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Bagneres-de-Luchon - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Chris Froome (GBR-Team Sky) pictured during stage 8 of the 2016 Tour de France from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon, 183.00 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

EUROTRASH Froome Monday!

Chris Froome looks to have made his move to win the 2016 Tour de France, but maybe he is not No.1 with the Colombian fans. Top Story has to be Mr. Froome’s recent actions. A full Tour EUROTRASH with race reports, rider quotes and video. In other cycling news: Team line-ups for the Tour de Pologne, Steven Kruijswijk extends contract with LottoNl-Jumbo and Alberto Contador says goodbye to the Tour.

TOP STORY: Was Froome In The Wrong?
Just before Chris Froome made his phenomenal descent of the Col de Peyresourde to win stage 8 and take the overall lead, (ignoring he broke UCI rule 1.3.008 by sitting on the top tube) he had a contra taunt with a Colombian fan wearing a yellow wig and holding a Colombian flag. The fan was running close to Froome, dangerously close according to the Sky rider, that is when Froome punched the Colombian it the face. The race jury were not impressed and fined the stage winner 200 Swiss Francs. Since then there have been two camps: The ‘scandal that a rider punched a spectator’ or ‘the guy had it coming’. Fans get carried away with the excitement and Nairo Quintana was just in-front of Froome and you can see in the video that the fan has eyes only for Nairo, that’s when accidents happen.

Froome should not have punched the guy, maybe a push would have been enough. On the other hand, how hard can Froome hit with those thin little arms. Froome should also remember that Colombians are possibly not the best people to cross. Pablo Escobar was a big cycling fan, think on that Chris.

Maybe a bit much:

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Tour de France 2016
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) hadn’t won three stages in a single Tour de France since 2012 when he raced for Team Sky along with eventual winner Bradley Wiggins. He made it three again on Stage 6 in Montauban out of six stages after winning stage 1 at Utah Beach and stage 3 in Angers to leave Bernard Hinault behind in the history books of the Tour de France as he has now accumulated 29 victories since 2008, one more than the “badger”. The Manxman out-sprinted Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step) and fellow compatriot Dan McLay who is a rookie riding for Fortuneo-Vital Concept. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) retained the yellow jersey.

198 riders started stage 6 at Arpajon-sur-Cère. It hadn’t happened since 2000 that the peloton was still as numerous as on day 1 after five stages. Yukiya Arashiro (Lampre-Merida) and Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) rode away after three kilometers of racing. Their maximum time gap was recorded before the intermediate sprint (5.30 at km 71) where Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) was the fastest of the peloton ahead of Michael Matthews, Peter Sagan and Marcel Kittel, all hunting for the green jersey. It was a long and hot day on the saddle. Several teams swapped turns at the head of the peloton to maintain the deficit between three and four minutes: Dimension Data, Etixx – Quick-Step and Lotto Soudal.

Direct Energie took the command of the peloton to bring the breakaway back with 35km to go. It was all together 22km before Montauban. Arashiro and Barta have covered 165km at the front but without any illusion of winning as the main pack kept them under control. Team Sky moved up to the front 12km away from the finishing line. Lotto-Soudal, LottoNl-Jumbo, Katusha and Etixx – Quick-Step were among the teams who tried to keep the peloton under control before and after the flamme rouge, but Mark Cavendish made his way to the front by himself to pass Marcel Kittel in the last 100 meters.

Stage 6 race report HERE.

Montauban - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Mark Cavendish (GBR-Dimension Data) - Daniel Mclay (GBR-Fortuneo-Vital Concept) - Marcel Kittel (GER-Etixx-QuickStep) pictured during stage 6 of the 2016 Tour de France from Arpajon-sur-Cère to Montauban, 187.00 km - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data): “It was a hot day. Daniel Teklehaimanot did an incredible job to control the breakaway. He was riding super strong actually and he was up there for a long, long time. The guys are getting more and more confident as the race goes on. Steve Cummings was up there fighting with us until the end which was phenomenal, he is a strong guy to keep us there in the final. There were essentially two finish lines, one was at 12km to go and one was at the finish. We were a little bit too far back at the first one but Mark Renshaw did a great job at 4km to go to get me just there and out of a sticky situation. I thought the best wheel to follow in the final was Kittel. It was a fast finish and with the finish line not appearing until late I knew the guys would leave it late because your instincts are not to go before you see the line. I knew Kittel’s wheel was the one to get the biggest slingshot from and with the speed of the finish, I knew if I got a good slingshot I could be going 3-4km/h faster than him before he had time to react so that’s what I did and I was happy to hang on for the win.”

2nd, Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Congratulations to Mark Cavendish, he was fast and played it smart today. In this year’s finales it’s impossible to have a team tactic, because you always get small and narrow roads, tricky corners, and on top of all, the GC teams, which are crowding in. You never know what’s going to happen and because of the crazy sprints it’s almost impossible to have a lead-out. That makes me even more proud of the boys, who managed to bring me to the front for the last part of the stage. We lost today, but for sure we will try again.”

Overall leader, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “It couldn’t have gone better I think. It was a beautiful day, not too hilly, beautiful weather, no stress and just a hard final. In the end it was really good, there were a lot of Belgian people on the road on vacation with flags and they supported me really well so it was a wonderful day for me. We are a cycling country so it’s really nice to have a few Belgians up there in the final and a stage win with me, and the Yellow Jersey. It was one of the best days of my career so far. It was a pretty calm day but it was too hectic to go for the sprint. I was not recovered form yesterday either so I could not go for the sprint. But also with the stress it was just about getting safely over the line. I tried to recover as well as possible from yesterday. I will try to keep the jersey tomorrow on the last climb and I hope that I might. We’ll see how the legs feel tomorrow but I’m going to try and keep it for as long as possible. Five minutes is a lot but not so much in a mountain stage. We will see tomorrow.”

2nd overall, Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It was really hot today, the second consecutive stage in which we had such conditions. It’s a pity Marcel didn’t win, but we are confident other opportunities will come. Tomorrow will be the first of the three days we’ll spend in the Pyrenees, and to be quite frankly, I don’t know what to expect from these stages. I will try my best, but I know that it’s going to be very difficult to defend my jersey.”

5th, Christophe Laporte (Cofidis): “This morning, we had said that we should be better placed than the previous times at the start of the last kilometer. In the absence of Nacer Bouhanni we are an organization prowling. There will still be a few sprints to get closer to our best. I’m not far off with this fifth place. I think there are at least three sprint possibilities by the end of the Tour, potentially more depending on race circumstances. Meanwhile I have to manage my effort and my recovery in the Pyrenees. It is said that mountains, are quiet days for sprinters – no, it is not easy! I’m more stressed in the morning of a mountain stage than the morning of a sprint stage.”

7th, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo): “We didn’t have enough men for that scenario, that’s why I had to change plans. I had to surf between the wheels of the other sprinters to find the right position and I got boxed in during that search. I’m not happy at all with this seventh place. My sprint is good, but we came to the front too early. I know that we’re here to learn, but so much more is possible. That’s frustrating.”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “We finished safely and that was the most important part of today. Now we have to rest and recover after a very warm day. I feel my form the same as yesterday but as I said yesterday it’s still a long tour and we have a lot of stages ahead of us. We will see what we can achieve. Looking at tomorrow, I would say it’s a test day, as there hasn’t been enough time to recover, but still I feel I have time to come back to my best.”

Break rider and Combativity Award winner, Yukiya Arashiro (Lampre-Merida): “I’m pleased that I received the award as most combative rider, it’s a prize for the determination I had to promote the breakaway. We were only two athletes in the front of the race, it would have been better to have more riders in the breakaway, that’s why we decided to see if someone would have joined us, but no one came from behind. I was aware that it was almost impossible to reach the arrival, however I focused my attention on the road and on my performance. I’m happy to have the opportunity to share this happy moment with my team mates, the sponsors and all the fans who support me in France, in Europe and in Asia. This season started in a bad way for me, in February I broke my leg, however I did not give up and I focus my energies on the recovery and on the training and I succeeded in coming back at the races in May, at the Tour of Japan, where I won the Izu stage. Today I add another beautiful moment: I had already won this prize four years ago, however it’s always something good to live these kind of moments.”

Tour de France Stage 6 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data in 4:43:48
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Daniel McLay (GB) Fortuneo-Vital Concept
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
5. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
8. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie
10. Shane Archbold (NZ) Bora-Argon 18.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 6:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 30:18:39
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step at 5:11
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 5:13
4. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 5:17
5. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
7. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC.

Stage 6:

Summary – Stage 6 (Arpajon-sur-Cère / Montauban… por tourdefrance_en

Stephen Cummings delivered Dimension Data’s fourth stage victory in seven days as he climbed to col d’Aspin in a solo effort after riding away from his breakaway companions to avoid taking Vincenzo Nibali and Greg Van Avermaet with him to the finish line of Stage 7. For Cummings it’s the fourth success of the year after stages at Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country and Critérium du Dauphiné. It’s also his third Grand Tour stage victory after stage 13 of the 2012 Vuelta a España in Ferrol and stage 13 of the 2015 Tour de France in Mende. It’s the 63rd stage victory for Great-Britain in the history of the Tour de France.

All 198 participants of the 103rd Tour de France started stage 7, a first time in the history that no abandon was recorded in the first six stages. Twelve riders rode away from the peloton in the first kilometers of racing after leaving L’Isle-Jourdain: Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling), Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale-Drapac), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18), Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Nicolas Edet & Geoffrey Soupe (Cofidis), Chris Anker Sørensen (Fortuneo-Vital Concept). Sagan and Cavendish obviously had in mind to contest the intermediate sprint located with only 25.5km to go just before the ascent to col d’Aspin but Belgian teams Etixx – Quick-Step and Lotto Soudal successively chased hard to bring them back. The bunch was back together after 43 kilometers.

Attacks kept going on. Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) initiated a decisive one at km 46. Sagan didn’t manage to make it across. The world champion was highly marked. Several offensives led to the formation of the 29-man leading group including the yellow jersey holder at kilometer 53: Vassil Kiryienka (Sky), G. Izagirre (Movistar), Vincenzo Nibali & Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Jan Bakelants & Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale), Paul Martens (LottoNl-Jumbo), Cancellara & Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Oliver Naesen (IAMCycling), Matti Breschel, Alex Howes & Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale-Drapac), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data), Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin), Paul Voss (Bora-Argon 18), Kristijan Durasek & Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), Angel Vicioso (Katusha), Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal), Sylvain Chavanel & Antoine Duchesne (Direct Energie), Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step), Dani Navarro, Borut Bozic & Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis), Daryl Impey (Orica-BikeExchange) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept). They reached a maximum advantage of 5:52 at 76km.

With 50km to go, the time difference was 4:25 as Team Sky and Movistar didn’t want to enable Nibali to move back up on GC. The winner of the 2014 Tour de France took the only point up for grabs at côte de Capvern with 45.5km to go. Two kilometers further, the leading group split into several pieces. With 27km to go, Cummings rode away solo from. Nibali, Navarro, Van Avermaet and Impey chased him down up to the col d’Aspin. Van Avermaet couldn’t hold the pace at half way into the 12-km long climb while Cummings kept increasing his lead on the uphill. Thibaut Pinot was the main rider dropped from the group of the favorites who crested the col d’Aspin 3:20 behind Cummings. The Englishman stayed away whereas Nibali wasn’t able to follow Impey and Navarro who took second and third places. Thanks to his very smart ride, Van Avermaet increased his lead in the overall ranking ahead of the two grueling stages in the Pyrenees.

Stage 7 race report HERE.

Lac de Payolle - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Stephen Cummings (GBR-Dimension Data) pictured during stage 7 of the 2016 Tour de France from L’Isle-Jourdain to Lac de Payolle, 162.00 km - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner, Steve Cummings (Dimension Data): “That was sweet. After what has already happened this week, it is just fantastic to have won. Of all my victories, I think this has to be my best one. I wasn’t confident in that big group and putting pressure on them, I thought, was my best option. The Aspin is also a climb that suits my characteristics. The group behind was obviously on the limit so I just carried on, as you do, and I was able to win. I am really happy for the team and thankful that they believe me. I hope that people are really starting to get that we are racing to put kids on bikes with Qhubeka, it just makes everything that much more special for us and has put the team on a high.”

3rd on the stage, Daniel Navarro (Cofidis): “It was a good day for me even if victory was not at the end. I could see that my condition was good and there will be other opportunities to win. It was a good configuration with Luis Angel Maté and Borut Bozic around me in the break. They did a great job. It’s a pity it could not materialize, but if I remember one thing, it’s that I feel really good and it bodes well for the rest of the Tour.”

5th on the stage and overall leader, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “I knew it would be hard to keep the jersey today. I made a smart move I think to go in the break. It was a hard start and everybody wanted to go. We tried to control but at one point we were riding and they kept on jumping behind us and then I said maybe it’s better that I save my teammates again and I just go by myself. It kept the pressure off the team, they didn’t have to work that hard today and I keep yellow. It was a great day, it’s not often you see yellow in the breakaway It wasn’t easy but I gained some time. I look forward to tomorrow as it’s probably my last day in yellow. I will enjoy it, it’s a mountain stage so we will see how it goes. With yellow on the shoulders you always do a little bit more. I was really motivated to keep the jersey. I just wanted to go for it, the shape is really good and I’m happy to have another day.”

3rd overall, Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step) lost the ‘Best Young Rider’ jersey: “I’m sad to get this news after the stage, but I was aware this will happen sooner or later. The circumstances were unusual, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I am happy for wearing the jersey for five days, which I see as a great performance for my first Tour de France, and also for paying one more visit to the podium. So far, the race has been a great journey and a fantastic experience for me, people began to know me better and to cheer for me during the race, while I got to learn the trade in the Grand Tour peloton. Now I will take things day by day, and although it will be difficult in the high mountains, I will do my best and help Dan Martin there.”

13th overall, Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo): “The boys were supporting me today, I was led out perfectly to the foot of the Col d’Aspin and afterwards, it was up to me to stay in front and monitor what was possible. This turned out to be a warm-up for tomorrow and the day after. It sounds easier than it was, but it went quite well for me.”

23rd overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “Today I had to be extremely conservative, something that is completely atypical to my style of racing. However today was a simple appetizer to what will take place tomorrow. The goal now is to recover and tackle these two days on the Pyrenees, with our sights set on the rest of the Tour. Although the stage had just one climb, the pace was high throughout the day. It also was a climb with strong winds. Despite the headwind, the average speed was high and that combined with the heat took its toll on some riders, so I decided to go to the back of the group. It’s true that this change in rhythm can create gaps but on the other hand you ride well protected from the wind. My body welcomed that and it saved the day for me.”

Tour de France Stage 7 Result:
1. Stephen Cummings (GB) Dimension Data in 3:51:58
2. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-BikeExchange at 1:05
3. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 2:14
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 3:04
6. Luis Angel Mate (Spa) Cofidis at 4:29
7. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
8. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky
9. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 7:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 34:13:40
2. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 5:50
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx – Quick-Step at 5:51
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 5:53
5. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 5:54
6. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 5:57
7. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin
9. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step.

Stage 7:

Summary – Stage 7 (L'Isle-Jourdain / Lac de… por tourdefrance_en

Chris Froome won Stage 8 at Bagnères-de-Luchon in a surprising way as he soloed to victory in the downhill of col de Peyresourde after cresting in first position of the group comprising the favorites with the exception of Alberto Contador. Froome took his sixth stage of the Tour de France – since 2012 – in an unexpected manner, at least a very different one from his usual uphill show. He also moved into the overall lead ahead of the Queen stage of the Pyrenees to Andorra.

198 riders started Stage 8 in Pau. Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) tried to go away before passing his house after 15km of racing but the pace of race was too high. 51km were covered in the first hour of racing. Many skirmishes took place but no breakaway took shape before Mikaël Chérel (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Dani Navarro (Cofidis) rode away at km 59. Thirteen riders gathered at the front before the intermediate sprint won at km 67 by Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange) at the bottom of the Tourmalet: Wout Poels (Sky), Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Stef Clement (IAM Cycling), Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale-Drapac), Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), Paul Voss (Bora-Argon 18), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Navarro, Chérel and Matthews.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) attacked from the main peloton on the sprint line as he anticipated the ascent to the Tourmalet. The Frenchman was accompanied by Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) and briefly by Arnold Jeannesson (Cofidis) who was overtaken by Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step). The German rejoined Pinot and Majka 6km before the top of the Tourmalet. He struggled in the last kilometers but made it back in the downhill after Pinot crested the legendary climb in first position and therefore cashed in the 5000-euros Souvenir Jacques-Goddet prime. From 2:20 atop the Tourmalet, Team Sky brought the difference down to 1:10 at La Hourquette d’Ancizan with 64km to go.

