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Matrah Corniche - Oman - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Scarponi Michele (Italie / Team Astana) - Nibali Vincenzo (Italie / Team Astana) - Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark / Team Astana) pictured during Tour of Oman stage 6 from The Wave Muscat to Matrah Corniche - photo Cor Vos/Miwa iijima © 2016

EUROTRASH Nibali Monday!

Vincenzo Nibali is in the news today; he won the Tour of Oman and rumor is that he might be riding for an Arab Prince in 2017. We have all the action from Oman, Andalucia and Algarve with video, race reports and rider quotes. In other cycling news: David Duffield passes on, a medical update from Lotto Soudal and video of the Orica-GreenEDGE South African training camp. Monday EuroTrash coffee time.

TOP STORY: Nibali to race for Arab Prince?
Big rumor of the moment is that Vincenzo Nibali will be racing in a team backed by Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa of the Bahrain royal family. I was reported on Sunday in the Italian sports paper, Gazzetta dello Sport that the Prince is very interested in backing Nibali and his entourage of support riders and staff to form a team in 2017.

Nibali’s contract with Astana finishes at the end of 2016 and there have been many rumors that Lampre-Merida and Trek-Segafredo are looking to sign Nibali, especially due to their Italian connections. Astana also want to keep him on. The 28 year old Prince Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa is a keen cyclist and has competed in triathlons as well as being the president of the Bahrain Olympic Committee and the commander of Bahrain’s Royal Guard and has been awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

If Russians who have made millions form gas and oil can have football and cycling teams, then why not an oil rich Arab? Although it could all end up like a certain Formula 1 driver’s plans for a WorldTour team.


Tour of Oman 2016
After two hard days of hilly racing on the Tour of Oman, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) made the best of a perfectly flat course to take his fourth success this year, beating Moreno Hofland (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Roy Jans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) to the line in Naseem Park at the end of Stage 3. Solidly positioned in the pack, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) keeps the overall lead.

After 1 kilometer of racing three men managed to break free from the pack: Dehaes (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), in the breakaway for the third consecutive day, Slik (Roompot) and Kerby (Drapac). They were joined by Van Goethem (Roompot) and Van Rooy (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). The lead grew and reached 4:15 at 25km. Dimension Data and Katusha started to chase.

At the first intermediate sprint (81km) claimed by Dehaes in front of Van Rooy and Slik, the gap had dropped to 2 minutes as thunder storms hit the race. With Van Rooy refusing to cooperate in the breakaway group, three of the five front men powered away after 125 kilometers: Slik, Van Goethem and Kerby. While the two dropped riders were caught at 130km, the pack remained at 1:50.

At the second bonus sprint (149km), won by Van Goethem ahead of Kerby and Slik, the leaders still had 1:38. Van Goethem took off with just Under 20 kms to go as the others were caught, the Dutchman survived until kilometer 169 before he too was caught.

Led out by his Katusha team mates, Alexander Kristoff flew to the line, claiming the win ahead of Hofland and Jans. Well protected by his Dimension Data team mates and comfortably positioned in the pack, Edvald Boasson Hagen finished in 10th spot and kept his overall leader’s Red Jersey. The Norwegian still has a 4 second lead over Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and 6 seconds over Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). He also remains in the lead of the points classification while Patrick Konrad (Bora-Argon 18) keeps the White Jersey for the best young rider. Thanks to the points he again conquered while in the breakaway, Kenny Dehaes captures the Most Aggressive rider’s jersey.

Tour of Oman stage 3

Stage winner, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): “Of course, all in the peloton looked at us, so we had to take control of the race from the beginning. We did it together with Dimension Data, because they protected Edvald (Boasson Hagen) and his race lead. Everything went ok, but with more or less 5 km to go, my last lead-out man Jacopo Guarnieri punctured. So we had to play the game a little bit smart. Marco (Haller) did a great job in front, and later he pulled out until the mark of 500 meters to go. Actually, he did a work for two. Later it was Michael (Mørkøv), who did the last lead-out until 200 meters to go. When I started my sprint, no one was able to pass me any more. I happy with this victory. From the one side we lost one important guy before the finish, from the other hand, we showed we could be very flexible in the final mix, and this is really great. It was a bit raining today, but I was ok with this weather. The only thing I was scared about was the slippery road in the final, but fortunately the road was dry. I want to congratulate our sports director Torsten Schmidt on his birthday. Actually, it was the best way to celebrate him and we did it!”

2nd on the stage, Moreno Hofland (LottoNl-Jumbo): “You’re never able to do it completely the way you planned it, It’s about anticipating when you’re not expecting something and that’s where we made some mistakes in the last weeks. Today, we dared to change plans and everything ended up very well. This gives me confidence and it’s good for the team’s morale, as well. We showed that we are able to aim for stage wins. Of course, I want to win them as well, but this second place is a nice step for us. Kristoff is really strong at this moment, as well.”

3rd on the stage,Roy Jans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “It was excellent teamwork yet again. At the end I got boxed in at the wrong side of the road. This is why I started my sprint too late. Marcato was with me and we made up some positions but it wasn’t enough. Stenuit couldn’t get passed anymore and I really missed that last man in the final.”

5th overall, Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data): “Today was a day where we took control to defend Edvald’s jersey, which we were able to accomplish as a team. On paper it didn’t look very difficult but the wind, rain and at times, the hail made it quite tricky and nervous. We can play our cards tomorrow with several riders but we are not the favorites to win. We will give it our best shot on the final climb tomorrow which is very hard and very steep.”

Tour of Oman Stage 3 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 4:03:22
2. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
3. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4. Mike Teunissen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
5. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
6. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Giant-Alpecin
7. Berden De Vries (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
8. Robin Stenuit (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data.

Tour of Oman overall After Stage 3:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data in 11:52:53
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:04
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:06
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data at 0:08
6. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:10
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
10. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Argon 18 at 0:16.

Oman Stage 3:

The Queen Stage 4 of the 2016 Tour of Oman offered a tremendous battle between the favorites of the event all the way to the finish line on Jabal Al Akhdhar. Already a winner back in 2012 at Green Mountain, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) made the best of the decisive climb, beating Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana). While former leader Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) lost over a minute on the day, the Italian winner of all three Grand Tours captured the overall leader’s red jersey. With two stages to go Nibali has an interesting 15 second lead over Bardet and is on pole position to win his first ever Tour of Oman.

