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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
Has Tom Dumoulin given himself enough of a buffer zone to win the Giro d'Italia? We have all the news and video from Italy and the Amgen Tour of California. Toms Skujins should have been stopped - Top Story. In other cycling news: Giacomo Nizzolo has to abandon the Giro, one more year for Fabio Felline at Trek-Segafredo, Nathan Van Hooydonck for BMC, A.S.O. Joins Forces with AEG and lots of video from the Sunweb team.

TOP STORY: 'Put me back on the bike'
When Tom Simpson first collapsed on Mont Ventoux, he said to his team helpers to 'put me back on the bike' which they did until he could go on no further. When a rider crashes, the first thing he does when he picks himself off the tarmac is get back on his bike without thinking of his health. On stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California, Cannondale-Drapac's Toms Skujins crashed heavily and clearly didn't know what he was doing or where he was. It is difficult to stop someone doing what they think is right, but surely someone could have sat Skujins down at the side of the road. He was diagnosed with concussion and a left collarbone fracture, but had he been hit by a moto or the riders who passed him on the road, it could have been much worse.

The Cannondale-Drapac team made this statement in press release:
Skujins is now in the team’s internal concussion protocol, meaning he will work closely with medical staff while following a “return to play” program that puts his health above all else. Racing, for example, is off the table for six days, minimum.

“Our internal concussion program is designed to slow things down and give the rider time to recover properly,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Concussion recovery varies from person to person and from day to day. We’ll evaluate Toms daily and he’ll need to pass a cognitive test before he returns to hard training or racing. His health is the most important thing to all of us.”

Giro d'Italia 2017
Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) won the 39.8km Sagrantino Stage 10 Individual Time Trial and moved into the overall race lead at the half way point in the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. His time gives him an important margin over the climbers in the GC: 2:23 on yesterday’s leader Nairo Quintana (Movistar), 2:38 on Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), 2:40 on Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and 2:47 on Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida).

After an impressive performance on the grueling ascent of the Blockhaus on Sunday, Team Sunweb's Tom Dumoulin started the individual time trial as one of the pre-race favorites. Dumoulin got off to a powerful start on his Giant Trinity, reaching the first intermediate checkpoint 18 seconds faster than the fastest time set. The Dutch time trial champion made every pedal stroke look easy as he continued to fly along the course, using every millimeter of the road as he went. Upon arrival at the second intermediate time-check, Dumoulin clocked in 36 seconds faster than his closest stage rival at 33 minutes and 24 seconds, showing that Team Sunweb's scientific approach to this discipline including the time spent in the wind tunnel at TU Delft University made a massive difference. Dumoulin's powerful time trial was a force to be reckoned with and after a furious sprint to the line, he finished the stage with a time of 50 minutes and 37 seconds, an impressive 49 seconds faster second placed Geraint Thomas (Sky).

PEZ race report HERE.

Stage winner and new overall leader, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb): "Before I started the stage I actually didn't have a good feeling but now I see the result I realize that wasn't the case. Today I didn't give up, I fought with myself until the end and gave it all that I had. Its nice to go into the mountains with a good advantage but like the Vuelta showed me, you can loose everything in one day. We have some really tough stages coming up and it's still a long way to go."

2nd on the stage and 11th overall, Geraint Thomas (Sky) said on "I’m lucky to still be in the race really. It was just about giving it everything today and seeing what happened. The legs are pretty good but my arm is still sore. I’m happy with how it went. It’s easy to think about what could have been. You’ve just got to forget about that and what’s been is done. There’s a lot of racing still left. I’m not going to give up and I’m going to fight all the way. We’ll see where that puts me. You expect support off the Brits and the Welsh fans back home which I love, but I seemed to get a lot of support off the Italian and Spanish fans today. That’s really encouraging as they don’t have to support me. It’s great to have cheers out there and it definitely spurs you on. I want to take it day by day now and hopefully I can recover over the next three stages. Tomorrow is a super hard day, then we’ve got two flat days. So hopefully I can recover. It’s a hell of a task now but we’ll see how it goes."

