News shorts: Mixed feelings for Schleck at Tour of Utah, Zakarin extends with Katusha

De Clercq delighted with Poland podium, Juul-Jensen crowns time at Tinkoff-Saxo with Denmark win

Mixed feelings for Schleck

Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing) felt he could have played it better on stage 6 of the Tour of Utah after taking fourth place at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. The 35-year-old was the last rider able to hold onto stage winner Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Garmin) on the final climb but he chose not to react to the American’s move and set his own pace. 

Schleck’s performance would move him into third overall with just one stage remaining. “It was a very hard day, more than five hours on the saddle; a very tough day so finishing fourth is good,” Schleck said. “I do have very mixed feelings about it because tactic-wise I didn’t play the right card. However, clearly Joe Dombrowski was the strongest.

“I think I should have been second, though, and I didn’t play the right card and that’s it. But, that said, I am quite happy with it.”

Joe Dombrowski leads Frank Schleck during stage 6 at the Tour of Utah.

Juul-Jensen thanks Tinkoff-Saxo for support in Denmark

After winning the Tour of Denmark on Saturday, only his second career overall victory, Christopher Juul-Jensen thanked his Tinkoff-Saxo team for their support during the six-day race.

“I’m overwhelmed by this experience and the support I have received from my teammates and people at the side of the road,” Juul-Jensen said in a team press release. “Before the season I had two main goals – to win the national TT championship and to win the Tour of Denmark. And yesterday at the time trial, I was able to establish my overall win in this race wearing the red and white national TT jersey.”

Juul-Jensen won the national time trial title on June 25. Wearing the national colours of Denmark, he placed second in the Tour of Denmark’s stage 5 time trial and moved into the overall lead. Through the support of his teammates, he successfully defended the leader’s jersey during the stage 6 finale, winning the overall title by 45 seconds ahead of runner-up Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal) and 49 seconds ahead of third placed Marco Marcato (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

The Dane will be leaving Tinkoff-Saxo at the end of this season, after a four-year term, and will be joining Orica-GreenEdge for the 2016 and 2017 season.

“I have a new team next year but it’s very special to conclude four amazing years like this,” Juul Jensen said. “I turned pro here on Tinkoff-Saxo and I’m glad that I can pay back my teammates and everybody with this win.”
 

Chris Juul-Jensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) during stage 6 at the Tour of Denmark

Zakarin extends with Katusha

Ilnur Zakarin has extended his contract with the Katusha team after a strong debut season at WorldTour level. Katusha have not revealed the length of the new contract but say that it was signed very recently.

“I always wanted to compete at the highest level and I am happy with my first steps in the WorldTour with Team Katusha,” Zakarin said. “This season I was able to get some good results, which would have been impossible to get without the team’s support. I feel very comfortable in Katusha and I am glad to continue my career in this team. I have more ambitions in cycling and I am sure I can realize them with Katusha.”

Zakarin has impressed in his first year at Katusha, taking a surprise victory at the Tour de Romandie and securing a stage win at the Giro d’Italia. The Russian has had a troubled path through the ranks though and was banned for two years in 2009 after he tested positive for an anabolic steroid.

Zakarin finished fourth at the recent Tour de Pologne and his next racing appearance is the Arctic Race of Norway, which begins on Wednesday, August 13.

Ilnur Zakarin put in a strong performance

De Clercq finishes Tour de Pologne strongly

Bart De Clercq (Lotto-Soudal) came agonisingly close to winning the overall classification at the Tour de Pologne, but with a stage win, a stint in the leader’s jersey and second in the GC the Belgian can go home happy. De Clercq relented his leader’s jersey on the penultimate stage and began the final time trial with a 10-second deficit.

By the end of the day he was just two seconds away from the leader’s jersey. “I didn’t dare to dream beforehand to become second in this Tour de Pologne, I’m tremendously happy. Although it’s a bit of a double feeling because I finished at two seconds of the overall victory, but I’m not complaining. I can look back to this stage race with a positive feeling,” said De Clercq.

“The run-up in this Tour of Poland wasn’t tough, but the final stages were the opposite. The two penultimate stages were very hard, also the closing time trial was tough. I’m happy with the end result and I hope to hold that shape till the Vuelta. But first of all, I’m going to rest two weeks and I will enjoy the good results.”

Jon Izagirre won the overall classification with Ben Hermans (BMC) taking third.

Bart De Clercq (Lotto Soudal) wins stage 5 of Tour de Pologne

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