Cycling News


Txurruka returns to the peloton via Velon
February 15, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
With no contact forthcoming at the end of the 2016 season, Amets Txurruka refused to give up on his career as a professional cyclist. The 35-year-old strived to keep his career going and only announced his retirement in May last year. Txurruka has since found a new place in the professional world of cycling with Velon. The Basque rider turned professional with Barloworld in 2006 before spending the bulk of his career with Euskaltel-Euskadi. A four stint with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA followed with his final season spent on Orica-GreenEdge. His last race was Il Lombardia where he helped Esteban Chaves to victory in the autumn of 2016.ADVERTISEMENT Across the Australian summer of 2018, Chaves was one of several former teammates Txurruka was again working alongside. Albeit in his new role with Velon at the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. As an ex-rider, Txurruka provides Velon with a wealth of knowledge and contacts within the sport from his riding career. Two key components in him joining Velon as he told Cyclingnews. "They called me because there was a guy I knew and they needed someone to work with them," said Txurruka who's first worked with Velon in June last year. "In the beginning it was hard. I didn't know the work. They didn't know me. For me, it is much easier now because I know all the team, the mechanics and it is good that I know all guys." You can read more at More...
Modolo rues missed chance in Ruta del Sol
February 15, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) came within a whisker of success in the opening stage of the Ruta del Sol on Wednesday, but he was finally pipped at the line by Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie). Modolo got the perfect lead out from his teammates and came storming down the right side of the long finishing straight in Granada. And it looked as though the experienced Italian sprinter had seized the second win of the season for his new team. A former double winner of stages in the Giro d'Italia as well as many other top races, Modolo was experienced enough to wait until just after the line to raise his arms, as the 30-year-old pointed out later on Twitter. But regardless of his mistaken belief in a triumph, by then there was no possibility of rewinding the clock to stop France's Boudat from squeaking past him on the far side of the finish.ADVERTISEMENT Having learned of his painfully narrow defeat, the Italian quickly pedalled on for a shower in the team bus. But when he spoke to a small group of journalists afterwards, Modolo insisted that despite the setback, he could come away with some positive outcomes as well as the obvious negative one of losing. "I saw the sprint from the helicopter TV shot afterwards, and initially I didn't understand how I could have lost this sprint," he said. "I looked round after I crossed the line and saw there wasn't anybody near me but there was no one. Of course I didn't realise Boudat was on the far side of the road. You can read more at More...
Tour of Oman: Stage 2 highlights - Video
February 15, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Nathan Haas turned around his early season after a disappointing Tour DownUnder, taking out the second stage in the Tour of Oman, handing Katusha-Alpecin their first victory of the season and taking the overall race lead in Al Bustan. The day started with a group of four riders escaping the bunch. In the breakaway wereLoic Chetout (Cofidis), Markel Irizar (Trek-Segafredo), Fabricio Ferrari (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) and Danny Pate (Rally Cycling). The leaders built a gap of four minutes before Pate lost the pace on a climb, leaving three up front.ADVERTISEMENT The remaining leaders were swept up on the final climb of the day as a group of 50 formed on the front to contest the day's victory. More attacks flew off the front in the closing kilometres, but Haas timed his move to perfection to come over Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Astana'sAlexey Lutsenko. You can read more at More...
Boudat celebrates surprise win in Ruta del Sol
February 15, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
It took the organisers of the Ruta del Sol more than a few minutes to confirm that Frances Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) was the winner of Wednesay's opening stage. In a fast, slightly downhill bunch sprint into Granada, the TV cameras initially focussed in on Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) as he crossed the line, raising his arms in the air. But on the other side of the road and in the last 50 metres, Boudat, a former UCI Track World Championships Omnium winner, powered past Modolo for a narrow but convincing win. Initially unsure that he had taken the victory, Boudat was told by his sports director to return to the finish "just in case." And that "just in case" proved to be right, with the 23-year-old claiming the biggest road win of his incipient pro career to date.ADVERTISEMENT In the process, Boudat also claimed the overall lead of the Ruta del Sol and also continued France's lengthy run of bunch sprint success in the Spanish race. Former Direct Energie fast man Bryan Coquard won the race's previous full bunch sprint last year on stage 4, and sprinter Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) triumphed in the same race back in 2016 at Cordoba. Coquard has now moved on to Vital Concept during the off-season, and if Boudat was previously overshadowed by his compatriot in bunch sprints with Direct Energie, in 2018 the young Frenchman has wasted no time stepping into the spotlight in the Ruta del Sol. "I couldn't find a gap to get through in the last metres, but I went for it as best I could," Boudat said. "I was on the other side of the road, and I had no idea I had won. But my director told me to go to the finish to see what was going on, because I could hear my name on the loudspeakers. You can read more at More...
Chris Froome thanks other riders for support during opening Ruta del Sol stage
February 15, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Chris Froome (Team Sky) has highlighted the degree of support he has received from other riders in the peloton following his first day of racing in 2018 on the Ruta del Sol. Froome finished safely in the main pack behind winner Thomas Boudat (DirectEnergie) after a relatively straightforward, if fast, run through the hills of eastern Andalucia to Granada. The Briton had been the centre of attention before the start in Mijas, as he spoke to the press ahead of his first race since news broke in December of his adverse analytical finding for salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a Espaa.ADVERTISEMENT Team Sky was active early on keeping the break of the day under control but opted to let other squads like Astana take command of the peloton as Granada approached. Froome crossed the line in the middle of the bunch, then quickly made his way to the team bus. A little later, he spoke briefly to reporters before posing a number of selfies with fans massed around the Sky vehicles and then riding to the hotel. "It's the first race in the build-up to the Giro now and it's good to be back racing," Froome said. Asked if he could gauge the mood of the fans on the roadside during the stage, Froome said: "I always enjoy racing in Spain, it's a great atmosphere here again." Chris Froome: No one wants this resolved more quickly than I do Brailsford: At this moment we totally back Chris Froome Philippa York blog: Chris Froome is at the centre of a Team Sky mess, not the other way around Former Team Sky doctor lifts the lid on team's medical practices and grey areas Team Sky: Chris Froome will treat Ruta del Sol 'like any other race' Timeline of ChrisFroome's AAF for salbutamol You can read more at More...
Mollema reveling in responsibility at Volta ao Algarve
February 15, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
With Alberto Contador's spot on the team now a distant memory, Bauke Mollema has moved into rather more familiar territory as Trek-Segafredo's main contender for week-long races and Grand Tours. The 2017 Tour de France stage winner will target the race once more this year after riding as a super domestique to Contador in last year's event, and he's tuning-up for his first serious objective of the year " Paris-Nice " at this week's Volta ao Algarve. "My biggest goal is once again the Tour de France,"he told Cyclingnews on stage 1 in Portugal. "That changed last year with Alberto in the team. I was also the GC leader last year in most of the races that I did. It was only in Catalunya and the Tour where I was racing for Alberto. This doesn't make a difference to me and it's similar to 2015 and 2016 when I was more or less the only GC rider in the team."ADVERTISEMENT With Trek unable " and partly unwilling " to sign another GC leader for 2018, Mollema will lead the line in almost every race he starts. He says he thrives on the pressure, and in a contract year for the 31-year-old, that could certainly inspire him to succeed and finally deliver a podium in a Grand Tour. "I think that I'm used to that pressure," he said. "I think everyone needs some pressure to perform, and I think that I can say I like that." Trek-Segafredo as a team have appeared revitalized in Contador's absence. It wasn't as though the Spaniard was holding the team back last year " he provided many exciting performances, andalthough he only won once and cracked at the Tour de France, he was still worthy of leadership. However, with Contador gone, more and more Trek riders are having opportunities to lead and to win. The squad have already won six times this year, and given they won 20 times in 2017 they're well on the way to beat that tally. You can read more at More...
Tour of Oman: Good sensations for Nibali in first climbing test
February 14, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
After illness forced to miss his season opener at the Vuelta a San Juan, Vincenzo Nibali finally got his first chance to test himself on the climbs during stage 2 of the Tour of Oman. It went comparatively well for the Italian with a modest but solid 13th place behind winner Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) in Al Bustan. Nibali survived during a rapid-fire ascent of the Al Jissah climb to come to the line in the small group that fought for victory. With the likes of Greg Van Avermaet and Haas in the bunch, there was no option but to sit in and bank the time for later in the race. The first part of the stage was normal and then when we went into the last part it was very fast, Nibali told Cyclingnews at the finish in a much-improved English.ADVERTISEMENT BMC pulled on the climb and then with four kilometres to the KOM, Astana attacked with Lutsenko and Lopez. For me, it was very good. I had Gorka Izagirre with me and there was nothing to do but wait for the sprint, which was no good for me. Nibali had been set to start his year in Argentina but picked up gastroenteritis on the first day of the race in San Juan and had to go home without turning a pedal. The Dubai Tour was added to his calendar to give him a few extra racing miles before travelling to Oman, where he hopes to hone his shape before making his Italian racing debut next month. In San Juan, I had problems with my stomach and a fever, and after I went to Dubai Tour so that I could find my racing rhythm. I worked for my teammates and here I think I can and I hope to find good condition for the next race, Tirreno-Adriatico, he said. You can read more at More...
