Ewan wins stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana in debut Grand Tour

Calen Ewan wins stage five of the 2015 Tour of Spain

21-year-old Caleb Ewan has won stage five of the 2015 Vuelta a Espana in his debut season and Grand Tour.

Ewan capitalised on a perfect lead out by his ORICA-GreenEDGE teammates Mitch Docker, Mathew Hayman and Jens Keukeleire on what was tough uphill drag to the finish line.

In the process, the neo-pro got the better of ten-time Grand Tour stage winner John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) and four-time Tour de France stage winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo).

“This is by far the happiest day in my career,” Ewan said. “To beat some of the best sprinters in the world, especially guys like Sagan and Degenkolb on an uphill finish, it really means a lot to me.”

“It’s an honour to race with those guys and to beat them is just unreal for me.

“It was a super tough finish, but my teammates did an awesome job of getting me to the bottom in front position. I even had time to stop back a few spots and that always makes it easier than trying to move up. If it wasn’t for them, there is no way I could have won today.”

Asked if he thought he could win in his first Grand Tour, the Australian credited the confidence the team have entrusted in him.

“To be honest I didn’t know what to expect,” Ewan said. “I hadn’t won a WorldTour race to start with so I always knew it was going to be pretty tough.”

“But my team believed in me and at the end there when they commit 100% for you, you start to believe in yourself as well.

“This was probably the last stage I could go for because I’m not planning on going through the whole Tour. There was a fair bit of pressure because I knew it was my last opportunity but that made me even more determined to do it.”

Sport director Neil Stephens was thrilled by the efforts of his young charge.

“The performance was unbelievable stuff,” Stephens said. “But what is also a factor is what’s gone on the past five days.”

“We have had a great leader of the race and 90% of the thought had gone into Esteban Chaves so Caleb had to take a step back as plan B.

“He is 21 years of age. He dealt with that like a champion and then when he had is one chance, he delivered.”

Unfortunately, the pace in the final saw Colombian Chaves relinquish the red leader’s jersey by just one second to Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin).

With a long way still to go before Madrid and some favourable stages to come, Stephens said Chaves is still in a very strong position.

“We talked this morning about the possibility in the next couple of days to lose the jersey,” Stephens said.

“We probably didn’t think it would happen today, but we knew we didn’t want to obsess over the jersey just to keep it for an extra day when we have more goals to achieve across the three weeks.

“It’s been great to have the jersey, we might get it back we might not, but we aren’t done yet.”

How it happened:

Stage five looked set for a strong sprinter, the relatively flat stage finishing with a technical finale containing a number of roundabouts in the final five kilometres and an uphill drag to the line.

As such, few were willing to put themselves at the front of the race and as a result the breakaway began with one solo rider, Tsgabu Grmay of Lampre-Merida.

Eventually, two others joined him and the group began to ride out to an advantage.  As they reached seven minutes, the sprint teams came to the fore – particularly Giant-Alpecin and Cofidis.

The break splinted in the final 20km and Iljo Keisse (Etixx-Quickstep) was the final survivor to be swept up with nine kilometres to go.

As the technical final section began, ORICA-GreenEDGE came to the fore led by Hayman. After a long turn, Keukeleire took over before Docker delivered Ewan with absolute perfection in order to contest and win the uphill sprint.

Cameron Meyer on stage five of the 2015 Tour of Spain

 

Sky and Green Edge compete on stage five of the 2015 Tour of Spain

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Matthew Hayman paces Esteban Chaves on stage five of the 2015 Tour of Spain

Calen Ewan wins stage five of the 2015 Tour of Spain

Esteban Chaves on stage five of the 2015 Tour of Spain

This article was originally posted on greenedgecycling.com.

 

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THE WORLD CUP CHAMPIONS

Both Jenny Rissveds and Nino Schurter continued their winning streak at the World Cup finals in Val di Sole. Both are well deserved World Cup Champions 2015.

It’s been a record season for team SCOTT-Odlo. Jenny Rissveds delivered a never seen record winning 6 out of 6 races in the women’s U23. N1NO on the other side started the World Cup with 3 second places and finished with 3 wins- his best ever season. There is only one word to describe this: #nextlevel

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

World Cup Champion and winner of the final in Val di Sole

Going into World Cup finals it looked promising for Nino Schurter. He knew he only needed a 22nd place to secure his World Cup Champion title should Julien Absalon win. With the additional confidence of being a two times World Cup winner in Val di Sole, only a mechanical or injury could hold him back. Though there would be no holding back, Nino only races for 1st, and that is what he did.

