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EuroTrash Tour Final!

The Tour de France is over for another year and we have all the finalé action in EuroTrash with video, results and rider comments. In other cycling news: La Course, GP Industria, Tour de Wallonie, Clássica de Oerizia, plus news from Cav, Sagan, Orica, BMC and Sky. It’s a busy Monday!

TOP STORY: Was it a Good Tour?
Yes, I think it wasn’t bad. Maybe not a vintage year and we were pretty sure who the winner was going to be after Alberto Contador crashed. But the loss of Chris Froome and Contador didn’t ruin the race as the battle for the podium, in fact the top ten, was strong enough to keep our interest. After Mark Cavendish crashed out; the OPQS team, especially Tony Martin, set the race on fire as did the Tinkoff-Saxo team when Alberto abandoned. The Sky team on the other hand had a terrible Tour and disappeared out of sight.

Then there were the French, Thibaut Pinot, Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet rode their hearts out and show a lot of promise for the future, as did Leopold Konig and of course Rafal Majka. Tejay van Garderen also rode well, but is he good enough for a podium at the Tour? Then there were the Belkin brothers of Laurens ten Dam and Bauke Mollema, they rode well, but they probably deserve their 9th and 10th places. Then there is the Spanish contingent; Alejandro Valverde should maybe give up on his Grand Tour aspirations, Movistar have Nairo Quintana and Valverde doesn’t have many friends left in the peloton due to his selfish riding. Although you didn’t see Haimar Zubeldia much he still slipped into 8th overall.

So that just leaves the overall winner Vincenzo Nibali. He looked good from his stage win in Sheffield, never had a bad day, and was brilliant on the cobbles, unbeatable in the mountains and solid in the time trial. He based his whole season on the Tour de France, which is not easy for an Italian; the Giro is in their blood after all. He came to win and he did it, it’s not his fault that his two main adversaries fell off, he didn’t and he was riding the same roads in the same weather conditions. So yes, it was a good Tour. Vive la Tour!

He may have won the Tour, but there was one thing he missed out on:

TdF_headerTour de France 2014

Vincenzo Nibali proved once again that he is the strongest rider of the 2014 Tour de France. He crowned his domination in Stage 18 by winning solo at Hautacam while second placed Thibaut Pinot was the other beneficiary of the last Pyrenean stage, while third placed Rafal Majka is ‘virtually’ the King of the Mountains.

There were many escape attempts in the early parts of the stage before Daniel Oss (BMC) and Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) were joined by 18 other riders : Mikel Nieve (Sky), Jesus Herrada & Jon Izaguirre (Movistar), Yuriy Trofimov (Katusha), Alessandro De Marchi & Marco Marcato (Cannondale), Lars Boom (Belkin), Jan Bakelants (OPQS), Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale), Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ.fr), Bryan Coquard, Kévin Reza & Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Julien Simon (Cofidis), Sylvain Chavanel & Marcel Wyss (IAM Cycling), Tiago Machado (NetApp-Endura) and Florian Guillou (Bretagne-Seche Environnement). They reached a maximum advantage of 4:12 after 35km of racing. The Astana team of race leader Vincenzo Nibali kept a high pace at the head of the peloton.

The escape started climbing the Col du Tourmalet with an advantage of 3:50. Sylvain Chavanel rode away solo 10km before the summit. One kilometre further, he was passed by Kadri and Nieve and couldn’t hold their rhythm. The leading duo kept an advantage of 4:25 over the yellow jersey group at the top where Kadri won the Souvenir Jacques Goddet. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) attacked on the downhill as his team-mates Izaguire and Herrada, who were part of the breakaway, had waited for him. The Spaniard faced a head wind in the valley and got reined in with 29km to go.

With 12.2km to go, Nieve rode Kadri off but Michele Scarponi led the yellow jersey group strongly, only 1:15 behind. Chris Horner was the first man to attack from the peloton of the GC contenders with 10km to go but Nibali was prompt to jump on his wheel. The race leader continued on his own and overtook Nieve with 8km to go. With 7km to go, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) was next to pass the Spaniard from Sky who was awarded the most aggressive rider price of the day. Nibali continued his one man show all the way to Hautacam while Thibaut Pinot’s attack with 6km to go was decisive in his fight against Valverde for the final podium and Bardet for the best young rider classification. Van Garderen and Péraud were the only riders able to follow the FDJ.fr climber. Pinot claimed a valuable second place and moved into second overall as he dethroned Valverde who slipped to fourth ahead of the crucial closing time trial while Majka secured the polka dot jersey.

Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) made an early attack on the Hautacam: “I was aware that Nibali was wanting to win the stage, so his team would have controlled all the breakaways of the first part of the race, it would have been risky to attack before the final climb,” Horner explained. “That’s why I preferred to wait for the Hautacam climb to try my action, only Nibali could follow me. Vincenzo is in an amazing condition, it’s very difficult to fight his pace, but I hoped I could counter attack a little bit closer to the finish, but actually he did not wait too much.”

Rafal Majka as good as sealed the KOM competition with his 3rd place: “Rafal did another great stage today and he’s now only a few steps away from the podium in Paris but we still have to do three more stages before we can finally celebrate. He’s done a sensational Tour de France and is probably considered the surprise of the race but I’ve known his potential for quite a while and now it’s unfolding for everyone to see,” said Tinkoff-Saxo DS, Bjarne Riis after the stage.