Haas channels Cancellara to win at Tour of Oman
February 14, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) followed a lesson from Fabian Cancellara to take his first victory in some 17 months on stage 2 of the Tour of Oman. Haas beat Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) in Al Bustan after launching his sprint up the right-hand side of the road, taking his teams first victory of the season in the process. Cancellara won on exactly the same finale at the 2015 Tour of Oman and Haas had done his homework on the Swiss man's sprint in order to nail his manoeuvre perfectly. "I did some research on the race. I realised that I'm not one of the phenomena of the cycling world and I have to be a little bit smarter and a little bit more prepared," Haas told the media after the stage.ADVERTISEMENT "I knew that if I came a little bit from the back, you don't want to be first or second when you sprint because the drag was quite high up, you can get that slingshot. Cancellara won it on the right by going the shorter line so I put a little bit of his work into what I did today and it paid off." Haas and his team were tested to the maximum on the undulating and often brutally steep roads in the latter third of the stage. BMC Racing and Astana both put the peloton under a serious stress test with much of the bunch cracking under the pressure. Haas had to dig deep on the last ascent of the day to hold onto the pace. He broke the ride into more manageable chunks to ensure he was in the select front group. There was little doubt that it was Haas that had taken the win when he let out a huge roar as he crossed the line before getting off his bike and lifting it in the air. Rebuilding the car after the Australian heat You can read more at More...
Brailsford: Chris Froome is entitled to a fair process, as uncomfortable as that may be
February 14, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford has complained that he believes misinformation has been published concerning the Chris Froome salbutamol case, but declined to issue any correction because it could jeopardise the whole process. Brailsford was speaking ahead of stage 1 of the Ruta del Sol in Mijas, where he defended Team Skys decision not to withhold Froome from racing pending the resolution of the case, insisting that the rider was entitled to compete. Froome also spoke to the media before starting the Ruta del Sol, saying:"I do believe that when all the facts are out there, I think people will see it from my point of view," he said.ADVERTISEMENT The four-time Tour de France winner returned an adverse analytical finding for salbutamol during the 2017 Vuelta a Espaa, news of which was made public in December. As salbutamol is classed as a specified substance, Froome is entitled to race until the case has been resolved. Nobodys denying its a challenging situation but equally I think its only fair at this point that everybody abides by the process, and the process totally allows him to race in this situation and thats what were doing, Brailsford said, noting that Froomes case would not have reached the public domain had the news not been leaked in December. Our society is based upon the idea that the worst case scenario is to falsely accuse someone of something they havent done. This part of the process should be confidential, lets not forget. He hasnt got a doping violation against him and I think that needs to be taken into consideration and we dont want to falsely accuse people. People can have their own opinions but on balance I think this is the right thing to be doing and were happy that were here and ready to race. Lappartient and fair process Not telling the Grand Tour organisers You can read more at More...
Chris Froome: No one wants this resolved more quickly than I do
February 14, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Chris Froome has spoken publicly for the first time since his salbutamol case was revealed, insisting that no one wants this resolved more quickly than I do. Froome spoke outside the Team Sky bus as he prepared to start his 2018 season at the Ruta del Sol in Mijas in southern Spain. Froome and Team Sky have defied calls from UCI president David Lappartient for him to recuse himself from racing until his case is resolved, insisting that he is innocent. "Were in the middle of that process now and there is a process in place for me to demonstrate that I havent done anything wrong. I know that I havent done anything wrong and thats what I intend to do, to show that," Froome said when asked about Lappartient's calls that he should not race.ADVERTISEMENT Froome added that he did not have a timeline for when the case would be resolved. "No one wants this resolved more quickly than I do," he said. "I think theres a lot of misinformation out there and also a lot of people out there who dont necessarily understand the process thats in place. Obviously it was meant to have been a confidential process. It has been made public now but also a lot of other athletes and riders have been through this process themselves. Im not asking for the benefit of the doubt here, Im just asking for a fair process." You can read more at More...
Richie Porte gives BMC until May to save team
February 14, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Richie Porte has confirmed to Cyclingnews that he has given BMC Racing until May 1 to find a new sponsor, at which point he will be free to find another team for 2019. As he prepares to make his European debut at the Volta ao Algarve, the Australian disclosed that he has a clause within his contract that allows him to speak to rival teams at that point, although he is still hopeful that BMC will continue beyond the current year, calling it the 'best case scenario. BMC have no sponsorship agreements in place for 2019, and their entire rider roster and staff are without contracts for next season. The future of the team rests on a new sponsor being found or one of the main existing titles of BMC, Tag Heuer or Sophos stepping up and providing the needed financial support. At this point, BMC owner Andy Rihs has not decided to guarantee his continued support. Under UCI regulations riders may not officially sign contracts with a new team until August 1.ADVERTISEMENT My line in the sand is the end of May, Porte told Cyclingnews in an exclusive podcast interview set to be released later this week. Thats when you need to know. Who is to say that maybe Geraint Thomas goes to Trek because there goes a potentially great team, if BMC was to fold, that you would have loved to have ridden for. The market is pretty hot and well see who is in and out of contract. A best-case scenario is that Jim Ochowicz finds another sponsor and the team keeps going. Porte confirmed that he can begin looking for another team in the coming months, although when asked about the timing for the second time he said, Its in my contract. There is a cut-off point at the start of May. Back to Europe and a different race programme You can read more at More...
Check out Trek's new Project One paint schemes
February 14, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
This article originally appeared on BikeRadar Trek's Project One bikes are semi-customizable bikes painted at Trek's Waterloo, Wisconsin, headquarters. Check out the gallery above for a sample of the latest paint schemes available. ADVERTISEMENT Project One bikes are painted in Wisconsin Chasin' Aces The Chasin' Aces motif is based on Degenkolb's cafe racer motorcycle Full Fade Breakaway Availability You can read more at More...
Attaquer's Race Ultra+ kit looks to cheat the wind
February 13, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
This article originally appeared on BikeRadar Aussie Kit brand Attaquer has its roots in loud and lairy lycra, and while its gear has always been high quality, the brand has recently focused on technical and performance fabrics. Launching today is Attaquer latest range, Race ULTRA +, which features an aero jersey and a waterproof chamois sewn into bib shorts without any external material between it and the saddle. Race Ultra+ Jersey ADVERTISEMENT The jersey is said to help reduce the drag caused by the rider's body The styling on the Race Ultra Jersey is subdued, which is not likely to take attention away from the Italian Kinetech Drag Zero 3D fabric it's made from. Attaquer uses textured material on the shoulders and arms to smooth air flow over the rider. Race Ultra+ Bibs You can read more at More...
UCI releases 2018-19 track World Cup calendar
February 13, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The UCI on Monday released the dates and venues for the 2018-19 track World Cup calendar, with the six-race series starting in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, on October 19 and winding up in Hong Kong on January 27, 2019. The series will return to Milton, Canada, and Cambridge, New Zealand, along with stops in Berlin, and London's Lee Valley VeloPark. The series starts off in France in the velodrome that houses the headquarters of the French cycling federation. Located in the western outskirts of Paris near Versailles, the arena hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 2015, its first year of operation.ADVERTISEMENT A week later, the World Cup returns to Milton for the second consecutive year. The local velodrome, on the outskirts of Toronto, was built for the 2015 PanAm games. The World Cup starts up again after a month-long break with three days of racing in Berlin starting on November 30. The local velodrome there hosted the World Championships in 1999, and the World Cup round will also serve as a rehearsal for the 2020 World Championships. The 2018-19 WorldCup stops next in London, where the Lee Valley VeloPark will host three days of racing starting December 14. The venue previously hosted the 2012 Olympics and the 2016 World Championships. You can read more at More...
Landa: I can be up there with the best at Ruta del Sol
February 13, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Mikel Landa's long-awaited debut with Movistar will finally take place on Wednesday at the start of the five-day Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista del Sol. This will be his first race of the season but Landa believes that after a solid winter of training he is strong enough to race among the top contenders. "This will be a very special race for me," said Landa, who joined Movistar this season after spending two years with Team Sky. "New colours, new ambitions and I'd like to start this off in a good way, to make things easier for everyone and bring some joy to the rest of the team."ADVERTISEMENT The race starts in Malaga and ends with a time trial in Barbate, with a summit finish at the Alto de Allanadas on stage 2, a stage that Landa's former Team Sky teammate won in 2015, before winning the overall title. Landa was sixth overall last year. Froome announced that he will also start his season at the Ruta del Sol, despite having returned an adverse analytical finding (AAF) at the 2017 Vuelta a Espaa for twice the permissible dose of the asthma medication salbutamol. He could face a suspension, but the outcome of that case has yet to be announced. Landa will lead Movistar in the overall classification with support from Andrey Amador, Jorge Arcas Pea, Daniele Bennati, Imanol Erviti, Rubn Fernandez Andujar and Marc Soler Gimenez. You can read more at More...
