EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet is on a roll with wins in the 3E Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem. In EUROTRASH Monday we have all the news from Belgium and Catalunya with reports, results, quotes and video. Wiggins talks – Top Story. In other cycling news: Theo Bos for the Worlds in Hong Kong, Heinrich Haussler not ready to race, Tour de France China Criterium and Tour of the Alps crosses the Europa Bridge in Tyrol. A full Monday trash-bag.
TOP STORY: Wiggins Talks
Bradley Wiggins has broken his silence at a JLA motivational breakfast event for ‘corporate types in the City of London’ on Friday. You can read the full report on the Eurosport website HERE. As usual the Knight of the Realm was outspoken, when asked by host Sarah-Jane Mee about his understanding of marginal gains, Wiggins answered: “I think it’s a load of rubbish, if I’m honest. I do. A lot of people made a lot of money out of it and David Brailsford used it constantly as his calling card. But I always thought it was a load of rubbish. It’s a bit like the whole chimp thing,” referring to the book of psychiatrist Dr. Steve Peter – ‘The Chimp Paradox’.
Sir Wiggins added: “At the end of the day, chimp theories and marginal gains and all these buzz words – a lot of the time, I just think you have got to get the fundamentals right: go ride your bike, put the work in, and you’re either good or you’re not good. Sometimes in life or in sport, whatever, you’re either good at something or you’re not. That’s what makes you a better athlete: your physical ability and whether you’ve trained enough – not whether you’ve slept on a certain pillow or mattress.”
When reminded that Victoria Pendleton had said that without this chimp theory she couldn’t have won all her medals, Wiggins replied: “But Vicky’s a bit of a milkshake anyway.”
At no point during the ‘motivational breakfast’ was Wiggins asked any controversial question, ie. Packages, TUEs or cortisone, but he still managed cause controversy. Maybe he should say nothing in future?
Wiggins alienates himself again:
Greg Van Avermaet(BMC) made history by winning Gent-Wevelgem – In Flanders Fields, on the back of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Record Bank-E3 Harelbeke, the first rider to win all three Classics in the same season. After winning two UCI WorldTour Classics in three days, Van Avermaet showed he is the hot favorite for Ronde van Vlaanderen with an aggressive ride over the 249km parcours, which ended with a nail-biting sprint against Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott).
The day started with nine riders going clear and building a solid gap of more than seven minutes. Ryan Mullen (Cannondale-Drapac), Preben Van Hecke (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Mark McNally (Wanty-Groupe Goubert), Jay Robert Thomson (Dimension Data), Elmar Reinders (Roompot-Nederlandse Lotersij), Loïc Chetout (Cofidis), Hugo Houle (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Dennis Van Winden (Israel Cycling Academy), Christophe Masson (WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect). Their advantage reduced when cross winds caused echelons in the peloton but eventually, the peloton came back together and began the chase for the breakaway.
With 88km to go, BMC Racing Team made the most of the chaotic conditions of cross winds and crashes, to put in a big push and split the peloton again into six groups. The race came back together for a second time as the peloton approached the new addition of gravel roads, and it was here that Quickstep-Floors launched a move with a small group of serious contenders going clear.
Stefan Küng, Daniel Oss, Silvan Dillier and Loïc Vliegen put in a huge effort to bring the group back for Van Avermaet as the race entered the final 50km. It was on the final ascent of the Kemmelberg when Van Avermaet made his move and a group of 14 riders went clear of the peloton. Approaching 20km to go, Keukeleire attacked and Van Avermaet, Nikki Terpstra (Quick-Step-Floors), Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Soren Kragh Andersen (Team Sunweb) joined.
15km before the line it was just Van Avermaet and Keukeleire left at the front. The duo put in a brilliant effort to stay clear and eventually, it was Van Avermaet who took the win on the line as the peloton came storming home just six seconds behind the duo.
The Winner’s Interview with Greg Van Avermaet
Greg, Congratulations! Describe your feeling right now.
“I was not expecting to win Gent-Wevelgem, but I’m really happy. It’s definitely the best start of the season that I’ve ever had. I’ve won three Classics already so it’s an amazing feeling. It’s never easy to win these races and normally Gent-Wevelgem isn’t so much of a race for me. I tried so many times to win here and now I’ve won three all in one season. It’s a wonderful feeling and it gives me extra confidence for Ronde van Vlaanderen.”
It was a chaotic day with cross winds and crashes but you had the team there to protect you in crucial moments. How was it out there?
“The guys, like Stefan Küng and Loïc Vliegen, did a great job to bring Quickstep-Floors back when they went away on the gravel roads. Daniel Oss was strong too the whole day. It was a really hard race for sure and you need a strong team in these races.”
You attacked and created the final selection on the Kemmelberg. Was this the plan?
“The Kemmelberg is always a point when everyone wants to go and I felt really strong there. I hoped to get a good group with me and that’s what happened. Then we went way with strong guys. I was riding really hard the whole time because sometimes when you do a small pull you lose less energy than when you have to close gaps. In a race like this you can’t say we are not going to ride with 20km to go. You have to keep going the whole time. That’s what happened with Jens Keukeleire and I when it was just the two of us. The whole last 10km we weren’t speaking, it was just head down and going as fast as we could. It was a great win and the race was really perfect.”
Three big wins must put you in a fantastic position for Ronde van Vlaanderen?
