Sagan, Tinkoff continue to lead world UCI rankings
Despite skipping Liege-Bastogne-Liege in favour of mountain bike race, Tour of Flanders winner Peter Sagan maintained his spot at the top of the world UCI rankings, followed by his Tinkoff teammate Alberto Contador.
Following Michael Valgren’s second-place finish at the Amstel Gold Race, Tinkoff also remains atop the WorldTour team standings, 94 points ahead of Team Sky in second and 199 points ahead of BMC Racing in third.
"The team’s on a good streak," Valgren said. "We’re first in the WorldTour and then first and second in the rider classification. I think we did something right this winter with the training, so we can be really proud of ourselves."
The team fought to be in the finale at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but after missing the crucial move Tinkoff ended up seventh with Roman Kreuziger.
"On the new climb with cobbles, in the first half I couldn’t find my rhythm and couldn’t follow the other guys that attacked so I’m disappointed with this because nobody wanted to pull and really make the race to help catch the break,” Kreuziger said. “I'm very disappointed, as I saw in the last 500m that even into a head wind I was making up ground. I expected more than seventh, but that’s how the one-day races go – you need some luck."
With the last of the Spring Classics now done and the Giro d’Italia just around the corner, the team is returning its focus to the stage races. While Sagan and Contador are in build periods for their next season objectives, Rafal Majka is currently leading the team at the Tour de Romandie.
BMC extends contract with Dylan Teuns
Teuns, a 24-year-old Belgian who signed with BMC in 2015 after riding for its development squad during the 2014 season, most recently finished 17th at Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
BMC Racing General Manager Jim Ochowicz said it was an obvious decision to extend Teun’s contract.
"Since transitioning from BMC Development Team to BMC Racing Team and spending the past two seasons with us, he has proven time and time again that he has a strong ability to ride in a WorldTour team," Ochowicz said. "He’s a very capable rider and is still coming into his own form and finding his place in the peloton alongside his teammates."
Ochowicz said Teuns shined for the team in the Ardennes Classics and has a bright future with BMC.
"As one of six riders who have graduated from BMC Development Team to BMC Racing Team, Dylan is a fantastic example of how these riders not only make it into the professional peloton, but also excel," he said.
Teuns said he feels at home within the team and expects to continue his progression in the pro ranks.
"It was a really natural decision because I have a lot of support from the BMC Racing Team management and my teammates, which I felt during the Ardennes Classics, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season and beyond," he said.
Tour d'Azerbaijan announces 2016 route
Organisers for the Tour d’Azerbaijan have announced the 2016 race route, which will take the peloton on a trip across the entire country from the Caspian Sea and the capital city of Baku to the mountains around Gabala.
The five-day UCI 2.1 race opens Wednesday, May 4, with a 154km stage from Baku to Sumqayit. The stage, which includes a category 3 climb and three intermediate sprints, ends with five laps of a closing circuit in Sumqayit.
Stage 187km second stage 2 from baku to Ismayilli includes three categorised climbs, including the race’s first category one climb that is preceded by a tricky, steep descent.
The out-and-back third stage starts in the mountain resort of Gabala before taking the peloton northwest to Sheki and the day’s only climb. The fourth stage leaves Gabala for a 115km trek to Pirqulu and goes through Shahdagh National Park.
The 2016 Tour d’Azerbaidjan concludes Sunday, May 8, with a circuit race through the city streets of Baku after a visit to Absheron Island. The stage starts and finishes at Freedom Square.
Eurosport will broadcast daily 15-minute highlights on Eurosport 1 and extended 45-minute highlights on Eurosport 2.
Cervelo Bigla targeting further prologue success at Festival Elsy Jacobs
Having won the Euskal Emakumeen XXIX Bira prologue earlier this month with Lotta Lepistö, Cervelo Bigla are aiming for further success against the clock at the Festival Elsy Jacobs, starting Friday in Cessange.
After a weekend off from racing, Clara Koppenburg is ready to go at Festival Elsy Jacobs and aiming for a good performance.
"For sure I'm excited about the prologue on Friday because normally I'm good in that," she said. "This time it's quite long for a prologue so I have to think about how I will divide it up but I think at the end you don't have a choice because you have to go all out anyway if you want a good result, and that's what I want."
Two road stages follow the prologue and Koppenburg believes her teammates will be present at the front of the peloton and in with a chance of taking a win.
"The following two days are also important and I think that we will show a great team performance. In Flèche Wallonne we were not in full strength because Lotta, Ash [Moolman-Pasio] and me we were all sick but we recovered good and we're ready to fight again and after Bira we're all hungry for success," she added.
Cervelo Bigla for Festival Elsy Jacobs: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Carmen Small, Clara Koppenburg, Joelle Numainville, Lotta Lepistö and Stephanie Pohl.