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) dropped from 2nd to 4th overall: “At the Tourmalet I welt well, and I did also on this final climb, though the wear and tear of this race takes you to the limit, as it does with pretty much everyone. It has been a couple of days strange for me, like I was feeling a bit ill, so I had to struggle and give everything I had. I managed to keep the distance with my main rivals pretty well in the second part of the climb and I’m ‘happy’, with ditto marks, with the result and the pace I kept. We got through the day decently and we will try to keep fighting. Right now I feel tired, but Saturday’s is a time trial where I just hope I find good legs – if that’s the case, every gap can be made up. I’m not really far – with those gaps, everything is possible, and this might add even some excitement to the race. Just like I lost time today, I could gain it on Saturday – or rather the opposite. The team did everything they could, I gave what I had and we must stay happy.”

Tejay Van Garderen reached the summit of Hautacam 75 seconds after solo stage winner Nibali to remain 6th overall at 11:34: “It went well today,” van Garderen said. “I just had it in my mind that ‘this is the last mountain before the end of the Tour, so if you’re going to do something you have to do it today.’ “While Valverde was dropped and fell from second to fourth overall, shaking the others proved more difficult, van Garderen said.”When I was setting a hard tempo, I would look back and Pinot always looked pretty easy on my wheel,” he said. “He has shown many times this tour that he is more explosive than me. So I couldn’t really get a gap and couldn’t really grind him off my wheel with a tempo because he is so strong.”

7th overall Bauke Mollema (Belkin): “This was my best day in the mountains yet, I’m very happy,” said Mollema. “This is my level and it finally came out today. I felt that I was getting better the last few days and after yesterday’s stage, my morale also got a boost. I really wanted to fight to hold on to my seventh place. The final climb was difficult, but I think I did well. I was even able to squeeze out a sprint. I was just as good as riders with whom I couldn’t keep up with earlier in the race. That feels good. When Zubeldia was distanced on the final climb, Laurens and I had a little discussion. Zubeldia is a good time trialist and we were thinking of moving up the pace. König was still with us, however, and we didn’t want him to profit from our efforts. Valverde was also with us, and losing his podium spot, so we decided to take advantage of his hard work.”

8th overall Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) punctured on the top of the Tourmalet, but had Lars Boom’s help. Thanks to the help, the climber wasn’t too bothered by his flat and finished eleventh: “It was super that Lars was there to give me his front wheel. Still, I was maybe a kilometre behind the rest,” Ten Dam said. “Lars got a wheel of a neutral car and quickly returned to me to help me in the descent. Because Lars is 15 kilograms heavier, I could hardly keep up with him, but I’m very happy that I was able to bridge to the group of favourites and come back. Lars will get a big hug from me because I’m so pleased with him.”

Astana’s Dmitriy Gruzdev said after stage 18: “I have a job to do every day – and it doesn’t matter if I finish 70th or 130th or last – my job is to work for my team and make sure the leader is number one.”

Tour de France Stage 18 Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 4:04:17
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 1:10
3. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:12
4. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:15
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:53
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 1:57
8. Leopold Konig (Cze) NetApp-Endura
9. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek at 1:59
10. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 18:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 80:45:45
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 7:10
3. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 7:23
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 7:25
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 9:27
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 11:34
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 13:56
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 14:15
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 14:37
10. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek at 16:25.

Stage 18:

EN – Summary – Stage 18 (Pau > Hautacam) by tourdefrance

Ramunas Navardauskas became the first Lithuanian to win a stage of the Tour de France as he claimed a solo victory in Bergerac at the end of Stage 19. A crash marred the final and took out Peter Sagan and prevented the sprinters from coming across to Navardauskas who had jumped on the Côte de Monbazillac. It was a well deserved victory for Garmin-Sharp after a very courageous attempt by Tom-Jelte Slagter. Despite the difficult weather conditions, Vincenzo Nibali retained the yellow jersey with no worries ahead of the closing time trial.

Cyril Gautier (Europcar) was the first attacker of the day; he was joined by Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling) and Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne-Seche Environnement) at km 4, by Tom-Jelte Slagter (Garmin-Sharp) at km 8 and by Rein Taaramäe (Cofidis) at km 16. Cannondale took the command of the peloton to keep the break at around 3:30. Terrible weather affected the riders after 45 kilometres into the stage and Giant-Shimano, Lotto Belisol and Katusha united their efforts to bring the time gap down to 2 minutes with 100 kilometres remaining.

The time gap remained around two minutes for 60 kilometres through the pouring rain. Slagter attacked from the front group with 32km to go. H e rode solo to the Côte de Monbazillac, until he was joined by team-mate Ramunas Navardauskas, who then rode on with 13km to go.

Navardauskas had 20 seconds at 10km to go. Within 3km to go, a crash took Peter Sagan down and slowed the chasing peloton allowing the Lithuanian kept an advantage of seven seconds to the finish. John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) outsprinted Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) for second. The overall and all the jerseys stayed the same.

4th overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “Everyone could see it on TV and can imagine how it’s been like today, no real rest. It was 200k under full rain; even though it’s true it wasn’t really could out there, spending so much time on the bike getting drenched in rain, in stressful, dangerous roads – it makes you reach the finish dead tired. Still, we stayed up-front all day and got through the crash well.

Laurens ten Dam (Belkin): “We went down right under the three-kilometre sign,” said Ten Dam. “Luckily I was able to brake and steer out; otherwise, I could have been jammed by riders crashing from behind. I’m happy we are where we are. That’s a good thing.”

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) didn’t have a nice day in the saddle: “This wasn’t a fun ride. The weather was horrible, sometimes you couldn’t see anything because of the rain and in the final there was a major crash. I was in the middle, but stayed upright. Around me everybody crashed. Just before the spill, I wanted to move up because it was pretty hectic in the peloton, but I’m happy I didn’t because I could have gone down too. In the Tour you have to remain focused all the time.”

Lampre-Merida’s Chris Horner: “Tomorrow’s time trial is not so suitable for my characteristics, but this doesn’t mean that I won’t give my best,” Horner explained: “I’ll be at the start with the goal of defending my 17th place. If I have good feelings, I’ll even try to go closer to Feillu’s 16th place that is less than 1 second away.”