“For sure. I don’t think I can say anymore that I’m not the favorite. These wins give me extra confidence before next Sunday. I said on Friday that I can beat anyone in the sprint on a hard race. Now we look to Ronde van Vlaanderen and I’m going to give it everything I have.”
2nd, Jens Keukeleire (Orica-Scott): “I’ve been feeling really good the last couple of years in these classics, I get a lot of confidence from the team and I appreciate it a lot. I haven’t really gotten the biggest results, but still they show confidence in me and I’m really happy to be able to show that I can get results in these races. I came really close today and I think if you can come second you can also win and I think that is the same for Flanders. With Orica-Scott we have won four out of the five monuments and the only one missing is Flanders so it would be nice to go win that one.”
3rd, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I don’t know what Terpstra wanted to do, because he attacked to go in the breakaway, but afterwards he didn’t want to work. This is just one example of how you can lose the race against me. What can I do – we’re not teammates – I can’t work for everyone, only for them to beat me in the sprint. I’m not disappointed – I’m more motivated now. If you win all the time, you lose your motivation. Now I’m motivated to take some more wins. We’ll see what happens at Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.”
4th, Niki Terpstra (Quick-Step-Floors): “We were five riders in the front. When Greg and Jens attacked, I didn’t chase immediately, because I thought it was up to Sagan to close the gap, as he was the fastest of the group. Unfortunately, we couldn’t come back until the line and that was that.”
6th, Tom Boonen (Quick-Step Floors): “It was another good race for me. To score a top 10 finish in my final appearance at Gent-Wevelgem isn’t that bad, considering how tough the race was. This just comes as extra proof that I’m on the right road for Flanders and Roubaix.”
7th, Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal): “I was on the wheel of Tom Boonen on the second passage of the Kemmelberg but I just had to let him go. In the descent of the Kemmelberg the better riders of the race were gone. I knew it would be hard to return to the front of the race. The team gave it their all and we almost caught the escapees, we were very close. It’s nice that I can sprint to the seventh place but I’m not satisfied. We couldn’t follow the better riders and that’s frustrating. We must look forward. I’m focussing on the Driedaagse De Panne and the Ronde van Vlaanderen.”
10th, Sacha Modolo (Team UAE Emirates): “I was aware my legs were good, in fact I already had good feelings in the past days, however I could not exploit them because of a flat tyre in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen and I missed joining the top riders group for few meters in the E3 Harelbeke.
Today, everything was ok and I could be competitive as I would have liked. I paid attention to not exceed my limits, I was patient and I succeeded in managing my energies in the best way. I was very happy when I realized that I could sprint for a top result, the top 10 in a Classic is a good achievement and it gives me extra motivations in view of the next races, starting already in the Three Days of De Panne.”
Late attacker, Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale-Drapac): “I’m very happy with my performance, I’m already looking forward to next Sunday. It was more than the last hour, it was the last three hours, it was all day. We were fighting all day because in a race like this position is almost everything. It doesn’t matter how strong you are, if you’re not in good position or if you crash or if you have a flat tire because you have to ride in the grass, it makes your day very hard. When I started this morning, I was focused and my teammates were focused on position. When Sagan and Van Avermaet attacked on the Kemmelberg, I felt pretty good, I couldn’t follow them, but I was soon back too them. I was pretty confident that we’d arrive on the finish. Even [sport director] [Andreas Klier] was saying in the car that there was no way that they’d catch us. I was too tired to follow, but I wasn’t the only that was a bit tired, the other guys could also not go. Then our group was caught by the Trek guys for Degenkelb and the story was already written.”
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data): “It was a hard race and the finale began quite early today. I managed to be up in the front, in a good position and was riding well. Scott and Bernie were doing a really good job as well. I was feeling a bit hunger flat when there was a split. I still tried to close the gap, and I used all the energy I had left. At the end, I didn’t have anything left for the sprint. It was a really hard race.”
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 5:39:05
2. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-Scott
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:06
4. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
5. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
6. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
7. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
9. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Team UAE Emirates.
Volta a Catalunya 2017
Snow and freezing temperatures saw Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Stage 4 shortened with the race starting at kilometer 60, of the previously planned 184.3km stage. Tejay van Garderen finished safely in the bunch behind stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) to retain his leader’s jersey, 41 seconds ahead of his BMC teammate, Samuel Sánchez and Geraint Thomas (Sky) in 3rd at 0:44.
Having relocated from the planned start town of Llívia to Montferrer, the race eventually got underway with the peloton setting a fast pace and chasing down all early breakaway attempts as they headed down the valley.
Eventually, after almost 40km of racing, a group of five riders was able to escape off the front of the peloton and quickly extend an advantage of 3:10. However, the peloton, being led by BMC, kept the breakaway under control, cutting the gap to around 2:40 as they went over the top of the Alt del Pubill.
With the second categorized climb of the day coming at just 20km to go, the chase began to heat up as teams battled for position in the peloton heading onto the slopes of Turo del Puig before reeling in the final breakaway rider with 18km remaining.
Fireworks soon followed with attack after attack going over the summit of the category two climb and four riders forcing a reaction from the peloton behind as they opened up an advantage on the final descent into Igualada.
With a bunch sprint up for grabs, the sprinters’ teams, alongside BMC, pushed hard to bring the race back together with Bouhanni the fastest on the day ahead of Davide Cimolai (FDJ) and Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott).
Stage winner, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis): “I’m really happy the way the whole team worked. It is a big satisfaction. On Monday, I had launched far too far, about 250 meters from the finish on a false flat. I knew this finish, however, I had won in the past. It was a mistake on my part. I was very frustrated to have lost for two centimeters. I wanted at all costs to catch up on this fourth stage and it is done!”
Overall leader, Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “I think today went really well for us. We were about to start in a snow storm, but they made a good call to move us down the valley. It shortened the stage obviously, but it also kept everyone safe and dry. It was a relatively easier day today before a hectic final climb and descent to the finish, but I think we managed it well. I feel really good going into tomorrow’s stage. I’m confident in the team and myself. It will be a hard climb, and certainly, anything can happen. Wearing the leader’s jersey always adds motivation. It gives you an extra gear or 20 extra watts so, hopefully, I can get to the base of the climb in a good position and then from there I just need to give it my best. That’s all I can ask for.”
Sprints leader, Diego Rubio (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “Yesterday, I told myself that I would take it easy today in order to recover for the hard stages ahead. But after the first couple of kilometers, I saw that my legs were good and I went for it. Some days you try very hard but never get away, so when you have the chance, you have to give it your all. It was a good group but the peloton never gave us much of a gap. I knew I had points from yesterday and that I had a chance to take the lead. Tomorrow, I will hide in the peloton as much as possible in order to be protagonist once again later in the race.”
Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I wanted to try but I hadn’t the legs today to fight for a great result. From the fall, I had yesterday coming into the final part of the race I wasn’t feeling myself. I am disappointed after the support the team gave me. But I will give my best in the following days.”
Volta a Catalunya Stage 4 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 3:04:27
2. Davide Cimolai (Ita) FDJ
3. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-Scott
4. Alexander Edmonson (Aus) Orica-Scott
5. Dion Smith (NZ) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
7. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
9. Jose Rojas (Spa) Movistar
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo.
Volta a Catalunya Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC in 13:29:00
2. Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) BMC at 0:41
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:44
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:45
5. Chris Froome (GB) Sky at 0:49
6. Marc Soler Gimenez (Spa) Movistar at 1:10
7. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 1:13
8. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 1:18
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 1:25
10. Jarlinson Pantano Gomez (Col) Trek-Segafredo.
Catalunya stage 4:
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was again unstoppable on the Cat-1 climb of Lo Port, end of Stage 5 in the Volta a Catalunya. The Movistar Team’s GC hope came back to the race leader on Friday, three days after being losing the jersey following a controversial, collective one-minute penalty after Banyoles’ team time trial. His win atop La Molina on Wednesday was the prelude to a sensational second victory in three days, his 5th of the season, the 102nd of his pro career and the crowning of superb Movistar team-work.
Windy roads before the last climb propelled the lads directed by José Luis Arrieta and José Luis Laguía to break the peloton into four echelons through the lands of the Ebro delta, before Rubén Fernández and, most notably, a stellar Marc Soler took over into the climb. It was the 23-year-old Catalan climber who again showed his impressive talent to lead a five-man elite group – alongside Valverde, Contador, Froome and Adam Yates – that covered the last four kilometers together. Just before the ‘flamme rouge’, ‘Bala’ made his decisive move to leave all rivals behind and don the ‘blanc-i-verd’ jersey over the podium.
The Movistar Team will now have to defend respective 21″ and 47″ gaps with Valverde against Froome and Contador, Soler sits 4th in the GC.
Stage winner and overall leader, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It was a spectacular day for both myself and the team, I’m so glad I could finish this off. It was an amazing day, all thanks to my team-mates. We kept full focus in the dangerous part of the stage, exposed to the wind, and all over the stage I had different team-mates surrounding me. At the final climb, Rubén Fernández and Marc Soler did a sensational job for me. From the very foot of the climb I was feeling like I had good legs, and I asked them to go on full steam for as long as they could. At the final two kilometers, I sought for my distance and launched the move with a pace I could hold until the line. It’s a victory and a leader’s jersey really special, because of everything that happened during the last few days. Things like those, outside the racing itself, are not ones that we like. In the end, we managed to get people excited and happy about our racing, and that’s what counts. Soler? It’s a really talented boy, you all could see it. He won the Tour de l’Avenir, excelled into the mountains prior, but seeing how strong he rode this week, I can tell this to you: he’s got whatever he wants to win in his legs.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Chris Froome (Sky): “Today, being the first big mountain top finish, was probably the first real big test so in that sense I’m really happy to be up there. Those are good indicators when I still have a long way to go until I’m at my best. Personally, it’s been an encouraging few days, especially given my track record here in Catalunya! It’s a race that I’ve usually found tough, being my first European race of the year and really just getting back into it. Having said that, we don’t want to be happy with second place as it’s not the reason we’re here. Valverde is looking really strong and I think beating him will take something special. But tomorrow’s stage has been quite understated – there’s hardly any flat in it and the weather might play a big part. After a day like today there will be some tired legs so we’ll stay on the front foot and look to take any opportunities.”
Break rider, Héctor Sáez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “It was really difficult to make the break this time. We did 50 km in the first hour and it wasn’t until we started on the category 2 climb that we got away. Later on, I tried to help Diego as much as I could in the intermediate sprints. I’m satisfied with my performance. I started out the season sick but now I’m feeling better every race I do.”
