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EUROTRASH TTT Monday!

The Worlds are off and running with the team time trial and we see domination from the Velocio-SRAM and BMC teams as they both repeat last years victories and the fourth from Velocio. Lots of other races: Bernocchi, Vlaanderen, Pantani, Impanis, Isbergues and Industria & Commercio with loads of video action.
Up-date from Kris Boeckmans, contract news, Milano-Torino and video of Fabio Aru.

TOP STORY: TTT Domination
The BMC team took their second World team time trial title and Velocio-SRAM won their fourth on Sunday in Richmond. Both teams specialize in the team test and particularly in the case of the BMC team they have riders who were born to excel in time trials. BMC also have Team Trainer Marco Pinotti to tutor/torture them into the TTT perfection they are very close to. Their reserve rider (who didn’t ride), Peter Velits, was part of the winning team time trial squad in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Good for BMC for taking the race very seriously, but can the other teams do the same? To have six rider who can gel together for under 40 kilometers can’t be too difficult, Movistar have proven that it can be done as they have improved over the last few years. But are the team time trial results a reflection of how much money the team has?

Orica-GreenEDGE, not the team they used to be:
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World Road Championships Richmond 2015
The 2015 World championships kicked off on Sunday in Richmond with the women’s team time trial, followed by the men’s event. Both races were held over the same course of 38.6 kilometers which was described as a power-mans course with some technical sections.

Women’s World Team Time Trial
The Velocio-SRAM team took its fourth team time trial by just over 6 seconds from Boels-Dolmans with Rabo Liv in third at 56 seconds. At the first time check Velocio-SRAM led by 11 seconds from Boels-Dolmans, but their lead was cut so that they were 3 seconds down at the third check. From there to the finish; Velocio only lost one rider and Boels lost two, this gave Velocio the power to move ahead by nearly 7 seconds by the finish.

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Women’s World Team Time Trial Championship Result:
1. Velocio-SRAM in 47:35
2. Boels Dolmans Cycling Team at 0:06
3. Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team at 0:56
4. Wiggle Honda at 1:10
5. Twenty 16 p/b Sho-Air at 2:04
6. Unitedhealthcare Professional Cycling Team at 2:50
7. Orica – AIS at 2:53
8. BTC City Ljubljana at 3:02
9. Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 3:20
10. Hitec Products at 3:31.

Men’s Team Time Trial
The BMC team took their second Team Time Trial title in a row with a storming ride beating Etixx – Quick-Step and Movistar. They led from start to finish and in the end they had 11 seconds on Etixx – Quick-Step and 30 seconds on Movistar in 3rd. BMC and Etixx fought each other hard, but the US team always had seconds in hand. Movistar had a battle on its hands with Orica-GreenEDGE who started fast, but as they the race progressed, slowed to finish 53 seconds down. Tinkoff-Saxo finished last due to two riders crashing and the others waiting and then just coasting home eight minutes down. Of the nonWorldTour team Optum showed well, but were eventually pushed off the top spot by Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

WK in Richmond - men TTT 2015

Taylor Phinney (BMC): “Everybody was really impressive today, but Rohan Dennis absolutely carried us, he is kind of on another level. But it was great that all six of us stayed together until close to the end. I tried to be conservative in the beginning and then give it some gas toward the finish. But that is always easier said than done.”

Rohan Dennis (BMC): “Last year when we won, it was a bit of a surprise to a lot of people,” Dennis said. “To win again really puts our mark on the team time trial on a world level. It is pretty big for BMC.”

Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I’m very happy with the performance of the team and my own performance, we started well, we found a good rhythm, which was in my opinion not too fast and not too slow. We were balanced as a team, with no super strong or weak riders. It was smooth, as it should be in a team time trial. I was a bit surprised about the early split time compared to BMC Racing Team. So, for sure, the morale was a bit affected early on. But then as we went along the parcours, we were gaining seconds back. I think that gave us a small push. We were really fighting, and we had a really strong performance all the way through the finish line. So, I am satisfied about the overall performance. This was also one of my big objectives of the season, and my performance gives me confidence ahead of the UCI World TT Championship on Wednesday. It’s hard to analyze myself, but as my teammates said, they were suffering a little bit when I was in front (laughs). So, I’m sorry for that. But it means I am in a good way, it gives me a good feeling for my next objective. I will go for it. I am disappointed for the team in that we didn’t win, but we did our best, and my own performance boosted my morale before Wednesday. We will see what can happen in a few days.”

Michal Kwiatkowski (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I’m really happy about the performance of the team here in Richmond, we did the best we could. The team was really motivated. I did my best, as did everyone. Yves, Rigo, Tom, Tony, Niki, we all worked really well together on this parcours. We tried to go for the victory, but BMC Racing Team was the strongest today. Congratulations to them. As for me, I had great sensations today. I did even better than I expected. I think we all really performed at our highest level possible. The fastest team won today. That’s sport.”

