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Japan EuroTrash Monday!

No 3 GT’s in one season competition (this year) for the top men, plus road race action from Japan and cyclo-cross from Europe in a full EuroTrash Monday. In other cycling news: we preview the Tour of Hainan, talk to Alejandro Valverde, Lotto Belisol round-up their season, plus rider and team news. Get the coffee!

TOP STORY: No Grand Tour Challenge?
It looks like the plan to get the top men to compete in the three Grand Tours is a non-runner, for 2015 anyway. Oleg Tinkov has been trying to encourage the top men and teams to seriously consider fighting over the honors at all three Tours in the same year. The riders dont seem too keen and the teams have either been mildly interested or cool over the plan. Tinkov offered a €1 million purse for the winner, but it seems a tall order.

Tinkov’s rider; Alberto Contador has said he will go for the Giro-Tour double, which does seem possible, but going for all three Grand Tours is an outmoded concept from a cycling time gone by. Recently the Tours have cut the stage lengths to discourage the use of drugs, which has played its part in helping the doping situation. So either the stages would need to be shortened even more or riders maybe tempted back into the old ways. Maybe the Double is the safer option.

Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador, will they fight over all the 3 week Tours in the same season?
Tirreno - Adriatico 2013 stage 7

header-japancup14Japan Cup 2014
Australia’s Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp) won the Japan Cup road race from Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) with Grega Bole (Vini Fantini-Nippo) from a group of nine riders. In a repeat of the Japan Cup Criterium the day before, the result came down to a photo-finish and Haas got the verdict.

A break went away early in the 151km race in Utsonomiya Forest Park, but Sky and Garmin-Sharp keep the four at a catchable distance. On the last climb of Kogashi ten riders went clear with 25 kilometers to go. Tinkoff-Saxo had Sutherland, Valgren, Boaro and Juul in the group and attacked in turn, but they were all pulled back. On the uphill finish of Utsonomiya; Haas and Boasson Hagen fought out the close sprint ahead of Bole with Valgren being the best placed Tinkoff-Saxo rider in 4th.

Race winner Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp): “It was a hard race, there was a lot of attacking and once the race was all back together, I think Garmin-Sharp and Sky had similar ambitions because they had sprinter-climber riders in Boasson Hagen and Swift and we had myself and Steele Von Hoff. Knowing that the last corner is one to sprint out of first, I jumped on them and then they faded just before the corner, it was perfect. I got the jump coming out of the corner, and I knew it was important to go before Boasson Hagen did. I kicked and he came up to my shoulder but I really wanted this win and so found another gear.”

Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Philippe Mauduit comments: “Four Japanese riders created the long-lasting breakaway of the race and they were stronger than the peloton expected. Nevertheless, they were pulled back in and in the counter move, we had Rory Sutherland, Michael Valgren, Manuele Boaro and Chris Juul. With his usual fighter instinct, Manuele made life difficult for the chasers as he launched a few fierce attacks on the final kilometers. Ultimately forfeiting, Sutherland took over the reigns of the group to set up the sprint for Valgren and he managed to finish fourth. Of course, it’s always kind of frustrating being so close to the podium but I think the boys did a very good job and I’m happy to finish the season in the creative and dominant role of the race.”

Japan Cup Result:
1. Nathan Haas (Aus) Garmin-Sharp in 4:06:48
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky
3. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo
4. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek
6. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale
8. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale
9. Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida at 0:05
10. Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:18.

Nathan Haas gets the win:

header-japancupcrit14Japan Cup Criterium 2014
Sky’s Chris Sutton won the Japan Cup Criterium on Saturday, the day before the main Japan Cup event. Last years winner Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp) nearly pulled it off, but after a close look at the photo-finish Sutton was given the victory, with Sky teammate Ben Swift in third.

The early break of four riders stayed out front for most of the 20-lap race in Utsonomiya before Sky took charge of the peloton. Edvald Boasson Hagen was followed by Ben Swift in the lead-out train for Sutton who finished the job in the closest of finishes.

Criterium winner Chris Sutton (Sky): “I couldn’t be happier. The boys were incredible. Boswell came and started riding on the front straight away. In the closing laps Bernie was just drilling it on the front and got quicker and quicker. I was really well protected by Eddie and Swifty. It was the best lead-out I’ve ever had. Eddie went first and then Swifty stepped off him. I just finished it off and it was really nice to get a win. You know it’s a good lead-out when your lead-out man can still finish on the podium.”

