EUROTRASH Tom Thursday!
Tom Dumoulin hammered round Burgos and took back the overall lead in the Vuelta a España on Wednesday. We have all the results, rider quotes and video from Spain and the Tour of Britain, plus a report from the Tour of Alberta. More contract news, Giro ’16 time trial in Chianti, medical up-date on Kris Boeckmans and some Vuelta music.
TOP STORY: Two Grand Tours in One Season?
Last winter Oleg Tinkoff was encouraging riders to go for the ‘Triple’ – Giro/Tour/Vuelta. Alberto Contador said he would attempt the Giro/Tour ‘Double’ and that didn’t go so well and now as we look at the overall standings in the Vuelta we see that Tour de France finishers are probably not the ones who will win the Vuelta a España. It’s possible that Joaquim Rodriguez could make a big come back and win in Spain, but he did finish over an hour and a half down on Chris Froome at the Tour. If things stay as they are, the Movistar pair have come close, Quintana 2nd and 5th and Valverde 3rd and 6th. So it looks like the ‘Double’ is a feat from the past and the ‘Triple’ an impossibility.
Vuelta a España 2015
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) snatched the overall leader’s red jersey at the Vuelta when he distanced his main rivals in the finalé of a punishing Stage 16 won by Frank Schleck (Trek). Schleck was the strongest of an early breakaway group, finishing 1:10 ahead of Rodolfo Torres (Colombia) after 185 km to claim his biggest win since the 2011 Criterium International.
‘Purito’ Rodriguez accelerated with one kilometer to go in the final ascent of the Alto Ermita de Alba (6.8 km at 11.1%) to beat Fabio Aru (Astana) by two seconds, taking the overall lead by one second one. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) is now third overall, 1:35 off the pace. Tom Dumoulin cracked with only 900 meters left and lost 27 seconds to Rodriguez. Sitting in fourth place overall 1:51 behind Purito, the Giant-Alpecin rider very much stayed in contention for the title going into Wednesday’s time trial after the rest day in Burgos.
Verona (Etixx – Quick-Step), Rolland (Europcar), Schleck (Trek), Torres (Colombia) and Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), looking to strengthen his lead in the mountains classification, jumped away from the gun. They were joined by Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Lemoine (Cofidis), Warbasse (IAM Cycling), Moser (Cannondale-Garmin) and Grmay (Lampre-Merida) to form the day’s 10-man breakaway.
After the second climb of the day, the Alto de Piedratecha, the group was sitting on a comfortable 16:40 lead over the peloton. Katusha moved to the front of the pack to control the gap, which had risen to 22 minutes at the foot of the Alto de Cabrunana. They reduced it to 19 minutes and although they stayed at the front, they gave up the chase with 60 kilometers left.
In the breakaway, Schleck called for the medical car and Fraile made sure he would wear the blue on white polka dot jersey after reaching the top of the first five climbs in first position. Tinkoff-Saxo took matters into their own hands before the ascent to the Alto del Cordal and the breakaway’s advantage melted down to 11:30 and Astana took their turn at the front of the pack.
On the descent from the Alto del Cordal, Duque (Colombia) and Chavanel (IAM Cycling) crashed on a left-hand curve. The Colombian was quickly back on his bike while the Frenchman, who apparently hit a safety barrier, sat in obvious pain by the side of the road for a moment before also remounting his bike.
On the climb to the Alto de la Cobertoria (9.8km at 8.7%), Fraile, Rolland, Grmay, Lemoine and Moser were quickly dropped as Schleck upped the pace. Warbasse also slipped back shortly afterwards as well as Verona and Bennett, leaving Schleck and Torres on their own with an 11-minute lead at the top. Meanwhile the red jersey group was trimmed down to 18 riders at the base of the final ascent.
Schleck attacked 3km from the top and never looked back. Pozzovivo (AG2r-La Mondiale) and Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) lost contact with the favorites midway through the ascent while Dumoulin fought hard to stay on Aru’s wheel. Purito’s late acceleration was too much too handle for the Dutchman, who once again limited the losses.
Stage winner, Frank Schleck (Trek): “I don’t know, it’s been so long for me without a win. The whole day was long and hard, but I was on a good day. It’s all so fresh still to make big comments…I just know that I owed myself to do well, I worked so hard for this, I deserved it. I have been fighting hard the last month, had some injuries, couldn’t do the Tour [de France] and came here with a lot of confidence for the Vuelta, and it was tough to win this stage, but all the work, all the injuries – today was all worth it. I was not so confident about Torres, I didn’t know much about him so I was pretty nervous. He was tough, and I knew the other guys, but not him. Fortunately today, Luca [Guercilena, General Manager] returned to the Vuelta and he was in the car. Josu [Larrazabal, director] was there too with Dirk [Demol, director] and they analyzed the race and told me what I needed to do. A little uncertain point was Torres; we didn’t know what he can do, or how he was feeling. I came here with intentions of a nice classification, but then we had to change the team tactics after my crashes to focus on stages and not the GC anymore. We talked about this stage, a lot of reputed climbs and how it’s good for me as a lightweight, so I had the plan to go in the breakaway today. This Vuelta has been so hard. The last 10 days have been so fast, the first hour 46, 47km/h average. And today it took a big character, a strong head, to go out there, and there were a few guys who dared to go out there, and this [win] has been the reward today. It showed character to go out and suffer again, and that’s why I got the win.”
2nd, Rodolfo Torres (Colombia): “It was a very demanding stage, just like the one in Andorra. I had good sensations to be in the front with Schleck. He accelerated twice and I did not have the strength to win the stage. I can’t be disappointed. I worked well today and we’re going to continue to fight for a stage win.”
3rd Moreno Moser (Cannondale-Garmin): “I had been trying to get into the breakaway for a few days but for some reason I could not make it. Today was a tough stage, the toughest on this Vuelta, and I managed to be in the break. I lost contact in the final climb, I knew I had to ride at my own pace. I’m not a pure climber. I think it is a good result. Schleck is in another league and I could not follow him on these steep slopes.”
