PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Eurotrash
EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
Rafal Majka showed his form by winning in Slovenia, outside bet for the Tour de France? All the news from the Tours of Suisse, Ster ZLM and Slovenia with reports, results and video. No names to come out of Operacion Puerto - TOP STORY. In other cycling news: Lotto Soudal Medical Up-date, Frederik Backaert extends contract with Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Peter Sagan climbs a fence. EUROTRASH Monday coffee time.


TOP STORY: Athletes with No Identities?
It's looking more likely that we will never know the identities of the athletes who's blood bags were discovered during 'Operacion Puetro' will never be know. After much legal too-ing and fro-ing, the 211 bloodbags that were seized during raids on the offices and clinics of Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes (the man at the centre of the sports drug operation) were eventually given to the anti-doping authorities for identification. WADA know the identities of all the sportsmen and women concerned, but it has been announced by the Provincial Court of Madrid that the bags were given to only verify they belonged to athletes with open cases. Of course there are none due to the case now being well outside the eight year statute of limitations.

Dr Fuentes asked that the evidence (blood bags) should be returned to him and that the athletes names should not be made public as it violates their right of privacy and confidentiality which all patients should receive from their doctor. This contradicts a statement that Fuentes made at one of the earlier hearings, when asked if he would make the athlete identities public: "If they felt I was useful and they asked me, I would consider it and would be willing. What I don’t know is if what I would give them would be worthwhile to them or not. If, within this cooperation such a list was necessary, they would have it."

Fuentes is also mixed up in Swiss HSBC banking scandal where it was reported that he withdrew €265,000 in cash during 2005. The Spanish doctor claims the money was to buy a boat and to pay his daughters hospital bills.

We now know who most of the cyclist involved in 'Operacion Puerto' were, but there is a discrepancy in numbers which means that other sportsmen were involved. Back in September 2006, former cyclist Jesús Manzano told reporters from France 3 that he had seen "well-known footballers" from the Spanish league visit the offices of Dr Fuentes. And the rumors of runners, tennis players and other athletes have been doing the rounds for years. As most of them have now probably retired, should we draw a line under 'Operacion Puerto' and forget it? Or should those sportsmen who must have made money from doping be 'outed' publicly?

Dr Fuentes holds all the information:




Tour de Suisse 2017
Another foray into the mountains would challenge the riders and give them a chance to bring the race for the overall standings to life on Stage 6. The 167km stage, which took place in the southern alps, had just two climbs, but they were two of the hardest climbs the country has to offer – the San Bernardino Pass and the Albulapass. Both of these climbs are long and steep, only adding to the fatigue already in the riders’ legs after five stages, with each reaching maximum gradients of 12%. The challenging finish, with short, fast descent after cresting the summit of the Albulapass, would also allow those planning on taking some time in the GC to make their intentions known.

Knowing the threat posed to their GC lead, BMC was working hard today to shut down the breaks, and while groups did manage to escape, they were brought back in moments later. With almost 50km completed, the escape came at the foot of the day’s first climb – a small group drove the pace so hard they left the peloton in their wake, making up a group of ten. This sizable group, if they worked well together, could hold out until the end, and the GC contenders in the peloton knew this, and would work hard to make sure this didn’t happen. With his first stage win of this year’s Tour de Suisse under his belt, and the black jersey of the leader of the points contest on his back, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, had no intention of sitting back and letting others take the strain, as he worked hard to support his teammates on the difficult stage. The Slovak rider was a regular sight carrying water and food from the team car to his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates up the road.

With 50km remaining, the break’s advantage was at just over two minutes and dropping – albeit slowly. In response to an attack from the break, the bunch responded in turn, upping their pace to reduce the time gap. The rest of the escapees were falling back in response to this relentlessly hard pace. As the race moved into the final 10km, it had been easy just a few kilometers earlier to think the break could stick, but the pace of the chasers had cut this down drastically. On the short backside of the climb, the rain came down, making the descent treacherous.

The GC group had only eight riders. Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo) attack 4K out with Damiano Caruso (BMC), Ion Izaguirre (Bahrain-Merida), Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) and Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2r-La Mondiale) held his wheel, Pozzovivo didn't wait and put in a counter attack and soon gained a gap. By the top of the climb he had caught Michael Woods (Cannondale-Drapac), the last man from the break. Overall leader, Caruso along with Costa, Kruijswijk, Izaguirre and the others were over 30 seconds down. Pozzovivo rode through the heavy rain without crashing and with his 10 second bonus for the stage win he also took the overall lead, but is on the same time as the BMC man.

La Punt - Suisse - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Domenico POZZOVIVO (Italy / Team AG2R La Mondiale)  pictured during stage - 6 of the Tour de Suisse 2017 stage -1 - from Locarno - La Punt, 166.70 km - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and overall leader, Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale): "This is a very important victory, a WorldTour race, and the first big race for me after the Giro, so it’s a big satisfaction for the whole squad. I was waiting for a victory like this because I was very strong in the Tour of the Alps, and then had a good Giro. The Giro was very hard but I came out of it with a good condition. Today was a very hard day with lots of climbing, but I’m really happy I was able to win."

2nd on the stage and 7th overall, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): "Despite the really hard climb of the last mountain I was able to stay with the best GC riders” said Rui Costa “the final in descent was quite dangerous due to the heavy rain and we pushed to the limit trying to catch back Pozzovivo. We can’t but I got a good second place. It was important to play an important role to win the stage and to get a better overall ranking possible. Now we have others possibility. We’ll see."

3rd on the stage, Ion Izaguirre (Bahrain-Merida): "Today it was a bett­er day for me, I feel bet­ter hopefully. In the beginning of the stage the Team worked very well, putting Cink in the breakawa­y. So everything was controlled, Gaspa and Tsgabu help me to keep a good positio­n. On the last climb I tried to go alone, but it was impossi­ble. Finally we tried to catch Pozzovivo in the last km when it started raining, but without success. So the most import­ant thing is that the feelings are coming and we will see to­morrow if we can do better."

