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Montpellier - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Peter Sagan (SLK-Tinkoff) - Chris Froome (GBR-Team Sky) - Geraint Thomas (GBR-Team Sky) - Maciej Bodnar (POL-Tinkoff) pictured during stage 11 of the 2016 Tour de France from Carcassonne to Montpellier, 164.00 km - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

EUROTRASH Sagan Thursday!

A Tourtastic EUROTRASH Thursday from France and Poland with race reports, rider quotes, results and video. What is going on with these sneaky late attacks – Top Story. In other cycling news: Sunweb to sponsor Giant-Alpecin in 2017, Iljo Keisse & Yves Lampaert stay with Etixx – Quick-Step, Robert Wagner & Timo Roosen for LottoNl-Jumbo, Bauke Mollema, Markel Irizar & Grégory Rast with Trek-Segafredo, Joaquim Rodriguez retires, Alberto Contador medical up-date, Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix and who is the coolest in the Tour peloton? Big Tour coffee time.

TOP STORY: Is there a Plan?
When Chris Froome made his bold attack on the final descent of stage 8 on the Col de Peyresourde down into Bagnères de Luchon to take 13 seconds and the yellow jersey, the Kenyan said about the attack: “it was just a bit of fun really.” So nothing serious then. On Wednesday he went with the late attack by Peter Sagan for 6 seconds plus 6 more seconds bonus to give the Sky rider a 28 second lead over 2nd placed Adam Yates and 35 seconds on probably his biggest threat, Nairo Quintana. After the finish Sagan commented: “I didn’t believe when we attacked that we could go.” All this ‘opportunistic’ stuff just doesn’t make sense, we are talking about the overall and the points leader, both riders are not naive, young guys, they are multi-winners in two of the biggest teams. These sort of moves are great for the sport, but nothing like this happens by accident.

The other rumor going round is that Peter Sagan has signed (for an enormous fee) a contract with a German based ProConti team for 2017 and will be taking riders with him and there are going to be quite a few unemployed riders soon and so a favor was given to the World champion. Not sure about that as Sagan looks to be as strong as ten men at the moment.

Forget the intrigue and enjoy the Tour action:

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Tour de France 2016
First Australian win at the Tour de France this year with Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange), who out-sprinting Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) at the end of Stage 10 in Revel for a revenge of the last world championship. It was a royal breakaway with former yellow jersey holder Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and 2014 Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana). Chris Froome (Sky) retained the lead in the overall ranking.

193 riders started stage 10 in the principality of Andorra. Peter Sagan was the most active in the uphill start. Several breakaway attempts took shape on the way to the Port d’Envalira, the highest summit of this year’s Tour de France (alt. 2408m) located after only 24km of racing. Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) managed to crest alone in the lead and a prestigious leading quartet was formed in the downhill with Sagan, Vincenzo Nibali and Michael Matthews. A 15-man breakaway group was eventually reunited at km 73 with Mikel Landa (Sky), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-La Mondiale), Damiano Caruso and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Edvald Boasson Hagen and Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data), Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal), Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie), Luke Durbridge, Daryl Impey and Matthews, Nibali, Sagan and Rui Costa.

The maximum time gap was recorded at 7:04 after 103 kilometers. As Katusha gave up pretty quickly and Team Sky was only setting a steady tempo at the front of the peloton, IAM Cycling decided to chase the breakaway down and Direct Energie took over from them in the last 50 kilometers although they had Chavanel in the leading group. With 40km to go, as cross winds added to the rain to make the racing harder, the deficit of the peloton was reduced to 4:40. The leading group was split on the initiative of Sagan with 25km to go. Seven riders got a gap: Sagan, Dumoulin, Van Avermaet, Boasson Hagen, Matthews, Durbridge and Impey. Durbridge was the only one to get dropped on the climb to Saint-Ferréol after working to make this breakaway a success. Orica-BikeExchange’s superiority was obvious at the end also. Impey put Sagan under pressure on a few occasions before leading Matthews out. The Canberra-born rider who finished second to Sagan at the world championship in Richmond last year took his revenge in Revel.

This is Matthews’ first stage win at the Tour de France at the age of 25. He was very frustrated after he wasn’t able to start the 2014 Tour de France due to a crash two days before the inaugural stage in Leeds. Last year, he crashed again during stage 3. He was badly injured but completed the race as an investment for his future as he refused to give up, convinced that he had to win his first battle against the Tour de France after he already won stages at the Vuelta a España and the Giro d’Italia.

Revel - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Michael Matthews (AUS-Orica-BikeExchange 0 Peter Sagan (SLK-Tinkoff) - Greg van Avermaet (BEL-BMC Racing Team) pictured during stage 10 of the 2016 Tour de France from Escaldes-Engordany to Revel, 198.00 km- photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner, Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange): “It’s unbelievable, the emotion at the moment is just sinking in. I’ve just won a stage of the Tour de France after two really bad years in this race. I was really close to giving up on this race, I just thought this race is not for me and I’d focus on other races, but today my dreams came true. It was never the plan to get into the breakaway, we thought it was going to come down to a bunch sprint. We have such a strong group of guys here and the way we work as a team is that everyone gives everything for their teammates. As you could see Daryl (Impey) and Luke (Durbridge) gave their all for me today and were both amazing all the way to the end.”

2nd on the stage and points leader, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff): “I used a lot of energy during the stage as a lot of guys in the breakaway wouldn’t always work. I was trying to keep turning with everybody then I attacked in the crosswinds in the last 20-25km. I then did a lot of attacking in the climb but couldn’t get away. The guy from Orica was attacking in the last 3km – I always chased him and all the work was on me in the final. I took second and I’m happy for Michael as he took his first stage at the Tour de France, and I took more points for the green jersey.

4th on the stage, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “I wanted to surprise them and go from far as most of the time it’s my strongest point, but a few guys came over me. It’s been pretty good. It was a dream for me to ride with the Yellow Jersey and have a stage win. Now I’ve recovered well after the rest day and I’m pretty happy with my legs today so I was happy that I could fight again for the victory. It was a hard day on the climb and I knew if a big break goes then it would go to the finish, and that’s why I tried to stay as long as possible. I climbed with the peloton, did a good descent and then bridged with Sylvain Chavanel to the breakaway. But I think Sagan was really strong so it was hard to beat him.”