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

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1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

N1NO showing how much he loves to ride his bike even when racing

The race action was kind of a copy paste of the past few World Cup races. At first the lead group contained Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, former team-mate Florian Vogel, current World Champion Julien Absalon and Nino Schurter. Until the tempo forcing by Absalon in the last lap this group stayed together. After that it was again the well known Absalon-Schurter battle. N1NO was holding himself back during the race, riding intelligently and with controll to secure his overall title. But after Julien attacked several times without success and N1NO saw the overall title within grasp we saw one a classic N1NO charge opening up the door for the win.

N1NO managed to get into the last descent in first place. After that Absalon no longer had any chance to get around the World Cup champion.

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N1NO riding his SCOTT Spark 700 to his 17th World Cup victory (images by Sven Martin)

Winning his 17th World Cup race in his career, N1NO once more set himself high up in the record books. Now as a four time World Cup champion only Julien Absalon was more successful with his 30 wins. Small side note- N1NO and his team manager Thomas Frischknecht both have equal World Cup wins now sharing second place behind Absalon. No doubt this will not last much longer.

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2 times 17 World Cup wins in total. Frischi stoked about N1NO’s performance

The champ was delighted at finish stating, “Every race and also the overall World Cup ends at the finish line. Even though I could count on the overall, it’s done when it’s done. Two weeks away from World Championship this success comes at a perfect time. First of all I already have reached one of my most important goals of the season and secondly I know I’m ready for the World Championships coming up.”

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“Two weeks away from World Championship this success comes at a perfect time. First of all I already have reached one of my most important goals of the season and secondly I know I’m ready for the World Championships coming up.”

Nino Schurter, 2015 World Cup Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

 

3, Kulhavy, Jaroslav, Specialized Racing, , CZE 2, Absalon, Julien, BMC MTB, , FRA 1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI 5, Vogel, Florian, Focus XC Team, RC Gränichen, SUI 11, Marotte, Maxime, BH-Sr Suntour-KMC, , FRA

The moment to celebrate the World Cup season. From left to right: Jaroslav Kulhavy-Julien Absalon-Nino Schurter-Florian Vogel

1, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

2, Keller, Alessandra, Strüby Bixs, , SUI 1, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE 5, Rabensteiner, Lisa, Focus XC Italy, , ITA

World Cup Champion Jenny Rissveds with Alessandra Keller (left) and Lisa Rabensteiner (right)

In the men’s U23 Andri Frischknecht placed in a solid 11th place. Some room to improve for worlds. His overall ranking is a good 8th place. Michiel van der Hejiden tried to get back into racing but unfortunately had to quit after he had a small crash again. Perhaps the return from injury was just a bit too early for him. He is still optimistic to be back for Worlds.

6, Frischknecht, Andri, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

 

33, Van Der Heijden, Michiel, Scott-Odlo, , NED

Frischi jun. placed 11th- Michiel van Heijden DNF after a crash

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We would like to take the opportunity to thank all our staff, sponsors and everybody who helps behind the scenes to make such great success’s possible. #NOSHORTCUTS

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

We look back to the best World Cup season ever. This is #nextlevel

This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

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Chaves produces biggest win of career to claim Vuelta a Espana lead

Esteban Chaves wins stage two of the 2015 Tour of Spain

Colombian Esteban Chaves has won the second stage of the Vuelta a Espana, the biggest win of his young career, to move into the race lead today.

The 25-year-old traded blows with fellow attackers on the final 2.5km climb to the first summit finish of the 2015 Tour.

Eventually he proved too strong for Tom Dumoulin (Giant Alpecin) in the final metres to claim the victory and a five-second overall lead for ORICA-GreenEDGE.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” an ecstatic Chaves said. “I want to say thanks to all of my teammates, all the staff, this is unbelievable.”

“It’s really important. It’s the most important victory of my life. The first road stage of the Vuelta and to take the red jersey… it’s unbelievable.

“The team have all the confidence in me and they did the best today. Thank you mates!”

When asked if he can keep the race lead, the 2014 Tour de Suisse and Tour of California stage winner produced his trademark big smile and some fighting words.

