In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Teuns wins Tour de Wallonie as BMC takes third stage win; Q&A with Jonathan Vaughters: Cannondale-Drapac ‘pulled off something incredible’ at Tour de France; Katusha-Alpecin extends with Kochetkov, Belkov; Cretti’s condition slowly improves following crash; Sky set to sign Baby Giro winner Sivakov; Movistar announces Vuelta shortlist; Canberra plans to celebrate Matthews’ green jersey victory; Petition circulating to ban cyclists from highways following cyclist death; Sagan shaves head; British man taking elderly for bike rides; Froome helps fan propose marriage; Video: The Ride; Video: La Thuile Superenduro.
BMC added to a strong performance at the Tour de Wallonie with Dylan Teuns taking the final stage and the overall win to add to the previous two stage wins for the team.
“I’m not sure if I can believe what I have just achieved. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Teuns.
“The main goal today was the GC but to take the stage win as well is incredible. It couldn’t have been a better day, and everything went perfectly. The guys did a fantastic job again. There was one rider in the breakaway who was dangerous overall so we couldn’t let them go too far up the road. We needed to keep the gap under control but, in the end, we still had guys in the final. I am so proud of the team. They did everything for me.”
“Coming into this race, we knew everybody was in great shape, and they showed that all the work they have put in over their mid-season break has paid off. Everyone should take a lot of confidence from how they were riding this week,” said Sports Director Marco Pinotti.
“The team did an incredible job today, and in the end, Dylan Teuns showed that he is in great form. I am really happy for him. It was a bit of a nervous start, but we expected that. After 35km, a strong five-rider breakaway formed and it included one rider who was dangerous in terms of the GC. Immediately, we put Miles Scotson and Floris Gerts on the front, and they did a very good job of controlling the race and managed to keep the gap to around three minutes. I was really impressed with the work of everyone today. When the race came back together, we saw that it was a good opportunity for Dylan to go for the stage win and Jempy Drucker and Loïc Vliegen gave up their own opportunities to work for him. A piece of the yellow jersey belongs to everyone after today.”
Standing at the team bus in Paris on Sunday evening, Cannondale-Drapac manager Jonathan Vaughters was holding a glass of champagne. His team had reason to celebrate; 30 minutes earlier Rigoberto Uran had finished second overall at the Tour de France. In previous years the team had taken fourth with Christian Vande Velde  and Bradley Wiggins , with the latter result being upgraded to third after Lance Armstrong’s disqualification. Second, though, was something else, particularly as Uran ended up just 54 seconds back. Had he not hit a barrier and come to a halt in the final time trial, he likely would have been 10 or 15 seconds closer.
In conversation with CyclingTips, Vaughters gave his immediate thoughts about the race, speaking about the success and what it means for the sport, confirming his belief that Uran is a clean rider, and also talking about the team’s new partnership with media giant Oath and what that meant for both the squad and its ongoing search for a title sponsor. Here is an excerpt from the feature:
“CyclingTips: This is the team’s best ever-result at the Tour de France. What’s your reaction to that?
Jonathan Vaughters: As I’ve been saying, we come to every race with the objective of making sure that all the riders are prepared the best they can — that the staff has done everything that they can to get the race ready, to do the reconnaissance, to make sure the nutrition is correct, the training is training…whatever. A hundred percent of the effort of the whole team to make things work. And, you know, sometimes that ends up being 23rd place and sometimes that ends up being a win. And sometimes that ends up being 10th. And the point of it is, when I’m most happy is when I see that the organization is doing everything it can to achieve the maximum results.
And you have to be happy with that, whether it’s first or second or fifth or 50th or whatever. It doesn’t matter. And by the way, if you’re taking an anti-doping stance in the sport, you cannot focus on the final result. If you focus on the final result, then you are thinking about, well, I need to get to that final result, and no matter how I get there. We focus on the process, and in this case the process worked great and we’re incredibly happy. But I’m more happy about the process. I’m more happy about the people that made it happen. I’m more happy about the fact that you guys, the press, voted us the most easy and accessible team of the Tour de France.
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Katusha-Alpecin has signed contract extensions with Russians Pavel Kochetkov and Maxim Belkov. Kochetkov adds two years to run through 2019 and Belkov extends his contract through 2018.
Belkov, 32, is now in his sixth season with the team and has a strong list of successes, including stage 9 in the 2013 Giro d’ Italia and second in the Russian Time Trial championships this year. He also earned the mountains classifications in 2015 for both the Tour de Romandie and Tour of Austria.
“Maxim is an important building block for us because of his vast experience, but also his class as a rider. This year he displayed this again at the Giro, where he was an important supporter for his captain Zakarin,” said general manager José Azevedo.
31-year-old Kochetkov is currently in his sixth season with the team as a strong support rider, but he also won the Russian road championships last year. In addition he has stage wins in both the Tour des Pays de Savoie and Tour of Bulgaria in 2011. He has also worn the KOM jersey in the Giro d’Italia back in 2015 and won the green sprint jersey in the 2012 Czech Cycling Tour.
“Pavel has been a bit unhappy this season with injuries from crashes. Despite this, he is an important rider in the teams built for Ilnur Zakarin and he will be particularly important in a future Grand Tour,” said Azevedo.