After just a kilometer two men took off: Most aggressive rider, Kenny Dehaes and his team mate Björn Thurau (Wanty-Groupe Gobert). After having a 8 second lead, they were caught six kilometers later. It was then the turn of Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) and Daniel Oss (BMC) to try their luck. The two Italians were rapidly caught by 8 other riders : Pfingsten (Bora-Argon 18), Keisse (Etixx – Quick-Step), Antonini, Stenuit (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), De Vries (Roompot), Steels (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), White (UnitedHealthcare) and Reihs (Stölting Service Group). The ten men saw the gap rapidly grow up to 3:20 after 40 kilometers.

At the first intermediate sprint (82km) claimed by Steels ahead of Keisse and Cimolai the gap grew to 4:15 and reached a maximum 4:25 by 95 kilometers. Chased down by Astana, Dimension Data and AG2R-La Mondiale, the breakaway riders could still count on a 2:55 with 20 kilometers to go. At the second bonus sprint (163km), won by Antonini ahead of Stenuit and Steels, the gap had dropped to 2:10. While Stenuit and Steels were the first to be dropped, the leading group reached the bottom of the final climb with a 40 second advantage.

Eventually Oss was the last to survive. All his former companions were indeed caught one after the other. The Italian was finally gobbled up by the pack at the 176 kilometer mark. With four kilometers to go two men, Brambilla (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Weening (Roompot) powered away from a group of around twenty men including all the GC favorites. Their lead grew to 10 seconds over a bunch led by four Astana riders, but they were soon to be caught. It was then Jakob Fuglsang’s (Astana) turn to give it a go taking with him Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale). Meanwhile red jersey Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) started struggling.

Just under ten riders including Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Nibali, Fuglsang, Bardet, Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale), Sepulveda (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), Kudus (Dimension Data) and Canty (Drapac) gathered together, while the overall leader was 23 seconds adrift with 2 kilometers to go. Again Bardet attacked alongside former Tour, Giro and Vuelta winner Vincenzo Nibali. Both men remained together with a slim advantage over their rivals. The stage ended up with a sprint between both men.

While Bardet was the first to take off with just over 100m to go, the Italian hung on to his wheel and eventually overtook him to capture victory. He crossed the line with a 9 second lead over the Frenchman and 12 seconds over Fuglsang, capturing his second win at Green Mountain after a first success back in 2012 when he finished second of the GC. Tenth of the day, Boasson Hagen crossed the line with a 1:10 deficit, losing his leadership.

With two stages to go, Nibali takes command of the general classification and has a 15 second lead over Bardet and 24 seconds over Fuglsang. The Astana rider also leads the points classification while promising Brendan Canty (Drapac), 8th on the stage, captures the white jersey for the best young rider. The Most Aggressive rider’s jersey remains on the shoulders of Kenny Dehaes (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).


Stage winner and overall leader, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana): “I was joined by Romain Bardet 100 meters from the finish, I attacked again and he came off. In 2012, I took off right from the start of the climb and did it all alone, but this time, it wasn’t the same at all. You needed strong nerves to wait all the way until the end. It’s different; I was much younger then, with less experience. Now I have more experience under my belt, and a solid team. The extra two kilometers changed how you managed your strength. Even though we won, we made a technical error by using too heavy a gear. It was very hard to make a selection because 39×29 was too big on this gradient, so we tried to wait until the final 300 meters and then push it hard. The training camp in Tenerife is giving good results and tomorrow I expect a new battle. I am confident. Obviously in the last two years, with the Tour in mind, I started my season a lot more calmly. But it was always a struggle because inside of me I always had the desire to do more. That wasn’t easy. But when you start the season like this, with far more decent condition, it’s more straightforward to go for the win. Already in Argentina, I was doing well, just suffering on one or two stages, but here, I’m already reaching some of my best condition ahead my first goal at Tirreno-Adriatico. We’ll see. I’ll try to finish well here in Oman, recover a bit at home, then think about Tirreno, and then the most important event for me, the Giro. It’s much more straightforward when you know you’re well prepared and you’ve started well. It becomes easier to manage your season because you’re not trying to catch up.”

2nd on the stage and second overall, Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale): “We had a big day in the heat. I am happy with the result but also the collective work. The AG2R La Mondiale team was able to take the race in hand with Astana. I attacked 3km from the finish to rejoin Fulgsang and then, with Nibali, it was decided by the legs. I am very happy because we have been talking a lot about this stage and even if we are only in February, the scenario confirms my quality work this winter. Tomorrow, there is still a big stage with more climbing. Everything is still possible. It was very difficult, very steep and the heat was stifling,” he later told L’Equipe. “But it’s a good test with a good team around me. We took the responsibility to chase. I lost the sprint in the final 150 meters against Nibali: no regret. The legs are good: they must be since I was second on the Green Mountain. That’s better than earlier this week. I am satisfied although I felt very close to victory. But I was beaten by one of the greatest champions of our generation. When I tried to attack with 150m to go, he pretended to take a break and then he accelerated really hard and I did no longer have the legs to follow but I raced like I wanted. I attacked several times on the climb, I enjoyed myself. It is too bad that there is no victory in the end but I feel that I’m progressing every year and that’s a good sign. We had divided the roles with Domenico Pozzovivo: he had to mark Nibali and I had to mark Fuglsang. And when I saw Fuglsang anticipate at the bottom of the climb, I made ​​an effort that Nibali did not. It may have played a role but I like to ride like that, being on the attack. I have no regrets. We must not forget that it’s my first stage race so I’m already very happy with my condition. Two years ago I was eighth here. I can see my progress.”

6th on the stage and 9th overall, Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data): This was a very hard climb. My legs felt good before the stage so I was motivated for the last climb. The team did a great job to help me today before the climb and then I just tried to do the best ride possible. Nibali was very strong but I am happy with my result today.”

Tour of Oman Stage 4 Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 4:25:48
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:09
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:12
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:18
5. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:38
6. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data at 0:43
7. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo
8. Brendan Canty (Aus) Drapac at 0:45
9. Floris De Tier (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 1:08
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 1:10.

Tour of Oman Overall After Stage 4:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 16:18:35
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:15
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:24
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:40
5. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:54
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 1:16
7. Brendan Canty (Aus) Drapac at 1:31
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:38
9. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data at 1:41
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:59.

