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La Farrapona - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Alberto Contador (Tinkoff - Saxo) pictured during stage - 16 of the Vuelta de Espana - Tour of Spain 2014 - from San Martín del Rey Aurelio to La Farrapona Lago de Somiedo - photo ilario Biondi/RB//Cor Vos © 2014

EUROTRASH Vuelta Thursday!

The Vuelta a España starts on Saturday and we have loads of news from Spain from the riders and teams. Who will win? That’s one answer we don’t have as the race is wide open and there is always the chance of a surprise. In other cycling news: Reports, results and rider quotes from the Tour du Limousin, World championships for Yorkshire, rider transfers, contract extensions, new pros, new jersey for the Tour of Britain and we finish with a song for la Vuelta. Café con leche?

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TOP STORY: The 2016 Vuelta a España
There really is only one top story today and that is the Spanish Grand Tour. If the 2016 edition lives up to the standard of its predecessors, we should be in for a great race. The parcours has become the ‘Spanish Hillclimb Championships’ and there is not much point for any sprinters to be in Galicia for the start on Saturday. As to the riders, it couldn’t get much better. No Italians, but Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky) and grand Tour winners; Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) along with young Esteban Chaves (Orica-BikeExchange), veteran Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R-La Mondiale), Tejay Van Garderen (BMC), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo), Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin) and Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida). And there could be a surprise, look at Tom Dumoulin last year.

The first week is tough, the second week gets harder and the third week has a time trial and a big climbing day before the finish in Madrid. It’s an open race that should keep us on the edge of our seats for the next three weeks.

Ed Hood’s ‘Stats and Stages’ preview HERE and the ‘Protagonists’ HERE.

The best of la Vuelta 2015 by GoPro:

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Alberto Contador ahead of La Vuelta a España: “I hope to enjoy the race and the fans”
Alberto Contador reaches the start of the Vuelta a España after overcoming all the setbacks and injuries that forced him to abandon the Tour de France in July. After a period of recovery and fine-tuning, Tinkoff’s leader is optimistic a few days prior to the start in Ourense. “I think I’m well, but the good thing is that I am keen to go on the bike, which is important.”

Alberto Contador raced at the Clasica San Sebastian and the Vuelta a Burgos in preparation for the Vuelta. “I haven’t had many tests to see how I am, practically only in Burgos. From there I focused on recovering from the effort and doing some quality training, but that race is very different from the Vuelta, in terms of days of competition and the level of its line-up.” That was the end of the long period since he withdrew from the Tour de France, “a time that was particularly difficult until I started competing, since the Tour was my number one goal of the year and it started on the wrong foot and finished by retiring. That really comes often back to my head and is hard to beat psychologically. On the other hand, physically it has also been difficult because at first I could not train and that forced me to look a lot after my nutrition, taking into consideration how hard it is to immediately change your mindset when you come from a period of racing.”

However, all that is behind and now Contador focuses only on his next challenge. “Certainly, my goal at the Vuelta is to fight for victory. That’s the idea with which I am going to Galicia, we will then see if we can achieve it, because I will have to face very strong opponents with powerful squads. We will have to take it day-by-day and I just hope I’m a little bit luckier to enjoy the race and the fans. At the Vuelta, the affection of the public has always been amazing and reliving that is something I look forward to. Furthermore, this will be my last Grand Tour with Tinkoff and I would like to finish it in the best way.”

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Alberto Contador, winner of the 2016 Vuelta a Burgos ahead of La Vuelta. Photo courtesy of Vuelta a Burgos

On this year’s race course, Alberto thinks it is “a typical Vuelta parcours, with many short and explosive finishes, without any previous mountain passes, a little bit like the Classics, which will be made complicated because you might have a bad day or rivals that are more explosive. They will be difficult to manage, but overall I like the course because it is designed to bring forward the show and it is important that people engage in the race.”

Alberto’s rivals will be the ones of the Tour with some additions, a line-up that for Alberto is “a great motivation. The level is very high, because in the end, each year the favorites of the Tour are in the Vuelta and that makes me happy. This marquee line-up will raise great expectations.” On the other hand, this will not be a revenge of the Tour. “No, it’s not a matter of revenge, the Vuelta is another race that starts from scratch and I just hope to start on a better footing than the Tour.”

Alberto Contador does not forget the riders that will flank him at the Vuelta. “We will have a Tinkoff squad, very balanced between youth and experience, with many riders that already know what it means to race at the Vuelta a España. There are very good riders for the team time trial and the climbs, but the best part is that they are all very motivated to race at the Vuelta and that’s fundamental.”

Alberto Contador:
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Alberto Contador leads Tinkoff in pursuit of his fourth Vuelta a España title
Victorious in 2008, 2012 and 2014, and one of the world’s best stage racers, Alberto Contador is aiming for a fourth success at his home Grand Tour, La Vuelta a España. After his disappointment at withdrawing from the Tour de France, his primary goal of the season, due to injury, Alberto soon refocused his targets on the third Grand Tour of the season.

Alberto crashed on both the first and second stages of the Tour de France, but battled on through the first week before finally succumbing to injury and illness as a result of his falls, stepping off the bike on stage 9. However, in his usual fighting spirit he was back racing at the Clasica San Sebastian and, soon after, at the Vuelta a Burgos where he took the overall race victory with a powerful climbing performance on the final stage.

All of his bad luck is now behind him and Contador focuses only on his next challenge. “Certainly, my goal at the Vuelta is to fight for victory. That’s the idea with which I am going to Galicia, we will then see if we can achieve it, because I will have to face very strong opponents with powerful squads. We will have to take it day-by-day and I just hope I’m a little bit luckier to enjoy the race and the fans. At the Vuelta, the affection of the public has always been amazing and reliving that is something I look forward to. Furthermore, this will be my last Grand Tour with Tinkoff and I would like to finish it in the best way.”

Joining Tinkoff’s GC captain at the race is a team that will boast both a wealth of experience, and also a host of talent capable of supporting their captain across all the terrains that lie ahead. The Spaniard will be assisted in the mountains and on the shallower climbs by Jesús Hernández, Robert Kiserlovski, Sergio Paulinho and Ivan Rovny. For the flatter and intermediate stages, the team also has Daniele Bennati, Manuele Boaro, Michael Gogl and Yuri Trofimov to count on.

“It’s obvious that we have only one leader at the race, that’s Alberto,” explained Sport Director Steven De Jongh when discussing the line-up for the race. “After his crash in the Tour he came back quite well in Burgos – he took the win but still had to work a bit on his condition which is what he’s been doing since, followed by some rest days. I think he can do a great race here – it will be a strong field with the likes of Froome, Quintana, Kruiswijk and Chaves but we’re ready.

“We’ve got a balanced team around Alberto and I think being so clear with one goal, it’s clear for the riders what their focus is. They can be part of something special at the last Grand Tour for Tinkoff, so hopefully we can finish well.

“We have Bennati, Boaro, Gogl, and Paulinho who can support really well on the less hard days, with Paulinho also a strong rider for the hills. Then we have Kiserlovski, Hernández, Rovny and Trofimov who can do their bit in the mountains.”

The race gets underway on Saturday 20th August with a team time trial around the Castrelo de Miño reservoir, before coming to a close three weeks later on Sunday 11th September with a sprinters’ showdown in the country’s capital, Madrid. The race includes no less than 10 summit finishes, including the infamous climb of the Lagos de Covadonga – an average gradient of 7.3% over its 12.6km distance. Other key summit finishes include the stage eight climb of La Camperona, and also the Col d’Aubisque on stage 14.