13th on the stage and 11th overall, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I bridged to the chasing group on the Albulapass and I was happy to be riding with the other GC contenders. The rain on the downhill to the finish made the roads very slippery though, and I made the decision to hold back and stay safe. I am satisfied with today’s result, and also with the overall because I’m now in 11th place. Today everything went well – I still feel the Giro in my legs, but I’m taking the race day by day, paying attention to how I feel and how my legs are. Tomorrow will be another hard day, but I am looking forward to it because it’s always nice to race in your home country. There are only three seconds to 10th in the GC and I’ll try to take some time in the ITT. As I say, I can still feel the Giro in my legs, so I’m going to focus on recovering now."

Break rider, Ondrej Cink (Bahrain-Merida): "It was in the plan to be there in the breakaway. I was in and it was very good. I tried to stay in the front, then coming back to the group to help Ion. I just fight until the end."

Tour de Suisse Stage 6 Result:
1. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale in 4:38:49
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:04
3. Ion Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:12
6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
7. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:15
8. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:18
9. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar
10. Michael Woods (Can) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:21.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 6:
1. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale in 22:03:28
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:13
4. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:22
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:23
6. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 0:35
7. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 0:54
8. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 1:19
9. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 1:42
10. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 3:02.

Stage 6:



After steadily gaining ground in the days leading up to Stage 7 in the 81st Tour de Suisse, Team Katusha-Alpecin's Simon Špilak used his team to perfection on Friday to strike out for the stage win and the race lead. With precision help from teammate Rein Taaramäe at the start of the 12k climb on the Tiefenbach glacier to make the race hard and distance the others, Špilak struck out solo with 8k remaining to take the victory with a winning time of 3:58:36 (41.819 km/h) on the 166.3k stage. In the process, the Slovenian rider earned rights to the yellow leader’s jersey in an effort to repeat his 2015 victory in the Suisse tour.

Simon’s effort produced a solo win by 22-seconds to Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) and 36-seconds to Cannondale-Drapac’s Joe Dombrowski. For the general classification, Špilak holds 52-seconds to Damiano Caruso (BMC) and 1:05 to Steven Kruijswijk of Team LottoNL-Jumbo. Former leader Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondial) lost more than two minutes.

It’s goodbye to the mountains for this year with two stages still to race. Saturday’s stage 8 is a short one at 100k before the 28.6k individual time trial brings the race to a conclusion on Sunday in Schaffhausen.

Solden - Austria - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Simon SPILAK (Slowenia / Team Katusha - Alpecin)  pictured during stage - 7 of the Tour de Suisse 2017 - from Zernez - Solden, 160.80 km - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and overall leader, Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin): "Immediately from the start this morning I felt that I had good legs. Yesterday it was 30 degrees, but today it was 20 and this is better for me. We had a plan for today and the team was so good. Not to perform well was not an option. (Baptiste) Planckaert and (Jhonatan) Restrepo went with the early break while the others stayed with me to keep me out of the wind. Taaramäe was getting our drinks and then at the end he was still with me on the final climb and did a great job. With 7-8k to go, I dropped Rein and Joe Dombrowski. Maybe that was too far from the finish, but what else could I do? I had to take the jersey for my team. Now it is 52-seconds to Caruso and more than one minute to Kruijswijk. Tomorrow is a sprinter’s stage so we should be able to control that and then a long TT on the last day. And yes, I am not so bad in the TT."

2nd on the stage and 8th overall,Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Meirda): "Today was another hard day, my team made a very good job. We put Tsgabu in the breakaway and in the peloton the other guys worked very well for me to keep a good position at the beginning of the climb with Gaspa and Cink. At the end I finished 2nd. Again near to victory. I feel better day by day and it’s important ahead of the Tour de France. I hope next days to do a good job as in the last time-trial."

Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was really hard for me today – as I said yesterday, my legs aren’t feeling the best after the Giro. The ascent today was the first time I’ve ridden up this climb, and I had no idea it would be so hard. I’m feeling really empty now, but tomorrow will be a tricky day for the GC, along with the ITT on Sunday. With the 30km ITT, I think there can be a change in the GC and I hope I can make up some time – today I lost around five minutes. In these two upcoming stages, anything is possible and we will see if I can finish in the top ten. If not, I can still be happy with the first half of this season and the experiences I’ve had here. I started the season in good shape and the Tour de Suisse is the last race for me before a longer break – which I’m really looking forward to."

Tour de Suisse Stage 7 Result:
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin in 3:58:36
2. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Meirda at 0:22
3. Joseph Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:36
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 1:04
5. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Jan Hirt (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 1:07
7. Rein Taaramäe (Est) Katusha-Alpecin at 1:33
8. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 1:47
9. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 1:53
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 2:40.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 7:
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin in 26:02:16
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:52
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:05
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:28
5. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 2:35
6. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:51
7. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 2:54
8. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Meirda at 3:51
9. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 4:07
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 4:10.

Stage 7:



On a street circuit Stage 8 that rode more like a Belgian kermesse, it was the sprinters who wanted to take the win on the last road stage of the Tour de Suisse. While there was a third category climb ridden eight times over the day, a flat finish meant the fast men would be doing everything they could for the victory. A late attack surprised the bunch, with high speeds tearing the peloton to pieces, but in true Sagan style, the UCI World Champion kept his head in the finalé and left his rivals in his wake to take his record fifteenth stage victory and his second of this year’s edition of the race.

A quartet made their move almost from the start of the stage. The highest placed GC rider in this break was fifty-five minutes down in the overall race, and so the peloton was happy for this group to go ahead. However, on such a short stage, the outcome was anything but certain, with the fast pace taking its toll on both the break and the sprinters. As the day progressed and the kilometers ticked down, the break was unable to break two minutes, but the fact the peloton was pushing hard and still not making much of an impact on the gap, suggested there was still every chance of a surprise. With the commissaires making the decision to take the GC times at the end of the 7th lap, it meant there would be no fireworks for the overall contest, leaving the sprinters to fight it out among themselves.

The 20km mark came and went, and this was when the chasers really surged into action, reducing the gap from over a minute to just twenty seconds in the space of a few kilometers. On the front, Bora-Hansgrohe’s Jay McCarthy was instrumental in this move, riding hard on the front of the peloton, showing massive reserves of strength, and just before 10km remaining, the catch was made. An audacious attack from Sunweb’s Michael Matthews surprised the peloton, which had only just regrouped after pulling in the break, but Marcus Burghardt reacted quickly to jump in and attempt to slow down the attack and reel them back. Having achieved this, it was all back together for the finish – a reduced bunch battling for the win. The UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, was sitting five riders back and staying absolutely calm in spite of the chaos around him. Starting his sprint at just the right moment, the Slovak rider left his rivals trailing just as he had done on stage 5, and added another win to his tally at the race – now standing at fifteen.

Katusha-Alpecin's Simon Spilak held onto his 25 seconds lead in the overall from Damiano Caruso (BMC), with Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo) third at 1:05.

Schaffhausen - Suisse - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Peter SAGAN (Slowakia / Team Bora - Hansgrohe)  pictured during stage - 8 of the Tour de Suisse 2017 stage -1 - from Schaffhausen to  Schaffhausen, 100.00 km - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and points leader, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was a very good day for us and once again I have to thank my teammates for their strong effort. We were practically the only ones to control the race today, so they did an excellent job. I’m happy for my second stage win this year – my fifteenth overall. The Tour de Suisse is a race I like, although it’s too early to talk about next year. I hope I can come back."

2nd on the stage Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates): "I noticed that there was space on the right side of the road, so I decided to start my sprint close to the fences, so I could be protected by them. Sagan was impressive, however my progression too was pretty good and I succeeded in preceding Trentin and Cort Nielsen, the second place is good."

5th on the stage, Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida): "Today's circuit was difficult with many bends. We rode vary fast since the beginning. In the finale you need to have good legs and after two mountain stages it wasn't easy at all. Iván Garcia Cortina took me in a good position for the sprint. I couldn't take a win here at the Tour de Suisse but I'm happy with my results."

Tour de Suisse Stage Result 8:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 2:12:50
2. Sacha Modolo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
4. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Orica-Scott
5. Niccolo Bonifazio (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
7. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
8. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Astana
9. Kevin Reza (Fra) FDJ
10. Salvatore Puccio (Ita) Sky.

Tour de Suisse Overall After Stage 8:
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin in 27:59:50
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:52
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:05
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:28
5. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 2:35
6. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:51
7. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 2:54
8. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Meirda at 3:51
9. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 4:07
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 4:10.

Stage 8:



The Tour de Suisse drew to a close in Schaffhausen on Sunday with Rohan Dennis taking his second victory of the race ahead of BMC teammates; Stefan Küng and Damiano Caruso, who also secured second overall on the General Classification. As Rohan Dennis rolled off the ramp he made his intentions clear quickly, setting the provisional best time at the first and second intermediate checkpoints before powering across the line in 36:30.

The current Australian national time trial champion had a long wait in the hot seat and ultimately his impressive effort would see him secure the final stage win in Switzerland. Stefan Küng also showed why he is fast becoming known as one of the world's best time trialists, crossing the line 29 seconds back to mirror the results from the prologue and take second.

Damiano Caruso was the penultimate rider to start his 28.6km effort and after proving his form on the race's three summit finishes, the Italian rider looked equally impressive out on the course. Caruso posted a time of 37:17 which saw him secure a BMC Racing Team 1-2-3 on the stage and also second overall on the General Classification, 48 seconds behind the final overall winnerSimon Ŝpilak (Katusha-Alpecin). Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNl-Jumbo) was on the third step of the podium at 1:08.

Schaffhausen - Suisse - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Rohan DENIS (Australia / BMC Racing Team)  pictured during stage - 9 of the Tour de Suisse 2017 stage -1 - from Schaffhausen to  Schaffhausen, 28.60 km ITT - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

The Winner's Interview with Rohan Dennis:
Congratulations, Rohan. Talk us through today's time trial.

"It was 28.6km of pain. The first 4km felt okay and then it was all about switching off and telling myself that the top of the climb was the finish. From there, it was just 5km to go. I tried to save something in the little valley and stay as aerodynamic as possible before going as fast as I could on the climb. I'm not a climber but I am also not too heavy so, I could try and hold the climbers on the ascent."

You haven't had many race days since the beginning of May. How have you felt in terms of your form, particularly after you crashed on stage 2?
"It hasn't been an easy run for me. I haven't felt too good and I think I have been lacking a little bit of form. My body was in a bit of shock after the first road stage and the crash. After crashing out of the Giro d'Italia and then crashing here, I think I was a little bit down about it. It was obviously good that nothing was broken and there were a couple of days where I thought I should've gone home. But, there was something good at the end of it."

Coming into the race your main objectives were the two time trials and to regain your race form. Would you say it is job well done?
"Definitely. We arrived here with the objective to try and win with Damiano Caruso and we came very close so, I think we can happy with how we have raced this week. It's been a successful week for us."

Overall Winner, Simon Spilak (Katusha-Alpecin): "This was a very hard day and difficult TT, it was harder than we expected. We did our recon of the route in the morning. By this afternoon it was so hot, but I am so happy. It is my second win here. I am happy for my teammates, too. All week all of them did such a great job. Temperature is my biggest enemy here in Suisse, but I beat the heat this time. Looking ahead is Poland; that is my next goal. No grand tours for me since 2014 – this is my own decision. I prefer stage races of six-10 days. Of course, it would be nice to win a Tour de France stage or to become world champion."

3rd on the stage and 2nd overall, Damiano Caruso (BMC): "It was a really good week for me and for the team. I felt really good this week but I was surprised with how I rode today. I knew my shape was really good but I never thought that I could take third place today. Plus I am really happy that I could finish second on the General Classification. I want to say thank you to my teammates because they have been amazing this week. They supported me every step of the way and I am looking forward to the rest of the season."

