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Fabio Jakobsen snagged the 72nd season victory for Quick-Step Floors at the Tour of Guangxi on Thursday.
Jakobsen won stage 3 of the six-day race in a sprint thanks to a well-timed move off his competitors’ wheels at the end of the 125-kilometer route. Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Max Walscheid (Team Sunweb) placed second and third.
“It was again tense today, but it’s always like that in a mass sprint. The team put their faith in me and I trusted them,” Jakobsen said. “On the previous stages I made some mistakes, as I was a bit too nervous and eager, but today I remained calm and followed [Davide] Martinelli, who did a great job. I am very happy with this victory, my second in the WorldTour, and I want to thank my teammates for all they’ve done for me.”
The win put Jakobsen into the overall lead, as he now holds a 4-second advantage over Ackermann and a 6-second edge over Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo).
This is the 22-year-old Jakobsen’s first year in the WorldTour, and he has made it count with six victories — four stage wins and triumphs at Scheldeprijs and Nokere Koerse.
“It’s been a truly fantastic season, one that will be remembered years from now,” he said. “Everybody worked really hard since last winter, we were always focused and committed on giving everything and making the most out of every opportunity regardless of the race. This massive haul of wins comes as confirmation of the amazing job we’ve done as a team, as a family.”
The Tour of Guangxi resumes Friday with stage 4, a 152km route from Nanning to Nongla.
Gree-Tour of Guangxi Stage 3 ResultsStage
GC
Points
Mountains
Youth
Teams
RankNameTeamTime1JAKOBSEN FabioQuick-Step Floors2:43:542ACKERMANN PascalBORA - hansgrohe,,3WALSCHEID MaxTeam Sunweb ,,4GROENEWEGEN DylanTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,5DÉMARE ArnaudGroupama - FDJ,,6MINALI RiccardoAstana Pro Team,,7WOUTERS EnzoLotto Soudal,,8MEZGEC LukaMitchelton-Scott,,9VENTURINI ClémentAG2R La Mondiale,,10KLUGE RogerMitchelton-Scott,,11BIERMANS JentheTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,12HOULE HugoAstana Pro Team,,13MIRZA YousifUAE-Team Emirates,,14ARASHIRO YukiyaBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,15BARBERO CarlosMovistar Team,,16TROIA OlivieroUAE-Team Emirates,,17NAESEN LawrenceLotto Soudal,,18MCLAY DanielTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,19VUILLERMOZ AlexisAG2R La Mondiale,,20FENG Chun KaiBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,21BERNARD JulienTrek - Segafredo,,22TRENTIN MatteoMitchelton-Scott,,23MULLEN RyanTrek - Segafredo,,24SELIG RüdigerBORA - hansgrohe,,25VAN DEN BERG JuliusTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,26POLANC JanUAE-Team Emirates,,27MAGNUSSON KimTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,28JANSE VAN RENSBURG ReinardtTeam Dimension Data,,29BERHANE NatnaelTeam Dimension Data,,30DE VREESE LaurensAstana Pro Team,,31BASSO LeonardoTeam Sky,,32STUYVEN JasperTrek - Segafredo,,33SEIGLE RomainGroupama - FDJ,,34CHERNETSKI SergeiAstana Pro Team,,35SÜTTERLIN JashaMovistar Team,,36KRAGH ANDERSEN SørenTeam Sunweb ,,37DUVAL JulienAG2R La Mondiale,,38SIVAKOV PavelTeam Sky,,39PERNSTEINER HermannBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,40DLAMINI NicTeam Dimension Data,,41DILLIER SilvanAG2R La Mondiale,,42ROELANDTS JürgenBMC Racing Team,,43ARCAS JorgeMovistar Team,,44CAVAGNA RémiQuick-Step Floors,,45KUSS SeppTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,46MOSCON GianniTeam Sky,,47FERNÁNDEZ RubénMovistar Team,,48QUINTANA DayerMovistar Team,,49MERTZ RémyLotto Soudal,,50DOULL OwainTeam Sky,,51KUZNETSOV VyacheslavTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,52DEVENYNS DriesQuick-Step Floors,,53GRIVKO AndreyAstana Pro Team,,54BRAMBILLA GianlucaTrek - Segafredo,,55HAMILTON LucasMitchelton-Scott,,56DUNBAR EddieTeam Sky,,57GILBERT PhilippeQuick-Step Floors,,58KÜNG StefanBMC Racing Team,,59FRAME AlexTrek - Segafredo,,60DOWSETT AlexTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,61VANMARCKE SepTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,62HALLER MarcoTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,63ARMÉE SanderLotto Soudal,,64GROßSCHARTNER FelixBORA - hansgrohe,,65EISEL BernhardTeam Dimension Data,,66SCHACHMANN MaximilianQuick-Step Floors,,67THOMSON Jay RobertTeam Dimension Data,,68GONÇALVES JoséTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,69WANG MeiyinBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,70TUSVELD MartijnTeam Sunweb ,,71SWIFT BenUAE-Team Emirates,,72BOARO ManueleBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,73VANDENBERGH StijnAG2R La Mondiale,,74VAN HOECKE GijsTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,75VAN HOOYDONCK NathanBMC Racing Team,,76SÁNCHEZ Luis LeónAstana Pro Team,,77DIBBEN JonathanTeam Sky,,78VILLELLA DavideAstana Pro Team,,79PARET-PEINTRE AurélienAG2R La Mondiale,,80VAN DER SANDE ToshLotto Soudal,,81MARTIN TonyTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,82DEBESAY MeksebTeam Dimension Data,,83DOUGALL NicTeam Dimension Data,,84SCHILLINGER AndreasBORA - hansgrohe,,85VERONA CarlosMitchelton-Scott,,86KENNAUGH PeterBORA - hansgrohe,,87ROOSEN TimoTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,88VISCONTI GiovanniBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,89RAST GrégoryTrek - Segafredo,,90VANHOUCKE HarmLotto Soudal,,91BAŠKA ErikBORA - hansgrohe,,92POWLESS NeilsonTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,93MARTINELLI DavideQuick-Step Floors,,94RIABUSHENKO AlexandrUAE-Team Emirates,,95URÁN RigobertoTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,96CARTHY HughTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,97PLANCKAERT BaptisteTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,98BETANCUR CarlosMovistar Team,,99AGNOLI ValerioBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,100HANSEN AdamLotto Soudal,,101ARMIRAIL BrunoGroupama - FDJ,,102ANACONA WinnerMovistar Team,,103CLARKE WillTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,104DANIEL GregoryTrek - Segafredo,,105MEYER CameronMitchelton-Scott,,106EENKHOORN PascalTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,107GESCHKE SimonTeam Sunweb ,,108HOFSTEDE LennardTeam Sunweb ,,109LÓPEZ DavidTeam Sky,,110ARU FabioUAE-Team Emirates,,111SCHÄR MichaelBMC Racing Team,,112SCOTSON MilesBMC Racing Team,,113DOMONT AxelAG2R La Mondiale,,114DELAGE MickaëlGroupama - FDJ,,115KÄMNA LennardTeam Sunweb ,,116BONO MatteoUAE-Team Emirates,,117SINKELDAM RamonGroupama - FDJ,,118BEWLEY SamMitchelton-Scott,,119JANSEN Amund GrøndahlTeam LottoNL-Jumbo0:24120SCHWARZMANN MichaelBORA - hansgrohe,,121HAGA ChadTeam Sunweb 1:07122LE GAC OlivierGroupama - FDJ,,RankNameTeamTime1JAKOBSEN FabioQuick-Step Floors8:24:172ACKERMANN PascalBORA - hansgrohe0:043GROENEWEGEN DylanTeam LottoNL-Jumbo0:064WALSCHEID MaxTeam Sunweb 0:105DILLIER SilvanAG2R La Mondiale0:126GRIVKO AndreyAstana Pro Team,,7CAVAGNA RémiQuick-Step Floors,,8DOWSETT AlexTeam Katusha - Alpecin0:149DOULL OwainTeam Sky0:1510SÜTTERLIN JashaMovistar Team0:1711HALLER MarcoTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,12BOARO ManueleBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team0:1813VAN HOOYDONCK NathanBMC Racing Team,,14THOMSON Jay RobertTeam Dimension Data0:1915DÉMARE ArnaudGroupama - FDJ0:2016VENTURINI ClémentAG2R La Mondiale,,17WOUTERS EnzoLotto Soudal,,18MINALI RiccardoAstana Pro Team,,19TRENTIN MatteoMitchelton-Scott,,20BIERMANS JentheTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,21JANSE VAN RENSBURG ReinardtTeam Dimension Data,,22VUILLERMOZ AlexisAG2R La Mondiale,,23STUYVEN JasperTrek - Segafredo,,24MCLAY DanielTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,25MEZGEC LukaMitchelton-Scott,,26BARBERO CarlosMovistar Team,,27ARASHIRO YukiyaBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,28ROELANDTS JürgenBMC Racing Team,,29DUVAL JulienAG2R La Mondiale,,30BERHANE NatnaelTeam Dimension Data,,31BASSO LeonardoTeam Sky,,32NAESEN LawrenceLotto Soudal,,33KUZNETSOV VyacheslavTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,34FENG Chun KaiBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,35BERNARD JulienTrek - Segafredo,,36POLANC JanUAE-Team Emirates,,37SELIG RüdigerBORA - hansgrohe,,38DE VREESE LaurensAstana Pro Team,,39BRAMBILLA GianlucaTrek - Segafredo,,40MOSCON GianniTeam Sky,,41CHERNETSKI SergeiAstana Pro Team,,42SEIGLE RomainGroupama - FDJ,,43QUINTANA DayerMovistar Team,,44KRAGH ANDERSEN SørenTeam Sunweb ,,45HOULE HugoAstana Pro Team,,46SIVAKOV PavelTeam Sky,,47ARCAS JorgeMovistar Team,,48HAMILTON LucasMitchelton-Scott,,49KÜNG StefanBMC Racing Team,,50DUNBAR EddieTeam Sky,,51SCHACHMANN MaximilianQuick-Step Floors,,52GROßSCHARTNER FelixBORA - hansgrohe,,53FERNÁNDEZ RubénMovistar Team,,54PERNSTEINER HermannBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,55GILBERT PhilippeQuick-Step Floors,,56MAGNUSSON KimTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,57DEVENYNS DriesQuick-Step Floors,,58DLAMINI NicTeam Dimension Data,,59VAN DER SANDE ToshLotto Soudal,,60RIABUSHENKO AlexandrUAE-Team Emirates,,61ARMÉE SanderLotto Soudal,,62MULLEN RyanTrek - Segafredo,,63SINKELDAM RamonGroupama - FDJ,,64MERTZ RémyLotto Soudal,,65GONÇALVES JoséTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,66SÁNCHEZ Luis LeónAstana Pro Team,,67SCHILLINGER AndreasBORA - hansgrohe,,68KUSS SeppTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,69SWIFT BenUAE-Team Emirates,,70WANG MeiyinBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,71TUSVELD MartijnTeam Sunweb ,,72VILLELLA DavideAstana Pro Team,,73MARTIN TonyTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,74VANDENBERGH StijnAG2R La Mondiale,,75PARET-PEINTRE AurélienAG2R La Mondiale,,76VISCONTI GiovanniBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,77VAN HOECKE GijsTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,78CARTHY HughTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,79KENNAUGH PeterBORA - hansgrohe,,80DOMONT AxelAG2R La Mondiale,,81URÁN RigobertoTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,82ARU FabioUAE-Team Emirates,,83VERONA CarlosMitchelton-Scott,,84AGNOLI ValerioBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,85ROOSEN TimoTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,86HANSEN AdamLotto Soudal,,87ANACONA WinnerMovistar Team,,88VANHOUCKE HarmLotto Soudal,,89POWLESS NeilsonTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,90GESCHKE SimonTeam Sunweb ,,91MEYER CameronMitchelton-Scott,,92MARTINELLI DavideQuick-Step Floors,,93BETANCUR CarlosMovistar Team,,94DEBESAY MeksebTeam Dimension Data,,95LÓPEZ DavidTeam Sky,,96DANIEL GregoryTrek - Segafredo,,97HOFSTEDE LennardTeam Sunweb ,,98SCOTSON MilesBMC Racing Team,,99BONO MatteoUAE-Team Emirates,,100SCHÄR MichaelBMC Racing Team,,101KÄMNA LennardTeam Sunweb ,,102KLUGE RogerMitchelton-Scott0:36103RAST GrégoryTrek - Segafredo,,104FRAME AlexTrek - Segafredo0:39105VAN DEN BERG JuliusTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:40106EISEL BernhardTeam Dimension Data,,107SCHWARZMANN MichaelBORA - hansgrohe0:44108BAŠKA ErikBORA - hansgrohe0:46109DOUGALL NicTeam Dimension Data0:48110PLANCKAERT BaptisteTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,111TROIA OlivieroUAE-Team Emirates0:49112DELAGE MickaëlGroupama - FDJ1:01113VANMARCKE SepTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale1:18114BEWLEY SamMitchelton-Scott1:24115HAGA ChadTeam Sunweb 1:27116JANSEN Amund GrøndahlTeam LottoNL-Jumbo1:30117CLARKE WillTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale1:33118MIRZA YousifUAE-Team Emirates1:59119ARMIRAIL BrunoGroupama - FDJ2:01120LE GAC OlivierGroupama - FDJ2:09121EENKHOORN PascalTeam LottoNL-Jumbo3:37122DIBBEN JonathanTeam Sky6:51RankNameTeamPoints1JAKOBSEN FabioQuick-Step Floors332ACKERMANN PascalBORA - hansgrohe323GROENEWEGEN DylanTeam LottoNL-Jumbo304WALSCHEID MaxTeam Sunweb 235DILLIER SilvanAG2R La Mondiale166CAVAGNA RémiQuick-Step Floors167GRIVKO AndreyAstana Pro Team168DOWSETT AlexTeam Katusha - Alpecin129DOULL OwainTeam Sky1010DÉMARE ArnaudGroupama - FDJ1011TRENTIN MatteoMitchelton-Scott1012VENTURINI ClémentAG2R La Mondiale913WOUTERS EnzoLotto Soudal814NAESEN LawrenceLotto Soudal715SÜTTERLIN JashaMovistar Team616HALLER MarcoTeam Katusha - Alpecin617MINALI RiccardoAstana Pro Team518JANSE VAN RENSBURG ReinardtTeam Dimension Data519BOARO ManueleBahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team420VAN HOOYDONCK NathanBMC Racing Team421MIRZA YousifUAE-Team Emirates422BIERMANS JentheTeam Katusha - Alpecin323STUYVEN JasperTrek - Segafredo324MEZGEC LukaMitchelton-Scott325THOMSON Jay RobertTeam Dimension Data226MCLAY DanielTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale127KLUGE RogerMitchelton-Scott1RankNameTeamPoints1DILLIER SilvanAG2R La Mondiale32KENNAUGH PeterBORA - hansgrohe33MIRZA YousifUAE-Team Emirates24MOSCON GianniTeam Sky25SÜTTERLIN JashaMovistar Team16GRIVKO AndreyAstana Pro Team1RankNameTeamTime1JAKOBSEN FabioQuick-Step Floors8:24:172ACKERMANN PascalBORA - hansgrohe0:043GROENEWEGEN DylanTeam LottoNL-Jumbo0:064WALSCHEID MaxTeam Sunweb 0:105CAVAGNA RémiQuick-Step Floors0:126DOULL OwainTeam Sky0:157VAN HOOYDONCK NathanBMC Racing Team0:188VENTURINI ClémentAG2R La Mondiale0:209WOUTERS EnzoLotto Soudal,,10MINALI RiccardoAstana Pro Team,,11BIERMANS JentheTeam Katusha - Alpecin,,12BASSO LeonardoTeam Sky,,13MOSCON GianniTeam Sky,,14SEIGLE RomainGroupama - FDJ,,15KRAGH ANDERSEN SørenTeam Sunweb ,,16SIVAKOV PavelTeam Sky,,17HAMILTON LucasMitchelton-Scott,,18KÜNG StefanBMC Racing Team,,19DUNBAR EddieTeam Sky,,20SCHACHMANN MaximilianQuick-Step Floors,,21GROßSCHARTNER FelixBORA - hansgrohe,,22DLAMINI NicTeam Dimension Data,,23RIABUSHENKO AlexandrUAE-Team Emirates,,24MULLEN RyanTrek - Segafredo,,25MERTZ RémyLotto Soudal,,26KUSS SeppTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,27TUSVELD MartijnTeam Sunweb ,,28PARET-PEINTRE AurélienAG2R La Mondiale,,29CARTHY HughTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,30ROOSEN TimoTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,31VANHOUCKE HarmLotto Soudal,,32POWLESS NeilsonTeam LottoNL-Jumbo,,33MARTINELLI DavideQuick-Step Floors,,34DANIEL GregoryTrek - Segafredo,,35HOFSTEDE LennardTeam Sunweb ,,36SCOTSON MilesBMC Racing Team,,37KÄMNA LennardTeam Sunweb ,,38FRAME AlexTrek - Segafredo0:3939VAN DEN BERG JuliusTeam EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale0:4040BAŠKA ErikBORA - hansgrohe0:4641TROIA OlivieroUAE-Team Emirates0:4942JANSEN Amund GrøndahlTeam LottoNL-Jumbo1:3043ARMIRAIL BrunoGroupama - FDJ2:0144LE GAC OlivierGroupama - FDJ2:0945EENKHOORN PascalTeam LottoNL-Jumbo3:3746DIBBEN JonathanTeam Sky6:51RankNameTime1AG2R La Mondiale 25:13:512Mitchelton-Scott,,3Astana Pro Team,,4Trek - Segafredo,,5Lotto Soudal,,6UAE-Team Emirates,,7BORA - hansgrohe,,8Team Sky,,9Team Katusha - Alpecin,,10Groupama - FDJ,,11Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale,,12Movistar Team,,13Team Dimension Data,,14Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team,,15Quick-Step Floors,,16Team Sunweb ,,17Team LottoNL-Jumbo,,18BMC Racing Team,,Results provided by ProCyclingStats.
Read the full article at Tour of Guangxi: Rookie Jakobsen grabs stage 3 victory on VeloNews.com.

NANNING, China (VN) — American Neilson Powless is completing a dream. He always wanted to be a professional athlete, and his first year doing so ends at China’s Tour of Guangxi.
The 22-year-old is racing through China in LottoNL-Jumbo’s yellow colors and gaining experience to add to his 2017 debut at the WorldTour level.
“This is the dream, what I was trying to accomplish for a long time without even knowing it,” Powless told VeloNews.
“I was running and doing triathlons in high school, and not even a cyclist until I was out of high school and racing in the under-23 ranks. This year put me in that role, the dream of being a professional athlete. I love it.”
His teammates joked as they prepared for stage 3 in Nanning, a city of 6.9 million. The roster also includes first year WorldTour professional Sepp Kuss.
“This is a relaxed team, we have a lot of success with that mindset,” Powless continued.
“Everyone is super approachable and willing to help where they can. It’s been awesome to be part of a team like that. I thank them for their faith and developing a couple of young Americans with me and Sepp.”
Kuss won the Tour Utah and raced the Vuelta a España, which was a rare exception for the team to allow a first year rider to participate in a grand tour. Powless showed promise all the way through 2018, including a stunning ride over nearly 300 kilometers in the Milano-Sanremo Italian monument.
“I’ll keep improving day in and day out, getting the most out of myself. The team had done a really good job of developing riders, you have to trust the team and I did a really good job with that. And I’m having fun with it at the same time,” he added.
“I’m not thinking about [already proving myself for a 2020 contract]. As long as I’m improving, doing my job properly. I haven’t thought about it too much. I am just making sure I am getting the most out of myself.”
window.iad_1 = googletag.defineSlot('/21732621108/velonews', [300, 250], 'ad-iad-1').defineSizeMapping(szmp_3x2).addService(googletag.pubads());googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('ad-iad-1'); });Powless raced several WorldTour events like Milano-Sanremo and the Critérium du Dauphiné this season. He also helped his squad win the team time trial at the Tour of Britain.
The Tour of Guangxi will wrap up Sunday, which means Powless will have raced for roughly 65 days this year.
“It’s been a pretty long one, starting in January and finishing in October. My longest season to date. I’ve learned a lot,” Powless said.
“The team has done well in preparing me on how to fuel myself and training me to prepare for longer races. It’s more mentally challenging than physically.
“It’s about learning the lifestyle and getting used to it. Learning how to prepare for races properly than be smashing them all year. In your first couple of years, at least, I think it’s difficult to do that. You have to be real with yourself and make sure you are fit for the races where you are expected to perform.
“It was a lot of race days. In every race at this level, you come away with something. I want to capitalize on it and take it into next year. I definitely learned a lot. Going into 2019, I’ll be able to look back on this year at what I learned and capitalize on it if my fitness is good.”
Read the full article at Powless closes ‘dream’ rookie season at Chinese race on VeloNews.com.

Team Sunweb continues to shake up its lineup looking ahead to 2019.
On Wednesday, it confirmed the arrival of Belgian pro Jan Bakelants and the departure of once-touted Edward Theuns.
In a team statement, Theuns said he didn’t fit into the Sunweb system and asked to be released despite having one year left on his contract.
“It’s been a tough year for me mentally and physically,” Theuns said. “I tried to adapt to the team’s way of working, but it didn’t really work out for me. We differ in vision so we decided it would be best to end the contract.”
Theuns, 27, raced the Tour de France with Sunweb this year but did not win a race in his first year of a two-year deal with Sunweb after coming across from Trek-Segafredo. The Belgian’s won seven races in his career, with the last coming in 2017.
“I already have a new team,” Theuns told Sporza. “More information will be forthcoming. I will let the [new] team make the announcement.”
According to Sunweb officials, the two parties separate on mutual agreement on “good terms.”
“Following extensive talks, we realized that our visions different too much and lack the common strong foundation that is required to continue working together,” said Rudi Kemna, Sunweb’s head of coaching. “Giving Edward the opportunity and freedom to continue his career elsewhere is only the right decision.”
Along with Theuns, there are some other key departures for 2019. Simon Geschke, a Tour de France stage-winner and key helper, is heading to CCC Team along with experienced domestique Laurens Ten Dam. Mike Teunissen and Lennard Hofstede are heading to LottoNL-Jumbo while Phil Bauhaus to Bahrain-Merida.
Sunweb is aiming to rebuild its core around some important signings. Bakelandts and Nicolas Roche arrive from BMC Racing, providing some experience, but the team is betting once again on youth. Robert Power moves across from Mitchelton-Scott while Casper Pedersen joins in the wake of the Aqua Blue closure. Cees Bol and Asborn Kragh Andersen, older brother of Sunweb rider Soren Kragh Andersen, both bump into the WorldTour and Marc Hirschi, Max Kanter and Joris Nieuwenhuis are promoted from Sunweb’s development program.
window.iad_1 = googletag.defineSlot('/21732621108/velonews', [300, 250], 'ad-iad-1').defineSizeMapping(szmp_3x2).addService(googletag.pubads());googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('ad-iad-1'); });The core of the team remains centered around Tom Dumoulin, who is expected to target the Tour next year after finishing second in both the Giro d’Italia and Tour in 2017. Wilco Kelderman, Michael Matthews, and the ever-improving Sam Oomen will see leadership roles in key races. Chad Haga remains the lone American on the roster.
Read the full article at Sunweb signs Bakelants, Theuns cuts ties early on VeloNews.com.

The 2019 Tour de France route will be unveiled on October 25 in Paris amid heightened anticipation.
So what will it look like? Officials do their best to keep things under wraps to intensify the sense of intrigue. What race officials strongly deny is that the course is designed with one specific rider in mind.
“We always try to create a balanced route,” Tour technical director Thierry Gouvenou told VeloNews. “We never design a course with one rider in mind. That’s not how we do it.”
Some might question that, especially after the 2012 Tour route that seemed tailor-made for eventual winner Bradley Wiggins. Packed with time trials, Wiggins went on to win Britain’s first yellow jersey and open the era of Sky’s domination of the Tour. Team Sky has won every Tour since 2012, except in 2014 when Chris Froome crashed out and Vincenzo Nibali won.
Though Tour officials are loathe to admit it, it does seem that they like to tilt the course design away from the established favorites and give a glimmer of hope to the would-be challengers. Following the emergence of Primoz Roglic in 2018, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some final-week stages that could favor the explosive climber with strong time trial credentials.
Of course, Gouvenou is quick to point out that many riders share the same qualities, so that’s why they insist that they do not design the course with one rider or team in mind. Some suggested this summer’s route was designed for French hope Romain Bardet, but one could have predicted that Geraint Thomas was going to win the 2018 Tour.
Gouvenou did say that the Tour is pressing to keep innovating when it comes to each year’s course. Gravel, steep climbs, and shorter stages are seeping into the Tour fabric.
“We like to change the course every year and make it unpredictable. We want to force the team to change the way they race,” he said. “We design the course based on many factors, not about a rider or team.”
Gouvenou, along with Tour director Christian Prudhomme and other Tour officials, spend months designing each year’s Tour route.
The process can stretch out over years as officials, led by Prudhomme and his team, work to procure host cities. Contracts are typically hammered out at least one to two years in advance for the Grand Départ. And once they have that in place, officials then plot out the directional flow of the Tour. One of the main questions is which comes first; the Alps or the Pyrénées. After the general layout is in place, that gives Gouvenou, who designs the nitty-gritty details of each stage, plenty of time to fill in the dots.
window.iad_1 = googletag.defineSlot('/21732621108/velonews', [300, 250], 'ad-iad-1').defineSizeMapping(szmp_3x2).addService(googletag.pubads());googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('ad-iad-1'); });Gouvenou and other Tour staffers then dig into maps, contacts and other resources to plot each day’s stage. And once it’s plotted, officials drive each stage from start to finish — usually before the official announcement in October — for one final check.
So what’s going to be new for 2019? There are always rumors of new, undiscovered climbs or dramatic roads.
For Gouvenou, a former pro who took over as technical director when Jean-Francois Pescheux retired in 2014, the Tour wants to find the right balance between innovation and tradition.
“Everyone likes the shorter stages and we have experimented with that over the last few years,” Gouvenou said. “But there is still a place for longer stages. You must make the race hard to keep the character of the Tour. We cannot have 21 stages of 110km each! There is a wide spectrum of distances, but the average is around 180km.”
We already know the race will start July 6 in Brussels for the second time in Tour history. The event will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first of five Tour wins by Eddy Merckx. Next year’s Tour will also mark 100 years since the introduction of the yellow jersey.
The race will open with a road stage reaching across the Flanders and Wallonne regions, giving sprinters a chance for the yellow jersey. The second stage will be a 24km team time trial, a format that always proves decisive in the GC. And we know it will end July 28 in Paris.
There are rumors of a return to the Vosges, more gravel and even suggestions of a climbing time trial up Mont Ventoux. Gouvenou always likes to keep a few surprises up his sleeve. We will find out October 25 in Paris.
Read the full article at Gouvenou on Tour route: ‘We always look for balance’ on VeloNews.com.

For the second time in a week, Sean Bennett was off the front at the Baby Giro.
A short, lumpy stage 6 opened with “pissing rain,” but the clouds had broken by the time the 22-year-old American and three companions were powering into the finale in Pergine Valsugana. As the conditions became clearer on the road, so too did the fact that Bennett might have a real shot at a stage win in one of the world’s premier under-23 races.
“Everyone was working super well and there were two GC climber guys. I wasn’t super worried about them. [Robert] Stannard was the only guy that I was worried about,” the Hagens Berman Axeon rider says, talking to VeloNews by phone this week.
As the kilometers ticked down, Bennett’s team director Axel Merckx told him to take fewer pulls.
“I got to rest a little bit — and then everyone looked to me in the final,” Bennett says.
At the head of the group, as it rolled into the final kilometer, Bennett was in a tough position for the final sprint, but his freshness paid off. He kicked from a few hundred meters out and held off Stannard and the other two escapees to ensure that the top step of the podium would be all his that day in Italy.
Although the Baby Giro isn’t usually headline news in the world of pro cycling, Bennett’s stage win in mid-June was a crucial step in his fast development. Bennett expects to continue progressing in the coming season, but first, here is an inside look at that victory.BENNETT’S 2018 SEASON got underway in February when he joined the Hagens Berman Axeon squad as a “last-minute thing.” A spot on the highly successful U.S.-based development team had opened up when Adrien Costa stepped away from the sport, and Bennett got the call to make the jump. He had ridden on Continental teams, such as Jelly Belly and CCB, but this was a step up to the Pro Continental ranks.
Bennett hit the ground running. