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

Victor Campenaerts set a new World Hour Record on Tuesday - Top Story. Race news from the Brabantse Pijl, the Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey and Paris-Camembert with video. Other cycling news: Amstel Gold Race teams, Giro d’Italia 2020 to start in Hungary, Sam Oomen to the Giro d'Italia, Deceuninck – Quick-Step 700th victory, Matej Mohorič contract extension, medical updates on Tiesj Benoot and Iljo Keisse, official song of La Vuelta'19, Philippe Gilbert still rocking video. A full fun packed EUROTRASH Thursday.



TOP STORY: Campenaerts' World Hour Record
Victor Campenaerts wrote a piece of cycling history on the Velodromo Bicentenario in Aguascalientes on Tuesday. The Lotto Soudal rider covered 55.089 kilometers in one hour and beat the previous record, set by Bradley Wiggins in 2015, by over 500 meters. Victor Campenaerts can now call himself, after months of training and preparation, the new holder of the UCI Hour Record!

At 18:00 hours sharp (CET), the European time trial champion began his hour of truth. After a careful start, Campenaerts was already on track to break the Hour Record. The Belgian rode at a constant pace of 55 kilometers an hour through-out the attempt. During the final fifteen minutes, it seemed like Campenaerts had a difficult moment, but the Lotto Soudal rider still had some energy left to accelerate at the end. Eventually, Campenaerts crossed the magical 55-kilometer border and was crowned the new UCI Hour Record holder with a distance of 55.089 kilometers!

Victor Campenaerts: "It gives me great satisfaction to see the months of preparation being rewarded. Today, everything fell into place. The entire Lotto Soudal team supported me in this mission, which of course created the necessary pressure. But that motivated me even more to make it something special."

"The goal before the attempt was of course to break the Hour Record, which was also a realistic goal. I maybe started a bit too optimistic but then I slowed down a bit and searched for a new pace that I could hold. At the end, I still had a difficult moment. I did not ride the perfect lines that I did in the beginning. During the final five minutes - which I rode on sheer will - I covered a lot of useless meters."

"Already after ten to fifteen minutes, I had the feeling that it would be possible to break the record. At the end, it was close to reach the magical boundary of 55 kilometers. Between fifteen and ten minutes before the end, I was struggling but because of the adrenaline rush, you’re able to push that little bit harder. You know what’s at stake and that makes it a little easier. A party? Of course I will have a beer or two, but I’m still a professional!"






Brabantse Pijl 2019
Dutch champion Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon Circus) sprinted from a select group that formed 10 kilometers from the finish line by an attack by Julian Alaphillipe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) that would be decisive in forming the quartet that would dispute the victory. The Frenchman was beaten by the finishing speed of Van der Poel, ahead of Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal).

Backaert, Bongiorno, De Bondt, Livyns, Peron, Planckaert and Robeet made up the break of the day, but with 60 km to go they only had 20 seconds. Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) and Honoré (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) tried to cross to the break, but their attempt was ended when they were joined by Van der Poel.

At the start of the penultimate lap, 46 kms to go, Lotto Soudal took control and launched Bjorg Lambrecht up the road. Peter Vakoc (Deceuninck - Quick-Step), Mark Hirschi (Sunweb), Gianni Vermeersch (Corendon-Circus) and Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) managed to escape, but were pulled back by Bahrain-Merida. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) put in a counterattack before the start of the final lap with 23 kilometers to go. The South African National champion had more than 20 second on the chase group of favorites, but he was caught on the Hertstraat. Alaphilippe attacked and was followed by Wellens and then Van der Poel and Matthews. Impey was dropped leaving just the four to fight for the victory.

Alaphilippe stopped working and Wellens tried to attack again, but again he was pulled back. Five kilometers from the finish line, on the Ijskelderlaan, Alaphillipe tried yet again, but this time it would be Van der Poel who closed the gap with Matthews.

Van der Poel controlled the run-in to the finish and held first place in the group. He launched the sprint and none of his rivals could come past him.

More photos and race report HERE.



Race winner, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): "As I have said a few times before, I know that I am fast after a tough race. I have not been able to ride my own sprint a few times because I was waiting too long and here I was really confident. I just knew I had to go first. I was hoping to ride away with a group, just as we rode away at the end. But that didn't really work. So I was waiting for the big names to go. I don't think I should fear someone in the sprint, certainly not on such a finish. I knew he was usually the fastest - Alaphilippe also wins sprints. But I felt that I still had a sprint left. Not that much. I set the expectations high enough for myself. It is a bit comparable with Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Ronde van Vlaanderen: it is not because you win the Brabantse Pijl, you also win the Amstel - that is a completely different course. But my condition is good and I am looking forward to it."

2nd, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step): "My team did a superb job and on the last lap I decided to attack. Over the top of the climb we were five riders and I rode full gas to help this move go all the way to the line. This morning I was already happy to be back racing and now I am content having finished on the podium, although I would have liked to win, as this is in my nature. In the end, it was a good test and a nice comeback, which gives me confidence going into the Ardennes Classics."

3rd, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): "It was our intention to make it a tough race, by being in the attack all the time. We wanted to make sure not to be overtaken by events, which we did very well. At a certain moment, Bjorg Lambrecht was in a nice group, which eased the pressure on us. I wanted to wait until the final lap to join an attack. I mainly focused on van der Poel and Alaphilippe. When the latter attacked, I was able to follow pretty quickly. Van der Poel and Matthews joined and those were the names that had also been suggested in advance. I knew I was not the fastest rider of our group, so I had to come up with something. I tried to break clear several times, but I soon realized that it would be too difficult. Finishing third in that sprint was probably the best I could do today. I am certainly happy about how the race turned out, about the result and about my shape. In the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, a lot of new riders will participate, so I think it will yet be a higher level. The strongest riders of today will probably be at the front then as well."

