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Pre-Worlds EuroTrash!

It’s World championships time and we kick off with the team time trial on Sunday. Race reports and video from Agostoni, Wallonie and Bernocchi, the teams’ preview the TTT and more transfer news fill EuroTrash. Other cycling news: Degenkolb is sick and the Giro d’Italia returns to Madonna di Campiglio. Coffee?

TOP STORY: Contador Returns to Pinto
2014 Vuelta a España winner Alberto Contador returned to his home town of Pinto to a big welcome. No World championships for Alberto, but he seems happy enough with his ’14 season. Contador said at the presentation: “The experience is amazing, it gives you goosebumps waving to all your people. I’m proud and is a lasting memory.” He also said about next year, “the first person who is thinking about the next Tour is me, I will do my best to prepare and get in condition, being aware that it is very difficult.”

As for the comparisons between his career and Miguel Indurain, he wanted to play it down. “Of course it’s an honor, but it isn’t a matter of comparing each other. He was an amazing rider with a great palmarés and all that I do is try to enjoy what I’m doing and try to achieve my goals.” As to future objectives; to do the three big tours in the same season. “At the moment it is not a goal,” he said, “I have to think, because it is something that motivates me, to do something different, but I have to look at the pros and cons and today I think I will not.” Finally, Alberto admitted that despite having suffered a terrible crash in the Tour just two months before this latest triumph, the 2014 Vuelta was not the most special to him. “They’ve all had something special and perhaps the most special is 2012, because my form was not the best and I had to invent a stage that changed the general.”

Alberto will not end the season yet; “the first thing is rest. I have to talk to the team and probably will close the season at the Tour of Lombardy.”

Vuelta champ Alberto Contador comes home to Pinto:

header-coppaagostoniCoppa Agostoni 2014
One year after the victory of Filippo Pozzato, Lampre-Merida celebrated the success of Niccolò Bonifazio. 

The twenty year old Italian cyclist won the final sprint of the 68th edition of Coppa Agostoni after 199,6 km with the start and arrival in Lissone, on an interesting course that makes the riders cover the climbs of Ello, Colle Brianza, Giovenzana and Lissolo (55 km to the finish). 

After an early escape had been caught, on the approach of the Lissolo climb, with 60 km to go, a group of 9 counter-attackers escaped from the bunch, but these riders did not succeed in reaching more that a lead of 1:30. 

Lampre-Merida worked hard to pull them back with 7km to go and launched Niccolo Bonifazio to a winning sprint, 2nd Grega Bole (Vini Fantini-Nippo) and 3rd Simone Ponzi (Neri Sottoli). 

For Bonifazio the Coppa Agostoni is the 3rd success of the season after winning the Sakai Criterium and the final stage of Tour of Japan. Rui Costa rode his last race wearing the rainbow jersey. 


Race winner Niccolo Bonifacio (Lampre-Merida): “It’s something special to complete a perfect performance by the team by obtaining a victory, that’s why I’m so happy. 
The whole team supported me in an amazing way: Dodi and Cattaneo neutralized the breakaway after Lissolo, then Rui Costa led me in the approach to the sprint. You cannot image what it means to receive the help by the world champion, it’s such an honor and it gave me even more energies for the sprint. 

After the climbs, I could come back to the bunch, then I could focus my attention only on the sprint. 

I thank my team, Rui Costa and the sponsors for their support during this first year as pro.”


Astana’s Paolo Tiralongo escaped with the breakaway with four other riders and built an advantage of more than seven minutes at one point: “I tried to race the final climb with all of my leg power, and it’s too bad they caught us just a few km before the finish.”

7th Sergey Lagutin (RusVelo) said: “The race was extremely fast right from the start, with the speed around 60 km/h most of the time. And yet, two breakaways were formed: first a large one, that was chased down pretty soon; than a smaller one went away. The latter was easier to control, and big teams in the bunch were sure to close the gap the moment they needed. The peloton fell apart completely on the third climb of the day; I found myself with those who had to give a chase on a technical descent. When whatever was left of the bunch came together there were no more than sixty riders left in it; the climbers were reeled in and everything came to a bunch sprint. I’m not a sprint specialist, the teammates did their best to bring me to the front and I made the most of the position I had; so I can be reasonably satisfied with the result. We had a two-week long training camp in Livigno, then did come special TTT training for the Worlds. Overall, the team created a solid functional base; we are still lacking some speed but keep gaining it quickly. Tomorrow is the third part of the Trittico Lombardo, Tre Valli Versine, with the course that suits me most of the three, I’ll do my best to give it a serious try.”