“I hope!” he laughed.

“I want to leave skin on the road to keep the red jersey. This is the reason I am a rider, I will try to stay in front for as long as possible.

“We worked really hard after the Giro d’Italia and after Suisse and this is the compensation.”

Adding to the reward, Chaves also leads the green sprint classification, mountain polka dot jersey and white combination competition.

Sharing Chaves’ joy was a thrilled Neil Stephens.

“It was a really good job from the boys,” the sport director said. “The plan was for them to leave Esteban in an ideal position with four kilometres to go and they did a really good job with that.”

“The real priority was to stay around the mark with the general classification guys but I had a chat with him this morning and said at any time throughout the Vuelta there is going to be situations that could also be a possibility for a stage win and to take the initiative.

“That’s something only he can do and he rode really smart in the final there.”

Stephens credited the climber’s hard work and dedication; particularly having returned from a near career ending injury just two years ago.

“At 500m to go I said to Esteban ‘I know how hard you have worked for this’ and to take advantage of the situation,” Stephens said.

“He knows how much he has worked for it, I think a lot of people know how much he has had to work for it and it is just great that he can take the benefit today.”

How it unfolded:

The first road stage stayed together for the first 20km racing before a group of six formed the first breakaway of the 2015 Vuelta a Espana.

Covering 41.2km in the first hour of racing the break’s advantage remained steady at a little over three minutes.

Team Sky and Movistar could be seen at the head of the peloton keeping safe and maintaining an acceptable distance to the leaders.

With 60km to go Team Katusha joined the party and the gap began to tumble before five of the six were caught with aorund 25km to go. José Gonçalves (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) held on for little longer before he was also swallowed up.

A late attack, initiated by Nairo Quintana (Team Movistar), looked dangerous and sensing the danger, Chaves bridged across with three kilometres remaining.

Quintana subsequently lost contact as Chaves exchanged blows with Dumoulin and Nicholas Roache (Team Sky). Roache was the first to crack before a last ditched effort to the line saw Chaves get the better of Dumoulin.

Tomorrow’s stage three is the first of few opportunities identified by organisers as a sprint stage, however it’s far from guaranteed.

Standing strongly in the way of a bunch kick is a tough 16km mid-race category one with an average of 5.2% and ramps of up to 15%.

Esteban Chaves wins stage two of the 2015 Tour of Spain

Esteban Chaves wins stage two of the 2015 Tour of Spain

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Daryl Impey on stage two of the 2015 Tour of Spain

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Simon Gerrans on stage two of the 2015 Tour of Spain

Esteban Chaves wins stage two of the 2015 Tour of Spain

This article was originally posted on greenedgecycling.com.

 

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Leadville 100 – Mission accomplished!

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Albanator remains unbeatable. Alban Lakata from the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team is the first rider ever who finished under six hours at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB in Colorado. Kristian Hynek just a few seconds behind takes second, Jeremiah Bishop on four and Sally Bigham also second at the women’s competition.

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This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

 

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WORLD CUP CHAMPION!

Both Jenny Rissveds and Nino Schurter have won the XC World Cup race in Windham / USA. With Jenny’s fifth consecutive U23 World Cup win, we can already celebrate one overall World Cup Win.

Windham, New York. The #huntforglory winning strike finds an unbelievable continuation. N1NO Schurter celebrates his 16th World Cup victory. With one race to go, Jenny Rissveds can already call herself the U23 World Cup Champion.

6, Fumic, Manuel, Cannondale Factory Team, , GER 1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

Great battling in the rockgarden between Manuel Fumic (Nr.6) and N1NO Schurter.

A bit strange but a fact: The old school Windham World Cup course is not a favorite to most of the riders- especially not to Nino. But somehow it has always delivered exciting races- and pays out for Nino- both in the past and present. Again it was a very tight battle to the end between Julien Absalon and Nino Schurter. Different this time was that Manuel Fumic, Daniel McConnel and Sergio Mantecon also played a role in the game.

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

The old school course contained one long climb and one long descent.

