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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
Chris Froome made history on Sunday, but Alberto Contador is the Top Story in EUROTRASH Monday. All the news from the Vuelta a España, the Tour of Britain, plus the GP Quebec and GP Montréal with reports, rider quotes, results and video. In other news: Slipstream Sports new sponsor and contract news from LottoNL-Jumbo and Astana. But the big story is from Spain.

TOP STORY: Adios Berty!
The star of the 2017 Vuelta a España was Alberto Contador, that and maybe the course of the Spanish Grand Tour. Chris Froome and his Sky team rode a clever race, as they always do, to take the lead and make sure they kept it to the finish in Madrid. Lucky for them that Contador had lost time in Andorra, things could have been different. Instead of racing for a stage win or just for the excitement of mixing things up, the man from Pinto could have been going for the win. But it's all in the past now as Contador has pushed on the pedals in anger for the last time. The World of cycling has lost one of the last riders with talent and the 'cojones' to have a go, even when the chips are down.

More to come on Alberto Contador on PEZ.

We will miss you Alberto:

Vuelta a España 2017
Stage 18 of La Vuelta 2017 favored the attackers and Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal) made the most of it. The Belgian dominated his breakaway companions to claim his first professional victory at Santo Toribio de Liebana. He dropped Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) on the last climb to the finish, where Chris Froome (Sky) gained 2 seconds on Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida). The leader of La Vuelta was able to match the many attacks from his rivals, mostly from Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and finally accelerated in the final kilometer of an action-packed stage.

161 riders tackled stage 18 of La Vuelta 2017 from Suances. The battle for the breakaway was immediately on and it took 58km for a group of 20 riders to get ahead: Julian Alaphilippe and Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors), Alessandro De Marchi (BMC), Magnus Cort Nielsen (Orica-Scott), Jose Joaquin Rojas and Marc Soler (Movistar), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Clément Chevrier, Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Toms Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac), Antwan Tolhoek (LottoNL-Jumbo), Matej Mohoric (UAE Team Emirates), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal), Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida), Jérémy Maison, Anthony Roux (FDJ), Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis), Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Aldemar Reyes (Manzana-Postobon).

They extended their lead to 13:15 as they entered the last 80km, which included the Collada de la Hoz, where Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) tore the race apart on his way to the win at Fuente Dé in 2012.

Alexis Gougeard and Sander Armée jumped ahead of the front group on the climb. They were joined by Marc Soler at the summit, then Julian Alaphilippe and Alexey Lutsenko bridged the gap on the downhill. Among the GC contenders, Alberto Contador accelerated on many occasions, but Chris Froome's Sky team controlled the situation. Fabio Aru (Astana) was able to get away and kept going with a solo effort to the finish, only 12 seconds ahead of Chris Froome.

Armée and Lutsenko got rid of their companions on the last descent and battled it out for victory on the final climb of Santo Toribio de Liebana. The Belgian jumped 600 meters from the finish line. Froome accelerated at the same point, only Contador and Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac) could follow while Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) lost 21 seconds.

Stage winner and 21st overall, Sander Armée (Lotto Soudal): "This is a fantastic moment for me. I have been pro for eight years now and this is my first official victory. I came close a few times, but this feeling is incredible. Most of the time, I work for the team, but this Vuelta I was given a free role. I was already part of the right breakaway two or three times, but could never finish it off. I actually feel pretty fresh in this last week. The big fight was to get in the breakaway. When the large group took off, I closed the gap together with Lutsenko. The cooperation with the other leaders didn’t run smoothly; the group was just too big. I actually wanted to force a selection on the second climb, but I waited until the penultimate one. Gougeard turned out to be a good companion and when the other thee joined us, I tried to stay on the wheel in the descent. I knew that with Alaphilippe and Lutsenko I had two very strong riders by my side, who had already won a stage here. That I could still distance them, proves that I am in very good form. Alaphilippe had already told that he was tired and in the last kilometers I raised the pace as high as I could, hoping Lutsenko would crack. 500 meters before the finish sports director Marc Wauters told that Lutsenko was getting distanced and from then on I just hoped nothing would go wrong anymore. I have never won a race of this level, but I felt very strong and kept riding."

3rd on the stage, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): "A third place a bit bitter, but at the end is a good sign that I'm fine and that I can help Vincenzo in the decisive challenge on Saturday climbing the Angliru. I went in the breakaway because there were so many riders of different teams but I did not collaborate very much. I was always listening the information I was receiving from the team car. When we had a great advantage over the peloton I could try do my race. In the finale, we were like five or six riders but I missed a couple of moves. I was surprised and I could not retrieve it."

4th on the stage, Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale): "We really have the heart to go for a stage win, and we are trying on all terrains. Today I felt really good. I could have followed the best, but I had already done too much work. This is not the first time this has happened to me, but this is how you learn. This Vuelta has reassured me, and I have been selected as a member of the French team going to the World Championships. The end of the season so far has been better than the beginning, so I will try to keep this momentum. I would like to raise my arms in victory, especially considering the kind of form I am in at the moment. Being selected to represent France at Worlds is something that means a great deal to me since it is not every day that you get to represent your country on the world stage."

8th on the stage, Sergio Pardilla (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): "Today it was difficult for many reasons. The first 50km were very difficult with lots of riders fighting to get in the breakaway. When the group finally formed it was packed with very strong riders. I definitely felt the fatigue of the previous few weeks but that is to be expected after what has been a very hard Vuelta."

11th on the stage, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): "The stage was unbelievable fast in the beginning. I had to cover so many moves to make the break, I was already dead when we finally went away from the bunch. In the final decent I was just 100 meters behind the leading group, but I had no support from the guys around me, and then De Marchi nearly crashed in front of me, so it was over. On the final 2k I was totally empty and just happy to make it to the line. Actually, my legs are not bad, but I am also not at my best level, which would be necessary to challenge for a stage win."

Overall leader, Chris Froome (Sky): "Today worked out perfectly in my favor. It was a really tough stage, a lot of GC guys tried to attack on the penultimate climb. Once we got to that final climb, the team did a really strong pace at the bottom and I think some guys paid for their efforts from yesterday and their attacks earlier on today. Fabio (Aru) is one of the GC guys but still over 5 minutes on the classification. For us, he's not really a big threat for the overall title so I think it's more part of the fight for the top 5 and the podium spots. (Gaining 21 seconds on Vincenzo Nibali) feels great, especially after a difficult day yesterday. It's good to bounce back again. The morale is still good, the team is still strong, and we're just looking forward to getting through these next couple days."

5th overall, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo): "The legs were quite good. I didn't think about attacking but the truth is some other riders went on the move and I got excited. I went for Fabio (Aru) but when he kept going, I thought we were not going anywhere just the two of us. What would be nice would be to win after a long range attack, but we're not going to be too greedy. The things that are duo to come will come. In the end (Chris) Froome had good change of rhythm. On Saturday (the Angliru) we'll see how things go. They announce rain. We need to be aware that everyone's legs hurt. It's true that Team Sky are very strong but Froome lost some time yesterday. Everyone can have a bad day… and we need to challenge people, to see how they do. Some days, the legs don't feel good and in that case they don't try. Now I try."

Igor Antón (Dimension Data): "After suffering from intestinal problems for the last six days, I finally started to feel better today. Tomorrow, I will concentrate fully on recovering in order to go all-in on Angliru on Saturday. I have fought hard these days, never throwing in the towel. I’m happy I have survived my sickness and that I’m still in the race to continue fighting."

Vuelta a España Stage 18 Result:
1. Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:09:39
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 0:31
3. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:46
4. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:02
5. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar at 1:06
6. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC at 1:19
7. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 1:21
8. Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
9. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:38
10. Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ at 1:42.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 18:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 72:03:50
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:37
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 2:17
4. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 2:29
5. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 3:34
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 5:16
7. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac at 6:33
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
9. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 6:47
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 10:26.

Stage 18:

Summary - Stage 18 - La Vuelta 2017 por la_vuelta

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) enjoyed Stage 19 of La Vuelta 2017 to snatch a third Grand Tour stage win after his victories in the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. Always aggressive, the Belgian baroudeur was part of a 27 man breakaway to eventually take victory in the streets of Gijon. Chris Froome (Sky) controlled the move from another never-tiring attacker, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), to make sure he'll tackle the infamous stage to the Angliru with the leader's red jersey on his shoulders.

Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Juanjo Lobato (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Laurens De Vreese (Astana) launched the first attack and were quickly joined by 16 riders, including the wearers of the Polka dot jersey, Davide Villella (Cannondale-Drapac), and the Green jersey, Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors). The first climb of the day saw a counter-attack go after them with Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale). After 60km, 27 riders were leading the way.

The peloton let them go and the gap rose up to 17:40 after 120km. Astana, leader of the team classification, then decided to up the tempo while attacks were tearing the breakaway in pieces. 33km away from the finish line, Ivan Garcia Cortina went alone. He built a 1 minute lead on the way to the last climb of the day, but Romain Bardet joined him at the summit, with 15km to go.

First Nicolas Roche and Rui Costa, then Jarlinson Pantano, Floris De Tier, Bob Jungels, Dani Navarro and Thomas De Gendt caught them on the run-in to Gijon, where De Gendt took the sprint. The downhill also allowed the bunch to get back to Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) with 2.5km to go after another attack from the Spanish climber. Chris Froome (Sky) retained the red jersey on the eve of the climb up the mighty Alto de l'Angliru.

Gijon - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Thomas DE GENDT (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during La Vuelta ciclista a Espana 2017 (2.UWT) stage 19 from Caso - Gijon (149,7 km) ITT - photo Luis Gomez/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): "I started on the first row this morning, because I knew the breakaway once again had a chance today. As expected, Trentin, leader in the points classification, and Villella, leader in the KOM classification, were also ready to go on the attack. A group of nineteen riders was formed, and it quickly grew to twenty-seven, with lots of good riders in it and I therefore thought that my chances to win the stage were not so high. With 60 kilometers to go, I was the first to try to make an early selection in the breakaway, as I was hoping to continue with a smaller group. I knew Bardet was too strong on the climbs, so I mainly focused on Jungels. In the finale we had to chase down Bardet, Garcia, Rui Costa and Roche, who had gone clear on the last steep climb, but we worked well together to close the gap. I know that I’m not slow in a sprint with a reduced number of riders, but I thought that I’d better ride the sprint of my life if I wanted to take the stage win. Garcia surprised me a little, but then he slowed down and I won by a comfortable margin. After Tomasz Marczynski’s first win the pressure fell off the team’s shoulders, but we stayed focused. Since then, it’s been better and better. I had said before the Vuelta that the fulfillment of the “trilogy” was an objective for the rest of my career, but I didn’t think it would be done this year. I didn’t feel great in the first week, then a bit better in the second week and I’ve been feeling even better this week, but the course didn’t really suit me. My coach told me that I had to be patient and that I would finally have good legs. I surprised myself today, but I like such surprises!"

3rd on the stage, Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida): "The stage was finishing in my hometown and the team gave me permission to run away and play my cards."

4th on the stage, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): "Today I was aware that it was important to be in the breakaway and I was waiting for that bit of luck that I have missed on previous stages. I succeeded in being amongst the attackers, however I am sad that I didn’t win, especially since my legs felt great and the victory seemed achievable. I was really focused in the last part of the stage and very strong on the final climb – I gave my best until the end, but ultimately I missed the victory which is obviously disappointing."

12th on the stage, Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe): "The group went away earlier than I expected, but I was in a good position and up there straight away. We pushed a lot in the beginning, because also some guys didn’t want to let the chasing group catch us. After they joined us, the pace dropped a little, but some teams had two riders in, Lotto-Jumbo four, so they started to play, let some holes etc. We decided that I push already on the third climb to make a selection. But after the climb almost everybody was coming back. So, it was down to the last climb, and I am not as punchy as guys like Costa or Roche, so I had some troubles and found myself in the chasing group. However, it was not a bad day. The result was not what we wanted, but it was also not my kind of terrain in the end. My legs were not too bad, but I am also nowhere near my shape from the Dauphiné anymore. Especially after the stomach virus we all suffered here, there is not a lot left in the tank now."

19th on the stage, David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): "This Vuelta has been one of the toughest of my career. The fights to get into the breaks everyday have made the racing very fast and there are a lot of tired guys in the peloton. While it is disappointing not to have been able to be there in the end I am happy with how I rode and proud to be there representing Caja Rural-Seguros RGA."

Overall leader, Chris Froome (Sky): "(Alberto) Contador certainly can't be blamed for the lack of trying. In every stage, he's been attacking and today was exactly the same. For me, it was about trying to save as much energy as possible for tomorrow and get through the day without much issues, so I'm happy to let the day behind us and focus on tomorrow. Angliru is going to be rude, but it's an explosive and short stage, so we can expect fireworks from the start. There's some though climbs before the Angliru. Everybody is tired at this point of the race, but I feel good."

5th overall, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo): "I didn't expect less (from Team Sky and Team Sunweb). It was a difficult finish to make it but we had two teammates ahead and we thought one could give me a hand. There was a lot of headwind. I asked for a 55T chainring thinking of the downhill but even then it was impossible. When I saw how windy it was and that they were chasing, I just stayed in the wheel with (Edward) Theuns. If it rains tomorrow, that's pretty good for me. I'm good for the end of La Vuelta. The podium is really far away. There are many rivals who are doing good, let's see how I recover. This year I'm feeling less pressure and it looks like I'm finishing stronger than I began. If I can win a stage, it will be a success. It's a short stage, something crazy, everything can happen."

Igor Antón (Dimension Data): "Today, I started to suffer from intestinal problems once again. I was in a lot of pain. The legs are good and I managed to do well on the last climb but this problem just doesn’t seem to go away. I hope I can do well tomorrow."

Vuelta a España Stage 19 Result:
1. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 3:35:46
2. Jarlinson Pantano (Col) Trek-Segafredo
3. Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
4. Rui Alberto Faria da Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
5. Floris De Tier (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC
9. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis
10. Koen Bouwman (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:45.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 19:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 75:51:51
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:37
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 2:17
4. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 2:29
5. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 3:34
6. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 5:16
7. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac at 6:33
8. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
9. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 6:47
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 10:26.

