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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The excitement of the Vuelta a España continues and it looks like it will come down to a battle on the final day’s time trial and mountain stage. We catch up on the recent stages with reports, results, quotes and video. The Tour of Britain is also in full swing and we give it the full EUROTRASH treatment. In other cycling news: The Canadian Classics, the 2016 European Championships, Reading 120 and rider 2017 contract news.

TOP STORY: Is the Vuelta Too Hard?
After the day that didn’t happen (stage 13), where the peloton sat up and took an extra rest day and then on stage 15 when 93 riders finished well out of the time cut, you have to ask ‘is the Vuelta too hard?’

The top four riders have come to the fore; Quintana, Froome, Chaves and Contador are showing that they are the best, the tough course has sorted the men out and when you see that twenty riders are over four hours down that maybe points towards a hard race. The only thing you can say is that it’s the same for all the riders and the best man will win. The time trial is going to be decisive and there is still the brutal stage 20 to finish off any unfounded hopes.

Viva la Vuelta!

The top 4 finish together at the end of stage 17:
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Vuelta a España 2016
Luxembourg’s Jempy Drucker (BMC) claimed the biggest win of his career by out-sprinting Germans Rudiger Selig (Bora-Argon 18) and Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) on a searing hot day on the Vuelta. The BMC rider perfectly timed his effort and held off Selig and Arndt, who took second and third place respectively.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) retained the overall leader’s red jersey ahead of Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange).

Six men: Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), Mario Costa (Lampre-Merida), Silvan Dillier (BMC), Sven Erik Bystrøm (Katusha), Luis Angel Maté (Cofidis) and Julien Morice (Direct Energie) – broke away after four kilometres.

Simon Yates, fifth overall in GC, and his Orica-BikeExchange team mate Sam Bewley crashed 53 kilometres into the stage but both were quickly back on their bike. The leading group had a 2:42 advantage over the peloton, mostly led by sprinters’ teams, at the foot of the only climb of the day, the third-category Alto Castillo de Morella. Maté crested first.

The gap never went beyond 3:35. The peloton split in two 56 kilometres from the line but reformed three kilometres further after some work by Trek-Segafredo. Dillier attacked with 17.5 kilometres left just ahead of the intermediate sprint and he was followed by Bystrøm and Maté as the other three were swallowed by the Tinkoff led peloton. With 12 kilometres remaining all riders were together and Giant-Alpecin and Dimension Data took over at the front looking to set up the bunch sprint for Nikias Arndt and Kristian Sbaragli.

Daniele Bennatti (Tinkoff), however, jumped away with three kilometres to go and he was caught less than 500 meters from the line. Drucker was then the strongest, benefiting from the slipstream of Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step) who started his effort a bit too soon.

Full race report HERE.

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Stage winner, Jempy Drucker (BMC):
What are your feelings after this win?

“I suffered a lot on Aubisque and I kept believing that there could be a bunch sprint at some point. It’s the greatest victory in my career and it’s great to have a grand tour victory to my name. I was not really lucky in the first sprint stages but today was perfect. There was bit of good positioning but also luck, being at the right place at the right moment.”

Can you describe your sprint?
“It was pretty hectic but I had Danilo Wyss to keep me out of trouble. I was pacing myself a bit behind to be able to go from behind with some speed. It was actually perfect. Gianni went and I went into his slipstream.”

What is your take on the GC?
“Tomorrow is a rest day then another hard stage and the time trial. I think the Vuelta is far from over. Sky will be motivated to take revenge after yesterday’s disaster. Movistar look pretty strong so we’re going to see what happens. I’m sure we’ll see some more action.”

2nd on the stage, Rudiger Selig (Bora-Argon 18): “Michael Schwarzmann and Christoph Pfingsten did a really good lead-out for me and put me in a perfect position into the wheel of Gianni Meersman and then Alejandro Valverde flicked a little bit because in the last roundabout he let a little gap and Gianni closed it. It was one kilometer really full gas it was not a real sprint. Today I had good legs. Michael Schwarzmann was also really fast but we decided that we’d go for me and I hope it was the right decision. I’m happy to get a good result in the last race of the year.”

3rd, Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin): “It was a hectic sprint again. We tried everything with the team to make a proper lead-out. The team did really great but towards the end we ran out of guys and with three kilometres to go we were still in the best position. Then I was with Koen (De Kort) but he dropped his speed a little bit and Quick Step took over with two guys and I jumped on their wheel and I thought maybe they won’t make a perfect lead-out for me until 200 meters to go but if I wait there and go out of their wheel and try to go in again… but getting back in cost me a lot of energy because nobody wanted to let me in. Then when they dropped off I could not go around anymore.”

4th on the stage, Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step): “With 300 meters left it was already over. Valverde flicked and left a gap that I had to close but I could not catch Drucker. It’s a pity.”

5th on the stage, Lorrenzo Manzin (FDJ): “It was a tough sprint. The pace was high at the end of a quiet day. I’m in the top 5 but I would have liked to be in the top 3, I’m a bit disappointed. I will satisfy myself with this because a few months ago I was not able to contest a sprint. Today there was some tailwind with six strong riders in front but when you stay in the wheels it’s fine. Matthieu Ladagnous helped me a lot until the last two kilometers. Since the beginning of the Vuelta, we have a good mindset. My fifth place will go unnoticed after my team mates’ good results but I can’t wait for Sunday’s sprint in Madrid.”

Overall leader, Nairo Quintana (Movistar, red jersey): “In days like yesterday, we see movements and strategy from riders like Alberto Contador but also from others who are not in the peloton like ‘Purito’ Rodriguez. Both of them are really great at strategists and my first grand tour was the Vuelta 2012, I was involved in the epic stage of Fuente De when Alberto took the Vuelta from Purito. I told myself that if some day I could become a big name in cycling I would always have to be wary of Alberto. A lot of people expected a lot from me on the Tour but I could not give 100 percent. I came here motivated and I keep learning.”

4th overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “It was an impressively hot day – on the descent the temperature was something close to 90 degrees. In the final part of the stage we were doing 90km/h and we could still feel the heat! We were sweating and I wouldn’t exaggerate if I said that sweat evaporated before even coming out. It was really fast and I was focused on what I was doing, especially after yesterday’s great effort. My legs responded well today even though it was a more mentally than physically demanding stage, as we had to be very attentive. We now head into the second rest day and we will see what will happen in the final week. I am left with very little margin by the other teams, so it will be complicated. Again, we will take it day-by-day and see how my body keeps recovering, assessing each stage and seeing where we can get in the GC.”

Silvan Dillier (BMC): “It very hard here. Very hot and very hard. I went into the break so that my team mates would not have to work in the peloton. I will ride the time trial full gas to show that I’m ready for the world championships. I think the Vuelta a good preparation for the world championships.”

Javier Guillen (Vuelta director, on the Camins del Penyagolosa, finish of the 17th stage): “I discovered this climb a long time ago. I went to see it with my technical team five years ago, we were in a car and suddenly everybody stopped talking. I was tough tough tough. But when we arrived to the top, we saw that the conditions were quite difficult. We tried to do something in terms of approach – some people to try to explore some possibilities and at the time we did not find the right conditions (for a stage finish here). But a year ago with the new Province administration we tried again to do this stage and we received a very good welcome. Everything was easy. I told them that we needed more space at the top. This climb suits the Vuelta’s personality and in terms of cycling I think it can be a very big success. It’s simply brutal, it’s amazing. It’s the toughest 4km we have in the Vuelta so far. Bola del Mundo (2010) it’s 2.6km, Camperona (2016) it’s 2.8km. Ezaro is 2.5, Cuitu Negru (2012) is 3-something.”