Tinkoff-Saxo Sport Director Philippe Mauduit: “It was a proper criterium with a really fast pace and hard accelerations. Valgren finished 6th in the final burst for the line and showed that he also has potential in the sprints. It was a really aggressive start. A handful of native Keirin riders were invited to race and they started out by setting a ferocious pace. Manuele got away in the breakaway and went solo with three laps to go. He kept the peloton behind him for a while but was caught as he went under the flame rouge.”

Japan Cup Criterium Result:
1. Christopher Sutton (Aus) Sky in 41:32
2. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
3. Ben Swift (GB) Sky
4. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini Fantini-Nippo
5. Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac
6. Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
8. Takashi Miyazawa (Jap) Vini Fantini-Nippo
9. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky.

Chris Sutton (Sky):

header-wc.cross14-15Cyclo-Cross WorldCup, Valkenburg 2014
Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano) repeated his win of last year in round 1 of the UCI WorldCup in Valkenburg, Holland. The young Dutch champion beat Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) by 26 seconds, with Corné van Kessel (Telenet-Fidea) at 34 seconds in 3rd. Belgian champion Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) unshipped his chain and eventually abandoned.

Van der Haar attacked from the gun to be joined by Pauwels and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and build up a healthy lead on the others. Meeusen was the first to be dropped under the impetus of Van der Haar and then Pauwels made a mistake and crashed, he chased but couldn’t catch the flying Dutch champion, who had the race in the bag.

Pauwels and Meeusen fought on, but were caught by Philipp Walsleben (BKCP-Powerplus), Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games), Thijs van Amerongen (Telenet-Fidea) and Van Kessel. Vantornout put the pressure on in the chase group in the last lap, but Van Kessel attacked and saw him and Van Amerongen off. In the finalé; Pauwels was the faster man taking second place ahead of Van Kessel as Meeusen tangled with the barrier for 5th and Vantornout 4th.

Race winner Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano): “From the first lap it went perfect today. I came in front with Pauwels but then became alone, and I didn’t expect that. I pushed him too far and he made a mistake. I didn’t take a drink as I knew I could manage the heat – I don’t think you need to do it for an hour. It turned out to be a good decision. I am happy with my demonstration today, it was a good race and this was my first peak of the season. I’m pleased to be the World Cup leader again and I hope to go on like this.” He added: “There’s one round less but anything can happen since I can be forced to drop out in the next round too. I rode a great race and did my thing.”

Cyclo-Cross WorldCup, Valkenburg Result:
1. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Shimano Development in 1:05:42
2. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:26
3. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea at 0:34
4. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:38
5. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
6. Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet-Fidea at 0:41
7. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKPC-Powerplus at 0:48
8. Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 0:59
9. Jeremy Powers (USA) at 1:10
10. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:24.

WorldCup full race:

header-vanthurenhout14Kermiscross International, Ardooie (Belgium) 2014
The Belgian U23 youngster Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) beat the Elite bunch in Kermiscross international race, in Ardooie (Belgium), on Thursday, October 16th. Man on form; Belgian champion Sven Nys, unexpectedly didn’t start, due to being ill.

From the start, Michael Vanthourenhout – the winner of Under23 Bpost Bank Trofee’s opening stage – his brother Dieter, and CX World Champion Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) went on the attack, but the pace of the Under23 European Champion became quickly too fast for his opponents, seeing off strong Elite rivals such as fellow Belgian Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and German Philipp Wesleben (BKCP-Powerplus).

Stybar and Dieter Vanthourenhout tried to respond but ultimately to no avail, and in the second part of the race Meeusen and Wesleben got back in contention for the podium’s spots, finishing second and third respectively. World cyclo-cross champion, Zdenek Stybar was unlucky again and crashed badly and X-rays showed ligament ruptures as the result of a Grade 3 AC joint dislocation on the right shoulder. According the OPQS team; he needed Surgery to stabilise the AC joint and repair the ruptured ligaments, which was successful.

Kermiscross International, Ardooie (Belgium) Result:
1. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games in 57:37
2. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:53
3. Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP-Powerplus at 1:02
4. Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 1:12
5. Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:18
6: Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:22
7. Nicolas Cleppe (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:30
8. Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet-Fidea at 1:36
9. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:45
10. Jens Vandekinderen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:50.