Coppa Agostoni Result:
1. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Lampre-Merida in 4:27:21
2. Grega Bole (Slo) Vini-Fantini-Nippo
3. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Neri Sottoli
4. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
5. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Neri Sottoli
6. Andrea Piechele (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
7. Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) RusVelo
8. Davide Mucelli (Ita) Meridiana Kamen Team
9. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Colombia
10. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Coppa Agostoni:

header-wallonieGP de Wallonie 2014
BMC Racing Team’s Greg Van Avermaet notched his second victory of the season Wednesday by attacking out of a small group to win Grand Prix de Wallonie.

Van Avermaet and three others – defending champion Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step), Frank Schleck (Trek) and Jelle Vanendert (Lotto Belisol) – shook free of the peloton in the final 20 kilometers of the 198.2-km race. The quartet enjoyed as much as a 35-second lead approaching the final climb, the Citadelle de Namur, before Bakelants attacked unsuccessfully several times on the cobblestones. “I was pretty strong and I was confident to keep it all together for my sprint because I felt I was fastest of the group,” Van Avermaet said. “But with the attacks, it always slowed down again and the peloton was coming back. So it was a little bit tricky.” Inside the final 300 meters, with Vanendert’s teammate, Tony Gallopin, having bridged to the group, Van Avermaet went to his sprint entering the final right-left curve before the finish and had enough time to sit up and celebrate the BMC Racing Team’s 26th win of the season. “I am really happy with this result because it gives me a good feeling going toward the worlds,” Van Avermaet said. “I was already good in Canada, but my sprint was never really great there. Today, everything went perfectly.” Van Avermaet was fifth and seventh, respectively, at the Grands Prix Cycliste races in Canada Friday and Sunday. His first win of the season came last month on Stage 5 of the Eneco Tour of Benelux. “It is always hard to do this race after Canada,” Van Avermaet said, “but it is one of the nice races at the end of the year in Belgium. So it is always worth it.”

Gallopin (Lotto Belisol) finished second, two seconds after Van Avermaet, while Bakelant was third. BMC Racing team’s Dylan Teuns finished sixth and earned best young rider honors. A stagiaire who has signed with the BMC Racing Team for 2015, Teuns said he had a front-row seat to watch the chase of Van Avermaet’s group, which was led by Tinkoff-Saxo. “On the last climb, I was just sitting there and making the other guys do the work. It was perfect,” he said. “I was a little bit scared toward the end because there were a lot of good guys and then Gallopin attacked. I went with the counter and just followed the guys in front of me. Then I looked up ahead and saw that Greg was gone.” BMC Racing Team’s Steve Morabito, racing for the first time since a crash knocked him out of the Vuelta a España, finished 13th and just behind the group containing Teuns. BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri said the team, which started only seven riders, did a good job of monitoring two breakaways before Van Avermaet’s group escaped. “Greg was really good and I thought he raced really smart today,” Sciandri said. “This was not an easy race and it was a great win for the team and for Greg as he looks ahead to the worlds.”

GP de Wallonie Result:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 4:47:17
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol at 0:02
3. Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
4. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:04
5. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:06
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
7. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
8. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek
9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 0:08
10. Gaetan Bille (Bel) Verandas Willems at 0:09.

GP de Wallonie:

header-CoppaBernocchiCoppa Bernocchi 2014
On Tuesday Elia Viviani (Cannondale) won the sprint in Legnano to take the Coppa Bernocchi from Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) and Simone Ponzi (Neri Sottoli). Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was in the group of twenty odd riders who fought out the finish. The first break of the day managed to escape even with the high speed of 48 kph in the first hour. The escapees were: Caleb Ewan (Australia), Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia), Kenny De Ketele (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Jaroslaw Marycz (CCC Polsat), at one point they had a lead of 10 minutes, but Cannondale and Astana chased them down. Caleb Ewan and Juan Pablo Valencia were the last to be caught in the last 15 kilometers, and with the hard work of Peter Sagan for his Cannondale teammate; Viviani was perfectly placed for the win.

Race winner Elia Viviani (Cannondale): “I wanted to this win and the team gave me the support to do it. Sabatini and Sagan forced the pace for me on the Piccolo Stelvio because I knew I had good legs.”

2nd Filippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida): “I believed in the opportunity of getting to the victory, I did my best in the sprint. I approached the sprint in the best possible way, I was aware I could win; unfortunately, Viviani performed an amazing sprint, his speed was unbeatable. 
I won’t be in Coppa Agostoni, so I won’t have the opportunity to repeat the victory I had obtained in 2013, but I’ll be at the start of Tre Valli Varesine.”

Vincenzo Nibali (Astana): “Most important was that I felt good after 50 days of no racing – tomorrow is a course more suited to me, today I think I spent more energy than I expected.”

Immediately after the race, which was the first race Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) had taken part in after his forced activity pause, the UCI notified the cyclist of his referral to the Swiss Cycling disciplinary commission. 
Finally, in the next weeks, the rider and his team will have a final answer to the long procedure concerning this topic. 

Respecting the internal rules of the team and the rules of MPCC, considering the referral Ulissi won’t take part in the next races.

Coppa Bernocchi Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale in 4:27:06
2. Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3. Simone Ponzi (Ita) Neri Sottoli
4. Davide Vigano (Ita) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Fabio Chinello (Ita) Area Zero D’Amico
6. Sergey Lagutin (Rus) Rusvelo
7. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
8. Mirko Selvaggi (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Tiago Machado (Por) Netapp-Endura
10. Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement.

The Coppa Bernocchi sprint:

header-worlds14World Road Championships 2014
The UCI Road World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain starts on September the 21st and runs to the 28th. The racing begins with the team time trial this Sunday and finishes with the men’s elite road race on the last Sunday. Here is the race list:

Sunday 21 September: Women ́s Team Time Trial & Men ́s Team Time Trial.
Monday 22 September: Women Junior Individual Time Trial & Men Under 23 Individual Time Trial.
Tuesday 23 September: Men Junior Individual Time Trial & Women Elite Individual Time Trial.
Wednesday 24 September: Men Elite Individual Time Trial.
Friday 26 September: Women Junior Road Race & Men Under 23 Road Race.
Saturday 27 September: Men Junior Road Race & Women Elite Road Race.
Sunday 28 September: Men Elite Road Race.

header_OPQS_PROPQS to the UCI World TTT Championship
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team has finalized the six-rider selection for the OPQS two-time UCI World TTT Champion defense.

Colombian rider Rigoberto Uran will not fly to Spain to participate. Today he passed a few examinations in Belgium, together with team medical staff. His diagnosis was confirmed asthmatic bronchitis. He will follow therapy for the next five days and be ready for the UCI World Road Championship on the 28th of September.

“We will fly to Ponferrada on Wednesday,” Sport Director Tom Steels said. “The parcours looks more difficult than the one of last year, more technical for sure. But fortunately we will fly there Wednesday, so we will have three days to get into the rhythm of the race, to study details, and prepare as nest we can. The team is strong. We believe this team can repeat the success of the first two attempts. All the guys showed they are in good condition for the race where they each competed in the last week. We have Tony Martin, who is the core as three-time UCI World TT Champion. Then we have Niki Terpstra, who is a guarantee to perform in this effort as he was on the world championship team the last two years. Then we have Michal Kwiatkowski, who was a part of the team last year and showed his strength at Tour of Britain a few days ago. Tom Boonen is also there. He can’t wait to be a part of the team again after the experience the 2012 gold medal in Valkenburg. Then we have the two new rider selections in Pieter Serry and Julien Vermote. Serry was selected for the Belgian World TT Championship team, which shows his prowess and his condition for the chrono. Vermote just won a race at Tour of Britain with a long breakway and a solo victory. Both guys showed their ability and also their improvement, particularly through working on time trials with the help of Specialized. So the team is really competitive and ready to play a role in Ponferrada.”