Volta a Catalunya Stage 5 Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 4:14:52
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:13
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
4. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 0:25
5. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 0:32
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 0:46
7. David Gaudu (Fra) FDJ at 0:58
8. Hugh Carthy (GB) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:04
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:11
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo.
Volta a Catalunya Overall After Stage 5:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 17:44:27
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:21
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 0:47
4. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 1:00
5. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 1:15
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:18
7. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 1:34
8. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 1:59
9. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 2:13
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 2:40.
Catalunya stage 5:
The Volta a Catalunya doesn’t stop making headlines day after day, as Saturday brought another amazing stage where the bunch broke into three echelons just after thirty of the 189km on Stage 6 from Tortosa to Reus. Splits on a technical, wet descent of the Coll de Bot (Cat-3) created a 50-rider front group that included all six Movistar Team riders with overall leader Alejandro Valverde.
The stragglers of the elite group included Chris Froome (Sky), whose second group finished a whooping 26 minutes behind, just one minute inside the time limit, which put Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) in 2nd place and Marc Soler (Movistar) in 3rd overall. An attack by Contador over the final ascent to La Mussara (Cat-1) was quickly aborted by the Movistar Team as race leader Alejandro Valverde defended himself without any problems to keep the ‘blanc-i-verd’ jersey. The ‘missile from Murcia’ even took a shot at what could have been his third stage victory, sprinting from the reduced field and coming second only to South Africa’s Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott).
Valverde, who now holds a 53-second advantage over Contador and 1:06 over Soler, will chase his second overall success in the Volta’s showdown in Barcelona, a 138km stage seven which includes a circuit (eight laps) over the ‘Magic Mountain’ of Montjuïc, a traditional loop in the Olympic area of the Catalan capital.
Stage winner, Daryl Impey (Orica-Scott): “It was an interesting day today with the splits. We had quite a few guys in the front and in the end it was such a reduced front group. I was just happy to have the legs for the sprint because I rode quite hard early on. We moved Yates up overall so to get the win on top of that is fantastic. Going into today’s stage I didn’t think I would have a good chance but the team rode so well. We knew it would be hard to drop the sprinters today but we had numbers in the front, Carlos Verona was doing strong turns so I am happy to finish it off with a win.”
Overall leader, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It was another really tough day. The beginning of the stage was so fast, and it was all split down the first climb, which was even more difficult than the climbing itself. We always kept the front of the group and caught Froome unprepared behind, yet we only put Erviti out to work. There were so many teams interested on making that group stick, and the riders behind didn’t have a chance to make up terrain. Now it’s all down to Sunday. It shouldn’t be a problem to keep the leader’s jersey, yet we must race as focused as we’ve done over the week. There will surely be attacks and many riders are still pretty much together and up for the podium and top-ten fights. We will just try to continue as we’ve been doing during the last few days. Keeping our team together and working as brilliantly as my team-mates have done over the entire race is the only way to win this.”
11th overall, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The race was decided after the first climb in the downhill. 50 riders pulled away. I felt good so I jumped in and then we raced. We tried it today but it wasn’t good enough. I finished in 12th position and in the overall I am now 11th place. The season is long, better days are coming.”
Volta a Catalunya Stage 6 Result:
1. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-Scott in 4:34:14
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
3. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ
4. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
5. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC
6. Nick van der Lijke (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
7. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
8. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Sunweb
9. Cyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors.
Volta a Catalunya Overall After Stage 6:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 22:18:35
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredoa at 0:53
3. Marc Soler Gimenez (Spa) Movistar at 1:06
4. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 1:21
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:24
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 2:19
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 2:46
8. Carlos Verona (Spa) Orica-Scott at 2:50
9. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 2:51
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:55.
Catalunya stage 6:
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) crowned his overall victory in the 97th Volta Ciclista a Catalunya with a third stage victory in the Final Stage 7 in Barcelona. ‘Bala’ claimed honors on the 138km course, with eight laps of the famous Montjuïc mountain, to again respond to perfect Movistar team-work. Dan Martin’s (Quick-Step Floors) acceleration into the final kilometers encouraging the man from Murcia to out-sprint a select group and complete a week’s exhibition victorious on the line, his 7th win of 2017, the 104th of his pro career.
The Movistar Team rounded off an excellent week that saw the Blues claiming all four main classifications of the first Spanish WorldTour race of the season, putting up their 2017 victory tally to 13 in the process. With the only exceptions of Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), 2nd overall, and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac), winner of the intermediate sprints’ classification, the telephone squad’s members were the only to step onto the final podium: Valverde won the GC and the KOM classification; Marc Soler finished 3rd as best Young Rider; and the Movistar riders were deservedly the best squad in the race.
Valverde’s success is his second in the Volta a Catalunya after winning the 2009 race, and marks the eighth overall triumph for Eusebio Unzué’s organization, with Indurain (’88, ’91, ’92), Chava Jiménez (’00), Karpets (’07) and Nairo Quintana (2016). Soler confirms his promising future, after signs of character with last year’s Route du Sud queen stage victory and this month’s third-place finish at the final stage of Paris-Nice.
