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EuroTrash Rohan Monday!

Rohan Dennis has set a new Hour Record adding over half a kilometer, who’s next? Qatar, Dubai, Ladies Qatar, Etoile de Bessèges and cyclo-cross are all in race news with reports and video. Other news: Uran is Colombian TT champ and Team Novo Nordisk’s Scott Ambrose wins the sprint jersey at Tour de Filipinas. Lots to get through.

TOP STORY: New World Hour Record!
Rohan Dennis of the BMC Racing Team established a new UCI world hour record on Sunday with a distance of 52.491 kilometers to better the distance set by IAM Cycling’s Matthias Brändle by 639 meters. Unlike the recent failed attempt by fellow Australian; Jack Bobridge, Dennis built up his speed and held it at a fairly constantly at a 52.5 kph pace and at one point looked like 53 kilometers was a possibility. With 15 minutes remaining the man from Adelaide started to falter slightly and slowed to his final distance of just under 52.5 kph, but he is still the first rider to surpass the 52 kph since the UCI clarified the rules on which bikes can be used in setting the record.

The new World Hour record holder, Rohan Dennis, said moments after hoisting the winning bike overhead as the crowd at Velodrome Suisse roared: “There was a lot of pain. I couldn’t really enjoy it too much to be honest. I am pretty tired, but really, really proud. With BMC, they made it easy. The whole week leading into this since the Tour Down Under was very stressful. But there was no pressure. Everything went perfectly. It almost feels too easy. But obviously, it wasn’t. I was probably going a little bit too hard the first half, but I was pretty comfortable. I got halfway and was still good. I thought my pacing was fine. Then, we decided after halfway we would squeeze it a little bit and try to pick it up by point one, point two (seconds) for the lap, which was really what I was holding the whole first half anyway. So I just held the same pace. The last 50 laps we basically decided it was going to be max anyway.”

“To pull it off is a huge relief,” Dennis said. “But also I feel really proud about what the team has achieved over the last three or four months together leading up to this.”

Bradley Wiggins’ is planning on a June attempt at the record and there is a possibility that Alex Dowsett could reschedule his originally planned February ride before then, so the hour record tension is still high.

Rohan Dennis World Hour Record Highlights:

header-qatar15Tour of Qatar 2015
Stage 1 of the Tour of Qatar was as eventful as expected with wind, crashes, echelons and a first surprise. As fifty riders powered to the front in the closing moments of the stage, José-Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) proved to be the fastest of the field of favorites. On his debut in Qatar, the Spaniard captured a fine success by the Sealine Beach, ahead of Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr). The Movistar rider captures the first overall leader’s Golden Jersey of the event.

Two days after the final stage of the women’s Tour of Qatar, the wind had picked up but was this time blowing from the south-east. In other words, it would be a tough day for the men who gathered to Dukhan for the start of their edition of the Tour. Facing the wind for most of the day, the 141 riders took off for the 136 kilometer race towards the Sealine Beach in the South-East of Qatar.

After just a kilometer of racing, two riders managed to break away: Jarl Salomein (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Luca Sterbini (Bardiani-CSF). Their lead rapidly grew and went from 2:50 after 8 kilometers to a maximum of 10:40 at 22 kilometers. Eventually, as the race headed east to cross the peninsula, the pack moved closer to the escapees. The two riders were eventually caught at km 65. Shortly after, the battle between the favorites started as the Trek and Etixx – Quick-Step teams picked up the pace at the front, the pack broke up into several groups, with 46 riders in the front group. The only favorites to miss the front group were Valverde (Movistar), Bouhanni (Cofidis), Boom (Astana) and Wiggins (Sky). After enjoying a 25 second advantage the leader’s group was eventually caught at Km 81. As the bunch headed towards the second bonus sprint, Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) were caught in a crash. Nothing serious but a first big fright for two of the title contenders. The sprint was then claimed by Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) ahead of Terpstra (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Ferrari (Lampre-Merida).

After 107 kilometers; Breschel (Tinkoff-Saxo), Boom and Westra (Astana) escaped. Their lead reached an interesting 1 minutes, five kilometers later. But as the pack chased harder and broke up into several groups, there wasn’t much the escapees could do. They were indeed caught at km 125. Meanwhile just over fifty riders were leading the race. The only big names not present at the front were Kittel (Giant-Alpecin), Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka), Wiggins (SKY) and Pozzato (Lampre-Merida). With 10 kilometers to go, the leaders had a 45 seconds advantage. That gap dropped down to 11 seconds with 3 kilometers to go. But there was no catching the front group. In a final bunched sprint, José-Joaquin Rojas surprised the field as he took off early. The Spaniard managed to keep his impressive pace all the way to the line, beating Tom Boonen and Arnaud Démare to conquer his first ever success in Qatar. Thanks to his victory, the Spaniard captures the overall leader’s Golden Jersey that he’ll be wearing tomorrow from Al Wakra to Al Khor. Rojas also leads the points classification while Démare conquers the Pearl White Jersey for the best young rider.

Stage winner José Joaquín Rojas (Movistar): “It was a demanding finish, especially before the last 10k when BORA and Trek took the bunch right into the ditch and made it considerably smaller. Fortunately, we could make the split and with 500 meters to go I went before Terpstra, who had jumped from the other side trying to launch the sprint. When I saw him running out of gas, with 300m left, I jumped, and seeing that the wind was blowing from the left side of the road, I sprinted right next to the barriers, making my rivals face the wind if they wanted to overtake me. I had trained well during the offseason and the results I got in Mallorca, third and fourth in two really different courses, made me more confident. This victory shows that every bit of work brings a result, sooner or later. Defending the leader’s jersey? For the time being, we have already clinched our goal, which was winning a stage. Now the important thing for us is not letting it go easy, give our maximum and hope for better results, should they come. We’ve got a strong team and we’ll try to take advantage from it.”