Stage 19:

Summary - Stage 19 - La Vuelta 2017 por la_vuelta

Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) had one last shot and he used it on the Alto de l'Angliru, winning Stage 20 of La Vuelta 2017 on the mythical climb where he secured his first overall win in the Spanish event in 2008. The Spanish climber attacked ahead of the Angliru and held off a powerful duo from Team Sky, Wout Poels and Chris Froome. Froome is set to become the first British winner of La Vuelta ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin).

160 riders tackled one of the most dreaded stages of La Vuelta 2017. Many riders were interested in getting ahead of the peloton on the way to the mighty Alto de l'Angliru. It took 25km of hard racing for a group of 18 riders to establish an early breakaway: Julian Alaphilippe, Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors), Nicolas Roche (BMC), Adam Yates and Simon Yates (Orica-Scott), Nelson Oliveira and Marc Soler (Movistar), Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb), Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Rui Costa, Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), Tomasz Marczynski (Lotto Soudal), Tobias Ludvigsson (FDJ), Igor Anton (Dimension Data), Lluis Mas and Jaime Roson (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport).

They couldn't enjoy much of a lead as Alberto Contador's Trek-Segafredo team immediately led the chase at the head of the peloton and stabilized the gap around 1:10 on the way to the first climb of the day, the Alto de la Cobertoria. Enric Mas set the pace in the climb and the gap to the peloton was up to 1:40 at the summit, with 38km to go, while Luis Angel Mate (Cofidis) and Bernardo Suaza (Manza Postobon) were chasing in between.

Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida accelerated on the downhill and the peloton split. Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) quickly got back but Astana's Miguel Angel Lopez and Fabio Aru were not able to do so. Marc Soler accelerated in the alto del Cordal but he crashed on the descent and let Tomasz Marcznyski lead the way to the Angliru. David De La Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) suffered a nasty crash in the same downhill.

Alberto Contador jumped ahead of the bunch at the start of the Angliru and steadily got back to the early attackers. He caught Marczynski 7.5km away from the summit and set a pace only Marc Soler was able to match. Contador eventually soloed away from everyone with 5.4km to go. Wout Poels and Chris Froome (Sky) accelerated together in the final 2.5km to definitely secure Froome's overall victory while Ilnur Zakarin was climbing onto the third spot of the podium ahead of Wilco Kelderman.

Stage winner and 4th overall, Contador said: "The truth is it has been a very, very special day. I think it’s very difficult to say good bye in a better way than this, in this place, in this event. In the end, it's a full stop at the end of a career in which I have done everything I wanted. I think it's been a beautiful Vuelta even though I am not on the podium. But perhaps if I had been in contention for the overall podium I would have ridden in a different way, more conservative, and instead I have ridden the race I have ridden - I look at the photos, and almost every day there are pictures of me alone because I have been on the attack. I knew it was going to be a very special day, the road full of people and everyone watching the stage, and I set the goal for myself of winning on the Angliru. This morning I wanted to win, and when I crossed the line, I thought to myself: goal completed. In the end, we couldn't take the podium, but this is not what's important. What's important is to take the victory of the stage and finish with this result for the rest of my life. I spoke with teammates ahead yesterday and said that tomorrow could be one day for the history. They gave 100% to control the first part of the race. All the riders helped me, and especially Pantano for the descent of the Cordal. We started the Angliru with some seconds to the rivals, and then I knew it was my time and I needed to give the maximum until the top and try to win. Today's attack was different because it was an attack on the descent. It's unusual in the history of cycling for this on a dangerous descent, but Jarlinson attacked, and I went with him. I have been able to enjoy the affection of all the people who say thank you to me. It's been a remarkable month, unforgettable. I think in the future it'll be remembered that in my last day of competition, I finished it with a win."

3rd on the stage and overall leader, Chris Froome (Sky): "It’s an amazing feeling. The team has just been incredible over the last few months. It’s meant so much to me, the way they have supported us. I owe a massive thank you to all my teammates. I have to say that is probably the toughest Grand Tour I’ve ever ridden. There was something different happening every day. I’ve had good days and then I’ve been lying on the ground, bleeding, thinking my race might be over. It’s been a rollercoaster – absolutely relentless. It’s a relief now to finish and to be getting to Madrid. I think it probably is my greatest achievement, being the first person to win the Tour de France and then go on to win the Vuelta. L’Angliru is such a brutal climb, so congratulations to Alberto (Contador) for finishing off the way he did. That was an amazing way to end a career. He was just too strong for us today."

2nd overall, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): "It's a shame for the sliding in the curve, it was raining and the road was dirty and slippery. Until then we did a great race but then I had to defend myself on last climb. I'm glad I was able to defend my second place. My teammates have done a wonderful job, but I must thank Franco Pellizotti in particular. Without him and with the strong pain on my left side I do not know if I would arrive with the best at the finish line at the top of Angliru."

3rd overall, Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin): "It is still hard to believe. This is a miracle. In the last 3k of the race, I knew I had to do something but there was no real plan. I really gave it everything I have in my body. I have never gone so deep. It was a little bit tricky as I was afraid I would burn myself out. Anyway, I gave my maximum and it worked. I am so happy. Kelderman came close at one moment but I never really looked behind as Contador was in front. With this situation I had to give it my all. In the end I had no idea where Kelderman was, but that did not matter as I was busy with Contador. Now a podium in a Grand Tour. I am very happy. I think in the next three years I can aim higher. Why not try for a win next year? This is a big result for the entire team. I dedicate this podium to my father and mother-in-law who recently died. I am sure they watched my success."

Jaime Roson (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): "Trek were working very hard for Alberto today and he was able to deliver for them. I think our team did well from the first to the last rider. It was a day of survival for many guys with the bad weather and the climbs. I was feeling good until the descent of the first climb. I started to lose concentration and ended up off the back. Today wasn't my day but in general it was a good Vuelta for me. I was able to get 3rd on a stage and I felt better this year than last years and feel myself maturing as a rider."

Rafal Majka (Bora-Hamnsgrohe): "I had really good legs on the first climb and was confident to fight for the win on the Angliru. But when it started to rain again and the temperatures dropped, my back was suddenly totally blocked. I had really bad pain and couldn’t almost finish the stage. That’s a pity, not just because of my good shape, also because the team worked so hard and we were in a perfect position. But Alberto deserved this success and I congratulate a true champion to this last victory."

Igor Antón (Dimension Data): "Today, I really wanted to give everything I had left to be in the break and I made it! However, the peloton didn’t give us much time. After the second big climb, I paid the price for my illness. I was completely empty but I’m happy I could show off the Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka jersey and finish this really hard Vuelta. I want to thank everybody for their support."

Vuelta a España Stage 20 Result:
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo in 3:31:33
2. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:17
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
4. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:35
5. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:51
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 1:11
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:25
10. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:36.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 20:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 79:23:37
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 2:15
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 2:51
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 3:11
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 3:15
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 6:45
7. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac at 7:56
8. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 8:59
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 11:04
10. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 15:36.

