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EUROTRASH Moto Crash Thursday!
Yet another Tinkoff-Saxo rider is forced out of the Vuelta a España due to a moto, will the UCI do anything? We look at all the happenings from Spain; race news, results, quotes and video. Plus the Tour de l'Avenir, the Schaal Sels, contract news, Bianchi bikes and an update on Kris Boeckmans. What does Ian Boswell have in his Vuelta suit case?





TOP STORY: Tinkoff-Saxo 0 - Motos 2!
Can organizers of Vuelta a España guarantee a safe race? This is the question everybody involved in the sport of cycling should be asking after Sergio Paulinho was hit by a reckless TV motorcycle in the first kilometers of the Vuelta stage 11.

Exactly four days after Peter Sagan was hit and taken down by a neutral assistance motorbike, another Tinkoff-Saxo rider, Sergio Paulinho, is forced to abandon the Vuelta a España because of the reckless and unacceptable behavior of a TV motorbike.

According to Paulinho, he was alone at the front of the race as the peloton was set to tackle the first climb to the Collada de Beixalis summit, approximately three kilometers into the race. Just before the start of the ascent, Paulinho took a right turn at fast pace, rapidly approaching a TV motorbike that was in front of him, in the middle of the road, in breach of safety regulations. Just as Paulinho was reaching the motorbike, its driver did not make any apparent move to avoid the collision, continued on its course and hit Paulinho on his left leg.

The Tinkoff-Saxo rider didn't fall after the impact but kept on riding, with his left leg bleeding intensely after suffering a cut. In the heat of the battle, Paulinho rode away but as the bleeding wouldn't stop, he was attended by the race doctor, approximately at the sixth kilometer of the race. Paulinho had to lie down on the road as the race doctor applied the first staples on the wound, in an effort to close it. The Portuguese rider decided to continue racing and went back on his bike, trying to make it to the top of the climb.

However, the intense pain turned the climb into an ordeal for Paulinho, who was forced to abandon a few hundred meters before the stage's first summit. He was taken to the hospital in Andorra where the doctors applied six internal and eleven external stitches. The internal stitches were needed in order to close an artery that was affected by the hit. Paulinho will undergo further medical examinations and a complete medical report will be made public as soon as possible.

Given the seriousness of the two accidents that involved riders of Tinkoff-Saxo at the Vuelta a España, the team will consider whether it is safe to continue racing under the current arrangements.

This is the open letter the team sent before Sergio Paulinho was knocked off on stage 11:

Open letter related to the accident involving Peter Sagan at La Vuelta
Dear Mr. Guillen and Mr. Cookson,

Tinkoff Sport A/S as managing company of the Tinkoff Saxo professional team feels obliged to address the accident involving its rider, Peter Sagan, during the final kilometres of the 8th stage of La Vuelta a España when a neutral assistance motorcycle hit him from behind at very high speed causing his fall and consequent retirement from the race due to the severe injuries Peter Sagan sustained from the incident.

I believe the facts are clear and beyond discussion: the driver of the motorcycle carelessly and improperly tried to overtake the reduced peloton at very high speed about 8 km from the finish line apparently in an attempt to reach the leading three riders a few seconds in front.

It is clear that the driver should not have performed the overtaking of the peloton and - at a minimum –he failed to use adequate care in his attempt.

The crash at high speed could have had much more severe consequences for the rider who was defenceless against such an action by the motorcycle's driver.

Tinkoff - Saxo team and Peter Sagan, one of the highest profile riders in the peloton and a rider on which the team’s success in the Vuelta depended in large part, suffered direct and indirect damages because of the accident for which it would be only reasonable to seek proper indemnification from the responsible party/ies.

In the first instance, however, our team’s priority is that race organisers and other stakeholders learn from this incident and come up with concrete measures to promote the safety of the riders and create a better racing environment. At this stage, therefore, instead of starting an adverse process of litigation, Tinkoff Sport A/S requests the following actions to be implemented:

1. Unipublic as La Vuelta’s race organiser issue a public apology for the incident, something not done to date;

2. Whilst not seeing this as in any way as compensating for our loss, we propose that Unipublic offer a donation to a charity organization - to be named by Tinkoff Sport A/S in agreement with Peter Sagan - equal to the value of the prize for the Green Jersey victory, or suggest an alternative which acknowledges that as race organiser it has accountability for the safety of its event;

3. Unipublic take appropriate and concrete measures to prevent similar incidents in the remaining stages of the race and its future events;

4. Tinkoff Sport A/S requests that the Union Cycliste Internationale (Uci) revoke the fine to our rider for "behavior that damages the image of cycling". The team and Peter Sagan accept the other fine for the reaction Peter Sagan had after the crash but it is simply inappropriate to fine him for damaging the image of cycling under these circumstances;

5. We also request that the Uci initiate - in consultation with our and other teams’ representatives and other relevant stakeholders - a review of the rules regulating the admission to vehicles' drivers inside the race and the way vehicles are obliged to act while driving in the convoy and peloton, with the intent of implementing appropriate rules changes no later than the start of the 2016 race season.

Tinkoff Sport A/S hopes that all stakeholders can learn from the incident and that some of the requested measures can help to prevent similar unfortunate situations from happening again and to offer better protection of the safety of riders and ensure the fairness of a race.

We hope to hear from both Unipublic and Uci about the above requests during the course of La Vuelta and in any case by no later than the last day of La Vuelta on Sunday 13 September 2015. Tinkoff Sport A/S reserves its rights to initiate proceedings.

Kindest regards
Tinkoff Sport A/S.

Cortals d¥Encamp  - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff - Saxo visits the doctor  pictured during La Vuelta 2015 Stage 11 from  Andorra la Vella to Cortals d¥Encamp - photo IB/LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2015


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Vuelta a España 2015
Kristian Sbaragli (MTN-Qhubeka) outfoxed the rest of the bunch to snatch Stage 10 of the Vuelta ahead of favorite John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and Spain's Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar). Ideally set-up, the Italian launched his sprint from far out to upset his more renowned rivals and hand his MTN-QHubeka outfit their first stage victory in the Vuelta. Overall leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) worked hard in the finale to lead Degenkolb out and while failing to offer him a stage win, retained his red jersey.

Spain's Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural-seguros RGA) lost ground from the start as did former stage winner Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEDGE), both called it a day. From the bottom of the Puerto de coronet (Cat 3), 37 riders broke clear: Ian Boswell, Salvatore Puccio, Sergio Henao, Dario Cataldo (Sky), Mickael Cherel, Matteo Montaguti (AG2R-La Mondiale), Carlos Verona (Etixx - Quick-Step), Riccardo Zoidl (Trek), Eduard Vorganov, Tiago Machado (Katusha), Romain Hardy, Daniel Navarro (Cofidis), Darwin Atapuma, Amael Moinard, Peter Velits (BMC), Lawson Craddock (Giant-Alpecin), Tsgabu Grmay, Rubén Plaza (Lampre-Merida), George Bennett, Martijn Keizer (LottoNL-Jumbo), Luis León Sánchez (Astana), Lawrence Warbasse (IAM Cycling), Andrey Amador, Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Ángel Madrazo, Pello Bilbao, David Arroyo (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Stephen Cummings, Natnael Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka), Maxime Monfort, Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto Soudal), Rodolfo Torres, Carlos Quintero (Colombia), Davide Villella, Benjamin King (Cannondale-Garmin), Kenny Elissonde (FDJ.fr) and Cameron Meyer (Orica-GreenEDGE). They led the peloton by 2:30 after 44km.

Shortly before the summit, after 60 kilometers, Verona and Zoidl were leading the first group by 55 seconds with the pack 2:05 back. Everything got back to normal on the long flat section and the pack gradually pulled back all the escapees, the last of them being reeled in 48km from the line. A few kilometers earlier, Nico Roche (Sky), 4th overall, hit the tarmac before being brought back by his team-mates.

Several riders tried to escape, the most serious launched by Niki Terpstra (Etixx - Quick-Step). The Dutch champion stayed out front for 14km before being reined in by Alejandro Valverde's Movistar team-mates Erviti, Sutherland and Ventoso, who reached the intermediate sprint of Benicassim in that order.
The ascent of the Cat 2 Alto del Desierto de La Palmas split the pack again as Alessandro de Marchi (BMC) attacked, quickly joined by Romain Sicard (Europcar). Kenny Elissonde (FDJ.fr) caught them and went on his own with 20 km to go, he was first at the summit, but he was pulled back on the descent. Red jersey holder Tom Dumoulin himself took the reins of the peloton, working for John Degenkolb. The work paid off as the three were caught with 5 km to go. But in the finalé Degenkolb launched his sprint far too late to overcome the cunning Sbaragli, who gave his MTN-Qhubeka team their first Vuelta stage win. Degenkolb had to be content with second place ahead of Spain's Jose Joaquin Rojas (Movistar).

Read the full race report HERE.

Castellon  - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Kristian Sbaragli (MTN - Qhubeka)  pictured during La Vuelta 2015 Stage 10 from Valencia to Castellon - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2015

Stage winner, Kristian Sbaragli (MTN_Qhubeka): "After the last corner, I was in 10th position. There were lots of good sprinters around like Degenkolb, Impey, Rojas. I waited for the last 200 meters to start my sprint and it worked. I didn't want to start from too far. In stages like this, anything can happen. I had lots of 2nd, 3rd or 4th places. It's my first victory of the season and to get it in the Vuelta is just a dream. I was feeling alright. I knew that if I climb it regularly, I could make it. I also knew that if the favorites decided to speed up, it would be difficult. The team helped me a lot. I was able to take my chance and there it was. I rewarded their efforts. I won. I have been working since March and April for the Vuelta. For me, it's as important a race as the Tour or the Giro. I had to seize that opportunity and I did. I'm not happy. I'm super happy! I'm not a bunch sprinter. I had written down that stage, yesterday's too. I worked a lot on my weight, my resistance with our hampering my velocity. I'm no Greipel, Kittel or Cavendish. But I try to make the best of my level."

"I was hoping to do well, if not to win. It's never easy when you are at the start with riders who won Milan-San Remo or Grand Tour stage wins. I don't know if I was expecting to win but I was expecting to be a protagonist. The goal was to do something before the rest day because the mountain is coming. I hope to finish this Vuelta because I like to finish what I started. And since I'm not in the squad for the old championships, I hope to have another chance at the Madrid stage."

Overall leader, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): "I'm happy to still have the red jersey of course but the plan was to go for the win with John. Unfortunately, he got second. It's a shame. We needed all the guys to chase the breakaways and we didn't have anyone left for the lead-out. At least we had a sprint. We can be very proud of the way we rode today but it didn't work out for the win. I only pulled in the descent and I took some speed in the corners. Everybody was in pain in the descent. I don't think I lost more energy than anybody else. On the climb I was not at my limits. I still feel good.Can I win the Vuelta? I don't think so. But I didn't think I would win yesterday. Maybe I should stop thinking and go for it. Thats what I'm going to do on Wednesday."

Green jersey, Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE): "Today was a really fast stage. Between 40 and 50 kph. Another problem today was the humidity. It's like in Colombia. For me it's good but it's not so good for many other riders. But the most difficult part of today is the next stage, the transfer. Five hours in the bus. It will be very long. For now I'm happy. If people in the Giro in May had told me that I would win two stages in the Vuelta and hold the red jersey I couldn't believe it. We get to the rest day happy. Ready for the next round on Wednesday. Purito is crazy. A stage like Wednesday's should be held over two days! Seriously, me, Purito, Quintana, we're looking forward to this stage. Tomorrow is also important, we must pay attention to what we eat, how we rest, how we train. I hope to sleep 15 hours tomorrow!"

4th overall, Nicolas Roche (Sky): "Today I hurt myself. Yesterday I was lucky I just lost a little bit of skin. I limited the damage. Today I crashed hard and fast. We came into the corner full gas. The road was not wiped, there was sand and gravel, the wheel skidded out. It hurts everywhere."

6th overall, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “The collarbone is OK. But it hurts. The main concern is that the body could react to the crash and be blocked. I do not care (that Froome and Purito will go to Andorra by helicopter). I could go by helicopter but it's OK by car. They do it like this. Perfect. I drive."

Kenny Elissonde (FDJ.fr): "In the finale, there were lots of flat sections. But if we keep waiting for the sprints, we do nothing. I tried to go first in the group of 40 but we got caught. Then I waited for the climb. I had nothing to expect from a sprint so I went in the hill. It was fun and that's what matters. I hope there will be other chances. I won in 2013 and some very strong riders never win while others are more opportunists. It would be too simple if the strongest always won."

KOM, Omar Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): "It's a very intense Vuelta. We go fast everyday and today was again a crazy stage. Tomorrow we'll have a chance to rest at last. In the last climb I felt my efforts of yesterday. Wednesday I will have to attack or I'll lose the jersey."

Break rider, Carlos Verona (Etixx - Quick-Step): “We went full gas from the beginning. We jumped in the third category climb. There were 38 of us but there was no cooperation. I tried several times until we went with Zoidl. We took a one-minute lead but there was a headwind ahead. Behind us there were many attacks and in the end the peloton pulled us back. Then there were attempts but we finally finished together. We have no sprinter or any overall leader. We must try to prove ourselves, a stage win is the goal. We now focus on the mountain. We hope to cause a lot of trouble to the rest. "

Vuelta a España Stage 10 Result:
1. Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN-Qhubeka in 3:12:43
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Giant-Alpecin
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Movistar
4. Tosh Van Der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. José Gonçalves (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-GreenEDGE
8. Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEDGE
9. Pieter Serry (Bel) Etixx - Quick-Step
10. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 10 Result:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin in 38:34:56
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 0:57
3. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:59
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) Sky at 1:07
5. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:13
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:17
7. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
8. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 1:18
9. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:47
10. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:52.

Stage 10:



Read Ed Hood's Rest Day Round-Up HERE.
Vuelta a España Rest Day Quotes:

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): "I am doing well. Yesterday we had a long transfer to the hotel, so we got to bed late. Today is an easy day. We went for a short ride to Andorra, which was nice. I am very satisfied with the course of the race so far, as it has turned out far above my expectations. Especially my stage win was unbelievable and very special for me. Also the red jersey is great and a really nice bonus. If someone would have told me two weeks ago that I would win a stage with an uphill finish and have the leader’s jersey on the first rest day, I would have said he was insane. Tomorrow we will have the hardest stage of this Vuelta, and at the finish we will know more. Normally I would say that it is too much for me, but stage 9 was also not typical, so we will see. We showed yesterday and the days before yesterday that we have a strong team that takes responsibility as well, and we can be proud of that. We will fight for it and go full gas to the finish line, and then we can draw conclusions."

Nairo Quintana (Movistar): “I think that tomorrow's stage would have been better for me in another point of the season. It's the hardest in the Vuelta, no doubt; we came here after a Tour that squeezed the best out of us and we're reaching this point of the season tired, but that's mostly everyone's situation. The important thing here is that we're both ready to keep pushing, in a stage that suits us both and, should we find good legs tomorrow, we'll try to please the fans. We'll try to offer the best of us two. We're still waiting to see how my body evolves, since I had never ridden this 'double' and it's being difficult. I kept defending myself until this point and mountains are really coming tomorrow - hope they're calling for me. It's possible to take advantage of the fact that we're two against the rest, who are mainly by themselves in the hardest situation. We're not as fresh as we were in the Tour, but I hope we can profit from this advantage to make up some time, which could be really god before the TT in Burgos. One of the strongest could be Aru. He could rest after the Giro, a race that allows you to peak twice over the season, and I think he'll be faring well. We also saw Chris Froome doing better, and his team will fight strong; we'll pay attention to Dumoulin, who has surprised everyone with his level up to the date; and Purito, riding on home roads, over a stage he designed himself."

Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “There weren't any stages where we could plan any strategy; now there will be many where we can play with attacks by one or the another, and try something different, whereas the race so far was pushing with the power we could into the last climb. My injury? Well, even though it could be better, but on the bike, I can't complain. When not sitting on the saddle, I can stand the pain, and I hope it won't be a problem for tomorrow. What really hurts me is raising my arm over my shoulder, that's what makes me suffer the most right now. I have no bruises, but the crash was really hard. Still, we mustn't make up any excuses: we're confident about our chances, both of us are doing well, and we'll fight for success. Tomorrow's stage is really impressive, a really hard one if you're at 100%, actually. Also, after a rest day we all know that the body reacts quite unpredictably, even more so after a long transfer yesterday, going to bed late, and resting at high altitude, which is not ideal for your body. Many things will affect everyone's performance tomorrow."

John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin): "I am doing fine at the moment, enjoying the rest day and trying to recover and relax as much as possible. We have had a nice Vuelta so far with the success of Tom and the team, and spirits are really good. I’m a bit sad that my stage victory is still missing. I was really close a few times, but I am confident that the win will come. I am feeling better and better, which is also a good sign ahead of next month’s world championships. Now a lot of climbing is coming up, so I’ll just have to survive. After that there will be some sprint opportunities as well, and we hope to win more stages. There will be opportunities until the closing stage in Madrid, which we won last year."

Mikel Landa (Astana): "A big part of the Vuelta remains, including the hardest stages. I would like the opportunity to fight for a stage and support Fabio (Aru). If I can be in front in the mountain stages, it would save the Vuelta and meet my expectations. He (Aru) is a candidate to win the Vuelta and must be supported. So far, these finales did not favor him. He looks good with a good pedaling and has the freshness of not having done the Tour. I think we can fight for victory. Of course it was a setback to lose those two riders so early. Nibali is a leader and Tiralongo is our road captain. It was a shame. Yesterday I suffered. On Sunday, I tried to save some energy once I realized I could not keep up with the best. Of course I would have liked to be there at least until Andorra but my doubts have been confirmed. I could not reach my Giro level and I'm actually very far from that."

Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo): “For sure, this will be a very important stage for me (Wednesday). We want to improve my position in the general classification but there is no easy way of doing this. With five very hard and steep climbs you can lose a lot of time if you have a bad day. The stage is just after the rest day, so I have to keep the rhythm and my legs spinning tomorrow and try to rest as much as possible at the same time. It has been a hot and hard Vuelta so far, today I felt okay and we will try our best on Wednesday.”

Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale): "I'm satisfied with my first ten days at the Vuelta," Pozzovivo said. "The sensations are good and I am where I wanted to be. The team really did a great job and I thank everyone. Now I know that another race starts with long climbs that suit me better. Wednesday's stage to Andorra will be the hardest stage I have ever done in a Grand Tour."

Jérôme Coppel (IAM Cycling): "We must also look on the positive side of things. I know that I am getting stronger every day here, and these signals bode well for the rest of the Vuelta for me. We will now tackle the high mountain stages, and I hope to be able to shine on that sort of terrain that is typically much more favorable to my strengths. Before thinking about those stages later in the week, we have the first rest day, which will be very good for us before we attack another difficult week.”

IAM Cycling DS, Eddy Seigneur: “Looking at the balance sheet, we obviously are not on the positive side, losing riders in crashes is sometimes a part of being in a grand tour, but it is still an unhappy fact and painful to digest. We tried to be in the breakaways, but we have not always managed to find the right opening to slide in. However, now I feel that our riders are rediscovering their form, especially Jérôme Coppel. He showed fine skills in Monday’s stage, and this gives us real hope for the future.”

The Giant-Alpecin team celebrate on the rest day:
Cumbre del Sol Benitachell  - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Zico Waeytens (Team Giant - Alpecin) enjoys the podium ceremony of his teammate Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant - Alpecin)  pictured during La Vuelta 2015 Stage 9 from  Torrevieja to Cumbre del Sol Benitachell - photo Cor Vos/Miwa IIJIIMA © 2015


Team Astana stunned the Vuelta in Andorra by winning the queen Stage 11 thanks to Spain's Mikel Landa while Italy's Fabio Aru emerged as the most convincing of the GC contenders, finishing second in the stage to seize the overall lead. While the "mythical stage" with its six climbs and 5,000 meters elevation did not crown the future winner, it did ruin the chances of Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who finished 8:40 behind Landa. Movistar's Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana also lost precious ground. By contrast, Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), who designed the stage, limited the damage by remaining second overall, 20 seconds behind Giro d'Italia runner-up Aru. Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), the red jersey at the start, resisted bravely to remain on the overall podium, 30 seconds behind the Italian.

After a nervous start, the first race incident was the crash suffered by Chris Froome (Sky), who hit the tarmac on the outskirts of Encamp (6km). The Tour de France champion managed to work his way back into the peloton, which split in the first climb of the day, la Collada de Beixalis, reached in front by polka-dot jersey holder Omar Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Romain Sicard (Europcar). The two were part of a 19-man bunch which broke clear: Ian Boswell (Sky), Mikael Cherel (AG2R-La Mondiale), Matteo Montaguti (AG2R), Mikel Landa (Astana), Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Omar Fraile (Caja Rural), Jose Gonçalves (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Cyril Lemoine (Cofidis), Carlos Verona (Etixx - Quick-Step), Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling), Ruben Plaza & Nelson Oliveira (Lampre-Merida), Javier Moreno & Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Damien Howson (Orica-GreenEDGE), Romain Sicard (Europcar), Alberto Losada (Katusha), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Pawel Poljanski (Tinkoff-Saxo).

On the second ascent, Coll d'Ordino, Fraile continued collecting KOM points even though he came only second behind Ruben Plaza. In the descent, the gap over the peloton went over 3 minutes as Imanol Erviti went solo to lead his former companions by nearly a minute at the top of the 1st category Coll de la Rabassa (72km), ahead of Fraile and Plaza. The Movistar rider was caught back on the descent by Montaguti, Hardy and the rest of the group. The pack, led by Sky, maintained the gap at around 4:30.
The grueling Collada de la Gallina saw the leading group break up due to attacks by Sicard and Coppel. With 44 km to go, Mikel Landa attacked as his Astana team-mates started taking turns at the front of the peloton. Their acceleration left Chris Froome drifting at the back as his team-mate Nicolas Roche also lost ground. At the top, the remaining escapees were led by Fraile ahead of Landa, Atapuma, Sicard, Boswell, Oliveira and Poljanski. The peloton was 3:50 behind and Froome, with only Geraint Thomas left by his side, nearly 2:45 further back.

The GC race really started when Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Dani Moreno (Katusha) attacked with Losada and Erviti. Behind them, Fabio Aru (Astana), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE) also broke with the pack, leaving red jersey Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) trapped at the back. But the Dutchman closed the gap with the help of Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale).

Landa came first at the top of the 2nd category Alto de la Comella, the penultimate climb in the stage, ahead of Boswell, Oliveira, Sicard and Poljanski. The five tackled the last climb with a two-minute lead over the peloton. Landa surged from the bottom, leaving his four companions in the dust.

In the meantime, Fabio Aru jumped from the peloton with 8 km to go, taking Rodriguez and Moreno with him. Quintana and Valverde were caught off-guard. Dumoulin and Chaves struggled to keep with the two Movistar leaders. Aru went up another gear 5km from the line, dropping the two Katusha leaders. Behind them, Quintana faltered while Valverde struggled to stay in the wheels of Dumoulin and Chaves, the first week sensations, who bravely limited the damage. Aru finished second, 1:21 behind Landa for an Astana one-two reminiscent of the last Giro d'Italia in which the Kazakh team also stole the show. Boswell was third 1:38 adrift ahead of Rodriguez and Moreno, who crossed the line just under two minutes behind Landa.

Read the full race report HERE.

Cortals d¥Encamp  - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Mikel Landa (Astana) pictured during La Vuelta 2015 Stage 11 from  Andorra la Vella to Cortals d¥Encamp - photo IB/LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2015

Stage winner, Mikel Landa (Astana): "What's for sure is that I dreamt of it. I had bad days in this Vuelta and today I had my chance so I had to give it my all to take advantage of this moment. To be honest it was a little up and down for me. There were quite a lot of riders so it was difficult to cooperate. My team were pulling hard behind us and I knew the gap at the bottom of the last climb would be small. I didn't want that to happen so I went. I was maybe a little bit too anxious to do well and be at my best and I got nervous when I realized I could not make it. Yes, of course. I had my reward and I can now focus on helping Fabio Aru keep the red jersey. It's now my mission."

2nd on the stage and overall leader, Fabio Aru (Astana): "They were 140 very hard kilometers. At the start, we discussed that we would need to put Mikel (Landa) in the breakaway. He rode a very brave race at the front and he got a wonderful victory. I’m very happy for him because we already helped each other at the Giro. He’s a tough guy, very talented, and he deserves this victory. All the other guys helped me today: Vanotti, Zeits, Cataldo, Rosa, Luis Leon (Sanchez). All of them were perfect. I want to thank them for their work the whole day. I was going for my own race. When I saw the others looking at each other, I attacked with the idea to give it all until the finish line. It was 10 very painful kilometers. The whole stage was super hard. I attacked with eight kilometres to go and when I saw that Rodriguez and Moreno made it back, I attacked again. I wasn’t expecting that kind of result. I worked a lot for this. We were a bit unlucky in the first days, we lost Vincenzo (Nibali), we lost Paolo (Tiralongo). But it gave us the will to do good today. We showed we’re a great team, even with two guys down. We’ve been racing a very hard stage, with Mikel ahead. Hats off to Astana. We tried to make the race harder. And it was. It was the hardest stage in all the grand Tours that I rode. Really the hardest. I had never ridden a stage like this. The race is far from over. There are still a lot of days and still a lot of great riders for whom I have a lot of respect. I have to look at the GC to see where we stand. But first I need to rest. I worked very well since the Giro. I made the Vuelta my goal. Spain is a country I like a lot. I'm friends with many Spanish riders and the public likes me. It's always a pleasure to ride here."

White jersey, Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): "I give myself seven out of 10 today. It was good but not special. I didn't surprise myself like in the stage that I won but I still think I did very well. I did a mistake at the top of Collada de la Gallina. I lost my position by putting my jacket on. I was behind the gap and I had to spend a lot of energy. We had to ride very hard on the 2nd category climb to come back on the GC leaders. That was a mistake. I don't know if I proved anything. It just feels good to be up there with the best on this very hard day. Actually I was surprised. I imagined it would be even harder. I was not as hard as I thought it would be. I was quite nice. I've had harder days in my life."

Green jersey, Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEDGE): "I'm happy with my final climb. But then Astana showed top form today which reminded me of the Giro d'Italia. Congratulations to Aru and Astana. We stay in the top 10 in the GC, I don't know exactly where but we're really happy and excited. Today in the final climb, I tried to race with the head and not with the heart. Finally, it's better. We did not lose so many seconds to Aru or Purito. We're still there. It's an amazing feeling today."

KOM, Omar Fraile (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “It was a very, very difficult day. You just have to see how everyone has come to the finish: dead. We must be happy. Things have worked and now its time to recover. Tomorrow will be another day. For me the goal today was to score 30 points, and I have scored more than 30 points, so I'm satisfied. I said this day would be the key. Now we have it, and with a good result. Now it's time to think about the jersey. I'll need to use the calculator. I think with a couple of stages with a pair of first category climbs it could be done."

5th on the stage and 2nd overall, Joaquim Rodríguez (Katusha): “There were more attacks than expected. Movistar wanted to toughen the race from the first climb. Aru was extremely courageous, I was able to follow him first but when he went with 6 km to go, I could take no more. Dani helped me a lot. We lost time on Aru but we took some off the others. It’s been a very hard Vuelta. It's time to recover. I passed Dumoulin but there is much more to be done still. Movistar suffered but we also suffered. Here we all suffer."

Chris Froome (Sky): "All I could do was ride at my own speed after the crash. I'm in quite a lot of pain at the moment. I'm going to get checked up by the medical staff and take it from there. That crash did take quite a lot out of me. From then on I just tried to hang on for dear life. I convinced myself just to get to the finish. My team-mates did a great job to help me stay in the race. It's good to hear that Mikel Nieve and Ian Boswell were up front and it gave me a lot of morale to keep pushing on."

Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale): "It was one of the hardest stages I've ridden. Moreover I was not on a good day. I go caught in a split in the descent of the Collada de la Gallina, I had to work hard to get back and I paid the price. Yes, I'm afraid it's over for the GC. I'm afraid I'm too far off."

10th overall, Louis Meintjes (MTN-Qhubeka): "It was a pretty epic stage. Luckily it was mostly dry. I had a bit of a misfortune on the first climb with my chain getting stuck. Johann and Jaco did an awesome job to keep me in the race. It was just a big day and I managed to stay with the front guys. I gave it everything up the last climb, but it was just 2 kilometers too long."

Jérôme Coppel (IAM Cycling): “We were told in the briefing this morning that we had to join any break that had a good number of riders. When several riders took off, I knew I was in the right move, and I went with them. Immediately I saw that Landa was very strong, so we knew that it was going to be very complicated. At one point, I simply could no longer keep up. I was almost cramping at the end. I clung to the group of favorites until the finish. I am still not 100%, but I am feeling my best sensations coming back gradually. So I have high hopes for the stages still to come. But on a day like this, it is always better to be at the front, not only for morale, but also for the team. Success has been a stranger in our camp since the start of the Vuelta, so we are trying hard to change that. In the pack, it was a brawl from the first kilometers, and it never stopped. I have never raced a stage this hard in my life. Luckily, we were pretty fortunate with the weather. It was hard, but it is also certainly something we will remember for a long time.”

George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo): "It was a very difficult stage. On the first climb I make a tactical error, I jumped too often, and thus missed the right escape. After the descent, I closed gap in the valley to the leading group. That cost a lot of energy. At the foot of the Gallina, I had a bad moment and I was dropped by the breakaway. I was caught by a large group of GC riders, but on the final climb I was completely empty. I am disappointed but also happy with the strength in my legs. I will keep my focus on the right breakaway in the coming days, and then we'll see where this ends.”

Vuelta a España Stage 11 Result:
1. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Astana at 4:34:54
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 1:22
3. Ian Boswell (USA) Sky at 1:40
4. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 1:57
5. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 1:59
6. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 2:10
7. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky
8. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 2:59
9. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin
10. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana at 3:02.

Vuelta a España Overall After Stage 11 Result:
1. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana in 43:12:19
2. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 0:27
3. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin at 0:30
4. Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1:28
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) Orica-GreenEDGE at 1:29
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:52
7. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha at 1:54
8. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 1:58
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 3:07
10. Louis Meintjes (RSA) MTN-Qhubeka at 4:15.

