Category: Road

Katie Hall takes control in Colorado Classic stage 2

This year’s queen of American stage races took the crown Friday in Colorado Classic stage 2. Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare) won the Vail Pass time trial stage by 26 seconds and moved into the overall race lead.

Her teammate Leah Thomas was second. Rally’s Gillian Ellsay was third, 48 seconds behind.

Hall has run the table in 2018, winning the Joe Martin Stage Race, Tour of the Gila, and Amgen Tour of California.

The 31-year-old Californian is well-suited for the high-altitude climbing test. Stage 2’s 15.2km route topped out at 2,943 meters (9,656 feet) above sea level.

Hall’s strong UHC team will now work to defend the lead over the weekend in the remaining two stages. Saturday will be a flat 50-minute criterium and Sunday’s stage 4 will be a 34.8km circuit with only a slight hill.

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Tour champ Thomas back to racing at Tour of Germany

BERLIN (AFP) — Geraint Thomas said on Friday that he will make his first stage-race appearance since his stunning Tour de France victory in next week’s Tour of Germany.

Team Sky’s Welsh star will lead the 132-strong field for the four-day race, which starts on Thursday in Konlenz, in his first stage race since completing his stunning victory in Paris last month.

Thomas’s presence will boost the profile of the Tour of Germany, which is back on the cycling calendar after a 10-year hiatus.

“I’ve won Bayern-Rundfahrt [Tour of Bavaria] twice and I really enjoy racing in Germany,” said the 32-year-old Welshman.

“It’s a lovely country and I really enjoy going there.

“It will be great to race the Deutschland Tour. I went to see my coach Tim Kerrison after the Tour and we outlined the Deutschland Tour as a great race to make my comeback. I’m looking forward to it.”

Thomas has good memories of racing in Germany.

He was fastest in the opening individual time trial in Duesseldorf when the 2017 Tour de France started in Germany and he won the Tour of Bavaria in both 2011 and 2014.

The rest of this year’s Tour of Germany field will be announced on Monday, but the presence of Thomas is a big coup for race organizers.

“The best German young riders will ride together with the winner of the Tour de France. This only happens at the Tour of Germany,” said organizer Claude Rach.

“This is a dream debut for the new Deutschland Tour. During the four days, we will create Germany’s biggest natural stadium.”

The Tour of Germany is being held for the first time since organizers canceled the 2009 race after a series of high-profile doping cases damaged cycling’s reputation.

It was traditionally a nine-day event, but organizers hope to extend it in the future.

Thomas and Chris Froome, a four-time Tour de France winner, announced on Thursday that they will compete in next month’s Tour of Britain rather than the final Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a España.

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American Colin Joyce wins Arctic Race of Norway stage 2

While his Rally Cycling teammates are racing on home turf in the Colorado Classic, American Colin Joyce is sprinting to the biggest win of his career Friday at the Arctic Race of Norway.

“Man this one is really special — biggest win of my career,” he said. “First big one in Europe. The team was amazing. Wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for them.”

The 24-year-old beat Dennis van Winden (Israel Cycling Academy) in an 11-man kick to the line at the end of the 195km stage. Local rider Markus Hoelgaard (Joker Icopal) was third. With the win, Joyce moved into second overall in the four-day race, four seconds behind Astana’s Sergei Chernetski.

The Arctic Race of Norway is categorized as a UCI 2.HC race and has four WorldTour teams racing this year.

Rally’s day was made easier by Joyce’s teammate Ryan Anderson, who made the early breakaway.

After surviving the crosswinds that ripped apart the peloton, Joyce rode up to a select group of favorites on the stage’s final climb, Hopseidet summit.

“It was such a hard hectic day,” Joyce added. “So windy and it was exploding. Had a lot of help from all the guys throughout the whole day.”

Jakob Fuglsang had provoked an attack on the last climb with his teammate Chernetski, as well as BMC’s Alberto Bettiol. Their trio survived until the final kilometer before Joyce’s group caught them to sprint for the win.

“I had to do a huge bridge on the last KOM up to the group Robin [Carpenter] was in,” Joyce said. “I was going crosseyed. Legs felt fried the next 40k, but everyone was tired.”

Friday was the first time an American has finished top-10 at a stage in the Arctic Race of Norway.