Stage and overall winner, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “The legs felt really good after such a difficult race as in Saturday, when we had to go through some difficult climbs at a very high pace, under the rain and with much cold. It was all completely different today, with pleasant weather, a short stage and – just like throughout the whole week – a magnificent job from my team-mates to control that 22-rider early break, later chased down by the other teams. At that final lap, I knew Martin would be jumping away at that point next to the Stadium, because he had done so in the past. I just went after him – though it took a lot for me to close the gap, when he stopped I could see that our advantage was decent. Since it wasn’t the best cooperation between us two, we ended up starting that downhill sprint at a very much slower speed than the pursuit group. I just, barely managed to win the stage. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting to get these results. I knew I was in good condition leading up to this race, and those final training rides with Rojas and my team-mates in Andorra the week prior did good on me, but you had to keep in mind that I had spent a whole month without racing, since the Vuelta a Andalucía, while some other rivals like Alberto had a better racing pace. My plan was to go day-by-day, without setting my sights on the bigger goals, but my legs got better and better through the race, even more so today. The Volta is a race that I really like, and every time I take the start here is with an aim to do things well. My five team-mates were superb, and I don’t want to forget about Castroviejo and Amador, who had to abandon with illness yet still did great while they could. We proved we were the strongest team at the TTT, and I tried to continue chasing victories to repay the whole squad after their fantastic effort on Tuesday and ever since.”
3rd overall, Marc Soler (Movistar): “I wasn’t expecting this result at all. My plan here was supporting Alejandro so he could win the Volta. I knew I was in good form after my performance in Paris-Nice, but when you’re young as I am, you always have some sort of doubt on your real level against such strong contenders. I got a podium finish that makes me extremely happy and surprised. Yates tried to take that third place away from me with his move into the last climb, but I was riding strong, I had so much support from the fans as I was riding at home, and even tried to counter his move and attack at the final slopes of the climb. We must remain calm, this doesn’t change anything in my career. I’m not thinking about riding a Grand Tour straight away. I didn’t race any during my first two pro seasons, and it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that my progression is leading me to some big results, things are going well. We can’t rush it – it’s just a beautiful step in my career.”
4th on the stage, Rafal Majka (Bora/Hansgrohe): “The boys did a stellar job today. Everyone showed a strong performance, Jay in the group, Pawel, Jose, Jan in the peloton. The race was really fast today and therefore I think we did a really good job. I am happy with the results.”
Volta a Catalunya Stage 7 Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 3:08:50
2. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo
3. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors
6. Aldemar Reyes (Col) Manzana-Postobon
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac
9. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo.
Volta a Catalunya Final Overall Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 25:27:15
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 1:03
3. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 1:16
4. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 1:31
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:34
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors at 2:29
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 2:56
8. Carlos Verona (Spa) Orica-Scott at 3:00
9. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 3:01
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 3:05.
Final stage 7:
E3 Harelbeke 2017
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) showed he is in winning form when he sprinted to victory in the Record Bank E3 Harelbeke, his second UCI WorldTour individual victory of the season. The sprint for the line came down to Van Avermaet, Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) and Olivier Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale), after the trio proved the strongest on the day when they dropped the rest of the field with 30km to go.
Earlier, it took almost two hours of racing for a breakaway to go clear when the peloton finally let six riders escape. The pace in the peloton remained high and the race took a turn when Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Floors) attacked on the Taaienberg with 75km to go. Daniel Oss immediately jumped on Boonen’s wheel and a small group of around 20 riders formed, including Van Avermaet.
The group powered away from the peloton and had a small gap to begin with, before putting the hammer down, extending their lead and catching the breakaway with 66km to go. 30km later, the group was down to seven riders and within 10km, the podium trio had established a solid lead.
Behind, the peloton tried to bridge the gap but their multiple attacks were covered. With 10km to go, the Van Avermaet trio had almost two minutes on the bunch and it was clear the podium would be decided in the sprint. Van Avermaet kept a close eye on Gilbert and Naesen and had the legs to edge Gilbert out on the line, with Naesen coming in behind. Van Avermaet’s win sees him lead the UCI WorldTour individual ranking.
The Winner’s Interview with Greg Van Avermaet:
Congratulations Greg! How does it feel to win today?
“This is a really nice win. I know how hard it is to win here. At the beginning of the year, I had only been on the podium once here in 2008. That says it enough, I think. Every year I come back with high expectations and every year it is hard to win this kind of race. I am happy that I have two wins in my pocket now but at the beginning of the season, I said that Tour of Flanders is my big goal. That still has to happen, but it is nice to start with two victories on home soil.”
Were you confident you could win the sprint?
“I was confident, but you are never sure. You have to believe in yourself to win a sprint. I knew that if everything went right, I could beat everyone in a sprint on a hard race but you have to be really focused and everything has to go perfectly. But Gilbert has a good sprint, so you are never 100% sure.”
How can you describe the team’s efforts today?
“I think we were much better today than in Milan-San Remo. I also made a mistake there to not get into the right position at a crucial moment, but today they did well. They positioned me in the right place. Daniel Oss has to stand up; he is a good guy. I really believe in him, and he is one of the strongest riders in the peloton and with Stefan Küng and Jempy Drucker, I think we can be confident. We don’t have the team like Quickstep-Floors, but we have strong guys who can help me, and I am really confident in them.”
Does the win give you confidence before Ronde van Vlaanderen?
“It always helps with your confidence going into a big race when you get the win, and the guys know that I am good and that I will always try. If you win, you see that the team gets stronger and more confident. It’s good to start a race like Ronde van Vlaanderen with the confidence of the team. They know I am ready and when the leader is good, most of the time the team comes also.”