Tinkoff-Saxo Sport Director Tristan Hoffman confirms that Peter Sagan has only suffered superficial wounds: “A rock on the road surface caused Sagan to crash in the peloton. He has lost skin and is naturally in pain, however he hasn’t broken anything. I’m very impressed by his willpower. He didn’t have to participate in the final sprint but he stayed up there in the front during the rest of the stage and finished 4th. Overall we’re happy with the stage. Of course we wish that Peter hadn’t crashed but the team worked well to protect him afterwards and we’re still in the mix”.

Vincente Reynes (IAM Cycling): “There was way too much wind to expect much more from the riders. With seven kilometers to go, Marcel Aregger and I were the last teammates left for Heinrich, and we made the decision to go to the front of the pack to help Heinrich avoid the dangers caused by the tail wind at that point. We managed to protect Heinrich, but then I wasn’t able to be with him at the final. Haussler had to fend for himself in the last 500 meters. Personally, I am satisfied with this first exposure to temperatures close to 30 degrees Celsius. This will help me to prepare better for the Classics, but I don’t deny that I will be happy to go home. We left for Australia on January 10th and I long to be with my family again. Of course at the moment, the weather on Mallorca is very bad!”

Astana’s Lars Boom: “It was a long day – if we didn’t attack, we would have finished in the dark.”

Tour of Qatar Stage 1 Result:
1. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar in 3:49:50
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
6. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
7. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
8. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
9. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
10. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis.

Tour of Qatar Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar in 3:49:40
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:04
3. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:06
4. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin at 0:08
5. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:09
6. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:10
7. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Argon 18
9. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
10. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling.

Tour of Qatar Stage 1:

header-dubai15Dubai Tour 2015
Elia Viviani (Sky) won Stage 2, the Nakheel Stage, of the Dubai Tour. In second place was Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step), who retained the race lead. Andrea Guardini (Astana) took third place.

The break of the day formed early in the stage with Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani-CSF), Rafaa Chtioui (Skydive Dubai), Davide Frattini (UnitedHealthcare), Bernhard Eisel (Sky) and Chun Kai Feng (Lampre-Merida). Eisel and Battaglin were only interested in the first sprint and then waited to be caught leaving the other three to gain 5:30 on the bunch. With around 70 kilometers to go; the BMC team started to cut into the lead, this urged Chtioui to go it alone with 60 to go. Frattini and Feng were caught.

Chtioui made a brave, but foolhardy attempt into a strong wind and was caught with 10 kilometers go. The sprinter teams took control on the run-in with Giant-Alpecin for John Degenkolb, Vincenzo Nibali put in an effort for Astana teammate Andrea Guardini, Sky’s Bernie Eisel for Elia Viviani and Tony Martin for Mark Cavendish. Many riders hit the front, but Sky would not be put off and positioned Viviani perfectly for his win.

Paolo Simion (Bardiani-CSF), 17th on the stage, was once again the top young rider and retains the category’s White Jersey for the Best Young Rider. Davide Frattini (UnitedHealthcare) took the lead in the Intermediate Sprints competition, rewarded by the UAE Flag Jersey.

Stage winner Elia Viviani (Sky): “Yesterday we were third, and after the stage we watched the video a few times to understand what we did wrong. Today was a little better with Swift in the last 500m, and I think this is the result. In the first thing was for the team, in the sense that, after Team Cannondale closed down, Team Sky had faith in me. They trusted in my results, they believe in me, which is very important for me. You could see it in the teamwork that we’ve put into the first sprints I’ve taken part in for Team Sky. I’ve been in three sprints, and in all three I’ve been in a position to challenge for victory. The win has come in my third sprint, after two podium placings. It’s important for the future: it’s definitely been a good start, and I’m very happy to have been able to repay the team’s work for me. If, on the past, I’ve been in a position to win in three sprints out of 10, now I can try to win nine out of 10, that’s the big difference. I’m happy with my first 5 years as a pro. If you look at the numbers, I’ve won 30 races, this is number 31. I’ve won a stage at the Dauphiné, I’ve had good results in the Giro d’Italia, and a stage win in Beijing. In the World Tour, I’ve always had good placings, and I’ve shown myself in the classics. What I lack is a really big win, although I’ve come close at the Giro d’Italia. This year is a key year for me. I need to go up a level, and I hope it happens this year, with my change of team, new surroundings, new motivation, and the help of the team.”

Race leader: Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Today, to be fair, obviously I’d like to win, I’m disappointed with second, but I take a lot of positives form my sprint like the power I put out and how Etixx – Quick-Step rode, you know Etixx – Quick-Step rode really strong all day, it was windy, it was hard to stay up there. In the final, we got just caught on the wrong side, unfortunately. We lost the drag race into the final turn. The wind was coming in the final 3km from the sea, from the left, so you really wanted to be on the right, but we lost the drag race so we take the left hand side out of the corner. It just took its toll on me a little bit. The team managed to get to the front and take control, which is really positive, but I was just a little bit on the limit before I started my sprint. Still happy with power I made in the sprint, but I was just lacking a bit of zip. Guardini went. I knew he’d gone too early, but, just as luck would have it, Viviani was on his wheel and he could launch off him. I was able to come back at them it took me a while to get up to top speed today. But it’s OK. I’ve been beaten by Viviani before, and I’ll be beaten by him again, so I’m not disappointed.”

Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko: “The teamwork was good Ruslan, Nibali and I all went to the front in the last 3k, and there was a wind coming off the sea from the left at the sprint.”

Dubai Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky in 4:29:59
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
4. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
5. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai
6. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
7. Daniele Ratto (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
8. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC
9. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF.

Dubai Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step in 7:54:43
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky at 0:02
3. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana at 0:06
4. Davide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare at 0:11
5. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 0:13
6. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
7. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
8. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:14
9. Rafael Valls Ferri (Spa) Lampre-Merida at 0:15
10. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha at 0:16.

Dubai Tour stage 2:

On a formidable final climb, with gradients touching 17%, John Degelkolb (Giant-Alpecin) held off the challenge from the much fancied Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) to win Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour, the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority Stage (205 km), from Dubai to Hatta Dam.

The German crossed the line with a 2-second advantage over Alejandro Valverde and his Movistar team-mate Juan José Lobato, who finished second and third respectively. Victory brought Degenkolb the race leader’s Blue Jersey by a margin of 4 seconds over yesterday’s race leader Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step), who now lies in second place. Cavendish retained his lead in the overall points classification for the Red Jersey. Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare) took maximum points in both intermediate sprints to seize the lead in the intermediate sprints classification from his team-mate Davide Frattini. On the podium, Bazzana was awarded the UAE Flag Jersey. The White Jersey for the best young rider went to Michael Valgren Andersen (Tinkoff-Saxo).

Stage winner and overall leader John Degelkolb (Giant-Alpecin): “The team supported me the whole day. I think we raced pretty smart, and in the end we had still enough guys to put me in the right position in the last 500m. I was lucky that I could go around Luka Mezgec. I think I started my sprint with less than 200m to go, but if it’s steep like this, then 150m are like 300 on the flat. I think it was good that I started that early because that also brought me the seconds for the General Classification now. To be honest I was expecting before the line, like, now they’re going to catch me just before the line, but I just didn’t look back, I did a full out sprint, and I’m pretty excited about the watts I generated. It’s really a relief to win early in the season – It may be my earliest win ever – and it’s great. If you win you get confidence, and you have not the pressure any more that you have won nothing yet, and it gives a lot of self-confidence for the next races. We’re going to do everything to defend the jersey and bring the jersey home. It’s going to be not easy, but I think we have still a good chance to get some bonus seconds and probably do a good result at the end of the race. I think it’s not impossible. Like, it’s a little bit like in Dubai: nothing is impossible.”

Fourth on the stage Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida): “Today stage was an interesting test to check my condition: I think my performance was good and the result is satisfying – Pozzato explained – Degenkolb deserved the victory, his action was very good. I want to thank my team for the support, especially Valls was great in being my pilot fish in the final kilometers, when the fight for the front positions of the group was hard.”

Robert Kiserlovski (Tinkoff-Saxo): “You have to be among the first riders to enter a short climb like this if you’re aiming for the win. So it was really hectic in the last 5 kilometers, which also caused some crashes. Luckily I wasn’t affected, as I’m still quite soar from my own crash yesterday. People were coming from all sides all the time. With 1 k to go I had a great position in the front, then suddenly I was at the back as the positioning rotated back and fourth. So I was in the middle of the peloton, when we started the climb. But I overtook many riders in the last part. We finished the stage with four riders among the first 21, which I think is a good sign.”

Astana’s Lars Boom: “I tried a breakaway in the finale but there was no collaboration.”

BMC Racing Team’s Klaas Lodewyck broke his right collarbone Friday after he was involved in an usual crash midway through Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour. The peloton was crossing a grate covered by carpet on a downhill section when the carpet suddenly lifted off the ground. Lodewyck went down, along with several others.

“This carpet that was in the road came up by the wind of the peloton and it suddenly blocked my front wheel and before I knew it, I was on the ground,” he said. “It was a hard crash. At first I thought everything was OK. But after a minute or two, it felt pretty painful in the right shoulder and I decided to stop.”

Lodewyck was taken to a hospital in Dubai where X-rays confirmed an undisplaced fracture of the right clavicle, BMC Racing Team Dr. Roger PalFreeman said. Friday’s setback was the latest in a series of medical maladies for Lodewyck. Last September, he underwent surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat. In June, he broke his right collarbone in a crash while racing with the Belgian national team. Dr. Palfreeman said Lodewyck will need to see a specialist to determine whether surgery will be required.

Dubai Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin in 4:50:40
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:02
3. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
4. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
5. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
7. Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
8. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 0:07
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
10. Edgar Miguel Lemos Pinto (Por) Skydive Dubai.

Dubai Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin in 12:45:29
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:04
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
4. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar at 0:08
5. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare at 0:11
6. Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 0:12
7. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
9. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Edgar Miguel Lemos Pinto (Por) Skydive Dubai at 0:17.

Dubai Tour stage 3:

Etixx – Quick-Step Cycling Team and Mark Cavendish performed perfectly in the Final Stage 4 of the Dubai Tour. There was a double reward waiting at the finish line after great teamwork and an outstanding lead-out.

At the start of 128 kilometer stage 4, Mark Cavendish was 4 seconds behind the leader of the GC, John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) thanks to a pack finish on the steep Hatta Dam finale in stage 3. This small time difference was key, as a victory would also mean the top step of the overall podium. A group of five riders: Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff-Saxo), Daniel Oss (BMC), Marco Canola (UnitedHealthcare), Francisco Mancebo (Skydive Dubai) and Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) made the break of the day, but were caught in the final 10 kilometers. Etixx – Quick-Step and Giant-Alpecin made sure there was going to be a bunch sprint.

