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

The 2018 Tour de France is two stages in and it has been kerb-to-kerb action. We catch up with all the fun from “la Grande Boucle” and the Tour of Austria. Chris Froome has been keeping the Tour in the news - Top Story. It's not all Tour; in a full EUROTRASH Monday: Hansgrohe extends with Bora, 2 more years for Politt and Zabel, land art competition for the Tour of Britain, Continental and la Vuelta present safety campaign and Tom Veelers' Grand Tour coaching debut video. Café au lait anyone?

TOP STORY: Chris Froome - Worth Every Penny (Centime)!
The Tour de France organizers, ASO, at one time wanted to ban Chris Froome from the biggest cycle race in the World, in the end they had no choice in the matter after the UCI/WADA decision on the Sky rider's salbutamol case. Since Thursday Chris Froome has been in the headlines for one reason or another, bringing more publicity to the Tour.

First it was his less than warm reception at the 'Tour Team's Presentation' on Thursday. Many English Froome supporters had made the short trip across the Channel, but the detractors were more than vociferous. This set off a clamor of 'unfair' and 'disrespectful' but there were many people at the presentation who believe that Mr. Froome shouldn't be at the Tour de France, or the previous Giro d'Italia, and this is something the Sky team will have to get used too.

Chris Froome's reception at the team's presentation:

Next up was what could have been a nasty crash for the Kenyan born rider on stage 1. The Sky team were trying to move Froome up on the inside of the peloton when he ran out of road, nearly hitting an unprotected post. He was quickly back up and on his way, but lost 51 seconds to some of his rivals. Soon after the incident, social media was full of conspiracy theories suggesting that Froome had been pushed and a Katusha-Alpecin rider was blamed.

The Froome crash on Stage 1:

Chris Froome has his 'minder' with him at the Tour, but it will be on the road he will need protection:

Tour de France 2018
Fernando Gaviria of the Quick Step Floors team became the first Colombian to win a bunch sprint of the Tour de France and the second Colombian to take the yellow jersey, fifteen years after Victor Hugo Peña, as he outclassed Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) in Fontenay-le-Comte. Stage 1 was ran off at the fastest expected speed, but not without damage to the favorites as Chris Froome (Sky), Richie Porte (BMC), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) lost a significant amount of time in crashes and mechanicals.

176 riders took the start of the 105th Tour de France in Noirmoutier-en-l’Île. Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Jérôme Cousin (Direct Energie) and Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo-Samsic) escaped from the gun. Their maximum advantage was four minutes after 20 kilometers before the peloton became organized with sprinters’ teams Quick Step Floors, LottoNL-Jumbo, Dimension Data and Groupama-FDJ keeping the gap around three minutes. At half way into the race, the time gap was 2:30. Lawson Craddock (EF Education First-Drapac) crashed in the feed zone and struggled to make it back to the pack.

Fernando Gaviria won the sprint in the peloton at the intermediate sprint at La Tranche-sur-Mer (119.5km), behind Cousin, Ledanois and Offredo. The leading trio managed to stay off the front for the only King of the Mountain at Vix with 28km to go. Ledanois out-sprinted his two rivals to take the first polka dot jersey of the 2018 Tour de France. As the peloton was only 30 seconds adrift, Offredo attacked again 23km before the end. Only Cousin managed to bridge the gap. It gave him the opportunity to take three seconds at the bonus point of Maillezais with 13.5km to go while Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale) attacked from the peloton to grab one second.

Offredo was given the most aggressive rider of the day award, but he was caught by the peloton along with Cousin with 10km to go. Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ) was the first big name to crash but there was more to come with Chris Froome (Sky), Richie Porte (BMC) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) being other victims in the last 5km. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) had a mechanical with 3.4km to go. They couldn’t make it back to the pack before the finish where Gaviria benefited from a perfect lead out by Quick Step to win the bunch gallop from Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates). Gaviria took the yellow, green and white jerseys.

PEZ stage 1 'Race Report' HERE.