As usual N1NO exploded out of the start line like a missile. Leaving no doubt who the man to beat is in this field. After 1.5 laps he had a 5 second lead over his toughest rivals including Absalon. He wasn’t sure if he caught a slow leak in the tire, though continued for another lap to find out the hard way that it was actually true. What we saw than was the team work of champions. N1NO still in the lead pulled into the pits to get his real wheel changed by his master mechanic Yanick Gyger. This took no longer than 19 seconds. With a disadvantage of 15 seconds on Julien Absalon, the World Cup leader started his chase down of the leading group in 5th place.

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

Never give up- N1NO in chasing mode of the leaders.

With no sign of giving up N1NO showed class and put in all he had to get back to the leading position he had prior to the flat. Impressively, this only took one lap and soon enough he was back on the wheel of Julien. Unlike many people thought, it was not Julien who than put the pressure on, but Manuel Fumic instead. Manu looked strong up- and downhill. Which played to N1NO’s favor, as he only had to follow Fumic as long as Absalon was still behind him. Two laps to go the World Champion himself made this game an end and went to the offensive himself. Manuel Fumic fell back, as well as Daniel McConnell and Sergio Mantecon.

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

N1NO makes good use of his SCOTT Spark 700 RC full suspension bike in the rockgarden.

Same, same- but different: The race once more had to be decided between Julien and N1NO. But this time it was Julien going into the last descent in first position. There was only one possible passing lane on this last descent: the one in the rock garden. And that’s where N1NO made full use of his SCOTT Spark 700 RC full suspension bike. With a lot of risk he was able to overtake the World Champion in this only one technical section. From there on N1NO was on a mission to secure his 16th World Cup victory, which he got home save with a 4 second lead over his main competitor.

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

Another moment of glory- N1NO Schurter’s 16th World Cup win.

With the last two races the Swiss champion twisted the 2015 World Cup game totally to his favor. A race is finished at the finish line- so is the World Cup.

Now let’s do some maths:
With Jaroslav Kulhavy (32nd in Windham) out of the overall contention and an advantage of 190 points over Julien Absalon, it now takes N1NO a 22nd place in Val di Sole at the World Cup finals- in case Julien wins. Or a 57th place if Julien becomes 2nd. With no injury, mechanical or other bad luck N1NO is already on the finish line to grab this year`s overall title.

11, Mantecon Gutierrez, Sergio, Trek Factory Racing, , ESP 3, Absalon, Julien, BMC MTB, , FRA 1, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI 6, Fumic, Manuel, Cannondale Factory Team, , GER 14, McConnell, Daniel, Trek Factory Racing, , AUS

Sergio Mantecon (4th), Julien Absalon (2nd), Nino Schurter (1st), Manuel Fumic (3rd), Daniel McConnell (5th).

No wonder we saw a super stoked Schurter at the finish: “Despite the flat tire the race went perfect. The super quick wheel change of my mechanic Yanick Gyger kept me in the game. I felt very strong today at every moment of the race. Now the overall title is only one step away.”

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“Despite the flat tire the race went perfect. The super quick wheel change of my mechanic Yanick Gyger kept me in the game. I felt very strong today at every moment of the race. Now the overall title is only one step away.”

Nino Schurter, World Cup leader
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

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No reason to wait to call herself a World Cup champion has Jenny Rissveds. With her 5th consecutive World Cup win this season, she secured the overall win with one race to go.

1, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

1, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

1, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

1, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

All good reasons for a smile- Jenny Rissveds.

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“I have more and more confidence and I get stronger every World Cup race this season. From today on I can fully focus on a great performance at worlds to hopefully set another highlight of this already amazing year.”

Jenny Rissveds, U23 World Cup champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

Only good news from this racing weekend north of New York, also from the other remaining riders representing SCOTT-Odlo overseas. Michiel van der Heijden is back on the bike. Just on the road, but at least he can slowly start training again after his shoulder injury of last week. Last but not least we saw another good performance of Andri Frischknecht. Again he managed to finish in 6th place in the U23 race and established himself in the Top 10 where he wanted to be this year. Now he is sitting on 6th overall going into the final race in Italy in two weeks.

7, Frischknecht, Andri, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

7, Frischknecht, Andri, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

U23 Swiss champion Frischi jun. making his way trough the World Cup.

4 World Cup wins in 8 days and an overall title- we can’t ask for more and look back to two very successful racing weekends in North-Amerika. This is #nextlevel!

We are on the way home to Europe now getting ready for World Cup finals in two weeks and World Championships in in Andorra in less than a month from now.

