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EuroTrash Vuelta Finalé!

The Vuelta faces it’s last days, as does the Tour of Britain, but both races are still wide open and could depend on the result of a short time trial. All the latest results, video and comments, plus previews of the Canadian Classics and more contract news. A fun packed EuroTrash!

TOP STORY: Iglinskiy Positive
Just when we thought the doping problem in cycling was over, as there were no positive cases at this years Tour de France, the sad news came in that Valentin Iglinskiy has admitted to using EPO. The 30 year old Kazakh rider was found positive in the Eneco Tour.

Valentin Iglinskiy is the younger brother of Maxim Iglinskiy, the 2012 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner and also an Astana rider. Since turning Pro in 2009 for Astana, with 1 year with AG2R, Valentin’s best rides have been in Asia and he has twice won the Tour of Hainan.

So what drove him to doping and taking the chance of being caught, which seems quite high these days. If you look at his palmarés they have been getting thinner every year, he hasn’t ridden a Grand Tour since 2010 and all of his results have been in lesser events. The Astana team is very international and successful, so maybe the writing was on the wall for Valentin and he felt he had to resort to the old methods to continue as a professional. Whatever the reasons; it’s sad to see.

header-astanaValentin Iglinskiy – Official Statement
Following the announcement by the Union Cycliste Internationale of a positive antidoping test result for Valentin Iglinskiy during the recent Eneco Tour, management at Astana Pro Team have taken direct and immediate action to release the rider from his contract.

Valentin has admitted to using prohibited substances on his own initiative and independently, without any consultation from the Astana Pro Team staff.

In its wish for full transparency, Astana Pro Team has refused to defend a rider who failed to respect the rules and ethics as stipulated in his contract and who has failed to behave in a manner consistent with other riders in his team and within professional cycling.

With the immediate expulsion of Valentin Iglinskiy, the management and staff at Astana Pro Team confirm our commitment to clean cycling without doping.

header-vueltaVuelta a España 2014
Alberto Contador enjoyed a perfect Stage 16 to the Summit of La Farrapona. The red jersey striked twice, crossing the line first and winning time over all his rivals, mainly Alejandro Valverde (2nd on GC at 1:36) and Chris Froome (3rd at 1:39).

Stage 16 of the Vuelta was described by many as the Queen stage with four summit passes before the final climb of La Farrapona. Right from the start, Rohan Dennis (BMC) maked a move and a group of 12 riders eventually got away before the Alto de la Colladona to join him. They were: LL Sanchez and Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Cunego (Lampre-Merida), Le Bon (FDJ.fr), Sicard (Europcar), Malori (Movistar), Ten Dam (Belkin), Rovny (Tinkoff-Saxo), Kennaugh (Sky), De Marchi (Cannondale), Brambilla & Poels (OPQS). Tinkoff-Saxo rode hard in the pelotón giving Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) a surprise and needed 15 km to get back on to the bunch.

At the top, Luis Leon Sanchez took his first points of the day on his way to take back the KOM leadership. He also took points on the Alto del Cordal and the Alto de la Cobertoria.

The gap got up to 8:20 after 48 kilometres, at this point Katusha decided to lead the peloton on the Alto del Cordal, causing Rigoberto Uran (OPQS) to be dropped for the first time. His teammate Carlos Verona waited for him to take him back on the downhill. The same happened on the Alto de la Cobertoria.

At the bottom of the Puerto de San Lorenzo, the breakaway’s lead was down to 3:20 and Christian Knees started to chase for the Sky team.

In the escape group, Rovny and Brambilla exchange blows which is seen clearly by the commisars and the TV cameras, both are later disqualified. Luis Leon Sanchez attacks but he can’t stay with De Marchi and Brambilla. Sky accelerate again in the pelotón, this time with Kennaugh, Uran and Anacona (Lampre) are dropped. The gap between the two Italians up front and the peloton was 3 minutes at the top of the Puerto de San Lorenzo (km 127.1). Poels catches them in the downhill in time to see his team mate; Brambilla thrown off the race. He dropes back to see Rovny still working for team leader Alberto Contador, but not for long as he too is ejected from la Vuelta.

The peloton was back at 1:06 with 12 km to go to the finish line, when De Marchi goes solo from Poels. Froome asked his team mates Philip Deignan and Mikel Nieve to ride hard to split the peloton. They soften the reduce the pelotón for Froome to attack 4.5 km out from the finish and only Contador can follow him.

Contador in the Red jersey attacked with 800 metres to go and grabs the stage win. Froome crossed the line 15 seconds later, De Marchi third at 50 seconds, fourth Valverde, saving his 2nd overall by 3 seconds, at 55 seconds and Rodriguez fifth at 59.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) answered some questions after the stage. Is the Vuelta a España yours tonight? “No, not yet. Let’s say this is an important step in order to distance myself from all my rivals. There are still 5 days of racing, lots of things can happen. My rivals are not totally out of contention even though I’ve extended my lead. And I can still have a bad day. I have to keep going day by day.”

You had to answer several accelerations from Chris Froome at La Farrapona? “Yes, at least three or four. Sometimes it doesn’t really show but I can assure you his changes of pace are strong. I’ve come to be used to this duel, I know how he proceeds and I’m happy my legs could sustain it perfectly today. Our preparation is different than it was at other moments, the Dauphiné for instance, but I can tell you the race level is strong. We’re producing very high watts. We climbed La Farrapona at a very high average.”

Do you think now that Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde were wrong not to help you getting rid of Froome at Lagos de Covadonga? “I think about myself, my race and they do the same on their own.”

What could happen to you now? “I fear some trouble could occur, some race incident. Something unexpected.”

2nd on the stage Chris Froome (Sky): “The team did a fantastic job today. They really rode hard up today. Even Peter [Kennaugh] giving up his own chance in the breakaway to come back, I couldn’t have asked for more. I gave everything I had in the final. I couldn’t drop Alberto. I just pushed on the same and we’ve still got a week of racing ahead so I think at least I’ve moved up a little bit on the general classification. But Alberto is going to be a hard one to beat. As I said from the beginning, I came to this race a little bit on the fresh side, having dropped out of the Tour with injuries. I’ve been trying to build up during the race and I’m really happy with how it’s been going so far. Coming into the last week, that’s where I wanted to be.”

Bjarne Riis (Tinkoff-Saxo manager): “We said this morning the best scenario would be that Froome attacks early and Alberto goes with him. So he just had to stay in the wheel. It was perfect at the end. We were hoping that he’d be able to do so. After what I saw yesterday I believed Alberto was the strongest but of course you never know because Froome has been up and down every day. I was pretty confident that he would do a very good race today because it was a very very hard stage. At the moment, the gap of 1.39 over Froome is good. If Alberto doesn’t break down, it would be ok. Froome is getting better but Alberto is also getting better. I’m pretty confident but we have to pay attention. There are some hard stages left.”

2nd overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “Contador has done very well. He could follow Froome on his strong attack. Behind them, I’ve given some turns to Purito but none of us was very well and at the end of the day we’ve just done what we could. The last week of racing is yet to come and anything can happen. Froome isn’t second yet…”

Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez (Katusha): “Clearly, Contador and Froome were the strongest today. But there’s one week left. The good thing is that it’s not worth for Froome riding for second place. He’ll give his skin to try and win the Vuelta. The favorites of this race are great cyclists and they’re here for a reason. It’s been a tough Vuelta so far and the 5000 metres of difference in altitude has caused some damage today.”

Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano): “I’m a bit disappointed. But we can’t be on top form every day. On Sunday, maybe I should have kept some energy for this stage. But I enjoyed the race, that’s what matters mostly. I took my rhythm at the bottom of La Farrapona. I’ll need to ride cautiously in the third week to make the best overall classification I can.”

Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) rode into the day’s main breakaway: “My legs are not as good as they were in the Tour de France, but good enough to get into the breakaway. I felt immediately my legs were not good enough for the stage win. I tried to stay on as long as possible to help Robert, but it didn’t work out, but I was able to help Wilco. After that, I just coasted in to the finish. It’s really good what Robert did, and tomorrow we have a nice rest day.”

BMC’s Samuel Sánchez finished 1:43 behind stage winner and race leader Alberto Contador: “It was really a very tough day. I am quite satisfied because I am still fighting with the best riders without losing too much time and that was our goal.”

The full race report is here.

Vuelta a España Stage 16 Result:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 4:53:35
2. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:15
3. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale at 0:50
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:55
5. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 0:59
6. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:06
7. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 1:12
8. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 1:22
9. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 1:43
10. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 1:48.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 16:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 63:25:00
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:36
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:39
4. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 2:29
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3:38
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 6:17
7. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 6:43
8. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 6:55
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 8:37
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 9:10.

Stage 16:

Four non starters on Wednesday in Stage 17: Kangert (Astana), Uran (OPQS), Knees (Sky) and Zubeldia (Trek). After several skirmishes, a breakaway finally took shape because the peloton slowed down following a crash involving Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano). Rohan Dennis (BMC) and Bob Jungels (Trek) initiated the breakaway and were rejoined at km 20 by Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida), Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) and Lluis Más (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).

The gap went up to 4 minutes at the feed zone after 110 kilometers as Omega Pharma – Quick-Step came to help Giant-Shimano at the head of the peloton, followed by Orica-GreenEDGE with 60km to go. With 11km to go, Jungels, Dennis and Favilli were still ahead with a real chance to win. Guillaume Levarlet (Cofidis) and Johan Le Bon (FDJ.fr) attacked from the peloton before being reined in with 6km to go. Jungels surrendered first. Dennis and Favilli were caught only 500 metres before the finishing line.

Perfectly led out by his team, including Barguil who took impressive turns in the finale, John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) sprinted to victory for the fourth time in the 2014 Vuelta as he beat Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek) in the bunch gallop.

All the jersey’s stayed the same.