Stage 1 winner and overall leader, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors): "It’s incredible, I don’t have enough words to tell you how I feel on this amazing day. I was thinking of the victory, but to take also the yellow jersey was a dream, a dream which I turned into reality thanks to the beautiful work of all my teammates, who rode their heart out for me and made sure of bringing me into the best position for the final. That’s why this win isn’t just mine, is of the entire team. Being the first stage of the Tour de France it was pretty stressful, but the guys perfectly organized themselves, kept me protected and overcome all the obstacles, be it crosswinds or roundabouts, which came thick and fast in the final kilometers. It was thanks to their work and the strong legs I had that I could beat two strong riders and take a yellow jersey Colombia had been waiting for 15 years. I don’t know for how long we will keep the yellow jersey in the team, for now all we want is to enjoy this beautiful moment, continue taking it day by day and see how things unfold. It’s true that I also scored important points today, but I’m not thinking of the green jersey, it’s still too early for that. It’s a proud and happy day of my life, which motivates me even more for the upcoming stages."

2nd on the stage and overall, World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "The Tour de France got underway today with a fast stage! It was flat, with a parcours that suited the pure sprinters and, as expected, we had a brisk finishing sprint. The guys did an excellent job throughout the stage and in the tense final kilometers protected Rafał and me from all the trouble. We stayed clear of all the crashes. I felt my legs in good shape and took second in the stage. It's just the start of a long Tour de France."

3rd on the stage and overall, Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin): "It was a super hard sprint today, but the good thing is it played out just like we expected it to. I think this is a good result – we came to win but I think we are still able to win, so this was a good situation for today. I gambled in the end. I knew I needed to come late on this uphill finish but I was just a little bit too late. The power is there and that’s the most important thing. The speed is here. I have it in my legs to get a win in the next few stages."

4th on the stage and 5th overall, European champion Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): "It was quote chaotic but I got good help from my team mates and had a good position. I couldn’t manage to pass Sagan or Gaviria but I managed to get fourth – I was hoping for a podium and I was close, but Gaviria, Sagan and Kittel were better than me today. I will try again in the next stages and hopefully can improve on my fourth place."

Most Combative Rider, Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): "I was very curious about the start of the Tour. I only spent three days here, but I had the impression that I had to wait for over a week. This morning Thomas Voeckler warned me that the road was strewn with urban buildings and that there was a lot of wind. I did not intend to go in the break, but you never know what might happen in the pack. Thus I do not like to stay in the bunch. The breakaway is in the nature of mankind. The combativity is a bit the prize of the losers. But I really enjoyed it, especially the children's smile on the way. That was my real reward, it was great."

Chris Froome (Sky): "I saw a lot of crashes out there today. It’s just one of those things. We always knew the first few days were going to be tricky and going to be sketchy. It’s part of the game unfortunately. We were right at the front part of the peloton in the top third. There wasn’t too much more the guys could have done. It was getting quite chaotic with some of the sprinters there, but that’s bike racing. I’m just grateful I’m not injured in any way and there’s a lot of road to cover before Paris obviously."

Richie Porte (BMC): "It was pretty nervous there. It was not ideal but I think Quintana (Movistar Team) has probably lost more [than me], Froome (Team Sky) was there, and Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) was there. That's the Tour. I was pretty close to coming down. I sort of rode Damiano Caruso, my teammate, into the ground and that softened the blow. I don't really know what happened to be honest, it's just one of those things. It's all ok and the next thing, there's a crash in front. There were a few more crashes after that. There were other guys there, some worse off than me. It's the first day of the Tour and it's not ideal. But there's a long way [to go] and it's just nice to finally start the race. It's definitely swings and roundabouts, this race. Guys took time today but who's to say the same doesn't happen to them tomorrow. The guys were good around me today and it's a shame but we'll see how the next days go."

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates): "Today was a chaotic final were everybody was fresh and wanted to stay in front. I avoided the crash and that was really important. As I said in the past few days, I have a lot of confidence in the team, and in stages like today teammates are really important."

Nairo Quintana (Movistar): "I rode over a kerb just before the last three kilometers, had both wheels broken and it was impossible for me to continue riding that way, I had to stop. Sadly, things went that way – there’s no other thing left for us but carry on and try to recover in the upcoming stages."

Tour de France Stage 1 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors in 4:23:32
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
5. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
6. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
8. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
10. Rafal Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 1:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors in 4:23:22
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:04
3. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:06
4. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:09
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
6. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
7. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana.