3rd on the stage and 6th overall, Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors): "It was a really hard time trial. Yesterday, when we did the recon, it wasn’t so windy, so I had to take also this into account. It was tempting to go very fast from the start, but that would have meant to lose time by the end. I managed to do a good race and I’m happy to be on the podium, it’s a fantastic feeling. This result shows that what happened two days ago was just a bad day, not a decrease of form. The race is just starting and my goal is to finish again in the top 10. It would be nice to win also the white jersey, but at the moment I’m not thinking about this, I’m just taking it one step at a time."

5th on the stage and 6th overall, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): "I'm happy, I did a good race and above all I recovered important seconds compared to my rivals, especially Nairo Quintana. It was a very fast race and I managed to keep a good pace throughout the race. And..."

Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I took the ITT today easier because for the upcoming stages I needed to save energy. It was kind of a new experience then the last ITT I always went full-gas. In the end, I am also tired but the result is okay for me."

Giro d'Italia Stage 10 Result:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb in 50:37
2. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:49
3. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 0:56
4. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 1:40
5. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 2:00
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 2:07
7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 2:13
8. Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
9. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 2:15
10. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 2:16.

Giro d'Italia Overall After Stage 10:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb in 42:57:16
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2:23
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:38
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 2:40
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 2:47
6. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 3:56
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:05
8. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 4:17
9. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 4:39
10. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 5:19.

Stage 10:

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka celebrated a huge win on Stage 11 of Giro d’Italia as Omar Fraile finished off a masterful performance by crossing the line first in Bagno di Romagna.

With its four categorized climbs and short distance of 161 km, many riders had red-circled today’s stage in the road book as a good day for a breakaway to make it all the way. The Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka riders had saved their legs during yesterday’s time trial in order to be ready for today’s stage and they didn’t disappoint.

After multiple attacks, a big group of over 20 riders finally got a gap on the peloton. Our African Team had been very attentive and managed to get both Igor Antón and Fraile in the group. Fraile had had his eyes on today’s stage for a long time and when Mikel Landa (Sky) attacked from the breakaway, the strong climber followed his fellow countryman without hesitation.

The Basque duo quickly created a gap on the chasers and managed to keep it for a long time. However, as the group behind them upped the pace, the gap began to decrease and with 40 km left to go, Fraile and Landa got caught. Other riders now started attacking on the slopes towards the top of the final climb of the day and a stage win for Fraile seemed out of reach. Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) distanced the rest and went solo but suddenly Fraile appeared in the picture again, sprinting to close the gap and take the maximum KOM points.

Fraile and Rolland worked well together on the descent and kept the chase group at 15-20 seconds as they took on the last 20 km. On the final kilometers, pre-stage favorite Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) joined the front duo together with a few other riders. Knowing Rui Costa is very fast rider, Fraile was smart to get on the wheel of the strong Portuguese. With 350 meters to go, Fraile accelerated and even though Costa tried to follow, he stood no chance against Fraile who finished off his masterpiece of a stage with the biggest win of his career. By taking maximum points on three KOMs, Fraile, king of the mountains in the last two editions of Vuelta a España, also drew level with Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) in the maglia azzura classification.

During this Giro d’Italia, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka races to put 100 girls in Africa on bikes as part of the Bicycles Change Lives campaign. Before the race started in Sardinia, all the riders received a customized under-vest with the names of the special women in their lives. Fraile’s vest has the name of his girlfriend, Eva, written on it and the 26-year-old Spaniard was very eager to dedicate a stage to his girlfriend.

Stage report HERE.

Stage winner, Omar Fraile (Dimension Data): "I can’t believe it! This is incredible. I knew this stage was good for me and I had already marked it in my road book. 17 is my lucky number and this morning, when I talked with my girlfriend on the phone she told me “Today is your day”. She was right. When Landa attacked, I thought it might be a good idea to follow and see what happened. We then got caught again and while the others were attacking on the last climb, I just kept my own pace and managed my effort until I was near the top and then I attacked. In the sprint, I knew Rui Costa was the man to beat. However, I’m also fast and I had very good feelings in my legs today. This is the best day of my career."

