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Gilbert makes winning return at GP d’Isbergues

Quick-Step FloorsPhilippe Gilbert got back to winning ways at the Grand Prix d’Isbergues in France on Sunday, just two months after fracturing his kneecap in a crash at the Tour de France.

Gilbert crashed on the descent of the infamous Col de Portet d’Aspet on stage 16 of the Tour, hitting a stone wall and plunging down the bank the other side.

Although he remounted and finished the stage, Gilbert’s knee had swollen considerably, and hospital examinations revealed the fracture, meaning that his Tour was over.


The GP d’Isbergues – held halfway between Calais and Lille in northern France – was the 36-year-old Belgian’s first race back having recovered from the injury.

Gilbert out-sprinted breakaway companion Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) for the victory, with Gilbert’s Quick-Step teammate Florian Sénéchel taking the third spot on the podium.

“I’ve worked so hard to get back here today,” Gilbert said on his team’s website. “Honestly, there have been some difficult moments when I’ve been at home fighting to make this comeback. I’ve had a great team around me at home, but you still have to do the work yourself, to put in the energy and focus.

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Nick Schultz replaces sick Richie Porte on Australian Worlds team

Cycling Australia have announced Nick Schultz as the replacement for Richie Porte for the World Championship road race.

Porte ruled himself out of next Sunday’s event in Innsbruck, Austria, with sickness, but Schultz’s selection means that there is no place for the already-overlooked Michael Matthews.

Schultz, 24, has spent the last two seasons with the Spanish Pro Continental team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, but has recently signed a two year-contract with Mitchelton-Scott, starting next season.


Schultz finished 75th overall at the Vuelta a España earlier this month – his second Grand Tour, having also finished the Vuelta with Caja Rural last season – and was third at the GP Miguel Indurain one-day race in March, behind winner Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Mitchelton’s Carlos Verona.

“It is an honour to be selected to represent Australia at the World Championships,” Schultz said in the Australian federation’s press release. “I will give my maximum to deliver whatever is required. I would also like to wish Richie a speedy recovery and thank Cycling Australia for their faith in selecting me.”

Upon signing him to Mitchelton-Scott, head sports director Matt White described Schultz as “a real climbing talent”, which backs up Australian national team selector Brad McGee and Australian Cycling Team Performance Director Simon Jones’ decision to draft the youngster from Brisbane onto the team.

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Riders lament loss of trade-team TTT at future World Championships

Quick-Step Floors and Canyon-SRAM secured victories in the elite men’s and women’s trade team time trial at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck on Sunday. They were feats that marked the end of the discipline, as the sport’s governing body moves replace it with a team time trial for national teams next year.

The team time trial was introduced as a World Championship event for the men in 1962 and the women in 1987, but at the time th even consisted of four riders representing their respective national teams. The discipline stopped after the 1994 edition and went on hiatus for 18 years before being reintroduced with six-rider trade teams in 2012.

During that time, Quick-Step won the title on four occasions: 2012 in Valkenburg, 2013 in Florence, 2016 in Doha and on Sunday in Innsbruck. BMC won titles in 2014 in Ponferrada and 2015 in Richmond, and Team Sunweb won it last year in Bergen.


On the women’s side, Canyon-SRAM added a fifth title to their existing four won under previous sponsors Specialized-lululemon (2012-2014) and Velocio-SRAM (2015) and in Innsbruck.

The UCI announced this summer that it would replace the event with a new team time trial, whereby each national team will be expected to field a men’s and women’s team that will race separately. In the end, their respective times will combine into one final time that will rank each nation.

The UCI felt the need to change the format after many of the WorldTour teams pushed back at the pressure from the UCI to ride the team time trial, with the weaker time trial teams seeing the race as a waste of their resources and rider. FDJ last competed in 2015. Few of the leading Professional Continental teams have ever taken part because they struggle to compete with the likes of Quick-Step Floors, BMC Racing and Team Sky.

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BMC Racing sign off with a fifth and final podium place in team time trial

The BMC Racing team finished on the podium of the UCI Road World Championships team time trial championships for a fifth consecutive time but were unable to sign off with a final victory before the team becomes CCC in 2019 and many of its big-name riders move elsewhere.

The BMC Racing riders won the world title in 2014 and 2015 and so were logically disappointed to finish third, 19 seconds slower than winners Quick-Step Floors and silver medalists Team Sunweb, who were a second faster.

Patrick Bevin, Damiano Caruso, Rohan Dennis, Stefan Küng, Greg Van Avermaet, and Tejay van Garderen were second fastest behind Mitchelton-Scott after 22.8km but slipped to third fastest after the climb to Axams after 45km. They lost Küng at this point after the Swiss rouleur made a huge contribution during the 40km flat roads and were unable to match Quick-Step Floors’ finishing speed.


“We did everything to plan, but we just got beat by a better team on the day,” Dennis said sportingly.

“Quick-Step Floors are always good. They don’t have Tony Martin anymore, but one rider doesn’t win a team time trial, it’s a team event. Those guys have always been pretty solid. They are always on our radar and we did think that they were top four but in the end, we were thinking that Team Sky and Team Sunweb were the favourites to beat us.”

Dennis and van Garderen regretted not pushing the pace a little higher on the climb, but the 62.4km distance forced teams to adopt a slightly cautious race strategy to avoid falling apart in the final kilometres. Each team fielded six riders, and the time was taken on the fourth rider to finish. Most teams sacrificed a rider on the climb, but finishing with just four was a risk in case of punctures and crashes.

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Team Sky crash out of the medals in Worlds TTT

Misfortune struck Team Sky in the team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck on Sunday after Ian Stannard crashed in the opening kilometre. The team ended up finishing fourth place, just outside of the medals, and 44 seconds behind winners Quick-Step Floors.

“The crash affected our chances of winning today,” Gianni Moscon told Cyclingnews at the finish line. “I don’t know if we would have won, but for sure we would have been on the podium without the crash.”

The elite men raced 62.5km that was mostly flat in the first half and then hit a steep 4km climb at the 40km mark, followed by a fast descent and flat run-in into Innsbruck.


Team Sky’s roster included Moscon and Stannard along with Michal Kwiatkowski, Owain Doull, Vasil Kiryienka and Jonathan Castroviejo. Moscon led the team over a short climb in the opening kilometre and through the first corner, where Stannard suddenly crashed.

“It was just one kilometre after the start at the top of the first little hill,” Moscon said. “I don’t know exactly how the crash happened because I was the first rider of our team to enter the corner. None of us felt like our speed was too high in that corner, but maybe Ian made a mistake.

“We had to wait, and so we lost a lot of time there, and Ian wasn’t feeling great after the crash because we went down hard and hit his side. He missed some turns but was able to help us until we got to the bottom of the climb – we lost him straight away.”

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Dumoulin turns attention to individual time trial defense after Worlds TTT loss

Tom Dumoulin spent only a short time expressing his disappointment after Team Sunweb lost the team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck on Sunday, before he quickly turned his attention to the upcoming individual time trial on Wednesday.

“It feels like a slight disappointment after winning gold last year but we did a really good team time trial, and we can be very proud of ourselves,” Dumoulin told the press in the mixed zone area following the podium ceremony.

“Of course, when you are the world champions from last year, anything other than winning will always feel a bit disappointing.”


Sunweb had to settle for the silver medal after they crossed the finish line 18 seconds slower than the winning team Quick-Step Floors. The Belgian squad covered the course in 1:07:25 and secured their fourth team time trial world title after winning in 2012 in Valkenburg, 2013 in Florence and 2016 in Doha.

Sunweb lined up as the defending champions after winning last year’s title in Bergen. Dumoulin led the roster that also included Wilco Kelderman, Chad Haga, Michael Matthews, Sam Oomen and Soren Kragh Andersen.

Their team was well-suited to the 62.5km course, which was mostly flat in the first half. The second half included a stinging 4km climb with pitches as steep as 13 per cent, followed by a fast descent and flat run-in into Innsbruck.

ITT more important than road race for Dumoulin

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Quick-Step Floors savour fourth team time trial world title

The Quick-Step Floors riders let out their wolf pack howl as they celebrated winning the men’s team time trial world title in Innsbruck. The Belgian team has now won the title four times in seven editions of the event – in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2018 – and this latest victory is their 69th of the 2018 season.

Niki Terpstra, Laurens de Plus, Yves Lampaert, Bob Jungles, neo-pro Kasper Asgreen and Maximilian Schachmann were obviously happy to have beaten major rivals Team Sunweb, BMC Racing and Team Sky. Celebrations were expected to go long into the night.

Quick-Step Floors were only third and second fastest at the 22.8 and 44.8km time splits, but they were strongest in the finale, touching 111km/h on the descent and riding at their very limit on the final 10km to the finish in Innsbruck.


“We were fastest from A to B,” Terpstra said. “We rode hard and fast on the flat 40km, on the climb and on the final kilometres to the finish. We were still riding at close to 60km/h near the finish in the city. I think we did a good job.”

Terpstra became the only male rider to win four team time trial world titles but remains one behind Trixi Worrack, who earlier in the day won again with the Canyon-SRAM team in the women’s event.

Terpstra took centre stage on the podium and played a central role in the team time trial in one of his final races with Quick-Step Floors before moving to Direct Energie for the 2019 season.

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Aru declines spot on Italian team for Worlds road race

Claiming he’s not feeling at his best, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) has declined a spot on the Italian team for Sunday’s road race at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck.

Aru raced last at the Memorial Marco Pantani on Saturday, the second-to-last finisher in 54th place, 4:04 down on winner Davide Ballerini (Androni Giocattoli – Sidermec). The Italian one-day was Aru’s first race since the Vuelta a Espana, where he finished 23rd overall after crashing heavily on a descent during stage 17.

Italian coach Davide Cassani had earlier confirmed Aru as part of a seven-rider group announced on September 17, with the final rider on the eight-rider roster to be named later this week. Instead of naming one rider, however, both Gianluca Brambilla and Dario Cataldo have been added to the roster and Aru removed.


The revised roster includes Brambilla, Cataldo, Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Gianni Moscon, Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti and Domenico Pozzovivo.

Aru’s absence will put even more pressure on Moscon, who Nibali tipped as the leader of the team after claiming he also was not at 100 per cent after recovering from a broken vertebrae sufferd in the Tour de France. Moscon has been on a tear of good form as of late, winning Coppa Agostoni-Giro delle Brianze on September 15 and Giro della Toscana four days later. Most recently, he was third in Coppa Sabatini-Gran Premio citta di Peccioli on Thursday.

Nibali rode aggressively at the Memorial Pantani race on Saturday but later admitted he is still not at his best and said the Italian team should back Moscon on the hilly parcours in Innsbruck.

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World Championships: Worrack moved by fifth team time trial victory

Trixi Worrak stood on the podium with a steady stream of tears running down her cheeks after securing a fifth world title in the team time trial at the 2018 UCI Road World Championships in Innsbruck on Sunday. Her Canyon-SRAM squad took a surprise victory after covering the 54.5km course in 1:01:46, beating the outright favourites Boels Dolmans and Team Sunweb.

“We were not the favourites, that’s for sure, but we had some very good training sessions here last week. We knew what we could do and that we had a chance to win,” Worrack told Cyclingnews after stepping off the podium.

“We knew that if we had a really good day that we could be on the podium, and maybe even win.”


Canyon-SRAM’s team also included Alena Amialiusik, Elena Cecchini, Lisa Klein and sisters Alice and Hannah Barnes. They started their race just ahead of Sunweb and Boels, and so they had no information about how they were racing at each time check compared to those two teams.

They finished the race with six riders and felt good about their prospects of winning, but Worrack pointed out that the long distance made it difficult to judge their effort.

“It’s always hard to know because this race was 54km, which was the longest team time trial ever,” she said. “This is also a special kind of race, and you never know how these kinds of races work out.”

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Vincenzo Nibali abdicates Italian team leadership to Moscon

Vincenzo Nibali rode aggressively at the Memorial Pantani race on Saturday but has admitted he is still not at his very best after fracturing a vertebrae at the Tour de France and has suggest that Italy should back Gianni Moscon as team leader for next Sunday’s UCI Road World Championships road race.

Nibali rode the Vuelta a Espana to try find a peak of form after undergoing surgery on the vertebrae he fractured at the Tour de France. However he was unable to compete for the overall classification and was not able to fight for a stage win. That left him discouraged about his chances for the testing 258.5km world championships race that includes the steep final Höll climb and his role as leader of the Italian team.

Saturday’s Memorial Pantani was Nibali’s first race since the Vuelta a Espana and the last before the Italian team gather in Trentino on Monday for a final training camp. The Sicilian was part of the 18-rider group that decided the race; he also made a strong attack in the final kilometres but was swept up by the Androni Giocattoli team that set up Davide Ballerini for a sprint victory.


Nibali’s performance lifted his moral but did not boost his hopes for next Sunday’s road race.

“I feel good but I’m not super,” Nibali told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “My endurance is good after the Vuelta but I lack that acceleration that can make the difference. I might find it in the days before the worlds or perhaps after the end of the season. I’m not at 100 per cent, I think I’m at 90 per cent or even only 80 per cent.”

Nibali and the Bahrain-Merida team believe they have done everything possible to recover after Nibali was taken out by a spectator’s camera strap on the climb to L’Alpe d’Huez during the Tour de France. He underwent percutaneous vertebroplasty surgery in Milan on July 31 to stabilise his fractured vertebrae and speed up his recovery but like fellow crash victim Richie Porte (BMC Racing), he struggled to be competitive at the Vuelta a Espana against the likes of eventual winner Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ).

Nibali’s struggle to even fight for stage victories at the Vuelta a Espana left him despondent and he while he remains the de facto leader and figure head of the Italian team for Innsbruck, he has nominated Moscon for the role of protected rider, despite friction between them at this summer’s Italian national championships.

“He’s a fundamental part of the national team, the results say Moscon’s ready for an important role. Yes, even as team leader,” Nibali said, despite worries that even an on-form Moscon will struggle on the 25 per cent sections of the final Höll climb.

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