Oman Stage 4:

After loosing his overall leader’s Red Jersey to Vincenzo Nibali during stage 4 to Green Mountain, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) hit back in style on Stage 5 of the Tour of Oman, the Norwegian managed to remain in the group of favorites that only just caught the breakaway riders with 2 kilometers to go, and powered to the line, claiming his second stage success of this 2016 edition. In the sprint, Boasson Hagen beat Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Marco Canola (UnitedHealthcare) to the line in front of the Ministry of Tourism. Well established in the front group, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) kept the overall lead and still has a 15 second advantage over Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) with one day to go.

On the roller-coaster ride just after km 0, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data) managed to take off early. The South African was then caught by two other men at 14 kilometers: Hugo Houle (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Pieter Weening (Roompot). And the gap increased dramatically over a pack led by Astana for new race leader, Vincenzo Nibali.

At the first intermediate sprint of the day (29km), won by Janse Van Rensburg ahead of Houle and Weening, the gap was at 5:10. It then reached 5:50 at the top of the first climb of the day (Al Jissah, 33km) where Janse Van Rensburg was again first. A maximum of 6:15 at the top of the second climb (40km) again won by the virtual leader of the event, Janse Van Rensburg. Astana and Lampre-Merida started chasing. At the top of the first of three climbs up Bousher Al Amerat (76.5km), Janse again captured the most points while the pack moved closer at 4:18. The penultimate climb of the day would be a tough one for Houle dropped by his breakaway companions. Despite several attacks from Janse Van Rensburg, Weening managed to stay put and both men reached the top of the fourth climb (91km) with a 2 minute lead over Houle and 3:38 over the pack. While Houle was caught, that advantage dropped down to 1:13 at the second bonus sprint (fifth climb, 106km) again claimed by Janse. Meanwhile, just over twenty men remained in the red jersey group including all the race favorites.

With 13 kms to go, it was still looking good for the front two. Struggling against the wind, the peloton did however see the leaders move closer. With 10 kms to go, their lead had dropped to a worrying 38 seconds. Despite collaborating perfectly, there wasn’t much the front riders could do against the chasing pack. With just over 2 kms to go, they were eventually caught. A group of around 30 men remained together all the way to the final straight. Well led out by his three Dimension Data team mates, Edvald Boasson Hagen powered to the line, claiming his second stage success, his third in Oman.

Vincenzo Nibali, 12th on the day, keeps the GC and will wear the red jersey for the final stage from The Wave Muscat to the Matrah Corniche. Thanks to his second stage success, Boasson Hagen leads the points classification while Brendan Canty (Drapac) remains the best young rider. Capturing a total of 21 points today at both sprints and mountain climbs, Jacques Janse Van Rensburg captures the Most Aggressive rider’s jersey.

Tour of Oman stage 5

Stage winner, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data): “It was really good to have Jacques in the break so we didn’t have to chase from behind. He did a really good job up there and we could just focus on sitting up front all day and not use up too much energy, so that was perfect. After the last climb Jacques was caught and we still had guys in the group. So Serge Pauwels, Merhawi Kudus and Nathan were able to do a really good lead-out for me in the last kilometer. I just had to open up my sprint with 200m to go so I am really happy to win after all the great team work today.”

2nd on the stage, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “It was a short stage with a hard start. We didn’t control the race which was pretty important I think. We were not the big favorites for today because the climbs were pretty hard, but I came in at the end in a really good position. The team did a great job in bringing everything back together and it was me and Boasson Hagen against each other in the sprint again. I think Boasson Hagen is just in really good shape and for the moment I couldn’t beat him. It is a different way of racing here than the Classics in Europe. The roads here are wider so you have more time to recover compared to the narrow roads in Belgium so I’m looking forward to getting back to Europe to race.”

Tour of Oman Stage 5 Result:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Not) Dimension Data in 3:05:32
2. Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
3. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
4. Simone Ponzi (Ita) CCC Sprandi
5. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Stölting Service Group
7. Sven Erik Bystrom (Nor) Katusha
8. Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac
9. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data.

Tour of Oman Overall After Stage 5:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 19:24:07
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:15
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:24
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:40
5. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:54
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 1:06
7. Brendan Canty (Aus) Drapac at 1:31
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:38
9. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data at 1:41
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:59.

Oman Stage 5:

Thanks to his masterpiece on the climb up Green Mountain during stage 4 of the event, Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour of Oman for the first time in his career. The Italian who had finished runner-up back in 2012, captured victory with a final advantage of 15 seconds over Frenchman Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and 24 seconds over his Danish Astana teammate Jakob Fuglsang. The final stage of the race was claimed in a bunched sprint by Alexander Kristoff (Katusha), earning his second stage success of this edition.

After an extremely fast start to Stage 6 and numerous breakaway attempts, six men eventually managed to take off after 18.5 kilometers: Minard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Muhlberger (Bora-Argon 18), Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step), Van Speybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) Eaton (UnitedHealthcare) and Marycz (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice). These six were then to be caught up by a seventh rider, Asselman (Roompot), at 26km.

The gap grew progressively and reached a maximum of 2.30 at km 40. From then on, team Katusha took on the chase. At the top of the first climb of the day (Al Hamriyah, 78km), won by Van Speybrouck ahead of Minard and Marycz, the pack remained at 1:48. That gap dropped down to 1:38 at the first intermediate sprint (92km) claimed by Van Speybrouck. The Belgian again reached the summit of the second climb (Al Jissah, 95km) in the lead while the gap had stabilized.

But the chase intensified and as the front seven entered the final circuit on the Matrah Corniche for three laps, the pack moved closer: 52 seconds at the first crossing of the line. While the second bonus sprint was won by Van Speybrouck ahead of Meersman and Muhlberger, the pack led by teams Katusha and Wanty-Group Gobert was within shooting distance, at 40 seconds. Just after that sprint, Meersman decided to attack taking with him Minard, Muhlberger and Van Speyboruck but the last four survivors of the day’s breakaway were eventually caught with 5 kilometers to go.

Despite the pack breaking up into several groups all the main favorites remained at the front and stage victory would be decided in a bunch sprint. Perfectly led out by his Katusha teammates, Alexander Kristoff powered to the line beating Zico Waeytens and Soren Kragh Andersen (Giant-Alpecin). The Norwegian who had already triumphed at Naseem Park won his second stage of this edition and his fifth in Oman. Already victorious on three occasions during the Tour of Qatar, Kristoff does even better than last year at the same period, capturing a total of 5 wins in just 11 days.

