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EUROTRASH Olympic Monday!

The Olympic road races at the weekend were a resounding success, we have all the results and reports and we look at why they were so good. We also round-up the Tour of Utah and the Vuelta a Burgos, plus the Dwars Door Het Hageland with results, quotes and video. Other cycling news: Frank Schleck retires, new rider contracts, race news from the Vuelta a España, Abu Dhabi and Strade Bianche. A very full EuroTrash Monday.

TOP STORY: The Olympic Road Race
The Olympic men’s road race was one of the best races of the season, six hours and apart from the occasional natural break and more food and drink (not for the riders, the TV viewers) it was all go and the final two hours had you on the edge of your seat.

Why was it so good?

Could it have been the course: The course did have everything, although if you look at the injuries you could say it was dangerous.

Maybe it was the size of the teams: With a maximum of five rider teams no one country could dominate, although the Italians had a good try.

It could just have been the lack of race radios: The Olympic road race does not have race radios, the team cars could not tell the riders to attack/hold back/chase. The race had more of a natural feel, the riders had to talk to each other and make decisions for themselves. It probably didn’t affect the winner, Greg Van Avermaet, as he is the sort of rider who riders on feelings. You could say Peter Sagan is also that kind of rider… I wonder how he would have performed in the road race?

Rio de Janeiro - Brasil - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Greg van Avermaet (Belgium)   pictured during men’s roadrace - Olympic Games 2016 in Rio - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

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Olympic Men’s Road Race 2016
The 2016 Olympic Road Race was won by Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet in an exciting finalé in Rio. At the finish line Van Avermaet got the better of Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) after the pair caught Rafal Majka (Poland) in the last kilometer.

The first break included: Simon Geschke (Germany), Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland), Svan Erik Bystrom (Norway), Michael Albasini (Switzerland), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) and Pavel Kochetkov (Russia). The six riders had a maximum of 7 minutes, but were held to 5 minutes for most of the early laps. Zdenek Stybar and his Czech team split the field on the cobbled section and then Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas kept the speed high and the lead dropped to 3 minutes.

GB, Spain and Italy all put men on the front to pull the break back. Before it was caught, the escape split with Geschke, Kwiatkowski, Pantano, and Kochetkov out front. Kwiatkowski was the strongest and dropped Pantano and Geschke, but Kochetkov held on, but as they started the climb the pair only had 30 seconds and eventually they were caught.

With 60 kilometers to go the race split into different groups and with Spain missing the breaks, they were controlling what was left of the peloton. Damiano Caruso (Italy) attacked, Van Avermaet went with him and they were joined by Geraint Thomas (GB), Rein Taaramae (Estonia), Sergio Henao (Colombia) and Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan). With 50K to go the front group had 40 seconds.

Richie Porte (Australia) and Nelson Oliveria (Colombia) crashed.

Fabio Aru and Vincenzo Nibali (Italy) went clear to be joined by Rafal Majka, Adam Yates (GB) and Jakob Fuglsang and Kwiatkowski again. Spain again missed the move and so Valverde and Rodriguez jumped after them with Daryl Impey South Africa) and Rui Costa (Portugal), but Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) pulled them back and with 30 kilometers to go the leaders had 50 seconds.

Caruso and Aru rode hard in the break for Nibali, but Cancellara had pulled them back to 30 seconds when they hit the final climb. On the climb Nibali was keen to split the group and made three attacks before the summit. In the end he had Henao and Majka for company, but on the descent the Italian and Colombian hit the road and it was obvious neither of them would be continuing.

Majka saw his chance of victory and he put his head down. Behind the chase group was not working well, Rodriguez was trying to get a chase organized, but Van Avermaet and then Fuglsang jumped away and hunted down Majka. The Polish rider tried his best but the duo of Van Avermaet and Fuglsang had him in their sights with under 2 kilometers to ride.

Majka knew he could only take the bronze medal and sat up leaving Van Avermaet to make a powerful lunge for the line. Fuglsang had no answer to the Belgian. Julian Alaphilippe (France) took the sprint for 4th just ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez riding his last race.

Full Olympic Road Race Report HERE:

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Olympic Champion, Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium): “It was a pretty crazy race, a hard one; and the descent was pretty technical, all the guys took risks. I was in good position and never really went over my limit. On the descent I saw a lot of guys lying on the ground. I was counting them. I was a little confused how many were left on the front. Me and Fulsang went for it and tried to catch him. For me the last five to six kilometers everything went perfect. I just went early to anticipate the others and felt really strong. I knew I just had to hang on and hope for a sprint, and that’s how it went. We were three so everyone has a medal, but for me I was the fastest guy. It’s still a little bit stressful because you have to still finish it off but I was pretty sure I could make it good in a sprint. For me, winning an Olympic title is something really big! I never expected this.”

Silver Medal, Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark): “It was great and something I will always remember. It was a great experience. The medal is heavy. It is a serious medal. It is the largest I’ve ever received. Not only when you look at the size, but of course also when you look at the result. I built the form especially for this day, and as expected I had good legs. It was a very tough race. It’s a fantastic feeling but I need more time to fully realize the importance of this achievement. But now I know for sure that I will not feel defeated. I did not lose the fight for the gold medal, but I won silver. In the end I was on the wheel of Zeits. Then I looked back and saw Van Avermaet. I thought, ’Fuck it. To have any chance of success, I have to bring him along.’ So we went, and in the very end we managed to catch Majka. A bike race is not always predictable. A lot can happen and with a little luck and the good legs which I had, a lot can work out. As long as you believe in it and continue to fight for it, it will pay off. Sometimes it pays not to take risks. After the first climb I saw there was a bump on the road on the corner so I took it a little easier. I knew the medals were in play, and I looked back and no one was working so I attacked. I’m very happy to take a medal at these Olympics. It’s definitely a team effort. Christopher [Juul] and Chris [Sørensen] took care of me until we hit the climbs, and Christopher was also in the front for a long time after we had hit the tough climbs and he could bring me water. I pretty much just had to say what I wanted, and then they made sure that I got it. There was a clear division of roles, so there was no doubt about anything. The plan worked out. I certainly have to watch this race again – and maybe not only once.”

Bronze Medal, Rafal Majka (Poland): “I don’t know how I did not crash but somehow I made it through. In the end I had such hard cramps in my legs I could barely pedal. When the others caught me I knew that it was impossible to win. To come here to win bronze makes me so happy. I cannot believe it. When the rivals crashed, I had one thought: I’m going for gold. But those who were at the back turned out to be stronger in the end, because they hadn’t been offensive. It was a really tough race, but before the start I believed that the legs were good and I gave it everything on the climbs. I think it was evident that I kept pace with the best, like Vincenzo Nibali. The descent was so fast that I don’t know how I avoided them when Nibali and Henao went down. We went at 80km/h and suddenly they were on the ground. Miraculously I slowed down and avoided them.I looked around and I was alone. Well, I had to go. It was very difficult, but with Michael [Kwiatkowski], I followed Nibali and Fabio Aru on the descent, and Michal worked nicely. We are a real team. I helped Michal at the world championships, he rewarded me at the Olympics. Thanks to the guys for what they did in this race, it’s really something big. I wanted to just finish it off. I tried to solo for gold, although it was clear that I did not have the strength because I had so bad cramps. You had to take a chance. I rode away with Nibali and Henao on the climb. I could see that I deserve a medal, because all the best in the world were here with the exception of Contador and Quintana. This is cycling: you can have a puncture five kilometers from the finish or lose the title of Olympic champion 500 meters before the finish line. There is no need to lament that someone crashed, we should be happy with a medal. I gave it everything. I do not remember when we last won a medal on the road. In 1988? Well, I was not even born. I am happy. It’s my first Olympics and I have a bronze medal. Some say Majka does not win the grand tours but my career is great. Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and now the Olympics. I think I can finish the season.”

