Nathan Haas signs for Cofidis

30 Aug

Nathan Haas will leave a Katusha-Alpecin team mired in uncertainty and ride for Cofidis next year, signing a two-year contract with the WorldTour-hopeful French team.

Haas joined Katusha in 2018 after spending two seasons with Dimension Data and three with what’s now EF Education First, but has struggled for results. His only victory came on stage 2 of the 2018 Tour of Oman, and he has been unable to build on his fourth place finish at the 2017 Amstel Gold Race.

The team are yet to assure the funds to continue in 2020 but Haas was already looking to move on, and liked the sound of the project developing at Cofidis under Cedric Vasseur, who took over as manager in 2018.

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The French team, created in 1997, are aiming to return to the top tier of the sport and have already stated their intent in the transfer market with the acquisitions of Elia Viviani and Guillaume Martin.

"I’ve always liked being in teams that have a strong drive to progress, to get better and take a next step. That’s exactly the spirit with Cofidis and Cedric Vasseur and that’s what attracted me," Haas said.

"What I like about this team is the opportunity to take chances in each race, to give everything so as not to have any regrets. At the Tour de France, they were pretty much in every breakaway. Naturally, I really want to ride Amstel Gold Race and the Ardennes Classics, but I also and above all want to put myself at the service of the team, notably Elia, to help them achieve new successes."

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

De la Parte suffers multiple fractures after Vuelta a Espana crash

30 Aug

Victor de la Parte (CCC Team) suffered multiple fractures as a result of the mass crash that saw him and three other riders abandon the Vuelta a España on stage 6.

The Spaniard, who was placed 13th overall at the time, was immediately taken to hospital for X-rays. His team confirmed he had suffered a fractured left scapula and rib.

"Victor was involved in a crash which took down a big group of riders," said team doctor Daniele Zaccaria. "He was riding in the middle of the bunch when it happened, and there was not much he could do to avoid the riders who fell in front of him.

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"He was immediately taken to hospital where X-rays revealed a fractured scapula and rib on his left side."

EF Education First were the team worst affected by the crash, which occurred when riders hit a wet patch on a descent 90km into the stage.

Team leader Rigoberto Urán and key climber Hugh Carthy were both forced out of the race, with the team revealing that the pair suffered broken collarbones. Former race leader Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) also abandoned due to the accident.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Quintana insists that Valverde is Movistar’s Vuelta a Espana leader

30 Aug

The confusion surrounding Movistar's leadership hierarchy in the Vuelta a España appears to have been laid to rest after Nairo Quintana told Spanish media that teammate Alejandro Valverde is heading the squad's bid to win the race for a second time in four years.

Both Quintana and Valverde have triumphed in the Vuelta in the past, the Colombian in 2016, two years after taking the Giro d'Italia, and Valverde back in 2009.

Initially it appeared that Quintana would be Movistar's main GC challenger after Valverde told the AS newspaper last Monday that "Nairo is more leader than I am," and Quintana then won stage 2 of the race into Calpe from a six-rider breakaway.

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However, in the same interview Valverde did not rule himself out of the GC battle, and said that he was taking things on the day-by-day.

And Quintana, whilst clearly with options for the overall victory – something he discussed in his winner's press conference on Sunday – has now said that team manager Eusebio Unzué has made it clear that Valverde is the leader.

"We had a meeting and Eusebio said that. Alejandro is going very well, and we are going to support him," Quintana said after stage six.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

George Bennett: Vuelta a Espana crash was ‘real nasty’

30 Aug

New Zealand’s George Bennett has described as "real nasty" the stage 6 Vuelta a España  pile-up that saw four riders, including former race leader Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb), abandon the race.

The Jumbo-Visma rider was one of three from his team who went down, including Tony Martin and American Neilson Powless – both of whom had already crashed in the stage 1 team time trial.

That crash on Saturday saw Steven Kruijswijk finally abandon on stage 4 with an injured knee, whilst after the stage 6 pile-up Bennett, like Powless and Martin, could continue to race.

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"I’m not sure if it was someone from EF who went down first or if it was Tony [Martin]," Bennett told reporters when asked what caused the crash. "It was real nasty. I don’t feel too good after it, but I feel a lot better than the guys in hospital.

"That’s part of racing – crashing. It was all going all right with [Primoz] Roglic's results, but we keep hitting the deck, and that’s not good."

Bennett pulled no punches when explaining that if you are well enough to continue at a WorldTour race, the only option is to go on.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Vuelta a Espana: Gilbert steadily building for world championships

29 Aug

When it comes to betting on the UCI Road World Championships Road Race in September, one rider who already has worn the rainbow jersey, Belgium's Phillipe Gilbert (Deceunink-QuickStep), is surely an option that the bookies will have high on their list of possible winners.

But in this year's Vuelta a España, so far, Gilbert has been flying a little bit under the radar.

Deceuninck-Quick Step came within a whisker of victory in the opening team time trial – and only lost through no fault of their own – and then have taken a bunch sprint stage win with Fabio Jakobsen.

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Meanwhile, Gilbert is biding his time for further down the line.

"It’s too bad we missed the TTT you know, it would have changed a lot of things," the 37-year-old told Cyclingnews at the start of stage 6 Thursday in Mora del Rubielos. Then we had the first sprint [on stage 3] and we missed that, but we won the second, so it was nice. For the climbs we know we don’t have the best team, but we will do our best. “

As for his personal ambitions, Gilbert said he will try to win a stage, but he said there aren't many that suit him.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Teuns says Vuelta a Espana lead part of his ‘overall progression’ as racer

29 Aug

The Vuelta a España’s lead changed hands for a third time in six days on Wednesday as Bahrain-Merida’s Dylan Teuns claimed his first-ever Grand Tour overall leader’s jersey at the end of a long breakaway.