6km before the top of Val Louron, Pinot and Martin were reeled in, so was Majka one kilometer further on. At the summit, Team Sky denied Majka the possibility to catch ten points for the King of the Mountains competition. However, the Pole who already won the polka dot jersey in 2014 took the lead with one point ahead of Pinot. The front group was made of 33 riders but reduced to 14 in the last kilometer of the ascent to col de Peyresourde after several attacks by Romain Bardet and Sergio Henao. More surprisingly, Chris Froome attacked at the top of the last hill to make a gap for himself in the downhill. With 5km to go, he had 25 seconds lead over the Quintana group while Alberto Contador was more than one minute adrift. Froome soloed to victory and took the lead in the overall ranking.

Race report HERE.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Chris Froome (Sky): “It was just a bit of fun really. I thought I’d give it a try – I had one or two goes on the climb and nothing was really sticking. I thought over the top let me just give it a go and see what I can do on the descent – I’ll see if I can catch someone out. It was real old school bike racing! Maybe a spent a little bit too much (energy). Let’s see, tomorrow is going to be a really hard day. 16 seconds is not a huge margin but I’ll take every second I can at this point. It’s just a really good feeling. The guys rode all day today so I felt like I owed something to them to really give it my all for the stage.””It really was just a spur of the moment reaction going over the top. I felt like a kid again out there, just trying to race my bike as fast as I could. I didn’t take a massive gap but I’m in yellow this evening. It’s a huge surprise and it’s an amazing feeling. Looking ahead we do have some really hard mountain-top finishes to come and I imagine those are going to be a lot more selective.”

2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Dan Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “There’s no easy day at the Tour de France and we saw that again today. I knew I had good legs at the start, I was feeling good after yesterday and was really comfortable. Julian gave everything to help me on the first climb, so chapeau to him. I remained calm at all times and was well-positioned on a day which saw everybody test each other. When Chris attacked and took a handful of seconds, we chased but couldn’t bring him back. What it matters is that I am in fine form, a reward of the hard training I’ve done on the climbs before the Tour. I am happy with the way things are going for me in the GC, and hopefully a win is just around the corner.”

Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “The final climb started with Team SKY just making their usual tempo and I think it was Valverde who opened up the attacks. It was just kind of bang, bang. It looked like it was all together over the top but then Froome put in one last sneak attack right at the top and I was thinking that it was a long way to go downhill and that it was a bold move. But you can never underestimate Froome, you give him an inch and he’ll take a mile. Caruso is really strong; the whole BMC Racing Team is working really well together. Guys like Michi Schär are surviving over the top of the Tourmalet, so that’s pretty impressive. I think me and Richie are going to be right up there in all of the mountains to come. I think we’re going to have a good domestique there with Caruso to help us.”

Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida): “I think it was a good day for me, I’m quite satisfied with my performance. Of course it was a hard stage, Team Sky pace on the climbs was selective, however I had good feelings, my Merida Reacto bike supported me perfectly and I always managed to avoid to go too close to the limits of the effort. It was very hot, but I find myself quite well in these conditions. I was satisfied when I realized I succeeded in reaching the summit of the Peyresourde in the front group, however the efforts were not over, since Froome attacked and our group chased him at full speed and I had to give my best for following that pace and to sprint in view of the arrival. I did not think too much about the youth classification, my main target was to be in the front group, however did I notice that only Yates among the contender for the white jersey was in my group. I don’t want to make project, I just want to give my best day by day”.

KOM, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff): “In the end I could see there were only two guys in front, and I asked the DS if I should go. I think it’s better that I went – I don’t feel so good right now and being off the front there’s less pressure than being in the peloton. My condition is still coming and maybe after the rest day I’ll be stronger.” “My form’s getting better but still it’s tough on the road. I went in the breakaway and I’d hoped to stay out until the end, but behind us the peloton was going really fast and they caught us. I stayed for one more climb but I was really tired. I wanted to help Alberto but wasn’t able to.” “I’m glad to be in the polka dot jersey but it’s only one point between me and the second place. I’ll have the jersey for a day maybe – I’ve already done the Giro this year so it’s tough.”

10th on the stage, Richie Porte (BMC): “Froome just got the gap and Quintana didn’t want to chase. Tejay and I were told on the radio to pull together and try and bring Froome back as much as we could. But even by that stage he was out of sight and out of mind. I had a good day. It’s a shame we didn’t finish on the top, that would have been a little more interesting, but it was a good day. On the back of the last two days, tomorrow is possibly going to be the hardest stage of the Tour. If Tejay and I are up there, and Froome or Quintana are isolated, we’ll see what we can do. Tejay and I are both still up there and it was a pretty select group who was sprinting today. Damiano Caruso has been incredible. He’s always there, he’s dependable, he’s really becoming a crucial part of our team. He’s just fantastic to have there.”

Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo): “It was hot today and you have to brake on a lot during the descents, the glue on your tyre gets very hot and there’s a chance that it gets loose. I’m fed up that it happened to me. Everything went very well until that moment. I didn’t lose too much time, but I have a lot of abrasions. This is very annoying.”

18th on the stage, Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling): “This is a stage that I liked the look of on paper. I really wanted to do well. I hung on as long as possible, but on the last climb, I had to raise the white flag. I will continue to fight, and if an opportunity arises, then I will certainly grab it.”

Tour de France Stage 8 Result:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 4:57:33
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:13
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
7. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
10. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 8:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 39:13:04
2. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:16
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:17
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:19
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:23
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo.