4th, Julian Alaphilippe (France): “I don’t have any regrets, because I did everything I could and spent every ounce of energy in this tough race. It was hectic and brutal, but overall I can say I’ve lived a great experience. I felt really good today and am content with my ride and the result I got. It’s not the biggest disappointment of my career, but inevitably it leaves regrets. We did a great race. The group worked well together, everyone did his job, what was expected of him. I was right behind when Van Avermaet attacked because I had just made an effort, which is why I could not go with them and then I fell on the descent. I was good, I did not take too many risks but I did not remember that one of the last corners was so narrow. I had lesions on the thigh and elbow, but even if my bike was damaged, I could continue. I did not feel too much pain, and I could even get back to the group in the flat section leading to the finish. I was happy, I was doing a good race until this crash because I really had very good legs. I was able to attack in the final part of the last climb of China Vista. I did a big effort to get to the front group. And I was not sure who was where, how the race was because we did not have information as there was no radio. I even asked the staff of Team France what place I had got. I knew I was among the 10 best in the race but Vincent Jacquet and national coach Bernard Bourreau told me that I was fourth. When I joined the group in fact, only Majka was in front.”

5th, Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain): “I have always said that I would like to retire here, not for the reward but for the whole Olympic experience. We knew that it would be difficult but not such a complicated one, with climbs, descents, pave, heat, humidity. It was a shame because I had the legs for a medal, but when you give the maximum you don’t know if you can ask for more. I think that it wasn’t only me, but the whole team. Alejandro told me on the penultimate lap that he wasn’t going (well), and he gave me a helping hand.”

Olympic Men’s Road Race Result:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium) in 6:10:05
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark)
3. Rafal Majka (Poland) at 0:05
4. Julian Alaphilippe (France) at 0:22
5. Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spain)
6. Fabio Aru (Italy)
7. Louis Meintjes (South Africa)
8. Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan) at 0:25
9. Tanel Kangert (Estonia) at 1:47
10. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Portugal) at 2:29.

Due to the IOC not allowing video, here are some photos:

Olympic Women’s Road Race 2016
Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands) won the women’s Olympic road race on Sunday by out-sprinting Emma Johansson (Sweden) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy) after chasing down Mara Abbott (United States) who had been left to solo to the finish due to Annamiek van Vleuten (Netherlands) crashing on the last descent. Much like Rafa Majka in the men’s race, Abbott was caught on the run-in, unlike Majka, Abbott was caught by three riders and so was out of the medals.

The first break came from Lotte Kopecky (Belgium). She was chased by Romy Kasper (Germany), but Kasper could only get to within 1 minute of the Belgian, who only got a maximum lead of 2 minutes. After 43 kilometers Kasper was caught. Ellen van Dijk (Netherlands), Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Trixi Worrack (Germany) and Anna Plichta (Poland) escaped and were joined by Kristin Armstrong (USA).

Emma Pooley (Great Britain) and Gracie Elvin (Australia) with Marianne Vos (Netherlands) tried to cross the minute and a half to Kopecky, but on the Grumari climb the race was all back together with 65 kilometers remaining. Audrey Cordon (France) was next to give it a go as the race hit the Grumari circuit and the final 50 kilometers. The race came back together before the final climb.

Trixi Worrack dragged clear a group of Vos, Ferrand Prevot, Cecchini, Anisha Vekemans, Malgorzta Jasinska and Gracie Elvin, they had 1:15 as they started the final climb. A strong effort from Evelyn Stevens (USA), brought the lead to bellow 1 minute, but the peloton was in pieces. With a lot of work from Abbott, Moolman-Pasio the break was pulled back, Elisa Longo Borghini and Anna van der Breggen were also at the front and eventually there was only Abbott, Van der Breggen, Van Vleuten and Longo Borghini at the front of the race, Emma Johansson managed to join them.

Van Vleuten attacked and Abbott was the only rider who could follow the move, the other three were chasing at 20 seconds. Van Vleuten rode away on the descent and had around 30 seconds on Abbott and looked to have the Gold Medal when she crashed and looked to be in a bad way. At the bottom of the climb Abbott had a lead of nearly 40 seconds, but like Rafal Majka it wasn’t enough to hold the others off and she was caught in sight of the finish line to watch Van Der Breggen take the Gold Medal ahead of Johansson and Longo Borghini.

Rio de Janeiro - Brasil - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Anna van der Breggenpictured during women’s roadrace - Olympic Games 2016 in Rio - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2016

Olympic Gold Medal winner, Anna Van Der Breggen (Netherlands): “When we saw Annemiek lying there, it scared me a lot,It took a while, but then you have to race. I saw the 150m to go sign, and I thought, ‘this is all very unreal’. It’s incredible, really.”

4th, Mara Abbott (USA): “I didn’t believe it. I saw the 300m to go sign, and I thought ‘holy shit, I can actually win this’. Then I looked under my shoulder and they were right there, and they passed me. There was a split second when I thought it and then… It feels awful, but at the same time you were supported by a team that worked so hard and did so well to give you a chance to win. In some ways I’m so disappointed to have not been able to give something back, but in other ways I’m one of the luckiest people in the world to have those people behind me.”

Olympic Women’s Road Race Result:
1. Anna Van Der Breggen (Netherlands) in 3:51:27
2. Emma Johansson (Sweden)
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)
4. Mara Abbott (United States Of America) at 0:04
5. Elizabeth Armitstead (Great Britain) at 0:20
6. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Poland)
7. Flavia Oliveira (Brazil)
8. Jolanda Neff (Switzerland)
9. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) at 1:14
10. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (South Africa).

Photo montage of the women’s race:

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Tour of Utah 2016
Travis McCabe (Holowesko-Citadel) won the bunch sprint at the end of Stage 4 of the Tour of Utah in Kearns beating Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo) and Sebastian Haedo (Team Jamis). Lachlan Morton was perfectly protected by his Jelly Belly-Maxxis team and finished safely in the bunch to keep his overall lead by 7 seconds from Adrien Costa (Axeon Hagens Berman) and 9 from Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac).

Stage 4 had a strange 154.5 kilometer course with two and a half laps of a dual carageway between Lehi and Kearns before three 6.4 kilometer laps of Kearns to finish. It was alos the flattest stage of the race.

After 20 kilometers Matthew Busche (UnitedHealthcare), Eddie Dunbar (Axeon Hagens Berman), Nicolae Tanovitchii (Lupus Racing), Hayden McCormick (One Pro Cycling), Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Luis Amaran (Team Jamis), Joe Lewis (Holowesko-Citadel) and Danny Pate (Rally Cycling) escaped and had a lead of 3 minutes after 50 kilometers of racing. The Jelly Belly team were in charge until the sprinters teams started a serious chase which cut the lead to 1:20 with 50K’s to go. With 30 kilometers still to race, the break had split with Busche, Dunbar, McCormick and Pate out-front with just 40 seconds.

The Silber team also started to ride on the front for their stage winner, Kristofer Dahl, the four out front were caught at the start of the finishing circuits with just under 20 kilometers to the finish.

Chad Beyer (Lupus Racing) and Elsie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) attacked, but Beyer couldn’t hold on and Gesbert was on his own with two laps to go. He was joined by Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel), Janez Brajkovic (UnitedHealthcare), Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo), Damiano Cunego (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Ulises Castillo (Jelly Belly-Maxxis), Pierrick Naud (Rally Cycling) and Bayer.

They were soon caught and apart from a solo effort from Tanner Putt (UnitedHealthcare), a sprint finish was guaranteed. Trek-Segafredo tried to lead-out Keil Reijnen, but McCabe jumped with around 200 meters to go and was too fast for Reijnen and Haedo had left it too late.

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Stage winner,Travis McCabe (Holowesko-Citadel): “We just waited patiently. It was a pretty hectic finish coming into the final at 70-kilometers an hour, and it was a pretty choppy wind. It was pretty much a patience game. I stayed in good position, but not too (far) forward. This past week has been great for us. The Stage 2 third place was a validation that I had the legs. I was pretty confident coming into the last 500 meters. I think the stage 2 third place was kind of validation that I have the legs and the speed right now that I can jump and hold it,” McCabe said. “I was pretty confident coming into the last 500 meters. There are a lot of strong sprinters here and we weren’t sure how it was going to play out. You’ve got Sebastian Haedo and Kiel. Eric Young is always just a huge threat. So to win like this is the biggest one so far.”

2nd, Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo): “If you saw the sprint we did in Torrey, Travis was quicker than I was, so I think to beat him today I had to come from behind. I tried to play that card and he didn’t take the bait, so definitely a deserved win.”

6th, Colin Joyce (Axeon Hagens Berman): “I was originally trying to be in good position, then wait as long as possible to start sprinting all out,” he said. “Unfortunately, I found myself first wheel with 500 meters to go and I wasn’t attentive enough to jump back in the group. I lost too many places there.”

Matthew Busche (UnitedHealthcare): “The field wasn’t going to give us much leash to go anywhere, I think the sprinters wanted their day today. But we saw on stage 2 that even two guys could stay away, so it was kind of a potentially a fruitless venture, but you don’t know if you don’t try.”

Tour of Utah Stage 4 Result:
1. Travis McCabe (USA) Holowesko-Citadel in 3:23:47
2. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo
3. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Team Jamis
4. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
5. Eric Young (USA) Rally Cycling
6. Colin Joyce (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman
7. Daniel Jaramillo (Col) UnitedHealthcare
8. Jacob Rathe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
9. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
10. Jonathan Dibben (GB) Cannondale-Drapac.

Tour of Utah Overall After Stage 4:
1. Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis in 14:54:40
2. Adrien Costa (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman at 0:07
3. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:09
4. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC at 1:32
5. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC
6. Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling
7. Taylor Eisenhart (USA) BMC at 1:34
8. Robin Carpenter (USA) Holowesko-Citadel at 1:44
9. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 4:01
10. Neilson Powless (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman at 4:07.

Utah Stage 4:

If Thursday’s race wasn’t earmarked by Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo), Friday’s 186-kilometer Stage 5, he circled in bright yellow. When Reijnen crested the second ascent of the brutal Bountiful Bench climb with a small select group, surrounded by two teammates, he made good on his goal for the Tour of Utah and sprinted to the win by over a bike length from Tao Geogheagn Hart (Axeon Hagens Berman) and Ales Howes (USA) Cannondale-Drapac).

Once again it was a unified and spirited Trek-Segafredo team, but today all the hard effort was rewarded. Julien Bernard joined an early 11-man escape and made a solo move until he was caught on the final climb, while Didier and Stetina pulled Reijnen over the Bountiful Bench, closed the gap to late attacks, and led him to the line. Lachaln Morton (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) held the overall lead, but Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac) jumped over Adrien Costa (Axeon Hagens Berman) for second place. Morton now only has 9 seconds over Talansky and 34 over Costa.

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Stage winner and 9th overall, Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo): “Today was an emotional win for me because I did not really believe in myself for the first 150 kilometers, but the team did. I felt after the first time up the hard climb that I had the legs for the win, but I wanted to stay calm because we knew there would be attacks. Laurent (Didier) and Peter (Stetina) were there to help close everything together, and of course, Julien (Bernard) was up the road, so we did not need to do any pulling. I knew if we kept everything together to the line that I could win the sprint, so I just waited. In the sprint, BMC made a big push and came on the inside of the turn. I was nervous because of the crosswind and I couldn’t get into the sprint line. In the end, I just decided to start sprinting, and it was thankfully the right decision. Today was a really big team effort, every guy played his role and helped out. This victory for me is for the team, for the guys, and they had deserved it already this week. It took us a little while to get it, but we stood on the top step of the podium today and it was really nice. I have to give a big thanks to the team for believing in me.”

2nd on the stage and 10th overall, Tao Geogheagn Hart (Axeon Hagens Berman): “Personally, I can’t say I always understand the tactics. They have another two big days to ride and they have a rider who can win this race (Morton) and they are chasing down breakaways as if they are going to go and try to win the sprint. I was a little bit frustrated today because we had someone up there and they didn’t need to keep it as close as they did. If it was our team (in the lead), we would have had some other teams contribute more. The closest guy in the breakaway was Logan and Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo), who were both at six minutes.”

Tour of Utah Stage 5 Result:
1. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 4:22:38
2. Tao Geogheagn Hart (GB) Axeon Hagens Berman
3. Ales Howes (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
5. Daniel Jaramillo (Col) UnitedHealthcare
6. Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC
7. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
8. Javier Megias (Spa) Novo Nordisk
9. Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling
10. Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini.

Tour of Utah Overall After Stage 5:
1. Lachaln Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis in 19:17:18
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:09
3. Adrien Costa (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman at 0:34
4. Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC at 1:32
5. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC
6. Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling
7. TJ Eisenhart (USA) BMC at 1:34
8. Robin Carpenter (USA) Holowesko-Citadel at 2:11
9. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 3:51
10. Tao Geogheagn Hart (GB) Axeon Hagens Berman at 4:01.

Utah Stage 5:

Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac) climbed to victory on the Queen Stage 6 of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Saturday and moved into the leader’s jersey at the same time. Talansky will take the start line in Park City for the final stage of the 11th edition of the seven-day tour looking to defend yellow on what promises to be a difficult day. Cannondale-Drapac backed Talansky on the hilly 183-kilometer stage between Snowbasin and Snowbird. The 27-year-old started the day in third overall, nine seconds down on Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis).

Twenty kilometers into the stage, American Ben King, the Tour of Utah stage one fan favorite, forced clear of the bunch as part of the early breakaway. They were: Ben King (Cannondale-Drapac), Rick Zabel (BMC), Jonathan Fumeaux (IAM Cycling), Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo), Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare), Nielson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman), Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel), Luis Amaran & Stephen Bassett (Team Jamis), Emerson Oronte (Rally Cycling), Kris Dahl (Silber), Chad Beyer (Lupus Racing) and Dion Smith (One Pro Cycling). The 13-rider move pocketed a five-minute advantage before Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis lifted the pace.

The escape hit the base of the category one Guardsman Pass three minutes ahead of the bunch. The steep slopes of Guardsman Pass did damage. Over the top of the climb, only four riders from the early breakaway remained out front, including King. Back in the bunch, Morton was isolated.

Heavy rain fell on the peloton as they powered toward the finishing climb to Snowbird. The bunch had expected a tailwind up the final climb. Instead, they contended with a headwind, making attacks more difficult.

With his acceleration, Darwin Atapuma (BMC) immediately opened a gap on an elite selection of riders harboring general classification ambitions. Talansky was the first to respond and the only rider able to make it across to the lone leader. In Talansky’s wake, Morton and Adrian Costa (Axeon Hagens Berman) gave chase. The duo was able to limit damages but lacked the legs required to reach the leaders. Talansky led out the short downhill sprint to the line, holding off Atapuma to take the win.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac): “I came here to put the final topping on the prep for the Vuelta, I didn’t know exactly what result that would yield. Obviously so far, so good. It’s a great feeling to win again. To win the stage was really special. To be sitting here in yellow is great. The wind shifted when the storm blew in, a tailwind favors attacking. When the wind changed, that changed the way the race would play out. Four kilometers from the finish, I knew we were running out of road, I had just decided to attack when Atapuma went. I knew that was my chance. He was really strong when he jumped, when I fought my way across, I asked him to pull through, to work with me, and he said he was at his limit. I told him I was willing to give him the stage win if he pulled, but he insisted he was at his limit, and I believed him. I’m really happy to pay off the hard work of my teammates. The faith my team has put in me despite my difficult spring is humbling. We’ve shown all week that we have a really strong team here in Utah. I have no doubt that we have the team to keep the jersey.”