Stage 11:



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Tour de l'Avenir 2015
Movistar Team rider claims brilliant win in Europe's most prestigious U23 stage race after exhibition in Beau Plan climb on Friday, bearing rivals' attacks in Mollard / Croix-de-Fer on Saturday
There couldn't be a better end to Marc Soler's first pro season as the Movistar Team rider confirmed himself as one of the biggest hopefuls in the international under-23 scene by conquering the Tour de l'Avenir, the prestigious eight-day stage race towards the French Alps, whose 2015 edition included a demanding, opening TT in Tonnerre where he took 10th place, three flat stages dominated by breakaways and four stages of big mountains, the latter three witnessing big performances from Soler, who took over the lead on Friday.

After finishing 3rd on Thursday's La Rosière ascent, a sensational climb towards Beau Plan (Cat-1) by the Catalan allrounder saw him surging against all main favorites on day seven, taking 2nd in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne behind escapee Elie Gesbert (FRA) and amassing a solid, one-minute gap over De Plus (BEL) he tried to keep against a flurry of attacks on Saturday. The showdown, only 93km yet with four rated climbs including the Mollard and Croix-de-Fer, brought an early attack by Sebastián Henao (COL), who reached a 3' gap over Soler's group. However, Marc's tenacity and calmness, with well-timed moves to counter all attacks, brought him back to the front of the race into the Montée des Bottières, where he defended himself perfectly against Australian Jack Haig (2nd overall). A third place over the line was enough for the win.

Soler has become the third Movistar Team rider in its current roster to have won the Tour de l'Avenir overall, behind Nairo Quintana (2010) and Rubén Fernández (2013), taking another step in a brilliant career that has seen him debuting in the WorldTour ranks in 2015 after fantastic performances within the amateurs during the two previous seasons.

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Marc Soler (Spain & Movistar): “I'm really happy to have crowned this week and staying strong after such an effort on Friday. The national team was really good all race, with everyone doing a good job at the front of the bunch or into breakaways - they really were an important part of my success. I really suffered today on the final climb to Bottières. At the Croix-de-Fer, I kept calm: Henao only had a minute and a half left of his original gap, around 2'40", and I knew he would be losing energy. I just had to complete the descent and go for it into the last two climbs.

"Dutchman Oomen attacked into the flat before the Lacets de Montvernier, four or five riders made moves afterwards and I had to jump after them into the climb to secure my lead. Haig came from behind, and Mamykin and him kept a furious pace in the finale, which I almost couldn't keep. I only had to follow their wheels, but it was tremendous.

"With days like this, you can't forget everyone who supported you towards the top, starting with Velosprint, CC Mollet and Huesca La Magia clubs as a youth rider, then with Manolo Azcona and Lizarte as under-23 and, obviously, Eusebio and Movistar Team, who gave me a chance to be a pro with them. Also my family, girlfriend and friends, all of the people working hard out of the spotlight so I can enjoy this sport, and all those hours I had to spend on the saddle to reach this victory. I hope we can build on this.

"Now it's time to enjoy the victory and complete the season. As the Worlds' rules are different from in the Nations Cup, I won't be racing the U23 championships, so I'm waiting for Eusebio to decide which races I'll be enjoying the end of this debut year."

Tour de l'Avenir Final Overall Result:
1. Marc Soler Gimenez (Spa) Spain in 24:58:14
2. Jack Haig (Aus) Australia at 1:09
3. Matvey Mamykin (Rus) Russian Federation at 2:50
4. Sam Oomen (Ned) Netherlands at 3:18
5. Simone Petilli (Ita) Italy at 3:23
6. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Italy at 3:56
7. Sindre Lunke (Nor) Norway at 5:12
8. Laurens De Plus (Bel) Belgium at 6:12
9. Sebastian Henao (Col) Colombia at 6:56
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) France at 7:25.

Tour de l'Avenir stage 3:



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Schaal Sels 2015
Robin Stenuit has won the 90th edition of the Schaal Sels. After the 195,6 kilometer long race in and around Merksem, Stenuit beat Olivier Naesen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) in a sprint á deux. "Winning a 1.1-race as a stagiaire for Wanty-Groupe Gobert is the best thing that could have happened to me," Stenuit beamed after the finish.

With a course that included 33 cobbled sections and 19 unpaved roads, it wasn't to be an easy day out on Sunday in Belgium. Out of the 152 riders, only 19 finished. "It was a great course. Something completely different from the flat courses we ride normally," the winner of the Mémorial Van Coningsloo (UCI 1.2) declared.

One of the most memorable moments of the cycling year was the neutralization of the race. "The commissaire's car got stuck in a cornfield. The organization didn't have much luck with that but they aren't really to blame, I think. They offered us a great parcours and I hope to see the race continue in this form," Stenuit declared.

After the 40-minute interruption the race restarted. A 16-rider strong group escaped from the peloton including Wanty-Groupe Gobert's Robin Stenuit. He had to take on a very strong Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise who had four men up front. "I thought this wouldn't end well because the Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise riders are real warriors," Stenuit declared.

At 70 kilometres from the finish Jelle Wallays tried his luck and Stenuit initially tried to follow. "It was very clear this wasn't a rider I should let go. He is good with these sort of long escapes though we didn't have any information at that moment how far it would be. I had no idea it was still such a long way to the line," Stenuit admits.

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From the background riders came back and Wallays tried again. On the local laps it was Stenuit riding away with Oliver Naesen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). "I knew the attack stood a chance if it included a Topsport rider." Eventually the two stayed away and it became a sprint á deux which Wanty-Groupe Gobert's stagiaire won. "We looked at each other. I knew he was fast so I started my sprint. He didn't succeed in passing me anymore."

Robin Stenuit's victory is Wanty-Groupe Gobert's seventh of the season and the third this week! Last Sunday Bjorn Leukemans won the GP Jef Scherens and on Wednesday it was Jérôme Baugnies taking victory in the Druivenkoers. "We are in a good vibe at the moment. The negative phase we were in at the start of the season has finally changed. Today it's another rider again who imposes. It shows the depth of our team," sports director Steven De Neef concluded.