Stage 8:

Summary – Stage 8 (Pau / Bagnères-de-Luchon… por tourdefrance_en

After winning at the Vuelta a España and the Giro d’Italia, Tom Dumoulin claimed his first ever victory at the Tour de France on Stage 9 in horrendous conditions as the storm made the race hard and memorable in the last climb of the day after racing in hot conditions. Like Jan Ullrich in 1997 and Brice Feillu in 2009, the Dutchman won in Arcalis where Chris Froome retained the yellow jersey as he kept the situation under control even when the 20-man breakaway had more than ten minutes lead. For the second time in his career (after 2014), Alberto Contador abandoned the Tour de France as sickness was added to his injuries from the first two stages.

197 riders started stage 9 the day after Michael Morkov (Katusha) was the first rider to quit the Tour de France. He was soon to be followed by Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data) and Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) who started in Vielha despite feeling sick. It was also the case for Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) who had fever in the morning. However, the Spaniard was prompt to counter attack with Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Sergio Henao (Sky) behind the first significant attack of the day. Led by Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), it became a group of 45 riders but it split up on the way to the Port de la Bonaigua. 19 of them remained in the lead towards the top but Contador wasn’t able to hold the pace. Pinot was first atop the first category 1 climb of the day at km 19 while the peloton led by Team Sky was 1.20 adrift.

In the long downhill, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) made it across to the leading group in which Valverde was a problem as Team Sky was chasing down. The gap was 45 seconds at km 53 when Valverde gave up, leaving 20 riders at the front: Winner Anacona, Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Diego Rosa, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), Rafal Majka, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-LaMondiale), George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo), Mathias Frank, Stef Clement, Jérôme Coppel (IAM), Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data), Tom Dumoulin (Giant), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Rui Costa, Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida), Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Dani Navarro, Nicolas Edet (Cofidis). The peloton was riding slowly with a deficit of six minutes when Contador called it a race at km 81 at 14.24.

The advantage grew to 8.10 with 60km to go and 10 minutes 50km before the end (maximum time gap: 10.30 at km 136). Sagan won the intermediate sprint at Andorra-la-Vella to move up in the points classification, only seven points down on Mark Cavendish. With 42km remaining, De Gendt rode away solo, not only to take five points atop the second category climb of La Comella but he forged on until he completely cracked 4km before the summit of the first category col de Beixalis where Pinot increased his virtual lead in the King of the Mountain competition to take the polka dot jersey in the principality. Dumoulin rode away solo with 12km, before the 10km long uphill finale to Arcalis. He made a gap of 50 seconds for himself and maintained a steady pace to fend off Rui Costa and Majka who were chasing him down. The Dutchman stayed up front to take a stage win at each of the three Grand Tours in the region of one year. The fight among the favorites started with 5km to go. Successively, Sergio Henao (Sky), Richie Porte (BMC), Dan Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) and Chris Froome (Sky) sped up. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) remained on Froome’s wheel all the way. With Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange) finishing with the same time as Froome, the only change in the top three overall was Martin taking the third place over from Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) who was racing on home soil in Andorra.

Stage report HERE.

Andorre Arcalis - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tom Dumoulin (NED-Giant-Alpecin) pictured during stage 9 of the 2016 Tour de France from Vielha Val d’Aran to Andorre Arcalis, 184.00 km - photo NV/PN//PN/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): “To win the queen stage of the Tour de France here in Andorra is just fantastic. If somebody had told me a few days ago that I would win today I would have said they were crazy. Throughout the stage, I was starting to feel better and I saw the opportunity to join the break as my legs were feeling really good. It didn’t matter to me that it was raining on the final ascent, I was just determined to do my best and I barely noticed the weather conditions. I was just in the suffering mode and completely focused on my effort. I am super happy with this performance. The first week of the Tour didn’t go too well at all and I was not feeling particularly content with my performances but my team kept my spirits up. So now I have won one of the toughest stages of the Tour and I am very proud of myself and the whole team.”

4th on the stage, Dani Navarro (Cofidis): “I did everything to win this stage but it was difficult with riders at the level of Majka, Pinot, Costa and Rosa in the break. But I tried my luck in attacking and I finished before some of them. I was fourth, after finishing 3rd at Lake Payolle. Yes, I’m close to winning. I’m happy because I know there are many stages on which I could play for wins again, including the third week. I’m happy also because my teammates around me are very good. Nicolas Edet was with me in this escape. Friday was Luis Angel Maté and Borut Bozic. The next time it will perhaps other riders. They work well.”

7th on the stage, George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo): “I had the feeling that I was able to win this race today and enthusiasm took the better of me. I might have done too much at that point, so I have to learn from it. It was awesome that the team gave me the chance to try it. It didn’t work out exactly like what I dreamed of, but it’s a start. Next time, I will wait to make a move until the final part of the race.” Bennett clashed with a spectator. “He stepped forward and didn’t look at me,” he added. “I clashed with him, so he fell. I managed to stay on my bike, but I feel bad that this happened. The fans need to realize that we need a little bit more space.”

9th on the stage, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling): “The team did a great job for me today. Stef Clement and Jerome Coppel went hard all day in the break. I worked to keep contact with the leaders for as long as possible. I really gave everything. However, my legs were not good enough to hope to finish much better in the finale. After my bad day yesterday, I am pleased to have found a good feeling again. And there will be more chances to go into a good break before the end of this Tour.”

3rd overall, Dan Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I don’t consider myself a contender, Chris and Nairo are the big favorites for the win, but I wanted to see what I can do, so I attacked a few times. In the final kilometer it was a headwind, and because of that it became difficult to try something there. Overall, I can’t say the weather had an impact, but I’m sure it looked cooler on TV. I’m third overall now, but I still want to take it day by day and try to get a stage win. I like riding again in the high mountains, Etixx – Quick-Step reminded me how to enjoy what I am doing and I can’t say enough times how great this team is. I’m an aggressive rider, that’s my nature, and I like to attack and fight for the win even if this means getting dropped, instead of sitting behind and fighting for second.”

