Schlagwort-Archive: EF Education First – Drapac p / b Cannondale“

Flandern-Rundfahrt – Die ‚Ronde‘

1 Alberto Bettiol (Ita) EF Education First 6:18:49
2 Kasper Asgreen (Den) Deceuninck-QuickStep 0:00:14
3 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:17
4 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
5 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin
6 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
7 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
9 Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
11 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
12 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Lotto Soudal
13 Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
14 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma
15 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First
16 Bob Jungels (Lux) Deceuninck-QuickStep
17 Yves Lampaert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep
18 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:24
19 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:19
20 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:58
Mit 270,1 Kilometern präsentierte sich die Ronde heute um rund 20 km länger als in den letzten Jahren. Durch insgesamt 17 Hellingen und 13 Kopfsteinpflasterpassagen war die Strecke gewohnt anspruchsvoll, wobei zu erwarten war, dass die Entscheidung beim dritten Anstieg zum Oude Kwaremont (2,2 km, max. 11,6 %), bzw. dem darauffolgenden Paterberg (360 m, max. 20,3 %) fallen würde. Beim Start in Antwerpen zeigte sich das Wetter von seiner besten Seite, 15 Grad und Sonnenschein begleitete das Fahrerfeld auf den ersten Kilometern in Richtung Südosten, wobei heute von Beginn an Attacke auf Attacke folgte. Nach rund 20 km konnten sich dann vier Fahrer vom Feld absetzen, dort hielten aber vor allem die kleineren Teams, die die Gruppe verpasst hatten, das Tempo zuerst weiter hoch. Erst weitere 20 Kilometer später ließ das Feld die Gruppe endgültig ziehen und der Vorsprung entwickelte sich nun rasch in Richtung neun Minuten. Mit Jumbo-Visma und Deceuninck – Quick Step übernahmen zwei Teams im Feld noch vor der Zieldurchfahrt in Oudenaarde Verantwortung, und zogen das Tempo an. Vor dem ersten Anstieg des Tages waren noch 150 km zurückzulegen und der Abstand zwischen Spitze und Feld war auf unter fünf Minuten gesunken. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt zeigte sich auch BORA – hansgrohe immer wieder vorne im Peloton, denn von nun an war es wichtig, eine gute Position zu verteidigen. An der Kapelmuur machte man im Feld zum ersten Mal ernst und die Hauptgruppe teilte sich. Mit Peter Sagan, Daniel Oss und Lukas Pöstlberger hatte BORA – hansgrohe drei Fahrer vorne, die wenig später die frühe Spitzengruppe eingeholt hatten. Einige der Mitfavoriten verpassten diese Vorentscheidung, und an der Spitze entbrannte nun ein harter Schlagabtausch. Zuerst setzten sich vier Mann, darunter Lukas Pöstlberger, ab, doch als die Gruppe wieder gestellt wurde, zögerte man vorne, und das bereits abgeschlagene Feld konnte ebenfalls aufschließen. Am zweiten Anstieg zum Oude Kwaremont setzten sich zwei Fahrer ab, während dahinter das Feld nun merklich kleiner wurde, und am Paterberg zuerst K. Asgreen bzw. wenig später D. van Barle zum Spitzenduo aufschließen konnten. Ein Fahrer fiel zurück und S. Vanmarcke konnte mit Asgreen und van Baarle etwa 30 Sekunden Vorsprung herausfahren. Dahinter hatte Peter Sagan nur noch Daniel Oss an seiner Seite. Wie erwartet kam es zum Showdown in der letzten Auffahrt zum Kwaremont. Die Favoriten machten nun ernst und A. Bettiol setzte die entscheidende Attacke. Dahinter folgte eine 15-Mann-Verfolgergruppe in der auch Sagan vertreten war. Einige Male versuchte Peter sich noch abzusetzen, doch alle Versuche wurden neutralisiert. Bettiol verteidigte seinen Vorsprung bis zum Ende und holte einen beeindruckenden Solosieg. Im Sprint um die Plätze musste sich Sagan heute ebenfalls geschlagen geben und erreichte letztlich als 11. das Ziel in Oudenaarde.
Reaktionen im Ziel
„Das war heute ein hartes und spannendes Rennen. Trotz der Anstrengung macht es Spaß hier zu fahren, weil die Atmosphäre einfach unglaublich ist. Ich muss mich bei meinen Teamkollegen bedanken, denn sie haben 100 % gegeben, um mich zu unterstützen. Ich konnte viel Kraft sparen, am Ende war ich vorne, konnte aber die Attacke von Bettiol nicht mitgehen. Auch im Sprint hat mir der letzte Punch heute gefehlt.“ – Peter Sagan

„Das Team hat bis zur zweiten Passage des Kwaremont einen sehr guten Job gemacht. Peter konnte wichtige Energie sparen, da er perfekt flankiert war. Er selbst ist aber auch ein schlaues Rennen gefahren, hat nie ein Korn verschwendet. Als am Ende die Entscheidung fiel, war er aber nicht perfekt platziert und man konnte schon sehen, dass er nicht den besten Tag hatte. Er war dann dennoch in der Verfolgergruppe und hatte damit immer noch alle Chancen. Bettiol war aber auf den letzten Kilometern sehr stark, und Peter im Sprint letztlich noch eingebaut. Da war heute nicht mehr drin.“ – Enrico Poitschke, sportlicher Leiter
@BORA

