TOP STORY: Still No Alonso Team!
Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso’s manager Luis Garcia Abad has told the Spanish website Biciciclismo that they have asked the UCI for a WorldTour license, but that no riders have been contracted or contacted. He insists that: “I can’t contract anybody until October 1st because it would be illegal to do so. We have not spoken officially with any rider. I can’t contract anybody because I’m not formally registered as a team, I would be carrying out an illegal act.”
Is this more of a ‘smoke screen’ or will the team ever exist? Since the whole Alonso Team story started last year at la Vuelta a España and originally Alonso was going to buy out the Euskaltel team, that fell apart leaving riders and staff without employment for 2014. Since then Alonso has been appearing at big cycling events and taking the top riders for drives in fast cars…but no mention of a main sponsor or any riders. Maybe after the 1st of October? Don’t hold your breath.
Fernando Alonso in Dubai:
Vuelta a España 2014
Michael Matthews sprinted to the stage win and red jersey in Arcos de la Frontera at the end of Stage 3, which started from the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I in the port of Cadiz.
The heat didn’t prevent Jérôme Cousin (Europcar), Lluis Mas Bonnet (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Danylo Wyss (BMC), Jonathan Fumeaux (IAM Cycling) and Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) from attacking straight away. Their advantage reached 8 minutes after 50km of racing. Orica-GreenEDGE took care of the chase as they targeted the stage for Michael Matthews.
Cousin was on the hunt for the polka dot jersey as he crested the summit of Alto del Picacho (km 75) and Alto Alcornocales (km 95) in first position. After 100km of racing the deficit of the peloton was reduced to less than four minutes. Mas attacked from the front group and rode solo up the Alto del Camino and the Alto del Boyar, so he took the polka dot jersey. Mas was caught with 26km to go by the peloton still led by Orica-GreenEDGE with FDJ.fr helping.
On the fast descent with 12 kilometers to go; Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) tried his luck, but was caught four kilometers later. Katusha put two riders on the front with 1km to go as they hit the final short climb for Joaquim Rodriguez. Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp) was first to attack, but Matthews finished the job that Orica-GreenEDGE started five hours before. With the time bonus, the Australian took the red jersey ahead of the Movistar pair of Nairo Quintana (4 seconds) and Alejandro Valverde (11 seconds).
The victory was Michael Matthews’ (Orica-GreenEDGE) third Vuelta a España stage win and second leader’s jersey for the season after he wore the Giro d’Italia maglia rosa for six days in May: “It is definitely a dream come true,” Matthews said of 2014. “I didn’t expect to have any Grand Tour leader’s jerseys this year and now I have two from both of the three-week races I’ve done. I still can’t believe it, I am definitely going to have to pinch myself tonight.”
The ORICA-GreenEDGE team punished themselves on the front of the peloton for the entire stage to bring back an early breakaway and position the 23-year-old in the punchy, uphill final. “I’m just so happy that I got to finish off for them,” Matthews said of his teammates. “It makes the win so much sweeter to be able to win when your whole team has absolutely smashed themselves for you. We thought it was going to be a bit more of a reduced bunch at the finish. The heat was the main factor today and then the climb in the final was very hard but I had the team to put me in the perfect position and from there it was up to me to deliver for them.”
Wilco Kelderman was a little surprised by his fourth place: “I’m very happy, but I didn’t expect this. It was a very heavy stage today. With 1.5-kilometres to go there was a very steep section. From that point on, it was a long sprint to the finish line. Lactate was everywhere.”
6th on the stage Cadel Evans (BMC): “I did not arrive well-positioned into the bottom of the climb, but what I had in my legs I managed to get on the road,” Evans said. “I think in a couple of days, I will start feeling better as some of the sprinter guys get tired and I will be able to aim higher. I am going OK, but have quite a bit of room for improvement. So we will see in the next few days.”