21-year-old Claudia Cretti (Valcar-PBM) continues to make progress following her horrific crash in Stage 7 of the Giro Rosa earlier this month, in which she struck a guardrail with her head while traveling at 90 kph (55 mph).
“Claudia moves well and is curious. She is listening to audio and viewing photos on her smartphone,” Cretti’s mother Laura Bianchi said via Facebook.
Bianchi said that Cretti could soon be moved to a rehabilitation centre closer to the family’s home.
While doctors could not give a timeline for her recovery at such an early date, they are encouraged by her progress so far, particularly since initial fears were that she could have suffered permanent brain damage.
Cretti had scored a top-ten result on a stage two days before her accident.
Team Sky is set to sign 20-year-old Russian Pavel Sivakov, winner of the Baby Giro d’Italia and Giro della Valle d’Aosta, according to Cycling Weekly. Sivakov took over the lead of the race on the third stage and defended it from that point on.
“I never thought I’d win the Giro d’Italia this year. It is just crazy,” he said. “I am super happy and the team is just amazing. This victory is not just mine, it is their victory also. They did a great job all week. I never saw the team so strong.”
He also took second and third in the points and KOM classifications, respectively.
This revelation comes on the heels of BMC announcing an end to its development team. While not directly citing the Sivakov situation, team manager Jim Ochowicz eluded to it in his rationale for ending the programme.
“Unlike prior years, the athletes today are for the most part being managed by rider agents,” Ochowicz said. “These rider agents then propose these athletes to other teams who may or may not invest in such a program. In essence, we are now developing athletes at a cost for both our team and other teams. The UCI offers no protection to development teams and no regulations exist that protect their investment or the transfer of riders from team to team.”
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The Movistar Team announced Wednesday a list of 12 candidates for its Vuelta a España roster, which starts in Nîmes, France on Saturday, August 19.
It is no surprise that defending champion Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde are not included, with the Colombian already having raced the first two Grand Tours and the Spaniard recovering from his injury suffered during the opening time trial of the Tour de France earlier this month.
The team will likely turn to Rubén Fernández, who rode strong during last year’s Vuelta in support of Quintana, to take up the leadership role. Marc Soler and Richard Carapaz are also strong riders for the team.
Winner Anacona, Jorge Arcas, Carlos Betancur, Richard Carapaz, Rubén Fernández, Gorka Izagirre, Dani Moreno, Nelson Oliveira, Antonio Pedrero, Dayer Quintana, José Joaquín Rojas and Marc Soler are the names pre-selected by Eusebio Unzué’s squad.
The official lineup will be confirmed after the Spanish outfit completes a packed calendar in early August, which includes visits to San Sebastián, Poland, Getxo , Burgos and the BinckBank Tour.
Cycling ACT has started plans to honour Sunweb’s Michael Matthews’ Tour de France green jersey with an exhibition ride as part of the National Capital Tour, September 23-24, with the hope that his presence could increase participation in the sport.
“I think we would get a lot of people who don’t necessarily race coming out who would be pretty motivated to see Michael and see the jersey,” Cycling ACT president Lisa Keeling told the Canberra Times.
“He is in a lot of ways [a poster boy] for cycling. He’s not from a cycling family; his [high school physical education teacher] basically said he’s got a lot of potential and that’s why he started riding.
“He’s pretty inspirational and it just goes to show that anything’s possible. I think there would be a lot of kids out there who would tap into that sort of story and think that perhaps cycling is something that they would be interested in.”
‘Bling’ is still firming up his racing schedule for the second-half of the season which will inform the final plans for the celebration.
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An online petition was recently launched on the Buckinghamshire County Council’s website calling for a ban to cyclists riding on dual carriageways after a 91-year-old cyclist was struck and killed last week as he took part in a time trial near Ayslesbury.
“We the undersigned petition the council to Ban cyclists from the high speed dual carriageways county wide,” the petition reads. “With the sad death of a cyclist taking part in a time trial on the A41 this week it is time the local transport agency did something about the very unsafe practice of cycling on dual carriageways. Cyclists are banned from motorways and many of the counties dual carriageways have the same speed limit of 70mph however there is no hard shoulder so it is in effect more dangerous than a motorway for them.”
Similar petitions have been created in the past following cyclist deaths, but have fallen far short of the minimums required to force government action.
“I think unfortunately cyclists bring it on themselves,” Conservative MP for Burton Andrew Griffiths told Road.cc in support of the petition. “Many time trials aren’t well run and aren’t signposted. Safety measures aren’t in place and unless cyclists start taking it more seriously these calls for cyclists to be banned will only continue.”
“It would be a shame for cyclists but they desperately need to do something to protect themselves from other road users.”
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Known for his luscious locks, world champ Peter Sagan made a bold move in deciding to completely shave his head. Additionally, he is also sporting a distinctive handlebar mustache.
A British man is trying to help the elderly by taking them for a bicycle ride. (Now, don’t you feel bad for not calling your parents/grandparents more often?)
Chris Froome helped a fan propose to his girlfriend. After climbing off his bike in Paris Froome handed a small box to the fan and said, “I’ve been carrying this around for months with me.” He then walked off as if it were nothing while the fan dropped to one knee to make his proposal.
A nice short film made to support Buddy Pegs and their mission to inspire children to ride bikes through books, podcasts, and more:
Beautiful video recapping the third Round of the 2017 Superenduro in La Thuile, Valle d’Aosta: