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EUROTRASH Atapuma Thursday!
A very full EuroTrash Thursday. Race news: Tour du Suisse (great stage win by Darwin Atapuma), Aviva Women’s Tour, Ster ZLM Toer - GP Jan van Heeswijk and the Ronde van Limburg. In other cycling news: We look at the 'Operación Puerto' blood bags, UCI WorldTour rankings with Tinkoff, Leah Kirchmann extends with Liv-Plantur, Cameron Meyer leaves Dimension Data, Critérium du Dauphiné by the Numbers, La Course by Le Tour de France and eating on the move. Coffee anyone?

TOP STORY: Let the Blood Run Free!
The legal battle over the 211 blood bags taken during 'Operación Puerto' is finally over. A Spanish High Court has given the verdict that the blood, which has been stored in an anti-doping laboratory in Barcelona, will not be destroyed and that the UCI, the Spanish Cycling Federation, WADA and the Italian National Olympic Committee will have access for analysis.

Good news for the battle against doping in sport... well, sort of.

'Operación Puerto' took place in May 2006, the 10 year WADA statute of limitations (8 in this case) has passed so any sportsperson identified through the blood samples cannot be suspended. Many will have retired by now anyway.

It has been reported that the blood belongs to twenty-three cyclists and 12 athletes. We already have a good idea who most of those cyclist are as Jan Ullrich, Alejandro Valverde, Michele Scarponi and Ivan Basso have all served suspensions due to the investigation. Of the others there was a long list of 200 implicated riders, but many have been cleared, leaving some still on the list:

David Etxebarría, Unai Osa, Marcos Serrano, Ángel Vicioso, Constantino Zaballa, José Ignacio Gutiérrez, José Enrique Gutiérrez, Carlos Zárate, Koldo Gil, Carlos García Quesada, Óscar Sevilla, Ángel Casero, Roberto Heras, Santiago Pérez and the deceased Marco Pantani. Some or all of those mentioned could be innocent.

Others that were also originally implicated by the investigation were:
Francisco Mancebo retired from cycling in 2006 when he was with AG2R, but since has raced for Relax-GAM, Fercase-Rota dos Moveis, Rock Racing, Heraklion Kastro-Murcia,, 5-hour Energy and Skydive Dubai.

Fränk Schleck admitted transferring nearly €7,000 to a bank account held by Dr. Fuentes, but denied any doping or personal contact with Fuentes.

Santiago Botero's case was dropped by disciplinary committee of the Federación Colombiana de Ciclismo in October 2006, but Fuentes was his sports doctor at Kelme and spoke in his defense at an earlier hearing in Colombia.

Tyler Hamilton is alleged to have paid over €43,000 to Fuentes and in his book talks about receiving blood transfusions in the Valencia region.

Michele Bartoli was connected to Fuentes by La Gazzetta dello Sport with the code name Sansone. Bartoli retired in 2004 and has never commented on the accusation.

Mario Cipollini was codename "Maria" according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

A connection might be made with some of these riders, or bring out new names, but there will be no mention of the alleged soccer and tennis players who were rumored to be on the original list, plus there is always the chance that the blood may have been 'mishandled' over the years since the raid and could be of no use.

Eufemiano Fuentes said he could 'name names':

Tour de Suisse 2016
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) took his second stage win in a row by out-sprinting Michael Albasini (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Silvan Dillier (BMC) at the end of a wet 192.6 kilometer Stage 2 from Grosswangen to Rheinfelden. Sagan also took the overall lead from Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) by 3 seconds, Roelandts is second place on the same time as Dillier.

Attacks came from the start and eventual 3rd placed local rider, Silvan Dillier (BMC) made the early break after 15 kilometers. He was joined by Sven Erik Byström (Katusha), Gregory Rast (Trek-Segafredo), Matthew Hayman (Orica-GreenEDGE), Branislau Samoilau (CCC Sprandi-Polkowice), Bruno Pires (Team Roth) and Antwan Tolhoek & Hub Duijn (Roompot-Oranje Peloton), they had 5 minutes after 50 kilometers. Lotto Soudal and Tinkoff led the peloton.