3rd overall Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “One of the team-mates in front of me crashed while trying to pick up a musette and I went to the ground, too. More than sweeping the ground, it was a sharp blow, with no bruises: I hit a teammate’s bike and hit my back, but I could recover and go ahead. I started the climb well behind and because of that, I’m happy with the time I lost. Seven seconds is nothing. My back hurts a bit after the crash, but I hope it’s not serious and I can recover well. I’m not feeling really sad after losing the jersey – it was more that I wanted to win this stage. I couldn’t, but this is cycling, things like that happen and we must carry on.”
The high temperatures didn’t bother Robert Gesink (Belkin) too much on Monday: “I drunk around twenty bottles, but honestly I didn’t really suffer from the heat. I felt very well and I’m very satisfied with this result, especially when you look at the riders who are here.”
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): “The first week is nervous – everyone wants to be at the front and nobody is tired.”
Jacques Janse van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka) made it into the break of the day again: “Yeah it was another good day with me getting into the break. I wasn’t able to win anything as the other riders were just too fast in the sprint for me but we got some good exposure for the team and for MTN I think. It was really hot out there but I was coping well with it at least. I’ll definitely take it easy the next few days now and then see how I can support Sergio on stage 6.”
Race Report on PEZ here.
Vuelta a España Stage 3 Result:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE in 5:12:14
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
3. Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin
5. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin
6. Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC
7. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha
10. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 3:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE in 9:27:53
2. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:04
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:11
4. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:15
5. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:17
6. Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale at 0:20
8. Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek
9. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:22.
Javier Aramendia (Caja Rural), Gert Joeäär (Cofidis), Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar) and Sébastien Turgot (AG2R-La Mondiale) soon formed the breakaway after the start of Stage 4. After 25 kilometres their advantage was 3:40, Orica-GreenEdge pulled the gap back to around 2:30 and held it at that.
Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) was first over the Alto de San Jeronimo, covering for his team-mate Lluis Mas’ polka dot jersey. Engoulvent caught Txurruka on the downhill and the leading duo had 30 seconds on the bunch through the finishing line, but they were soon caught.
Sky set a higher tempo on the Alto del Catorce por Ciento and distanced most of the sprinters, but not Michael Matthews and John Degenkolb. Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) and Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) attacked sfter the top of the hill to be joined by Romain Sicard (Europcar), but he punctured. With 24.5 km to go, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) bridged the gap to Anacona, Yates and Sicard but it was all together as the main peloton had Cordoba in sight again.
Apart from a failed attack from Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) on the run in, it was all together for a sprint from those left at the front. Giant-Shimano were mostly keeping it together for John Degenkolb who stormed over the line for his first win since Gent-Wevelgem in March.
Some questions for stage winner John Degenkolb (Giant-shimano). There was quite some distance between you and your runner up on the line. Was it anger? Were you wanting to make a statement in the end? “It’s been a long time now since my last victory. It was Gent-Wevelgem in March! Since then, I’ve tried to win stages here and there since, at the Tour of California, at the Tour de Suisse, at the Tour de France… I’ve come second many times [at Paris-Roubaix, GP Frankfurt, two stages of the Tour of California, German national championship, two stages of the Tour de France, stage 2 of the Vuelta a España]. It didn’t make me unhappy but it gave me the motivation to train hard and come back in good shape at races. After all these disappointments, it’s such a big relief to cross the line as a winner.”
How difficult was it to remain in the first group over the last climb? “It was a bit of a gamble. I knew that if I didn’t succeed today, it would have taken some energy that I’d need tomorrow but I just tried to give everything today. Had the others ridden full gas over the climb, I had no chance to sprint for victory. In the end, it just worked out and now it’s just happiness and it boosts my confidence for tomorrow. I needed luck and today, everything was perfect. It was definitely not an easy win for me. I had to handle the heat and suffer over the climb. Yesterday, I was overheated and today I tried to drink and put ice on myself as much as possible.”
Were you frustrated to not be able to ride the Tour de France at your normal level after crashing on stage 6? “More than a frustration, I felt a huge disappointment. Because I was injured, I realized I didn’t have the luck to win a stage. I crashed pretty hard and it influenced my whole Tour de France. I’m back now and stronger. I’m here at the Vuelta also to get in the best possible shape for the world championship even if it’s still a long way away. Being in Spain before the World’s is the best way to adjust to the climate conditions and prepare for the World’s in Spain.”
