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EUROTRASH Still Doping Monday!

The sad news is that doping has not gone from the sport of cycling with four cases reported. On a brighter note we have all the results, reports, rider quotes and video from the Dubai Tour, Volta a la Valenciana, Ladies Tour of Qatar, Etoile de Bessèges and the final Superprestige cyclocross from Hoogstraten. Plus rider and team news and Peter Sagan takes a look at the course for the Rio Olympics road race. Coffee anyone?


TOP STORY: Doping Finished, Maybe Not!
It was looking like cycling had turned the corner, the scourge of doping was on the way out or that other sports were in the cross-hairs, but this week there have been four cases of doping reported in cycling.

Katusha’s Eduard Vorganov is being investigated by the UCI for a violation of the UCI anti-doping rules concerning the substance Meldonium which is a Lithuanian manufactured heart medicine. He has been suspended by his Katusha team (see below) while they wait for the analysis of the ‘B’ sample.

The Russian anti-doping agency has announced that two-time European track champion Elena Brezhniva has been banned for four years for doping. Her offense was backdated from June 22, 2015, she failed an out-of-competition test while at home in a case of “negligence,” Russian head cycling coach Sergei Kovpanets told the R-Sport agency.

The last two cases are from Colombia and concern Ivan Parra and Rafael Infantino who both tested positive last year for GHRP-2. Parra is a former pro with Once, Kelme-Costa Blanca, Cafes Baque, Selle Italia and Cofidis, he tested positive during the last edition of the Classic RCN, while Infantino failed an out of competition test.

Ivan Parra won two consecutive stages in the Giro d’Italia 2005, finishing in Ortijëi and Livigno and was 9th in the 1999 Vuelta a España, among other top results. Infantino won the Classic RCN in 2011, as well as four stages in the Tour of Colombia, three in 2013 and one last year, and was runner-up in the Colombian National championships in 2010 and 2015.

It looks like we still have a long way to go, but at least the stupid ones are being caught, which is a step forward.

Ivan Parra winning stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia 2005 – Mezzocorona to Ortisei:

Dubai Tour 2016
Elia Viviani (Sky) won Stage 2 of the Dubai Tour, from Dubai to Dubai (Palm Jumeirah Atlantis) in a bunch sprint and took the lead in the overall General Classification. On the podium he was rewarded with the leader’s Blue Jersey, sponsored by Commercial Bank of Dubai, and also the Red Jersey, sponsored by Emirates, of the points leader.

One year after winning stage 2 of the Dubai Tour at Palm Jumeirah in front of the magnificent Atlantis hotel, Italian sprinter Elia Viviani of Team Sky repeated his victory as he edged out his compatriots Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Andrea Guardini (Astana). He also succeeded Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step) in the lead of the overall classification on the eve of the queen stage to Hatta Dam.

Four riders contested most of the race at the front: Francisco Manchebo (Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team-Al Ahli Club), Koen de Kort (Giant-Alpecin), Silvan Dillier (BMC) and Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling). The latter won all intermediate sprints to claim the dedicated UAE flag jersey.

Manchebo forged on with 16km to go as the peloton was right behind him. He knew he’d get caught, especially because the breakaway was always kept under control with a gap of less than two minutes. The Spanish veteran was reeled in with 12km to go. British teams One Pro Cycling and Team Wiggins were the most active at the head of the peloton in the last 10km. Sir Bradley Wiggins himself sped up from 3 to 2km to go to stretch the bunch. A crash occurred at the exit of a tunnel 1km before the line but with minor consequences. Perfectly led out by Team Sky and ultimately Ben Swift at the end, Viviani took his first victory of the year on the same waterfront that looks like a springboard for another successful season.


Stage winner and overall leader, Elia Viviani (Sky): “Yesterday I opened my sprint too early and was left alone with no team-mate with 1km to go. I’m less fast than sprinters like Kittel and Cavendish, so to have a chance to beat them, I need everything to be perfect. We spoke about what went wrong last night and we rode perfectly as a team today. My lead out was excellent. Today’s stage was contested at a slower pace than yesterday’s and I was in an ideal position when the gap was closed onto the breakaway riders. This finale suits me. I won here last year as well. It’s beautiful to begin the year with a victory in Dubai.”

Songezo Jim (Dimension Data): The plan is clear; we are going for Cav every day. Today the crash in the final messed with our plans a bit. Cav is looking really good though and we are going to keep on trying, tomorrow is another day and another chance.”

Dubai Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky in 4:07:39
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana
5. Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Al Nasr Pro Cycling Team-Dubai
6. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
7. Michal Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff
8. Grzegorz Stepniak (Pol) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
9. Chris Opie (GB) ONE Pro Cycling
10. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data.

Dubai Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky in 7:42:50
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:02
4. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:04
5. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data
6. Soufiane Haddi (Mar) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team-Al Ahli Club at 0:09
7. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana at 0:10
8. Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) Al Nasr Pro Cycling Team-Dubai
9. Michal Kolar (Svk) Tinkoff
10. Chris Opie (GB) ONE Pro Cycling.

Stage 2:

The Spanish rider Juan José Lobato (Movistar) superbly out-sprinted all his rivals on the short but brutal climb to Hatta Dam to claim Stage 3 of the Dubai Tour, while runner up Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) took the lead of the general classification from Elia Viviani (Sky) on the eve of the conclusive stage.

Taiwan’s Feng Chun Kai (Lampre-Merida), Francisco Mancebo (Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team – Al Ahli Club), Andrew Tennant (Team Wiggins), Hayden McCormick (One Pro Cycling), David Lozano (Team Novo Nordisk) and Essaid Abelouache (Al Nasr Pro Cycling Team-Dubai) made the day’s breakaway but the peloton didn’t allow them more than two minutes.

Sky looked very motivated to help both the race leader Viviani to defend his jersey and Ben Swift, who was their designated sprinter for the stage victory. However, after Mancebo was the last escapee to surrender with 12km to go, Swift accompanied Astana’s duo Lieuwe Westra and Laurens De Vreese in an attempt to avoid a bunch gallop.

The riders were all back together before the final uphill. Well positioned by his Movistar team-mates, Lobato was able to express his great explosiveness at the end, beating Nizzolo and BMC’s Silvan Dillier at Hatta Dam with a comfortable margin.


Stage winner and 2nd overall, Juanjo Lobato (Movistar): “This victory makes me immensely excited and happy – I owe everything to my team-mates for their support. We knew we had to stay calm until the downhill after the last climb and give everything afterwards. They all were phenomenal in the finale, just like throughout the race. I knew the climb from last year’s finish and it was one that really liked and suited me. I learnt there that being in a good position into that last corner right was crucial; last year I couldn’t get things done right, but this time was the good one. I’ve worked really hard during the winter and this is a reward for that sacrifice, a proof that my condition is perfect at the moment and an extra boost of morale for the spring. I want to do well in the classics – it’s been long spoken about Sanremo and me; the team likes the race, I personally love it and I want to keep that form coming. I put too much pressure on myself last season and couldn’t be up there – let’s hope we make it in 2016. I also think about those other classics: Gent-Wevelgem, De Ronde… I won’t focus entirely on them, to avoid that pressure, but I’d still like to give them a try. For the time being, I’m already very happy to get my first win of the season here. Tomorrow? Let’s hope I still stand a chance to win overall; I’m happy with today’s success, but last year I took more risks into that flat finish and even got a 3rd place. You never know; it’s still at my reach. This victory is a tribute to my son, José, born three months ago, and Adriano Malori. I hope he can return to Italy soon and recover perfectly well. Everyone at this team thinks of him everyday.”

2nd on the stage and overall leader, Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo): “After two podiums on the flat stages, it’s satisfying to finish second uphill here. It’s a good sign. My form is good. The last climb was just a strong and brutal effort. I hope that I can keep the jersey tomorrow – we’ll give 100% for that. To be honest, I didn’t know this finish, and I thought it was a bit longer. When we hit the last corner, I had in front of me only [Philippe] Gilbert and Fabian, so I was waiting a bit. When I saw Lobato coming from behind, then I thought, ‘Ah, maybe the finish is very close, so I’d better go! It’s a pity to be second again, but still I can say I am happy because I have been on the podium in the two flat stages and today again on an uphill finish. And I am in the leader’s jersey – that’s also good news! It will be hard tomorrow, but first we will enjoy tonight and tomorrow we will see.”

3rd, Silvan Dillier (BMC): “It was a pretty hectic finish with some corners and speed bumps. We tried to stay calm until the last moment. I felt really good, I tried to stay with the team. Unfortunately I lost the wheel of Samuel Sánchez who did a really good job in getting us through the peloton smoothly and put Phil in a good position at the bottom of the climb. In the end I got third. It was a nice effort at the end and hopefully I gained a few places in the GC. The whole day it was a little bit windy and stressful as you’re never sure what’s going to happen so you need to be focused all the time, and always have some power on the pedals. My shape is good and I’m also on track with my Track World Championships preparation. I feel good. Yesterday was a nice stage in the breakaway and then today finishing third, so all good so far.”

Natnael Berhane (Dimension Data): “It wasn’t the best stage for us today. We try to look after Cavendish but in the final he had a flat wheel at a bad time. I was trying to follow some moves in the small climbs and used some energy. When I came back to the group Cav was not there so I had to try for the final as well but I had no more legs for the final climb. Tomorrow we will go full gas for the stage win with Cav.”

Dubai Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar in 4:13:23
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:02
3. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC at 0:04
4. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
5. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
6. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step
7. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:07
8. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff
9. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
10. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:11.

Dubai Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 11:56:11
2. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar at 0:02
3. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:06
4. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC at 0:12
5. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:19
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:21
7. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
8. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff at 0:24
9. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
10. Soufiane Haddi (Mar) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team-Al Ahli Club at 0:25.

Dubai Stage 3:

Marcel Kittel of Etixx – Quick Step impressed the rest of the field as he stormed to victory on the streets of Dubai in Stage 4, fending off race leader Giacomo Nizzolo of Trek-Segafredo, who crossed the finish line in sixth and, in turn, lost the overall classification to the German sprinter, who also won the points classification.

In the presence of Diego Armando Maradona, who attended the race for the third consecutive season, the Blue Jersey received the Circle of Stars, the winner’s trophy, from HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

During the stage, Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data), Jan Polanc & Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Sebastian Lander (One Pro Cycling), Mark Christian (Team Wiggins) and Roy Curvers (Giant-Alpecin) made the breakaway of the day. The composition of the escape was ideal for Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling) to retain the lead in the intermediate sprints. After regrouping with 11km to go, it all came down to a final and decisive bunch sprint. Had Nizzolo come second to Kittel, he would have kept the overall lead but the German was so powerful that no one managed to hold his pace, with Elia Viviani (Team Sky) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) finishing second and third, respectively. After transferring from Team Giant-Alpecin and overcoming an illness-marred 2015 season, Kittel is ready to dominate the sprints this year.

Cycling: 3th Dubai Tour 2016 / Stage 4

Stage 4 and overall winner, Marcel Kittel (Etixx – Quick-Step): “In the morning, at the technical meeting, we said it’s going to be all or nothing and that we’re going to focus only on the final sprint. During the stage, we stayed calm and moved to the front at the right moment. The key in the Dubai Tour is to have a strong team all the time, and I had one, which gave 100% for me. I was in an ideal position coming to the line and didn’t think at all of my opponents, just focused on doing things right. Now I’m very happy. That was the most important day of the race. It was a very hard ascent, with a 17% gradient, but I was in form and wanted to show what I can do on such a tough finish. It’s really awesome, it gives you a fantastic feeling to cap off the week like that. We trained a lot for the Dubai Tour in the winter and we were fully committed, not only because it was my first race of the season, but also because it was an opportunity to see how the train and the lead-out work. I’m more than satisfied with the way things went and I think we can all be proud. Now I’m even more motivated, and I can’t wait for the next races to come.”

3rd on the stage, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data): “With Daniel in the break we were in a great position today, not having to use our team to ride on the front. Obviously it was going to be more difficult without Bernie in the final, but the team were incredible. They kept me sheltered and safe near the front of the group. Actually, I was expecting a fast final 500m as the roadbook showed we did the slip-road. But as we approached, it was clear we did a sharp 100-degree corner. I was where I wanted to be behind Kittel and Viviani, but I entered the corner too sharply and scrubbed off too much speed. I left myself with too much to do in the final 250m against the fastest guys in the world. Overall, we’re really happy with the week. Obviously we had some bad luck, but Team Dimension Data were up at the front and visible the whole race. It’s only February but it is a very positive start for the rest of the year.”

Intermediate sprints winner, Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling): “Like yesterday, I had a teammate [Sebastian Lander] at the front, while I watched the riders who threatened my classification victory. After the first intermediate sprint, I felt safe. My team looked after me very well. It feels great to win here in front of Burj Khalifa with my new team. We worked together all week. I secured the jersey. Everything went well.”

Member of the winning team classification, Alex Dowsett (Movistar): “At Movistar, we’re all good! I’m joking but we’re always challenging for the teams classification. We’ve won it this time because we were trying to get Lobato to win the stage yesterday. He showed he’s extremely good at uphill sprints. But when it comes to the fast flat sprints, he’s lacking a bit of horse power against Kittel and the pure sprinters. However it’s great to have won the queen stage here. It’s an honor to attend the presentation with the whole team on stage. We’ll bring excellent memories of Dubai back home. Personally, the prologue of the Giro will be my next big goal.”

3rd overall, Juanjo Lobato (Movistar): “The stage went well and the team was perfect, but there was a lot of stress and some touch between riders with a kilometer to go made me lost all chances to contest the day’s win. Kittel unbeatable? Most probably yes, though I was feeling great today and I think we could have been closer to him than we were. I’m not disappointed about finishing just third – we came here with a GC podium as goal and it happened. Actually, I’m really happy about the work my team-mates delivered all race. Being all of us together on the podium as the winning team makes me happier than that 3rd spot. This week was a confirmation of the whole squad’s efforts early this season and also a proof of our great atmosphere, into racing and also outside. I think I’m building a good form – let’s hope to keep progressing and be 100% for that crucial month in the spring. This week also made me see that finishes like Hatta’s suit me better, as I’m a good sprinter yet less heavy than many rivals. I’m getting closer and closer to the top guys in the world in all finishes, though.”

Diego Armando Maradona: “I love Dubai and I’m very happy to be here for the last stage of the Dubai Tour. Today the winner is cycling but if I have to say something about Marcel Kittel… What muscles, what a body!”

Dubai Tour Stage 4 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 2:50:47
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
3. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data
4. Andrea Palini (Ita) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team-Al Ahli Club
5. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
8. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
9. Erik Baska (Svk) Tinkoff
10. Yanto Barker (GB) ONE Pro Cycling.

Dubai Tour Final Overall Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step in 14:46:54
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:04
3. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
4. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC at 0:16
5. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:23
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC at 0:25
7. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo
8. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff at 0:28
9. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
10. Soufiane Haddi (Mar) Skydive Dubai Pro Cycling Team-Al Ahli Club at 0:29.

The Final Stage 4:

Volta a la Valenciana 2016
Almost one year and a half since his last victory, which came in stage 4 of the 2014 Tour of Beijing, Dan Martin found again the road to success, this time in Stage 2 of the 67th edition of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where he conquered the European season’s first mountain top finish, Alto de Fredes (17 km, 4.5% average gradient, 12% maximum gradient). The two-time Monument winner took advantage of his powerful explosion and left everyone behind before soloing to the finish line, where he scored his maiden victory in the Etixx – Quick-Step jersey, a result which helped him move up in the overall standings.

The day began with a five-man break that was in the spotlight for almost 150 kilometers, before the peloton came back together on the final climb. There, Imanol Estevez (Euskadi) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) tried to get clear, but didn’t manage to build a considerable gap and were caught by the Sky-led pack. Immediately, Jose Herrada (Movistar) attacked and stayed at the front until the final 800 meters of the first-category ascent. As soon as the Spaniard was absorbed by the chasers, Dan Martin made his move, one which proved to be too strong for the others to react, and won with a 2-second advantage over Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and Wout Poels (Sky).

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2016 stage-2

Stage winner, Dan Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “As soon as I joined Etixx – Quick-Step, the welcome was incredible. Also, the atmosphere is really good for my confidence. Even from the start of today’s stage I really believed I had a chance to win. I had the legs, I managed to score this victory and have that perfect start to the season. With 3 kilometers to go, there was a flat section which was really fast. Many riders used it to come at the front, and at one moment I was bad positioned. Then I moved up, Navarro attacked and when I looked up and saw we are entering the last kilometer, I decided to give it a go. I sprinted three times, and in the last 250 meters, which were in a downhill, I already knew I had won. The victory came also as a result of the excellent job of my team, with the guys being fantastic throughout the day. When you see your teammates winning, you begin thinking it’s possible also for you to do it. That’s what is so good about Etixx – Quick-Step as a team, the atmosphere and the mentality. Everybody wants to land victories all the time, regardless of the race, and to get them gives you a lot of confidence.”

Volta a la Valenciana Stage 2:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:10:06
2. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar at 0:02
3. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky
4. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Sky
5. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale
6. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
7. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana
8. Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar
10. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale.

Volta a la Valenciana Overall After Stage 2:
1. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky in 4:32:42
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:15
3. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 0:22
4. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar at 0:26
5. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:27
6. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 0:32
7. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Sky at 0:33
8. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:38
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 0:39
10. Stef Clement (Ned) IAM Cycling at 0:45.

Valencia Stage 2:

The young Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (Lotto NL-Jumbo) got the better of Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) in the Stage 3 of the Tour of Valencia after 174 kilometers from Sagunto and Alzira. Wout Poels (Sky) still leads.

The Cofidis team launched Bouhanni to the line, but the French sprinter lost out by the smallest of margins to Groenewegen. Last year, when riding for the Roompot team, Groenewegen won the Brussels Cycling Classic and the Arnhem-Veenendaal Classic.

Maikin and Ovechkin (Gazprom-Rusvelo) Mihaylov (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice), Barbin (Bardiani-CSF), Bravo (Euskadi-Murias), Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Cubero (Burgos-BH) were the stars of the break, but they were pulled back in the final kilometers from there the sprinter team took over. Bob Jungles made a late attack, but went the wrong way on one of the tricky bend on the run in.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2016 stage-3

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo): “The guys helped me to a fantastic day. Paul, Steven, Tom, Alexey, Koen, Victor, Dennis… they were fantastic. It feels great to win in the first sprint of the season and repay the team’s confidence. I was positioned well and in the last 500 meters, I took the wheel of Bouhanni, he still had two of his men in front of him. I noticed when he went for the sprint that I could pass but I waited. At the very end, I came up and over for the victory – one for me and the team.”

Volta a la Valenciana Stage 3:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 4:04:12
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
3. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
4. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
6. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
7. Albert Torres (Spa) Spain
8. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
9. Filippo Fortin (Ita) GM Europa Ovini
10. Giorgio Bocchiola (Ita) D’Amico-Bottachia.

Volta a la Valenciana Overall After Stage 3:
1. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky in 8:36:54
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:15
3. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 0:22
4. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar at 0:26
5. Bob Jungels (Lux) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:27
6. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 0:32
7. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Sky at 0:33
8. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:38
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 0:39
10. Stef Clement (Ned) IAM Cycling at 0:45.

Stage 3:

Wouter Poels (Sky), the leader of the Tour of Valencia, consolidated his lead after winning Stage 4 on the hard finish to Xorret de Cati.

The break of the day was fell apart and the Norwegian Vegard Stake Laengen (IAM Cycling) was the last to be caught at the foot of the final climb. On the Xorret de Cati, the Astana team wanted to take control of the race from team Sky who had been dominant all day. 2015 Vuelta a España winner, Fabio Aru, escaped with Poels and teammate Diego Rosa and were joined by Daniel Navarro (Cofidis). However, the group was unable to gel properly, so Poels decided to attack to go solo with ease for his second stage win after his stage 1 time trial win. Meanwhile, Beñat Intxausti (Sky) and Ion Izaguirre (Movistar) came up to Aru and Navarro, while Rosa was dropped. Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) held onto 2nd place, but lost 31 seconds to the Dutchman.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2016 stage-4

Stage winner and overall leader, Wout Poels (Sky): “It was very nice to race in this way as a team. We controlled the day perfectly and the way my colleagues have worked for me in the final climb has been impressive. Being able to race as well as these guys is a pleasure. Again I felt strong. In the last climb everything went perfect. It was very steep, so you had to control. David [López] was pulling for me and then took over from Mikel [Landa]. It was then that the two Astana have changed the pace, while I was waiting for the final leg to attack and it worked perfectly, but I still have to race tomorrow and cross the finish line. Of course, we go for it and we are very close, it’s great.”

Volta a la Valenciana Stage 4:
1. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky in 3:26:32
2. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Sky at 0:23
3. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar
4. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:25
5. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis
6. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:31
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale at 0:38
8. Sergey Firsanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
9. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale
10. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar.

Volta a la Valenciana Overall After Stage 4:
1. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky in 12:03:26
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:46
3. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Sky at 0:56
4. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 1:01
5. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 1:10
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:26
7. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 1:27
8. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar at 1:31
9. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis at 1:34
10. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 1:50.

Valencia Stage 4:

Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx – Quick-Step) won Stage 5 and Wouter Poels (Sky) took the final overall and the sprints and KOM prize. Vandenbergh was the smartest rider of the day after six laps of a street circuit in the City of Valencia.

Before entering the circuit, the most significant break had eight riders: Mikel Iturria, Víctor de la Parte, Van Melsen, Maykin, Jesús del Pino, Huub Duyn and Domingos Gonçalves and eventually Jesus Herrada. They were neutralized by the peloton after 74 kilometers. Stijn Vandenbergh and Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF) broke away with 12 kilometers remaining, but Belgian attacked the Italian in the final 5 kilometers to go solo. Vandenbergh continued his ride to the finish even with a plastic bag stuck to the rear of his bike. He entered the last lap with 18 seconds in hand on the peloton and held them off to the line, but it was very close.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2016 stage-5

Stage winner, Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I came in good shape here, felt really strong, and when we entered on the circuit I said to myself that I have nothing to lose if I give it a shot. I tried not to think of the peloton, to go full gas, and in the end it all paid off. It’s really nice to win and to get more confidence ahead of the spring, especially as it has been quite a long time since my previous success.”

2nd on the stage,Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo): “Cofidis asked for help, but my guys all crashed. We were well grouped when we suddenly slipped with the whole group in a corner. I was able to jump quickly on my bike. I then made my own race. It is unfortunate that I had nobody with me in the final, perhaps the outcome would have been different otherwise. But it was strong of Stijn to keep the lead. Bouhanni tried to slow me down in the last corner. I came over him and won the bunch sprint easily. As a team we rode well, Valencia will serve us well for the next race.”

Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling): “I was able to stay with the best climbers on the queen stage. The gradient was steep, but I gave absolutely everything to get the best result possible. I was just missing twelve-seconds to be able to crack the top-10. And I lost those few seconds in the time trial. Even without winning a stage, this race provided an excellent training block and preparation for the whole team. I am certain we will start getting the top results in the coming races.”

Volta a la Valenciana Stage 5:
1. Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step in 2:12:25
2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
3. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
4. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
5. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
6. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Matti Breschel (Den) Cannondale
9. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Volta a la Valenciana Final Overall Result:
1. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky in 14:15:51
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:46
3. Benat Intxausti (Spa) Sky at 0:56
4. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 1:01
5. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar at 1:10
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:26
7. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 1:27
8. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar at 1:31
9. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis at 1:34
10. Leopold Konig (Cze) Sky at 1:50.

The Final Stage 5:

Ladies Tour of Qatar 2016
A year after her last stage win, also at Madinat Al Shamal, Ellen Van Dijk made the best of her time-trialling skills to conquer her third success in Qatar. The Dutch rider, part of a breakaway group that took off as soon as the first few kilometers of a wind swept day, powered away in the last moments of the race. She was never to be caught and triumphantly crossed the line on her own, clear of Kirsten Wild and Lauretta Hanson. The golden jersey changes shoulders and goes to Germany’s Trixi Worrack.

A nightmare for many, a fantastic opportunity for others: as expected the wind showed up on the Ladies Tour of Qatar for the queen Stage 3 of the event, the loop around Madinat Al Shamal. 87 riders gathered together for the start of the 112-km race by the splendid Al Zubarah Fort, first ever UNESCO World heritage site in Qatar.

With the wind blowing hard from the north-west, the action started as soon as the very first kilometers of racing. Indeed, at km 2, 13 ladies powered away led by stage 1 winner and five-time winner of the Tour, Kirsten Wild (HPU). Eager to hit back after suffering both a broken chain and a crash yesterday, the Dutch woman, wearing the points silver jersey, made the best of the conditions, taking with her the likes of Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans), Trixi Worrack (Canyon-SRAM), Romy Kasper (Boels-Dolmans), Gracie Elvin (Orica-AIS), Shelley Olds (Cylance) and best young rider, Anouska Koster (Rabo-Liv). Trapped behind, golden jersey, Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) reached km 5 with a 50 second deficit.

The gap carried on increasing on the way to the circuit around Madinat and reached a maximum 2’50 at km 50 between the front group of 12 that had lost French rider Jeuland, and a pack including Garfoot, and title contenders Amy Pieters and Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5). At the first passage on the line, struggling against the strong headwind, the leaders saw their advantage drop down to 2 minutes. The first intermediate sprint of the day, at the second passage on the line (km 72) was claimed by Elvin ahead of Koster and Hanson (Australia), while the front group could still enjoy a 1:55 advantage.

The gap carried on dropping but the front ladies continued their strong efforts. At the fourth passage on the line (km 99), the leaders’ advantage had dropped to 55 seconds as Hanson captured the second intermediate sprint ahead of Van Dijk and Wild. Moments later, with just under a lap to go, Gracie Elvin took off on her own for a long courageous effort. The Australian reached the final 10-km mark with a slim 10 seconds lead. She was eventually caught at km 108.

It was still looking good for the front group, enjoying a 45 seconds advantage with 2kms to go. Like a year ago, at almost the exact same place, Ellen Van Dijk powered away. The 2013 World time-trial champion managed to stay clear of her chasers and victoriously crossed the finish line with a 7 seconds lead over Kirsten Wild and Lauretta Hanson, second and third on the day. After claiming the overall event back in 2011, Van Dijk captures her third stage success in Qatar.

Fifth of the day’s race, Trixi Worrack who had finished second yesterday, conquers the overall lead and the golden jersey going with it. With one stage to go, the German has a 17 seconds lead over Romy Kasper and 31 seconds over Van Dijk. Kirsten Wild keeps command of the points classification (silver jersey) while Australia’s Hanson claims the white pearl jersey for the best young rider of the event.
Thanks to ASO.

Ladies Tour of Qatar 2016 stage - 3

Stage winner, Eleonora Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans): “The first kilometer was one big fight. We had to fight until the end and we also had to play it smart and wait until the right moment. And in the end, it worked out absolutely well.”

Ladies Tour of Qatar Stage 3 Result:
1. Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Boels-Dolmans in 2:48:56
2. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Hitec Products at 0:07
3. Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Australia
4. Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo-liv
5. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Canyon-SRAM at 0:08
6. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS at 0:11
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM at 0:13
8. Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels-Dolmans at 0:19
9. Shelley Olds (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling at 0:24
10. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 0:45.

Ladies Tour of Qatar Overall After Stage 3:
1. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Canyon-SRAM in 8:15:28
2. Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels-Dolmans at 0:17
3. Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 0:31
4. Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica-AIS at 0:34
5. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS at 0:50
6. Amy Pieters (Ned) Wiggle-High5 at 0:53
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM at 0:56
8. Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Australia at 1:32
9. Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo-liv at 1:34
10. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle-High5 at 1:42.

Qatar Stage 3:

The Final Stage 4 of the 2016 Ladies’ Tour of Qatar ended with a traditional bunched sprint on the magnificent Doha Corniche. Fastest of the day was Australia’s Chloe Hosking, beating to the line Kirsten Wild and Monique Van Der Ree. Ever present at the front since day 1, 34-year-old Trixi Worrack, who took command of the GC after yesterday’s stage in Madinat Al Shamal, kept good control of her race leadership winning the 8th edition of the event ahead of Romy Kasper and Ellen Van Dijk.

Days go by and the temperature rises on the Ladies’ Tour of Qatar. Today, for the final day of the event, the sun was shining in beautiful fashion, to the great pleasure of the remaining 80 riders still in the race. The pack took off just after 2 PM for a 73-km stage, starting in the impressive Aspire Zone, and heading towards the picturesque Doha Corniche. After conquering the overall lead yesterday, Trixi Worrack (Canyon-SRAM) was proudly wearing the golden jersey on her shoulders, enjoying a comfortable 17 seconds lead over Romy Kasper (Boels-Dolmans).

After a rather quiet start all the way to the 6-km Doha Corniche circuit, the pace went up on the lap before the first intermediate sprint. At km 27, fourth passage on the line, Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) claimed the sprint ahead of Anouska Koster (Rabo-Liv) and Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans). Thanks to her second spot and two bonus seconds, Koster virtually caught up with Lauretta Hanson (Australia) in the lead of the best young rider standings.

After several breakaway attempts, Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) managed to pull away from the pack at kilometer 36. The American saw her lead reach 22 seconds with five laps to go, while Anna Trevisi (Alé-Cippolini), followed by Yixian Pu (China-Chongming-Liv-Champion System) took off on a counter-attack. The second bonus sprint was claimed by Rivera with a 30 seconds advantage over Trevisi and Pu and 1:20 over the pack. With two laps to go, the gaps had dropped down to 20 seconds on the first chasers and 48 seconds on the bunch. While Trevisi and Pu were caught at the 62 km mark, Rivera managed to hang on until the 67th kilometer before being gobbled up by the hungry pack.

Led by teams Hitec Products and Wiggle High5, the main field remained bunched until the final sprint. On the last straight, Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5) powered to glory, capturing her first stage success this year (her second in Qatar), beating Kirsten Wild (Hitec products) and Monique Van Der Ree (Lares-Waowdeals) to the line.

Comfortably settled in the pack and well protected by her Canyon-SRAM team mates, Trixi Worrack crossed the finish line in 14th position, in the same time as the day’s winner, hence winning this 8th edition of the race with a 17 seconds advantage over Romy Kasper (Boels-Dolmans) and 28 seconds over Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans). At 34-year-old German who had already claimed a stage success in Qatar several years ago, and clinched 4 UCI World team time-trial titles, conquered the overall event for the first time in her career. The points classification (silver jersey) is won by stage 1 winner Kirsten Wild while the best young rider of the event is Anouska Koster (Rabo-Liv).
Thanks to ASO.


Overall winner, Trixi Worrack (Canyon-SRAM): “We didn’t know what to expect because the gaps were not so big. We thought they would attack a lot more and we would have to do something and work more, but it was ok today.”

Stage winner, Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5): “I think we had to redeem ourselves for the rest of the tour so it’s a big satisfaction for me to cross the line first today. My team were absolutely phenomenal on the last two laps, so I’m very pleased. I think we all had to work really hard yesterday – I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder in a bike race and it wasn’t even for the win. My legs were a bit sore today, my butt was a bit sore, and I really wasn’t sure how I was feeling, but the team said they’d ride for me today. And I’m a sprinter – as soon as I get a smell of the line it’s all go.”

Ladies Tour of Qatar Stage 4 Result:
1. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle-High5 in 1:46:09
2. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Hitec Products
3. Monique Van De Ree (Ned) Lares-Waowdeals
4. Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo-liv
5. Shelley Olds (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling
6. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Alé-Cipollini
7. Kimberley Wells (Aus) Australia
8. Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Italy
9. Lizzie Williams (Aus) Orica-AIS
10. Chantal Blaak (Ned) Boels-Dolmans.

Ladies Tour of Qatar Final Overall Result:
1. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Canyon-SRAM in 10:01:37
2. Romy Kasper (Ger) Boels-Dolmans at 0:17
3. Eleonora Van Dijk (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 0:28
4. Katrin Garfoot (Aus) Orica-AIS at 0:43
5. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Orica-AIS at 0:50
6. Amy Pieters (Ned) Wiggle-High5 at 0:53
7. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Canyon-SRAM at 0:56
8. Anouska Koster (Ned) Rabo-liv at 1:32
9. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Wiggle-High5
10. Lauretta Hanson (Aus) Australia.

Qatar Stage 4:

Etoile de Bessèges 2016
Race leader Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) won Stage 2 and his second stage in a row in the Etoile de Bessèges after 153 kilometers from Nîmes and Mejannes Le Clap. He beat Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) and Dimitri Claeys (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

Pacher (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM) Claeys (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Baldo (Team Roth), Leleu (Veranclassic AUG) and Reus (Vérandas Willems) were the five escapees of the day. Claeys was only caught in the final meters and still managed third.


2nd on the stage, Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling): “This is good for the team and for me. I have not made a very strong start this year. After that first sprint on Wednesday, which was one to forget for me, I felt more comfortable today, even if this is not my preferred type of arrival. I was on Bryan Coquard’s wheel for the finale. At the left hand turn with 250 meters to go to the line, I lost a few meters in the surge, and was not able to get them back.”

3rd, Dimitri Claeys (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I wanted to test myself today. Towards the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad I need a few extra per cents and you don’t gain those by just sitting in the bunch, I studied the roadbook well and wanted to try something on that climb. The cooperation in the breakaway was good until that moment. On the climb my final started. My former Veranda’s Willems teammate and good friend Kai Reus and I went very deep until the finish line. I have given a lot today and to be honest I have felt better. I was counting and calculating in my head the whole time. It would be close, very close. In the end it wasn’t to my advantage. My goal is now to do a good overall here. I am now second at 13 seconds from Bryan Coquard. Sunday the race ends with a 12-kilometer time trial. I want to try and give my all that day to finish this race well in the overall classification.”

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 2 Result:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie in 3:51:23
2. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
3. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
6. Romain Feillu (Fra) HP-BTP-Auber 93
7. Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Adrien Petit (Fra) Direct Energie
9. Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr
10. Nicolas Vereecken (Bel) An Post-ChainReaction.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 2:
1. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Direct Energie in 7:16:41
2. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:13
3. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda’s Willems at 0:14
4. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling
5. Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:16
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:17
7. Kai Reus (Ned) Veranda’s Willems at 0:18
8. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:19
9. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:20
10. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr.

Bessèges Stage 2:

Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) won the 152 kilometer Stage 3 of the Etoile de Bessèges beating Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) and Arthur Vichot (FDJ.fr). The French veteran is also the new leader and took three out of three stages for the Direct Energie team, after the first two wins by his teammate Bryan Coquard.

The break was large and had quality: Monfort & Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), Pinot, Reichenbach and Vichot (FDJ.fr), Latour, Péraud & Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale), Coppel & Devenyns (IAM Cycling), Tulik & Chavanel (Direct Energie ), Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Cousin & Hardy (Cofidis), Cam & Delaplace (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Antomarchi (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Dassonville (HP-BTP-Auber 93), Delfosse & Warnier (Wallonie Bruxelles). Chavanel won the sprint form the lead group, which finished nearly 3 minutes ahead of the yellow jersey group.


Etoile de Bessèges Stage 3 Result:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie in 3:40:06
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
3. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles-Group Protect
5. Jerome Cousin (Fra) Cofidis
6. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
7. Fabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Flavien Dassonville (Fra) HP-BTP Auber 93
9. Boris Dron (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Maxime Cam (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 3:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie in 10:56:53
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:02
3. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:09
4. Boris Dron (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:11
5. Jerome Cousin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:12
6. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:14
7. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept
8. Antoine Warnier (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles-Group Protect
9. Flavien Dassonville (Fra) HP-BTP Auber 93
10. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.

Stage 3:

Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) won Stage 4 of the Etoile de Bessèges over a 148 kilometer course of three climbs giving the Navarran rider his first win of the season.

The break went from the start with the Spaniard, Frédéric Brun (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Evaldas Siskevicius (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM), Dieter Bouvry (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Thomas Rostollan (Armée de Terre) and Jacob Scott (An Post-Chain Reaction), but the peloton were only half a minute behind them in the final kilometers.

The Direct Energie team had been in control of the peloton for their leader Sylvain Chavanel, who even attacked in the last 10 kilometers to try to catch the escapees. In the end Direct Energie were close enough to the break to keep French veteran in the lead.


Etoile de Bessèges Stage 4 Result:
1. Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in 3:35:18
2. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 0:02
3. Dieter Bouvry (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole at 0:04
4. Frederic Brun (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept at 0:07
5. Michel Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton at 0:11
6. Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
7. Conor Dunne (Irl) An Post-Chainreaction at 0:13
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie
9. Romain Feillu (Fra) HP-BTP Auber 93
10. Yannick Eckmann (USA) Roth-Skoda.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 4:
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie in 14:32:24
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:02
3. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:09
4. Jerome Cousin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:12
5. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept at 0:14
6. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
9. Romain Hardy (Fra) Cofidis
10. Lukas Jaun (Swi) Roth-Skoda.

Stage 4:

The Frenchman on the Swiss IAM Cycling team; Jérôme Coppel, won the Final Stage 5 time trial and overall in the Etoile de Bessèges. Coppel overtook the leader, Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), who was fifth today and knocked off the podium, which was occupied by Coppel, Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), and Thibault Pinot (FDJ.fr) who was second in the time trial.


Stage 5 and final overall winner, Jérôme Coppel (IAM Cycling): “I wanted to win the stage; but to get the overall as well is even better. I knew I had to make the difference in the last two kilometers of the rollers. So I left some extra reserves to be able to call on them near the end. On the last steep climb I gave everything that I had; but I didn’t thinkI had created such a gap. With this double win, I have been able to reward all the hard work that all the guys, and the staff, have done throughout the week. This success is not only good for me but the entire team as well.”

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 5 Result:
1. Jérôme Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling in 16:49
2. Thibault Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:13
3. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:15
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:25
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:30
6. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:33
7. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:33
8. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:40
9. Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:40
10. Maxime Montfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:43.

Etoile de Bessèges Final Overall Result:
1. Jérôme Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling in 14:49:26
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:13
3. Thibault Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:14
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:16
5. Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:28
6. Dries Devenyns (Bel) IAM Cycling at 0:33
7. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:40
8. Maxime Montfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:49
9. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept at 0:53
10. Julien Antomarchi (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole at 1:00

Bessèges Stage 5:
***Video when available***

Superprestige Hoogstraten 2016
With nothing to prove in the Superprestige, as he had already won it overall, there was no pressure on World champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Vastgoedservice), but he was second to Mathieu Van Der Poel (BKCP-Corendon) at 17 seconds. Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) filled the podium at 54 seconds and the about to retire, Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) was fourth at 1:22.

Hansgrohe Superprestige cyclocross race of Hoogstraten 2015

Superprestige Hoogstraten Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Corendon in 1:00:26
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice at 0:17
3. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:54
4. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink at 1:22
5. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate-Murprotec at 1:40
6. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:57
7. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 2:16
8. David Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Corendon at 2:34
9. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 2:49
10. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 2:52.


Team Katusha statement on Eduard Vorganov
Team Katusha notes that the UCI has started a proceeding against Eduard Vorganov for a violation of the UCI anti-doping rules.

We understand that the adverse analytical finding concerns the substance Meldonium (also known as Mildronate) which was placed on the prohibited list only on 1 Jan 2016. Team Katusha confirms that this substance has never been used by the Team in any form and was not provided to the rider by the team.
In accordance with Team Katusha’s zero tolerance policy, Eduard Vorganov has been suspended from all team activities, effective immediately. In the event that Eduard Vorganov took this product on his own initiative, Team Katusha will conduct an investigation as such conduct is in breach of the Team’s strict medical and anti-doping internal rules.*

With that said, Eduard Vorganov awaits the results of his B sample, and Team Katusha respects and will adhere to the process of the anti-doping authorities and will not comment further at this time.
Team Katusha would like to emphasize that it takes all possible measures in order to avoid anti-doping rule violations within its team and is fully committed to fight doping. Team Katusha is obviously extremely disappointed that a situation like this could occur despite these measures.

*No medicine, medical substance and/or natural, nutritional or homeopathic (or equivalent) supplement may be purchased, kept, advised or taken by any Team Member, and no treatment can be carried out other than directed by the Team Doctors, unless otherwise approved by the Head Doctor. (art. 10.B.1, 2016 Team Manual). Any medicine purchased should be compulsory attested by a regular medical prescription written on the headed paper of the doctor who has prescribed the relevant medication. (art. 10.B.2, 2016 Team Manual).

Eduard Vorganov:
Trofeo Serra de Tramunta on Mallorca day 4

Races for Lars van der Haar in February
January began with a seventh place finish at the Grand Prix Sven Nys for Team Giant-Alpecin’s Lars van der Haar (NED), followed by a strong second place at the Dutch Nationals, a third place at the penultimate World Cup round in Lignieres-en-Berry and a seventh place at Hoogerheid, the World Cup closer. The racing month of January was finished by a close call at the World Championships as van der Haar took the silver medal in Heusden-Zolder.

“January has been a nice month for me which I’ve been working towards,” said van der Haar. “I took three second places on the Nationals, the final World Cup ranking and the Worlds. Obviously I hoped for more, but I gave my all and I am proud that my performance peaked at the World Championships.

“For February I hope to finish the cyclo-cross season with some strong results and ideally with another victory.”

February Race Calendar Lars van de Haar:
06/02/2016 – St Niklaas, Belgium
07/02/2016 – Hoogstraten, Belgium
13/02/2016 – Middelkerke, Belgium
21/02/2016 – Oostmalle, Belgium
24/02/2016 – Waregem, Belgium

Lars van der Haar:
Superprestige Cyclocross Middelkerke 2015

BMC Racing Team Rider Medical Update
Marcus Burghardt
Dr. Testa:
“Marcus is recovering from an elbow injury sustained in a crash during the Santos Tour Down Under. He has improved a lot faster than we originally anticipated and is already training on the road again. Marcus is an important rider for our Classics campaign and he should be ready to race in the coming weeks.”

Burghardt: “It feels good to be back training already. I’m feeling healthy and don’t have any pain in my left elbow. I’m taking things a bit easier but I am almost back to my normal program, so it will be good to race again soon.”

Stefan Küng
Dr. Testa:
“Stefan was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr Virus (mononucleosis) in late December which required him to halt his pre-season training. He has since been training with the team at our most recent camp in Denia and I think in the next three weeks he will be able to race again.”

Küng: “I’m feeling much better after having some weeks off the bike. I’ve been back training for about two weeks now and I’m taking things one day at a time and slowly building up my training intensity. I’m already seeing progress and I’m looking forward to getting back into racing soon.”

Dylan Teuns
Dr. Testa:
“Dylan has been suffering from pneumonia which has slowed down his training in the past three weeks. He can now start training more consistently but it will probably be another 4-6 weeks before he can race. His priority will be to work on his fitness once he is fully recovered.”

Teuns: “I had four weeks completely off the bike but am back riding now. I’m feeling better everyday and slowly seeing progression, but I still need to work on my fitness and condition.”

Loïc Vliegen
Dr. Testa:
“The Dubai Tour was Loïc’s first race since undergoing surgery to correct a congenital heart defect in October. All of the tests that have been done show that he has completely recovered, so we are confident he is ready to resume racing.”

Vliegen: “My heart operation really is behind me now. It all went well and despite the fact that I had to stop training for two months, my form is coming back. It was nice to be racing again in Dubai.”

Marcus Burghardt:
Santos Tour Down Under 2016 stage 2

Successful knee surgery for Guillaume Martin
Guillaume Martin had surgery this Friday in the hospital of Herentals, Belgium. The surgery was performed successfully by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Toon Claes.

The young French rider was suffering from knee problems since December. Halfway through the training camp in Benidorm, Spain last January he travelled to Belgium for a consultation in the Herentals hospital. Dr. Claes advised Martin to take some time off the bike but unfortunately this was not enough.

After an MRI-scan Dr. Claes decided that surgery on the knee was necessary. Martin can now start his recovery period which involves three days of moving around on crutches. After ten days he can slowly try to move the knee joint again. Martin will not be able to ride his bike before the end of February.

“In 3 or 4 weeks I can restart on the bike with easy training seasons. The team and I aim for a return to competition early April, in the Coupe de France races: Route Adélie de Vitré or Paris-Camembert. I don’t want to put too much of a fixed date in my head. A fast return and then a backlash is not what I want. I do hope to return in-form for the Ardennes Classics to continue racing in May with the Criterium du Dauphiné in the back of my head,” Martin declared.

Guillaume Martin:

Olympic Recon by Peter Sagan
Peter Sagan and some of the other Tinkoff riders took in the course for the Rio Olympics road race, looks tough.

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