Dan Martin ready for UAE debut at Volta ao Algarve
February 13, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
After his long run with Slipstream's Garmin and Cannondale teams, Dan Martin has taken a decidedly different career path, switching teams twice in three years after a two-year run with Quick-Step and now a two-year deal with UAE Team Emirates. The 31-year-old Irishman will debut with his new team this week at the Volta ao Algarve where he'll line up for the five-day 2.HC Portuguese race alongsideValerio Conti, Vegard Stake Laengen, Jan Polanc, Edward Ravasi, Rory Sutherland and Ben Swift "Going in Volta ao Algarve I have a mixture of nerves and excitement," Martin said in a statement related by the team.ADVERTISEMENT "There is always anxiety to get back to racing and find out where the fitness levels are, but I feel good and have trained well in the winter months, but racing is, of course, always different." Martin raced more than 11,000km in 68 races days in 2017, scoring his last win during stage 2 of 2017 Volta ao Algarve ahead of LottoNL-Jumbo's Primoz Roglic. It was good preparation for the Classics, where he finished second in both Lige-Bastogne-Lige and La Flche Wallone. He's starting his season a little later this year, skipping the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in favour of an Algarve debut with his new team. "It's exciting to finally pin a number on the UAE Team Emirates jersey and start racing with a great group of guys," Martin said. "Of course it will take time to learn how to race well together, but we already did two nice training camps with lots of laughs and getting to know each other. "We have a very strong team coming to Algarve, so I can't wait to get started." UAE Team Emirates for Volta ao Algarve: Valerio Conti, Vegard Stake Laengen, Daniel Martin, Jan Polanc, Edward Ravasi, Rory Sutherland, Ben Swift You can read more at More...
Van Avermaet: I don't care which Monument I win next
February 13, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) says that he's not concerned with which Monument he can add to his palmares this season, just as long as he does it. Van Avermaet laid claim to his first Monument win last year when took victory in a dramatic Paris-Roubaix. "I try to be good from Het Nieuwsblad to Amstel and, in the end, I dont care. I would like to win one of those big races in between and which one is not that important as long as I win one of those," Van Avermaet told Cyclingnews. "The three Monuments Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are the most important, and we will see how they go." Van Avermaet is currently in the Middle East for the Tour of Oman, having started his season at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. The Belgian is leading the BMC Racing team, which also has Nicolas Roche for the general classification, and while he will be looking for a first stage win at the six-day race, preparing for the Classics is the key.ADVERTISEMENT "As I do every year, I try to build up some shape and hopefully I can get back into my peak shape for all the Classics," he explained. Van Avermaet's development into being a regular winner has been well documented over the past three season. Even with the Olympic gold medal, his stints in yellow at the Tour de France and the stage wins, the 2017 spring Classics were another breakthrough for him. Along with his win at Paris-Roubaix, Van Avermaet impressed in almost every race he contested in the spring of 2017. That dominance has boosted his confidence even further, which he hopes will make for a less stressful and even more successful Classics campaign this year. New teammates for the spring You can read more at More...
Mark Cavendish playing support role at Tour of Oman
February 13, 2018 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Mark Cavendish says his main ambition at this weeks Tour of Oman will be to help his Dimension Data teammates in the battle for the overall classification. Cavendish is riding the six-day event for the first time since he rode the 2012 edition. Cavendish started his season last week at the Dubai Tour and opened up his win account with victory on stage 3. Aside from Cavendish, none of his teammates has made the short journey from Dubai to Oman, with climbing the priority and Merhawi Kudus in with a shout of a podium finish. There will be opportunities for the Manxman, however, and he will look to seize upon them. "Obviously, the race is bookended by sprints so I'll give it a shot and see what I can do. I am here without any lead-out guys," Cavendish said. "I'd like to support the climbers and the GC guys. Merhawi was strong here last year and I'd like to be part of helping him get up there. Obviously, with the sprints, it makes no difference for me to bounce around and be up there for the sprint."ADVERTISEMENT The team will also have Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Natnael Berhane, Nic Dougall, Nic Dlamini and Scott Davies in their arsenal. The Tour of Oman was not originally on Cavendish's early season race programme. However, with the team short of riders and an opportunity to avoid jet-lag and cold weather, Cavendish put his hand up to remain in the Middle East for a little while longer. "I was a last-minute addition. I was supposed to do Dubai and then fly home and then come out for Abu Dhabi, he explained. "Then we looked at the stage distances and I'd be doing a similar work-load if I went home. We were also a few riders down in the team so rather than calling up a reserve for another race, I said that I'd stay out and do it. I'm quite happy now, because it's snowing at home." You can read more at More...
McLaren and Specialized release special edition Roubaix
August 29, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
This story originally appeared on Bikeradar. Quite some time ago, Specialized teamed up with McLaren to make a special edition Venge, where the British Formula 1 giant took the existing frame and optimized the carbon layup - which led to a lighter and stiffer frame. Since then weve also seen the brands collaborate on a limited edition and seriously expensive S-Works Tarmac, the new Venge ViAS, a TT Lid and now a bright Orange S-Works Roubaix.ADVERTISEMENT The bike is a celebration of McLarens 50 years of Grand Prix racing, and the bike is painted with what Specialized is calling 'Heritage Orange', paying homage to the Automaker's now trademark papaya orange that adorned its race cars in the late 1960s. Lets not forget that Specialized and McLaren have a technical partnership, and the Automaker provided the data logging equipment used to develop the Rolling Efficiency Simulator - an integral piece of software used in part to design the new Roubaix. You can read more at More...
Nibali: Froome has been the strongest and most explosive so far
August 29, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) remains in contention as the Vuelta a Espaa resumes after its first rest day, but the Italian has acknowledged that race leader Chris Froome (Sky) has appeared unbeatable to this point. Froome moved into the red jersey when Nibali won stage 3 in Andorra, and has steadily increased his overall lead since. On Sunday, Froome won on the summit finish atop Cumbres del Sol to cement his lead still further, while Nibali is now 4th overall, 1:17 down. At this moment, you cant beat him. On all of the summit finishes so far, hes shown himself to be the strongest, the most powerful, the most explosive. Its disarming, Nibali told La Gazzetta dello Sport. Up to nowADVERTISEMENT Froome and Skys dominance has not been the only defining characteristic of the Vuelta to date. The soaring speeds in the front group, particularly on the final climbs, has not gone unnoticed within the peloton. Nibali said that the data from his power-meter demonstrated just how tough this Vuelta has been. Were going very strongly and in the bunch, nobody is talking about anything else, Nibali said. Besides, the computers dont lie. Were flying. Nibali began the Vuelta on the back foot following Bahrain-Meridas lowkey showing in the opening team time trial in Nmes, and he admitted that he has struggled on the short, explosive climbs that have littered the Vuelta route to date. Even Nibalis canny victory in Andorra came after he had been distanced by Froome on the Alto de la Cornella. You can read more at More...
Landa to take over Fundacion Euskadi team - News Shorts
August 29, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Mikel Landa is set to take over the Basque development squad Fundacion Euskadi, according to a report in Spanish publication AS. Landa will take control of the squad, which is currently run by Miguel Madariaga, in the short to medium term. Current sports director, and former teammate of Landas at Euskaltel-Euskadi, Jorge Azanza, will take up a lead role within the team. Madariaga has been involved with the Fundacion Euskadi team since its inception and had preparing to leave the team, but they were struggling to find a replacement. Landa rode for the Fundacion Euskadi team in 2008 and 2009 before switching to the Orbea Continental squad at the end of the 2009 season. He stepped up to the professional ranks in 2011 with the Euskaltel-Euskadi team, which received some funding from the Fundacion Euskadi.ADVERTISEMENT The team is not Landas first side project, after he funded the set-up of cycling website at the end of last year with journalist and representative Jess Ezkurdia. Landa will ride with Movistar next season after signing a two-year contract with the Spanish squad. Sunweb backing Bauhaus for Brussels Cycling Classic success German Phil Bauhaus will lead Team Sunweb into the Brussels Cycling Classic on his debut at the 1.HC Belgian sprinters' race. The 23-year-old enjoyed a breakout stage win at the Critrium du Dauphin in June and will be backed by an experienced squad for the September 2 race. National Canadian team named for GP Qubec and Montral Vuelta a Espana Recon Ride rest day podcast With the Vuelta a Espana taking its first rest day of 2017, the Recon Ride has turned its attention to the opening nine days of racing and looking ahead to what's in store before rest day two. You can read more at More...
Stybar renews with Quick-Step Floors
August 28, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Zdenek Stybar has signed a two-year contract extension with Quick-Step Floors that will keep him at the team until the end of the 2019 season. The Czech began his professional career in cyclo-cross and has won three world titles in the discipline, but his transition to the road began in earnest when he signed for Quick-Step in the spring of 2011. To be honest, I cant believe I have been with the team since 2011, time surely flies when you are having a good time, but what an amazing journey it has been to race with this squad over the past years, Stybar said in a statement released on Monday. Having extended my contract for two more seasons means we can continue the great work we started together in 2011, which I am very grateful and happy about. Stybars time at Quick-Step has featured stage wins at the Tour de France in 2015 and the Vuelta a Espaa in 2013, as well as victory at the 2015 Strade Bianche and overall victory at the Eneco Tour in 2013.ADVERTISEMENT Stybar has been a part of Quick-Steps cobbled Classics line-up since 2013 and his level of responsibility has grown as the years have progressed. He placed second at Paris-Roubaix in 2015 and 2017, losing out in the sprint on the velodrome on each occasion, to John Degenkolb and Greg Van Avermaet, respectively. Despite the loss of the retired Tom Boonen, Quick-Step will boast a strong cobbled Classics squad in 2018, with Stybar following 2014 Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra in renewing with Patrick Lefeveres squad. The team has also signed Elia Viviani from Sky, while Fernandro Gaviria remains in situ. This season, we have been once again one of the very best teams in the bunch by winning over and over again in so many different types of races, however, it has not been a personal best season for me, admitted Stybar, whose lone victory to date came in the Czech national championships road race in June. You can read more at More...
Cannondale-Drapac attempt to fight back in Vuelta after sponsorship blow
August 27, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Cannondale-Drapac have put on a brave face to what riders and staff called a huge blow after it was officially announced on Saturday that the teams future is on hold. Ahead of stage 9 of the Vuelta a Espana, the riders and team staff did their business as usual, holding the standard team meeting but there was no avoiding the issue of what will happen to the team in 2018 and beyond. It was widely pointed out that this is not just a question for the teams riders, but also for the management, which Cyclingnews was told has around 100 full-time employees, from riders to staff.ADVERTISEMENT Michael Woods revealed to a small group of reporters at the team bus that he knew that the teams future was in jeopardy on Friday and that it had affected his performance, but that he was determined to battle on and try and secure a good result. Its a total bummer but its not over yet. Jonathan Vaughters and the Slipstream Sports management are still working on getting sponsors, Woods, the teams best placed GC rider, said. So its not a done deal at all. I found out the news on Friday and it resulted in a bit of a sleepless night and even me making some pretty bad tactical decisions yesterday. I got excited and wanted a result so bad for the team that I got anxious on the climb and attacked a bit too early with [Alberto] Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and then blew up. You can read more at More...
Morkov signs two-year contract with Quick-Step Floors
August 22, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Michael Morkov is set to move to Quick-Step Floors for 2018 after signing a two-year contract with the Belgian squad. The Danish rider has been racing in the colours of Katusha-Alpecin for the past two seasons and will slot into the teams Classics line-up as well as providing support for the teams sprinters, Fernando Gaviria and fellow new-signing Elia Viviani. Morkov, 32, explained that the chance to ride with the team was one that he couldnt pass up. I have always been interested in this team and when [team manager] Patrick [Lefevere] came with the offer to ride with them for the next two years I couldnt refuse it, Morkov said in a team press release.ADVERTISEMENT Its a team you admire and always look at in the races as competing rider. But most importantly, Patrick and the squad always seem to get the most out of every rider. Also, riders of my age have progressed in this team, so I believe this move can help me progress as a rider. I have been happy with the last two seasons at Katusha, with the results we have created together, which makes me even more motivated to finish off this season strong before moving to my new team. Morkov began on the track, where he earned a team pursuit silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. On the road, he spent four seasons with the Continental outfit Team GLS before stepping up to professional level with Saxo Bank in 2009. He had two national time trial titles and one in the road race as well as a stage victory at the 2013 Vuelta a Espaa. He moved to Katusha last season, where he has predominantly worked for Alexander Kristoff in the lead-out train. Im really excited with how the outfit is looking for the next seasons, especially with the likes of Gaviria and Viviani, as I think I can offer them both a lot in the sprints, he said. You can read more at More...
Roche 'disgusted' to find out about Sanchez positive
August 21, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
BMC Racing rider Nicolas Roche has said that he was disgusted to find out that his teammate Samuel Sanchez had failed an anti-doping test. Sanchez returned an adverse analytical finding for the substance GHRP-2 " a growth hormone-releasing peptide " in an out-of-competition test on August 9 and was informed of the result just two days before the Vuelta a Espana got underway in Nimes. Writing in his daily diary for the Irish Independent, Roche - who is riding the Vuelta a Espana - described the emotion on the team bus after the news was made public. The team had been out on a pre-race training ride when Sanchez received the fateful phone call, Roche had initially been told to wait up for his teammate, but Sanchez returned to the hotel where he promptly packed to go home. "Just before lunch, we were all summoned onto the team bus for a team meeting. This often happens at races, so I didn't think much of it until the directeur sportif made his announcement, Roche wrote in the diary published on Saturday. "Immediately the questions started: the most common one being, "What the f**k?" After the initial shock, I was disgusted, and I have to say there were a lot of angry riders on the bus."ADVERTISEMENT Roche said that there were plenty of questions following the news, but none of us had any answers. We just couldn't understand it. Roche is racing his first season with BMC Racing after switching to the American-registered squad from Team Sky over the winter. He wrote that he had developed a good rapport with Sanchez across the few races that they had done together, but that there was no way to tell that anything was untoward. "Some of the other guys know him better than I do but having raced against him for years, we often chatted about our mutual interest in cars and motorsport, and he seemed to be a really nice guy. But that's the thing," he said. You can't tell just by talking to somebody whether they dope or not. It's not like the guys who dope talk about it. They don't rock up to the breakfast table and say, 'Hey guys, I did growth hormones.' You can read more at More...
Rodriguez predicts serious attacks on Vuelta's first major mountain stage in Andorra
August 21, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
TheVuelta a Espaa's first major incursion into the mountains on Monday is certain to cause fireworks among the GC riders, predicts former multiple Vuelta podium finisher and longstanding Andorra resident Joaquim Rodriguez. The stage features 3,000 metres of climbing and has a 20-kilometre ascent of the long, but not excessively tough, first category Col de La Perche in France early on. As a result, the weakest riders could find themselves in trouble well before la Vuelta's stage 3 briefly dips into Spain and then, after a lengthy trek along a Pyrenean plateau, hooks back northwards into Andorra on the valley road from the Catalan frontier town of La Seu D'Urgell. However, Rodriguez, now an advisor with the Bahrain-Merida team, argues that it is the combination of the first category Col de la Rabassa, with its summit 28 kilometres from the finish and, above all, the second Category Alt de la Cornella, seven kilometres from the finish in Andorra la Vella, that can really do damage.ADVERTISEMENT "It's a strange stage, because normally we have summit finishes in Andorra, but this time, unprecedentedly, the finish is in the middle of town, and that'll make it more difficult and nervous than usual," Rodriguez told Cyclingnews. He concurs with the well worn theory that such an early mountain stage is not a day to win the Vuelta, but certainly one where it can see a GC rider's options go up in smoke for good. "If a rider finds themselves in trouble on the Rabassa, or even the Cornella, they can lose a heck of a lot of time in a very short distance." Tactically, too, the race could see some interesting developments, argues Purito, whose experience in Vuelta racing and stage routes does not just come from a lengthy career that ended last year. Rodriguez also co-designed the 2015 Vuelta stage in Andorra, dubbed the hardest ever stage in the modern-day history of Grand Tour racing. You can read more at More...
Alex Dowsett signs for Katusha-Alpecin
August 21, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alex Dowsett will ride for Katusha-Alpecin in 2018 after agreeing terms with the Swiss-registered squad. The Briton joins Katusha after spending the past five years in the colours of Movistar. Dowsetts time at Movistar saw him land time trial victory at Saltara on the 2013 Giro dItalia and break the World Hour Record in May 2015, though opportunities to ride the Grand Tours were ultimately limited on the Spanish squad. Its so exciting for me to join this team. I had five amazing seasons with Movistar but it is time for a change and I look forward to joining Team Katusha Alpecin, Dowsett said.ADVERTISEMENT Every team has a different approach and I feel I can learn a lot. The nice thing for me is that I can stay on the phenomenal Canyon bikes. They were such a huge sponsor for me in the last years, and in my opinion, its the best bike. Katush-Alpecin has been active on the transfer market this summer, having already signed Marcel Kittel, Nathan Haas and Ian Boswell for the 2018 campaign as part of an extensive overhaul of its roster. Alexander Kristoff will leave Katusha for UAE-Emirates, but Tony Martin and Ilnur Zakarin both remain in situ in 2018. While Dowsett will continue to place considerable emphasis on time trialling " he is a five-time British champion in the discipline " he will also enjoy something of a new role at Katusha as part of Kittels lead-out train. You can read more at More...
Vuelta a Espana: Contador sees good and bad in opening time trial result
August 19, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) described himself as only partly satisfied with his opening team time trial result Saturday at the Vuelta a Espana, which saw his squad lose a hefty 35 seconds on BMC Racing Team. The difference with Team Sky was marginally less - 26 seconds - and exactly half the 52 seconds Contadors squad lost last year on the British squad in the opening team time trial in Galicia. But even so, as Contador recognised this was not the start he would have liked for his last-ever Grand Tour. In comparison with last year, its not so bad, but its still a lot of time, Contador said after the Nimes team time trial. Starting from behind is always a problem, but lets take this on the day by day. My team gave it everything theyve got, and we went as fast as we could.ADVERTISEMENT A ragged finale, though, did not allow Contadors team to maintain the promising early start to the TTT theyd made, although the Spaniard pointed out that one of the key things they wanted to avoid were crashes - and in that, theyd been successful. It was a very dangerous time trial course. This morning there were some crashes, and weve decided to take things as safely as possible. We preferred to lose a bit of time and be safer as a result, but its also true that 25 seconds are a lot of seconds. Contador expressed his thanks for the gestures of support he received along the way, but as he pointed out, I have two objectives here. One Im sure Ill get, and thats enjoying the race. The other one is to fight for it. And on that particular front, theres no denying his start in Nimes represents a setback. You can read more at More...
Dennis takes second Grand Tour lead of career in 2017 Vuelta
August 19, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
A little more than two years after he won the opening stage of the 2015 Tour de France in Utrecht, Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) has returned to the overall lead of another Grand Tour in the 2017 Vuelta a Espaas first team time trial. South American climber Darwin Atapuma led the Vuelta for BMC Racing last year for four days, and BMC won the opening team time trial in the somewhat-controversial opening stage of the 2015 Vuelta as well, with Peter Velits taking the first red jersey of the race. But for Dennis, after his setback at the Giro dItalia this May when injuries forced him to quit what was his big GC target of the season, leading the Vuelta a Espaa from the get-go represents the strongest of returns to Grand Tour racing.ADVERTISEMENT The first Australian, too, to lead the Vuelta since Michael Matthews back in 2014, Dennis insisted that he is not fighting for the overall in the Vuelta a Espaa as an initial goal, saying he is going for stage wins. But he qualified that a little by pointing out that if he is in a good position on GC, as he is now, hes hardly going to step on the brakes. Describing his season objectives, he said, It was always about the Giro for GC and the Vuelta is for stages. But in saying that, the first stage is in Andorra and Im going good there, Im not going to sit up. Im going to fight for a stage win. But if it doesnt work out, it doesnt matter. As for todays stage, speaking before the win, the 27-year-old Australian said, It was a hard course, very technical to start and we really had to tactically figure out if it was better to finish with nine or drop a few beforehand. It tested everything, it tested strength, technique, speed and handling. You can read more at More...
Froome satisfied with Skys team time trial start to Vuelta a Espana
August 19, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Team Skys opening salvo in the Vuelta a Espaa did not see the British team repeat their 2016 team time trial win, but Chris Froome has already carved out a respectable advantage on some of his key rivals. On the downside, BMC Racing Team are ahead of Sky by nine seconds. Team Sunwebs Warren Barguil pulled out a surprisingly strong performance to edge three seconds up on the British team, and Quick-Step Floors, led by GC outsider David De La Cruz, are also three seconds ahead. However, there are many plus points for Froome on what was a short, technical team time trial, with a 22-second advantage on Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), touted as his freshest rival, 26 seconds on Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), and a hefty 32 seconds on Fabio Aru (Astana). Most importantly of all, perhaps, Froome has gained 37 seconds on Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), third in the Tour de France.ADVERTISEMENT Skys team time trial performance was always consistent, even if their time, six seconds down at the mid-way point on BMC Racing, made it unlikely they would actually win. Froome himself put in some big turns as Sky came into the finishing straight with five riders, the minimum required, but enough to ensure that the British team completed the course collectively in good shape. As reporters approached him at the finish, Froome wheeled quickly round before delivering one quick comment to the media and then heading to the Sky team bus. Its a good start for us, Froome said. OK, its not the stage victory, but we put in a very solid ride. You can read more at More...
Vuelta a Espana: Every day an opportunity for Cannondale-Drapac
August 19, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
For Cannondale-Drapacs sport director Tom Southam and his riders, the Vuelta a Espaa is not about cycling; its all about rugby. More or less. For them, its about picking up the ball and running with it, Southam tells Cyclingnews, this being the directors metaphor for how his team has to take the opportunities in the Vuelta the instant they come up, and use them to the best of their abilities. He points out that the team have no major GC ambitions this year, after Andrew Talansky, fifth last year, suffered a knee problem following the Clsica San Sebastian and Davide Formolo, ninth, came down with bronchitis after the Tour de Pologne.ADVERTISEMENT Weve no major initial GC ambitions, which means every day is an opportunity. Thats how we raced the Giro dItalia, at the start, and Davide Formolo ended up doing well. It was how we started racing the Tour, up to a point, and things built from there [all the way to second overall for Rigoberto Uran - Ed.]. If we could get a stage win, say, in all three major Tours, that would be amazing. Amongst those options for a stage win is Belgiums Tom Van Asbroeck, already with several top 10 places at the Vuelta back in 2015, whom Southam believes could have a chance in the Vuelta sprints. After a weeks racing here, the sprints start to change pretty fast, and Tom could still be there on some of those hilly stages. Look at how well [Orica-Scotts] Magnus Cort Nielsen did last year - winning two sprint stages in the third week - and with all due respect, hes not a top drawer sprinter. However, a lot of Cannondale-Drapacs ambitions will centre around their Grand Tour debutants - Tom Scully, Brendan Canty, Will Clarke and Toms Skujins. You can read more at More...
Coquard confirmed as leader of new Vital Concept team
August 17, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Former French rider Jrme Pineau has confirmed Vital Concept as a title sponsor of his new Professional Continental team and announced Bryan Coquard as team leader, with the goal to secure a wild card invitation to the 2018 Tour de France. Pineau has been working on the team for several months and has an estimated budget of 6 million. He has signed 15 riders and will hire a further five riders to complete the teams 20-rider roster. Vital Concept is a retailer of agricultural and gardening products. It sponsored the Fortuneo team until this years Tour de France but split to join forces with Pineau. The Fortuneo team secured Oscaro as a second sponsor and has signed Warren Barguil for 2018. Both teams are based in Brittany, with Vital Concept working with the VC Pays de Loudac, one of the strongest teams in Brittany when it comes to developing young riders.ADVERTISEMENT The creation of the Vital Concept team means there will be five French Professional Continental teams fighting for the expected four wild card invitations to the Tour de France, though the reduction to eight-man teams in 2018 potentially affords ASOsome leeway to award a fifth wild card. We want to start winning as soon as possible, Pineau said during the official presentation of the team at the Vital Concept offices in Loudac. We hope to take part in the biggest race and our goal is to be at the 2018 Tour de France. Coquard joins as team leader after a difficult divorce from the Direct Energie team. He told Jean-Rene Bernaudeau that he wanted to quit the Vendee-based squad in the spring and was not selected for the Tour de France. You can read more at More...
Contador Foundation to manage Trek-Segafredo development team
August 17, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Alberto Contadors post-career legacy is beginning to take shape, and his longstanding foundation will take on the management of a Trek-Segafredo development squad. The team will race at Continental level and has secured three-year sponsorship from clothing company Polartec and food company Kometa. Contadors former teammate and directeur sportif at Trek-Segafredo, Ivan Basso, will be the manager of the team, while Contadors brother Fran will look after the administrative management. Contador, who will finally hang up his racing wheels after the forthcoming Vuelta a Espana, set up his foundation five years ago with the express intent of developing young talent and this, says the 34-year-old, is a further step towards that. "What has united Ivan and me in this project is the dream of giving back to cycling a little of everything that it has given us, said Contador. We are convinced that by joining forces we can do much more to help young people to reach a professional level.ADVERTISEMENT Thanks to Polartec and Kometa, along with the fundamental support of Trek-Segafredo, where I feel like at home, the Alberto Contador Foundation, directed by my brother Fran, takes a very important step and adds a continental team to the existing school and the junior and U23 teams, which will continue to form the young riders in the values embodied in cycling: teamwork, solidarity, perseverance and sacrifice." The team will, the press release says, "aim to offer an opportunity for professional training for young people from both the Contador Foundation and other European and world schools." It will be based in Pinto, the headquarters of the foundation and the hometown of Contador and they will, of course, ride on Trek bikes and will receive support from the Trek Factory Racing set-up. As well as being based in Pinto, the teams second home will be in Bormio, where they will complete many of their team training camps. "This team is the realisation of a professional dream that Alberto and me have matured for a long time, after sharing many experiences as cyclists and friends, said Basso, who has already been working in a developmental role at Trek-Segafredo. We wanted to create something together, and I am happy and proud to have achieved this thanks to the support of Trek-Segafredo, who for a year has given me the responsibility to follow the young talent linked to its team. You can read more at More...
De la Cruz signs for Team Sky
August 17, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
David de la Cruz will join fellow Spaniard Jonathan Castroviejo in the colours of Team Sky next season. De la Cruz, who is set to lead Quick-Step Floors at the Vuelta a Espana this month, had been heavily linked with the British WorldTour team. Im excited to be joining the team. Ive really enjoyed my time at Quick-Step but I definitely feel that, at this point in my career, Team Sky is the best place for me to progress and to be the best rider I can be, De la Cruz said in a press release issued by Team Sky. I think the team understand my skills as a rider and what I can offer to the team, so Im really happy to be joining Team Sky and I am looking forward to this new challenge. De la Cruz has long been seen as a stage race contender with plenty of potential.ADVERTISEMENT After turning professional with Caja Rural in 2010, he moved to NatApp-Endura for two years later before he was snapped up by Quick-Step Floors in 2015. After enduring a lot of bad fortune at Grand Tours, De la Cruz made his breakthrough at last years Vuelta a Espana, where he won stage 9 and finished seventh overall. He will ride this years Vuelta a Espana with Quick-Step floors despite changing teams next season. This season, De la Cruz has taken stage wins at Paris-Nice and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Illness hampered the middle part of his season but he returned with a successful Vuelta a Burgos where he finished third behind Team Skys Mikel Landa and his teammate Enric Mas. With several riders leaving for other teams, including Landa, Mikel Nieve and Peter Kennaugh, De la Cruz is an important signing for the teams Grand Tour line-up. He is another really versatile rider who can perform a lot of roles, but he climbs very well and he has had some excellent results on really tough mountain stages, like at the Vuelta a Espana and at Paris Nice. Im sure he will fit straight in at Team Sky, said Team Sky coach Xabi Artexte. Focusing on the Vuelta with Quick-Step floors You can read more at More...
Castroviejo joins Team Sky from Movistar for 2018
August 17, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Team Sky have confirmed the signing of current Spanish national time trial champion Jonathan Castroviejo as the British WorldTour team continues to strengthen its stage racing roster for 2018, when Chris Froome will target a fifth Tour de France victory. Team Sky has extended contracts with Chris Froome, Michal Kwiatkowski, Geraint Thomas and key domestique Christian Knees in recent weeks but had still to reveal its new signings for 2018 after Pete Kennaugh joined Bora-Hansgrohe, Mikel Nieve moved to Orica-Scott, Ian Boswell switched to Katusha-Alpecin and Elia Viviani was allowed to transfer to Quick-Step Floors despite another year on his contract. Castroviejo is Team Skys first new signing, with news of the arrival of David de la Cruz quickly following. Team Sky and Castroviejo agreed a deal during the Tour de France but waited until today to make it official. The 30-year-old from Getxo, has spent the last six seasons with Movistar, where he helped Nairo Quintana win the 2014 Giro dItalia, and the 2016 Vuelta a Espana. He was also the 2016 European time trial champion and finished third in the time trial 2016 Road World Championships. All his eight career victories have come in time trials, making him a key rider for Grand Tours that include team time trails.ADVERTISEMENT Everybody knows the strength in the team, and how important the spirit between the riders is to the teams success. Im really looking forward to being part of that, bringing my own experience and learning new things, Castroviejo said in a statement from Team Sky. I have been part of Grand Tour winning teams in the past and I want to do that again in the future. Im happy to be taking this next step with Team Sky. Spanish Team Sky coach Xabi Artexte highlighted Castroviejos versatility as a rider. You can read more at More...
Quintana confirms he will stay at Movistar and target 2018 Tour de France
August 17, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Nairo Quintana has played down reports of tension withMovistarby confirming he will target the Tour de France with the Spanish team in 2018. Since falling short in his bid to win the Giro-Tour double - he placed second at the Giro and 12th at the Tour - there have been reports of a falling out between the Colombian climber and Movistar management. Quintana's father went as far as claiming the team were burning out his son, and the arrival of Mikel Landa for 2018 was also cited as causing tension. Last week Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sportclaimed that Quintana was "on the market" after a falling out with Movistar and team manager Eusebio Unzue, with his agent Giuseppe Acquadro contacting several teams and requesting a total of 6 million for Quintanas contract and the fee to break his existing deal with Movistar. That was denied by Acquadro but Movistars reluctance to comment and Quintanas silence only fuelled suspicions of a falling out. Quintana finally took to Twitter to clarify his future, as well as to confirm that he will be part of the Colombian team for the World Championships in Bergen, Norway at the end of September. Quintana won the 2016 Vuelta a Espana but will not defend his title.ADVERTISEMENT Quintana posted a photo of himself in Movistar colours and wrote: My next event will be the @bergen2017 worlds. In 2018 Ill be with the @Movistar_Team by @LeTour. On Tuesday, the Movistar team announced the arrival of Landa, with Unzue confirming that Quintana has a contract with Movistar until 2019. Landa is expected to be team leader for the Giro dItalia and Vuelta a Espana in 2018, while Quintana focuses on the Tour de France. " NairoQuinCo (@NairoQuinCo) August 16, 2017 You can read more at More...
Dombrowski to lead Cannondale-Drapac at the Vuelta a Espana
August 17, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
The Cannondale-Drapac team have confirmed its final nine-rider roster for the Vuelta a Espaa as riders arrive in Nimes, France for Saturday's opening team time trial. Joe Dombrowski will lead the US-registered WorldTour team with Davide Formolo a late withdrawal after coming down with bronchitis. Andrew Talansky will also miss the Spanish Grand Tour. Also in the Cannondale-Drapac line-up are road captain Simon Clarke, Brendan Canty, Will Clarke, Thomas Scully, Toms Skujins, Tom Van Asbroeck, Davide Villella and Mike Woods. Will Clarke will replace Formolo after recently riding the Colorado Classic race in the USA. "The average age in our team is 27 years. It's probably not the youngest team at the start, but I think we do bring the team with the most rookies," said sport director Juanma Garate. "Not only do we have four riders racing their first Grand Tour, but we have another two riders who have only ever done one Grand Tour in their careers.ADVERTISEMENT "We want to continue with the attitude that we showed as a team during this season, specifically in the Giro and the Tour. Of course we don't have high GC ambitions, but we do want to win a stage as we did in the Giro and the Tour de France." Formolo, who recently confirmed he would move to Bora-Hansgrohe in 2018, had been training for the Vuelta a Espana at altitude in Italy but came down with a fever at the weekend and then was struck by bronchitis. He has not raced since the Criterium du Dauphine in June, following his tenth place overall at the Giro d'Italia. He was expected to be one of Cannondale-Drapac's protected riders for the overall classification at the Vuelta a Espana but will now take some time to full recover and then target the series of one-day races in Italy. Cannondale-Drapac have enjoyed successful Grand Tour racing this season with Pierre Rolland winning a stage at the Giro d'Italia and Formolo finishing tenth overall. Rigoberto Uran finished second overall at the Tour de France, just 54 seconds behind Chris Froome (Team Sky), with the Colombian also winning the testing mountain stage to Chambery. Dombrowski rode the Giro d'Italia in May and will tackle his second Grand Tour of 2017. He is well suited to the mountainous route of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana and will no doubt also target stage victories along with Clarke, Woods, Scully and Skuijns, who proved he has recovered from the concussion he suffered at the Tour of California by riding aggressively at the Tour de Pologne. You can read more at More...
inCycle: Bennett on his WorldTour debut
August 17, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
InCycle goes inside the UCIWomen's WorldTour at the Crescent Vrgrda, where Swedish rider Emilia Fahlin welcomes her competitors to her home country as defending champion. Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe)talks about his debut in the WorldTour and his difficultGiro d'Italia, and Sonny Colbrelli shows us the special features of his Merida Reacto. Fahlin describes the joy of racing in her home of Sweden, and what it felt like to win it last year. "It was something unbelievable really because Ive done this race since I was young and I always come back to this village to do the race,"Fahlin says. "You feel like youve given them a Swedish winner last year which for them was a bit special." Bennett describes his first year in the WorldTour and coming into the Giro d'Italia with high hopes only to be struck by a virus before the race started. "Looking back at my Giro d'Italia, in all I think it was pretty good. I had a virus the first week and I lost a lot of my top end. I was pretty disappointed about that but I kind of handle the situation well, I went back in, trying to get the best result possible and stage 13 when I look to that, I don't know if I would changed much,"Bennett said.ADVERTISEMENT Colbrelli has been enjoying the new Reacto that his Bahrain-Merida team rolled out at the Tour de France. "I have been using the Reacto since the beginning of the season, since Bahrain Merida gave it to me, and I immediately liked it because I am an all rounder and this bike suits me perfectly. Now with this new framework, this new bike, they have made a big step forward,"Colbrelli said. Subscribe to the Cyclingnews YouTube channel. You can read more at More...
Haussler returns in EuroEyes Cyclassics - News Shorts
August 17, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Australian-German Heinrich Haussler will make a long-awaited return to competition at the EuroEyes Cyclassics in Hamburg on Sunday. The Bahrain-Merida rider is hoping for one final shot to save his career, knowing that how he performs in the race is key to his future. Haussler had double knee surgeries this year, but after his months-long layoff, he's ready and eager to race again. "Of course I am crazily excited but also ready for this race in Hamburg," Haussler said. "It's something I've really been working for since the last operation. I'm in good shape and I've done some hard rides this week just to test my knee and see if I'll be ready to ride in race conditions and it has been good. So I am super confident and excited to be out there again with the boys." Directeur sportif Harald Morscher is expecting a sprint and is looking to his Italian fast men Sonny Colbrelli and Niccolo Bonifazio for results.ADVERTISEMENT "This race was won mostly from sprinters in the last years. For sure it will be a hard race and long, with its 220 km. Our strategy is very simple: we won't just fight for a breakaway, king of the mountain or anything else " we will fight for the win," Morscher said. "With Colbrelli and Bonifazio we have 2 excellent sprinters in the team and with Haussler, who is coming back from his long recovery, we have the best 'Regiemaster' in our group. He will for sure surprise us all." Bahrain-Merida for the EuroEyes Cyclassics: Yukiya Arashiro, Grega Bole, Niccol Bonifazio, Borut Boic, Sonny Colbrelli, Heinrich Haussler, David Per and Luka Pibernik. BMC behind Drucker for Hamburg The BMC Racing Team says it will be behind Luxembourg's Jempy Drucker for the EuroEyes Cyclassics in Hamburg this weekend. Drucker has shown good form in recent weeks, with a win in the Tour de Wallonie, sixth in RideLondon, and a solid week's work for Greg Van Avermaet in the BinckBank Tour. UAE Team Emirates backs Ferrari Lotto Soudal hires new General Manager You can read more at More...