Astana’s Alessandro Vanotti after stage 19: “Defending the yellow jersey gives you some kind of extra motivation to work – never in my career have I felt this kind of desire to work so hard.”

Tour de France Stage 19 Result:
1. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp in 4:43:41
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano at 0:07
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
4. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
5. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
7. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
9. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin
10. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Belisol.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 19:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 85:29:33
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 7:10
3. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 7:23
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 7:25
5. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 9:27
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 11:34
7. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 13:56
8. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 14:15
9. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 14:37
10. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek at 16:25.

Stage 19:

EN – Summary – Stage 19 (Maubourguet Pays du… by tourdefrance

While Vincenzo’s first victory in the Tour de France was almost certain after stage 18, but with a solid time trial on Stage 20, he put losing out of the question. Jean-Christophe Peraud jumped over Thibaut Pinot to take second place, but both French riders held Alejandro Valverde off the podium.

World time trial champion Tony Martin was soon in action and with an average speed of 48.8kph overtook three riders; Molard, Oss and ‘Purito’ Rodriguez on his way to his second Tour stage win this year. Dutch champion Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Shimano) set the second fastest time on 1:08:01, 1:39 slower than the German time trial supremo.

The real battle of the day was between the top five riders; Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) was expected to move onto the podium at the expense of one of the Frenchmen, but that didn’t transpire, but he did hold his 4th place. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) moved up to 5th overall, knocking Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) down one spot. Haimar Zubeldia (Trek) and Loepold Koenig (NetApp-Endura) both ride well pushing the Belkin duo of Bauke Mollema and Laurens Ten Dam down 9th and 10th, with Mollema moving ahead of Ten Dam.

Both Bardet and Peraud suffered punctures, it didn’t affect Peraud much, but the time Bardet lost was surely more than the 2 seconds that he lost his 5th place to Van Garderen.

Omega Pharma – Quick-Step’s Tony Martin Makes it Two With a Masterpiece: “The team really did a great job for me in this time trial,” Martin said. “They paid attention to all the details. I had a clear idea of the parcours in advance. Then I went this morning to see the roads and I was really happy. It wasn’t really flat, but also not super hilly. There were always parts with two or three percent gradients, with uphills and downhills. You could go with a big gear, such as my 58-tooth chainring. It was just perfect for me. We discussed with Specialized before what wheels and tires we would ride, we found the right setup, and I had a good feeling the whole race on my Shiv. We used the Turbo tires that are super smooth on the road. The whole time I was motivated. To have this kind of a perfect race at the Tour de France time trial, and get my second stage win, it’s really unbelievable for me and I’m very proud.”

Martin also won Stage 9 — the first Tour de France road stage win of his career — solo: “The victory today was another great Tour de France time trial victory added to my palmares,” Martin said. “I already won two time trials, so I am proud to now have a third win. But, I have to say, to win a road race and knowing 5 kilometres before the finish you would already win, it’s an unbelievable feeling. You can celebrate with your Sport Director as I did with Davide Bramati. He supported me the whole stage and really kept my morale high. Those 5 kilometres were special for me and the team as we shared in the joy. So I can’t say which win is more special, but how I felt when I won Stage 9 is for sure a unique experience I will remember for a long time.”

Overall leader Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) after stage 20 of the Tour de France – a hot, humid and hard individual time trial: “The people to thank first are the staff – the mechanics who wake up at 5am, the masseurs who work 18 hours a day, the cook who drives 600km from hotel to hotel. The staff are the ones who keep us on the bikes all the way to Paris, and when we cross the line tomorrow we do it because of them.”

4th overall Alejandro Valverde: “I’ve tried, but me legs didn’t respond as I wanted them to do. I did more or less know the time gaps on course and also that I was losing the podium. I went as fast as I could, that’s it. The last week did end up paying too much of an impact – the Tour was really difficult regarding the weather conditions, and rain and cold did affect me a bit. We kept fighting, and when you give everything you’ve got, you can’t ask yourself for more. I’m sad I couldn’t bring the fans some joy at the end of this Tour; I would have liked to make it into the podium, too, but on the other hand, I’m happy with this result. Now it’s just about getting through that final stage, think about what we did and plan on the future.”

Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) beat Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) in the standings by two seconds: “I could not have gone any harder. I gave it everything. That’s for sure,” van Garderen said. “It definitely feels good to move up one place. I saw that he (Bardet) had a mechanical out there, so that would have cost him a bit. So I feel bad for him there. But I feel I worked hard for this fifth place.” Van Garderen’s career best in three previous Tour de France participations is fifth in 2012, the same year he won the best young rider classification. “I definitely showed that I deserved to be up there in a top position,” van Garderen said. “I learned never to give up. I really had to fight through a lot. I’m really proud of my guys and what I did. It shows you can take you lumps and get back up and fight to the end.”

Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) dropped from 8th to 9th: “Perhaps I started a little bit too cautious,” said Ten Dam afterwards. “At the first intermediate point, I was trailing Zubeldia by a big margin. Merijn Zeeman kept yelling from the car and because of that, I was able to fight back. I didn’t lose a lot of time and I did well after that. It’s better to start a bit too slow, than too fast. Otherwise, you just break down. Before the Tour, I would have signed for a ninth place in the overall, but now, falling eight seconds short of Zubeldia, it doesn’t feel very good. I’ve said it a few times over the past few days; Zubeldia is a sly old fox. When I was cheering on the peloton myself in 2003, he already finished fifth. It’s harsh that he passed me in the overall on the second last day, but still, I’m happy and proud.”

