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News shorts: Costa warms up for World Championships with Montreal podium

For the fifth year running Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) chose to race in Canada last week in order to prepare for the upcoming World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. The former road world champion finished third at the rain-soaked Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, winning the bunch sprint from the chase group behind winner Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), and Adam Yates (Orica GreenEdge) in second.

"The performance of the team was good, despite the difficult weather conditions and the fact that the first part of the race was very intense," sport director Simone Pedrazzini said. "We were great in the first 100 km in analysing every attack attempt in order to evaluate if it could have been dangerous or not and in deciding weather to join it or not: [Matteo] Bono and [Diego] Ulissi were in two breakaways, but the situation was not still definitive and the plot of the race was fixed only after 100 km.

“In that moment, we began to focus our energies on the support to Rui, who was skilful in joining the decisive attack in the last lap. When Yates and Wellens counter attacked, a higher contribution by the AG2r would have been necessary, but it wasn't so and Rui tried the chase in the final kilometre, obtaining a well deserved place on the podium."

The podium finish was his third in Montreal after finishing second in 2014 and first in 2011. When Costa won his world title he was sixth at the Canadian one day race.

Bronzini close to La Madrid victory 

Former two-time road world champion, Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) finished short of catching the victorious Shelly Olds (Alé-Cipollini-Galassia) in a bunch sprint at the inaugural La Madrid Challenge by La Vuelta a Espana. Bronzini took second place ahead of Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products) explaning she choose to ride conservatively ahead of the World Championships this week.

"I didn't want to take a lot of risks in the sprint," Bronzini said. "I was really behind when I started my sprint, so it was not enough and I was second. But I'm happy because it means that I'm OK, and I'm in a good mood for Worlds."

Following suite with La Course at the Tour de France, the Vuelta launched the women’s one-day 87km circuit course event finishing several hours ahead of the men's final stage. Wiggle Honda were aggressive from the start with teammate Mayuko Hagiwara launching a solo move, only to crash later which forced her abandonment. Bronzini's focus now shifts to the road World Championships with the Italian national team.  

"I paid attention and I didn’t take many risks," Bronzini added. "We were only five in the race, and we were only three at the end, so I think we did a really good job. Now I’m looking forward to two weeks."

Two more years with Team Sky for Boswell

Having completed his first grand tour, Ian Boswell was rewarded for his three-week toil with a two-year contract extension from Team Sky. Boswell finished 71st overall, with his third place on stage 11 a highlight for the 24-year-old. Having joined the team in 2013, Boswell has become a key climbing domestique for Sky this season but was yet to make his Grand Tour debut before the Vuelta.

Boswell rode for the  Bontrager-Livestrong Team in 2012, closing out the season as a stagiaire with Argos-Shimano before making the move to Sky.

"Last stage of the Vuelta today. Won't be my last Grand Tour though. I have re-signed with @TeamSky for two more years!!!", Boswell tweeted after the final stage of the Vuelta.

Guldhammer fourth overall at Tour of Britain

Rasmus Guldhammer (Cult Energy) finished his season with fourth place overall at the Tour of Britain in London on Sunday. Guldhammer sat in third place heading into the final stage but lost time at the first sprint after Owain Doull (WIGGINS) snuck in to claim bonification seconds and leapfrog the Dane onto the podium.

"Basically, Rasmus' podium position was lost in the first bonus sprint where Owain Doull finished second behind Russell Downing taking the two seconds he needed to pass Rasmus in the GC," sport director Luke Roberts said. "From then on, the breakaway swept up the remaining bonus seconds on the road and naturally, we're gutted to see the podium slip away from underneath us.”

Guldhammer previously conceded a handful of seconds on stage 6 to Doull due to time bonuses which saw hiss podium aspirations evaporate as he ended the week just one second off the dais.

“Rasmus has been performing beautifully all week and he truly deserved that spot on the podium. However, he's had a very good season and he has a lot of good results to be looking forward to in the seasons to come."

Sepúlveda wins Tour du Doubs - Conseil Général with solo attack

Eduardo Sepúlveda (Bretagne-Séché Environment) redeemed himself after his disqualification at the Tour de France this July, by winning the Tour du Doubs after a late solo attack in the French Cup race. The Argentinian had been disqualified during stage 14 of the Tour for taking a 100m ride in the team car of Ag2r-La Mondiale. Sepúlveda's victory capped of top-five overall finishes at the Tour de San Luis, Route de Sud, and Tour of Turkey.

"Two months after my eviction from the Tour, this victory is of great satisfaction. I thank the team and Emmanuel Hubert, our general manager. It is the best way for me to thank them for their support,” Sepúlveda said. “I made a big mistake in July, everyone had worked for me over the first two weeks of racing and saw everything fall apart in no time, it did not stop Hubert from continuing to trust me. It is also a great personal satisfaction to win again before the end of this season."

Sepúlveda was part of an 11-man break that enjoyed over a four-minute gap at one point before attacking his breakaway companions on the final climb at five kilometres to go to for his solo win. 

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