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Vuelta Start EuroTrash!

Spain, Colorado and Germany all feature in today’s EuroTrash with a full weekend of racing, all the latest video and comments from la Vuelta, USA Pro Challenge and Vattenfall. In other cycling news: Tour du Poitou Charentes, more riders re-sign contracts and some bikes and boats.

TOP STORY: Prologue TTT, is it a Good Idea?
Looking at the Vuelta a España opening team time trial it’s easy to see the reasoning for having them. Having seen the opening TTT’s in Sevilla and Benidorm first hand they are great, touring the sights of the town and showcasing the teams. But you must remember the disaster of the Garmin-Sharp Giro d’Italia TTT in Belfast, where Dan Martin crashed out and ruined most of his ’14 season. Even if you look at Saturday’s result (apart from Valverde & Quintana) some of the top men have lost time: Alberto Contador at 19 seconds, Samuel Sanchez & Cadel Evans at 21 seconds, Chris Froome at 27 seconds, Joaquin Rodriguez at 38 seconds and Dan Martin at 41 seconds. Tours have been won or lost with much less time. Bring back the short individual prologue time trial?

Contador at 19 seconds
Tour of Spain 2014  - stage - 1 TTT

header-vueltaVuelta a España 2014
The Movistar team repeated its success of Pamplona in 2012 and Jonathan Castroviejo took the overall lead in Jerez after a sensational performance in Stage 1 on Saturday evening.

Just like in 2012, at home in the streets of Pamplona, the Movistar team repeated their dream at the start of the Vuelta a España and set one of their great domestiques, Basque specialist Jonathan Castroviejo, as the first leader of the 2014 race. The telephone squad rode brilliantly, in perfect order through the 12.6km TTT in Jerez de la Frontera, a mix of urban, technical, dangerous sections and long straights, where the squad directed by Eusebio Unzué kept all nine men together.

Until the very final straight, following a good intermediate check; the 2nd at just 5 seconds behind Cannondale, Castroviejo, Valverde, Amador, Erviti, Moreno, Quintana, Izagirre, Malori and Herrada, the latter two dropping just few meters before the end after fantastic efforts, took their 3rd victory in team time trials since 2011, by six seconds at the finish line.

Overall leader Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar): “We all nine rode to perfection. It was my honour to take the jersey, but this is a prize for the whole team – without my team-mates, it would have been impossible. Pamplona’s victory was a special one, unforgettable as we were home, but today the goal was doing it just fine, with no crashes – it might have indeed taken us to the win, not having made any mistakes. We talked about starting calm and staying focused, and it went perfectly. Though our goal was getting over the day, we didn’t only win: we also opened pretty significant gaps over our rivals. When you’re on into the race, you only think about going faster, faster until the finish. You don’t think about a second, two or three, you simply don’t look at it. I couldn’t have imagined I would be leading the race again. The jersey is mine now, but the goal is keeping it within the team. We will support Nairo and Alejandro all the way to the mountains, where we will see who of the two can do better.”

Rigoberto Uran (OPQS): “We are OK with this result, I think we did a good TTT. The course was quite technical with 22 roundabouts in a little more than 12 kilometers, and we must also remember that this is just the beginning of La Vuelta. We will see what happens in the next days. As usual the first few stages will be nervous and maybe the wind here in the South of Spain can also be a factor.”

World TT Champion Tony Martin (OPQS): “It was the first race for me after a four week break, so, I knew it wouldn’t be perfect for me. But I think it was really good speed. We have to look back and analyze where we may have lost time, but that is for another moment other than now. I’m happy to get my first time trial back in my legs after some time off, and now we focus on the next stages here at La Vuelta.”

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I think it has been a good result. The difference from the winner is 19 seconds, but more than that, I’m happy because I could keep up with my teammates, I have been able to collaborate in the race and that is a good sign that I have not had pain in the knee in this short stage. I was already looking forward to start the race and the differences are not something I am overly concerned with, and less today. I’ll Go day by day and see what is happening.” Alberto said that today was a stage in which many people probably did not want to risk too much. “It was a complicated time trial, if it had rained it would be practically impossible. It was a time trial of much respect, with smooth asphalt on the roundabouts after a long time without rain, with oil and diesel from the cars. So I’m happy we have saved troubles and I think that is a good result. And I’m also happy because I have seen the whole team is good, very concentrated, and that motivates me.”

Robert Gesink (Belkin) was happy with the way the team time trial went: “I think this was a maximum performance. We had a bit of bad luck by losing Laurens quickly. Not long after that Robert Wagner was dropped because of a flat. We have trained in a specific order and that got messed up, but we reacted very well. I was able to put in a couple of good pulls. I feel good. I want to fight for a top ten spot along with Wilco Kelderman. I’m impressed by how strong he is.”

Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko: “We rode at our maximum, but the stage wasn’t for us – tomorrow we have a pure sprint finish, and we will work for Guardini for the victory.”

Vuelta a España Stage 1 Result:
1. Movistar in 14:13
2. Cannondale at 0:06
3. Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Trek at 0:09
5. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:11
6. Team Giant-Shimano at 0:16
7. Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:19
8. Belkin
9. BMC at 0:21
10. Lampre-Merida at 0:25.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar in 14:13
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar
3. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar
4. Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar
5. Javier Moreno Bazan (Spa) Movistar
6. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar
7. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar
8. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar at 0:04
9. José Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale.

Stage 1:

Stage 2 on Sunday saw a bunch sprint decide the outcome in San Fernando with Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) claiming the first road stage victory. The tough and technical finish saw John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) cross the line in 2nd with Roberto Ferrari (Lampre-Merida) taking the final podium spot.

José Aramendia (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) attacked right after the flag and was followed by Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida), Romain Hardy (Cofidis) who celebrated his 26th birthday today, Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp), Kristian Sbaragli and Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka). Haas crested the summit of Alto del Cabrito after 10 kilometers in first position and claimed the first polka dot jersey of the 69th Vuelta a España, after which he dropped back to the bunch with Sbaragli whose job was to lead Gerald Ciolek out in an eventual bunch gallop.

Conti, Hardy, Aramendia and Janse van Rensburg got a maximum lead of five minutes with 80km to go. Giant-Shimano and FDJ.fr were the first teams to start the chasing. The four breakaway riders were reeled in with 20km to go.

In the streets of San Fernando, FDJ.fr gave an excellent lead out to Nacer Bouhanni, his team passed the last curve in first position, with Fisher and Soupe taking the last turns. Bouhanni jumped with 200 meters to go. Alejandro Valverdi (Movistar) crossed the line in 21st position ahead of his team-mates who were on the same time as him after the team time trial, and so took the overall lead from Jonathan Castroviejo.

Stage winner Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr): “Now I want a second stage win”
Was that your goal to win a stage when you lined up at the Vuelta? “Yes it was my goal to win a stage as soon as possible to take pressure off my FDJ.fr team. We’ll be more relaxed from now on. It’s important. I won the only bunch sprint I took part in at the Eneco Tour. It gave me the confidence after not riding for more than a month after the French championship [2nd behind his team-mate Arnaud Démare]. I trained well before the Eneco Tour. I knew the form was coming. Shall there be other opportunities to win at the Vuelta, I’ll go for it.”

Is the green jersey also a goal for you after winning the points classification at the Giro? “My next goal is a second stage win. I’ll focus on that. We’ll defend the green jersey but this was only stage 2. I’ll also try and do the intermediate sprints and this distinctive jersey could become a goal later on. But I won’t be obsessed by the points competition.”

It’s a historical week-end for the Bouhanni family as your younger brother Rayane became the junior French champion for road racing. How close are you guys? “Rayane’s national title is kind of my most beautiful victory of the year. Usually I struggle to fall asleep after winning and it happened to me last night. My brother is very important for me. His win yesterday has increased my desire to win as well today. I’m very happy.”

Overall leader Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “To be honest, it wasn’t on the plan that I took the leader’s jersey, but the finish was really nervous and difficult and we had to ride up-front, trying not to lose any time into splits or crashes. I hadn’t even realized I had become the GC leader: I had to come back from the team bus, because I had already left for it. It’s always nice to take the leader’s jersey and I’m happy about this, but I would be even more should any other team-mate don it. It’s great to be ahead of other rivals, but this is not really important for the Vuelta’s final outcome. We will see how everything goes, and if it’s reasonable for us to fight and keep it. There’s quite a decent climb tomorrow, almost 1.5km, and we will have to stay attentive, but it’s just the same as today: you can never relax, otherwise you might lose time.”

4th on the stage Jasper Stuyven (Trek): “This is my first Grand Tour. I’m just happy with my first result but it’s nothing special yet.”

Moreno Hofland (Belkin) was placed ninth behind stage winner Bouhanni: “In the final, a rider in front of me lost his pedal so I had to close a small gap and spent my energy there, I came too short.”

Robert Wagner (Belkin) had a first-hand look at the sprint as he helped lead the team’s two fast men Hofland and Paul Martens: “It was pretty hectic final, but I didn’t expect otherwise,” the German explained. “It was really difficult. I’d say we did really well until two or 1.5 kilometers to the finish, we were there with Paul and Moreno. There was a big mess with 1.2 out, that’s where I lost the wheel. A guy from Giant-Shimano missed the turn, and Moreno was on his own. I couldn’t help him any more. It wasn’t like we hoped, but I hope we have more chances.”

Lampre-Merida’s sprinter Roberto Ferrari described the final kilometer: “I approached the last 1000 meters pedaling in fifth position, just behind Bouhanni who was following his team mates. I could not ask for a better position and I was also self-confident since I could manage in a good way my energies.
In the last bend, Stuyven overtook me and took my place behind Bouhanni and I had to decrease the speed and raise it again: Bouhanni started the sprint and could obtain a deserved victory, I could overtake Stuyven, but I could not resist Degenkolb who crossed the finish line in second.”

Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida) made it into the break: “I’m satisfied because I achieve the target my sport directors had fixed this morning for me during the technical meeting.
My role was to join the breakaway in the early part of the race and I did it. In addition, pedaling in the head of the race gave me the opportunity to become overall leader of the race, so I’m even more happy.
I know that in a Grand Tour it’s important to remain focused and to manage the energies, that’s what I’ll try to do.”

BMC’s Samuel Sánchez was the team’s best finisher in 22nd place, he called it: “a very stressful final.” “But the team protected me well in the final kilometers, especially Manuel Quinziato and Larry Warbasse,” he said. “Tomorrow is a very special final with a small climb. I know the team will have to work to keep me in good position.”

Astana’s Andrea Guardini after stage 2: “C’est la vie…my front wheel flatted 7km before the finish – Zeits waited for me, but it was too late to get back to the front.”

Vuelta a España Stage 2 Result:
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr in 4:01:30
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano
3. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
5. Francesco Lasca (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale
7. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin
10. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 4:15:43
2. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar
3. Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar
4. Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar
5. Manol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar
6. Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar
7. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Cannondale at 0:06
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE
9. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale
10. Adam Yates (GB) Orica GreenEDGE.

Stage 2:

header-usaprocUSA Pro Challenge 2104
In a circuit race through Colorado Springs that included everything from flat sprints through the city streets to challenging climbs in picturesque Garden of the Gods, Elia Viviani of Cannondale emerged victorious in Stage 4 after catching Jens Voigt (Trek) following a solo breakaway. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) held onto the overall lead with a 20-second advantage.

Almost immediately after they started racing, 11 riders broke away. The group included Voigt & Laurent Didier (Trek), Gregor Mühlberger (NetApp-Endura), Adam Phelan (Drapac Professional Cycling, Danny Summerhill (UnitedHealthcare), Martijn Verschoor (Novo-Nordisk), Rob Britton (Team SmartStop), Oscar Clark & Tims Skujins (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Steve Fisher (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) and Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development Team).

After 15 kilometers the break gained 3:10 over the field. At the first KOM at Garden of the Gods, Jacques-Maynes was first, followed by Voigt and Summerhill and the gap increased to four minutes. Heading into the second lap and just 5K away from the second KOM of the day, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies took the lead on the chase and cut the gap down to three and a half minutes. With UnitedHealthcare and Garmin-Sharp taking the lead in the chase, the gap continued to drop leading into the second KOM of the day. Jacques-Maynes pushed it to hit the top first and build a lead in the KOM jersey competition. He was followed by Voigt and Summerhill.

With 40K to go approaching the third KOM of the day, Voigt launched an attack and took Jacques-Maynes with him. At the top of the climb Jacques-Maynes kicked into gear and crossed the line first, but then fell back to the chase group. Voigt reached the top second and later, from the group behind, Summerhill third. Voigt opened a one-minute gap with 30 kilometers to go on his break and almost three minutes on the field. As the riders crossed the line to head into the final circuit lap of the race, the chase and the field started to come together and go after Voigt. As he crossed the summit of the last KOM, Voigt had 1:20 on his chasers. With teams of sprinters chasing him behind, Voigt’s gap started to whittle away in the last 15K to the finish. The rest of the Trek Factory Racing Team was doing all they could on the front of the field to break up other team’s attempts to organize a chase and help their leader to a stage win in the final race of his career, but unfortunately, at 5K to go, the gap had been cut to only 35 seconds. With the Cannondale Pro Cycling, Hincapie Sportswear Development Team and Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies teams pushing the pace on the front of the chase, it would come down to the final stretch of the race to determine the stage winner.

In the end, Voigt’s effort wouldn’t be enough to pull out the win and he was caught with only 1K to go. In a final sprint to the finish Viviani charged across the line to take first, followed by Martin Kohler (BMC), 3rd for the second day in a row was Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis).

Jens Voigt (Trek): “We put it all on the line today. We hoped for the best and there are no regrets about it,” said Voigt. “I did my best and I don’t think I could have done better. I took as much risk as I would have dared to take and I was all in today. I would like a stage win here, but no one is going to give it to me. There is no such thing in cycling.”

Stage winner Elia Viviani (Cannondale): “It was a huge win today. It was perfect for me,” said Vivianni. “My perfect sprint is 200 meters and when I saw the 200 meter mark, I went with maximum power. I had a great and beautiful experience in 2011 and now I’ve come back three years later and it’s still such a beautiful place. I like to race here so much, but it’s really difficult.

Second on the stage Martin Kohler (BMC): “With 200 meters left, I wanted to go, but hesitated a bit and then Viviani came by 10 kilometers an hour faster than me.” The past Swiss national road and time trial champion, said he was originally focused solely on riding in service of van Garderen and keeping a breakaway of 11 riders in check. “Until a lap to go, I was only thinking of doing my job for Tejay,” he said. “But we didn’t have to do anything on the middle two laps, so I saved a bit to try something in the sprint.”

Overall leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “Today worked out better than we could have imagined. With such a short stage, we thought there could be attacks all day. Thankfully we were able to keep it controlled. The crowds were absolutely incredible; every year the crowds rival any race we do, including the Tour de France. It’s hard to beat crowds like this anywhere.”

Jonathan Cantwell (Drapac) sprinted to eighth place in the bunch finish of Stage 4: “For me it was all about getting over the last climbs and hanging on for dear life,” Cantwell explained. “I did that. It was tough. Those guys rode so hard,” Cantwell said of the chase by some of the WorldTour teams heading into the final kilometers. “I know Garmin and BMC’s objective was to get rid of the sprinters and they did a pretty good job, fortunately for us, Viviani and I hung on. Coming into the finish I had Jordan Kerby with me and he did a really, really good job. I was a little bit far back.”

 Stage 4 included a 25.8km circuit which was raced four times, with the constant up and down in the warmest conditions of the week giving the peloton little reprieve. 

“There was just no recovery, from the top of the climb until we crossed the finish line,” he explained. “I just couldn’t recover in time to be able to sprint at full capacity. I was feeling a little bit shabby at the start of the day so to get through and finish top 10 is not too bad.

 It was hot today,” Cantwell continued. “I think coming from Australia I actually don’t mind racing in the heat. But I think when you’re four days into a tour at altitude the heat really plays a massive role against you, so it was a hindrance.”

USA Pro Challenge Stage 4 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale in 2:28:52
2. Martin Kohler (Sui) BMC
3. Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
4. Tyler Magner (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development
5. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare
6. Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team SmartStop
7. Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Sharp
8. Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac
9. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
10. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.

USA Pro Challenge Overall After Stage 4:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 13:03:45
2. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:20
3. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 0:23
4. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:34
5. Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 0:37
6. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek at 0:46
7. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 0:49
8. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development at 0:55
9. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Netapp-Endura at 1:09
10. Julian Kyer (USA) Team SmartStop at 1:22.

stage 4:

The 168-kilometer Stage 5 into the Colorado ski haven of Breckenridge was another day for opportunists, and Laurent Didier wasted no time in jumping in the day’s escape when it finally formed a third of the way into the race.

It was his second straight day off the front but the Luxembourger showed no sign of fatigue as he attacked and powered away on the final climb of the day and held his slim advantage to the line to take the win, his first international victory.

Javier Acevedo (Garmin-Sharp) and Rob Britton (Smartstop) were breathing down his neck for the last five downhill kilometers, nearly catching Didier in the closing meters. They would finish in the same time, for second and third places respectively, but fittingly the victory went to Didier who proved he was the strongest of the breakaway.

It was another fast start to the fifth day of the USA Pro Challenge and it was 60 kilometers before a 13-man escape group formed. With no overall threat in their midst they were granted a ticket to ride, and they stayed together until the longest climb of the day, Hoosier Pass, where Didier first showed his strength and crested the 3500-meter pass alone.

But on the wet descent he was caught by Acevedo, King and Britton and the four men led across the finish line in Breckenridge with only one small local circuit and one more ascent remaining. Didier made his winning attack on the steep climb, and with five seconds in hand held the small gap to take the deserved victory. For Didier, the Luxembourg time trial champion, it was his biggest victory and first international road win, and after Jens Voigt narrowly missed the win in stage four, it was also a huge boost for Trek Factory Racing.

Stage winner Laurent Didier (Trek): “At the beginning of this race I had a little problem with the altitude because I was planned for the Vuelta, so I came here late. I needed a few days to adapt. Yesterday I attacked at kilometer zero and made the break happen and two days ago I was in the final group of 25, and today it worked out.”

“When we started the race I was in the front to go with a breakaway, but I just did not have the legs from the last two days where I did a lot of work – the feeling in the legs were like concrete! After 40 kilometers the road narrowed and I moved to the front and followed one move and boom! I was in the break. But then my legs were still not the best, but with the rain starting and the cold it was good for me. In the first climb I knew I had to make the selection because I was scared of Acevedo. I also knew the last climb was steep and that is not favorable for me.”

“I told Kim [Andersen, director] that this was the climb where I had to try. Then when they came back and I saw it was not a great situation with two Garmins. So I let Ben King go, because in my opinion [Acevedo] was stronger, and then I made my move. I am super happy because I don’t win many races, but the ones I do win are in tough conditions. It’s a little strange but it’s like that.”

“When I attacked on [Hoosier Pass] I actually thought that maybe I could make it to the finish but when you are alone and behind you have three guys to pull it’s too hard. But then against two Garmin it was not so easy either, so I had to play it smart. I did not do the race last year, but I remember the climb on television because I watched it from home. It was a hard last 300 meters but I gave it all, because I knew after it was fast to the finish. But I have to say that I was a little scared with 500 meters to go that they might catch me. I have not won a lot of races, but the ones I have won have always been in the rain! So in the middle part of the race when there was a lot of rain, I stayed focused, put on my rain jacket and gloves, so I was prepared for the finale.”

Overall leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “I feel good, I feel confident,” van Garderen said. “Rafal Majka is still kind of the question mark. He is obviously riding really well, so I am glad I have 20 seconds on him. As long as I keep my wits about me, I will be OK.”

USA Pro Challenge Stage 5 Result:
1. Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek in 3:50:38
2. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp
3. Rob Britton (Can) Team SmartStop
4. Benjamin King (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:15
5. Jose Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Por) Netapp-Endura at 1:11
6. Daniel Eaton (USA) Bissell Development Team at 1:26
7. Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 1:33
8. Richard Handley (GBr) Rapha Condor JLT
9. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo.

USA Pro Challenge Overall After Stage 5:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 16:55:56
2. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:20
3. Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 0:37
4. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:39
5. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek at 0:51
6. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development at 1:14
7. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 1:22
8. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Netapp-Endura at 1:28
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 1:49
10. Julian Kyer (USA) Team SmartStop at 1:55.

Stage 5:

In the race of truth, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) emerged victorious, finishing in 24:26, winning the stage and shattering his previous course record. After the Stage 6 individual time trial, van Garderen extended his overall lead to 1:32 heading into the final day of racing.

The USA Pro Challenge individual time trial course’s roots are in Colorado racing lore and trace back to the Coors Classic. The race against the clock started in Vail and climbed most of the way up Vail Pass, which was a challenging ride, even for the best riders on earth. With rain on and off throughout the day, the gentle grades of the first half of the course gave way to a steady climb for the last three miles. It took more than legs on this strategic course though. If they went too hard early the climb could destroy any chances of winning, but if they conserved too much for the climb, then the leaderboard may have been out of reach.

Last year, van Garderen rode the 10-mile course in 25 minutes and two seconds, which was 46 seconds faster than the last course record set in 2011. At 10 miles long, the route was an uphill battle that, combined with wet conditions and elevation, proved to be challenging for the riders.

At the intermediate checkpoint, Ben Hermans (BMC) clocked the fastest time. That time wouldn’t hold for long though, as Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) would crush it as he came through at 12:43 seconds, 26 seconds faster than Hermans.

Danielson was putting in quite a ride, but still to come through the checkpoint was Tour de France KOM Jersey winner Rafaeł Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) and current overall leader van Garderen. At the checkpoint, Majka was in third, nine seconds behind Danielson. As expected though, van Garderen charged through the checkpoint at 29 mph with a time of 20 second faster than Danielson.

Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) finished the stage just behind Danielson to take second place for the time being. But then, in a huge push to the finish, van Garderen crossed the line at 24:21 to not only take the stage and keep his overall lead, but set a new course record, besting the record he set last year by 41 seconds.

Stage winner and overall leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “This is my third time trial in Vail. The first time I did it, it couldn’t have been worse. I went way too hard and lost the yellow jersey. Last year, I can’t say it was bad, but you could see I was really struggling on TV and barely holding on. This year, I felt powerful the whole time and tried to stay conscious the first half. It’s just about judging the altitude on this course. Winning (the USA Pro Challenge Vail time trial) both times is just awesome, I love racing in Colorado. To have competition like Tommy D., Serghei and Rafał Majka just goes to show that this race is one of the highest class races in the world. To win it for the second time is no easy feat and I’m really honored.”