De Jongh continues: “There are ten mountain top finishes this year and we hope to pick up a stage win along the way. To pin-point some of the key stages, there’s the finish up the Col d’Aubisque and also stage 20 – I think those two can be critical, but there’s a lot of hard stages and like always it will be a really hard Vuelta. The weather can also play its part so you have to take it day-by-day as every stage can bring a surprise.”

The race offers at least five fast finishes, but as often happens at La Vuelta, the uncategorized climbs can also catch out the fast men. After the opening team time trial, there’s just the one other effort against the clock, with a 37km individual effort on stage 19, just two days before the 2016 Vuelta a España champion will be crowned.

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Giant-Alpecin for la Vuelta a España
Following successful campaigns at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, winning two stages at each, the team heads to this year’s Vuelta with confidence. Team Giant-Alpecin returns to Spain after being close to the overall podium with Tom Dumoulin (NED) last year and after having won three stages. For this year the team will once again focus on stage success in the sprints and in the breakaways when the opportunities arise.

Like last year, the race gets underway with a team time trial of 29.4km, in the province of Ourense. The first mountain stage comes on stage three with a summit finish in Mirador de Ézaro. The rest of the race presents a plethora of different opportunities and should give the team with chances for more than one rider to compete for a stage result.

Team Giant-Alpecin will be targeting the sprints with Nikias Arndt (GER), and he will be looking to win his second Grand Tour stage victory after his success at the Giro d’Italia. The team has strong lead-out capabilities to support Arndt with experienced Koen de Kort (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE) and fast Zico Waeytens (BEL). The 23-year-old Norwegian Sindre Skjøstad Lunke is set to make his Grand Tour debut in Spain, while Warren Barguil (FRA) will focus on stage results in his third Vuelta appearance. The opportunists in the line-up include Chad Haga (USA) and Ludvigsson who are capable of proving their strength against the clock, and German road captain Johannes Fröhlinger will be using his experience to lead the team through the 21 stages, as he starts his 13th Grand Tour.

Speaking about the line-up for the Vuelta, coach Luke Roberts (AUS) said: “Our objective will be on stage results. Firstly in the sprints where there should be plenty of opportunities for a fast finish during the three weeks. In parallel, we will apply an offensive strategy when the stages become more difficult to target results from the breakaways. Finally with Warren, we will see how the race evolves to give him the best chances for stage success.”

Line-up:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Warren Barguil (FRA), Koen de Kort (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL).
Coaches: Arthur van Dongen (NED), Luke Roberts (AUS).

Koen de Kort:
Milano - Sanremo WT 2016

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Preview Vuelta with sports director Mario Aerts
The final part of the cycling season is approaching so it’s time to preview the last Grand Tour of the year; the Vuelta a España. On Saturday 20 August 2016, the race starts with a team time trial. The riders need to perform as well as possible during the following three weeks if they want to obtain a good result.

The 71st edition of the Vuelta mainly takes the riders through the North of Spain. It will be a typical Vuelta course as the stages are never entirely flat and the climbs will be short but very steep. Each type of rider will have his chance to win a stage. Mario Aerts, DS with Lotto Soudal, analyzed the course and found out that it will be another hard Grand Tour. The GC riders will have to be attentively right from the beginning.

Mario Aerts: “The first week will immediately show which riders are in good shape. The ten stages before the first rest day offer several possible outcomes. This year’s Vuelta a España starts with a team time trial of almost 30 kilometers, a very hard discipline in cycling. The speed will be high as the course isn’t too difficult and it will be a fast track over nice roads. Then, stages two and five will most likely end with a bunch sprint. Also stages six and seven can offer a chance to the sprinters, although it is possible that it will be a sprint with a small group. These stages contain a few climbs so the attackers may have an advantage. The other stages during the first week will be something for the GC riders as every stage has an uphill finish. Mainly the fourth, eighth and tenth stage will be very important with the GC positions in mind. The climbs are very steep so they’ll certainly test the legs of the riders.”

“The second week begins with a tough stage. It will be another hard day in the saddle as the stage ends with an uphill finish. The first part is rather flat so it will be a long sprint to the beginning of the climb. After that, a transition stage in the Basque Country is scheduled. The breakaway might have a chance to stay ahead as the course has a hilly profile. However it’s also possible that a sprint with a reduced peloton takes place. The following stage has a similar profile so the outcome could possibly be the same. Then, another very interesting stage awaits the riders as they need to climb four major mountains during the queen stage. The Col d’Aubisque, a well-known climb from the Tour de France, will be the final climb. The GC riders will have to give their all again during the next stage as they find three climbs on the route. An uphill finish of the first category will be the hard finale of that stage. Finally, the stage before the last rest day offers another chance to the sprinters that are left.”

“The final week is not that different from the second week. Again, the riders need to go full gas just after the rest day as the stage ends with a very steep climb with gradients up to 21 percent. It’s a new climb and this one will definitely be important with the GC in mind. After that, the sprinters can show themselves again in a rather flat stage. Then, an individual time trial of 37 kilometers is scheduled. The GC riders who are able to ride a decent time trial have an advantage as the course isn’t too hilly. The penultimate stage will determine the final GC positions of this year’s Vuelta. Five climbs have to be conquered in total and the finish is situated on an HC-climb. If the time gaps aren’t too big, it’s possible that the top ten of the overall ranking will still see some changes. Finally, this year’s Vuelta finishes with a sprint festival in Madrid. This stage is comparable with the finish of the Tour de France on the Champs-Elysées in Paris.”

Lotto Soudal participates with a very motivated team in La Vuelta. The entire line-up did a fantastic preparation and the riders showed that they are ready to start the final Grand Tour of the year. Mario Aerts audits the riders and explains the team tactics.

Mario Aerts: “It’s true that every rider had a very good preparation to start at this year’s Vuelta. Some of them went to Livigno for a hard training week, others prepared themselves in their own way. Sander Armée already showed this season that he’s in great form, for example during the Tour de Romandie (Armée won the mountains classification in this race, LTS) and the Tour of Norway. Sander can handle difficult mountain stages, he’s able to help the GC riders and he can join a break as well. Also Thomas De Gendt is such a rider, although it will depend on how he has recovered from a very hard Tour de France. He’ll have some opportunities during the final two weeks when he can join breakaway groups and try to win a stage. Louis Vervaeke will not aim for a good position in the GC. He’s still very young and he can use this Vuelta to gain strength and experience. It would be great if he can finish this Grand Tour. The climbs really suit him so he may mark some stages and then he’ll have the possibility to go for a stage win.”

“Bart De Clercq and Maxime Monfort will be our leaders for the GC. We aim for a top ten place with these two riders. They already showed that they are in great form, so they’re both able to obtain a very nice result. Sander and Louis will help them in the mountains, but also Adam Hansen can handle a hard mountain stage. It will be the sixteenth consecutive Grand Tour of the Aussie so he has a lot of experience. He already won a stage two years ago and he’ll also aim for a stage win this year. Adam is able to help the GC riders, but he’s also very useful in the sprint train of Tosh Van der Sande who will be our sprinter during the coming three weeks. His stage win in the Tour de l’Ain gave a boost to both him and the team. Last year, he managed to obtain some nice results so this year he’ll try to perform even better. Gert Dockx and Jelle Wallays are both riders who can help Tosh in the sprint. These riders can ride really hard and they can pull at the front of the peloton for a very long time. Jelle is able to position Tosh perfectly for the sprint. It’s his first Grand Tour ever so he’ll be very motivated to show himself.”