Stage 20:

Summary - Stage 20 - La Vuelta 2017 por la_vuelta

The final day of the Vuelta was a stroll in the park only until the peloton reached the circuit in Madrid, where attacks fired off the front as several riders tried to make it into the breakaway. Quick-Step Floors dutifully moved to the head of proceedings and marshaled the bunch, shutting down all these actions until the intermediate sprint, which was nabbed by Matteo Trentin, who had his eyes also on the green jersey.

One of the strongest and most dominant teams in the race, Quick-Step Floors controlled also the final 30 kilometers of Stage 21, brought the three riders who formed an escape back in the peloton and delivered Trentin in a perfect position for the final sprint of the 2017 Vuelta a España. The 28-year-old accelerated with 200 meters to go and easily captured his seventh Grand Tour victory, over Lorrenzo Manzin (FDJ) and Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb). Trentin came close to take home the green jersey, which in the end rested on the shoulders of GC winner Chris Froome (Sky), after the overall leader got involved in the bunch sprint.

The big stories of the day were the retirement of Alberto Contador and Chris Froome doing the Tour/Vuelta double. Contador was given the loudest applause of the day and probably the most TV time. It was his big day, which nearly outshone Froome's double. Contador rode into Madrid solo and was given the most combative rider of the day, the whole Trek-Segafredo team came to the podium for the presentation. In all it was a good send off for a true champion.

Froome did not sit back for the final stage. He took part on the intermediate sprint and finished 11th on the stage, defending his overall, points and combativity jerseys.

Stage winner, Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors): "The guys were again awesome today and executed the plan perfectly, so I want to say a big thank you to them, not only for today, but for their entire work during these three hard weeks! We took the reins once we entered on the circuit and didn’t leave anything to chance. I’ll admit, it would have been nice to get also the green jersey, but I won’t let that spoil these fantastic moments. We can be extremely proud of what we’ve achieved in this race: six stages is a remarkable run and this victory in Madrid is the cherry on the top."

Overall Vuelta winner, Chris Froome (Sky): "It’s an amazing feeling. The team has just been incredible over the last few months. It’s meant so much to me, the way they have supported us. I owe a massive thank you to all my teammates. I have to say that is probably the toughest Grand Tour I’ve ever ridden. There was something different happening every day. I’ve had good days and then I’ve been lying on the ground, bleeding, thinking my race might be over. It’s been a rollercoaster – absolutely relentless. It’s a relief now to finish and to be getting to Madrid. I think it probably is my greatest achievement, being the first person to win the Tour de France and then go on to win the Vuelta."

2nd overall, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): "It's not easy to bring the victory back home in each Grand Tour. But I think we've worked really well to deliver a great result. Second behind Chris Froome is a big result. He was the man to beat. Chris and his team have done a great job. We've fought till the end. We've looked for the occasions to get the win but it hasn't been simple. Honor to Froome for having won the Tour and La Vuelta. With podiums at the Giro and La Vuelta it makes for a positive season because I've always ridden at a high level. It's not easy to make the podium when we have to fight for 21 days. It's an emotion for me as well to see Alberto (Contador) stopping his career today. He's been a very instinctive rider. In races, he made you crazy because he was likely to attack any time. It's hard to find another rider like him in the bunch."

3rd overall, Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin): "I’m very happy and to have fought with Alberto Contador yesterday was a great memory. This is my first grand tour podium so all of this is new to me. But I am starting to be comfortable standing along side many of the great riders in cycling."

4th overall, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo): "I don't have words to explain the feeling I had in that moment. To cross the finish alone in front of my home public… Usually I train in the traffic, I don't have the road for me. And there after 15 very, very hard years of fighting, today is a special day. It's a dream. I don't know a goodbye better than this. Now is the moment to stop. When I started as a professional, I said I wanted to finish at the top level. And I think that now is the perfect moment for this. I can only say: ‘thanks, thanks and thanks' (to the public). I gave the maximum, 100% in the race. In the last 15 years, I did everything with my heart. It's important. Cycling is a sport where the most important is the victory but I also think the spectacle is important. I did everything I could during La Vuelta. And I thank Trek-Segafredo for giving me this opportunity to attack when I want."

Break rider, Nick Schultz (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): "It was always the plan for one of us to get up the road. I was lucky that today it was my turn to get in the move that stuck. It was very special to be able to do that on the last day of my first Grand Tour.It was a great experience to be up there with two stars of the sport such as Rui Costa and De Marchi. I am delighted to have finished my first Grand Tour but now looking forward to rest now."

Vuelta a España Stage 21 Result:
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors in 3:06:29
2. Lorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ
3. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb
4. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac
5. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
6. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott
7. Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) Cofidis
8. Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 21:
1. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky in 82:30:02
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 2:15
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 2:51
4. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo at 3:15
5. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb at 3:18
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 6:59
7. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac at 8:27
8. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 9:13
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 11:18
10. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC at 15:50.

The final stage 21:

Summary - Stage 21 - La Vuelta 2017 por la_vuelta

OVO Energy Tour of Britain 2017
Lars Boom took the lead of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain with the Stage 5 win as Clacton and the Tendring district of Essex hosted a 16-kilometer individual time trial. The Dutchman, who won two stages and the overall of the race in 2011, averaged over 51kph to head home teammate and European Time Trial Champion Victor Campenaerts by six seconds, with former World Time Trial Champion Vasil Kiryienka a further second in arrears.

Boom now leads overall by eight-seconds from his teammate, with Kiryienka another second behind. Twelve riders lie within 30-seconds of the race lead, include Team Sky's Welsh duo Geraint Thomas and Owain Doull, the former of whom is now the Adnams Best British rider overall in ninth place.

Afterwards Boom was pleased with his victory, highlighting the quality of the top 10, all of whom had World, European or National Time Trial championships to their name. Orica Scott's Luke Durbridge was the early leader, overtaking Harry Tanfield's early pace setting time, before 2015 World Time Trial Champion Kiryienka went quicker with a time that home favorites Thomas and Alex Dowsett couldn't match.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo then took the lead with Campenaerts, before Boom usurped him going eighth from last, threatening to go under the 19-minute mark, finishing on 19:02. The Dutch team now hold three of the top five positions on General Classification, with Jos Van Emden fifth having scored the same position on the stage. There was no change in the other classifications, with Elia Viviani holding the Wiggle Points Jersey, Graham Briggs the Eisberg Sprints jersey and Jacob Scott the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey.

Stage winner and overall leader, Lars Boom (LottoNL-Jumbo): "I know, I always go out hard, so I knew already in my mind that if it's a headwind in the last few kilometers I'm going to drop some seconds, but in the end I could keep it on 45, 48 [kph], so it was quite OK and my team director was telling me that at one-kilometer out I was still 10 seconds faster, so I knew it was OK. The week before we came to Britain I had some problems with the stomach and so I was looking a little bit funny for the shape, but the feeling now was pretty good on the TT bike. There's a really strong field here, that's why I'm also really pleased with the win. We have to make a plan for the next few days. We need to see because it can be difficult with only six riders in the team, so it makes the racing also a little bit more difficult, but that's quite nice about this race. And 20-seconds is not much so we have to look… I don't know yet."