With 20 kilometers to go the break had split, as had the bunch, at this point Albasini crossed to the break which was about to be caught and with 7 kilometers to go, Sagan jumped across the 30 second gap to join Dillier and Albasini at the front. Michael Mathews tried to go with Sagan, but couldn't hold the World champions wheel.

Lotto Soudal chased down the three and got within touching distance, but they held them off for Sagan to take his 13th stage win in the Tour de Suisse and the overall lead. Albasini had led out the sprint, but Sagan was too fast and Dillier came in 3rd with enough bonus seconds to draw level on time with Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) in 2nd place overall.

Rheinfelden - Switserland - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Peter Sagan (Slowakia / Team Tinkoff - Tinkov)  - Michael Albasini (Suisse / Team Orica Greenedge) - Silvan Dillier (Suisse / BMC Racing Team)  pictured during stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse 2016 from Grosswangen to Rheinfelden (192.6 km) - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner and overall leader, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff): "It was tough when we were working so hard. Cycling has changed – it doesn’t respect the group as much. We were out on front, working with Lotto, but all the riders weren’t working. I was asking where the respect was. We were going to kill ourselves riding so hard with 50km to go. I thought it would be easier for everyone if we worked, but I’m angry that my team was working hard on the front, but no-one seemed to respect that. The race was very hard. I caught the escape on the descent, on the flat, and it was pretty hard to keep up. When it's raining it’s much easier to be alone out the front – to make the break stick – and the decisions I made were based on me feeling good On the front the guys did some work with me and it was ok in the lead up to the finish. It was a good sprint – at 300m out I stayed on his wheel and then passed him on the line. The riders in the breakaway wanted to work with me today – it’s not always easy to get them to work with me but we all wanted the win. It was just lucky I still had the legs to go for the sprint in the last hundred meters. It wasn’t in my mind that I could take the yellow. It was wet and hard, and from the last climb it was all descent and I thought if I went in the break it could be ok for the sprint – maybe I could recover and then go for the sprint, but I wasn’t expecting to take the yellow jersey. I think I prefer the Rainbow Jersey, but its good to be in the yellow jersey and leading the race. I’ll do my best to hold it tomorrow, maybe for two days, but I won’t be holding it until the end."

3rd on the stage and overall, Silvan Dillier (BMC): "My future father in law recommended that I go for this stage as it had a final circuit with two climbs and he knew the climbs well. So I did a recon a week ago and it was good to have seen it before today as there were some technical descents and it's also good to know what the climbs are like. The climbs were quite steep but not that long, so you need to have the power to get over them but you don't have to have the climbing rhythm for 20 minutes or so. I attacked after ten kilometers and was alone for four to five kilometers. I knew there were guys chasing but I wasn't sure if the peloton would slow down and let me go. Once the peloton did ease up I waited for the seven riders to join me. When we passed the finish line for the last lap we still had quite a good advantage of two minutes. Then it started to come down really quickly to under one minute. I said to the other guys that we should try and stay together and make it to the top of the last KOM and then at least finish in the front group. When Albasini jumped over and then Sagan, I knew we had a good group. It was full gas in the last kilometers. Sagan never stopped pushing the pedals so I thought I just have to follow the wheel. I knew that I was close to taking the leader's jersey but as soon as Sagan joined us I knew he was already in front of me and to beat him after such a long breakaway would be tough. I still tried to do my best sprint. I have had a really good feeling since GP Gippingen. I will see how it continues throughout the Tour de Suisse but I generally am really happy with the shape so it's nice to be up there."

11th on the stage, Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling): “We all suffered because of the weather. The final was difficult with two short but steep climbs. And then the rain further complicated the race. I focused on the sprint. Unfortunately, there were several roundabouts that broke up the flow of the pack, and we never managed to cork up the seconds separating us from the breakaway."