Vuelta a España Stage 16 Result:
1. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC in 3:21:18
2. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
3. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ
6. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
7. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
8. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo
9. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha.

Vuelta a España Stage 16 Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 64:57:27
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 3:37
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange at 3:57
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 4:02
5. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 5:07
6. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 6:12
7. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 6:43
8. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 7:17
9. David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step at 7:23
10. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 7:39.

Stage 16:

Swiss Mathias Frank soloed to victory in one of the demanding stages of this year’s Vuelta, prevailing at top of the Alto Mas de la Costa at the end of the Camins del Peyagolosa on Stage 17. He earned his team their second victory in this edition after Jonas Van Genechten. The top guns neutralized themselves as Nairo Quintana, the red jersey holder, finished with Chris Froome, Esteban Chaves and Alberto Contador, who lit up the race in the final climb.

After several foiled attempts that involved polka dot jersey holder Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) and his main rival Omar Fraile (Dimension Data), a breakaway eventually took shape after 50 kilometers with the following 27 riders: Dario Cataldo (Astana), Imanol Erviti and José Herrada (Movistar), Michael Gogl (Tinkoff), Michal Golas and Leopold König (Sky), Silvan Dillier (BMC), Robert Gesink and Bram Tankink (LottoNl-Jumbo), Simon Gerrans and Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-BikeExchange), Mathieu Ladagnous (FDJ), Haimar Zubeldia (Trek-Segafredo), Axel Domont (AG2R-La Mondiale), Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha), Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal), Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data), Mathias Frank, Marcel Wyss and Clement Chevrier (IAM Cycling), Kristijan Durasek (Lampre-Merida), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Christoph Pfingsten and Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18), Pello Bilbao and Jaime Roson (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie).

They had an advantage of 5 minutes with 110km left, while Maxime Bouet (Etixx – Quick-Step), who was chasing alone, joined them later. In the early action, Fraile was first at the top of the first climb of the day, the Alto del Desierto de las Palmas (Cat 2), to reduce the gap with Elissonde down to three points. Two hard weeks of racing and the heat claimed the scalp of Tejay van Garderen (BMC), who abandoned after less than two hours of racing.

The breakaway’s lead rose up to 7:30 with 70km to go when BMC started to pull at the front of the pack.
With 29km remaining, Cataldo and Frank attacked and at the start of the Camins del Penyagolosa they were about 20 seconds ahead of the chasing group at the foot of the much-feared Alto Mas de la Costa – 3.8km at 12.5% with gradients reaching 21%.

The peloton, led by Movistar, were some minutes off the pace.

With 2.5km left, Frank was on his own and Cataldo hung on a dozen seconds behind before being caught by Gesink, Konig and Herrada. Konig and Gesink chased Frank but the Swiss rider was too strong and finished 6 seconds ahead of Konig who beat Gesink, the Col d’Aubisque winner.

Further down the road, Contador attacked the group of favorites and was joined by Quintana and Chaves. They were joined by Froome, who struggled to respond to Contador’s acceleration, but the four finished together.

Race report HERE.

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Stage 17 winner, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling):
Can you describe your feelings after this stage win?

“It’s a big satisfaction, I had been trying hard, coming close a couple of times but I finally made it, it’s really awesome. I had not won a race for two years, it was about time. In the end it’s super nice to win.”

It’s a nice reward after a tough season…
“After the Tour de France I just came here to just get a good feeling back, to show that I was not as bad as on the Tour and wanted to win a stage in a grand tour. To achieve it now is just really nice.”

Who do you think will win the Vuelta?
“Quintana is the strongest, he seems to be the freshest of the GC guys and he’s got a strong team as well. It will be pretty hard for Froome and the others to take the red jersey from him. If it goes according to plan for him he is going to win it even if there are still some hard stages and a time trial.”

The team is folding at the end of the season and you guys start to win a lot of races…
“I can only say that we were always aggressive, always in the breakaways, we won some stages in every grand tour this year. We showed what this team is capable of. It’s a shame for everybody that it is folding.”

What about next season, when you will be riding for Romain Bardet?
“I will be joining forces with Romain Bardet, one of the big names of the peloton, I will help him. I also want to set my sights on smaller races and maybe go for GC on the Vuelta.”

2nd on the stage, Leopold Konig (Sky): “I felt really good and I wanted to win for sure but Mathias was really strong because to hold it from the break… chapeau. I am really disappointed. I wanted to win the stage or help Chris (Froome) if he needed me somewhere in the finale, of course I wanted to win. Sunday was just a bad day, it’s one of those moments when you can’t do anything, it goes so fast. It just happened”

3rd on the stage, Robert Gesink (LottoNl-Jumbo): “Today I’d hoped for a bit more to be honest. I knew Frank and Konig were strong riders, they had a good chance of beating me. I went to check the parcours yesterday and I thought it was made for me. Maybe I would have won with more luck. Frank had a good advantage at the bottom but Konig also beat me. In the end I’m happy.”

4th on the stage, Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “I had a clear idea of who the favorites were in the break and I tried to be in their wheel al the bottom of the climb. I didn’t stop believing. At the end, I could catch some riders, but it was a pity not to be with the best three riders. During all the Vuelta I’ve been trying to stay highly motivated even if my body isn’t at its best.”

Overall leader, Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “It’s difficult to enjoy a stage like this. The rhythm was hard but my team were really strong, we defended well. We put two riders in the breakaway and the rest of the team took me safely to the final climb. I was looking after Froome and I defended well. I think that until the last day nothing will be won and there is still the time trial left. I’m in good condition. We’re quite well. The upcoming climbs are more suited to me, unlike today’s climb which was too steep for me.”

Points leader, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It was a pretty hard climb, especially after the high pace of the start of the stage and because the heat. But, to be honest, I think La Camperona is even harder. Here you can take a breath at some point. I came here to help Nairo (Quintana) win the red jersey and show how strong our team are. I’ve been good as well, I’m still wearing the green jersey”

4th overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “When the legs are good, this kind of climb makes you happy. If not, clearly you won’t be that happy. They are spectacular stages, people love this kind of finale, but it’s true that making time gaps here is difficult because there’s only one kilometer per hour of difference between riders. Yesterday I had doubts in my head. I did not know whether to follow the angel or the devil who tells me to attack. Today, the devil won, and let’s see what he tells me in the coming days. I believe things come to you and you can’t achieve nothing if you don’t go against the circumstances. I couldn’t be how I wanted neither here nor on the Tour, but I’m enjoying myself and my only objective is to keep enjoying”

Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I’m not a mountain bike rider anymore that’s the problem. Seven years ago I would have enjoyed it but today it was just suffering. I tried to keep up with the best before pacing myself. I’m not far from the best it’s good. The sensations are good, the rest day did me good.”

KOM, Kenny Elissonde (FDJ): “I tried and Fraile followed me, then he tried and I followed him, then I struggled in the first climb and he slashed my advantage by taking points. But then he was not in the break. It will come down to Saturday. Today was a tough day for me but it happens in a grand tour and I limited the damage. Hats off to him, he is strong. We’re going to go for it on Saturday, it will be a nice duel and in the end we will shake hands. I have no interest in riding the time trial full gas on Friday.”

Vuelta a España Stage 17 Result:
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling in 4:34:38
2. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 0:06
3. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:11
4. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:14
5. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana at 0:16
6. José Herrada (Spa) Movistar at 0:29
7. Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:48
8. Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:57
9. Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-Merida at 1:02
10. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 1:04.