“We have set two main goals; trying to win a stage and obtaining a top ten position in the GC. The team knows that it won’t be a walk in the park, but everyone is in great shape. They start with a lot of courage and they’ll give their all in each stage. Tomorrow, we leave for Spain and Thursday we will recon the team time trial. The whole team is looking forward to it and I’m sure they’ll show themselves during these three weeks!”

Roster Lotto Soudal:
Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Gert Dockx, Adam Hansen, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Louis Vervaeke and Jelle Wallays.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.

Thomas De Gendt:
Volta a Catalunya 2016 - stage 4

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IAM Cycling team for la Vuelta
THE EXCLAMATION: From Mathias Frank. “I would like to win a stage; that would make me happy.”

THE QUOTE: Again from Mathias Frank: “I have felt good in training. However, it will take me a few days to find the rhythm of competition again. But I am not worried considering the fact that I have been having the right sensations in training.”

THE EXPLANATION: As provided once more by Mathias Frank: “I have recovered from my stomach troubles that forced me out of the Tour de France recently. I have trained well and took part in the Clasica San Sebastian in an effort to continue my recovery. There is nothing to worry about, and I am ready to take part in my third Vuelta after I raced it in 2008 and 2011, where I placed 4th on the 10th stage which finished at altitude (Verin – Estacion de Montana Manzaneda).”

THE ANALYSIS: Given by Rik Verbrugghe, sports manager for IAM Cycling. “Making the selection for the riders to take to the Vuelta has not proved easy since all our riders have kept their motivation to race straight through to the end of the season. We have favored some youthful riders like Chevrier and Pellaud. Our policy for the Vuelta will be identical as it was for the Tour de France. We will lineup with a very aggressive squad that will have a stage win as the primary objective. Mathias Frank will be the leader for the general classification, but we will not be focusing on a place in the top-10.”

THE WEATHER: Sunny, hot weather will be expected at the start in Galicia for this 71st edition of La Vuelta. The team time trial will be looking at a high temperature of 27° C, while the mercury will rise to 32° for Sunday’s stage, and even peak at 39 °C in time for the first uphill finish at the top of Mirador de Ezaro.

THE INFO: The team presentation will take place on Thursday, August 18th. Then the riders will make the effort to reconnoiter the team time trial course before the start of the event which is set for Saturday, August 20th. The first of the twenty-two teams racing (18 World Tour and 4 invited) will start off at 18:26 while the final team is expected to cross the finish line at the stroke of 20:18.

THE NUMBER: 29.4. That is the number of kilometers each squad will have to cover for the team time trial, though without any major obstacles. The opening day route will take them between the spa-resort of Orense and the Castrelo de Mino Waterpark.

THE MENU FOR THE TOUR: The 21 stages will cover a total distance of 3277.3 km, as estimated by the organizers. This will include 7 flat stages, 12 medium and high mountain stages, and two time trials (one team and one individual).

THE OBSERVATION: IAM Cycling will be fielding a team where the majority of the riders have never even raced over Spanish roads. Clément Chevrier, Dries Devenyns, Vegard Stake Laengen, Jonas Van Genechten, and Marcel Wyss will all be Vuelta neophytes for this 2016 edition.

THE LIFE OF THE PARTY: Vicente Reynes. Always ready for a laugh, and the guy who keeps the mood bright and light within the team, the 35 year old Reynes, who comes from Mallorca, will be starting his seventh Vuelta.

Coureurs:
Clément Chevrier (Fr), Dries Devenyns (Bel), Mathias Frank (S), Simon Pellaud (S), Vincente Reynes (Esp), Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor), Jonas Van Genechten (Bel), Larry Warbasse (USA), Marcel Wyss (S).
Fondateur: Michel Thétaz.
Manager sportif: Rik Verbrugghe.
Directeurs sportifs: Mario Chiesa & Eddy Seigneur.

Larry Warbasse:
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Kruijswijk heads to the Vuelta a España
Team LottoNL-Jumbo starts the Vuelta a España on Saturday with Steven Kruijswijk as its general classification leader. The Dutch WorldTour team starts with a diverse team.

“We’re going to Spain with a strong team,” said Kruijswijk. “We have riders who can assist me uphill, but also men who will support me on the flats.

“The main goal is to fight for the classification. It is nice that the big GC guys will start in the Vuelta, that gives me motivation and I can measure myself against the best.

“After the Giro d’Italia, I had a lot of rest to recover from my crash and the race. In preparation for the Vuelta, I have not ridden many races. It was planned that way to start as fresh as possible.“

Sports Director Addy Engels emphasized the goal in this race. “We have the team built entirely around Steven. A team with men who strongly ride uphill, as well some guys for the flat. Uphill, it’s always handy to have riders with you, but on the flat, it is just as important, which is why there are men like Jos van Emden and Martijn Keizer in the team.

“Koen Bouwman and Victor Campenaerts, two young riders, will race their first grand tour. I expect them to certainly play a role uphill.

“The big goal is the GC for Steven Kruijswijk, but we will definitely try for breakaways. We have a team with different qualities.”

Setback
“After the Olympic road race, I got sick and I had to adjust my training schedule,” added Kruijswijk. “It is disappointing that I had to finish the final part of my preparation that way.”

“At this moment, I feel better. Now it’s important to get through the first stages.”

“It’s wait and see how he recovers,” said Sports Director Engels. “It’s never nice when you have to handle a setback ahead of a grand tour. Once Steven is again in top condition, he can fight for the podium like he did in the Giro.”

Robert Gesink
Robert Gesink starts in the Vuelta a España, his first grand tour of the year. In the Tour de Suisse, Gesink crashed and didn’t manage to start the Tour de France because of a concussion.

”Of course, we’ve to wait how Gesink will be, if he is fit he can support me very well,” Kruijswijk said.

Gesink is looking forward to the Vuelta after he missed an important part of the season due a concussion. “The Vuelta is an important race towards 2017. I start without high expectations and hope to find my recovery ability and support the team.”

Line-up:
Steven Kruijswijk, Robert Gesink, Bram Tankink, Jos van Emden, Koen Bouwman, Victor Campenaerts, Martijn Keizer, Enrico Battaglin en George Bennett.
Sports Directors: Jan Boven and Addy Engels.

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Preview: Vuelta a España
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka all set for 3rd appearance at Vuelta a España
Coming off an incredibly successful Tour de France, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will take on its third Grand Tour this year by starting the Vuelta a España on Saturday, 20 August in Ourense. Our African team will arrive at the start with clear goals and a defending champion in the Mountains competition.

Basque, Omar Fraile (pictured below), will lead the team into his home Grand Tour and will once again be eyeing the King of the Mountains competition. He won this classification 12 months ago and is taking to the start as one of the favorites for the blue-dotted white jersey. Fraile, who also wore the KOM jersey at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, underlined his strong form at the Vuelta a Burgos a couple of days ago by winning the KOM competition.

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Another strong climber who showed that he is coming into shape is fellow Basque, Igor Anton. He finished the Vuelta a Burgos in 9th place overall as the team’s best finisher. Anton is a former Vuelta a España stage winner and also managed to finish the race inside the top 10 on two occasions. He’ll add plenty of experience to the team in the coming weeks.