2nd, Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors): “We did a great race today and all the guys did a marvelous job, covering the moves of our rivals and keeping me in a good position. Over the top of the Taaienberg, we had a gap, and although I wasn’t sure that group will stick, I decided to give it a go, so from that moment on it was full gas all the way to the finish line in Harelbeke. In the sprint, Naesen surprised me when he opened his sprint and I hesitated for a second. That, and the headwind, made it really hard to get back in the front. It’s a pity, because I was there and could have won, but that’s racing. I’m looking at the bright side of things, which is that my form is good and I’ve rediscovered those sensations that make me feel at ease on the cobbles. In these races, you have to work hard to get into the best position and to keep it. I really like this. I found again my fighting spirit and this makes me happy. I’m back!”
5th, Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m very happy with today’s performance and result! It was an extremely tough and challenging race but I consider it to be the best ever of my professional career. I feel my form steadily improving and I think this confirms the good sensations I already had at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. I hope this marks the start of a thriving period in my career.”
No fractures for Dayer Quintana after scary crash
Dayer Quintana (Movistar) suffered a crash at the halfway point that put him out of the race. Despite fifteen stitches being put on his right hand, just next to the wrist, and three on his little finger, no fractures or serious injuries were found. He also sustained several bruises to his face.
E3 Harelbeke Result:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 4:48:22
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
3. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-Scott at 0:38
5. Lukas Pöstlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:40
6. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana at 0:51
7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:53
8. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
9. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac.
Women’s Gent-Wevelgem 2017
Sunday proved to be a historic day for Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team as Lotta Lepistö scored a major victory. The Finnish national champion won Gent Wevelgem, a UCI WorldTour race, the highest ranking for women’s cycling.
The result comes after the inform Lepistö won Dwars door Vlaanderen on Wednesday. The victory is the team’s first ever in the WorldTour in what is the best start to the season in its history with four victories to date.
“This race was my goal,” a delighted Lepistö said after the podium celebrations. “I was focussed on winning it. It’s a race that suits me and last year I was close but made a mistake and I told myself that won’t happen again. So today I made sure I was in the front. Flanders is Flanders and anything can happen but this was my goal and we agreed to target today and I got it. I am really satisfied. Three weeks ago I told Christina [Pertchold] I want to win this race, she texted me yesterday and said keep your promise.”
Despite numerous attacks, the race eventually came down to a bunch sprint. Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team was well represented in the front grouo of the 146km race. Gent Wevelgem featured five climbs, with the Kemmelberg and Monteberg navigated twice.
“We had five girls in the front group. They did an amazing job. Stephie [Pohl] did the lead-outs to the Kemmelberg, Marie [Vilmann] our climber here in Flanders attacked after the climbs to put pressure on the group, Cecilie [Uttrup Ludwig] waited for me in the climbs and brought me to the front because I wanted to ride them at my own pace. She covered a million attacks. Lisa [Klein] is my tandem, she is always with me. Ashleigh [Moolman-Pasio] coming back from injury and being in all the attacks and keeping me calm. She always has the right things to say, telling me to relax, it’s not my turn to go into a group. Thomas in the car had a really good tactic and believed in us. This is another team victory.” Lepistö concluded.
More good news emerged at the finish as the UCI confirmed Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig’s lead in the youth classification.
Team Manager, Thomas Campana: “The is a good start. It’s overwhelming. The team really drove the victory on Wednesday and gave their all so today they were tired. We have a lot of young riders, this is a very young group if you look at the average age. Lisa Klein is 20 years old and made it into the final, she was cramping but she supported Lotta all the way. These are 140km races and this young group wins. It’s amazing. The success is overwhelming for me and the staff. We’re very happy that the riders we’ve developed over the years are winning and our talent scouting is working.”
“For us it’s important to develop step by step. The talent we signed 3 years ago are starting to win big now, in front of some big riders. There were a lot of attacks and counter attacks and they kept it together for Lotta. To have a sprint victory is very sweet.”
Lotta Lepistö, Jolien D’hoore and Coryn Rivera at the Women’s Gent Wevelgem 2017:
Under 23 Gent-Wevelgem 2017
In his first race in the Under 23 ranks, Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team’s Ian Garrison surprised even himself with a runner-up result at Gent-Wevelgem Sunday while competing for USA Cycling.
“Honestly, it hasn’t quite hit me yet,” the 18-year-old from Decatur, Georgia, said. “The caliber of it all and this being my first time to race U23. I am just really excited and taking it all in.”
Garrison said he was simply hoping to fulfill his assigned duty, which was to look after team leaders (and Axeon Hagens Berman teammates) Logan Owen and Neilson Powless. But with 70 kilometers still to race, he suddenly found himself on the front.
“A guy attacked and Logan told me to hop onto his wheel,” Garrison said. “So I just tagged along and followed him. I didn’t pull through and he kept rolling. Two or three minutes later, a group of five or six guys rolled up to us with (USA Cycling U23 teammate) Zeke Mostov and then another group with (teammate) Sean Bennett in there. That is how the breakaway formed.”
Onto the finishing circuit, which included two trips up the cobblestoned climbs of the Baneberg, the Kemmelberg and the Monteberg, the bronze medalist at last year’s junior world time trial championships switched from follower to aggressor.
