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  • It seems that whenever Marianne Vos puts a race number on these days, she triumphs. Stage 2 of the Ladies Tour of Norway was her third consecutive win in a mass-start race after stage 1 and the PostNord Vårgårda WestSweden Road Race. Vos looked exhausted after a difficult uphill sprint in the rain where she had to close a gap to Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM). And before that, Vos had to be attentive for four laps of the finishing circuit in Sarpsborg as Team Sunweb tried to break race apart. "The finishing laps were pretty hard with all the action. A lot of attacks, up and down. You had to be careful because of the rain, but you also had to sprint out of every corner. Sunweb did a really good job. They were strong yesterday already, and again today, so it was not easy to stay in control."ADVERTISEMENT Contrary to her wins on stage 1 and in Vårgårda where she opened up very early, Vos waited for a long time before she started her sprint today. This was a wise decision on the uphill finish. "Already at the bonus sprint, I noticed that if you go early,...

  • All week long, avoiding crashes was the order of the day. The BinckBank Tour was always likely to be decided on its final weekend, and for riders like Stefan Küng, the flat, fraught kilometres that led to this point were all about staying upright and remaining in contention. After winning the stage 2 time trial, Küng rode impeccably for the remainder of the week to reach the pivotal stages in third place overall. And then, just as a bike race was breaking out, the BMC rider’s hopes of overall victory were dashed on the punchy finishing circuit in Sittard-Geleen on Saturday afternoon, when he went down in a crash with a little over 15km remaining. By the time Küng mounted a replacement bike, there was little to be done, and he came home more than three minutes down on stage winner Gregor Muhlberger, dropping from third to 36th in general classification.ADVERTISEMENT "I'm not entirely sure what happened in the crash. We were on a downhill right-hand corner and I think my wheel slipped, it’s hard to explain, but suddenly I was on the ground and unfortunately my bike was broken so the race for me was over,"...

  • The absence of the Ardennes from the parcours of this year’s BinckBank Tour might have limited Tim Wellens’ prospects of final overall victory, but although the terrain wasn’t exactly tailored to his measurements, the Belgian tried on a searing attack for size in the closing kilometres of stage 6 in Sittard-Geleen. The stage was billed as a sort of Amstel Gold Race-lite, with the road dipping and rising constantly as the peloton wound it way through the rippling hills of Limburg for the afternoon. Wellens first produced a sharp acceleration on the Schatsberg to pare down the front group, before he went clear alone on the Windraak with a little over 8km remaining, opening a lead of 13 seconds. Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step) was the first to bridge across to Wellens, followed in time by Dylan van Baarle (Team Sky), Gregor Muhlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Max Schachmann (Quick-Step). This quintet led the race into the final kilometre, where Muhlberger produced a canny attack to claim a surprising stage win. Wellens, the day's primary aggressor, had to settle for winning the sprint for second place, 3 seconds behind the Austrian.ADVERTISEMENT "When I was solo, it was looking good, I had...

  • Niki Terpstra was perhaps the perfect prototype of a Quick-Step Floors rider, a man whose obvious ambition never quite teetered into selfishness. He was, as manager Patrick Lefevere put it this spring, an individualist who doubled as a team player. During his eight-year tenure at Quick-Step, Terpstra, winner of Paris-Roubaix in 2014 and the Tour of Flanders this season, was rarely shy of suitors willing to make him an outright leader on another team, but he had always preferred to stay put – until now. On Thursday, Direct Energie announced that they had secured Terpstra’s services for 2019 and 2020. Terpstra’s departure from Quick-Step was perhaps less surprising than his final destination, but, as he told De Telegraaf, the contract offered by the French Continental team was simply one he could not turn down.ADVERTISEMENT Although Quick-Step’s future is guaranteed for 2019, Lefevere’s team is still searching for a title sponsor. The Belgian was unable to promise that could meet Terpstra’s salary expectations for next season, and he could understand the rider’s decision to take his talents to the Vendée. “It’s life. When there is a budget, there is a budget. If we don’t have enough money...

  • Gavin Mannion is a rider who has been knocking on the door of a big victory for a while. In April he took his first UCI win on the final day at the 2.2 Tour of the Gila, taming the Gila Monster in front of overall winner Rob Britton (Rally Cycling) and finishing second overall. The win he took on Friday in the Vail Pass time trial at the 2.HC Colorado Classic, however, was in front of riders who have raced Grand Tours and competed in top races all over the world. It was by far his biggest win to date, and it came as part of a UnitedHealthcare one-two finish with teammate Serghei Tvetcov at a time when the team is searching for new title sponsor. "I knew this course suits me well, and I pretty much go into every time trial thinking I can win or at least giving myself a fair shot," Mannion said in the post-stage press conference. "Normally it doesn't pan out, but today it did, so I'm really happy with that."ADVERTISEMENT After starting stage 2 in a large group that was 18 seconds down on overnight leader Gage Hecht (Aevolo), Mannion...

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