Ten Dam was very enthusiastic about the Aquila CV, Bianchi’s new time trial bike, which was put to the test for the first time today: “Yeah, just great. The bike’s handling and braking are really smooth. It took me some time to make it work yesterday and still this morning, but using video images, I was able to find myself the right position on the bike.”

Bauke Mollema (Belkin) Now 10th overall, gambled and lost: “I wanted to take the risk and start on the new bike today, as it tested a lot faster. In hindsight, however, it wasn’t a good choice. The bike is great, but I didn’t use the TT bike in training too often this year and so I just wasn’t really used to the position. After ten kilometres, I started to feel cramps and after that, I couldn’t really put enough power on my pedals. Of course, you want to ride the fastest bike, but today, for me, it just didn’t work. It was my choice and it’s too bad that I dropped to tenth.”

Tour de France Stage 20 Result:
1. Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 1:06:21
2. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Shimano at 1:39
3. Jan Barta (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 1:47
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 1:58
5. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 2:02
6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 2:08
7. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:27
8. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling at 2:36
9. Markel Irizar Arranburu (Spa) Trek at 2:39
10. Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC at 2:58.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 20:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 86:37:52
2. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 7:52
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 8:24
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 9:55
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 11:44
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 11:46
7. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 14:41
8. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek at 18:12
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 18:20
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 21:24.

Stage 20:

EN – Summary – Stage 20 (Bergerac > Périgueux) by tourdefrance

Vincenzo Nibali is the winner of the 101st Tour de France, a race he led for eighteen days out of twenty-one. It’s also the big return of French riders on the final podium with Jean-Christophe Péraud and Thibaut Pinot second and third respectively. The Final Stage 21 on the Champs-Elysées went to Marcel Kittel just like last year. The German out-sprinted Alexander Kristoff in a spectacular finalé on the Champs-Elysées.

All the way from Evry to Paris, the peloton cruised at about 32km/h. The Maillot Jaune Vincenzo Nibali shared some Champagne with his team-mates from Astana as tradition was respected.

Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) was the first attacker as the race really started on the Champs-Elysées. Jens Voigt (Trek) was the next one and it looked like a lap of honour for the soon-to-be retired rider at the age of 43. The German veteran won the last intermediate sprint of his last Tour de France, after which a crash occurred in the peloton. Runner up Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R-La Mondiale) slipped on a curve and had a hard chase back with 43km to go with the help of three team-mates. Four riders took the lead with 36km to go: Richie Porte (Sky), Michael Morkov (Tinkoff-Saxo), José Serpa (Lampre-Merida) and Armindo Fonseca (Bretagne-Seche Enrvironniment).

Porte, Morkov and Serpa stayed out front as long as they could and Porte was the last member of this breakaway to be caught, with 7.5km to go. Simon Clarke (Orica-GreenEDGE) made the last failed escape 5km before the end. The inevitable bunch gallop saw the domination by Giant-Shimano in the lead-out for Marcel Kittel who won his fourth stage of this year’s Tour. Seven stages out of twenty-one have been won by German riders. Peter Sagan (Cannondale) won his third green jersey in a row and the young Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) took the KOM. But the day has to go to Vincenzo Nibali and the Astana team.

The 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali said after the stage: “When you win the Tour de France you do not win alone – My teammates -The whole team staff – Directors Sportif Martinelli, Shefer, Fofonov and Sedoun among the best in the world. Thank you to our sponsors and thank you Vinokourov and Darkhan for giving me the team that won this Tour de France.”

After his stage win Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) said: “I would like to say a big big thanks to my team. They were amazing again today and helped to make this win possible. It was an incredible job that we did and an amazing experience to win again here. I think you never see anything at another race that you can compare to this, it is something special. [At the finish] I tried to pass Kristoff and came alongside, then at one moment he could not accelerate any more. I am super proud and very happy. Seven German stage wins is fabulous, maybe it will be a wake up call for the people at home. We have also had many great results like with John’s second places. I think as a team we did better than last year, we got four stages and a yellow jersey but we also got three second places and that is something that we have extra and I think we did a really good performance overall. It means a lot to be able to win the amount of stages that we have won in the last two years. I think I have proved it in the last few weeks here in the Tour de France that you have to count on me in the sprints.”

“Once again thanks to my team. It has been a great Tour and to finish it off again like this here in Paris is so special.”

Fourth overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “This is sport: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. We fought for the podium until the very last day, which means that we rode super well and did everything we could. It happens many times that everything you work and sacrifice for doesn’t come to fruition. This result is not a failure for me, at all: being 4th in the Tour, my best result… is not easy at all. It might seem like that, but there’s a load of work behind it. What’s really clear after this race is Nibali was really superior; Pinot, Péraud… we were pretty much close in strength to each other, only they were better in the final days.”

BMC’s Tejay van Garderen finished 11:24 behind Nibali in 5th place, he endured nearly half-a-dozen crashes in the opening week, a bout of bronchitis in the second and conceded 4 minutes on a mountain stage after the race’s second rest day: “We fought through so much and there were a lot of ups and downs,” the American said. “We never gave up – and there were so many opportunities when it could have been really easy to give up. But my result is secondary to the journey we took these last three weeks. I am so happy for my guys and really proud of what we did. I am absolutely happy with my fifth place, I have done four Tour de Frances and one Vuelta a España and this was by far the hardest course due to the terrain and the weather – by far!”

Double stage and KOM winner Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) is undoubtedly one of the big revelations of this year’s Tour de France: “I’m extremely happy and a bit surprised about my performance during this Tour. It’s my first Tour de France and I came here to support Alberto. But we have shown that even without our captain, we’re a very strong team. We had no plan B, but we created a new plan A – and we’re all very proud. I was obviously tired after the Giro, so together with the sport directors we decided that I should take it slow for the first 10 days to build my shape. It has worked really well and I’ve been among the strongest riders in the second half of the race.” The young Pole added: “To be standing here in Paris with the polka dots on my jersey is a dream come true. I want to continue improving and, in time, to aim for the overall win. But this is a perfect place to start and I’ve proven to myself that I’m capable of competing in the Tour. I look forward to returning.”

Laurens ten Dam (Belkin) steered clear of trouble throughout three weeks of intense racing, resulting in a career-best eighth place in the final standings: “It just kept going well,” said Ten Dam. “That’s great. In 2012 I already experienced that once. It’s quite nice if you’re okay for three weeks. This year, the third week already went a lot better than last year.” Ten Dam is enthusiastic about the work of the entire Belkin team. “It has been a super Tour for the whole team. With Lars Boom, we win one of the most beautiful stages, one that will be talked about for a long time. We also were leaders of the team classification for one day. That was a first. The next day, we were on the podium with all the riders and that was a nice appreciation for all the squad. They have helped us really great the past few weeks.”

Belkin’s Bauke Mollema: “It’s been a very tough Tour, but I’m very glad I still reached my level in the final week and became seventh,” said Bauke Mollema. “Last year, I was not fit at all in the last week. This time, at the beginning, I had problems that have cost me quite a lot of energy. So in the Vosges and the Alps I was not so great. It is, of course, difficult to estimate how many tricks that played me, but in the Tour, every percent counts. During the Tour, you can’t have any problems. I’m glad I finally was able to limit the damage. It sucks that I lost some spots yesterday.” Yet Mollema is proud of the fact that he has reached the top ten together with his teammate Ten Dam. “That’s really nice. I think it is a very long time ago (19 years, 1989) that two Dutchmen were in the top ten of the overall standings of the Tour, let alone two Dutch riders of the same team. I’m sure now that I have this level in me. That gives confidence for the coming years.”

Lars Boom (Belkin): “I still think a lot about my stage win in Arenberg. When I get home I’m sure to watch the ride again,” said Lars Boom of his victory in stage 5. “It was a kind of queen stage, and quite a bit happened that day, and I am very proud that I’ve finally become the winner. In the Netherlands I expect many enthusiastic people. I’m looking forward to it. That’s very nice of course. The last couple of days were tough. After the ride on the Tourmalet I was tired. There was not a lot power left in my legs.”

Tour de France Stage 21 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 3:20:50
2. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha
3. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
5. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
6. Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky
7. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Europcar
8. Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
9. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
10. Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement.

Tour de France Stage 21 Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana in 89:59:06
2. Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 7:37
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr at 8:15
4. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 9:40
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 11:24
6. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 11:26
7. Leopold Konig (Cze) Netapp-Endura at 14:32
8. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek at 17:57
9. Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin at 18:11
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin at 21:15
11. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar at 23:07
12. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek at 25:48
13. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 34:01
14. Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha at 36:41
15. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin at 38:15.

The final stage 21:

EN – Summary – Stage 21 (Évry > Paris Champs… by tourdefrance

lecourse-headerLa Course by Le Tour De France 2014
A worthy champion of a great race. Marianne Vos’s victory over the fastest sprinters in the world in the final dash for the line heralded a new era. In what was a nervous race with the odds stacked heavily against potential breakaways, any rider who strayed too far from the front had no chance of vying for the win against the grandiose backdrop of the Champs-Élysées. The world champion posted a time of 2 h 00′41″ to prevail over Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano) and Leah Kirchmann (Optum Pro Cycling) at the end of a thrilling final sprint.

No escape
The bunch was well aware of the magnitude of La Course when it gathered on the Champs-Élysées circuit for the first time at 1 pm. All the riders had hatched their own plans, but the peloton was having none of that. Worrack (Specialized), who attacked twice, and Van Vleuten tried to slip away during the first hour of racing, ridden at an average speed of 44 km/h, but were unable to push their gap beyond 20 seconds. With 36 kilometres to go, it was time for one of the big names to light the fireworks, as Ellen van Dijk went into time trialling mode in a solo bid for glory. Once again, the Dutch rider’s adventure was cut short by the bunch, with Pauline Ferrand-Prévot taking the reins of the race for Rabo Liv.

Vos, the Boss
With 24 withdrawals, what was already proving to be a selective race got even more hectic in the final three kilometres. Having suffered a flat earlier on, Kirsten Wild was quickly shepherded back to the peloton by her teammates and was ideally positioned on Marianne Vos’s wheel as the bunch rolled under the 2 km banner.

Following Ferrand-Prévot’s spectacular fall with 900 metres to go, it was Lisa Brennauer’s turn to go off the front inside the final kilometre. Alas, the German champion took off too early and was overtaken with 100 metres to go by Wild and Vos, all guns blazing in their promised duel on the most magnificent avenue in the world. It was Marianne Vos who claimed this sprint royal and showed just why the most beautiful races have her name written all over them.

Marta Tagliaferro’s top 5 placings in six out of the eleven intermediate sprints held on the finish line were enough for the Ale Cipollini rider to take the points classification, while Coryn Rivera was the best under-23 and sixth overall.

French champion Ferrand-Prévot led the peloton under the flamme rouge but was ruled out of contention by a fall 900 metres before the line: “I was really well positioned with one kilometre to go. I think I managed to give Marianne a decent lead-out despite it all. That fall was difficult to avoid, but it’s a pity because I could’ve contested the sprint too. It’s just a few scratches; Marianne’s amazing victory is what really counts. It really was a great day at the office.”

After months promoting La Course by Le Tour, Marianne Vos did not disappoint when the moment the girls had been working towards for months finally came: “La Course’s really something awesome for women’s cycling, but it’s just one step towards the recognition we deserve. I’d like to thank the organisers again. I hope everyone who saw us today realised the peloton’s getting stronger and stronger. I’ve already won most major races, and La Course is one I just had to add to my palmarès. It’s also thanks to my team that I won today. Yet the more you win, the more you want to win.”