Stage 1:

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) weathered the storm of crashes in Stage 2 to out-sprint a small group of survivors to take the victory and the yellow and green jerseys. The last crash of the day came with 1.8 kilometers to go, taking out stage 1 winner, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors). Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) took a close second ahead of the man who fired the sprint, Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ). André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) was fourth and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) took fifth place.

Stage 2 was a similar story to stage 1. Three riders attacking almost immediately and opening up an advantage that was edging towards the three-minute mark after just 20km of racing. Fernando Gaviria, the race leader at the start of the day, and his Quick-Step Floors teammates quickly took control of the pace, by the top of the only categorized climb, the Côte de Pouzauges, after 28km of racing, the time gap had been brought under control.

The breakaway split shortly after the KOM with Sylvan Chavanel (Direct Énergie) going solo at the front of the race and extending his lead to almost 4 minutes while the rest of the early breakaway was swept up by the main bunch. Chavanel continued to push his lead out to 4:25 over the rest of the field.

Chavanel's advantage eventually fell to less than two minutes with 42km to go and with a hectic and nervous chase reignited behind, he was finally caught with 13.5km to go. From there, the intense pace being set neutralized any opportunity for late attacks and in the end, the bunch was all together as it flew past the crucial 3km to go mark.

A crash on a tight corner with less than 2km to go forced a split in the bunch with a small group going on to fight for the stage win which was eventually claimed by World champion, Peter Sagan who also moved into the yellow jersey.

More from stage 2 HERE.

Stage winner and overall leader, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I’m really happy for today and I have to say a really big thank you to my BORA-hansgrohe teammates because they rode on the front for the last 30km and kept me safe in the finale. I expected the last few kilometers to be a bit easier, but it was really tough – up and down, left and right, before climbing again. I think starting the sprint later was better for me today Démare started with Degenkolb and I overtook them but I was really lucky Colbrelli didn’t get the jump on me. I’m very happy to take the Yellow Jersey today – both for me and for my team – it’s the first Yellow Jersey for the BORA-hansgrohe team and I wouldn’t be wearing it if it weren’t for them. I’m very happy to have so many fans, friends and family here. My father is here, as well as my friends from Žilina – my home town – and I want to dedicate my victory to my son, Marlon."

2nd on the stage and 3rd overall, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida): "Only a few meters. I was sitting in the wind trying to stay on the Sagan wheel and when I did, he anticipated me. I recovered a few meters but it was not enough. It was a difficult sprint, everyone is full of energy and they want to stay in front to try to win. The finish was very insidious with several dangerous corners. But this is the Tour."

5th on the stage, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): "I came from a little too far back, I knew I had to move up but I didn’t really have the legs to do it. I did my best and if I was stronger I could have fought with the best, but I lack the legs at the moment to fight amongst the first three. I hope my legs become stronger later on in the tour."

6th on the stage, Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert: "The final was very dangerous, but I was in front of the crash. I was a bit trapped in the small group and Démare and a teammate took my place, but I certainly cannot be disappointed with my sixth place. Especially when I see who ends up in front of me, I cannot complain. But a top 5 was possible today! I normally get better every stage in a tour. But I've never done a three weeks stage race, so we shall see. But after today I feel confident."

KOM, Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): "It was very special to be on the Tour podium. I think I am the first New Zealander to achieve this, something to be proud of. To represent my country and Wanty-Groupe Gobert here is fantastic. The plan was to go full for the polka dot jersey today. After conquering the points, I wanted to save power with an eye on the upcoming days. The team time trial is very important for our leader Guillaume Martin. We want to limit the loss of tim. Tomorrow I will definitely stay in the jersey and over the next days I will do everything I can to preserve it."

Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe): "The team worked brilliantly today, from 50km out we pulled at the front, we pushed hard and we regrouped in the last km. We did a good lead-out and that crazy guy Peter finished the hard sprint with a victory. It's so good taking the first ever yellow jersey for BORA-hansgrohe, today – it’s a historic day. We are going to celebrate this victory a little bit tonight. It's a special day for the team. We are then going to take this race day by day. We achieved our first goal – a stage win – and we now go forward."

Richie Porte (BMC): "It was a super fast stage today. It was on pretty much all day and the pace being set was blistering. But, my teammates did a great job. They kept me in a good position right from the start and we were able to stay out of trouble and avoid the crash in the final so it was all good. The focus now turns to tomorrow's team time trial and I think we have one of the strongest teams here so hopefully we can take back some time."

Tsgabu Grmay (Trek-Segafredo) was forced to abandon with intense abdominal pain: "I cannot express how disappointed and sad I am to have to leave the Tour de France, my dream race, only after a few days already. I came here with the best preparation ever and was completely ready and willing to give it my all to support the team and especially Bauke once we would come to the mountains. This totally thwarts those plans, but today it was not possible to go on. I don't have words to explain my feelings - I feel terrible about this. I want to wish my teammates success for the rest of the Tour."

Tour de France Stage 2 Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:06:37
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
3. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
6. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar
8. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
10. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:08.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 2:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 8:29:53
2. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
3. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:10
4. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:12
5. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:13
6. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 0:14
7. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:15
8. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates at 0:16
10. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo.

Stage 2:

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt - Tour of Austria 2018
The Tour of Austria started on Saturday in Feldkirch in the best possible way for the Bahrain-Merida team. Feldkirch, a beautiful town at the very west of Austria celebrating 800 years and all of its inhabitants were excited to host the first two stages of Tour of Austria 2018. The Bahrain-Merida riders joined in the celebrations by taking the victory and second place. Enrico Gasparotto was dictating the tempo in the peloton which was chasing an escape group of 6 riders that had a maximum lead of 2 minutes.

Stage 1 was suitable for riders like Mohorič, Visconti and Gasparotto and that is how it all worked out. Antonio Nibali took to the front as soon as Gasparotto pulled the bunch together. From that moment Matej Mohorič and Giovanni Visconti went for the victory and second place.

Stage winner and overall leader, Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Merida): "Today we really did a great job with all of the team. We started working very hard from the beginning. Enrico Gasparotto pulled really hard all day long and it gave us even more self confidence. We are super happy to finish with first and second place today. Once again I thank to Gaspa, Visco, Antonio, Mark, Antonio and Kosta and chapeau to all TBM guys here at Tour of Austria."

2nd on the stage and overall, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): "I really happy today. It is so nice that we started the Tour of Austria with a victory and my second place. I hope that we will continue like this. I have to say that Enrico Gasparotto for his great effort and hard work. He made us to achieve this victory and my second place. We all know that Matej Mohorič is a guy that attacks always in a dangerous finals so we won and we are all very happy. This is my ninth 2nd place in two years and I really hope to make one stage victory. I hope it is close."

Kazakh road race champion Alexey Lutsenko (Astana): "It was a short and intensive stage, always up and down. First day it is always a lot of stress and very dangerous, therefore, organizers made a time neutralization at 3 km to go. When it was around 10 km to go I've tried myself, we attacked with a little group, but because of today's stage route, we couldn't make a serious gap. Generally, I'm in a good shape. I think it will be better day-by-day."

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt - Tour of Austria Stage 1 Result:
1. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Merida in 3:26:02
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain Merida
3. Huub Duijn (Ned) Vérandas Willems-Crelan
4. Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
5. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Merida
7. Frederik Backaert (Bel)Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Mark Christian (GB) Aqua Blue Sport
9. Roland Thalmann (Sui) Team Vorarlberg Santic
10. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Tirol Cycling Team.

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt - Tour of Austria Overall After Stage 1:
1. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain Merida in 3:26:02
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain Merida
3. Huub Duijn (Ned) Vérandas Willems-Crelan
4. Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
5. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain Merida
7. Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Mark Christian (GB) Aqua Blue Sport
9. Roland Thalmann (Sui) Team Vorarlberg Santic
10. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Tirol Cycling Team.

Austria'18 stage 1 winner Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Merida):

Stage 2 of the Tour of Austria continued the Bahrain-Merida team success with another victory. The Bahrain-Merida riders kept the winning momentum for another victory, a victory of Giovanni Visconti, who was the runner up in Saturday's stage 1.

Giovanni Visconti who was so hungry for the victory after nine 2nd places in last two seasons. His last victory was in September 2017 in the Giro del Emilia, but this one was his first for Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team. Visconti took both the overall red jersey and the points classification jersey after today's victory.