Richie Porte (BMC): “I put some time into some other General Classification guys so it’s a good day. I need to get time back so that’s what I was thinking [when I attacked in the final]. The team was fantastic today, we worked quite well together. It would have been nice to get a bit more of a gap but I’m guessing that they’re not just going to let me ride away like that. I feel good. It’s nice to get the first proper block of racing done. Physically I know where I am and that’s in a good place.”

Break rider, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “I felt really good before the start of today’s stage so I decided to attack immediately. Before the first climb of the day in the beginning of the stage, more than 40 riders were still in the front of the race. In my opinion, that was a bit too much so I accelerated again. Eventually twenty riders were part of the break and as I promised beforehand, I tried to obtain as much points as possible for the KOM classification (Thomas was able to get 23 points for the KOM classification today, LTS). When I attacked on the third climb of the day, I hoped to remain in front till the summit of the penultimate climb, but that was a bit too optimistic. I was reeled in by the strongest climbers in the front group and after that I was dropped rather quickly. The first three hours of the stage were really hot, but on the final climb the weather changed entirely and it started to rain and hail. Personally, that wasn’t a big problem for me. I’m confident that I’ll be able to show myself the next two weeks, I feel very good. But first I will enjoy the first rest day in this Tour.”

Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data): “From the start many riders wanted to be in the break. We were 35 riders at first, Contador and Valverde were there as well and the peloton didn’t want them to go away. Finally, they dropped back to the peloton and we started to pull harder on the front to get a gap. In the final the attacks started and I tried to follow as much as I could because I was hoping to make a top 10 result. I couldn’t do it today but I hope to have a good rest now so that I can try again to get a good result.”

3rd on the stage, Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida): “The stage was so demanding, with all those climbs and the sudden change of the weather conditions. I had focused my ambitions on this stage and I was aware that it was necessary to be in a breakaway for aiming for a top result. I went clear from the bunch with the first attack, however the early part of the stage was quite complicated for me because I had not top feelings. In the second part, I was better and I did everything I could to achieve the main goal. I attacked at 20 km to the arrival because I wanted to anticipated the opponents, however it did not work, while Dumoulin succeeded in realizing the winning attack few kilometers later. The second place in a Tour de France’s stage is a good result, however I’ll try again to achieve the big target.”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “I did my best today. I tried to attack earlier on in the race but it was impossible – my legs simply couldn’t go after the two earlier crashes. Earlier this morning I had a little fever as well as throat pain, but nonetheless I decided to give it a shot. After I tried to attack my legs were really empty, so I dropped back to team car and talk to the Sport Directors. We agreed that the best decision was to abandon the race in order to rest and carry out further medical examinations, and we’ll assess my racing calendar now until the end of the season.”

Tour de France Stage 9 Result:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin in 5:16:24
2. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:38
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff
4. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 1:39
5. Winner Anacona Gomez (Col) Movistar at 1:57
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 2:30
7. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 2:48
8. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 2:52
9. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling at 3:44
10. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 6:35.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 9:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 44:36:03
2. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:16
3. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:19
4. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:23
5. Joaquim Rodríguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:37
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:44
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Sky
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre-Merida at 0:55
10. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:01.

Tour Stage 9:

Summary – Stage 9 (Vielha Val d'Aran / Andorre… por tourdefrance_en

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New National Champions to Line Up at Tour of Poland
Manuel Quinziato and Philippe Gilbert will line up for the first time as newly crowned Italian and Belgian national champions when BMC Racing Team heads to the Tour of Poland next week.

A strong squad with multiple options is heading to Poland said BMC Racing Team Sports Director Max Sciandri. “We are heading to the Tour of Poland with a motivated and ambitious team. All the guys are capable of delivering results so we are not going into the race with a specific team leader. It will be a case of seeing how the race unfolds particularly with the time trial on the final day.”

Quinziato and Gilbert are looking forward to representing their respective home countries and BMC Racing Team in Poland. “I am really looking forward to racing in Poland especially with the last stage being a time trial. It will be my first chance to wear my Italian Time Trial champion’s kit and it will be filled with big emotions. I have raced at the Tour of Poland on two occasions, it is a good race and the whole team is motivated to bring home some good results,” said Quinziato.

“For me, the Tour of Poland is a very important race. It’s a WorldTour race and that means that the level will be high but I am feeling good right now, especially after my win at the Belgian National Championships. I believe that I will be able to go out and ride for good results and it will also be an opportunity for me to show the form I have ahead of the Olympics,” Gilbert added.

Rider roster:
Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Floris Gerts (NED), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Peter Velits (SVK), Loïc Vliegen (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sports Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA) Marco Pinotti (ITA).

Belgian champion, Philippe Gilbert:
Boussu-Lez-Walcourt - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Philippe Gilbert (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Tim Wellens (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during the 2016 Belgian national championship cycling race elite men with start and finish in Boussu-Lez-Walcourt (231 km) - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

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Etixx – Quick-Step to Tour de Pologne
The week-long stage race will take place between 12 and 18 July

Part of the World Tour calendar for more than a decade, the Tour de Pologne – which will run its 73rd edition this year – has a traditional course which will see the peloton roll off from the small town of Radzymin and will draw the curtain seven days later, in Krakow, one of the oldest cities in the country. The sprinters will be privileged in the first part of the week, with the general classification riders getting their share of fun in the last three days, which schedule two mountain stages (Zakopane and Bukowina Tatrzanska) and a 25-km long individual time trial.