21st on the stage, Vincenzo Nibali won the 7th edition of the Tour of Oman after taking the Red Jersey at the end of stage 4 heading to the top of Green Mountain. In the final general classification, the Italian finishes with a 15 seconds lead over Romain Bardet and 24 seconds over Fuglsang. A winner of two stages and 6th overall, Edvald Boasson Hagen wins the points classification while Brendan Canty (Drapac), 7th on the GC, finishes best young rider. The Most Aggressive jersey of the Tour of Oman goes to South African Jacques Janse Van Rensburg who also wins the team classification with his Dimension Data squad.

Tour of Oman stage 6

Stage winner, Alexander Kristoff (Kristoff): “I felt good, but also the team was super strong today. Dima (Kozonchuk) did an excellent job the whole day in front of the peloton, holding the break at 2 minutes and saving the energy for the other teammates. Coming on the local laps, we had Jurgen (Van den Broeck) and Pavel (Kochetkov) who worked well. In the last lap there were some attacks in front, but Michael (Mørkøv) and Marco (Haller) controlled everything. In the final Marco again did a phenomenal job from 2 km to the last 500 meters, while later it was Jacopo Guarnieri, who leaded me out really well until 200 meters to go. For me it was just a question of keeping the speed and finalizing this day with a victory. We already have five wins this season and this is a great start for us. For sure, we are coming now for the classics with confidence. I think we are ready. The team looks strong and we will be at top level there.”

Tour of Oman Stage 6 Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 3:01:18
2. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Giant-Alpecin
3. Soren Kragh Andersen (Den) Giant-Alpecin
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo
5. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
6. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. AmauryCapiot (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Marko Kumpo (Slo) Lampre-Merida
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
10. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare.

Tour of Oman Final Overall Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 22:25:25
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:15
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:24
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:40
5. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:54
6. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 1:06
7. Brendan Canty (Aus) Drapac at 1:31
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:38
9. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data at 1:56
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:59.

Oman Stage 6:

Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol 2016
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was the fastest on Stage 2 of the Vuelta a Andalucía, finishing in Cordoba after 177 kilometers from Palomares del Río (Sevilla). The Frenchman is also the new race leader.

Honing (Roompot), Pols (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Torres (Burgos-BH) and Aitor Gonzalez (Euskadi-Murias) escaped, but were pulled back with 30 kilometers to go, mostly by the Sky team.

The selection of the race was made on the climb of Santa María de Trassierra (Cat 2), 22 kilometers from Córdoba, but came together before the finish. Siutsou (Dimension Data) attacked to cross the summit first, but was caught on the descent. Daniel Moreno (Movistar) and Wellens (Lotto Soudal) also attacked to no avail. The Cofidis team helped Bouhanni over the climb (pushes have been suggested) and then gave him a perfect lead out for the win and jersey.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2016 - 2

Stage winner, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis): “After yesterday’s stage, I was really disappointed. We completely missed our chance yesterday because it wasn’t clear where the last kilometer of the stage began, and I came out of the last roundabout in 25th place. This time I was taken right through the last kilometer by Christophe Laporte, and then all I had to do was step on the accelerator with 200 to go. The whole squad did a great job of supporting me over the top of that climb and then bringing me back together for the final sprint. A result like this is a good sign about my form, I started off the season with 75 percent of my full condition and it’s getting better and better, so I’m pleased. It’s good both for my Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo. Friday is much harder than today, and my goal here was to get a stage, it was really important for me.”

Daniele Bennati (Tinkoff): “Today we weren’t that lucky because there were four of us in the first group, and Oscar Gatto was probably a little bit better suited than me to try and get a result. Unfortunately, he punctured in the last descent, and so in the end it was just me, Rafal and Roman in the first group. I tried to do a good sprint but I was squeezed out in the final 500 meters, so I couldn’t really start sprinting. Anyway my condition, as well as Majka’s, Gatto’s and Kreuziger’s is good, and this is very promising for the next few days.”

Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol Stage 2 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 4:39:33
2. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
3. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
4. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
5. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
6. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
7. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo
9. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNl-Jumbo
10. Matteo Busato (Ita) Southeast-Venezuela.

Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol Overall After Stage 2:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 8:35:35
2. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
3. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
4. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
5. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling
7. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo
8. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff
9. Enrique Sanz (Spa) Southeast-Venezuela
10. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNl-Jumbo.

Ruta Stage 2:

Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff) won Stage 3 of the Vuelta a Andalucía-Ruta del Sol on Friday over 157.9 kilometers from Monachil (Córdoba) and Padul (Granada). He beat Ben Swift (Sky), who is the new leader, with Raymond Kreder (Roompot) in 3rd.

Boaro (Tinkoff), Lindeman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Irizar (Trek), Caruso (BMC), Firsanov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Carthy (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) Mrozek (CCC), Tedeschi (Southeast-Venezuela) and Cubero (Burgos-BH) staged the break of the day, but were controlled by the Movistar Team.

Navarro (Cofidis), then Fraile (Dimension Data) tried to surprise on the fourth and final climb of the day, Valle, with 16 km to go, but the two were caught less than a kilometer from the finish by Team Sky first and then by the Tinkoff.

On this occasion it was Gatto who won the sprint for his team, repeating the victory of Bennati in Sevilla. The winner has ridden for quite a few teams in his tome as a pro: Gerolsteiner, ISD, Farnese Vini, Cannondale, Androni and Tinkoff. In the past he beat Contador in a stage of the Giro d’Italia 2011 and won the classic Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2013.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2016 - 3

Stage winner, Oscar Gatto (Tinkoff): “I was feeling very well already in the first stage, I was fit, then we won with Bennati, so that was perfect. Yesterday, I was in the leading positions after passing the summit but unfortunately I punctured in the descent so I had to get a new wheel and say goodbye to my dreams of glory. Today, I was feeling very fit again, so on the final climb there were about thirty riders and I was there and the feeling was good. I was very pleased that great riders such as Majka and Kreuziger helped me today. Then, as last man I had Jay McCarthy who paced me up to perfection to deliver the sprint in style, and this kind of finishes are most suited to my skills.”

King of the Mountains; Damiano Caruso (BMC): “It was a big battle on the climb to get the points and get this jersey. It was a good day for me. We had a good breakaway but there were too many people who wanted to win today so eventually we knew that we would be caught before the end of the stage. Tomorrow we have the ITT so I’ll try and perform well again there, and then on Sunday for the final stage I’ll be focusing on defending the KOM jersey.”

Break rider, Omar Fraile (Dimension Data): I felt really good today, especially during the second part of the stage. I attacked and rode across to Navarro. We know each other well and we could work together but it was difficult to hold off the peloton riding into the headwind. I am feeling pretty good though so I look forward to more racing with a lot of positivity.”

Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “I’m feeling really good. We’ve had three good tests but the real tests are to come with the ITT and the summit finish so that will reveal a lot more. We have some important time trials coming up this year so tomorrow will be a good course for my first time trial of the season”

Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol Stage 3 Result:
1. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Tinkoff in 3:51:17
2. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
3. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
4. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
7. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
9. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling
10. Matteo Busato (Ita) Southeast-Venezuela.

Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol Overall After Stage 3:
1. Ben Swift (GB) Sky in 12:26:52
2. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
3. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling
4. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
5. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
6. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky
7. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
9. Matteo Busato (Ita) Southeast-Venezuela
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo.

Ruta Stage 3:

Tejay van Garderen (BMC) won Stage 4 of the Vuelta a Andalucía-Ruta del Sol, an individual time trial of 21 kilometers, and is also the new race leader. The American cyclist has exhibited his style on a sinuous profile and beat Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo) by 2 seconds, and Jérome Coppel (IAM Cycling) at 7 seconds with Wout Poels (Sky) at 20 seconds and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at 27.

In the overall; Tejay Van Garderen is leading Wilco Kelderman by 2 seconds, Jérome Coppel at 7 seconds, Brent Bookwalter (BMC) at 15, Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) at 17, Wout Poels at 20, Samuel Sánchez (BMC) at 21 and Alejandro Valverde at 22 seconds.

The podium will be decided on Sunday on the Peñas Blancas in Estepona, a 16 km climb with 6% ramps. The stage has two category 2 ports, one 3rd and two 1st. Less than 22 riders are under a minute.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2016 - 4

Stage winner and overall leader, Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “It’s great to get the first victory of the season early. Now we can take a more relaxed approach going forward. It’s a big confidence boost but we definitely have our minds set on tomorrow. We’re going to have a tough challenge but we’re excited. It was a tail wind on the way out but it was a lot of climbing and it was head wind on the way back but a bit downhill so it was really hard to pace. You couldn’t go easy on the way out and you couldn’t go easy on the way back, so you just had to put your head down and go. When you look at the results you can definitely tell that BMC Racing Team prepared well over the winter. If you look at today’s results I think that we easily have the strongest team here so that gives me a lot of confidence that I’m not going to be isolated on the climb.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo): “I finished second a many times in time trials already and the difference is only two seconds today. It was a long time trial, so I’m quite fed up with that. A time trial is a very fair race, on the other hand, so I can only blame myself. I really wanted this victory. I’m in a good condition and I proved that today. I built up to this race well, I had the right rhythm and Addy Engels’s coaching was worth a lot. I’m satisfied with my performance, but I keep looking forward. I want to win races. I had a great winter and I’ve been feeling strong for quite a while. That gives me a lot of confidence. I’m second in the general classification and I’m only two seconds behind, so I’m going for the win tomorrow. If I’m feeling good in the end of the stage, I will go all in to win the general classification.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Jérôme Coppel (IAM Cycling): “I had pretty good legs, but not over the top exceptional. After three days of racing, that’s pretty normal. The course was challenging and technical. The wind made the road dangerous. We had to stay focused. In the end, I made it to the top rankings, and I hope to keep my place throughout the final stage on Sunday.”

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff): “This was the first time-trial of the year and I think it wasn’t that bad, but we didn’t do too well either. We will now focus on tomorrow’s stage where we will try to do our best although it will not be easy as we are at the beginning of the season and there are many riders who are already riding strong and fast. Our goals this season are still to be achieved, but nonetheless we are glad we have already won two stages, and then we’ll see about tomorrow.”

Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol Stage 4 Result:
1. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC in 27:05
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:02
3. Jérome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:07
4. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 0:15
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:17
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:20
7. Samuel Sánchez (Spa) BMC at 0:21
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:22
9. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 0:24
10. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Giant-Alpecin at 0:34.

Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC in 12:53:57
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:02
3. Jérome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 0:07
4. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 0:15
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:17
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:20
7. Samuel Sánchez (Spa) BMC at 0:21
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:22
9. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 0:24
10. Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Giant-Alpecin at 0:34.

Ruta Stage 4:

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) took the win in the Final Stage 5 of the Vuelta a Andalucía-Ruta del Sol on Sunday on the summit of the Peñas Blancas, in Estepona, and moved himself into first overall. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) finished at 48 seconds and dropped to second overall after taking the lead in Saturday’s time trial.

The decisive stage of the Andalusian race consisted of four climbs; Puerto del Espino (Cat 1), Alto de Cortés (Cat 3), Puerto Espíritu Rojo (Cat 2) and Puerto de la Cruz (Cat 2), before climbing Peñas Blancas, about 15 kilometers at 6.8%.

Sky and BMC had been in control of the peloton to the final climb, then Movistar launched first, Daniel Moreno and then Valverde with 5 kilometers to go to the finish line. Van Garderen led the chase group with Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) and Poland’s Rafal Majka (Tinkoff), but they could not hold Valverde at close enough for the American to hold his overall lead and so allowing Valverde to take the fourth win of his career in the Ruta del Sol.

Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2016 - 5

Stage and race winner, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “It’s the most exciting victory of the four I’ve got here. It’s true that the previous three were also beautiful, but I was feeling like this one was going away from my hands day by day. I felt comfortable all stage today, despite the route being so demanding – which also was for me. The team was also doing well and wanted to try and move the race, and we profited from several other teams who wished to go on the attack to make a fast race so we could get a chance to leave Van Garderen back into the last climb. We launched several of our guys into the early moves, with Rubén into a more serious break and Dani in the finale, and when I saw the others struggling a bit halfway through the last Peña Blancas, I knew that I had to go on a long attack if I wanted to win the GC. Last year in the Vuelta I suffered more than today, even as I did worse than today. I knew the climb, went again to look at it this week before the race, and knew how to tackle it. I always had time references from the team car against my rivals during the attack, and wasn’t comfortable with that gap, so I just kept going and going on full steam until the finishing line. I knew I was well, but didn’t feel I could gain so much space today. I was a bit lucky, also due to the fact that they changed the route just before the race to add that second ascent of Peñas Blancas – it granted me a bigger chance.