Maarten Tjallingii (LottoNL-Jumbo): “I really had strong legs today and real power, too bad we lost Jos. We really needed him in the second part of the race. We have paid great attention to the bike and the aerodynamics and worked closely with sponsor Bianchi. You can see it in the results.”

Jérôme Coppel (IAM Cycling): “Luck was certainly not on our side since we lost Stef after just the second kilometer. We had done everything right and reconnoitered this very fast course, but having that climb right at the end made it very demanding. With five kilometers to go, it became complicated because we had no strength left for the finale. We pretty much had the potential to target a 7th or 8th place. It is the law of sport, and it has not always equally unraveled the ambitions of the teams racing. Some teams suffered crashes, others had punctures and some had other mechanicals. We must also accept being among the unlucky and move on. Personally, I am feeling very good, and that bodes well for the individual time trial to come.”

Full race report HERE.

Men’s World Team Time Trial Championship Result:
1. BMC Racing Team (USA) in 42:07
2. Etixx – Quick-Step (Bel) at 0:11
3. Movistar Team (Spa) at 0:30
4. Orica-GreenEDGE (Aus) at 0:53
5. Giant-Alpecin (Ger) at 1:03
6. LottoNL-Jumbo (Ned) at 1:17
7. Lotto Soudal (Bel) at 1:26
8. Astana (Kaz) at 1:37
9. Team Sky (GB) at 1:41
10. Trek Factory Racing (USA) at 1:46.

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Coppa Bernocchi 2015
The first break of the day had 23 riders in the move, the peloton realized the danger of such a big group getting away and chased down the one minute gap as fast as they could. 4 new leaders then went clear for the better part of the race.

The peloton kept the escapees in check though and with 50km to go and a gap of only 30 seconds, the attacks started to fly from the peloton. There were 3 significant moves in the latter part of the race, first a 9 man break that got up to 20 seconds before being caught again. The next counter attack was reeled in before getting much more than 15 seconds.

The 3rd big move came from a group of 6 riders and this would be the decisive attack of the day. Coming with just 25 kilometers left to go, the sextet only got a maximum lead of 35 seconds but it would be enough. After missing the move; MTN-Qhubeka led the chase from the peloton but it was to no avail. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) took a crafty win in the end with the peloton sprinting in for 7th place.

Bunch sprint for 6th:
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Coppa Bernocchi Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 4:32:10
2. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Southeast at 0:01
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Italy
4. Carlos Julian Quintero (Col) Colombia
5. José Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Por) Bora-Argon 18 at 0:07
6. Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli at 0:21
7. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Italy
8. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini
10. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF.

Coppa Bernocchi

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Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen 2015
Etixx – Quick-Step rider Michal Golas won the 100th Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen. The Polish rider crossed the line second behind Jens Debusschere (Lotto Soudal), but the winner was relegated by the jury.

Golas was part of a lead group of 9 riders which attacked from the peloton in the local laps in Koolskamp. The peloton chased hard to reel the 9 escapees in, but pouring rain and the strong lead group prevented that.

Roy Curvers (Giant-Alpecin) tried his luck in the last kilometers, but was caught just before the final kilometer. In the sprint Debusschere and Dylan Groenewegen (Team Roompot) hit each other in the sprint. Groenewegen went down, while Debusschere crossed the line first in front of Golas.

The jury however decided to relegate Debusschere after consulting video images. In that way Golas became the first Polish rider to win the Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen. Golas earned the special ‘Leeuwentrui’ with his win.

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Race winner, Michal Golas (Etixx – Quick-Step): “I`m happy about this victory. It wasn’t an easy final with the rain. It makes me proud to wear this jersey. I am a Polish guy, but I am riding for a Belgian team. I like this country and the people who really love cycling. This victory also shows that I`m on the right way for the Worlds. I have worked hard to do well. Tomorrow I will ride the Primus Classic Impanis – Van Petegem and then will focus on the Worlds to contribute to my national team.”

Kampioenschap van Vlaanderen Result:
1. Michal Golas (Pol) Etixx – Quick-Step in 4:27:59
2. Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Adriaan Aas Stien (Nor) Team Joker
4. Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
5. Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Giant-Alpecin
6. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Boris Vallee (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:14
8. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek at 0:22
9. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
10. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole.

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Memorial Marco Pantani 2015
Lampre-Merida’s Diego Ulissi reached the final straight of the Memorial Marco Pantani (199.5km, start in Riccione and finish in Cesenatico) with Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), with whom he had attacked on the climb of Montevecchio with 60 kilometers to go. Ulissi out-sprinted his two breakaway companions (Visconti 2nd, Nibali 3rd) to take his 2nd victory of the season, the 19th in his career. All three riders were riding as part of the Italian National team.

