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Lombardia EuroTrash Monday!

The full Il Lombardia ‘play-back’ with race report, rider comments and video to keep the Lombardy feel going through Monday. Results from Tour de l’Eurométropole, Sparkassen Münsterland Giro and Gieten cross, plus lots of team, race and rider news. A large EuroTrash cappuccino.

TOP STORY: Astana to Miss Beijing?
The Kazakh Astana team has had two positives tests in the last few months with the Iglinskiy brothers. Valentin admitted his guilt and was sacked and his elder brother Maxim is waiting for the results of his ‘B’ sample, but is expected to make an announcement on the subject today (Monday). According to MPCC rules the team would not be on the start-line in Beijing. But this goes against WorldTour rules, which state that a WorldTour Team cannot miss a WorldTour Event.

This all shows the difference between MPCC and the UCI. The MPCC does not organize a series of races (the WorldTour) and so has no vested interest in having the best teams competing in their own races, unlike the UCI. The UCI will not ban a team from its own races, which is a conflict of interests. Recently the UCI called for the MPCC to fall into line with UCI regulations, maybe it should be the other way round and the UCI should fall into line with MPCC rules, or better still; have an independent body to govern either the WorldTour or doping offences. Then we could get away from that conflict.

Is the honeymoon over for UCI President, Brian Cookson?

header-lombardia14Giro di Lombardia 2014
Tiziano Dall’Antonia (Androni Giocattoli), Francesco Gavazzi (Astana), Jeremy Roy (FDJ.fr), Romain Guillemous (Europcar), Jan Polanc (Lampre-Merida), Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli), Matthais Brändle (IAM Cycling), Paul Voss (NetApp-Endura), Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff-Saxo), Miguel Rubiano Chaves (Colombia) and Angelo Pagani (Bardiani-CSF) made up the break of the day. But in the end the lead group fell to pieces leaving only Paulinho and Fedi out front. Eventually they were joined by Ben Hermans (BMC), Pieter Weening (Orica-GreenEDGE), Bauke Mollema (Belkin), Mickaél Chérel (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), plus Chaves and Roy from the original move.

Weening and Hermans rode away from the others and held off the select group of rider on their tail until they entered the old town of Bergamo in the last 4 kilometres. Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) attacked from the chasers, passed Hermans and Weening and looked good for a possible win. Philippe Gilbert chased him down and then his BMC team mate Samuel Sanchez laid down a hard pace to take a group of big hitters into the final kilometer. There was a slight drop in the speed at 600 meters out and Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) attacked taking them all by surprise for a perfectly timed win. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was second and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) was third. The next chase group crashed on the last bend bringing down Alberto Contador amongst others and Valverde moved into first place in the UCI WorldTour ranking above Contador.

Il Lombardia winner Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp). The winning move: “I saw a moment of hesitation. I don’t think the other riders even knew I was there, because I was in last position all the time. Once I had some speed, I knew I’d get a gap, and then it was a question of don’t crash. I’ve got a history of crashing on the last corner – in Lombardy last year, and in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It’s incredible. I have no words.”

Perfect end to a hard season: “It has been a difficult year, After crashes in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Giro d’italia, I also crashed at the Vuelta, at a really bad moment. Even last week, at the Worlds, people fell in front of me, leaving me out of contention. I’ve mostly had good luck in my career, so it’s normal to have a season of bad luck. The team helped me: they really believed I could win today, so it was easier to stay motivated and train hard coming into these final races. I didn’t want to finish the season without a win. After the Vuelta, I really worked 100% and I wanted to win here or in Beijing, and I’ve won here, so it’s a special victory.”

A childhood dream: “Lombardia is one of my first cycling memories. I remember watching it when I started cycling, with Paolo Bettini winning. It’s incredible to win it now. I’ve been to the Sancuary at the Ghisallo many times. I love cycling history and it’s one of the biggest races of the year, so to have my name on the palmares is incredible. Il Lombardia has always been one of my favourite races. I first saw I could do well in the long races in 2009, when I got 8th at Como. It’s one of the most beautiful classics, although it’s a different type of race. The peloton is tired, but you still have the best climbers in the world. The course makes it beautiful, and it’s great being close to the Worlds: you have a great peloton.”