4th on the stage, George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo): “I targeted this stage months ago, I’m satisfied with the fact that I was there to fight for the win, but obviously, I’m disappointed that I didn’t actually win. Schleck was just too strong, though. I was chasing full gas to get them back, but it wasn’t enough. However, stuff like this makes you stronger.”
5th, Pierre Rolland (Europcar): “We quickly realized that we would be fighting for the stage win but like I said this morning I’m far from my best level and others were stronger than me. The last ascent was like climbing the Mur de Huy five times. I gave everything I had but in cycling you must be at 100% if you want results and I’m far from being at 100%.”
6th on the stage and KOM, Omar Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “This Vuelta is very hard for me. I had stomach problems for a few days but eventually I am rewarded for my efforts. I’ve had a very bad night. I could hardly pedal, even on the flat. I knew that without being at 100% I could go get the points I needed before the rest day. I’m almost there, it’s fantastic. This polka dot jersey was not a target at the start of the Vuelta, it came along the way. The team don’t have a stage win but this distinctive jersey is an honor.”
9th on the stage and overall leader, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha): “I resisted until the final km without having a lot of energy and with what I had left I tried to find my moment of glory. The time trial will be very complicated, we saw that Dumoulin was very well. Surely after the rest day he will be fresher and he will be super focused to ride a great TT. Maybe he is the favorite to win this Vuelta. I have to ride a great TT to be on the podium and I hope it will happen. For me to win the Vuelta, he would need to fail and I would need to be a fantastic day.
10th on the stage and 2nd overall, Fabio Aru (Astana): “Good result. It was a very hard climb. There is a very important time trial on Wednesday so being second today does not mean anything. Tomorrow I’ll go check the time trial course. Purito’s attack was really strong. I tried to follow but I could not. I’m focused on the time trial now.”
4th overall, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): “It was really good, much better than expected. I did not feel so good on the first-category climb, it was fast but I was never really in trouble and I thought I’d give it a go in the last climb. To lose 28 seconds in the last climb is really good so everything is open. That will be difficult to win (in Madrid) and there will be some hard stages coming up this week, everything depends on the time trial. Yesterday I made a mistake I could have hung on a little bit longer, I went too quickly to my own pace but today I thought ok I’m just gonna go and I’ll blow up, but I didn’t.”
3rd overall, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo): “It was not easy day but still I’m satisfied, I lost a few seconds but it’s difficult to stay behind Rodriguez on the steep parts. The last 500 metres were not easy I tried my best. We tried with my team to put the pressure before the last climb but then it was really steep.”
10th overall, Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka): “It was a really long and hard day. The last three climbs I went full gas, I’m happy with my performance, I’m happy with my form, just happy.”
8th on the stage, Larry Warbasse (IAM Cycling): “I would like to say that I am happy with my result, but quite honestly, I wanted to win this stage, or at least I wanted to be in the top three. Now it’s over, and I’ll try not to dwell on it too much. I am happy with my race because I gave everything I had. The second to last climb was just incredibly hard. Frank Schleck set a super hard pace, and I just couldn’t follow it anymore. I tried to stay right on his wheel, but I literally exploded. I was exhausted. I have no regrets because I gave it 100%, and at least as far as that goes, I can be proud of myself.”
Vuelta a España Stage 16 Result:
1. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek in 5:49:56
2. Rodolfo Torres (Col) Colombia at 1:10
3. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin at 1:48
4. George Bennett (NZl) LottoNL-Jumbo at 2:42
5. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 2:49
6. Omar Fraile (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 3:05
7. Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Etixx – Quick-Step at 4:26
8. Larry Warbasse (USA) IAM Cycling at 6:02
9. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 8:51
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 8:53.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 16:
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha in 67:52:44
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:01
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:35
4. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 1:51
5. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 2:32
6. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:38
7. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 2:49
8. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3:11
9. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:58
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 5:22.
You can read Lee Rodger’s ‘Rest Day Lowdown’ HERE.
Rest Day Quotes:
Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) crashed on Monday, but finish: “Even if nothing is broken, the pain around my ribs is still persistent,” Chavanel explained. “It hurts when I breathe. But this is just a pain, and I will put up with it. So now I draw a line under this crash and move forward. Nevertheless, I am not pleased, especially since I wanted to show my strength in tomorrow’s time trial. I am ready to push myself to the maximum in order to go as fast as I can and get a good result in this time trial.”
Encouraged to continue, Sylvain Chavanel remains confident and motivated for the next stages on the Spanish roads. During the rest day, he was able to feel serene and analyze his progress during this Vuelta with a little more perspective: “I started the Tour of Spain exactly the same way I started the Giro: with a crash. When I tally it all up, I crashed three times at the Giro, twice at the Tour de France, and now twice at the Vuelta. Enough is enough. So I will not say that I am entirely satisfied with how things have been going. That said, I tried to get into a breakaway to go for the stage win, but I was up against someone who simply was stronger than me. This is a difficult Vuelta with tons of attacks, with a very high speed, and with stage finishes that are often extremely steep with crazy gradients, ideal for the pure climbers. In the end, for riders like me, there just aren’t that many opportunities. But I am a fighter, and I am still trying to find the right breakaway that will give me the chance to raise my arms in victory. I am not saying that this will be easy, because at this point the majority of the pack knows that there are only a very few stages left that will smile on the cagey baroudeurs. But when the profile looks to suit me, then I will certainly want to attack. I will have to be in a good move, and I will have to have a bit of success. One other aspect we have to deal with is the fact that we are only six riders still competing in the race for IAM Cycling. So we also have to think of how to save our chips and count every pedal stroke. This is just something we have to deal with; it is simply a fact of cycling. We have two young riders, Simon Pellaud and Marcel Aregger, and we do not want to put too much pressure on them and wear them down unnecessarily. Their primary goal is to make it to Madrid. Vicente Reynes has not been feeling great for a few days as well. So in the end, there is basically just Jerôme Coppel, Larry Warbasse and me who can stay really aggressive. And though with only three, it will not be easy, it will not prevent us from having our ambitions for the next stages.”
Bart De Clercq makes an intermediate evaluation on the second rest day of the Vuelta
The Vuelta peloton has already covered sixteen stages, so still five to go. From tomorrow on it’s back up to the GC riders in the time trial, followed by three tough stages and a last stage in Madrid. Since the first rest day the ranking has become clearer, but it will still be a hard battle for the podium and other top places.
Lotto Soudal has Bart De Clercq on the fourteenth place at the moment in the overall classification. After the first rest day he didn’t have a good day due to back problems and he lost a few minutes and places that stage. The previous stages, the Belgian has always been one of the best fifteen riders uphill.
Bart De Clercq: “I crashed in the eighth stage, but the days after I didn’t have any problems. It was only after the first rest day that I had a sore back, during the very hard stage in Andorra. I lost about five minutes that day, otherwise I might have been twelfth overall now. Luckily, the next two days were less hard. Since Saturday, I feel good again and you can notice that by looking at my performances. I can follow the best riders quite long on the climbs, but when the top riders start the battle, I have to pass.”
“Yesterday, and the day before, I took back time on some riders. Brambilla and Jeandesboz are a few minutes ahead of me on GC, but if I have a good time trial tomorrow I might get closer and who knows I can still get on the twelfth place in the tough stages afterwards. Maybe I have to take some risks to do that and try to join a breakaway that gets some space. A good result in a stage would be very nice of course too. The time trial should suit me, in Poland I already proved it’s going smoothly on the time trial bike. The three stages after that are less hard than what we already had during this Vuelta, but still tough. Each day there is a serious amount of climbing to do, but the mountains are less steep.”
“A rest day is of course very welcome. The physical aspect is okay, everyone is tired and in one day you don’t recover from all the efforts. But especially for the mental aspect a rest day is important. You don’t have to get up with four or five hours of concentration and pressure ahead of you, we can sleep longer and do an easy training ride. There doesn’t happen anything special: rest as much as possible, surf on the internet and watch a movie. And at night we have our dinner earlier than usual in the Vuelta.”
Majka before crucial Vuelta TT: “The Vuelta is not over after the time trial”
Tinkoff-Saxo’s team captain Rafal Majka sits 3rd in the GC going into Wednesday’s decisive 38.7km, mainly flat time trial in Burgos. On the morning of the race, before leaving the team hotel to inspect the parcours, Majka elaborates on his and the team’s chances in the ITT and on the remaining stages with the overall classification in mind.
After 16 stages of Vuelta a España 2015, Rafal Majka is within striking range of a place on the podium in Madrid already holding 3rd place overall.
“The podium is possible. I’m not thinking about the overall win, because it will be very, very difficult. With 1’35” to Rodriguez and Dumoulin just behind it’s going to be close. But I want to try and I feel that my shape has improved during this Vuelta. I don’t have to think so much about my place in the GC but more about going full gas on the time trial and do the best result. The race is also not over after the time trial, we still have a long way to Madrid and some hard stages after the time trial”, says Rafal Majka and continues:
“Dumoulin is the favorite to win the Vuelta if you ask me, he is a specialist in the time trials. I’m a climber and not a TT specialist but I have done some good time trials recently and improved over the years. I’m not bad and I remember that I was happy with my time trial at Tour de Suisse and Romandie this year. The parcours is mainly flat and that is an advantage for Dumoulin, so I have to focus on not losing too much time to him and gaining time on Aru and Rodriguez. It’s the third week of the Vuelta, we’re late in the season and this time trial is just after the rest day – so everything can happen”, comments Majka who’ll be flanked by teammate, countryman and three-time national Polish TT champion Maciej Bodnar in the effort to reach a top result on the 38.7km parcours.
With three tough stages left to race before the concluding ride into Madrid on Sunday, Rafal Majka underlines that the Vuelta will not be irrevocably decided after Wednesday’s individual time trial.
“After the time trial we have to stay motivated because we still have three hard stages left, where there is the possibility to gain or lose time – also for the top GC riders, if someone has a bad day. The Vuelta is not over after the time trial. I have a strong team with me and Pawel Poljanski and Jesper Hansen have supported me a lot in the mountains. They have been able to stay with the favorites until the last kilometers and during the last three mountain stages they were so important for the team and me. In the end, I didn’t know how my shape would be after the Tour de France and we were hoping that I could fight for a top five. Now it’s the podium, so for sure I’m satisfied but it’s too early to make any conclusions. We still have five days to go”, concludes Rafal Majka.
Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) edged closer to a Grand Tour title when he smashed the opposition in Stage 17, a 38.7km time trial that was fatal to home favorite Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha). Dumoulin, who limited his losses in the brutal mountain stages, lived up to expectations in the solo effort against the clock, covering the course in and around Burgos in 46 minutes 1 seconds to claim the overall lead. He leads Fabio Aru (Astana) by only three seconds after the Italian rider took 10th place. Rodriguez, who started the day with the red jersey 1:51 ahead of Dumoulin, finished a distant 30th, 3:06 off the pace. He now sits in third place overall 1:15 behind Dumoulin, who beat Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo) by 1:04 and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) by 1:08.
Bodnar, one of the early starters, set the first time of reference when he clocked 47:05 after a headwind picked up. He was only to be beaten by Dumoulin. Cheered on by the crowd, Purito had already lost over a minute to the Dutchman at the first time split (13.5km), losing all hope early on while Aru rode himself into the ground but failed to get the red jersey back by three seconds.