This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

 

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TWO AT ONCE

2, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

The #N1NO show is back! Schurter delivered his first World Cup victory of 2015 securing the leader’s jersey! Jenny Rissveds is just unstoppable. Brendan Fairclough got 9th in the DH race.

Mont St. Anne, Canada. 25 years of World Cup racing in Mont St. Anne and the SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team is on the fly from one highlight to another. Thanks to Nino Schurter and Jenny Rissveds- the team secured a double XC world cup victory- our first one in team history. On top of that this tremendous success came at the most classic of all World Cup races.

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

Pure strength and 100 % focused- Nino Schurter with his SCOTT Spark 700 RC.

Nove Mesto 2nd to Kulhavy, Albstadt 2nd to Absalon (after a crash), Lenzerheide 2nd to Kulhavy again (after a flat). Awesome results, but for someone called Nino Schurter second is not good enough. He is used to winning. 4th time is the charm, never giving up and pushing his way to the win. With this win, Nino takes the lead and will be wearing the leader`s jersey from now on, making him even hungrier for more!

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

Nino Schurter on his last meters winning the race in MSA. Finally a World Cup win in 2015. This is how it feels! PHOTOS: Sven Martin

Prior to the race anything could be predicted. Would World Cup leader Jaroslav Kulhavy continue his great season? Would the freshly crowned European champion Julien Absalon add another win to his MSA palmares or would Nino finally get his first top step in 2015? Some of this was answered after Jaro had a very slow start and after had to deal with a flat tire. This left last years protagonists Absalon and Schurter as the main favorites. But they were not alone. Mathias Flückiger stayed in the game for the win until he had to change a wheel. And also Florian Vogel was not far back. Half way into the race the pace shifted up a gear, and Flückiger and Vogel had to ride at their own pace.

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

That`s the attack- Schurter putting pressure on Julien Absalon and Florian Vogel.

At the front of the race Absalon and Schurter battled it out. It was obvious Nino tried to make the difference in the tricky descents. But Absalon would not be Absalon if he did not close those gaps easily. So like in 2014 it had to come down to the final lap. And like last year, Nino attacked successfully at the exact same spot. It was just a 3 second gap for about 5 minutes. In the second to the last descent Nino gained another 5 seconds which seemed to break Julien. This paved the road for N1NO ‘s first world cup victory of this season.

The new leader of the World Cup stated, “It was again a hard fight with Julien. Maybe I wanted this victory a bit more than him. It really means a lot to me to win here in MSA. Especially at the 25th edition. Now I will try hard to defend my leading position in the overall of the World Cup.”

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“It was again a hard fight with Julien. Maybe I wanted this victory a bit more than him. It really means a lot to me to win here in MSA. Especially at the 25th edition. Now I will try hard to defend my leading position in the overall of the World Cup.”
Nino Schurter, Swiss Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

It’s N1NO’s 15th world cup win of his career. With Windham and Val di Sole remaining this month, a 16th or even 17th is not out of reach.

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

2, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI

, during the 25th UCI MTB World Cup at Mt Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

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Nino always a bit ahead of his rivals…especially in the downhills.

Ex-SCOTT-Odlo Florian Vogel, the soon to retire Ralph Näf and Frenchmen Stephan Tempier completed the podium. No less than 5 Swiss riders placed in top 7! With Jaroslav Kulhavy only in 13th place, N1NO took over the leading position. Absalon is remaining in 3rd.

9, Näf, Ralph, BMC MTB, , SUI 3, Absalon, Julien, BMC MTB, , FRA 2, Schurter, Nino, Scott-Odlo, , SUI 5, Vogel, Florian, Focus XC Team, RC Gränichen, SUI 26, Tempier, Stephane, BH-SR Suntour-KMC, , FRA

Ralph Näf- Julien Absalon- Nino Schurter- Florian Vogel- Stephane Tempier

 

Lead – Flat Tire – Win: Jenny Rissveds is unstoppable

The speed queen of Sweden looked like she was going to take her 4th World Cup win of the season quite easily. With a minute lead with two laps to go all looked good until she had a flat rear tire. The tech zone was not close by and the advantage turned into a 35 second disadvantage over 2nd place holder in the World Cup, Alexandra Keller.

1, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE

More demanding than other race tracks. Jenny Rissveds in the rock garden.

Jenny Rissveds only had 1 1/2 laps remaining to get this fixed. Staying calm and riding like a “routinier” she managed to find her race rhythm again. With a brilliantly fast last lap she was able to overtake Keller again to ride to the well deserved win.

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2, Keller, Alessandra, Strüby Bixs, , SUI 1, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE 8, Barnes, Alice, Betch.nl Superior Brentjens, , GBR

Alexandra Keller 2. Jenny Rissveds 1. Alice Barnes 3.

1, Rissveds, Jenny, Scott-Odlo, Falu CK, SWE 8, Barnes, Alice, Betch.nl Superior Brentjens, , GBR

The new outfit of the Swiss champion seems to give motivation to Andri Frischknecht. With a super fast start in the U23 race he managed to get ahead of troubles in the technical sections.

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Andri Frischknecht Nr. 7 had a good start into the U23 race.

After coming out of first lap in 3rd position he dropped back a few places towards the end of the race to finish in a good 6th place. To put this in relation to his U23 results so far it’s his second best World Cup result ever. Even though Andri was not on the podium, this result is also very satisfying and underlined our excellent weekend.

Really the only thing we did regret here in MSA is the injury of Michiel van der Heijden. At least he is back on the race track- even it’s just for cheering on his team mates.

This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

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Transalp 2015 – Bigham and Kollmann win unchallenged

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Sally Bigham dominates the Craft BIKE Transalp 2015 with her Austrian partner Christina Kollmann and wins with a comfortable lead. Alban Lakata and Christian Hynek win the last stage as well and take third overall.

The Craft BIKE Tansalp 2015 is history and the Topeak Ergon Racing Team showcased an outstanding team effort once more. Above all the women’s duo delivered a burning performance during the seven stages from Ruhpolding to Riva. Right after the starting shot, Sally Bigham and her teammate Christina Kollmann jumped out with a solid head start, which they held the entire 611 kilometres (380 mi) and 19,000 meters difference in altitude (62336 ft.) all the way to the finish line at Lake Garda.

Iron Sally brings back her 3rd Transalp victory in the ladies competition after her wins in 2012 and 2013. But the joy of victory didn’t weigh an ounce less this time: ”Stage races of this length are extremely hard and long. Something can always happen”, explains Sally jubilant at the finish line. ”But, we were really lucky this time. We didn’t have any injuries or technical issues.”

Alban Lakata and Kristian Hynek ended the Transalp in 3rd place and only barely missed their personal goal of an overall victory. A flat tire during stage 3 took a lot of time, which left every effort futile trying to make due for the time lost. With inner rage burning about the defect, the two won the stage the next day and the final stage from Levico Terme to Riva del Garda. But it still wasn’t enough to take the overall victory.

”I’m happy that we won the last stage to Riva. This is very special even though it wasn’t enough to win the overall”, reveals the Albanator at the finish line and presents himself a fair competitor: ”It was an incredible hard fight for the podium at this years Transalp edition. Congrats to the whole Centurion-Vaude Team for their well deserved win. I would also like to thank our team Topeak-Ergon for the great support, as always, and Canyon for that awesome new bike!”

Robert Mennen had to drop out totally drained for unexplained reasons during the penultimate stage. His teammate Jeremiah Bishop rode the last stage alone, excluded from the competition.

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Craft BIKE Transalp powered by Sigma 2015, stage 7, Levico Terme - Riva del Garda, finish,

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This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

 

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HEAT, DUST AND DRAMA

While Jenny Rissveds wins her third World Cup in a row, Nino Schurter sticks to his unlucky second place.

Lenzerheide, Switzerland. The speed queen from Sweden demonstrates her domination in the U23 category with another outstanding victory. Meanwhile, the Swiss champion tried everything possible to capture victory at his home World Cup, but unfortunately failed due to a flat tire.

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Nino taking one of the jumps on the modern race track in Lenzerheide

The Lenzerheide World Cup was marked in red on the SCOTT-Odlo team calendar. Jenny Rissveds, Michiel van der Heijden and Andri Frischknecht all prepared at the altitude of the Engadin to be ready for Swiss World Cup. Lenzerheide will be a World Cup every year until 2017 and eventually turn into the World Championship in 2018. In Jenny’s case, the hard work payed off. With her biggest rival in the classification missing, she raced to her 3rd World Cup win as if it were a walk in the park. Both technically and physically nobody was even close to her.