Joyce may be able to hold his GC position Saturday as stage 3 from Honningsvåg to Hammerfest is predominantly flat over 194km. The race wraps up Sunday with a 145.5km stage that finishes with a hilly four-lap circuit in Alta.

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Vuelta sees all-star start list as Sagan, Viviani confirm

The Vuelta a España confirmed an all-star preliminary start list Friday in what could be the Spanish tour’s deepest field ever.

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Elia Viviani (Quick-Step) were among the top names confirming their Vuelta plans just a day after Team Sky revealed defending champion Chris Froome and Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas will be racing the Tour of Britain instead.

The 73rd edition of the Spanish grand tour will see a stellar GC field along with a growing number of stage-hunters and attackers honing their form ahead of the world championships. The combination should deliver an exciting race.

“I decided to race the Vuelta this year, as it fits perfectly into my preparations for the world championships in Innsbruck,” Sagan said Friday. “We’ll have to see how my crash at the Tour still affects me, but I feel I am on a good way back to my best.”

Vuelta officials released a preliminary start list Friday that’s deep on GC contenders headlined by four former Vuelta winners. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), and Fabio Aru (UAE-Emirates) top the list.

Right behind them are Richie Porte (BMC Racing), Rigoberto Urán (EF-Drapac), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb), the Yates brothers (Mitchelton-Scott), and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana).

A climber-friendly worlds course is seeing many Innsbruck-bound riders heading to the Vuelta to prepare for a run at the rainbow jersey. GC contenders like Daniel Martin (UAE-Emirates) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) will use the Vuelta as a trampoline to Austria.

“My preparation has been very different to the Giro d’Italia because like a few guys that will line up in Spain, I have one eye on the world championships later this year,” Yates said this week. “It will be interesting to see how my body responds but, as always, I’ll give it my all to achieve a great result.”

Even without Froome and Thomas, Sky will line up with Michal Kwiatkowski and David de la Fuente. Mikel Landa is still a question mark for Movistar after suffering a heavy fall at the Clásica San Sebastián.

Other confirmed names include Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Ion and Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida), Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing), Enric Mas and Viviani (Quick-Step).

North Americans Michael Woods (EF-Drapac), Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), recent Tour of Utah winner Sepp Kuss (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Ian Boswell (Katusha-Alpecin) are expected to start the Vuelta as well.

The race opens August 25 in Málaga with a prologue and loops around southern Spain for most of the first week. La Camperona and Lagos de Covadonga will highlight the second week, with an individual time trial in stage 16. Two hard days in Andorra cap the final weekend before the finale in Madrid on September 16.

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Colorado Classic gallery: Stage 1 surprise

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Quick-Step Floors still searching for sponsor as riders leave

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Cycling’s top team Quick-Step Floors is struggling to find sponsorship to continue at the top level in 2019.

Team boss Patrick Lefevere admits he has not found a replacement for Quick-Step Floors and he cannot keep his ‘wolfpack’ together. Yesterday, star rider and 2018 Tour of Flanders winner Niki Terpstra announced he will join French team Direct Energie in 2019.

“It always hurts,” Lefevere told Sporza of seeing top riders leave his team.

“Sylvain Chavanel hurt a lot because he was a wonderful rider and did a great job, Niki [Terpstra] causes a lot of pain, Matteo Trentin too, Julien Vermote, even Mark Cavendish.

“Unfortunately, I don’t have a chest to draw out the money I would like, otherwise I would be the boss of Team Sky and not of Quick-Step.”

Quick-Step Floors’ budget is around €18 million (or $20.4m), competitive with other top teams but not in the same stratosphere as Team Sky’s with around £31 million ($39.4m).

Lefevere has been searching for some time for a new sponsor to ease the burden on owner Zdenek Bakala and to replace title sponsor Quick-Step Floors.

The team is number one in terms of wins. It finished 2017 on top and for 2018, it counts 54 victories so far. The second best team, Sky, has 36.

Lefevere welcomed smaller sponsors recently. He brought in supermarket chain Lidl in September 2015 and this summer at the Tour de France, he welcomed Maes 0.0% beer. Big money backers like Emirates airline company or Sky media group have not appeared, however.

“Quick-Step will stay for at least another three years, but they would prefer to become a second sponsor,” Lefevere told Het Nieuwsblad earlier this week. “I do not have that main sponsor yet.”

“I do not really care where the sponsor comes from. That may well be China or Mongolia. As long as they bring real money and no Monopoly money.”

Working with Mapei and with the Quick-Step team since 2003, Lefevere has learned how to stretch his dollar. He scouts talented new riders and signs contracts with them while their value is still low. The problem is, after he develops them, he no longer has the money to keep everyone.

Budget constraints forced him to let go of some of his star cyclists at the end of the 2017 season. Dan Martin joined UAE Team Emirates, Matteo Trentin went to Mitchelton-Scott, and Marcel Kittel left to Team Katusha. Now, he let Niki Terpstra go.

Terpstra joined the team in 2011 from Milram. Over the eight seasons, the Dutchman won Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders.

“There was no offer on my part because I did not have the money,” Lefevere said. “I think I’m still an honest man at 63. I’m not going to promise someone something I cannot give.

“I didn’t have enough money to make a proposal. I fear that tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or next week, the budget might be there and then it will hurt more [losing Terpstra].”

Lefevere is making the best with his current crop of star riders. He built the eight-man Vuelta a España team, announced today, around Italian Elia Viviani. Viviani, who counts 14 wins so far in 2018, will race for sprint victories in the Spanish tour starting August 25 in Málaga.

Viviani will have support from Michael Mørkøv, Fabio Sabatini, Kasper Asgreen, Laurens De Plus, Dries Devenyns, Enric Mas, and Pieter Serry

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Colorado Classic gains importance amid domestic racing slump

VAIL, Colorado (VN) — There’s a sense of urgency buzzing through the North American peloton at this week’s Colorado Classic. For many riders, the four-day race represents one final opportunity to score a major result before the season’s end.

“Some guys took a rest before Colorado but not me because this is the last race of the season,” said Serghei Tvetcov of UnitedHealthcare. “When I want a rest, I rest after this.”

The approaching off-season comes unseasonably early this year. In the past riders often looked to September’s Tour of Alberta and Bucks County Classic as the official end to the season. That’s not the case this year, with Alberta shuttering after the 2017 edition and the Bucks County Classic downgrading to a one-day criterium devoid of UCI classification. North America’s WorldTour squads will compete in September’s WorldTour events in Quebec City and Montreal, however, those races do not allow Pro Continental teams to compete without an invitation.

Rally Pro Cycling is the only lower-tier North American team to have received an invitation for the 2019 edition of those events.

There are also two races remaining on USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, the Gateway Cup race in Missouri and the Thomson Criterium in Pennsylvania. Neither race holds UCI standing.

The Colorado Classic has benefitted from this shifting dynamic. It now holds a higher level of importance within the North American calendar.

“Utah and Colorado are the second- and third-biggest races for us now,” said Jonas Carney, performance manager for Rally Cycling. “It’s become a major priority for our team.”

This year the four-day race holds 2.HC standing within the UCI, which puts it on level standing with the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Tour of Denmark, and Arctic Race of Norway, among other races. The race’s close proximity to the Tour of Utah has also attracted a smattering of WorldTour squads, lured by UCI points and the presence of media. In addition to U.S.-based Team EF Education First-Drapac, Mitchelton-Scott, LottoNL-Jumbo, and Trek-Segafredo are in attendance at this year’s event.

And the race’s short, punchy stages, and six-man teams has created an unpredictable format that is unlike what is found at other road races.

“For me, [Colorado] is as important as the [Amgen Tour of] California,” said TJ Eisenhart (Holowesko-Citadel). I prefer this more aggressive style of racing. You’re not doing those 200km days that just drag on. There’s not one team that can control the racing.”

Axel Merckx, director of the Hagens Berman Axeon U23 development team, said the Colorado race has become an important proving ground for his team’s younger, less-experienced riders. This year Axeon’s veteran riders targeted the Amgen Tour of California as well as stage races and one-day events across Europe. The team’s younger riders, however, have had fewer opportunities to race, due to the dwindling U.S. calendar.

“The amount of races in the U.S. is now very poor and for those [younger] guys it gives them the opportunity to race at a pretty high level. Not the highest, but a pretty high level,” Merckx said. “It’s a valuable place to have a race for us.”

Merckx said Colorado’s spot on the calendar does create drawbacks. The Tour of Utah is perhaps the most challenging event in the U.S. with, soaring climbs at high altitude. The tight turnaround between Utah and Colorado — riders had just four days to rest and recover between races — has left many riders with tired legs this week.