Stage winner and overall leader, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): "I finally won! I was going through times that were not so easy for me, because when you feel strong, but you don't take a victory - due to bad luck or racing situations - the risk is that your mind gets depressed. But I had the strength and the determination of endurance and I didn't want to give up. I've always been on the podium in the last four races and finally I can take this victory. I thank a lot to my team for supporting me today. Gasparotto and Siutsou controlled the race and Mohorič did a great work of in the final. He shows to be a great champion in this too. He brought me until the last curve, then I gave everything. It was not easy to stand in that very long straight, but I closed my eyes and just thought about the victory and I took it!"

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt - Tour of Austria Stage 2 Result:
1. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida in 7:56:18
2. Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willems-Crelan at 0:08
3. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida at 0:09
4. Michel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport at 0:10
5. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:14
6. Mark Christian (GB) Aqua Blue Sport at 0:14
7. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:16
8. Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:19
9. Georg Zimmermann (Ger) Tirol Cycling Team at 0:19
10. Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:19.

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt - Tour of Austria Overall After Stage 2:
1. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida in 7:56:18
2. Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda's Willem-Crela at 0:08
3. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida at 0:09
4. Michel Kreder (Ned) Aqua Blue Sport at 0:10
5. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:14
6. Mark Christian (GB) Aqua Blue Sport at 0:14
7. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:16
8. Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:19
9. Georg Zimmermann (GER) Tirol Cycling Team at 0:19
10. Floris Gerts (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:19.

Stage 2 winner, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida):

The Achievement of a Lifetime: Henk Poppe
Far behind riders of the stature of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Mark Cavendish, in the history of the Tour de France there have been almost three hundred men who only got a fleeting taste of glory. As the countdown to the start of the race on 7 July continues, is retracing the steps of 10 champions who clinched a single stage win. In 1974, young Dutch rider Henk Poppe beat the top sprinters to claim the first ever Tour stage run in Britain. He was a true one-hit wonder!

It was 1974 and Merckx Mania was in full swing. It was hard to see who could deny Eddy his fifth overall win, especially with Luis Ocaña and Joop Zoetemelk injured and out of the race. The 61st edition of the Tour broke new ground, sending the peloton to British shores for the first time. Plymouth had the honor of hosting this historic stage. The powerful Molteni team had seized the reins of the race, first with Merckx after the prologue in Brest and then with Joseph Bruyère, who had gained time from a breakaway in the following stage. The Cannibal was as voracious as ever after the short boat trip, featuring in all the moves and battling for bonus seconds on the 14 laps of a circuit that included a road bypass.

The birth of a star?
While Merckx's rivals for the overall refrained from challenging him during this stage, a fierce battle raged on among the sprinters. Barry Hoban, eager to impress in the first British outing of the Tour, was expected to take the fight to Patrick Sercu. Few people were watching the small Frisol team, a newcomer to the peloton that featured mainly generous Dutch rouleurs such as Fedor den Hertog and Cees Priem, but also a 22-year-old sprinter who flew under the radar despite his big frame: 1.87 m and 81 kg. It was the first Tour de France for Henk Poppe, but he was racing without any inhibitions. The young lad, a product of the Dutch cycling school, was able to go toe-to-toe with the Belgian veterans of a thousand criteriums, kermesses and village races. Merckx opened the final sprint, but it was Poppe who surged to beat Jacques Esclassan and Patrick Sercu. The birth of a star? Sercu handily regained control in the next few stages, with the young talent failing to finish higher than 14th, only to bow out in the Alpine stage to Serre-Chevalier. That was the end of his short Tour career… but that one victory will always be his.

More information on

hansgrohe Extends Title Sponsorship, Like BORA, Early with BORA-hansgrohe
At the teams’ press conference, just one day before the Grand Départ in Noirmoutier, hansgrohe announced the extension of its title sponsorship with BORA - hansgrohe until 2020. This means that both naming sponsors already prolonged their sponsorships with Ralph Denk, after BORA announced its extension until 2021 already in April. For the upcoming Tour de France, the team seems to be ready to go for stage wins and a top spot at the GC with the two leaders Peter Sagan and Rafal Majka.

“It’s always nice and something special, to announce such good news at a press conference. For our team this means a confirmation of all the hard work we put into day by day, to build the best possible environment for our riders, but also for our sponsors. That’s the basis for reaching our common goals. This long-term commitment of our two main sponsors also gives us planning security. We’ll keep on progressing, because we still have ambitious goals in the WorldTour.