4th on the stage and 6th overall, Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida): "Today I can’t win, but I feel good and now I’m looking ahead for the Tour de France. Before I have the Spanish Championships too and I think I can do well there. I’m very motivated to try to get good results. Here at the Tour de Suisse I finished in the top ten with good feelings."

Points winner, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It has been a good Tour de Suisse and I’m happy with my results and the team’s performance. I pulled on the points jersey and won two stages, bringing my total to fifteen, while the team put in a solid effort and showed great professionalism. I’m also satisfied with my form – I think my recent high altitude training camp was productive. This also gives me a good feeling ahead of the Tour de France. My focus will now turn to the Slovak National Championship next Sunday, which is always a complicated race, and then, of course, the Tour de France."

5th overall, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): "My goal was the top 5 in this Tour de Suisse and at the end I got it. But I can’t hide it was difficult because, even if I started well this week, I was tired in the final stages. I rode the Giro d’Italia where I spent a lot of energy, so I think was normal don’t be fresh in this Tour de Suisse. Anyway I’m happy because as I said the minimum objective was the top 5 and I got it. Now my plan is a period of rest and after that to prepare the Tour of Poland and the Vuelta a España."

13th overall, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was a nice week of racing at the Tour de Suisse. It was actually the first one riding together with the UCI World Champion on the same team. I tried my best for the GC and gave my all every day, but today and two days ago at the summit finish, I felt my legs empty. I think my effort at the Giro took its toll on me. However, we can be happy with Peter’s two stage victories and points jersey, as well as a top-15 place in the GC."

Tour de Suisse Stage Result 9:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 36:30
2. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:29
3. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:47
4. Ion Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:51
5. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin
6. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:54
7. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 0:58
8. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:00
9. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC at 1:02
10. Patrick Bevin (NZ) Cannondale-Drapac at 1:04.

Tour de Suisse Final Overall Result:
1. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha-Alpecin in 28:37:11
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:48
3. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:08
4. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 2:37
5. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates at 3:09
6. Ion Izaguirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 3:51
7. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:00
8. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 4:14
9. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 4:47
10. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 5:30.

Final stage 9:




Ster ZLM Toer - GP Jan van Heeswijk 2017
Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo) sprinted to victory on the Stage 2 of the Ster ZLM Toer in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands. LottoNl-Jumbo team-mate Primoz Roglic, winner of Wednesday’s prologue time trial, remained the overall leader. Groenewegen’s win was the 15th for Team LottoNl-Jumbo this 2017 season. For the Dutchman, it marked his fourth victory.

Hoogerheide - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Dylan GROENEWEGEN (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) - Max WALSCHEID (Germany / Team Sunweb) - Coen VERMELTFOORT (Netherlands / Team Roompot Nederlandse Loterij)  pictured during Stage - 2 of the Ster ZLM Tour 2017 - Tholen - Hoogerheide - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo): "Winning is always nice, and today, we knew we were in good form. We got another victory, which propels me towards the Tour de France. At a given moment, a group of 14 men, with six of our riders had a gap on the rest. I think we rode a strong race. We controlled from the start to the finish. Since last year’s Tour de France, I have become stronger. I feel it and the data from the sprint training show that as well. Of course, I was a year younger last year. Only the best sprinters are in the Tour de France. But they are also competing here, and today we defeated them."

LottoNl-Jumbo Sports Director Merijn Zeeman: "It was a though day. It was hot and there was a continuing threat of the wind forming echelons. We had a plan this morning and that worked well. Dylan finished it off phenomenally. We are preparing towards the Tour de France with this team. We know what we need to do to compete with the big teams in the Tour. We have chosen this race to optimize our sprint train. Everything worked out today as we had planned. That is satisfying."

Ster ZLM Toer Stage 2 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 4:17:36
2. Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb
3. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal
4. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
5. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
6. Tim Merlier (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
7. Arvic De Kleijn (Ned) Baby Dump Cycling Team
8. Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin
9. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
10. Andre Looij (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij.

Ster ZLM Toer Overall After Stage 2:
1. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo in 4:25:40
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:03
3. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
4. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:07
5. Timo Roosen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:08
6. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Sunweb
7. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal at 0:13
8. Thijs Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
9. Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb at 0:14
10. Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:18.

Stage 2:



Dylan Groenewegen followed up Thursday’s stage win with one in Stage 3 of the Ster ZLM Toer in Buchten, the Netherlands. The Dutchman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo defeated André Greipel and Moreno Hofland (both Lotto Soudal), making three team wins out of three with Primoz Roglic’s on day one. Despite a crash in the last three kilometers, Roglic remained the overall leader in the race. Groenewegen’s back to back victory was the 16th for LottoNl-Jumbo and the fifth win of the season for the sprinter.

Buchten - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Dylan GROENEWEGEN (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) pictured during Stage - 3 of the Ster ZLM Tour 2017 - Buchten - Buchten - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo): "It was a nice win, it was a quite hectic final. Everything went well and 175 metres before the finish line, they put me in great position. For the second day in a row, the sprint train worked really well. Robert Wagner did a very fast lead-out, I only had to continue with that speed and no one was able to come over me. Most of these guys here have a chance to be in the Tour de France and I wanted to be in top form to test myself before heading there in July."

LottoNl-Jumbo Sports Director Merijn Zeeman: "Unbelievable. I have never experienced this before, winning the first three stages of a race. It was a hell of a job to let the right breakaway go. From that point on, we controlled the race. Gijs Van Hoecke did a superb job. The rest of the guys were focused on the sprint and they did really well. A huge compliment for the guys. We want to head to the top with Dylan. In the Ster ZLM Toer we are optimizing our sprint train and putting conviction into it. We might be ahead of schedule. A win already this year in the Tour would be welcomed."

Ster ZLM Toer Stage 3 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo in 5:12:30
2. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
3. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal
4. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
5. Kevin Ista (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect
6. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
7. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
8. Andre Looij (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
9. Mads Würtz Schmidt (Den) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb.