Tour de Suisse Stage 2 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff in 4:31:17
2. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEDGE
3. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
4. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Etixx - Quick-Step at 0:03
5. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Jhonatan Restrepo (Col) Katusha
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
8. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida
9. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
10. Christopher Juul Jensen (Den) Orica-GreenEDGE.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 2:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff in 9:14:13
2. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:03
3. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
4. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:13
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:14
6. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:17
7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:18
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:19
10. Simon Geschke (Ger) Giant-Alpecin at 0:20.

Suisse Stage 2:

Overall leader Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) nearly took his third Tour de Suisse stage in a row, but he was foiled by the Etixx - Quick-Step pair of Maximiliano Richeze and Fernando Gaviria who beat the World champion into 3rd place in the sprint at the end of Stage 3. The World champion extended his lead to 9 seconds from Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Soudal) and Silvan Dillier (BMC), Richeze is now 4th overall at 17 seconds.

Matt Brammeier (Dimension Data), Nick van der Lijke (Roompot-Oranje Peloton), Jérémy Maison (FDJ) and Lukas Jaun (Team Roth) were the early escapers, but Tinkoff and Etixx - Quick-Step held them at under 5 minutes. 40 to go and they were at 2 minutes and at 20K out the break started to fall apart with Lukas Juan being dropped from the break and LottoNl-Jumbo and Orica-GreenEDGE helping to pull them back. As the race entered the final 10 kilometers and the last climb of the day, Maison attacked the leaders, but they were all together with 4 kilometers to go.

Etixx - Quick-Step took control of the bunch with Stybar and Vakoc taking long turns on the front with Richeze and Gaviria on their wheels and Sagan behind the Colombian. Into the final corner, with 300 meters to go, Richeze hit the front to lead-out Gaviria, but the Colombian didn't come past and Richeze took the win.

Behind the first three; Danny van Poppel (Sky) nearly as he tried to get past Sagan, this caused a split in the peloton and so there was 2 seconds between the first three and Tom Van Asbroeck (LottoNl-Jumbo) who led in the peloton in 4th place.

Champagne - Switserland - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Richeze Maximiliano Ariel (Argentina / Team Etixx - Quick Step) - Gaviria Rendon Fernando (Columbia / Team Etixx - Quick Step) - Sagan Peter (Slowakia / Team Tinkoff - Tinkov)   pictured during stage 4 of the Tour de Suisse 2016 from Rheinfelden to  Champagne (193 km) - photo Miwa IIjima/Cor Vos © 2016

Stage winner, Maximiliano Richeze (Etixx - Quick-Step): "What a race this was, I still can’t believe it! It’s like a dream. This morning, at the briefing, we talked about the finale, because we knew the tricky and technical corner will be the key to winning the stage and our plan was to be first and second as we entered in that bend. My sprint was until the corner, but as Fernando didn’t try to overtake me, deciding to protect me instead, I went all the way to the line. I want to thank him for this and also to the entire team for their huge work and support! I am always supporting our team, I’m always the last guy before our sprinter goes for it, so to finally have the opportunity to try and get a victory is really great. The start of the year wasn’t easy, with that injury and the recovery period during which I had to walk with the help of a crutch, but these things are in the past and now I am living the day and enjoying this beautiful moment. To be the first Argentinian stage winner in the Tour de Suisse is a big achievement, which makes me proud and happy."

3rd on the stage and overall leader, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff): "It was a very tough stage with a strong headwind and the squad did a very good job in protecting and supporting me. However, one can't always win and other riders proved faster in the final sprint. I'm very satisfied with keeping the leader's and points jerseys and I look forward to five more stages where we will work hard to achieve the best result. I'd like to thank my teammates for the strong effort they have put in the first four, tough and wet stages at the Tour de Suisse."

Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling): "I did not have the legs for such a technical and dangerous final. But I am convinced that it’ll go better in the difficult mountain stages to come. We fought all day against a strong headwind, and even though the rain held off mostly, we used a lot of energy. In the final kilometers, it was extremely nervous and you had to give everything not to be split off."

Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling): "Danilo Wyss told me that the finale would be a mere formality. Fortunately, the rain spared us otherwise there would have been serious damage with this circuit and then at the finish."