Schaal Sels Result:
1. Robin Stenuit (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 4:46:39
2. Oliver Naesen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Tim Merlier (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 0:04
4. Tim Ariesen (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels
5. Kevin Ista (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
6. Ralf Matzka (Ger) Bora-Argon 18
7. Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Gorik Gardwyn (Bel) Veranclassic-Ekoi at 0:13
9. Edward Theuns (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:16
10. Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Cibel.

Schaal Sels:



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Update Kris Boeckmans
By reducing the sedative medication the doctors tried to take Kris Boeckmans out of the induced coma. The lung injuries (pneumothorax, laceration of the lung, bleeding of the lung and swollen pulmonary tissue) made it too difficult for Kris to sufficiently breathe independently, so he was placed in an induced coma again, this will certainly remain the case for the next seven days.

Nonetheless, the situation is stable. These injuries are the consequence of the impact on the chest. At the moment the swollen pulmonary tissue prevents an intake of oxygen via the alveoli. This swelling has to disappear slowly in a natural way. The bleeding in the lungs is kept under control by a drain which was already introduced in the thorax earlier.

The family of Kris wants to thank everybody for the many messages of support of the previous days. They choose to remain on the background and not to answer any questions.

Lotto Soudal and the family want to ask the media to distance themselves from information that isn’t spread by the team, this to avoid wrong information. The attending doctors, team doctor Servaas Bingé and the family keep a close contact. Lotto Soudal will always give first-hand information when there is an evolution or when an update is necessary.

Kris Boeckmans:
stage 1 of 4e World Ports Classic -2


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Van Garderen Aims To Come Back Stronger
Tejay van Garderen said he is fortunate he was not more seriously hurt during a crash Saturday that knocked him out of the Vuelta a España on Stage 8. Van Garderen broke his right shoulder and suffered other injuries which will prevent him from helping the BMC Racing Team defend its world team time trial championship in Richmond, Virginia, next month.

"I am really disappointed because I think I was prepared to do well in this Vuelta - and above all for my worlds preparation," he said. "But I am also thinking it could be worst. So now my thinking is to recover well and come back mentally stronger."

BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said van Garderen fractured the head of his right humerus when he was involved in a large crash with about 50 kilometers to go in Saturday's race. Van Garderen also has a contusion on the right side of his chest and he bruised his right lung, Testa said.

"He did not break a rib, but in the impact, he had a high speed blow to his lung," Testa said. "The hospital will keep him overnight and Sunday morning, they will re-check if everything is good. As soon as he is able to travel, he will come back to the United States where we can make a plan for his recovery."

Van Garderen is the second BMC Racing Team rider to succumb to injury at the Vuelta. Marcus Burghardt was unable to start Monday's stage after crashing and hurting his left knee and face on Sunday's Stage 2.

Tejay van Garderen:
La Vuelta 2015 stage-2


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BORA – ARGON 18 signs Gregor Mühlberger
Gregor Mühlberger, currently stagiaire at BORA – ARGON 18, signed a two-year professional contract with the German team from 2016 on. The 21-year-old Austrian recently underlined his qualities by taking over the yellow jersey at the World’s most important U23 stage race – the Tour de l'Avenir. Other results of the season include the win of the Tour of Upper Austria, the Friedensfahrt and the Austrian U23 time trial championships. Mühlberger is another talented tour rider from the German-speaking countries who will line-up at BORA – ARGON 18 next season. Among his future teammates are fellow Austrian Patrick Konrad (23 years), the German champion Emanuel Buchmann (22 years) and newly signed Silvio Herklotz (21 years old).

"Without doubt, Gregor belongs to the most talented stage race riders in the U23 category and therefore we are pleased to welcome him at BORA – ARGON 18. Last year, we recommended him to ride one more year in the U23 and this decision paid off. Gregor has further developed his extraordinary qualities. He can climb, is strong in time trials and also quite experienced tactically given his young age. For him, the transition to us will be a smooth one because he got to know the team and our processes already as a stagiaire in the last two years", Ralph Denk, Team Manager of BORA – ARGON 18, comments the signing.

Gregor Mühlberger:
mühlberger-bora-argon18-920


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Bianchi Extends Sponsorship and Cooperation with Lotto.NL-Jumbo
Bianchi continues to be in the UCI WorldTour also in 2016 with Team Lotto.NL-Jumbo. Bianchi will uniquely supply the team with four different carbon racing models: one bike for each of four different conditions to provide maximum performance. The team will be equipped with Oltre XR2 – Bianchi’s aerodynamic, light and super stiff racing frame, Infinito CV – the ideal bike for the Classics, Aquila CV for TT races and the new-born Specialissima for the riders who need a ultralight frame with maximum control in descents. All three models Infinito CV, Aquila CV and Specialissima features the exclusive Bianchi CV system with patented Countervail carbon material.

Bianchi and Team LottoNL-Jumbo lifted the option for 2016 and added the intention to move forward in 2017. Bianchi's partnership with the Dutch WorldTour team (former Team Belkin) started in 2014 providing positive results during the cobblestone Spring Classics and several victories including a thrilling win in stage 5 of the 2014 Tour de France. 2015 saw a solid performance of Team Lotto.NL starting with a 7th final position in the GC of the Giro d'Italia with Steven Kruijswijk. Lotto-Jumbo was in action again at the Tour de France with Robert Gesink finishing 6th overall while the whole team performed impressively in the second half of the season on several TT races. A close cooperation within the team and Bianchi led the way to important victories on the Aquila CV frame platform in the Dutch TT National Championship, Eneco Tour, Tour de l'Ain and the podium in Tour of Poland's final ITT.

"Bianchi has already gained an incredible amount of feedback and cooperation from the Team that has contributed to the increased performance of our models", Bianchi CEO Bob Ippolito said. "We will continue to closely collaborate with LottoNL-Jumbo’s riders and performance staff in the coming seasons to test and further develop our current and new racing products".

Team LottoNL-Jumbo's General Manager Richard Plugge is very happy Bianchi has lifted the option: "The last two years we have build a great cooperation. A result is the Aquila CV being one of the best time trial bikes in the peloton. We also worked closely on building a new bike for our climbers, the Specialissima. It proves there is a perfect fit between the two companies being both innovative with great team-spirit."

LottoNL-Jumbo's Bianchi bikes:
La Vuelta 2015 stage-6


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Etixx - Quick-Step Extends Contract with Gianluca Brambilla
Etixx - Quick-Step Team announces that Gianluca Brambilla has extended his contract with the team for the next two seasons (2016-2017).

Brambilla, who has already been with the team for three years, has stood out for his skills as a climber in some of the major races on the calendar; he’s also proven to be an important team player. After foregoing the Giro d’Italia due to a fractured clavicle suffered in a fall at Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Brambilla is currently riding in La Vuelta, where, at the end of the first 10 stages, he is in 14th place.

“I’m very happy for the trust that the team, and Patrick Lefevere, have placed in me,” said Brambilla, who turned 28 just a few days ago. “These three years with the team have been splendid, and full of satisfaction on both a professional and human level. Here I’ve found a great group and a highly professional atmosphere, with a work ethic that I really like. I’ve found my place on this team and I know what they expect from me. The fact that we’ve renewed for another two years signifies that the feeling is mutual. My objective is to continue my process of maturing on a professional level, putting myself at the service of the team and – why not? – if I get the chance, to even try to achieve individual success.”

“Gianluca is a guy who has proven to have great professional and human skills,” said CEO Patrick Lefevere. “Throughout these years he has managed to forge an important role for himself on the team, and he has become a fundamental element to the team in stage races. Gianluca is a consistent athlete who knows how to ride in support of his teammates, but he can also ride his own race and is ready to take on more responsibility when called on to do so. This makes him an important team player whom we hope will also soon be able to achieve the satisfaction of an individual victory with our team jersey.”

Gianluca Brambilla:
Tour of Spain 2014 stage - 15


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Uran for Cannondale-Garmin
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced that Rigoberto Uran will join the team in 2016.
An Olympic Silver Medalist (2012 Road Race), Uran has twice stood on the podium of the Giro d’Italia with two second overall finishes as well as stage wins (2013 and 2014). In 2012, Uran won the white jersey for best young rider at the Giro and finished seventh overall. He is the 2015 Columbian National Time Trial Champion, and finished third overall in the 2015 Tirreno-Adriatico.

Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, said: “Rigo is a leader not just for his excellent skills on the road, but for his charisma. He brings style and passion to racing and he will be a huge asset to the team. Rigo has one more step to climb in the Giro and I will put my heart into helping make that happen. We are very excited to add him to our 2016 line up.”

Rigoberto Uran:
Rigoberto Urán Etixx Quick Step Time Trial National Championchip 2015, Rionegro Antioquia Colombia.


Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
Meintjes for Lampre-Merida in 2016
The climber of the future comes from South Africa who will be wearing the Blue-Fuchsia-Green colors from 2016. Team Lampre-Merida are proud to announce the signing of Louis Meintjes, cyclist born in Pretoria (South Africa) on 21 February 1992.

Silver medalist in the 2013 World championships in Florence, the young South African turned professional in 2013, his talent was first noticed when winning both the road race and time trial in the national championships as a junior in 2010, and having ridden in the amateur ranks with both Crabbe in Lot-Benison U23 where he won two titles in the national time trial in 2012-2013 and the road race in 2013 as well as the time trial victory at the tour of Korea, his debut in a World tour race was il lombardia in 2013 finishing 52nd.

2014 was a year of memorable results winning the national championship road race as well as a stage at the tour of Mzansi, best young riders jersey at the tour of Trentino and his debut to grand tour races when he raced in the Vuelta a Espana.

In 2015 Meintjes won both the African championships road race as well as the best young riders jersey in the Tour of Oman, the 4th stage and overall classification in the Coppi e Bartoli and an impressive 5th place in the 12th difficult stage of the Tour de France.

He's 10th in the overall classification of the Vuelta a Espana after 11 stages.

Meintjes having chosen to associate himself with team Lampre-Merida for the next two years is something of great satisfaction for the team, once again recognition for investing in young talented riders, with him being one of the promising climbers in world cycling for the future.

Confirmation of the South African cyclist for the teams roster means having two African riders on the team, together with the Ethiopian national champion Tsgabu Grmay Gebremaryam, highlights the fact that the team manager Brent Copeland believes in the fact of investing in riders from different cultures.

This is the comment by Meintjes: “I’m really excited to be taking this step up to the world tour level with team Lampre-Merida for the next two seasons. I think it will bring with it lots of new opportunities and the possibility to learn from a very experienced team. One of the reasons I decided on going to an Italian based team is because Italy has become my home away from home.

Motivation is super high and can't wait for 2016, also for trying to give satisfactions to LAMPRE-MERIDA, to the team manager Brent Copeland and to Giuseppe Saronni, to Galbusera family from Lampre company and to Merida company: they demonstrated high confidence in my qualities.

I also have to thank Doug Ryder, MTN- Qhubeka and all the partners who gave me the chance to race the past few years in Europe without them I wouldn't be where I am today. It's been a great experience and I really wish the team all the best for the future. The experience with them has left me with great friends and lasting memories".

“Louis is a rider we have always kept a close eye on, we believe in his talent and know that his future career will be one of great value - Brent Copeland, LAMPRE-MERIDA’s team manager, explained - Meintjes will have his space to grow at Lampre-Merida and with our technical staff’s immense experience in working with young talented riders such as Louis, will certainly contribute to bringing important results to himself and the team.

We believe he is a complete rider and probably one of the most promising GC riders in the peloton for the future, being a natural climber as well as an excellent time trialist, therefore this the area where we will be concentrating on working with Louis. I have personally worked with the well educated and respectful Louis in the past and know his ability, although he has already shown the cycling world what he can do, we believe he still has a huge margin of improvement and this makes it even more exciting for all of us to be working with him in the future”

Louis Meintjes:
Plateau de Beille - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Louis Meintjes (Team Mtn Qhubeka)  pictured during  le Tour de France 2015 - stage 12 - from Lannemezan to Plateau de Beille - on thursday 16-07-2015 - 195 KM - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2015


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What's In A Pro Cyclist's Suitcase?
Team Sky's Ian Boswell shows the guys at GCN what he has in his suit case for la Vuelta a España:








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