Astana's Lopez wins Tour de Suisse - Weekend Wrap

Tour de Suisse

Astana's Miguel Lopez has claimed the biggest win yet of his professional career as the 22-year-old sealing overall Tour de Suisse victory in a shortened ninth and final stage of the WorldTour race.

Lopez, the 2014 Tour de l'Avenir winner, became the seventh race leader after the Davos time trial and be finishing in the front group ensured his victory over Movistar's Ion Izagirre and Giant-Alpecin's Warren Barguil.

"I decided to attack, and everyone was surprised," Lopez said of the final stage won by compatriot Jarlinson Pantano (IAM Cycling). "I knew that my opponents would try to attack me then I attacked myself. It went well!".

Having started the final stage within eight seconds of Lopez, Cannondale's Andrew Talansky dropped to fifth overall with Pantano moving into fourth overall.

In Saturday's time trial, Ion Izagirre blasted the 16.8km Davos time trial course with the Spaniard reaching speeds in excess of 100km/h to dispose Fabian Cancellara from the hot seat. It is the second WorldTour stage win on Swiss soil in 2016 for the 27-year-old after his Tour de Romandie prologue victory. Wearing the yellow jersey, Barguil struggled across the course and slipped the fourth with Talansky and Izagirre becoming the closest challengers to Lopez ahead of the final stage.

Stage 4 winner Ariel Maximiliano Richeze (Etixx-Quick Step) won the points classification, Antwan Tolhoek (Roompot-Oranje Peloton) the mountains classification, with Katusha the best team.

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Final Tour de Suisse stage shortened due to poor weather

The 2016 Tour de Suisse podium: Movistar's Ion Izagirre, Astana's Miguel Lopez and Giant-Alpecin's Warren Barguil (TDW Sports)

Route du Sud - la Depeche du Midi

Nairo Quintana's bid for a debut Tour de France title is on track following the Movistar rider's third career Route du Sud title. Quintana's second title, following his 2012 triumph, was sealed with his stage 3 time trial win over Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) and confirmed with his second place to teammate Marc Soler on the climb to Val d'Azun Couraduque.

"It's a very important victory. I was coming into this event following long weeks of training in altitude at home in Colombia, and I could confirm I'm in good form," Quintana said.

Stage 4 of the race was won by FDJ's Arnaud Demare, his first win since Milan-San Remo, while Caja Rural's High Carthy saw his podium position disappear as he crossed the line in last place, 7:57 minutes down, with Nicolas Edet (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits) improving from fourth to third.

Saturday's decisive queen stage saw 2015 Tour de l'Avenir winner Marc Soler take his victory in the professional ranks atop Val d'Azun Couraduque. While Carthy lead the chase after the 22-year-old, he was jumped at the line by Quintana with Edet the best of the rest.

Demare's final stage win saw him claim the points classification with the king of the mountains classification award to Quentin Jauregui (AG2R La Mondiale). Soler capped off his race with the best young rider classification and Movistar were awarded the team prize.

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Aviva Women's Tour

The final day stage honours went to Lotta Lepistö (Cervelo-Bigla) and the breakaway but it was World Champion Lizzie Armitstead celebrating overall victory and cementing her position as the dominant rider in the women's peloton this season. Former world champion Marta Bastianelli and Italian national champion Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM) rounded out the top-three as the peloton finished on the same time as the breakaway

"Being a British athlete, a British cyclist, I'm very lucky to be from a country that loves cycling at the moment," Armitstead said. "I hope that continues. It fills me with pride to see families and kids and everybody screaming as we’ve passed. Everyone is really enthusiastic. They've really gotten behind it."

Armitstead had moved into the race leader with her win in Chesterfield on Friday with her sixth place behind Marianne Vos on Saturday's stage 4 from Nottingham to Stoke-on-Trent ensuring she would start the final stage in yellow. While breakaway rider Molly Weaver (Liv-Plantur) was the virtual leader on the road for the majority of the final stage into Kettering, Armitstead's Boels Dolmans team and Vos' Rabo-Liv team combined to bring the riders under control and protect their places on GC. As Lepistö celebrated her stage win, Armitstead crossed the line to add yet another race to her palmares with Cervelo-Bigla's Ashleigh Moolman second at 11 seconds, and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5) third at 13 seconds.

The points classification was won by Vos with UnitedHealthcare's Katie Hall winning the mountains classification, Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) the young rider, and Wiggle High5 the team prize.

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Tour de Slovenia 

Rein Taaramäe won his first race in Katusha's colours with the Estonian claiming overall honours at the Tour de Slovenia. The Estonian's victory was set up with victory on the queen stage to Golte and consolidated in the stage 3 Celje to Celjska koca time trial. Taaramäe, the stage 20 winner of the Giro d'Italia in May, added to his overall Tour de l'Ain (2009), Vuelta a Burgos (2015) and Arctic Race of Norway (2015) victories with a 1:42 margin overall Jack Haig (Orica-GreenEdge) and Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18).

"This is the first time I was riding in the yellow jersey. In Murcia, Burgos and Norway, but also earlier in Tour de l’Ain, I won the Overall by taking the yellow jersey on the last day. What we did here is definitely nicer," Taaramäe said of his win. "Now I will take some rest and will go for three weeks to an altitude training camp for my second part of the season with the Tour of Poland, the Olympic Games in Rio and the Tour of Spain as my next goals. I am still ambitious for Grand Tours too. I am not too old for that."

It was a successful end to the UCI 2.1 race as Alexander Porsev won the final stage in Novo Mesto ahead of Rüdiger Selig (Bora-Argon 18) and Kristian Sbaragli (Dimension Data). On Saturday, Diego Ulissi continued his good run against the clock by winning the time trial in his final tune up before the Italian national championships.

Haig capped of his best result yet in Europe during his first year as a professional by winning the points classification, 19-year-old Egan Arley Bernal was the best young rider, Jan Tratnik (Amplatz-BMC) the mountains classification, and Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec the team prize.

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The final 2016 Tour of Slovenia podium: Jack Haig, Rein Taaramäe and Jan Barta (Bora-Argon 18) (Tour of Slovenia)

Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk

LottoNL-Jumbo enjoyed a successful five-days of racing on home soil at the Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk as Dylan Groenewegen won stage 3 and Sep Vanmarcke took the overall victory. The Belgian classics rider also won stage 4, his first victory since stage 3 of the 2014 Tour of Alberta, as he claimed the GC six seconds ahead of Lotto Soudal's Sean De Bie and 16 seconds head of teammate Jos van Emden.

"This victory is very important. This is the first ever stage race victory for me," Vanmarcke said. "It was a very exciting race, we did not know exactly where the intermediate sprint was and then De Bie won. He grabbed three seconds back and I became a bit scared. For the final intermediate sprint, I was sitting on the wheel of De Bie ready, but the breakaway took the seconds."

Coming into the final stage, Vanmarcke held a five second advantage over De Bie with the team forgoing the sprint with Groenewegen to focus on securing the overall. However while Wim Stroetinga (Parkhotel Valkenburg) won the stage, Groenewegen and Vanmarcke were second and third to ensure LottoNL-Jumbo's first GC win of 2016.

For De Bie, there was the consolation of winning the points classification while Jimmy Janssens (Team3M) took out the KOM jersey and LottoNL-Jumbo the team classification.

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Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk stage 5 race report
Ster ZLM Toer GP Jan van Heeswijk stage 4 race report 

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