Tour de Suisse Stage 3 Result:
1. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Etixx - Quick-Step in 5:08:21
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx - Quick-Step
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:02
5. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
8. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Team Roth
9. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 3:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff in 14:22:30
2. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:09
3. Silvan Dillier (Swi) BMC
4. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Etixx - Quick-Step at 0:17
5. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:19
6. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:20
7. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:23
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
9. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:24
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:25.

Suisse Stage 3:

Darwin Atapuma (BMC) put his form from the Giro d'Italia to good use as he won Stage 4 from Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin). Pierre-Roger Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) was 3rd on the stage and became the new overall leader.

The stage was short at 126 kilometers but had to climb the Furka Pass, the Gotthard Pass and 11 kilometer summit finish to Carì. A large break went away early, but it split leaving Atapuma (BMC), Anacona (Movistar), Wellens (Lotto Soudal), Berhane & Siutsou (Dimension Data), Dupont (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Polanc (Lampre-Merida). At the start of the climb to Carì the leaders had just over 1 minute on what was left of the peloton with Sky doing the work.

Polanc, Dupont and Siutsou were dropped as Berhane, Wellens and Anacona attacked. Eventually Atapuma put in his move as they came into the final 6 kilometers. Berhane was the only one able to go with the Colombian, but Atapuma got rid of him a little further on.

With 3 kilometers to go the chasers started to attack each other. Barguil, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) all put in an effort, but it was Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), Geraint Thomas (Sky), Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Latour, Barguil and Andrew Talanksy (Cannondale) who got together behind Atapuma. It was BMC team leader, Van Garderen who was the strongest in the group.

1K to go and Atapuma had a shade over 15 seconds as Barguil made another jump from the chasers. At the line the Colombian had 4 seconds to spare over the Frenchman. Latour was next at 7 seconds to take the overall lead as Kelderman came in 5th at 9 second to be on the same time as Latour. Van Garderen was 4th on the stage and moved into 5th overall, Geraint Thomas (Sky) 3rd overall and Barguil 4th.

Carì - Switserland - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Columbia / BMC Racing Team) pictured during stage 5 of the Tour de Suisse 2016 from  Brig-Glis to Carì (126,4 km) - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

Interview with stage winer, Darwin Atapuma (BMC):
Was this a stage you had targeted before the race?

"Four days after the Giro d'Italia I came and did a recon of the final climb as I thought it would be a good stage for me. I was confident after the Giro d'Italia because I had really good legs. I looked at the stages of the Tour de Suisse and as this one finished at a high altitude and the two climbs before were also high, I knew it would suit me. If the altitude is more than 2000m it suits me well. I trained at altitude in the lead up to race to stay focused and motivated."

When you reached the final climb did you believe you were in a position to win?
"I was confident when the breakaway reached the final climb as we still had a reasonable gap. I knew that there were two possible scenarios that were good for the team. If Tejay attacked from behind, then I would be there to help him. Or, in case I got close to the finish as we eventually did, I would attack for the win."

You looked incredibly strong when you attacked solo, what was going through your head?
"I knew it was possible to win but I needed to stay focused. I had good legs, the others had dropped and I know the climb well. I was waiting for the right moment to attack and when I went I managed to develop a good gap, and it paid off. I had to dig deep in the final kilometer as I knew there were riders getting closer. But I just wanted the win so badly."

After missing out on a couple of stage wins at the Giro d'Italia, does this give you confidence going into the next part of the season?
"For sure my results at the Giro d'Italia gave me confidence as I know I have good form. The fact that I missed out on a stage win there gave me more motivation and kept me focused for this win. I did everything possible to stay in good form. I'm especially happy because I know how important this win is for BMC Racing Team and our title sponsor BMC Switzerland. To take the win at the Tour de Suisse is really something special for me and the team."

5th on the stage and 2nd overall, Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo): "I fell. That was a disappointment, someone stood up on his pedals and I struck his wheel. I broke my bike, but my legs were good. I felt right so I had morale in the final. The crash was stupid, though. We get four stages to climb, I had hoped that I would have this level because in altitude training my values ​​were good. Better than before."