“Each time up the Kemmelberg, I hit the front and put in an effort there, which got rid of a lot of the smaller country guys who were starting to sit in,” Garrison said. “Unfortunately, Sean double-flatted and we lost Zeke the second time up the Kemmelberg, so there were about seven of us who came to the line together.”
USA Cycling Under 23 Manager Nate Wilson, who rode for Axel Merckx’s development team himself in 2013, said he was most impressed with the teamwork from the mixed, six-member squad. Joining Bennett (Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis), Mostov (Aevolo Cycling), Garrison, Owen and Powless (all of Axeon Hagens Berman) was Curtis White (Rally Cycling).
“This is probably our best result in one of these cobbled classics in a while,” Wilson said. “So as a nation, that is exciting. For me, the thing that is most exciting is how it happened as a product of great team execution. So to start the season off on that foot is terrific. A lot of times we have the guys coming in from the trade teams and they are really strong. But getting them to work cohesively as a team usually takes some time. So I am really proud of everyone and how they worked together today.”
Garrison finished about a bike length behind race winner Jacob Hennesy (Great Britain). Rasmus Tiller (Norway) was third in the 186-kilometer cobblestoned classic Nations Cup event in Belgium:
Theo Bos selected for track cycling world championships in Hong Kong
Former world champion aims to compete for medals
National coach René Wolff has selected BEAT Cycling Club member Theo Bos for the Dutch team that will compete at the UCI track cycling world championships in Hong Kong from April 12 to 16.
Bos will compete in the sprint and the kilometer. Six sprint riders will be part of the Dutch track cycling team in Hong Kong. Wolff will choose the team for the team sprint at a later stage. It was not initially certain that five-time world champion Bos would make the team. He first needed to perform well in the qualification races and training sessions, and the number of places on the Dutch team for the upcoming world championships was limited.
The qualification races were held two weeks ago at the international sprint and keirin tournament in Alkmaar. Bos won all three races: sprint, keirin and team sprint. He also beat international competitors, demonstrating his good form. These wins were the first professional victories for BEAT Cycling Club, which made the accomplishment even more memorable.
Bos said: “The races in Alkmaar provided a real confidence boost. It’s always good to win just before a big tournament. I feel great and I’m confident I will achieve good results at the world championships. I am very happy to have been selected for these disciplines.”
Bos will leave for Hong Kong on April 9. Until then he has a regular training schedule to follow. “It’s important that I add the finishing touches to my preparations for the world championships in Hong Kong,” he said. “Part of the preparation was the aero testing last week in Alkmaar. We tested different equipment to choose the best setup for the world championships. Every hundredth of a second will be crucial. With the help of BEAT Cycling Club I have been able to prepare perfectly for Hong Kong.”
“I have the best chance of winning the kilometer. The team sprint and sprint can go either way, but we’re going to Hong Kong with high ambitions.”
You can follow Bos’ journey to Hong Kong on www.beatcycling.club or #RoadToBEAT on social media.
Theo Bos wins in Alkmaar:
Rider Heinrich Haussler unfortunately still not ready to race
Heinrich Haussler from BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team is still not ready to start racing due to his knee injury. Currently he is undergoing physiotherapy with electric waves, but several orthopaedic experts agree that he needs time to heal. It is not known yet, when he will be able to return to the track.
Dr. Carlo Guardascione, member of BAHRAIN MERIDA medical staff, explained Haussler’s condition: “The accidental injury, which occurred at the end of November 2016, caused him severe left knee sprain with capsular edema. The first instrumental examinations, including MRI showed an important edema by impact of the left femoral condyle and a suspicion of cartilage damage.”
After many orthopaedic specialist visits in Germany and additional consultations in Italy and Croatia Haussler underwent an arthroscopic surgery in Austria on December 31st 2016 to remove the synovial plica and patellar cartilage brushing. After the surgery he immediately began a program of functional recovery both with bike and swimming, physiotherapy and local therapies.
The training camp in Benidorm in January 2017 caused a significant slowdown of the recovery program, so Haussler was visited by another orthopaedic specialist, who proposed a variant of the functional recovery program but confirmed the need of a rather long recovery time. Currently Haussler is undergoing physiotherapy with electric waves, localized shock waves and manual therapy.
“The same knee has been injured in the past”, concludes Dr. Guardascione. “All specialists that he has seen, including arthroscopic surgeon, with proposed therapies can’t give an exact date for his return. We will need to be patient and see how it will goes in the following weeks and how the knee reacts with the proposed therapies and adequate training program.”
Injured Heinrich Haussler commented: “All I can really say is that I still have problems with my knee and I’m doing many different therapies, exercises and physio to try to resolve the problem so I can start racing again. It has been going on for many months now but I am doing everything possible to get back to a level where I can start racing again. I’m back on bike at the moment and small steps have been made but I will still need some more time to heal 100%.”
Tristan Hoffmann, one of the sports directors, commented: “We are all very sorry that Heinrich cannot join us on the races for now. We miss his spirit, his experience and leadership skills. For now, all we know is that he needs time to heal properly and we are not sure yet when he will be able to race again.”
Tour de France China Criterium: The Tour de France in the Country of Bicycles!
When the passion for cycling is expressed, the Tour de France responds. With nearly 450 million bicycles, China is the world’s leading bicycle power! While none of these riders’ names appear in the record books, and only one among them, Ji Cheng, has raced in the event, the Tour de France will be present in China in 2017 for the first edition of the Tour de France China Critérium, with a selection of those who stood out on the roads of France in July.