Questions for stage winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano). What’s your immediate feeling after claiming your fourth stage win? “I feel very good. I enjoyed it today. We’ve worked hard for this victory. We’ve controlled all day and brought it to a bunch sprint at the end. It was worth it. We knew the finale. We rode it yesterday as our hotel was very close. But it was really not easy. It was also kind of a poker game. There were still riders ahead of me 500 metres before the line. I could sprint from 200 metres to go. I followed my instinct.”

During your last press conference you showed your injured leg. How is it now? “It’s getting better. I’m still not at 100% of my power. There’s a big goal coming up. It’s still a long way away but it’s come close, slowly but surely. I’m aiming for reaching my top shape at the road race world championship in Ponferrada where I’ll also take part in the team time trial. After the World’s, Paris-Bourges and Paris-Tours are on my race program. I’m just happy with my condition right now.”

Do you also feel closer to the green jersey? “I have to be very realistic about the green jersey. It’s not in my hands. Today I made another big step towards winning the points competition but it all depends on breakaways to make it till the end or not in the next three days and how many points the GC riders can catch. To win the green jersey, I’ll need a bit of luck. But I don’t stress about that. I’ll catch some more points if there are some possibilities but that’s all I can do after winning today.”

Race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “There was an incredible atmosphere today in Galicia. I’ve seen my name quite a lot on road sides. I said yesterday that I wouldn’t take part in the world championship. It’s happening in Spain and it’s better to put together the best team without necessarily having all the biggest names. The course isn’t for me. I’m a Grand Tour rider. Some people say that I don’t get along with Valverde and Purito but it’s wrong. For the World’s, Valverde will be the leader and everyone will support him. After the Vuelta, I’ll take some rest and decide with the team if I take part in other races later this season or not. Possibly I’ll finish the year as world’s number 1. Shall I win the Vuelta, it would win I’ve finished on the podium of all the races I’ve completed this year. I’ve been injured at the Tour but I’m satisfied with my season.”

Chris Froome (Team Sky): “I’ve not become a lead out man today. I’m far from it! I just wanted to stay out of trouble. It was a tricky little final. There weren’t many flat parts today. It was touch and go, if the breakaway was gonna come back. My team-mates did a great job keeping at the front. We’re one day closer now. It’s not a huge mountain top finish tomorrow but it’s certainly uphill. The big one everyone is looking forward to now is stage 20, which is going to be the last very big test. I expect everybody to be ready for that. I’m really happy with how my body has been. I definitely came in to this race a little bit fresh and I was hoping that by the second week I’d feel more comfortable in the race. I think my racing shows that. I was more comfortable to attack on the last mountain. The race is not quite over yet. We have a few hard days ahead of us so I’m glad that I’m finding my legs now. It’s definitely been an exciting Vuelta. It’s good for the sport to have that kind of competition. What’s coming up depends a lot on the weather. This last week it can change very quickly. There aren’t many flat roads around here. Contador has a good advantage. Having said that I’m sure we’re gonna keep trying and other teams will keep trying. After pulling out of the Tour, I saw the Vuelta as an opportunity to find some motivation again and finish the season in a good way. I really love this race. It’s a special race for me. People are very supportive to all of us. The atmosphere is great.”

Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka): “I didn’t cramp. I felt good after the rest day yesterday I had sore legs. We rode well together. Unfortunately for me, there were attacks at the end. It was planned to have a MTN rider in the front group today. I believed we could make it with three minutes lead 60km before the end. I’d like to try and do it again in the mountains before the end but I’m very tired and it’ll be difficult.”

Most combative rider Bob Jungels (Trek): “I was the plan this morning that I’d break away. We rode well at the front, but when I heard that OPQS was coming in help to Giant at the head of the peloton with 67km to go, I realized it’d be hard to stay away. I’m happy to finish my first Grand Tour this way because I’ve encountered a lot of problems. The big crash before the team time trial made me suffer during the whole first week. Then I had a saddle sore. Now I’m ok even though I can feel the fatigue. I’ll do the three world championships after the Vuelta: the TTT with Trek Factory Racing, the ITT and the road race with Fränk Schleck and Ben Gastauer in the Luxembourger team.”

Breakaway rider Elia Favilli (Lampre-Merida): “The cooperation in our front group has been great. We remained three ahead at the end. We gave everything. It’s a pity we didn’t make it. I targeted this stage from the beginning of the Vuelta. It suited me well. I had to break away. I was the fastest in the front group. I was strongly hoping for going together to the finish but we attacked each other. Dennis and Jungels are stronger time triallists than me but I was powering in the hills.”

Breakaway rider Rohan Dennis (BMC): “We all did our turns until about 30 kilometers to go. Then Bob Jungels (Trek) attacked and from then on, it was just pain. I could tell at a kilometer to go that we probably were not going to make it. It was close – maybe next time.”

Robert Gesink leaves La Vuelta
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM is sad to announce that Robert Gesink will leave the Vuelta a España due to private circumstances. The Team Belkin leader chooses to rush to Holland to be with his family.

“My pregnant wife has undergone surgery twice this past week. Her situation has not improved and she is still in the hospital. I will immediately leave the Vuelta to be with my family, who needs me right now,” Robert Gesink said. Gesink is currently classed 7th in the general classification.