8th on the stage, Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida): "Today stage was a good test to check my condition, considering both the side of the long term program for the Tour de France and the current competition of the Tour de Suisse. I pedaled during the whole stage in the group of the top climbers and main general classification contenders, I had quite good feelings, however I feel I can improve my fit and this is something good, especially thinking to the next month big appointment. It will be interesting to evaluate how the top riders will recover energies quickly in view of the next stage with the summit arrival at Amden and the climb of Klausenpass at half course."

10th overall, Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling): "It was again a demanding stage, and we have similarly difficult stages to come. My legs turned out to be going well, and I am confident for the future."

Best Swiss Rider, Mathias Frank (IAM Cycling): "I am not happy, of course, although I have taken over the jersey for the best Swiss rider. I felt comfortable over the Furka, but then things started going poorly. When we were at higher altitudes and when the pace accelerated, I just couldn’t get enough air. I could not breathe normally, and at this level, there is just no forgiveness. That was painfully evident for me in the final kilometers of the last ascent."

Tour de Suisse Stage 4 Result:
1. Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC in 3:41:51
2. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin at 0:04
3. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:07
4. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:09
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:12
7. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale
8. Rui Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida at 0:16
9. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana
10. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 4:
1. Pierre-Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 18:04:54
2. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:05
4. Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin at 0:16
5. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 0:18
6. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale at 0:19
7. Gorka Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:27
8. Jon Izaguirre (Spa) Movistar at 0:30
9. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:34
10. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) IAM Cycling.

Suisse Stage 4:

Aviva Women's Tour 2016
Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) took Stage 1 in Norwich after Alison Tetrick (Cyclance Pro Cycling) was pulled back in the finalé. Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv) was second in the technical finish ahead of Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-High5) in 3rd.

Tetrick went solo with just over 20 kilometers to go and had 2 minutes in hand with 10K out. Eventually the peloton got together and pulled the American back in the last kilometer even though a big crash slowed the chase. Majerus avoided any trouble and held off Vos for the win and the overall lead with four more stages to go before the last stage to Kettering.

Norwich  - England - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Majerus Christine (Luxembourg / Boels Dolmans Cycling Team) - Vos Marianne (Netherlands / Rabobank Liv Women Cycling Team)  pictured during  Women’s Tour of Great Britain stage- 1 from Southwold to Norwich  -  photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2016

Aviva Women's Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans in 3:24:48
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv
3. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle High5
4. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Ale-Cipollini
5. Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo-Bigla
6. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Liv-Plantur
7. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabobank-Liv
8. Alison Tetrick (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling
9. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5 at 0:06
10. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Liv-Plantur.

Aviva Women's Tour Overall After Stage 1
1. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans in 3:24:38
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv at 0:01
3. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle High5 at 0:06
4. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Liv-Plantur at 0:07
5. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Ale-Cipollini at 0:10
6. Lotta Lepistö (Fin) Cervelo-Bigla
7. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Rabobank-Liv
8. Alison Tetrick (USA) Cylance Pro Cycling
9. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle High5 at 0:16
10. Floortje Mackaij (Ned) Liv-Plantur.

Aviva Stage 1:

Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk 2016
Surprisingly LottoNl-Jumbo's Jos Van Emden beat Taylor Phinney (BMC) in the 6.4 kilometer prologue time trial round Goes in the southwestern Netherlands on Zuid-Beveland, in the province of Zeeland. There are four road stages before the finish on Sunday in Boxtel.

Stage winner and overall leader, Jos Van Emden (LottoNl-Jumbo): "I do not often win, so I am very happy with it, it did not feel great, but a time trial has to hurt. Luckily, I had some energy left in the end to give everything. And that last part was the hardest, and I was able to push a larger gear and make a difference. I hope to keep the jersey as long as possible, which should be possible in the stage between around Oss tomorrow, but you never know. I’ll enjoy this first."