7th on the stage, Luke Durbridge (Orica-BikeExchange): “When you close out like that you could call it a technical masterpiece. We are pretty happy with that. It took full commitment from everyone from kilometer zero to the finish. It doesn’t always come together like that but when it does it’s pretty special.”

Bert-Jan Lindeman (LottoNl-Jumbo): “I was not good enough for the breakaway, starting with a climb is very hard. If you don’t have a good day then you’re done. Normally, I come out of a rest day OK, but this time it was harder. If you are not in the breakaway then it is quite frustrating, but now we will focus on the next stages and we’ll fight to be in the escape.”

Damiano Caruso (BMC): “Today was a good day for us because Greg and I did a good job in the breakaway. It was also good for the team as well, as we took the lead of the Team Classification again. At the end it was a really fast and hard day because the first climb was really hard and then in the descent we formed the breakaway and we kept going to the finish. It was really hard at the end with the wind and rain and the breakaway split into two parts. Greg was in the first part which was good because he is faster than me. My condition is good and I think we’re in for some really hard days, but I think I’m ready to help our leaders, Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen.”

Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo): “The start was not really good, but I knew that everything would come together, I’m working on recovering after my crash.”

Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “It was a rude start back into the race with a 23 kilometer climb right off the bat and then you add the rain to it. But it was good. It was nice to have the day of rest and I feel good, ready to tackle the second week.”

Tour de France Stage 10 Result:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange in 4:22:38
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
5. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:02
7. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange at 1:10
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 3:01
9. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 3:10
10. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 10:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 49:08:20
2. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:16
3. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:19
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:23
5. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 0:37
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:44
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky
9. Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre-Merida at 0:55
10. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:01.

Stage 10:

Summary – Stage 10 (Escaldes-Engordany / Revel… por tourdefrance_en

Montpellier’s finale of Stage 11 was promised to the sprinters but Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) stormed to victory as he rode away from the pack with 12km to go after the echelons kept the race alive all the way. It was absolutely spectacular as race leader Chris Froome (Sky) responded to Sagan’s attack. They both took a team-mate with them and rode to the finish where the Slovakian took his second stage win and significantly consolidated his green jersey. Froome gained twelve seconds over his rivals on GC on the eve of the much expected ascent to Mont Ventoux.

192 riders started stage 11 at Carcassonne. French champion Arthur Vichot (FDJ) was the first rider in action after 3km, Leigh Howard (IAM Cycling) soon joined him. It was a roller coaster beginning of a stage for the French team as polka dot jersey holder Thibaut Pinot crashed at kilometer 25, but with no consequence. Wilco Kelderman and George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo), Jurgen Vandenbroeck (Katusha), Sébastien Reichenbach (FDJ) were among the riders forced to chase to make it back to the pack. The strong favorable side wind made the peloton very nervous. GC teams like Team Sky, Tinkoff, Katusha and BMC stayed up front. The advantage of Vichot and Howard maxed at 4:53 at kilometer 62, but echelons shortened their adventure. Successively, Tinkoff, Astana and Trek-Segafredo put the hammer down and created echelons. Vichot and Howard were reeled in with 60 kilometers to go.

Pinot was caught in an echelon but his team-mates Anthony Roux and Jérémy Roy brought his 81-man strong group back to the pack. Pinot’s direct rival for the polka dot jersey Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) also crashed. After a fierce battle in the crosswinds, it looked like a standard bunch sprint was coming until Peter Sagan attacked with 12 kilometers to go. His team-mate Maciej Bodnar went with him, as well as Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas (Sky). Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) had a mechanical with 8km to go. The advantage of the leading quartet went up to 22 seconds. They maintained a six seconds advantage over the peloton and Froome gained another six seconds in time bonus as he crossed the line in second position behind Sagan.

Montpellier - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Peter Sagan (Slowakia / Team Tinkoff - Tinkov) - Christopher - Chris Froome (Norway / Team Sky) pictured during stage 11 of the 2016 Tour de France from Carcassonne to Montpellier, 164.00 km - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner and points leader, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff): “It was something crazy what happened. I didn’t believe when we attacked that we could go. After Froomey and Geraint Thomas went with us I said ‘we are too strong; they will never catch us’. We just pulled very hard and made it happen. Today everybody knew it was a crazy wind, but the real crazy wind only came in the last 15km. There was no planning for the end, we knew to stay up front in position as the bunch would split. But to go in break with yellow and two guys like Bodnar & Thomas, you cannot plan that, it just happened. Today I’m very surprised and also very happy. We were trying all the time to be in the front and it was often dangerous with a lot of crashes and the wind was very dangerous. The last 12km was just decisive to do well. Thank you to Maciej Bodnar as he did a huge job, and also Chris Froome and Thomas as they were working with us to make the difference over the bunch. I am very happy – the green jersey, and the stage victory. Yesterday everybody was saying ‘are you frustrated?’ but I said I’m not and that I just look ahead each day. It was not planned at the end – it was in the moment, instinct. I bet everything on that attack as if the bunch caught us I wouldn’t have any thing left. It was four very strong riders in the front, and it was a winning combination.”

2nd on the stage and overall leader, Chris Froome (Sky): “I was asking myself the question today in those last 10km of whether it was worth spending that energy. I think in this moment I really am going to try and take any advantage I can get – especially knowing that Nairo (Quintana) in particular is really strong in the third week. To be honest I don’t think it changes too much. The climb up until Chalet Reynard is extremely hard already. It’s another 200+ kilometre stage tomorrow with a lot of wind predicted. It could even be split to pieces before the climb. We’ll have to wait and see, but if anything I think it’s going to mean an even more intense race before we hit the climb because it’s slightly shorter.”

3rd overall, Dan Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “The guys did a fantastic job to keep me at the front and I came through this extremely tough stage. We showed again that we have a very strong team. With 15 kilometers to go, things became totally crazy, but Tony saved me at that point and rode five kilometers in the wind for me. I lost some time on Froome, but so did everybody else, and to be quite frankly it’s a small gap, not the end of the world. The hardest part of Mont Ventoux comes before Chalet-Reynard, where the stage will now conclude, so I still expect a tough stage. It’s a pity that we will not get to climb to the top of this iconic ascent, as we all dream about it, but this is how things are.”

5th on the stage, Christophe Laporte (Cofidis): “It’s a shame to me that there were front runners that resisted. I’m second in the bunch sprint and I can feel regrets. It happened on the road, but I’m still a little disappointed. However, I am pleased to have responded after a stage of great intensity. It never stopped from kilometer 0 to the line. There was a lot of tension.”

