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  1. As some of you may know, myself and "Wendy" have been talking about moving from SA back to Europe for quite a while now. Our "dream" is to run a B&B / Guest House somewhere near the Pyrenees mountains, either in North Eastern Spain or South Western France. We will cater for anyone wishing to stay, but plan to offer extra services that make us especially appealing to fellow cyclists from around the world. Given our limited budget (and our love of hard work ) the intention is to buy a reasonable priced property in need of renovation that we can tailor to suit our needs. We will then carry out the necessary work and, hopefully before we starve to death, open our doors to the paying public. Our friends & families, our ex-colleagues (some of them anyway) and lots of Hubbers have asked us to document our progress so that they can see how we're progressing. The next 6 months are going to be interesting (and more than a little bit nerve-wracking!) to say the least. To that end (and hopefully with the Site Admins permission!) I am going to use this thread as a "Blog" to post our progress. We would welcome any warnings or advice Hubbers may have, we will answer any questions we can and, of course, you can take the mickey out of me when I get something silly wrong. (I say "me" because Wendy doesn't make mistakes) We will also be documenting our progress using a "Facebook Group". It is a closed group at the moment but if you have FB and want to follow us, just PM me on here your FB email address and I'll add you to the group. Not everyone likes FB but for us it's an easy way to post pictures and keep in touch with lots of people all over the world at the same time. It's almost as if that's what FB was designed for . . . Wish us luck :-) B&W The original "moving to Spain" thread is here: https://community.bikehub.co.za/topic/141705-one-of-the-reasons-were-looking-forward-to-moving-to-spain/
  2. Basque, Omar Fraile (pictured below), will lead the team into his home Grand Tour and will once again be eyeing the King of the Mountains competition. He won this classification 12 months ago and is taking to the start as one of the favourites for the blue-dotted white jersey. Fraile, who also wore the KOM jersey at the Giro d’Italia earlier this year, underlined his strong form at the Vuelta a Burgos a couple of days ago by winning the KOM competition. Another strong climber who showed that he is coming into shape is fellow Basque, Igor Anton. He finished the Vuelta a Burgos in 9th place overall as the team’s best finisher. Anton is a former Vuelta a Espana stage winner and also managed to finish the race inside the top 10 on two occasions. He’ll add plenty of experience to the team in the coming weeks. Two riders who will try to feed off that experience are our African talents Jacques Janse van Rensburg (pictured below) and Merhawi Kudus. The 2015 South African road race champion, Janse van Rensburg, played a key role in the team’s recent success in the build-up races to the Vuelta and will be an important rider once the road gradient kicks up. Eritrean, Kudus, will start the 4th Grand Tour of his career and try to leave his mark on the tougher stages. Our African team’s philosophy is to try and shine on every kind of terrain to give our #BicycleChangeLives campaign, the Qhubeka charity and our sponsors as much recognition as possible. It is only logical that Australian Nathan Haas, who won stage 4 of the Vuelta a Burgos, will spearhead the team on the hilly stages that suit his profile. He’ll be joined by another all-rounder in his quest for glory, current South African road race champion Jaco Venter (pictured below). Venter will share the role of being Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s road captain in Spain with Tyler Farrar. The experienced American, who has won stages in all three Grand Tours, will be the team’s conductor when it counts on the flat stages and he’ll try to pilot Kristian Sbaragli to another Vuelta a Espana stage win. The Italian’s lead-out will be rounded out by young South African Nic Dougall, who will ride his first Grand Tour. This year’s Vuelta route will offer 7 flat stages, 7 hilly stages, 5 mountain stages and 2 challenges against the clock, of which one is the opening team time trial. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka - Vuelta a Espana Omar Fraile [ESP] Igor Anton [ESP] Jacques Janse van Rensburg [RSA] Merhawi Kudus [ERI] Nathan Haas [AUS] Jaco Venter [RSA] Tyler Farrar [uSA] Kristian Sbaragli [iTA] Nic Dougall [RSA] The Vuelta a Espana is a really special race for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, it was the first Grand Tour we participated in back in 2014 just a short 2 years ago. So much has happened to the team, the global awareness of the team and the purpose we race for every day since then and it is largely thanks to the great organisation behind the event who gave us the chance. We are looking forward to the event this year with a special team focused on clear objectives and with a new rider to Grand Tours