Vuelta a España Stage 17 Result:
1. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar in 69:35:32
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 3:37
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-BikeExchange at 3:57
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 4:02
5. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 6:03
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 7:34
7. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 8:12
8. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 8:13
9. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana at 8:28
10. David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step at 8:52.

Stage 17:

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Tour of Britain 2016
The Tour of Britain is very much to Julien Vermote’s liking, and quite frankly, what isn’t to like at a race which reminds him of Belgium, with its steep climbs, twisty and narrow roads and wet conditions. Same Tour of Britain – in which Etixx – Quick-Step holds the record for the most stage victories – was the race in which Julien took his first win outside of Belgium, two years ago, following a superb action in the stage to Brighton, and he repeated that feat this season, after a day made challenging not only by the rolling terrain, but also by the grim weather which was keen to play a major part in the outcome.

On Monday, Julien Vermote jumped from the peloton once the neutral zone was left behind after the start of stage 2 and was joined by 14 other men, together with whom he gradually extended the lead to four minutes. While some of those riders showed an interest in the bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints or in the KOM points, Julien kept an eye on the gap and the kilometers left to the finish, as he felt that the move may have a chance of making it to the line, especially as the heavy rain slowed down the peloton which was already chewing into their advantage by that point.

As expected, on the last climbs the bunch got fragmented and a chase group was formed, Dan Martin being among those who got infiltrated there, before eventually joining the break inside the final 20 kilometers. Several attacks soon followed, but the group sticked together until a strong acceleration of Cummings split it. Vermote was the only one to react and the duo soon built a 40-second gap which allowed them to fight for victory in Kendal. The uphill drag to the finish didn’t pose any problem to Julien, who powered away and won with a two-second margin, thus bagging his first victory of the season.

The chasing group arrived a minute later and Dan Martin proved to be the strongest, as he launched a short attack which netted him third on the stage, as well as in the general classification, which is led by his teammate following the remarkable performance of Monday afternoon, when he brought the squad’s fourth success in the space of just three days.

“It’s always nice to get a victory, particularly here, where I’ve already won a beautiful stage a few years ago. I have a special feeling every time I come to this race, as I like the course and the fans who are cheering for us. Also, Britain is a little bit similar to Flanders, and I find this very appealing”, said Julien, who helped the squad top the team rankings at the end of the stage.

After returning from the podium, where he received the yellow jersey and the points one, Julien – Etixx – Quick-Step’s 18th different rider to win a race this season – took us through the grueling 188-km long stage between Carlisle and Kendal: “Nowadays in cycling it isn’t easy anymore to get a victory, so I knew I had to give it my all. The parcours was tough, up and down all the time, kind of like two years ago, in Brighton. When the break got caught by the chasing group and Steven attacked, I was pretty empty, but I knew that I don’t want to miss this chance. He was very strong, but I overcame the pain and the climbs and now I’m super happy. Despite being leader in the overall standings, I’m not thinking of the GC; all I want is to do my best this week and to enjoy this great moment.”

Unfortunately, not everything went perfect for Etixx – Quick-Step on Monday, as stagiaire Adrien Costa crashed in the final 70 kilometers. However, the 19-year-old put in a brave ride to complete the stage, at the end of which he went to the hospital for further medical examinations. The team will assess his condition tomorrow morning before deciding if Adrien can start stage 3 (Congleton – Tatton Park, 179.4 kilometers).

Cycling: 13rd Tour of Britain 2016 / Stage 2 Arrival /  Julien VERMONTE (BEL)/ Celebration /  Carlisle - Kendal (187,7km)/  TOB /(c)Tim De Waele

Tour of Britain Stage 2 Result:
1. Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:40:50
2. Stephen Cummings (GB) Dimension Data at 0:02
3. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:58
4. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
6. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 1:02
8. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
9. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Jacopo Mosca (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 1:06.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 2:
1. Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 8:33:20
2. Stephen Cummings (GB) Dimension Data at 0:06
3. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:04
4. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 1:08
5. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
7. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:12
8. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sky at 1:16.

Stage 2:

Ian Stannard soloed to a memorable Stage 3 victory in the beautiful surrounds of Tatton Park on the outskirts of Knutsford, as huge crowds lined the route of the first ever Cheshire East stage of the Tour of Britain.

The Team Sky man won by nearly two-minutes from breakaway companions Graham Briggs and Kristian House, to lead a British 1-2-3 at the end of the 180-kilometer stage from Congleton, with the peloton racing in over five and a half minutes down.

Overnight leader Julien Vermote retained the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg and his six second lead over Steve Cummings, with the other main General Classification positions remaining unchanged.

Speaking afterwards, Stannard, who lives locally to the Stage Three route in Wilmslow said; “It’s a pretty big day for me. I was motivated for this stage because it was pretty much on home roads.

“I was keen to get away. It’s always nice to win from a breakaway and go solo too. I really enjoyed it today. I knew I want to go over the top of the Cat and Fiddle with about five minutes on the peloton, we’d have a chance on the run-in then. I heard it went out but I didn’t know much more. I was just happy to be up there. ”

After being waved away in front of the biggest crowds of the week so far in the historic market town of Congleton, it was Matt Cronshaw of Madison Genesis who lit the race up, attacking as soon as the race was de-neutralized on the outskirts of town, taking Briggs, House and Stannard with him.

The break was down to three by the time it reached the second SKODA King of the Mountains climb of the Brickworks, with Cronshaw distanced and eventually swept up on the day’s final categorized climb of the Cat & Fiddle.

Over the top of that climb as the route navigated a series of false flats across the moors of the Peak District National Park Stannard went away, casting Briggs and House adrift to then contest their own race for second.

Stannard was long since finished and celebrating with family and his team as Briggs and Middlewich resident House fought out the battle for second, Briggs staying on the ONE Pro Cycling man’s wheel to come around House in the final meters for the runner-up spot.

Bardiani CSF’s Nicola Ruffoni led in the peloton for fourth, out-sprinting Danny Van Poppel and Ramon Sinkeldam, who pulled on the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey.

Andre Greipel retains the Yodel Sprints jersey going into Stage Four in Wales, while Xandro Meurisse keeps the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey for a further day. The Belgian enjoyed a day long tussle with Nicolas Roche for the remaining points at each of the three climbs, but only managed to extend his hold on the jersey by a solitary point.

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Overall leader, Julien Vermote (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It was a hard parcours, but we took it easy, because the riders in the escape were a long way down in the standings. I enjoyed this day. Not only wearing yellow was great, but also having all these incredible fans cheering us from start to finish. Concerning tomorrow, it’s difficult to say what will happen in that long and challenging stage, but what’s certain is that we will try to defend the jersey.”

Tour of Britain Stage 3 Result:
1. Ian Stannard (GB) Sky in 4:14:12
2. Graham Briggs (GB) JLT Condor at 1:46
3. Kristian House (GB) ONE Pro Cycling
4. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 5:43
5. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Sky
6. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
7. Christopher Latham (GB) Team WIGGINS
8. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
9. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-BikeExchange.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 3:
1. Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 12:53:15
2. Stephen Cummings (GB) Dimension Data at 0:06
3. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:04
4. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 1:08
5. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
7. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:12
8. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sky at 1:16.

Stage 3:

Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to victory at the end of Stage 4 of the Tour of Britain on the Royal Welsh Showground, heading home British duo Dan McLay and Ben Swift, at the end of the 218-kilometer stage through Mid-Wales from Denbigh.

The Dutch National Champion was afforded the perfect lead-out by LottoNL Jumbo teammate Tom Leezer onto the showground, and held off McLay over the final 200-meters from the last corner.

Behind Swift’s third place on the stage and resulting time bonus helped him move up to third overall, while Julien Vermote, the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg came home fifth to retain his race lead for a third day.

