Vuelta a España: Canyon Riders in Control

  September 1st, 2014 | 17:47 | Canyon Onlineredaktion

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Today marks the first rest day of the 2014 Vuelta a España bringing an end to nine days of racing that have seen it all. The peloton has had to cope with several extremes so far, including searing 40°C heat, buffeting crosswinds and yesterday’s torrential rain. At all times, Katusha and Movistar Team have been at the fore and now three Canyon riders feature inside the top six in the general classification.

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After losing the leader’s Red Jersey on Stage 3, Alejandro Valverde won it back in fine style after the race’s first proper uphill finish during Stage 6. Valverde set a suffocating tempo up the long, steep and straight drag to Cumbres Verdes, yet had enough power left at the end to answer his rivals’ accelerations and take the win on the line to extend his lead in the overall classification.

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Stage 7 may have looked straightforward on paper, yet when the wind picked up towards the finish Alberto Contador’s Tinkoff-Saxo team succeeded in splitting the race into echelons. Nairo Quintana was one of the main contenders to get caught out by the strong gusts before the field came back together before the finish. Fortunately for Quintana, no damage was done.

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Coming just before the first rest day and with a finish line up at 1975 metres above sea-level, it was clear that Stage 9 to Valdelinares would produce fireworks in the GC. Rain cascaded down on the peloton as car and motorbike headlamps lit the way in stark contrast to the blazing sunshine from earlier in the week.

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On the final climb, it was Contador who was the first to break away from the group of favourites. Nevertheless, Joaquim Rodríguez set off in pursuit and made contact with teammate Eduard Vorgonov from the day’s breakaway with Quintana in tow. Together, the trio raced through the final kilometre to catch Contador just before the line, with Valverde coming across 23 seconds later to relinquish the leader’s jersey to his Columbian teammate.

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Heading into the second week, the 2014 Vuelta is still too close to call with less than 90 seconds separating the top ten. Quintana sits in first with a slender three second margin over Contador and teammate Valverde back in third place. Rodríguez leads the charge for Katusha in sixth place and just 30 seconds separating him from Quintana.

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The standings won’t stay the same for long with another GC shakeup on the cards after tomorrow’s 36.7 km Individual Time Trial followed by one of the race’s toughest summit finishes the day after.

So far the Vuelta a España is turning out to be perhaps the most exciting Grand Tour of 2014, and Canyon is once again right in the mix for the title…

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Dream start to Vuelta a España for Movistar Team

  August 25th, 2014 | 13:43 | Onlineredaktion
Team Movistar / (c) TDWsport.com

Movistar Team set the opening Team Time Trial of the 2014 Vuelta a España alight on Saturday evening to take a resounding victory and get their race off to the perfect start.

The squad were the last of 22 teams to take to the start ramp as the setting sun cast a glowing light across the southern Spanish city of Jerez. With nine Speedmax CFs primed to take on the short, yet highly technical 12.6 km test, the team set off to once again show themselves at the very top level in this discipline.

At the halfway split the Blues were a handful of seconds off the time set by early pace-setters, Cannondale. Nevertheless, the team rose to the challenge over the second half of the course. Riding together as a perfect unit, Movistar Team proved that the TTT is all about working strongly together rather than having a handful of strong individuals. Each member took their turn to keep the pace high as they committed to their lines through every corner, whilst not dropping any of their nine riders.

TT specialist, Jonathan Castroviejo, was the first to cross the line and take the race lead as the team stopped the clock at 14.13, six seconds quicker than Cannondale.

Team Movistar / (c) TDWsport.com

Movistar Team in control for first week

Perhaps even more crucial than the stage victory is the advantage Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde now hold going into the rest of the race: Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo currently lies 19 seconds back, while Chris Froome of Team Sky is already 25 seconds off the race lead.

Alejandro Valverde / (c) TDWsport.com

The race leader’s Red Jersey transferred onto the shoulders of Valverde yesterday from Castroviejo following the team captain’s higher placing in the sprint finish to stage two. With the first major summit rendezvous not set until this Sunday, there’s a high probability the team will hold onto the jersey through the sprint stages and short uphill finishes on the cards for the rest of the week.