“I trained well over the winter; with good weather in Murcia, doing otherwise would be difficult. However, I saw other teams doing strong, those coming to train and race in Spain, the ones who started their seasons in Australia or Argentina… it really seems like the peloton has stepped up their game a bit compared to previous seasons in the early part of the year. Fortunately, and despite being close to turning 36, I’m feeling as excited and fit as when I was 22, even more so today – being able to stay with the top guys in the peloton makes me really happy. This victory is a tribute to many people. The main one is Adriano Malori: you all know he’s still recovering after his crash in Argentina, and I want to wish him the best. Also the team: they all did fantastically well. The fans: as well in Andalucía as in the rest of Spain, they are spectacular and treat me really well. Also, my family, the kids, all the people who support me. My next goals? We’ll be heading to Strade Bianche in two weeks, then Tirreno-Adriatico, Milano-Sanremo and then, the Northern classics, Harelbeke and Flanders above all.”

4th on the stage and 2nd overall, Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “I picked my moment with about 3km to go and tried to put my head down and claw back enough time to keep the jersey, but it wasn’t to be. Hats off to Valverde, that was a good move. He pulled it off with a lot of guts, it was impressive. The team showed that we were really strong. We have a couple of lessons to take away from this but in the end I think we showed that we are all in good shape and we’re motivated and ready to take on the next challenge.”

3rd on the stage and 5th overall, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff): “My condition is improving and although I still haven’t reach a top level, it is definitely better than last year. The whole team was good, especially after all the altitude meters tackled today. The whole squad took a lot of the wind to protect Roman Kreuziger and myself until the end of the stage, an arduous task, considering all the climbs that had to be faced. We can be pleased with both the fifth place in the GC and the two stage victories. I think this week went well and I can’t think of anything that stands out where we could have done better. It’s important now to get the right form for the season’s big goals, which for will be the Giro d’Italia.”

KOM, Damiano Caruso (BMC): “I’m really happy to have won the King of the Mountain classification. It’s a great way to start my season and I hope to continue with these kind of results this year.”

8th on the stage, Igor Anton (Dimension Data): “I knew how hard this stage was going to be because we did this same climb during the 2013 Vuelta a España. Today’s result has been really important for me and for my confidence. It was a small test which has allowed me to gauge my condition. Valverde was very strong but I could stay with the other GC contenders all the way to the finish. I am happy with where I am and I need to continue in this way.”

Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling): “My regret is not having made it to a podium at the end of one of the stages, I gave 100% of myself every day. Overall I am satisfied and I leave feeling strengthened after this race.”

Philippe Gilbert (BMC): “Ruta del Sol was a great race to prepare for the Classics. We always need to be better and better every week, that’s the goal. After a good week of racing here, I think that If I can recover well, I can do well in the coming weeks.”

Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol Stage 5 Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar in 4:46:51
2. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:36
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 0:42
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:48
5. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff at 1:07
6. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 1:08
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:16
8. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data at 1:19
9. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Sky at 1:27
10. Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis at 1:30.

Vuelta a Andalucia/Ruta del Sol Final Overall Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar in 17:41:10
2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:26
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:52
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:56
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff at 1:11
6. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff at 1:37
7. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 1:42
8. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 2:03
9. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis at 2:14
10. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Sky at 2:45.

Ruta Final Stage 5:

Volta ao Algarve 2016
Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) won Stage 2 of the Volta ao Algarve, finishing on the Alto da Foia, a rise of 7.5 kilometers at 6%. The Murcian is the new leader race.

The break of the day included: Naesen (IAM Cycling), De Bie (Lotto Soudal), Rast (Trek-Segafredo), Lastra (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Cecchin (Team Roth), Koch (Verva ActiveJet), Mestre (W52-FC Porto) and Ershov (Gazprom-Rusvelo), they were caught 40 kilometers from the finish when the race hit the hardest section, with the climbs of Padescas (Cat 3), Picota (Cat 3) and the Muro de Pomba, 3.5 km to 8.6%.

Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step), Rosa (Astana), Oliveira (Movistar) and Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) were the leading group on the final climb. Sanchez came from behind and overtook all his rivals, with Thomas (Sky) second, Primoz Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo) third, Ion Izaguirre (Movistar Team) fourth, Aru (Astana) tenth and Contador (Tinkoff) in 21st place.

Sanchez has had a remarkable start to the season, second in the recent Tour of Valencia, in the overall and the opening time trial, fourth in the Tour of Murcia and 15th in the Tour Down Under. This is not his first win in Algarve as he won a stage and finished second behind Contador in 2010.

Volta Algarve 2016 - stage 2

3rd on the stage, Primoz Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo): “Today, I proved that I’m able to ride strongly, the best riders in the world are in this race and I was able to compete with them. That makes me very happy. It surprised me that I was able to stay strong. I know that I’m good, but riders like Alberto Contador and Fabio Aru were around me. I wasn’t nervous, though. When I had the chance to win the stage, I just tried to finish as well as possible. Unfortunately, two riders were faster than me.”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “It was a complicated and quite hard stage. We wanted to keep the breakaway under control in order to fight for the stage but, in hindsight, it was probably an error to stay in the front throughout the day under such windy conditions. We probably spent more energy than necessary. I think it’s evident I still lack a bit of pace. In the penultimate climb I was feeling better but the finish was tough because of the strong wind. It was difficult to keep the rhythm and behind me, the group had a better pace. When the race accelerated in the final kilometer, I was unable to follow and I lost time. For me, the important aspect is that the sensations I have keep improving. In the penultimate climb, I tried to make the race a bit harder because the group was quite big but it was difficult to break the race with so much wind. There are riders with better legs here because they already have races under their belts. However, the Volta ao Algarve serves as a preparation towards Paris-Nice, where my goal is to have a good result. The sensations I have are what I expected. The work we carried out in Tenerife focused on building force and what I lack is race rhythm. That’s precisely what I’m here for. Tomorrow, we will tackle a time-trial and although it will be long and flat, it will be a very useful training towards my upcoming objectives.”

Volta ao Algarve Stage 2 Result:
1. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana in 5:08:25
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:01
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:03
4. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
5. Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha at 0:05
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
7. Amaro Antunes (Por) LA Aluminios-Antarte at 0:09
8. Hector Saez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:13
9. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:15

Volta ao Algarve Overall After Stage 2:
1. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana in 9:00:50
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:05
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:09
4. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:13
5. Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha at 0:15
6. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
7. Amaro Antunes (Por) LA Aluminios-Antarte at 0:19
8. Hector Saez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:23
9. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling at 0:25

Algarve Stage 2:

Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) beat Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step) to win the Stage 3 of the Volta ao Algarve, a time trial of 18 kilometers in Sagres. Martin is the new overall leader after a fall and abandonment of Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana).