in Nic Dougall. Dreams continue to come true for this team, its riders and staff and the many people we race for every day and we look forward to the challenge of the 2016 event and the impact we can make. Douglas Ryder - Team Principal We arrived at the The Tour de France with a strong tactical focus that was centered around possible stage wins and days in a leader’s jersey for only a few guys. As such the Grand Boucle was a similar race to the Giro d’Italia earlier this year. Looking at the Vuelta a Espana we will take to the start with a strong squad to look for our chances at any given terrain. We’d like to win a stage and go for a leader’s jersey. The team did well in the built-up races to the Vuelta, we rode aggressively and successful. We’re not going to hide ourselves as this race is another chance for us to promote our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign on a big stage. Rolf Aldag - Head of Performance I'm looking forward to be riding my third Vuelta. This year’s edition runs mostly through the Northern part of Spain, so I guess it's going to be cooler than in the last two years and the racing will be very fast. We have a strong team, we worked well together at the Vuelta a Burgos where we got a win. It'd be great to get the same at Vuelta. I will be supporting the team and will try go in some moves and try and stay away after getting really close last year. It’s my first time doing two Grand Tours in a season, so it'll be interesting to see how it goes. Jaco Venter - Rider
  3. Stage 8 of the Vuelta a Espana presented an interesting course with a pan flat run of 178km into a savage 3km climb that had an average gradient of 13%. The day was one which suited the breakaway, just as it did in 2014 when we raced to the same finish line during our African Team's debut grand tour. Jacques Janse van Rensburg was motivated to make the break of the day and our South African did just that. Janse van Rensburg joined 10 other riders in the escape and on sweltering hot day, they continually opened up the gap over the peloton. As the finishing climb approached, the gap peaked at 10 minutes for Janse van Rensburg's breakaway and it was certain they would decide the stage. The attacks started from the break with 9km to go and as Katusha had two riders in the break, they had the upper hand when Jhonatan Restrepo got a gap on the rest of the break. Lagutin was able to sit in and save his legs while Janse van Rensburg had to take responsibility to ensure the attackers were brought back before the climb. Restrepo reached the climb first but the fresher legs behind soon caught and passed him. Janse van Rensburg was digging as deep as he could but the climb was savage and unrelenting. Lugutin waited until the final 200m to launch his decisive attack and won the stage. Janse van Resnburg came home in an impressive 6th place after a very difficult climb. The rest our African Team riders all made it home safely and the good news is that Igor Anton is starting to feel a fair bit better after three days of suffering with stomach pain. I was focused on getting into the break today as we knew there was going to be two races on today. The race for the stage and the race for the GC guys. It was already a good job getting into the move. I felt good all day and was really focusing on doing everything right to give myself and the team the best chance at a stage win. In the end I missed a lot of power and ended 6th after giving my best. I am happy with the end result and am happy knowing that I can be even better. Jacques Janse van Rensburg - Rider
  4. The first big summit finish of this year’s Vuelta a Espana turned out to be an exciting race and a terrific day for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. After a big battle to find the break of the day, Omar Fraile, our Basque climber was able to infiltrate the 16 rider lead group that went clear after 70km's of racing. Movistar and Etixx-Quickstep kept close tabs on the breakaway, but the gap was still able to reach the 5’30” mark. While the 12.2km Lavos da Covadonga was the big finishing climb of the day, riders would also have to deal with the 6km category 1 Alto de Fito at 42km to go. When the big lead group began the first climb, the peloton was just 3’20” back but Fraile had one immediate target, and that was to take maximum King of the Mountain points at the summit. Fraile attacked the group just inside of a kilometre from the top and Luis Angel Mate followed our Basque climber. A 2nd effort just before the line saw Fraile secure the 10 points on offer at the top. Fraile and Mate began the descent together as the chasers started to pull back the 25” gap the leading duo had opened up at the top of the climb. It was only in the valley between the two big climbs where Fraile and Mate were brought back into the fold. Once the break was all back together though, the cohesion ended as a number of riders started to skip turns. This resulted in the peloton bringing the gap down to just 2’30” by the time Fraile and co. reached the foot of the Covadonga. A few early accelerations from the break saw Fraile dropped and it was thought, this was the end of his day. Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) and Gesink were the two riders who then led the way up the climb from the break but the peloton, being led by Movistar, was closing in fast. With 6km to go the attacks from the favourites group came as Quintana and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) surged ahead of the rest. Their acceleration brought them up to the wheel of Fraile who then latched on to the wheels of the two favourites as Gesink now led the race alone, 45” up the road. Incredibly, Fraile was able to hold the wheel of Quintana and Contador as they went on to catch and pass the majority of the breakaway that had left Fraile behind at the start of the climb. Quintana then attacked Contador and Fraile with 3km to go and this was just as Froome came back into contention from behind. There was no catching Quintana though, he went past Gesink who was snapped up by Froome & Fraile in the final kilometres as well. Fraile crossed the line in 4th place, a great result in its own right but his efforts today also saw him take the lead in King of the Mountains competition. The break took a really long time to go away today. For 70km it was just attack after attack, it was very fast and a difficult start. When we finally went away it was easier and then in the final I had a good feeling. I knew my form was good so I was just being patient and riding a good rhythm. When the favourites came, it was possible to hold their wheel. I am really happy with this ride as I could move into the climber’s jersey which was the goal I had for the day. The jersey gives me good motivation which I will take into the next stages. Omar Fraile – Rider
  5. On Thursday, the 12th of January, Unipublic announced the itinerary of the 2017 Vuelta that will commence on the 19th of August with a team time trial in the French city of Nîmes . . . . . http://www.lavuelta.com/
  6. After a strong showing at the Tour de France this year, Serge Pauwels will lead our African Team come Saturday together with our Basque climbing duo of Omar Fraile and Igor Anton. Pauwels and Anton will be able to target the most difficult of climbing stages while Fraile will adopt a similar attacking strategy to that which has won him the King of the Mountains jersey at the last two editions of this race. With no less than 15 of the 21 stages considered either hilly or mountainous this year, our African Team is littered with climbing talent. Merhawi Kudus, Ben King, Jacques Janse van Rensburg and Lachlan Morton provide us with numerous options for each stage, be that in a support role or in going for personal stage glory. It will also be Morton's debut grand tour appearance. Youcef Reguigui, also capable of climbing his way into smaller groups, showed his turn of speed at the recent Tour of Poland and will be our go to man for the limited sprint stage options. Nic Dougall, our South African all-rounder, will complete our 9-man team. We are on our way to the last grand tour of the year. For some of our guys this is going to be the second grand tour of the season and for some the first grand tour ever. They are ready to take it on, motivated to work hard and strive for a victory. We are looking forward to being part of the right moves and coming back home with some good results. A stage win will be the ultimate prize for our team. Bingen Fernandez - Sport Director The Vuelta is traditionally a hard race with lots of climbing, that is why we are bringing a lot of climbers to the race. We have a strong group that can race aggressively and try to hunt for stage wins. I am really looking forward to my second grand tour this year. I have taken a short break after the Tour then put in a good training block last week. I hope to take my opportunity as well by picking a stage and trying to get the victory. Serge Pauwels - Rider
  7. Stage 5 of the Vuelta a Espana was an incredibly difficult 175km from Benicassim to Alcossebre. The riders had to contend with 5 categorised climbs on another scorcher of day, where the centigrade averaged in the mid to high 30's. From the start, there was a number of attacks and Merhawi Kudus found the right move for Team Dimension Data and made the all-important break of the day. Kudus was joined by 16 other riders to form a strong group, one which Team Sky kept close tabs on initially as the gap was held between 2 and 3 minutes for most the day. Kudus and his breakaway mates pushed on and eventually the gap grew. The decisive moment in the stage came just as the penultimate climb of the day was completed with 50km to go. Marco Haller (Katusha) attacked the break as the descent started and Lutesenko and Matej Mohric (UAE Emirates) bridged across on the downhill. Kudus' chasing group was not working well together and the gap started to grow to the leaders. Eventually they began attacking one another, trying to get rid of the passengers. 4 riders went clear on the long valley road that led to the final climb of the day, Kudus included. Mohric dropped from the leading group and was soon caught by the Kudus chase group. With 11km to go, Kudus and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) rode away from their chasing counterparts, in hot pursuit of Haller and Lutsenko. At this stage the peloton was well out of contention at over 6 minutes back. Our slight Eritrean climber and Gougeard started the final 3km climb 40 seconds behind the leading duo and almost immediately, Lutesenko dropped Haller and Kudus dropped Gougeard as the road pointed upwards. Kudus flew into 2nd place on the road but Lutsenko was riding well to keep his advantage. In the end, the climb was not long enough for Kudus to claw back Lutsenko, but a courageous ride nonetheless from our 23-year-old Eritrean saw him finish 2nd on the stage. It was quite hard to be in the breakaway today, spending over 4 hours in the wind and then having to finish on a very steep climb like that. There was a headwind most of the day but luckily, we were a lot of guys in the break so we could keep the gap over the peloton. On the 2nd last climb the attacking started, it wasn't very steep so it didn't suit me but I just followed as best I could. Having to chase those 2 guys on a flat road before the last steep climb was really difficult. I am very happy with 2nd position though, I am motivated to take another opportunity now. Merhawi Kudus - Rider
  8. After riding the 2017 season with Trek-Segafredo, Contador announced his retirement on August 7. Contador has had an extensive relationship and storied history with Trek, beginning in 2007 with Discovery Channel and in the following two years with Team Astana. During his time with Trek, Contador won his first Tour de France (2007) before moving to Astana and winning it again in 2009. He also won the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta in 2008. To get this new bike is a big surprise for me and I am really happy to be able to ride my last Vuelta on it. I got my first big results on a Trek bike, of which my first Tour de France in 2007 really stands out, and it will also be the bike on which I say goodbye to the grand tours and to my professional career, which has a big sentimental value for me. Alberto Contador In subsequent years, Contador would continue to add to his tally, winning the Giro again in 2015 and two more Vuelta titles in 2012 and 2014, making the 34-year-old Spaniard one of the sport's top riders for the last decade with a total of seven grand tour titles.He is one of only six riders to have won all three grand tours, and it was with Trek that he tasted his first victory in each. Contador will vie for one last grand tour title on a custom-made Trek Émonda SLR, a one-of-a kind bike specially crafted to celebrate his distinguished palmarès. The unique paint scheme includes references to all the major races he has won, from the three grand tours to Paris-Nice, Tour of the Basque Country, and Tirreno-Adriatico. The details that have been put into it, commemorating the most important moments of my palmarès and some of the symbols and ideas that reflect my way of being and that characterize me as a rider, makes this bike really special.It highlights my victories in the Tour, the Giro, and the Vuelta, of course, but also the other big important races. The trophies of the three grand tours are on it and other things like my personal slogan “querer es poder” (‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’) that I always keep in mind, and other subtle references to my way of riding, like the sentence ‘attack until the end’. I believe it’s a bike that reflects me and my career completely, and I think it's one the fans will also embrace. Alberto Contador
  9. In the recording, the leader of Trek-Segafredo Team explains that he has meditated very well this decision and believes that the Tour of Spain is the best possible scenario to say goodbye to cycling and to all of his fans in the way they deserve. Luca Guercilena, General Manager Trek-Segafredo: "It has been an honor to work with such a great champion. Alberto Contador has been showing his fighting spirit and his professionalism all year long. To give you one example, in this year's Tour de France he demonstrated his personal motto in a way we only could admire: 'Where there's a will, there's a way.' Even after the crashes that took him out of the fight for the first places in GC, he kept fighting and battling for a stage win and to move up some places in GC. That showed how strong he is, both mentally and physically." "It was great to have him in the team, even it was only for one season, and we will keep giving it our all to help him to achieve a big result in his last Vuelta a España and it goes without saying we wish him the very best for his future afterwards!" Until the start of the Vuelta a España, on August 19 in Nîmes (France), Alberto Contador will keep his focus on training to face in full form his last challenge. He will be at the disposal of the media during the usual press conference that will be held on Friday, August 18, at the Trek-Segafredo Team Hotel, for which the invite will follow shortly.