Canyon on Facebook: Get the latest info on our pro teams.

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Purito and Quintana Aim High at 2014 Vuelta a España

  August 21st, 2014 | 12:20 | Onlineredaktion

Team Katusha and Movistar Team / (c) TDWsport.com
Katusha and Movistar Team line up with their strongest squads for the 69th Vuelta a España, which gets underway this weekend. With Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodríguez and Dani Moreno all present, Canyon riders will be right in the mix for the overall title.

Although names like Alto Cumbres Verdes, Aramon Valdelinares and Alto Monte Castrove may not be as well known to cycling fans as Alpes d’Huez or Mont Ventoux, the summits encountered in this year’s race pose just as tough a challenge.

This year’s Vuelta has a packed line-up as riders who suffered misfortune earlier in the season look to make amends. Established Grand Tour performers like Froome, Contador, Uran, Evans and van den Broeck will fight it out against a young guard of riders including Fabio Aru, Andrew Talansky, Thibaut Pinot, Dan Martin, Warren Barguil and Esteban Chaves. It’s guaranteed to be an action-packed race.

Nairo Quintana / (c) TDWsport.com

Two-pronged attack for Movistar Team

As ever, when the peloton hits the high mountains our riders will be right at the front. Movistar Team bring Giro d’Italia winner, Nairo Quintana, and current UCI WorldTour number one, Alejandro Valverde, two of the strongest stage racers in the world.

Team boss Eusebio Unzué is adamant that the leader will not be decided until the race is underway and it becomes apparent who has the best legs. At 34 years-old, Valverde has the experience as well as a Vuelta win already under his belt from 2009. On the other hand, Quintana is widely regarded as the most exciting stage racing prospect around having won the Giro this year at just 23. He has consistently proven himself as one of the only riders in the world able to ride away from the whole peloton when the road heads skywards.

Historic Victory for Quintana and Canyon at the Giro d‘Italia

Joaquim Rodriguez / (c) TDWsport.com

Purito and Moreno head Team Katusha

Two of the most explosive climbers in the peloton will lead Katusha with Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez und Dani Moreno. Both have been no stranger to success in the race with several stage wins between them and Rodíguez finishing as runner-up in 2012.

After a bad run of luck at the start of the season, Purito made a comeback at the Tour de France and was at the forefront during many of the big mountain stages. Moreno is also on form having just recently finished 2nd at the Vuelta a Burgos to Nairo Quintana.

Vuelta a Espana 2014 / (c) lavuelta.com

Challenging course with 8 summit finishes

South to north – it’s uphill all the way. This year’s race starts at the bottom of Spain in Jerez de la Frontera and then works its way over three weeks to the very north-western tip of the country for a finish outside the famous cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

Three time trials feature along the way, the first on the opening stage with a short TTT to lay down a marker. This is followed by a 36 km ITT mid-race and a 10 km blitz to decide the title on the final stage – perfect parameters for the Speedmax CF.

A balanced mix a pure sprint stages, punchy uphill finishes and full-on summit showdowns where the GC will be decided characterise the rest of the race. The Ultimate CF SLX and new Aeroad CF SLX will be right in their element for the final Grand Tour of 2014.

Team Katusha Line-up: Joaquim Rodríguez, Daniel Moreno, Alberto Losada, Giampaolo Caruso, Alexander Kolobnev, Juri Trofimov, Sergei Chernetckii, Eduard Vorganov, Dmitriy Kozonchuk

Movistar Team Line-up: Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde, Adriano Malori, Javi Moreno, Jonathan Castroviejo, Andrey Amador, José Herrada, Imanol Erviti, Gorka Izagirre

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(Deutsch) Leanda Cave gewinnt Ironman in Schweden – dritter Langdistanz-Triumph für Canyon in 2014

  August 18th, 2014 | 11:48 | Onlineredaktion


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The Strive Diaries: Entry 6 – Canadian Judgement Day

  August 13th, 2014 | 17:52 | Onlineredaktion

Ines Thoma in Whistler
Getting to Whistler was way easier than any other race so far this season – a short hop from Colorado followed by a two hour drive and we’d arrived at Mecca for gravity riding. Last year’s Enduro World Series Round in Whistler got Pinkbike’s nod as the “Best Race of the Year” – no pressure then, expectations for 2014 were sky high.