2nd on the stage Vicente Reynes (IAM Cycling): “I started sprinting when Tony Martin got caught but John Degenkolb was simply faster than me. I’m happy with this second place at the end of a very hot day. It’s another second place like three years ago at the beginning of the Vuelta but I’ll try again.”
Race leader Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE): “My team rode awesome today. They did everything they could to put me in the upper positions but it was just a little bit hectic in the final with just getting chopped everywhere. I thought the red jersey would have got a bit more respect but there’s not much respect in this peloton. I expected Degenkolb to be there today, he’s obviously a fairly good climber. I knew it was going to be a drag race between him and me in the finale. A couple of guys went between us in the last few hundred meters. I didn’t clack in to contest him for the win but yeah, it was a great win for him. I would have liked to win today obviously. It’s a course that suited me today. I would have liked to do the double. It’s racing and we’ll give it another go another day.”
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “On the bike we had temperatures of 46 and 47 degrees. That takes its toll and made a demanding stage, but hey, we have passed it, the team has been very good and now it’s time to rest and take a cold shower.” As to his leg: “We’re going day by day, I have some discomfort, but it doesn’t go further. I’m passing each day and that motivates me, but also keep me cautious.”
Astana’s Fabio Aru: “The stage finish was fast – but the whole day was so hot – 46 degrees.”
Wilco Kelderman (Belkin): “Temperatures of around 40 degrees Celsius made it tough, but nevertheless I was able to maintain myself at the front. I wasn’t able to sprint for the win, but at least I was up there. The stage started quietly. A break took off, but it never took a big lead, which allowed the peloton to take it easy. From the first climbs, the pace went up considerably, however.”
Most aggressive rider Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural): “When I saw that the breakaway with my team-mate Aramendia was going to be caught, I attacked in the climb to protect the polka dot jersey that Lluis Mas has since yesterday. But it was impossible to stay away. I knew it. Caja Rural is an aggressive team at the Vuelta. We’ll try to break away again tomorrow and every day we can. Alternatively, we’ll help Luis Leon Sanchez in some finales adapted to his characteristics.”
Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step): “I would have loved to win in Cordoba for the third time (Ruta del Sol 2007, Vuelta 2008) so I gave everything in the second climb but the section at 14% was too steep for me and the heat didn’t help a big guy like me.”
Read the full race report here.
Vuelta a España Stage 4 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 4:02:55
2. Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
3. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE
4. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale
5. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
6. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha
7. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
8. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
9. Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek
10. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 4:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE in 13:30:44
2. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:08
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:15
4. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:19
5. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:21
6. Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale at 0:24
8. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek
9. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 0:27
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) won Stage 5 in a similar manner as stage 4 from a shrunk peloton.
Tony Martin (OPQS) attacked from the gun and Pim Ligthart (Lotto Belisol) went with him. Giant-Shimano and FDJ.fr understood straight away that Orica-GreenEdge wouldn’t defend Michael Matthews’ lead on that day, so it was up to them to set the pace of the bunch. After 100km of racing while the gap was only 2:30, Martin had a problem and waited for the bunch. Ligthart continued solo and claimed the intermediate sprint at Campillos. Chris Froome took two seconds bonus as he rode away from the peloton with his Sky team-mate Christian Knees.
Alberto Contador and his Tinkoff-Saxo team mates put the hammer down. They tried to split the bunch into pieces. Ligthart got caught. Garmin-Sharp’s Ryder Hesjedal and Andrew Talansky were among the riders off the back. Tinkoff-Saxo’s effort lasted for twenty kilometers. It was a great show but the GC favorites and the three main sprinters, John Degenkolb, Nacer Bouhanni and Matthews were up there.
Caja Rural maintained the lead in the King of the Mountains with Amets Txurruka winning the sprint atop the Puerto El Satillo and polka dot jersey wearer Lluis Mas crossing the line in third position. MTN-Qhubeka’s Sergio Pardilla scored two points that put him in the lead of the combined classification.