header-europcarThe Europcar TTT Squad
Riders:
Jérome Cousin, Dan Craven, Jimmy Engoulvent, Romain Guillemois, Christophe Kern and Yannick Martinez.
Directeur Sportif: Lylian Lebreton.

header_belkinBelkin gives ‘everything possible’ for Worlds TTT
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will start the World Championships team trial Sunday in Ponferrada, Spain, with five riders who have finished the Vuelta a España. Rick Flens completes the six-headed squad for the 57-kilometre course in northwest Spain.

“A Vuelta often makes for some extras in the legs, but it’s such a hard race that you cannot think about the time trial during the tour, which we haven’t,” said Sports Director Erik Dekker. “We deliberately decided to blow off some steam after the final stage. The wives, girlfriends and children came over on Sunday for some family time. That was necessary after such a long period. Starting Wednesday, we’ll shift our focus to the time trial.”

‘Nice’ non-technical course
Dekker and the riders already know the course well. In April, after the Tour of Basque Country, the Sports Director explored the roads of Ponferrada by bike and shared his experiences. “It’s not exactly technically, there are few corners and it is almost flat. I think it’s a nice time trial course.”

He admits the team adjusted its ambitions without Lars Boom and Robert Gesink racing. “They are two really good riders, and we will miss them, but that shouldn’t distract us from the reality. We’ll be riding the most important team time trial of the year on Sunday and we’ll do everything we can to finish as high up as possible.”

Stef Clement
Stef Clement agrees with his Sports Director. The four-time Dutch time trial champion and bronze medallist at the 2007 Worlds said the team will focus on its own performance.

“We need to focus on ourselves and ride as fast as possible. The guys who have completed the Vuelta are looking strong and I think Rick has had a good Tour of Britain. “I didn’t start the Vuelta very well, but improved along the way. I’m fit and with some rest and a few solid training rides, I should be ready for Sunday.”

TEAM line-up:
Stef Clement, Rick Flens, Martijn Keizer, Wilco Kelderman, Maarten Tjallingii and Robert Wagner.
Sports Director: Erik Dekker.

header-giant-shimanoTeam Giant-Shimano is back in team time trial action this Sunday at the World Championships in the discipline
Two riders return to the race after competing last year in Tom Dumoulin (NED) and Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), giving the line-up some strong time trialing experience – with both riders having won time trials this season.

They are joined by two other riders racing off the back of the Vuelta, Nikias Arndt (GER) and Chad Haga (USA), with Arndt finishing the final stage time trial in 14th position.

The six man line-up is then completed by Marcel Kittel (GER) and Georg Preidler (AUT). They will line-up on Sunday afternoon to tackle the 57.1km course looking for a strong improvement on the team’s 14th place last season.

“Everybody is coming into this race after good preparation,” said coach Adriaan Helmantel (NED). “Either in Britain, Canada or in Spain. The guys coming from Canada may be a bit jet lagged but they should be well recovered by Sunday.

“The guys coming here from the Vuelta all finished the race in a good way. After a Grand Tour you usually don’t feel very fresh but are very strong, and that is good for a team time trial.

“We have shown progression in this discipline this year, coming on from 17th in Tirreno, to ninth at the Giro then sixth at the Vuelta. I am confident we can make another step here this year, but the most important is the process rather than the result. This discipline is becoming more important for us in stage races now and it is important for the team to keep developing here.”

Line-up:
Nikias Arndt (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Marcel Kittel (GER), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Georg Preidler (AUT).
Coach: Adriaan Helmantel (NED).

header-skyTeam Sky TTT Line-up
Salvatore Puccio, Vasil Kiryienka, Geraint Thomas, Bradley Wiggins, Dario Cataldo and Kanstantsin Siutsou. Chris Froome is not in the squad, he is missing the team and the individual time trials to concentrate on the elite men’s road race.

header-oricageAmbitious ORICA-GreenEDGE set for world Championships
ORICA-GreenEDGE has named an ambitious lineup for the UCI Team Time Trial World Championship to be held in Ponferrada, Spain this Sunday. With proven success in the discipline, including stage wins at the 2013 Tour de France and 2014 Giro d’Italia, the goal for the outfit is direct. “We’re going to the world championships for one reason and that is to win the gold medal,” sport director Matt White said.

Amongst them features an under 23 individual time trial world champion in Damien Howson and two current national champions in Michael Hepburn (Australia) and Svein Tuft (Canada). Having won bronze and silver medals in the two editions so far, ORICA-GreenEDGE is searching for that elussive gold to complete their collection.

“We have made good progression over the last three years,” White continued. “We finished third, a little off the pace, in our first attempt two years ago. Last year we were agonisingly close which was incredible when you think the race was over one hour and four minutes and we lost by 0.8 of a second.”

The group is well drilled, the majority have been working together in the numerous team time trial successes over the past two years and the discipline has been a major objective on their 2014 programs. Coming from a training and selection camp in Girona, White is confident the mixed line up has the depth to deliver on the 57.1km course.

ORICA-GreenEDGE at the UCI Team Time Trial World Championships:
Brett Lancaster, Damien Howson, Jens Mouris, Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn, Svein Tuft.

lottobelisol_headerLotto Belisol TTT Squad
The team time trial is the first event of the World Championships. Today Lotto Belisol announces its selection of seven riders. After the reconnaissance the six names that will ride the team trial will be determined.
 


Selection Lotto Belisol:
Lars Bak, Vegard Breen, Sean De Bie, Adam Hansen, Greg Henderson, Pim Ligthart and Maxime Monfort.
Sports directors: Herman Frison and Bart Leysen.

header_BMCBMC Racing Team Roster: World Team Time Trial
The BMC Racing Team’s six-man roster for the UCI world team time trial Sunday will include USA Pro Challenge winner Tejay van Garderen and Slovakian national time trial champion Peter Velits.

Quinziato, Van Garderen On Roster Again
Van Garderen and Velits will be joined by Rohan Dennis – silver medalist in the individual time trial in the Commondwealth Games – Silvan Dillier, Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato. The six will race their BMC timemachine TM01s over a 57.1-kilometer course in Ponferrada, Spain. The BMC Racing Team was runner-up in the inaugural world team time trial in 2012 and finished fourth last year. Manuel Quinziato and Tejay van Garderen were on the roster of both squads. Velits, a three-time national time trial champion, has been part of the winning team time trial squad the past two seasons.

Riders:
Rohan Dennis (AUS), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Daniel Oss (ITA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Peter Velits (SVK).
Sport Directors: Allan Peiper (AUS) & Jackson Stewart (USA).

KAT14_Logo_624_317Team Katusha for World Championship Team Time Trial
The Russian WorldTour Team Katusha will take part in the team time trial of the UCI World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. The TTT of 57,1 km will be held this Sunday, on September 21st.

Katusha’s roster: Maxim Belkov, Pavel Brutt, Vladimir Isaychev, Gatis Smukulis, Anton Vorobyev, Vladimir Gusev and Viacheslav Kuznetsov. Six out of these seven riders will be chosen to start.
Sports director of the team is Dmitry Konyshev.

2013 World TTT Championships:

header-MTNMatthew Goss Joins Team MTN-Qhubeka
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung are delighted to announce that Australian, Matthew Goss will join Team MTN-Qhubeka for the 2015 cycling season. Goss is an exceptional bike rider who has won races in multiple World Tour events, including stages of the Giro d’ Italia, Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice. The victory that really stands out on Goss’ palmares though, is his 2011 Milano-Sanremo triumph.

While Goss is a seasoned professional having spent his last 8 years racing on World Tour teams, the Aussie star at only 27 years of age, has his best racing years ahead of him. The experience and fire power that Goss brings to MTN-Qhubeka compliments our team goals for 2015 as we target the Spring Classics and Grand Tours. The following Goss has around the world will also help us to further globalise our team in support of the Qhubeka foundation.

