Omar Fraile has all but secured the Vuelta a Espana's king of the mountains classification with three stages to come as he holds an unassailable 50 point lead over Fränk Schleck (Trek) in second place.
It will be the second successive victory for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA in the the classification following on from Luis Leon Sanchez's success. Fraile has lead the competition for all but one day of the race in what is the 25-year-old's debut grand tour and will be his second KOM win at WorldTour level this season after claiming the award at the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco.
"This is a great joy, but we still have to make it to Madrid, we can't lose sight of that," Fraile said. "To win the king of the mountain award is something you dream of before you even start, even though you know it’s very difficult, luckily I'm so close now. I wasn't sure how my body would respond in the third week of my first grand tour, luckily it went better than expected."
Jose Gonçalves's third place on stage 18 of the race also saw the team make another trip to the podium with the Portuguese rider picking up the combativity prize.
"We almost won a stage with Gonçalves, it's a shame, we have three chances left to see if we can aim a bit better and get lucky," Fraile added of his teammate's performance.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA sport director Eugenio Goikoetxea explained it was a bittersweet day for the team having come close to victory only to miss out while sealing the classification.
“We got very close to triumph today, it was within our reach, it's a shame that they got a bit ahead of him and he wasn't able to do it. It was a good day for the escape, we got two fresh riders, who are in good shape, in the escape, we can hold nothing against them, we would like to congratulate them and encourage them to keep on fighting, there is still hope," Goikoetxea said. "On the other hand, with Omar, let's hope nothing strange happens, such as falls or illnesses, and we can make it to Madrid without any problems."
Three more years at Team Sky for Rowe
Luke Rowe has extended his contract with Team Sky until the end of the 2018 season. The Welshman made his Tour de France this season helping teammate Chris Froome to his second overall victory and finishing with the team in Paris. Part of the Sky classics squad, Rowe had a breakthrough Paris-Roubaix as he finished in eighth place having placed ninth a few weeks earlier at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
"So for me, another 3 years with @TeamSky. Top bunch of lads couldn't be happier," Rowe wrote on Twitter.
Rowe's next races with Team Sky will be the Canadian one-day Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec and Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Friday and Sunday before taking part in the World Championships later this month.
Twan Castelijns signs for LottoNl-Jumbo
Dutch WorldTour team LottoNL-Jumbo have announced the signing of Twan Castelijns from the Baby-Dump Cyclingteam. The 26-year-old joins the team on a two year deal having ridden as a stagiaire since August impressing sport director Nico Verhoeven.
"Twan made a lot of progress this year, despite the fact that he is a little bit older," Verhoeven said. "He showed that he's still getting stronger and that he can be valuable to our team. During his internship, he made a good impression and proved to be a worthy team-mate."
Having ridden at Continental level for the past two season, Castelijns explained he "didn't expect to become a pro anymore", adding that "during my internship with the team, I rode some good races and got the chance to see how the team works. I liked what I saw. I'm looking forward to racing at World Tour-level."
Roulston returns to the track with eye on Rio 2016 Olympic
After a seven year hiatus, Trek Factory Racing's Hayden Roulston will make his return to the boards during October's Oceania championships with the aim of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games in the team pursuit. The 34-year-old won silver in the individual pursuit at the 2008 Olympics, bettered by Bradley Wiggins, and was part of the team pursuit squad which won the bronze medal at the same games.
"Hayden is a very experienced and decorated athlete on the track and road," Cycling New Zealand head coach Dayle Cheatley said. "He has delivered for New Zealand at multiple events and we welcome him back into the team for Oceania Championships.
"We all look forward to working with him in his goal of Rio in 2016. Of course it will be a massive challenge with five current world champions and some other road riders also indicating a desire to chase a spot for Rio."
Following the Oceanias, Roulston is likely to race the UCI Track World Cup round on home soil in Cambridge this December.
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