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Jenny on her ride to world cup win Nr. 3

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 Italian Lisa Rabensteiner (3rd), Jenny and Swiss Ramona Forchini (2nd)

Jenny was happy about her performance; “I just love this track and look forward coming back in the next years. With this win I made a big step towards winning the overall title this year.”

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“I just love this track and look forward coming back the next years. With this win I made a big step towards winning the overall title this year.”

Jenny Rissveds, Swedish Champion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

 

With the confidence that comes with being crowned the European Games champion, Nino Schurter was looking forward racing on home turf. Not only is the modern race track of Lernzerheide less than 20 km away from his hometown of Chur, it is also seems as if the track was built for Nino. Technically demanding and physically tough- just the way he likes it.

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The thousands of spectators witnessed some spectacular racing

It only took two laps until the big three formed the lead group (World Cup leader, Julien Absalon, Olympic champion, Jaroslav Kuklhavy and local hero Nino Schurter). As the race continued, the rising pace of Kulhavyy, pushed Absalon into the defense, falling 15 seconds back. Both, Nino and Jaroslav made sure Julien was not coming back, moving forward with tremendous pace. The heat was on, and the dust made it even more challenging for the hard fighting competitors.

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Nino’s support crew in the pits : Franky, Yanick and Richard

Two laps to go Nino suffered a slow leak in his tire. Still in the lead, he pulled into the tech zone to change his wheel. You can see how fast this was done by checking out the video here:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aVaz8mpHG6w

Our mechanic Yanick Gyger deserves a World Cup win for his record wheel change.

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The unfortunate loss of 18 seconds was an invitation for the Olympic champion to take the win home. Nino tried hard to get back to Jaroslav, closing the gap to 11 seconds, but the time remaining was not enough to catch him. Frustrated about the bad luck but happy with his performance Nino said: “I tried so hard to take this win and I think I was a flat tire away from it. But again, this is racing!”

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Second place but performed like a winner: Nino Schurter

 

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“I tried so hard to take this win and I think I was a flat tire away from it. But again, this is racing!”

Nino Schurter, SwissChampion
SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing Team

 

Julien Absalon also had a flat tire, resulting in leader jersey ending up on Kulhavy’s shoulders, with Nino in second and Absalon in third.

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Matthias Flückiger 4th- Nino Schurter 2nd- Jaroslav Kulhavy 1st- Ondrej Czink 3rd- Maxime Marotte 5th

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Marcel Wildhaber lost a lot of ground due to a bad start, but finished respectably in 45th. Michiel van der Heijden spent a good part of the race in the top 20, but unfortunately lost his position towards the end, finishing in 36th. Similarly, it looked like a top 10 was possible for in the U23 rider Andri Frischknecht, until he fell back in the last two laps, finishing 16th.

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Michiel van der Heijden
Marcel Wildhaber
Andri Frischknecht

This article was originally posted on scott-odlo.com.

 

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Tour de France. Joaquim Rodriguez celebrates victory on Mur de Huy

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It was familiar ground for Team Katusha’s Joaquim Rodriguez as he lit out for the finish line on the 1,1 km Mur de Huy and claimed the victory for the 3rd stage of the 2015 Tour de France. It was a move reminiscent of his 2012 win on the traditional finishing climb of Flèche Wallonne. Rodriguez, age 36, celebrated his fourth win of the cycling season and brings the total to thirty-four for the team, a record in the history of Team Katusha. The hilltop success also gave Joaquim Rodriguez the polka dot jersey as the best climber in the general classification.

– I started the day with some fear after a bad night following my crash yesterday and some knee pain in the morning, but during the day I really felt good and then better and better. The team supported me also very well. It is a pity we had to lose Dmitriy Kozonchuk. I did not see the crash as I was in front of it, but I could hear it. The speed was really high headed in the direction Mur de Huy. I even had to ask Giampaolo Caruso to slow down a bit. On the Mur everything went well. I attacked with 400 m to go. That is the perfect distance for me. I am explosive and this Mur suits me so well. The last time I wanted to wait a little longer and then I was closed in by others. I did not want to take that risk this time and I went full gas and it was perfect. I am so happy after the fabulous work of the team too, – said stage winner Joaquim Rodriguez.