Woods renews with EF Education First


Mike Woods was working at a running-shoes store in Ottawa, Canada when he began to borrow his dad’s bike. He was one of the best runners in the country, but he’d injured himself by overtraining. And so he had some time on his hands. He needed to do something. Anything.
Riding, turns out, proved cathartic. And talent doesn’t just go away.
Friends convinced him to try his hand at bike racing, and Woods soon discovered an innate talent. Local race wins earned him a spot on Canada’s national team for Tour de Beauce. His performance at Canada’s oldest stage race garnered him a UCI continental team contract two years after he first picked up a bike.
Three years later, in 2016, Woods was pulling on argyle, making the leap up to the WorldTour.
EF Education First Pro Cycling is thrilled to announce Woods has signed a multi-year extension with the team.
“The direction of the team, the idea of exploring the world — it all really meshes with what I believe in,” said Woods. “I feel very fortunate to be on a team that values what I naturally value – education, exploration, community.
“Riders can be themselves on this team,” added Woods. “They can be individuals. They can speak their minds. It makes for a fun environment, an interesting environment. I have good friends on this team because of how Jonathan Vaughters has chosen to build the roster. It’s an interesting group of guys not just on the bike but off the bike as well. I could go on for ages about how great this team is, how great the guys are. I’m really happy here, and I’m super stoked to stay.”
Woods enjoyed a breakout season in 2018, finishing second at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, winning his first Grand Tour stage at the Vuelta a España and taking the bronze medal at the 2018 Road World Championships in Austria.

It was after that Vuelta stage that more people would come to understand both Woods’ talent and his story: Woods publicly dedicated that emotional victory to a stillborn son, Hunter, he and wife Elly had lost two months prior.
“There were so many people on side of the road today just screaming my name. My director Juanma [Garate] was on the radio and in the last 500m he said, do this for your family,” Woods said that day, tears welling up in his eyes. “I wanted to win so bad for him, and I did … I did.”

Woods was lovingly dubbed the “Rook” when he came onboard. He proved a quick study.
“I came to the team not knowing who I was as a cyclist and what I was capable of,” Woods said. “I didn’t fit the typical neo-pro role. I’m lucky to have had the directors and team managers believe in me.
“I had no experience in the WorldTour when I joined the team, but JV said I could win an Ardennes Classic,” added Woods. “Knowing what I know now, that was a bold prediction for him to make about me at the time. I had not shown anything that truly indicated I could win a Classic – but he was right. I haven’t won one yet, but with the results I got last year, these are races we know I can win.”
Standing on the top step of the podium at one of the Ardennes races is high among Woods’ future ambitions. He hopes to start the 2019 Tour de France, and he’s excited about the opportunities on offer at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I really want to try to win some big races now,” said Woods. “I’m starting to figure out how to win in the WorldTour. That doesn’t mean I’m going to win every race, have success in every race. I know I will have some big failures […] but I’m much more consistent now. I have a better understanding of my fitness and can better predict how I will perform.”
Since joining the team in 2016, sport director Juanma Garate has worked closely with Woods.
“I have to laugh when you ask me about Mike’s future because I have said the same sentence to him over and over since his first month with the team,” said Garate. “I always repeat to him ‘You don’t know what your limit is.’ It was true then, and it’s still true now. He doesn’t know. We don’t know. He’s kind of a new rider with the maturity of a 31-year-old. He’s progressing all the time.“
A latecomer to professional cycling, Woods played hockey growing up before finding success in running. He set the Canadian junior record in the mile (3:57:48) and the 3km (7:58:55). Both records still stand today. Woods earned a track scholarship to the University of Michigan, competed for the Canadian national team and harbored ambitions of becoming one of the world’s best milers.
Running’s loss quickly became cycling’s gain.
“We had our eyes on Mike for a long time before we actually signed him. His talent was clear based on his running, but it’s a rare runner who can figure out the bike handling and nuance of bike racing,” said EF Education First CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “But at Tour of Utah in 2015, I felt he had a certain extra determination to get over those hurdles. He was a gut feeling signing. I’m so happy to see him progress so far.”
“Performance wise, the sky’s the limit for Mike,” Vaughters added. “That’s exciting for the team. But beyond that, he’s just a fantastic person to have on the team. Mike Woods is all heart. He gives all he’s got to his teammates. And I couldn’t be happier to have him on the team.”
Both the team and Woods are growing together.
“I’m really pleased with the progression of the team since I joined it,” said Woods. “I had a lot of fun the first year, but it’s nothing compared to the kind of fun I’m having now. As an organization, the team is far more organized, far more focused, far more clear in its goals. I’m really proud to be a part of this team, especially now with the partnership with EF.
“I’m hoping the team’s approach and my performances over the last year will inspire more kids to get on bikes and more fans to cheer for a Canadian kicking it in the WorldTour.”
Text: EF Education First
Fotos: Gerhard Plomitzer – www.plomi.smugmug.com

Martinez climbs to Paris-Nice queen stage win


Part of a young crop of Colombian talent shaping the narrative of the still-young season, Dani Martinez has managed to fly under the radar – until today.
The 22-year-old took his third victory of the season on Saturday, and the biggest of his flourishing career. In the final kilometer of the queen stage of Paris-Nice, Martinez rode compatriot Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) off his wheel to win atop Col du Turini.
“I am very excited about this victory,” said Martinez. “It’s a special day for me. Paris-Nice is one of the great races in the world.”

The seventh stage of the Paris-Nice covered 181 kilometers between Nice and the race’s eventual finish at the top of Col de Turini. Despite its popularity with Monaco- and Nice-based professional cyclists, the Col de Turini, 14.9-kilometers long with an average gradient of 7.3%, is a new inclusion in Paris-Nice. The summit finish was the sixth climb of the mountainous day.
A group of 39 riders split off from the peloton on the Côte de Gourdon, the stages second categorized climb. Martinez represented EF Education First Pro Cycling in the selection. With the best-placed rider more than two minutes down on the general classification, the breakaway’s chances looked promising.
“Dani and the whole group were highly motivated to confirm the excellent results of the TT also in the mountains,” said head sport director Charley Wegelius. “The size and make up of the big break that formed were ideal for him.“
Thirty kilometers from the finish, the breakaway maintained a six-minute advantage over the peloton.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) and Lopez were the first to launch attacks on the lower slopes of the Col de Turini. Martinez marked the moves as the breakaway group exploded in his wake. Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) joined the party up front, making it a four-man fight for glory.
An uneasy cooperation between the leading quartet gave way to a round of attacks with the finish line looming. All four frontrunners spent brief stints of time alone up front at various points in the final five kilometers.
“I was controlling Lopez and Yates,” said Martinez. “I didn’t want them to surprise me.”
“It was a tough fight,” said EF Education First CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Dani was tactically very astute. His ride was gutsy.”
Martinez upped the pace under the flamme rouge, drawing out Lopez as Yates and Edet were distanced. Lopez rode back to Martinez’s wheel only to fall off the pace again at the 500-meter mark. Although Lopez was able to claw his way back once more, Martinez powered away again in the final 100 meters, crossing the finish four-seconds ahead of Lopez.
“I was tired, but I gave everything I had left in the last kilometer,” said Martinez. “I was more afraid that Simon Yates would return because he won the time trial and is in great form.”
“Dani managed his energy and his nerves perfectly all day,” said Wegelius. “In the end, he showed his class with a great win.”
Martinez’s victory is the sixth for EF Education First this season and the third for Martinez, who won the Colombian national time trial title and was part of the Tour of Colombia team time trial victory.
“The win was highly deserved for all the riders and staff,” said Wegelius. “It was a true team effort today.”
Paris-Nice concludes with a short, sharp stage on Sunday. The 110-kilometer route covers five categorized climbs before a steep drop into Nice. Identical to last season’s Paris-Nice finale, Sunday’s stage eight should deliver drama and excitement.
EF Education First Pro Cycling

Uran fractures collarbone in Paris-Nice


Photo by Gerhard Plomitzer
Rigoberto Uran fractured his left clavicle on Monday during the second stage of Paris-Nice, from Les Bréviaires to Bellegarde, and was forced to abandon the race.
The Colombian went down on his left side in the middle of a pack of riders midway through the stage, and he was immediately taken for evaluation at a nearby medical facility. Dr. Jon Greenwall, team doctor at Paris-Nice, said that beyond the clavicle break and some road rash, there were no other concerns with Uran’s health. Specifically, he did not suffer a head injury.
“I had a tough crash,” Uran said after leaving the hospital. “Today, there was a lot of wind. I touched a rider, another rider touched my wheel. […] I feel disappointed, of course. I had good legs. That’s cycling.“
Uran is slated to travel to his European base of Monaco immediately and have surgery to repair the fracture Wednesday morning. Once the surgery is completed, Uran will be able to return to the trainer when he feels ready and will likely resume riding outside in a few weeks’ time.
His return to racing will be carefully evaluated.
“It’s always tough when you see anyone on the team take a hard fall like that. These guys put a ton of time in during the offseason training for the early season, so I feel for them when there’s a setback,” said EF Pro Cycling CEO, Jonathan Vaughters. “We wish Rigo a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him back to the races once he’s ready.”
Copyright © 2019 Slipstream Sports Inc., All rights reserved.