Team Belkin supports this decision and will support Robert and his wife wherever possible. The entire team wishes them all the best in this difficult time.

Tom Boonen (OPQS) will not start stage 18: “I am happy about what I did at La Vuelta. Everything went as planned. I raced eight days at Eneco Tour and then I did La Vuelta up until today, so that’s 25 days of competition out of 31 days. It was a hard grand tour, but now it is time to recover. I will keep my body moving in these next days, but without intensity. My condition is very good at the moment. I tried to contest a few stages at La Vuelta. I was also in two breakaways, I worked for Uran and I even passed mountains without problems. A guy with my kind of build needs a little bit more time than climbers to recover from these kinds of efforts. After the stop of Uran, to me, it’s better to focus on recovery and then be ready to play a role at Worlds starting with the team time trial. I can’t wait to be a part of this race again. I had great memories of the victory we had in 2012. It was an incredible feeling when you compare it with an individual victory. I’m happy to be part of it again and give my contribution to this team, and try to add to the total of the OPQS TTT gold medals following the win of the guys last year.”

Read the full race report here.

Vuelta a España Stage 17 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 4:26:07
2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
3. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek
4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
5. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Garmin-Sharp
7. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ.fr
8. Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
10. Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 17:
1. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo in 67:51:07
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 1:36
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:39
4. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha at 2:29
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 3:38
6. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp at 6:17
7. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin at 6:43
8. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC at 6:55
9. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Shimano at 8:37
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 9:10.

Stage 17:

header-tourof britainTour of Britain 2014
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team capitalized on their protagonist approach in the final kilometers of 200.8km Tour of Britain Stage 2 on Monday. After Michal Kwiatkowski went on the attack on the descent of Great Orme, with 4.2km to go, the peloton was forced to go full gas to catch back to him. He was caught with 2.6km to go, but OPQS kept themselves in perfect position to still contest the stage. Mark Renshaw, Niki Terpstra, and Michal Kwiatkowski were there to go for the victory. Terpstra even came to the front for a brief acceleration.

An attack by Alex Dowsett (Movistar) was caught inside the final kilometer, and Renshaw was in perfect position in the center of the peloton to launch his sprint. He beat Ben Swift (Sky) and Sam Bennett (NetApp-Endura) to the line for the stage win, and he also took over the overall lead.

Stage winner Mark Renshaw (OPQS): “It was quite a fast final 30 kilometers,” Renshaw said. “Especially the last 5 kilometers with that kind of a descent. It was quite exciting for the public, I’m sure it was really spectacular to watch. It suited me very well. It was a hard little final, but I had good legs after the Tour de France. So, with a bit of good timing in the sprint it worked out quite well. We’ve got a great team here. It’s a shame Mark Cavendish crashed yesterday because who knows what could have happened, he still finished 3rd yesterday. Normally it would have been a perfect sprint for him on my wheel. Now he’s trying to recover after taking a big hit on his thigh. It’s amazing he’s still in the race. But personally it’s great to reward the team with my first win in an OPQS jersey this year. I’m also proud of the fact that we had three riders in the top 10 today, with Michal Kwiatkowski and Niki Terpstra doing well in the final kilometers with me. Kwiatkowski came onto my wheel in the final. That shows what kind of class rider he is. He knows if he’s on my wheel it’s one more bike length for whoever is trying to come behind. He’s a class rider and those kinds of tactics help teams win races. It’s great to win, it’s a fantastic feeling.”

Mark Cavendish continues to recover from a Stage 1 crash that caused pain in his left quadricep. “I’ve gotten used to that feeling by helping riders like Cavendish,” Renshaw said. “I’ve dedicated myself to so many wins for other riders, so it’s really nice to get a win personally. It’s also nice to step up when our leader took a big hit. If Cav is not feeling great, he’ll tell us. Today he let us know and it was an opportunity for me. I’d like to dedicate this to him as he’s one of the biggest champions of the sport. I came to this team to help him, and even when he’s not 100 percent I’d still dedicate my effort to help him. I’m glad I could step up and execute the sprint in his place, and I’ll continue to support him and my other OPQS teammates in the next days.”

Enrico Poitschke, Sport Director of Team NetApp-Endura, said after the stage: “Since the roads were narrow on the last few kilometers, we wanted to stay tightly together up at the front. No one was supposed to lose any time and we wanted to keep the option open to support Sam along the final stretch. Leo, Daniel and Paul were assigned to be part of the attacks on the final climb. All of that worked very well and our strategy went according to plan all the way up to the finale. We just couldn’t get anything more out of the final sprint today. Sam got sick before the Cyclassics. He couldn’t ride in that race and also had to miss five days of training. In a sprint like today’s, he was just missing that extra punch. But the team and Sam showed that we are capable of reaching the podium every day in this tour. We thus have every reason to be satisfied with our performance.”

Tour of Britain Stage 2 Result:
1. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 4:38:54
2. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
3. Sam Bennett (Irl) NetApp-Endura
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
6. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM Cycling
8. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 2:
1. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 6:55:19
2. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 0:04
3. Nicola Ruffoni (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
4. Sam Bennett (Irl) NetApp-Endura at 0:06
5. Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:07
7. Richard Handley (GB) Rapha Condor JTL
8. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:10
9. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
10. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC.

Stage 2:

Italian Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) won Stage 3 at the summit of the 5 kilometer Tumble climb and took the overall lead. Zardini had been battling with Tinkoff-Saxo’s Nicolas Roche on the ascent, but escaped the Irishman with 1.2K’s to go, who was passed by Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) just before the finish line. Last years winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was in trouble on the climb but still managed to finish 5th at 14 seconds.

The early break was slowly pulled back for Jack Bauer to make the first attack at the base of the climb, to be joined by Zardini. Overall leader Mark Renshaw (OPQS) was dropped, as was many others under the force of Tinkoff-Saxo. Roche jumped across to Zardini and dropped him, but the Italian fought back and jumped for the stage win.

Stage winner Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF): “This Tour of Britain has started in the best way possible and we’ll try to keep this leadership until the final stage of the race. It’s the most important victory of my career.”

3rd on the stage and overall Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo): “I had to attack today as I know that Kwiatkowski and Wiggins will be strong in the TT. I’m of course a bit disappointed but I went early, put everything on the line and tried to ride for stage glory. I believe I will get another opportunity during the next tricky stages – maybe already tomorrow. My teammates did a very good job today keeping me at the front. We needed to stay focused and the team showed that we’re motived to do a good job here in England.”

Tour of Britain Stage 3 Result:
1. Eduardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 4:35:02
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:09
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:11
4. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:14
6. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar
7. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky
8. Sebastian Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling at 0:16
9. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar
10. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 3:
1. Eduardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF in 11:30:21
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:13
3. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:17
4. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:21
5. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:24
6. David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Sky
7. Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar at 0:26
8. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura
9. Sebastian Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling
10. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar at 0:37.

Stage 3:

Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) won Stage 4 and took over the overall lead. Coming into the finishing town of Bristol the race split on the steep climb of Bridge Valley Road. Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp) and Albert Timmer (Giant-Shimano) were in the lead when Kwiatkowski chased them down to pass them with 400 meters to go. Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) attacked near the top of the climb and made it to the tail of the lead group of Kwiatkowski, Timmer, Dylan Teun (BMC), Bauer and Jon Izagirre (Movistar). The overall leader Edoardo Zardini (Bardiani-CSF) came in in a large group 6 seconds down and dropped to second overall.

Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS) is the first Polish Rider to win a stage at Tour of Britain: “It looked like it, but I didn’t actually come from nowhere,” Kwiatkowski said. “It wasn’t a classic sprint, to be sure. There was a hard climb at the end and the attack from Nicholas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo) out of the peloton was really impressive. A few guys were able to follow his attack and chase the breakaway. We had in front of us two guys and I think they didn’t see us before the last corner. They were looking back and didn’t expect us to come. I started my sprint at the last corner and was sure no one was on my wheel. I’m happy I finished so strong after such amazing work from the team. Niki Terpstra and Julien Vermote really closed this big gap to almost 10 riders. That’s not an easy thing. I’m happy we finished off a tough job with this victory. We have such great team spirit we can all decide together in every moment on what to do and commit to it wholeheartedly. I’m also really happy about my condition. Racing here at Tour of Britain is also an amazing thing. I know the British public from the London Olympics and the start of the Tour in Yorkshire. The crowd here is wonderful. Racing here is something special, and winning here is even better. I will now enjoy this victory, and my race leadership, and we will plan for the next days. We’ve got a really strong team here and we will keep fighting. For now, I want to thank my teammates for taking such good care of me today and we will see what we can do day-by-day. We’ve already won two stages, which has really boosted the morale.”

Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Overall it was a good stage. I finished in the front group of six riders 6 seconds ahead of the peloton and many of my rivals in the GC. I missed out on the opportunity to take the stage win, as I missed the last corner and went into the final sprint in a bad position. But I took some very important seconds on some of my rivals”, says Nicolas Roche after crossing the finish line in Bristol. “My teammates worked really hard for me all day and did a spectacular job. Manuele was in the front for 70 kilometer, so he will sleep well tonight. The team believes in riding actively and we want to take responsibility. I saw my opportunity to attack on the final climb, but I was a bit too late to bridge the gap alone to the two riders in front before the flat part.”

Tour of Britain Stage 4 Result:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 4:19:09
2. Albert Timmer (Ned) Giant-Shimano
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
4. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp
5. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Movistar
6. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 0:06
8. Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling.

Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 4:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 15:49:33
2. Edoardo Zardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:03
3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC at 0:14
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Jon Izagirre Insausti (Esp) Movistar at 0:23
6. Bradley Wiggins (GB) Sky at 0:27
7. David Lopez Garcia (Esp) Sky
8. Leopold König (Cze) NetApp-Endura at 0:29
9. Sébastien Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling
10. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar.

Stage 4:

header-canadaQuébec and Montréal Classics
The two Canadian WorldTour races start with the GP Quebec on the 12th September and GP Montreal on the 14th September. GP Montréal (205,7km) is 17 laps of a 12.1km circuit with 3,893 meters of climbing. The GP Québec (199,1km) is 11 laps of an 18.1km circuit with 2310 meters of climbing.

