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VAIL, Colorado (VN) — There’s a sense of urgency buzzing through the North American peloton at this week’s Colorado Classic. For many riders, the four-day race represents one final opportunity to score a major result before the season’s end.
“Some guys took a rest before Colorado but not me because this is the last race of the season,” said Serghei Tvetcov of UnitedHealthcare. “When I want a rest, I rest after this.”
The approaching off-season comes unseasonably early this year. In the past riders often looked to September’s Tour of Alberta and Bucks County Classic as the official end to the season. That’s not the case this year, with Alberta shuttering after the 2017 edition and the Bucks County Classic downgrading to a one-day criterium devoid of UCI classification. North America’s WorldTour squads will compete in September’s WorldTour events in Quebec City and Montreal, however, those races do not allow Pro Continental teams to compete without an invitation.
Rally Pro Cycling is the only lower-tier North American team to have received an invitation for the 2019 edition of those events.
There are also two races remaining on USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, the Gateway Cup race in Missouri and the Thomson Criterium in Pennsylvania. Neither race holds UCI standing.
The Colorado Classic has benefitted from this shifting dynamic. It now holds a higher level of importance within the North American calendar.
“Utah and Colorado are the second- and third-biggest races for us now,” said Jonas Carney, performance manager for Rally Cycling. “It’s become a major priority for our team.”
This year the four-day race holds 2.HC standing within the UCI, which puts it on level standing with the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Tour of Denmark, and Arctic Race of Norway, among other races. The race’s close proximity to the Tour of Utah has also attracted a smattering of WorldTour squads, lured by UCI points and the presence of media. In addition to U.S.-based Team EF Education First-Drapac, Mitchelton-Scott, LottoNL-Jumbo, and Trek-Segafredo are in attendance at this year’s event.
And the race’s short, punchy stages, and six-man teams has created an unpredictable format that is unlike what is found at other road races.
“For me, [Colorado] is as important as the [Amgen Tour of] California,” said TJ Eisenhart (Holowesko-Citadel). I prefer this more aggressive style of racing. You’re not doing those 200km days that just drag on. There’s not one team that can control the racing.”
Axel Merckx, director of the Hagens Berman Axeon U23 development team, said the Colorado race has become an important proving ground for his team’s younger, less-experienced riders. This year Axeon’s veteran riders targeted the Amgen Tour of California as well as stage races and one-day events across Europe. The team’s younger riders, however, have had fewer opportunities to race, due to the dwindling U.S. calendar.
“The amount of races in the U.S. is now very poor and for those [younger] guys it gives them the opportunity to race at a pretty high level. Not the highest, but a pretty high level,” Merckx said. “It’s a valuable place to have a race for us.”
Merckx said Colorado’s spot on the calendar does create drawbacks. The Tour of Utah is perhaps the most challenging event in the U.S. with, soaring climbs at high altitude. The tight turnaround between Utah and Colorado — riders had just four days to rest and recover between races — has left many riders with tired legs this week.
“I understand and recognize that [the schedule] is about keeping the WorldTour teams over here — if you added a week of rest then the WorldTour teams may not want to stay,” Merckx said. “Right now 10 days of racing in two weeks is not ideal. The guys only have two days of real rest due to travel.”
Indeed riders looked exhausted as they trickled across the line after Thursday’s opening circuit race in Vail. The course included multiple punchy climbs at 8,000 feet of elevation.
The effort was too much for Colorado native Keegan Swirbul (Jelly Belly-Maxxis), who was gapped off the back and finished more than a minute down Thursday. It was an unusual finish for Swirbul, who finished seventh overall at the Tour of Utah and is one of the country’s best up-and-coming climbers.
The 22-year-old said the combined effort of Utah and Colorado was simply too much for his tired legs.
“I’m messed up. I talked to a few guys who were out there fighting every day in Utah and they said they’re messed up too,” Swirbul said. “It’s hard. You think you’d be able to recover but Utah is just so hard. It catches up with you.”
Read the full article at Colorado Classic gains importance amid domestic racing slump on