“I won in Yorkshire and I’ve won here too,” Groenewegen said. “Today was a very hard stage with all the climbs, and it was very long, so I knew there was only a small chance I could fight for it. But the team was very strong and I started to think I could do it. It was a very hard final but the team worked very hard and I had four guys for me, so it was a perfect team performance”

It had in fact been the other Lotto team in the Tour of Britain, Lotto Soudal who had worked had to set up the sprint over the final 15-kilometer run through Powys, but they were usurped for pole position on the left hand turn into the Showground by their Dutch compatriots.

Four riders had spent the stage up the road, including Bardiani CSF’s Alessandro Tonelli as the longest surviving, and winner of the HIGH5 Combativity Award for Stage Four.

The quartet were eventually swept off when the General Classification contenders vying for the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg began to battle, with Dan Martin, Wout Poels and the teams of Movistar and Cannondale Drapac all active.

This flurry of attacks split the field, ditching sprinters like Mark Cavendish, Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani, and briefly Andre Greipel, although the German national champion got back across to the leaders.

No great advantage was ever established with some of the dropped riders able to rejoin as the race hit Rhayader and the main roads leading to Builth Wells the General Classification battle was over, barring a hotly contest intermediate Yodel Sprint in Newbridge-on-Wye with less than 20-kilometers remaining.

That Yodel Sprint saw Tony Gallopin taking the points, and more importantly the time bonuses, which elevated him into fourth overall behind Swift, but now ahead of Dan Martin.

Thanks to the win at the day’s opening Yodel Sprint in Mold, Jasper Bovenhuis retook the Yodel Sprints Jersey while the battle between Xandro Meurisse and Nicolas Roche for the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey continued apace.

The Belgian has now eked out a two-point lead over the Irish Champion and wears the jersey for a third day on Stage Five.

Julien Vermote continues in the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg and also inherits the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Jersey, while second overall Steve Cummings continues as the Adnams Best British Rider in the Tour of Britain.

Race leader, Julien Vermote (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It was really a tough stage, but my team did yet another great job, pulling at the front from the beginning. Max and Lukasz controlled the breakaway, while Dan and Tony took over in the last part of the stage and did an excellent job. I am very happy for defending the yellow jersey again, especially as the stage was a tough one. The confidence is really high now, as all these results gave me a huge boost. People keep asking me of the GC, but there are still a few more hard days left and we want to take each thing at a time.”

Tour of Britain Stage 4 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 5:28:49
2. Daniel McLay (GB) Fortuneo-Vital Concept
3. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
4. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Boy Van Poppel (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-BikeExchange
8. Nicolas Vereecken (Bel) An Post-Chainreaction
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
10. Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 4:
1. Julien Vermote (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 18:22:04
2. Stephen Cummings (GB) Dimension Data at 0:06
3. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 1:03
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:04
6. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 1:08
7. Dylan Van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:12
8. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
9. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sky at 1:16.

Stage 4:

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Wilco Kelderman looks forward to Canadian races
Team LottoNL-Jumbo departs this week to Canada for the GP Quebec and GP Montreal, September 9 and 11. In both WorldTour races Wilco Kelderman is the leader.

“I feel good and can’t wait to race again in Canada. These are two beautiful races that suit me,” said Kelderman, who placed sixth in the GP Montreal last year.

“In Montreal, I hope to race for top 10 place again, but I would certainly go for the same result two days earlier in Quebec. Quebec has a short-style climb and Montreal is really a climbing course with the long climb in it. Given that, Montreal suits me better.”

“With Wilco Kelderman, we take a rider who definitely is in shape to compete in the final,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “Last week, he showed himself with a second place in France.”

Verhoeven said the Canadian races are unique. In Quebec and Montreal, riders must climb a hill every lap.

“The successive laps make it heavy and exhausting. We have different riders for the different race situations. If, as expected, it is a tough race, we will go with Wilco Kelderman for the win. If the race remains closed, Hofland and Van Asbroeck can go for the sprint.”

Line Up:
Wilco Kelderman, Tom Van Asbroeck, Twan Castelijns, Moreno Hofland, Timo Roosen, Mike Teunissen, Alexey Vermeulen and Dennis van Winden
Sports Director: Nico Verhoeven.

Alexey Vermeulen:
Huy - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Bertjan Lindeman (Netherlands / Team LottoNL - Jumbo)  - Alexey Vermeulen  pictured during Fleche Wallonne 2016 - photo PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

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Giant-Alpecin in Canada
Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (WT)

Team Giant-Alpecin start off their Canadian campaign at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec this Friday. The parcours is a total distance of 201.6km, with the peloton completing 16 laps of 12.6km each around the city of Québec, and an elevation gain of 2,976 meters. The circuit is very hilly and it will be a challenging race, as Simon Geschke (GER) will be looking to improve on his 12th place from last year. Friday also sees the return to competition of Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), who suffered a scaphoid fracture at stage four of Baloise Belgium Tour, on May 28th.

Ahead of the race, coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: “We head to Québec with the objective of getting Simon in a good position in the finale, which suits his characteristics as a climber. We will look to keep him protected throughout the day and we will aim for a place among the top 10 with him.

“Riding as a team will be important to support Simon in the positioning before the key sections and to be able to contest the finish. We have a strong team to support him, and with guys who can get over the climbs we’ll look to make a mark on the race.”

Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (WT)
Line-up:

Laurens ten Dam (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Sam Oomen (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).

Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (WT)
The second in a double-header of one-day WorldTour races in Canada is the GP Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday, featuring the same line-up as in Québec. The race, very similar to Québec, consists of 17 laps of 12.1km for a total of 205.7km and an elevation gain of nearly 3,000 meters.

“Our tactics for Sunday will be similar to Friday’s and we will aim to try and play a role in the finale with Simon,” explained coach Aike Visbeek (NED). “We will aim to ride an offensive race because Montréal is more of an open course where anything can happen.

“We will have to stay attentive during the whole race, where attacks are likely to take place on this demanding parcours. Sam is showing some good form at the moment and with the experience of Bert and Laurens they will be good support for Simon.”

Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (WT)
Line-up:

Laurens ten Dam (NED), Bert De Backer (BEL), Simon Geschke (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Sam Oomen (NED), Georg Preidler (AUT), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).

Simon Geschke:
Pra Loup - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Simon Geschke (Team Giant - Alpecin) pictured during le Tour de France 2015 - stage 17 - from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup on wednesday 22-07-2015 - 161 KM - photo VK/NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2015

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Van Avermaet Returns to Canadian One-Day Classics
Greg Van Avermaet will return to the Canadian one-day races, GP Cycliste de Quebec and GP Cycliste de Montreal, this week looking to add to his victories this season.

Van Avermaet, who has twice been on the podium in Quebec, will be joined by a strong team in support of the Olympic champion, Sports Director Yvon Ledanois said.

“With a leader like Greg Van Avermaet we are very confident and motivated to come away with success in Canada. Greg is in great shape, as he has shown this year, and he will be supported by an experienced group of riders,” Ledanois said.

Van Avermaet is looking forward to continuing his season in Quebec and Montreal.

“I’ve only had one race day since the Olympic Games so I’m excited to be racing again. I always enjoying racing at these one-day classics and I think we can definitely race aggressively and hopefully come away with a win,” Van Avermaet added.

GP Cycliste de Quebec / GP Cycliste de Montreal (9 + 11 September)
Rider roster:

Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Michael Schär (SUI), Manuel Senni (ITA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Peter Velits (SVK).
Sports Director: Yvon Ledanois (FRA).

Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet:
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Preview GP Cycliste de Québec & Montréal
The end of the season is coming closer but it’s far from over yet. Like previous years the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Montréal are scheduled in September. The races will take place on Friday September 9 and Sunday September 11. In both races the peloton rides on a local circuit in the city.

In Québec there are sixteen laps of 12.6 kilometers to cover. In every lap the riders have to overcome four hills: Côte de la Montagne, Côte de la Potasse, Montée de la Fabrique and Montée du Fort. The hills are short but steep. On the Côte de la Montagne the maximum gradient goes up to 13%. The finish is located at the top of the Montée du Fort, which is a one kilometer climb with an average gradient of 4%. On Friday the last four kilometers will be very important.

The race on Sunday in Montréal is similar. The riders have to cover seventeen laps of 12.1 kilometres. The first climb, Côte Camillien-Houde, is situated right after the start. It’s 1.8 kilometres long and has an average gradient of 8%. The next obstacle is the Côte du Polytechnique halfway the course. The climb is short but has a maximum gradient of 11%. At the end of each lap there is a last uphill passage at the Avenue du Parc. This avenue is also the finish of the race.

Last year Tim Wellens won the GP de Montréal. He’s already looking forward to this year’s edition. Also our sports director Herman Frison likes the races in Canada and finds it a very good organization. With the good results of last year he’s confident about the team that will represent Lotto Soudal this year.

Tim Wellens: “I felt bad for a while after the Olympic Games in Rio. My preparation for the Canadian races wasn’t perfect because it took me a while to get back in good condition. My last race was Plouay and it wasn’t good. Since yesterday I started to feel better and the trainings are smoother. I always like to go to Canada. The organization is really good and the hotels are nice. I also like the fact that we have to do local laps. There are a lot of fans along the road and the atmosphere is really nice. Of the two races, Montréal suits me better but Québec is a very beautiful city to ride through.”

“Like every year there will be several contenders for the victory, it is the same favorites as usual. The ideal scenario for me would be to finish alone like I did last year. However also Pim Ligthart is doing really well at the moment and maybe he’s able to do something special. In Montréal the finale usually starts in the last lap. There are two points where I can make a difference and that’s where I’ll have to attack if I want to win.”

Herman Frison, sports director: “It’s always nice to go to Canada. The organization is very professional and the atmosphere is really good. The hotels, the cars and the course, it’s all very well organized. About the races we must say that they are pretty tough. Last year Tim Wellens won for Lotto Soudal in Montréal and we had a good result with Tony Gallopin in Québec. The course is the same as every year so we know it pretty well by now. Anyway, for us the weather conditions play a major role. Last year it was really hot in Québec and because of that the finale started late and it was a big group of riders at the start of the last climb. In Montréal on the other hand, the weather was really bad, which was a good thing for Tim Wellens. In bad weather the peloton breaks into pieces, or a small group is able to stay ahead.”

“Even though the races are at the end of the season, there are always a lot of big names on the start list. Some of them are still in good condition; others are feeling the end of the season and are getting tired. Originally it was a different line-up for Lotto Soudal but because of crashes, injuries and several other races that are scheduled right now we had to make some changes to the selection. We may not have the strongest possible team at the start but I do believe that we can do a good job. Tim Wellens and Tiesj Benoot are the leaders and the other riders have to do whatever it takes to help them. It would be easier for the team if we have a rider in the breakaway. Anyway, if that doesn’t work out, we won’t be the team to control the race.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Kris Boeckmans, Sean De Bie, Pim Ligthart, Jürgen Roelandts, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.

Tim Wellens:
Amstel Gold Race 2016

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Urán, Slagter, Navardauskas to Canadian one-day races
The Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team will line up with a strong squad at the upcoming Canadian one-day races, one that’s capable of winning in a variety of ways.

Defending Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec champion Rigoberto Urán will start at the Quebec and Montreal races. He will be joined by Alberto Bettiol, André Cardoso, Lawson Craddock, Ramūnas Navardauskas, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Toms Skujiņš, and Michael Woods. The Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec is on Friday with the sister race in Montréal following two days later. Urán won in Québec last year, while riding for Etixx-Quick Step, with a late race solo move.

Uran isn’t the only one with solid experience in Canada, either.
Slagter has finished in the top 10 three times in Québec; Navardauskas has finished third in Québec and fourth in Montreal. Both races are technical, lumpy circuits that put premiums on positioning and bike handling.

“Québec and Montréal are both nice races. They’re fast with a lot of action on technical circuits. The WorldTour level is high and every team is strong,” said sport director Fabrizio Guidi. “We have riders able to face every situation and with skills to target a very good result. Good communication between riders can make the difference, especially when we start with more than one leader. I’m confident in this group.”

For Canadian Mike Woods, just off the Tour of Alberta, these races are a homecoming of sorts.

“These are very special races to me,” said Woods. “Montreal isn’t that far from my hometown of Ottawa, so these two races are effectively home races. There is a large group of cyclists from Ottawa that rides to Montreal to watch the race, and some, including my dad, even come out to Québec City. I always have unreal fan support.”

“There are a lot of things that make these races cool, and probably my favorite races on the WorldTour circuit,” Woods added. “Both courses are dynamic, technical and hard. The race organizers treat the riders super well, and being the only WorldTour races in North America, the crowds are great.”

The two one-day races round out the Canadian swing for the peloton.

“We had two near wins already here in Canada, at the Tour of Alberta,” noted Woods. “We are bringing a really strong team to Montreal and Quebec. I think we have a real shot at making it on to the top step of the podium.”

Cannondale-Drapac for GP Québec and GP Montreal:
Alberto Bettiol, Andre Cardoso, Lawson Craddock, Ramūnas Navardauskas, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Toms Skujiņš, Rigoberto Urán, Mike Woods.

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IAM Cycling to Grand Prix de Quebec and Montreal
THE EXCLAMATION: Given by Jonathan Fumeaux: “IAM Cycling certainly still intends to play a leading role through till the end of the season, just as we have tried to do since the very beginning of the adventure that started in 2013.”

THE QUOTE: Again offered by Jonathan Fumeaux: “With Jarlinson Pantano, Heinrich Haussler, Oliver Naesen, and Martin Elmiger, we have a great team that can be on hand when the final victory will be decided.”

THE EXPLANATION: Once more from Jonathan Fumeaux: “After Plouay, I took three days to recover. Then I was back at work doing some quality base training as well as a 5 ½ hour session in order to get myself up to speed in time for these two important World Tour races.”

THE WEATHER: Potentially stormy weather with a pleasant temperature of 21° has been forecasted in Quebec for the race on Friday, September 9th, while meteorologists have predicted a temperature of 23° in Montreal with the chance of some showers near the end of the event.


THE ANECDOTE: After having raced at the Tour of Poland, the Tour of Utah, and the Brittany Classic Ouest France in Plouay, Jonathan Fumeaux will have the opportunity to race in his magnificent Swiss champion’s jersey for the fourth time, on this occasion in Canada.

THE NUMBER: 3893. In meters, that is the altitude gain that the riders will face at the GP de Montreal, while they will scale 2976 meters in the race around Quebec.

THE ANALYSIS: Offered by Rik Verbrugghe, sports manager for the Swiss World Tour team. “On paper, Montreal is more difficult because the climbs are longer than those we’ll face in Quebec. However, for a circuit race, everything depends on the riders and their desire to make the race difficult. We must keep the same aggressive mindset that the team went with to Plouay and that we have seen from our guys at La Vuelta. We have several strong riders who can make a difference in multiple areas, whether we’re focusing on getting into the breaks with someone like Oliver Naesen, or making use of our punchy riders Jarlinson Pantano, Heinrich Haussler and Martin Elmiger in view of the finish.”