EWS Round 6 at Crankworx

When the stages were unveiled on Wednesday, the riders’ jaws hit the floor when it became apparent what lay ahead of them. The Crankworx organisers couldn’t be serious – oh but they were: five stages, 60 km, over 2400 metres of climbing and 33 degree-heat forecast. On top of all this, a classic one-day format. This was going to be harder than the rounds in Scotland and Valloire put together… The stages could be walked in the lead-up, but most decided to save their legs for the two practice days before judgement day on Sunday.

Ludo May in Whistler

The race started out perfectly for us. Ludo May got 8th on the first stage, showcasing his potential, while Joe Barnes was just off the podium in 4th, with Ines Thoma 6th. Steep and dusty but loads of grip to get the tyres stuck in, the guys were loving it at the sharp end.

On Stage 2 things started to come unstuck for Ludo:
“I had a tough time out there – it all kind of went to pieces on stage 2 when I took a little trip OTB. It wasn’t too bad, but my shoe didn’t come with me, it stayed clicked in and then the cleat got damaged when the bike fell, it took me ages to get my foot back in and get going again when I realised my bars weren’t straight, so I had to get off and sort that out. Man that was some crucial time I lost there.”

Joe Barnes in Whistler

Luckily it wasn’t game over for Ludo and his times were back towards the top on Stage 3 down “27 Switchbacks”. Joe’s consistency shone through again as he moved up to third overall before things also began to slide downhill down “Ride Don’t Slide” on Stage 5:
“That was actually one of my favourite stages. I felt really good on it in training but half way down I got something caught right in my front spokes so had to stop and sort that out. That cost me a few seconds and after that I just lost the flow.”

View from the top at Whistler

The tech check between the fourth and fifth stages provided a much needed break in the action before taking the lift up to start the final epic run down from “Top of the World”. Ines was already at the limit before the 25 km stage even began:
”I thought I knew the stages quite well from training but right after the first corner I barely even recognised the trail anymore. When 500 people have already ridden it at race pace, everything is totally bombed out. I had loads of energy on Stage 1 and was pedalling everything but on the climb up to Stage 2 I had nothing left in the legs. There’s only “Top of the World” to go, I think I’m gonna need a new body after that…”

Enduro Racing at EWS Round 6 in Whistler

Unfortunately for Ines, she didn’t get to give it her best on the final stage as a puncture from the sharp rocks put an end to her challenge:
”That sucked… At first it was just a just soft, as soon as I noticed it I tried to keep my weight up front to unload the rear. That didn’t work for long so I could only roll down to the bottom.”

All in all, a tough day in Whistler where all the guys had a touch of bad luck: Joe got another solid top-10 coming 9th, while Ines’ flat tyre dropped her to 10th and Ludo ended up 25th. Now it’s time for a well-earned break. We’re heading back to Europe to recoup before Trans Provence in mid-September and then the final round of the EWS in Finale Ligure.

Ludo May in Whistler

Before all of that, the entire Canyon Factory Enduro Team will be at Eurobike 2015. Come down for the chance to chat with Fabien Barel, Joe, Ines and Ludo – Saturday, Hall B4, Stand 404 – Don’t miss it!

The Canyon Factory Enduro Team

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Sally Bigham Takes Second Leadville 100 Victory

  August 12th, 2014 | 11:56 | Onlineredaktion

Topeak Ergon Racing Team struck again at the weekend after Sally Bigham rode to a commanding first place to take her second Leadville 100 title in Colorado. Kristian Hynek put in a strong showing in the men’s race to take third, while 2013 winner, Alban Lakata, managed fourth.