Operacion Puerto, the Spanish blood-doping ring dating back to 2006, isn’t dead yet.
According to the Spanish daily AS, officials are still pushing for the release of names of athletes linked to the doping ring headed up by Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes.
According to AS, the World Anti-Doping agency is trying to reveal the names of 26 men and three women whose identities are confirmed via blood bags collected in police raids in May 2006. Authorities want to at least give official notification to the respective governing bodies.
Dozens of professional cyclists, as well as other professional athletes from athletics, triathlon and other sports, were linked to one of the largest doping rings ever uncovered in Europe.
Most of the names were never released and Spanish courts blocked previous efforts to reveal the names. The case was mired in a string of complicated legal issues involving privacy, statute of limitations and the reach of anti-doping laws in Spain at the time of the raids in May 2006. Once a long-running trial ended in Spain in 2016, WADA was handed custody of many of the infamous blood bags linked to Fuentes.
Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde eventually served a two-year ban when he was linked to one of the blood bags taken from Fuentes’s labs. Several other top pros, including Thomas Dekker, Tyler Hamilton, Jan Ullrich, Jorg Jaksche, and Ivan Basso, later admitted their links to the doping conspiracy.
Several others, however, remain unknown. That could change as WADA continues to put pressure on the case and AS reported that the world anti-doping body will address the issue during its annual meeting next month.
Read the full article at Puerto names still might come out on

Where will the Ryder Cup be held once it returns to Europe four years from now?Where Is The Ryder Cup In 2022?
The 2018 Ryder Cup is about to begin in Paris at Le Golf National which will be only the second time the event has been held outside of Great Britain and on continental Europe.
But four years from now where will the next European Ryder Cup take place?
Well for the first time ever, the event will be held in Italy, at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.
The Italian bid to host the event narrowly defeated bids from Spain and Germany.
One of the reasons Italy secured the 2022 event was because of their commitment to rejuvenating the Italian Open especially in terms of money.
In 2015, the tournament had a €1.5 million pot but that doubled in 2016 and that is going to continue to increase too.
This made the Italian bid particularly attractive to Keith Pelley, the chief executive of the European Tour who has the ambition of creating a viable alternative to the PGA Tour in the United States.
As a result, Italy won.
“We have exciting plans for the development of the European Tour,” Pelley stated. “Italy shares this ambition. Their commitment to the Italian Open will provide an inspiring benchmark.”
A general view of the 18th hole and clubhouse at the Marco Simone golf course (Getty Images)
Situated around the 11th century Marco Simone castle, the course which hosted the 1994 Italian Open, will be completely reconstructed to become ready for the 2022 event.
Designed by Jim Fazio in the late 1980’s, his son Tom will be helping with those alterations.
Fazio said, ” I will be working with Jeremy Slassor from European Golf Design. Currently we do have some preliminary designs. We are all very excited to see the Ryder Cup going to Italy.”
Article continues below


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Future Ryder Cup Hosts
2018 – Le Golf National, Paris, France
2020 – Whistling Straits, Wisconsin, USA
2022 – Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, Rome, Italy
2024 – Bethpage Black, New York, USA
2026 – TBC
2028 – Hazeltine National Golf Club, Minnesota, USA
2030 – TBC
2032 – The Olympic Club, California, USA
For all the news relating to the Ryder Cup, follow Golf Monthly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This article Where Is The Ryder Cup In 2022? appeared first on Golf Monthly.

Show your patriotic side with Callaway's new Euro and Stars & Stripes Chrome Soft golf ballsCallaway Chrome Soft Europe And Stars & Stripes Truvis Balls Launched
There’s a certain USA vs Europe match coming up next month in Paris and here is your chance to get into the spirit.
Callaway has just launched its new Chrome Soft European and Stars & Stripes Truvis golf balls – which will you go for?
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The balls retail at £37.99 and go on sale here in the UK on Monday 20th August.
Both balls feature the Truvis pattern which has been designed to help you see your golf ball better while in flight.


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Just like the regular Chrome Soft, the balls feature Callaway’s new graphene-infused Dual Soft Fast Core, which comes with a larger inner core to maximise compression energy to keep driver spin low and launch high for increased distance.
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The Dual Core is said to increase distance on the longer clubs yet also increase control in the scoring areas.
The Chrome Soft Truvis balls come with the same tour urethane cover as the regular Chrome Soft, which comes with a soft feel and increases spin on your pitches and chip shots around the green.
The ball is also said to compress easier on off-centre strikes for added distance on mishits.
This article Callaway Chrome Soft Europe And Stars & Stripes Truvis Balls Launched appeared first on Golf Monthly.

Here we take a look at some interesting facts about 2018 Ryder Cup vice captain Luke Donald16 Things You Didn’t Know About Luke Donald
Luke Donald makes his debut as a Ryder Cup vice captain this year alongside Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson.
The five vice captains will be working under Dane Thomas Bjorn as Europe seek to regain the Ryder Cup after losing it 17-11 at Hazeltine in 2016.16 Things You Didn’t Know About Luke Donald:
1. He went to Northwestern University in Chicago
2. He has lived in Chicago ever since, although he has recently put his home on the market and is basing himself in Jupiter, Florida
3. He turned pro in 2001
4. He married his wife Diane in 2007 in Santorini, Greece. They have three daughters – Elle, Sophia and Georgina
5. Donald was world number one for 56 weeks
6. He was awarded an MBE in 2012 for services to golf
7. Became the first person to win the money lists on the PGA Tour and European Tour in the same season in 2011
8. In 1999, he won the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships men’s title, beating Tiger Woods’ scoring record
9. He became the first amateur to win the Chicago Open in 2000
10. He has a passion for wine and even brought out a Luke Donald Collection of wines in 2018
11. Was made an honourary life member of the European Tour in 2012
12. He was signed with Top Flite in his early days as a pro (they owned the brands Strata and Ben Hogan which he used). He has been with Mizuno since 2004
Donald seen in 2002
13. His brother Christian caddied for him until 2009. He was with Paul Casey from 2009-2011, Martin Kaymer from 2011-2012 and is currently on the bag of Brendan Steele
14. His career on-course earnings are just shy of $36m
15. During his spell as world number one in 2011 he was working with elite performance coach Dave Alred, who helped Jonny Wilkinson and more recently, Francesco Molinari
16. He was club champion at Beaconsfield Golf Club aged 15
This article 16 Things You Didn’t Know About Luke Donald appeared first on Golf Monthly.

Who are the Ryder Cup captains for the 2018 event at Le Golf National in Paris? Find out hereRyder Cup Captains
The captains for the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National were announced as early as 2016.
For Europe, the big Dane Thomas Bjorn was selected by a five-man panel made up of former Ryder Cup players Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, and Jose Maria Olazabal, along with current player Henrik Stenson and the Chief Executive of the European Tour, Keith Pelley.
Bjorn was announced as the European captain on December 6th 2016.
The United States captain is Jim Furyk who was announced on the 11th of January 2017.Vice Captains
Bjorn, looking to get revenge for the European loss at Hazeltine in 2016, has selected five vice-captains to help him ensure victory.
Bjorn with his five vice-captains (Getty Images)
Some of the finest golfers Europe has ever produced, Bjorn selected 3-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, former world number one’s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell and finally, the 2008 European Tour Order of Merit winner, Robert Karlsson, to be his vice captains in Paris.
Woods was a vice-captain in 2016 (Getty Images)
Furyk has named three assistants too. He picked victorious 2016 Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III, Steve Stricker and the great Tiger Woods. However Tiger has said he wishes to play in the event and considering his form this year which has been superb, it would take a bold move for him not to get into the team.
As a result, Furyk will likely pick another assistant but this has not been confirmed yet.
Related: How Do Ryder Cup Teams Look Right NowWhen Do They Announce Their Picks?
The captains have one of the biggest responsibilities of the event, picking the final spots on each respective team.
As of right now Europe have 8 spots filled and Bjorn will select the final four spots when the team is finalised on September 5th.
The United States and Furyk will make his selections differently. He will make three picks after the Dell Technologies Championship which is schedule for September 3rd. He will then make his final selection after the BMW Championship which takes place from the 8th of September.
Who do you think either captain should pick?
Stay up to date with all the news regarding the Ryder Cup by following Golf Monthly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
This article Ryder Cup Captains appeared first on Golf Monthly.