In the preparation for the final sprint Cavendish had five Etixx – Quick-Step teammates in front of him. Etixx – Quick-Step took over the lead in the second-to-last kilometer and brought Cavendish into great position for the sprint. Cavendish did what he said he wanted to do after Stage 3: Finish the job of his teammates and wrap up Dubai Tour with the stage win, which also resulted in taking home the Paul Smith designed Blue Jersey as the 2015 overall victor.

Stage 4 and overall winner Mark Cavendish (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I didn’t really have to do much, the team did everything,” Cavendish said. “We were really motivated today. It was a tough breakaway, but Etixx – Quick-Step did a great job controlling it with the help of Giant Alpecin. Then the lead-out was absolutely phenomenal. It was so fast there was a gap before I started to sprint. I looked and I saw the gap, and I went a little bit early so I could keep the gap and it all worked out perfectly. This was a win by Etixx – Quick-Step today. The guys were fantastic. That was really something special. I’m so proud of them and proud to get the Blue jersey at the end as well. I’m really happy. This is my 3rd stage win, and Gianni Meersman also won a race down in Australia, so we’re looking forward to another successful year for Etixx – Quick-Step. I’m also super thrilled that this is the 3rd GC victory of my career. Here at Dubai Tour it’s not exactly a sprinter’s race, but it can favor people who can sprint. I know for sure last year I wasn’t looking for the GC. This year I came here in good form. It wasn’t really something I was expecting, but with the way the guys have been working all week it was something special to finish off with the GC win. This also shows I am on target for my next goals in the racing calendar. It’s super encouraging for what’s next, for me as well as my teammates who I want to thank for everything they did at Dubai Tour.”

3rd on stage 4 and 3rd overall Juanjo Lobato (Movistar): “One way or another, I was always lacking something to contest the victory so far in this race, but I knew today it was going to be my day – legs felt quite easier than before and the team was superb in the end. I came fresher to the finale than in previous occasions and the push by the team, initially to chase the break down and then putting me into position in the final 5k, made things a lot easier. There was sort of a stop into the sprint line with 300m to go; things got a bit messy and I swerved a bit to search for my sprinting distance. That might have made me not being able to fight for it 100%, because I wasn’t right on the wheel in front of me. It was a hard week for me. I didn’t recover well in the days between Australia and Dubai due to jet-lag and I wasn’t feeling really ‘awake’ on course, there was some energy left for my 100% on sprints. Still, I’m more than happy with this podium. Now I’ll take some days’ rest at home before Almería and Andalucía, two races on home soil I really love, and then I’ll go for some training in the beginning of March before the GP Nobili and, at last, Milano-Sanremo, my biggest goal in the early season. The other one in 2015, after the Giro, will be the Worlds: I think I’m earning credit to ride it from the start of the season and I’ll keep fighting to convince everyone I deserve it.”

Astana’s Laurens De Vreese: “With the wind off the sea we had no luck controlling a short race.”

BMC won the team prize for the second year in a row, Sport Director Max Sciandri said: “We tried really hard yesterday with Philippe and we had a great team around him,” Sciandri said. “It was a hard little finish so it didn’t really come out as planned. Today, we had a great ride by Daniel Oss. I think the guys are coming out of it with great condition.”

Dubai Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step in 2:37:15
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
3. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar
4. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
5. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
6. Daniele Ratto (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
7. Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk
8. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
10. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai.

Dubai Tour Final Overall Result:
1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Etixx – Quick-Step in 15:22:38
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin at 0:06
3. Juan Jose Lobato (Spa) Movistar at 0:10
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:12
5. Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare at 0:14
6. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare at 0:17
7. Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 0:18
8. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
9. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Dubai Tour stage 4:

TQF12_cobranding_BLadies Tour of Qatar 2015
After the intense battle of the previous day in the north of Qatar, Stage 3 of the Ladies Tour of Qatar was just as exciting. The battle between the favorites started after 50 kilometers of racing and eventually around thirty riders remained together for the final sprint in Al Khor. Fastest on the corniche was Great Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead. Winner of last year’s UCI World Cup and Commonwealth Gold medallist, the Boels Dolmans rider not only claims her first ever success in Qatar, she also conquers the overall leader’s Golden Jersey.

For the first time in its 7-year history, the Ladies Tour of Qatar took off from the Souq Waqif in central Doha for stage 3 of the event. A picturesque start for the 85 remaining riders who took off just after 2 o’clock for a 93.5-km rider heading north. It would be a tough day for the ladies, having to fight against the head wind for most of the day.

As soon as the first kilometer, Alison Tetrik (Optum) was the first to try her luck. The American enjoyed a slim 45 seconds advantage at 5 kilometers but there wasn’t much she could do alone against the wind and the chasing pack. She was to be caught 6 kilometers later. At km 26, China’s Ya Nan Liu (China Chongming-Liv-Champion System) was the next to give it a go. A vain solo effort that only lasted a little over 4 kilometers.

Time had come for the first intermediate sprint of the day at 44.5 kilometers. While the pack was shaken by a crash, Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-Honda) proved to be the fastest to the line, beating Armitstead (Boels Dolmans) and D’Hoore (Wiggle-Honda). Just after the sprint, 34 riders pulled away but things calmed down before the second sprint as the pack bunched up again. Again, Hosking flew to the line, clinching an extra 3 bonus seconds as she beat Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) and Johansson (Orica-AIS). At that moment of the stage, Hosking had virtually moved up to second spot overall, just a second behind Golden Jersey Ellen Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans).

As the pack turned right and started heading south towards Al Khor, the main favorites powered away. Fourteen ladies gathered together at the front including seven of the top ten riders in the GC. In the closing moments of the stage, despite the attempts of several riders, around thirty girls bunched up again with just under three kilometers to go. Victory was to be decided in a royal bunched sprint.

Well helped out by her Boels Dolmans team mates, Lizzie Armitstead went on to capture her very first victory on Qatari soil. The Brit who had finished second of the stage finishing in Al Khor last year (behind Wild) beat USA’s Shelley Olds (Bigla) and Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv) to the line. Silver medallist at the London Olympics and Gold medallist last year at the Commonwealth Games, Armitstead now conquers the overall leader’s Golden Jersey. With one stage to go in the event, the Brit can enjoy an 8 second lead over her team mate Ellen Van Dijk and 9 seconds over Chloe Hosking. As well as the GC, Armitstead also leads the points classification (Silver Jersey) while Beatrice Bartelloni (Ale-Cipollini) remains the best young rider (Pearl White Jersey).

Ladies Tour of Qatar Stage 3 Result:
1. Elisabeth Armitstead (GB) Boels Dolmans in 2:27:45
2. Shelley Olds – Evans (USA) Bigla
3. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv
4. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle-Honda
5. Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France
6. Lauren Kitchen (Aus) Hitec Products UCK
7. Jolien d’Hoore (Bel) Wiggle-Honda
8. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ale-Cipollini
9. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
10. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Velocio-SRAM.

Ladies Tour of Qatar Overall After Stage 3:
1. Elisabeth Armitstead (GB) Boels Dolmans in 7:35:24
2. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans at 0:08
3. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle-Honda at 0:09
4. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio-SRAM at 0:15
5. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS at 0:17
6. Jolien d’Hoore (Bel) Wiggle-Honda at 2:14
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio-SRAM at 2:15
8. Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France
9. Amy Pieters (Ned) TLiv-Plantur
10. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS at 2:23.

Ladies Tour of Qatar stage 3:

After the dominance of Kirsten Wild these last few years, Lizzie Armitstead became the first British rider to win the Ladies Tour of Qatar. After her victory at the Commonwealth Games and her UCI World Cup crown last year, the Yorkshire rider adds another prestigious title to her career. The Boels Dolmans leader triumphed in style as she claimed the Final Stage 4 of the event, her second success in two days. Armitstead wins this 7th edition of the race ahead of Australia’s Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-Honda) and Netherland’s Ellen Van Dijk (Boels Dolmans).

The wind had seriously picked up for the final stage of the 7th edition of the Ladies Tour of Qatar as the 83 remaining riders (two non-starters: Mustonen and Longo Borghini) took off from the Sealine Beach Resort for a 85kms stage heading north to the Doha Corniche. All the pressure at the start was of course on the shoulders of Golden Jersey, Lizzie Armitstead only enjoying an 8 second advantage over her Boels Dolmsquadans teammate Ellen Van Dijk and 9 seconds over her most dangerous rival Chloe Hosking. A lot could still happen on the way to the final circuit, especially with bonus seconds up for grabs at the two intermediate sprints.

The first part of the stage was a real struggle for the riders facing a fairly strong head wind (33.2 kms covered during the first hour). Despite a few attempts, the pack remained bunched all the way to the first intermediate sprint. Led out by her Boels Dolmans squad, Lizzie Armitstead proved to be the fastest to the line gaining 3 precious seconds while Hosking had to settle for second ahead of Johansson (Orica-AIS). Virtually the Brit had increased her overall lead to 10 seconds. Just after the first battle of the day, China’s Xiu Jie Jiang (China Chongming-Liv-Champion System) managed to break away. Like on the very first day of the event last Monday, she enjoyed her moment of glory as the gap reached 55 seconds at 47 kilometers. At the first passage on the line of the final circuit her advantage had increased to reach 1:35. Not too concerned by the Chinese escapee, the pack awaited the second crossing of the line to really start reacting. Indeed Jiang was gobbled up by the hungry pack just before the penultimate lap. Time had indeed come for the second bonus sprint. This time it was Hosking’s turn to hit back as she claimed maximum points and seconds ahead of her team mate D’Hoore (Wiggle-Honda) and Armitstead. Virtually, Hosking had moved back within 8 seconds of her overall rival.

Despite a few breakaway attempts, immediately chased down, the pack remained bunched all the way to the final straight. The expected sprinting battle took place but once again there wasn’t much anyone could do against Armitstead. The Brit indeed powered to the line only just beating Hosking and Italy’s Barbara Guarischi (Velocio-SRAM). By claiming her second consecutive win, she confirmed her overall lead and claimed her first ever Ladies Tour of Qatar. Armitstead wins the event with a 12 second advantage over Hosking and 22 seconds over Van Dijk.

As well as the Golden Jersey, Armitstead also conquers the Silver Jersey (points classification) while Beatrice Bartelloni (Ale-Cipollini) finishes best young rider of the event and Wiggle-Honda claims the title of best team.

Ladies Tour of Qatar Stage 4 Result:
1. Elisabeth Armitstead (GB) Boels Dolmans in 2:24:15
2. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle-Honda
3. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Velocio-SRAM
4. Roxane Fournier (Fra) France
5. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
6. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabo Liv
7. Kelly Druyts (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Pro-Duo
8. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Italy
9. Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France
10. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio-SRAM.

Ladies Tour of Qatar Final Overall:
1. Elisabeth Armitstead (GB) Boels Dolmans in 9:59:25
2. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle-Honda at 0:12
3. Ellen Van Dijk (Ned) Boels Dolmans at 0:22
4. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Velocio-SRAM at 0:29
5. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS at 0:30
6. Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Wiggle-Honda at 2:26
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Velocio-SRAM at 2:29
8. Pascale Jeuland (Fra) France
9. Amy Pieters (Ned) Liv-Plantur
10. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS at 2:37.

The final stage 4:

header-bessesges15Etoile de Bessèges 2015
Roy Jans has won Stage 2 in the Etoile de Bessèges. In the stage between Nîmes and Les Fumades (157,1km), the 24-year old Belgian proved to be the fastest in the sprint of the, through a crash, reduced peloton.

“This was my first sprint of the season and it’s resulted in a victory straight away. This holds a lot of promise and hopefully it’s the first of many in 2015. The team has done great work and I am very happy with this victory,” Jans reacts.

The second stage in the south of France became a cold day to remember. The cold head wind made that the peloton showed little interest in attacking. The average speed was well under 30 kilometers per hour. The stage was stopped on several occasions.

“There was a cold and storm-like headwind which resulted in dangerous racing conditions. After a short break on the first finish line passage, and after that two times more, the peloton decided to race again,” sports director Steven De Neef explains.

After the break, Tim Kerkhof (Team Roompot) attacked solo and managed to get a lead of five minutes. In the end the lonely rider succumbed to the wind and the peloton prepared for a bunch sprint.

“The sprint was a lottery,” lead-out man Marco Marcato explains. “I asked Roy which side of the road he wanted to take. He answered that he didn’t know and then I told him to trust me. I took him to the front and then they crashed. I looked behind me and still saw Roy glued to my wheel. At that moment I knew we rode for the victory.”

“We were very well positioned in the final 1,5 to 2 kilometers,” Jans continues. “Then a Cofidis rider went down in third position and I heard many more riders crash. We were able to avoid this. I yelled at Marco to start the sprint after the last corner and he did that perfectly. I only needed to follow his wheel and could save energy. After the turn I only needed to jump from his wheel,” the winner concludes.
Thanks to José at Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 2 Result:
1. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 4:27:54
2. Alexandre Blain (Fra) Team Marseille 13 KTM
3. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek
4. Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek
5. Yannick Martinez (Fra) Europcar
6. Olivier Chevalier (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
7. Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
8. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
9. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 2:
1. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 7:53:21
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:04
3. Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek at 0:06
4. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar at 0:10
5. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Julien Duval (Fra) Armée de Terre
7. Dennis Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal
9. Loïc Chetout (Fra) Cofidis
10. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Team Marseille 13 KTM.

Etoile de Bessèges stage 2 sprint:

Third race day at Etoile de Bessèges and Europcar’s Bryan Coquard claimed his first success of the season in Stage 3 on Friday. The French sprinter preceded on the Italian Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) and Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). A 6-man breakaway group of: Baptiste Planckaert (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Frederik Backaert (Wanty Group Gobert), Yoann Paillot (Team Marseille 13-KTM), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural) and Flavien Dassonville (Auber 93), but it was caught by the sprinters’ teams with just over 1 kilometers to go.

Third placed on the stage; Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) took the overall lead after taking a 3 second bonus at the 43 kilometer intermediate sprint.

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 3 Result:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar in 3:48:06
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
3. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
4. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal
5. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ.fr
6. Anthony Maldonado (Fra) Auber 93
7. Edwin Avila (Col) Colombia
8. Justin Jules (Fra) Veranclassic-Ekoi
9. Julien Duval (Fra) Armée de Terre
10. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team Roompot.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 3:
1. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 11:41:24
2. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:03
3. Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek at 0:09
4. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar at 0:11
5. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:13
6. Julien Duval (Fra) Armée de Terre
7. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal
8. Loïc Chetout (Fra) Cofidis
9. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Brian Van Goethem (Ned) Team Roompot.

Stage 3:

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) won Stage 4 of the Étoile de Bessèges in a sprint from Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) and Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) on the uphill finale in Laudun. Theuns’ third place kept him in the overall by 7 seconds over Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Soudal) into the final stage 4 time trial.

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) instigated a strong break and was joined by Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Rudy Barbier & Gaëton Pons (Wallonie-Bruxelles), Kévin van Melsen (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Steven Tronet (Auber 93), Xandro Meurisse (An Post-ChainReaction) and Thomas Vaubourzeix (Veranclassic-Ekoi), they built a lead of 3 minutes before Lotto Soudal and Topsport Vlaanderen started the chase. On the finish circuit the escape fell to pieces, but so did the peloton under the impetus of Lotto Soudal.

The lead came down to below 20 seconds with 10 kilometers to go, this forced Voeckler to go it alone, but with Trek helping Lotto Soudal he had no chance and was caught before the finishing climb to Laudun. Gallopin had the strength to distance Laporte and Theuns with Trek’s Fabio Felline in 4th.

The race finishes on Sunday with a 11.9 kilometer individual time trial stage.

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 4 Result:
1. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 3:43:51
2. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
3. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
4. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek
5. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal
7. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
8. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
9. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek
10. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 4:
1. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise in 15:25:11
2. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:07
3. Marco Coledan (Ita) Trek at 0:13
4. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar at 0:15
5. Julien Duval (Fra) Armée de Terre at 0:17
6. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal
7. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Loïc Chetout (Fra) Cofidis
9. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Brian Van Goethem (Ned) Team Roompot.

Stage 4:

It was a nervous Final Stage 5 at the Etoile de Bessèges on Sunday with the 11.9-kilometer time trial set to decide the overall winner, and when the last rider crossed the line Trek Factory Racing’s Bob Jungels laid claim to the stage win and with it the final leader’s jersey.

It was Jungels, 22, first professional stage race victory, and also the first win of the year for Trek Factory Racing. The Luxembourger blazed through the tough race against the clock in a time of 17:40, a full 19 seconds faster than Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), and 20 seconds ahead of Trek Factory Racing teammate Fabio Felline. Jungels’ time was enough to stake out the final overall win by nine-seconds over Tony Gallopin, with Lotto-Soudal teammate Kris Boeckmans holding onto the podium to take third.

Stage and overall winner Bob Jungels (Trek): “It’s special, I don’t feel it yet, I am still tired. I think it will take time to sink in. It was not a huge race, but it was hard and it’s never bad to have a victory – especially the first one in the season. And, for me I was working super hard this winter, and it’s nice to be rewarded for that. I felt good already in the warm up. I was confident about my power, and I was calm before the start and not nervous at all. After two minutes I looked at my SRM power and saw good numbers. But I could also tell because your body has an internal clock, and I could feel that I was going well. We had a real good reference from Riccardo (Zoidl), which helped a lot. The last 1.5 kilometers was hard, pretty steep, but I knew that I could take time in the flat already so it was not a big concern. When I reached the final uphill I knew I had a good gap and I just had to manage my pace to the top. Then in the last 500 meters I went all out.”

Jungels’ time was enough to stake out the final overall win by nine-seconds over Tony Gallopin, with Lotto-Soudal teammate Kris Boeckmans holding onto the podium to take third.

Second overall Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal): “I started the time trial aiming for the overall win, although I knew it would be hard. The first nine kilometers were flat, then it got steeper. Those final kilometers were an advantage. There was much wind again, it has been a factor the whole week. I’m slightly disappointed that I finished on the second place, but Bob Jungels was really strong. I’m really glad with my stage win. The finish in Laudun really suited me. The final kilometer was uphill and it kept getting steeper. Five kilometers from the end the team took the lead and perfectly led me to the finish line. I just had to launch my sprint at the right moment. It was a victory of the entire team, everyone had his part in it. This definitely was a good start of the season. Pim Ligthart won the GP la Marseillaise last Sunday, Kris Boeckmans the first stage of the Etoile de Bessèges and I the fourth one. On top of that we end up in top ten with four riders. I’m satisfied after my first race days of the season. The first race is always special. Both the team and I have shown that the legs are good, that’s reassuring and makes us keen for the next races. The Tour of the Algarve will be my next race. I want to further work on my condition and be top in Paris-Nice.”

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 5 Result:
1. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek in 17:40
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:18
3. Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek at 0:20
4. Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek at 0:21
5. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 0:25
6. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto-Soudal at 0:26
7. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:29
8. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Bretagne-Seche at 0:31
9. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:32
10. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr.

Etoile de Bessèges Final Overall Result:
1. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek in 15:43:21
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:09
3. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:10
4. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:17
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:20
6. Cyril Gautier (Fra) Europcar at 0:22
7. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:30
8. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:31
9. Eliot Lietar (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Soudal at 0:35.

The final podium:

header-bpost-trofee14Bpost Bank Trofee-Krawatencross 2015
The new World cyclo-cross champion, Mathieu Van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) showed off his rainbow jersey in the best way on Saturday by winning the last round of the Bpost Bank Trofee – Krawatencross – in Lille. Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) was second, but was unbeatable in overall for the series. Van der Poel finished on his own as Van Aert out-sprinted Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink), Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games).

Van der Haar and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) were early leaders with Meeusen taking the bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint ahead of Van der Haar and Vincent Baestaens (BKCP-Powerplus). Sven Nys looked better than he has been recently and came forward in the third lap which split the group, taking Van Aert, Van der Haar and Van der Poel with him. The move didn’t last long and they were pulled back.

On the fourth lap Van der Poel put the pressure on with only Sven Nys able to follow, for a short time. Behind them Lars van der Haar had to get past Meeusen to close the gap in the 5th lap. As soon as he bridged up, Van der Poel was gone and this time for good. Van der Haar was joined by Van Aert with Nys and Pauwels, but the lead just got bigger.

The world champion enjoyed his win, soaking up the applause from the crowd. Van Aert was by far the strongest of the others, while Nys was smart enough to jump on the Van Aert’s wheel for third.

Race winner Mathieu Van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus): “I’m delighted. When I headed here I received a box full of new clothing. That was very motivating. Once again I had great legs. We peaked towards this time of the year and then it’s great fun to race. I wasn’t exactly waiting at first. The first two laps I was struggling at the back of the group. I didn’t know what to think. It went so fast. In one move I reached the front and quickly realized that it was much more comfortable than riding at the back. I accelerated because it was a technical course that suits me. More quickly than I anticipated I had a gap. I feared that it would become another long effort but time quickly passed by.”

2nd Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace): “I hoped to ride for the victory today but I soon realized that winning would not be an option today. The strongest rider won today. That’s easier to deal with.”

3rd Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink Team): “I’m very pleased with this result. It means that I’m on the way back up. The English say: ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ I can end the season with good sensations.”

Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) won the Bpost Bank Trofee overall by 6:17 from Pauwels and 7:14 from Sven Nys in 3rd. “This was super important. The two championships are the most important races of the season but also the series are nice to score high. I’m very glad I won the series.”

Bpost Bank Trofee-Krawatencross Result:
1. Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace
3. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink Team
4. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
5. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon
6. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus
7. Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
8. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon-KwadrO
9. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea.


header-superprestige-leftSuperprestige Hoogstraten 2015
The World champion again showed everyone how strong he is at the moment by riding away from the all the others. Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) was the only rider able to stay close to Mathieu Van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus), but the rest of the riders were left to fight out the lower placings. The main battle was between Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) and Lars Van Der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) for third. Van Der Haar looked the better rider in the early part of the race, but Van Aert passed VaN Der Haar with just under two laps remaining.

The last round of the Superprestige is next Saturday in Middelkerke.

Winner Mathieu Van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus): “I know. Usually my second day isn’t as good as my first. Apparently I became stronger. It’s great, especially on a course like this. Ever since my training camp in Spain I’ve been enjoying splendid form and I still bear fruit from it. Usually my second day isn’t as good as my first. Apparently I became stronger. It’s great, especially on a course like this. Ever since my training camp in Spain I’ve been enjoying splendid form and I still bear fruit from it,”

Superprestige Hoogstraten Result:
1. Mathieu Van der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus
2. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace
4. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
5. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games
6. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink
7. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
8. Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace
9. Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon-KwadrO
10. Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Corendon-KwadrO.

All the races from Hoogstraten:

header-etixx-qr15Colombian Time Trial Championships
Etixx – Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Rigoberto Uran’s goal was to win the 40.6km Colombian National TT Championship on Saturday, so he could bring the Colombian colors on his back into his first races in Europe this season.

Rigo smashed his goal, winning with a time of 51:20, more than a minute and a half faster than 2nd place finisher Rafael Infantino (EPM-UNE-Área Metropolitana). Hernando Bohorquez was 3rd. It was the first win in Colombia as a professional for Uran.

The Colombian rider rode at an average speed of 47.455km/h along the Mall Llanogrande parcours.

Uran is the latest rider to add a victory to the 2015 Etixx – Quick-Step count, as the total is now seven overall (six road). Etixx – Quick-Step also won three races in 24 hours, with Mark Cavendish sealing Dubai Tour Stage 4, as well as the overall, earlier in the day.

“The parcours were good and the race went perfectly,” Uran said. “I am happy to bring this Colombian jersey to Europe as I hoped. I found immediately a good tempo and I was always in control. For me, this victory is also important because this is the first time in years I was able to ride in Colombia. I had a silver medal in this event nine years ago. So I am proud to come back home, after all this time, and take the next step with gold. There was a great public on the road for me and I had a feeling at times like I was at a time trial of one of the biggest races in the world. My public was really important in motivating me today. Their cheers gave me that extra push along the parcours. Now I will try to do something good in the road race tomorrow, but we will see. I will do my best. I accomplished my main goal and today I am happy.”

Colombian TT champs:

Team NN simple stacked.pdfTeam Novo Nordisk’s Scott Ambrose Wins Sprint Jersey at Tour de Filipinas
Team Novo Nordisk’s Scott Ambrose (NZL) took home top honors in the sprint classification Wednesday at the Tour de Filipinas after securing and protecting the jersey since Monday’s Stage 2.

“This win is the result of teamwork and dedication. I could not have done it without the support of my teammates,” the 20-year-old Ambrose said. “I am so proud to be a part of Team Novo Nordisk and I’m looking forward to our next race.”

Ambrose was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just two years ago and joined the Team Novo Nordisk development team in 2014. He was invited to stagiaire for the professional team late last season. The Tour de Filipinas was his first official race as part of the all-diabetes professional squad, where he also placed third in the young riders classification.

Team Novo Nordisk’s General Manager Vassili Davidenko said winning the sprint jersey proved all of Ambrose’s hard work during the winter paid off. Davidenko said he was proud of the team’s overall effort to preserve the jersey in a race that saw Ambrose win Stage 2 and teammates James Glasspool (AUS) and Joonas Henttala (FIN) each earning additional top 10 finishes.

“The Tour de Filipinas was a massive success for Team Novo Nordisk. I am very pleased with the results, especially Scott’s stage win and how they defended the jersey,” Davidenko said. “Scott is only 20-years-old and these results show his potential. We’re excited to see what the team can do throughout the rest of the season.”

The final day of racing started with attacks as teams jostled for control. Eventually, a five-man breakaway formed and Glasspool escaped. The group gained more than an eight-minute advantage at the halfway point and reached the final climb still intact. TPT Cycling Team’s Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour proved strongest in the breakaway and held on to take the win. Team Novo Nordisk’s Scott Ambrose finished 17th on the day and held his lead in the points classification.

Thomas Lebas (Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team) won the overall race while Ambrose finished outside the top 10 in 11th place.

The next race for Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, is the Dubai Tour, which takes place February 4-7. Martijn Verschoor (NED) sprinted to a 10th place finish on the first stage.

Tour de Filipinas - Scott Ambrose-620

header-dubai15Crazy Dubai!
The Dubai Tour was quite exciting, but in places for the wrong reasons. The crash of BMC Racing Team’s Klaas Lodewyck where he broke his right collarbone midway through Stage 3 was unbelievable. The peloton was crossing a grate covered by carpet when it suddenly lifted off the ground causing the crash.

Flying carpet crash:

But the ride by Ginat-Alpecin’s John Degenkolb to take stage 3 was heroic, he gave it everything he had.

Degenkolb after the line:

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