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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MADE FOR WINNERS: Kristoff Sprints to Tour de France Stage Win

  July 18th, 2014 | 10:21 | Onlineredaktion

Alexander Kristoff / (c) TDWsport.com
Team Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff has taken his maiden Tour de France stage win aboard the brand new Aeroad CF SLX . The Norwegian sprint sensation proved the strongest in the bunch gallop to the line on stage 12 from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint-Etienne to notch up Katusha’s first victory in this year’s race.

Vineyards and melting tarmac

A hilly parcours under the July sun made for a challenging day as the riders raced their way through the Beaujolais wine region. With a reduced peloton of around 60 riders making up the front group in Saint-Etienne, Kristoff launched his sprint early from behind the wheel of OPQS rider Matteo Trentin.

Alexander Kristoff / (c) TDWsport.com

Unleashing enough power to hold off green jersey wearer Peter Sagan by a bike length at the line, Kristoff took the first professional victory for the brand new, cutting-edge Aeroad CF SLX.

Alexander Kristoff / (c) Canyon

A childhood dream come true

Having already placed second on two stages so far in this year’s race, the 2014 Milan-Sanremo once again confirmed that he is one of the most versatile sprinters in the pro peloton by being able to stay with the front-runners on challenging roads.

Kristoff was ecstatic with his breakthrough performance: “This is a great feeling. I have been dreaming about this since I was a child.”

Sports Director Torsten Schmidt was also content that the team’s approach had paid off: “We believed in him and gave him our full support, everything went 100% according to plan.”

The high mountains loom

Having already hit the hills of the Vosges and the Jura, today the race heads into the high mountains with a HC summit finish at Chamrousse. Team captain,Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez, will be looking to extend his lead in the King of the Mountains competition over the coming days. With the likes of Simon Špilak and Yuri Trofimov riding well, everything is still to play for as Katusha looks to add to its stage haul.

Joaquim Rodriguez / (c) TDWsport.com

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The new Aeroad CF SLX: MADE FOR RACING

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The Strive Diaries: Entry 4 – Enduro Quattro Stagioni

  July 15th, 2014 | 14:38 | Canyon Onlineredaktion

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller
The beauty of enduro racing is you get a whole variety of different factors that impact the overall result. First of all, there’s the terrain: the kind of trails on offer can change the outcome of a race completely. Second, there’s the rider: how fit or mentally strong are they? Third, the bike: attaining the perfect setup to attack the race can be an art form. And last but not least, there’s the weather. This can be so influential that it has a major effect on all of the other factors just mentioned.

Overshadowed by the hulking mass of Mont Blanc high up in the Aosta Valley, La Thuile’s weather threw everything it had at us. Four seasons in one day puts it lightly, these were some of the most extreme conditions we’d ever experienced in the Enduro World Series.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

It was the first time La Thuile had ever hosted a race like this, but from the welcome we got when the EWS rocked up in town, you’d think they’d been doing it for years. Two days of racing lay ahead of us, three stages on each day and a combination of pedal transfers and lifts. With a mix of exposed, rocky high alpine trails and a network of flowing paths laid down by mine workers centuries ago, the terrain had a bit of everything.

On the morning of first practice we woke up to sub-zero temperatures, high winds and hail lashing down; not exactly the weather we were hoping for from an Italian summer. When competing so high in the mountains though, you have to be prepared for all conditions come rain, shine or snow…

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

With the start line way up at 2600 metres and the weather and visibility changing every minute, the riders faced over 10 km on Stage 1, making it was one of the longest they will face this season. On paper this kind of course shouldn’t have suited Joe’s riding style, but after recording the 4th best time he sent a clear message to the rest of the field that he was definitely up for it. Combining consistency with a wicked pace, Joe ended the first day in 5th with the podium in his sights.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Ines was also unfazed by the harsh conditions on the first day and ended up in 4th spot overnight:
“For the women the weather wasn’t so bad, it was almost warm enough that you could break a sweat on the ride up! You couldn’t see a thing right at the top though, but after a few minutes riding completely blind everything got a bit clearer. I ended up 4th after the first stage so I’m just looking to do more of the same.”