For Fernando Gaviria – who is keen on adding an Olympic Omnium title to the one he already got at the World Championships earlier this year – this will be the last stage race he’ll do before Rio de Janeiro. Bob Jungels, best young rider of the Giro d’Italia, Laurens De Plus, Nikolas Maes, Davide Martinelli, Pieter Serry, former stage winner Zdenek Stybar and Lukasz Wisniowski will also be traveling to Poland, for the 19th World Tour event of the season, a race in which Etixx – Quick-Step shined in recent years, by winning stages as well as distinctive jersey.

“We are going to the Tour de Pologne with a balanced team, able to shine in any type of race scenario. Zdenek is the rider with the most experience. He knows well the race and he is that type of rider that can play an important role and be protagonist in the key stages. Together with him we have Bob Jungels, who’s coming back to a stage race after a great Giro d’Italia and can be a protagonist in the Krakow time trial”, said sport director Rik van Slycke. “For the sprint stages we can count on the talent of Fernando, who is fine-tuning his condition for Rio and can rely on the experience of Nikolas Maes as lead-out man. The team is completed by Pieter and Laurens, who will be important in the mountain stages, Davide Martinelli and our Polish rider Lukasz Wisniowski, who will be motivated to shine in his home race.”

Riders:
Laurens De Plus (BEL), Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Nikolas Maes (BEL), Davide Martinelli (ITA), Pieter Serry (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Lukasz Wisniowski (POL).
Sports Director: Jan Schaffrath (GER) & Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Bob Jungels:
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Preview Tour de Pologne
Whilst all eyes are set on the Tour de France at this moment, several other races are held around the world. From Tuesday 12 July 2016 till Monday 18 July 2016, a part of the peloton will be in Poland for seven days as the 73rd edition of the Tour de Pologne is scheduled. This stage race, which is part of the WorldTour, is normally held in August. Because of the Olympic Games in Rio, the race is scheduled one month earlier this season.

Mario Aerts: “I don’t think that this change will have a big influence on how the race will develop. This change has a bigger influence on the riders though. Normally, this is a rather calm period for riders who aren’t racing at the Tour. Now it’s a huge adaption for our riders with the coming Olympic Games in Rio and the Tour de Pologne during the Tour.”

The first two stages will most likely end with a bunch sprint. The stages are short, they contain two climbs each and the riders need to cover a few local laps in both stages. Day three will be something different though. The peloton has to ride 240 kilometers and needs to surmount three tough climbs. After that a transition stage is scheduled. The next two stages will be very important for the positions on GC. During the fifth stage, the riders have to climb seven mountains of the first category. The sixth stage is even harder as fifteen climbs are on the menu that day. Finally, the individual time trial of 25 kilometers in and around Krakow will determine the positions on GC.

Mario Aerts: “The course is very similar to last year. The first two stages are almost the same and they offer a chance for the sprinters. The local lap and the finish in the first stage are slightly different though. Day three will be a whole different story. The positions on GC won’t be determined this day, but you can lose the race here. In my opinion, the GC group will be reduced towards the end of the stage. After that, a transition stage is scheduled and maybe the break has a chance to survive. The heavy part of this race is situated in the final three stages. Stages five and six will certainly demand a lot of energy from the riders, it will be really hard days in the saddle. Several parts of the climbs are very steep, you mustn’t underestimate them. Finally, the closing time trial can be important regarding to the positions on GC.”

Bart De Clercq finished second on GC during last year’s edition of this hard stage race. He also won a stage and wore the leader’s jersey one day. The Belgian climber will be extra motivated, that’s certain.

Mario Aerts: “I think that we start with a very strong team. It’s a nice mix of young and more experienced riders, that’s an advantage in my opinion. Rafael Valls hasn’t raced since several weeks so we have to wait how well he will perform already. Tiesj Benoot is able to show himself in a break and maybe he can try to win a stage. Maxime Monfort is preparing himself for the Vuelta so he can test his legs in a few stages. Jasper De Buyst will be our leader for the sprints. Riders such as Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot already proved that they can be part of a sprint train. But Jasper is someone who can sprint on his own as he’s a very good track cyclist. The sprints in the Tour de Pologne are often a bit hectic so Jasper’s abilities on the bike are a true asset.”

“We can also aim for a good position on GC with two or three riders. Bart De Clercq and Tim Wellens will be the main leaders, but also Louis Vervaeke could obtain a nice result. Louis and Bart are still in the pre-selection for the Olympic Games in Rio so they’ll certainly try to show themselves. Bart was also a bit disappointed because he wasn’t selected for the Tour and he did a great job during last year’s edition of this race. He’s definitely going to try something. Finally, Tim said that he really aims for a good position on GC. He’ll certainly get the opportunity to do so. I have a lot of confidence in this team and I’m sure they will perform well next week.”

At the moment Bart De Clercq is training in Italy to prepare for the Tour de Pologne.

Bart De Clercq: “I was disappointed not be selected for the Tour, but I have new goals now: the Tour de Pologne and Vuelta. I am motivated to perform well in both races. At the Tour de Pologne we start we GC ambitions. Last year I finished second overall. It won’t be easy to do as well, but I’m definitely aiming for a top ten result. The route is quite similar to last year, so we can expect a tough race again. To win the stage to Zakopane as I did last year luck would have to be on my side. I would be as happy to win another stage (laughs). We go to Poland with a very strong team, with different riders who could play a role on that terrain. We definitely have the possibility to make the race hard and then we’ll see day by day which one of us can aim for the best result.”

Roster Lotto Soudal:
Sander Armée, Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Bart De Clercq, Maxime Monfort, Rafael Valls, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.

Tiesj Benoot:
stage 7 - Criterium du Dauphine Libere 2015

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Preview: Tour of Poland
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka happy to represent Qhubeka in Poland for the first time
The Tour de France may still be in full swing but already, the next World Tour race is upon us. The Tour of Poland gets underway tomorrow and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are looking forward to competing in the 7 stage race for the first time.