  10. Vuelta a España that will take place from the 20th of August to the 11th of September. Vuelta a España 2016 - Team Start List: Ag2r La Mondiale (FRA) Astana Pro Team (KAZ) BMC Racing Team (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA) Etixx - Quick Step (BEL) FDJ (FRA) IAM Cycling (SUI) Lampre – Merida (ITA) Lotto – Soudal (BEL) Movistar Team (SPA) Orica GreenEDGE (AUS) Team Dimension Data (RSA) Team Giant – Alpecin (GER) Team Katusha (RUS) Team LottoNL – Jumbo (NED) Team Sky (GBR) Tinkoff (RUS) Trek – Segafredo (USA) Caja Rural – Seguros RGA (SPA) Bora – Argon 18 (GER) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
  11. Switzerland's Mathias Frank conquered a gruelling summit finish to win Wednesday's 17th stage of the Vuelta a Espana as overall leader Nairo Quintana remained comfortably ahead of Chris Froome. Click here to view the article
  12. The 7th stage of the Vuelta a Espana saw Louis Meintjes impress yet again as he climbed with all the favourites to eventually finish the stage in 9th place. The stage win went to the early breakaway rider, Bert-Jan Lindeman (Lotto-Jumbo). Click here to view the article
  13. Today’s 191km stage saw the break get away in the very early kilometres of the race. 5 riders made up the escape group and after building up a gap of 14 minutes at one point, it was looking good for the attackers. Movistar and Tinkoff eventually came to the party and started chasing but it would prove to be a little too late. The 5 leaders started the final cat 1 climb to the line with an 8 minute lead and this would prove to be enough by just over 30 seconds as Lindeman just got the better off breakaway counterpart Ilia Koshevoy (Katusha) on the 18km climb. Fabio Aru (Astana) was the first of the favourites home in 3rd place, he managed to steal 7 seconds from the rest of the GC contenders group. Louis was part of this select GC group and managed to sprint across the line in a terrific 9th place on the stage. The result was also good enough to see Louis move up to 15th overall. The break went early today and then the race was pretty controlled all day before the run in to the final started. The guys looked after me all day, it was really hot so I got a lot of ice and a lot of water. In the final I just stayed with the front group and sprinted at the end. The climb was pretty fast and there was a big group going up there but I think the heat was the deciding factor. You could see some guys were just tired before they even got the climb so the heat was a big factor today. I had good legs though so I hope it continues. Louis Meintjes - Rider
  14. Stage 9 of La Vuelta a Espana saw Songezo Jim animating the break of the day and Louis Meintjes finishing in 10th. The menu offered a similar profile like the previous day with the Cumbre del Sol being the sole obstacle of the day. However, the riders had to tackle the climb twice, finishing on the summit the second time around. Averaging at 11 percent it was all but easy. Click here to view the article
  15. Starting in Torrevieja the peloton rode along the Costa Blanca. The area is know as a regular training camp territory for a lot of riders and it didn’t take long until some tried to make use of their local knowledge. Songezo managed to get into the days 14 men breakaway. The group was able to build up a lead of 5.20 minutes before the big teams began to chase. Katusha and Sky were to be seen on the front of the peloton, when the break hit the Cumbre del Sol for the first time. Songezo battled hard to stay with his breakaway companions. He couldn’t quite match the speed when the former allies started to attack each other with the first KOM in sight. Back in the peloton Louis held his cards close to his chest and managed to stay with the GC favourites when they reeled in the breakaway’s remnants. On the final 3.5 kilometers it was Dutch Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) who proofed to be the strongest. He put in a strong attack, but was caught by Chris Froome (Sky) and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) only a few hundred meters before the line. Nevertheless, he attacked again to win the stage and take over the GC lead. 23-year-old Louis Meintjes stayed in contention and came home 34 seconds short of Dumoulin. In the GC he moved up to 12th place. I am happy to finally making the break of the day. After trying hard for 3 days now, it was quite a good feeling to represent the team out front. When the break went, Jaco Venter closed the gap and I jumped across to the move. It was good for us, but unfortunately we were caught. I gave my best and I’ll surely try again to get into another break. Who knows, the next time we might stay away. Songezo Jim – Rider It was another stressful day. The stage started with some crosswinds and I was involved in a crash, just 30km into the race. Luckily I didn’t hurt myself. The team did a fantastic job once again looking after me all day. My legs didn’t feel as good as in the previous days, but I’m happy placing 10th and moving up in the GC. Louis Meintjes – Rider
  16. There were highs and lows in the Trek Factory Racing Team on Saturday. Just a few hours after young Belgian talent Jasper Stuyven won the 8th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, the team announced he was forced to withdraw from the race due to a broken left scaphoid. Click here to view the article
  17. Jasper Stuyven was one of the many involved in the huge crash at 50 kilometers from the finish, which also took Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Daniel Martin (Cannondale-Garmin), and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) out of the race. Stuyven: “Like I said after the finish, I felt my wrist and it was getting more and more painful, so I asked to go to the hospital to make the check. I was already scared that it could be the scaphoid because I know from friends who are cyclists what the pain feels like and where it’s located. And, unfortunately, the X-rays confirmed that it is broken and that my Vuelta finishes today.” Nevertheless, Stuyven remains positive: “At first I was of course really disappointed, but then I realized that I really have to enjoy this moment, because now is the time to enjoy my first professional win. For what’s next, I will see when I get home and have the surgery.” Team doctor Nino Daniele, who accompanied Stuyven to the hospital explains: “The fracture is not dislocated, so in fact it won’t be difficult to resolve it, but it goes without saying that Jasper cannot ride his bike for now. First of all, it would be very painful, but then it’s also possible that the broken bones move and we absolutely want to avoid that.” Jasper Stuyven will fly back to Belgium on Sunday in order to have surgery as soon as possible in his hometown, Leuven. “If anything goes well, as I hope, in a couple of weeks, he should be back on the bike and probably sooner on the rollers with his cast,” the team doctor confirmed.