On September 10, the Tour de France will make its debut in China with the Etape China by le Tour de France, a ride around the city of Changsa, the birth place of Mao, on a route combining the quality of the Etape series and the discovery of a region rich in history and authenticity. Several thousand enthusiasts are expected for this 1st edition, which now calls for others to respond to the growing enthusiasm of the Chinese for whom cycling is more than a sport; it is historical a way of life.
This coming October 28 and 29, a peloton of 60 riders, bringing together the leaders of the elite teams and a selection of professional Chinese cyclists, will set off on the roads of Shanghai for the second part of the arrival of the Tour de France in China. A Critérium will be contested on a 3-kilometre circuit. Designed in part on the sites of the 2010 Universal Exhibition and the China Art Museum, the Tour de France China Critérium will take place among the prestigious sites in Shanghai. The professional riders will head into action at the conclusion of a weekend dedicated to bicycle riding during which several thousand amateurs are also expected to take part in the 22km family ride, which will start from the Oriental Pearl Tower, the symbol of the city’s modernity.
To conclude the launch ceremony attended by Andy Schleck, who rode in the Yellow Jersey in the 2010 Tour, and Kathy Zou, Executive Director of Activation Sports, A.S.O. President Jean-Etienne Amaury said how thrilled he was about the partnership that has been put in place: “We want to share the passion all over the world. The Tour de France is reinventing itself and thriving in the context of the global development of cycling. We believe that Activation Sport, with its strong desire to develop a healthy and sustainable sport-oriented lifestyle, will be the ideal gateway for us to reach the millions of bicycle lovers in China.”
· During a press conference held in Shanghai, Amaury Sport Organization and the Chinese communication group Activation Sports have announced the creation of the Tour de France China Critérium and the Etape China by le Tour de France. The first editions will be held next autumn, on September 10 in Changsha for the Etape China and October 28 and 29 in Shanghai for the Critérium.
· The format for the Critérium, which has been employed in the Japanese city of Saitama since 2013, allows the Tour champions to race in front of the Asian public, who are showing an increasing interest in the Tour de France.
· The Etape By series continues its development and once again demonstrates the scope of the Tour de France’s international reach. This new date on the calendar should highlight the growing enthusiasm of the Chinese for cycling.
An iconic moment: the Tour of the Alps crosses the Europa Bridge in Tyrol
On April 18th, on the 2nd day of the Tour of the Alps, the event taking over from the former Giro del Trentino starting on April 17th in Kufstein (Austria), the peloton will cross the famous “Europabrücke”, the highest bridge in Austria and one of the symbols of the unity of the Euro-Region.
It is now official: the Tour of the Alps will cross the Europa Bridge during the second stage of the event, on April 18th, starting from Innsbruck and ending in Innervillgraten. “The Tour of the Alps is more than just an important sports event – explained Tyrol Governor Günther Platter, one of the promoters of the new Euro-Regional race – but also symbolizing the cross-border connection between the three regions of Tyrol, Südtirol and Trentino. The ride across the “Europabrücke” has a very special meaning in that way. Tyrol will stage the 2018 UCI World Road Championships 2018, taking the center stage of international cycling.”
“After long negotiations and discussions with the motorway company ASFINAG and the Ministry of Transport, we have achieved that on this Tuesday after Easter, the “Europabrücke” will temporarily be available for cycling,” says Ingrid Felipe, the governor’s deputy. “This is a very strong and positive picture for the Euregio-region. We are confident in the understanding of the car and truck drivers for a short wait.”
According with Josef Geisler, responsible for sports in Tyrol, the Tour of the Alps – also with the crossing of the Europa Bridge – can have a valuable impact for Tyrol, a region renowned as one of the lands of sports. “The first major cycling race in the South-Tyrol, Tyrol and Trentino regions can turn into a classic of international cycling, with a truly incomparable backdrop. We also wish to show that Tyrol is worth a visit not only in winter, with skis, but also in summer on two wheels.”
Short Closure of the Brenner Motorway in the Europa Bridge Area
On April 18th, 2017, the Tour of the Alps’s peloton will come from Patsch and cross the highest bridge in Austria, and leave the motorway at the Schönberg exit. For safety reasons, the Brenner Motorway (A13) will be closed in such section for 30 minutes, in both directions. The lane not directly affected by the race (northbound) will be open again from the Schönberg toll station after ten minutes.
A Special Day for Tirol Cycling Team
The peloton of the Tour of the Alps is filled with international top teams. The Tirol Cycling Team is the only Austrian team getting a wild card. “We are expecting a great cycling festival through the most beautiful Euregio regions. The tour will be a highlight in international cycling even on its premiere, thanks to the worldwide TV coverage by Eurosport and numerous TV stations. The fact that we get the opportunity to cross the “Europabrücke” is fantastic. This bridge is also an important symbol of our tour, that crosses borders and connects regions,” said Giacomo Santini, President of G.S. Alto Garda, the Tour of the Alps’ organizing company.
The Europa bridge in Tyrol. On April 18th, the Tour of the Alps crosses the famous “Europabrücke”, the highest bridge in Austria, symbolizing the connection between Tyrol, Südtirol and Trentino. (Photo ASFINAG BU).
So what happened Peter?
A less than impressed World champion after Gent-Wevelgem:
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