The future: “I enjoy my racing, and I enjoy one-day races more than anything. I proved at the Vuelta that I can do well in three-week tours, but winning one is still a few years away. Anyway, there’s something about one-day racing. You start full of energy, and you end empty. You have to take risks to win. I love that kind of racing. I’m only 28 and I’ve already won 2 monuments, so I’m just going to continue how I am and enjoy racing.”

Second Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I had the legs to win the race and I’m a bit sad about that, but nothing is taken for granted in pro cycling. Everyone was looking at me when Martin attacked, they left all responsibility on my shoulders to go after him. I just couldn’t control everything in the end and we had to sprint for 2nd place, which we achieved. Still, I’m happy about today’s result: the team worked well, I accompllished the goal of getting back into the WorldTour lead and these 66 points make things look well in view of the final race. We’ll see how we manage the circumstances to profit the best from Beijing. This second place is a tribute to my whole family and my kids, especially the newborn Natalia. These weren’t easy days when it comes to resting: I was always going everywhere to look after my wife and the kids and I could only get to Italy on Saturday evening. The effort was worth, though. Lombardy is a really beautiful race, and though I’m not happy I couldn’t win it this time, surely there will be more chances to take that grudge off.”

Third Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida): “First of all, I want to thank my team mates, because they perfectly supported me from the start to the last climb, I could not ask more from them. I tried to give the team a top result, all the nine members of the group that was leading the race after the climb of Bergamo Alta were pedalling with little energies left, so we were all waiting for the sprint, but Martin attacked when the speed had decreased and he deserved the victory. The third place is a good result, I’m happy I could honour the first race I took part in without wearing the rainbow jersey. Today is my birthday and it would have been great celebrating it with a victory, but I’m satisfied for celebrating is knowing that I’m the first Portuguese cyclist to be on the podium of the Giro di Lombardia and that now I’m fourth in the World Tour ranking.”

World champion Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “Today I felt great,” Kwiatkowski said. “I said to the guys that they could support me, and I got that from them. I was relaxed the whole race. I’m thankful for them. But 12 kilometers before the finish I got a cramp in my right leg and I couldn’t pedal anymore. I am not sure what the reason as, but after six and a half hours on the bike those things can happen. I am disappointed in not finishing with a good result at this race, but at the end of the day what can you say? At that point I only tried to get to the finish with honor. Having this jersey with the rainbow stripes on my chest is an incredible feeling. I exited the bus today and the public started to scream my name. That’s something new for me, but I get such support from the spectators during the race it’s amazing. Now my long season is over, and I am happy to end it as UCI World Road Champion. I am looking forward to next season already, riding for Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in the rainbow jersey once again. Now I need rest, and I will see everyone on the road again soon.”

Crash victim Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “Following the last climb, I was in a group chasing the front group on the descent towards the finishing straight. In the final corner, someone crashed right in front of me and I didn’t have time to react. I went down and several riders came from behind and crashed into me. There was simply nothing I could do,” commented Alberto Contador after the race and added: “Unfortunately, I didn’t escape unharmed. I’ve sustained an injury to my left knee, which is the same one I hurt in the Tour and I also have some bruises on my elbow. It’s unlucky that it was the knee again but I think it’s not too serious. I’ll put some ice on it and hopefully I’ll be ready to go.”

It’s not a complicated injury, but it might affect his participation in Tour of Beijing starting next weekend: “Right now, the most important thing is to see how my knee feels tonight and tomorrow morning, when the initial swelling has subsided.” And Valverde moving ahead in the UCI ranking: “Right now it’s not important. He gained points and is now 66 points ahead of me. I will keep my eyes on Tour of Beijing and hopefully I’ll be able to compete.”