For this Tour de France, our goals are clear since the beginning of the season: we want to win a stage and the Green Jersey with Peter and aim for a top five in the GC with Rafal. We saw last year how fast all the hard work, all the efforts over month, can be lost within a second. But we did our homework, again we worked very hard and we are well prepared, there is nothing more that could have been done. All our guys are in shape on time.”
Ralph Denk, Team Manager

“I am very happy that after BORA also hansgrohe has extended its sponsorship early. We all share the same vision and therefore we’ll keep on working side by side to reach our goals. I have great respect for what Ralph Denk established over the last years. And I want to thank hansgorhe and BORA for their trust in us.

Our goals for the Tour are always the same, there is no surprise. But the Tour is a complicated race. Everybody is extremely motivated; all eyes are on this race in July. We need a little bit of luck to achieve our goals; without luck, everything can be lost in one moment. But we have a very strong team going into this Tour de France, and there will be some opportunities for us for sure. My preparations went well, and I feel I am ready. The stage to Roubaix will be special, for me as well, now that I have these good memories about this place and the sectors. However, the race will be different then April, with all the GC guys fighting at the front as well.”
Peter Sagan, UCI World Champion.

“My preparations went well over the last weeks and I was able to put in some decent work at high altitude in the Sierra Nevada. I crashed at the Tour of Slovenia, that was a little setback, but in the last stages I could feel my legs got better and better day by day. I think I am ready for the Tour now. Now we just need a little bit of luck to get through the first ten stages. The Roubaix stage will be special, but on that day, I’ll have the strongest guys from the whole peloton next to me.”Rafal Majka.

“After almost two seasons working with the BORA-hansgrohe cycling team and its incredible riders, we are delighted to announce the extension of our sponsorship engagement. The results, in terms of brand impact and awareness, we received to date, affirm this decision. Our primary goal has been to increase the global consumer awareness for our premium brand hansgrohe and its products. The successful 2017 advertising campaign “Shower like a pro” enabled us to boost our emotional branding, and to increase our presence in major markets, such as France or Germany. In 1.5 years, we launched a dedicated app, started a hansgrohe employee cycling team, hosted dozens of client events all around the global cycling calendar, and we even designed a Special Edition Peter Sagan hand-held shower. With our 2018 follow-up campaign “Your daily dose of energy” we are bound to continue the success story! Our sponsorship vision for the next season is modern, premium and proactive; we can’t wait to continue sharing our values and common goals”. Philippe Harinck, Sponsoring Project Manager of the Hansgrohe Group.

“I’m pleased that hansgrohe have extended their sponsorship deal and reaffirmed their commitment to our joint project. BORA decided in April to prolong our sponsorship for two more years until 2021. Our aim is to build a solid base to enable the team to plan for the long-term. We wanted to provide a stable environment that allows the team to concentrate on sporting goals and successes. hansgrohe are a perfect partner for us and numerous synergies result from our highly successful cycling sponsorship cooperation. All involved benefit from shared knowledge and experiences in the kitchen environment. At BORA we continue to revolutionize behavior and interior design in the kitchen with innovative products, driven by our vision of 'the end of the extractor hood'.”Willi Bruckbauer, Owner BORA.

2-year Contracts Inked for Politt and Zabel
Team Katusha-Alpecin has reached an agreement with German riders Nils Politt and Rick Zabel for 2-year contract extensions, taking both twenty-four year-olds through the 2020 cycling season.

General Manager José Azevedo had high praise for these riders, noting that the expected results from initials signings in 2015 have definitely come to fruition in both riders.

"Nils is a rider who came to us in 2015 so he has been with us in the team for 3 years. Every year we have seen improvement from him. He has shown us this year that he can do very well in the classics with his 7th place in Paris-Roubaix. When we first signed him, we saw a rider with so much potential, and now he is arriving at the maturity we expected. We continue to put our trust in him and he’s a big part of our team. Now we continue our work together. We signed him for 2 more years because we believe he will bring results to the team, said Azevedo."