Ster ZLM Toer Overall After Stage 3:
1. Primož Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo in 9:38:10
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:03
3. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
4. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:07
5. Timo Roosen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:08
6. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal at 0:09
7. Lennard Kämna (Ger) Sunweb at 0:11
8. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:13
9. Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb at 0:14
10. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:15.

Stage 3:



Katusha-Alpecin's José Gonçalves took full advantage of the good racing form he brought to the Netherlands and Belgium to win the Stage 4 of the 2017 Ster ZLM Toer on Saturday. In the process, Gonçalves takes over the general classification with only one stage remaining. Joining a group of 7, the Portuguese rider was part of a two-man breakaway at 30k to go and managed to leave behind his companion Laurens De Plus of Quick-Step Floors and win the Queen stage by six-seconds,

Earlier in the stage teammate Maxim Belkov made the break, setting up the opportunity for Gonçalves to later bridge across in his quest to win. Third place, at 22 seconds went to former race leader Primož Roglič of LottoNl-Jumbo on the 186.7K stage from Hotel Verviers to the dam at La Gileppe (Jalhay) in the Ardennes.

Gonçalves leads the general classification by 8-seconds to Roglič and ten-seconds to De Plus and it is the first win of the season for José Gonçalves. Last year he won the Presidential Tour of Turkey and had stage wins there, as well as in the Volta a Portugal. The concluding stage on Sunday begins and ends in Oss with a race distance of 180.9 kilometers.

La Gileppe - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Jose GONCALVES (Portugal / Team Katusha - Alpecin) pictured during Stage - 4 of the Ster ZLM Tour 2017 - Hotel Verviers - La Gileppe (Jalhay) - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and new overall leader, José Gonçalves (Katusha-Alpecin): "I am feeling very good. I bring with me great form from last month’s Giro d’Italia. I think our team here is very good and especially strong. Today it was full gas. I tried to go alone near the end and managed to win. I am very happy with this jersey and we will do everything we can to defend the yellow jersey on the last day."

Ster ZLM Toer Stage 4 Result:
1. José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin in 4:39:47
2. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
3. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:22
4. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Veranclassicin Aqua Protect
5. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:24
6. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Alex Kirsch (Lux) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect
8. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
9. Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis
10. Jasper De Laat (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam p/b Mantel.

Ster ZLM Toer Overall After Stage 4:
1. José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin in 14:18:07
2. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Team LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:08
3. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:10
4. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:17
5. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:21
6. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:27
7. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:34
8. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect at 0:37
9. Alex Kirsch (Lux) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect at 0:40
10. Oscar Riesebeek (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:42.

Stage 4:



A perfectly executed sprint landed Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) his ninth victory of the season, and his fifth in the Ster ZLM Toer, capping off an impressive week for Quick-Step Floors at the Dutch race. The German kicked off at 150 meters to go in Stage 5 and held off the challenge of Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo), crossing the finish line a bike length clear of his opponent to give the team its 32nd UCI win of the year.

Quick-Step Floors stamped its authority on stage 4 (Oss – Oss, 180.9 kilometers), controlling the original escape and the solo attacks which followed in the last 20 kilometers, before delivering Marcel Kittel in an ideal position from which he launched his trademark devastating sprint.

Jose Goncalves (Katusha-Alpecin) held his overall lead to the last finish line, holding off Primož Roglic (LottoNl-Jumbo) by 11 seconds and his break away companion from stage 4; Laurens De Plus (Quick-Step Floors) by 13 seconds.

Oss - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Marcel KITTEL (Germanu / Team Quick Step - Floors) - Dylan GROENEWEGEN (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) - Andre GREIPEL (Germany / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during Stage - 5 of the Ster ZLM Tour 2017 - Oss - Oss - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors): "It was a nice and quiet day on the bike, and I must say it was quite unusual to ride in the Netherlands and don’t face any strong winds. The guys rode a perfect race today; we took the front early, because we knew we had to be there before the last kilometer on this type of finish. I’m happy I could capitalize on my team’s fine job and get a nice victory two weeks from the start of the Tour de France, especially after the bad luck I had on the first road stage here. I’m excited about racing the Nationals, although it’s always an unpredictable affair, and with just two guys in the race it will be impossible to control it. But together with Max we will give our best out there and try to play our card. If it doesn’t end up in a bunch sprint, then I’ll come out of this with the joy of riding in front of my home fans and adding some extra kilometers under the belt before the Tour de France."

2nd on the stage, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNl-Jumbo): "Today Kittel was very strong, it is as easy as that, it was hectic in the final. I was able to get next to Kittel, but after a speed bump, he rode away a bit. We rode a very strong race here and I won two times. That is the confirmation that my form is good. Now it is time to get the last details right and we are ready for the Tour de France."

Ster ZLM Toer Stage 5 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors in 3:59:55
2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
4. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
5. Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb
6. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
7. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
9. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
10. Kevyn Ista (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect.

Ster ZLM Toer Final Overall Result:
1. José Gonçalves (Por) Katusha-Alpecin in 18:17:59
2. Primož Roglic (Slo) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:11
3. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:13
4. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:20
5. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:24
6. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:30
7. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:37
8. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect at 0:40
9. Alex Kirsch (Lux) WB Veranclassic Aqua Protect at 0:43
10. Jasper De Laat (Ned) Metec-TKH Continental Cyclingteam p/b Mantel at 0:45.

Final stage 5:




Tour of Slovenia 2017
Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the Stage 1 of 24th edition of Tour of Slovenia. He was the strongest in the sprint finish in the city of Kočevje, where he out-sprinted Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and local favorite Luka Mezgec (Orica-Scott). Bennett is now in green, the new color of the leader’s jersey on the Slovenian tour.

The highly anticipated #FightForGreen started in Koper on the Slovenian coast and finished in the hart of pristine Slovenian forests in Kočevje, as expected with a sprint finish. Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) was one of the favorites for the stage.

Battle for second was fierce, photo finish showed that Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) was just slightly faster than the local hero Luka Mezgec (Orica-Scott).