Pushing himself as hard as he could go, Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) crossed the line at 25:19: “I’ll be honest. I was a little insecure about today,” said Danielson. “I haven’t done a good time trial this year. It was nice to get that monkey off my back today. I felt pretty strong and the crowd was incredible. Colorado crowds are second to none. The last 500 meters were absolutely insane. I thought I was going to crash and I was in so much pain. It was really cool though. I’m very happy with my performance today.”

USA Pro Challenge Stage 6 Result:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 24:26
2. Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp at 0:53
3. Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 1:08
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:29
5. Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:40
6. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 1:55
7. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Netapp-Endura at 2:07
8. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development at 2:17
9. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek at 2:20
10. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 2:21.

USA Pro Challenge Overall After Stage 6:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 17:20:22
2. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:32
3. Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 1:45
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:49
5. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek at 3:11
6. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development at 3:31
7. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Netapp-Endura at 3:35
8. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 3:43
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 3:44
10. Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo at 5:35.

Stage 6:

The Final Stage 7 was played out in front of a beautiful Colorado backdrop, it took the riders from Boulder, over Lookout Mountain and through Golden on the way to the finish in Downtown Denver where Tejay van Garderen (BMC) took the overall win for the second year in a row. Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp), who has had an impressive performance in America’s biggest stage race, sprinted to the line to take the final stage win.

Only a few minutes into the race, a group of 12 riders pulled away from the group, including Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jens Voigt (Trek), Caleb Fairly (Garmin-Sharp), Cameron Wurf (Cannondale), Adam Phelan (Drapac), Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), Javier Megias (Novo Nordisk), Hugh Carthy (Rapha Condor JLT), Jesse Anthony (Optum Presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies), Jonathan Freter (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis), Tiago Machado (NetApp-Endura) and Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development Team). Wurf didn’t hang on for long though and would fall back to the group.

At about 16 miles into the race the lead would fluctuate around 2:30 as Cannondale and BMC set the pace on the front of the field. With light winds as the riders made their way through Golden, they approached the only KOM of the day at Lookout Mountain. The gap came down to 1:40 before the top of the climb with only five riders left, including Machado, Megias, Zepuntke, Voigt and Rogers. Voigt showed his strength, setting the pace on the climb, and hit the top first, followed by Rogers and Zepuntke.

Back in the main field, Garmin-Sharp picked up the pace to try and shake the Cannondale, as their sprinter Elia Viviani would pose a threat to Howes in the sprint. The increasing pace closed the gap to only 1 minute at 40 miles into the race.

With three laps to go, attacks started to come from the break. In the final race of his professional career, Voigt launched an attack and took Megias with him. They gained a slight advantage on their previous breakaway companions, who would sit up and fall back to the field. With two laps to go, the two riders had a 30 second advantage on the field.

They wouldn’t be able to hold on until the end though and were reabsorbed with 10K to go. But as Voigt fell back, his teammate Riccardo Zoidl launched an attack and would be joined by Paweł Poljański (Tinkoff-Saxo). With 1K to go though, they too would be caught.

In a fast and furious sprint to the finish, Howes crossed the line just inches ahead of Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) to take the final stage win of the race.

The overall general classification didn’t change, with Tejay van Garderen in first for the second consecutive year; Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), who finished third last year, in second; and Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) in third.

Stage winner Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp): “We went past my house literally four times today on the opening circuits. I saw my entire family out there today,” said Howes. “The plan was to go over Lookout and drive it to the finish and I didn’t know if it was going to work. We got to talking on the team bus this morning and we all agreed we’d try. With my team riding up there today in my home state with all their hearts, I just couldn’t lose.”

Overall winner Tejay van Garderen (BMC): “This is a race that I think has firm footing in the eyes of the world with it broadcasted in so many different countries,” said van Garderen. “I hope we can establish a tradition and soon this race will be one of the biggest historical races in the world. This week was just incredible,” added van Garderen. “Here, this is just our home and it feels more like a training camp; it’s just fun. It feels like we’re racing with all our friends. It was fun to share that with my European teammates. This must be what it feels like for them when they race in their homeland.”

For full results, course information and more, please visit the official race website www.USAProChallenge.com.

USA Pro Challenge Stage 7 Result:
1. Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-Sharp in 2:45:20
2. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
3. Michael Schär (Sui) BMC
4. Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
5. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC
7. Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
8. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
9. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin-Sharp
10. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.

USA Pro Challenge Final Overall Result:
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC in 20:05:42
2. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1:32
3. Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis at 1:45
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:49
5. Matthew Busche (USA) Trek at 3:11
6. Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development at 3:31
7. Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Netapp-Endura at 3:35
8. Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies at 3:43
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC at 3:44
10. Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo at 5:35.

The Final stage 7:

header-vattenfallVattenfall Cyclassics 2014

Sunday brought another win for Team Katusha as Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff claimed his fourteenth UCI win of the season by taking the group sprint in the WorldTour race Vattenfall Cyclassics. Working off his teammates Pavel Brutt and Marco Haller in the run to the line, Kristoff made his way to the front and ramped up his sprint from there, earning the win with a clean set of wheels.

Alexander Kristoff (Katusha): “I had Marco and Pavel to keep me safe in the closing kilometers. In the last km we were a bit blocked but I managed to get to the front. With 300 meters to go I was really in the first position. I started my sprint a little bit slowly and gradually motored up so I was happy no one could come past me.”

Coming along the right side of the barrier and then moving to the center of the course, Kristoff showed pure strength in his sprint, holding off Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) and Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge. The victory gives him sixth place on the UCI WorldTour rankings and moves Team Katusha into sixth on the Team classification for WorldTour teams.

“It’s so nice what the team did today,” said sports director Torsten Schmidt. “Before the race we decided to take our responsibility in controlling the race. We would let a break go but not too far. Together with FDJ and Giant we controlled. Smukulis and Isaychev did an amazing job there for 200 kilometers! We knew it would be hard since other teams would be attacking us. In the final Kuznetsov worked and then it was Brutt’s job to keep the bunch together; then the last 2 km were for Haller. They all did exactly what had to be done. Also Gusev and Tsatevich – if they had not brought Kristoff back when he had a mechanical at 25 km from the finish, we would be here with empty hands. It was so nice for the team today. Of course we knew Kristoff was in good shape. What a season he’s had!”

“I like racing here in Hamburg. I’ve done this race every year since I’ve been a pro and I’ve always liked this race even though I’ve never won before. But I finally made it, so for sure now it’s one of my favorite races,” – said a happy Alex Kristoff.

The 247,2 km course in Hamburg gave Kristoff his 14th UCI win this year, making him the current rider with the most wins in the 2014 cycling season. Kristoff started his winning ways in February with a victory in the Tour of Oman before earning the win in the monumental Milano-San Remo in March. He continued with wins in Frankfurt and Norway in May and June before taking two stages wins in this year’s Tour de France. Soon after he took more wins in Norway’s Arctic Race before today’s success in Hamburg moved the total to fourteen.

Alexander Kristoff rides full of confidence as he approaches the end of the racing season. He races again next Sunday in Plouay, then in Canada before ending his season in the World Championships.

Borut Bozic said after Germany’s only World Tour calendar race, the Vattenfall Cyclassics: “The final 5k were completely crazy – everything came apart in the sprint!”

Vattenfall Cyclassics Result:
1. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha in 5:55:25
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek
3. Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano
7. Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida
8. Juan Jose Lobato Del Valle (Esp) Movistar
9. Silvan Dillier (Sui) BMC
10. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp.

The Vattenfall Cyclassics:

header-tdepitouTour du Poitou Charentes 2014

BMC Racing Team Roster: Tour du Poitou Charentes
The BMC Racing Team will send a six-rider roster to the Tour du Poitou Charentes Tuesday for the start of the four-day, five-stage race in France.

Includes An Individual Time Trial
Stephen Cummings, winner of the Tour Méditerranéen and runner-up at the Dubai Tour, will be one of the favorites for the 24.3-kilometer individual time trial on Thursday. The BMC Racing Team’s roster also includes past world road champion Thor Hushovd, Tour du Haut Var stage winner Amaël Moinard and stagiaire Luke Davison.

Marcus Burghardt (GER), Stephen Cummings (GBR), Luke Davison (AUS), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Amaël Moinard (FRA).
Sport Director: Yvon Ledanois (FRA).

Europcar for Poitou-Charentes
Riders: Romain Cardis, Antoine Duchesne, Cyril Gautier, Romain Guillemois, Tony Hurel, Fabrice Jeandesboz, Morgan Lamoisson, Kévin Reza.
Directeur Sportif: Benoit Genauzeau.

header-oricageMatthews extends for further two years
Multiple grand tour stage winner Michael Matthews is the latest rider to re-sign with ORICA-GreenEDGE, committing to a further two years with the team. The 23-year-old joins Simon Gerrans and Luke Durbridge who have also extended their contracts in recent weeks. Matthews has proven he can deliver for the team in the world’s biggest races, boasting three individual grand tour stage wins since he joined the outfit last year.

“For me this is the perfect team and I wouldn’t think of going anywhere else,” Matthews said on the eve of this year’s Vuelta a Espana. Joining the team in 2012 was a huge experience and ever since then my progression in professional cycling has gone a lot higher. I feel really comfortable in the team and my results are speaking for that. I have still got a big year ahead of me now but I am looking forward to the next two years and hopefully trying to step it up again with more wins.”

Matthews pinpointed the team time trial performance at this year’s Giro d’Italia to put teammate Svein Tuft in the pink leaders jersey as the highlight of his time with ORICA-GreenEDGE. “That was a real goal for us to win that race,” Matthews said. “I have never really been a part of a team time trial victory so winning as a team, especially in a grand tour, was truly a highlight for me.”

Highlighting the current season, Matthews wore the maglia rosa for six stages (stage 3-8) at the Giro d’Italia in May. Amongst that success was the victory in the team time trial on stage one and an individual stage win on stage six. He has also recorded additional stage wins at the Tour of Slovenia and Tour of the Basque Country and a victory in the one-day race, Vuelta a La Rioja.

In his debut season with ORICA-GreenEDGE in 2013, Matthews delivered his first success in the grand tour spotlight winning two individual stages of the Vuelta a España. Despite suffering injuries from a crash that forced him out of his debut Tour de France last month, Matthews has returned to racing in promising form for the remainder of the season and the years to come. “Michael is a winner and an extraordinary talent on the bike,” sport director Matt White said. “This year, he’s accomplished a lot and I think we’re yet to see the full scope of what he’s capable of. “What we saw at the Giro is just another example of how he continues to take massive steps in his career on this team. He’s a very serious athlete and with the support we can give him, he will be able to make the most of his efforts. We’re very happy to be part of his future development and he is definitely one of the riders we look at when targeting results in major races.”


header-boraTime Trial specialist Jan Barta extends till 2017 Seven further NetApp – Endura riders extend their contracts

Germany’s highest-ranked cycling team, which will compete with a ProContinental license for the 2015 season under a new name, is making plans based on a team capacity comparable to that of the current Team NetApp – Endura. “We are planning for a team comprising 20 riders, up to seven of whom will be new additions. We are able to announce some initial contract extensions today. Further extensions will follow and will be supplemented by targeted new additions. The new riders will preferably come from the German-speaking region and will provide us with reinforcement both for the classic races and for the tours”, explained team manager Ralph Denk, setting out his transfer strategy.

Jan Barta (29, CZE), who achieved an impressive third in the Tour de France time trial, has extended his contract for three further years through to the end of the 2017 season. The Czech national time trial champion is one of the riders who has been with the team since it was set up in 2010. “One can justifiably claim that Jan numbers among the ten best time trial riders in the world. He proved this on the Tour and at the last world championships. We will be working on tapping his potential still further over the next three years. Now it is a matter of fine tuning and that takes time”, said Denk, explaining the long-term outlook of the contract extension.

With Paul Voss (28, GER) and Andreas Schillinger (31, GER), the team’s two German Tour participants have also extended their contracts. “Despite having broken his nose and finger Paul still rode a very strong Tour and displayed his quality. That’s what is essential for the monuments and grand tours. Andreas has been with our team from the outset – he is one of our most experienced riders. He is a classic capitaine de la route and, as such, is of key importance to the team in many races”, said Denk, commenting on the German riders.

A further key member of the team will be the Irish sprinter Sam Bennett (23, IRL). The neo-pro was given a contract for the 2015 season already when he joined the team. Zak Dempster (26, AUS) and Daniel Schorn (25, AUT) have also extended their contracts. The Australian, the key lead-out rider for Bennett, has made a major contribution to the team’s successful development in the sprint and classic areas. “Sam is riding his first season and has done extremely well. Zak has taken on a sort of mentor role for Sam and as such paved the way for him at many races. Daniel numbers among the strong classic sprinters and he is riding a very good second-half of the season with top positions. I am sure that we will benefit from our fast guys over the coming weeks and aim to continue to do so next year too of course”, Denk predicted.

The tour specialists Cesare Benedetti (27, ITA), Bartosz Huzarski (33, POL) and Jose Mendes (29, POR) have also extended their contracts. “All three riders have proven their value to the team. Cesare has been riding with us for five years, Bartosz for four and Jose for two. The three guys have worked successfully for our captains on all three Grand Tours. As Bartosz is showing currently with his Top10 position in Colorado, they also take their chances whenever the opportunity arises. They are the type of rider we definitely wish to have in our team in the future too”, Denk concluded.

Tour de France 2014

Bike meets Boat!
Ahead of the Cardiff Act of the Extreme Sailing SeriesTM, global logistics provider GAC brought together Team Raleigh-GAC and five Extreme Sailing SeriesTM teams to take part in the first ever cycling-meets-sailing multi-sport challenge. Far too many beards.

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