2nd on the stage, Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates): "It was important that we joined a breakaway today and I worked really hard to be able to achieve that. I tried my best to pursue the attack and win, however towards the end I was exhausted. I guess I am a bit disappointed that I didn’t manage to win the stage especially after being so close. But it’s ok, the Giro is a long race and there are more stages to come that will surely provide similar opportunities. The most important thing for now is to remain focused and do our very best."

Overall leader, Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb): "We weren't thinking about the riders up the road in the break today, we just focused on what we were doing and went at our own pace. I knew if we carried on doing that all day that we would be fine. It was also in other team's benefit to help bring the gap down, which of course was good for us. I took it easy on the first part of the last descent so I could get back to Laurens [Ten Dam] and he could pull so I wasn't too stressed about the attacks that came then. The guys did a great job, it was amazing team work from everybody and I'm really happy."

Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): "After being sick I feel better every day even my legs were good today. I wait for the day where I find myself in a good group and maybe then I can fight for a good result and make some step forwards in the GC."

Giro d'Italia Stage 11 Result:
1. Omar Fraile (Spa) Dimension Data in 4:23:17
2. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
3. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Cannondale-Drapac
4. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana
5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
6. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC
7. Dario Cataldo (Ita) Astana
8. Simone Petilli (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:03
10. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Quick-Step Floors.

Giro d'Italia Overall After Stage 11:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Sunweb in 47:22:07
2. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2:23
3. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:38
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 2:40
5. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 2:47
6. Andrey Amador (CRc) Movistar at 3:05
7. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors at 3:56
8. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 3:59
9. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:05
10. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin at 4:17.

Stage 11:

Amgen Tour of California 2017
Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) made the most of a climber-friendly route from Modesto to San Jose on Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California. The Polish climber followed a key attack from George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo) with 50 km to go and held on to stage victory and race leadership with an uphill finish. Majka, twice King of the Mountains on the Tour de France, took almost a minute out of Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac) and Brent Bookwalter (BMC) before the time-trial of Big Bear Lake.

While other races might ease riders gently into the mountains, the Tour of California afforded riders no such luxury – hitting the peloton with five categorized climbs, including the first of the two Hors Catégorie climbs the race will cross in this year’s edition. After first bridging to the day’s break, Bora-hansgrohe’s Rafał Majka covered every attack as the race neared its close before taking his first stage win for Bora-hansgrohe, as well as the race’s coveted leader’s yellow jersey.

Stage 2 threw the riders in at the deep end as the mountainous terrain took centre stage. Tackling five categorized climbs over the 144.5km route, including the race’s first Hors Catégorie climb, the 8.7% Mount Hamilton, there would be little chance to rest after the road started pointing upwards. While the sprinters ruled yesterday’s stage, it would be the climbers and GC contenders who would fight it out for the top spot on the podium today, with an uphill finish deciding who would take the stage – and the GC with it.

With the climbs of the day weighing heavily on the riders’ minds, it took some time for a group to build up the nerve to make the jump ahead. There was every chance the break could hold an advantage to the end of the stage, so picking the perfect time to escape was absolutely pivotal, and it wasn’t until almost 50km had passed before the attack came. Six riders made their way up the road before gradually piling on the time – the advantage quickly rising to four minutes. Controlling the pace in the peloton, the BORA-hansgrohe riders were working to keep the break in check, as the Polish national champion, Rafał Majka, kept an eye on his rivals both up the road and in the peloton. The pace rising steadily in the peloton, the break struggled as the gradient took its toll.

As the gap reduced, Rafał saw his chance, joining a small attack from the front of the peloton to try and bridge the gap. Every time the Polish rider pushed, his chasing group struggled to stay in touch, and with 34km remaining, contact was made. However, the talented Bora-hansgrohe climber wasn’t happy just to make the bridge, as he powered away shortly afterwards to take the points at the Quimby Road summit. Holding their advantage on the short flat spot before the climb to the finish, there was every chance the stage winner – and the new GC leader – would be among Rafał’s group of four. Exactly on the 1km mark, the attacks came, testing the Polish champion, his fellow escapees knowing full well the threat he posed. As his companions tried time and again to outwit him, he responded quickly, confidently shutting down every attempt before finally surging ahead to take the victory and the GC lead.