Kermiscross winner Michael Vanthourenhout:
vanthourenhout_ardooie copy

header-hainanTour of Hainan 2014
The Tour of Hainan starts today (Monday) and depending on where you live stage 1 will be over. Nine stages starting in Chengmai on the 20th and finishing in Chengmai on Wednesday the 29th of October.

Race website: https://www.thncycling.com/en/

Stage 1: Chengmai to Chengmai 85.4km
Stage 2: Chengmai to Haikou 207.2km
Stage 3: Haikou to Yueliangwan 134.7km
Stage 4: Wenchang to Xinglong 145.8km
Stage 5: Wanning to Sanya 192.8km
Stage 6: Sanya to Dongfang 182.1km
Stage 7: Dongfang to Wuzhishan 199.3km
Stage 8: Wuzhishan to Danzhou 154.1
Stage 9: Dangzhou to Chengmai 165.7km.


TEAM Belkin looking to repeat in Hainan
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM closes its 2014 season in China’s Tour of Hainan, where the green and black team won nine stages and the overall in 2013. Moreno Hofland took three of the stages and the overall and Theo Bos claimed the other six.

Moreno Hofland: “It’s going to be very hard to do better than last year,” said Hofland. “I think we need to target the overall and try to win as many stages as possible.” The young Dutchman, after a season of ups and downs, remains eager and travels to the island ambitious for the nine-day race, October 20 to 28. I won a stage in the Ruta del Sol and Paris-Nice, triumphed in the Volta Limburg Classic and finished second in Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. But I also crashed in the Tour of California and was forced to abandon the Tour of Utah and the Vuelta a España due to sickness. Hopefully, I can end the year with a positive note.”

Michiel Elijzen: “We are still unbeaten in Hainan, it would be nice if we could extend that, but we know that’s going to be very difficult,” Sports Director Michiel Elijzen said.“There will be a number of strong teams at the start this year. Regardless, we would like to bag some wins. The guys know that if they have the right legs, they can bring the season to a nice end in Hainan. “Moreno really benefited from his victories in Hainan in 2014. He gained a lot of confidence from that and carried it into this season. For Barry Markus and Nick van der Lijke it is a nice opportunity for them to try for their first professional victory.”

TEAM line-up:
Jetse Bol, Graeme Brown, Moreno Hofland, Tom Leezer, Nick van der Lijke, Barry Markus and Dennis van Winden.
Sports Director: Michiel Elijzen.

Lampre-Merida to Hainan
Lampre-Merida will extend it’s experiences of the world, racing for the first time in its history on the Chinese Island of Hainan. The blue-fuchsia-green team will take part in the stage race Tour of Hainan (category 2.HC) from the 20th to the 28th of October: 9 stages, most of them suitable for sprinters, that LAMPRE-MERIDA will face counting on Niccolò Bonifazio, Matteo Bono Roberto Ferrari, Manuele Mori, Andrea Palini and Xu Gang. Simone Pedrazzini will direct the team and he’ll receive the support by the mechanics Coelho and Romanò, by the masseurs Capelli and Napolitano and by the doctor Pollastri.

Hainan is an island located in the South China Sea and recently became a touristic location thanks to the good climate. “Our targets for Hainan will be to honor the debut in this race and to gave satisfactions to our Asian sponsors that support us with a huge passion,” sport director Pedrazini. “The course will offer to the sprinters many opportunities, so we’ll try to exploit the most the qualities of Bonifazio, Ferrari and Palini. Mori and Xu Gang will be our leader for the overall classification, Bono will have the responsibility to coordinate the team in the bunch.”

Stage 9 of the 2013 Tour of Hainan:

header-europcarEuropcar to Stop After 2015
The car rental company, Europcar, will not sponsor the WorldTour team after the end of the 2015 season. Europcar began sponsoring in 2011 and after five years are calling a halt. Nathalie Poujol, Director of Europcar Communication, told French sports-paper L’Equipe: “We wanted to communicate our decision as soon as possible to the team to facilitate the search for a new partner.”

The French squad became a WorldTour team at the start of the 2014 season as they had been at ProContinental level since 2000 when they were sponsored by Bonjour, before becoming Bouygues Telecom and then Europcar.

On the road with Europcar:

header_movistarValverde: “It’s been my best season”
Alejandro Valverde reflects on 2014: UCI WorldTour No. 1 for the third time in his career after eleven victories plus top-4 in all Tour, Vuelta, Worlds RR, five big classics.

Aged 34, and after having spent twelve seasons as a pro cyclist, Alejandro Valverde claimed back the top spot of cycling rankings after winning the 2014 UCI WorldTour. The Movistar Team beat fellow countryman Alberto Contador and Australian Simon Gerrans en route to his third title after success in 2006 and 2008. The Murcia-born rider was also crucial on his squad’s victory in the teams’ ranking, having obtained 11 victories and 19 podiums in what is arguably his best season in the pro scene -84 wins to his account since 2002. Valverde will remain a Blue after having recently signed a three-year contract extension with Eusebio Unzué’s structure.

Alejandro’s season was brilliant from its start to its end. Already during the first month of competition, he won the GC and three stages of the Vuelta a Andalucía, including the prologue, where he beat Worlds medallists Wiggins and Dumoulin, the Vuelta a Murcia and the prestigious Roma Maxima. In the spring, he claimed his first success in the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain, finished 3rd in the Strade Bianche as well as 5th in País Vasco, and was the most regular in the Ardennes trio: winner of his second Flèche Wallonne, 2nd in Liège-Bastogne-Liège, 4th in the Amstel Gold Race. Back after a short break on his way to the Tour de France, claiming 2nd-place finishes in both the Route du Sud and the Spanish RR Championships, he became the national time trial champion in Ponferrada. The Grande Boucle saw him coming closer than ever to the overall podium: he was 4th, after spending many days in 2nd spot.

Without any time to reflect on disappointment from the Tour, Valverde got back into winning ways with his second Clásica San Sebastián, before going on with two podiums in his two main goals in late-season: the Vuelta a España, where he claimed a stage win and the third place of the GC -his sixth podium in the Spanish Grand Tour, and the Worlds road race in Ponferrada, snatching a bronze medal that increases his lead in the historical ranking of medals (6). A second spot in the final monument of the season, Il Lombardia, just five days after becoming a father for his fourth time, closed the impressive season of the undeniable No. 1 in the world.

What does it mean to finish as best rider of the season for someone who already achieved almost everything you can win in cycling?
It’s extremely important for me. Finishing on top of the rankings is a reward to the whole work I did before and during the season. It means that my season was really good, that I always kept up doing well throughout the season, constant and consistent. It’s obvious that the Worlds, what they mean, with the rainbow jersey and everything it means, are a big goal for a cyclist, at least for me. But, if you think about it thoroughly, this WorldTour ranking should have similar significance, and I hope that changes in the future because it would be good to recognise and reflect who was the most regular guy during the season in all top races.

When did the WorldTour ranking become a goal for you this season?
I started thinking about it after the Tour. Before that, you pay attention to the rankings from time to time, but not really much. The Vuelta went well and I knew that, even though Alberto was ahead of me after the race, I had my chances because I was confident I could get many points in Lombardy. Fortunately, it went so and at the end, though we were both about to board on the plane to China, we decided that it was better to stay home. It’s true that I asked him after his crash in Italy if he was going to Beijing, because I didn’t have that race on my calendar either and, above all, what I wanted in that moment was enjoying my newborn baby. Eventually, I had both things.

It’s been almost ten years since you become World No. 1 for the first time. That doesn’t happen frequently in pro cycling…
That’s true. I already won it in 2006, I repeated that success in 2008, I was twice third afterwards… But I want to look further back. In 2003, I was 3rd in the Vuelta and second in the World Championships. Eleven years later, in 2004, I’ve been in both podiums again. It’s been a long twelve years on the top of the sport, but as I’ve stated before many times, when I train or compete nowadays, my feelings are better than when I was younger. Where do I feel superior to that young man? I take things easier, I feel my body able to cope better with pressure, I’m more mature. Also, races take less of me than before. It’s true that I might have lost that sort of ‘sparkle’ in my moves, taking more risks in situations where I don’t risk so much now – I raced a bit more crazily before.

In your three main goals prior to the start of the season -Tour, Vuelta, Worlds, your worst result was 4th…
When I set a goal on myself, I never say I’m going to win this or that race. Should a rider be able to tackle a goal with the certainty he is going to win, everyone would achieve it. What I mean here is – there’s only one Liège, one Tour, one Vuelta, one Worlds road race – only a rider can win it. Still, having those three races as a goal before the season, I was able to win Flèche and San Sebastián, I was 2nd in both Liège and Lombardy, 3rd in the Vuelta and the Worlds, 4th in the Amstel Gold and the Tour, where I fought for a second place finish until the very last moment… I’m more than satisfied with what I achieved this season – I would be more than happy to repeat that in 2015.