The success is a good step towards the World Championship in Richmond, where Ulissi and the Italian National Team will fly on Monday, after having taking part on Sunday in GP Industria e Commercio di Prato.

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Race winner, Diego Ulissi (Italian National team & Lampre-Merida): “During the week I could not train as it would have been necessary, so today I used more the head than the legs, but I had very good feedbacks during the race. It’s always a great feeling when you win, it helps the morale, so I’m very satisfied for today performance.”

4th, Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka): “The race was hard with a 6km climb that we had to do 3 times. The Italian team made the race very hard and eventually had 3 guys ride away. I was in the group behind of around 35 riders. Unfortunately we could not close the gap and they survived with 40 seconds. I won the bunch sprint behind.”

Memorial Marco Pantani Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Nazionale Italiana in 4:39:23
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Nazionale Italiana
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Nazionale Italiana
4. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka at 0:31
5. Grega Bole (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Roth-Skoda
7. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Sergey Shilov (Rus) Lokosphinx
9. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Colombia
10. Eduard Prades Reverte (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

Memorial Marco Pantani:

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Primus Classic Impanis – Van Petegem 2015
Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) has won the GP Impanis – Van Petegem (Europe Tour, 1.HC). With more than two kilometers to go the young Belgian attacked from a considerably reduced peloton. He left his companion Floris Gerts (BMC) behind and a great solo led him to his second victory of the season. Earlier this year De Bie was the best in the fifth stage of the Tour de Luxembourg.

After 12 kilometers four riders got in front: De Marchi (BMC), Morice (Europcar), De La Cruz (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Van Goethem (Roompot). The four had a maximum advantage of six minutes. In the peloton it was mainly Lotto Soudal that controlled the pace. The situation remained stable for a long time, until the ascents of Holstheide and Smysberg. 40 kilometers before the finish several riders decided to attack from a peloton that had been reduced to a group of about 40 riders due to the race conditions.

In the finalé Pim Ligthart rode in front for fifteen kilometres together with Brambila, Veuchelen and Gerts, but they were caught at 6.5 kilometres from the end. After an attempt of Jasper De Buyst it was Sean De Bie who made the decisive move. Floris Gerts rode with him and then De Bie took off on his own. In the background Gerts and Dimitri Claeys (Verandas Willems) tried to counter, but De Bie was obviously the strongest.

Race winner, Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal): “The early breakaway with a rider of BMC and Etixx was a nasty situation, especially because Trek and at first instance also Lotto NL-Jumbo didn’t want to cooperate with us in the peloton. Sander Armée did loads of work. With Kenny Dehaes we had a sprinter in the team, but we assumed it wouldn’t end with a sprint because of the tough zone around Overijse. That’s why we tried to always have a guy in a break and the situation with Pim in a group of four was perfect. I wanted to be the first to get into the dangerous corner at five kilometres from the finish, and so I did. In the last three kilometres I decided to go for all or nothing. The pain in my legs during that last kilometer was immense, but the victory makes you forget about that.”

“The entire race I had the feeling I was good, but I didn’t want to use my energy too soon. Wednesday, I felt even better at the GP Wallonie, but then I started to mingle too soon so the power in the legs had gone in the finale and then I just tried to help Jens and Jelle. I made a huge progress this year; it’s the first time that I am so good in this part of the season. I finished the Tour of Britain with a good condition and you notice that a lot of others are almost at the end of their strengths. And of course I’m happy I can give a victory to Lotto Soudal.”

3rd, Floris Gerts (BMC): “I was trying to keep the pace high in the peloton for Jempy when one of the Lotto guys (De Bie) jumped from behind, I tried to get him back and looked back and saw we had a gap. But I mad the mistake by taking over and riding also. I should not have done that because I had already been in the front group and was a little bit tired. When he attacked again, I could not follow.”

Primus Classic Impanis – Van Petegem Result:
1. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:31:14
2. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Verandas Willems at 0:01
3. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC
4. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek
5. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
6. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Mike Teunissen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot
9. Boudat Thomas (Fra) Europcar
10. Olivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems.

Primus Classic Impanis – Van Petegem:

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GP d’Isbergues – Pas de Calais 2015
Over a hilly course in northern France, the riders struggled to remain in the main peloton when the climbs were attacked at a frantic pace. But in spite of the stiff speed up the ascents and the 204 kilometer distance, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) was more than a match. The French sprinting ace overcame any opposition in the bunch sprint where only the most determined had a chance to win.

5th, Roy Jans (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I feel really good at the moment. On Saturday I got over the hills easily and always kept myself to the front. Bjorn Leukemans was very important that day because he kept me at the front and out of the wind all day. On Sunday it was a superfast race in Isbergues. Wanty-Groupe Gobert rode a strong race, like a real team. In the last kilometres there were lots of turns and narrow roads which made it hard to move up a few places. I also lost Robin (Stenuit) in the last three kilometers which was a pity.”