Read the Team Rally ATOC diary HERE.

Stage winner and overall leader, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I felt really strong today. We all worked together well and I knew we were in the right move because we were all strong guys. In the end I didn’t want to miss the sprint, so I went early, but was strong enough to stay in front. This is my first win for BORA-hansgrohe, which is really special to me, and I dedicate it to my daughter, who was born three months ago. Thanks also to my team mates – we have a great spirit and always work together well."

2nd, George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo): "I did about 30 seconds full-gas, we all worked together well and we all knew we had the same ambitions. We decided already a week ago that today we were going to race hard. We've got a really young team, a really motivated team. It’s disappointing not to finish off all their hard work with a win."

3rd on the stage and overall, Ian Boswell (Sky) told "It's just nice to get a result. I think it just goes to show, especially in this sport of cycling, things don't always go perfect. But just keep your eye on what you're working for, don't mentally take yourself out of it and just try to be positive. Everyone has ups and downs but just keep working hard. We knew from about 20km to go we could make it. We had a really cooperative group and we've all raced together quite a bit. I think it was the perfect combination of riders."

4th, Lachlan Morton (Dimension data): "I'm pleased with how today went and I felt pretty good. It took a while for the break to go and we were lucky to have Scott in there for us. There was only really two ways the race could go from there, so when George made the attack I knew I wanted some of that. It's normally the type of move I would also make so it was nice that someone else did it this time. We were lucky to catch my teammate Scott at the top and then we hit that descent pretty hard. We rode well all the way until the final kilometer really and I was always feeling pretty good. We didn't have much info out on course as to how far back the chasers were and who was in that group. In the end, us four just raced each over that final kilometer but I can be happy with how the legs were."

5th, Robert Gesink (LottoNl-Jumbo): "We gave everything and then George attacked. I think the four best riders got away on Mount Hamilton. It's a pity that George didn’t win, but it allowed me to wait for the sprint and to keep calm. I feel very good, but George is in top form. That's a good sign for the coming days. Today, we did very well and I hope we can repeat that in the coming days."

12th, Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates): "Today was a hard day, but I’m happy because I didn’t lose too much time. Now the focus is on queen stage, the 5th, on Thursday. Hopefully, it isn’t too hard for me, and the day after I can count on a TT stage. My goal is a top ten in overall classification."

Crash victim Toms Skujins (Cannondale-Drapac): "I’m feeling all right. I’m really bummed, of course. Besides that, I’m healthy. I’m good. We’ll assess with the team doctors and figure things out moving forward. Thank you to all the messages from my fans and my friends — but I won’t be able to answer them because I shouldn’t be looking at my phone."

Amgen Tour of California Stage 2 Result:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:43:46
2. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo
3. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky at 0:07
4. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:37
6. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
7. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GB) Sky
8. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb
9. Enric Mas (Spa) Quick-Step Floors
10. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 2:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe in 7:29:14
2. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:02
3. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky at 0:14
4. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data at 0:16
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:48
6. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
7. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb
8. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
9. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
10. Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates.

Stage 2:

After a day spent on support duties for the GC leader, Rafał Majka, the chances of any normal rider having anything in reserve for the sprint would be considered impossible. However, for a rider like Peter Sagan, ‘impossible’ isn’t a word in his vocabulary. The UCI World Champion put in an incredible effort, surging ahead on a long, uphill sprint, to take his sixteenth stage victory in the Tour of California, the race’s points jersey and Bora-hansgrohe’s second stage win of the race.

After the testing, mountainous terrain of Stage 2, the third day of the Tour of California took on a more gentle character. The single third category climb – the Tepusquet Road Summit – came at the 84km point. This was too far out to have much impact on this 192.5km stage, while the flat run to the finish made sure the sprinters would have their chance to go for the win after the terrain of yesterday’s stage put them well out of contention. However, a slight uphill for the last 500m meant there was every chance that the pure sprinters would struggle maintaining the pace on such a finale.