Sally Bigham riding her Grand Canyon CF SLX / (c) Ergon

Leadville 100 is rightly considered to be the toughest marathon race in the USA, with 103 miles off-road and 4000 metres of climbing, all taking place between 3000 and 4000 metres above sea-level, making altitude a major factor to overcome. Nevertheless, Bigham crossed the line on her Grand Canyon CF SLX 29 over 42 minutes ahead of her nearest rival having lead from the gun.

With a winning time of 7:23:58, although she made it look easy, Bigham claimed that was certainly not the case: “It was such a relief finally crossing the line because I had no idea how far the others were behind me. In these races you can never be certain that something might go wrong until the last few metres.”

Kristian Hynek on his Lux CF / (c) Ergon

Hynek on the Podium

Czech rider Kristian Hynek lead for a proportion of the race on the Lux CF before cracking towards the end.

“About 30 km from the end I really thought I wouldn’t be able to make it to the finish. The fact I still managed to hang on for 3rd is great, I now know what to do better next year!”

No Luck for Lakata

Two-time winner and course record holder, Alban Lakata, was also in the lead with Kristian until an ill-timed puncture took him out of contention.

Alban Lakata on his Lux CF / (c) Ergon

The Albanator was philosophical about the race: “It’s too bad as I came here to win and wanted to set a new record under six hours, but never mind, I’ll just have to try again next year!”

Check out the Leaville winning Grand Canyon CF SLX

Sally Bigham riding her Grand Canyon CF SLX / (c) Ergon

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Canyon Riders Dominate Podium at Clásica San Sebastián

  August 4th, 2014 | 10:43 | Onlineredaktion

Alejandro Valverde winning Clasica San Sebastian / (c) TDWsport.com
Alejandro Valverde of Movistar Team took the win aboard his Ultimate CF SLX at the Clásica San Sebastián on Saturday with Joaquim Rodríguez of Katusha coming in 3rd after a dominant performance from Canyon riders. Just one week after the Tour de France, the Clásica San Sebastián in the mountainous Basque region of northern Spain marked a return to WorldTour racing for the pro peloton.

With 219 km on the cards and a number of tough categorised climbs, attacks came and went throughout the day before the race was blown to pieces the final ascent within 10 km from the line. Rodríguez jumped away in his inimitable racing style to lead over the summit before the breakneck descent into the centre of San Sebastián.

Joaquim Rodriguez attacking / (c) TDWsport.com

The Katusha captain held a handful of seconds over a group of four pursuers, including Valverde. During the high speed drop down to the coast, the riders’ mettle and descending skills were put to the test and Rodríguez was caught by the chasers.

Alejandro Valverde and Purito riding their Canyon Bikes / (c) TDWsport.com

A crash from Adam Yates disrupted the flow in the group, allowing Valverde the chance to slip away and press home his advantage, riding right on the limit during the technical run to the finish. Valverde raised his arms to cross the line first and take his tenth victory of the season, while behind him Rodríguez contested the sprint for the podium to finish third.

Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez on the podium / (c) TDWsport.com

Heading into the final part of the season, Valverde now leads the individual WorldTour rider rankings and was pleased to be back on the top step of the podium: “San Sebastián is a race I really like, even more with this route. It’s my second victory here, plus two other podiums. Ten wins already this season, now on top of the WorldTour… I can only be happy.”

Movistar Team lead the WorldTour team classification, having taken 27 wins so far this season. With the Vuelta a España looming at the end of the month where the squad will back Giro winner, Nairo Quintana, for overall victory, the prospects look good for maintaining top spot in the rankings.

Canyon Pro Sports

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The Strive Diaries: Entry 5 – EWS Reborn in the USA

  July 29th, 2014 | 11:10 | Canyon Onlineredaktion

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller
With a block of European racing behind us, the Enduro World Series (EWS) headed stateside to kick off the final three rounds of the season. Winter Park in Colorado lies right at the heart of the Rocky Mountains and was familiar territory for the EWS having also been visited back in 2013.