Matt Goss: I am very excited to be joining Africa’s Pro-Continental outfit, Team MTN-Qhubeka. I think that the foundations and ideas that the team is built on are really inspiring and motivating. Racing and winning as a team, for the sponsors and myself while helping to raise awareness for a great foundation like Qhubeka. I can’t wait to make the most of this opportunity, to win at the highest level throughout the Spring Classics and grand tours.

The team being built for 2015 is going to be a fantastic team with great depth, strength and motivation. I come with a lot of experience racing at highest level over the past 8 years and i’m excited to share my knowledge with the new generation of up and coming African riders. I look forward to working with the many other strong riders already part of Team MTN-Qhubeka and the riders joining for 2015.

Tirreno - Adriatico 2013 stage 2

header_movistarValverde Stays with Movistar
Current UCI WorldTour’s No. 2 renews contract with Eusebio Unzué’s structure through 2017 after one of his most brilliant seasons as pro.

Alejandro Valverde signed a new contract with the Movistar Team and will stay together with Eusebio Unzué, with whom he has raced for nine of his twelve pro seasons since 2005 and achieved a legendary palmarès including more than 80 victories. Valverde, 34, has signed a three-year extension to continue a long term at the top of the sport, having claimed his sixth overall podium in the Vuelta a España last week and hoping to add another success on September 28 at the World Championships, where he has obtained a record five medals in the road race, held in Ponferrada, Spain.

“I’m supper happy,” explained the Murcia-born rider. “This was just what we both wanted: Eusebio wanted me to stay, and I wanted to keep wearing these colours. At the end of the day, this is my home and we get on with each other well. I feel better than when I was 25; seasons seem shorter to me because I’m able to cope with pressure better. Being more mature makes you more calm and helps you see things differently.”

The Movistar Team’s general manager underlines the strengthened potential this renewal adds to the top World Tour team in the 2014 standings: “He’s an incomparable rider. There’s not one able to keep as much focus and willingness to win through the whole season like he does. He performs just like the best and gives us lots of reasons to keep supporting him every day. Though he’s spent so much time at the top, he shows us to be feeling like a 25-year-old. He’s superb.”

Tour of Spain 2014 stage - 18

header_OPQS_PROPQS Extends Contracts with Carlos Verona, Martin Velits
OPQS announces the extension of contracts for Spanish rider Carlos Verona, and Slovak rider Martin Velits, for two more seasons (2015 & 2016).



Carlos Verona is a 21-year-old rider who just completed his first grand tour in his home country of Spain. He finished 9th in Stage 14, was in several breakaways, and was a valuable domestique for Rigoberto Uran. He was also 3rd in Tour de l’Ain Stage 4.

”I’m excited to be continuing my career with Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, a team that has supported my growth as a young guy,” Verona said. “I came to this team with ambitions to develop as a rider, but I also love the way the team uses technology to engage with fans, something I love to do. The OPQS philosophy of team spirit is something I really like and think it has helped me feel comfortable learning in a professional environment. I am happy to keep developing with OPQS colors on my back for the next two years.”



Martin Velits, 29, is a team oriented rider, with skills for the time trials and the one-day races. He’s had consistent and reliable performances throughout the 2014 season.

”I’m looking forward to my future with OPQS, after being with the team for several years now,” Velits said. “I’ve really embraced my role as a rider able to work for my teammates. I’ve been a part of some strong teams and I think we will continue to get better in the next years. I want to evolve as a cyclist under the umbrella of OPQS, with great support from staff and riders that are as much friends as teammates.”

”Both these riders had great performances at La Vuelta and throughout the season,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “Martin Velits is a developed rider, but he showed true professionalism and a great attitude throughout the three weeks. Carlos Verona is still discovering himself, but showed the results of hard preparation for his first grand tour in Spain. He was clearly proud to ride for us in his home country. I think both Velits and Verona are both a good fit for our team and I personally look forward to seeing what each can do over the next two seasons.”

Carlos Verona:
Cycling: 66th Criterium du Dauphine 2014 / Stage 8

header-astanaOne More Year at Astana for Andrea Guardini
Astana Pro Team has extended a one-year contract renewal with Andrea Guardini for the 2015 season –
Guardini won two stages this year at the Tour de Langkawi, two stages at the Tour of Denmark and the first stage at the Eneco Tour, where he took the leader’s jersey. Guardini, from Italy, recently completed his first career Grand Tour at the 2014 Vuelta a España.