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 5 Result:
1. Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 19:03
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:06
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:07
4. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:08
5. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:11
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:12
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:17
8. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
9. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:21
10. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica-Scott.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 5:
1. Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 17:57:25
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:08
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:09
4. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:10
5. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:13
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:14
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:19
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
10. Alex Dowsett (GB) Movistar at 0:23.

Stage 5:

Caleb Ewan completed a hat-trick of stage wins in the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain, sprinting to victory in Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast at the end of Stage 6, as Lars Boom finished safely within the pack to retain his overall lead and the OVO Energy Green Jersey.

Ewan hit the front coming out of the final corner, swinging off Maximiliano Richeze's wheel to power comfortably to the line to add to his wins in Kelso and Scunthorpe. Fernando Gaviria took second after his lead out was disrupted as Zdenek Stybar pulled his foot out of the pedal through the final corner, while Dylan Groenewegen took third, and with it the final bonus seconds to further help protect his Lotto NL-Jumbo teammate Boom's lead.

Stybar had led into the final right-hander, but took a tighter line and then unclipped, taking Ewan's teammate Luka Mezgec wide, but at the same time opening the run onto the finish straight for the explosive power of the young Orica Scott man. Behind the leading trio Alexander Kristoff and Andrea Pasqualon took fourth and fifth, while there was another top ten finish for JLT Condor's Brenton Jones in sixth.

The day's seven rider break took a while to be established in what was the fastest opening hour to any of the five road stages this year, but with Hayden McCormick and James Shaw within the group and both just over a minute down on Boom, their advantage was never allowed to exceed three-minutes. Shaw's reward for his efforts was a trip to the podium for the HIGH5 Combativity Award, while ONE Pro Cycling's McCormick moved up three places in the overall to inside the top 30 thanks to bonus seconds collected.

With fourth on the stage Alexander Kristoff of Team Katusha-Alpecin moves into the lead of the Wiggle Points Jersey by eight points over Gaviria while Geraint Thomas remains the best placed Brit overall and leader of the Adnams classification, sponsored by the Suffolk brewer.

Both the SKODA King of the Mountains and Eisberg Sprints Jerseys remain on the shoulders of Jacob Scott (An Post Chain Reaction) and Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) respectively going into the penultimate stage. Briggs lies just one point behind Scott in the climber's category, with Lukasz Owsian a further four points behind. The JLT Condor man has just a one point advantage over Mark McNally in the Eisberg Sprints category, sponsored by alcohol free wine brand Eisberg.

Stage winner, Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott): "We got information that the final corner was very tight and a little bit off camber as well so we wanted to be in a good position there. I was pretty much in a perfect position exactly where I wanted to be then one of the Quick-Step guys went through the corner and took a really bad line, he unclipped and pushed my lead out man Luka out and I lost him through the corner. I decided I'd just go for it there and it was a little bit longer sprint than I hoped for, but luckily it paid off. I came here with this as a target race for the back of the season for me and training's been going well. I did want to come here in good form so I couldn't be happier with how it's started."

James Shaw (Lotto Soudal): "The break worked well together but unfortunately it was three kilometers too far for us today. There was a slight glimmer of hope about 15-kilometers to go, they came past with the board showing 1:35 and I thought this is going to be a close one. They came past us with three-kilometers to go, they must've really put the hammer down."

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 6 Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott 4:13:06
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
3. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Brenton Jones (Aus) JLT Condor
7. Enzo Wouters (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
9. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Cannondale-Drapac
10. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 6:
1. Lars Boom (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo in 22:10:31
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:08
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:09
4. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:10
5. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:13
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:14
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:19
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
10. Ryan Mullen (Irl) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:27.

Stage 6:

Lars Boom retained the overall lead of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain heading into the final day to Cardiff, surviving an explosive Stage 7 of racing through the Cotswolds to Cheltenham as his teammate Dylan Groenewegen took the stage win.

Groenewegen out-sprinted triple stage winner Caleb Ewan and Brenton Jones but it was only thanks to the hard work of his LottoNL-Jumbo team that the race had come back together for the sprint alongside Cheltenham's Imperial Gardens having resisted attacks from general classification contenders Tony Martin, Alex Dowsett, Edvald Boasson Hagen among others, the latter of whom was caught within the final 1,500-meters.

After a start under clear blue skies in Hemel Hempstead, the race exploded into life – as did the rain clouds – with an aggressive start to the stage and Cannondale Drapac in particular making several attempts to put riders up the road. In the end two groups of three riders went away, but with neither a threat to the overall they were allowed to merge and build a four-minute plus lead, with Jacob Scott extending his SKODA King of the Mountains lead as a result.

With the race entering the Cotwolds and the gap just over the three minute mark, Tiago Machado sparked the attacking, going clear of the peloton but not quite making it to the leading six.

Behind him a strong five-rider group made an attempt to work their way across, including his Katusha Alpecin teammate Reto Hollenstein, Michal Kwiatkowski, Sylvian Diller, Ryan Mullen and Dowsett. The five got 30-seconds clear of the peloton, but with Lotto NL Jumbo alert to the threat to Boom's lead began to work hard bringing the whole race back together. This immediately spurred another Katusha Alpecin into action, with World Time Trial Champion Tony Martin driving clear in heavy rain on an impressive, and sustained, solo effort, but one that was ultimately doomed under the Lotto pressure.

With everyone back together the intermediate Eisberg Sprint at Winchcombe became the new general classification battleground, with BMC's Stefan Küng grabbing the bonus seconds to elevate him into second overall – between Boom and teammate Victor Campenaerts – while Mark McNally took two points to leap him over Graham Briggs and into the Eisberg Sprints jersey.

On the day's final SKODA King of the Mountains climb at Cleeve Hill, topping out with less than 10-kilometers remaining five riders went clear including former winners Boasson Hagen and Dylan Van Baarle. Van Baarle then crashed out on the descent, obstructing Laurens De Plus and leaving Dion Smith, Gorka Izagirre and Boasson Hagen out front. With the teams of the sprinters sensing the chance of success again – that earlier in the day had seemed highly unlikely – they came to the front on the final five kilometers in Cheltenham, reeling the trio in just before the final kilometer arch.

Heading towards Wales and the final stage Boom leads overall by eight-seconds from Küng, with teammate Campenaerts and Vasil Kiryienka each a further second behind. Geraint Thomas is the best placed Brit and leader of the Adnams classification heading to his home city of Cardiff in ninth, 20-seconds back.

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo): "The stage was very hard but I survived it. It was a little bit freestyle sprint so I used Caleb Ewan's wheel and Gaviria's. He [Ewan] is in great form so it's really good that I could beat him. After the Tour de France I was a little bit tired, but I think the form is good so it's good for morale."

Overall leader, Lars Boom (LottoNL-Jumbo): "It was quite a hectic start but we controlled it quite well. It was a good situation for us, Gijs van Hoecke and Primoz Roglic controlled the bunch quite well. We never had any problems except a small problem with 30, 40 kilometers to go when the group with Dowsett and Kwiato went. I did not react straightaway and Campenaerts had to pull on the front. There was a small breakaway with Boasson Hagen, which was a bit critical, but I went full downhill to try and keep the gap as small as possible and then the sprinters teams took over. The main goal was to not allow Boasson Hagen and Kwiato to take seconds as tomorrow if you take all of the seconds – there are 19-seconds in total available if you're lucky. But now we are a little bit more comfortable so it'll be a good day tomorrow."