Vanmarcke wins Haut Var opener


1 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First 4:00:22
2 Julien El Fares (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
3 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4 Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Lucas Eriksson (Swe) Riwal Readynez Cycling Team
7 Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
8 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9 Miguel Eduardo Florez Lopez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
10 Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Wallonie Bruxelles

Sep Vanmarcke won a small group sprint in Mandelieu-la-Napoul, France on Friday. The Belgian benefited from an adaptable team prepared to react to any scenario on the opening stage of Tour de Haut Var. With the stage win came the yellow race leader’s jersey.
“I’m really happy to win,” said Vanmarcke. “It’s my first win in nearly three years. It feels so good to be back on the top step.”
Groupama-FDJ showed their cards early, taking control of the pace-setting in the peloton behind the three-rider breakaway. The 154-kilometer stage offered up undulating terrain, and EF Education First Pro Cycling Team had discussed several different plans to approach the tricky route.
“There was a false flat part with 30-kilometers to go,” said sport director Ken Vanmarcke, Sep’s older brother. “If the gap to the breakaway was small, we wanted to anticipate action with Sep and Matti [Breschel]. The gap wasn’t small enough to do anything then, but on the second to last climb, the gap was down to 40-seconds and Lachlan [Morton] tried to go across. The climb was too short for that.”
With initial efforts thwarted, EF Education First regrouped ahead of the last climb.
“Normally the final would be hard for me with a five kilometer climb,” said Sep. “But I felt really good all day, and I wanted to give it a try.”
Only 20 riders remained in contention over the top, Vanmarcke and Hugh Carthy among them. Crashes and splits on the technical descent further reduced the group. Fourteen riders hit the four-kilometer flat run-in to the line.
“Hugh knew Sep had a big chance to win the sprint, and immediately started riding in the front of the group to keep the pace high,” said Ken.
“He pulled into the last corner,” Sep added. “I could focus on the sprint. My timing was good. I made it a long sprint and could hold on to take the win.”
The younger Vanmarcke brother is EF Education First’s Classics captain.
“I think we see that Sep is on a really good path for the Classics,” said team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “I don’t want to overstate anything because of course the Tour of Haut Var and the Tour of Flanders are completely different things, but he’s obviously in a good place.”
“A lot of the things we’ve been working on for two or three years now are coming to fruition. There’s no magic thing that just started happening. We have the same directors, and a lot of the same riders. It’s just that little by little we’re able to build on things,” said Vaughters. “The serenity of having EF’s support allows us to better execute and plan for the future. Everyone isn’t worried about where their next paycheck is coming from; they’re looking at how to win the race. And that’s showing.”
The Tour du Haut Var continues on Saturday with a hilly 200-kilometer day between Le Cannent-des-Maures and Mons.
“We will enjoy the jersey, but we have to be realistic,” said Ken. “Sep won’t have the jersey on Sunday evening. We will try to keep it on the team but on different shoulders.”
“Tomorrow will be another hard day, and on Sunday the final is on a longer climb,” said Sep. “I want to give something back to Hugh. He’s our strongest climber here, and I suspect well work for him this weekend.”
“As always, Sep worked this winter,” said Ken. “He’s on the right track towards the Classics.”
The Haut Var victory is the team’s fifth win in the still young season. Last year, the team recorded six victories in total.
@EF

EF Education First: Clarke second in Provence; Martinez third, team first in Colombia


Dani Martinez stood on the Tour Colombia 2.1 podium atop Alto de las Palmas, Colombia on Sunday. The 22-year-old rode a bold race with the full support from his strong team, including his childhood hero Rigoberto Uran. The result? Third overall.
“It’s been a week where I’ve learned a lot about my performance,” said Martinez. “Every day you learn something new and take it forward to further races.”
Martinez, the newly crowned Colombian time trial champion, spearheaded EF Education First’s winning efforts during the team time trial. The result laid the foundation for the work that followed with Martinez riding a particularly gutsy race on stage five that put him only eight seconds out of the race lead.
“We saw Martinez confirm his development this week,” said sport director Juanma Garate. “More than his development, we saw him confirm his potential. He will be a top, top rider.”
The energy Martinez expended on Saturday cost him in the closing kilometers on Sunday as the race was being decided up Las Palmas, the 15 kilometer summit finish. Uran proved stronger than Martinez but Garate had Uran hold back in the hopes of preserving Martinez’s overall podium position.
“It was incredible for Rigo to have waited for me today,” said Martinez. “This is something that really means a lot to me. He’s a brilliant rider and leader who has won so many races and for him to wait for me makes me feel quite emotional.”
Uran and Martinez crossed the finish line side-by-side in fifth and sixth place, around a minute down on stage winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar). Mission accomplished. Martinez kept his podium spot.
The young Colombian was joined on the podium by all his EF Education First teammates as they collected the team classification prize.
“Winning the team general classification is always a great award,“ said Lawson Craddock. „So often the sport is represented by one rider on top of the podium. When you can take the team GC and bring everyone up there to share the success, that’s always pretty special.”