4th, Michael Matthews (Sunweb): "The guys rode well all day and we were always in a good position at the front of the peloton. I managed to follow the attacks and we formed a strong group of four ahead. I got a bit blocked in during the sprint and I’m disappointed that I couldn’t get a better result for the team after the work they had done throughout the day."

Brabantse Pijl Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 4:35:11
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
3. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
5. Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:11
6. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First at 0:12
7. Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Dimension Data
8. Alexander Kamp (Den) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
9. Pieter Serry (Bel) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
10. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Charles.

Brabantse'19:




Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 2019
Ireland’s Sam Bennett of Bora-Hansgrohe scored his eighth stage victory in three consecutive participations to the Presidential Tour of Turkey as he claimed Stage 1 of the 55th edition in Terkidağ in a bunch sprint finish. Fabio Jakobsem (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) rounded out the podium.

Six riders in the lead
118 riders took the start of stage 1 on Sultanahmet Square in Istanbul. Carl Frederik Hagen (Lotto-Soudal) was a non-starter due to sickness. Soon after flag off, five riders went clear off the peloton: Alvaro Robredo (Burgos-BH), Lorenzo Fortunato (Neri-KTM), Emerson Oronte (Rally), Lindsay De Vylder (Sport Vlaanderen) and Feritcan Samli (Turkish National Team). Lucas De Rossi (Delko-Marseille) bridged the gap by himself to make a six-man front group that already had an advantage of 3:15 over the peloton after 10km of racing. They reached a maximum lead of 5:50 at km 17, after which the pack stabilized the gap around 3:30.

Three teams on the hunt
Lotto-Soudal, Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-Quick Step joined forces at the helm of the peloton to maintain the time difference around 2 minutes as they set their sights on a bunch sprint finish for Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett and Alvaro Hodeg or Fabio Jakobsen respectively. Samli, the Turkish rider at the front, had his moment of glory as he took the lead of the Turkish beauties competition by winning the sprint at km 116. The effort awarded him the white jersey for stage 2. The front group split in two as the peloton was only one minute adrift. Samli and De Vylder were the last two escapees to be reined in with 22km to go.

Bennett on... Deceuninck - Quick-Step’s train
Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates) sped up to cross the line of the second KOM in first position. However, Lindsay De Vylder (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) who had won the first KOM was to receive the red jersey. Dimension Data geared up for the bunch gallop but Deceuninck-Quick Step set the train for Jakobsen while Bennett didn’t asked his team-mates to lead him up. The Irishman opted for following the move of the Belgian outfit and produced his effort at the right time to overtake the Dutchman before the line. This is Bennett’s fifth win this year. He got at least one in each stage race he took part in so far: Vuelta a San Juan, UAE Tour, Paris-Nice (2) and Presidential Tour of Turkey. He was confident to come back on shape quickly after his post-Milan-Sanremo break and proved to being right already on stage 1. He’s now only three stage wins down on Andre Greipel’s record of eleven in the Turkish WorldTour event.



Stage winner and overall leader, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I am so happy taking the opener here in Turkey again. I really like this country and I think the country likes me as well. The guys did an amazing job today, they pulled the whole day and delivered me perfectly. They take, as always, a huge part in today’s result. In the finale, I stayed on the wheel of the Deceuninck - Quick-Step guys and first I thought it might be difficult today, but then I kicked off my sprint and had the highest speed. It always feels good finishing off a great teamwork."

2nd on the stage and overall, Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck - Quick-Step): "It was quite hectic, with the speed really high. The entire team did a great job today and not repaying them for their work with a victory leaves me disappointed. Max and Alvaro (ed. tenth on the stage) offered me a perfect lead-out, but I went a bit too early and that cost me in the end. On the other hand, the form and motivation are there and I will keep on fighting in the next stages."

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 1 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:32:34
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck - Quick-Step
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal
4. Eduard Grosu (Rom) Delko-Marseille Provence
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Luca Pacioni (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM
7. Imerio Cima (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane
8. Giovanni Lonardi (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane
9. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck - Quick-Step.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 1:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:32:24
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Deceuninck - Quick-Step at 0:04
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal at 0:06
4. Lorenzo Fortunato (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM at 0:07
5. Alvaro Robredo Crespo (Spa) Burgos-BH at 0:08
6. Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:09
7. Eduard Grosu (Rom) Delko-Marseille Provence at 0:10
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Luca Pacioni (Ita) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM
10. Imerio Cima (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane.

Turkey stage 1:



Ireland’s Sam Bennett doubled up at Eceabat in the Gallipoli peninsula in the middle of World War I memorials. His Bora-Hansgrohe team also doubled up with Felix Großschartner crossing the line in second place and positioning himself as a strong GC contender along with Colombia’s Jhonathan Restrepo who finished third.

Seven riders in the lead
117 riders took the start of Stage 2 in Tekirdağ. Omar Mendoza (Manzana-Postobon), Masakasu Ito (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Evan Huffman (Rally), Robbie Ghys (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Ricardo Mestre (W52-FC Porto) went clear off the peloton quickly but didn’t get much freedom. The second attempt made by seven riders was more successful. The breakaway group comprised Mauricio Moreira (Caja Rural), Lucas De Rossi (Delko-Marseille), Liam Bertazzo (Neri-KTM), Emerson Oronte (Rally), Thimo Willems (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Halil Doğan (Turkish national team) and Mestre again. Willems won the intermediate sprint at km 28 and secured the lead in the King of the Mountains competition in the second categorized climb of the day at km 86.