Valverde produced a fine performance, finishing only four second adrift of Bodnar to move up to sixth overall behind his team mate Nairo Quintana. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) dropped to fourth overall after finishing in 17th place on the day. Dumoulin will be on his toes in tomorrow’s 18th stage, a 204-km ride from Roa to Riaza featuring a category-one climb 13 kilometres from the finish.
Stage winner and overall leader, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): “I felt good. I had a good feeling. I was very focused I had some really good legs and mentally I was in a good place, it made a difference really today. I did not know what to expect exactly before the time trial. I was not thinking about expectations, I did not have strong expectations in terms of winning the stage or in terms of time gaps. I won it and at the finish line I had no indications until I learnt that Aru was three seconds behind in GC. That’s very close, it’s going to be a hell of a fight. For the spectators it will be quite a show but for me it is going to be something different. They will try to get me out of this jersey and they’re probably going to try to surprise me. We will have to be ready as a team. But first we have to celebrate this and then make a good plan for the coming days. I’ve been feeling better and better in the last days. I had some problems after the Andorra stage but not much happened in GC and I felt that the peloton was tired anyway. Of course other riders would like to get onto the podium, I would imagine Majka will attack to end up on the podium and that Purito will not be happy about it. That should play in my favor. But I have to keep a close eye on Aru because three seconds is nothing. It pretty much came up by surprise (that I could be good in a three week race), but I had done two grand tours already and I had been feeling quite good in the third week. It shows I can handle some difficult days but I never thought I would recover so well while fighting for GC everyday.
Giant-Alpecin DS, Christian Guiberteau (Giant-Alpecin): “At 11 am the crowd was already surrounding him, we had to protect him. It was also a new mental challenge for him and he passed it. He managed to stay in his bubble. We confirmed with a very good TT. Some said he’d gain 2-3 minutes, on paper, but in the third week of a grand tour there is a lot of fatigue and Aru is quite a rider, he fought very well. The Vuelta is far from over.”
2nd on the stage, Maciej Bodnar (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Before I was working for Peter (Sagan) and for Rafal (Majka) so today was a good opportunity for me, I tried to do my best. The wind was strong in the first part already and also in the finale.”
3rd on the stage and 6th overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “The truth is that I’m happy. This morning I had good sensations and I told myself I would go full gas and see where I’d end up. I have been fighting since the start. The podium is still undecided. Clearly our rivals are strong. We expected Dumoulin to clock a very good time.”
5th, Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling): “The sensations were good. The first suited me well, the second part a bit less because it was less hard. All in all it was a good performance ahead of the world championships. It was a good rehearsal, especially since I had not done a proper time trial since the French championships.”
7th on the stage, Romain Sicard (Europcar): “I did my best. I have been improving in the discipline and I wanted to do well today. I think I did. It’s a time trial that is very physical on the first part and technical on the second. I was very disappointed after the mountain stages and I wanted to get back on track in the third week.”
8th on the stage, Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida): “I expected a better result but I feel tired and it is a key factor. My Legs need some rest. The TT is very difficult. The sensations are not bad but it was a tough time trial. Rain was not forecast but it actually rained a little.”
Green jersey & 3rd overall, Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha): “It was a Purito time trial. I did not have great sensations. I was almost better on the flat than on the uphill sections. Obviously I would have needed Dumoulin not to ride a good TT to retain the lead. But he did well, very well indeed. I am surprised by Aru. Losing my place on the podium, winning the race, anything can still happen and that’s what I wanted. There are still three very difficult days. Right now no one is happy: Aru, Movistar, Majka. I already have a spot on the podium and I want to win. I’m highly likely to attack.”
4th overall, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I did my best, it’s not easy on the flat. I tried everything. Everybody is tired, I did everything to get the best result but it’s hard against the specialists like Dumoulin.”
9th on the stage, Stephen Cummings (MTN-Qhubeka): “I liked the course a lot. It was a beautiful course through a nice city. It wasn’t all that technical, just the last bit with the climb and descent was a little technical. It was just a power course really but it was kind of hard to judge because it was uphill to start and then headwind, so no real rest. You had to put a bit more effort going out than coming back but not too much because it was still a long way to go. It became a mental battle because it was a pretty long effort, like 50 minutes. In the end I think it was quite good, I did the best I could.”
Crash victim, Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo): “It’s a disappointment, I was provisionally 14th after 27.5 kilometres and I was feeling like I was riding a good time trial. I wanted to give it all today because it was my last chance at a good result in this Vuelta. That’s why I took so many risks. A little too many when you look at it now. I rode into a roundabout with too much speed. It’s a pity.”
Vuelta a España Stage 17 Result:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin in 46:01
2. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:04
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:08
4. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 1:31
5. Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 1:32
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 1:34
7. Romain Sicard (Fra) Europcar at 1:36
8. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida at 1:38
9. Stephen Cummings (GB) MTN-Qhubeka at 1:40
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:53.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 17:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin in 68:40:36
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:03
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 1:15
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 2:22
5. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2:53
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:15
7. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 3:30
8. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 3:46
9. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 4:10
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 6:51.
Tour of Britain 2015
Etixx – Quick-Step rider Petr Vakoc, 23, showed incredible heart in the 159.3km Aviva Tour of Britain Stage 2 on Monday, going solo out of an original eight-rider breakaway inside 20km to go, with the gap to a hard chasing peloton at just 19 seconds.
The peloton swept up the chasers with 12.5km remaining, and it seemed Vakoc might be doomed to be caught before the arrival in Colne. However, the Czech Road Champion never faltered, expanding the gap to 40″ with 9.8km remaining. Thanks to a consistent rhythm by Vakoc ahead, he kept a 24″ advantage with 4.7km left to race.
Etixx – Quick-Step teammates gave Vakoc support from the peloton, moving to the front and disrupting the collaboration of the chasing field. They also stayed in good position to contest the minor places.
Vakoc kept his tempo even with the uphill roads of the final kilometers. Vakoc crossed the line with a fist pump in the air, as the solo victor and new race leader of Aviva Tour of Britain. Vakoc demonstrated the same impressive strength that won him Tour de Pologne Stage 2 in 2014, which was a solo victory after attacking with 25km left to race. That win was his first as a professional.
Stage winner and overall leader, Petr Vakoc (Etixx – quick-Step): “It was a really hard race, I am so happy I could finish it with a win. “I was part of an eight rider group that went away with about 50 kilometers to go. At a little more than 18 kilometers to go, it looked like we would be caught. So, I tried my chance. It was a long way to the finish. But I had really good legs, so I attacked, and stayed clear. This is a huge success for me, one of the biggest victories of my career so far. It was a long day out front alone and it’s so beautiful to have this win added to my palmares. Now I am the race leader, which is a huge honor. We had the chance to meet and greet the public yesterday after the stage, thanks to TourX bus powered by our sponsors Etixx and Tacx, and I have to say I was really impressed. The British public loves cycling and showed great support to our team. So, I am very motivated with this race leader’s jersey on my back. We will try our best to defend this jersey in the next days. It’s still early at Tour of Britain. There are six more stages to go. It will be difficult with only six riders. But I am looking forward to it with the support of my teammates, who are riding strong. A 2nd place yesterday, and now a win today, shows we are riding well as a unit. The next few days will be flatter, so we’ll see what we can do in the next days.”
Tour of Britain Stage 2 Result:
1. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:02:22
2. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar at 0:07
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:09
4. Rasmus Guldhammer Pedersen (Den) Cult Energy
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
6. Owain Doull (GB) Team WIGGINS
7. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
9. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar
10. Javier Mejias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk.
Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 2:
1. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step 8:28:41
2. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar at 0:11
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:15
4. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC at 0:17
5. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:18
6. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin
7. Owain Doull (GB) Team WIGGINS at 0:19
8. Graham Briggs (GB) JLT Condor
9. Rasmus Guldhammer Pedersen (Den) Cult Energy
10. Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:25.
Elia Viviani (Sky) won the sprint at the end of Stage 3 of the Tour of Britain in Floors Castle. The Italian got the better of Juan José Lobato (Movistar) for his second stage win in three days. Matteo Trentin (Etixx – Quick-Step) was 3rd and Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling) was 4th. Lobato moved into the overall lead as previous leader, Petr Vakoc (Etixx – Quick-Step) crashed with over 3 kilometres to go and lost 10 minutes. Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka) is now 2nd at 10 seconds.
A 6-man break escaped before the 40 kilometres mark: Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka), Russell Downing (Cult Energy), Aidis Kruopis (An Post-Chainreaction), Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling), Mathew Cronshaw (Madison Genesis) and Jonathan McEvoy (NFTO), they gained 4 minutes ahead a Etixx – Quick-Step led peloton. Bialoblocki, Farrar and Cronshaw dropped the others on Wilton Hill. With 35 kilometers to go the three had a lead of 4:20, but Cannnondale-Garmin and Lotto Soudal started to help Etixx – Quick-Step and the lead started to fall. 20 to go and they had 2 minutes, 15 and it was 1:30 and they were caught 5K out.
Into the last kilometer and Lotto Soudal were in control for André Greipel, but Viviani had Ian Stannard, Peter Kennaugh and Ben Swift to place him perfectly for the sprint and his second stage win.
Stage winner, Elia Viviani (Sky): “It was a long stage. We helped chase the breakaway down because it was a strong move and we felt with six riders per team it was going to be hard for just one team to control. On paper it looked like a good stage for me, but we didn’t know how hard that last climb was going to be, so we controlled the pace all the way up it to make sure I was still in contact.
“Ian Stannard did so much work before the rest of the guys chipped in to give me an ideal lead out. The finish suited me, and even after 216km, my legs felt good. I started my sprint with 150m to go and when I went, I knew no-one would beat me. I’m really happy with this win.”
Overall leader, Juanjo Lobato (Movistar): “I’m really satisfied to see my form slowly but steadily building up. Ten days ago, I didn’t have the legs to even try and get myself into the sprints, and my body is now responding well, precisely when I wanted it to. It was a goal for me to get strong to the end of the season, looking towards the World Championships and I’m achieving that form. Yesterday’s was a stage I had marked down on my calendar as one I could contest, and it was really awful the peloton didn’t come together at the finish, but as we say in the team, sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. I felt myself a little bit more tired today, on a flatter finish; when I got to Viviani’s wheel, with 400m to go, I was lacking some strength and couldn’t get past him. I came here to win a stage and don’t really look forward to any classifications at the moment; there are some chances for me in the upcoming days and I really hope to win some stages.”
4th on the stage, Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling): “Just after passing under the flamme rouge, I was not very well placed, and was blocked. Jonas managed to re-position me, and I found myself going faster than the guys around me. So I chose to make my sprint from there because I was not at all sure that I had the power to keep my position and still wait to go. I really gave everything I had, and I found myself at the head of the race with 100 meters to the line. I was not missing all that much to get the victory, but at this level, that’s still too much. I have reviewed the video of the final sprint for this stage, and I am convinced that if I hadn’t gone so early, I could have won. But you sometimes have to take risks in cycling in order to get the reward. And then you miss the victory by almost nothing. So I will celebrate this result, and think about how I can return the favor to my teammates throughout the rest of the week.”
Most combative rider, Tyler Farrar (MTN-Qhubeka): I wanted to give it a try today and managed to get into the break. It was a long day, but I thought for a while that we could make it. In the end we were caught. Nevertheless, winning the most combative award is a good motivation for the next coming days. Additionally, I got a hard ride into my legs, which is also good ahead of the Worlds later this month.”
Tour of Britain Stage 3 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky in 5:08:18
2. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick Step
4. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling
5. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Owain Doull (GB) Team WIGGINS
7. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin
8. Graham Briggs (GB) JLT Condor
9. Alex Peters (GB) Great Britain
10. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky.
Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 3:
1. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar in 13:37:04
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:10
3. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC at 0:12
4. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:13
5. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin
6. Owain Doull (GB) Team WIGGINS at 0:14
7. Graham Briggs (GB) JLT Condor
8. Rasmus Guldhammer Pedersen (Den) Cult Energy
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:18
10. Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:20.
Etixx – Quick-Step rider Fernando Gaviria showed incredible closing speed in the final meters of the 217.4km Aviva Tour of Britain Stage 4 on Wednesday, launching from behind, then passing and beating some of the best sprinters in the peloton as a stagiaire.
Lotto Soudal had the ideal position heading into the sprint, moving their lead-out to the head of the peloton with 1.9km left to race. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN Qhubeka) were the first riders to jump, but there were still several hundred meters left until the finish line. The Colombian rider, Gaviria, appeared to be out of the picture at that moment. However, he pounced on the wheel of Boasson Hagen, then went full gas to the line to beat Greipel and Norwegian. Mark Cavendish was also in the mix for the sprint, and he raised his arms in celebration as he watched Gaviria cross as the stage winner.
Etixx – Quick-Step has now won 49 road races in 2015, with Gaviria already contributing two of those victories in just a few races as a stagiaire. Gaviria, a track star who won the 2015 Omnium at the UCI Men’s Track World Championships, showed his promise early on the road. He won two stages of Tour de San Luis before reaching a contract agreement with Etixx – Quick-Step. He will be on the team beginning in the 2016 season.
Matteo Trentin (Etixx – Quick-Step) was part of the original breakaway, but the breakaway was caught with 16.5km left to race. Trentin received the Combativity/Most Aggressive Rider Award for his effort in the breakaway.
Stage winner, Fernando Gaviria (Etixx – Quick-Step): “Today is an important day in my career, I won the race against the best sprinters in the world. But it wasn’t planned like that. My job today was to pull in the sprint for Mark. Matteo entered the breakaway, which covered us so we could save our energy for the finale. But Mark was a little bit boxed in the last corner at 400 meters to go, and he couldn’t really sprint. So, I looked around me and I made the decision to go for the sprint. I did my best, and at the end I saw that I was closing in on and passing Greipel. To me, when I crossed the line as the winner, it was a huge moment. I beat one of the best sprinters in the pro peloton, a point of reference for a guy like myself. So, it’s really an honor to get this victory. Tour of Britain is a great new experience. We have a nice group here. I’m learning a lot every day. In the next days we will probably have more chances as a team. We will see what we can accomplish. Today I just want to enjoy this moment, which is one of the best for me so far. I also want to give best wishes to Petr, who didn’t start this morning. It was a sad moment for the team, and I am glad to show him with this victory that we will keep fighting for good results while he is recovering.”
9th overall and combativity award, Matteo Trentin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “It’s a little bit consolation prize for the whole day spent in front. It was a little bit tough going into the breakaway. At first it was me, Marangoni, and Wyss, and then three other guys came across. But, at the end, we needed the whole breakaway very strong to stay away. The main focus was really to win the stage, so after we came back, the team organized for the sprint. Fernando did it really well. So, even if it wasn’t me who was able to go for the victory today, our plan still worked. Now we have to focus on the next days. We’ll have to see how we’re all feeling tomorrow after two wins, a yellow jersey, and podium places every day so far at this Tour of Britain. It won’t be easy. We’ll see what we can do for the GC. We’ll try our best to take our chance.”
3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka): “The team did a really good job today. Reinie managed to get into the break, so we were not in the need to work back in the peloton. Tyler and Gerald then rode me into position and I tried hard. Gaviria and Greipel were just faster today. I am still 2nd in the overall so lets see what tomorrow brings.”
6th on the stage, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling): “A 6th place is not too bad, but the team worked so hard for me, I would have really liked to have done better. I felt good the whole day. The speed was faster and faster as we approached the city. My teammates tried hard to help me; both Roger Kluge and Sondre Holst Enger proved invaluable on these tight turns that we had to negotiate before the final straight, which was into a strong headwind. Just after the last turn, I pumped out my maximum effort in order to get on terms, but I started from too far away to hope to have a shot at winning.”
Tour of Britain Stage 4 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step in 5:13:08
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka
4. Owain Doull (GB) Team WIGGINS
5. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Jonas Van Genechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
7. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
8. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
9. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC
10. Graham Briggs (GB) JLT Condor.
Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 4:
1. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Spa) Movistar in 18:50:12
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:06
3. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC at 0:12
4. Wouter Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:13
5. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin
6. Owain Doull (GB) Team WIGGINS at 0:14
7. Graham Briggs (GB) JLT Condor
8. Rasmus Guldhammer Pedersen (Den) Cult Energy
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Etixx – Quick-Step
10. Serge Pauwels (Bel) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:20.
Tour of Alberta 2015
An 11-lap circuit race in the downtown streets of Edmonton concluded the six-day Tour of Alberta Monday, and for the third straight day Trek Factory Racing controlled the race, pulling back an eight-man breakaway before the start of the final circuit and helped Bauke Mollema clinch the overall victory.
Mollema finished safely in 12th place in the bunch sprint that concluded the 124-kilometer race to win the Tour of Alberta by six seconds over Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) and 22 seconds over Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Garmin).
“It was a really nice win,” said Mollema. “It has been a hard week being in the lead all week, and then to finish it off today was really nice. It was still a hard day, we had to ride very, very fast because there was a strong breakaway with three guys from the Hincapie team.”
An eight-man breakaway escaped on lap three and the pinstriped team immediately went to work and held the escapees to one minute, lap after lap, until pressing the accelerator on the penultimate circuit to bring the escapees back by the start of the final 11-kilometer loop. “It was not the ideal break for us today because there were two riders that were only 1’20 and 1’40 back on GC,” continued Mollema. “So we had to keep the gap below a minute, and in the last part we had help from other teams. We were pretty sure that it was going to be a sprint, but you never know and in the end it was a good day.”