The general manager also had encouraging words for Rick Zabel: "Rick has been doing his job very well. He’s a strong rider and in the lead-out, he’s doing perfect work for our leaders – last year for Alex (Kristoff) and now for Marcel (Kittel). Apart from this work he is doing, I think Rick at 24 years old can also be a winner and I think this is the next step for him. We know he can do the lead-out, but we also believe he can win. We are happy with the improvements we have seen from him in the team and we want to keep him. Our goal when we initially sign under 23 riders such as Nils or Rick, is to prepare for the future of this team and turn them into the leaders of our team."

Politt and Zabel:

National Land Art Competition Launched for OVO Energy Tour of Britain
Organizers of the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, the UK’s most prestigious cycle race, have today [Friday 29 June] launched a competition to look for the best and most eye-catching land art alongside the route of this year’s 1,140-kilometer event.

The tradition of creating land art masterpieces along the route has long been the practice at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, as well as other cycle races around the world, but this will be the first time that The Tour has held a competition to find the best piece of land art.

Community groups, schools, businesses and land owners across Britain will be encouraged to take part in the competition during the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, which takes place from Sunday 2 to Sunday 9 September, and visits South Wales, the West Country, Warwickshire, Cumbria and Nottinghamshire before the final stage in Central London.

"We are delighted to be adding this land art competition to the ways that communities across the country can get involved in the race this September," said OVO Energy Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett.

"Last year’s Nottinghamshire stage in particular saw several fantastic examples of land art created by community groups, and this has inspired us to encourage people across the route this year to show their support and get creative. Over the coming weeks we will see countless examples of land art during the Tour de France, which will inspire people’s creativity."

A panel comprising Mick Bennett; the ITV4 presenting and commentary team; and representatives from race organizers SweetSpot will decide the top three pieces of art at the end of this year's event.

The winner will receive a trophy and commemorative Tour of Britain prizes, presented in person by Race Director Mick Bennett, while the runner-up and third-place finisher will also take home trophies for their efforts.

Commenting on the announcement, Des Allen the Nottinghamshire farmer whose sheep-based land art went viral on social media during the 2017 OVO Energy Tour of Britain, added: "We were staggered by the response that our small efforts received last year. We did it as a bit of fun and the response was fantastic. I would urge people to have a go; from a little bit of effort it is sometimes amazing the response you receive."

Councillor Kay Cutts, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council said: "It’s great testament to the success of last year’s race that national organizers have chosen our county to launch this exciting competition. Nottinghamshire people came out in their thousands to line the route, which added a tremendous sparkle to the event.

"At 223 kilometers, we are hosting the longest stage this time - so our county has a fantastic opportunity to get involved and hopefully a winner will be found here in Nottinghamshire.

"Last year we had so many examples of magical land art moments provided by local schools, sailing clubs and, of course, the much-talked about sheep creation by Nottinghamshire farmer Des Allen."

To find out more and how to register your planned land art with race organizers, please visit where you can also find some useful tips and advice to aid your creativity.

The race, Britain’s most prestigious international men’s stage race on the UCI calendar, is sponsored by OVO Energy, the UK’s largest independent energy company for the second successive year. For full details of the 2018 route, please click here.

As well as the challenging eight day route, British fans can also look forward to once again welcoming a star-studded line-up of teams to race on home roads this September, including the likes of UCI World Tour squads BMC Racing, Team Katusha Alpecin and Team Sky.

The first teams to be confirmed to have been invited to the race are: BMC Pro Cycling, Lotto Soudal, Mitchelton-Scott, Movistar Team, Quick-Step Floors, Team Dimension Data, Team EF Education First – Drapac, Team Katusha-Alpecin, Team Lotto NL-Jumbo, Team Sky (all UCI World Tour), Aqua Blue Sport, Direct Energie, Wanty-Groupe Gobert (all UCI Pro Continental) and the Great Britain national team.

The final list of participating teams for the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain will be confirmed week commencing 16 July.

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event, giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their doorstep, taking place between Sunday 2 and Sunday 9 September 2018.