9th on the stage, Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling): “I can be satisfied with this 9th place since I’m sitting right behind the cream of the sprint world crop. And the whole day was super nervous.”

13th on the stage, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo): “It was a hectic day, even in villages the peloton suffered in the cross-winds. The peloton split up several times and we always had right people in the front. We were hoping for a small group that could fight in the sprint, but then the attack of four men was a surprise. They were four of the strongest riders, so it was difficult to get it back. Together with the other teams, we tried, but unfortunately, we arrived too late. You expect that it is going to be echelons in the finale, but not that those four men would attack, I had expected and hoped that we would be sprinting with a small group. The four men attacked and we put our team a little earlier in front. It is our own fault that we were not sharp enough at that time. Maarten Wynants put me up front and then I let myself drift back slightly. At 450 meters, I was alone, but that was because we were already in the front before. We rode a good race, only the result is not super.”

9th overall, Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “To be honest I don’t even really know what happened. The wind makes it crazy and stressful and I’m just glad to survive. It was an impressive ride by Chris Froome. But you don’t look back, you just look forward. I got tangled up a bit in one of the crashes but I didn’t go down thankfully. I had to chase back but Marcus Burghardt waited for me and I got back with no real issues. With 40 kilometer an hour winds we knew it was going to be a crazy day and I’m just glad to make it through.”

13th overall, Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida): “It’s a pity I lost these seconds, especially because my team mates and me raced the whole day long paying huge attention and succeeding in avoiding troubles. We were aware of the dangers of today stage, especially of the one caused by the wind. It’s not easy to race in these conditions, however we did it quite well, until the attack by Sagan and Froome. The bunch had slowed down after having covered the previous kilometers at a very high pace, the level of the attention was a little bit lower and so the bunch got split. I’ll try to recover in the next climbs what I lost today.”

14th overall, Richie Porte (BMC): “It wasn’t just in the final, but the whole day [that the team looked after us]. It was so stressful and from kilometer 0 it was just shoulder to shoulder all day. The legs aren’t too bad. Obviously when Chris Froome and the other guys skipped off it was just carnage. But I felt good, comfortable, and I’m just really looking forward to the mountains again. I guess Team SKY are taking time wherever they can get it but tomorrow’s a different day and they may have to pay for their effort that they did there too.”

Jurgen Van den Broeck (Katusha) will not start stage 12. Van den Broeck crashed in the beginning of stage 11 on his right shoulder. He finished the stage but afterwards an impactation fracture of the greater tuberosity of the right shoulder was diagnosed: “It was really nervous in the beginning. I was fighting for my position in the bunch. After a left corner something went wrong for another rider. He touched my front wheel, I flipped over my bike. I did not panic immediately as initially it felt like an ordinary crash, but when I started to ride again my shoulder was hurting a lot. After the stage x-rays confirmed that the shoulder is broken. That’s a hard verdict for me. The doctors tell me the fracture needs some weeks to heal, but I will need more time to recover mentally as I had already a lot of bad luck in my career. It hurts me a lot not to be able to help Team Katusha in the mountains.”

Modification of the finale of stage 12: Due to the weather conditions forecasted by Météo France atop the Mont Ventoux with gusts of wind likely to exceed 100km/h, Tour de France organizers have decided to modify the finale of stage 12 in order to guarantee optimal safety conditions. Therefore, the stage finish will be located at Chalet-Reynard, 6 kilometers before the initially planned finishing line.

Tour de France Stage 11 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff in 3:26:23
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
3. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha at 0:06
5. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
6. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
7. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
8. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
9. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling
10. Oliver Naesen (Bel) IAM Cycling.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 11:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 52:34:37
2. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:28
3. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:31
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:35
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:56
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Sergio Henao (Col) Sky
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:13
9. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
10. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff at 1:28.

Stage 11:

Summary – Stage 11 (Carcassonne / Montpellier… por tourdefrance_en

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Tour de Pologne 2016
The 73rd edition of the Tour de Pologne UCI World Tour officially opened with Stage 1 from Radzymin to Warsaw. The departure was rich in historical significance. The theme behind the 2016 Tour de Pologne is a fitting historic route through this great nation. The momentous journey set off from Radzymin, a town located on the outskirts of Warsaw, on the right bank of the Vistula River, which has come to symbolize the resistance of the Polish people during the Soviet-Polish War from 1919 to 1921.

The fast stage covered 135 km, with an initial in-line part before launching into the circuit that delved into the heart of the capital. 25 teams lined up for the start with 200 riders, all fresh and ready to do battle. In fact, the attacks got underway immediately after the start. The first part of the stage was lit up by a breakaway of 6 riders: Italian Alesandro De Marchi (BMC), Frenchman Marc Fournier (FDJ), Britain’s Peter Williams (ONE Pro Cycling), German Jonas Koch (Verva ActiveJet), and Poles Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Szymon Rekita (Polish National Team). They gained a maximum advantage of about 3 and a half minutes. However, the pack was pulled along by the teams of sprinters intent on making this first finish line their own, and they left no room for the attackers. The last one to surrender was De Marchi.

The group was nice and tight as it entered the final 2 km, when hometown idol Michael Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) tried to get a jump on the rest of the pack on the last stretch over cobblestones, followed by Zdenek Stybar (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Philippe Gilbert (BMC). Credit goes to the attackers for breaking up the group; however they weren’t able to build a gap and got caught and passed in the last 500 m by Davide Martinelli, who, in spite of a super long sprint, managed to keep a cool head and win the first stage of the 73rd Tour de Pologne with arms raised. It was an Etixx – Quick-Step party with Fernando Gaviria in second place and Zdenek Stybar fourth.

In addition to the Skandia yellow jersey, Davide Martinelli also donned the Hyundai white jersey as the top classified sprinter. The first Tauron cyclamen jersey for best climber is being worn by Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Sprandi Polkowice). The Lotto blue jersey for the most active rider in the pack went to Frenchman Marc Fournier (FDJ). Team Etixx – Quick-Step leads the team classification.

National idol Michael Kwiatkowski (Sky) was a big star today, lighting up the competition in the final and closing out the stage in eighth place.

