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

Lots of EUROTRASH cycling news to get through this Thursday: The first three stages of the BinckBank Tour with results, reports and video. Top Story - Doping rears its ugly head. Froome and Thomas for the Tour of Britain. Contract news from BMC, Cofidis, Dimension Data, Vital Concept, Astana and Bahrain-Merida. Plus Giorgia Bronzini to be DS, live Vuelta in Canada, Lotto Soudal Vuelta line-up, Middle East Cycling Tour and some great Hinault retro from the Vuelta a España 1978. Coffee up!


TOP STORY: The Stupid are Still at IT!
The keirin World champion, Fabián Puerta of Colombia has tested positive for the steroid boldenone and has been provisionally suspended. Puerta is married to track rider, Juliana Gaviria, the sister of Quick-Step Floor’s Fernando Gaviria.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) listed Puerta as being provisionally suspended on Monday, on their website. It appears the tests he failed was on June 11, during the Colombian national track championships in Cali. Boldenone is not a drug manufactured for humans use, but for animals. The anabolic effects promote protein synthesis, muscle growth are used to enhance strength and durability of canine, equine and human athletes. It is used mainly as undecylenate ester by bodybuilders and is administered illegally to racing horses. However, it is used as a growth promotor on farms improving the growth and feed conversion of cattle; it may be abused to achieve more efficient meat production. In developing countries with rapid growth of population, the demand for edible protein exceeds the supply. BOL increases muscle size owing to promotion of positive nitrogen balance by stimulating protein production and reducing protein destruction. It was also shown to cause impotence in test rabbits.

The Colombian became World championships in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, when he beat Japan’s Yuta Wakimoto to take the keirin gold medal. Puerta has been a medal winner at National, South American, Pan American, World Cup and World championships since 2010 in all the sprint events: Kilometer, team sprint, individual sprint and keirin.

Boldenone has been around for a long time and is a fairly easily tested for, will they ever learn?

Fabián Puerta winning the World keirin championship:




BinckBank Tour 2018
Quick-Step Floors continued to do what they know best – win races – on the opening day of the BinckBank Tour, which culminated in a bunch sprint after a crash-marred finale in Bolsward, where the race returned for the third time in four years. There, a combination of perfect lead-out, great positioning and impeccable sprint propelled Fabio Jakobsen to his fourth victory of the year, after the ones scored in Nokere Koerse, Scheldeprijs and Tour des Fjords, underlining the Dutchman’s reputation as one of the most impressive neo-pros of the year.

Monday’s Stage 1 featured six men in the breakaway, who forged out a four-minute gap, before the sprinters’ teams took the initiative in the peloton and began the chase. Tim Declercq played a major role in the leaders having their advantage trimmed and being brought back after the Golden Kilometer, as he tenaciously set a relentless pace at the head of the bunch, despite the pouring rain, cold temperatures and howling wind of Friesland.

In the last kilometer, a crash disrupted the sprint trains of several teams, taking several riders to the ground, but fortunately, the Quick-Step Floors boys escaped unscathed and expertly brought Fabio Jakobsen to the front, who opened the sprint with 250 meters to go after a superb lead-out of Florian Sénéchal and fended off the efforts of Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott), celebrating Quick-Step Floors’ 54th win of the year.

The victory netted several visits to the podium for Fabio, who leads the overall standings and the points classification at the 14th BinckBank Tour; the 21-year-old – who was full of praise for his teammates after the stages – is confident the squad will build on today’s result.



Stage winner and overall leader, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors): "It’s my biggest victory since turning pro and I’m really proud of myself and the team, who put their confidence in me this morning and did a perfect job. We had bad weather and the peloton was really nervous as we approached the line, but the team was flawless and starting the race in this manner gives us great confidence. Tim was again amazing, showing it’s not for nothing that he is called ‘The Tractor’, while Max, Niki and Styby did a perfect job, keeping Yves, Florian and myself in front. In the final kilometer, I just took Florian’s wheel, who did an incredible lead-out from 600 meters out, and I opened my sprint inside the closing 250 meters. I could feel the others were close, but I managed to come on top and this gives me great joy. We don’t want to stop here and hopefully we will get other strong results, in both stages and the general classification, over the next days."

2nd on the stage and overall, Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin): "Given the fact that Baptiste Planckaert, Rick Zabel and 'Slava' Kuznetsov from our lead-out all crashed in the last 10km and that we were forced to come late in the sprint, it's a nice result. But I've trained well in the last weeks and I am hungry for a win. I am looking forward to the next days. Slava crashed so hard today that he's in hospital now. I heard he is doing ok but let's wish him all the best and a fast recovery."

3rd on the stage and 5th overall, Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott): "It really was a wet and horrible stage today, but despite the conditions the boys did a good job keeping me out of trouble for most of the day and positioned well in the bunch. The sprint was pretty hectic and after we had controlled things over the final laps the boys left me in good position coming into the last kilometer. From there I got swamped a little bit just ahead of the sprint and then waited for a gap to open and went for it. It’s a positive start and we’ve got more opportunities to come in this race."

7th, Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I felt good today but there was a crash with 1km to go. Luckily, I wasn’t involved but I had to start my sprint again, therefore I lost some time and wasn’t able to finish on the podium. However, there are some sprint stages left in this year’s BinckBank Tour."

BinckBank Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Floors in 4:01:00
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Sky
5. Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb
6. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
7. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
10. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana.

BinckBank Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Floors in 4:00:50
2. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:04
3. Elmar Reinders (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:05
4. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda's Willems-Crelan
5. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:06
6. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:07
7. Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic
8. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida at 0:09
9. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Sky at 0:10.