THE TIP: Rik Verbrugghe on the finish: “The two races end virtually in the same way with a false flat of around 4%. At Quebec, the slight incline starts right around the flamme rouge, while in Montreal, it starts with around 560 meters remaining. It is important not to anticipate things too much since the sprint is usually down to a small group of riders; very rarely do you see a larger peloton playing for the win.”

Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
Coureurs:

Martin Elmiger (S), Jonathan Fumeaux (S), Heinrich Haussler (Aus), Reto Hollenstein (S), Oliver Naesen (Bel), Jarlinson Pantano (Col), David Tanner (Aus), Oliver Zaugg (S):

Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
Coureurs:

Martin Elmiger (S), Jonathan Fumeaux (S), Heinrich Haussler (Aus), Reto Hollenstein (S), Oliver Naesen (Bel), Jarlinson Pantano (Col), David Tanner (Aus), Oliver Zaugg (S).
Manager sportif: Rik Verbrugghe

Jarlinson Pantano:
Culoz - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Jarlinson Pantano (COL-IAM Cycling) pictured during stage 15 of the 2016 Tour de France from Bourg-en-Bresse to Culoz, 159.00 km - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2016

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Etixx – Quick-Step to GPCQM
Held over two hilly and testing circuits, the Canadian events are sure to provide spectacular and thrilling racing.

Scheduled on Friday, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec will see the rider cover 16 times a 12.6-km long circuit that will take them over four climbs: Côte de la Montagne (375 m, 10%), Côte de la Potasse (420 m, 9%), Montée de la Fabrique (190 m, 7%) and Montée du Fort (1000 m, 4%). The course favours the strong sprinters and puncheurs alike, with the action set to reach its climax on the last lap, when the race will become very aggressive as the teams will increase the pressure in an attempt to shred the peloton to pieces and give their leaders the perfect launch pad to victory.

Two days later, the riders will take on the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, on a parcours made famous by Eddy Merckx at the World Championships in 1974, when he won his third and final world title. The circuit is 12.1-km long and includes three hills – Côte Camillien-Houde (1800 m, 8%), Côte de Polytechnique (780 m, 6%) and Avenue du Parc (560 m, 4%) – which will act as an invite for the attackers to go for their chance.

Etixx – Quick-Step comes at the start with a strong and balanced squad, consisting of Critérium du Dauphiné white jersey Julian Alaphilippe, seven-time Monument winner Tom Boonen, Laurens De Plus, Nikolas Maes, Fabio Sabatini, Matteo Trentin, Brabantse Pijl champion Petr Vakoc and Stijn Vandenbergh.

For Tom Boonen, it will be the second time that he’ll ride the two Canadian World Tour events, to which he looks with much optimism: “I was here last year before the World Championships in Richmond and I enjoyed racing Quebec and Montreal, so I decided to return. I like the circuits, the support of the passionate crowds and how well-organised is everything. Concerning the races, there will be a lot of attacks and we will try to be among the protagonists, although it’s not going to be easy.”

Sport director Davide Bramati, who’ll lead the team from the car, previewed the two races: “Quebec and Montreal come up with nice circuits, with the latter having a more difficult course. The team is really motivated and Tom – on whose experience we are counting – will be our road captain. Overall, we have a bunch of young guys who can do well, they are ready for this challenge and we’re keen on trying to get a good result.”

09.09 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (CAN) 1.UWT

Riders:
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Tom Boonen (BEL), Laurens De Plus (BEL), Nikolas Maes (BEL), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Petr Vakoc (CZE), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL).
Sports Director Davide Bramati (ITA).

11.09 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (CAN) 1.UWT

Riders:
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Tom Boonen (BEL), Laurens De Plus (BEL), Nikolas Maes (BEL), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Petr Vakoc (CZE), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL).
Sports Director Davide Bramati (ITA).

Stampa

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Peter Sagan returns to Canada to lead Tinkoff at GP Québec and GP Montréal
Peter Sagan will lead Tinkoff at the double header of one-day WorldTour races in Canada – Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal – the first return to Canada for the UCI world champion since his Montréal win in 2013. He also took a top ten in Québec that year, and will be joined this month by a strong line-up, including Rafal Majka, Roman Kreuziger and Michael Valgren.

All four of these riders are capable of a strong result on these races which favor the puncheurs, with their rolling roads and repeated climbs. They’re joined by Oscar Gatto, Michael Kolar, Evgeny Petrov and Maciej Bodnar. The same eight riders will tackle both races.

Looking ahead to the double header of races, Peter said: “After a short period of rest following Plouay I resumed training on Saturday and am looking forward to racing in Canada. I have good memories of these races having won in Montréal in 2013. We have a strong team for these races and if it is not me at the front at the end then I know that the other guys are also capable of getting a result here.

“Both have tough parcours but I’m quite suited to each and I hope that I will have recovered enough in time to be able to challenge again here. There are not many WorldTour races left to score points in so I would like to continue picking up points here and see how the standings are after the Vuelta.”

The first of the two races is the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, taking place on Friday 9th September, taking in a 12.6km urban circuit that features 186m gain each of the 16 laps, giving a total altitude gain of 2967m over 201.6km of racing. The rolling circuit features two small classified climbs, as well a long drag to the finish line where the 2016 victor will be crowned.

Two days later, a very similar peloton that we’ll see do battle in Québec will line up at the 205.7km Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. In a similar format to the prior race, Montréal will feature 17 laps of a 12.1km city circuit, but with more climbing that the previous course. Each lap will see 229m of altitude gain, resulting in a total gain of 3893m by the end of the race.

Looking at the two races, Sport Director Patxi Vila said: “In terms of our plan of attack, we have to see how Peter is, and how he has recovered as he wasn’t feeling great in Plouay. However, he’s back training and he should be OK. Alongside Peter, we have a strong roster here and the aim, like in Plouay, is to have Peter at his best level, to score points for the WorldTour, and to go for the win.

“We can also play the card of Rafal or Roman, and Michael too. They are looking strong and suited to the two different parcours. Comparing the two, I think Montréal suits Peter a bit better, but we will see how the races develop.

“Like I said before Plouay, we’re coming towards the end of the season so motivation levels vary within the peloton, sometimes making for slightly different racing, but the guys are up for these two races here. Bodnar and a few others are coming to Canada with a few weeks since their last race so they’re keen to get going again. I think we can target some nice results here in Canada.”

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Giant-Alpecin Boosts GC Squad with Wilco Kelderman
Team Giant-Alpecin is extremely proud to announce that Wilco Kelderman (NED) has signed a two-year contract with the team, boosting its overall classification power. Following Michael Matthews (AUS), Kelderman is recognized as the second big rider signing to its significantly strengthened roster for 2017 and beyond.

With Kelderman, Team Giant-Alpecin adds one of the most promising talents in the pro peloton. Having signed the hugely talented Sam Oomen (NED) last year, who has already shown strong results at the Critérium International and the Tour de l’Ain in his first year as a professional, along with the recently announced former World junior time trial champion Lennard Kämna (GER) and Australian U23 champion Chris Hamilton, Team Giant-Alpecin continues to attract the world’s best of class promising riders with great potential.

The 25-year-old Dutchman Wilco Kelderman will become an important rider for the one-week WorldTour stage races and Grand Tours, having his own chance at one of the Grand Tours. He’s already recorded top results at the highest level at his young age, including winning the Tour of Denmark, 3rd at the Eneco Tour, 4th at the Critérium du Dauphine, 7th at the Giro d’Italia and 5th at the Tour de Romandie. He’s proven time and again to be a genuine up-and-coming rider to aim for the general classifications in the biggest stage races.

About his move to the team, Kelderman said: “I am very pleased to join Team Giant-Alpecin, taking the next step in my career. The team allows me to grow towards a role as a leader for the Grand Tours, using a gradual approach. They are successful with their philosophy, with an emphasis on science and technology, like the focus on being experts in time trial performance, for example. I can learn from the experience they have, as well as from guys like Tom [Dumoulin] and Michael [Matthews], who are from the same generation and having paved the road for me.”

Movement scientist, Adriaan Helmantel (NED) gave his reaction to this new signing: “We are delighted to sign Wilco. He has huge GC potential with strong TT and climbing skills, and he’s already raced to seventh at the Giro at the super young age of 23, showing there’s a large margin to keep growing. We believe he has the qualities to become a very good GC rider and we will take time and an easy approach to gradually make the best out of his abilities.”

Wilco Kelderman:
Solden - Austria - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands / Team LottoNL - Jumbo)  pictured during stage 7 of the Tour de Suisse 2016 from    Arbon to Solden (224.3 km) - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

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Team KATUSHA reinforced with Robert Kišerlovski
Team KATUSHA is happy to announce that Robert Kišerlovski joins the team for 2017. Robert Kišerlovski (30) is a former Croatian road champion but predominantly known as a good climber. Always having served as a super domestique in Grand Tour winning teams, he managed to finish twice in the top ten of the Giro d’Italia himself. Robert Kišerlovski is a rider for the mountains and for the Grand Tours. The last two seasons he was one of the lieutenants of Alberto Contador in Team Tinkoff.

“This is a very nice move for me. I know many people in the team from the past, directors as well as other staff people and riders. With Simon Špilak I find a good friend of mine in the team. On the other hand, I see that Team KATUSHA has rejuvenated the squad a lot, which is very nice for the future. I can bring my experience to the young guys. I know what Team KATUSHA expects from me. I can win myself but I am convinced they particularly want to see me work in the mountains. It will be a pleasure for me to guide Ilnur Zakarin to big victories,” said Robert Kišerlovski.

“These last weeks we have strengthened our team a lot for the classics. Team KATUSHA, however, wants to continue performing in all races. We will miss the retiring Joaquim Rodriguez in the Grand Tours but a guy like Ilnur Zakarin proved this year in the Giro and Tour that he can take the role as our leader in the Grand Tours. Robert Kišerlovski will be a great asset to the team. He has proven in the last years that he is the perfect teammate to ride in support of the climbers. Robert has the experience, the power and the right mentality,” said Team KATUSHA General Manager Viacheslav Ekimov.

Robert Kišerlovski:
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Guillaume Van Keirsbulck joins Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Guillaume Van Keirsbulck will join Wanty-Groupe Gobert. The 25-year old from Flanders comes from the team Etixx-Quick Step. The former winner of the Drie-Daagse van De Panne-Coxyde joins Jean François Bourlart’s team for two seasons.

“The Flemish Spring Classics really appeal to me with the Tour of Flanders as the absolute dream race. I never got the chance to ride it as team captain. I hope I’ll have a role to play in those races next year”, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck explains.

Jean-François Bourlart, Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s general manager, is very happy to welcome Guillaume Van Keirsbulck to his team.

“Guillaume is one of the most talented riders in Belgium. I think he made the right choice. Our program will suit him to the core.”

Sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren is looking forward to working with Guillaume Van Keirsbulck. “Guillaume Van Keirsbulck has shown his potential in the Flemish classics. In the past two years he couldn’t perform well due to injuries and health issues. He is 25 but he already has a lot of experience. He can ride a good time trial as well. I’m very happy to work with him.”

After signing Wesley Kreder, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck is the second new rider.

Kévin Van Melsen, Thomas Degand, Kenny Dehaes, Frederik Backaert, Guillaume Martin, Tom Devriendt already had a contract for 2016.

Guillaume Van Keirsbulck:
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Talent, Youth and Winning Spirit
These three characteristics depict two cyclists who have signed renewals of the agreement with the team. For 2017 and 2018 season, in TJ Sport’s roster there will be Valerio Conti and Jan Polanc, whose renewal join the already announced one of Ulissi and Rui Costa.

The renewal of the contract was made official during the rest day of the Vuelta a España, the race in which the Italian talented cyclist won the 13th stage. Conti, who has won 3 races in his career, explained that: “I had already reached the agreement some days ago and I’m happy that I could celebrate this achievement by winning in the Vuelta: I pedalled in the breakaway with even more enthusiasm being aware that I will have continue to race in the team which had allowed me to turn pro.”

Another Grand Tour stage winner signed a two years deal with the team.
Jan Polanc, winner of the Abetone stage in the Giro d’Italia 2015, commented: “I debuted in the pro world in this team and I always received all the necessary support to exploit and to improve my skills. I chose to continue to be part of the team and I’m sure that the new project will help me even more to live many exciting cycling moments.”

Valerio Conti and Jan Polanc:
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Renewals and new arrivals for the team!
Patrick van der Duin returns
End of 2014 Patrick van der Duin promoted a bit faster to continental level as #BDCT, by moving from Baby-Dump Cyclingteam to CT Jo Piels. Next year he will return in green, ready to go for results in his final U23-season. A solid line of top-10 results past weeks proved his injured posterior cruciate ligament has healed very well.
“Springseason failed due to my injury, but the moment lights turned green I went full gas. 200-K rides were necessary so I did, next year I will do them again!”

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Abe Celi moves up from TWC Het Snelle Wiel
19 year old Abe Celi from Oosterhout will move up from clubteam TWC Het Snelle Wiel uit Bladel to #BDCT. Abe is an agressive rider, did a strong nationals and won the classic Hollandse Eilanden. TWC Het Snelle Wiel gave great expression to his potential, which gives us the possibilities to extend his education to a complete rider.
“I’m very happy Baby-Dump gives me a shot to perform at a higher level. I’m also very grateful to the people at TWC Het Snelle Wiel for everything they have done for me so far.”

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Justin Timmermans extends his contract
Justin Timmermans (25-09-1996 Hardenberg) extended his current contract with another year. Regarding his age this is compliant to the mutual agreement on development on the longterm. Justin focussed on general development in the first part of the season, second half he focussed more on sprinting with guidance of team captain René Hooghiemster. Therefor the team is very happy to continue this strategy in 2017.
“I’m very happy to extend: good work has been done, but still a lot to do. This season I hope to confirm in Olympia’s Tour and afterwards some hard labour in wintertraining for 2017 preparation.”

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Wanty-Groupe Gobert welcomes Xandro Meurisse
Wanty-Groupe Gobert has signed a new rider: Xandro Meurisse. He was a stagiaire this season and he signs a two-year contract.

“I feel relieved. I finally become a professional rider. I’m so happy. I’m looking forward to the next season”, Xandro Meurisse said.

In the start of the season Xandro Meurisse rode for Crelan-Vastgoedservice. He won his first professional race : the queen stage in the Four Days of Dunkirk. “I came back to Belgium in order to show my real potential. I’ve been feeling good since the start of the season. I started with a fifth place in the general classification of the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen. I think I deserve my place in the professional peloton.”

Next year he hopes to ride the Walloon classics. “In 2017 I would like to test myself in races such as the Amstel Gold Race or Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I also like the stage races. I think I can help our climber Guillaume Martin in the mountains.”

Team manager Jean-François Bourlart is convinced of Xandro Meurisse’s potential. “Xandro Meurisse prepared his traineeship very well. He proved that he can compete with the professional riders. He becomes an important rider of our team in the future.”

At the moment Xandro Meurisses rides the Tour of Britain. He currently leads the mountains classification with four days to go and he is sixth in the general classification.

Xandro Meurisse:
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2016 European Championships: A Page in the History of Cycling will be Written Next Week in Plumelec
In a few days the 2016 edition of the Road European Championships will be raced in Plumelec – Morbihan – Britanny (France) from 14 to 18 September 2016. During this five days competition in a unique context, the continental titles for the Road and Time-Trial races will be awarded in the Juniors, Under 23 and Elite men’s and women’s categories with the first title of professional European champion up for grabs.

This unique edition will go down in the history of cycling with an exceptional level of participation. At the close of registration, 848 athletes were registered (the official confirmation of those registered will be on 13 September 2016), from 41 countries which is a great success in terms of participation. For five days, Brittany will be the undisputed capital of cycling especially following the agreement signed with the EBU (European Broadcasting Union), that will provide TV coverage of the competition in approximately 60 countries giving exceptional media coverage of these Championships.

David Lappartient, President of the Union Européenne de Cyclisme: “These European Championships are a great innovation with the first Road European Championships for professional riders and during the Olympic year. Everything has not been easy, we have had to deal with some difficulties after the understandable cancellation of the events scheduled in Monaco and Nice. Brittany and Morbihan will host the European Championships on the select circuit in Plumelec, with the famous ‘Côte du Cadoudal’, whose summit will be the strategic point of this spectacular circuit. I would like to thank above all Messrs Stéphane Hamon, Mayor of Plumelec, François Goulard, President of the Morbihan Department Council, Jean-Yves Le Drian, President of the Brittany region and the French State.”

The Competition Line Up
The Men’s Elite race is highly anticipated. Among those registered (which will be officially confirmed the day before the race), some names stand out especially the 4 last World Champions who will be in the line up in Plumelec: Peter Sagan (Slovakia), the current World Champion, Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland), Rui Costa (Portugal) and Philippe Gilbert (Belgium). All eyes will also be on Fabio Aru, winner of the Vuelta in 2015 as well as the talented riders, Tony Gallopin and Julian Alaphilippe. Lastly, one of the most eagerly awaited teams will be the Spanish team with the 2008 Beijing Olympic Champion, Samuel Sanchez, and the winner of the Road race at the 2015 Baku European Games, Luis Leon Sanchez.

In the Women’s events, the first three riders from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games are registered: Anna Van der Breggen (Netherlands), Emma Johansson (Sweden) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy), and the multiple Champion, Marianne Vos (Netherlands) as well as the 2015 Under 23 European Champion, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland). In the Juniors, one of the men to beat will undoubtedly be the current World Champion Felix Gall (Austria). The Espoirs Men’s race also promises to be exciting with the recent winner of the Tour de l’Avenir, David Gaudu (France), the runner-up, Edward Ravasi (Italy), and Tao Gheoghegan Hart (Great Britain).

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Teams Announced For Reading 120 and Thompson Bucks County Classic
More than two dozen men’s professional cycling teams and at least a dozen women’s teams will roll into Pennsylvania for this weekend’s Reading 120 and Thompson Bucks County Classic races.

A mix of professional continental, national, regional and club-level squads are competing in the two days of racing on the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour (PRT), the premier domestic road calendar event in the United States. Saturday’s Reading 120 is also a men’s-only, UCI 1.2 event.

“Once again, we are delighted these races have attracted so much top talent and so many quality teams,” Race Director John Eustice said. “Our races have always been based on showcasing the American professional racing class and they have responded in force.”

The professional women’s criterium sponsored by Doylestown Health has a talent-laden field that includes two of the top three riders on the PRT and the leading team, ISCorp Cycling presented by SmartChoice MRI.

Amy Cutler of Fearless Femme Racing and winner in Doylestown in 2014, said the 25-mile race has it all: a healthy $12,000 prize pool, live streaming and big crowds.

“The effort it takes to put on such a notable event really inspires me to put on a good show,” Cutler said. “I absolutely love to race, clocking in upwards of 76 races in a single season spanning seven months. To win Doylestown, especially now that it is on the PRT, requires that a rider have a skill set on par with the absolute best criterium racers in the nation.”

Multi-time U.S. national criterium champion Tina Pic (Happy Tooth Pro Cycling Team) will also take the start. “I have never done this race before but I have heard it is awesome,” she said. “Really great course, hill and more like a circuit race than most criteriums. I am really excited to race it.”

The PRT’s top men’s team – UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team – and the PRT’s No. 1 rider, Ty Magner, headline the field for Saturday’s Reading 120 “Classic of the Americas” and the 14th edition of the Thompson Bucks County Classic on Sunday.

But standing in the way of “The Blue Train” is Robin Carpenter and his Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team presented by Hincapie Sportswear. Carpenter is coming off a one-second victory at the five-day Tour of Alberta stage race. His teammate, Travis McCabe, is third in the PRT and chasing points to move up since second-placed Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman) is not competing in either weekend race.

“The Reading 120 is a great showcase of the type of riding that Pennsylvania has to offer,” Carpenter said. “From rolling hills in farm country, to legitimate climbs, to narrow, technical roads, the race really has it all. The course really suits a rider who is savvy and paying attention all day. Breakaways can quickly get up the road and out of sight. But the race is long enough that if you keep racing until the very end it could pay off, as other riders slowly give up. It has the making of a classic road race that rewards a well-rounded rider.”

Having to compete against the links of past Tour de France riders such as Chris Horner and Danny Pate, as well as Edwin Avila – who was selected to represent Colombia in the world championships this week – will be a matter of racing strategically, Carpenter said.

“Hopefully I will be able to stay in the reduced front group until the last small lap up to the Pagoda and then play some games with my competitors,” said the 24-year-old who was born in Philadelphia. “Mostly I will see an improvement from 18th place last year if I stay upright. Last year’s course was very slick in the rain and it wreaked havoc on the peloton. The other thing that I can do is to wait a little longer before going on the attack and save my legs for when it really matters towards the end.”

Both the Reading 120 and the Thompson Bucks County Classic races will be live streamed. For more information, go to www.reading120.com and www.buckscountyclassic.com.

Reading 120:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/reading120
Twitter: www.twitter.com/reading120

Thompson Bucks County Classic:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BucksCountyClassic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/BucksCoClassic

Reading 120/Thompson Bucks County Classic Men’s Teams:
Astellas Oncology Cycling Team
Battley Harley Davidson
Berks Regional Cycling
Bissell ABG Giant
CCB Racing
CRCA-Lupus Racing Team
Credité Velo-Trek
CS Velo Racing, LLC
Echelon-Storck Devo
Elevate Cycling Team
Equipe Transports Lacombe/Devinci
Foundation Elite Team
Gateway Harley Davidson/Trek U25 CT
Kelly Benefit Strategies Elite Team
Holowesko Racing Team
LowerRates.com
Lupus Racing Team
Metra/Cycles 54 Cycling Team
PushWorks Racing p/b Van Dessel
Rally Cycling Team
Ride With Rendall
Support Clean Sport/SeaSucker/Guttenplan Coaching
Team Finish Strong Elite
Team Illuminate
Team Jamis
Team Skyline
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.

Thompson Bucks County Classic sponsored by Doylestown Health Teams (partial list):
Cercacor presented by Podium Sports
Colavita/Bianchi
Fearless Femme Racing
Happy Tooth Pro Cycling Team
ISCorp Cycling presented by SmartChoice MRI
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers presented by Van Dessel
Monster Media Racing.

Reading 120:
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