Read the full race report on PEZ here.

Giro di Lombardia Result:
1. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp in 6:25:33
2. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:01
3. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
4. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Belisol
5. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) BMC
6. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
8. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
10. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:14
11. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
12. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:18
13. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha at 0:20
14. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:25
15. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale
16. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale
17. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin
18. Tiago Machado (Por) NetApp-Endura
19. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Yellow Fluo
20. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica-GreenEDGE.

Il Lombardia ’14:

header-eurometropoleTour de l’Eurométropole 2014
Arnaud Demare (FDJ.fr) won the bunch sprint from 125 riders at the end of Stage 1 from La Louvière to Kortrijk after 185.8 kilometers. Afer a few early attacks, the break of the day succeeded including: Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp), Angelo Tulik (Europcar), Jan Ghyselinck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Tom Dernies (Wallonie – Bruxelles). They reached an advantage of 4 minutes after 90 kilometres, but all were caught with an hour to go. From then on there were many attacks that all failed and a bunch gallop was inevitable.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Stage 1 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr in 4:18:36
2. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
3. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
5. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek
6. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol
7. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
9. Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr
10. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Overall After Stage 1:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr in 4:18:26
2. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis at 0:04
3. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:06
4. Jan Ghyselinck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:07
5. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Tom Dernies (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
7. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:08
8. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp
9. Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:09.

Belkin rider Theo Bos sprinted to third in the Eurometropole Tour Stage 2. The 171- kilometre stage to Newport was won by Arnaud Démare of team FDJ. The stage started furiously, the riders covering 50 kilometers in the first hour.

“It was very hard in the beginning of the race,” said Sports Director Erik Dekker after the finish. “There was a large group ahead, but the team of Arnaud Démare closed the gap. Four kilometers from the Kemmel, it all came together. However, it remained restless. When FDJ kept riding in front it was obvious that a bunch sprint would follow.”

Along the way, bonus seconds were up for grabs, which should help decide the Eurometropole Tour overall. “Normally, I do not participate in intermediate sprints, but I did today and it worked out well,” said Theo Bos in Middelkerke. “I like that game for seconds and it suits me. I grabbed the necessary seconds. In the last five kilometers, we rode in the lead. It was very hectic and there were a lot of crashes. Fortunately, we were not involved. The sprint train functioned very well today.”

Bos won four seconds in the intermediate sprints and by finishing third, he gained four more seconds for the GC. The gain of eight seconds means the sprinter Team Belkin will move up in the overall standings.

“Every second counts. I was surprised that Theo went along sprinting in the intermediate sprints, but every second counts here,” Erik Dekker continued. “Theo won a sprint and was again third and finished third in the stage so he takes eight seconds and moves up into third at the overall standings. The bonus seconds will play an important role also in tomorrow’s stage.”
Thanks to the Belkin team for race info.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Stage 2 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr in 3:46:28
2. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano
5. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
6. Jerome Kerf (Bel) Color Code-Biowanze
7. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ.fr
9. Roy Jans (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Rudiger Selig (Ger) Katusha.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Overall After Stage 2:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr in 8:04:44
2. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:12
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:14
5. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:16
6. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:17
7. Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp at 0:18
8. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha
9. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Europcar at 0:19
10. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:20.

Stage 2:

Theo Bos won Stage 3 of the Tour de l’Eurometropole today and gave the Belkin Pro Cycling team a farewell gift in the process. In his last race in the team’s green and black colours, he sprinted to victory in the 174-kilometer stage to Middelkerke.

“Super cool! I’m very happy,” Bos said. “During the sprint, I felt I was at the top of my game. I saw two wheels approaching in the end, but fortunately I was able to keep my lead. “I really wanted to do well here. I worked hard to be good, which is, at the end of the season, tough mentally. That’s what makes me extra happy.”