Astana Pro Team General Manager commented on Guardini’s contract renewal: “Andrea is a sprinter who can win races, and we are confident that next year he can compete at the front with Cavendish, Kittel and the best sprinters in the world.”

denmark14st4-guardini620

header-boraBjörn Thurau returns to Germany
The squad for Germany’s professional cycling team is taking shape. With Björn Thurau, another German rider will join the team, which will be riding with a new German name sponsor as of next year. The 26-year-old is considered a high-performing rouleur, able to make an impression in many races with his breakaway attempts.

“The team, built around the new name sponsor BORA, is one with a future and a German background. I am very much looking forward to riding in a team with a German sponsor for the next two years. One of the deciding factors for me was that I’ll get my own chances in the races that suit me. I aim to try and be an important element of the team and to finally notch up a win in 2015”, says Björn Thurau, commenting on his move.

“Björn has made a reputation as a breakaway specialist and thus proved that he tackles every race with determination. Attacks do make our sport exciting, but we believe it’s time for the next step. Björn brings with him strong physical attributes for various different race situations. When we combine his performance abilities with the right tactics, his first pro victory is just a matter of time”, says Team Manager Ralph Denk, looking ahead to the new season.

Björn Thurau has been riding for the French Team Europcar since 2012. Thurau tackled his first three-week national tour this year in the Giro d’Italia. The Frankfurt-born rider topped off a successful season in the WorldTour by clinching the KOM jersey in the challenging Tour de Suisse.

Vattenfall Cyclassics 2014

header-giant-shimanoJohn Degenkolb in Hospital
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) is currently recovering in hospital in Germany from an infection to his wounds caused by his crash on the seventh stage of the Vuelta a España.

Degenkolb crashed early in the stage and, despite suffering from a large amount of road rash, managed to finish the stage. Despite his injuries he was able to go on and win another two stages as well as the green jersey. However, after the racing was over one of the wounds became infected and under the guidance of the Team Giant-Shimano medical experts he was admitted to hospital in Germany.

“John has been hospitalised to be treated with intravenous antibiotics after one of the wounds he sustained early in the Vuelta became infected,” explained team medical expert Anko Boelens (NED). “The healing process was going as expected until the morning of the penultimate stage when one of the almost-healed wounds became painful again.

“Since regular antibiotics were no longer having an effect John was hospitalised. We expect him to be out in the next two days – he is already feeling a lot better and the intravenous antibiotics are having the desired effect.”

Degenkolb added: “After the race my lymph nodes swelled up to ping-pong ball size and then I could barely walk with the pain. It turns out one of the abrasions was deeper than we thought. A combination of the work-load at the Vuelta and the healing of the skin led to inflammation.

“I tortured myself over the final stages in order not to lose the jersey, then at night I got chills and fevers and was admitted to hospital after my flight home.

“Thanks go to the public hospital in Frankfurt, and the nurses and doctors – I feel in good hands here. I will stay here under observation for a few more days but I keep my goal, the World Championships, in mind.”

The infection means that Degenkolb will unfortunately miss out on the World Championships Team Time Trial this Sunday, which he was originally planned to compete in.

Tour of Spain 2014 stage - 12

header_BMCHushovd Will Close Career Saturday
Past world road champion Thor Hushovd will close his professional cycling career Saturday in Belgium at the Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem, the BMC Racing Team announced Wednesday.

Leaving His Legacy
Hushovd’s final race will cap 15 years in the peloton that include his world title in 2010, 10 stage wins and two points classification titles at the Tour de France and three Norwegian national road and time trial victories. “It has been a real pleasure to have Thor be a part of the BMC Racing Team in the twilight of his career,” BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. “We will not soon forget the impact he has had on the sport, especially in his home country of Norway.” Joining Hushovd on the roster for Saturday’s race is Greg Van Avermaet, winner of the Grand Prix de Wallonie on Wednesday. The BMC Racing Team will also compete Sunday in France in the Grand Prix d’Isbergues.