Cancellara won his private duel with Martin, by 5 seconds, although the German was eight seconds better at the intermediate time-check at 11.3 kilometers. Sky’s Geraint Thomas was third as Movistar riders; Izaguirre, Oliveira, Castroviejo and Dowsett were fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. For Cancellara it was his second win of the season after Dénia in the Challenge de Mallorca. Yellow jersey, Luis Leon Sanchez, suffered a fall in the second part of the stage after setting the sixth fastest time at the halfway point (11.3km) and ended the day in hospital.

Tour of Algarve stage 4 ITT

Stage winner, Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo): “I felt good and powered everything on the road. The race was one-quarter technical in the first part and three-quarters with more power straights. A lot of wind, tail-wind and cross-wind; it was a really tough one. I just powered everything out I had. After yesterday’s hard stage I did not have a huge crazy expectation of going for the win. I knew I started early, and with Martin and Thomas starting so late… so I just focused on myself, on my performance. I did my usual warm-up, and I had good feelings on the trainer, and in this situation, with my experience, I knew with these feelings that I was good, and mentally this helped me. And then it was waiting, waiting on the hot-seat. I am kind of surprised, but on the other hand super happy about the win. I was going 70km/h on certain parts of the course back to the finish. I don’t know if you can say I calculated the pace; I knew it was going to be a 21-minute race, and I just gave it all knowing what the effort would be. When you have good feelings, and you know that you are going fast, then when you also hear from the car from Dirk [Demol, director] in the radio – and they know me so well – that helped me to power out even more, and this is also what is important. I don’t say I was flying home, but I was powering home. I don’t say that today’s win gives me more confidence because the confidence I need is more from races like Tirreno-Adriatico because this will show me that I am in the right way. There is still some work to do; next week I will take a small rest and move on again with Strade [Bianche] and Tirreno. I still need more, because I need to compete with the others who have been racing in Qatar and Oman. I am just enjoying riding my bike, riding the races, and this makes me feel relaxed. To take another win on top is super cool for myself and super nice for the team and for the motivation for everyone.”

Overall leader, Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I am happy with my performance, but not so content with the result. It was pretty hard today with the headwind, but I’m not looking for excuses. Fabian was stronger, and that’s that. I now look towards tomorrow and helping Marcel. After that, we’ll sit down and talk about the last day. Of course, I want to keep the yellow jersey now, but it won’t be easy, as there are many top riders here. Still, I am confident, because I have a very strong team, and we’ll just see how things will pan out on the final day.”

10th overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “It was a very, very windy time-trial and the heavier riders could use spoke front wheels. I had to use a 40mm rim depth for more stability. When I went to recon the route this morning with a deeper depth, at the end I was more concentrated on avoiding being blown away by the wind. We tried a 60mm rim depth and a tri-spoke wheel but after 10km I had to change the wheel as it was getting too difficult for me. Then, I opted to go with less depth in order to be focused on the race and not on worrying whether I would crash. The first part went quite better because it was more or less uphill and being lighter gives you a slim advantage, maybe a couple of percentage points. However, the heavier riders were able to gain time in the second part, slightly downhill and at a faster pace. That’s where they gained time on me. The sensations I had from today weren’t bad but, obviously, they weren’t excellent either. I recovered well from yesterday and I reckon I will ride quite better in the final stage than yesterday. Sunday’s stage is straightforward, it will be quite explosive and we have see how we perform tomorrow and the form we have on Sunday. We don’t have any chances at the GC, so we’ll see whether we can aim at a stage win.”

Volta ao Algarve Stage 3 Result:
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo in 20:57
2. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:05
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:28
4. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:37
5. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar
6. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Movistar
7. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:40
8. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:51
9. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo
10. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale at 0:55.

Volta ao Algarve Overall After Stage 3:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 9:22:17
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:03
3. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:46
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:47
6. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:52
7. Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha at 0:59
8. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 1:04
9. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling at 1:05
10. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 1:07.

Luis Leon Sanchez crashes out of Stage 3:

Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step) was the fastest on Stage 4 of the Volta ao Algarve, 187.3 kilometers from Sao Bras de Alportel and Tavira, His teammate Tony Martin remained the leader.

Kittel has reaffirmed his extraordinary start to the season with his second stage victory in Algarve, to add to the three, two stages and the general, in the Dubai Tour. This time, he beat Wippert (Cannondale) and Debusschere (Lotto Soudal), Greipel was held up by a fall.

Stachowiak (Verva), Savitskii (Gazprom-RusVelo), Planet (Novo Nordisk) and Almeida (Boavista) were the four members of the break of the day, being caught just five kilometers out.

Tour of Algarve stage - 4

Stage winner Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I can’t find the words to express my happiness. We did a great race today and we showed again a fantastic team spirit. We can all be very proud of what we achieved. It was a pretty fast and chaotic finale. Fabio Sabatini risked a lot to bring me into a good position, and I can’t thank him enough for his effort. He took me to the front with one kilometer to go and did an incredible lead-out, leaving me to open my sprint in the final 200 meters and finish off the job. Today’s victory if of the entire team, because the boys looked after me all the time, controlled the race and made sure I’m in a safe position.”

2nd on the stage, “Two steps closer to the first. The team did a really good job. The boys kept me out of the wind the whole day, supported me the whole day and believed in me the whole day. I felt really strong. We had two goals today initially, [André] Cardoso wanted to go into the break to try to get the mountain jersey. He was in the first break but it was chased back by Caja Rural. We just missed out on the second break. Three guys went and that was it. Roads blocked. After that team orders were to work for the bunch sprint. The whole team went to the front, I was well-positioned and out of the wind, so I could save a lot of energy. The last 20 kilometers we had a tailwind, so it was a fast run-in. They left me on the front with one-and-a-half to go, I found Marcel Kittel’s wheel. I had to make up a little bit of a gap, but it was so fast that no one could come around us. Once I closed that little gap, I was in the perfect position. Kittel gave me the perfect lead-out, but he was too strong in the last 200 meters, and I couldn’t come around. So second. There was nothing more possible.”

Overall leader, Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “The stage was more or less relaxed, the riders weren’t nervous and everything was under control until the final 25 kilometers, when things became really hectic and many riders crashed. Even though the last kilometers weren’t easy, we did a perfect job and finished safely, which is equally important. Tomorrow it won’t be easy, but I will give my best and will try to stay with Geraint, although I’m sure attacks will come also from other riders. It’s going to be again a hard day, but I can count on a great team and we’ll see how things go.”

