Team Sky's Danny van Poppel overcame an early crash on the first stage of the Vuelta a Burgos to out-manoeuvre BMC's Jempy Drucker for the win and first leader's jersey of the race. The win was the second of the Dutchman's career on Spanish soil, who joined Team Sky at the end of 2015, after his stage 12 success at last year's Vuelta a Espana.
"The team dropped me off really well, but as a rider you know if there's a finish on a corner it can be really dangerous and chaotic. We lost each other a little bit, but I knew I had to be in the front for the turn. After that I was third wheel, and when we passed the 200m to go sign I went full gas," van Poppel said in a statement from his team of the fast finish in Melgar de Fernamental.
Before van Poppel could raise his arms in triumph, first he had to overcome a crash which he described as unavoidable due to the fact he couldn't get his hands back on the bars after taking bidons from his teammate.
"We were riding at the front and I needed a nature break, so I rode back with Christian [Knees] and he gave me some new bottles. I took them and had my hands on my handlebars, not on the brakes, and then when I looked up everyone was standing still! I tried to grab my brakes but it was too late. I crashed onto my back. I hurt myself, but I was fine, and I really wanted to go for the win," van Poppel added.
Van Poppel will be hoping to stay upright during stage 2 and hold onto the leader's jersey for another day as he explained.
"It's possible to keep the lead tomorrow [during the team time trial] because we have a strong team, but I am not here for the GC. We've got other guys in the team for that, but there are more sprint stages - I'm really looking forward to them!" he concluded.
Danny van Poppel showing the effects of his crash before taking the stage win (Bettini Photo)
Belgian national team to ride Ridley Arena TT's during Rio Olympic Games track events
The Belgian national track team will ride the newly developed Ridley Arena TT bike at the upcoming Rio Olympic Games. The Arena TT combines elements of the Arena, and the road Dean FAST time trial bikes.
One of the riders to benefit from the new bike is Lotto-Soudal's Jasper De Buyst with the 22-year-old to compete in the omnium.
"As riders we had a say in the development of the new bike. We made suggestions to Ridley Bikes, to make the bike stiffer for example. I tested the bike in the Flanders Bike Valley wind tunnel. To optimally perform on the track much more is needed than a good bike," De Buyst said. "During one entire day Jolien D'hoore and I did about 45 different tests in the wind tunnel with each time one item that was changed. That could be the wheels, clothes, helmet, or even the socks. We did this to get the best possible combination of bike and outfit for the Olympics."
An integrated cockpit creates the required stiffness for the rides while the textured F-Surface contributes to the aerodynamics, as does the fitted frame.
"My Arena TT is completely made to size, that is a big advantage. This improves the aerodynamics and also mentally it's good to know that the bike is completely adapted to your body. I really appreciate it that Ridley Bikes involved us in developing the bike," he added. "The stiffness and aerodynamics are more important. I am really satisfied with the new Arena TT of Ridley Bikes."
Antwan Tolhoek crashes through rear window of vehicle at Vuelta a Burgos
Rompoot's Antwan Tolhoek had a less than ideal start to the Vuelta a Burgos as he crashed into the rear window of a stationary car, while teammate Marc de Maar suffered a broken collarbone and was a DNF. Tolhoek, who won the KOM classification at the Tour de Suisse in June, was the last rider to finish the stage after his accident.
The 22-year-old explained that he was urinating while riding and having finished, looked up and saw a car which he couldn't avoid and crashed into it. As a result, he received 20 stitches with his team announcing the majority of which were on his chin and neck.
While disappointed to have crashed out with a broken collarbone having only recently recovered from a knee injury, de Maar seemed to be in good spirits after the stage as he uploaded a video of teammate Johnny Hoogerland feeding him at the dinner table
Novo Nordisk promote from Quentin Valognes and Rik van IJzendoorn Continental to Pro-Continental squad as stagiaires
"Team Novo Nordisk is a unique team made up exclusively of cyclists with diabetes, so gaining two strong and talented riders is exciting for us," general manager Vassili Davidenko said. "Quentin grew up in our development program over the past several years, starting on the junior squad. He is pure talent and he can definitely win. Now the focus will be on helping him adapt to the pro level."
While 20-year-old Valognes was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 6, van IJzendoorn was diagnosed within the last year at the age of 28.
"I'm very happy to have this opportunity to race at the professional level; it will be a whole new experience for me racing against World Tour riders," said Van IJzendoorn who is racing the Tour of Utah with the team. "Team Novo Nordisk has helped make my dream of racing against the best in the world come true. I'm fully focused on working for the team throughout the remainder of the season and hope to earn a contract for next season."