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 7 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 4:26:58
2. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-Scott
3. Brenton Jones (Aus) JLT Condor
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Daniele Bennati (Ita) Movistar Team
7. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
8. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Lotto Soudal
9. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC
10. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani-CSF.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Overall After Stage 7:
1. Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 26:37:28
2. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:08
3. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:09
4. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:10
5. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:14
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:15
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:20
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
9. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky
10. Ryan Mullen (Irl) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:28.

Stage 7:

Lars Boom resisted the elements and the attempts of his rivals to seal the overall victory at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain as wind and rain battered the peloton on its way through the Welsh Marches to the finish line in Cardiff on Stage 8. The Dutchman resisted the attempts of his rivals as the race exploded into life among thousands of spectators on the opening SKODA King of the Mountains climb at British Camp in the Malvern Hills and continued that way until the final meters of the Cardiff circuit, with Edvald Boasson Hagen soloing to the win

After a dry start in Worcester, riders almost immediately faced the rain as the peloton approached the foot of the Malvern Hills. An initial group of seven riders had struck out, but amid the throngs of spectators the field fell apart into four groups, with 14-riders at the front for the fast descent into Ledbury including general classification contenders Michal Kwiatkowski, Vasil Kiryienka, Stefan Küng, Boasson Hagen and Boom.

Boasson Hagen took the time bonuses at the first Eisberg Sprint in Ledbury, ahead of Kwiatkowski and Küng, moving them all one step closer to Boom's OVO Energy Green Jersey.

With the pace slackening there was a regrouping at the front, with the lead pack swelling to 53-riders, including home favorites Geraint Thomas and Owain Doull who had missed the initial selection. At that point Team Sky began to drive the front group clear, and with the presence of entire line-ups from Sky, Quick-Step and Katusha Alpecin, plus Boom and teammates Victor Campenaerts, Primoz Roglic and Jos Van Emden there was no way back for the second half of the race, chief losers among them being twelfth placed Alex Dowsett and the SKODA King of the Mountains leader Jacob Scott.

At the Eisberg Sprint in Usk it was Boasson Hagen again picking up three bonus seconds, but Boom was alert snaffling second placed and two seconds, while Kwiatkowski again picked up a time bonus.

With the wind and rain becoming heavier, the 17% gradient of Belmont Hill on the outskirts of Newport was the next battleground, with Quick-Step using each climb as a chance to up the pressure and increase the temp, over the top Zdenek Stybar took the points ahead of Lukasz Owsian, who sealed the SKODA King of the Mountains jersey as result.

On the slick descent Movistar's Gorka Izagirre went clear, being joined on the roads of Newport by Mark Stewart with the pair dodging the puddles to build a 30-second lead on the run to Cardiff. The pair held off the charging 51-rider group, led by Sky for the first tour and a half of the city centre, but with the final intermediate Eisberg Sprint approaching Boom, Boasson Hagen, Kwiatkowski and Küng went away in the sprint, with the Sky man taking the time bonuses, ahead of the attentive race leader.

With the four reeled in on the final circuit and the group watching each other, Boasson Hagen struck out inside the final three kilometers, holding off the remains of the field through the wet streets of Cardiff to just survive, as Maximiliano Richeze and Alexander Kristoff led the peloton along King Edward VIII Avenue in the sprint to ultimately fall short.

The Norwegian finishes second overall, eight-seconds back from Boom, with Küng a further two in arrears and Geraint Thomas the top Brit overall in seventh, winning his weight in beer from Official Partners Adnams. Thanks to his move on the run in to Cardiff Mark Stewart picked up the HIGH5 Combativity Award for Stage Eight, while Graham Briggs collected the same overall prize for the week.

Briggs does however miss out on the Eisberg Sprints Jersey by a solitary point, with Mark McNally adding that jersey to his 2014 mountain's prize. This year's SKODA King of the Mountains jersey goes to Lukasz Owsian of the CCC Sprandi Polkowice team. The last word on the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain goes to Boom though; whose team also claimed the overall team classification, and for once during a week marked by wind and rain, the Dutchman wasn't complaining about the conditions he faced.

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data): "It feels good to finally get this victory. We had a plan from the beginning of the day for me to try to attack with two or three kilometers to go. It was great to be at the front and I’m happy I moved up to second place overall. I’ve had a nice week with the team and I’m happy to finish it off like this."

Overall winner, Lars Boom (LottoNL-Jumbo): "It was even harder than yesterday’s stage. Yesterday’s final was tough, but we had to ride attentively the whole day during this last stage. We had some difficult moments, but we managed to stay in front with four riders. Team Sky took the responsibility which was good for us. This way we could prepare ourselves for a tough final. I couldn’t react at that moment, fortunately, he didn’t take too much space. So I could take the victory and I’m very happy about that."

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stage 8 Result:
1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data in 4:19:00
2. Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
3. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott
5. Brenton Jones (Aus) JLT Condor
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC
8. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors
9. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky.

OVO Energy Tour of Britain Final Overall Result:
1. Lars Boom (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 30:56:24
2. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 0:08
3. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:10
4. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:13
5. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky at 0:18
6. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:24
8. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:25
9. Owain Doull (GB) Sky at 0:33
10. Ryan Mullen (Irl) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:38.

Final stage 8:

GP Cycliste de Québec 2017
When the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, wins, he always does it in style, but today the Slovak BORA-hansgrohe rider made it extra special, claiming his 100th professional victory with a commanding win on a tough uphill sprint. From the start of the GP Cycliste de Québec it was clear the team had their eye on the win, working hard to control the race and deliver Peter to the line. The Austrian, Lukas Pöstlberger, also claimed the best climber’s jersey on a day where the whole BORA-hansgrohe team showed their strength on a demanding course.

Sixteen laps of a 12.6km circuit of Québec’s beautiful streets made up the 201.6km course for today’s race. While the laps themselves were short, the difficulty of the terrain made certain that this wasn’t going to be a straightforward race, with 2,976m of climbing over the day taking place on four steep ascents. The toughest of these would see riders battle against gradients of 13%, and the day’s finale, while on one of the more gentle hills, would take place on a 4% incline. The fine weather conditions would see riders start in high spirits – but after more than 200km on punishing terrain, there would only be a few riders on the start list who would be strong enough to contest the finish.

The day started at the highest point of the course, and so riders were eager to get into a break and put some distance between themselves and the peloton before the climbing started. After a few attempts were brought back in, a group of four managed to get away with just a few kilometers of the race covered. This small but determined group of four succeeded in building an advantage of a minute, before gradually extending this as the day went on – topping out at nearly ten minutes. This advantage put the leaders at more than half a lap in front of the peloton, at which point the bunch was spurred into action, with BORA-hansgrohe working to pull in the escape’s substantial gap to a more manageable 5:30 with 50km remaining.