10th overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “The confidence I have in my form is increasing every day and I feel my shape gradually improving. It’s true I’m not very satisfied with my result in the second stage but I have been out of competition for so many months, so it was something that I knew could happen. We have to take each day as it comes and we will see what we can do tomorrow.”

Volta ao Algarve Stage 4 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:46:35
2. Wouter Wippert (Ned) Cannondale
3. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) IAm Cycling
5. José Joaquín Rojas (Spa) Movistar
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Team Roth
7. Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
8. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
9. Samuel Caldeira (Por) W52-Fc Porto-Porto Canal
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo.

Volta ao Algarve Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Etixx – Quick Step in 14:08:57
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 0:03
3. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:41
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:47
6. Primož Roglic (Slo) Lottonl-Jumbo at 0:52
7. Tiago Machado (Por) Katusha at 0:59
8. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 1:04
9. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling at 1:05
10. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 1:07.

Algarve Stage 4:

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) kept his promise and won for the third time on the Alto de Malhao on the Final Stage 5 of the Tour of Algarve. The Spaniard attacked alone to finish ahead of Fabio Aru (Astana) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr).

Geraint Thomas (Sky) finished 5th to take the final overall win, holding off Ion Izagirre (Movistar) by 19 second for the victory. Contador’s ride moved him from 10th to 3rd overall.

stage 5 of the 42nd Tour of Algarve

Stage winner and 3rd overall, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “I knew I was coming to Portugal in good form. I hadn’t raced since a number of months and on the second stage, I probably lacked a bit of energy in the final part, that’s why I lost more time than I would have lost under normal conditions. For that reason, for me, today was an important day. I had the legs and I was feeling I could win. That’s why the squad worked together with Movistar and we clinched the win. I’m very happy with this victory and I’d like to dedicate it to Oleg Tinkov and Tinkoff Bank for their backing and the trust they have shown through their sponsorship during the last four years. It’s, obviously, easier to win when you have that kind of support. We will keep fighting, with our sights always set on the big goal of the year, the Tour de France. I’d also like to thank the whole team for their hard work at the Volta ao Algarve, some days with no payout, but today we topped it off and grabbed the victory. I’m happy I stepped on the podium and as I said, the last time I raced was at the Tour de France last year, so it’s always encouraging to debut with a victory. It boosts your confidence but at the same time we shouldn’t rest on our laurels. We have to stay concentrated and deliver. My next goal is Paris-Nice, a race in which I last competed in 2010. I’ll be back this year and I hope I’ll be able to obtain a good result.”

10th on the stage and 8th overall, Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling): “I managed to build a lot of confidence during this stage race, which was not easy or simple. Above all I have to thank all of my teammates for all of the work that they did for me throughout the week. They always proved to be exemplary teammates.”

Volta ao Algarve Stage 5 Result:
1.Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff in 4:24:47
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:20
3. Thibaut Pino (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Manuel Amaro (Por) LA Aluminios-Antarte at 0:21
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:28
6. Primož Roglic (Slv) LottoNl-Jumbo
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale
8. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:30
9. Julián David Arredondo (Col) Trek-Segafredo
10. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling at 0:31.

Volta ao Algarve Final Overall Result:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 8:34:15
2. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:19
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 0:26
4. Thibaut Pino (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:32
5. Primož Roglic (Slv) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:49
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:50
7. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha at 1:03
8. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling at 1:04
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:25
10. Manuel Amaro (Por) LA Aluminios-Antarte at 1:27.

Algarve Stage 5:

Good-Bye ‘Duffers’
Former Eurosport commentator David Duffield has died, aged 84.

Duffield was a race commentator for Eurosport for many years, and worked in the British cycling trade for Raleigh and Halfords. He was also a champion tricyclist and rode a small wheeled Moulton bike and in 1962 he broke the Cardiff to London speed record; 162 miles in 6 hours 42 minutes on a Moulton.

The news was broken by Eurosport commentator Carlton Kirby on Twitter: “Just heard my dear friend David Duffield has died. He passed away this morning following injuries sustained in a heavy fall. Saddest of news.”

One of his most famous quotes: “It’s curtains for Karpets!


Lotto Soudal: Medical Update
The past few days, Thomas De Gendt (hit by a car in Spain), Gert Dockx (hit by a car in Spain), Jelle Wallays (crash during first stage Volta ao Algarve, he abandoned the race after stage three), André Greipel (crash in the fourth stage of Algarve, he quit the race as well) and Sean De Bie (crash in stage four Volta ao Algarve) were all involved in a crash. A round-up by team doctor Servaas Bingé.

· “Gert Dockx and Thomas De Gendt went to the hospital in Belgium for further examinations after their crash in Spain last Friday. Gert Dockx has a severe bruise on his right leg. The following days will determine if Gert will be able to restart his training and if he’ll be ready for the opening weekend in Belgium”.

· “Thomas De Gendt has a fracture in his ring finger, a minor concussion and several bruises. We have to be careful with the concussion in particular. We evaluate the status day by day, but the symptoms need to be gone completely before he can restart his training. Based on these evaluations we will decide if Thomas can participate in Paris-Nice.”

· “Jelle Wallays crashed during the first stage in Algarve. He could ride on his bike the following days, but by mutual agreement we decided not to start in stage four. Jelle has a little muscle rupture around the hip. He’s in a good shape but he’ll have to rest during the coming days. He will skip the recon of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Wednesday and in the evening we’ll decide if Jelle can participate in this race.”

· “André Greipel crashed rather badly yesterday, he has some serious abrasions on his right side and has a bruised rib on his left. He won’t start in today’s stage as a precaution but he’ll do some kilometers at an easy pace. His further program will probably not be disturbed.”

· “Sean De Bie was involved in the same crash as Greipel, he has some abrasions but will start in the final stage in Algarve.”

· “Marcel Sieberg had to skip the Volta ao Algarve and he won’t start in the opening weekend in Belgium. He had a chronic respiratory infection and couldn’t train for a whole week. He will increase his training step by step, just to make sure that his spring and the rest of his season isn’t in danger.”

Thomas De Gendt:
Santos Tour Down-Under  2015  stage - 2

Orica-GreenEDGE goes to South Africa
A behind the scenes video of the Orica-GreenEDGE training camp with a trip to Kruger National Park, and an old fashioned handicap race.

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