6th, Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling): “I actually felt excellent at this race, it’s been quite some time since I have felt that competitive. And especially here in Isbergues, I felt that I had that little something extra. But of course, since I felt so good throughout the race, I am disappointed only to come away with a sixth place. I thought I had the legs to compete with Nacer Bouhanni until the last meters. But if I did not pull it off this time, I have no one but myself to blame. The team did an excellent job all day. From the beginning we took control of the race along with Cofidis, and we never budged from that position. In the end, I was a bit alone, but that’s understandable since everyone had worked so hard all day long. I just missed that little bit of luck that is so essential to being able to convert good work into a victory. But I am still confident and calm. My next races will be the Eurométropole Tour and then Binche-Chimay-Binche. And I really think that this race will help my chances at those events.”

GP d’Isbergues – Pas de Calais Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis in 4:37:45
2. Michal Kolár (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
3. Shane Archbold (NZl) Bora-Argon 18
4. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
5. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) IAM Cycling
7. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ.fr
8. Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
9. André Looij (Ned) Roompot Oranje Peloton
10. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.

GP d’Isbergues – Pas de Calais:

COPERTINA 2015
GP Industria & Commercio di Prato 2015
The GP Industria would see the Italian national team take the spoils for the 3rd time this week as Daniele Bennati sprinted to victory ahead of his 4 breakaway mates. Marco Marcato (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) was 2nd and Davide Rebellin (CCC Sprandi) claimed 3rd place.

Jaco Venter (MTN-Qhubeka) got into the early break of the day with 4 others. Just as in the previous 3 Italian one day races this week though, the Italian national squad started chasing from early on and had reeled in the group with still 80km to go. This was only after Jaco had collected the majority of points on offer for the King of the Mountains prize, which meant he would go on to win the classification.

A flurry of attacks initiated by the Vincenzo Nibali led Italian team saw the peloton split in pieces again. 5 riders got clear, Bennati, Marcato, Rebellin, Nibali and Wackerman. Behind the 5, a chase group of 14 riders formed. While the 5 never got more than a minute lead during the final 60km, Nibali got the leaders to cooperate 100% with each other and they would be able to hold their slim advantage to the finish. The reduced peloton then sprinted it out for the minor places with the top 5 places already taken by the break.

2nd, Marco Marcato (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “Rebellin and I attacked at 60 kilometres from the line to anticipate the Italian national team. That was a good decision. We got company from Nibali, Wackermann and Bennati. We rode well together and I finished second in the end. Bennati just was faster. I was part of the action all week and rode alongside the best riders. I only missed something every day. Today I was in the right group and finish second. Of course this is not first place but I can’t say I am unhappy with this result.”

Serge Pauwels (MTN-Qhubeka): Initially I tried to follow Nibali when he attacked but I came up 20 meters short at the top of the climb. On the next circuit lap we escaped and came quite close to Nibali’s group but we could not catch them. At least I am happy with my race as this was my 12th day of competition in the last 15 days.

GP Industria & Commercio di Prato Result:
1. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo in 4:28:25
2. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Davide Rebellin (Ita) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
4. Luca Wackermann (Ita) Southeast
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 0:02
6. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:28
7. Marko Kump (Slo) Adria Mobil
8. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Southeast
9. Roman Maikin (Rus) RusVelo
10. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Southeast.

GP Industria & Commercio di Prato podium:
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Successful surgery for Kris Boeckmans
On Thursday evening Kris Boeckmans underwent facial surgery at the ZOL hospital in Genk. The medical team, led by surgeon Schepers, needed more than five hours to attach fifty screws and eight plates.

Kris had a nose fracture, fractures of the eye socket, fractures of the upper jawbones and some internal fractures. The jawbones were blocked to improve the recovery during the upcoming two weeks. The first 24 hours Kris will remain at the intensive care unit. On Monday there will be an evaluation and the doctors will then discuss when he might go home.

Gullegem Koerse MCW - Classic 2015

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Milano-Torino and Granpiemonte: The 20 Starting Teams
The teams that will compete in the two races organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport, held on 1 and 2 October respectively, are announced today

RCS Sport has officially announced the 20 teams, made up of 12 UCI WorldTeams and 8 UCI Professional Continental Teams, that will participate in the two autumn classic races, Milano-Torino and GranPiemonte.