“I understand and recognize that [the schedule] is about keeping the WorldTour teams over here — if you added a week of rest then the WorldTour teams may not want to stay,” Merckx said. “Right now 10 days of racing in two weeks is not ideal. The guys only have two days of real rest due to travel.”

Indeed riders looked exhausted as they trickled across the line after Thursday’s opening circuit race in Vail. The course included multiple punchy climbs at 8,000 feet of elevation.

The effort was too much for Colorado native Keegan Swirbul (Jelly Belly-Maxxis), who was gapped off the back and finished more than a minute down Thursday. It was an unusual finish for Swirbul, who finished seventh overall at the Tour of Utah and is one of the country’s best up-and-coming climbers.

The 22-year-old said the combined effort of Utah and Colorado was simply too much for his tired legs.

“I’m messed up. I talked to a few guys who were out there fighting every day in Utah and they said they’re messed up too,” Swirbul said. “It’s hard. You think you’d be able to recover but Utah is just so hard. It catches up with you.”

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Puerto names still might come out

Operacion Puerto, the Spanish blood-doping ring dating back to 2006, isn’t dead yet.

According to the Spanish daily AS, officials are still pushing for the release of names of athletes linked to the doping ring headed up by Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.

According to AS, the World Anti-Doping agency is trying to reveal the names of 26 men and three women whose identities are confirmed via blood bags collected in police raids in May 2006. Authorities want to at least give official notification to the respective governing bodies.

Dozens of professional cyclists, as well as other professional athletes from athletics, triathlon and other sports, were linked to one of the largest doping rings ever uncovered in Europe.

Most of the names were never released and Spanish courts blocked previous efforts to reveal the names. The case was mired in a string of complicated legal issues involving privacy, statute of limitations and the reach of anti-doping laws in Spain at the time of the raids in May 2006. Once a long-running trial ended in Spain in 2016, WADA was handed custody of many of the infamous blood bags linked to Fuentes.

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde eventually served a two-year ban when he was linked to one of the blood bags taken from Fuentes’s labs. Several other top pros, including Thomas Dekker, Tyler Hamilton, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, and Ivan Basso, later admitted their links to the doping conspiracy.

Several others, however, remain unknown. That could change as WADA continues to put pressure on the case and AS reported that the world anti-doping body will address the issue during its annual meeting next month.

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VN Podcast ep. 102: Is Sepp Kuss the real deal? Katie Hall moves to Boels

Welcome to the VeloNews cycling podcast, where we discuss the latest trends, news, and controversies in the world of cycling.

Sepp Kuss absolutely smashed the field at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. So is he America’s next star climber? We hear from Dane Cash, who was covering the race this year and Chris Case, who did an in-depth sports science feature on climbing that featured Kuss (how prescient!).

Then, Fred Dreier talks to another star climber, Katie Hall, who just announced she will race for super-team Boels-Dolmans in 2018.

This episode of the VeloNews podcast is sponsored by Feedback Sports, which makes the stable and easy to use Sprint Repair Stand. For more, check out

If you like what you hear, subscribe to the VeloNews podcast on iTunesStitcher, and Google Play. Please give us a review and a rating, if you have time! Also, check out the VeloNews Fast Talk training podcast with Trevor Connor.

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Colorado Classic: Gage Hecht fends off the sprinters in stage 1

With a stunning long-range attack out of an all-day breakaway, young Gage Hecht (Aevolo) won the opening stage of the Colorado Classic Thursday, leaving the sprinters to fight for scraps in Vail, Colorado.

Hecht, 20, was part of a four-man group along with Pascal Eenkhorn (LottoNL-Jumbo), Alex Cataford (UnitedHealthcare), and Nicholas Eg (Trek-Segafredo).

Throughout the day the Coloradoan would attack the 14.2km circuit’s dirt road climb to collect king of the mountains points. On the final lap of the 103.2-kilometer race, he attacked again, and that time, it stuck.

Behind in the peloton, EF Education First-Drapac’s Daniel Martinez tried an acceleration but couldn’t break free.

Up the road, Hecht rode a solo breakaway with about a 20-second advantage as the disorganized peloton failed to close down the gap in the final five kilometers.