With the yellow GC leader’s jersey on his shoulders, it would fall to Rafał Majka and his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates to defend the race lead, making a tough day in the saddle that much tougher. On a relatively flat day, the pace would be high, especially towards the finale, and from the drop of the flag, a group of five went on up the road. While their lead quickly reached the five minute mark, none of the escape group was a threat to the GC riders, and so the peloton was in no hurry to reel them back in – instead taking in the ocean views on the California coastal roads before the race headed inland. In spite of this, the speeds were high and it was clear nobody was taking it easy today.

While the speeds were high, the winds were high too, and while the break was holding its advantage, the blustery weather was taking its toll, and the strength in numbers that the peloton provided was giving the chasers the advantage. As the race hit its final 50km, the gap had dropped from four minutes to just two, and this dropped to just a minute with 30km remaining. Back in the bunch, Rafał was well-protected – the Bora-Hansgrohe team massed around the Polish national champion. With the break all but caught, preparations were being made to ensure the GC leader was protected in what could be a hectic finale. With a few kilometers to go, the UCI World Champion, Peter Sagan, changed from support duties to what he does best – winning sprints. Moving his way up the sprint trains, expertly using the available space, before his final kick pushed the Slovak rider from sixth rider back to the front of the sprint, taking his sixteenth victory at the Tour of California with clean air between him and second place.

Team Rally ATOC diary.

Stage winner, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I’d like to thank the entire team for their effort today and in particular my brother Juraj. He was probably the most visible rider on TV today – he was pulling all day. They all did a great job – they positioned me in the front in the last moment and then I had an amazing finale. I’m very happy with our performance of yesterday and today. This Tour of California has been very good for Bora-hansgrohe so far but we still have to see how it finishes. I didn’t feel very well yesterday in the climbs – maybe because I came from a high altitude training camp and I have to get used to lower altitudes. I feel my condition improving and again I’m happy with this result. I was a little back in the last 600m but I had a strong finale and took the win."

2nd, Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin): "We made a plan for today’s stage and the team did exactly like we wanted. They kept things under control like we asked and at the last corner with 400 meters to go Alex was on my wheel so I just went with everything I had to give for the lead out. I had a pretty good punch. Unfortunately, Alex could not come by, only Peter Sagan so I went in his draft and got second place, but we wanted to win so we will try again in other stages. My dad was here watching and he’s super excited for me, but really we want to win, not just be second, so we are still hoping to win a stage. There are more chances to try."

Overall leader, Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was a hard day with the wind. You had to be focused all day long. All the boys did an amazing job and showed excellent spirit in the end with Peter taking another stage. We can be really happy with two stages in hand and also still leading the GC."

6th, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (Dimension Data): "Again, it was pretty windy out there but nothing really happened, it just made the bunch a little nervous. The final was pretty technical with a tough finish as it started kicking up just after a kilometer to go. I got through it all pretty well with Bernie and Tyler looking after me and then I jumped onto a few trains in the last kilometer. I was maybe a bit too far back but I still managed to get onto the wheel of Sagan through the last corner. I couldn't match his power in the end though."

Amgen Tour of California Stage 3 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:53:26
2. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
3. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
5. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
6. Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Dimension Data
7. Taylor Phinney (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
8. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Sunweb
9. Travis Mccabe (USA) UnitedHealthcare
10. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Sunweb.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 3:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe in 12:22:43
2. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:02
3. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky at 0:14
4. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data at 0:16
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:45
6. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 0:48
7. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb
8. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
9. Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
10. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors.

Stage 3:

Rally Cycling’s Evan Huffman and Rob Britton claimed the first two spots of Stage 4 just ahead of a raging peloton after a full day at the front of the race. The two riders took part in a six-man breakaway that built the largest lead of the Amgen Tour of California and maintained a 13” difference on the finish line. Rafal Majka maintained his tight lead on the GC classification on the eve of the Queen stage, leading the bunch atop Mount Baldy.