Nearly nine thousand kilometers away and four hours before Martinez graced the podium, Simon Clarke collected awards and accolades of his own. The Australian, also tasked with a leadership role, rode a smart and strategic race at Tour de la Provence en route to second overall.
EF Education First team management asked Clarke to arrive in France with the fitness required to contend for the general classification. He was happy to oblige. Clarke regularly rides in support of his teammates or in a road captain role. He embraced the opportunity to race as team leader, coming away with second overall, tied on time with race winner Gorka Izagirre (Astana).
“I did a lot of preparation at home to make sure my condition was good coming into this race,” Clarke said.
The stage race began with an opening stage time trial in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. It was the only stage during the four-day race that Clarke finished outside the top five. After coming fourth on stages two and three, Clarke realized he had a real shot to stand on the top step of the podium in Aix-en-Provence on Sunday.
“It was a good race for me because all the stages suited me quite well,” Clarke said. “It all just came down to tactics in the sprints – for the time bonuses available in the intermediate sprints and on the finish line.”
Clarke began stage four in fourth overall, eight seconds off the race lead. He finished in second place on the stage and picked up enough bonus seconds to jump up to second overall.
“I didn’t have high expectations today because the stage suited me the least of the road stages this week, but considering my position overall and the seconds on offer, we approached the day with same mentality as the other days,” said Clarke. “We took every opportunity possible. This actually worked out better than we expected. I picked up second in the intermediate sprint and second at the finish.
“The team has been great for me this week,” Clarke added. “Quite often I find myself in a supporting role. To have the support of my teammates this week was very special.”
Copyright © 2019 Slipstream Sports Inc., All rights reserved

2. Etappe Herald Sun Tour


1 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First Pro Cycling 2:55:44
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo
3 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Team Sky 0:00:17
4 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:19
5 Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
6 Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Team Sky 0:00:43
7 Chris Harper (Aus) Team Bridgelane
8 Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
9 Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
10 Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:01:54
Jayco Herald Sun Tour
Gesamtstand:
1 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First Pro Cycling 5:12:32
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:04
3 Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Team Sky 0:00:27
4 Lucas Hamilton (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:29
5 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:33
6 Pavel Sivakov (Rus) Team Sky 0:00:53
7 Chris Harper (Aus) Team Bridgelane 0:00:57
8 Damien Howson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
9 Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott

Mike Woods made it two for two for EF Education First Pro Cycling Team at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour. The Canadian out-climbed and then out-sprinted Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) to take the stage two win.
Woods will start stage three in the race leader’s jersey worn by his teammate Dan McLay during Thursday’s stage.

“We have been riding so well as a team here in Australia,” said Woods. “It had been frustrating that I hadn’t been able to finish it off. Dan felt the same way. Everyone was doing his part, executing on his part, but the results weren’t reflecting that. This race. Today. It was a continuation of the great teamwork. Having Dan win yesterday was a bit of a release.
“Everyone was excited and rode out of their skin again today,” Woods added. “Mitch [Docker] and Scud [Tom Scully] were on the front all day controlling and still managed to make the front split in the wind. Dan McLay was in yellow and getting bottles and protecting me. Lachy was there in the end. Everyone was working so hard for me, and I wanted to honor their hard work.”
A six-rider breakaway escaped early into the 127 kilometer stage between Wonthaggi and Churchill. The leaders managed only a three-minute maximum advantage ahead of the bunch paced by Docker and Scully.
Just inside the final 40 kilometers, first a crash and then an uptick in speed due to winds split the peloton.
“It wasn’t a problem for us,” said sport director, Tom Southam. “Sky hit it in a small crosswind section, and it caught Jimmy [Whelan] out unfortunately, which meant we had one less for the climb. But having a smaller bunch reduced the potential complications in the group for Mike, so that was fine for us.”
The stage came to a climax up Jeeralang, the category one climb that topped out 12-kilometers from the finish and included a 1.1-kilometer dirt-road section near the summit.
Team Sky’s Pavel Sivakov and Bridgestone’s Chris Harper were the first to attack. Kenny Elissonde (Sky) bridged the gap, giving Sky two up front. Behind the leaders, an elite chase group formed that included Woods, Porte, Dylan van Baarle (Sky) and Mitchelton-SCOTT’s trio of Lucas Hamilton, Damien Howson and Nick Schultz.

As the chase group made grounds on the leaders, Woods attacked and only Porte could follow. The pair reached the gravel sector alone with Woods leading Porte across the summit.
„We reconned this stage three days ago,” said Woods. “Southam spent over five hours in the car, driving to the course, driving behind me, to make it happen. We had a long talk about the stage, and we executed exactly as we had planned. It was a huge advantage, and it paid off. It couldn’t have gone better today.”
Although Woods slightly distanced Porte uphill, the pair agreed to work together on the descent to keep their chasers at bay. They reached the line together with Woods besting Porte in the sprint. Their efforts netted them a 17-second advantage on Elissonde and 19 seconds on both van Baarle and Hamilton.
Having picked up a 10-second bonus for the stage win, compared to Porte’s six seconds for second place, Woods holds yellow by four seconds over Porte heading into stage three.
“We’ve got such a strong team right now and have been riding so well together,” said Woods. “I’m confident in our abilities to defend. That said, four seconds over one of the best climbers in the world is not a margin you can rest on. We’re gong to have to be smart, and I’m going to have to lean on my teammates heavily.”
Woods has grown increasingly comfortable with the leaning that leads to winning.
“I’ve learned so much over the last three years,” said Woods. “Every year I’m progressing. Last year I took a big step in terms of finding the front of a race on a regular basis, but I hadn’t yet figure out how to win. It’s only been in the last six months that I’m starting to figure out that part. And I’m enjoying that quite a bit. It’s a lot more fun to be at the front of the race, having expectations and living up to them on occasion. To be 32 and feel like you have this whole world to still learn and understand and explore, it’s really exciting.”
“Mike is a born winner,” said team founder Jonathan Vaughters. “He’s learning how to use his talents, and as he learns, we’ll see him win more and more.”
The Jayco Herald Sun Tour continues on Friday with a 161-kilometer stage between Sale and Warragul. While hilly, it’s not a big day for the general classification.
“There are only a small number of guys close on the general classification now,” said Southam. “We just have to focus on that and the rest will take care of itself.”
Copyright © 2019 Slipstream Sports Inc.
Text + Photo EF Education First