The attacks flew in the final kilometers, but only one mattered to Mollema: when Tom-Jelte Slagter jumped hard on the final climb, Mollema was ready. He immediately was on his countryman’s wheel and neutralized the threat. “I was ready. I know he’s a fast guy and he likes these kinds of climbs,” explained Mollema of Slagter’s late move. “I was in his wheel in this last climb just watching for him and also for Adam Yates. I saw him, he was a little bit nervous, so I was already expecting him to attack and so I was there in the good moment. I think the sprinters’ teams were there to close the gap anyway, but you never know what happens so I had to be there to follow him.”
When the peloton rounded the final corner Mollema was second wheel, making certain the win would not be lost in the final meters with the 10-second time bonus on offer. But the sprinters ruled the fast dash to the line, allowing Mollema to safely slip backwards knowing the overall victory was sealed.
Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin) sprinted to the stage win, relegating Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Dion Smith (Hincapie Racing) to second and third places respectively.
Mollema: “I really have to thank everybody from the team for all their hard work, I think the last three days we have been pulling the entire stage more or less, so that was really hard for the boys and this makes it even nicer when you take the win home.
“When we started this week I was not sure about my condition because I had not raced in one month, but the first day in the team time trial I felt really good, really strong, and we did such a good result that I was really starting to believe that I could win this race. The team time trial was for sure the key this week, and why I won, and I am really, really happy with that. It was a great ride from the team, and to start like that in the leader’s jersey was really motivating for everybody. I think it was a bit of a surprise, but that’s the reason I was in the lead for the rest of the week.”
It was Bauke Mollema’s first professional general classification victory and his first overall win since 2007 when he won the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir as a U23. “It was about time to take a GC victory,” Mollema added. “I have had a lot of second places, fourth, fifth places in weeklong races and also in Grand Tours, but this is my first GC win since 2007. It was nice to start the week with the TTT win, and then to finish it off today – I am really happy that I finally won a general classification.”
Final stage winner, Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin): “It is a relief. I wanted to get a victory so bad, but it didn’t work for a long time. So it’s nice to have this one in the pocket. As a team we really deserve this win, certainly after my really close second place on stage two. It was a hard week and a pretty hard stage so it is great to see that I’m able to win after big efforts. It was cold, wet and hard. We had a great team, we motivated each other and today we won together. There were a large crowds along the road so it was nice to race here. The sprint went even better than our plan. We did an awesome lead out and I could wait till 180m to go. The guys did a perfect job and I enjoyed getting such a fantastic lead out. I am really thankful to the team, they really did great during the whole stage.”
Tour of Alberta Final Overall Result:
1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek in 20:20:28
2. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:06
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:22
4. Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Katusha at 0:35
5. Dion Smith (NZl) Hincapie at 0:39
6. Lasse-Norman Hansen (Den) Cannondale-Garmin at 1:08
7. Toms Skujins(Lat) Hincapie at 1:12
8. Paul Voss (Ger) Bora-Argon 25 at 1:16
9. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin at 1:23
10. Mike Woods (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 1:25.
The final stage 6 won by Nikias Arndt (Giant-Alpecin):
Etixx – Quick-Step Extends Contract with Tom Boonen
Etixx – Quick-Step has reached an agreement with Tom Boonen to extend his contract for another season. The Belgian rider, who is about to complete his 13th season with the team, collecting more than 100 victories over the years, will ride with the Etixx – Quick-Step jersey on his back until the end of the 2016 season.
“Tom Boonen is the only rider that stayed with us since the team’s inception in 2003,” CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “We had great moments together. Our paths of success are connected, including his UCI World Road Championship victory in 2005, record breaking success at Tour of Qatar, six Tour de France stage wins, and his legendary Spring Classics palmares, including tying the Paris-Roubaix win record with four (2005, 2008, 2009, 2012). We talked with him lately about how he sees his future. Tom explained to us his expectations and goals for next season. We respect his objectives, and considering his palmares and his contributions to the sport, we think it was the right thing to do, to proceed together in pursuit of Tom’s last goals he’d like to achieve as a rider in cycling. He is an example of professionalism. This is an important factor for next year, as the team will change a lot with plenty of new, young guys on the team. His presence is also valuable to help us in developing a new generation of riders.”
“I am very happy to stay with the team for another year,” Boonen said. “It wasn’t difficult to reach an agreement with Patrick. I spent almost my entire professional career here. It’s nice to have this extra opportunity to go ahead for another year. I think I still have some business to do as a rider in cycling, and I am proud to do it again with my team, which is more than a team to me. This group is special, as we were able to grow and develop year-by-year, keeping a familiar environment and spirit. In a sport known for frequent changes, Patrick was able to keep together a great group of people. This is important when you spend a lot of time on the road for your job. The people around you are part of your success. The riders and staff of Etixx – Quick-Step are special. It’s one of the best organizations in the world. I would like to thank Mr. Zdenek Bakala, the Team Board, and Patrick for the faith they have in me. As everyone knows I have a few objectives still in front of me. I feel good and strong. The next few weeks will be important for me. I am super motivated for the end of the season. Of course, after this, I will focus on the big objectives of next year. I still have a lot of things I’d like to accomplish before my career ends. It’s not only a question of personal goals, but at my age, it’s also nice to be able to teach something to the young guys. I want to pass on my experience, to help them understand even the small details of the sport, which is one of the best sports in the world. I feel that I still have plenty left to contribute, both to the team in general, as well as my personal performance. I want to make the most of every moment in 2016 and then we will see.”
Key riders of the BORA – ARGON 18 Sprint Train Extended their Contracts
With Shane Archbold (26, NZL), Ralf Matzka (26, GER), Christoph Pfingsten (27, GER) and Michael Schwarzmann (24, GER), three key riders of the BORA – ARGON 18 sprint train extended their contracts. All four riders established themselves during the season as important lead-outs for the sprinters of the team led by Sam Bennett and Phil Bauhaus. In addition to their role as lead-outs all four riders were able to score own results as well. Shane Archbold was 2nd in the Classica Corsica and 3rd in a stage of the Three Days of De Panne. Matzka impressed recently at Schaal Sels, when he finished the course that contained numerous cobbled sectors and dirt roads in 6th place. Pfingsten was 10th at the Scheldeprijs and Schwarzmann finished the final two stages of the Ster ZLM Toer in the Top5.
“We built a sprint train for the first time this season, we tested various set-ups during the races. Shane, Ralf, Christoph and Michael convinced us completely and they fulfilled loyally their tasks to 100%. Besides their own speed, a tactical sense and a certain authority are required in the hectic sprint finishes. The four have these qualities and I am delighted that we are continuing our work”, Team Manager Ralph Denk comments the contract extensions.
Etixx – Quick-Step Extends Contract with Guillaume Van Keirsbulck
Etixx – Quick-Step has reached a one-year contract extension agreement with Guillaume Van Keirsbulck. The Belgian rider has been with the team since 2010, with his best year in 2014. He earned three victories including a stage of Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, an overall victory at Driedaagse de Panne – Koksijde, and a win in the 7th stage of Eneco Tour. Van Keirsbulck’s 2015 season was adversely affected by health complications, which required surgery.
“I’m really happy about the renewal of my contract,” Van Keirsbulck said. “It was a hard period in June with two surgeries in a row, one for a hernia in my back and one for my stomach. The team was always around me and they gave me all the support necessary to rehab well and come back. I am working a lot in rehabilitation. I’ve recently been able to ride my bike for two or two and a half hours. Everything is going as planned. It would be nice to have the possibility to still ride this year, maybe at the end of September or early October. We will see what is possible. But the most important thing is that my physical problems are behind me. I have the trust of the team, and I can’t wait to be ready for next season.”
“It was a difficult year for Guillaume,” CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “He started with a good part of the season, but then he had back problems, which affected the second part of the year. He underwent surgery in agreement with the team medical staff. This surgery was necessary to avoid future problems. We know Guillaume is working hard now to come back. We really hope that next year can be the first time we see the true value of Guillaume, without any physical problems.”
Medical Update on Kris Boeckmans
Ten days ago, Lotto Soudal rider Kris Boeckmans had a very bad crash in stage 8 of the Vuelta. The diagnosis was severe: facial trauma with several fractures, a concussion, three broken ribs, pneumothorax, laceration of the lung, bleeding of the lung and swollen pulmonary tissue. The rider is still in intensive care at the Murcia hospital. His closest family and a team doctor of Lotto Soudal is permanently there to support him and follow up the medical communication.
Servaas Bingé, Lotto Soudal: “Since yesterday we were able to stop the ECMO treatment. This is a device that can replace the lungs by extracting poorly oxygenized blood from the body and injecting oxygen rich blood. In this way the lung can heal without the other body tissues being restricted from oxygen. The drainage of the lungs was also removed. Kris stays on ventilation support through a tracheal cannula though. In the next days they will see when the induced coma can be diminished. Therefore we need to monitor the blood gasses of course. We still have to deal with a polytrauma patient, whose injuries will take a long time to heal, but we hope to see that Kris’ condition will improve day by day.”
2016 Giro d’Italia: A Stunning Individual Time Trial Through the Chianti Classico Vineyards
The Individual Time Trial stage will be held on Sunday 15 May from Radda in Chianti to Greve in Chianti. It’s 40.4km, through the amazing Tuscan landscape that produces one of the world’s most famous and appreciated wines.
It will be a stunning time trial without a single flat section; instead it features continuous climbs and descents in between the fantastic hills in the lands of Chianti.
The Individual Time Trial on Sunday 15 May will be stage 9 of the 2016 Giro d’Italia – organized by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport and running from 6 to 29 May 2016.
The “Chianti Classico Stage”, starting from Radda and finishing in Greve – both in Chianti – was presented today at the Pinarello Store in London, with Fausto Pinarello, chairman of the bike company and Giro sponsor for many years, as host.
It’s going to be one of the key stages of Giro 2016, highly likely to be decisive to select the shortlist of potential winners of the Maglia Rosa just before half-distance in the race. The main characteristic of the course is the absence of flat sections, with a continuous series of ups and downs among the Gallo Nero – the Black Rooster – vineyards. The riders, who will each be on the course for around 50 minutes, will have to face climbs, some of them pretty steep, and descents in which they will have to push on the pedals, in particular during the final part of the stage.
The start line will be in Radda, touching some of the key locations of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium such as Castellina in Chianti (where the course will pass very close to the medieval village centre and there will be an intermediate time), Madonna di Pietracupa, Sicelle, Panzano in Chianti to end in Greve, with the finish line positioned in Piazza Matteotti, an unusual triangular plaza.
Chianti Classico Stage
Thanks to the support of the Chianti Classico Wine Consortium DOCG, born in 1716, the stage will cross the Italian provinces of Florence and Siena. The Chianti Classico land is made up from the villages of: Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti, Greve in Chianti and Radda in Chianti (each in their entirety) and part of the villages of Barberino Val d’Elsa, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Poggibonsi, San Casciano Val di Pesa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.
The Chianti Classico is one of the most appreciated wines worldwide and it’s exported in more than 60 countries. Its countries of highest distribution include: Italy (18%), USA (31%), Germany (12%) Canada (10%) and United Kingdom (5%).
The annual production is 35 million of bottles.
The brand that has marked the bottles of Chianti Classico since its origins is the Black Rooster, the historic symbol of the ancient Chianti Military League.
The PEZ INSTAGRAM
Take a look at our new Instagram page for a live feed of #PeloPics, #DailyDistractions, and giveaways straight from your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews
The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.