Evan Huffman powered into the history books with a stunning turn of speed in the closing meters of stage four at the Amgen Tour of California. He won from a five-man breakaway that included teammate Rob Britton, who crossed the line in second, to give Rally Cycling a 1-2 finish in its first-ever WorldTour event. Huffman’s win is also the first victory ever by a Continental rider at the top-tier level of the sport. Huffman’s aggressive riding and bold move in the closing meters also earned him the Most Courageous Rider jersey and helped Rally Cycling to the top of the day’s Team Classification standings.

The foundation for Huffman’s victory was laid early in the day when after only 2km of racing, he, along with Britton, Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb), Mathias Le Turnier (Cofidis), Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare) and Martin Elmiger (BMC) rode clear. Elmiger was eventually distanced over the final categorized climb, leaving five out front. At the halfway point, the five riders held a nine-minute lead, but pressure from the peloton increased after the final climb, and the gap began to fall. On the long run into Santa Clarita, it was touch and go whether the breakaway would survive as Quick-Step and Sky drove the pace in the hopes of delivering their sprinters to the line. With only three kilometers left, the peloton was still a minute back, and the victory would be fought out between the breakaway riders. As the line approached, Huffman powered clear with Hofstede giving chase. The Dutch rider failed to gain ground on Huffman, and seizing the opportunity, Britton came past to give Rally Cycling the first two spots on the podium.

Santa Clarita - California - USA - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Evan Hufman - Rob Britton (Rally) - Lennard Hofstede (Netherlands / Team Sunweb)  - Matthias Le Turnier (Cofidis)  pictured during the Amgen Tour of California 2017 - stage 4 from Santa Barbara to Santa Clarita   (161,5KM) - photo Brian Hodes/Cor Vos © 2017 ***USA OUT***

Stage winner, Evan Huffman (Rally Cycling): "On paper, it looked like a sprint stage. But we didn’t want that so we rode aggressive. It was really hard to get in the breakaway but in the end it worked out for us. We had to ride flat out until the end. This is incredible. For Rally Cycling, it’s huge. The team improves every year and we’ve been racing very well this season."

6th on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "Today was a really hard stage, but actually I’m very happy for the break. I’m happy because it means different winners and a different style of racing. We already did two hard days before, we won two stages, and today we wanted to take it easy. In the end it wasn’t possible, because a lot of teams were surprised at the breakaway when they took a lot of minutes at the start and it was very hard to catch them. In fact, it was impossible to catch them. Every team had their own strategy when it came to chasing, but that’s just how cycling is. It’s been nice here in California – I feel good with my team and I’m happy to have my brother here with me. We’ve been riding together on the same team for six years now and there’s a really good atmosphere in the BORA-hansgrohe team."

Overall leader, Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe): "Today was a really hard day but I had my team to support me – also Peter. We did our best to catch the breakaway, and in the group we stayed at the front. I suffered a little bit, but tomorrow is the important day for me and hopefully I’ll be better then. I had a great team supporting me today and I hope to have a great day tomorrow, and hope to keep the jersey. I think it’s going to be a really hard climb, so at the end we’ll see how my legs respond after five days of racing. It will be the first time I do that climb and it all depends on my legs. If I have good legs, for sure I’ll try to attack, otherwise I’ll try to follow. We’ll see how my condition is after these four days. Today I’m suffering, but lots of riders are – it’s a little bit warmer as well and we went really fast today but I hope I’ll have good legs tomorrow."

Amgen Tour of California Stage 4 Result:
1. Evan Huffman (USA) Rally Cycling 3:41:52
2. Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling
3. Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb
4. Mathias Leturnier (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
5. Gavin Mannion (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
6. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:00:13
7. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
8. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors
9. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates.

Amgen Tour of California Overall After Stage 4:
1. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe in 16:04:48
2. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:02
3. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky at 0:14
4. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Dimension Data at 0:16
5. Robert Gesink (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:45
6. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC at 0:48
7. Sam Oomen (Ned) Sunweb
8. Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
9. Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
10. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors.