Philippe Gilbert (BMC) launched the sprint from far out with a very good lead out by his team-mates but John Degenkolb was prompt to react. He managed to keep the small advantage he had over Nacer Bouhanni who complained to have been boxed in but the jury decided the sprint was fair.
With his second victory, Degenkolb took the lead in the points classification while Matthews maintained the overall lead ahead of the first mountain top finish at La Zubia, still in hot Andalucia in the south of Spain.
How would you describe your seventh stage win at the Vuelta? “Today was a very tough one. I had to work really hard for it. After the acceleration by [Tinkoff-]Saxo Bank, there were only Koen de Kort and Warren Barguil left with me, so it meant a lead out with two guys. I saw a gap in front of me. I closed it early. That’s how I won. It’s great to get another victory. It’s nice to win a second time. It gives me a big satisfaction and it’s great to give this victory to the team.”
Runner up Nacer Bouhanni seemed to be angry. Do you feel you’ve done everything right? “I think I didn’t change my lane. There was enough space on the right side if he was able to pass me. Nacer complained but I didn’t move from left to right. I was trying to avoid somebody to pass me on the right side.”
What surprised you the most: Orica not defending the lead? Tinkoff-Saxo trying to split the bunch? “It was a very hot day. From the beginning we understood that Orica wasn’t going to ride behind the breakaway. As it was Tony Martin at the front, we knew he was someone we couldn’t allow to take a big advantage. At one point, Ligthart was left alone at the front. We definitely didn’t expect Contador to accelerate like that. It was a smart move from him. I’m not sure how many GC contenders he got rid of but it was painful for all of us.”
You have the green jersey now. Will you target to bring it to Santiago? “I’m very happy to have it now but I already tried to win the points classification two years ago. Even with winning five stages, I didn’t make it. It’s very difficult for a sprinter to keep the green jersey at the Vuelta, since the scale is the same for all the stages, flat or mountainous. So I won’t make it a goal for the time being.”
Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) 2nd: “Two years ago I’ve been disqualified from a stage win at the Tour of Picardy for less than that. Degenkolb closed me in three times. When I told him after the finish that it wasn’t correct, he said I should have gone on the other side. I’m not happy because he should have been disqualified.”
Jean-Michel Voets (President of the commissaires’ panel): “We’ve looked at the tv images three times. Degenkolb hasn’t contravened the rules. He kept his line but Bouhanni tried to pass where it was impossible. There’s no reason for changing the result.”
3rd on the stage Moreno Hofland (Belkin): “A podium finish in a grand tour, I’m pretty happy with that,” said Hofland afterwards still a little bit dazed. “I was in Paul Martens’ wheel and he dropped me off perfectly. With four hundred meters to go, we had to close a small gap, which was a small thing, but nonetheless I’m very happy with this result. I’ve shown I can finish on the podium, perhaps I can win someday, as well.”
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo): “The team needed more information about, who was behind and who wasn’t, we didn’t know who had been left behind. I think that we managed to leave a few interesting riders behind in the initial part, but then they came back and we wasn’t aware of this. There was a bit of confusion, but well, we tried. We have to be aware and continue to be well placed in the peloton, because anything can happen on stages like this.”
About Froome’s sprint, where he won two bonus seconds, Alberto said he expected it: “Yes, we saw him attacking. In the first sprint he tried, but Bouhanni and FDJ pulled him back again. In the second sprint he attacked with his teammate from a bit further away, but it isn’t important in the long run.”
Chris Froome (Sky): “Any opportunity to make up some time is worth a try. There was only one rider away at the second intermediate sprint so I attacked with my team-mates Christian Knees to take two seconds bonus. It’s not much but it can be useful. Tomorrow it’s the first mountain stage with two very difficult climbs. It’ll be a test for myself and my adversaries. Purito looks like he’s in a very good condition. Contador and Quintana too but I wouldn’t be surprised to see many other riders perform tomorrow.”
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “We were paying attention at the front when we were leaving the town in case there were any splits, and they accelerated. It didn’t really surprise us: Tinkoff is a squad that always profits from chances like that, and that was the case. We also took some turns at the front and could happily complete the stage into the main group. All favorites are working hard not to lose any time, not only the two or three names you might think of. Tomorrow’s stage is the first mountain-top finish; not a long climb, but it is a demanding one. I haven’t raced on it as a pro, but I did climb it as an amateur in the Vuelta a Granada. We will try to keep attacking and make the fans enjoy, always as long as the team’s interest is not compromised. There will sometimes be a reward, sometimes not, but we must keep people paying attention to us in the remainder of the race.”
Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “All my team-mates worked really well today, not only putting us at the front all stage and especially when there was more stress, but also bringing us all drinks we needed, which is really important in such stages. First mountain-top finish coming tomorrow – it’s my terrain. I’m getting into the racing pace slowly but steadily, though I think it might be a bit too soon for me to give it a crack. Let’s hope the temperature decreases a little tomorrow so we can feel better; it doesn’t really do well for any of us in the bunch, the body feels different, a bit down.”
Steve Morabito was the last BMC rider in Philippe Gilbert’s sprint train: “We did a pretty good lead out, but unfortunately, the pure sprinters were still there. I think we did a good try, though.”
Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko: “It was unexpected when Tinkoff went to the side of the road and opened up gaps in the crosswind. I closed the gap for Aru and Landa and brought them to the front just when the race was getting crazy for the General Classification.”
Read the PEZ race report here.
Vuelta a España Stage 5 Result:
1. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Shimano in 4:01:21
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr
3. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin
4. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek
5. Paul Martens (Ger) Belkin
6. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC
8. Vicente Reynes Mimo (Spa) IAM Cycling
9. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka
10. Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida.
Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 5:
1. Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGEin 17:35:05
2. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar at 0:13
3. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar at 0:20
4. Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step at 0:24
5. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale at 0:26
6. Jhoan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE
7. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek at 0:29
8. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 0:32
9. Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
10. Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin.
GP Ouest France-Plouay 2014
The French WorldTour event is held in the Breton town of Plouay on Sunday the 31st of August over kilometers. The race is based on two circuits; eight circuits of 26.9 kilometers and one circuit of 13.9 kilometers for a total of 229.1 kilometers, both have the typical Breton short, steep climbs to split the race. All the WorldTour teams have to be there and they are joined by Pro Continental line-up’s: Wanty-Groupe Gobert, IAM Cycling, Cofidis, Bardiani-CSF, Neri Sottoli and the home team of Bretagne-Seche Environnement.
Giant-Shimano for Plouay
Team Giant-Shimano heads to the one-day WorldTour race, GP Ouest France – Plouay with a strong balanced team with a sprint focus.
The nature of the Plouay circuit always provokes the attacking riders to try their luck but more often than not the front of the race comes back together on the final run-in to the line.
Team Giant-Shimano head to the race with a team capable of going on the offensive but also equally suited to getting a strong result if the race comes down to a sprint with Luka Mezgec (SLO) as well as Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) being two fast men for the race.
“Plouay is always a hard race but normally everything happens on the last one or two laps,” said coach Marc Reef (NED). “There is sure to be a lot of attacks and we will have to be sharp on these, but you often see this race together in the final kilometres.
“In this outcome we will be focused on Luka – he has worked hard with the coaches to be in good shape for this race and together with the support of the team and a good plan, he can go for the best result possible.”
Brian Bulgac (NED), Roy Curvers (NED), Thomas Damuseau (FRA), Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA), Cheng Ji (CHN), Luka Mezgec (SLO), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
Coach: Marc Reef (NED).
Europcar Team for the GP Ouest-France Plouay
Riders: Yukiya Arashiro, Bryan Coquard, Cyril Gauthier, Yohann Gene, Alexandre Pichot, Perrig Quemeneur, Kévin Reza & Angélo Tulik.
Directeur Spoertifs: Lylian Lebreton & Jean-René Bernaudeau.
Team Belkin with three leaders to Plouay
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM will start Sunday’s Grand Prix Ouest France-Plouay with three leaders. Sports Director Frans Maassen has given Lars Boom, Bram Tankink and Lars Petter Nordhaug protected status in the French WorldTour race.
“We face a world championship course which is very difficult,” said Maassen, who remembers that the Worlds took place in Plouay in 2000.
“The course is so hard that in recent years everybody waited to go 100 per cent until very late. Everyone focused on the last two climbs. If the riders make it a hard race early on then it can be a battlefield. With Boom, Nordhaug and Tankink, we have three men who should be able to get far into the final.”
Lars Petter Nordhaug
Nordhaug remains cautious, but full of ambitions. “I took it easy after the Arctic Race of Norway and treated my agitated knee. It feels fine now and my training rides are going well. I’ve never done Plouay before, but I’m looking forward to try something new with the team. We’ll help each other and we’ll see who has the best legs.”
Jetse Bol, Lars Boom, Jos van Emden, Rick Flens, Barry Markus, Lars Petter Nordhaug, Bram Tankink and Maarten Wynants.
Sports Director: Frans Maassen.
Last year’s race:
Martini Dies at 93
Ex Italian national coach, Alfredo Martini has passed away at 93 years of age at home in Sesto Fiorentino on Monday. Martini became national coach in 1975 and led Francesco Moser, Giuseppe Saronni, Moreno Argentin, Maurizio Fondriest and Gianni Bugno to World road championship gold medals during his manager ship. He retired at 1997 after 23 years in the job.
Ciao Alfredo Martini!
Edvald Boassen Hagen signs for Team MTN-Qhubeka
After five years with Team Sky, Edvald Boasson Hagen has decided to continue his career with Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung for the next two years.
Edvald Boassen Hagen: “It´s been five great seasons with Team Sky, but the time has come to seek new challenges. MTN-Qhubeka has a very good platform and a framework that fits me very well, so I´m sure this is a very good choice for the next seasons.”
“I´ve had several options for the future, among them also World Tour teams. But after some consideration this is the team I most of all want to ride for in the future. They are upgrading the team for next season, but already this year they have received wild cards for most of the races I would like to do next year. The team takes part in the Vuelta right now, which is their first Grand Tour. For next year they are targeting the Tour. So I feel safe about the race program, and I really look forward to focus on new goals in the MTN-Qhubeka jersey. The African riders I have seen race this year and I hope to help them with my experience as they are great talents. The other thing I really enjoy is this team does not just race for themselves but for a charity.”
Team Principal – Douglas Ryder: “We are really excited to welcome Edvald Boasson Hagen into Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung. We believe he is one of the best riders in the world and we look forward to seeing him achieve great results for himself as well as mentor our young African talents. We want to become one of the best teams in the world to assist the African riders to get into the biggest races in cycling and this is a huge step in that direction.
In the last 2 years of racing as a Pro Continental team we have seen our riders develop and perform really well. The team has come a long way because the riders love the opportunities they are getting and they try and make every opportunity count.”
Learn more about the team at www.teammtnqhubeka.com
OPQS Signs Maxime Bouet For Two Seasons
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team announces the signing of Maxime Bouet, a 27-year-old French rider, for two years (2015 & 2016). Bouet rode with AG2R-La Mondiale from 2010 until 2014. Highlights of his career include a 2nd place in the 2010 edition of the Tour de France Stage 2, and 3rd place in the GC of Giro del Trentino in 2013. He also finished 20th overall in the 2012 edition of La Vuelta. “I’m happy about this deal,” Bouet said. “Since I was young I looked at teams of Patrick Lefevere and dreamed of being part of his teams in the future, during my pro career. Now I will join the team in a time of professional maturity, when I can do the best things in my career. So, I’m excited. I will continue to develop in the future. In the next year my goal is to improve as a rider and also to try to be important in the strategy of the team, with riders like Rigoberto Uran and Michal Kwiatkowski. I will try and give my contribution to their success in the climbs. I will work hard during this winter and next year to try and be as good as I can in the mountains and improve my capacity there. I’d like to also thank my former team for the big opportunity they gave me in the last years. I had a great few years with them and want to thank them for their help.