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Stage winner, Davide Martinelli (Etixx – Quick-Step): “This is my second season victory, my first ever in a World Tour race. Our designated leader for today was Gaviria, but in the final kilometer when I saw Gilbert following Stybar’s tyre, I understood it was the perfect time to make a move. I came out of the last curve in the lead, turning a couple of times to get a sense of the situation behind me and where my team mates were, and when I realized that I could make it, it was an incredible feeling and I gave it all I had, all the way to the finish line. I’m proud to be able to wear the yellow jersey, however I’m aware that the race is still going to be long and hard; I’m young and I am still trying to understand how far I can go and what my limits are.”

8th, Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky): “I knew the circuit was quite insidious, so I tried to stay ahead and in the final, when I saw the chance to take action I went for it. I knew it would be difficult to make it to the finish line; today Etixx – Quick-Step really gave a great performance but I had to try something in front of this crowd and all my fans. Anyway, it was a good test, I feel like I’m in good shape and now we’ll see what happens in these next several days.”

Tour de Pologne Stage 1 Result:
1. Davide Martinelli (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step in 3:01:10
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange
4. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
7. Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Tour de Pologne Overall After Stage 1:
1. Davide Martinelli (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step in 3:01:00
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:04
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:06
4. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:10
5. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
7. Kévin Reza (Fra) FDJ
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
9. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Sacha Modolo (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Pologne Stage 1:

After yesterday’s tour de force, with Davide Martinelli (Etixx – Quick-Step) winning and wearing the yellow jersey, today the Tour de Pologne hit Stage 2, from Tarnowskie Gory to Katowice, covering 153 kilometers. It was a sombre start for the Italian riders, who lined up for the start wearing mourning bands to commemorate the victims of the tragic train accident in Puglia yesterday, and the entire pack in the Tour de Pologne joined them in one minute of applause.

On paper it was supposed to be a stage suited to the fast tires, and so it was. In the cycling world, Katowice has become a world temple to speed. However, 5 brave riders decided to make things difficult for the sprinters. Switzerland’s Marcel Aregger (IAM Cycling), German Jonas Koch (Verva ActiveJet) who was in the break yesterday, Kazak Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Astana), and Poles Lukasz Owsian (CCC Sprandi Polkowice) and Dariusz Detko (Polish National Team) were the stars of the day’s break. They built a maximum advantage of about 2 minutes, with the group leaving them very little room to flee. The last fugitive to surrender was Marcel Aregger (IAM Cycling), who got caught with 16km to go.

In the last part of the race the group was pulled along particularly by Orica-BikeExchange and LottoNl-Jumbo, but once again it was Etixx – Quick-Step who came out ahead, thanks to a powerful sprint by the young Fernando Gaviria, who was second yesterday on the finish line in Warsaw, right behind his own team mate, Martinelli. In addition to the stage victory, the young Colombian sprinter also captured the yellow leader’s jersey and the Hyundai white jersey as best sprinter.

The Tauron cyclamen jersey for best climber passes instead to the shoulders of Polish athlete Maciej Paterski (CCC Sprandi Polkowice), while Jonas Koch (Verva ActiveJet) captured the Lotto blue jersey as the most active rider in the group.

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Stage winner and overall leader, Fernando Gaviria (Etixx – Quick-Step): “The final on this circuit was very difficult and complicated. It was an incredible sprint; we were going really fast; in fact, I managed to win by a matter of centimeters over Viviani and Ewan. The team raced very well, we knew there would be a breakaway group but we couldn’t let them get too far ahead of us. In fact, the pack kept the attackers in check. Tomorrow I will try to defend the yellow jersey, but I know that in the days to come there are going to be some difficult stages. In the meantime we’re enjoying this second team victory, the second team jersey here at the Tour de Pologne. It’s a team victory because all my team mates raced very well to put me in the best conditions to go for a great final sprint.”

Jonas Koch (Verva ActiveJet): “I’m very happy, I’ve gotten off to a strong start at this Tour de Pologne; both yesterday and today I managed to get into the right break. I spent a lot of energy but this blue jersey is the reward for me and my team, for the effort we put in. We will try to defend it as long as possible; it certainly won’t be an easy task.”

Marcel Aregger (IAM Cycling): “Too bad it wasn’t enough to get the mountains jersey. On the first climb I was a bit blocked, and was only able to sprint for second. The second categorized climb I was able to win. Yesterday I had a little bit of trouble, but today everything went quite well. I’ll keep the mountains classification in mind as something to shoot for so long as I have a chance.”

Tour de Pologne Stage 2 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step in 3:19:30
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange
4. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Dimension Data
5. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
7. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
8. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-Alpecin
9. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Kamil Zielinski (Pol) Polish National Team.

Tour de Pologne Overall After Stage 2:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step in 6:20:24
2. Davide Martinelli (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:06
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:08
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida at 0:14
5. Moreno Hofland (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:16
6. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
7. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
8. Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ
9. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC.

Pologne Stage 2:

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A New Major Team Partnership Confirms Sunweb’s Commitment to the Future of Cycling
Sunweb, one of the leading tour operators in Europe, announced that it has signed an agreement for a minimum of 3 years to become the major partner of the currently called Team Giant-Alpecin. As from the 1st of January 2017, the team will start competing with Sunweb as first name partner.

Sunweb has been a partner of Team Giant-Alpecin since 2015 and experienced this partnership as a great tool to strengthen the synergy between the cycling community, their holidays, and their expanding target group in Europe.

Becoming first partner of the pro cycling team will generate a wider exposure and a tremendous value for Sunweb’s brand awareness. However, according to Sunweb, the benefits of this partnership are not only linked with the team and its victories. Sunweb sees its primary benefit in the opportunity to connect in a close and personal way with all cycling fans. The company’s main target will be to create meaningful content in a digital world and drive conversation with the “tech savvy” European fan base, who follow the sport of cycling very closely.

2000 Tage zur Spitze: a common growth strategy with big ambitions in Germany and the rest of Europe.
Sunweb will be more than a business partner, they will become part of a common dream. A dream not only about a successful team and tomorrow’s victories, but also to transform the team into a life-time institute. The team will start a world-class development program from a hypermodern team base in Germany, to build the next generation of stars. Today’s promise at 2000 meter altitude is that in the year starting at exactly 2000 days from now, from the 1st of January 2022, the next generation of German and international stars will start creating memories in the UCI WorldTour.

Gert De Caluwe, CEO of Sunweb says: “We see this partnership as a natural fit. For 25 years is has been in our DNA to take care of millions of travelers. Our aim is to fulfill this caretaker role also for this team and the whole cycling community.”

He continues: “We will be able to connect with a new audience of passionate cycling fans, especially in our growth countries. We will use the power of this team to roll out Sunweb’s strategy for future growth across Europe with a special focus on Germany, the country with the biggest outbound travel market in Europe. As from now, we will set “the wheels in motion” to secure a bright future for Sunweb as well as for the team.”

Iwan Spekenbrink, CEO of the team says: “We’re extremely proud to join forces with Sunweb, which we believe is one of the best partnerships in cycling. We share a common dream and big ambitions. Sunweb supports us 100% and does not only look at today’s victories and the day to day support. As a real partner they are also willing to invest in the future, to move forward the sport of cycling together with us, to support our vision, our road to the top, our 2000 Tage zur Spitze…”

Speaking for the whole team, Spekenbrink adds: “The athletes and the staff are very excited because Sunweb shares their “Keep Challenging” approach. This “elite sports approach” is built on cooperation and innovation as the key growth drivers within a framework of non-negotiable values. And last but not least, our people are convinced about Sunweb’s true commitment to their future and the future of the next generation of German and international talents and staff.”

Sponsor of memories, not only victories
The richness of life is all about moments and creating memories. Sunweb believes that the best lifetime memories are often created “wearing flip flops”. Therefore, Sunweb’s main focus is to create great memories for their holiday makers by providing the best possible holiday experience. This links perfectly with the team, as the common challenge in this partnership will be to create great memories for the athletes, their fans, and everyone involved.

Sunweb’s CCO Tim Van den Bergh says: “Sunweb has a lot in common with this team. We both aim for the best performance, we work in an international team and believe in the power of innovation to reach new frontiers.” He adds: “Cycling is one of the most popular leisure activities that goes hand in hand with traveling. On top of that, it also relies on technology to make it personal and to create a unique experience. Take the example of the app Strava: in which sport can one compete 1 on 1 with a real pro or with his own idol?”

Warren Barguil: “This announcement is great news and an additional exciting development for the team. Each year we see increasing numbers of teams forced to drop out of professional cycling due to partnerships not being renewed. However, we continue to grow as a team and have a bright future ahead of us, and it is great that Sunweb will be part of it, while supporting our philosophy.”

Tom Dumoulin: “This is huge news for everyone in the team. It is fantastic to see that this partnership offers us the stability needed to continue the great strides we have made over recent years. It is fantastic that such a recognized organization as Sunweb sees the financial potential of our sport in general and supports our team’s specific goals and overall vision.”

Simon Geschke: “We are very excited to have a new long-term partner in Sunweb, a large company from outside the world of cycling. It is a vote of confidence from them to the world of cycling and we believe that there is a close fit between their organization and our team – particularly since pro cyclists travel throughout the year. We share the same ethos. Sunweb’s philosophy is to work hard for their clients and offer them great experiences, which is exactly what we do every day. It’s great for us to work with this well establish travel group. I developed in this team and the great thing is that Sunweb allows the team to expand this approach with the development program from next year, which is a great investment in the team and the sport.”

Warren Barguil:
Revel - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Warren Barguil (FRA-Giant-Alpecin) pictured during stage 10 of the 2016 Tour de France from Escaldes-Engordany to Revel, 198.00 km- photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2016

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Team LottoNL-Jumbo extends contract with main sponsor Lotto
Lotto will continue as the main sponsor of the speed skating and cycling team LottoNL-Jumbo for the next two years. The company signed an agreement with Team Oranje, the management group for the sport teams this week. Jumbo Supermarkets and BrandLoyalty extended their contracts with the teams’ managers Jac Orie and Richard Plugge already.

Lotto took the initiative to form a combined speed skating and cycling team in the summer of 2014 and became the foundation of success. Sven Kramer won six world titles (twice allround, twice 5000 meters, the 10,000 metres and the team pursuit) and Robert Gesink finished sixth overall in the 2015 Tour de France. Dylan Groenewegen won the Dutch Championship and Steven Kruijswijk wore the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia several days.

Arno de Jong
Arno de Jong, director brands and portfoliomanagement of the new Dutch combined Lottery company said, “The last years proved that this new concept is a successful one. You can see that on the sports results, but also on commercial level. That is at least as much as important for Lotto as the title sponsor. We’re proud to be engaged with these two beautiful sports for the upcoming period.”

Jac Orie
Speed skating general manager, Jac Orie looked to the next two years with Lotto onboard. “The last two years were very successful and we brought our organization to a higher level, as well,” he said, “That process isn’t finished yet, so it’s great that we can build on it further on with Lotto, Jumbo Supermarkets and BrandLoyalty.”

Richard Plugge
Cycling general manager Richard Plugge is proud of the extension. “It’s wonderful that we’re able to move on with these sponsors in our Road to 2018 project,” he said. “The collaboration with the speed skaters continues to increase our knowledge and commercial opportunities. Together, we’re able to keep on developing and innovating within our 2018-vision.”

Steven Kruijswijk:
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Keisse and Lampaert to continue with Etixx – Quick-Step beyond 2016
Etixx – Quick-Step is delighted to announce that the team has extended its agreements with the two Belgian riders

A pro since 2005, Iljo Keisse joined Etixx – Quick-Step five years later and since then proved to be not only one of the peloton’s most strongest and reliable helpers, but also a rider capable of pulling off spectacular wins following an audacious attack or an entire day spent in the break. There’s no cycling fan out there who doesn’t remember the stage victory he scored in dramatic fashion four years ago, at the Tour of Turkey, when he overcame a crash on the day’s final corner, holding off a furious peloton and taking a remarkable win, in Izmir.

Three years later, he managed to upset the bunch on the last day of the Giro d’Italia, scoring another memorable victory, this time in Milano, in what was just his third Grand Tour. Besides his exploits on the road, Iljo (33 years) also proved that he is one of the most prominent track figures of the past decade, notching up more than 20 wins in Six Days events, 6 of which came in his home race, the Six Days of Gent.

Iljo – who’s riding his maiden Tour de France this month – was more than pleased with the new agreement, that will see him continue in the team together with which he has tasted so many successes: “I’m one of the veterans of this outfit, considering that I’m riding here since 2010. When Patrick Lefevere asked me to extend our collaboration I was very happy. It’s nice to feel the trust of the team. For me, it was logical to stay in a team which is like my second home. I have a good relationship with everybody and in this team I’ve made the biggest steps of my career. I raced basically all the races that I was dreaming of and I won a couple of nice ones. I know my role of team player in the team, I do it with pleasure and I really like to be part of a victory scored by one of our leaders and to give it my all to achieve our goal.”

Iljo Keisse:
Cycling: Tour of Belgium 2016 / Stage 3Iljo KEISSE (BEL) / Knokke-Heist - Herzele (200,4Km) / Tour of Belgium / © Tim De Waele

Another rider who will continue his journey in the pro ranks with Etixx – Quick-Step is Yves Lampaert, who’s on the team since 2015; in his two-year spell with the squad, Yves displayed his skills and power in various types of races, from time trials and Classics to stage races like Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, which he has won one year ago. Top 10 placings in prestigious events such as Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Tours served as confirmation of his potential, so his contract extension didn’t came as a surprise.

“I’m happy that Patrick Lefevere and the team have confidence in me and want to invest in my future. This is my second season in the team, but I feel like I’m here since years. In the past two seasons I grew up in this environment and I became stronger. I learned a lot from the team and from my teammates, especially how to be a team player and adapt to different situations. In the near future, I want to continue to improve and become a better rider in all aspects. I want to work hard on my TT skills with the support of the team and participate again in the Northern Classics which I missed this year due to an injury. These are my dream races and I’m really looking forward to them”, a visibly delighted Yves explained after signing the contract.

“We are very satisfied with these new agreements”, said Patrick Lefevere, Etixx – Quick-Step’s CEO. “Both Iljo and Yves are real team players and in the same time proven winners, who showed their commitment and hard work every time, regardless of the race and of their role. Yves is just 25-years-old, still has room for improvement and for that reason we are very eager to see what he can do in the future. Iljo is one of the best examples of how a rider can grow up in our team and become a great and reliable rider in just a few years. The fact that he is now racing the Tour de France comes as proof of the ambition and commitment that make the difference in modern cycling.”

Yves Lampaert:
Cycling: Belgian Road Championship 2016 / Elite Men / ITT /Yves LAMPAERT (BEL) / Mol-Postel - Mol-Postel (34km)/ Time Trial ITT / © Tim De Waele

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Robert Wagner extends his contract with Team LottoNL-Jumbo
German Robert Wagner re-signed with team LottoNL-Jumbo for another two years, though 2018. Wagner, who is already an important part in Dylan Groenewegen’s sprints, will continue to support the team’s sprint project.

“I am pleased to stay with this team,” the 33-year-old said. “I’m happy to be part of the sprint project with Dylan Groenewegen. To improve that sprint train is my main goal for the next two years.”

Verhoeven
Wagner plays an important role, said Technical Director Nico Verhoeven. “We started the sprint project with Robert Wagner in the service of Dylan Groenewegen,” Verhoeven added. “Wagner proved to be a good lead-out for Groenewegen. We are glad that he can continue to help build the sprint project towards 2018.
“Wagner has a lot of experience and it shows in the way he races. He is a real lieutenant who likes to work for the team. In addition to his work in the sprint train, he has been a fixture in the classics.”

Tour sprints
Despite his experience, Wagner made his debut this year in the Tour primarily to support Groenewegen. “I’ve ridden many races, but the Tour is totally different. It is more hectic and very big.
“We certainly have the ability to compete in the sprints at the Tour, it’s really the details that still need to be strengthened. But you can see that even the big teams struggle with it. If all the pieces fall into place, we can help Dylan to the podium. We saw in Limoges that we have the power. “The alignment and the details are still not perfect, but I am convinced that this approach is working.”

Robert Wagner:
Revel - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Robert Wagner (GER-LottoNL-Jumbo) pictured during stage 10 of the 2016 Tour de France from Escaldes-Engordany to Revel, 198.00 km- photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2016

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Mollema, Rast, and Irizar Renew Contracts
Trek-Segafredo is excited to announce that Bauke Mollema, Markel Irizar and Grégory Rast have extended their contracts for two more years. With these contract extensions, Trek-Segafredo continues to lay the basis for 2017 and 2018.

Mollema, 29, is a consistent general classification rider with three top ten finishes in the Tour de France on his record. In this year’s Tour de France, he is currently sitting in 7th place.

Mollema: “For me, it was an easy decision to stay with Trek-Segafredo. I think this is the right team for me to keep improving as a rider. The atmosphere in the team is really good, the Trek bikes are cutting-edge and we have fantastic sponsors. I feel like I’m at the right place here.”

GM Luca Guercilena: “I’m very happy with our quickly sealed deal. Bauke is extremely professional on and off the bike and he is very consistent in his performances. He is a real fighter. Bauke still has potential to improve and that’s why we keep putting our faith in him. He’s at his best in grand tours, where it’s all about consistency. Even in one-week races he can pull it off, like last year’s win in Tour of Alberta and second place in Tirreno-Adriatico.”

Markel Irizar, 36, is in his 13th season as a professional bike racer, but the energetic and affable Basque workhorse is still as motivated as a neo-pro.

Irizar: “After the classics, Luca (Guercilena) told me the team was pleased with my performances and he asked if I wanted to stay with the team until the end of 2018. Of course, I wanted to do this because I love cycling, it’s my passion. I can’t imagine riding for a different team anymore.”

GM Luca Guercilena: “Markel’s value for the team is often underestimated. He’s a great road captain, and one of the best domestiques in the peloton. You can always rely on him. There are numerous occasions where he showed this, such as last year’s Tour stage at the Mur de Huy where he helped an injured Fabian over the finish line. Besides him being a good rider, Markel is also very good for the atmosphere: he always remains positive and so often cheers everyone up.”

Grégory Rast, 36, is the third rider to renew his contract. The Swiss domestique has already competed in 44 monuments, and will stay on for another two years to add to that incredible tally.

Rast: “I’m happy that I can stay two more years with the team. For me personally the classics campaign was disappointing, so I want to come back and be better next year. If you see that, for example, Mathew Hayman can win Roubaix, I think I can be good again and work for our leaders. I’m looking forward to working with the young guys like (Edward) Theuns and (Jasper) Stuyven.”

GM Luca Guercilena: “All year long, you can count on Grégory. In the classics he’s perfect to help the leaders into the final, or in sprint stages he uses his body and his power to get the sprinters in the right position for the last kilometers. He will never complain if he needs to pull in the peloton and he shares a lot of experience with the younger riders.”

Bauka Mollema:
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Timo Roosen renews for two years with Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Team LottoNL-Jumbo extended its contract with Timo Roosen for two more years, through 2018. “I am very content with the assurance and confidence of the team,” said Timo Roosen, who joined the Dutch team in 2015. The 23-year-old rider helped Sep Vanmarcke in the cobblestone classics. During the Tour, Roosen is one of the lead-out men for sprinter Dylan Groenewegen.

“I want to develop myself further as a classic rider who can ride well on the cobblestones.” This year Roosen raced in the E3 Prijs, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, where he assisted Vanmarcke.

Nico Verhoeven
Technical director Nico Verhoeven is happy that Timo Roosen extended his contract. “Timo has raced a very good early season. He’s solid value for the spring classics and in the sprint lead-out train, he delivered the preparatory work for as many as six of the seven wins by Dylan Groenewegen. ”

Tour
In the Tour, Roosen is working for Dylan Groenewegen. “Despite the crash, I had a good feeling in the first week of the Tour. Hopefully, we can sprint next week again with Dylan. ”
Verhoeven added, “The crash in the first stage was obviously disadvantageous, but he survived. He fits into our vision with young talent and he is still developing. I expect a bright future for him in the Flemish classics. ”

Timo Roosen in the 2016 Tour:
Limoges - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Timo Roosen (NED-LottoNL-Jumbo) pictured during stage 4 of the 2016 Tour de France from Saumur to Limoges, 232.00 km - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2016

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Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodriguez Announces his Retirement
At the end of 2016 Team Katusha’s leader Joaquim Rodriguez retires from professional cycling after a successful 17 years at the highest level. During the first rest day of the 2016 Tour de France an emotional Rodriguez announced his retirement at a press meeting in the presence of his family and friends in his home town Andorra La Vella.

“2016 will be my last season as a professional rider. I still enjoy this sport so much but I am 37 years old. One day I will have to stop anyway and I prefer to do this when I am still riding at a high level. I spoke about this already last year with my family. 2016 is a special year with the Tour de France coming to my Andorra. There are also the Olympic Games in Rio on a course that suits me very well. The most important reason to stop however is my family. They deserve to have me more with them. They always supported me. Now it’s my turn to support them,” – said Joaquim Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, last year’s number two on the UCI ranking, is currently fifth in the Tour de France GC and he is still motivated to perform well in his last season.

“I will give my maximum like I did my whole career. I would be happy to finish my Tour career in top ten, but of course I still dream of another Overall podium in Paris. The support I got yesterday on the Pyrenees roads helps me to go on till my last day in cycling. For the moment I have no idea what will be my last race. In theory Rio and Tour of Spain are still on my program,” – continued Joaquim Rodriguez.

In 2015 Rodriguez finished second overall in the Vuelta, one of his many Grand Tour podium places (3rd in Tour de France, 2nd in Tour of Italy, 2nd and 3rd in Tour of Spain). Purito Rodriguez ended the season three times (2010, 2012, 2013) as number one on the UCI WorldTour ranking. He has Flèche Wallonne, Giro di Lombardia (twice), a national Spanish Championship, Tour of Catalunya (twice), Tour of the Basque Country and Setmana Catalana on his palmarès as well as stage wins in Tour (3), Giro (2) and Vuelta (9).

“I have so many memories. Now I think of my super year 2012 with Il Lombardia in the pouring rain but also I think of my silver medal at the 2013 World Championships. Not to have won there still hurts but that’s cycling. In those 17 years I lived so many things in cycling. The sport of 2016 has nothing to do anymore with cycling in 2000 when I started. I saw so many things and so many good riders, from Johan Museeuw to Nairo Quintana. The two riders who impressed me the most in my career however were Michele Bartoli and Alejandro Valverde. 17 years at the highest level is a lot. I had my best years with Team KATUSHA. They knew about my decision of today and were always on my side. I will never forget that. And… 2016 is not over yet,” – concluded Joaquim Rodriguez.

A tearful Joaquim Rodriguez announces his retirement:
Andorre - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Joaquim Rodriquez (SPA-Katusha) pictured during the first restday of the 2016 Tour de France in Andorre - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

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No Olympics Games for Alberto Contador, but will prepare the Tour of Spain
He suffers fibrillar breaks in the vastus intermedius and internal gastrocnemius of his left leg, which will need four weeks of recovery.

Alberto Contador passed a medical exploration at the CEMTRO Clinic in Madrid, where Dr. Manuel Leyes and his team did three MRIs, after which the diagnosis was two fibrillar breaks in his left leg, in the vastus intermedius (quadriceps) and internal gastrocnemius, which prevented him from pedaling normally after two successive falls suffered at the start of the Tour de France that forced him to abandon on stage 9. In addition, he is suffering multiple contusions, especially in the supraspinatus and deltoid of right shoulder.

Dr. Leyes, who appeared at the press conference accompanied by Dr. Mariano Malillos, Medical Director of the CEMTRO Clinic, estimated a four weeks recovery period for Alberto Contador, adding that the first fifteen days is recommended complete rest. Because of this, he considered the leader of Tinkoff Team not be able to ride next Olympics, but that he may come in good form to the start of the Tour of Spain.

Alberto Contador confirmed the words of his doctor. “After what Dr. Leyes told me, Olympics are discarded, because it’s not a matter of going there, but to reach them in optimal conditions and it looks like that will not be possible. Now my goal is to recover for the Tour of Spain, which I do think I can get. I will try to shorten times, but now what’s good is to rest and recover.”

Contador acknowledged that not going to the Olympics “is a blow to my moral, because it was my second big goal of the year, after the Tour. This year the route is atypical, suitable for climbers, and I could have done a good race, but things are as they come. On the other hand, it seems I’m in time to ride the Vuelta and that gives me encouragement.”

Looking ahead to the Vuelta, Alberto Contador hopes to have “a good team, eager and fresh, who has not competed a lot over the year. Perhaps others will have a more powerful block than mine, but I hope to arrive in good condition and play my options”, concluded.

Alberto Contador:
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Two-Time U.S. National Criterium Champion Eric Young Wins Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix
U.S. cycling legend Tina Pic claims coveted Gastown women’s title

In his ‘Fun Facts’ section of Eric Young’s bio on the Rally Pro Cycling website, he states the racing obstacle he overcame was beating teammate Brad Huff in criteriums. Whether he’s joking or not, Young overcame that obstacle once again and beat Huff on Thursday night to claim the $12,000 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix.

The race was shortened by ten laps due to nightfall after a fire truck tending to an alarm on Water Street not far from the start-finish line delayed the beginning by thirty minutes. The riders didn’t show any rust though once things got going, with the racing aggressive right off the start of the 1.2 kilometre circuit.

“It was a race from the beginning, the Cylance team had control, they were strong, they were the dominant team of the day, and they showed it,” said Huff, who is the reigning U.S. National Criterium Champion and was fourth in Friday’s MK Delta Lands Criterium. “We’re just happy we were able to execute our plan at three and a half to go to get up there. It got a little crazy on the final two laps with guys coming up, we were really battling Silber with Eric, and they got in our train a few times, but we’re all professionals – we respect Silber, Silber respects us, so we were able to have a clean finish, I was just happy to be able to take Eric to the line. He’s obviously the fastest sprinter in North America, he proved it today.”

The camaraderie among the Rally team is clear, with Young willing to give just as much credit to Huff and his teammates for the win.

“The team did an amazing job being super patient. Incycle was being super aggressive, just totally controlling the front with the Australian guys, and they did a good job of that. So we just had to be really patient, not blow any matches getting frustrated,” the 27-year-old from Geneva, Illinois said. “We waited until about three or four to go, went by them with a great job by Shane (Klime) and Tom (Soladay), my teammates, and then on the last lap, Kris Dahl had a good little attack into two corners to go, he came in third wheel right behind Brad. We just yelled at him out of the last corner, ‘Go with everything!’ and he knows what to do when that happens, 100 metres to go, we just let loose and I couldn’t see anything behind me so with about ten feet to go, I knew I’d gotten it.”

Young’s been racing at the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix for three years, and after top ten finishes in 2013 and 2014, he came in 16th last year. Huff and the rest of the riders are well aware of the prestige of the Gastown race, but are also thrilled by the hospitality of the BC Superweek communities.

“This is a great race, it’s been going on for over 40 years, this is one of the best crits in North America, we’re just happy to be here, the whole town supports us,” he said. “Every rider here is probably in a host house, and to come here and win with a former two-time national criterium champion, Eric deserves the win. It’s great!”

Third place went to Aussie Michael Rice, who made his second appearance on the podium at BC Superweek. He was third at the MK Delta Lands Criterium last Friday. The 20-year-old had a pretty good idea during the last few laps, which team’s wheel he wanted to be on

“I knew Rally was going to be the team to beat with such a strong criterium squad here. I really wanted to have their wheel going into the last three laps, full credit to Garneau-Quebecor, they set me up really nicely,” said Rice. “I had a bit too much work to do on the last two laps, but I did the best that I could and I’m happy to get third.”

WOMEN’S RACE
During her 20 year professional cycling career, Tina Pic has won a lot of races, including six U.S. National Criterium titles, but after sprinting to the finish at the 2016 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, even she admitted she’s never won a race like this.

“Oh yeah, this is awesome… all these people, and my old teammates are here and it’s just great, the crowds are so fun! I mean, we don’t have a huge team here and we’re really excited!” the 50-year-old from Bountiful, Utah said.

The former four-time USA Cycling National Racing Calendar Points champion is a legend in cycling world and now she earns her place alongside legends like Alison Sydor, Gina Grain, and Verna Buhler as winners in Gastown.

The Happy Tooth Pro Cycling rider unretired from the sport in 2012 and has shown to be just as strong as riders more than half her age. And now she has a $12,000 prize to go along with it.

“A race like this just makes it all worth it, it’s just so fun to come out here and have such big crowds, it’s great!” she said.

Pic was third in Friday’s MK Delta Lands Criterium to kick off BC Superweek and had four top ten finishes at the series in 2015, including fourth at the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix and the Giro di Burnaby.

Australian riders took the second and third spots on the podium under two very different circumstances. Second place finisher Kimberley Wells rode with one of the biggest teams registered for the race, Colavita | Bianchi out of New Jersey, while third place rider Kendelle Hodges rode without a team, competing independently.

Wells, who was the 2013 and 2015 Australian National Criterium Champion, had the support of her Colavita | Bianchi teammates, including Lauretta Hanson, a fellow Aussie who finished sixth in Gastown a year ago. That said, it was hard for the teams to strategize due to the roar of close to 30,000 spectators in attendance.

“We could barely hear anything out there because these crowds were so loud. Ideally, I wanted to be third or fourth wheel through that final corner, but just the way it played out, I had to jump people before the corner and came through it first, which is a bit of a bridesmaid’s position on this kind of course. It’s a slight uphill and a very slight headwind on the finish straight, so usually people come from behind on the last 50 metres,” the 30-year-old explained. “Just given the way the race played out, I was just going to try to roll those dice and go for the win and risk losing it. Congratulations to Tina Pic, she’s certainly got some speed, so well done to that team.”

Hodges rides for the High5 Dream Team, a professional team from Australia, but is the only member of her team participating in BC Superweek. During the final lap on Wednesday night, she was part of the pack, looking to go for a bunch sprint at the finish.

“I was waiting for the bunch sprint, there are some teams with big numbers and I knew the girls from Australia, Kimberley and Lauretta, would want it to be a sprint. Kimberley went a bit early on that last corner, but it was a good wheel to follow and I knew it would be quick,” she said. “I’m not a pure sprinter, I was just in a good position and made the most of it. It helped there was a bit of an uphill drag, that was good.”

Only 40 of the 76 registered riders finished the 35 lap, 42 kilometre race. The top Canadian was Sara Bergen of Vancouver, who rides for the local Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes team.

BC Superweek continues Thursday night with the Giro di Burnaby p/b Appia Development in the historic Heights neighbourhood of Burnaby. The youth race starts at 5:30 pm, the pro women at 6 pm, and the pro men at 7:15 pm.

BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest professional cycling series and features more than $125,000 in prize money available during eight races over ten days. BC Superweek runs from July 8 – 17, and is made up of the Tour de Delta (July 8, 9, 10), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 13), Giro di Burnaby p/b Appia Development (July 14), PoCo Grand Prix p/b Dominion Lending Centres (July 15), and Steve Nash Fitness World presents the Tour de White Rock (July 16, 17). For more information, visit www.bcsuperweek.ca.

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Who is the Most Stylish Rider in the Peloton?
Style and cycling go hand-in-hand so Velon asked the riders at the Tour de France to name their most elegantly groomed team-mates.


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