2nd on the stage and 4th overall, Darwin Atapuma (BMC): “Today was a tough stage and I’m grateful for all of the work that the team did. I previewed this climb before the race with TJ and gave it a go at tempo so we knew what was coming up. I have been climbing really well this season, especially at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de Suisse, so I came in to this race confident in my abilities. The team did a great job all day to put me in a position where I could attack and get in a good position to go for a podium result. It’s just a shame I couldn’t get the win. It was definitely not an easy stage especially with the headwind but in the end I was happy with the form I showed and we are still really motivated and focused for tomorrow’s final stage.”

Sprint Competition Leader, Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo): “Now for sure we keep the white jersey for the stage race, I am really happy; it’s nice to be on the podium for the last two days. It was not so easy to keep it today, but when I saw Robin (Carpenter) go for the break, I was on his wheel, so I just followed. In the end, it was a good strong break, but the field did not give us a lot of time. I just keep rotating until the second sprint and then took it easier until the finish.”

Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters said: “The Pitbull earned his name today. That was a dominating performance by him and a strong performance by all the boys. It’s a good sign going into the Vuelta.”

Tour of Utah Stage 6 Result:
1. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac in 4:47:03
2. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC
3. Adrien Costa (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman at 0:31
4. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
5. Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling at 0:46
6. Rob Squire (USA) Holowesko-Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportswear at 1:01
7. Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC at 1:12
8. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo at 1:22
9. Laurent Dider (Lux) Trek-Sagfredo at 1:37
10. TJ Eisenhart (USA) BMC.

Tour of Utah Overall After Stage 6:
1. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac in 24:04:30
2. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 0:22
3. Adrien Costa (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman at 0:56
4. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC at 1:23
5. Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling at 2:09
6. Joey Rosskopf (USA) BMC at 2:35
7. TJ Eisenhart (USA) BMC at 3:02
8. Rob Squire (USA) Holowesko-Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportswear at 4:59
9. Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 5:35
10. Laurent Dider (Lux) Trek-Sagfredo.

Stage 6:

Australian Lachlan Morton of Jelly Belly Cycling Team attacked on the Hors Categorie climb of Empire Pass to win the Final Stage 7 and clinch the overall general classification victory at the seven-day 2016 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

An inspired Morton, who lost the yellow Larry H. Miller Group Race Leader jersey on Stage 6, accelerated away from G.C. leader Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac) for the win in Historic Park City. Adrien Costa (Axeon Hagens Berman) crossed the finish line 31 seconds behind Morton and moved from third to second overall on G.C., one minute and nine seconds back. Talansky, who was paced on the final climb by his teammate Joe Dombrowski, dropped to third overall in the G.C. Darwin Atapuma (BMC) finished third on the stage, 50 seconds back, and was fourth on G.C. Dombrowski, the defending Tour of Utah champion, finished eighth overall.

Morton entered the final day of the seven-day UCI 2.HC stage race with a 22-second deficit behind Talansky for the race lead. He captured the leader’s jersey on Stage 3, a stage he also won in 2013 with a climb over Mount Nebo. He lost the G.C. lead two days later on the “Queen Stage.”

The 104-rider peloton was still together for the first of two Utah Sports Commission Sprint lines in Kamas. A break of 10 riders, who escaped after 25 miles of non-stop attacking, had a lead of three minutes at the bottom of Wolf Creek Ranch, one of two Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climbs. Dramatic attacks from BMC shattered the peloton on the climb, which led to the thrilling showdown on the Hors Category (HC) climb of Empire Pass.

Sixth on the stage and fifth on G.C. was Canadian Rob Britton of Rally Cycling. He was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey. The BMC Racing Team had four riders finish 11th or better on G.C. and was recognized as the best team after the seven days of racing. One of those riders was Taylor “T.J.” Eisenhart, who was voted the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite in the Overall Fan Favorite category. American Kiel Reijnen of Trek-Segafredo kept the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey. Costa not only retained the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain jersey after Stage 7, but was also the Subaru Best Young Rider for the week.

utah16st7dp-morton-win-920

Stage 7 and overall winner, Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis): “We had one card to play today, and that was to go all in on the last climb. So BMC kind of turned the race on its head in the middle there. And credit to them, they blew it apart on the middle climb. I saw Andrew pull out and then Adrien went across. That was the moment of making a decision, and sometimes you just have to stick to your guns. I knew if I went with those guys there’s no chance I’d have any teammates, so I just stuck with the group. I knew there were 10 or 15 fast kilometers before the climb, so the chances of us coming back were pretty high. For sure there was some concern but to win any race you have to be willing to lose it first. So we just stuck to our guns and rode our race and let them ride theirs. I’ve never really gone that deep before — I thought I was actually going to die there for a second. I had my eyes closed for an extended period of time [on Empire Pass].”

2nd on the stage and overall, Adrien Costa (Axeon Hagens Berman): “Going into the race, I had not idea how I was going to fare, I had no expectations for myself because I had a nice long break, with three weeks of barely riding at home, which I guess worked wonders. Taking into account the team we had for this race, I had no doubt that one of us would be able to accomplish something spectacular. I think this week showed our level. We were in the breakaway every day and the guys rode incredibly to keep me in position, get me bottles and to keep me out of the wind. So it was truly a team effort.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Darwin Atapuma (BMC): “I was feeling really confident going into today’s stage and was wanting to attack earlier and earlier but I knew that the team was riding well and that they could help put me in a position to go for a podium finish on the stage. They were doing a great job supporting me and they have believed in me all week which I am grateful for. I have been climbing really well but I just wasn’t the strongest at this race today. A second and third place finish is obviously positive but to just miss out on the podium in the General Classification is a shame. As a team we have given it everything this week and we can be proud about that.”

4th on the stage and 3rd overall, Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac): “Having the defending champion of this race to work for me was pretty special. The way Joe (Dombrowski) was riding, he could have easily ridden up to Lachlan. He could have had a chance for a stage win. He sacrificed all of that to stay with me, to help stay on the podium. The climbs in this race (Tour of Utah), the caliber of the field, the altitude, everything, it really lived up to its reputation. It was a tough week.”

Larry Warbasse (IAM Cycling): “I came to this race with the intention of finding a place in the general classification. But after the third stage, it became clear that that would not be possible for me. So I wanted to make up for that disappointment by going away in a break. I took advantage of this last day to have some fun at the front of the race.”

Tour of Utah Stage 7 Result:
1. Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis in 3:08:07
2. Adrien Costa (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman at 0:31
3. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC at 0:50
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:51
5. Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:53
6. Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling at 2:03
7. Manuel Senni (Ita) BMC at 2:35
8. Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo at 3:15
9. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC at 3:36
10. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac at 3:49.

Tour of Utah Final Overall Result:
1. Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis in 27:12:49
2. Adrien Costa (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman at 1:09
3. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:39
4. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC at 1:57
5. Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling at 4:00
6. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC at 5:59
7. Taylor Eisenhart (USA) BMC at 6:52
8. Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 7:16
9. Robbie Squire (USA) Holowesko-Citadel at 8:38
10. Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo.

Final Stage 7:

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Vuelta a Burgos 2016
Danny van Poppel (Sky) won Stage 3 in Villarcayo in a bunch sprint ahead of Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) and Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step) in 3rd. His second stage victory was hard fought for on a tough course which included the Cat 3 climb of the Retuerta 20K out.

On the Retuerta there was a flurry of action from Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) before the summit, but they were caught before the finish and the result came down to the sprint.

Astana’s Dimitriy Gruzdev held the overall lead on the same time as teammate Michele Scarponi with Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step) in 3rd at 0:03

Villarcayo - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Danny Van Poppel (Netherlands / Team Sky) - Drucker Jean-Pierre (Luxemburg / BMC Racing Team) - Meersman Gianni (Belgium / Team Etixx - Quick Step)pictured during Vuelta a Burgos 2016  stage 3 from  Valle de Sedano to Villarcayo - photo Louis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner, Danny van Poppel (Sky): “I’m really happy. I didn’t expect to win today because it was a pretty hard final. I suffered a lot, especially on the last climb and I was one of the last guys at the back. The team did a great job. They helped me and waited for me, then when we got back to the front they pulled full gas to take back a strong break. The lead-out was perfect! Cycling is a really hard sport. I know I’m not bad on the uphills, but it’s always difficult in Spain to ride uphill. I’m really happy to take another victory and I really want to thank the team. They did a great job! Tomorrow is possible again for a sprint, but first we enjoy this victory! I’m one of the fastest riders in the peloton but you never know what will happen in a sprint. I thought it would be easier, but it was really hard. Several teammates came down to help me and the team worked well to get to the front again.”

2nd, Jempy Drucker (BMC): “The final climb was pretty hard so I had to get over that but I managed to which was good. Then the guys did a really good job to keep me in front in the last 10km. I was in Daniel Oss’ wheel and I got a little bit boxed in with 800 meters to go so I had to brake and I lost his wheel. So then I had to make an effort already before the final turn to put me back into Van Poppel’s wheel. In the final corner his wheel slipped a bit which made me hesitate a bit and he directly had 10 meters and I couldn’t close it anymore. But it all went pretty well and I think the strongest won. We will see what tomorrow is going to bring.”

5th, Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data): “We tried to make the selection on the climb and in the final it was a much smaller group at the line. The team worked well but the result from me was not that great. I had a few problems in that last corner and I lost a few meters on the front guys which you don’t get back.”

9th, Zico Waeytens (Giant-Alpecin): “It was a really hard finale today and I was motivated to survive the last climb and to contest the sprint for the victory. The guys kept me in a good position before and during the climb. I did make it over the final climb with the front group and I still had Chad [Haga] with me to prepare for the sprint. He did a great job to bring me to the front towards the last km, but I didn’t have the legs anymore to accelerate. Now, I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “I was very well positioned when a rider in front of me attacked. I decided to follow although I wasn’t sure why they attacked. I didn’t expect them to come so fast from behind. I saw Gianluca [Brambilla] pass me, so I wanted to collaborate with them to go together but there was no collaboration. There was a lot of people behind, so it was complicated. My legs feel good although I could have made a bit more difference. Today was a day of tough work, 200km and I’m satisfied. The first and last climbs were very fast and I feel in very good shape. It was a good day overall for my preparation towards the Vuelta.”

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 3 Result:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Sky in 4:35:47
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
4. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimenson Data
6. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
8. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-BikeExchange
9. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Giant-Alpecin
10. Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Vuelta a Burgos Overall After Stage 3:
1. Dimitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana in 8:21:01
2. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
3. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana
4. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:03
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
6. David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar
9. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
10. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step.

Burgos Stage 3:

Nathan Haas (Dimension Data) won the cobbled uphill sprint at the end of Stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos in Lerma beating Jempy Drucker (BMC) and Patrick Bevin (Cannondale-Drapac). Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step) finished 6th in the same time as Haas and took the overall lead from Dmitriy Gruzdev (Astana), but the Etixx man is on the same time as the three Astana riders; Gruzdev, Dario Cataldo and Michele Scarponi.

The break of the day included: Luis Más Bonet (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Amets Txurruca (Orica-BikeExchange), Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Marino Kobayashi (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Oranje Peloton). Más and Van Rensburg dropped the others with 30 kilometers to go, it was all over with less than 10 kilometers to race. Katusha tried to split the race, but the peloton came back together for the charge up the cobbled climb to the finish line.

Lerma - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Nathan Haas (Australia / Team Dimension Data) pictured during Vuelta a Burgos 2016  stage 4 from  Aranda to Lerma - photo Louis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner, Nathan Haas (Dimension Data): “Vuelta a Burgos has been a fantastic opportunity for us, the group that is going to the Vuelta a España, to come together and really create a good energy. I’ve always been a firm believer that teamwork makes wins happen, it doesn’t happen purely because someone is good or strong. It happens because the whole team is together and doing exactly what they need to. The last 3 days we have had some absolutely fantastic moments and we’ve also had some misfortune, which is probably why hadn’t had a victory yet this week. Today the team committed for me, which is a responsibility I take very seriously. I don’t ask to lead a race unless I think I can win it. So a huge thanks to the guys for believing in me and I think the way we are working here is really exciting coming into the Vuelta a España. I think we will see something pretty exciting in the next month.”

2nd on the stage, Jempy Drucker (BMC): “It was the same like the last days. The guys did again a great job and it’s pretty cool to have their belief and support for me. Again, Daniel Oss did a good lead out and put me into first position for the final section, the final 400 meters. I knew it was a bit long so I started at 80 or 90 percent just to have a little bit of reserve. Nathan Haas flew next to me, he had much more speed so I couldn’t react directly. I hoped that he would maybe crack a bit on the final kick with 100 meters to go, but he just kept going and I couldn’t accelerate anymore. My legs were running empty so it was again second place. There was a little path where you could ride without cobblestones, it’s not the real cobbles like in Belgium. But it was still bumpy and pretty rough roads. I haven’t seen the results yet but there are for sure a few gaps and that also explains how hard the final was.”

5th, Alexey Tsatevich (Katusha): “It was a stage with some difficulties in the final. When we came on the circuit, there was a strong cross wind. We were active and inside the last 10 km we tried to do something – we attacked in the wind and created a group of 20 riders. It was a good try, but around 2 km to go the peloton came back together. The last km was quite hard with a narrow road and uphill sections. Tiago Machado helped Alexey Tsatevich to get a good position and Alexey finished 5th. All the GC guys finished with the same time, so our leaders Machado and Mamykin are still in the mix before tomorrow decisive stage. We will try our best tomorrow. Let’s see what happens,”

6th on the stage and overall leader, Gianni Meersman (Etixx – Quick-Step): “The last 20 kilometers were nervous, as we had echelons and at one point only 25 guys were left at the front. A group bridged across in the last kilometers and it all became hectic, and this made it impossible to hold onto your position. I came sixth and thanks to that gap I took the leader’s jersey at the end of the day. This makes up a little bit for the disappointment of not getting a stage win. The last 20 kilometers were very stressful for the wind and even though the team worked well, we lost each other in the last kilometer. I aimed for the win but a poor position after the final turn made it impossible. Tomorrow I will work for Gianluca Brambilla and David de la Cruz.”

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 4 Result:
1. Nathan Haas (Aus) Dimension Data in 3:15:42
2. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
3. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Cannondale-Drapac
4. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Sky
5. Aleksei Tsatevich (Rus) Katusha
6. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Loic Vliegen (Bel) BMC
8. Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 0:03
9. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Giant-Alpecin
10. Karol Domagalski (Pol) ONE Pro Cycling.

Vuelta a Burgos Overall After Stage 4:
1. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 11:36:46
2. Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana
3. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar at 0:03
6. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar
7. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
8. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
9. David De La Cruz (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step.

Burgos Stage 4:

After four hard days of racing, it was all going to come down to the Final Stage 5 of the Vuelta a Burgos. With forty seconds separating the top fifty GC riders, anyone could take the win on the toughest day of the race. Going into the day in 25th spot, Alberto Contador was looking confident and strong on the final ascent of the day, before a late attack earned the Spanish Tinkoff leader second position on the stage, taking the GC win by 1 second.

The race’s final stage – the Queen Stage – saw riders tackle a 163km route with no fewer than seven categorized climbs. The toughest ascents, not to mention some challenging downhills, coming in the final 60km, this was where the real racing would happen – riding a finishing circuit twice – before the mountaintop finish in Lagunas de Neila.

Breaking away early on, a group of six worked to build up an advantage of a little over two minutes early in the day. With the bigger climbs of the day still to come, the peloton was happy to let the group go on up the road. The difficulty of the parcours and the pace of the break eventually splintered the group, leaving only three riders up the road, with the gap between them growing as the race neared its conclusion.

With a little over 30km remaining, the three-man break was maintaining a gap of thirty seconds on the chasers, but this was falling swiftly, and by the 25km point, as the race began to climb the first category Pasil de Rozavientos, the gap was shrinking. The long descent on the back of the climb enabled the break to hold their lead a little longer, increasing the gap to almost a minute with 15km to go, although having caught sight of the escapees, the chasers redoubled their efforts and the gap fell swiftly to forty seconds.

The breakaway riders were unable to maintain their efforts and gradually dropped back to the peloton, where Alberto Contador was to be found keeping safe before the final push on the second ascent of the climb to the finish. With it all back together, it was all going to come down to these final few kilometers, and with a little more than 5km to go, the attacks came. Countering these attacks with confidence and strength in his trademark pedaling style, Alberto showed how his recovery has continued over the five days of the race.

In the final 2km, with one rider up the road, Alberto attacked, taking a companion with him. Coming into the final kilometer of the race, Alberto went again, the Spanish rider showing strength, style and confidence as the finish line approached. Crossing the line in second, it was an anxious wait for the confirmation of the GC race, with it all coming down to Alberto, his breakaway companion and the stage’s winner. The results in, Alberto was confirmed as the race’s winner by one second – an amazing comeback from the injuries he’d sustained at the Tour de France.

Lagunas de Neila - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Ben Hermans (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Alberto Contador Velasco (Spain / Team Tinkoff - Tinkov)  pictured during Vuelta a Burgos 2016  stage 5 from  Caleruega - Lagunas de Neila - photo Louis Angel Gomez/Cor Vos © 2016

2nd on the stage and overall winner, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff): “It was an extremely close race and I knew the last kilometer would be very tough and complicated. I had to approach it in a cold-blooded way. I was very surprised when I saw the BMC rider initiate a very strong attack. Initially, I thought it was Samuel Sanchez but then I realized it wasn’t him. I started calculating his time in the GC. I knew he was at 30 seconds and I was aware the final result would be very close. When I crossed the finish line, I looked back and saw 18 seconds on the board. I realized I must have crossed at 17. I won by a mere second and I’m very satisfied. I wasn’t able to train much before coming here because I had to recover after the Tour. In the first four stages we were able to take it calm and I knew in the final stage we could have options. In the end, we did it, and I’m very happy. It was a victory missing from my palmarès and I was looking forward to it. I also see it as a victory that compensates in a certain way the crash that I suffered here in 2006. When I told my family that I would race here to prepare the Vuelta they didn’t like it. I’d like to thank the spectators and fans from the bottom of my heart. My teammates and myself were greatly surprised by the warm welcome we received here. It was a wonderful feeling. This race was undoubtedly a positive test heading to the Vuelta. With regard to my form, I’m gradually improving. I am still racing with my heart beating fast but this is a sign I am fresh. We now have to fine-tune my preparation before the Vuelta.”

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Ben Hermans (BMC): “I was just waiting until the last 1.5km to go because it was there that the road kicked up to more than 10 percent. I was sitting pretty easy in the wheels but then Pardilla attacked and nobody responded so he took 40 or 50 seconds quite quickly. I actually wanted a really hard introduction to that last 1.5km but everybody could recover a bit so it was really explosive when we hit the steep climb. I attacked straight from the bottom with 1.5km to go and only Contador could follow, but he didn’t pull. Then at 500 meters to go he attacked and gained four or five seconds on me. I thought he would fly away from me but he stayed there and then I realized that I was in contention for the GC, so I gave it everything I had. I can go into the Vuelta a España confident. It’s always better to have a win rather than looking forward to a win but I make out of it and we’ll see what happens.”

5th on the stage and 9th overall, Igor Anton (Dimension Data): “I think it was my 8th time racing this difficult final stage. For me, it is always an important test before the Vuelta. The team were great today, looking after me all stage and helping me to conserve my energy for the finale. I am grateful for the work they did for me and it gives me great confidence to go to the Vuelta a España with such strong guys. Pardilla and Contador were going really fast on the last climb but I didn’t finish all that far off them. I put in a good effort today and got a result I am happy with.”

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 5 Result:
1. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in 4:13:34
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff at 0:17
3. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 0:22
4. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:24
5. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data at 0:31
6. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Sky at 0:34
7. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar at 0:43
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:00
9. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 1:03
10. Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Katusha at 1:16.

Vuelta a Burgos Stage 4 Result:
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff in 15:50:50
2. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 0:01
3. Sergio Pardilla (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
4. Simon Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:04
5. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Sky at 0:11
6. Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Movistar at 0:16
7. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:36
8. Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Katusha at 0:57
9. Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Dimension Data at 1:04
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Final Stage 5:

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Dwars Door Het Hageland 2016
It takes a hard man, a strong team, a flawless tactic and a perfect bike to win a race of attrition, such as Dwars door het Hageland, and Etixx – Quick-Step had them all on Friday afternoon, when 32-year-old Niki Terpstra stormed to his second success of the season, following a perfectly timed attack in the closing meters of the 198-km long one-day event which is sure to become one of the fans’ favorite from now on.

Dwars door het Hageland began under a cloudy sky in Aarschot, where some 180-odd riders riders gathered at the start for a race that included 11 hills and 20 sections of pavé and dirt roads. The opening kilometers were rather calm, but everything exploded on the first cobbled sector, where the peloton was split under the impetus of Etixx – Quick-Step and Tom Boonen, the winner of RideLondon Classic, who was joined by 17 other men, including teammates Niki Terpstra and Lukasz Wisniowski.

Once the first unpaved section was left behind, 50 riders bridged to the leaders and opened a 1:30 advantage over the second group, but the skirmishes kept on coming and other groups took off, because the race was very hard to control due to the rain and the technical course which didn’t give the bunch a minute of respite. The final 60 kilometers of the race proved to be the most important, as they were jammed with cobbled hills and dirt roads which led to the peloton being blown to pieces.

Lukasz Wisniowski was one of the riders to get infiltrated in the 11-man group that pulled away and built a two-minute advantage over the pack. 2014 Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra was part of the first chasing group which eventually made the junction with less than 30 kilometers to go, just when things started to become more serious. As expected, the riders couldn’t stick together on the dirt roads of Belgium and Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice) tried to take advantage of that, but despite holding a 15-second advantage at one point, he was reeled in by a fantastic Wisniowski.

As soon as he was caught, Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal) launched a strong attack and looked to have the win in the bag, but once again the Polish rider of Etixx – Quick-Step came to the fore and controlled the margin of the lone leader, before Niki Terpstra took things into his own hands. In the technical last kilometer of the race which was set to finish on a short and punchy cobbled climb leading to the Diest Citadel, Wallays began to struggle and lose ground just as Niki was upping the pace. A powerful acceleration of the three-time Dutch champion saw him make the catch with 200 meters to go and leave everyone else behind, soloing to the win, his second of the year following the one in Le Samyn.
Thanks to the Etixx – Quick-Step team for the race info.

BELGIUM / BELGIE / BELGIQUE / CYCLING / WIELRENNEN / CYCLISME / UCI EUROPE TOUR / NAPOLEON GAMES CYCLING CUP / DWARS DOOR HET HAGELAND / FROM AARSCHOT TO DIEST / 197,7 KM / AANKOMST / ARRIVE / FINISH / TERPSTRA NIKI (ETIXX - QUICK STEP) /

Race winner, Niki Terpstra (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It was a pretty tough race, due to the harsh weather conditions. We had some showers in the first two hours and that made for some nervous racing on the cobblestones. The peloton was split pretty early and I had to fight in order to make it to the front group, where Lukasz worked hard and did a great job in keeping a high tempo. Wallays was strong and it wasn’t easy to reel him in, but I gave everything, rode really fast on that last climb and took this beautiful victory, my second one of the season, and one which comes after that injury I had at the start of the summer. I’m very happy, because it’s always nice when you cross the finish line first, as this gives you more confidence for your next races.”

2nd, World cyclo-cross champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice): “I had to let him get a few meters, then I knew that he had had enough to do it. I was also over the limit. Terpstra was the strongest on the last climb. It was spectacular, very funny too. The last 30km were very difficult. I had a little more to save for the move. I should have saved more energy during the race. We’ll see what the future holds. Paris-Roubaix? I want to do that race but it can also be combined with cyclo-cross.”

4th, Jelle Wallays (Lotto Soudal): “It’s a pity of course that I was reeled in inside the finale kilometer but I’m very happy about the way I raced today. I tried to ride an aggressive race right from the beginning and these efforts paid off. I was part of the first break, after that I tried to go clear several other times. Eventually, we entered the finale with about twenty riders and a few moments later I decided to attack. I finished fourth, that’s very close to the podium. But it isn’t a shame to finish behind a rider such as Niki Terpstra. I didn’t aim for a good result in this race beforehand. I have just been a few days to the Ardennes to train, so it was a bit unclear whether the legs would be good or not. It was a very hard race, but I like that. It was an aggressive race right from the beginning and that suits me. At GP Cerami, the scenario was a bit the same but I managed to win the race. Today, I was very close to the victory but that’s racing. I know that I gave my all and I was beaten by a better rider. I felt good and I’m clearly in a good shape, that’s very positive with the coming races in mind: Tour de l’Ain and Vuelta a España. It will be my first Grand Tour and I’m really looking forward to it.”

5th, Marco Marcato (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I think only in Belgium you can organize such a race, It was hard from the beginning. My condition is not bad at the moment. Anyway I paid a little bit for the fact that I didn’t know the parcours. Maybe next time it will be different. But in the end it was a really nice race. Even the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are worse than Dwars door het Hageland.

Dwars Door Het Hageland Result:
1. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:27:08
2. Wout van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice at 0:01
3. Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Cofidis
4. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Lotto-Soudal
5. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:08
6. Liam Bertazzo (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Southeast
7. Tim Declercq (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:11
8. Tom Stewart (GB) Madison Genesis at 0:21
9. Sean de Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda’s Willems

Hageland Action:

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Fränk Schleck Announces the 2016 Season Will be his Last
After a long and fruitful career, Luxembourgish rider Fränk Schleck has announced he will retire at the conclusion of the 2016 season. The Trek-Segafredo rider announced his decision during the Luxembourg Olympic team press conference in Rio de Janeiro.

“There is never an easy way to stop doing something you love to do, but I’ve always wanted to retire at a level where I was still competitive and fit,” Schleck explained. “I’m really proud of having spent a large part of my life riding my bike for a living and, above all, I’m extremely thankful for the friends I have made along the way.

“The memories of the victories and the great times I have experienced in some amazing teams will stay with me forever. I will always be a bike rider, but leaving the professional side of things will allow me to spend more time with my family and to see my two kids grow up. I have mellowed over the years, and my family and kids became more and more important to me.”

Fränk Schleck began his professional career in 2003 and standouts amongst his impressive palmarès are winning the 2006 Amstel Gold Race and the coveted Alpe d’Huez stage at the Tour de France the same year. His stage race victories include the Tour of Luxembourg (2009) and the Tour de Suisse (2010), but when asked about his best memory he pointed to the 2011 Tour de France when he finished third overall:

“I could mention a lot of moments that have stood out for me, but finishing on the podium of the Tour de France has to be my proudest moment as a bike rider – that memory will never be far away. But, to be fair, right now I don’t want to become too nostalgic because the season is still long and I really want to give 100% to the team until the very end of it. I would love to get a victory in the coming months; that would be a dream, the perfect scenario, really.

“I want to thank all of the friends, fans, and sponsors I have been privileged to meet these many years and I look forward to seeing this sport develop even more in the years to come. It has given me a lot, and I retire feeling proud of having been part of it.”

Trek-Segafredo General Manager Luca Guercilena: “I wish Fränk all the best in his new life; he has been a central part of our organization over the years, and he will be greatly missed. He’s an intelligent rider able to finalize in the race the hard work done in training and has been a great leader. Fränk has many incredible results in his career, and I’m sure he will obtain some more in the new life that awaits him.”

Fränk Schleck:
La Vuelta 2015 stage-16

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Giant-Alpecin Proud to Announce Desired Dream Signing
Team Giant-Alpecin is pleased to confirm Michael Matthews (AUS) as its first signing for the 2017 season, which represents another step forward for the team in its continuous pursuit of improvement and growth. The 25-year-old will join the team on a three-year contract after a four-year spell at Orica-BikeExchange.

In the versatile and talented Matthews, the team has found a world-class rider with the ability to focus on results on a variety of terrain and in the classics, stage races and Grand Tours. The team is confident that Matthews has significant potential for further growth. The team believes that through its “Keep Challenging” philosophy, it will be able to help him progress and fulfill his full potential.

Matthews has already achieved some impressive results, with 25 pro wins to date. His best results at the highest pro level include stage wins in all three Grand Tours: three stages at the Vuelta a España, two at the Giro d’Italia and one at the Tour de France. This year he won stage 10 of the Tour and took three stage wins at Paris-Nice, including the victory at the prologue, where he was slightly faster than Tom Dumoulin (NED). He finished second at the most recent world road championships, and he has also finished on the podium at Milan–San Remo, Amstel Gold Race and Brabantse Pijl.

Matthews said: “I am very happy with my transfer to Team Giant-Alpecin. I have always admired the way the team approaches the sport as a team sport; the stronger and the better we can have the team as a collective operate and perform, the better the opportunities for success the leaders have for the finales of races. I am confident that I will be able to get the best out of myself both as a rider and as an individual. The team is already used to working for dedicated leaders in various types of races and has proven that strategy with great results in the biggest races on the calendar. That’s the process which I want to help strengthen and where I want to be a part of and contribute to, and I am very much looking forward to joining the team.”

“We are extremely happy and proud to sign a rider like Michael,” said Team Giant-Alpecin CEO Iwan Spekenbrink (NED). “We have always set our standards high and been very ambitious with our objectives. Michael is a very talented rider and we are pleased that he has recognized the value of our approach to help him continue his development as a rider. Michael has the character and the will to integrate well with the team, and we are looking forward to working closely with him the next years.”

Michael Matthews:
Paris - Nice - stage 1

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Sep Vanmarcke set to join Cannondale-Drapac in 2017
Cobbled-classic specialist Sep Vanmarcke will join the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team at the start of the 2017 season, instantly bolstering the team’s presence in the northern classics.

The move is a homecoming of sorts for the 28-year-old Belgian. Vanmarcke’s start on the WorldTour level came with Garmin-Cervélo in 2011, and he rode for the Garmin-Sharp and Garmin-Barracuda teams through 2012. He then spent two seasons with the Belkin franchise followed by two seasons with LottoNL-Jumbo.

Vanmarcke has been a model of consistency in the spring classics. He won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in argyle in 2012, finished second at Paris-Roubaix in 2013, was second on two occasions at Gent-Wevelgem, twice third at Flanders and twice fourth at Paris-Roubaix.

“I’ve always kept a special feeling for the team, because I started my career in the WorldTour as part of the Slipstream organization,” said Vanmarcke. “My contact with the team over the past years has always been warm and with respect for each other. Knowing my contract was expiring, I was not surprised that Jonathan Vaughters and Cannondale-Drapac showed interest in me. But what surprised me was their idea for the future.

“Cannondale-Drapac gives me the opportunity to help create a very strong classics team for the next two years and to implement my own ideas,” Vanmarcke continued. “I’m 28 years old, my strongest years are ahead of me and I want all the details to be in place in order to reach my goals. The potential in this team is huge, the shareholders and sponsors have the same goals as I have, there is already a good and experienced classics group, including riders as Sebastian Langeveld and youngster Dylan van Baarle.