Chasing in just behind Rodriguez was Chris Froome (Team Sky) who took the yellow jersey on the third day of racing. Rounding out the top three was Alexis Vuillermoz of AG2R La Mondiale. Behind Froome at 1-second is Tony Martin (Etixx – Quick Step) and Tejay van Garderen of BMC at 13-seconds for third place on the classification.

– My condition is good. Also yesterday it was good. I just lost time due to flat tire and a crash at a bad moment. In the end I did not lose too much time. Paris is a long way to go and I am still very ambitious. This mountain jersey is nice. I would be happy with it in Paris but my real goal is a good GC, – continued Joaquim Rodriguez.

Stage 3 always promised to be spectacular with the course including some of the same roads used in the Spring classics. At 159,5 km, the route began in Antwerp, Belgium with the final circuit the identical one used in Flèche Wallonne to feature the first uphill finish in this year’s race. Just as a breakaway of four riders was brought back with more than 50 km still to go, a major crash hit the peloton and forced the abandonment of several riders, including Katusha’s Dmitriy Kozonchuck, and seeing the yellow jersey of Fabian Cancellara go down and later to be off the back by more than eleven minutes at the finish.

Dmitriy Kozontchuk was involved in the big crash and had to abandon the race. In the Centre Hospitalier Régional of Huy, the Russian rider was diagnosed with a fracture of the left shoulder blade (Лопатка) as well a broken left collarbone. Kozontchuk will undergo surgery on Tuesday morning in the O.L.V. van Lourdes Hospital of Waregem (Belgium).

The race was quickly neutralized while medical staff re-grouped and tended to the wounded, eventually re-starting after almost 20 minutes. The first of 4 climbs was also neutralized, but racing resumed for the final three with Rodriguez attentive and ready to battle for the stage victory.

– Tomorrow is the pavé. That is not at all my specialty. I just hope to not crash and not lose too much time, and then the Tour can really start. But it has not been bad so far. I am proud and happy, – concluded Team Katusha leader Joaquim Rodriguez.

Stage 4 promises more excitement in a mini “Paris-Roubaix” as the race finally moves into France.  The stage begins Seriang, Belgium and ends in Cambrai after the longest stage at 224 km. With small climbs up and down all day, the cobbled sections will feature prominently in this stage. Seven sectors of pavé over a distance of 13,3 km will make for an exciting fourth stage.

Photo credit: (c) Tim De Waele

 

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This article was originally posted on www.katushateam.com.

 

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Alban Lakata is World Champion!

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Sensational triumph for the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team: Alban Lakata fetches his second gold medal in Marathon Mountain Biking with an impressive performance at the Marathon World Championships in Val Gardena, South Tyrol.

You can’t take a world title more rightfully. During the first climb of the Marathon World Championships 2015 in South Tyrol, six kilometers up to Dantercepies, Alban Lakata from the Topeak-Ergon Racing Team took the lead of the participant field with superiority and kept it all the way to the finish line.

The Albanator kept the entire world elite of the mountain bike sport with his resistless attacks at bay. Moreover, he even expanded his lead to over 2 minutes at the end. ”Originally, I didn’t want to attack until the third climb”, says the Austrian. ”But I felt so good right from the start that I had to give it a try straight away.”

This triumph is especially deserved not only because of the framework conditions of the race with 4.700 meters difference in altitude on 87 kilometers, which are worthy of a world champion, but also the fact that Alban already took world champion in 2010 in St. Wendel on a course with different characteristics. This clearly illustrates the 36-year old is a perfectly complete mountain biker.

All in all, this was an impressive appearance of the freshly baked world champion in every respect, because even a car crash couldn’t throw him off track. Alban was brushed by an automobile during the second third of the race while descending from Passo Pordoi. He had a stroke of luck and wasn’t hurt and the brand-new Canyon prototype was left unharmed. ”It’s madness what can happen to you during a race”, says Lakata head-shaking, ”but luck was on my side today!” That’s right: No defect, no fall — only this one moment of shock. A perfect day is all it takes to become world champion.

”A tremendous dream came true for me today once more,” says the grinning two time World and European Champion. ”I finally could prove to everyone that my success at the World Championship 2010 was not a mayfly. Besides people say one title is no title!”

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This article was originally posted on topeak-ergon-racing.com.

 

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