Do you think it was your best season?
By a mile. No doubts about that.

Were there any bitter moments in that brilliant 2014?
Yes (answers without hesitation) The Tour. It was my highest GC finish in France, but it left me a bitter taste after having the podium on my hands. Losing it was the worst moment of my season. I don’t know if I went through any others, but that’s the only one I can remember at the end of the year.

Which was the race you enjoyed the most?
Maybe Flèche Wallonne. This is a race where you have to be on absolute top form to win it, and I claimed the victory with a big margin over the rest.

Very few riders remark their team-mates’ work so insistently after every race…
I do this because you can never achieve any results without your team doing a phenomenal job. I felt really at easy with all team-mates, but not only with the other riders, but also with the sports directors, who did a great job, with the team staff and everyone surrounding the Movistar Team. I always said this team is my home and, even though we go through highs and lows, like any other team, the atmosphere here is fantastic. We get on with each other really well and that has a massive impact on the road. Becoming the world’s best team last season and repeating that success in 2014 – that’s outstanding. It’s difficult to reach that spot, but even harder to keep it. The good thing is that every race we go, we give our maximum, and when you give 100%, you can’t be asked for anything else.

Though your 2015 schedule is still to be defined, have you got any challenges on your mind for next year?
The Giro is a race I’ve never taken part in, and I already said in other times I would like to give it a try – I’m already well experienced in both the Tour and the Vuelta. Riding all three Grand Tours? Why not. It’s a challenge that I like and it’s in my mind, too, though I haven’t still spoken to Eusebio. And the classics – It’s true that Paris-Roubaix doesn’t suit my body really well, but I can fight for the other monuments I haven’t won yet, like Lombardy, Flanders or Sanremo, should the latter be hardened as it was proposed before this season.

Last year, you made clear that if you got back to the Tour, it would be to help out Nairo Quintana…
And it’s clear on my mind. It has to be that way. I won’t be stopping him from reaching new heights in his career after he has shown he’s more than prepared to take on the challenge of winning the Tour. It’s similar to the situation we both came in leading to the Vuelta. Eventually, I had to take full responsibility after Nairo’s crash, and I responded well. Let’s hope that it doesn’t happen the same if I ride the Tour next year – we just desire to focus on taking him into the podium in Paris.
Thanks to the Movistar team for the interview.

Alejandro Valverde in 2014: The Numbers:
· WorldTour No. 1
· 11 victories
– stage 6, Vuelta a España
– Flèche Wallonne
– Clásica San Sebastián
– Roma Maxima
– GP Miguel Indurain
– Spanish ITT Championship
– Vuelta a Murcia
– Vuelta a Andalucía (+ 3 stages)
· Grand Tours
– Tour de France: 4th
– Vuelta a España: 3rd (+ 1 stage)
· 3 medals
– Spanish ITT Championships (gold)
– World RR Championships (bronze)
– Spanish RR Championships (silver)
· One-day races
– 1st, Flèche Wallonne
– 1st, Clásica San Sebastián
– 1st, Roma Maxima
– 1st, GP Miguel Indurain
– 1st, Vuelta a Murcia
– 2nd, Il Lombardia
– 2nd, Liège-Bastogne-Liège
– 3rd, Strade Bianche
– 4th, Amstel Gold Race
· Other stage races
– 1st, Vuelta a Andalucía (+ 1 stage)
– 2nd, Route du Sud
– 5th, Vuelta al País Vasco
· 28 podium places
· 44 top-10 finishes
· 77 days of racing.

The comeback of Alejandro Valverde, 2012-2014:

header-lottobelisolLotto Belisol ends the season with 29 official UCI victories. An overview.
First victory Down Under
The first Lotto Belisol rider who could triumph was André Greipel in the fourth stage of the Tour Down Under. Two days later the Gorilla won again, in the final stage. By March, Lotto Belisol had six victories. Kenny Dehaes then added the Tour of Drenthe and Nokere Koerse to the list.

Greipel wins solo
The victory in the World Ports Classic was the first of a series of four for André Greipel. One was remarkable, the one in the final stage of the Tour de Luxembourg where he finished solo. That was the first time ever. Greg Henderson, the lead-out man André Greipel can always rely on, won the third stage of the Ster ZLM Toer.

Two national titles
Lotto Belisol has two national champions in its team. At the end of June André Greipel conquered the German title for the second year in a row. In Belgium it was Jens Debusschere who could go home with the tricolour. Almost a month later he won the opening stage of the Tour de Wallonie. In July Greipel was the best in the sixth Tour stage. In the eleventh one Tony Gallopin stayed ahead of a chasing group. Two days earlier, the Frenchman had worn the yellow jersey on his national holiday.

Victory Eneco Tour
Jonas Van Genechten gathered three UCI victories. Starting with the fourth stage in the Tour de Pologne, a WorldTour race. Between the first two victories of Van Genechten, Tim Wellens won his first race as a pro. Thanks to his victory in the sixth stage of the Eneco Tour Tim took over the leader’s jersey. He held on to it in the final stage.

Hansen celebrates 10th GT with stage win
In the beginning of September André Greipel won the Brussels Cycling Classic, just like in 2013. In the meantime the Vuelta had started. A few days later Lotto Belisol won a stage. For Adam Hansen the Vuelta was the tenth consecutive Grand Tour he finished. He celebrated that by winning the nineteenth Vuelta stage after a short solo.

Sluitingsprijs = 29th victory
Tuesday was the last race day for Lotto Belisol this season. Tosh Van der Sande and Greg Henderson were both close to the stage win in Beijing. A few hours later the team could still add a victory. Just like last year Jens Debusschere won the last race on the Belgian calendar, the Nationale Sluitingsprijs in Putte-Kapellen, the 29th official victory of the season for Lotto Belisol.

Victories 2014:
24/01 – Tour Down Under (WorldTour) Stage 4: André Greipel
26/01 – Tour Down Under (WorldTour) Stage 6: André Greipel
13/02 – Tour of Qatar (Asia Tour 2.HC) Stage 5: André Greipel
18/02 – Tour of Oman (Asia Tour 2.HC) Stage 1: André Greipel
20/02 – Tour of Oman (Asia Tour 2.HC) Stage 3: André Greipel
23/02 – Tour of Oman (Asia Tour 2.HC) Stage 6: André Greipel
15/03 – Ronde van Drenthe (Europe Tour 1.1): Kenny Dehaes
19/03 – Nokere Koerse (Europe Tour 1.1.): Kenny Dehaes
24/05 – World Ports Classic (Europe Tour 2.1.) Stage 1: André Greipel
31/05 – Baloise Belgium Tour (Europe Tour 2.HC) Stage 4: André Greipel
05/06 – Tour de Luxembourg (Europe Tour 2.HC) Stage 1: André Greipel
08/06 – Tour de Luxembourg (Europe Tour 2.HC) Stage 4: André Greipel
20/06 – Ster ZLM Toer (Europe Tour 2.1) Stage 3: Greg Henderson
22/06 – Ster ZLM Toer (Europe Tour 2.1) Stage 5: André Greipel
29/06 – Belgisch Kampioenschap (1.1) : Jens Debusschere
29/06 – Duits Kampioenschap (1.1): André Greipel
10/07 – Tour de France (WorldTour) Stage 6: André Greipel
16/07 – Tour de France (WorldTour) Stage 11: Tony Gallopin
26/07 – Tour de Wallonie (Europe Tour 2.HC) Stage 1: Jens Debusschere
06/08 – Ronde van Polen (WorldTour) Stage 4: Jonas Van Genechten
16/08 – Eneco Tour (WorldTour) Stage 6: Tim Wellens
17/08 – Eneco Tour (WorldTour) Overall classification: Tim Wellens
27/08 – Druivenkoers Overijse (Europe Tour 1.1): Jonas Van Genechten
06/09 – Brussels Cycling Classic (Europe Tour 1.HC): André Greipel
07/09 – GP de Fourmies (Europe Tour 1.HC): Jonas Van Genechten
12/09 – Vuelta (WorldTour) Stage 19: Adam Hansen
14/09 – GP Jef Scherens (Europe Tour 1.1): André Greipel
03/10 – Sparkassen Münsterland Giro (Europe Tour 1.1): André Greipel
14/10 – Nationale Sluitingsprijs Putte-Kapellen (Europe Tour 1.1): Jens Debusschere.

Kermesses and criteriums:
03/06 – Gullegem Koerse: Jonas Van Genechten
03/08 – Sparkassen Giro Bochum: Marcel Sieberg
05/08- Heist-op-den-Berg: Tony Gallopin
23/09 – Vichte: Jens Debusschere.

Lotto Belisol ‘Live Your Dream’:

header_lampre-meridaPibernik will Ride for Lampre-Merida
A young talented cyclist chose LAMPRE-MERIDA for his first step into the World Tour. Luka Pibernik, 20 years old from Slovenia, will join the blue-fuchsia-green team after having signed a two years agreement.

His skills as rouleur and the confidence on mixed courses gave Pibernik the opportunity to obtain in his young career (2012, 2013 2014 seasons in team Radenska, Continental Slovenian team that is directed by former Lampre’s cyclist Andrej Hauptman) the 2013 Slovenian National title as pro. In Team LAMPRE-MERIDA, he’ll join Jan Polanc, who was his team mate in Radenska in 2012 season and in the first part of 2013. They’ll be part of a group of young talents that will enrich the group of the team manager Brent Copeland. “The goal for 2015 is to balance the experience and the youthness of the team roster,” team manager Copeland said. “Our sport directors will count on a group of young cyclists that have already demonstrated their very interesting skills, it will be important to be able to give them the necessary chances and to allow them to improve gradually their qualities. Pibernik is a natural talent and thanks to his firmness he has been already able to be protagonist in important races. In 2014 he could not hit top targets because of some physical vicissitudes, but he’s now ready to face the next season with enthusiasm.”

Luka Pibernik:

header-wanty14Yannick Eijssen to Wanty-Groupe Gobert
BMC’s Yannick Eijssen has signed on with the Belgian Pro Continental Wanty-Groupe Gobert for next season. Eijssen said on his new team’s website: “I have ridden in support of big champions like Cadel Evans. Van Garderen and Philippe Gilbert in recent years. I learned a great deal there and improved every year.”

The team’s top riders: Bjôrn Leukemans, Roy Jans, Jérome Baugnies and Kévin Van Melsen will be staying with the team and Marco Marcato also joins the team for 2015.

Let’s hope he has better luck that this:

header-colombiateamFirst signings for 2015 Team Colombia: Cayetano Sarmiento and Alex Cano
Team Colombia will start the next season with a significantly renewed roster, as confirmed by General Manager Claudio Corti: “We will welcome several new elements, including exciting young prospects and more experienced riders, that we hope will be able to leave their mark right away.” The first two signings of 2015 Team Colombia definitely belong to the latter category: Josè Cayetano Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Anarruco, March 28th, 1987) and Alex Alberto Cano Ardila (Yarumal, March 13th, 1983).

Professional since 2010 and original from the Boyaca region, Cayetano Sarmiento has taken part in the World Tour in the last three season as a Cannondale Team rider. A pure climber (168 cm, 56 kg), Sarmiento won the overall at 2009 Giro Baby, as an Under 23, showing to have what it takes to show up strongly in stage races. His biggest achievement as a pro has been the King of the Mountain classification at 2012 Criterium du Dauphine, and has participated in three Giro d’Italia and two Vuelta a España in his career. After closing his 2014 season early due to a broken collarbone at the Eneco Tour, Sarmiento will look to retrieve his winner instinct while enjoying more opportunities to go for personal results.

Alex Cano revealed himself as an amateur in Italy as well, winning the hard and prestigious Giro della Valle d’Aosta in 2007, but in 2015 he will get his first opportunity as an Elité in Europe. Original from the Antioquia region, Cano achieved 25 wins in six pro seasons in Colombia, proving himself among the strongest and most consistent Colombian stage-race riders. Cano recently got a strong overall 2nd place (with a stage win) at Clasico RCN, riding for the Aguardiente Antioqueño team.

In the next few days, Team Colombia will announce the names of the confirmed riders and the new signings who will make the Team’s 2015 roster.


header-stybar14Weddings for Gallopin and Stybar
Tony Gallopin and Marion Rousse, who both ride for Lotto Belisol team, were married this week as was World cyclo-cross champion Zdenek Stybar and Ine Vanden Bergh. Even though Stybar is recovering from surgery after his crash in the Ardooie cyclo-cross, we hope the nuptials were a success.

header-GCNWhat Is Cyclo-Cross? GCN’s Bike Culture
GCN went to the cyclo-cross heartland of Flanders to find out just what ‘cross is. They spoke to legends Bart Wellens, Sven Nys, Mario de Clercq and Jonathan Page (the only English-speaking man to have medalled at an Elite Worlds) to find out what ‘cross is and what it requires.

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