EF Education First Appoints Mary Wittenberg President of EF Pro Cycling


EF Education First (EF), the world leader in international education, today announced that experienced sport and fitness executive Mary Wittenberg has joined EF as president of EF Pro Cycling. Wittenberg will help position the team for future success and promote EF’s mission of opening the world through education by encouraging people to step outside of their comfort zones and explore the world.
Wittenberg recently served as the founding CEO of Virgin Sport and prior to that was the long time CEO of New York Road Runners and race director for the TCS New York City Marathon. Her experience in the running and endurance space spans 20 years, and her ability to think creatively in promoting athletes and partners dovetails with EF’s adventurous company spirit and bold goals for EF Pro Cycling in 2019 and beyond.

“EF’s commitment is to bring different cultures together, to spark mutual understanding around the ways people and communities approach and see life. The goal is to promote empathy among people of diverse backgrounds, and inspire new ways of thinking which together can help make the world a little better,” said EF CEO North America Edward Hult. “EF Pro Cycling is a platform that embodies this spirit, and which helps show how positive things happen when people explore the world. Having Mary join the team is an exciting step in continuing to spread this message.”
Wittenberg will focus on creating fun new ways for the team and EF’s global workforce of 46,500 to interact, identifying new, compelling partnership opportunities, and exploring resources to further benefit the team. She will also liaise between EF senior leadership and EF Pro Cycling staff.
“I am excited to join EF and our pro cycling team at this formative stage and to be part of a purpose-driven company that brings people together through exploring the world,” Wittenberg said. “I am inspired by the sport of cycling and this team, in particular; as riders from different countries and cultures come together to bring their dreams to life. EF and Jonathan Vaughters have set a great foundation that marry the transformative power of travel, education and sport. We have a chance to bring a fresh approach to cycling and recruit similarly inspired partners to join us.”

In Wittenberg, team CEO, founder, and former pro cyclist Jonathan Vaughters has a partner who can help the team reach new audiences.
“Mary brings a fresh perspective to the sport. Mary’s vision, passion, and expertise make her uniquely qualified to lead our efforts as we seek to expand our reach,” Vaughters said. “We’re working toward creating a more sustainable financial model for the team, and we’ll be leaning heavily on her business and brand background, and also her experience in growing one of the world’s great sporting events.”
The addition of Wittenberg comes as the team looks toward next season with a new perspective. EF Pro Cycling recently announced its partnership with apparel brand Rapha to collaborate on all-access content and bold new team kit, and the team will also put some of its riders in alternative-style events, from gravel races in the US to multi-day endurance races in far-flung locales. The aim? Reach more people, and tell more compelling stories.
As the first female CEO of New York Road Runners and Race Director for the New York City Marathon, Wittenberg and her team drove unprecedented growth with initiatives that touched the five boroughs of New York, the nation, and the world. Wittenberg also co-founded the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a strategic alliance of the world’s major marathons of Boston, Chicago, New York, London, Berlin and Tokyo, created in 2006 to grow the sport of marathon running globally.

Wittenberg’s start with the team is effective immediately.
About EF Education First: EF Education First is an international education company that focuses on language, travel, academics and cultural exchange. Founded in 1965, EF has more than 580 offices and schools in over 50 countries. Moved by the powerful way cycling unites people of diverse backgrounds in a peaceful, fun, and friendly way to achieve extraordinary athletic feats, EF entered professional cycling in 2018 to help spread its mission of opening the world through education.

Taylor Phinney extends with EF Pro Cycling for 2019


Come 2019 Taylor Phinney will be crushing cobbles at the Spring Classics with EF Pro Cycling as he will return to the team next season. As Phinney eases into his off-season we chat about the drama of the Hell of the North, how the Tour de France is like playing Call of Duty, and superpowers.
Take us through this year, what’s been the highs and lows?
From a professional standpoint the highlight of my year was definitely Paris-Roubaix and being a factor in that race. I’ve wanted to be up there and wanted to be riding with those guys for my whole career, so it was cool to have the stars align for that one and have a good day.
I always enjoy the Tour de France and finishing always feels good, although this time wasn’t so great finishing with a broken face, so I didn’t have as much energy to celebrate. I had to go to visit the doctor the next day, but I don’t even think that was a low point; there haven’t really been any.
Why do you like Paris-Roubaix so much?
I think I always had a strong passion towards Paris-Roubaix, there’s just something about that race. There’s a level of drama it has that doesn’t exist in any other race on the calendar. It was always the race that I looked forward to watching before I started racing it. I mean the races in Belgium are part of the same family and they fit into the same category but in my eyes they’re just not on the same level as Paris-Roubaix.
But if you talk to Italians or Belgians, Tour of Flanders is the be-all-and-end all and Paris-Roubaix is just an afterthought for whatever reason. But Paris-Roubaix is the jam and I think it’s sort of the last type of race that I can be good at. In this sport you see the trend of the races are changing and getting harder and hillier and more suited to smaller riders. So we kind of have these last races to hang onto to hope to do well at, for me that’s Paris-Roubaix. It’s the one race I do all year which I’m not at a weight disadvantage, because I just weigh a lot more than everybody else being 6 ft 5.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen in the peloton this year?
Probably the Tour de France tear gas day, that was the craziest thing. Yeah, that was a trip, I felt like I was in a video game. It was like I was playing Call of Duty or something, because you went through this protest they broke up and then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘I can’t breathe’ and then you’re having trouble seeing and everyone else is coughing around you. The old alarm bells start to ring in your head, you’re like: “What the hell is happening?”
You’ve extended with the team. How have you found riding for EF Pro Cycling this year?
I mean I love it, there’s no other team that I could envision myself racing for in the professional peloton. I feel like I can be honest with everyone around me and myself, and there’s not a ton of expectations thrown on you, on what you need to be and what you need to look like, and how you need to act. They just let you explore yourself and let you be who you want to be.
The team obviously want to win races and do well and that’s a priority, but there’s not this cookie cutter that you need to be a certain way or ride your bike a certain to be on the team, which you’ll find on a lot of other programmes.
When you heard about some of the new, offbeat races the team will line up for next year, what did you think?
I think that it is the greatest thing ever. I mean when we were first hearing little rumours about the change and that Rapha wanted to come on board, it felt like all these different ideas that I had been talking about with friends, all these adventures I had been thinking about, it was like someone had read my mind.
If you were able to shotgun a race next year, which one would it be?
Dirty Kanza! I would really like to do Dirty Kanza.
Describe EF Pro Cycling team in one word…
Funkadelic
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
There’s a lot of responsibility in that question. I mean, my gut instinct is to say I’d like to fly but that is kinda selfish. Actually I think I’d like to be like the moon and manipulate the tides. I’m not sure what I would be able to do with that but I’m sure I’d be able to figure something out.
It doesn’t have to just be the sea, it could be water in general…
Yeah, because inside your body is 70% water, if I could manipulate that, you know how weird I could make people feel all the time, it would be dope. I think I actually just created a new superhero [still to be named].
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Joe Dombrowski re-signs with #PinkArgyle


Joe Dombrowski has re-signed with EF Pro Cycling for the upcoming season. The American finished fifth overall at the 2018 Colorado Classic and sixth overall at the 2018 Tour of Utah.
“It’s not a secret that the last couple of seasons have not been what I wanted results-wise,” said Dombrowski. “I’m focused on doing what I need to do to get back to the the level that I know I’m capable of in races.”
“It’s great to have Joe back,” said EF Pro Cycling CEO Jonathan Vaughers. “He knows our team and has been a great presence here over the years. Joe had a spectacular 2016 season where he was in multiple breaks at that year’s Giro and finished third in the hardest mountain stage. The last couple years have been a bit of a struggle for him, but in the end, talent doesn’t just go away. We want to give that talent an opportunity to rebuild.”
Dombrowski, 27, has raced four seasons in argyle following his move to the American-registered outfit from Team Sky, where he spent his neo-pro seasons.
“This team has a great environment, and having been here a while now, I knew that coming back I would be a part of that,” said Dombrowski. “I would consider my teammates as my friends, and I think that cohesion can go a long way in getting the the most of out of a team and an individual.”

The team’s newly announced alternative race program appeals to Dombrowski, who is has been an occasional participant in non-road cycling events throughout his career.
“Joe was sort of our first index, the first rider we dipped into alternative races, at the 2016 Leadville 100,” said Vaughters. “He competes in some cyclocross, too. We felt like he would be a great fit for some of the alternative racing we’d be doing next season and beyond. We’re all pretty excited about that.”
“My first focus is, of course, on the traditional road calendar, but the alternative race program is also quite interesting. I got my start racing mountain bike and cyclocross. I still jump in the odd cyclocross race in the off-season and in 2016 I raced Leadville with this team,” said Dombrowski. “Cycling’s fan base, particularly in America, is a participatory one. It’s not the same as the traditional American sports in that sense. Professional road cycling can be quite insular and convoluted. With a participatory fan base, watching races is not what creates a feeling of engagement in the sport.