Though Hecht seemed uncertain of his advantage, frequently checking over his shoulder toward the end, he realized with one kilometer remaining that the victory would be his. He punched up one final short climb and rode alone to the biggest win of his young career.

Travis McCabe sprinted to second behind with his arms in the air, perhaps indicating that he didn’t realize the Aevolo rider was up the road. Joe Lewis (Holowesko-Citadel) was third.

Hecht brought home an impressive haul of leader’s jerseys to his Continental team, which focuses on developing under-23 riders like himself. After Thursday he held the overall leader’s jersey, the points classification jersey, the best young rider’s jersey, and the king of the mountains jersey.

On Friday, the overall GC standings should come into focus as stage 2’s Vail time trial climbs 480 meters (1,574 feet) over 15.88km.

Colorado Classic Stage 1 Results

Rank Name Team Time
1 HECHT Gage Aevolo 2:32:56
2 MCCABE Travis UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:06
3 LEWIS Joe Holowesko – Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources ,,
4 TVETCOV Serghei UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team ,,
5 BLEVINS Christopher Hagens Berman Axeon ,,
6 MAGNER Ty Rally Cycling ,,
7 HERNANDEZ Michael Aevolo ,,
8 AVILA Edwin Israel Cycling Academy ,,
9 SKUJIŅŠ Toms Trek – Segafredo ,,
10 PHINNEY Taylor Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale ,,
11 ROTH Ryan Silber Pro Cycling ,,
12 POWLESS Neilson Team LottoNL-Jumbo ,,
13 SANCHEZ Brayan Holowesko – Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources ,,
14 EASTER Griffin 303Project ,,
15 BOUWMAN Koen Team LottoNL-Jumbo ,,
16 MARTINEZ Daniel Felipe Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale ,,
17 PICCOLI James Elevate – KHS Pro Cycling ,,
18 BASSETT Stephen Silber Pro Cycling ,,
19 POWER Robert Mitchelton-Scott ,,
20 MANNION Gavin UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team ,,
22 OLIVIER Daan Team LottoNL-Jumbo ,,
23 CARTHY Hugh Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale ,,
24 SHELDEN Taylor Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis ,,
25 BURKE Jack Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis ,,
26 BENNETT Sean Hagens Berman Axeon ,,
27 EENKHOORN Pascal Team LottoNL-Jumbo ,,
28 HOWSON Damien Mitchelton-Scott ,,
29 DOMBROWSKI Joe Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale ,,
30 JORGENSON Matteo Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis ,,
31 STETINA Peter Trek – Segafredo ,,
32 MAAS Jan Team LottoNL-Jumbo ,,
33 ZUKOWSKY Nicolas Silber Pro Cycling ,,
34 EISENHART Taylor Holowesko – Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources ,,
35 EG Niklas Trek – Segafredo ,,
36 CONCI Nicola Trek – Segafredo ,,
37 HOEHN Alex Aevolo ,,
38 BROWN Nathan Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale ,,
39 BRITTON Rob Rally Cycling ,,
40 ELLSAY Nigel Rally Cycling ,,
41 HAMILTON Lucas Mitchelton-Scott ,,
42 CATAFORD Alexander UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team ,,
43 JARAMILLO Daniel Alexander UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team ,,
44 ANDERSON Edward Hagens Berman Axeon 1:01
45 SWIRBUL Keegan Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 1:24
46 COMPANIONI Ruben Holowesko – Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources 1:40
47 MURPHY Kyle Rally Cycling ,,
48 WILLIAMS Tyler Israel Cycling Academy ,,
49 COTÉ Pier-André Silber Pro Cycling ,,
50 EASTER Cullen 303Project ,,
51 WINN Chris 303Project ,,
52 MAWDITT Lionel Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis ,,
53 NORRIS Lachlan UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team ,,
54 GIRKINS Kevin Elevate – KHS Pro Cycling ,,
55 DAVIS Cole Hagens Berman Axeon ,,
56 PLAZA Rubén Israel Cycling Academy ,,
57 REVARD Thomas Hagens Berman Axeon 2:39
58 KRASILNIKAU Andrei Holowesko – Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources 2:59
59 HAIDET Lance Aevolo ,,
60 CASTILLO Ulises Alfredo Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 3:19
Rank Name Team Time
1 HECHT Gage Aevolo 0:00

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

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