Two riders who will try to feed off that experience are our African talents Jacques Janse van Rensburg (pictured below) and Merhawi Kudus. The 2015 South African road race champion, Janse van Rensburg, played a key role in the team’s recent success in the build-up races to the Vuelta and will be an important rider once the road gradient kicks up. Eritrean, Kudus, will start the 4th Grand Tour of his career and try to leave his mark on the tougher stages.

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Our African team’s philosophy is to try and shine on every kind of terrain to give our #BicycleChangeLives campaign, the Qhubeka charity and our sponsors as much recognition as possible. It is only logical that Australian Nathan Haas, who won stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos, will spearhead the team on the hilly stages that suit his profile. He’ll be joined by another all-rounder in his quest for glory, current South African road race champion Jaco Venter (pictured below).

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Venter will share the role of being Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s road captain in Spain with Tyler Farrar. The experienced American, who has won stages in all three Grand Tours, will be the team’s conductor when it counts on the flat stages and he’ll try to pilot Kristian Sbaragli to another Vuelta a España stage win. The Italian’s lead-out will be rounded out by young South African Nic Dougall, who will ride his first Grand Tour.

This year’s Vuelta route will offer 7 flat stages, 7 hilly stages, 5 mountain stages and 2 challenges against the clock, of which one is the opening team time trial.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka – Vuelta a España:
Omar Fraile [ESP], Igor Anton [ESP], Jacques Janse van Rensburg [RSA], Merhawi Kudus [ERI], Nathan Haas [AUS], Jaco Venter [RSA], Tyler Farrar [USA], Kristian Sbaragli [ITA], Nic Dougall [RSA].

Douglas Ryder – Team Principal
The Vuelta a España is a really special race for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, it was the first Grand Tour we participated in back in 2014 just a short 2 years ago. So much has happened to the team, the global awareness of the team and the purpose we race for every day since then and it is largely thanks to the great organization behind the event who gave us the chance. We are looking forward to the event this year with a special team focused on clear objectives and with a new rider to Grand Tours in Nic Dougall. Dreams continue to come true for this team, its riders and staff and the many people we race for every day and we look forward to the challenge of the 2016 event and the impact we can make.

Rolf Aldag – Head of Performance
We arrived at the Tour de France with a strong tactical focus that was centered around possible stage wins and days in a leader’s jersey for only a few guys. As such the Grand Boucle was a similar race to the Giro d’Italia earlier this year. Looking at the Vuelta a España we will take to the start with a strong squad to look for our chances at any given terrain. We’d like to win a stage and go for a leader’s jersey. The team did well in the built-up races to the Vuelta, we rode aggressively and successful. We’re not going to hide ourselves as this race is another chance for us to promote our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign on a big stage.

Jaco Venter – Rider
I’m looking forward to be riding my third Vuelta. This year’s edition runs mostly through the Northern part of Spain, so I guess it’s going to be cooler than in the last two years and the racing will be very fast. We have a strong team, we worked well together at the Vuelta a Burgos where we got a win. It’d be great to get the same at Vuelta. I will be supporting the team and will try go in some moves and try and stay away after getting really close last year. It’s my first time doing two Grand Tours in a season, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

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Young and competitive line-up for Lampre-Merida in the Vuelta a España 2016
The sports directors Simone Pedrazzini and Bruno Vicino (who’ll be supported by Daniele Righi) will direct these nine riders:

– Arashiro Yukiya: 31 years, Japanese, 1 cap in the Vuelta
– Cattaneo Mattia, 25 years, Italian, 1 cap in the Vuelta
– Conti Valerio: 23 year, Italian, 2 caps in the Vuelta
– Costa Mario: 30 years, Portugese, debut
– Durasek Kristijan: 29 years, Croatia, 1 cap in the Vuelta
– Grmay Tsgabu Gebremaryam: 24 years, Ethiopia, 1 cap in the Vuelta
– Koshevoy Ilia: 25 year, Bellorussia, 1 cap in the Vuelta
– Meintjes Louis: 24 year, South Africa, 2 caps in the Vuelta
– Zurlo Federico: 22 years, Italian, debut
Substitutes: Marko Kump and Przemyslaw Niemiec.

Lampre-Merida will represent 7 nations in the Vuelta (Belarus, Croatia, Ethiopia, Italy, Japan, Portugal and South Africa) and three continents (Africa, Asia and Europe).

The average age of the blue-fuchsia-green line-up will be fairly low, 25,8 years old.

The most awaited rider will be Louis Meintjes, who was 10th in the Vuelts 2015 and who improved is awareness of his qualities also thanks the 8th position he obtained in the Tour de France. In the Vuelta, Meintjes’target will be the stages victories: he’ll have several appointments considering the bunch of mountain stages in the Spanish race. He’ll rely on good climbers such as Cattaneo, Conti, Durasek and Koshevoy, who’ll all be also able to try to join the breakaways in the most demanding stages.

Grmay’s level of experience in the great tours is very good, having completed each of the tours in which he made his debut (Giro d’Italia 2015, Tour de France 2016 and Vuelta a España 2015), and he’s ready for trying to achieve a stage victory.

Thanks to their propensity for joining the breakaways and thanks to their speed, Arashiro and Zurlo will be important riders for their sports directors, as important as Mario Costa will be for giving his support to the team mates.

Louis Meintjes:
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Andrew Talansky to lead Cannondale-Drapac at Vuelta a España
American Andrew Talansky will lead the charge for Cannondale-Drapac at the Vuelta a España, which begins this Saturday in Ourense, Spain. Simon Clarke, Joe Dombrowski, Moreno Moser, Pierre Rolland, Ben King, Davide Formolo, Davide Villela, and Paddy Bevin complete the squad, which is capable of winning stages and protecting Talansky in the mountains.

The Vuelta is a notably grueling grand tour each season, and the 2017 iteration is no departure. There are 12 hilly or mountain stages, and even some of the opening “flat” days have what the Vuelta organizers call “high-altitude” finishes. A 29.4 kilometer ITT a team effort against the clock to open things up Saturday. There are 51 summits to be climbed over the three-week race.

“The Vuelta is always a challenging race,” said Talansky. “It’s a little less predictable than the Tour for example with a mix of punchier uphill finishes alone with a few more traditional mountain stages packed with back-to-back long climbs. The individual TT and the stage 20 uphill finish are two I am really looking forward to. I am usually my best in the third week so having some harder stages back loaded like that leaves a lot of opportunity to move up the standings at the very end of the race. Overall, I am really looking forward to the entire three weeks of racing, taking it day by day, and I’m excited to see where I can end up when we arrive to Madrid.”

This marks Talansky’s fifth crack at the Vuelta. He finished seventh in 2012. “The Vuelta is the last of the three grand tours, and each one has its own flavor,” said Talansky. “I’ve never done the Giro but even as a spectator you can see differences in the style that each of the three Grand Tours are raced. The Vuelta was my first Grand Tour and it has always been special to me. The Spanish fans are great, the race is intense, but traditionally the stress level is slightly lower than the Tour.”

“Whether that’s the case this year with big names like Contador, Froome and Quintana coming remains to be seen,” Talansky added. “Personally I would like put in a good overall GC ride, improving upon the last time I focused on GC in this race in 2012. I’ve had a smooth run in to the race and I just want to get the most out of myself.”

Talansky isn’t short on support in Spain. Clarke, who won the 2012 Vuelta mountains classification in his Grand Tour debut, lends crucial experience as road captain. Dombrowksi, Rolland, Villella and Formolo are excellent climbers, and the Argyle Armada will be able to keep the climbers sheltered before the roads tilt upward. “The team we have brought here is exceptional,” Talansky noted. “We have a strong squad for the opening time trial as well as individuals who can win stages on all types of terrain. I’ll have great support in the mountains and I’m excited to see what we as a team can accomplish over the next three weeks.”

Bingen Fernandez, DS at the Vuelta for Cannondale-Drapac, expects an animated affair. “They want some active finishes, where there is always ‘something’ at the end of the stage to keep the riders busy. There are 12 medium/high mountain stages and 2 flat stages with a hard top finishes after all the day on the flat,” Fernandez said. The Vuelta is the Grand Tour that started to change the idea of the stages. Organizers wanted sorter stages with explosive finales. The atmosphere is more relaxed but when the race is on, it’s on.”

The Vuelta a España concludes on Sept. 11 in Madrid.

Cannondale-Drapac for the 2017 Vuelta a España:
Patrick Bevin, Simon Clarke, Joe Dombrowski, Davide Formolo, Ben King, Moreno Moser, Pierre Rolland, Andrew Talansky, Davide Villella.

Andrew Talansky:
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Esteban Chaves to lead Orica-BikeExchange in Spain
Colombian Esteban Chaves returns to Spain after his 5th overall place in the 2015 Vuelta and 2nd overall in this year’s Giro d’Italia.

The Australian team’s DS, Neil Stephens said: “We are heading into the Vuelta a España with one very clear objective and that is to achieve the best possible general classification result that we can. Of course, as always this will be a very difficult race and we will have to pay close attention to a very strong field of competitors. We have only the upmost respect for the race and the other teams. Esteban (Chaves) has proven with his performances over the last year that he deserves to be the leader of the team for the 2016 Vuelta and we are all super motivated to do all we can to support him.”

As to the riders: “We have a team with a great mixture of talent, experience and motivation. The whole squad has a fantastic attitude and work ethic which is going to be hugely important over the next three weeks of racing. The guys are all clear on our aims and objectives but as with any bike race you have to be prepared for any eventuality. I’m happy and excited that we have such a strong and versatile squad here and I feel that we are well equipped to compete in such a challenging race.”

Orica-BikeExchange at the Vuelta a España:
Sam Bewley (NZ, 29), Esteban Chaves (COL, 26), Magnus Cort (DEN, 23), Simon Gerrans (AUS, VIC, 36), Jack Haig (AUS, 22), Damien Howson (AUS, SA, 24), Jens Keukeleire (BEL, 26), Svein Tuft (CAN, 38), Simon Yates (GBR, 24).

Esteban Chaves:
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Etixx – Quick-Step to Vuelta a España
Our team will be looking for opportunities to leave its mark on a race renowned for its brutal parcours

The 71st Vuelta a España will kick-off in a few days, with the riders set to tackle yet again a mountainous route, which includes no less than 10 uphill finishes that are almost guaranteed to produce fireworks. Galicia welcomes the peloton on the inaugural day, when the teams will face a 27.8-km long time trial, which is sure to create some significant margins between the general classification contenders, while Madrid will host the final stage, giving the sprinters one of the few opportunities to take center stage at this edition.

Between these, the third Grand Tour of the year will be jammed with tough and spectacular climbs, such as Mirador del Ezaro, Peña Cabarga, Lagos de Covadonga, La Camperona or Col d’Aubisque (16.5 km at an average gradient of 7.1%), which will see the riders cross the border to France for the queen-stage of the race. Another important role in the outcome is expected to be played by the individual time trial scheduled on the last Friday (Xabia–Calpe, 37 kilometers), which comes just before Alto de Aitana, the final summit arrival of the Vuelta.

Etixx – Quick-Step – already victorious in five Grand Tour stages this year – heads into the Spanish event with a solid and versatile squad, which will be led by Giro d’Italia stage winner and maglia rosa wearer Gianluca Brambilla. While the 28-year-old Italian, 13th in last year’s Vuelta a España, will eye the mountain stages to shine, Gianni Meersman, who underlined his strong form earlier this month at the Vuelta a Burgos, will be ready to get in the mix in the stages expected to end up in a bunch sprint.

Two formidable attackers, Zdenek Stybar and Niki Terpstra will also pin on a race number as they will look for a chance to get a good result in a race which acted as the scene of their Grand Tour debut several years ago. Joining them will be Yves Lampaert – a Grand Tour rookie – David De La Cruz, who will be hoping to come into the spotlight on the savage climbs of his home race, Maxime Bouet, Pieter Serry and Martin Velits, all vital and strong riders who will play an important role in the team during the three weeks of La Vuelta, which this year covers more than 3300 kilometers and 51 classified ascents.

“We have an aggressive squad, capable of shining on every type of terrain. It’s a very hard Vuelta a España, but it’s been like that for years, and we are aware of what lies ahead of us. Just like at the previous edition, we will go to the attack and try to get some nice results. We will have a different plan for every stage and hopefully we will get rewarded for our hard work and determination”, said sport director Rik van Slycke, who’ll accompany the team from the car.

Riders:
Maxime Bouet (FRA), Gianluca Brambilla (ITA), David De La Cruz Melgarejo (ESP), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Pieter Serry (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Niki Terpstra (NED), Martin Velits (SVK).
Sports Directors: Davide Bramati (ITA), Wilfried Peeters (BEL), Jan Schaffrath (GER), Rik van Slycke (BEL).

Niki Terpstra:
Paris-Roubaix 2015

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Mikel Landa to Miss Vuelta
Mikel Landa will miss this year’s Vuelta a España after withdrawing from Team Sky’s lineup with an injury.

Landa, who had been confirmed to race as part of the nine-man squad, told medical staff that he was experiencing discomfort after aggravating an injury to his hip. After an initial MRI scan was taken, the decision was made to withdraw him from the team in order to allow him to fully recover from his injury.

Spanish climber David Lopez will now join up with the squad ahead of Saturday’s opening team time trial. The experienced Lopez is a Vuelta stage winner and will be starting his 15th Grand Tour. Earlier this season he was part of Team Sky’s Giro d’Italia lineup.

Team Sky Doctor Inigo Sarriegui said: “Mikel told us that he had been suffering with discomfort in his hip and upper leg. We sent him for a scan but have decided that the best thing at this stage is to take Mikel out of the Vuelta line up.

“Obviously he is disappointed, but starting a Grand Tour when you are already experiencing pain from an injury risks aggravating it further and could cause more problems.

“Mikel will be able to focus on recovering from the injury, rather than trying to get through a three week stage race.”

Mikel Landa said: “I’m disappointed to have to withdraw from the team, especially so close to the start of the race.

“I was motivated to perform well at the Vuelta, but the pain I have had means I wouldn’t be ready to perform at my best. We have agreed that it’s best for me to focus on recovering properly so I can get fit and get back to racing.

“We have a strong team for the Vuelta and I’m very disappointed that I won’t be there, but I wish the guys good luck and know they will have a great race.”

Mikel Landa:
Garrastatxu - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Mikel Landa (Team Sky) - Wilco Kelderman (Netherlands / Team LottoNL - Jumbo) pictured during Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2016 (2.UWT) stage 2 from Markina-Xemein to Garrastatxu - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

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Tour du Limousin 2016
It was the perfect opening to Tour du Limousin for BMC Racing Team as Joey Rosskopf took the win, and claimed the first leader’s jersey of the race, following a fast and furious finale to Stage 1. As soon as the race hit kilometer zero attacks started to fly off the front of the peloton, including on from TJ Eisenhart, but they were all swiftly pulled back by the peloton. After around 40 kilometers out on the road, Rosskopf made a strong move to distance himself from the peloton and was able to successfully breakaway with two other riders. The group grew in size as they race reached the halfway point with 13 riders working together for most of the day to hold a maximum lead of 2 minutes 30 seconds. Despite the peloton setting a storming pace behind them, six remaining breakaway riders were able to stay in front and go all the way to the line with Rosskopf eventually proving the strongest on the day.

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Interview with stage winner, Joey Rosskopf (BMC):
Congratulations, Joey! How did you feel when your crossed the finish line today?
“I felt awesome, in fact I couldn’t quite believe it right away but I’m super happy! There hasn’t been many races in the last year or two where I have been involved in a sprint or in a breakaway that made it to the line so I felt a little rusty. It definitely helped that we saw the line before the actual finish so I knew what to expect as I was really able to give it my all in the sprint.”

When you made the successful breakaway move, did you think that the stage win was possible?
“I definitely didn’t know that I would be the strongest rider in the breakaway today. I came into the race a little unsure how I had recovered from Utah. At the beginning of the race it was super aggressive and we knew we needed someone in the break because it was going to be hard to control this course. For the first half of the race in the break I was definitely in survival mode. Then as we settled into it more everything started to click again and my body got warmed up and I was feeling a lot more confident in the last 50 kilometers.”

And looking ahead to the rest of the race?
“I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the race and I’m hoping it is good stage for us tomorrow. Hopefully the guys aren’t too mad at me for making them ride at the front and defend the jersey tomorrow but we are definitely a strong team and motivation is high. It will be hard to defend the jersey as I think the time bonuses will be important for winning the race overall but we will give it our all and will see what happens. I think this stage win feels really rewarding for us as a team, especially as a lot of us came here from Utah where everyone was riding really well but we weren’t able to get the stage win so it’s a little like redemption.”

Sports Director, Jackson Stewart said: “We knew that the race was going to be wide open on the first day and aggressive with a lot of local teams here. On paper, it looked like it was going to be a sprint finish but we knew we wanted to be in there if a big break went away. We started really aggressive with [TJ] Eisenhart launching an attack as well as a few others and finally Joey was able to get away with a small group which then increased to 13 riders with [Manuel] Senni in there at one point too. Everyone in the break worked hard together and they eventually made it which was really cool to see and I’m super happy for Joey. We came into this race without a clear leader and after missing out on stage wins recently, especially with the riders here from Utah, this win is definitely a great way to represent the effort that we have all been putting in.”

Tour du Limousin Stage 1 Result:
1. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC in 3:55:26
2. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
3. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
4. Rodolfo Andres Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
5. Théo Vimpere (Fra) HP BTP-Auber93 at 0:06
6. Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:08
7. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis at 0:17
8. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
9. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Tour du Limousin Overall After Stage 1:
1. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC in 3:55:16
2. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:04
3. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 0:05
4. Rodolfo Andres Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:10
5. Théo Vimpere (Fra) HP BTP-Auber93 at 0:16
6. Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
7. Fabien Doubey (Fra) FDJ at 0:24
8. Igor Boev (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo
9. Julien Loubet (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept at 0:25
10. Jonathan Lastra Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:26.

Limousin Stage 1 Podium:
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Stage 2 of the Tour du Limousin again took the peloton slightly by surprise with a tougher finish than expected, seeing many of the sprinters out of contention, while the punchier finishers came to the fore. Roman Maikin (Gazprom-RusVelo) shot to victory ahead of Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF), Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) and Giovanni Visconti (Movistar).

The stage got underway to a steadier start compared to yesterday, with a break of four forming after around 10km of racing, and soon building a lead of over three minutes. Their advantage was well controlled by the GC leader’s BMC team, with the gap never breaching four minutes, and at 50km to race, the advantage was just 1:30.

The lead was falling all the time over the tough, testing parcours with its constant ups and downs, twists and turns, the break was finally brought back into the fold with just over 20km to go. From here most eyes were set on a fast bunch finish, despite a few ambitious late attacks in the final. Movistar lifted the speed as they hit the final 10km and five riders escaped, including the race leader, Rosskopf. Cofidis chased them down.

On the uphill finish Maikin and Colbrelli fought it out for a close finish that needed a photo to split them. In the end Maikin was given the win, with Colbrelli, Gavazzi and Visconti making it three Italians in the top 4. Rosskopf finished in the bunch and held his 4 second advantage over Hubert Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale).

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Stage winner, Roman Maikin (Gazprom-RusVelo): “On Tuesday, I suffered from the heat but especially a puncture in the last 20 kilometers, Roman Maikin told Directvelo. “Since I was almost ten minutes behind overall, I had to aim for a stage victory. I had very good legs despite the heat. Just before the red kite, I attacked with Giovanni Visconti. We got along well and then I launched the sprint from far out. I felt that he came back from the back but I resisted to the line. Now, I’ll help my teammates to for the overall. And in the longer term, I hope to continue my progress and get a WorldTour victory. This is my second win of the season and this is very important for me and for the team of course. I’m very happy, we worked hard. Throughout the race, legs were heavy as yesterday was hard, but I’m happy with the win. Today the finish was uphill and I love that. In the coming days I will help my team to be well placed.”

Overall leader, Joey Rosskopf (BMC): “The day was almost easy for me thanks to all the work of the team. The breakaway went away early so, my nerves quickly faded. It was my first day in yellow, but my teammates have a lot of experience and that really reassured me. They are machines! At the end, I had to follow a couple of the attacks but when Visconti and Maikin went just before the flamme rouge, I chose not to make the effort because I thought it would come back to a sprint. Finally, they stayed away but it is not a big issue. I kept the yellow jersey. That’s the most important thing. I’m feeling confident for the next two days. Tomorrow’s stage will be tiring but my teammates are very strong.”

Tour du Limousin Stage 2 Result:
1. Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo in 4:27:15
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
5. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Team Roth
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff
7. Romain Feillu (Fra) HP BTP-Auber93
8. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Southeast
9. Carlos Barbero (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
10. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC.

Tour du Limousin Overall After Stage 2:
1. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC at 8:22:31
2. Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:04
3. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 0:05
4. Rodolfo Andres Torres (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:10
5. Diego Rubio (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:16
6. Théo Vimpere (Fra) HP BTP-Auber93
7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:21
8. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:23
9. Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo-Vital Concept
10. Flavien Dassonville (Fra) HP BTP-Auber93.

Joey Rosskopf:
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Welcome to Yorkshire has submitted a bid to host the UCI Road World Championships in 2019.
Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity formally presented the application to UCI President Brian Cookson with the ambition of bringing another world-class cycling event to the county.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s bid was compiled in partnership with British Cycling and UK Sport, and the UK Government has guaranteed to underwrite the full cost of the event and back it with £24 million of investment.

The bid features an exciting race programme that will include starts in North, South, East and West Yorkshire, full details of which will be made available if the bid is successful following the UCI’s annual congress in Doha this October.

The bid is the result of months of careful planning, and unrelated to Welcome to Yorkshire’s offer last week to step in and help organise the UEC Road European Championships following Nice’s decision to withdraw from hosting. Those Championships will now take place next month in Brittany.

The UCI Road World Championships is one of the most prestigious events on the professional cycling calendar, with the best male and female riders from around the globe competing for the chance to win the iconic rainbow jersey.

The event takes place over eight days and includes individual and team time trials as well as full road races for Under 18, Under 23 and Elite riders.

Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said: “It would be an absolute honour to host the 2019 UCI Road World Championships.

“Yorkshire has everything a bike race could wish for. We can promise a gruelling but spectacular range of routes, huge crowds and the very warmest of welcomes. We are sure the world’s best riders will find our beautiful roads both challenging and exhilarating in equal measure.

“The Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014 cemented the county’s place as a world-class cycling destination and since then I have been proud to oversee the launch and growth of the Tour de Yorkshire – a race which is now regarded as one of the most dramatic and well-supported events in the sport.

“Make no mistake, cycling is in Yorkshire’s DNA and hosting the 2019 UCI Road World Championships will only reaffirm that.

“Yorkshire is ready to embrace the Championships. We’ve turned the county yellow once before, and now we want to see it swathed with those coveted rainbow bands.”

Welcome to Yorkshire:

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Etixx – Quick-Step welcomes Philippe Gilbert
The 2012 World Champion and current Belgian road race champion will ride for the team next season
16-Aug-2016: Philippe Gilbert has agreed on a contract with Etixx – Quick-Step, making him the fifth signing of the squad, following the recruitment of neo-pros Rémi Cavagna, Enric Mas and Maximilian Schachmann, who came from Klein Constantia, and the one of Dries Devenyns. Only the second man in history to complete the Ardennes Triple in the same year, Philippe showed he is cut for the one-day races ever since his pro debut, boosting in the past seasons an impressive list of achievements, which includes more than 70 victories, from which stands out the World Champion title he’s won in Valkenburg, after a blistering attack on the final climb of the course.

The living symbol of the iconic Cauberg – where he took the spoils four times in his career – the 34-year-old Belgian proved in more than one occasion that he’s one of the most versatile riders of the current peloton, his victories in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche coming as extra proof in that regard. Besides these, he finished at the top also in important stage races, such as the Tour of Belgium and the Tour of Beijing, thanks to his impressive set of skills and sharp instinct.

Philippe – a stage winner in all three Grand Tours – explained why he signed with Etixx – Quick-Step for next year: “I was in contact with Patrick since my U23 spell and now I finally have the chance to ride here. I’m excited to continue my career together with Etixx – Quick-Step, a team whose ethos and aggressive style of racing are very much to my liking. I want to thank my former team for the time spent together and wish them all the best, but now the moment has come for a new chapter in my career. I’m looking forward to next season and I hope to be competitive and bring my contribution and experience to the Classics and to the other important races the team will target.”

Patrick Lefevere, the team’s CEO and the man under whose guidance Etixx – Quick-Step became one of the best squads in the world, was more than pleased with the arrival of the Belgian champion, a three-time Monument winner: “Philippe is one of the most talented riders in the peloton and will be an important addition to our roster. A prolific and intelligent rider, he brings experience, panache and quality, as well as depth to the Classics squad. He still has hunger and motivation, which I’m sure will help him thrive next season, when he’ll wear the kit of Etixx – Quick-Step. We are very happy to add a rider of his caliber to our team for 2017.”

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

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Bennati adds Experience and Commitment to Movistar 2017 Roster
35-year-old Italian to bring strength into flat terrain to Eusebio Unzué’s squad; huge palmarès as sprinters includes more than 50 wins, success in all three Grand Tours.

The Movistar Team announces Tuesday that Italy’s Daniele Bennati (Arezzo, 1980) will be a member of its squad starting next season. ‘Benna’ will fulfill his 16th consecutive season in the pro peloton in 2017, always through top-tier outfits since his debut at Domina Vacanze and until the last four years within the ranks of Tinkoff.

Bennati has developed great abilities for teamwork through the last few years, which the Movistar Team hopes the man from Tuscany will bring to up their level into flat courses. Daniele has notably shone throughout his career as a sprinter: his 53-victory palmarès includes two stage wins in the Tour de France, six in the Vuelta and three in the Giro d’Italia.

So far this season, Bennati has raised his arms victorious twice, in both the opening stages of the Vuelta a Andalucía/Ruta del Sol and the Tour of Denmark. That, despite breaking a vertebra into a crash at Milano-Sanremo in mid March.

Daniele Bennati:
Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol 2016 - 1

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Tao Geoghegan Hart Signs with Team Sky
Team Sky are thrilled to announce the signing of Tao Geoghegan Hart for the 2017 season.

Geoghegan Hart, 21, joins from Continental outfit Axeon Hagens Berman and is no stranger to the team, having raced in Team Sky colors as a stagiaire in 2015 at the Giro del Piemonte and Japan Cup.

The British U23 national road race champion has enjoyed a strong 2016 season, winning the Trofeo Piva and finishing 12th at the Tour of California and Tour of Utah, and he will now make the step up to the WorldTour for the 2017 campaign.

Geoghegan Hart said: “It’s super exciting for me. There are guys here who have come through a similar path to me and also have a background on the track. I was on British Cycling’s program up until the age of 18 when I went to Axeon, so these are riders that I have looked up to for a very long time. To be team-mates with them is very exciting, and hopefully it will make the step up into being a WorldTour rider a little bit easier.

“This season was about getting another year stronger, becoming more consistent, and developing as a rider and as a person, before making the big step up from a Continental team to a WorldTour team. I’m 21 now, so I think this is the ideal time to be stepping up into a big team. I’m super, super excited.”

The London-born rider attended the Team Sky launch event in January 2010, aged just 14, and he has fond memories of that day.

He added: “I remember riding behind those guys and dreaming, just being in absolute awe. It’s not dissimilar to that now, dreaming to be on Team Sky, and I still look up to those guys.

“I guess you never know, but maybe it was small moments like that when I was young that inspired me to go out there, ride my bike every day, and brought me to the path I find myself on years later.”

Team Sky Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “We’ve been following Tao for a long time now and obviously had him with us as a stagiaire at the end of last year. He’s continued to show real progress this season and we’re delighted he’ll be taking the next steps in his career with Team Sky.

“Tao is another exciting addition to the group of young, talented British riders we have at Team Sky.”

Tao Geoghegan Hart:
tao geoghegan hart

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US Champion Greg Daniel signs with Trek-Segfredo
Trek-Segafredo has signed current US National Champion Greg Daniel, 21, to a two-year contract, further increasing its youth component and focus on its future over the next years.

Daniel first joined Axel Merckx’s development program in 2013 with Bontrager where he rode alongside Trek-Segafredo’s Jasper Stuyven.

“I have been dreaming of an opportunity to race on a World Tour team, so this is a huge honor to join Trek-Segafredo,” said Daniel. “It’s a big step going from a development team to the World Tour, but I think I’ve prepared well, and I also have a great group of people behind me to support me, especially my family and the Denver cycling community.

“I am excited to be back with Trek; I know a few of the people from the Bontrager days like Matt Shriver (Trek-Segafredo technical director) and Jasper Stuyven. Returning to Trek is really nice, and I couldn’t be happier.

