saxo (Rus), Trek Factory Racing (USA).

In addition to these seventeen teams, the organizers have awarded the following wildcards:
Bora – Argon 18 (Ger), Bretagne – Séché Environnement (Fra), Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra), MTN – Qhubeka (Rsa), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA), Team Europcar (Fra), Topsport Vlaanderen Baloise (Bel), Wanty – Groupe Gobert (Bel).


header-MTN14-leftTeam MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung invited to Paris-Roubaix
Late on Wednesday afternoon the organizers of the Paris-Roubaix announced the 8 wildcards for the Paris-Roubaix. Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are delighted to have got the nod for the most iconic of Spring Classics. Along with the 7 Pro-Continental wildcards, Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung look forward to lining up with the 17 World Tour teams come the 12th of April.

The Paris-Roubaix also has a special place in the hearts of all African cycling fans as for many years, it was only the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix cycling events that were broadcast live in Africa. Aspiring African cyclists either grew up dreaming of racing Le Tour or “The Hell of the North”. We are delighted that our fans will now, for the first time, be able to cheer on an African team during the Paris-Roubaix.

While an invitation to the race is a small victory in itself for our team, MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung head to the Paris-Roubaix with intentions of a podium placing. In Edvald Boasson Hagen, our African team have a rider capable of riding to victory on the Roubaix velodrome. The Norwegian has penned in Paris-Roubaix as his main goal for the season.

The Paris-Roubaix will be broadcast live on SuperSport SS6, check www.supersport.com for more details.

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal:
“I am speechless again which does not happen often, Paris Roubaix is the Queen of the Classics. It is like an action movie that builds up and calms down and builds again with huge drama where the super heroes can change around any corner. It will be another iconic experience for our team and we cannot wait to experience the 113th edition.”

Edvald Boasson Hagen – Rider:
“I am happy we are in the race, the goal now is to do as well as possible and hopefully do better than I have done before. My goal generally, is to win Roubaix during my career so hopefully it comes this year.”

Theo Bos – Rider:
“I have done the race twice, once was really good and once was not so good. 2010 was really nice, I worked for Thor Hushovd. He had a great result where he finished 2nd and I played a small part in that which was nice. I also finished in the top 60 myself. The next year I rode with Rabobank and that didn’t go so well. I didn’t have the power or legs to be in the front and I didn’t finish. I am looking forward to redeeming myself a bit after that race. I have good memories with the Cervélo and the equipment which works really well at Roubaix. Also, it will be another really strong Norwegian that we will ride in support of so I am glad that we are officially part of the race now.”


header-bora-agon18BORA – ARGON 18 invited to Paris-Roubaix
The German pro cycling team BORA – ARGON 18 has yet again been awarded a wildcard for Paris-Roubaix, the so–called “Hell of the North.” The team managed by Ralph Denk will thus be participating in the famous one-day race in northern France for the fifth consecutive time. With today’s invitation, the young German team now has its fourth cycling monument on the calendar in addition to Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and Il Lombardia.

“We are excited about the wildcard because we now have the most challenging classics scheduled for our riders this spring. Participating in Paris-Roubaix is something really special. Every rider respects and is motivated by the legends surrounding this race. To date, we have been known for having a presence in the decisive breakaway groups. Now that we have more experience, we want to focus our attention and strategy on reaching the podium this year,” said Ralph Denk, Team Manager of BORA – ARGO 18, commenting on receiving the wildcard.

The 113th edition of Paris-Roubaix will take place this year on April 12. On the 253 kilometers from Compiègne to the velodrome in Roubaix, the riders must get through 27 infamous cobblestones sections. Three of these sections are also on the route of the fourth stage of this year’s Tour de France.


header-iamcyclingGP Samyn – Thierry Marichal: “We will need to have luck on our side”
After kicking off in Flanders, the peloton will head on to the Grand Prix Samyn for their first Wallonian test this season. With a different parcours compared to previous editions, the Belgian race will be even more difficult. “The organizer decided to have a new course with several pavé sections just one or two kilometers from the finish,” IAM Cycling directeur sportif Thierry Marichal explained. “The race will not be the same, that’s for sure. There is a very good chance that it won’t end in a bunch sprint this time. In any case, if we hope to gain a result at Samyn, we will need to have luck on our side.”