Race fans saw a classic stage, one with a breakaway of nine riders early on and a calm ride to the last kilometers. Nine escapees were fighting for points on two intermediate sprints, but the final success was never meant to be. Young Žiga Jerman (Rog-Ljubljana) however took the escape to his full advantage and his reward was the white jersey. Italian Luca Pacioni (Androni-Sidermec-Bottechia) is in blue, stage winner Sam Bennett is in green. He also received a special trophy of a bear for his great performance – the brown bear is a symbol of Kočevje area and a resident of forest around it.

Everybody was of course most eager to see what Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) will do on his comeback race. He was 10th, just behind Bennett’s teammate Rafal Majka, favorite for the overall standings.



Stage winner and overall leader,Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I must admit that today I didn’t expect stage victory. I’m still feeling tired from Giro and I’m surprised over this amazing result. After the crash in that last corner positions changed somewhat and I saw my opportunity for a victory and I took it. Thanks to my team I did it!"

3rd, Luka Mezgec (Orica-Scott): "I was third, but I’m still a little bit disappointed. I had good feeling in my legs and I was going for the stage victory. Sonny Colbrelli did a slalom on the finish straight and I had to brake twice because of that. That’s a shame, I had a good chance to take first victory of the season. I can’t comment the crash on the end, I didn’t see or hear anything."

10th Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data): "Hard to start racing again in mid-June. Tour of Slovenia is the best race for it, for sure. Today was about my physical feelings more than a result. My Team Dimension Data did an amazing job that would normally produced a win, but I couldn’t finish their work."

Tour of Slovenia Stage 1 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:49:46
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott
4. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Team UAE Emirates
5. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
6. Rok Korosec (Slo) Amplatz-BMC
7. Ziga Horvat (Slo) Adria Mobil
8. Andrea Palini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe
10. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data.

Tour of Slovenia Overall After Stage 1:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:49:36
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:04
3. Ziga Jerman (Slo) Rog-Ljubljana
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott at 0:06
5. Nicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 0:07
6. Tomas Buchacek (Cze) Elkov-Author Cycling Team at 0:08
7. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Team UAE Emirates at 0:10
8. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
9. Rok Korosec (Slo) Amplatz-BMC
10. Ziga Horvat (Slo) Adria Mobil.

Slovenia Stage 1:



Slovenian fans were not scared off by the heavy rain that made the race very complicated in the last hour of Friday’s Stage 2 with finish its in Ljubljana. The crowd were awarded by a fantastic victory by Luka Mezgec (Orica-Scott). Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates) and Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data) were second and third. Luka controlled the last meters of the race and also took the overall lead.

A peaceful stage changed to real chaos in the last kilometers of the race – the roads became slippery after the heavy storm which caused several crashes. Orica-Scott gave the most energy in the chase and they controlled last kilometers on the streets of Ljubljana, they wanted a sprint finish with no surprises. They put Luka Mezgec in the perfect position and the Slovenian ace delivered. It wasn’t really a sprint, but more a solo victory with the large gap on the last finishing straight. This is what Slovenians wanted in their capital city.

Luka Mezgec won ahead of Italian Roberto Ferrari (UAE Team Emirates) and Australian Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data). Another Mark from team Dimension Data, Brit Mark Cavendish was not in the battle for the victory, he crossed the finish line with a gap of over two minutes. One report says that he’s involved in one of the crashes in Ljubljana.

Stage development was similar to stage one, except that this time seven riders escaped. They had a maximum gap of four and a half minutes, but the group was getting smaller after the first mountain finish on Slivna and the pace of the peloton was increasing. Last of the breakaway riders were caught in Ig, about 15 kilometers to the finish line. Before that Kanstantsin Siutsou (Bahrain-Merida) crashed and first unofficial report says he has a broken femur.

Last lap on the streets of Ljubljana was intense and nervous, everybody was trying to get up to the front, but the roads became tricky. The last big crash happened in front of the building of the Slovenian national television, just one right turn ahead of the finish straight. But this time the riders didn’t sustain any serious injuries.

Winner Luka Mezgec (SLO) of Orica - Scott celebrates at finish line during Stage 2 of 24th Tour of Slovenia 2017 / Tour de Slovenie from Ljubljana to Ljubljana (169,9 km) cycling race on June 16, 2017 in Slovenia. Photo by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

Stage winner and overall leader, Luka Mezgec (Orica-Scott): "It was really difficulty. Rain started with about 10k to go, but my team did a fantastic job. They kept me up in front for the whole final part of the stage. In the last kilometer I saw guys were crashing. I looked back and I saw Mark Renshaw waiting for Mark Cavendish and there I decided it’s time to go. I knew all the corners are slippery, so I knew that I have the advantage if I’m just 20 meters ahead. I went all-out. Yesterday was good with the third, today I really wanted to win. This is the capital of Slovenia and I knew there was going to be a lot of people. We passed the town where I was born and where I train when I’m at home. It’s just incredible."

3rd on the stage and 6th overall, Mark Renshaw (Dimension Data): "Once we entered the finish circuit, it got really chaotic with riders crashing in almost every corner due to the slippery roads. Our original plan was to sprint for Cavendish but with about one kilometer to go, Eisel told me on the radio to try and go for it myself instead. Unfortunately, when Mezgec jumped with 500 meters to go, I just couldn’t get in the wheel of him. I had already done quite a bit earlier in the race, chasing back to the peloton with Cavendish after the climbs. However, all in all, I’m happy to still finish third. The win would have been much preferred but since this is my first proper race back after my injury, I’m happy to be strong enough to make podium."

Tour of Slovenia Stage 2 Result:
1. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott in 3:50:51
2. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
3. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data
4. Alois Kankovský (Cze) Elkov-Author Cycling Team
5. Jirí Polnický (Cze) Elkov-Author Cycling Team
6. Andrea Palini (Ita) Androni Sidermec
7. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
8. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
9. Rok Korošec (Slo) Amplatz-BMC
10. Ryan Gibbons (RSA) Dimension Data.

Tour of Slovenia Overall After Stage 2:
1. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott in 7:40:23
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:04
3. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:08
4. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
5. Žiga Jerman (Slo) Rog-Ljubljana
6. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data at 0:10
7. Tomáš Buchácek (Cze) Elkov-Author Cycling Team
8. Nicola Bagioli (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 0:11
9. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 0:13
10. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 0:14.

Stage 2:



Polish climber Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) became the new leader on the 24th edition of Tour of Slovenia. As expected he attacked on the 13 kilometers long climb to Rogla and crossed the finish line 4 seconds ahead of Italian Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) and 12 seconds ahead of Australian Jack Haig (Orica-Scott) at the end of Stage 3. Majka took the overall lead and now has a reasonably simple task of defending it on the last stage that will take cyclists from Rogaška Slatina to Novo mesto.

Third stage of Tour of Slovenia was the one that everybody was waiting for – with two KOM finishes and final climb to Rogla it was set to be a decisive stage. Pace was brutal all the way from the start, so it took a while for six riders to escapee. They were doing a good job, but their success was again in the hands of teams with overall favorites and they don’t like surprises. The last of the breakaway riders were caught just before the start of the climb to Rogla, when the climbers stepped onto the main stage.

Green jersey holder Luka Mezgec (Orica-Scott) surprised a lot of people when he came to the front of the group and kept the pace up the hill. After a while he almost stopped and let the leaders go. Later he said that his radio link with Haig wasn’t working and he didn’t know if the pace was OK. He was helping for as long as he could, but then decided to save energy for the last stage – winner of the last stage will be most likely again decided by a sprint.

The leading group finally fell apart after Majka attacked, with Jack Haig and Giovanni Visconti being the only riders who could keep the pace. Visconti had problems holding on to the duo, but in the end he was faster than Haig and took second. Majka was the strongest and attacked all the time, the victory was well deserved.

Winner Rafal Majka (POL) of Bora - Hansgrohe at finish line during Stage 3 of 24th Tour of Slovenia 2017 / Tour de Slovenie from Celje to Rogla (167,7 km) cycling race on June 16, 2017 in Slovenia. Photo by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

Stage winner and overall leader, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I’m so happy to take the victory today. That was possible thanks to my teammates who did an amazing work for me. In the end I attacked to late, it’s better if I attack sooner when it’s steeper. I don’t know this climb to Rogla very well, it was not as steep on the end. I came to Slovenia after the training camp in Spain, this was my first test and I did my best. I tried to attack many times, but Haig didn’t back down. This is victory for my family and my teammates."

2nd on the stage and overall, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): "I am happy that I came back to races after I finished Giro injured. I am very satisfied that I am competitive, which I proved today. But when you are so close to a victory it always hurts a bit. This race is very important for the team because in a way, here is our home. Majka is a top rider and also a favorite for the Tour de France and I am satisfied with 2nd place."

Best Young Rider, 5th on the stage and overall, Tadej Pogačar (Rog-Ljubljana): "It was very hard day. Pace was harsh all the way to the finish and I said to my self that I just have to keep up with the fastest for as long as possible. I'm really happy that I managed to do that. Of course we wanted to catch the fastest on the climb to Rogla, but I wasn't capable of change of the rhythm. I like the pace at which we’re riding in our group. Guys in the front were so much faster, we couldn’t catch them. I think there is still room for improvement – as soon as I loose some weight and get more kilometers in; this will be possible after the school ends."

Tour of Slovenia Stage 3 Result:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:33:40
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:04
3. Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott at 0:12
4. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:25
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) Rog-Ljubljana at 0:36
6. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Amplatz-BMC at 0:39
7. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 0:59
8. Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Elkov - Author Cycling Team at 1:04
9. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 1:06
10. Edward Ravasi (Ita) Team UAE Emirates at 1:22.

Tour of Slovenia Overall After Stage 3:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe in 12:14:07
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:08
3. Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott at 0:18
4. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:35
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) Rog-Ljubljana at 0:46
6. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Amplatz-BMC at 0:49
7. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 1:09
8. Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Elkov-Author Cycling Team at 1:14
9. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 1:15
10. Edward Ravasi (Ita) Team UAE Emirates at 1:32.

Stage 3:



Irishman Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) did it again. He took his second Tour of Slovenia victory on Stage 4 in Novo mesto, this time in a battle with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data). Sam’s teammate Rafal Majka was the overall winner of the race. Sam Bennett also won the red jersey for the points classifications. Best team of the race was team Nippo-Vini Fantini from Italy.

The stage from Rogaška Slatina to Novo Mesto was calm to the last 40 kilometers – all the way to the last laps in and around Novo mesto. Six riders managed to create a breakaway early on, but they never had a chance against teams like Bora-Hansgrohe, Orica-Scott and Bahrain-Merida. In the last 15k all breakaway riders were caught, as the peloton rode the final on a 5k finishing circuit. Because of the tricky last kilometers, the lead-out trains formed early and battled for the best positions.

Bora-Hansgrohe came to the front late, as Rudi Selig moved up with Sam Bennett in the perfect moment. Bennett opened the sprint from the front and secured his 2nd stage win. This means Bora-Hansgrohe took 3 stages and the overall victory in Slovenia. Rafal Majka also did his job perfectly and defended the green jersey – he also got a unique trophy, 3D printed replica of the 5,200 year old wheel (oldest known in existence) that was found in Slovenia.

Winner Sam Bennett (ITA) of Bora - Hansgrohe during last Stage 4 of 24th Tour of Slovenia 2017 / Tour de Slovenie from Rogaska Slatina to Novo mesto (158,2 km) cycling race on June 18, 2017 in Slovenia. Photo by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

Stage winner, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): "We worked the whole day for the jersey of Rafa, therefore I didn’t have a lot of guys for the sprint today. But Rudi brought us up in the perfect moment, we took the outside on the penultimate corner, to be inside on the last one. On the bridge, we were in front and I did let a little gap to come with full speed out of his slipstream on the last 200m. We can be very proud of the team this week, it was a perfect performance from all of us!"