BinckBank Tour stage 1:



For the second consecutive year Stefan Küng (BMC) proved that he is one of the best time trialists in the world on the Stage 2 time trial at BinckBank Tour, stopping the clock an impressive 14 seconds ahead of the next-placed rider to secure victory and move into the leader’s jersey.

Küng came into the stage as one of the pre-race favorites and was able show his impressive speed and strength out on the day’s completely flat 12.7km course.

The reigning Swiss national time trial champion settled into his rhythm quickly and powered around the course before clocking a time of 14:11 on the line. After a tense wait in the hot seat, Küng’s time remained unshaken and in the end, it proved to be more than enough to secure the stage win and the green leader’s jersey. Miles Scotson started his effort early in Venray and after a solid ride, he posted the eighth-fastest time of the day, crossing the line in 14:33.



Stage winner Stefan Küng (BMC):
Congratulations, Stefan! How did you feel out on the course today?

"I was really on it from the first meter. I had a perfect strategy in my mind. I had a good look at the parcours and I really knew how I wanted to pace it and execute it. Instead of just riding a course, I was on it from the first meter and really attacked the course. That's probably what made the difference. When I compare it to Glasgow where Campanaerts won, he was second today, it was such a different feeling. There I had the impression that I was on a training ride, mentally I just couldn't get into the zone where you want to be. So, I analyzed the race in Glasgow and wanted to do better. I'm really happy it worked out like this. I really felt like I was riding a good time trial and I only had a reference time back to Miles and so, I knew I was on track but I still had to really go for it right until the end as the last few time trials we have seen have all been pretty close."

You won today’s stage by 14 seconds. Were you surprised about that when you crossed the line?
"When I heard the time at the finish, I was pretty happy. I felt like I couldn’t have gone any faster and I also had the impression that I didn’t lose any seconds on any part of the parcours. I’m not surprised but it’s nice to win by such a big margin. If I remember correctly I won by four seconds last year but in the end, you just have to focus on your own performance and go as hard as possible to be as fast as possible and you can’t think about anyone else. As a time trialist, you can really feel when you are doing a good run and I felt like that from the first meter today. Over such a short time trial 15 seconds is quite a lot. In the end, I gave it all I had and it really showed that I was the best one out there today and that’s always a nice feeling."

And looking ahead to the rest of the race?
“There are not so many opportunities for a rider of my type in the General Classification at stage races but this course looks pretty good for me. For sure, there will be some hard days, especially in Limburg and around Geraadsbergen but the goal is to defend this jersey as long as possible. The race is far from over but I feel pretty confident. I’m in the leader’s jersey now so it is the responsibility of the other contenders to try and make time up on me. It will be hard to defend the jersey as there is a lot of good riders here. I have had experience of being in a leader’s jersey at Tour de Suisse this year and here last year so, I know what it feels like and I know what I have to do better now. We have a good team and I am motivated and feel like I am in good shape. I also feel like I have improved on my skills overall since last year not just time trialling.”

8th on the stage and overall, Miles Scotson (BMC): "I felt really good. I didn't make any big mistakes around the corners. I think maybe I underestimated my ability a bit and with the pacing strategy we had, because I came home really fast. It would have been good to go out a big quicker but at the same time, it was still a solid ride so I have to be satisfied. A top ten result is a good result."

9th on the stage and overall, Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe): "My legs felt good and I wanted to defend my second place from last year. Maybe I started too conservative and lost at this point some seconds but all in all it was okay. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose, that’s cycling but I am satisfied that I found my rhythm and I feel good for the upcoming stages."

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): "I was pretty happy with the feelings on the bike. I'm not a time trial specialist, also the course was maybe not the best for me, but I tried to do my best as always. I'm pretty happy with my time so we'll see how my legs go in the next days."

BinckBank Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC in 14:11
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:14
3. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:15
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
5. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:19
6. Alex Dowsett (GB) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:20
8. Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC at 0:22
9. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:23
10. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors.

BinckBank Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC in 4:15:11
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:14
3. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:15
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
5. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:19
6. Alex Dowsett (GB) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:20
8. Miles Scotson (Aus) BMC at 0:22
9. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:23
10. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors.

BinckBank Tour stage 2:



Stage 3 was one of those days where the breakaway made it to the finish line and fought for the victory. Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij) won the stage, finishing 3 seconds ahead of Maxime Vantomme (WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic), Sean De Bie (Veranda's Willems-Crelan) and Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) in 4th place. Mohoric now holds the overall lead by 1 second from De Bie and 19 seconds from stage 2 winner, Stefan Küng (BMC).

The stage crossed the border from the Netherlands into Belgium, covering 175 kilometers from Aalter to Antwerpen, with two final circuits. Today was meant to be a day for the sprinters, but it didn't work out that way.

From the drop of the flag, a small group of five riders managed to escape from the peloton and built up an advantage of more than three minutes. The group was made up of: Van der Hoorn, Vantomme, De Bie, Mohoric and Jesper Asselman (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij). After the chase was put on in earnest by the bunch, the gap was still two minutes with 30km to go. The main field pulled hard to close the gap, but the breakaway worked perfectly together, and as the group headed into the final laps in Antwerpen everyone knew, the winner will be one of these five riders. The peloton fought hard to close the gap, with all sprinter teams working together to try to make a sprint possible. The group had enough advantage to make it to the finish line and it was Van der Hoorn who took the stage win with a late attack, finishing ahead of Vantomme. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) brought in the peloton 1:11 down on Van der Hoorn ahead of Rüdiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe) and stage 1 winner, Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors).

Mohorič earned some extra seconds at the golden kilometer and it was enough to take the overall lead by one second.



Stage winner and 5th overall, Taco van der Hoorn (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij): "We had a very good group. Mohoric was fucking strong. We had a perfect plan. We went really easy all day, long turns - two minutes from everyone. Then, with 70km to go, we started to go pretty fast. In the last hour and a half everyone was doing long turns, one minute, and we made it. We had a really good plan and everyone stuck to it, and we made it. It was amazing."

4th on the stage and overall leader, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida): "Today, the plan was to try to go in the breakaway, if it manages to stay away for the golden kilometer in order to get back some seconds on the GC that we lost yesterday in the time trial. In the end, all the guys in the breakaway worked well together me with and it stayed like this to the finish line. Unfortunately for me, everybody knew I was the strongest, so it didn't work out for me to win the stage. I'm sorry for my team, but this way, I even took some more points then I would take by a stage victory. At least we have the leader's jersey and we will do our best to defend it in the next days."

7th on the stage, Rüdiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe): "We tried to close the gap and gave everything, but the group worked perfectly together and had already enough advantage to fight for the victory without us. As we headed into the finale, I stayed always in position but the pace was high and it wasn’t easy to put someone into position. On the line, I gave it a try and finished seventh."

Binck Bank Tour Stage 3 Result:
1. Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij in 3:47:42
2. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic at 0:03
3. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda's Willems-Crelan
4. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida
5. Jesper Asselman (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:35
6. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:11
7. Rüdiger Selig (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
9. Max Walscheid (Ger) Sunweb
10. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale.

BinckBank Tour Overall After Stage 3:
1. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida in 8:03:45
2. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda's Willems-Crelan at 0:01
3. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:19
4. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic at 0:25
5. Taco van der Hoorn (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij at 0:31
6. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:33
7. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 0:34
8. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
9. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:38
10. Alex Dowsett (GB) Katusha-Alpecin.

BinckBank Tour stage 3:




Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome to Lead Sky at 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain
Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas and Giro d’Italia winner Chris Froome will ride together in the OVO Energy Tour of Britain for the first time since 2009, Team Sky have announced today.

The British pair, who placed first and third in July’s Tour de France, will both be on the start line of Britain’s biggest annual sporting event in Pembrey Country Park, Carmarthenshire, on Sunday 2 September.

They will be joined by Dutchman Wout Poels, himself a three-time stage winner in the race, including the hill-top finishes at Hartside and Haytor. The rest of the Team Sky line-up will be announced in due course.

Thomas said: "As soon as I’d finished the Tour I knew I wanted to ride the Tour of Britain and race on home roads. It starts in Wales which will be special, and then I get to go and race across the whole of the UK. I can’t wait.

"I want to go to the race in the shape to compete and enjoy it. We’ll have to see how the next few weeks go but I’m looking forward to it and I know we will have a strong team there. Wout is looking really good at the moment too."


Welshman Thomas is a regular at the OVO Energy Tour of Britain, having ridden it eight times since his debut with a Great British national team in 2005.

He finished sixth overall in 2009 and wore the British Road Race Champion’s jersey during the race in 2010 (Team Sky's debut in the event), while his seventh-placed finish in the 2017 edition also saw him crowned the Adnams Best British Rider.

Froome’s two participations to date came in 2007 and 2009. He placed 31st overall in the former, while two years later (when he lined up alongside Thomas as part of the Barloworld-Bianchi team) he finished 50th.

Since then he has established himself as the leading Grand Tour rider of his generation, having won four Tours de France, the 2017 Vuelta a Espana and the 2018 Giro d’Italia.

"It’s been a long time since I’ve raced the Tour of Britain," said Froome. "The Vuelta a Espana has always been such a big goal and sadly coincided with the Tour of Britain, but not doing La Vuelta this year gives me the chance to come back to the UK and race on what looks like a great parcours.

"I’m really looking forward to riding. I always remember there being a great atmosphere at the Tour of Britain and the race has only got bigger over the years. I’m really looking forward to coming back."


Poels needs little introduction to British cycling fans, having ridden alongside Froome in five of his seven Grand Tour victories, as well as Thomas at this year’s Tour de France. He won his first Tour of Britain stage aged just 23, when he soloed to victory in Teignmouth on Stage Four in 2010.

Race Director Mick Bennett said: "We’re honoured and thrilled that Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome will race for Team Sky at this year’s OVO Energy Tour of Britain.

"To have two of Britain’s greatest-ever riders - the reigning Tour de France and Giro d’Italia winners no less - competing in the race is fantastic news for our fans, who will line the streets in order to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

"We saw the amazing response that Geraint received during his homecoming celebrations in Cardiff last week - the fact that Stage One on Sunday 2 September takes place entirely within Wales means this time the whole country will be able to celebrate his incredible success in France from the summer!

"Since he last rode in the race, Chris has become - without any doubt - the leading Grand Tour rider of his generation. We're delighted to welcome him back to the OVO Energy Tour of Britain after his Tour, Giro and Vuelta successes in the past year.

"I’m also looking forward to watching Wout's return to the race, having seen his three previous OVO Energy Tour of Britain stage victories up close. He’ll be one to watch during this year’s hill-top finish at Whinlatter on Stage Six, that’s for sure!"


Already confirmed for the 2018 OVO Energy Tour of Britain are Team KATUSHA ALPECIN’s Marcel Kittel and Alex Dowsett. Further rider announcements will follow in due course; the race’s provisional startlist will be published on Friday 24 August.

Thomas and Froome:




Michael Schär to Continue Road Captain Role with Continuum Sports in 2019
Michael Schär has extended his contract with Continuum Sports beyond the 2018 season, a move that will see the former Swiss road race champion celebrate a decade with the team in 2019.

Schär has demonstrated his skills as a dedicated road caption and super-domestique year after year, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

"When looking at our roster for 2019, it was an easy decision to extend Michael Schär's contract. There are very few riders with Michael's capacity to support the team in different race formats, from the classics to the Grand Tours, and I have no doubt that he will be an asset for us as Continuum Sports evolves with CCC becoming title sponsor in 2019," Ochowicz said.

"Michael's experience as a road caption and his professionalism is outstanding. He works selflessly for his teammates and when given an opportunity, as we saw during his breakaway and solo attack on stage 13 of the Tour de France, Michael makes the most of it. It is a pleasure to have Michael with the team in the coming seasons."

Michael Schär didn't hesitate to re-sign with Continuum Sports after spending the majority of his career with the team.

"I am happy to reach the ten-year mark with Continuum Sports. I have a long term relationship with this organization and feel very good on and off the bike. Over all these years, I met many good friends and made some unforgettable memories which have really shaped my career. We have been through highs and lows together so I am really happy to continue with the team, and make more memories in the coming years," Schär said

"I'm motivated more than ever to perform well and take responsibility at the biggest races in the cycling calendar, especially the classics with Greg Van Avermaet. With a very positive mindset, I see good things happening with the changes in the team for 2019 and it will be exciting to see everything come together."

In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Michael Schär:
Gent - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Paterberg - Schaer Michael Schar (Suisse / BMC Racing Team) pictured during E3 Prijs Harelbeke 2016 - photo Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2016



Zico Waeytens Reinforcement of Choice at Cofidis
Cofidis Solutions Credits hit the transfer market pretty well for next season. In order to strengthen the team, called upon to help its sprinters with a view to the final, the northern formation has attached itself to the services of Zico Waeytens. At 26, the defector of Veranda-Willems-Crelan has serious references in the field after his stints at Topsport Vlaanderen (2011-2014) then at Giant-Alpecin (2015-2016) and Team Sunweb (2017). In addition to a victory celebrated during the 4th stage of the Baloise Belgium Tour between Tremolo and Tongeren in May 2016 in front of Dan McLay and Thimothy Dupont, the powerful Flemish rider also rode two Vueltas and five Tours of Flanders.

At the time of commenting on the choice to join a French team, the solid Belgian (180 cm and 67 kg) insisted on his willingness to serve the designated leaders. "I am very happy and especially proud to join Cofidis Credits Solutions, a team with a history in the world of professional cycling. I am very motivated at the prospect of putting myself at the service of the leaders whether in the sprints but also the classics. I was in charge of being the last or the second last rider in the massive finishes for Degenkolb, Kittel or Matthews in my previous teams. So I'm confident that we can do great things with the guys next season."

For his part, Cédric Vasseur, the manager of Cofidis Solutions Crédits, was delighted to be able to offer an additional asset to his specialists in the final straight and classics. "With a rider like Zico Waeytens, we greatly increase our chances in sprint finishes but also for the Flandrian classics. Do not forget that the man played the role of lead-out man John Degenkolb during his stay at Giant-Alpecin. I look forward to welcoming him and being able to count on him next year when it comes to preparing the sprints of Nacer Bouhanni and Christophe Laporte in the big events."

Zico Waeytens:




Top Talent Tiller Handed "Exciting" Opportunity at Team Dimension Data
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is excited to announce the signing of Rasmus Tiller on a two-year contract from 1 January, 2019.

The 22-year-old joins from UCI Continental outfit Team Joker Icopal where he has been for the last two seasons. He’s a powerful young rider showcased by his second place at the Norwegian road race championships this year, an event that he won in 2017, aged just 20.

Of the year ahead with Team Dimension Data, Tiller said he can’t wait to get started.

“I am really looking forward to be part of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. It’s going to be really exciting, and I am really grateful for the opportunity. My big goal for 2019 is to continue developing as a rider and of course to do my job as well as possible for the team. I’ll try to take the opportunities that I get in races and to do my best.”

Sports director Gino Van Oudenhove knows Tiller better than most and is looking forward to working with him again. “I am very pleased to see Rasmus progress to the higher ranks. He is a strong, loyal and dedicated rider that I know very well from our time together at my previous team, Joker Icopal. I’m convinced that he will make a very good contribution to our Classics squad, as well as in the lead-out for the sprints. With this opportunity it will be not only his but also our responsibility to develop him into a top rider for the future.”

His addition will likely also see our team’s popularity among Norwegian fans continue to soar, a base that’s grown thanks to Edvald Boasson Hagen’s presence.

“The Boss” has become a cult figure, of sorts, and Tiller will be able to lean on the experience of his compatriot as he makes his way at the top end of the sport.

“I’m really looking forward to racing with Edvald as he has been a role model for me over a number of years, so it will be cool to learn from him. He has huge amount of experience so I’m looking forward to seeking his advice as I take my first steps on the World Tour.”

It’s been a rapid rise for Tiller who only started cycling seriously quite late on. “When I was young I always dreamt of being a professional football player, I’m a Manchester United fan, but when I was 16 I started cycling and the rest, as they say, is history.”

Rasmus Tiller:




With Arthur Vichot Joining, The Vital Concept Cycling Club Confirms its Rise in Power
Aged 29, the french puncheur is, alongside with Jimmy Turgis, Cyril Gautier and Pierre Rolland, the 4th recruit of the Breton Continental Pro team for next season. The former double French champion, professional since 2010, is about to put on a new team jersey for the first time in his career. Aware of the role he will play towards his future teammates, Arthur found a challenge to match his ambitions and expectations.

"The nature of the project and its youth appeal to me, says the former Paris-Nice and Critérium du Dauphiné stage winner. As soon as it was born, the Vital Concept Cycling Club emitted a seductive image and the team was envied. In the peloton, his jersey stands out and everything that is built around brings a breath of fresh air." Meeting Jérôme Pineau, Arthur was sensitive to the speech of the general manager. "We’ve been in contact with Jérôme for a while, and his vision of cycling is what I want. He trusts me and I want to give him back by continuing to win races, being successful all season long and bringing my experience to the group."

Seduced by his character and his athletic qualities, Jérôme Pineau knows the value of his new recruit. "The signing of Arthur is a big blow, which will allow the Vital Concept Cycling Club to go upmarket. He’s a world class racer, able to win everywhere, in the Ardennes classics, the Tour of the Basque Country or on a Tour de France stage. He can even win a race like Paris-Nice. Coming to a new team, he will find the change, the novelty he needs. Arthur endured health problems in the last years but always managed to get back on track. His 10th place at the Tour de Suisse and his victory at the Tour de l’Ain this year shows that he’s back at the highest level. Our project seduced him beyond the purely sporting dimension. Our way of communicating, our global vision of cycling and the things we have put in place in recent months have shown that we dare to move the lines, break the codes. Arthur loves this, he likes to do it different!" With 14 professional wins, the future "Man in Glaz" will be a strong asset in the Breton team. "Given the quality of the squad and the new signing announced for next season, the Vital Concept Cycling Club has everything to shine. We will have high quality riders on all terrains, a complete and rich team. From now on, it’s up to us to do well!"





Simon Geschke Finds a New Challenge with Continuum Sports in 2019
Tour de France stage winner Simon Geschke is the latest rider to sign on with Continuum Sports in 2019 in a move that will see the German rider change teams for the first time in his ten-year career.

General Manager Jim Ochowicz praised the 32-year-old's ability as a teammate as well as a rider who maximizes personal opportunities.

"Simon Geschke has forged an impressive career to date, including his 2015 Tour de France stage win, and will bring a wealth of experience to the team. Simon is a specialist when it comes to the Ardennes classics and Il Lombardia so he will add strength to our team for those one-day races, whether it be in a support role or making the most of opportunities that come his way. From a Grand Tour perspective, Simon has 11 participations to his name and in addition to a Tour de France stage win, he has played a fantastic role in supporting his respective team leader over the years which makes him an asset to our team," Ochowicz explained.

"It has been two years since we had a German rider on the team so it is great to have Simon with us. We have more and more German races on the calendar and German fans are very passionate about cycling. The German market is also important for CCC, our new title sponsor for 2019, so we are very excited to welcome Simon to the team."

Simon Geschke has recorded top ten finishes at multiple one-day races throughout his career, including Strade Bianche, Amstel Gold Race, and Gran Prix Cycliste de Quebec. After ten years with Team Sunweb, Geschke felt it was the right time to move on when an opportunity presented itself with Continuum Sports, currently operating as BMC Racing Team, in 2019.

"I was looking for a new challenge after ten years with the same team as that is a long time. I wanted to change teams at least once in my career and I thought this year would be a good time, and then this opportunity came up so I took it. The team has always appeared to be very professional, and the structure is very good with the sports directors and performance team so that really impressed me. From the outside, it looks like a team with a great atmosphere. I think I will feel good in the team and will settle in well," Geschke said.

"I will take next year as it comes. I'm looking forward to doing the Ardennes classics as they have always been some of my favorite races in the spring. Mostly, I'm just excited to get involved with a new group of people and see how it goes."

In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Simon Geschke:
Fribourg - Swiss - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Simon GESCHKE (Germany / Team Sunweb) pictured during the 72nd Tour de Romandie (2.UWT) Prologue in Fribourg (4.02KM) - photo René Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2018



Davide Ballerini signs with Astana Pro Team
Astana Pro Team is happy to announce another new rider for the 2019 season. The Italian rider Davide Ballerini will join the Kazakh team for the next two years.

"First of all, I am very happy to join Astana Pro Team. This is a big team and for me it was always a dream to do this step into the WorldTour. And now, this dream is coming true… I hope to continue learning and developing as a rider, but, in the same time I am ready to help my new teammates. If I have a chance, of course, I’d like to try to use it. So far, the main thing for me is to become a good part of the team and to help Astana with all my forces to reach some big results," said Davide Ballerini.

Davide Ballerini (23) – is a young and talented rider, who has already showed some strong performances during the last two years. Thus, in 2017 Ballerini won the mountain jersey at the Tirreno – Adriatico and was 3rd in a stage of the Tour of the Alps. In this season he was 3rd at the GP Industria & Artigianato, 5th at the Giro dell’Appennino and on a stage of the Giro d’Italia, won a stage at the Sibiu Cycling Tour, was 3rd at a stage of the Vuelta a Burgos.

"In Davide Ballerini we see a young rider, who is going to improve really well in the next few races on the level of the WorldTour. So far, every year he is doing a step ahead both in his development and performances. Ballerini is a rider, who can do well in classics and one-day races, but in the same time, can help the team in stage races and even in the Grand tours. A young rider with a good sprint and climbing abilities is always a good choice for a team. So, I am looking forward to his arriving in Astana Pro Team," said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Davide Ballerini:




Will Barta Graduates to the WorldTour in 2019 with Continuum Sports
American rider Will Barta is set to join the WorldTour ranks in 2019 having signed with Continuum Sports after four years with Hagens Berman Axeon.

The 22-year-old has impressed at the U23 level and already gained valuable WorldTour experience at the AMGEN Tour of California, General Manager Jim Ochowicz explained. "We are very pleased to announce Will Barta as the latest rider to join Continuum Sports in 2019. Over the years we have welcomed many young riders in their neo pro years and Will certainly represents the next generation of American cycling talent. One of Will's breakthrough results during his time with Hagens Berman Axeon was fourth overall at the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2017 and with our focus on the classics, Will caught our attention." Ochowicz said.

"Will has also proved his strength in time trials with second place at the U23 national time trial in 2017, and second place in the Le Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux time trial this year which was enough to see him finish in third on the General Classification. We are looking forward to seeing Will continue to develop with us and learn from some of the most experienced riders in the peloton."

Will Barta has been dreaming of the chance to turn professional and is relishing the opportunity to do so with Continuum Sports, which will be sponsored by Polish company CCC in 2019. "I've always been a big fan of BMC Racing Team. I started getting into cycling around the time Cadel Evans won the Tour de France in 2011 and to see how the whole team fought was really cool, so ever since then I have been a big fan. It's a dream come true to join the team," Barta said.

"The races I look forward to most are the Ardennes classics. I really enjoyed that type of racing at the U23 level and in the last few years I have become a better climber. I've really worked hard on the longer climbs so I'm looking forward to seeing how I can do in stage races as well. Time trialling is also something I like and have done quite well at. I like the aspect of it being just you out there and you can see from the team's results that time trials are a big focus so that's definitely attractive for me, to be able to learn from the best. To have the opportunity to learn from a champion like Greg Van Avermaet and the older guys in the team will be amazing and I can't wait."

In keeping with team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Will Barta:




Jan Tratnik, a new member of Team Bahrain-Merida
Jan Tratnik, 28 years old cyclist from Slovenia, is relatively young rider but already a specialist for time trial, which has been proven by this year's primacy and title of the national champion. Certainly, he can contribute a lot to the quality of the team especially in this area. He’s good in the role of assistant as well as a leader for one-day or shorter stage races. He proved this in the last two seasons when he scored several wins and rankings under the very top while being member of the Polish CCC team. Among his best he results to be mentioned is the title of European Champion U23 in 2012.

Gorazd Štangelj, Head of Sports director in Team Bahrain Merida said: “The team expects that he will advance and help on the Belgian classics. His way of racing is quite aggressive, but we know his escapes can also be successful. In the time trial, his help and added value in team races will be welcomed.”

Jan Tratnik after the new contract commented: “Team Bahrain Merida is one of the best teams which operates at a high level and develops rapidly. I'm very happy to be a part of this story. I would like to thank the team management who believes in me and has allowed me to be back in the World Tour. In this team, I will get everything I need for my progress and I will do everything to return with good results and contribute to team success.”

Jan Tratnik:




South African talent, Stefan de Bod signs for Team Dimension Data
Stefan de Bod yet another Dimension Data Continental Team success story
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is delighted to announce that 21-year-old South African talent, Stefan de Bod has signed a 2-year deal with our African World Tour team.

After 3 seasons with our Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental squad, Stefan de Bod will step up into the World Tour team from January 1st, 2019. The multiple u23 South African time trial and road race champion becomes the 5th rider to graduate to the World Tour after developing his talent with our African feeder team.

Originally from Stellenbosch, South Africa, de Bod has been part of our development program since 2015, when it was still based out of Potchefstroom, South Africa. After relocating to Lucca, Italy in 2016 with the Dimension Data Continental team, de Bod was exposed to the rigors of European racing where he was gradually able to develop his climbing and time trialling abilities in 2016 & 2017, before a breakthrough season this year.

Starting with his 3rd successive u23 national time trial title in February, de Bod went from strength to strength and racked up some impressive results this year, including victories at the u23 Strade Bianche and G.P. Palio del Recioto. Podium placing's at Trofeo Alcide Degasperi and Valle d'Aosta was only further confirmation of the talent we had already seen in de Bod as an 18-year-old.

In what has already been an incredible journey with de Bod, after the hard work and dedication he has shown, our African Team is delighted to welcome him to Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka from 2019.

Stefan de Bod - Rider: "I'm really excited to join Africa's World Tour Team for 2019 and 2020. I've been part of the development team since 2015 and I am very grateful for all the opportunities Team Dimension Data has given me over the last four years. The team has changed many lives all over Africa through Qhubeka, and they have also changed mine. Joining the World Tour team is an absolute dream come true for me. I'm looking forward to learning even more from the experienced guys in the team and I will make the most of every opportunity I get."

Douglas Ryder - Team Principal: "Stefan has progressed so well in the Team Dimension Data Continental Team and we look forward to him stepping up into the World Tour team. It is so great to see the riders in our feeder team stepping up and taking every opportunity presented to them. It takes years to make the next step in cycling and we look forward to seeing Stefan progress on his journey with Team Dimension Data."

Stefan de Bod:




Bronzini Added as Second Director to new Trek team
After a prolific career with over 80 victories on the road and track, Giorgia Bronzini has decided she will retire at the end of the season and start 2019 in the role as director for the new Trek Women’s road team. Giorgia joins Ina Teutenberg in directing the Trek team, giving the new squad two of the most decorated women cyclists in history leading them. Over the last years, women’s cycling has been getting more recognition and respect that it has long deserved, and by keeping its legends in the sport, has just taken another big leap forward.

There has been talk of retirement surrounding Giorgia for a few seasons, but her passion for racing – and the highly addictive taste of winning – was too hard to give up. After five seasons with Wiggle-Honda, she joined the American team Cylance for 2018, hoping the change would be a new level of motivation to keep the fire burning a little longer. But all good things – even great cyclists – come to an end eventually, and Bronzini, who had already hinted this season may be the last, realized a more congruous closure to her storied career may not be found.

“I am retiring from the races because I feel now is the time,” said Bronzini. “I really still enjoy the racing, but what I am finding heavy is all the training.”

Giorgia turned professional in 2003 and over the next decade became a dominant sprinter in the women’s pro peloton. Her most memorable results include three World Championship titles (two consecutive victories on the road in 2010-2011 and one on the track in the Points Race in 2009), and she has won stages, and one-day races, in some of the biggest events on the UCI calendar.

As the wins became sparser over the last two seasons, Giorgia, a natural road captain, found herself embracing the role of mentoring younger riders. The thought of transferring into a director’s position was something she had been considering – she had already announced she would take the UCI’s directeur sportif course in December – and when the door opened with Trek, her decision was swift.

“I’m glad to start my new experience with Trek alongside one of my idols Ina Teutenberg. I am excited to pass on all my experience to the riders and help them find a balance to enjoy racing while also being focused to archive good results,” added Bronzini. “It is hard to leave the racing behind, I have many great memories, but I am happy I can continue in cycling. I have so much to give back; I want to pass this on.”

Giorgia Bronzini:




FloSports Partners with A.S.O. to Live Stream La Vuelta in Canada
FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, announced a partnership with A.S.O. to exclusively broadcast the 2018 and 2019 La Vuelta live on FloBikes.com. The prestigious race will be available to audiences in Canada.

Canada continues to be a top destination for cycling fans around the world. The addition of La Vuelta gives Canadian subscribers access to one of the world’s largest and most elite cycling races in the world. Covering more than 183 days of racing, fans also have access to other classic races on FloBikes, including Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders, the UCI World Championships, the UCI Cyclocross World Cups, and many more.

A.S.O. organizes some of the world’s top cycling races, including the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix. As one of the world’s most prominent and demanding races, La Vuelta attracts the world’s top cyclists. In its 73rd edition, the race will include all 18 registered UCI WorldTeams, in addition to four wild card team selections -- comprising of 176 racers in total. Coverage begins Aug. 25 in Málaga, Spain, and concludes Sept. 16 in Madrid, Spain.

“A.S.O. organizes some of the biggest cycling races in the world, and La Vuelta attracts the most ambitious competitors and die-hard fans every year,” FloSports SVP, Global Rights Acquisition and Strategy Adam Fenn said. “To partner with the A.S.O. is a great stepping stone, and this gives fans even more world-class races to follow.”

“For La Vuelta, it’s an honor to welcome FloSports as a new broadcaster,” Director, La Vuelta, Javier Guillén said. “La Vuelta is unlike any other cycling race, and evokes a passion and thrill in all of those who watch. With 21 stages, and more than 3.200 km -- there is a surprising outcome every day. We’re excited to work with FloSports, who will help us capture this experience for all of our Canadian fans on FloBikes.com -- making it feel as if they were on the road side. The best is yet to come.” For more information, visit www.FloSports.tv.

Key points:
· FloSports announced a partnership with A.S.O. to exclusively broadcast the 2018 and 2019 La Vuelta live on FloBikes.com.
· The prestigious race will be available to audiences in Canada.
· “We’re excited to work with FloSports, who will help us capture this experience for all of our Canadian fans on FloBikes.com -- making it feel as if they were on the road side. The best is yet to come”, said Javier Guillén, General Manager of the race.

More information about La Vuelta 18 at www.lavuelta.com.





Line-up Vuelta 2018
On the 25th of August, the third Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta, takes off. The course of the 73rd edition promises to be the scene of another spectacular three weeks of racing. Lotto Soudal performed strongly last year as the team returned from Spain with four victories, including two stages won by the Polish Tomasz Marczyński, one by the combative Thomas De Gendt, and one by Sander Armée, who became Lotto Soudal’s best ranked rider on the general classification.

The three stage winners will also be at the start in Malaga during this year’s edition: Thomas De Gendt (sixth participation), Tomasz Marczyński (fourth participation), and Sander Armée (fourth participation) hope to repeat last year’s victories and to help the other Lotto Soudal riders in their pursuit of a stage win as well. Tiesj Benoot (first participation), Bjorg Lambrecht (first participation), Maxime Monfort (eight participation), Tosh Van der Sande (fourth participation) and Jelle Wallays (third participation) complete the line-up.

Sports director Mario Aerts comments on the team’s line-up and hopes for another strong performance in this year’s Vuelta.

Mario Aerts: “Last year, Sander Armée not only took a stage win, but also finished nineteenth overall. We hope that Sander is able to achieve another place in the top twenty this year, but we will mainly focus on a stage win. Especially, in the second part of the race there are a couple of stages where he’ll get the opportunity to do so. Tiesj Benoot will be riding his first Vuelta ever. After he was forced to withdraw in the Tour de France, he prepared himself for the following upcoming races. He will be at the starting line without any goals for the GC and we’ll have to wait and see how his shape is at the moment. There are several stages in which he can play a role and animate the race. It would be nice to see him winning a stage, but much depends on how the race will unfold itself. Last year’s scenario was ideal as Team Sky controlled the tour from the beginning, and the escapees got many opportunities.”

“Everyone knows Thomas De Gendt by now. He’s a good climber and hopes to repeat his stage win of last year. Also this 73rd edition consists of several opportunities for Thomas to show his climbing skills once again. He and Maxime Monfort are the riders from our line-up that participated the most in the Vuelta. Maxime will help his teammates, but will also get the chance to go for a stage win himself. Last year he played an important role in Tomasz Marczyński's stage win. Maxime accelerated with Jungels in the front group, giving Tomasz a break so he was able to save some energy before entering the last kilometers. Over the years, Maxime gained a lot of experience and knows how to complete a Grand Tour. In the last week of the race, when the more difficult stages take place, I definitely see him making a move. Marczyński himself is also very keen on repeating last year’s Vuelta. There’s a stage in Granada, where he’s currently living, with quite a difficult uphill finish. He will be really motivated to win that particular stage.”

“It’s the first Grand Tour for Bjorg Lambrecht. He’s still young and already performed strongly this season. There aren’t many races for riders like Bjorg this time of the year, so the Vuelta is an ideal preparation towards the World Championships. He probably won’t finish the tour and will be at the start for the first ten to fourteen stages, before heading back home and continuing his preparation for the World Championships.”