  18. Steve Cummings lit up the 6th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, attacking from the main break of the day only to be caught with 3km to go. Steve would win the most aggressive rider of the day prize. Click here to view the article
  19. The stage win would go to the young Esteban Chaves (Orica-Greenedge) once again as he attacked from the peloton just before the 3km to go banner, bridging and passing Stevo on the final climb to the line. Daniel Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) was 2nd with Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) in 3rd. The early part of the stage was fast and furious with the break taking 70km to finally form. With temperatures in the upper 30’s today, it was a tough day. Steve though, was made for these tough days and when he and his 4 breakaway mates got clear they muscled out a 4 minute lead. Movistar kept close tabs on the break as they were a bit weary of the possible GC threat the riders in the break posed to their leaders. With 12km to go the gap was down to 30” for the leaders, this is where Stevo threw caution to wind and attacked solo. The gap quickly went back up to 55” as Steve laid down the power. It was not to be though as the tough finale saw the GC rider quickly reel our British star in. It was not all over for our African team though as Louis Meintjes was brought to a great position by his teammates and managed to finish the stage with the favourites group in 18th place. This ensured Louis held on to a top 20 position overall. It was hot out there but it was good. The start was quite aggressive and the breakaway took a long time to go as there was a lot of interest in making the break. We did well, everyone was covering the moves and eventually it went after about 60 or 70 kilometres. It was difficult because Gautier was up 3 minutes on GC so we didn’t really get the advantage we needed. For me it was then just a question of eating and drinking and hoping we would be allowed a bit more leeway but we didn’t really get enough. In the final I gave it a try, hoping to catch them napping or that there was a bit of disorganised chaos behind but it was still good. We can try again in a few days’ time. Steve Cummings – Rider It was a good stage for us. We tried to get into the break and it took over 60km’s for 5 strong riders to go off the front. It was a good point that Steve was there. In our meeting we wanted Steve there at that moment and he was. It was unfortunate that Gautier was there so the GC teams kept it under control at 4 minutes. If this wasn’t the case and they got 10 minutes then it would have been a great opportunity for the win. The team was great, they looked after Louis and brought him to a good position at all the important points. He started the climb in a good position and was able to follow the leaders. I must say that all the boys did a great job, everyone came to the car to fetch bottles for Louis so it was good job. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx – Sport Director
  20. Fabian Cancellara has had his share of bad luck this year. He’s battled ill health a few times, but more importantly he suffered from two major crashes with two similar injuries. He broke two vertebrae in E3 Prijs Harelbeke and again in the third stage of the Tour de France. Fabian Cancellara recovered quite fast from his last injury and he trained and worked really hard to get back in shape to be able to take the start at the Vuelta. “The bad thing of training so hard is that you become very vulnerable for viruses and infections. And that is exactly what happened to Fabian,” explained Luca Guercilena, general manager of Trek Factory Racing. Early in Monday’s third stage, from Mijas to Málaga, Cancellara had to let the peloton go. He lost contact after 60kms, at the bottom of the Puerto del León, a category one climb. He kept going on his own, even though he knew he was out of the time limit. He was pushing himself hard, and at one point it was obvious he was going too far over his limit that sports director Josu Larrazabal told him to stop, even though Fabian himself wanted to continue. Cancellara: “After a year like this, you just don’t want to stop. I was alone on the road and had a lot of flashbacks of the past year. But I was feeling totally empty and in the end the most important thing is your health and we had to think about that too.” Trek Factory Racing’s doctor, Dr. Ortwin Schaeffer, gave further explanation: “Fabian got caught by a gastrointestinal infection, a virus. He lost a lot of water and electrolytes and yesterday he also had a fever. He lost two kilos during yesterday’s stage and since he couldn’t eat, he could not fill up his reserves. With this heat and this extreme effort, it was just impossible to continue in such a condition.” “Fabian is returning to Switzerland on Tuesday where he will have a complete health checkup and after that we will decide what will be the best plan and race calendar to pursue the work that was already done before the Vuelta,” concluded Guercilena.
  21. After his crash in the third stage of the Tour de France, Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) also had to abandon in stage three of the Vuelta a España. Cancellara, suffering from stomach problems due to a virus he picked up last week, was unable to finish the stage Monday. Click here to view the article
  22. At 213km in length, stage 5 would be the 2nd longest stage of the race. It was a predominantly flat course that saw 6 riders go clear in the opening kilometer of the race. Initially there was no chase, so the gap ballooned to just over 13 minutes rather quickly. Eventually Orica-Greenedge decided to come to the front and set the tempo. Tinkoff-Saxo would be the team that joined the Aussie outfit and they really upped the tempo which saw the gap plummet. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung were looking to keep both Louis Meintjes and Kristian Sbaragli out of trouble today and there were no real issues to report on in the build up to the tough final 4km. With sections around 20% on the final climb to the line, positioning before the climb was the most important objective for our team. With 14km to go the escapees were caught and it was a sprint to start the climb. Louis started the climb in a decent place but a crash in front of him saw him have to put a foot down. As the pace was on up front it was a chase to the line for our young South African as he tried to limit his losses to the eventual winner, Valverde. Louis came home 32nd, just 29" down which was a great effort at the end of the day by Louis and the rest of the team. The break went early on and Orica played the fun little game of waiting to see who would ride first. Eventually they decided to start riding and from then on it was quite hard. As I thought Tinkoff-Saxo joined in too, there was a section of crosswind but it wasn't blowing too hard and no team wanted to commit to anything as it was too far out. It was a bit nervy though as there was always the fight for position in case something might happen. The guys did a good job, we looked after our protected riders pretty well. Coming into the climb, it was like a sprint for the bottom. The climb was a lot steeper than most of us thought so it didn't really work out as we thought but looking at how Louis went it wasn't a bad day at all. Jay Thomson - Rider In our meeting today we already said that Louis was a rider we would go full gas for. He was actually very good on the last climb but had bad luck. There was a crash in front of him and he had to stop as his chain was off. He almost made it back to the first group, without the misfortune he could've done a top result. Jean-Pierre Heynderickx - Sport Director
  23. After another long hot day at the Vuelta a Espana, Alejandre Valverde (Movistar) won the 5th stage to Vejer de la Frontera. Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 2nd in the uphill sprint with Dani Moreno (Katusha) rounding out the podium. Click here to view the article
  24. It was an interesting stage to Caminito Del Rey that saw the General Classification riders come out to play, not your usual scenario for the 2nd day of a grand tour. There was an early break of 6 riders but Katusha and Movistar were riding for their respective Spanish leaders and never let the escapees lead by much more than 3 minutes. There was some drama with 30km to go when a massive crash took place in the peloton, just over half the peloton were caught up in the carnage. Thankfully none of our MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders were hurt whilst 3 other riders from rival teams had to abandon. In a separate incident though, our Algerian fast man Youcef Reguigui did go down but the result was only a bit of road rash for Youcef. Heading toward the finishing climb the break was caught as expected and it would be a showdown between the climbers. While the climb to the line began with 5km to go, the steepest ramps came from 3km to go. It was here where the action started as Nairo Quintana (Movistar) attacked, followed by Louis, Dumoulin and Roche. Chaves would ride across to the lead group with 2km to go as Louis then started to lose contact with the 3 other leaders. Going into the final km in 6th place, our young South African was caught by the rest of the favourites in the uphill dash to the line but would hang on to to finish in a good 14th place. It was a nice stage for me, it was really hot and a good way to start the Vuelta. I liked the finish and the guys supported me all the way. I went a bit early and the climb was just a kilometre to long but that is racing and we will try again in the coming days. Louis Meintjes - Rider
  25. The 2nd stage of the La Vuelta a Espana saw Esteban Chaves (Orica-Greenedge) take the victory ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and Nicolas Roche (Team Sky). Louis Meintjes was our highest placed rider in 14th place on the day. Click here to view the article
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