La Course by Le Tour de France Result:
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team in 2:00:41
2. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Giant-Shimano
3. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit
4. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Specialized-Lululemon
5. Shelley Olds (Usa) Ale Cipollini
6. Coryn Rivera (Usa) Unitedhealthcare
7. Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Lotto Belisol Ladies
8. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-Ais
9. Simona Frapporti (Ita) Astana Bepink Womens Team
10. Roxane Fournier (Fra) Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope.

La Course by Le Tour de France:

La Course by Le Tour de France – Best of 2014 by tourdefrance

logo_txapel1Prueba Villafranca-Clássica de Oerizia 2014

Gorka Izagirre wins oldest classic in Spanish cycling for 3rd time, claims Movistar Team’s 24th success this year.

He fell few centimeters short to raising his arms victorious against Pello Bilbao (CajaRural-Seguros RGA) in another Basque classic, Amorebieta, back in April, and in another close contest was finally Gorka Izagirre able to open his victory account in Movistar Team colours. It was his home race, the 91st Prueba Villafranca – Clásica de Ordizia, held on Friday over 170km including five laps over the Abaltzisketa climb and the steep ascent of Gaintza -slopes peaking up to 20%- right next to the finish line.

The older of the two Izagirre brothers crowned dominance from the telephone squad, which controlled in the opening stages and started playing offensively in the last 75km. Jonathan Castroviejo and Dayer Quintana led an eight-rider attempt that was caught in the last lap, leaving room to a five-man counter fearturing José Herrada. The ‘manchego’ went solo in the last passage through Abaltzisketa and reached the top of Gaintza with about twenty seconds over Luis León Sánchez (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). Despite the ex-Blue reaching down in the descent, the reaction from Izagirre and Igor Antón ahead of the main group fostered a three-versus-one situation which favoured the Basque’s chances.

Race winner Gorka Izagirre: “We made an excellent work. It was difficult, because everyone was putting their eyes on us, but to avoid having much pressure, we always launched our guys with bigger chances up-front. Dayer and Castroviejo gave it a try halfway through the course, while José escaped in the final lap. To be honest, Herrada had impressive legs and was able to hold on until the finish, while Igor and myself came from behind at the Gaintza climb and reached the duo into the descent. It’s difficult to complete the task in such situations – even though we were three against one, Luisle is a strong rival – he’s a super rider and I was afraid he would beat me into a sprint, but it wasn’t the case and we’re really happy.”

“More than the three victories, which are more like an anecdote, I’m happy about these sensations and starting off the second part of the season with a win. I had trained well, but it’s difficult to find good legs in the first race after a long stolp. Fortunately, it was a great day for me. This victory is a tribute to the memory of my friend Urtzi Gurrutxaga, a football player who passed away this year. I’ll always keep him in my heart.”
Thanks to the Movistar team for race info.

Prueba Villafranca-Clássica de Oerizia Result:
1. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar in 4:22:22
2. Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
3. Herrada José (Spa) movistar at 0:03
4. Igor Anton (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
5: Dayer Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:24
6: David Belda (Spa) Burgos-BH at 0:38
7. Jordi Simon (Spa) Team Ecuador
8. Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Androni Giocattoli – Venezuela at 0:44
9, Edison Calderon (Col) 4-72 – colombia
10. Javier Moreno (Spa) Movistar.

header-wallonieTour de Wallonie 2014

The first race as Belgian champion and Jens Debusschere won it! The Lotto Belisol rider was the fastest in Stage 1 of the Tour de Wallonie. He beat Gianni Meersman and Juan José Lobato. Debusschere is also the first leader and is first in the points classification.

The first stage from Frasnes-lez-Anvaing to Tournai consisted of two big laps with these three hills: Col de la Croix Jubaru, Mont de l’Enclus and Côte des Monts Alban. That last one lay at just over twenty kilometers from the finish. Three riders chose for the break of the day: Julien Stassen, Zico Waeytens and Thomas Wertz. They were caught before the last climb, after Lotto Belisol had controlled the bunch. Jens Debusschere sprinted the fastest and successfully rounded off the teamwork.

Stage winner Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol): “It’s unbelievable, I just started to realize I had won the Belgian championship and now I immediately win my first race in this jersey. I’m very happy I could confirm. It was already very special to train with the jersey, so that was definitely the case to ride in the peloton with it. You get recognized everywhere. That’s really nice.”

“We were the first team that started the chase and took control of the race. We didn’t get much support. I’m satisfied I could successfully round off the work of the team. The guys really did their best. Just before the final kilometer Kris Boeckmans went to the front. Afterwards there was a sharp corner, so it was important to be well positioned. The train of Trek got in the wheel of Kris and I set myself in the wheel of Giacomo Nizzolo. That way I was in fifth position at the last corner, that was perfect. Omega Pharma – Quick-Step then was faster than Trek, so I jumped in the wheel of Gianni Meersman and could pass him. We’ll see if there will be another bunch sprint tomorrow, with five hills in the last 75 kilometers. It will be difficult to control the race with one team.”
Thanks to Lotto Belisol.

Tour de Wallonie Stage 1 Result:
1. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol in 3:39:18
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. J. J. Lobato (Spa) Movistar
4. Giacomo Nizzolo Ita) Trek
5. Marko Kump (Slo) Tinkoff-Saxo
6. Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis
8. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Valaanderen-Baloise
9. Theo Bos (Bel) Belkin
10. Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Katusha.

Tour de Wallonie Overall After Stage 1:
1. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol in 3:39:08
2. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:01
3. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:04
4. J. J. Lobato (Spa) Movistar at 0:06
5. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek at 0:10
6. Marko Kump (Slo) Tinoff-Saxo at 0:10
7. Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:10
8. Louis Verhelst (Bel) Cofidis at 0:10
9. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:10
10. Theo Bos (Bel) Belkin at 0:10.

Stage 1 finish:

The 193-kilometer Stage 2 ended in the predicted bunch sprint and this time Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) got it right. He easily topped his fourth place of Saturday capping off a perfect team effort and sprinting to the win ahead of Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) and Silvan Dillier (BMC).

It was the second victory for Nizzolo this year, and it came on his first race since signing a contract extension with Trek Factory Racing through 2016: it could not be sweeter. “The team was great today. I am still disappointed for yesterday because I had the feeling I could be much better than fourth place. So today I did not hesitate even one second and started the sprint just before 200 meters. Today was the longest stage and I had okay feeling, but I can’t say I felt the best since I am coming back from a break. It’s the first race of the second part of the season, so I am very happy.”

Sunday’s stage was almost a carbon copy to the opening stage of the five-day race around the French-speaking region of Belgium. The only significant differences were the breakaway consisted of four men, one more than yesterday’s escape, and Lotto-Belisol had the leader’s jersey to defend and the onus to do the bulk of the work in the chase.

Similar to stage one, the breakaway was caught far out from the finish, but with a hotly contested intermediate sprint at 16-kilometers to go, and a stage win on the line for the respective team’s fastmen, there was no chance an antagonist could slip away and spoil the day.

Trek moved to the front in the last kilometres with two teammates assisting Nizzolo until the final escort, Boy van Poppel, drove Nizzolo into the final meters where he made up for yesterday’s error with the win.

Giacomo Nizzolo said: “All the guys helped; at the end it was Eugenio [Alafaci], Danilo [Hondo], Jasper [Stuyven] and Boy [van Poppel] was the last. Stijn [Devolder] and Laurant [Didier] did a good job earlier on. Everyone put something into this victory! This victory is for them, my team, and also I would like to dedicate it to the family of a 14-year-old boy who was tragically killed in Italy. I did not know him, but he was also a rider, and I would like to remember him.”

Gianni Meersman grabbed the leader’s jersey with successive second place finishes, and intermediate time bonuses. Giacomo Nizzolo moved into second place, five seconds behind, with Jens Debusschere (Lotto Belisol) slipping to third, also at five seconds.

BMC’s Silvan Dillier finished third and donned the “best young rider” jersey while teammate Sebastian Lander won “most aggressive rider” honours for his time in a breakaway. “We tried to go full gas for the last corner at about 250 meters to go,” Dillier said. “The whole team did a very good job. I had one of the best lead-out men – Thor Hushovd – who brought me in really good position for the last turn. From then on, it was full gas sprint.”

Lander teamed up with Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) for his escape from the peloton. The pair held off the chase until just before the final intermediate sprint with 16 km to go. “Unfortunately, we had a long flat piece after the last climb – around 30 km to go – so it was quite difficult to go to the end,” Lander said. “But you always believe that it is possible. I tried to get to the last bonification sprint and get some seconds, but it was not possible. Otherwise, I felt good. I think we showed the team today and it was a great job by everybody.”

Tour de Wallonie Stage 1 Result:
1. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek in 4:51:35
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step
3. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
4. Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol
6. Marko Kump (Slo) Tinkoff-Saxo
7. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
8. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Nick VanDer Lijke (Ned) Belkin
10. Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles.

Tour de Wallonie Overall After Stage 1:
1. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step in 8:30:38
2. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek at 0:05
3. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 0:05
4. Zico Waetens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:06
5. Sebastian Lander (Dan) BMC at 0:10
6. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC at 0:11
7. J. J. Lobato (Spa) Movistar at 0:12
8. Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:12
9. Matti Breschel (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:14
10. Yauheni Hutarovich (Belarus) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:15.

header_2014ind&artGP Industria & Artigianato 2014

British neo-pro Adam Yates has recorded his third victory of the season, taking out the GP Industria and Artigianato in Italy on Saturday.

Yates, who also won this year’s Tour of Turkey, comfortably outsprinted Davide Formolo (Ita) for the victory: “Coming from the track background I am still pretty quick in these little finishes, especially went it is just climbers,” Yates said. “I raced Formolo quite a lot last year because he was an under 23 as well so obviously I knew him from that. Obviously there is always a doubt but in the back of my mind I knew I had a good advantage over him and it obviously came off.”

Yates came into the race fresh off his first ever altitude camp, the 21-year-old and the team unsure of how he would respond. “It has had a positive effect already,” Yates said. “It was the first time I have been to altitude, so to win so early is always a good sign and hopefully it continues. I wasn’t really sure (how I would race). The last couple of days of training camp I was feeling quite good and quite strong but you never know, training is a lot different than racing. I have got a couple of big weeks coming up soon and it would be great if it continues.”

As the race moved through the first and flatter circuit of the 199.2km course, ORICA-GreenEDGE played a game of patience as a number of moves attempted to get away. Once on the final punchier circuit, the team played a more active role on the front of the peloton. With an escape group ahead, Yates bridged the gap and went away with Formolo and Francesco Bongiorno (BAR). The latter was dropped on the final descent to the finish.

“When we came onto the final hilly circuit, our guys got on the front,” sport director David McPartland said. “(Sam) Bewley and (Brett) Lancaster did most of the work, not necessarily to bring the break back, but to have a presence, get involved in the race and set it up position wise for our climbers.”