2nd, Taylor Phinney (BMC): "I think today went well. It's such a short stage I don't really remember most of it but I was having a good time. I haven't done a prologue in a long time so it was nice to get back out there and it reminded of what I am best at doing on a bicycle. This was the first time I have raced in my national championships skinsuit. I was wearing the one I had made in 2014 but never got to wear because of my broken leg. It felt good to wear it for the first time, two years later. It could have been three seconds luckier though but it was good. We will see how the rest of the race goes. We are all looking forward to some of the hillier stages and I think Stage 4 will be where the race really unfolds. Between Stefan, myself and the rest of the guys, we have a strong team here and spirits are high as we look ahead to the rest of the week."

3rd, Stefan Küng (BMC): "After the Giro I had quite a busy week and then over the last few days I have tried to recover as much as possible. I knew I could be good today but I also knew that I hadn't prepared specifically for this prologue so I just tried to give it my best. I lacked a little bit of explosivity but apart from that I gave it everything I had but unfortunately it wasn't enough for the win today. I am feeling good and I am looking confidently ahead to the rest of the race. This prologue got the engine running again for me and with Taylor sitting in second as well, I think we have an opportunity to do well and go for the win at this race. We will try everything to do that."

Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk Prologue Result:
1. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 7:23
2. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC at 0:03
3. Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC at 0:04
4. Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling at 0:05
5. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:06
6. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:07
7. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step at 0:08
8. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale
9. Wout van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice
10. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step at 0:09.

Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk Overall After The Prologue:
1. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 7:23
2. Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC at 0:03
3. Stefan Kueng (Swi) BMC at 0:04
4. Roger Kluge (Ger) IAM Cycling at 0:05
5. Sean De Bie (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:06
6. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:07
7. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Etixx - Quick-Step at 0:08
8. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale
9. Wout van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice
10. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx - Quick-Step at 0:09.

Prologue winner Jos Van Emden:
Goes - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Jos Van Emden (Netherlands / Team LottoNL - Jumbo)  pictured during the prologue (6,4 km) of the Ster ZLM Toer - GP Jan van Heeswijk 2016 in Goes, Netherlands - photo Carla Vos/Cor Vos © 2016

Ronde van Limburg 2016
Next to the team riding in the World Tour race the Critérium du Dauphiné, another part of Wanty-Groupe Gobert travelled to Tongeren fort he Ronde van Limburg with one favorite: Kenny Dehaes. He was supported by Boris Dron, Jérôme Baugnies, Lander Seynaeve, Mark McNally, Robin Stenuit, Gaëtan Bille and Tom Devriendt. The sprinter of Wanty-Groupe Gobert won the race. It is the fifth victory of the season for Wanty-Groupe Gobert, the third for the Belgian sprinter.

"I’m really happy with this victory. My teammates worked hard the whole day. So I could sprint for the win", Kenny Dehaes said.

After 44 kilometers three riders attacked from the main pack. The peloton slowed down. At kilometer 91, Wietse Bosmans was dropped from the leading group. Rob Ruijgh and Pieter Serry spent the rest of the day together. After a long chase, the peloton caught the two riders with seven kilometers to go. "My teammates gave everything to come back on the chasers. Several teams helped us. The gap decreased very quickly at the end", Kenny Dehaes explained.

Rain started to fall but that didn’t prevent the teams to prepare the sprint. Kenny Dehaes got immediately a gap and beat Tom Boonen and Toimothy Dupont in the uphill battle to the line. "I came from behind. In the last corner I already had a big gap. I like this kind of finish", Kenny Dehaes concluded.

This victory will give Dehaes confidence for the coming weeks. "After a difficult start of the season I'm back in form. I can still win races.The team believes in me. I'm definitely looking forward to the ZLM Toer and Halle-Ingooigem," he concluded.
Race report by Wanty-Groupe Gobert.

Ronde van Limburg Result:
1. Kenny De Haes (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 4:46:30
2. Tom Boonen (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
3. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda's Willems
4. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Cyclingteam Join-S/De Rijke
5. Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice
6. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles-Group Protect
7. André Looij (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton
8. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) BKCP-Corendon
9. Roman Maikin (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
10. Jetse Bol (Ned) Cyclingteam Join-S/De Rijke.