Milano-Torino
UCI WorldTeams:

AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA)
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ)
FDJ (FRA)
IAM CYCLING (SUI)
LAMPRE – MERIDA (ITA)
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP)
TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN (USA)
TEAM KATUSHA (RUS)
TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO (NED)
TEAM SKY (GBR)
TINKOFF – SAXO (RUS)
TREK FACTORY RACING (USA)

UCI Professional Continental Teams:
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI – SIDERMEC (ITA)
BARDIANI CSF (ITA)
BORA-ARGON 18 (GER)
COLOMBIA (COL)
MTN – QHUBEKA (RSA)
NIPPO – VINI FANTINI (ITA)
SOUTHEAST (ITA)
TEAM NOVO NORDISK (USA)

Granpiemonte
The teams racing in the GranPiemonte will be the same as those racing in the Milano-Torino, with the only exception of ETIXX – QUICK STEP (BEL), who replace FDJ (FRA).

The peloton during the last edition of GranPiemonte in 2012:
Ciclismo, Gran Piemonte 2012

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Tinkoff-Saxo pleased with Vuelta a España organizers attempt to increase safety
Despite the two serious accidents in which Peter Sagan and Sergio Paulinho were hit by reckless motorbike drivers and subsequently withdrew, Tinkoff-Saxo finished the 2015 Vuelta a España on a high note. The team believes that the organization provided an exciting and unpredictable parcours with the winner and podium only decided on the final stage to Madrid. In addition, concrete measures were taken towards ensuring the safety of the riders and the teams after the Vuelta organization had swiftly and in a serious manner entered into dialogue with Tinkoff-Saxo.

The 2015 edition of the Vuelta a España was marked by a number of ups and downs, both for Tinkoff-Saxo as well the race itself. The squad, led by Rafal Majka and Peter Sagan, went to Spain with the goal of a top-five position for Majka as well as stage wins.

Despite initial criticism of the opening TTT, the Vuelta organizers, Unipublic, provided a parcours that, undoubtedly, delivered an exciting and unpredictable race. With eight summit finishes that had never featured in the past and a mountain stage in Andorra dubbed by many as “the hardest ever in the Vuelta”, the peloton and the favorites were kept on their toes.

In fact, the red leader’s jersey swapped hands no less than eight times and the race winner and podium wasn’t decided before the penultimate stage after a thrilling fight. Tinkoff-Saxo’s leader Rafal Majka was able to secure his podium spot on the final climb and missed second place by just 12 seconds, another proof of the close and tight racing.

The opening team time-trial finished with bittersweet feelings as a very strong performance was not enough and the squad saw victory slip away by less than a second. Two days later, Peter Sagan delivered in the final sprint of the 158km stage to Malaga and bagged his first Grand Tour victory after a long period. Unfortunately, disaster struck Tinkoff-Saxo’s Slovak champion on stage 8, when the reckless driver of a neutral assistance motorbike crashed into him, causing major injuries and burns. Despite his tenacity and determination, Sagan would withdraw the following morning as team doctors and sport directors deemed it unsafe for him to continue.

Despite this initial major setback, Tinkoff-Saxo’s remaining eight riders showed their strength at the mother of all stages in Andorra, which would be the first real test for the GC contenders. Unfortunately, Tinkoff-Saxo was victim of another reckless driver and Sergio Paulinho was forced to abandon after a collision with a TV motorbike caused a deep cut and strong bleeding on his left leg. Rafal Majka’s strong performance was, effectively, overshadowed by the second race collision and Tinkoff-Saxo demanded guarantees that would safeguard the safety of all riders in order to continue in the race.

Following a meeting with race and UCI officials, a number of concrete measures were implemented. The team’s management believed that these initial measures were a sign of attention to riders’ safety and agreed to continue as long as safety was guaranteed.

The second major blow to the team wasn’t enough to deter its determination and the squad rallied behind Rafal Majka, who found his form as the race progressed but also managed to stay focused and calm after a fairly disappointing individual time-trial on stage 17. Majka, spurred on by a persistent effort from his teammates, put in a superb performance on the remaining three decisive stages and clinched third overall on his birthday, one day before the grand finale in Madrid. The Polish rider came of age in this year’s Vuelta, stepping on a Grand Tour podium for the first time in his career.

It was an, overall, positive Vuelta for Tinkoff-Saxo, as its goals were achieved and that despite two major setbacks. The team looks forward to next year’s edition and hopes organizers will continue on the right path to make the race even closer, more exciting, but also safer and more enjoyable for the riders, the teams and spectators.

A not so happy Sagan:
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Cannondale-Garmin adds Lawson Craddock in 2016
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced it has added Lawson Craddock to the squad, starting in 2016. The 23-year-old American entered his first race at just 10 years old, and has been racing ever since. He is a former U.S. Junior National Champion on the road and in the time trial. In 2013, Craddock gained worldwide attention with a breakout performance at the Amgen Tour of California, finishing 8th overall and winning the Best Young Rider jersey. In 2014, Craddock finished 3rd overall at the Tour of California. His achievements and racing style caught the attention of Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, early on.