The relentless pace of the break, combined with the pressure of the chasing peloton, saw the escapees starting to struggle, losing one of their number and making it harder to maintain the high speeds they had done over the distance so far, before losing another with 30km remaining. With the gap now approaching two minutes, it was clear that the peloton was working to make the catch ahead of a fast finale. In the peloton, UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, looked comfortable and was surrounded by his teammates and with only one rider remaining of the break and the gap down to thirty seconds, the race was really coming to life, the catch being made with 16km remaining. Attacks came and went, but there was no denying the sprinters, who massed at the front as the kilometers ticked down, Marcus Burghardt upping the pace in his distinctive German National Champion’s jersey and Lukas Pöstlberger setting a fast tempo. Swooping around his adversaries and making the most of a wide finishing stretch, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, made it professional win number 100, the 4% climb barely registering as the Slovak surged to victory.

Race winner, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "In the end, the result was very similar to last year, and the style of the race was similar too, even down to Uran attacking as always. In the finale there was a headwind, but I decided I had to start my sprint from further out. It was a very long sprint and the last kilometer being uphill made it hard. Thanks very much to the team. BORA-hansgrohe did an amazing job – they were pulling all day on the front and we were able to control the race on the last three laps. There were a lot of attacks and the guys did a very good job closing the gaps. 100 is a special number but it’s never enough. You can’t rest on your laurels – you always have to aspire for more. I’ll try again on Sunday, but races are always unpredictable – you need luck. You can be injured or crash, but I want to do my best with the team, and we’ll see what comes next in Montreal."

2nd, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): "It was a pretty similar race to last year. I lost Sagan's wheel a little when he went, and I couldn't have come past him, so I am pretty happy about my race. I would love to win here but second is not too bad. I am happy with my shape now, and the team did a great job to put me in a good position on the final climbs. Maybe with a little extra luck, I can win here. For me, the most important thing is that I still have a lot of power in my legs over the last kilometer and from there, whether you win or not, is all in the details. Today I was second, and hopefully, when we go to Montreal, I can repeat the same result as last year."

5th, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): "It was a hard race and it was ideal for us that Tosh was in the breakaway, as we didn’t have to do anything. It was a strange race as well, as there were moments when there could have been attacks, but everyone knew that it would have been pointless so nobody even tried. Sean and Jasper brought me to the front in the finale, and Tony, Tiesj and I took part in the sprint. I had good legs, I had been feeling great throughout the day, and I could cross the line in fifth place. It wasn’t a regular sprint, as it went slightly uphill, but there was nothing else to do than sprint. I think that I can be happy with my fifth place today!"

Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal): "I went clear right after the start with three other riders and the collaboration was good until halfway through. I thought that our advantage had been stable for a while and I thought we could maybe do it, but I probably worked a little too hard. I tried to take the others into account and I sometimes waited, I certainly didn’t go full gas. I suddenly had inexplicable cramps in my right leg with 25 kilometers to go, but our advantage had dropped anyway. I think we made the race really hard and Tim and Tony’s fifth and ninth place aren’t bad results. I am satisfied with my race today."

GP de Québec Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 5:00:31
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
4. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
7. Petr Vakoc (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
8. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
10. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida.

Québec 2017:

GP de Montréal 2017
Diego Ulissi has triumphed in the GP Montreal, beating the other six fugitive riders in his breakaway group as they jostled in the final sprint. For Ulissi this is the first one day classic he has ever won and surely one of the most prestigious successes in his career up to now, after his six stage victories in the Giro d’Italia. Ulissi and Marco Marcato were part of a larger break of sixteen riders, which took off with two laps to go until the finish. During the last curve on the uphill stretch, under Diego’s incentive only six pacesetters remained.

After 17 laps on a 12.1 km circuit and an elevation of 3892 meters, the rider from UAE Team Emirates prevailed in the final sprint, ahead of Jesus Herrada (Movistar) and Tom-Jelte Slagter (Cannondale-Drapac).

Race winner, Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates): "I’m really very happy with this victory. After the Tour de France I continued working hard because I really wanted to try and clinch this race, which is particularly suited to my skills. Last year I arrived third behind two champions like Van Avermaet and Sagan. This year I told myself that if I arrived with them I would get beaten again, so I decided to race on the attack. My team mates were fantastic, especially Marcato and Conti, who worked the flanks and checked my adversaries, finally pushing to the limit in the main break. Sometimes to win you have to risk losing it all, and I was determined to achieve success all the way, today."

4th, Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Montiale): "I felt very strong today. In Quebec, I was a little worse, as usual. But fourth doesn’t really reflect how good I felt today. I launched my sprint from a long ways out. Normally that works well for me; I go strong and then get stuck in. But Ulissi still had his strength too and managed to pass me. Fourth is a shame since I had the podium in my legs. This race is basically a reflection of my whole season: there has always been something to get in the way of my best. At the beginning of the season there were crashes in particular. I will just remember that the form is there, and that is the reward for all the work that I have put in to reach this level. What really bugs me is that I was possibly the strongest in that breakaway. I was the one attacking and also taking my full pulls."

6th, Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal): "I jumped on Jan Bakelants’s wheel when he attacked in the penultimate lap, and the winning break was formed. Bauke Mollema then accelerated on an uphill section and our group was consequently down to six riders. I was determined to go for the win, so I decided to play all-or-nothing. I saw an opportunity around two kilometres from the line and I attacked. I never looked back, I just went full gas. It unfortunately didn’t go my way. The legs felt great, that’s a good sign for the World Championships. I hope my condition can still improve a bit in the two short weeks we have before going to Norway."

9th, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I could say that this year's Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal was a strange race. The entire BORA - hansgrohe squad put in a strong effort with Lukas Pöstlberger pulling hard to control the breakaways when needed. In the final kilometers, a small group managed to get away and build a gap from the peloton. I tried to bridge to them and bring them back but there was no cooperation from the other riders of the peloton. I wasn't going to do all the work on my own, so the gap remained until the finish and Ulissi got the win. However, that's cycling and I have to accept the result. It's time now to head back to Europe and focus on the season's final major goal, the World Championship in Norway."

GP de Montréal Result:
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates in 5:22:29
2. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar
3. Tom-Jelte Sagter (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac
4. Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 0:06
6. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal at 0:11
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:16
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
9. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Cannondale-Drapac.

Montréal 2017:

Cannondale-Drapac announces EF Education First as new naming partner
EF Education First and #GreenArgyle fans have teamed up to #SaveArgyle. Slipstream Sports rides on in 2018 thanks to a newly inked deal with EF Education First. The family-owned global education company will become the first naming partner of the American-registered squad in 2018 and will eventually become majority owner of Slipstream Sports.

Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale will remain wholeheartedly committed to the gutsy, open and engaging approach for which it has become known.

“We are honored to begin working alongside Slipstream Sports, Cannondale, Drapac, and all of the wonderful partners at Slipstream Sports to keep our cyclists riding into 2018 and for years to come,” said Edward Hult, CEO North America, EF Education First. “We were inspired to step in and become the team’s title partner, and will become majority partner, after learning about the #SaveArgyle campaign and witnessing the incredible outpouring of support from fans around the world.”

“We have been moved by the powerful way that cycling unites people of diverse backgrounds in a peaceful, fun, and friendly way to achieve extraordinary athletic feats,”
Hult added. “It aligns perfectly with EF’s mission of opening the world through education and our commitment to bringing different cultures together.”

Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters describes EF Education First as “the perfect partner” alongside the “whole athlete” focus embraced by Drapac Group owner and chairman Michael Drapac,

“Drapac’s focus is athlete education, athletes being healthy and whole, having options in life,” said Vaughters. “That’s what these guys at EF are all about. Education is what they do. They’re about breaking down cultural barriers and teaching people how to communicate. It’s a sponsor that feels socially relevant in this day as the world becomes increasingly global and communication among cultures becomes more critical. I think it also matches the ethos of Slipstream Sports. I couldn’t ask for a better fit.”

“This partnership would not have come off without the fan support,” Vaughters added. “That ground swell showed a level of engagement that enticed potential sponsors to step forward. The world we live in is all about engagement. It’s not about pure numbers. It’s about ‘are you really reaching your audience?’ and our crowdfunding proved that our fans are engaged — engaged all the way into their wallets. That’s incredibly special and humbling. That demonstrated to the world that this team is an entity that people love and support. We could not have gotten this deal had our fans not mobilized the way they did.”

With EF Education First becoming majority owners of Slipstream Sports, that deal extends beyond traditional sponsorship and naming rights and secures the team’s future for years to come.

“I’m incredibly happy and also exhausted,” said Vaughters. “These last two weeks, I’ve put in more hours working than I ever have and fewer hours sleeping – that’s telephone calls, meetings, flying here and there. I’ve been holed up in a hotel all week in New York. I’m exhausted but I’m also so happy and so proud.

“I’m proud of how the organization held it together through all this – the riders, staff, sponsors, fans,”
Vaughters added. “Every single minute I’ve worked on this was so worthwhile.”

Feature image photo credit: © BrakeThrough Media

Q&A with Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters
Q: How did the connection with EF Education First come about?

I reached out to Philip and Edward Hult, who along with their father Bertil, privately own EF, several times in the last few years. Based on what I knew about EF, I thought they would be a great fit alongside our other sponsors – and I’m happy that the more I learn about EF and the people behind this organization, the better and better the fit seems.

When EF learned about the #SaveArgyle campaign from a colleague, they decided to dig a little deeper. They weren’t very familiar with the world of professional cycling, but all the details they unearthed impressed them. They discovered clear overlap between our story and mission and their own, and things have unfolded from there.

Q: What are the terms of the deal with EF Education First?
Because this deal extends beyond traditional sponsorship, the terms of the deal are fluid. For now, I can say that we’ve agreed to terms for the next several years and that both Slipstream Sports and EF see this as a long-term partnership.

Q: Slipstream Sports has always been a low-budget squad. Will this change?
That’s the idea over the long-term. Next year, our operating budget will be similar to what it has been for the last several years.

Q: You released riders and staff from contracts two weeks ago and then recently said all 2018 contracts will be honored. Did you lose anyone in those two weeks?
We didn’t lose any more riders than most teams lose in a normal transfer season. While I’m not in a position to comment on the full make-up of our squad for 2018, I’m excited to share plenty of contract news in the coming weeks.

Q: Is Rigoberto Uran staying with the team?
Yes. His three-year deal stands – as does his goal to win the Tour while in argyle.

Q: You said that the fans saved argyle. Is that really true?
Absolutely. The ways our fans mobilized was a major attraction to EF. I cannot thank our fans enough for helping us secure this deal.

Q: What will happen with the crowdfund donations?
Given the feedback we’ve received from our backers, we will be using this money in 2018. We’re exploring several different options as to where these funds can best be used to bolster our efforts next season, as well as funding post-career rider education, and we look forward to communicating this with everyone when decisions have been finalized.

Q: Is the Indiegogo campaign still open for business – and if so, why?
Yes, our crowdfunding campaign is still online and active. While our needs have changed with EF coming aboard, this campaign offers #GreenArgle fans the opportunity to support this team. If you want in, we want you. Get involved here:

Q: Will I still get my #SaveArgyle mug?
Yes, yes. You will still get your #SaveArgye mug – and we’re delivering more than the promised perks, so stay tuned for that news!

Q: When’s our donors’ meeting?
We’re still working on that – but it’s definitely happening. All of us here at Slipstream Sports are very much looking forward to meeting all of you who backed the #SaveArgyle movement when we needed you most.

Talented American cyclist Powless will join Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Team LottoNL-Jumbo has managed to sign 21-year-old cycling talent Neilson Powless for two years. The American is currently riding for development team Axeon, of sports director Axel Merckx.

“Powless is considered as one of the most talented riders of his generation”, sportive director Merijn Zeeman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo says. “It’s great news that he has chosen to join us, since he had several different opportunities. He prefers our team because he sees and believes that we develop young riders in a good way and that they improve while being prepared for the next level by us. It’s a nice confirmation of our policy and a proof for us of being on the right way.”

Neilson Powless himself is excited with his transfer too. “I’m almost at a loss for words at the moment. I've been aiming to race in the World Tour for a very long time and now I'll finally get the opportunity to do so with team LottoNL-Jumbo. My interactions with the team and staff up to this point have already exceeded my expectations of what I thought a world tour team would be like. I can't wait to see what the future has in store.”

Neilson Powless:
Neilson Powless is back for a second season with Axeon Hagens Be

Hugo Houle will join Astana Team
Astana ProTeam is happy to announce a two-year agreement with Canadian rider Hugo Houle, who will join Astana for next two years, 2018 and 2019.

"My move to Astana Team is a new, very serious challenge for me. This is a chance to do a new step in my development. Astana is a Kazakh project, but, in the same time it is a big international team. After five years in almost all-French team, I am curious to become a part of an international squad. Astana is known by its great ambitions in the Grand tours and I will be happy to help the team both, in the big races and the classics, which I like so much," explained Hugo Houle.

Hugo Houle (26), who now is taking part in the Vuelta a España, is a strong rider for the classic races, but also feels good in the Grand tours and stage races, where he provides a good support to the team leaders. Besides, Houle is a good specialist of time trial races – in 2015 he won the individual time trial of the Canadian National Championships as well as the ITT at the Panamerican Games.

Among his best results could be noted 2nd place in the overall classification of the Tour de Beauce (2012, 2016), 3rd place at a stage of the Tour de San Luis (2015), 4th place in the U23 road race of the UCI Road Championships (2012) and 5th place in GC of the Boucle de la Mayenne (2017).

"First of all, we are interested in Hugo as in a rider who could strengthen our team in the spring classic season. Despite his youth, he has a huge experience in the biggest classics, including monuments Milano – Sanremo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. In the same time, we have to remember that Houle is very young and still is looking for his own way in professional cycling. I think, besides supporting our leaders at the classics, Hugo will have a chance to show himself. Today, our team will ride the Grand Prix de Québec and we are really happy to announce our new Canadian rider here in Canada. I am sure, for our partner Argon 18 it will be good news as well," said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Hugo Houle:
Waregem - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Hugo Houle (Canada / Team AG2R La Mondiale) pictured during 71e Dwars door Vlaanderen Men Elite - photo PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

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