Aqua Blue Sport name line-up for inaugural Vuelta a Espana
August 17, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Aqua Blue Sport has named the lineup for their inaugural Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, with youth and experience set to make up their starting nine. The Irish team are in their first season and earned a wildcard spot into the Spanish Grand Tour. They have already said this week that their aim is to finish the race with at least a stage victory. US national champion Larry Warbasse headlines the team as their most experienced Grand Tour rider. The 27-year-old has ridden the last three Vueltas a Espana as well as last years Giro dItalia. He took his first WorldTour win earlier this season at the Tour de Suisse and went on to beat Neilson Powless to take victory in the US national championships road race. Former British champion Adam Blythe, Stefan Denifl and Michel Kreder are the three other riders with experience at three-week races. Denifl won the Tour of Austria earlier in the season and should be up there in the breakaways on the more mountainous stages. Blythe will be the teams man for the sprints and will be looking to get his first win on the board in the Vueltas sparse sprint stages, while Kreder is better suited to the lumpy days.ADVERTISEMENT Mark Christian, Conor Dunne, Aaron Gate, Peter Koning and Lasse Norman Hansen are all making their Grand Tour debut at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana. Gate and Hansen both come from a track background with Hansen the omnium Olympic champion from 2012. He stepped up to WorldTour level in 2014, but it will be his first opportunity to test himself at a Grand Tour. Dunne is the only Irish rider on the teams roster, while Christian joins Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh on the list of Manx riders who have competed at a Grand Tour. Tour de San Luis stage winner Koning completes the line-up. Aqua Blue Sport for the Vuelta a Espana: Adam Blythe, Mark Christian, Conor Dunne, Aaron Gate, Peter Koning, Michel Kreder, Lasse Norman Hansen, Larry Warbasse and Stefan Denifl You can read more at More...
Vuelta a Espana set to define Aru's season and future
August 16, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Fabio Aru (Astana) believes he can build on his fifth place at the Tour de France and have a successful Vuelta a Espaa, despite being in the middle of negotiations to decide the next chapter of his career and the team he will ride for in 2018. The 27-year-old has been widely linked to the UAE Team Emirates squad but has also received an improved offer from the Astana team and secured the backing of the Kazakhstani team for the Vuelta. As a consequence, Aru has avoided making any formal announcements about his future and has even publicly thanked Astana. He is focused on winning a second Vuelta, knowing that his success of 2015 taught him a lot about Grand Tour racing.ADVERTISEMENT Aru snatched overall victory from Tom Dumoulin in the 2015 Vuelta when he took the red leaders jersey on the last climb of the last mountain stage to Cercedilla. This year, he faces tougher opposition, with Chris Froome (Team Sky) chasing a rare Tour-Vuelta double, Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) looking to end his career on a high, and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Esteban Chaves, Adam Yates and Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) all real contenders for victory. Having won it once gives me an understanding of my chances this year. But, of course, every race is different, Aru told La Repubblica. Well discover exactly how good I am stage by stage, I dont want to make any promises or predictions. I know itll be a tough race, itll be the hardest Grand Tour of 2017, with lots of mountain finishes right from the start, that need short but intense efforts. There arent many big long mountain stages but there are a lot of finishes at 20 per cent. Learning at the Tour, making plans for the future You can read more at More...
Pauwels, Morton and Kudus in Dimension Data team for Vuelta a Espana
August 16, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Serge Pauwels, Omar Fraile and Igor Antonwill lead Dimension Data at the Vuelta a Espaa, while Lachlan Morton makes his Grand Tour debut. Eritreas Merhawi Kudus, so impressive in the opening part of the season, will also be on hand for the final three-week tour of the year. As expected, there is no place in the team for Mark Cavendish. The Manxmanis currently training in Italy and could return at the Tour of Britain although he hasyet to confirm a date for his return to competitive action after he broke his shoulder blade in a finishing straight crash on stage 4 of the Tour de France. Pauwels returns to the Vuelta for the first time since 2013 and heads up Dimension Datas challenge for stage honours at the Vuelta alongside Igor Anton, who has twice finished in the top 10 overall and who crashed out while wearing the leaders red jersey in 2010.ADVERTISEMENT Two-time king of the mountains Omar Fraile will have the freedom to go on the offensive throughout the Vuelta and will look to replicate the stage victory he picked up at the Giro d'Italia in May. Kudus will hope to shine on the summit finishes that punctuate the route. The Eritrean, fourth overall at the Tour of Oman and ninth at the recent Vuelta a Burgos, has targeted the Vuelta since the beginning of the season and was withheld from both the Giro and the Tour. The Vuelta is traditionally a hard race with lots of climbing, that is why we are bringing a lot of climbers to the race, Pauwels said. We have a strong group that can race aggressively and try to hunt for stage wins. I am really looking forward to my second Grand Tour this year. I have taken a short break after the Tour then put in a good training block last week. I hope to take my opportunity as well by picking a stage and trying to get the victory. You can read more at More...
Vuelta a Espana: Quick-Step with De la Cruz, Jungels, Alaphilippe
August 16, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
David de la Cruz will lead Quick-Step Floors general classification bid at the Vuelta a Espaa, with Bob Jungels, eighth overall at the Giro dItalia, set to ride a second Grand Tour in one season for the first time in his career. Julian Alaphilippe, who was forced the miss the Tour de France through a knee injury, has also been named in the Belgian teams nine-man squad, where Matteo Trentin and Niki Terpstra offer further chances for stage wins. De la Cruz impressed at the Vuelta last year, with a stage win, a stint in the leaders jersey, and seventh overall, and he has continued that form into the 2017 season. After stage wins at Paris-Nice and the Vuelta al Pas Vasco, the Spaniard was third overall at the recent Vuelta a Burgos.ADVERTISEMENT We hope to do a good race and be up there when it comes to both stage wins and the general classification. David de la Cruz will set his sights on a good result in the overall standings, and after finishing in the top 10 last year, we believe he can be again among the protagonists, but we will take it one stage at a time and see how the race progresses, said directeur sportif Geert Van Bondt. While De la Cruz is the nominal leader, the team has another strong card to play in the form of Jungels, who has won the white jersey for best young rider at the past two editions of the Giro. He has had a relatively light schedule since finishing eighth overall at the Giro in May, and taking on a second Grand Tour will be seen as part of his development as a general classification rider. Along with De la Cruz, Quick-Step will have a second Spanish talent in their squad, with neo-pro Enric Mas handed his Grand Tour debut. Hopes are high for the 22-year-old, who finished second, ahead of De la Cruz, at Burgos. You can read more at More...
Haig confident of Vuelta a Espana success with Orica-Scott leaders
August 16, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Jack Haig returns to the Vuelta a Espana in 2017 with Orica-Scott confident the Australian team can win the race or place Adam and Simon Yates or Esteban Chaves on the podium. The Australian enters the race off the back of his first WorldTour win at the Tour de Pologne earlier this month and is full of self-confidence and belief in Orica-Scott's ability to hits its targets over the three weeks in Spain. It is his second Grand Tour after also being part of the successful Orica-Scott team that helped Chaves finish third overall at the Vuelta in 2016. "I'm nowhere near as nervous as the first one. I feel a little bit more comfortable both within myself but also within the team and also it is not so much an unknown factor," Haig told Cyclingnews.ADVERTISEMENT "Before you do your first Grand Tour you always hear stories from guys on the team and other guys in the peloton and of course everyone adds a little bit of sugar on top. It is all a bit exaggerated and you get a bit scared with everyone telling the stories behind it. This year I feel quite a bit more comfortable with my role in the team. Last year I came in being a neo-pro and not knowing 100 per cent where I fitted into the team and this year I hope I can slot into the team in a bit more of a certain way. I also feel that my fitness has grown a fair bit." In 2016, Chaves lead the line for Orica-Scott, with Simon Yates in support and sixth overall. In 2017, Adam Yates joins the GC assault and while some teams may struggle with the power balance of three captains, Haig doesn't believe it will be an issue for Orica. "With both the Yateses and Chaves coming to the Vuelta it is interesting. I am going to be interested to see how it plays out and hopefully not have too many chiefs and not enough Indians," he said. The chance to take a win You can read more at More...
Greg Henderson confirms retirement
August 16, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Greg Henderson has formalised his retirement, bringing down the curtains on a career that started on the track. Henderson's last race as a professional came at the Colorado Classic having made the moved to UnitedHealthcare for the final year of his career. A four-time Commonwealth Games medallist on the track, including gold in the 2002 points race, Henderson also won the world Scratch Race title in 2004. By the early 2000's, the New Zealander was focusing more on the road having signed for 7 UP-Maxxis. He moved into the top tier of the sport with T-Mobile before stints with Highroad, Team Sky, and Lotto-Soudal. It was at Lotto-Soudal that Henderson announced himself as one of the best lead out men in the business, helping Andre Greipel numerous Grand Tour stage wins. Henderson will now move into full-time coaching as he announced on his personal website.ADVERTISEMENT "I'm not going to drag this out and go on and on about my cycling career. Instead I'm just going to take the time to thank everyone that made this dream a reality," Henderson wrote. "I would never have thought I would be racing my bike professionally at the highest level in the World for so long. Actually there is no way to predict that and I believe that by ticking boxes each year and striving to be that little bit better every year gave me the drive to keep pushing my level higher and higher. "I can honestly say I wouldn't have got where I am today without the support of Mum and Dad. Every weekend we had the BMX bikes on the Bike Rack from the age of 5 and we were off racing for the next 11yrs. To have parents that invested that much time into the sport that I loved was instrumental. So thanks Mum and Dad. Henderson added that he was forever grateful for the opportunity provided to me to transform into a road rider and enjoy the long career that he has had. "The next Chapter was basically when I decided I needed to see what this Pro Cycling was all about. I had not even heard of the Tour de France. I was more interested in the BMX worlds which I did at the age or 11 for the first time. For a team to take on an athlete from a country with little or no cycling background is a huge gamble. With these countries there is no in between. Its complete success or complete failure. Jeff Corbett was the guy to first take that gamble with me. Much appreciated," he said. "I was still lucky enough to combine my new passion...road racing...with my passion for racing the Velodrome and lucky enough to represent New Zealand in 5 Olympic games, 4 Commonwealth Games and I honestly can't remember how many World Championships. The mix was getting harder and harder though, and to turn myself back into a road cyclist after every track campaign was timely and I have to thank the directors of the teams that I rode for that allowed this transformation to occur. Some pretty rough days being track fit and having to race 180km on the road 1wk later." You can read more at More...
Vuelta a Espana: Unconventional approach for George Bennett
August 16, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
George Bennett's preparation for the Vuelta a Espana has been less than ideal having spent moretime at the pre-race training camp in bed than on his bike, he will start "nothing to lose" on Saturday. LottoNL-Jumbo's Kiwi was forced out of the Tour de France on stage 16 with illness when sitting 12th overall and has struggled to regain full health since. "I had more or less two weeks completely off the bike. I did a couple of one-hour rides. I was meant to for a bit longer but just kept having to go home. Finally a few days before San Sebastin I started to lose the symptoms and was excited to race," Bennett told Cyclingnews. "I went there with my girlfriend and tried to make a weekend of it. I actually raced surprisingly well. Ok, I wasn't good but I was still there and was 30-something and could attack in the finale and was active in the race. It is a nice race but in the race, I still felt like I kept on yawning. Which was quite strange. I came home and rode to Andorra a few days later to start a week training camp."ADVERTISEMENT While a training camp pre-Tour went to plan for Bennett and LottoNL-Jumbo, it was a different story when preparing for the Vuelta as he described. "The next day, I felt completely crook again and instead of a virus, this time I had a throat infection. I went on antibiotics and spent the training camp in bed," he said. "I managed to string a couple of rides together and did maybe three big, big rides and the rest of the time was just trying to recover. Then I came back to Girona and have basically been off the bike and done a few short sessions over the weekend and have not built up for the Vuelta in any shape or form. It is an interesting approach to the Vuelta. Normally I go to training camps in the mountains and this time I have been laying in bed so this time so we'll see how this works out for me." 2016 was a breakthrough year for Bennett in which he made his Tour and Olympic Games debut and finished tenth overall at the Vuelta. The 27-year-old had a delayed start to the 2017 season due to glandular fever, recovering to finish top-ten at Abu Dhabi Tour, Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, and 11th at Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Bennett then claimed the first win of his career with the Tour of California in May and was on track to record the best ever GC result at the Tour by a Kiwi. Tour de France reflections You can read more at More...
FDJ without Reichenbach for Vuelta a Espana
August 15, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
FDJ will head to the Vuelta a Espaa without planned leader Sebastien Reichenbach, who has been suffering with a virus since the Tour de Suisse. Instead, the French team will chase stage wins with a youthful squad that was unveiled on Tuesday. Reichenbach is one Thibaut Pinots key mountain domestiques, and helped the Frenchman to fourth overall at this years Giro dItalia, himself finishing 15th. While Pinot went to the Tour de France as a free agent in a team built around sprinter Arnaud Demare, Reichenbach was given the chance to play his own cards in the Vuelta, buthas struggled to overcome the virus. After abandoning Tour de Suisse, he returned to action at the Tour de Pologne at the end of July but again failed to finish.ADVERTISEMENT After the virus I contracted at the Tour de Suisse, Ive not been able to recover well. Id therefore prefer to miss the Vuelta a Espana, he told Swiss newspaper, La Nouvelliste. Announcing the final line-up on Tuesday, the FDJ team hailed an "offensive team, free from any general classification objective" that it hopes can repeat the stage wins enjoyed in both the Giro and Tour earlier this season. For the flatter stages, the team will look to the trio of Anthony Roux, winner of a Vuelta stage back in 2009, Lorrenzo Manzin, who finished top-10 on four occasions in last years race, and Daniel Hoelgaard, one of three Grand Tour debutants in the line-up. You can read more at More...
Dylan van Baarle extends with Cannondale-Drapac
August 15, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Dutchman Dylan van Baarle has extended his contract with Cannondale-Drapac for a further two seasons to take him through to the end of 2019. The 25-year-old turned professional with the American WorldTour team in 2014 and has steadily shown potential at the cobbled classics with fourth place at the Tour of Flanders a highlight of his 2017 spring. Van Baarle has also proven himself in stage races with overall victory at the 2014 edition of the Tour of Britain. "We have a really good Classics team with Sep [Vanmarcke] and Sebastian [Langeveld]," said Van Baarle. "I think we started something this year with the three of us, and we didn't finish it yet. That's one of the main reasons I wanted to stay.ADVERTISEMENT "I really feel confident in the team and comfortable with the team. I'm happy to stay, and I'm happy the team wanted me to stay." Cannondale-Drapac has shown its confidence in Van Baarle since he joined the team, and Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters has taken on the responsibility of personally coaching the Dutchman. Van Baarle explained that the coaching relationship has been key to his success with the team. "JV has really helped me develop as a rider. It all started two years ago, actually when they negotiated my last contract. In the beginning it was a little strange but nowadays it feels normal. We have a really good relationship, and for me, it really works," Van Baarle said. "I train really hard, and in the last two seasons, my work showed in the results. That only motivates me more for the next winter to train hard again or maybe even harder." You can read more at More...
Stephen Wooldridge passes away
August 15, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Australian team pursuit Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist and world champion Stephen Wooldridge has passed away. The 39-year-old won the first of his four team pursuit world titles in 2002 alongside Peter Dawson, Brett Lancaster and Luke Roberts. He would go on to win rainbow jerseys in 2003, 2004 and 2006. Wooldridge's gold medal in the discipline came at the Athens Games in a squad that included Graeme Brown, Dawson, Lancaster, Brad McGee and Roberts. Wooldridge also won gold at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and silver in 2006 in Melbourne. After his cycling career,Wooldridge saw on the Cycling Australian board between 2007 and 2013 and was the chair of the athletes commission. Cycling NSW confirmed Wooldridge's passing in a statement.ADVERTISEMENT "Stephen was an inspirational figure in track cycling, particularly in his home state of NSW," read the statement. "Cycling NSW's thoughts are with Stephen's family and his friends during this difficult time." Cycling Australia chief executive Nick Green also expressed his condolences on behalf of the governing body. "Steve will be remembered by so many for not only his success in competition, but also for the contributions he made across so many roles in the sport," Green said. You can read more at More...
Stage wins the focus for Vuelta a Espana debutants Aqua Blue Sport
August 15, 2017 (20:00) [ Indexed from ]
Ireland's first Pro Continental team Aqua Blue Sports is just days away from making its Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana. For the first time since 2009, a team in its debut season has been granted a wild card entry to the Spanish Grand Tour and Aqua Blue Sports are promising to make a mark on the race. The team has already announced a custom white edition of its jersey in recognition of the wild card entry granted to the team by race organisers ASO. The team will also stand out in the peloton with the stars n stripes jersey of American champion Larry Warbasse. Having started its debut season racing aggressively in order to earn race invites to WorldTour events, sport director Tim Barry explained the wild card invitation saw a shift in team tactics and approach.ADVERTISEMENT "From that point on, we changed our plans for the second half of the season," Barry said. "We've done our best to try and prepare well and focus on La Vuelta with the riders that we have, to come there with knowing that we can do a good race. "It was a special moment for everybody in our organization because we're such a young and a new team," he added of the moment the team learned of the invitation. "It's amazing. At the start of the year, it was the top of a dream list to do one of the Grand Tours as in year 1. We can't wait for it to happen. We want to do a good job and represent the team well and do a tribute to the race." The team enjoyed its first victory at the Tour de Suisse in June with Warbasse and have gone on to enjoy success at the US national titles and then the Tour of Austria with Stefan Deniflwinning the overall. Aqua Blue Sports also enjoyed a promising Arctic Race of Norway where Michel Kreder finished third overall while Adam Blythe has been consistent all season but it yet to taste victory. You can read more at More...

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