Tonight (Thursday) on the Grande Allée in Quebec City, one rider from each team will take part in the Pro Sprint Challenge, a one-kilometer sprint made up of heats of four racers in each. The top two finishers in each knockout heat move on to the next round until the champion is crowned in the final.

Race website: https://gpcqm.ca

BMC Racing Team Roster: Grands Prix Cyclistes
The BMC Racing Team’s roster for the Grands Prix Cyclistes of Québec and Montréal includes past podium finisher Greg Van Avermaet and recent USA Pro Challenge winner Tejay van Garderen.

Races Friday and Sunday
The one-day WorldTour events take place Friday (Québec City) and Sunday (Montréal). Van Avermaet finished runner-up in Québec in 2012 and was third there last year to go along with a fourth place result in Montréal. BMC Racing Team’s Peter Stetina has participated in all four editions of both races.

Download the BMC Racing Team’s exclusive roster card (PDF with bios, statistics, etc.):

Brent Bookwalter (USA), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Michael Schär (SUI), Peter Stetina (USA), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA).
Sport Director: Jackson Stewart (USA).

Lotto Belisol: Preview GP de Québec and GP de Montréal
This week the WorldTour heads to Canada for two races. Friday there is the Grand Prix of Québec, on Sunday the Grand Prix of Montréal. It’s going to be the fifth edition for both races. The time difference between Belgium and Canada is six hours. The races start at eleven in the morning, local time. That is 5 pm CEST. The finish is expected between 10 and 10:30 pm CEST.

GP Cycliste de Québec
Both in Québec and Montreal, the race consists of local laps. In Québec the riders will race eleven laps of 18.1 kilometers, which makes a total of 199.1 kilometers. The pith of matter is on the end of each lap. First the Côte de la Montagne and afterwards the Côte de la Potasse. After these two little climbs it goes slightly uphill towards the finish. The finish line is drawn at the Grande Allée, one kilometer with an average gradient of four percent.

GP Cycliste de Montréal
The peloton travels to Montréal by train, where there are 205.7 race kilometers awaiting on Sunday, divided into 17 laps of 12.1 kilometers. This race contains a total of 3893 altitude meters. The GP of Québec has 2310 altitude meters. In Montréal each lap starts with the Côte de Camillien Houde. With its 1.8 kilometers at an average gradient of 8 percent, this is the biggest obstacle. After a half lap there is a second climb: the Côte de la Polytechnique (780 meters at an average gradient of 6%). The finish is at the Avenue du Parc, with an average gradient of 4%.

Lotto Belisol has selected among others Tony Gallopin, Jürgen Roelandts, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens. In Canada, they will meet among others world champion Rui Costa, Simon Gerrans, Alexander Kristoff, Gianni Meersman, Bauke Mollema and Greg Van Avermaet.

Sports director Bart Leysen outlines his expectations
Bart Leysen: “There are some important WorldTour points to gather in Canada. Tony Gallopin, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens are our main guys for both the races. In Québec, Jurgen Roelandts gets the chance to possibly strive for the victory in a select group. Montréal is the hardest of the two races, therefore we also have Louis Vervaeke in our selection. He made a strong impression in the Tour de l’Avenir. So his shape is good. But of course this race is new for him.”

“The team is strong. We want to perform well and get some good results in both the races. The races in Canada are similar to the World Championships or the GP de Plouay, because of the local laps. We will try to continue our good performances in Canada.”

Lotto Belisol selection:
Stig Broeckx, Gert Dockx, Tony Gallopin, Jürgen Roelandts, Dennis Vanendert, Jelle Vanendert, Louis Vervaeke and Tim Wellens.
Sports director: Bart Leysen.

Lampre-Merida in Canada
The Lampre-Merida team is flying to Canada to take part in the two transoceanic events of the World Tour circuit, GP Quebec (12 September) and GP Montreal (14 September).

 The Rainbow colors will characterise the North American appointments for the team of the team manager Copeland, considering that Rui Costa will be the key member of the team. For the Portuguese rider, who won GP Montreal in 2011, the two Canadian races will be the last official events in which he’ll wear the rainbow jersey he won in Florence, waiting for the appointment in Ponferrada that could give him the opportunity to live an additional year in rainbow.

 The whole selection of Lampre-Merida will be characterized by a high quality, considering that there will be Chris Horner, who aims to satisfy the passion of his North American supporters. 

The courses of the two races could be suitable for riders such Durasek, Mori, Polanc and Valls, while Oliveira and Bono will support the captains.

 Simone Pedrazzini will direct the team with the support by mechanics Bortoluzzo and Romanò, by masseurs Redaelli and Santerini, by doctor Pollastri and press officer Appiani.

 GP Quebec will have a total distance of 199,1 km: 11 laps of a 18,1 km circuit, for a total race altitude difference of 2310 mt.

 GP Montreal total distance will be 205,7 km (17 laps of a 12,1 km circuit) and the total altitude difference will be 3893 mt. 