Primus Classic Impanis-Van Petegem Roster (Sept. 20):
Luke Davison (AUS), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Martin Kohler (SUI), Sebastian Lander (DEN), Michael Schär (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).

Grand Prix d’Isbergues Roster (Sept. 21):
Luke Davison (AUS), Yannick Eijssen (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Martin Kohler (SUI), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Michael Schär (SUI), Loïc Vliegen (BEL), Rick Zabel (GER).
Sport Director: Max Sciandri (ITA).

Thor Hushovd’s last thunder:
Roubaix - France  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -

header-giroGiro d’Italia Returns to Madonna di Campiglio
The stage will be held on Sunday 24 May; it’s the second time in the history of the Corsa Rosa that a stage ends in Madonna di Campiglio, 16 years after Marco Pantani’s victory at the famous arrival in 1999. The Trentino area will host the rest day and the start of the following stage on Tuesday 26 May.

Announced today in Trento, news of the upcoming Giro d’Italia 2015 stage which will be decisive for the general classification. The Corsa Rosa confirmed that, for the second time in its history and for the first time in 16 years, a stage finish line would be in Madonna di Campiglio.

In 1999 the winner was Marco Pantani, making his final Giro d’Italia stage win. The 2015 finish line will be higher than previously, making this stage and the final climb even more challenging for the riders. This will be stage 15 of the race, Sunday 24 May, starting from Marostica. The Trentino area will host the rest day on Monday 25 May and the start of the following stage on Tuesday 26 May from Pinzolo. The Giro d’Italia 2015 starts on 9 May and ends on 31 May.

Stage 15 Course:
Marostica – Madonna di Campiglio 165km – 3900 metres of total climbing:

A very demanding stage. It starts from Marostica, city of the living chess event and of the 1981 Giro winner, Giovanni Battaglin. After a flat section, the road climbs towards to the Asiago plateau, crossing Breganze and Thiene. The Asiago plateau is one of the iconic areas of the First World War – the race will be held on the 100th anniversary of the Italian declaration of war – in an area in which battles were fought from the first day of the war itself.

Going towards Valdastico, the entry to the Trentino area will be through part of the Passo del Sommo climb. The riders don’t tackle the whole length of the climb, but turn left near La Fricca (KOM) and Vigolo Vattaro, heading toward Trento, until arriving close to the Buoncosiglio Castle, another iconic area of both the Irredentism period and of the First World War.

The race will then reach Comano Spa and enter the start of the Rendena valley, where it will bend towards the small villages of Preore and Binio to climb, for the first time in the history of the Giro, the very demanding Passo Daone, with its incline that averages 9% and peaks at 14%.

After a technical descent the race will reach Pinzolo, and the start of the final climb. There is an average gradient of 6-7% for almost the whole ascent until the riders reach Madonna di Campiglio, 2km from the finish line.

The last section is the most demanding – with double digits gradient – until the finish in Patascoss, a location famous for being the start of 3Tre alpine skiing course, which has hosted such legendary winners as Thöni, Stenmark and Tomba.

T15_MadonnaDC_2_alt
Mauro Vegni (Giro d’Italia Director): “The relationship between the Giro d’Italia and Trentino is deeply rooted on both territorial and sporting levels. This year, with the return of the finish line to Madonna di Campiglio, 16 years after the one and only Marco Pantani won there, we wanted to bring the race back to this extraordinary scenery. Trentino will host not only the end of Stage 15, but also the rest day and the start of the next stage from Pinzolo. I’m sure these will be three very important days full of fun.”

Maurizio Fondriest (1988 World road champion): “It’s certainly going to be an important stage in Giro 2015. Madonna di Campiglio is a well known climb that can be climbed at a regular pace. The less well known climb is Passo Daone, which is highly demanding both on ascent and descent. This highly technical section could be the perfect ramp to launch the stage-winning attack.”

Marco Pantani – Madonna di Campiglio

Shimano to the rescue!
Normally the race director or the team cars notices a rider when he crashes, on this occasion it was the Shimano moto service. Lucky.


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