“For me, the big thing is to continue to develop and to learn to ride like ‘the best Greg Daniel can ride.’ There are lots of leaders, and I’d like to support them and learn from them. Jasper is an example for me – he has come from Axel’s program, too, and has proven himself.”

It has been a successful 2016 for Daniel who won the national championship road race in May and followed this up with the final stage and overall victory – in addition to the points and best young rider classifications – at the Tour de Beauce.

Daniel is in his last year in the under-23 ranks (his racing age is 22) and Merckx’s development team Axeon Hagens Berman, a program he has been a part of for four years. Knowing it was his final year in the U23 squad, Daniel always hoped to make the big step to World Tour, and his successes in 2016 helped seal the deal with Trek-Segafredo.

Daniel: “I started when I was 13, went to Europe with the US National team when I was 16 and started with Bontrager when I was 18. It’s been amazing to work with Axel for all four years; I will be forever grateful to him for what he has taught me.

“I am known as a breakaway rider that does well in climbing, and I am pretty good in the TT, too. But really, I think I am still developing my strengths. Right now I am just trying to pursue my dream. I love week long stage races, and one day I hope I can compete and be competitive in the Tour de France – that would be the dream come true.”

General Manager Luca Guercilena: “Greg Daniel is a rider who has shown incredible progression, and we are thrilled to have him join Trek-Segafredo. He’s aggressive and smart and not afraid to take his chances in races. He is only 21 years of age and has a lot of room for growth. We believe he will fit in well with our program and be an exciting prospect for the team’s future.”

Greg Daniel:
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Owain Doull Joins Team Sky
Team Sky are delighted to finally announce the signing of young British star Owain Doull.

The Welshman will join the team for the remainder of the 2016 season as a stagiaire, tackling select races before turning pro full time on the road in 2017. The 23 year old is fresh from a rousing gold medal ride in Rio with the Great Britain team pursuit squad, and will now be looking to carry that momentum onto the road. Doull achieved a breakthrough result last year while riding for the Wiggins team, claiming third place overall in front of a home crowd at the Tour of Britain.

On signing for the team Doull explained: “When Team Sky formed in 2010 I was 16 years old and I’d just started racing properly as a junior. It’s always been a bit of a boyhood dream to try and join Sky. So to finally be at a stage where I’m about to start racing for the team, and then joining the team properly in 2017, is a bit surreal.

“I’ve ridden against Sky at some of the bigger races like the Tour of Britain for team Wiggins. To see how they operate is pretty special. I’ve also been watching as a fan how the team race, tuning into events like the Tour and seeing how the riders go about that. It’s something that’s incredible to watch, and the way they approach big targets with all the preparation towards it – it’s the next level.”

Team Sky Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “Owain has consistently put in excellent performances on the track and the road and we think he has the potential to be an important part of the team. From a personal perspective it’s always great to be bringing young British talent into Team Sky and it reflects very well on the investment and support Sky has provided through the British Cycling program, the Wiggins team and, of course, Team Sky. We’re looking forward to having Owain as part of the team.”

Owain Doull:
Richmond - USA - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Owain Doull pictured during the Worldchampionships Cycling - Championat du Monde in Richmond - TT - men under 23 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2015

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Cannondale-Drapac Signs Davide Formolo to Second Term
Giro d’Italia stage winner Davide Formolo has re-signed with Cannondale Drapac Professional Cycling Team. The 23-year-old Italian said believes the American registered squad offers the best environment for his development.

“I have a really good feeling with this team,” said Formolo. “I like the atmosphere, and I really like my colleagues. Riding my bike for Cannondale-Drapac makes me happy and helps me improve.”

Formolo recently finished fourth overall at Tour de Pologne following a gutsy ride to second place on the race’s queen stage. He worked for Rigoberto Uran at the 2016 Giro d’Italia, the race where he had achieved his most important victory to date the previous year. Formolo’s posted top ten finishes in stages at Volta a Valenciana and Volta a Catalunya but says he’s biggest goal of the season is still to come.

“My main objective this season is the Vuelta a España,” he said. “We have a strong team. I have a lot of chances still the rest of this year, and I’m 100 percent focused on these opportunities. It’s too early to talk about next year.” While Formolo might not be ready to talk beyond this season, sport director Charly Wegelius is eager to see what the future holds for one of Cannondale-Drapac’s youngest riders.

“Davide, apart from his unquestionable talent, is a highly motivated and hard working athlete,” said Wegelius. “Working with him is rewarding and a pleasure for everyone in the team.”

“The renewal of his contract gives us the chance to continue to build on the work we have done together over the last two years,” Wegelius added. “It’s going to be exciting to see where the road will lead us next.” Slipstreams Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters pointed to another admirable attribute when discussing the returning rider.

“I love his strong character,” Vaughters said. “He’s as stubborn as a rock. That’s how he earned the nickname ‘Roccia’.”

Formolo’s contract is the third extension Cannondale-Drapac has announced over the past month. Americans Andrew Talansky and Joe Dombrowski have also extended with the team.

Davide Formolo:
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The Tour of Britain partners with Eisberg, the UK’s number one alcohol-free wine brand
Eisberg, the UK’s leading alcohol-free wine brand, have agreed a three-year partnership to become the Official Wine Partner for the Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race. The brand will also be the presenting sponsor for the iconic Yellow Jersey at the 2016 event, which gets underway in Glasgow on Sunday 4 September.

Andrew Turner, Director of Wine at Halewood Wines & Spirits who own the brand comments: “Our market research revealed that there is a growing market of male consumers with an interest in alcohol-free alternatives and the Tour of Britain provides a great opportunity to engage this audience. Whether you’re cutting down to spend more time on the bike, or simply taking two to three nights off alcohol each week, Eisberg provides a great alternative for those who still want to be part of the occasion.

“Cycling events at all levels are happening across the UK, bringing with them a renewed interest in the sport and with an exciting calendar of events on the horizon, there’s never been a better time to be involved with the Tour of Britain.”

As part of the partnership, VIP Hospitality guests at all eight stages of the Tour of Britain will be able to enjoy Eisberg’s range of alcohol-free wines which include a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fans attending stage finishes will also be able to raise a toast along with the stage winners as they celebrate on podiums across the nation with Eisberg’s new Sparkling Wine, set for launch in September.

The Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg Alcohol-Free Wine will be awarded daily to the leading overall rider, and presented for the first time following the Stage One Finish in Castle Douglas, Dumfries & Galloway on Sunday 4 September.

Commenting on the partnership, Alastair Grant, Commercial Director for the Tour of Britain said; “We are delighted to welcome Eisberg Alcohol-Free Wine as Partners for the Tour of Britain. We are preparing to welcome the world’s top riders to Britain for this year’s race and there will once again be an exciting battle for the Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg this September.”

The Yellow Jersey presented by Eisberg will be produced by Dare2b, the Official Apparel Partner of the Tour of Britain.

20 teams will contest the 2016 Tour of Britain, including 10 of the sport’s top tier UCI WorldTour teams who rode in the Tour de France this Summer, plus the likes of Team WIGGINS and a Great Britain national team.

Three-hours of live coverage will be broadcast from each stage of the Tour of Britain, with both ITV4 and the BIKE Channel UK showing the race live, while ITV4 will also air a one-hour highlights program each day.

The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step.

The 2016 Tour of Britain Eisberg Yellow Jersey:
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The Vuelta a España Song for 2016
Every year the Vuelta has a song, some good and some not so. This year is “El Ganador” by Marta Sánchez. Not bad:


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