“There are five to six stages that will most likely finish in a bunch sprint. With Tosh Van der Sande we have a rider who can compete for victory in these stages. Jelle Wallays will be helping him, but could also try to join the breakaway himself in about three stages. Of course, we’ll have to wait until the official start list has been confirmed: if there will be many fast men at the start line, the breakaway won’t get many chances to stay clear and it will probably be better not to attack. We’ll take it one day at a time. Either way, all eight of our riders will get the chance to animate the stages and hopefully we can take one or a couple of stage wins back home.”


Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Sander Armée, Tiesj Benoot, Thomas De Gendt, Bjorg Lambrecht, Tomasz Marczyński, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande and Jelle Wallays.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Marc Wauters.

Double Vuelta stage winner, Tomasz Marczyński:




Time for a New Cycling Experience
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History: La Vuelta 1978 The Inaugural Act Bernard Hinault's Grand Tours
The Tour de France, which ended with the victory by Geraint Thomas, celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first of five victories by Bernard Hinault. But the first Grand Tour won by the French champion was the 33rd edition of La Vuelta in the spring of 1978. Since then, no winner has won the Tour and La Vuelta in the same season until that was accomplished by Chris Froome last year!



History remembers that, according to the race plan drawn up by Cyrille Guimard, his mentor, Bernard Hinault wisely waited until he turned 24 to participate in his first Grand Tour, without going through any apprenticeship phase. Asked to search through his memories, he recalls that “In anticipation of the Tour de France, we did La Vuelta in April to see if I could endure the 21-day race. And I proved that it wasn't a problem.” It was raining in Gijón on April 25th, 1978, the day of the prologue (8.6 km) that the Breton won with a huge number 31 on his back, ahead of Belgian Ferdi Van den Haute who would relieve him of the yellow jersey three days later. “I was especially worried about the Spanish climbers who were coming from several stage races, which was not our case,” he said.

It was still raining between León and Valladolid for stage 4, in which the peloton only covered 21 km in the first hour of racing. This represents half of the triumphs of Patrick Lefévère, the most successful manager of the last quarter century: as a rider, the boss of Quick Step had only earned a victory in the Vuelta a Levante, in the Valencian Community, in 1976. Upon arrival in the capital of Castile and Leon, the Belgian teammate of the race leader on the Marc-Zeepcentrale squad, observed ironically, “I had just gotten over three weeks of bronchitis and I came to Spain to soak up some sun…”

If the 1978 Tour de France was famous for the cyclists' strike to protest the half-stages, walking across the finish line instead of sprinting in Valence d’Agen, Hinault, the ringleader of the protest, understood that in León, the riders could further their cause against the authorities. Under the leadership of Txomin Perurena, the peloton threatened not to return unless the five riders who were disqualified for having drafted behind the chaser cars were reinstated.

The Spanish climbers concerned Hinault, but the echelons made life difficult for them and condemned Enrique Cima while the Belgians had a field day. Back then, they were never as devoted as after having received their piece of the cake by winning a stage. That's how the Renault-Gitane team came out ahead in Ávila and Calafell, with Willy Teirlinck prior to the second time trial in Barcelona, in which the distance, barely half that of the prologue (3.8 km) did not allow Hinault to create major gaps. “I knew nothing about the passes the following day” he said.

In 1978, La Vuelta had 99 starters and was held in the northern quarter of the country. Returning from Catalonia to the Basque Country with the yellow jersey claimed once and for all in Santa Margarita de Montbuy (stage 12 of 19), the Breton was not yet known as “The Badger” in Spain. “Hinault, maestro y puntillero” (Hinault, master and puntillero) was the headline published in the sports newspaper AS. In bullfighting, the puntillero is the one in charge of finishing off the bull.

He picked up bonus seconds in all the intermediate and final sprints, outpacing even the sprinters for the stage victory in Logroño. On the eve of the last weekend, he led the overall standings with a 40-second advantage over Catalonian José Pesarrodona, having reaped 56 seconds of bonuses. Did the pride push him to spare himself the criticism of a cut-rate victory? Against the clock on the last day, he would logically establish his dominance. He was not expected to go on the attack the day before in the Ortuna pass, 98 km from the finish line in Amurrio while Spanish rider Andres Gandarias and Italy’s Leone Pizzini were well in the lead, with a five-minute advantage. “I took off a little haphazardly, just for fun, and I saw that no one could follow me, so I continued to the finish line.”

It seemed so simple, cycling as told by Bernard Hinault. Shortly before his death last May 27 in Durango, where the Sunday morning stage was neutralized following incidents, A. Gandarias, who competed in his last Vuelta in 1978 after taking part in several others, finishing 5th in the 1969 Tour de France won by Eddy Merckx, who has this to say about the few minutes he tried to draft behind the young French rider: “I suffered like a dog.” “Incredible!” remembers Van den Haute. “I rode full speed behind him, otherwise he would have finished ten minutes ahead of us.” The results of the time trial in San Sebastián did not count and Hinault came in first in the overall classification, 2’52’’ ahead of Pesarrodona and 3’47’’ ahead of his teammate Jean-René Bernaudeau, who was making his pro debut at 21 years of age and who is the current manager of Direct Energie.

In terms of La Vuelta statistics, years ending in 8 are great vintages, with prestigious champions: Bernardo Ruiz (1948), Jean Stablinski (1958), Felice Gimondi (1968), Bernard Hinault (1978), Pedro Delgado (1988), Abraham Olaño (1998) and Alberto Contador (2008). The 2018 edition is therefore eagerly awaited.

More information about La Vuelta 2018 : www.lavuelta.com

1978 Vuelta a España documentary (in Spanish):







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