After a rough time here last year, we’d learnt from our mistakes by flying over a week earlier to help combat the eight hour time difference, but most importantly to acclimatise to the altitude. Although the mountains around Winter Park don’t look much like the soaring peaks of the Alps, the fact that the base lift for Trestle Bike Park sits way up at 2800 m above sea level meant that we were actually far higher than at any point in Europe, and that was before we’d even got to the top. Coping with the thin air was therefore one of the major challenges everyone faced; even just sleeping at this height, your heart beats twice as fast than at sea level. This meant that the locals would definitely have a home advantage.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

In contrast to previous rounds, this time we had three and a half days of racing with seven special stages ahead of us. Timed runs were held in the morning to avoid thunderstorms later on and the next day’s stages were only unveiled the afternoon before with practice allowed following the announcement. This made each day long and intense for riders and staff, but especially for our mechanics, Dougie and Marc.

Day one was spent lapping the bike park. Typically in the EWS, the riders aren’t so used to constantly hitting groomed doubles, berms and wallrides, and that was reflected in the results. While the big names were scattered throughout the field, the local riders, who could have ridden the course blind were filling out the top spots. Joe still had reason to be happy after the first test:

“I was 30th in that first stage last year and coming in 17th this time is a step in the right direction. Stage was good, but my stomach was playing up a bit in the middle. Strange feelings… Coming to a big jump I hit it longer than I did in the training run. I landed hanging off the bike like a motocross racer, but it was perfect. I was really stoked riding down afterwards. It’s really tough out there.”

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Day two promised more variety with a load of previously unknown and unridden hiking trails away from the resort. However, Ludo wasn’t loving the lack of flow offered by the terrain:

“Stages 4 and 5 were really short, like even less than two minutes so that’s also what we’re not really used to racing. Those hiking trails are dusty and really tight at the top – not really made for riding. Through the trees it was really difficult not to catch your bars. It’s really flat, not what I prefer and it´s definitely not sexy, but I guess that’s just the American interpretation of Enduro.”

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Coming in to the third day there was controversy after one of the local women came down hard on Stage 6, meaning the course had to be shut down. There’s never a good time for a big crash, but the accident happened after 10 men had already completed the stage. Chris Ball, who runs this whole show, had a tough decision to make and rightly decided that a re-run of the stage was the fairest way to continue the race, triggering protests from those who had already put times on the board.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Fortunately, the rider is in a stable condition having been airlifted to hospital in Denver. The fact that some riders had to tackle the most physically-challenging stage of the race twice may have affected the overall result, but we’ll never know. Stage 7 was back to the bike park bombing of the first day, with everyone able to get back on the gas again. When the results came in it showed a mixed weekend for the team. Joe kept up his good run of form to finish 7th and Ines had a solid race coming in 10th, while Ludo never got in the right groove, dropping down to 52nd.

Joe was satisfied with how the weekend turned out and another top-10 result:
“This was actually quite a good race for me. Much better than last year and it went even better than I’d expected. It’s good to see that I can constantly cope with all the big boys out there and I came dead close to winning a stage again this weekend. I felt really good the whole weekend, therefore I´m really disappointed with the last stage on Sunday. My run was okay but then I saw my time and couldn´t believe it at first that I was so slow. I thought there must be a mistake, but the timing back-up was okay. I could have easily gained two places if I’d pushed it harder. But anyway it’s another solid top-ten. Let’s go to Whistler – Yeah Baeys!”

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

We’ve got one day to give bikes and bodies a rest before catching the flight to Vancouver and then next stop Whistler, where riding Mecca awaits us. Catch the next entry of the Strive Diaries then in two weeks!

The Canyon Factory Enduro Team

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2014 Tour de France a Success for Canyon Riders

  July 28th, 2014 | 10:38 | Canyon Onlineredaktion

Alexander Kristoff / (c) TDWsport.com
The 101st edition of the Tour de France came to an end yesterday with the customary sprinting showdown on the cobbles of the Champs-Élysées in the heart of Paris.

From the lanes of Yorkshire to the grand boulevards of the French capital, the 21 stages and 3664 km in-between were gruelling and certainly not without incident. While Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali asserted his dominance on the race to take yellow, Katusha and Movistar Team had a number of reasons to celebrate as the year’s biggest race drew to a conclusion.