Teuns was easily pipped to the line on stage 6 by Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) in a two-man duel at Ares de Maestrat’s grinding uphill finish.

But having left the only other GC dangerman, David de La Cruz (Team Ineos), behind with four kilometres to go, the 27-year-old Belgian was still able to wrest the lead from Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez.

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Second last year in the Vuelta’s Monte Oiz stage won by Michael Woods (EF Education First), this time round the Belgian’s second place on an uphill finish in the Spanish Grand Tour netted him a much bigger consolation prize.

It also reversed the result he achieved in the first week of the Tour de France in july, when Teuns won on the Planche des Belle Filles in another two-way battle against Trek-Segafredo’s Guilio Ciccone, but could not stop the Italian from taking the lead.

Teuns spell in la roja also shows he's firmly moved past his freak summer accident this summer, when he fell off his garden lawnmower following the Tour de France and needed 15 stitches in a head wound.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Major crashes wreak havoc on EF Education First at Vuelta a Espana

29 Aug

EF Education First suffered a knock-out blow to their Vuelta a España hopes after the squad were involved in a major crash halfway through stage 6.

Team leader Rigoberto Urán was one of the worst affected, with both the Colombian and one of the team’s best climbers, Hugh Carthy, forced out of the race.

Others who suffered badly in the crash were former race leader Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb), and Victor de la Parte (CCC Team), both of whom abandoned.

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"A Jumbo-Visma rider lost control on a very fast descent," EF Education First team director Juanma Garate told Spanish TV later during the stage, "and a good chunk of our team went down with him. Both Rigo and Hugh are in an ambulance right now, they’re badly hurt. We’ve no luck in this race."

Initial reports said that both Uran, lying sixth overall, and Carthy, who had been instrumental in shredding the field on stage 5, had suffered broken left collarbones. A team communiqué said they were headed to hospital for check-ups.

Urán had also crashed on stage 4, although the damage did not appear to be serious. Sergio Higuita, who also came down in the stage 6 crash, was able to continue.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

‘No excuses’ for de la Cruz after missing stage win and lead at Vuelta a Espana

29 Aug

David de la Cruz got Team Ineos back on the front foot after a terrible start to the Vuelta a España  on Thursday, but he fell short of taking the victory or overall lead on stage 6, his struggles on the final climb hardly inspiring him with confidence despite his rise up the general classification.

The Spaniard started the day 23rd overall, 4:35 down on leader Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) but the best-placed of Team Ineos, whose leaders Wout Poels and Tao Geoghegan Hart lost more than 10 minutes as early as stage 2.

After Poels had gone on the attack on the two early climbs, de la Cruz made it into an 11-rider breakaway that formed after 50km on the 199km road from Mora de Rubielos to Ares del Maestrat. The break went all the way, opening such a margin that the 30-year-old started the final climb – the category-3 Puerto de Ares – as the virtual leader.

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However, also present was Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), who was just eight seconds behind him at the start of the day. When the Belgian attacked strongly 4km from the top, passing the earlier attackers and riding to the line with eventual winner Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), de la Cruz lost ground and finished in ninth place, nearly a minute down.

"It was a really hard day. Honestly, I was thinking about the stage victory, but in the end I didn't have the legs to beat these guys who today were stronger than me," de la Cruz said at the finish.

"What can I say? I just gave my best but, as you can see, it was not enough. You have to keep trying and let's hope a good result is coming."

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Uran, Roche abandon Vuelta a Espana after big crash

29 Aug

Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) and Nicolas Roche (Team Sunweb) have abandoned the Vuelta a España after being involved in a massive crash with less than 90km left on stage 6. The extent of their injuries is unknown.

Urán, who was his team's principal hope for the GC, came into stage 6 placed sixth overall, 59 seconds behind race leader Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana). 

The Colombian finished seventh in this year's Tour de France and in the 2018 Vuelta a España. He has previously had to abandon the Tour in 2018 and the Vuelta in 2014.

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It was a nightmare for EF Education First as they also lost Hugh Carthy, who had impressed on Wednesday's summit finish.

The team tweeted, "Rigoberto Urán and Hugh Carthy have abandoned the @lavuelta due to a large crash on stage 6. They are currently on their way to the hospital where they will receive further medical evaluation. Further updates announced in due course."

The crash saw several riders from other teams hit the deck, and Urán and Carthy weren't the only ones forced to leave the race. Roche, who led the race until Wednesday, was forced out after remounting and visiting the medical car.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com

Road marking reflectors likely cause of Lambrecht’s fatal crash, investigators say

29 Aug

Reflectors built into the side of the road were responsible for Bjorg Lambrecht's fatal crash at the Tour de Pologne, according to an investigation by the Public Prosecutor in Poland. The 22-year-old Lotto Soudal rider died from his injuries after the crash on stage 3 of the race earlier this month.

"Two UAE Team Emirates riders close behind him saw him driving over a reflector that had been incorporated into the road surface," said prosecutor Malwina Szendzielorz-Pawela, according to Polish media reports.

"As a result, he lost control of his bike, suddenly turning to the right and then to the left."

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Lambrecht ultimately crashed into a concrete pipe, suffering a severe injury to his liver.

According to Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, the reflectors are 10x10 centimeters, rising 1.8cm above the asphalt, and are intended to show the edge of an unlit road, serving to indicate the way in the dark.

"It is sad that resources that are thought to improve road safety are the cause of such a tragedy," Szendzielorz-Pawela said.

You can read more at Cyclingnews.com