The two World Tour appointments will be preceded by a spectacular event: on Thurdsay the 11th, on the Grande Allée in Quebec City, one rider for each team will take part in the Challenge Sprint Pro, a competition over a one-kilometre course, organized into heats of four racers each. Starting from a list of 24 racers, the top two finishers in each knockout heat move on to the next round until the ultimate champion is crowned in the final showdown.
 Manuele Mori will represent the Lampre-Merida team.

Katusha Team for Canada
The Russian Team Katusha will start in two one-day races of the UCI WorldTour – Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec (September 12th) and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal (September 14th) – with the following line-up: Marco Haller, Vladimir Isaychev, Pavel Kochetkov, Alexander Kristoff, Viacheslav Kuznetsov, Egor Silin, Simon Špilak and Alexey Tsatevich. The team will be directed by Torsten Schmidt.

Belkin to go on offensive in Canadian classics
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM is taking on a new challenge in Canada. After the successful Tour of Alberta, the team has traveled to eastern Canada to contest a pair of one-day races; the Grand Prix Cycliste Québec (Friday, September 12th) and the Grand Prix Cycliste Montréal (Sunday, September 14). In the past, the riders of Team Belkin have played a very big role in the Canadian classics. The team is hoping for a repeat of 2012 and 2013, when Lars-Petter Nordhaug won the Grand Prix Cycliste Montreal, respectively, and Robert Gesink the Grand Prix Cycliste Québec in 2013.

The team supported by Sports Director Michiel Elijzen comes with good form from the Tour of Alberta, and is completely acclimatised. Sep Vanmarcke won convincingly the third stage in Alberta, and will play an important role for Team Belkin in both races. Also, Steven Kruijswijk was in good form in Alberta.

“All our riders came out well of the Tour of Alberta,” said Sports Director Michiel Elijzen. “We have travelled a long way from Alberta to Quebec. But we still have a few days to rest. Sep (Vanmarcke) and Steven (Kruijswijk) are very important for us in these races. I expect that Nick van der Lijke and Jonathan Hivert also can play a role deep in the finals.”

Bauke Mollema starts his autumn campaign in the Grand Prix Cycliste Québec. Mollema’s last race was the Eneco Tour, and now joins the team that previously rode the Tour of Alberta. “Bauke Mollema is also going to play an important role for us on Friday and Sunday,” continues Elijzen. “The races on Friday and Sunday are tricky and are WCH-worthy, and will be won by someone from a select group of favorites.”

TEAM Line-up:
Jonathan Hivert, Steven Kruijswijk, Tom Leezer, Bauke Mollema, David Tanner, Nick van der Lijke, Sep Vanmarcke and Dennis van Winden.
Sports Director: Michiel Elijzen.

OPQS to GP Cycliste de Québec and GP Cycliste de Montréal
OPQS has announced the selections that will participate in GP Cycliste de Québec and GP Cycliste de Montréal, both one-day races.

GP Cycliste de Québec takes place on Sept. 12. The Québec parcours is 16 laps of 12.6km for a total of 201.6km. It is a course for climbers and skilled descenders, and also includes an uphill finale. The climbs of the race include Cote de la Montagne (375m, 10% average gradient), Cote de la Potasse/Des Glacis (420m at 9% average gradient), Montee de la Fabrique/Des Jardins (190m, 7% average gradient), and Montee du Fort/Saint Louis/Grande Allee (1km, 4% average gradient).

Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal consists of 17-laps, covering 12.1km each for a total of 205.7km. There are three challenging climbs to cover over those laps. First, there is Cote Camilien-Houde (1.8km, 8% average gradient). Next is Cote de la Polytechnique (780m, 6% average gradient), which features a ramp of 200m at 11%. Finally, there is also Avenue du Parc (560m at 4% gradient). The race finishes on the third climb.

“We look forward to the Canadian races every year as they resemble the one day races in Europe,” Sport Director Wilfried Peeters said. “They are good races that are also well organized. Québec is a race where riders need to be in good condition to be in front. Montréal is a bit harder, but generally you need good legs for both of these races because they’re both quite demanding. Last year, in Québec, Niki Terpstra was a big protagonist in the final. He attacked and had a good gap on the final lap, but was caught before the line and it was decided in a bunch arrival. This year we have riders able to take similar chances and go for a good results in both races, and we’re looking forward to doing our best. We’re also happy that Zdenek Stybar is recovering well and is able to compete at these two races with the team.”

OPQS Rides for both events:
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Jan Bakelants (BEL), Kevin De Weert (BEL), Gianni Meersman (BEL), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Matteo Trentin (ITA), Petr Vakoc (CZE).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL).

Giant-Shimano to Québec
After a successful week of racing at the Tour of Alberta, Team Giant-Shimano continue their Canadian campaign at the GP Cycliste de Québec.

Simon Geschke (GER) finished ninth here last year and returns after a strong week of racing in Alberta together with Tom Dumoulin (NED) who also comes to this one-day WorldTour race.