“My motivation to race in other events in the past has always been as a fun outlet, but I have also found that they develop a strong connection to the cycling community,” Dombrowski added. “It’s something I like to see as a way of giving back and engaging with the community that has allowed me to have a career in this sport. I think this project can be just that on a much larger scale, and I look forward to seeing where it goes.”
Like his teammates, Dombrowski has enjoyed the introduction of EF Education First into the team and the sport.
“EF has changed things for us in the sense that they feel less like a ‚partner‘ or a ’sponsor‘ in a traditional sense. They feel more integrated. Almost as though we are truly co-workers,” said Dombrowski. “You get that feeling especially when they bring employees to races and we coordinate on events. It’s been an interesting change. I’ve never been in a team where there hasn’t been a separation between team and sponsor. It’s nice that as owners they’re invested in bringing in some of the positive aspects of a company their size and scope into our smaller team.”
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EF Education First and Rapha announce groundbreaking partnership


New approach to sponsorship aims to create best content and kit in professional cycling

EF Education First and Rapha announce a major new partnership to revolutionize the way professional cycling is presented, with the aim of taking a disruptive approach to the sport throughout the 2019 season and beyond. The move marks Rapha’s return to men’s WorldTour professional cycling after a two-year hiatus.
Rapha will bring their creative credentials to EF Pro Cycling, and together they will focus on profiling inspirational and charismatic riders and showcasing their stories. Coverage will include regular shows from inside the team, with some developed and presented by the riders themselves. Cameras will follow the racers on a year-long journey through the most interesting events in cycling, offering a new window into all aspects of the sport.

This new partnership follows a two-year study conducted by Rapha into the future of professional cycling. Led by four academic experts around the world and based on interviews with more than 50 of the most experienced stakeholders in the sport, the project examined in detail the opportunities and challenges facing road cycling at large. The project found that there is vast opportunity to grow the sport and increase its overall value by converting more cyclists into fans and connecting more meaningfully with a modern audience.
It is this foundation that Rapha and the EF team will build upon. Storytelling and creative content has been part of Rapha’s business since its launch in 2004, resulting in over 300 films created in its 15-year history, and several EF riders and staff are already known as some of the sport’s most colorful.
Together, Rapha and EF will celebrate the team’s characters and heroes, and will explore not only the traditional heart of cycling in the Grand Tours and Classics but also bring new formats and disciplines into focus. A number of EF racers will ride a mixed calendar of events in the 2019 season, including the WorldTour schedule and also criteriums, ultra-endurance races and renowned mixed-terrain events. This coverage will be coupled with live events in Rapha Clubhouses and other venues around the world, building on the local cycling communities that the brand has been developing since the company’s inception.
Building on Rapha’s previous success in the WorldTour and race-proven range of Pro Team kit, the team will wear the most technically advanced and visually striking clothing in the professional peloton. The new designs will be released soon.
Simon Mottram said: “Rapha started in 2004 because of my own love for road racing. Racing has always been something that inspires us and our customers – it’s our common ground. Through our sponsorships with Rapha-Condor, Rapha Focus, Team Sky, Team WIGGINS and CANYON//SRAM, we’ve had great success, but are still frustrated that the sport can only grow if it fundamentally reforms. For this reason, we are excited to play a role in moving the sport forwards through the new venture with EF. We are passionate about making it reach more fans and be a better spectacle so that more people come to appreciate how great it is. As a fan, I’m so excited about us being back in the men’s WorldTour.”
Jonathan Vaughters said: “Rapha is a great partner for us, from their world-class kit to the cycling culture we both want to help grow. We aim to open up cycling to a wider group of people; we’re interested in exploring all aspects of the community, from racing and its core fans to the people who just got on bikes. By bringing some of our athletes to grassroots and mainstream races across the world, we’re hoping to deepen the relationship between our team and other riders, and have some fun while we’re at it. We’re also going to give people more insight into the sport than before, showing a rare, unvarnished perspective of these athletes’ lives. The human element of cycling is very, very powerful. And as for the kit… we look forward to building on the strong visual identity forged by POC and bringing our style into a new chapter. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”
By showing a true portrait of the riders and engaging at both the sport’s pinnacle and outskirts, Rapha and EF Pro Cycling will give fans plenty of reasons to cheer in 2019 and beyond.

About EF Education First:
EF Education First is an international education company that focuses on language, academics, and cultural experience. Founded in 1965, EF has more than 580 offices and schools in over 50 countries. Moved by the powerful way cycling unites people of diverse backgrounds in a peaceful, fun, and friendly way to achieve extraordinary athletic feats, EF entered professional cycling in 2018 to help spread its mission of “opening the world through education.”

About Rapha:
Rapha was established in 2004 to address a need for stylish, high performance cycling clothing. It now provides products for every road cyclist and continues to push the boundaries of innovation in cyclewear. Alongside this, Rapha has cultivated a global community of passionate cyclists who come together as members of the Rapha Cycling Club (RCC), the largest club of its kind in the world. Rapha’s retail model and unique brand values come to life in its many rides and events and global network of Clubhouses that combine retail, a café and cycling culture under the same roof.