For the Grand Prix Samyn, which will be a less open race this year, the IAM Cycling team has two very good options. “Before, with the old route, anyone could win Samyn,” Marichal continued. “But now with this course change, it is clearly going to be more selective. Because of that, we have decided to focus on Jonas Van Genechten and Matteo Pelucchi. With those riders, we have two fantastic cards, and we will chose which one to play at the most opportune moment. Le Samyn remains a great race to win. After the opening weekend in Flanders, I think all the teams will want to do well in Wallonia.”

Stef Clement (Ned), Jonathan Fumeaux (S), Sondre Holst Enger (Nor), Simon Pellaud (S), Matteo Pelucchi (It), Patrick Schelling (S), Jonas Van Genechten (Bel).
Sport manager: Rik Verbrugghe, Sport director: Thierry Marichal.


header-europcar15-leftEuroTrash to the GP Samyn
Thomas Boudat, Bryan Coquard, Jérome Cousin, Dan Craven, Jimmy Engoulvent, Morgan Lamoisson, Julien Morice, Alexandre Pichot.
Directeur Sportif: Benoit Genauzeau.


header-katusha15Team Katusha for Le Samyn
On Wednesday, March 4th, the Russian Team Katusha will take part in the 1.1 UCI one-day race Le Samyn (Belgium).

The Russian rider of Team Katusha, Alexey Tsatevich, won this race in 2013, while in 2014 he took the second podium place.
The team’s line-up for this edition: Maxim Belkov, Sven Erik Bystrøm, Vladimir Isaychev, Alexander Kolobnev, Dmitriy Kozonchuk, Sergey Lagutin, Gatis Smukulis and Anton Vorobyev, all directed by Gennady Mikhaylov.

World U23 champion Sven Erik Bystrøm:

header-MTN14-leftMTN-Qhubeka: Le Samyn
After a decent showing at the opening weekends spring classics, the next appointment for Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will be Le Samyn on Wednesday. It will be the 47th edition of Le Samyn and MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung will certainly be chasing the victory in this prestigious race.

For the past two years running, Kristian Sbaragli secured 5th place at both editions of Le Samyn. In a race Kristian clearly enjoys, the Italian returns after a fine top 10 at the weekends Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne and with a stronger team to boot than in 13′ & 14′. Theo Bos, Tyler Farrar, Matt Brammeier, Serge Pauwels, Jay Thomson, Jaco Venter and Johann van Zyl will all join Kristian with the aim of putting a MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung rider on to the podium.

The mid-week UCI 1.1 Belgian classic is possibly one for a sprint finish but like all Belgian classics, this 201km race includes a few early Hellingens and some stretches of cobblestones later on which should shake things up. The race concludes with 5 laps of a 24km course. Over the course of the lap there are 3 separate cobbled sectors and the fight for position will be crucial before each sector. No more than 60 riders have made it to the finish line together in recent editions of the event.

Kristian Sbaragli – Rider
In the last 2 editions of Samyn I have come 5th. My ambitions for this year is to certainly do better and fight for that victory. I am feeling quite good at the moment and I hope to have a good day on Wednesday where I will be able to play my card. The race is going to be really hard with a few additional cobbles compared to last year so maybe there will be a smaller bunch sprint.


header-richmond15Richmond 2015 Announces Official Schedule for 2015 UCI Road World Championships
Schedule Maximizes European Visibility; Course Modifications Based on Community Feedback and Learnings from “Test Event”

The organizer of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships, today announces the official schedule and course modifications for cycling’s preeminent competition that will be held in Richmond in September.

“We spent the past few months working with the UCI on finalizing the schedule and tweaking the courses for the 12 world championship races that will take place over nine days,” said Tim Miller, chief operating officer of Richmond 2015. “We’ve been able to incorporate many of the things we learned from the official test event, the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, which was held last spring, in order to provide the best experience for racers, fans and Central Virginians alike.”

Added Wilson Flohr, CEO of Richmond 2015: “We can’t wait to showcase Richmond to the world and for the world to experience everything Richmond has to offer. We have a tremendous opportunity to let the world know that the Richmond Region is a wonderful place to live, work, play and ride a bike.”

Official Schedule:
DATE – EVENT – Start Time/Finish Time (EDT)*
Sat. Sept. 19 – Team Time Trial Training – 9 a.m./12 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 19 – Time Trial Circuit Training – 1 p.m./2:30 p.m.
Sun. Sept. 20 – Team Time Trial (Women) – 11:30 a.m./12:55 p.m.
Sun. Sept. 20 – Team Time Trial (Men) – 1:30 p.m./3:35 p.m.
Mon. Sept. 21 – Individual Time Trial (Jr. Women) – 10 a.m./11:10 a.m.
Mon. Sept. 21 – Individual Time Trial (U23 Men) – 11:30 a.m./3:50 p.m.
Tues. Sept. 22 – Individual Time Trial (Jr. Men) – 9:30 a.m./1:05 p.m.
Tues. Sept. 22 – Individual Time Trial (Elite Women) – 1:30 p.m./4:45 p.m.
Wed. Sept. 23 – Individual Time Trial (Elite Men) – 1 p.m./3:35 p.m.
Thurs. Sept. 24 – Road Race Training – 10 a.m./12 p.m.
Fri. Sept. 25 – Road Race (Jr. Women) – 10 a.m./11:50 a.m.
Fri. Sept. 25 – Road Race (U23 Men) – 12:45 p.m./4:50 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 26 – Road Race (Jr. Men) – 9 a.m./12:15 p.m.
Sat. Sept. 26 – Road Race (Elite Women) – 1 p.m./4:25 p.m.
Sun. Sept. 27 – Road Race (Elite Men) – 9 a.m./3:40 p.m.
* Courses will close to traffic up to 1 hour before start time and re-open up to 1 hour after estimated finish time, all times listed in Eastern Daylight Time

“We’ve been preparing for our performance on the international stage, and we are excited that 2015 is finally here,” Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones said. “With an anticipated economic impact of $158 million to the Commonwealth of Virginia, we know this is a golden opportunity to elevate Richmond in the minds of businesses and tourists around the country and world. The official schedule announced today will showcase our city and region to the world this September.”

Miller added, “In some cases, we’ve set the start times in order to address the concerns commuters have about getting to and from work each day – the schedule is designed so the races will have minimal impact on rush-hour traffic. And for the Elite Men’s Road Race, the early start ensures the event and our region is showcased to hundreds of millions during prime time on international TV broadcasts.”

The event, which is expected to attract 450,000 onsite spectators over nine days of racing, will be seen by hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide.

Course Modifications
Team Time Trials – The start venue for the Team Time Trials on Sept. 19 and 20 has been changed from Rocketts Landing in Henrico County near Richmond’s downtown to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Henrico County just north of Richmond. The shift showcases Lewis Ginter and Richmond’s North Side before heading to points of interest on the original course, including the Richmond National Battlefield Park in Henrico’s east end.

“Knowing the importance of the UCI Road World Championships to the entire region, we are thrilled and honored to host the start of the first scheduled event here in Henrico County,” said Shane Tippet, executive director of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. “One hundred and twenty years ago, the epicenter of cycling in Richmond was the Lakeside Wheel Club located on property that is now Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. We have enjoyed sharing our history and welcoming the community to the Garden; we look forward to helping the community welcome the world.”

Miller added, “The move enables us to showcase one of Richmond’s iconic landmarks while still incorporating our nation’s history as we make our way through the Richmond National Battlefield Park on the back end of the original course.”

Road Races – A slight modification has been made to the Road Race course in downtown Richmond, with racers now turning left at Main and Belvidere streets to head to Broad Street before returning to Main Street at 2nd Street. The original course sent racers right on Belvidere and left on Byrd Street. This change reduces the footprint of the race circuit in the downtown area, which will ensure that most I-95, I-195/Powhite Parkway exits will remain open and commuter traffic can flow freely.

“It’s important to remember that we used the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships as our official test for hosting the Worlds,” Miller said. “We learned what worked well and in some cases, what didn’t work as well. We decided that shifting the course toward Broad Street wouldn’t impact the integrity of the course, but make it easier for commuters to get in and out of the core downtown Richmond area on work days.”

23rd Street Climb – The challenging 23rd Street climb, which had been reserved only for the Elite Men and Elite Women, now will be included in all five world championship road races.

“We heard resoundingly from several national federations, and the U23 and Junior cyclists in particular, who have visited the area and ridden the course that they wanted to take on the grueling, partially cobbled 23rd Street climb,” Miller said. “After reviewing the technical elements with the UCI, we’ve decided to give these young athletes their chance to attack a climb that could serve as a springboard to victory.”

The 2015 Richmond course:

logo-oraFestina lente, the goal without delay with caution
This is great little video from Festina lente promoting an event designed to bring cyclists to pedal on routes, rich in history, villages with medieval atmosphere, with its natural landscapes.

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