ATOC17 stage 4:

Allergies force Giacomo Nizzolo to abandon Giro
Italian Champion Giacomo Nizzolo together with his team Trek-Segafredo announce that persistent allergies have forced Nizzolo to abandon the 100th Giro d’Italia before the start of stage 11.

Giacomo Nizzolo, the winner of the points competition in the two previous editions of the Giro, had recently returned to competition after he missed the first part of the season to tendonitis, and he was hoping to ride into form in the third week.

"Since the start of the Giro, Giacomo has been suffering from attacks of allergic asthma," explained team physician Nino Daniele. "This has adversely affected his sporting performance. Several days ago we took the decision to conduct blood tests to exclude the presence of other illnesses."

"The results showed a state of organic fatigue that has led us to advise him to withdraw from the Giro d'Italia, a decision which we take reluctantly, but in the interests of the rider and the team. Giacomo's health is of paramount importance, and we consider it best for him and the team to allow him to start his recovery as soon as possible, and to turn his thoughts to the second part of the season."

Giacomo Nizzolo: "Of course I'm unhappy to have to leave the Giro. I can tell you it was definitely the hardest race I've ever done because of my illness; I was struggling every day. I tried my best to take the Italian champion's jersey around Italy. Every day I was there, suffering, to honor the jersey and the Giro.

"I did my best, believe me, but now it's time to go home and rest. I'm optimistic. I want to go home, recover, and focus on the second part of the season. That's why we've taken this decision. Physically and technically it is the right choice."

Italian champion Giacomo Nizzolo:
Giro d'Italia 2017 - 100th Edition - 1st stage Alghero - Olbia 208 km - 05/05/2017 - Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA - Trek - Segafredo) - photo Ilario Biondi/BettiniPhoto©2017

Behind the Scenes with Team Sunweb at Giro d'Italia
During the Giro d'Italia Team Sunweb are producing daily videos to provide exclusive insight to what goes on behind the scenes at a Grand Tour. Head over to the team's YouTube channel for video content such as; 24 hours with Phil Bauhaus (GER) at the Giro d'Italia, a day in the life of a Giro coach, the equipment that Team Sunweb brings to a Grand Tour and what happens in the evening in-between stages.

Felline extends his contract with Trek-Segafredo
Fabio Felline and Trek-Segafredo agreed on a one-year contract extension through the end of 2018. The 27-year-old Italian has been with the team since the inaugural 2014 season and has developed into one of the best all-rounders in the pro peloton, his green jersey at last year’s Vuelta a España being the most conspicuous example of his wide range of skills.

Fabio Felline: “I am really, really happy to continue my career with Trek-Segafredo, because I love the environment they have created, I genuinely enjoy racing and training with the other riders and working with the staff. This team has given me every possibility to chase my dreams and set new goals because they believe in me. And for me, this is crucial because when I feel the team gives me confidence and strongly believes in my qualities, this makes me perform better.”

“I am convinced that Trek-Segafredo is for me the very best option to keep growing as a rider and to obtain higher levels of performance in the future. I sense that my teammates, the team management, the trainers, they all give me complete confidence and they all really believe in me, and that’s really all I can wish for. This team is truly amazing!”

General Manager Luca Guercilena: “Fabio has always been a hard-working professional, but after his nearly career-ending crash in last year’s Amstel Gold Race, I saw him turning into one of the most focused riders I have ever worked with. He is determined to be successful and able to go extremely deep during the race. This year’s spring classics campaign has shown us once again that Fabio is a purebred all-rounder. From Trofeo Laigueglia in mid-February (a race he won with the Italian National team) all the way through Tour de Romandie, where he won the prologue with an incredible combination of speed and steering skills, he has performed at a very constant level.”

“I am obviously thrilled to have Fabio on board also for the next season, and I am curious to see how far his continuous growth and hard work will take him.”

Fabio Felline:
Tour de Romandie 2017 - Prologue Aigle - Aigle 4.8 km - 25/04/2017 - Fabio Felline (ITA - Trek - Segafredo) - photo Luis Angel Gomez/BettiniPhoto©2017

BMC Racing Team Welcomes Nathan Van Hooydonck to UCI WorldTour Ranks
Nathan Van Hooydonck, 21, is set to make the transition from BMC Development Team to BMC Racing Team at the end of May when he lines up at the Tour de Luxembourg.

Van Hooydonck, who has raced for BMC Development Team since 2015, will be the eighth rider to step up to the UCI WorldTour level with BMC Racing Team.

"Rather than join us for the start of the 2017 season, we wanted to give Nathan Van Hooydonck some extra time to mature as a rider and we feel this is the right time to welcome him to BMC Racing Team. We have enjoyed the most successful Classics season in our team's history this year and we are always on the look out for up and coming talent to join our ranks. Van Hooydonck has showed great talent in his two full seasons with BMC Development Team, including his U23 Belgian National Road Race championship and multiple podium results at stage and one-day races," BMC Racing Team General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

"Van Hooydonck's transition to BMC Racing Team is a testament to the success of BMC Development in identifying and nurturing young talent. We have seen great success from the seven riders who have joined us over the last few years and we look forward to continuing this tradition."

Van Hooydonck is excited to step up and race at the Tour de Luxembourg for the first time with his new team.

"I can't describe my excitement really. This had been the goal I have worked for my whole life. This is a dream come true! Joining BMC Racing Ream means that I will be amongst the best riders in the WorldTour, so I will try to keep my eyes and ears open to learn as much as possible," Van Hooydonck said.

"BMC Development Team does a great job of preparing riders for the professional ranks. When you have a certain amount of talent, it will develop really well in BMC Development Team. I hope to show BMC Racing Team that they made the right choice by giving me the chance to step up and I want to show the fans what I'm capable of."

In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, no further details of the contract were released.

Nathan Van Hooydonck won the Belgian U23 champs:
Boussu-Lez-Walcourt - Belgium  - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Nathan Van Hooydonck - Jenthe Biermans - Michael Cools   pictured during the 2016 Belgian national championship cycling race under 23 with start and finish in Boussu-Lez-Walcourt (231 km)  - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

A.S.O. Joins Forces with AEG in the German Market
Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.O.), and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) have agreed on a strategic partnership around their common goal to develop cycling in Germany. As part of the partnership, AEG will work closely with A.S.O. on its cycling business in the German market, which includes to launch a new Deutschland Tour (Tour of Germany) in August 2018 and the annual Eschborn-Frankfurt classic, the 56th edition of which took place, as part of the World Tour for the first time, on May 1, 2017. The joint announcement was made today by representatives of A.S.O. and AEG at the conclusion of Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California which is owned by AEG and organized in partnership with A.S.O.

As part of the comprehensive partnership between the global sports organizations, AEG will lead the sponsorship sales process for both the Eschborn-Frankfurt classic and the Deutschland Tour (Tour of Germany), an innovative concept which is designed as a bike festival that bridges the gap between professional and everyday cycling (Deutschland. Deine Tour).

Yann Le Moënner, Managing Director of A.S.O.: “Our strategic partnership with AEG underlines how committed we are to the German market. The Grand Départ 2017 in Düsseldorf, the just renewed partnership with ARD on broadcasting the Tour de France, the addition of the Eschborn-Frankfurt classic to the family of A.S.O. races and the new Deutschland Tour are all for themselves significant milestones to support the growth of cycling in Germany. We are excited to join forces with AEG, who will be a strong partner to achieve this vision”.

Steven A. Cohen, Chief Strategic Officer, AEG: “The German market has been core to AEG’s worldwide portfolio of sports, entertainment and real estate properties for more than a decade and today’s announcement further builds on our collection of assets in Germany. Partnering with A.S.O., the global leaders in cycling and numerous other major international competitions, will bring together two organizations with a shared vision and complementary assets and resources that will result in two outstanding and unique events for Germany and cycling fans globally.”

24 Hours With Tom Dumoulin
Team Sunweb's latest behind the scenes footage features Tom Dumoulin (NED) on his way to the Maglia Rosa. It shows the 26-year-old Dumoulin from a personal side as he's followed during the 24hours ahead of today's stage victory. Head over to the team's YouTube channel for more videos like this.

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