Molano and Ewan on the ground
The Bora-Hansgrohe team of race leader Sam Bennett set the pace of the peloton to make sure the time difference wouldn’t go over the 4’30’’ recorded at km 40. Two crashes in the peloton affected two of the most prominent sprinters of this race: successively Juan Sebastian Molano (UAE Team Emirates) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal). The Australian made it back to the pack with 50km to go but with an apparent wrist injury. Doğan dropped back and the Turkish national team upped the tempo at the head of the peloton to reduce the deficit to 20’’. With 35km to go, Bertazzo refused to surrender and Moreira joined him to remain away from the chasing peloton still led by the locals. Moreira was the last escapee to being brought back by the pack with 25km to go.

Punchy finale favorable for on form Bennett
The Bora-Hansgrohe team showed their commitment to honoring the Presidential Tour of Turkey with Michael Schwarzmann winning the beauties of Turkey sprint 20km before the end. The German squad geared up for the sprint in the technical and slightly uphill last 2km. Dimension Data, Lotto-Soudal and Manzana-Postobon were the other teams eager to position their sprinters but Ewan hadn’t recovered enough from his crash. Lukas Pöstlberger, also from Bora-Hansgrohe, anticipated the sprint before the red flame of the last kilometer in a similar way that saw him successfully win stage 1 of the 2017 Giro d’Italia. It worked as a perfect springboard for Bennett whose acceleration was well covered by Großschartner who appears as a hot favorite for the overall classification with the time bonus of the second place and the different splits in the peloton on the finishing line. This is Bennett’s ninth stage victory at the Presidential Tour of Turkey in three straight editions of the race, only two down on modern record holder Andre Greipel.



Stage winner and overall leader, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): "I am delighted to take yet another stage win here, my ninth now. Big thanks to the Bora-Hansgrohe crew for all their efforts, yesterday and today. I said to my guys, that they should go and I will tell them on the climb if I feel strong enough or not cause the stage wasn’t so easy with the finale. Well, I pushed hard and with Felix finishing in second place I think we showed another amazing team effort."

2nd on the stage and overall, Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): "It was an amazing day. We had different cards to play in today’s stage and I think our tactic worked out quite well. While Shane and Schwarzi were pulling a lot, Lukas launched an attack at the end. With Sam and myself finishing on the podium, I think we can be more than satisfied with today’s result and I want to say thank you to the whole team for their work. I feel good and I am looking forward to the upcoming days."

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 2 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 4:11:48
2. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Manzana Postobon
4. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates
6. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
7. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Edgar Pinto (Por) W52-FC Porto at 0:02
9. Sebastian Schönberger (Aut) Neri Sottoli–Selle Italia–KTM at 0:04
10. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 2:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 8:14:02
2. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:14
3. Jhonatan Restrepo Valencia (Col) Manzana Postobon at 0:16
4. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates at 0:20
5. Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
7. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
8. Edgar Pinto (Por) W52-FC Porto at 0:23
9. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:24
10. Cyril Barthe (Fra) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias.

Turkey stage 2:




Paris-Camembert 2019
Benoît Cosnefroy’s victory in Paris-Camembert is the fourth for the AG2R-La Mondiale team this season. Before him, Alexis Gougeard won the 3rd stage and the overall classification of the Circuit de la Sarthe. And Alexis Vuillermoz won the Royal Bernard Drôme Classic. The French team is still leading the Coupe de France. With 49 points, the AG2R-La Mondiale team consolidated its first place overall in the Coupe de France after the sixth round. In the individual classification, Benoît Cosnefroy is in third place with 50 points, while Clément Venturini is 8th with 42 points.



Race winner, Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale): "I really wanted to have fun today. For two weeks, I felt that the form has been there. I attacked from far out. It was not necessarily planned like that at the start of the day, and the result was far from assured. Sometimes you just have to try, and this time, it worked! This is not my first victory as a professional. I had already won the Grand Prix d’Isbergues in 2017, but today it is more powerful. I am in my home region, I heard my name shouted all day on the side of the road. A large part of my family was there, so I am really happy to have managed to finish off the hard work. In the end, I managed to bridge up to Kevin Geniets two kilometers from the finish. I know him well; we raced together at Chambéry Cyclisme Formation. With a kilometer to go, I attacked, and I think that was the longest kilometer of my life. But it was worth it!"

3rd, Quentin Jaurégui (AG2R-La Mondiale): "After Alexis Gougeard's victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe, we have had another great day. In the end, I told Benoît that we should not miss this opportunity. We had a lot of fun, and it's very nice to be on the podium by his side."

Paris-Camembert Result:
1. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 4:29:50
2. Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis at 0:03
3. Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:05
4. Romain Hardy (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
5. Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence
6. Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Wallonie-Bruxelles
7. Jérôme Cousin (Fra) Total-Direct Energie
8. Kevin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ
9. Élie Gesbert (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 0:08
10. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:37.

Camembert'19:




Amstel Gold Race 2019
The only Dutch Classic is this Sunday and it looks like a very open race with quite a few possible winners. See the Amstel PEZ Preview HERE.

Team announcements bellow - More will be added as we get them.






Team Bahrain-Merida Heading to Ardennes Campaign
The cobbled Classics campaign concluded with the Paris-Roubaix and now the Ardennes are coming. On Sunday, April 21st, Team Bahrain-Merida will take part to the 54th edition of the Amstel Gold Race, the only Dutch cycling classic, that takes place in Limburg since 1966. This year’s course will cover 258km running from Maastricht to Valkenburg, with 35 climbs to cover.