“Lawson has been on our radar since his junior days. He has always been a top talent and a very ambitious rider. His 3rd place in the 2014 Tour of California and his incredible work defending the race leader in the 2015 Vuelta show that he is a versatile rider ready to lead or help others. He is a tremendous addition to our team,” said Vaughters.

Craddock is not only a talented time trialist, he achieved early success on the track and has developed into a strong all-rounder. He is a Silver and Bronze medalist in the Junior World Championships, finished on the podium at the Junior Paris-Roubaix, and secured a top 10 finish at the 2013 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

After suffering a crash at the 2015 Tour Down Under, where he broke several bones including his sternum, Craddock demonstrated determination and grit as he focused on his recovery. He came back from injury put in a strong performance at the Tour of Poland (including a podium finish on Stage 6) and more recently at the Vuelta, where he rode in support of his team leader, who ultimately finished 6th overall.

“Cannondale-Garmin is the perfect fit for me,” said Craddock. “It is the best place and best opportunity for me to continue my development as a rider. I am really excited to help the team achieve its goals and when called upon, deliver results myself.”

Lawson Craddock:
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Campenaerts joins Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Team LottoNL-Jumbo signed a two-year deal with Belgian youngster Victor Campenaerts. The 23-year-old time trial specialist will join from Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Sports Director Nico Verhoeven followed Campenaerts for quite some time. “Victor is a strong time trialist and in recent years, he has bagged some good results. In the U23 ranks, he became TT champion of Europe and this year, he was strong in stage races like the Ster ZLM Toer and the Tour de Wallonie.

“His climbing has significantly improved, too. We think we can develop Victor into a top time trialist. As a team, we’ll put in time and energy into getting him there. ”

Victor Campenaerts
Campenaerts sees Team LottoNL-Jumbo as the ideal place for his development. “I knew, from just following the team, that they pay a lot of attention to the scientific side of cycling. A conversation with Mathieu Heijboer really opened my eyes. The scientific approach of Team LottoNL-Jumbo was an important factor in my decision. Of course, the emphasis towards time trialling is a big plus for me, as well.”

Campenaerts is full of ambition ahead of his adventure with Team LottoNL-Jumbo. “I’m looking forward to giving my all at the highest level of cycling and being surrounded by a strong team. I hope to take a step towards the top of time trialling. I also aim to keep making progress in climbing so that I will be able to compete with the best in the final kilometres of though Ardennes-like stages at WorldTour level.”

Victor Campenaerts:
100 th  Liege - Bastogne - Liege 2014

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Jhonatan Restrepo joins Team Katusha
The 2015 UCI WorldTour leader Team Katusha is happy to announce the signing of an agreement with the young Colombian rider Jhonatan Restrepo. The 20-year-old cyclist is a multiskilled rider – road and track champion – and will join Katusha for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Pácora, 28 November 1994) is the current U23 Panamerican Road Champion. Restrepo took the title in May in Mexico. The Colombian rider from Coldeportes-Claro is good on all terrains. This year he won a stage and the points classification in the prestigious Vuelta de la Juventud and finished 3rd Overall. Besides his national track titles (pursuit and madison) he obtained a gold medal in the team’s pursuit at the Panamerican Games (Toronto, May 2015) as well as two gold (individual pursuit and team’s pursuit) and one silver (madison) medal at the Panamerican track Championships (Chile, September 2015).

“To sign a contract for Team Katusha is like a dream coming true for me. In the beginning of August I could feel already the atmosphere in this team when I participated with them, as a trainee, in the Vuelta a Burgos. The teammates all accepted me and gave me so much valuable advice. I also spent three days with the team in San Sebastián. Purito Rodriguez has always been a kind of hero to me. There he was so nice to me and a humble guy with lots of humor. I look forward to racing in Europe next year. It will be a long way to go, but I am motivated and prepared to listen and work for the others. Stage races or classics, I want it all,” said Jhonatan Restrepo.

“Jhonatan Restrepo has so many skills, that’s what I like in this rider. He can climb, he is fast and he is a good TT rider. Most of all, his attitude in the Vuelta a Burgos convinced us. He worked hard for Dani Moreno. He was immediately ‘part of us’. Jhonatan is the first-ever Colombian rider in Team Katusha. It makes it extra special for us. We are proud to have him with us and we will patiently let him grow in our team,” said Team Manager Viatcheslav Ekimov.

Jhonatan Restrepo left yesterday for Richmond, USA, where he will participate next week in the U23 Road World Championships.

Jhonatan Restrepo:
jonathan-restrepo-920

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Kiel Reijnen pens a two-year deal with Trek Factory Racing
Trek Factory Racing is pleased to announce it has reached an agreement with Kiel Reijnen, who joins from Team UnitedHealthcare. Reijnen is a power sprinter who’s capable of winning reduced bunch sprints in aggressive races or on short, uphill finishes.

Reijnen: “This is a huge opportunity for me. This move represents the culmination of a lot of hard work over the last years. During my time at UHC I became a more consistent rider and a lot of time it was because of team work. I’m a bit a of a late bloomer, you know. Moving up to the WorldTour is a big step for me, and it may surprise some people. All I know is that it would not have been possible without my time at UHC.”

Reijnen’s all round proficiency sufficed for VeloNews to label him ‘America’s best rider not on a WorldTour team’, a title that’s now up for revision. Reijnen, who originates from Bainbridge Island, Washington, most recently raised his arms in victory in Aspen, Colorado, at the US Pro Challenge, where he also won the Points Classification for the second consecutive year.

“I believe I have a lot more depth to find. I can gain some more sprinting speed, I think, and overall I think I am ready to take on a more demanding racing program,” says Reijnen, who will find a base in Europe during the season. “The team would like to see me race the harder one day races and that is something that’s hard to do straight off of training. I like the European races: you get beat up a lot and that equates later down the road in more strength and stamina.”

Luca Guercilena: “Kiel has been on our radar for some time now and we are proud to welcome him to our team. We’re excited about bringing him to the European circuit and we believe he still has a margin of progression to make. He’s found a certain niche in hard stages that lead to a reduced sprint, or flatter stages with a little kick in the end. He’s really good and has been very successful in these type of US races.”

Reijnen, who will be entering his ninth season as a pro, has a palmarés that also includes two victories at the Philadelphia Cycling Classic (2013,2014), stage wins at the USA Pro Challenge (2014,2015), the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah (2015), four times winning bronze at the US National Road Championships, and winning the overall classifications in the Tour of Rwanda and the Tour of Thailand. He also has a degree in mechanical engineering and is considered one of the better interviews in the US peloton.

Reijnen: “I’d like to continue to hone my style with Trek. I don’t climb with the best climbers and I don’t sprint with the best sprinters, but I sprint well when there’s a lot of climbing to be done, so I’m grateful to Trek for this step up. I’m thrilled to make the most out of it.”

Kiel Reijnen:
USA Pro Challenge 2013 (2.HC) stage - 3

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Gaëtan Bille joins Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Gaetan Bille will join Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 2016. The rider from Wallonia, Belgium, enjoyed a particularly successful season with Veranda’s Willems this year.

“Wanty-Groupe Gobert is a very nice team that is capable of offering me a super race program. There was interest from other teams but with Wanty-Groupe Gobert I can ride the Ardennes Classics and that has my interest. The faith the team puts in me to obtain good results also weighed in on my decision to choose this team.”

The 27-year old won, among others, the Giro della Friuli this year (and therefore succeeded Simone Antonini as winner), a stage in the Tour of Portugal, and a wonderful third place in the overall classification of the Tour of Belgium. Bille currently sits eighth on the individual ranking of the Europe Tour.

“That third place in the Tour of Belgium was my best result of the year. This season was already a great year but I think a better race program would allow me to do even better and to continue getting good results in 2016. I would love to take on a semi-classic like Brabantse Pijl for example.”

Sports director Jean-Marc Rossignon has known Bille for a long time and is very happy to welcome him to the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team.

“Gaëtan will be an important rider for our team. He is a great time triallist and easily gets over the hills, though not the high mountains. He could develop into a crucial rider for our ambitions in the stage races that include a time trial. Plus, he knows how to ride on cobbles and knows how to ride at the front in a big peloton. He could play a role in the (semi)-classics in both Flanders and the Ardennes,” Rossignon explained.

After signing Thomas Degand and Gaëtan Bille, the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team now has ten names confirmed for 2016: Marco Marcato, Roy Jans, Jérôme Baugnies, Kévin Van Melsen, Lander Seynaeve, Simone Antonini, Frederik Backaert, Tom Devriendt plus Gaëtan Bille and Thomas Degand.

A stronger Wanty-Groupe Gobert team in 2016:
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Contract extension for Maxime Monfort and Tosh Van der Sande
The Lotto Soudal team for 2016 is slowly taking shape. Today the team can announce that Maxime Monfort (32) and Tosh Van der Sande (24) have extended their contract, for two and one year respectively.

Maxime Monfort joined the team last season after the Belgian rode eight years long for foreign teams. This season Maxime took part in two Grand Tours: Giro and Vuelta. He was eleventh overall at the Giro. During the Vuelta he changed his plans after a few stages and took his chance in breakaways. In the nineteenth stage he finished on the third place.

Maxime Monfort: “Last season it took some time to adapt to racing in a Belgian team after I had raced for foreign teams for several years. This year I really found my place within the Lotto Soudal team and I feel at home. It’s the best choice for my career to stay two more years. This season things ran smoothly and I’m now acquainted with the customs of the team. At the Giro I could live up to the expectations as GC rider, in the Vuelta I had to change tactics when I noticed a top place on GC wouldn’t be possible. Then I joined breakaways to try to win a stage.”

“Within the team we have spoken about giving me a role as road captain in the future, a role in which I will pass on my experience to a GC rider like Bart De Clercq our young riders like Louis Vervaeke. Although, I already do that now actually; I like to pass on tips. I don’t come from a cycling family myself so they couldn’t give me any tips. Apart from supporting the young riders in the team, I still want to set a good overall result in one of the Grand Tours myself. When I have a good preparation, I am convinced that top ten is definitely still possible for me. Apart from that, there are many other events where I can race more aggressively like at the recent Vuelta.”

Just like Maxime Monfort Tosh Van der Sande rode the Vuelta. The Belgian sprinted to a top ten place five times. Tosh has a pair of fast legs which can certainly lead him towards personal success, on the other hand he is also a real team player on whom the team can count on different terrains. Tosh has been riding for the team since 2012, his first season as a pro.

Tosh Van der Sande: “I’m looking back on the Vuelta with a positive feeling. I set some nice top ten results, only the victory is missing. That would have been the icing on the cake. I was close a few times. Anyway, this boosts my confidence for the upcoming races. At the Vuelta I realized I had set a step forward. Since I became pro I have been making progress every year and hopefully the evolution continues. As I get the chance to grow in this team, I am very pleased I can stay another year.”

“I feel good in this team because it’s Belgian. The team offers me a nice race program and I appreciate that a lot. I can take my chance and I hope to do that even more next year in the tougher stage races. When I get that first victory my confidence will be even bigger. Who knows, I could still get that first win this season. Next week I’ll race in Vichte and Lichtervelde and afterwards I’ll probably take part in the Eurométropole Tour. In the past I was always good after I rode a Grand Tour and I hope that will be the case now as well.”

Marc Sergeant, manager Lotto Soudal: “The Vuelta taught us that Maxime and Tosh are two riders who can live up to our expectations. For Maxime that was an adaption, after he had been the leader in a Grand Tour for many years or had ridden for a team leader. At the Tour de Pologne he had sacrificed himself to defend the good position of Bart De Clercq on GC and also in Spain he did that when he could. Apart from that, he decided to try to join breakaways, which was successful a few times.”

“For the next years, I expect a further evolution of him in that role. Last season, it was difficult for him to find his place in the group, but this season we saw a different Maxime. He reads the race well, is a strong rider and has the capacities to boost the confidence of other guys and make them perform better. He speaks Dutch, French and English and can be a very good ambassador of the team, not only in Wallonia. At the age of 32 and with that positive attitude I think that both parties can benefit a lot from this cooperation.”

“Tosh keeps setting steps forward each year and deserves to stay in the team. He has a very positive attitude, gives himself for the full hundred per cent for the team and tries to seize the opportunities he gets himself. He’s still waiting for his first pro victory, but that will definitely come; he doesn’t have to obsess about it. He creates a good atmosphere in the team, but maintains his professional focus, more than he used to. I expect him to play that role again next year and believe he will keep making progress. His fighting spirit at the Vuelta charmed me. He achieved good results in bunch sprints and joined a breakaway a few times. That’s the way I like it.”

Tosh Van der Sande:
stage 7 - Criterium du Dauphine Libere 2015

Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
Durasek extends his contract: 2 more years in Lampre-Merida
Another top rider confirmed in Lampre-Merida’s roster: Kristijan Durasek will race in the team also in 2016 and 2017.

The Croatian rider (more info here), who was born in 1988, became a pro rider in 2008 and he joined Lampre-Merida in 2013, the same year in when he won Tre Valli Varesine. During the 2015 season, the climber reached a high level of cycling quality, which allowed him to win the overall classification of the Tour of Turkey and the first stage of the Tour de Suisse, his first victory in a World Tour competition.

“I’m very happy for having extended my contract, my first aim was to continue to be a Lampre-Merida’s cyclist – Durasek said – I signed an agreement which gave me the exciting opportunity to wear in 2016 and 2017 the blue-fuchsia-green colors, I really hope these two years will be full of satisfactions. Lampre-Merida is an amazing group where a rider can find everything he needs to improve his cycling qualities. Thanks to the management and to the sponsors of the team, I’ll try to do the best for them.”

The team manager Brent Copeland explained why the extension of the contract of Durasek is very important: “You can always rely on Kristijan, he’s always so competitive in every race he participates and in every climbs. In 2015 he made a really important step towards a top quality level, having also obtained a prestigious success in the Tour of Turkey and in one stage of the Tour de Suisse. His future role will be even more important, because he’ll have his good opportunities for achieving personal goals and he’ll be a precious support for the captains whenever this will be necessary.”

Kristijan Durasek:
kristijan-durasek15-920

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The Best of Fabio Aru
Great little video on Vuelta a España winner Fabio Aru:


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