This year’s Tour of Poland will be the 73rd edition of the race and our African Team are happy to be representing our partners and Qhubeka in a new country for the first time. The Tour of Poland is always a very difficult race with 7 out of the 8 stages being classified as medium mountainous and the final stage being a 25km time trial.

The competition, being a World Tour event, is assured to be of the highest level and then some. Riders who were on the Tour de France long list but didn’t make the final Tour selection will no doubt line up in Poland. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will send a strong team with a variety of attributes so that we can be competitive on each stage.

Our new double Belarussian champion, Kanstantsin Siutsou will lead the way for our African Team and Adrien Niyonshuti will also get to show off his new Rwandan national time trial jersey on the Tour of Poland final stage. Kristian Sbaragli and Youcef Reguigui will be our two sprint options for the race and Matt Brammeier, Omar Fraile, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Songezo Jim complete our team.

Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director:
The Tour of Poland is a good race which gives different riders the opportunity to achieve success. Sprinters, climbers and TT specialists will all get their chance this week. As a World Tour event it will be another difficult race with an all-round high quality number of riders. We will look for our opportunities in the varying terrain for different riders to go for stage victories.

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Jesper Hansen heads GC fight at Tour of Poland as Daniele Bennati returns
With much of the cycling-world’s focus on the Tour de France, it is easy to neglect the importance and toughness of the Tour of Poland, a WorldTour race in its own right. The seven-stage race, won by Tinkoff’s own Rafal Majka back in 2014 and Peter Sagan in 2011, gets underway this coming Tuesday and Tinkoff heads to the race with a balanced team to compete over all terrains offered up.

Jesper Hansen leads the roster in search of a strong GC finish, and he comes the tour that he raced for the first time last season after a season of progression. Jesper finished the Tour of Croatia in second spot this spring, and had a good showing at the Tour de Langkawi where he ended up fifth overall.

Danielle Bennati will also make his return to racing in Poland, following his crash at Milan-Sanremo which saw him fracture his L4 vertebra. He will be joined by the hugely experienced Sergio Paulinho, a rider capable of results on the tough climbing stages himself, as well as the Russian trio of Pavel Brutt, Evgeny Petrov and Yuri Trofimov.

Tinkoff will have a new national champion lining up at the race too, with Juraj Sagan showing off his Slovakian road race champion’s jersey. Juraj will be hoping to test his legs in the breakaways, looking for results from a smaller group. Jesús Hernández completes the roster, with the Spanish rider looking to play a roll in the hills.

Ahead of the race, Sport Director Jan Valach explained more about the line-up. “Poland will be Benna’s first race back, and it’s a good race for him as it’s not super hard and there are some chances to test himself early on, but with no stress either. We have a balanced team with Jesper heading the GC fight. He has shown already in Malaysia and Croatia that he is good for this and hopefully we can push for a good result but this is a WorldTour race and a step up so there won’t be too much pressure there.”

“Hernández, Petrov and Trofimov will be a good help for Jesper in the hills, and then for the breakaways we have Pavel Brutt, who was up the road a lot at the Giro, and also Juraj Sagan. Then finally we have Paulinho as a captain to guide the team. It’s an important race for us and we will take our opportunities with all our riders, looking for stage results day by day and supporting Jesper too.”

After two initial stages that suit large group or bunch sprints, the Tour of Poland gradually gets harder as the race progresses. Stage three struggles to offer much flat at all over the long, 240km parcours, while a succession of hills in the second half of stage four may also thwart the sprinters’ efforts.

The key stages for the GC come later in the week on days five and six, with the latter being a very heavy stage of climbing, with continuous back-to-back categorised climbs to tackle over five laps of a large circuit. The race then culminates with an individual time trial on stage 7 after which the 2016 winner will be confirmed.

“The first two stages aren’t too long but after that all the days are around 200km or over so it will be a good race to build from,” Valach added. “Stages 5 and 6 will be key for the overall, key days for the climbers, but we have to pay attention every day.”

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LottoNL-Jumbo extends contract with Kruijswijk
WorldTour Team LottoNL-Jumbo extended its contract with Steven Kruijswijk for the next two years. The Dutchman, who led the Giro d’Italia this May, is confident in the support the team will give him in the upcoming grand tours. His contract will take him through 2018.

Nico Verhoeven: “Steven is a fine example of the talent in our team,” Sports Director Nico Verhoeven said. “Steven showed what he is capable of in the last Giro with his amazing performance. We are proud that he has confidence in our plan with the support for the classification riders in the team. “Steven is altitude training in Andorra to prepare for the Olympics and the Vuelta. After that, we make plans for the next season.”

Steven Kruijswijk: “I am very pleased with the prospect of racing the next two years at Team LottoNL-Jumbo,” added Kruijswijk. “The team has an ambitious plan towards 2018 with the sprint train and the support for the classification riders in the team. I am confident that we can realize these ambitions together. This is the sports coaching, technical and support staff of the team, I would like to work with. The last Giro d’Italia confirmed my thoughts and gave me great confidence for the future.”

Steven Kruijswijk in Giro pink:
Andalo - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL - Jumbo) - Valverde Belmonte Alejandro (Spain / Team Movistar) - Ilnur Zakarin (Russia / Team Katusha) pictured during stage 16 of the 99th Giro d’Italia 2016 from Bressanone - Andalo 132 km - foto LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

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No More Tour for Contador
It was a sad sight to see Alberto Contador climb into a Tinkoff team car during Sunday’s stage 9. But under the circumstances it was probably the best move. He can recover, ride the Olympic games road race and then win the Vuelta a España for the fourth time.

Alberto will be back soon:


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