“With Bouet we have a rider who can be useful for the grand tours,” OPQS CEO Patrick Lefevere said. “He has shown he can support his teammates, while also having the possibility to take his own chances when the opportunity is present. He’s a French rider who I believe has yet to reach the pinnacle of his pro career, and think he can be a good fit for the team and what we want to do in the next years. I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in OPQS colors as he continues to grow.”
Cycling and Cooking, le dessert avec Maxime Bouet:
Team Belkin extends contracts with four cyclists and adds Teunissen
The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM – which recently signed a declaration of intent with De Lotto, BrandLoyalty and speed skating Team BrandLoyalty – extended the contracts of Jos van Emden, Marc Goos, Martijn Keizer and Bram Tankink for two more years. The team also managed to sign talented, 22-year-old Mike Teunissen from the Rabobank Development Team rider on a two-year contract.
In search for second title sponsor
General Manager Richard Plugge is very happy with the contract extensions. “With this we keep the knowledge and experience within our team. Mike Teunissen is a youngster who had his training with the Rabobank Development Team.
Thanks to the initial support of De Lotto and BrandLoyalty we can keep developing our vision which is to build a new future for cycling under the motto #RideTheFuture. The cooperation with Jac Orie’s speed skating team ensures that we have one team, with talents who will make their presence felt throughout the year. Right now we are still looking for a second title sponsor.”
BrandLoyalty will be involved in the cycling-skating project as a sub sponsor, but won’t be part of the name of the team.
“We are very pleased to have these riders,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “Jos is a versatile rider, who adds to our sprint train, the classic team and also knows how to compete in a grand tour. Marc Goos rode a strong Giro, his first grand tour ever and did very well. Martijn is currently riding his second grand tour of the year and is an excellent helper. Bram is our road captain and has an important role within our formation.”
“With Mike, we bring in a former junior world champion from the cyclo-cross category,” Verhoeven continued. “He shifted his focus completely to the road this year and showed signs of promising things by winning the junior’s Paris-Roubaix.”
Jos van Emden
“This contract shows that the team appreciates me for what I do. I’m very happy with that. I want to continue helping others. We have some very talented leaders within this team who I like working for. With the classics team, I would love to win Flanders or Roubaix.”
“I feel this team is the right place for me. I’m working very well together with my coach. The new set-up with a Dutch sponsor looks really promising, as well. I hope I can keep developing myself at this team the coming years.”
“This new contract is wonderful, especially after my special start to the season. Initially, I didn’t have a team. I suddenly was able to join one of the best teams in the peloton later. This extension confirms that I’m doing well. That’s a great feeling.”
“You won’t find the structure of this team in a lot of other teams. My role as road captain suits me very well. With the strong leaders we have, I think this team can grow even further. I like to add to that process.”
“For someone my age, this is fantastic. I have worked very long and hard for this,” said Teunissen.
“First I hope to get a lot of kilometres under my belt and to complete my duties as well as possible. Then I hope to show myself a little bit more. I look up to riders like Wilco [Kelderman] and Moreno [Hofland]. I’ve raced with them in the past and now, they are doing very well at the highest level. I hope to accomplish that, as well.”
“Roubaix has a course that suits me and is a race in which I hope to develop myself. However, I’m a decent time trialist and pretty good uphill as well, so short stage races should suit me, too. This is my second normal year on the road and we’ll just have to wait and see where my real specialties lie. I’m very happy I get the chance to do that at Team Belkin.”
Bikes, buses & trucks – Belkin Pro Cycling:
Chris Froome does the ‘Icebucketchallenge’
The heat in Spain at the moment at la Vuelta has been in the 40′s C, so no better time for the ice bucket challenge. Chris Froome, Pete Kennaugh & Tim Kerrison of Team Sky took on the Ice Bucket Challenge:
And then the Alberto Contador ‘Icebucketchallenge’
Alberto Contador was nominated by Chris Froome for the Ice bucket challenge, here is the result:
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