Kenny De Haas:

Tinkoff extends lead in UCI WorldTour team rankings while Contador and Sagan claim top spots of individual rankings
Following a successful Critérium du Dauphiné, including a stage win, a spell in yellow and fifth place overall, Alberto Contador has assumed the lead in the UCI WorldTour individual rider rankings. The Spanish rider moves ahead of teammate Peter Sagan, with them both weighing heavily in favor of the team’s top spot in the overall team rankings and extending the lead to an impressive 146 points

Talking about his lead in the rankings, Contador said: “It was never a goal but, obviously, every rider is happy to reach that position. It also is a bonus to the sponsor, Tinkoff Bank, and Oleg Tinkov that have shown their strong support. We lead the team ranking and sit on the two top spots of the individual ranking."

Alberto Contador had a strong Critérium du Dauphiné - taking a stage win and wearing the yellow jersey for four days. Photo by Bettini Photo.

Contador took a powerful opening prologue victory in the typical Tour de France warm up that is the Dauphiné, before spending the first half of the race in yellow. Scoring points again on the mountain stages, Contador went on to finish fifth on GC, attaining enough points to move ahead of teammate Sagan.

The UCI World Road Race Champion was also scoring points himself this weekend to add to his tally, with a stage win on the second stage of the Tour de Suisse. With more stage opportunities ahead, Sagan will be looking to add further points before he lines up alongside Contador at July’s Tour de France.

Contador leads the rankings with 337 points, just eight points ahead of Sagan, with third place on 290 points. In the team rankings, Tinkoff sits on 876, leading by an impressive 146 points over Movistar, with Team Sky in third on 713 points.

UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, took the win on the second stage of the Tour de Suisse - his 12th in total. Photo by Bettini Photo.

The UCI WorldTour rankings are based on results in the races ranked as WorldTour in the UCI calendar, arguably the biggest and best races on the international calendar. To lead the rankings, results are needed in depth rather than just through one leader in a selection of races – results that are a just reward for the hard work and dedication put in by the team in the build up to this season and over the first half of the race calendar.

Tinkoff has now been leading the UCI WorldTour team rankings uninterruptedly since March 27th, a clear witness to its racing successes.

Finally, Hopplà-Petroli Firenze, Tinkoff's Italian U23 affiliate team has continued its streak of wins in the Italian racing calendar. Thanks to an impressive performance on Sunday, which saw the team taking the top five spots at Trofeo Impresa Fagni Luca, the tally was brought to ten. Hopplà-Petroli Firenze now sets its sights on the Italian National Championships and, further ahead, the World U23 Championships in Qatar.

Alberto Contador has assumed the lead in the UCI WorldTour individual rider rankings:

Contract Extension Leah Kirchmann Next Step for Team Liv-Plantur
Team Liv-Plantur is pleased to announce that Leah Kirchmann (CAN) has renewed her contract with the team. The agreement extends her commitment for another two years, until the end of 2018. With signing the contract extension Team Liv-Plantur aims to contribute on the short-term to their vision of becoming one of the leading women’s cycling teams in the world.

The Canadian is currently in her first season with Team Liv-Plantur and so far she has already achieved strong results, including the team’s first victory of the season at Drentse Acht van Westervel. In addition, she took an impressive third place in the general classification at the Tour of Chongming Island in China and strong performances in the UCI Women’s WorldTour races put her into seventh overall.

On signing the contract extension, Kirchmann said: “I'm very happy to confirm a two-year contract extension with Team Liv-Plantur. It became very clear within a few months of working with the team this season that I fit in really well with the structure of the program. The combination of supportive and knowledgeable staff, strong teammates, and fantastic sponsors all contributed to my decision to extend my contract. My expectations and goals for the next few years are to continue to push myself and my teammates to achieve the next level of success at the WorldTour level."

“We are delighted to continue working with Leah for the next two years,” said Team Liv-Plantur's coach Hans Timmermans (NED). “Our goal is to become a leading team in women's cycling on the short-term and extending Leah’s contract is an important next step in the development of the team. After half a year working with Leah we saw that she blends well into the team. She is able to share her race knowledge and experience, and is capable of filling-in the leader’s role. Leah has had a fantastic first half of the season with the team, showing some fantastic results already. Her seventh place in the WorldTour classification is a good proof of that.