“Then there is also the coaching staff, with Andreas Klier – who was my teammate on Garmin some years ago – and the fact that my brother Ken Vanmarcke will join the team as sport director and member of the performance staff,” Vanmarcke added. “I just have to say Jonathan [Vaughters] and the board came up with an impressive plan for the future and I’m excited to be part of that.”

Since he left the Slipstream Sports team at the end of the 2012 season, Vanmarcke has gotten stronger and gained leadership ability. He now brings that complete package back to the Cannondale-Drapac family.

“I became stronger and managed to get on the podium in Monuments like Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. I learned how to lead a team, to put the eyes in the same direction so we can reach the maximum in a race,” he said. “In the past few years I’ve been close to the victory in the monuments. I would really like to win Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. After the spring, I want to work towards the Tour de France and fight for a stage win,” Vanmarcke said.

Director Andreas Klier rode with Vanmarcke and will now serve as one of his directors in the cobbled races.

“Sep is very hungry to get his Tour of Flanders victory,” Klier said. “And you can see that from afar, with all the races he is doing as a build up towards that race. He lives that whole Belgian three-week classic campaign through the entire year. And that is what I respect and like a lot, when I think about Sep as a rider. You can’t force that last step [to victory]. You have to work hard, together with him, hand in hand, step by step. If we keep calm and work hard, this last step up is very realistic.”

For Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters, it’s a chance to welcome back a rider he’s always liked and admired.

“I was always drawn to Sep. This goes back to me seeing him for the first time Ghent-Wevelgem in 2010, and it was so impressive. I’ve always thought he’s an incredible cobbles rider,” Vaughters said. “And I love those races. Flanders and Roubaix, those are the greatest races in bike racing. When Sep left us, I understood it. He needed to go to a bigger budget team. I always thought, though, ‘if we ever get another opportunity with this guy, I’m going to put everything I have into it.’ I believe he can win Roubaix, I believe he can win Flanders. He’s a hard, Flandrian rider who knows how to get the job done.”

Once the classics roll around, the team will head into the cobbles with a deep squad, not only capable of factoring into the race, but capable of winning as well.

“The key element is Sebastian Langeveld, who’s finished top 10 in all the big ones as well. And then Dylan Van Baarle. So you’ve got an old, cold head who understands the lay of the land, and you’ve got Dylan, who’s a ball of horsepower,” Vaughters said. “At the end of those big classics, no team has more than three, four guys. What I feel like we have, with Dylan and Sebastian, is a very deep classics squad that will be able to get Sep in a good position to win.”

Sep Vanmarcke:
Gent - Wevelgem 2016

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Zhi Hui Jiang Closes Season as Team LottoNL-Jumbo Trainee
Chinese cyclist Zhi Hui Jiang will finish the 2016 season as a Team LottoNL-Jumbo trainee. Jiang comes from the SEG Racing Academy, an international cycling project with the target to raise talents into professional cyclists.

“Jiang lives in the Netherlands for two years now and learned the language,” Technical Director Nico Verhoeven said.

“He is an all-round cyclist. We want to see what he’s capable of in the future. At the moment, he is working towards the Chinese championship, the road race and time trial.”

“I’m really looking forward to race with Team LottoNL-Jumbo,” Jiang added. “I’ve competed with the team before in the Tour de Hainan, and it’s such a strong team.

Time trial
“I would like to develop in my time trial skills, so it would be great to work with the experts of the team. In the future, I want to participate in Paris-Roubaix. This is my dream team with which I can take the next step in my career.”

Zhi Hui Jiang:
Kuala Lumpur  - Malaysia  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Zhi Hui Jiang  (Giant - Champion) pictured during  stage 3 of the Tour de Langkawi 2014 - from Kampar to Kuala Lumpur  166.5 km  - photo Cor Vos © 2014

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Vuelta a España Long List:
The third Grand Tour of the season is fast approaching and Team Giant-Alpecin will head to this year’s Vuelta a España following successful campaigns at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, winning two stages each. The team returns to Spain after being close to the overall podium with Tom Dumoulin (NED) last year and after having won three stages. For this year Team Giant-Alpecin has once again the objective of stage success during three weeks of racing, which covers more than 3,000 km.

The Vuelta a España will take place from Saturday, August 20th, to Sunday, September 11th. Like last year, the race gets underway with a team time trial of 29.4km, in the province of Ourense. The first mountain stage comes on stage three with a summit finish in Mirador de Ézaro. The rest of the race presents a plethora of different opportunities.

“We head to the Vuelta with the aim of winning a stage and our long-list will offer us the opportunity to compose a team to attain this goal,” said coach Luke Roberts (AUS). “In the Vuelta, there are usually some intermediate stages that are unsuitable for a sprint finish but not difficult enough for the GC riders, and we will target those stages aiming for a good result.

“In the build-up to the race, we will fine-tune our preparations and complete recons of the key stages. The last important races for the riders ahead of La Vuelta will be Vuelta a Burgos, Tour de l’Ain and Arctic Race of Norway.”

Vuelta Long-List:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Warren Barguil (FRA), Bert De Backer (BEL), Koen de Kort (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Fredrik Ludvigsson (SWE), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL).
Coaches: Arthur van Dongen (NED) & Luke Roberts (AUS).

Warren Barguil:
Tour de France 2015 - stage 16

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Abu Dhabi Tour gets 2017 WorldTour Status
The Abu Dhabi Tour – the professional cycling race run through stages across the emirate – has been included in the 2017 WorldTour Calendar of the international cycling union, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The third edition of the Abu Dhabi event now joins the WorldTour which takes place 23-26 February next year.

The UCI has granted the Abu Dhabi event WorldTour status for the next three years, saying it reflects the quality of the Abu Dhabi Tour, which is a four-stage professional cycling race organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) with the collaboration of RCS Sport.

This year’s edition, which starts in the UAE capital and runs from 20-23 October, will see the very best professional cycling teams race across three sprint stages and one mountain stage.

His Excellency Aref Al Awani, ADSC’s General Secretary, said: “This status upscale is proof of the commitment and sheer hard work delivered by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and our partners. We hope the global media attention it brings will also help build Abu Dhabi’s growing credentials as a significant cycling destination taking us centre stage in a discipline which is increasingly capturing the attention of the sporting world and local communities.

“Cycling is a sport which meets our objectives of nurturing local heroes and spreading a culture of healthy, active lifestyles among the entire community – resident or expatriate, young or old. Once our local cyclists have the chance to see the world’s best in action, and honoured, we hope to further inspire their own aspirations”.

Abu Dhabi Tour:
Abu Dhabi Tour 2015 stega 2

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Strade Bianche Moves up to WorldTour Status
Taking place on 4 March, the UCI has officially confirmed the inclusion of the race in the 2017 WorldTour calendar.

The Strade Bianche, the youngest of RCS Sport’s races with just 10 editions, is one of the most beloved and followed races worldwide. Now the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has confirmed that the “northern Classic at the most southern point in Europe” is officially in the WorldTour calendar for the next three years, starting with the 2017 edition through 2019. The race amongst the gravel roads of Tuscany joins the four other RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport WorldTour races: the Giro d’Italia, Milano – Sanremo, Tirreno – Adriatico and Il Lombardia.

The race has grown in stature since its launch 10 years ago thanks to the blend of its captivating scenery and unique route, much loved by racers and fans alike as it passes through the Crete Senesi and its gravel roads to its epic finale in Piazza del Campo in Siena.

If the importance of a race is determined by the calibre of riders it attracts, then the Strade Bianche has to be considered one of the great international classics; since its birth, the best riders have challenged themselves to take glory. The last winner, Fabian “Spartacus” Cancellara, has won it three times (2008, 2012 and 2016) and he will now have a section of the race’s iconic white gravel roads named after him – the Strade Bianche di Monte Sante Marie, one of the most testing of the entire race.

The Strade Bianche will also be the first race of the 2017 Women’s UCI WorldTour and, together with the Granfondo Strade Bianche, will deliver an exceptional weekend of sport, culture and good food.

2016 Strade Bianche:


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