Overall winner, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): "Hard race is behind us, I’m glad I won. We got three jerseys and three stages! We did an amazing job, not just me, but the whole team. My legs feel strong, but I’m still waiting for the right power for the Tour of France. The four stages of Tour of Slovenia were perfect for me and my Tour campaign. I suffered a little bit today, it wasn’t easy."

2nd overall, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): "I am happy with my performance even if I didn't win. The team worked very well and now that I proved my physical condition, I can hardly wait for National Championship with high morale and motivation."

2nd on the stage, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data): "Eisel and Renshaw did a brilliant job on the final kilometers, delivering me in a good position. Then, BORA came and I went on the wheel of Bennett. I kicked and passed him but it didn’t work out at the end. However, it’s been really nice here in Tour de Slovénie. I have enjoyed myself and I’m very happy that I came here to race."

Best Young Rider, Tadej Pogačar (Rog-Ljubljana): "We didn’t have any problems on the last day, we had a nice ride all the way to the finish. We’re ready to answer on attacks, but there weren’t any. So I was riding in the middle of the group and brought the white jersey to the finish. This is my first race of this category and I got a lot of experiences on it. Media attention was but, but it was also a beautiful race."

Tour of Slovenia Stage 4 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:41:48
2. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:01
4. Jakub Mareczko (Ita) Wilier Triestina
5. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Andrea Palini (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
7. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Orica-Scott
8. Rok Korosec (Slo) Amplatz-BMC
9. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
10. Ziga Jerman (Slo) ROG-Ljubljana.

Tour of Slovenia Final Overall Result:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe in 15:16:23
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:07
3. Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott at 0:17
4. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:35
5. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) Rog-Ljubljana at 0:46
6. Hermann Pernsteiner (Aut) Amplatz-BMC at 0:48
7. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli at 1:08
8. Pawel Cieslik (Pol) Elkov - Author Cycling Team at 1:13
9. Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini at 1:14
10. Edward Ravasi (Ita) Team UAE Emirates at 1:31.

Final stage 4:




Lotto Soudal Medical Up-date
On Thursday morning Adam Hansen didn’t start in the second stage of the Ster ZLM Toer. The Aussie crashed in the fourteenth stage of the Giro and fractured a bone in his right hand. Almost four weeks later Adam still has pain when racing, that’s why he had a scan taken this afternoon. That showed no fractures, but a severe bone bruise that can only heal with rest. Hansen can train when his hand is immobilized. A Tour participation is not jeopardized.

Five weeks ago, during the first stage of 4 Jours de Dunkerque on May 9, Lotto Soudal rider Frederik Frison crashed hard. He incurred several injuries: a pelvic fracture, three broken ribs, two fractures to the transverse process on his vertebrae, a fractured sacrum and a small pneumothorax. At the moment Frederik is working on his comeback in the peloton.

Frederik Frison: “In front of me some riders hit the deck and I couldn’t avoid them anymore. Riders behind me crashed into me at high speed. I could hardly move the first ten days. It was only after fourteen days that I could start moving on crutches. One and a half weeks later I could stand on my legs and from then on I started riding on the home trainer a quarter of an hour each day. That was extended to one and a half hours and afterwards I trained an entire week on rollers. One month after the crash I went back on the road for the first time. I took smooth roads, because it was painful to absorb the shock when riding over holes in the road. At the moment I do trainings up to three hours. That can be extended pretty quickly as I still have a basic condition. The next step is building up the intensity. That will hurt the most.”

“In July I will go on an altitude training camp to Livigno with the team. It is difficult to put an exact date on my comeback in the peloton. That will depend on the progress I make the next weeks. It is unfortunate this happened, but I can put things in perspective. It could have been much worse.”

Sean De Bie abandoned the Giro with back problems. This was caused by his position on the bike. The medical staff of the team corrected the position of Sean. Sean will race next Sunday in Bruges.

Jens Debusschere will also race in Bruges on Sunday after he had to pass for the Tour de Suisse because of a back injury. The Belgian is still being treated for it, but has already started training. After the Belgian Championships on Sunday June 25, Debusschere gets a rest period as planned.

Tosh Van der Sande abandoned the Critérium du Dauphiné with a viral infection. The team immediately decided to pull him out of the race. In the meantime the infection has gone.

Bart De Clercq, who is riding Tour de Suisse at the moment, left the Giro with a leg injury. This was caused by overburdening and the need of a corrected bike position. The injury evolves in the right direction now and he is feeling better every day.

Thomas De Gendt didn’t start the last stage of the Dauphiné because of a wrist injury. Examinations showed that he has an oarsman’s wrist. He has to wear a brace for three weeks, but can train. This is no obstruction for his Tour participation.

Adam Hansen:
Madrid - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Adam Hansen (Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during La Vuelta 2015 Stage 21 from Alcala de Henares to Madrid - photo Sabine Jacob/Cor Vos © 2015



Frederik Backaert extends contract with Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Frederik Backaert has extended his contract with Wanty-Groupe Gobert for one year. The Flandrien begins in 2018 his fifth season in the Belgian ProContinental team. Backaert, 27 years old, started as a pro in 2014 and won the 7th stage of the Tour of Austria in 2016. The rider from Brakel starts his first Tour de France in July.

Frederik Backaert: "I wanted to sign before the Tour of France so I could assure my future and take some pressure away. That does not change my motivation for the Tour, in which I want to show myself! Since the start at the team four years ago, I notice progression every year. Not only in budget but also structural. The ambiance has also been continuously improved here. I hope to grow each year, as I have done so far."

"I also had contact with other teams, but in a WorldTour team I should always work for a leader. I would like to take my own chances sometimes. I want to continue to focus on the classics, and maybe finish a grand tour to increase my engine. The team has confidence in me. That brings motivation and results."


Frederik Backaert:




Not Even a Fence Can Stop Peter Sagan
Peter Sagan takes the hard way to the podium at Tour de Suisse:








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