Amstel Gold Race
Three weeks after the tragic death of Antoine Demoitie, Enrico Gasparotto honoured the memory of his late Wanty-Groupe Gobert Belgian teammate by winning a two-up sprint against Michael Valgren (Tinkoff) for his second Amstel Gold Race title.
The 2012 winner of the race made his move on the final ascent of the Cauberg, first catching solo leader Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal), before powering away with Valgren and enjoying a ride to the finish before jumping off the Dane's wheel to enjoy a comfortable victory. Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani – CSF) and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) placed third and fourth in the group spring behind the duo as the Pro-Continental teams upstaged the WorldTour teams.
Starting under sunny skies, Fabio Felline was the fist casualty of the race as the Trek-Segafredo rider went end over end in the neutral zone, suffering a fractured skull and broken nose. The pace was kept high in the peloton with the breakaway only getting established on the Bergsweg, 35km in, with 11-riders eventually surging clear. There were further crashes in the peloton as riders tried to bridge across the breakaway which was starting to feel the effects of a hard day in the saddle as Team Sky and Orica were busy on the front of the peloton.
A brief spurt of rain benefitted the breakaway with the wet twisty roads slowing the peloton's chase but with 25km to go, Philippe Gilbert (BMC) was distanced as several pre-race favourites fell out of contention. Roman Kreuziger and Wellens both tried long range attacks but it was 2012 champion Gasparotto coming out on top.
Vuelta a Castilla y Leon
Movistar won three of the three stages at the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon with Alejandro Valverde firing a warning shot to his rivals ahead of his Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège defence this week.
Carlos Betancur got the ball rolling for Movistar, winning stage 1 ahead of Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) before Valverde took over with a solo win on stage 2 and then held off Joni Brandão (Efapel) on stage 3 to secure overall victory. The 35-year-old was 30 seconds ahead of Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) on GC with Brandão third at 1:06 minutes.
For full Vuelta a Castilla y Leon coverage, click here
Euskal Emakumeen XXIX Bira
Back-to-back stage wins on Thursday and Friday ensured a second career Euskal Emakumeen XXIX Bira victory for Emma Johansson and first GC win for Wiggle-High5. The Swedish national champion held onto her lead over the weekend as first teammate Giorgia Bronzini and then Boels Dolmans' Megan Guarnier won the final stages of the race.
Two-time world champion Bronzini was too fast for Carmen Small (Cervelo Bigla) on stage 3 in Berrialtua while Guarnier's stage 4 win, with a ten-second time bonus, wasn't quite enough to stop Johansson from adding to her 2013 triumph.
Click here for full Euskal Emakumeen XXIX Bira coverage and race reports
Emma Johansson on the final Emakumeen Bira podium. (Sean Robinson/Velofocus)
USA Cycling Professional Criterium and Team Time Trial Championships
Rally's men and women's teams were the big winners from the USA Cycling Professional Criterium and Team Time Trial Championships winning three out of four titles. Lauren Tamayo's criterium win for UnitedHealthcare ended the hopes of claiming a clean sweep at the Greenville meet.
In the team time trial, the Rally men's team covered the 33.3km course 16 second faster than Holowesko-Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportswear while UnitedHealthcare were third at 1:16 minutes. The Women's team equalled the feats of their male colleagues but it was a much closer affair with just four seconds between their winning margin and second place finisher UnitedHealthcare.
Click here for full USA Cycling Professional Criterium and Team Time Trial Championships coverage
"I didn't necessarily expect to win this race but you always start a race with the hope of winning it," Mortensen told Cyclingnews after the finish. The duo from Britain's only Pro-Continental squad beat out Florian Vachon (Fortuneo - Vital Concept) and FDJ's Laurent Pichon and Johan Le Bon.
For the full Tro-Bro Léon race report, click here
With the Giro d'Italia fast approaching, Sergey Firsanov continued his winning winning run on Italian soil as he soloed to victory at the Giro dell'Appennino. Firsanov won stage 2 of Coppi e Bartali to secure overall victory, his first GC victory since the 2012 Vuelta a la Comunidad de Madrid, and proved to be the strongest rider in the 196.6km race from Novi Ligure to Chiavari, 25 seconds ahead of Francesco Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec) and Mauro Finetto (Unieuro Wilier).
For full results from the Giro dell'Appennino, click here.
Sergey Firsanov (Gazprom-Rusvelo) wins the 2016 Giro dell'Apennino (Bettini)
A day spent in the breakaway proved to be winning move for Axeon Hagens Berman's Logan Owen with the 21year-old claiming the biggest win of his young career at the U23 edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Owen, a stage winner at the 2015 Tour of Utah, covered an attack by Pavel Sivakov (BMC Development Team) on the Côte de Saint-Nicolas then rode past the Russian to enjoy a solo victory.
Sivakov crossed the line 44 second down on the American with Ruben Guerreiro third at 1:14 minutes to secure two Axeon Hagens Berman riders on the podium.
Click here for the 2016 Liege-Bastogne-Liege Espoirs race result.
Salverda Omloop van de IJsseldelta
Van der Breggen had finished fifth at Strade Bianche, fourth at Ronde van Drenthe, and sixth at Trofeo Alfredo Binda to enjoy a stint in the Women's WorldTour lead but hadn't stood on top of a winners podium since the La Course by Le Tour de France in July.
Lauren Kitchen (Hitec Products) was the only non-Dutch rider in top-ten with the Australian placing fourth.
Click here for the full race results.
Tour du Finistère
Baptiste Planckaert continued his good start to the 2016 season as the Wallonie - Bruxelles rider added the Tour du Finistère to his Tour de Normandie overall win. The 27-year-old beat AG2R-La Mondiale's Samuel Dumoulin and Alexandre Geniez (FDJ) in sprint finish.
Planckaert's good weekend continued at Tro-Bro Léon where he finished seventh. The Belgian also has top-ten results from the GPla Marseillaise, Nokere Koerse - Danilith Classic, Cholet - Pays De Loire, Route Adélie de Vitré, Paris-Camembert and GP de Denain this season.
Click here for the 2016 Tour du Finistère results
Ronde Van Gelderland
Rabo Liv enjoyed a second win of the weekend with European champion Katarzyna Niewiadoma taking the Ronde Van Gelderland victory in Apeldoorn ahead of Natalie Van Gogh (Parkhotel Valkenburg) and Lotto Soual Ladies' Lieselot Decroix. Rabo Liv teammate Marianne Vos then won the bunch sprint for fourth place.
Niewiadoma, 21, hadn't raced since the Ronde van Vlaanderen when she placed tenth as the Polish rider proved to have the freshest and quickset legs to grab her first win of the season with La Flèche Wallonne Féminine on Wednesday her next outing.
Click here for the Ronde Van Gelderland race results.
Sea Otter Classic - Mountain Bike
The Sea Otter Classic was host to some of the best off-ride riders on the planet once again with the California showcase also featuring several races across disciplines. The racing got underway on Friday with the men's and women's short track events while Saturday saw the cross-country events.
Geoff Kabush won the men's short track with Chloe Woodruff winning the women's edition. Kabush couldn't repeat his Friday heroics in the long form cross-country race with the Canadian finishing ninth as Todd Wells (SRAM/TLD) put on a show to beat Nicola Rohrbach and Stephen Ettinger on the line.
The Luna Pro Team then enjoyed a day out with all three podium places as Katerina Nash took the victory, one second ahead of teammate Goergina Gould and Catharine Pendrel.
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