After the change of the course two years ago - with the Cauberg avoided in the last kms - the route will not change in 2019, but for the first time the “Vrijthof” in Maastricht will host the start. Then as always, the race route passes through the Limburg region on a never-ending labyrinth of narrow and winding country roads, with the climbs of the Geulhemmerberg and the Bemelerberg included in the final lap.

“We’re heading to Amstel Gold Race with a strong squad” Team Bahrain-Merida Sports Director Rik Verbrugghe says “We have many strong guys, as Teuns, Mohorič and Caruso, that on this course can show their qualities and make the difference, but also fast riders as Colbrelli and Cortina, that will be ready in case of sprint. So we have many different alternatives for every scenario and we will try to do our best.”

Team Bahrain-Merida for the 2019 Amstel Gold Race:
Grega Bole, Damiano Caruso, Sonny Colbrelli, Ivan Cortina, Matej Mohorič, Dylan Teuns, Jan Tratnik.





Amstel Gold Race
Aike Visbeek - Team Sunweb coach: "With our Keep Challenging Center in the region of Limburg, we are super motivated to get a good result close to home turf. We send a strong squad with a good mix of youth and experience. The race is often really aggressive with a lot of the action starting at the Kruisberg with 40 kilometers to go, so positioning onto that climb will be very important. The peloton will likely continue to split on the Eyserbosweg and Keutenberg and from there the race will be all about tactics. We ride in support of Michael who's in great shape with two stage wins and the points jersey in Catalunya and a solid result at his Flanders debut. We'll look to have other riders with him going into the final, to search for a good result after some bad luck here over the past few years."

Line-up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Marc Hirschi (SWI), Lennard Kämna (GER), Michael Matthews (AUS), Nicholas Roche (IRL), Louis Vervaeke (BEL).





Van Avermaet to Wrap Up Classics Season at Amstel Gold Race
Greg Van Avermaet is set to wrap up a solid Classics season this Sunday when he lines up at Amstel Gold Race.

Van Avermaet, whose best result at the UCI WorldTour race was fifth place in 2015, will be joined by a new CCC Team roster for the race which marks the transition from the cobbles to the hills of the Ardennes Classics.

“Greg Van Avermaet will line up as our main protected rider at Amstel Gold Race. After the cobbled races, it’s time to change the supporting riders in our roster and bring in the riders who are more suited to the short, steep climbs of the Ardennes Classics. In support of Greg, we will have Alessandro De Marchi, Patrick Bevin, Serge Pauwels, and Jonas Koch, who have come from the stage races in Spain, and Michael Schär and Łukasz Wiśniowski, who have lined up with Greg at all of the cobbled Classics. We have a mix of experience and riders set to make their debut,” Sports Director Valerio Piva explained.

“The course is exactly the same as last year’s edition so Greg knows it well, and the riders lining up for the first time will have the chance to see the course on Friday. Although Greg is our main leader, I think we have different cards to play with riders like Alessandro De Marchi motivated and in good shape. Hopefully, we will have a few riders with Greg in the finale and see how things play out.”

Van Avermaet is hoping to end his Classics season on a high to culminate what has been a consistent spring for the Belgian.

“Amstel Gold Race is my last chance to get a good result this spring. I was really disappointed after Paris-Roubaix knowing that I had the legs for a better result so, I am motivated to line up at Amstel Gold Race and turn things around. I have had good legs throughout the classics and although I am missing a big result, I think I have consistency showed that my form is good. It would be nice to end this first part of the season with a good result on Sunday,” Van Avermaet said.

“Amstel Gold Race is a different kind of race to the cobbled classics, of course, but out of all of the Ardennes Classics, it is the one that suits me the best. I think we have a good team with guys like Patrick Bevin, Alessandro De Marchi, and Serge Pauwels able to climb well and go on the attack or cover moves, which gives us options. Unlike the cobbled Classics, I don’t think there is any pressure on us to control the race so we will see how the race develops and hopefully be able to race aggressively.”

Amstel Gold Race (21 April)
Rider roster:
Patrick Bevin (NZ), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Jonas Koch (GER), Serge Pauwels (BEL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Łukasz Wiśniowski (POL).
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Steve Bauer (CAN) and Piotr Wadecki (POL).

Greg Van Avermaet:




Bora-Hansgrohe with Sagan and Schachmann in Amstel Gold Race
Not one, but two riders with good chances of winning will go to Maastricht on Sunday for the 54th edition of the Amstel Gold Race for the Bora-Hansgrohe team. In addition to triple world champion Peter Sagan, Maximilian Schachmann can also cherish ambitions in the Limburg race.

Schachmann is the man in shape in the German WorldTour team. He recently won no less than three stages in the Tour of the Basque Country. He also won a stage in the Tour of Catalonia this season and he proved to be the strongest in the GP Industria & Artigianato.

The Berliner has only participated once in the Amstel Gold Race, in 2017 he took 105th place in the results. However, the German looks forward with great confidence: "I feel ready for the Ardennes," he said recently. "The Amstel Gold Race is the race that suits me best. For Liège-Bastogne-Liège I probably need a little more experience, although I will certainly try it there."

Sagan, who is still looking for a big spring victory, can show better results in the Dutch WorldTour competition. In 2012 he was on the podium, and last year he won the sprint from the group of pursuers for fourth place.

Bora-Hansgrohe for Amstel Gold Race:
Cesare Benedetti (Ita), Marcus Burghardt (Ger), Patrick Konrad (Aust), Jay McCarthy (Aus), Daniel Oss (Ita), Peter Sagan (Sk), Maximilian Schachmann (Ger).