Heavy rain added a difficult dynamic to the descents, and with 40km left to ride a group of 27 riders, including Yates and Damien Howson, survived at the front. “We were on the back foot a little bit because we only had two guys and other teams had three or four,” McPartland said. “On the second last lap Howson set it up for Adam coming into the climb. Everyone was saying how quick Fornolo was, but we were confident Adam was fast as well and he won quite easily in the end.”
Thanks to the orica-GreenEDGE team

GP Industria & Artigianato Result:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Oricle-GreenEDGE in 4:38:57
2. Davide Formolo (Ita) Italy at 0:02
3. Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:07
4. Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:16
5. Antonio Parrinello (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela
6. Sergey Firsanov (Rus) RusVelo at 0:19
7. Gianfranco Zilioli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela at 0:28
8. Andrea Fedi (Ita) Neri Sottoli at 0:38
9. Davide Mucelli (Ita) Meridiana-Kamen
10. Matteo Busato (Ita) MG Kvis-Wilier at 0:43.

GP Larciano

header_BMCMoinard Renews With BMC Racing Team

The BMC Racing Team will extend the contract of Amaël Moinard, President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced Friday.

‘A Valuable Asset’
A member of the BMC Racing Team since 2011, Moinard has helped teammate Tejay van Garderen to sixth place in the overall standings heading into the final weekend of the Tour de France. The Frenchman also figured in breakaways on Stages 9, 10, 14 and 17 and was the winner of Stage 2 of the Tour du Haut Var in February. “Amaël has proven to be a valuable asset to the team in past years in the grand tours, and in particular, in the Tour de France,” Ochowicz said. “He joins his eight other teammates here in France who are confirmed for their participation with the team for 2015.” Moinard, who helped teammate Cadel Evans win the Tour de France in 2011, said he enjoys the role of domestique he has often been tasked to play for the team. “To work for Tejay at the Tour de France has really been a pleasure,” he said. “We have been going in the moves to be part of the race and try to win stages, or to go in the breakaways to be support for Tejay. That freedom convinced me to keep riding for the BMC Racing Team.” Specific terms of Moinard’s contract were not announced, in keeping with BMC Racing Team policy.


header-oricageDurbridge to power on with ORICA-GreenEDGE

Time-trial specialist Luke Durbridge has joined Simon Gerrans in committing to ORICA-GreenEDGE, signing a new two-year deal that will see the 23-year-old ride with the team until the end of 2016. Durbridge, both a workhorse and winning rider for the team, started as a neo-pro in 2012 and was rewarded for his efforts with a call up to his first Tour de France this year.

“I’m really glad to have signed. I couldn’t have picked a better place to turn pro and my first seasons here have confirmed that this is the right team for me going onwards,” Durbridge said ahead of the time trial on the penultimate day of the Tour. “I’m getting a lot of personal opportunities here and I’m able to work hard for my teammates to get some fantastic results. I feel at home on this team and it’s where I see my best possibilities to develop and grow as a rider,” says Durbridge.

The current Oceania road champion and national time trial championship silver medalist, was a significant player in the ORICA-GreenEDGE’s stage one team time trial win at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year and is expected to play a crucial role in the world championship event in September. Last year, Durbridge became the first rider to win the elite men’s road race and time trial at the Australian championships in the same year. The West Australian went on win the Duo Normand alongside Svein Tuft and was part of the silver medal winning team at the world team time trial championships.

In 2012, his first year with the team, Durbridge put his name on the map winning the Critérium du Dauphiné prologue ahead of the likes of 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and world time trial champion Tony Martin. “Durbo is an incredibly gifted athlete and a great rider to work with,” said sport director Matt White. He has a really big engine, is a world class time trialist and knows how to win races. His first years as a pro have been very successful and I find that often people tend to forget how young he still is. I think he still has a lot of potential that we will see unfold over the next years with us.”


header-skyGeraint Thomas Signs Two-Year Deal with Sky

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas has signed a new deal which will keep the British rider at Team Sky until the end of 2016.

The 28-year-old Welshman has been with Team Sky from the start in 2010 and is one of eight British riders currently on the team roster. In his first season for the team Geraint was one of the big success stories of the Tour de France, wearing the young rider’s white jersey for most of the opening week. After winning his second Olympic gold medal on the track in London in 2012 Geraint committed himself to the road and went on to play an integral part in Team Sky’s second Tour de France victory, helping Chris Froome win the yellow jersey in 2013.

The talented all-rounder has again played a key role this season, helping to inspire the team over three gruelling weeks with some excellent performances at this year’s Tour de France.

On renewing his Team Sky contract, Geraint Thomas said: “I’m really happy to be staying with Team Sky for another 2 years. I’ve been here since the start and I firmly believe it is the best place for me to fulfil my potential as a bike rider. I feel very supported here and I’m excited about what the future holds. I’ll look forward to challenging myself both on and off the bike and striving to become the very best at what I do.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “We’re delighted that Geraint has re-signed for another two years. He’s been with Team Sky from the start and has been essential to the success that we’ve had. Team Sky has always been built around a strong British core, developing and nurturing home-grown talent to be the best they can be – and Geraint has been at the heart of that. On and off the bike Geraint is an influential member of Team Sky. Not only is he a strong character but he’s one of a handful of world class riders that can do it all, whether that’s on the climbs, flat, cobbles or time trials, which proves what a valuable member of the team he is. Over the last three weeks of the Tour de France Geraint has again underlined his qualities and has shown that he’s an exceptional rider with an exciting future. He’s a great guy, a good leader and we’re delighted that he’ll be a key part of the team going forward.”


Cav in the Car
The day after the Tour de France rest day, Mark Cavendish rode in the Omega Pharma – Quick-Step team car with DS Davide Bramati at the wheel. It was his first time in a team car in a mountain stage; it looks like it was an eye opener.

Peter Sagan: This is a time I should have kept my hands to myself!
It’s not easy being Peter Sagan. All it takes it’s talent, training, a pinch of foolishness and a nutrition ally: *sunroot ORGANIC products.

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