“Taking into account that it is her first year in the team working according to the 'Keep-Challenging' philosophy then it's obvious that there is still a lot margin for improvement and progression. The goal with Leah is to focus on achieving good results in the WorldTour races. This is the logical next step in her career and we are confident that we will be able to reach these targets."

Leah Kirchmann finishing stage 1 of the Women’s Tour of Great Britain on Wednesday:
Norwich  - England - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Kirchmann Leah (Canada / Liv - Plantur)  pictured during  Women’s Tour of Great Britain stage- 1 from Southwold to Norwich  -  photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2016

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and Cameron Meyer part ways, Australian cites personal reasons for his departure
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka has released Cameron Meyer with immediate effect. The contract termination was requested by the Australian himself. Citing ongoing personal reasons he hadn’t been able to play an integral role over the last few weeks.

"Unfortunately I have made the tough decision to leave Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, due to ongoing personal issues I have had of recent. I have been unable to train or race at the required level that is needed for the World Tour," Meyer states.

The Australian had only joined our African Team at the beginning of this season.

"I cannot thank Douglas Ryder enough for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing program. To be able to see at first hand the impact the team makes in Africa through the Qhubeka Foundation and for me to have involvement was truly inspiring."

"I wish the entire team the best of luck and look forward to watching their many successes to come."

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka wishes Meyer the best for his future.

Cameron Meyer:

Critérium du Dauphiné 2016
The 2016 edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné was marked by the victory of Christopher Froome (Team Sky), the third of his career, the fight among the stars of the peloton, shoulder-to shoulder sprint finals, a rising prodigy and some stylish battles.

The 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné by the Numbers
·2,400,000: the number of videos viewed on the dedicated platform (+224.5% compared to 2015)

·5.2: million posts on the official account during the race

·38,000: fans on Facebook (+58% compared to 2015)

·25,400: followers on Twitter (+33% compared to 2015)

·50: media outlets acquiring content for their digital supports

·19: Ireland becomes the 19th country to have its colors represented on the podium of the event, thanks to the performance of Dan Martin, 3rd, 19’’ behind the winner.

·9: the number of years since the last time a French rider had finished on the podium after the victory of Christophe Moreau in 2007. Romain Bardet broke the dry spell, finishing runner-up, 12’’adrift of Chris Froome

·5: Chris Froome becomes the 5th three-time winner of the Dauphiné, joining Nello Lauredi (50, 51, 54), Luis Ocana (70, 72, 73), Bernard Hinault (77, 79, 81) and Charly Mottet (87, 89, 92).

Onboard camera: live on TV!
For the first time, images from onboard camera have been broadcasted live on TV. Hitched under the handlebars of Kenneth Van Bilsen (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits), the camera permitted the viewers to be absorbed in the heart of the peloton, offering a new and spectacular point of view.

Onboard camera on stage 5:

La Course by Le Tour de France 2016
FDJ Becomes Main Partner of a Much Awaited Third Edition

For its third edition, “La Course by Le Tour de France” will, once again, offer the most stunning scenery to the best female cyclists in the world. On 24 July and just prior to the final stage of the Tour de France, the female peloton will ride the 89 kilometre course, with 13 laps of the 7km circuit on the Champs-Élysées between the Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde passing by the Louvre. “La Course by Le Tour”, which is a part of the brand-new Women’s World Tour, will be a major event on the calendar. All 21 teams selected for the race want to take a prestigious win on the most beautiful avenue in the world. Beginning in 2016, “La Course by Le Tour” will have the support of FDJ, which has become a major partner of the race for the next three years, creating a strong link in the promotion of female sport!


Best of - La Course by Le Tour de France 2015 por tourdefrance

You Are What You Eat!
When looking for photos for Anne Guzman's 'Pre-Race Nutrition' article, I found this video by Human Powered Health and the Optum team:

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