A group of five led the race for a long time, but in the final ten kilometres the attackers were brought to a halt, after which Bos bossed the competition in a mass sprint. His team-mates shared in the festivities afterwards and received compliments.

“Dennis van Winden and Graeme Brown supported me superbly. Dennis dropped me off at the front with one kilometre to go and Graeme put me in an excellent position. After the pack narrowed down to a long line, I was able to focus, wait and jump.

“This is a nice farewell gift. We’re going to celebrate this with the team tonight.”

The focus will quickly shift to Sunday, though. The peloton faces the traditional final stage that runs from Mons to Tournai. After a short run-up, the riders will race eight laps, each one with a climb.

“Our tactic is clear,” said Sports Director Erik Dekker. “We want Theo to remain in the first group so that he can do another good sprint. In the past two years, he has been able to keep up with the first group. We will see what this year will bring.”
Thanks to the Belkin team for race info.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Stage 3 Result:
1. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin in 3:47:54
2. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
3. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
4. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE
5. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Giant-Shimano
6. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
7. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo
8. Sondre Holst Enger (Nor) IAM Cycling
9. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
10. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Overall After Stage 3:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr in 11:52:34
2. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin at 0:06
3. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:12
4. Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Europcar at 0:15
5. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:16
6. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:20
7. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:21
8. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha at 0:22
9. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Europcar at 0:23
10. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:24.

The finale of the 155-kilometer long Final Stage 4 of Tour de l’Eurometropole between Mons and Tournai was dominated by Tinkoff-Saxo stirring things up for Matti Breschel. But the race was decided in another bunch sprint where Demare consolidated his overall win with a third stage win.

A breakaway stole the limelight in the first part of the stage but Tinkoff-Saxo were targeting bonus seconds for Matti Breschel who was seventh overall before today’s stage. After gaining 6 seconds during bonus sprints along the way, Breschel launched a promising attack with 8 kilometers remaining and he was followed by 7 other riders. Behind, FDJ.fr were on a wild chase with their race leader, Arnaud Demare.

With 1.5 kilometres to go, Breschel and his companions were back in the pack and in the bunch sprint, Demare took his third stage win of the race and secured the overall.

Theo Bos concluded the Tour de l’Eurometropole on Sunday with a third place in the overall, marking the end of the Dutchman’s spell with the Belkin Pro Cycling team: “The local lap was quite hard, especially because of the high pace on the climb, where a lot of riders fought for bonus seconds,” said Bos, who recorded a total of nine victories this year. “My legs were not as strong as yesterday and I really suffered. I tried to sprint for the win, but I wasn’t recovered from my efforts and lacked the sharpness to maintain the right position. Luckily, I was able to remain in the peloton, which helped me to secure third place in the overall. “It’s nice to say goodbye with a podium finish. I really made that an objective, and it’s great that I’ve realised my goal.”

Belkin DS Erik Dekker looked back on the Tour de l’Eurometropole with a good feeling on Sunday: “Thanks to the team, Theo claimed a podium finish. Some guys who were here will leave the team and that could have made things complicated, but the men did great. With a stage win and a third place in the overall, it’s been a good week.”

Second overall Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol): “Each time someone of our team was part of a breakaway everyone wanted to be in it. Tinkoff-Saxo and Orica-GreenEdge led the chase of the front group. When that was reeled in Jonas Van Genechten focused on the bonification seconds at the rushes. I would save energy for the sprint. In the last lap Jonas Van Genechten and Tiesj Benoot were both part of the front group, so we were well represented. In the sprint we missed an extra man. Vegard Breen led Kenny Dehaes and me to the front. Then we got at the head of the group too early. Just miss the victory for the third time isn’t fun of course. There went something wrong each sprint, we came to the front too early or too late. The sprint never was perfect and I needed that to beat Démare or Bos. It was waiting to see how I would come out of the Vuelta, but this has shown the condition is good. With this shape I hope to finish as high as possible in the last races of this season.”