Valverde to Lead Movistar in the Amstel Gold Race
The Movistar team has announced their selection for Sunday's Amstel Gold Race. Not surprisingly, World champion Alejandro Valverde is the main-man for the Spanish formation in the first of the Ardennes classics.

The Amstel Gold Race is missing from the almost 39-year-old's palmarès. The Spanish all-rounder finished third in 2008, and in 2013 and 2015 he came in second. Last year he had to settle for fifth place.

The course of the Amstel Gold Race, with the many nasty climbs along the way, will suit him. That is why Movistar will again put the entire selection at his service.

Movistar for Amstel Gold Race:
Alejandro Valverde (Spa), Andrey Amador (Cr), Carlos Barbero (Spa), Carlos Betancur (Col), Jaime Castrillo (Spa), Imanol Erviti (Spa), Carlos Verona (Spa).

Alejandro Valverde:




Van Aert and Jumbo-Visma for Amstel
The Jumbo-Visma team line-up for the Amstel Gold Race. Wout van Aert will be at the start of the Dutch race this Sunday. In addition, four Dutch riders, another Belgian and a German will also appear on behalf of the Dutch WorldTour team.

In the hilly Limburg Classic, all the team will back Van Aert. After a strong performance in the Flemish spring races, the Amstel Gold Race will be his last race before he starts a rest period. In the selection of Jumbo-Visma team, only Robert Gesink has ever taken the podium in the Dutch WorldTour race, he was third in 2009, behind Serguei Ivanov and Karsten Kroon.

Jumbo-Visma for Amstel Gold Race:
Wout van Aert (Bel), Robert Gesink (Ned), Floris De Tier (Bel), Koen Bouwman (Ned), Bert-Jan Lindeman (Ned), Jos van Emden (Ned), Paul Martens (Ger).

Wout van Aert:




Trentin and Impey to Lead Mitchelton-Scott in Amstel
The Australian team will not have the Yates brothers on the start line of the Amstel Gold Race, but will count on European champion Matteo Trentin and South African champion Daryl Impey.

Trentin has had a hard spring campaign, the Italian already rode prominently in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. In his last two races - the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix - the Italian didn't show well. It could be that the team will count on Impey. The 34-year-old rider finished 11th in the Amstel Gold Race last year. Impey rode well in the Brabantse Pijl last Wednesday.

The South African wants to shine in the coming races: "This year I opted for a different preparation for the climbing classics. I have been on a heigh training period," says Impey. “I have faith in myself and in the team. The Amstel is the course that suits me best."

Trentin and Impey will be joined by Michael Hepburn, Christopher Juul-Jensen, Dion Smith, puncheur Nick Schultz and Michael Albasini on Sunday. Albasini finished third in the South Limburg classic two years ago.

Mitchelton-Scott for Amstel Gold Race:
Michael Albasini (Sui), Michael Hepburn (Aus), Daryl Impey (SA), Christopher Juul-Jensen (Den), Dion Smith (NZ), Nick Schultz (Aus), Matteo Trentin (Ita).

Daryl Impey in Brabantse Pijl:




Astana Amstel Riders
Alexey Lutsenko, Jakob Fuglsang and the Izagirre brothers will lead the Astana team for the Amstel Gold Race. The Kazakh team - which has taken 22 wins this season - is counting on several top men in the Limburg classic.

Lutsenko, the Kazakh champion is having an impressive season. He won the Tour of Oman, followed by fourth in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and 7th in the Strade Bianche. He also won a stage in Tirreno-Adriatico. Lutsenko spoke about the Amstel Gold Race: "I love that course".

Astana can also count on the Dane Fuglsang, who was second in the Strade Bianche this season. Fuglsang played a leading role in the Gold Race last year, eventually finishing eighth.

The Kazakh WorldTour team has also selected the Izagirre brothers. Ion recently won the Tour of the Basque Country and Gorka helped his brother. Luis León Sánchez, Omar Fraile and Laurens De Vreese are also going to South Limburg.

Astana for Amstel Gold Race:
Omar Fraile (Spa), Jakob Fuglsang (Den), Gorka Izagirre (Spa), Ion Izagirre (Spa), Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz), Luis León Sánchez (Spa), Laurens De Vreese (Bel).

Alexey lutsenko winning a stage in Tirreno:




Sky with Kwiatkowski and Poels
Michał Kwiatkowski won the Amstel Gold Race four years ago as World champion and will be at the start of the Limburg classic on Sunday, hoping for a second victory. The British formation also relies on home riders Wout Poels and Dylan van Baarle.

Kwiatkowski knows how to win the Amstel Gold Race. The 28-year-old all-rounder finished on the podium again in 2017. Kwiatkowski has already won stages in Paris-Nice and Milan-San Remo this season. Sky also relies on Poels and Van Baarle. Poels won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the past, but has never managed to shine in the Amstel Gold Race. Van Baarle has already had a tough spring. Last Sunday he finished 21st in Paris-Roubaix. The selection also includes David de la Cruz, Diego Rosa, Michał Gołaś and Eddie Dunbar.

Team Sky for Amstel Gold Race:
David de la Cruz (Spa), Eddie Dunbar (Ire), Michał Gołaś (Pol), Michał Kwiatkowski (Pol), Wout Poels (Ned), Diego Rosa (Ita), Dylan van Baarle (Ned).

Michał Kwiatkowski in Amstel 2015:




AG2R-La Mondiale for Amstel
Oliver Naesen is the only rider in the AG2R-La Mondiale Amstel Gold Race team to have participated in all of the Flanders classics as well.

Clément Chevrier: "I was recently at the Tour of the Basque Country. When we start a race like that, we know what to expect: the course will difficult every day and it will be very nervous. Given the current level of racing, it was really necessary to focus on the difficult climbing gradients in the region. I think it is the ideal race to prepare for the Ardennes triptych. I will start with Amstel which, for me, is a mix between the races in Flanders and the real Ardennes. The course is very tortuous, we must know each road to hope to perform well. For Amstel, even more than at other events, your positioning is essential. With Romain Bardet, as well as Oliver Naesen, Benoît Cosnefroy and Clement Venturini, we can hope for beautiful things."





Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Amstel Gold Race
Milano-Sanremo champion Julian Alaphilippe and four-time winner Philippe Gilbert will lead the line for our squad on Sunday.

The peloton has exited the cobbles last week and prepares to head into the Ardennes Classics, the last major one-day races of the spring, which kick off with the 54th edition of Amstel Gold Race, taking place from Maastricht to Berg en Terblijt over a 265.7km-long course, with narrow and twisting roads, and peppered with a total of 35 climbs. Among the most testing hills there’s the Cauberg – the most used ascent in the history of the World Championships – Kruisberg or Bemelerberg, the last difficulty of the day, topped with 7.3 kilometers to go.

Winner of nine one-day races so far this year, including two of the season’s first three Monuments (Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix), Deceuninck – Quick-Step will come at the start with a strong team, headlined by Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert.

Runner-up a few days ago at Brabantse Pijl, Julian raced Amstel Gold Race on four occasions and featured in the main selection three times, finishing 7th, 6th and 7th, results that backed by his impressive form in 2019 make him one of the main contenders. For Philippe, it will be the 14th start at the Dutch classic, which the Belgian has won on four occasions (2010, 2011, 2014, 2017), a coveted feat only one other rider has achieved since its inception.

Our seven-man squad for Sunday’s race, the 18th World Tour appointment of the season, will be rounded out by Rémi Cavagna, Dries Devenyns, neo-pro Mikkel Honoré – who is making his debut in a World Tour classic – Pieter Serry and Petr Vakoc.

“We come here with two leaders – Julian, who tested his legs on Wednesday at Brabantse, and Philippe, who skipped the race to recover after Paris-Roubaix and feels good, so we can look to Amstel with confidence. Dries and Pieter have a deep knowledge of the parcours and will play an important role supporting our two guys, together with Rémi, Mikkel and Petr”, said sports director Geert Van Bondt. “There won’t be too much wind on Sunday and the temperatures will be nice, and that will make for a very fast race, which means we have to stay focused at all times.”

21.04 Amstel Gold Race (NED) 1.UWT
Riders:

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Rémi Cavagna (FRA), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Mikkel Honoré (DEN), Pieter Serry (BEL), Petr Vakoc (CZE).
Sports Director: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL) and Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Julian Alaphilippe on the attack in Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday:




Tim Wellens Previews Amstel Gold Race
On Sunday 21 April, the Amstel Gold Race is scheduled. The course, which counts no less than 265.7 kilometres, is almost completely situated in Dutch Limburg. After the start in Maastricht, 35 hills are to be covered, including three times the Cauberg. Michael Valgren Andersen won this race last year. Tim Wellens was sixth in that edition, while Jelle Vanendert finished tenth. Wellens, who took third place in the Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday, previews the Amstel Gold Race.

Tim Wellens: "Classics of 250 kilometres and more, are elimination races anyway. Last year's edition, when the real finale began on the Keutenberg, actually went the way I like it. I was ahead with seven other strong riders. During the final local lap, it was a cat-and-mouse game of attacks, while we also caught the escapees very late. Valgren and Kreuziger were eventually granted just enough freedom to fight for the win. I am not against a similar turnout on Sunday, because I need to poker a bit to get rid of the faster riders. It will come down to choosing the right moment to attack. That did not work in 2018, resulting in a sixth place. Of course, we hope to do better this year."

"The Brabantse Pijl was a successful test, which showed that my shape is good. That does not automatically mean I will be great in the Amstel Gold Race, but I am going to the start without any doubts. The team was very strong on Wednesday, as the nice fifth place of Bjorg Lambrecht proved. The question for him is whether he can also play a significant role in a long and tough Classic. That is of course part of his development, but I am curious."

"The actual finale starts from the Kruisberg and the Eyserbosweg. That is already very close to the finish, but at that moment it is important to have a few teammates nearby who can guide you to that duo in a good position. With the Fromberg and Keutenberg just after those two climbs, the race will be decided within a distance of ten kilometres. Especially the run-up towards the Kruisberg is crucial, because all the favourites want to sit at the front of the bunch. Then you need riders who can still put you in a perfect position after 220 kilometres. This has worked out well in the previous years."

"The weather will be nice on Sunday, but certainly not as hot as 30 degrees, so the temperature should not be an issue for me. Van der Poel, Alaphilippe and Matthews are of course again among the favourites, but that list will be extended with Sagan, Van Avermaet, Valverde and the strong team of Astana. I think the Amstel Gold Race is a nice race, a bit like the Tour of Flanders, but without the cobblestones. Knowing the region much better than the Flemish Ardennes is to my advantage though. The difference with the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège is that positioning is less important there than in the Amstel, which is in my favour because I am good at it. As a team, however, we should never be chasing. When outsiders or helpers of the main favourites attack, there must be a Lotto Soudal rider there as well."

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Sander Armée, Bjorg Lambrecht, Tomasz Marczyński, Maxime Monfort, Tosh Van der Sande, Jelle Vanendert and Tim Wellens.
Sports directors: Mario Aerts and Herman Frison.

Tim Wellens:




Giro d’Italia 2020 will Start in Hungary
First stage from Budapest and two more on the Magyar territory. This will be the 14th Grande Partenza outside of Italy for the Corsa Rosa.

Hungary will host the Grande Partenza of Giro d’Italia 2020. This afternoon in Budapest, at the Italian Cultural Institute, the Grande Partenza was officially announced in the presence of the Government Commissary for Active Hungary, Máriusz Révész; the Deputy Mayor of Budapest, Alexandra Szalay-Bobrovniczky; the Minister of Sport, Tünde Szabó; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tamás Menczer; the RCS Sport CEO, Paolo Bellino and the Giro d’Italia Director, Mauro Vegni.

The start will take place in the capital, Budapest, and will be the prelude to two further stages on Hungarian soil. Details of the course will be unveiled in a dedicated press conference to be held in coming months.

Giro d’Italia Director, Mauro Vegni: "Making our announcement here today in Budapest, this Grande Partenza from Hungary is going to be really special. It will be the fourteenth time that the Giro d'Italia has started outside Italy and the first time it will start from this part of Europe. There will be three stages on Hungarian soil: the first will start from the capital and we will reveal the routes of the other stages soon. I am sure that Hungary will welcome the Corsa Rosa in the best possible way and that the Giro d'Italia, as it always does, will embrace the whole nation with its passion."

Giro d’Italia, the previous 13 starts outside Italy:
1965 San Marino (REPUBLIC OF SAN MARINO)
1966 Monte Carlo (PRINCIPALITY OF MONACO)
1973 Verviers (BELGIUM)
1974 Vatican City
1996 Athens (GREECE)
1998 Nice (FRANCE)
2002 Groningen (THE NETHERLANDS)
2006 Seraing (BELGIUM)
2010 Amsterdam (THE NETHERLANDS)
2012 Herning (DENMARK)
2014 Belfast (NORTHERN IRELAND)
2016 Apeldoorn (THE NETHERLANDS)
2018 Jerusalem (ISRAEL)





Team Sunweb's Sam Oomen to Skip Ardennes classics and Prepare for the Giro d'Italia
Team Sunweb have today announced that 23-year-old Sam Oomen will replace Wilco Kelderman at the Giro d’Italia, who was last week confirmed as unable to start the first Grand Tour of the season following the injuries sustained from his stage five Volta Ciclista a Catalunya crash.

Previously with the Ardennes Classics on his program for early 2019, Oomen will now head to altitude camp to prepare for the Giro d’Italia. He joins Jan Bakelants, Tom Dumoulin, Jai Hindley and Robert Power in Tenerife from the 17th of April to the 3rd of May.

Team Sunweb’s Giro d’Italia coach Marc Reef said: “The Giro is our primary season goal and with the inclusion of Sam we aim to send the best possible team to Italy. Sam will head to high altitude camp to maximise the final weeks before we head to Bologna. He will have the opportunity to grow into the race, where we are confident he will be up there in support towards the end of week two and three. Last year he was super strong also finishing 9th himself in the GC; the focus this year will be to bring support in the key stages.”

Sam Oomen added: “Originally I would have done the Tour this year but things changed lately. It’s unfortunate that Wilco can’t do the Giro and it’s hard to replace him, but I will try my best and I’m happy to be there for the team with Tom as our designated leader; he deserves the best support. It’s likely that it will be a different kind of Giro for me compared to last year, with a different kind of approach. But the Giro is a beautiful race and we will make the best out of it together.”

Sam Oomen:




Deceuninck – Quick-Step Celebrate 700th Victory in Roubaix
The “Queen of the Classics” was the 700th win in the history of the team run by Patrick Lefevere, a magnificent achievement for which we want to thank to all the riders that have sported our jersey, the amazing staff and sponsors, and the superb fans who continue to support us.

We celebrated this milestone with a special video made by La Pédale, featuring testimonials from some of the 156 riders that were part of the squad since its inception and helped us reach this number, which we are keen on improving in the years to come.





Matej Mohorič Signs Contract Extension with Team Bahrain Merida
Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team is delighted to announce that Matej Mohorič has signed a contract extension with our team for next two seasons.

The talent of the Slovenian National Champion – he was consecutive junior and under-23 world champion – has been confirmed year after year until the last amazing season with our team. In fact, in 2018 Mohorič won seven races, including two overall classification the Binck Bank Tour and Deutschland Tour and a Giro d’Italia stage.

“With Bahrain Merida I had the best year of my career so far” Mohorič says “I made a crucial step in my career here and I feel really good in this team. So I’m very proud to stay here longer and be part of this team in the future. Plans are to focus on one-day Classics. I became a really good rider on this kind of races. Next strategies will be to make a step forward as a GC rider. I will need some more years of experience for sure, but I would grow up to fight for Grand Tours overall as well.”

Although he is still young, Matej Mohorič has already been a pro for 5 seasons, turning professional at just 19 and now he is one of the most intelligent riders in the peloton, ready for even greater things as Brent Copeland Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Manager confirms “We’re very happy with the renew of Matej’s contract. It’s a rider that fits our team perfectly. He’s a talented cyclist also he’s a rider that we can work together to help to improve in more areas with the help McLaren and Merida together we can definitely use Matej to help improvements in technological area. He’s a rider that continuously increasing his talent. We believe that the future is really bright for both sides.”

Matej Mohorič winning in Germany:




Update Tiesj Benoot
Tiesj Benoot has been further examined today after his crash in Paris-Roubaix yesterday. Although the consequences could have been much worse, the rider is seriously injured.

Team doctor Maarten Meirhaeghe: “The scan showed that Tiesj has a fracture at the end of his collarbone. He won’t need an operation. Besides the bruises, the cuts and the abrasions, he has a large torn muscle in his upper leg. The first couple of weeks, he will need to rest, obviously. In case the wound heals well, he could restart training on the rollers.”

Tiesj Benoot: “After a flat tyre, a bike change and my first crash, I was chasing with Wout Van Aert. At a road narrowing, a team car had to stop and dodge abruptly, causing me to crash into its back window. I have never felt so much pain before in my hip and upper leg. If I am being optimistic, it’s better to have this kind of injury now than in the Omloop, but of course it is a bummer. I hope to be able to train on the rollers again in a few weeks, to not let the rest of my season be in jeopardy.”

Tiesj Benoot crash:




Iljo Keisse Undergoes Successful Surgery
Our rider will return on the bike at the end of the month.

Involved in a nasty crash with 107 kilometers to go at Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix, Iljo Keisse was taken to the Denain hospital immediately after the incident, where the scans showed a complex left elbow fracture. The 36-year-old was then transferred to the Herentals hospital, in Belgium, were last night he underwent surgery and had his arm put in a cast, which he’ll have to wear for ten days, before slowly getting back on the bike with a brace.

Iljo Keisse, who rode his eighth consecutive Paris-Roubaix, talked of the crash in which he was involved just ahead of the infamous Arenberg sector: “Paris-Roubaix is one of the most beautiful races in the world, but it’s beautiful only when you get through it without any crashes. Yesterday, I didn’t see the traffic furniture, which the rider in front of my avoided for a question of millimeters at the last moment, and so I crashed big time, but luckily that yellow safety cushion softened the impact, otherwise it could have been worse. I tried to get back, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t an option and my race was over, and knowing that I won’t be there for my squad made me sad.”

Instrumental in many of Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s victories this season, Keisse had a message for Philippe Gilbert, who finished off the team’s superb effort on Sunday, on the Roubaix velodrome: “Chapeau, Philippe! I always knew you could do it and I’m very happy for you! I was able to watch the final ten kilometers together with the team doctor, to whom I’m very grateful for having remained at my side at all times. I don’t know when it will happen, but I can’t wait to get back in the pack.”

Iljo Keisse leading the peloton in the E3:




‘Otro Intento Más’ by Arkano - Official Song of La Vuelta'19
The song Otro intento más, by Arkano, will be the official song of La Vuelta 19. The rapper from Alicante joins the long list of singers who have provided music for the Spanish Grand Tour, ever since Sheyla and B. Devotion got the peloton dancing to ‘Singing in the Rain’ back in 1977. It will be the first rap song to become the official song of the Spanish tour.

Arkano, who began his career in rap battles known as “cockfights”, is very closely linked to Alicante, the province that will be the protagonist of the 74th edition of La Vuelta, with over 400 km of the route, distributed over three stages. In fact, Alicante, the artist’s birthplace, will be the city to bid farewell to La Vuelta 19 as it leaves the province, hosting the finish-line of the third stage that will depart from Ibi, Ciudad del Juguete. Before that, will be the first stage (an 18 km team time-trial) between Salinas de Torrevieja and Torrevieja, and the second stage that will join the localities of Benidorm and Calpe. In total, 402 km of the race’s route is contained entirely within the province.

“It’s an honor that La Vuelta and the Province of Alicante have allowed me to put lyrics to such an important sporting event. I’m especially thrilled this year as the race takes off from my homeland (Alicante). Also, thanks to this project I’ve had the opportunity to work with Pablo Cebrián (who I’ve been following for a while) for the first time, which has made it a double victory for me. The song is about searching for the best version of ourselves by taking control of our life narrative, and about how we need to dare to go for “'otro intento más'” (another try), explained Arkano.

“Arkano is one of the best exponents of the Province of Alicante: he is a young, dynamic, creative person with ambition. His lyrics allow us to reach a young, fresh audience. Cycling is a historical sport but we need to reach younger generations and to convey this sport’s values to them - Values that Arkano reflects perfectly in this song’s lyrics”, added Javier Guillén, General Manager of La Vuelta.

Incidentally, even though Otro intento más is the first ever rap song to be chosen as the official song, it is not La Vuelta’s first foray into this musical style. In 2002, Jacinto de la Cruz sang ‘El rap de Ciclón’ (Cyclone Rap), a song linked to the Spanish Grand Tour whose goal was to raise awareness regarding the protection of the Iberian Lynx.

Key points:
· The song Otro intento más, by Alicante rapper Arkano, will be the song to accompany the peloton throughout La Vuelta 19, from its departure in Torrevieja on the 24th of August to the final finish-line in Madrid on the 15th of September.
· This is the first time, in the race’s musical history spanning over 40 years, that the official song of the Spanish tour is a rap song.
· The artist from Alicante reinforces his province’s strong presence in La Vuelta’s 74th edition. Alicante will host over 400 km of the race’s route over three stages that will take place entirely within the province.

LISTEN to La Vuelta 19's Official Song - ‘Otro intento más’ – Arkano:




Philippe Gilbert: 36 Years Old and Still Rocking
Relive the pure emotion and huge joy inside the Deceuninck – Quick-Step team after last Sunday's victory in Paris-Roubaix and hear the new champion – one of the oldest riders in history to conquer the jarring cobblestones of the "Hell of the North" – talk of his hunger of new challenges and "crazy dream" of winning all five Monuments.







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