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

There was no let-up for Day 2 with heavy rain forecast at high ground as it seemed the calendar had shifted back a few months to spring, making Stage 4 a total washout. Stages 5 and 6 luckily took place further down the mountain so the trails were more sheltered. All of Sunday’s stages had lift access and Joe came out fighting, nailing his run on the first challenge of the day to take the best time by 10 seconds and notch up his second ever stage win. That incredible performance cemented Joe’s spot on the podium with just 4.5 seconds separating him from 1st after six stages, proving again just how tight it is at the top this year:

“Right from the beginning on the first stage 4 on Sunday I really pushed hard and took my second stage win for this year. Unfortunately when it came to the end when I was sitting in 2nd position, stage 6 was my worst run, but I still came down with the 6th fastest time. It was really good to show some consistency over the whole weekend. I´m so happy that it paid off and I was able to finish another weekend on the podium.”

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Ines gave it everything to defend her 5th place, sprinting for every last second and leaving it all in the mountain. After his recent brilliant win in the European Enduro Series at Flims, Ludo was unable to capitalise but still managed a solid 21st place.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Right on time for the podium ceremony, the clouds parted and summer finally arrived to round off a great weekend in La Thuile for the Canyon Factory Enduro Team. Now it’s time to head back to HQ in Koblenz to restock and pack our bags for a flight across the pond to Colorado and Whistler in just a few days-time. Look forward to the next edition of the Strive Diaries coming your way from the Wild West in Winter Park, USA!

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Mountain Man Purito Rides into Polka Dots

  July 15th, 2014 | 9:31 | Onlineredaktion

Joaquim Rodriguez / (c) TDWsport.com
With seven categorised climbs on the cards crammed into 160 km of racing, the profile to Stage 10 from Mulhouse to La Planche des Belles Filles looked more like a saw blade than a race route. Exactly the conditions required then for Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez to launch his assault on the King of the Mountains competition.

As soon as the flag dropped, the Katusha captain was in the breakaway aboard his new Aeroad CF SLX and went on to collect 40 points over the course of the day.

Joaquim Rodriguez / (c) TDWsport.com

The stage victory may have just passed him by, but Purito was still pleased to pull on the polka dots on the podium:

“My main objective for today was to take the mountain jersey, which is why I went in the breakaway. Today would have been nice to win a stage too, but it was a really hard day and I saw that the yellow jersey group never let us have enough time.”
Canyon Pro Sports

Alejandro Valverde / (c) TDWsport.com

Valverde on Track

Movistar Team worked tirelessly to set up leader Alejandro Valverde for the tough final climb and were rewarded as the Spaniard crossed the line in third, boosting him to third overall in the process.

Crashes have taken their toll on the peloton so far in the race and with big favourites Chris Froome and Alberto Contador now out of the race, Valverde’s chances of standing on the podium in Paris are now even greater.

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Canyon at the Tour de France

  July 14th, 2014 | 13:02 | Onlineredaktion

Alejandro Valverde / (c) TDWsport.com
The second week of the Tour de France is already underway as the race heads for the Alps. As the big favourites begin to show their cards, Canyon will be bringing you exclusive news updates, photos and all the latest information from the race.

Our Social Media Guru Robert will be following the action giving you a closer look into the inner workings of Katusha and Movistar Team. Can Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez hold on to the Polka-dot jersey? Will Alejandro Valverde continue his march up the General Classification? What’s the latest on the brand new Aeroad? Follow us on social media to get the full lowdown:

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Joaquim Rodríguez / (c) TDWsport.com

We’ve also got a whole load of gifts for Canyon fans spectating at the side of the road. Look out for the black Canyon Skoda if you want to get your hands on Canyon bottles, wristbands, musettes, stickers and special offer fliers.

So hit the road and support Katusha and Movistar Team at the Tour de France with us!

Joaquim Rodríguez / (c) TDWsport.com

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Hunting for Yellow: Katusha and Movistar Team ready for the Tour de France

  June 27th, 2014 | 10:52 | Onlineredaktion

Arc de Triomphe / (c) TDWsport.com
July is upon us and that can only mean one thing – It’s time for the Tour de France. “Le Tour” transcends cycling like no other race on the calendar, anyone who doesn’t know about cycling knows about the Tour de France. Images of the Yellow Jersey rolling through bright fields of sunflowers and battling up mountain passes are iconic and what many people associate with our sport.

For the riders themselves, this is the biggest race of the year – every pro wants to complete the Tour at least once in their career. As such, this three week-long Grand Tour is one of the toughest sporting events in the world. No one arrives at the start line to use this as a preparation race, every rider shows up in the form of their life. It’s a stress-fest. The battle for road position is intense, the average speeds considerably higher, and the risks of losing it all with one false move are far bigger than any other race on the calendar.

Three weeks. 21 stages. 3,664 gruelling kilometres. 198 of the world’s best bike riders. The 101st Tour de France is guaranteed to be a race to remember.

Seeing Yellow, Green and Polka Dot

Expect to see Canyon riders in the thick of the action throughout July as Katusha and Movistar Team field the strongest riders available to them. The Spanish squad have come away from victory at the Giro d’Italia on a high and will be looking to do the double with Alejandro Valverde, who will target the Yellow Jersey. Supporting Valverde will be an array of climbing talent to wreak havoc upon the rest of the field when the race hits the high mountains. This is seventh time the Spaniard has taken on le Tour and he has multiple stage wins to his name. Judging by his list of successes so far in 2014, Valverde is no doubt one of the favourites for the podium in Paris.

Alejandro Valverde / (c) TDWsport.com

A different approach will be taken by Katusha, who will be backing Alexander Kristoff to take the sprinters’ Green Jersey. The Norwegian has had a breakthrough season this year, taking his biggest career win at Milan-Sanremo back in March. Kristoff has the power and versatility to mix it up at the front on a variety of stages beyond the pan-flat drag races for pure sprinters. What’s more, he is one of the peloton’s most consistent performers, an essential trait for success in this competition.

Alexander Kristoff / (c) TDWsport.com

Katusha captain, Joaquim “Purito” Rodríguez will be making his comeback at le Tour after crashing out of the Giro d’Italia. Following a monumental ride in 2013 to finish on the podium, the Catalan will be targeting stage wins this year and could be an outsider for the Polka Dot Jersey in the mountains classification. After a successful start to 2014, including victory in his home race, the Volta a Catalunya, bad luck struck Purito with a series of crashes in the Spring Classics and then at the Giro putting him out of action. Expect to see him at the front of the peloton whenever the road heads skywards as he looks to turn his season around.

Joaquim Rodríguez / (c) TDWsport.com

The Challenge Ahead

A drastic change of scene for the Tour de France Grand Départ in 2014 and what many people are predicting to be the toughest start for decades. Yorkshire. North England. God’s Own Country. No opening prologue time trial this year, instead the action kicks off with a tough 190 km road stage through the stunning Yorkshire Dales National Park. Tension will be high and crashes are all but guaranteed as the sprinter’s teams battle to bring their fast men to the finish line in Harrogate in the best position possible for the rare chance to pull on the Yellow Jersey.

While the opening stage is destined for the sprinters, Stage 2 is perfect for hilly classics specialists and could well see the GC favourites already showing their cards. Up hill and down dale for 200 km, the stage to Sheffield has no metre of flat and the narrow, twisting, heavy Yorkshire roads could well catch many teams out.

The race returns to the continent on stage 4 and poses another major challenge on stage 5 with 9 bone-rattling cobble sectors for the peloton to tackle. While many riders are used to taking on the Pavé, the GC favourites will be pinning all their hopes on coming through this stage without any major mishaps. The riders will hit the first real mountains the following weekend in the Vosges, with fireworks expected on Bastille Day including the steep summit finish to La Planche des Belles Filles prior to the first rest day. Then it’s into the Alps for stages 13 and 14, and two consecutive high-summit finishes to Chamrousse and Risoul.

After the Alps, there’s just one flat stage and one rest day to get some energy back into the legs before hitting the Pyrenees hard for the climax of this year’s race. The trend for shorter, more action-packed mountain stages continues with 125 km to Pla d’Adet and 145 km to Hautacam on stages 17 and 18 respectively, at which point we should have a real idea of who will win the Tour. There will be one final twist, however, with the only time trial in the race coming on the penultimate stage – a 54 km test to provide the last shake up in the GC. The following and final day, the peloton will roll into Paris at sunset for a Sprint Royale on the Champs-Élysées to crown the 2014 Tour de France champion.

Team Katusha line-up: Yuri Trofimov, Joaquim Rodríguez, Egor Silin, Simon Spilak, Alexander Kristoff, Aleksandr Porsev, Luca Paolini, Gatis Smukulis, Vladimir Isaychev

Movistar Team line-up: Alejandro Valverde, Imanol Erviti, John Gadret, Jesus Herrada, Benat Intxausti, Ion Izagirre, Ruben Plaza, Jose Joaquin Rojas, Giovanni Visconti

We wish both teams the best of luck for the Tour de France!

Movistar Team and Katusha at the Tour de France 2014 / (c) TDWsport.com

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The Strive Diaries: Entry 3 – Feeling the Alpine Burn

  June 25th, 2014 | 12:07 | Canyon Onlineredaktion

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller
After the last round in Scotland, where Joe tore it up in front of his home crowd to get his first ever podium, this week it felt like there was another homecoming on the cards. France is and always will be the spiritual home of Enduro. With so many events on offer, it’s easy to see how the French keep churning out so many of the world’s best riders. Our spot in Valloire, high up in the Alps at the foot of the legendary Galibier pass, has hosted Enduro racing for almost a decade and finally got the recognition it deserved with a spot in the 2014 Enduro World Series – we were about to find out just why.

After drifting through sand in Chile and sliding over roots in Scotland, it was time to get back to lift-assisted, full-gas, high-alpine terrain. The course in Valloire was a real mix of steep, technical scree slopes and flat-out meadows, with more descending on the menu than an entire season of DH World Cups.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Racing in France is known for having its super strict formats and in Valloire this was no exception. The course remained top-secret until Thursday evening before the race to make it even more challenging for the riders. With extremely limited time to inspect the tracks, just one day to walk them and one practise run, getting to know the trails inside out was entirely out of the question. Attacking stages that were up to 20 minutes long at racing speeds was a real wild ride into the unknown.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Ines on Day 1: “It’s proper alpine, mega steep, with tight switchbacks right from the start and then really fast sections straight through meadows with massive boulders all over the place. You have to concentrate 100% all of the time and just stay off the brakes – that’s the key to going quick here.”

How would you describe the first day? Brutal. But that’s what we expect from Enduro. Crashes, flats and all mechanicals imaginable got the better of many riders right from the gun. Just getting to the finish with bike and body in one piece was a challenge in itself. Fortunately, Joe, Ludo and Ines kept it clean and consistent, choosing the right lines to avoid any problems with solid top-10s firmly in their sights going into day two.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Our mechanics had to work late into the night to get the bikes back into shape for Sunday, but even having everything running perfectly wasn’t enough to avoid mishaps out on track. Ines hit the deck hard going through one of the many challenging rock sections during the first stage on Sunday morning, putting her out of contention to defend her strong overnight position. It was unlucky, but things like that happen. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t.

Joe and Ludo found their rhythm quickly and were able to put down some good runs. Having given it everything, Joe was rewarded with 10th and Ludo 16th, solid results on terrain that wasn’t ideally suited to their riding styles.

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

Joe after the race: “Coming into the French round there are always a lot of surprises over the whole weekend. How the courses are set out, what the format’s like and the racing itself. But it was all good and really fun for me. On a personal level, I gradually got faster and faster over the whole weekend, so I feel lucky to finish with another top ten.”

Canyon Bicycles / Jérémie Reuiller

After tackling the high mountains surrounding Valloire, it’s time to take a breather, rest some tired legs and get rid of the arm pump from all that downhill. In three weeks-time we’re hopping over the border to Italy for more action at Round 4 in La Thuille!

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Movistar Team Dominates Route du Sud!

  June 23rd, 2014 | 11:40 | Onlineredaktion

Jesus Herrada takes stage one of Route du Sud 2014 / (c) Maxime Lafage
Movistar Team put in a dominating performance at the Route du Sud last week. Two stage wins, two further podiums and second in the overall classification with Alejandro Valverde rounded out a successful campaign in the French Pyrenean stage race.

Stage one saw a tough summit finish atop the Sainte Marie-de-Campan at 1106 metres above sea level. Spanish national champion, Jesus Herrada, attacked on the climb aboard his Ultimate CF SLX and took the stage to notch up his first win in 2014, while Valverde lead home the rest of the peloton to take second. With Herrada’s success, Movistar Team also celebrated their 100th ever victory, a landmark achievement for the Spanish squad.

Alejandro Valverde leading the peloton / (c) Maxime Lafage

Build-up to Tour de France

Although just three days long, the Route du Sud is a key warm up to the fast-approaching Tour de France. Stage two included some of the Tour’s most famous climbs, taking the riders over the Col du Tourmalet and the Col d’Aspin. Valverde further proved his good form by coming in third place on this brutal day.

Adriano Malori finished off the race in the perfect way by winning the final stage into Castres with an incredible 20 km solo attack. The Italian took the sprinters’ teams by surprise and crossed the line just 5 seconds ahead of his pursuers for Movistar Team’s 19th win of the season.

Following such an impressive showing, things are looking up for Eusebio Unzué’s squad going into July and the biggest race of the year, the Tour de France. Valverde clearly has the form and will go into his 7th ever Tour on July the 5th as one of the big favourites for the title.

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