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain Stages:
Stage One - Sunday 2 September - Pembrey Country Park to Newport, 175km
Stage Two - Monday 3 September - Cranbrook to Barnstaple, 174km
Stage Three - Tuesday 4 September - Bristol to Bristol, 125km
Stage Four - Wednesday 5 September - Nuneaton to Royal Leamington Spa, 183km
Stage Five - Thursday 6 September - Cockermouth to Whinlatter Pass, Team Time Trial, 14km
Stage Six - Friday 7 September - Barrow-in-Furness to Whinlatter Pass, 169km
Stage Seven - Saturday 8 September - West Bridgford to Mansfield, 223km
Stage Eight - Sunday 9 September - The London Stage, 77km

Continental and La Vuelta Present Distancia-T: A Campaign to Protect Cyclists and Drivers
Last Thursday, Continental, with the support of Unipublic –organizer of La Vuelta- presented Distancia-T, a platform that has been created with the objective of protecting cyclists and drivers on the road and bringing awareness to the public, by creating safety habits, improving the co-existence of cyclists and drivers, and also ensuring the safety and mobility of both groups. Its ultimate aim is to drastically reduce the number of road fatalities, through the education and training of all road users: from motor vehicle drivers, to cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

According to the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT), in 2006, the total number of cyclists involved in road accidents resulting in victims was 8193 users (which represents 4.2% of all vehicle accidents). Also, between 2010 and 2015, the number of casualties in bicycle accidents doubled in Spain. The urgent need to face this road safety issue was the catalyst for the creation of ‘Distancia-T’.

In attendance at the presentation were Jorge Cajal, Continental’s Marketing Director; Luis Pasamontes, ex-cyclist and Distancia-T collaborator; Emilio de Villota, ex Formula 1 driver and Distancia-T collaborator; and Javier Guillén, General Director of Unipublic. The event has served to strengthen the commitment between Unipublic and Continental, through an initiative that appeals directly to the responsibility of each company regarding the safety of cyclists and drivers.

Jorge Cajal, Marketing Director of Continental Tires in Spain, assured that “road accidents must be a thing of the past. Continental’s technology and innovation guarantee an improvement in safety. The mobility is varied but there must be respect among the different collectives”. Likewise, Javier Guillén, General Director of La Vuelta, stressed that “an event like La Vuelta is, and must continue to be, an example regarding the co-existence of cyclists and drivers. It is important to support actions like Distancia-T: we need campaigns that will stand the test of time. The first step towards improving our co-existence and safety is for those of us who ride bicycles or drive vehicles to recognize our errors, which is why we wholeheartedly support this initiative and will broadcast it widely through all of our channels”.

Zero Road Victims
Distancia-T is part of Continental’s global project ‘VisionZero’, which consists in reducing the number of road victims to zero. In order to fulfill this ambitious project, Continental provides users with its automotive technology, while also informing them regarding driving behavior.

For this purpose, Distancia-T features the collaboration of outstanding cycling and automotive professionals, who share their advice regarding good habits, aimed at all road users. Ex-cyclist, Luis Pasamontes, emphasized the importance of an initiative such as this: “cyclists who practice their sport on the roads face a dangerous reality every day. The cyclist always loses: he doesn’t have the frame or structure of a car. We, cyclists, are also drivers and must lead by example”. Another Distancia-T collaborator, ex Formula 1 driver, Emilio de Villota, agreed with this argument regarding road safety: “There are small actions we can all practice on a daily basis –such as placing our rearview mirrors correctly- that would help to save lives and which we must begin to internalize. I am an advocate for solidarity in driving”.

Distancia-T will bring awareness to all those initiatives, programs and technologies that are at the forefront of road safety innovation. These actions are becoming increasingly necessary, as the number of road victims in Spain continues to be very high, especially those involving cyclists.

The essentials:
Continental and Unipublic have come together for the road safety campaign Distancia-T, an initiative that is part of the global project ‘VisionZero’ whose objective is to reduce the number of road accidents to zero.
· According to the Directorate General of Traffic, in 2016, cyclists were involved in 4.2% of the total number of road accidents.
· Distancia-T will bring awareness to all those initiatives, programs and technologies that are at the forefront of road safety innovation.

Further information regarding La Vuelta 2018 on

From World Class Lead-Out to Tour de France Coach - Tom Veelers' Grand Tour Coaching Debut
Team Sunweb open up their Tour de France #InsideOut series with an exclusive behind the scenes look at Tom Veelers' journey from rider to coach at La Grand Boucle. After riding five grand tours, three of which at the Tour de France, Veelers was forced to retire in 2016 with a knee injury. After hanging up his cycling shoes he started a new chapter in his career, working as a coach for Team Sunweb. This documentary details Veelers' journey from rider to coach.

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