Tour de l’Eurométropole Stage 4 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr in 3:13:17
2. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
3. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4. Danny Van Poppel (Ned) Trek
5. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin Sharp
7. Andreas Stauff (Ger) MTN-Qhubeka
8. Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling
9. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
10. Jerome Kerf (Bel) Color Code-Biowanze.

Tour de l’Eurométropole Final Overall Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr in 15:05:41
2. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:16
3. Theo Bos (Ned) Belkin
4. Jonas Vangenechten (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:21
5. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:23
6. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:25
7. Morgan Lamoisson (Fra) Europcar
8. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0:30
9. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Katusha at 0:32
10. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Europcar at 0:33.

Arnaud Demare:
Halle - Ingooigem

header-sparmunster2014Sparkassen Münsterland Giro 2014
André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) won his German home race, the Sparkassen Münsterland Giro after 205 kilometers in a mass sprint ahead of John Degenkolb who was riding for the German national team and not Gienat-Shimano and Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) 3rd. The break of the day instigated by Sam Oomen (Rabobank Development Team), he was joined by German riders Jonas Koch (LKT Team Brandenburg), Georg Loef (Team Stuttgart), Emanuel Buchmann (Rad-Net Rose Team) and Grischa Janorschke (Team Vorarlberg). Sixty kilometres from the finish all five were caught. Next a group of eleven men made their attempt. Among them; Tom Leezer (Belkin), Piotr Havik (Rabobank Development Team) and Reinier Honig (Team Vorarlberg), but the inevitable chase pulled them back.

In the closing stages defending champion Jos van Emden (Belkin) tried to avoid a bunch sprint but his attempt was also unsuccessful. In the sprint for victory Greipel held off his compatriot Degenkolb, the difference was very close, but the photo finish showed Greipel as the winner. This is Greipel’s last race of the season, his sixteenth win of 2014 which is the most wins in the pro peloton.

Race winner André Greipel (Lotto Belisol): “Several teams counted on the sprint. Because we had a rider in each breakaway, we had control over the race. At the end of the race we took our responsibility. I went pretty early, about 250 meters from the finish line, but I could beat Degenkolb. For outsiders I seemed to be close, but in the end the difference was a wheel.”

“Thanks to the good weather there were al lot people along road. Münster has always been the most cycling loving region in Germany and in that way it’s propaganda for the German cycling. Christian Prudhomme was there to represent ASO and looked for possibilities concerning a potential start of the Tour.”

“Those 16 wins are nice and it’s great to be leader of the victory ranking, but if I had the choice I would exchange six to eight wins with one or two in Tour with pleasure. It’s true that I won a lot of Europe Tour races and a little less in the WorldTour. I try to give it my best where ever I may start for myself and for the team, although I’d like to do better next season.”

“For myself the Münsterland Giro was the last race of the season. I will take some weeks of rest now to recover and to enjoy my family. Starting from the first of November I will focus on 2015.”

Sparkassen Münsterland Giro Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol in 4:33:08
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Germany
3. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
4. Ralf Matzka (Ger) Netapp-Endura
5. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin
7. Geert Van Der Weijst (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels
8. André Looij (Ned) Rabobank Development
9. Michel Koch (Ger) Germany
10. Dennis Coenen (Bel) Leopard Development.

Race winner André Greipel:
Munsterland Giro 2014

header-gietenxSuperprestige Cyclo-Cross Gieten 2014
Young Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus) battled hard to win the first round of the Superprestige series in Gieten, Holland on Sunday. Sven Nys (Crelan) had a terrible start, while Van der Poel, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea) and Lars van der Haar (Giant-Shimano) shot off, but during the second lap Van der Poel had chain trouble and had to work his way back up to the front. Meeusen crashed on the 3rd lap leaving Van der Haar and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) in the lead. On lap 4 Van der Haar put the pressure on and Pauwels was dropped. Van der Poel caught Pauwels with Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) with Nys just behind, although Vantornout was dropped as Van der Poel chased down Van der Haar. Nys got together with Vantornout and David van der Poel (BKCP-Powerplus). On the last lap Van der Haar was caught and Van der Poel attacked before the sand section and pushed through the sand for his biggest win. Lars Van Der Haar second and Belgian champion Sven Nys was third.

Superprestige Gieten Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus in 56:10
2. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 0:02
3. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA-drink at 0:37
4. David Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Powerplus at 0:44
5. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:45
6. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:58
7. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea at 1:16
8. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:20
9. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:24
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:31.

header_trekfrtDidier extends and Coledan signs with Trek Factory Racing
Trek Factory Racing announces a contract extension for Laurent Didier and the arrival of Italian sprinter Marco Coledan to the team. Both will remain with the team until the end of 2016.

Laurent Didier is committing to a further two years with the team. The Luxembourger is a proven domestique rider and road captain. He won his first international race at the USA Pro Challenge in August, after taking the national time trial title back in June.

Didier: “There’s really no reason for me to even consider changing teams. I feel good here and I feel a lot of trust from the team in my capacities. I have a lot of friends in this team and we have excellent vibes going on. I like to work for the team, both in one day races and stage races, and I like that I get the occasional opportunity to ride for myself, like in Colorado. I’m really happy with a new two year contract.”

General Manager Luca Guercilena: “Laurent has grown more and more into the role of road captain, especially in races without race radios. He has proven he can deliver for the team in the biggest races. His quality to guide a team and be ‘a director on a bike’ are obvious and we are very happy to have him as a part of team for another two years.”

Trek Factory Racing is also pleased to announce the addition of Marco Coledan to its roster. The 26-year old Italian Giro del Friuli stage winner joins TFR on a two year contract and will hold an important role in the team sprint ambitions.

Coledan: “I’m in the seventh heaven with this opportunity. This team is one of the best in the world and I’m very proud to be a part of it. I am so grateful for the trust that Luca (Guercilena) is giving me and I hope to reward it. The team has some young and talented sprinters and I hope to do my share to bring them to victory.”

Guercilena: “Marco is a very strong rider, although his experience comes from the track, more so than from road racing. He comes to us as one of the few new riders for 2015. We are confident that he can be the right wagon in the sprint train of Giacomo Nizzolo, our first sprinter, now that Danilo Hondo is retiring.”

Laurent Didier winning stage 5 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge – Tour of Colorado 2014:
USA Pro Challenge -2014 - stage - 5

header_OPQS_PRIljo Keisse Stops his ’14 Road Season
OPQS rider Iljo Keisse anticipates an immediate end to his road season following a diagnosed small fracture to his left acetabulum, as consequence of a crash during Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem on the 20th of September.

“Afrer the crash I wasn’t feeling so good,” Keisse said. “Then the situation improved a bit, but then it got worse and worse again. I knew there was something wrong. So together with the team we decided to see what was the problem. Yesterday I went to the hospital for a screening by medical staff, which was when the small fracture was diagnosed. For me, I can ride my bike for a short ride or on the track, but we decided to stop my road season to avoid any risks connected to bad roads or cobblestones that in this moment can generate vibrations on my hip and possibly cause problems. I am sad to see my season end this way, but the injury will require only a couple weeks to heal. So, with such a short healing time, it would make no sense to take risks rather than simply focus on recovery and getting back to training as soon as possible.”

This injury and recovery time will not affect the 6-Days season of Iljo Keisse. He will start training in function of track racing in two weeks. His complete 6-days program will be released soon by the team.

Iljo Keisse winning the Rotterdam ‘6 Days’ with team mate Niki Terpstra:
Zesdaagse van Rotterdam 2014 - day 6

header_belkinTeam Belkin Strengthened by Two Riders and Four renewals
The Belkin Pro Cycling team contracted two new cyclists, Timo Roosen and Tom Van Asbroeck, for 2015 and 2016. Roosen joins from the Rabobank Development Team and Van Asbroeck leaves Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise. The team also extended its contracts with Rick Flens, Maarten Tjallingii (both through 2015), Robert Wagner and Maarten Wynants (through 2016).

Timo Roosen
Roosen, 21-years old, won a stage and placed second overall in the prestigious Kreiz Breizh Elites stage race this season. In the Ster ZLM Toer, he took home the sprint classification.

“This is a great step for me,” said Roosen. “I didn’t expect this so quickly because it was only my first year at the Rabobank Development Team. I have dreamed about this. “I look forward to riding beautiful races with this professional team. The current season is not over yet, but I can’t wait to take on this new challenge. Next year, I primarily want to help others and learn a lot doing that. I hope to improve my time trialling.”

“Timo is a very young rider, but he quickly developed himself during the second half of the season,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “He is versatile and can race a good prologue. We are happy that we’ve been able to attract a big Dutch talent like him. Like with all young riders, the first season will be about development while helping, but you cannot stop top riders from having their chance.”

Tom Van Asbroeck
24-year-old Belgian Van Asbroeck impressed from the beginning until the end this year. He finished second in Nokere Koerse, second in the GP Jef Scherens in September and triumphed twice this year, in the Tour de Wallonie stage four and the Cholet-Pays De Loire.

“I want to keep improving myself as a rider and this is the perfect team to do so,” said Van Asbroeck. “I’m still learning what kind of rider I truly am. Primarily, I’m a sprinter, but I would also like to show that I’m a classics rider.”

“As a team you’re always looking for winners,” Verhoeven said. “Tom has won several times this season, but his consistent level is appealing, as well. For that reason he’s leading UCI Europe Tour ranking.

“He can improve with us. He will be supported by us during races. Tom is of the same age as Moreno Hofland, and both are similar types of riders: quick in a sprint, but good in the classics, as well. They can help each other become stronger.”

Reliable and loyal men
Verhoeven is content that with Rick Flens, Maarten Tjallingii, Robert Wagner and Maarten Wynants — four strong domestiques — will remain with the Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM.
“They are reliable and loyal riders who every leader would like having around,” said Verhoeven. “They can ride grand tours and classics, and have done well in both areas this year.”

Rick Flens: “I’m glad that I can keep doing what a love on the highest level,” Flens added. “This contract shows that my work is appreciated. We’re truly one group, which certainly contributes to the results. With the new sponsor, we start a new adventure. Hopefully the stability will help bring in results. I’m looking forward to contribute to that.”

Maarten Tjallingii: “I’ve always said that I wanted to stay with the team,” Tjallingii said. “We have a squad with many talented riders with whom we can win races, and I want to help with that thanks to my experience. I’ll be 37 years old next year, and that makes me the oldest rider in the team. I want to get most out of myself and encourage others to do the same. A good example tends to be followed.”

Robert Wagner: “My heart is with this team. I have a good connection with the management and the riders. I know what they expect from me and they know what I expect from them. My first task is to help others. and I feel good about it. I look forward to supporting Sep Vanmarcke in the classics and the fast men in the sprints.”

Maarten Wynants: “I’ve been here for four years and know the ins and outs of the team. I want to take on an important role in the classics. Until late in the final, I want to support Sep Vanmarcke. Sep is improving in the classics, and that played a part in my decision. Our team is able to fight for the win in every race. That is worth a lot to me.”

Maarten Wynants in stage 4 of Paris – Nice 2014:
Paris-Nice stage-4

header nippofantiniCunego to Nippo-Vini Fantini
Damiano Cunego has signed a two year contract with the Nippo-Vini Fantini after 10 years with the Lampre team. The Nippo-Vini Fantini team is registered as a Continental team at the moment, but will be stepping up Pro Continental level in 2015.

header_lampre-meridaDamiano Cunego Decade: Ten Years in Blu-Fuchsia
After reaching the goal of a decade, the cycling roads of Lampre-Merida and Cunego will divide. The 2014 is the last season in our team of a cyclist that became a symbol of the team thanks to his skills and the results he got.

The team and Cunego celebrated together 27 times, this is the number of victories that Damiano obtained wearing blu-fuchsia colors (and in the past two seasons also in Merida green). The numbers talk for themselves, but the memories are worth a lot more than the figures.

In this relationship, both parties gave a lot to the other: the team thanks Damiano for these ten years, being aware that this gratitude is largely repaid. Damiano Cunego will take part in the Giro dell’Emilia (October the 11th) and in Japan Cup (October the 20th); after a shared choice, Il Lombardia is not in his program of races. It’s obvious that, even if the professional relationship will end, the personal relation with a protagonist of the team’s history will never end.

In the photo, a collection of the pictures of the best moments of Cunego in the team.

header-saitamacrit2014 Tour de France Saitama Criterium: Arashiro takes Japanese Cycling into the Spotlight
From Nibali and Kittel to Péraud and Démare, the Saitama Criterium will shine with the stars of the Tour de France on October 25. Japanese riders will also draw the spotlight on an event many see as their ticket to glory.

Just like last year, fans are expected to turn out in force to watch the elite of world cycling light the fireworks throughout the three-course Saitama Criterium, which will feature the winners of the last two editions of the Tour de France, Vincenzo Nibali and Chris Froome, as well as the fastest sprinters in the peloton, including Marcel Kittel, Alexander Kristoff and Peter Sagan. The event will also provide a stage for the 34 Japanese guest riders to prove their mettle against some of the biggest names in cycling in front of the home crowds and the entire world.

The two Japanese riders in this season’s World Tour, Yukiya Arashiro and Fumiyuki Beppu, are already used to rubbing shoulders with the star guests in Saitama, both in Europe and elsewhere. The Europcar rider, for instance, finished 10th in this year’s Amstel Gold Race, a prestigious spring classic, while “Fumy” worked as a loyal domestique at Trek Factory Racing.

With these two trailblazers spearheading the Tour de France Japan Team on October 25, there’s no doubt Japanese riders will strive to put their best foot forward. Junya Sano, who took his first Japanese championship this year after several podium finishes, could end up stealing the show. He certainly isn’t scared of racing against the world elite: “Tour de France riders shouldn’t underestimate Japanese riders. We’ll be racing in teams this year, just like them, and rest assured that every single Japanese team will pull out all the stops to project a positive image of Japanese cycling”. The Nipponese peloton will also feature Miyataka Shimizu, who won Paris-Corrèze in 2008 and was the only member of the national team to finish the World Championship race in Ponferrada (94th). However, the most knowledgeable pundits are already thinking of the future with 22-year-old Tanzo Tokuda, who has won all junior and under-23 national titles in his career so far. The rider from Kyoto will likely be shadowed by his track counterpart, Eiya Hashimoto, who recently became Asian Omnium champion at the young age of 20. Who knows, perhaps it’s just the start…

The main participants
Astana Pro Team: Nibali (Ita), Westra (NL); Cannondale: Sagan (Svk), De Marchi (Ita); Tinkoff-Saxo: Majka (Pol), Rogers (Aus); AG2R La Mondiale: Péraud, Bardet, Kadri (Fra); Team Giant Shimano: Kittel (Ger), Barguil (Fra); Team Sky: Froome (GB); Team Katusha: Kristoff (Nor); Fdj.fr: Démare, Roy (Fra). Tour de France Japan Team : Arashiro, Beppu (Jap). Japanese teams: Special Team Japan for Saitama (Sano, Champion of Japan 2014), Asian Racing Team, Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team, Matrix Powertag, Shimano Racing Team, Team Ujyo, Utsunomiya Blitzen, Vini Fantini Nippo.

Yukiya Arashiro and his wife Miwa:

The World Crampion!
Michal Kwiatkowski’s first race in the rainbow jersey was going so well until the worst case of cramp hit the World champion. He still looks good in that jersey though:

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