Kristoff shows his class

Katusha’s Norwegian sprinting star was one of the standout riders in this year’s Tour. Having never previously won a stage in the race, Alexander Kristoff proved he was in the hunt in 2014 by consistently finishing in the top three before taking two impressive wins on stage 12 and stage 15 aboard the brand new Aeroad CF SLX.

Alexander Kristoff / (c) TDWsport.com

Both of Kristoff’s wins were made possible thanks to the strong work put in by his teammates. The Katusha rider was the only one strong enough to challenge the dominance of Germany’s Marcel Kittel on the final stage into Paris yesterday, coming up just half a bike length short having fought back from an untimely puncture in the finale.

Alexander Kristoff / (c) TDWsport.com

Two stage wins made this year’s edition of the Tour one of the most successful ever for Team Katusha, following Joaquim Rodríguez’s third place ride last year, an achievement Team Manager Viacheslav Ekimov was keen to praise: “I think it was the best Tour de France for Team Katusha, but we will use this experience for our future development. I would like to thank the whole team for their work, for the strong fight and for the successes.”

Katusha Team / (c) TDWsport.com

Valverde just misses out on the podium

Coming into the penultimate stage on Saturday, a brutal 54 km Individual Time Trial, Movistar Team Captain Alejandro Valverde lay just two seconds off the podium. Having been one of the most consistent riders throughout and occupying second place overall for much of the race, the Spaniard began to lose time on his rivals during the final challenging Pyrenean stages and was unable to regain his losses in the time trial.

Alejandro Valverde / (c) TDWsport.com

Nevertheless, fourth overall marks Valverde’s best ever performance in seven appearances at the Tour de France and he was still pleased with his showing in the race: “This is sport: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. We fought for the podium until the very last day, which means that we rode super well and did everything we could. […]This result is not a failure for me, at all.”

Canyon congratulates all the riders from Katusha and Movistar Team for animating the 2014 Tour de France and making it a race to remember.

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Kristoff Strikes Again for Second Tour Stage Win

  July 21st, 2014 | 10:32 | Onlineredaktion

Alexander Kristoff / (c) TDWsport.com
Just three days after his first-ever Tour stage win, Norwegian sprinting sensation Alexander Kristoff again showed his class by chasing down breakaway in the final metres to take his second victory in this year’s edition of the Tour de France. His powerful kick in the final 150 metres proved not only Kristoff’s talent, but the value of his stiff, agile, and aerodynamic Aeroad CF SLX.

The outcome of the stage to Nimes was determined only when Jack Bauer and Martin Elimiger, who had led the race for nearly 200km, were caught in the closing meters. ‘That was close, really close,’ said Kristoff at the finish. ‘The breakaway was strong, but thanks to teammates Spilak, Smukulis, and Paolini, we caught them just before the finish, and I was able to take take the win for the day.’
Pro Bike Check – Kristoff’s brand new Aeroad CF SLX

Alexander Kristoff / (c) TDWsport.com

Kristoff fresher than Kittel and Greipel

Although Kristoff himself didn’t feel too good during the day’s stage after the gruelling mountains of the prior two stages, he was able to find his feet again in the finalé which included such sprinting elites as Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel.

Kristoff admits that, ‘Compared to them, I’m not a super-fast sprinter, and during the stage they made no impression of being tired, but my victory at the end suggests that maybe they were exhausted after the Alps.’

Joaquim Rodriguez / (c) TDWsport.com

Purito King of the Mountains lead again

Additional good news for Katusha and Canyon is that Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodríguez remains in the polka-dot jersey as best overall climber. On the stage to Nimes there were no designated climbs, nevertheless, it was a tough day for the Spaniard. ‘That was really not a stage for me: flat, windy, wet…the stage nearly ended it all for me, because there was a crash and I was involved in it. I am glad this stage is over. On the rest day we will relax a bit before we head Tuesday to attack in the Pyrenees.’

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