Thierry Hupond (FRA), Daan Olivier (NED), Tom Peterson (USA) and Georg Preidler (AUT) also come to the race off the back of the six stage Alberta race, and are joined by Thomas Damuseau (FRA) and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA).

The parcours covers a rolling 18.1km circuit 11 times, a circuit well suited to the climbers and puncheurs, and the team come with a strong line-up to challenge for a good result here.

Team Giant-Shimano coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said ahead of the race: “Simon proved last year that he can be there at the end of a race like this, and after another year of getting stronger he can target another strong ride here.

“Tom [Dumoulin] had a strong week at the Tour of Alberta and should also be able to play a role in this race. We have a strong team to support well with guys who can get over the climbs and we’ll look to make a mark on the race.”

Geschke added: “I have been feeling better every day but still think that there’s a little bit of work to do before I am in shape to challenge for a good result in the two WorldTour races. Hopefully with some rest this week I will be in good shape.”

And Giant-Shimano in Montréal
The second in a double header of one-day WorldTour races in Canada is the GP Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday, featuring the same line-up as in Québec.

The race is very similar to the parcours of Québec, with a demanding profile that will draw out only the strongest riders with its tough climbs to be repeated lap after lap.

Simon Geschke (GER) will once again be after a strong result here and he will be looking to improve on his 19th place last year. Riders like Thomas Damuseau (FRA) and Daan Olivier (NED) will also be key in supporting Geschke over the climbs, and deep into the final.

Aike Visbeek (NED) said: “We come here with the same team as Québec and with a similar goal for the race. It is a tough parcours that will draw out the strong riders. We will have a better idea of how everyone is going after the first race and will make a good plan on how to approach the race to use the strength of the team as best as possible.”

The Giant-Shimano team line-up for both races:
Thomas Damuseau (FRA), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Thierry Hupond (FRA), Reinardt Janse van Rensberg (RSA), Daan Olivier (NED), Tom Peterson (USA), Georg Preidler (AUT).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).

Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal 2013:

header_OPQS_PROPQS Reaches Agreement With Lukasz Wisniowski
OPQS has reached a contract agreement with Lukasz Wisniowski, a 22-year-old Polish rider who rode for Continental Team Etixx in 2014. Highlights of his career include an overall victory at Circuit des Ardennes International as well as a 6th overall in Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste this season.

“We monitored his progress for a long time,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said.” Like Michal Kwiatkowski he’s a high-quality Polish rider, and we hope Lukasz can fit immediately well in with the team as Petr Vakoc and Julian Alaphilippe did this year.”

“I’m very happy that next year I will have an opportunity to be part of OPQS family,” Wisniowski said “I can definitely say that my dream comes true. I am convinced that this team is the best place for me to develop my cycling abilities and gain a lot of experience. I would like to thank every person that I had pleasure to meet and work with in the Etixx team. It was an awesome two years for me. Also, I am very greatful to Patrick Lefevere for believing in me and giving me a chance to be a pro rider. I’m looking forward to riding in an OPQS jersey next year.”

Thueringen Rundfahrt 2013 - U23

header-MTNTyler Farrar Joins Team MTN-Qhubeka
Tyler Farrar has joined Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung for the 2015 cycling season. The American sprinter has spent his last 7 years with the current World Tour outfit, Garmin Sharp. Farrar is also part of a select group of riders in world cycling that has won a stage in each of the 3 grand tours. Farrar brings a tremendous amount of experience with him to Team MTN-Qhubeka as well as some pure speed and power that will fit directly into the team’s plans and goals for the 2015 cycling season.

Farrar is one of the big names in world cycling and even bigger in the cycling circles of the United States of America. Team MTN-Qhubeka is delighted to welcome Tyler to Africa’s first ever professional continental cycling team.

Tyler Farrar: “I am really excited and happy to be joining Team MTN-Qhubeka next year. This is a big change for me in my cycling career after having spent 7 years with my current team. I feel it is the perfect timing for me to move on though and Team MTN-Qhubeka is definitely the team that appealed to me the most.”

“Coming from America I understand how important it is to globalise the sport of cycling. The African continent is a huge untapped area when it comes to cycling, you just need to look at what Africa is doing in track and field to realise the potential. Team MTN-Qhubeka is leading the way for the African continent in that regard and so it is a project that I really want to be part of.”

“The team is building a strong group of riders that will win races next year and I look forward to being a part of that, as both a winner and support rider.”

Team Principal – Douglas Ryder: “Tyler Farrar is an incredible asset to Team MTN-Qhubeka, a stage winner in all 3 grand tours and prolific contender in the classics, his inclusion will help our team move forward and maintain our position in the upper echelons of World Cycling. Tyler is one of the most successful riders to come out of the United States of America. His inclusion helps globalize our team in support of developing cycling on the African continent through the Qhubeka foundation.”

Tyler ‘Mr. Angry’ Farrar:

That Vuelta Fight!
It’s not often you see a fist fight during a bike race, normally anything of that sort is a bit of an embarrassment to all concerned. This wasn’t the only case on the Vuelta as Philip Deignan claims that Joaquim Rodriguez punched him in the face on the stage to the Lagos de Covadonga, there is no film though.

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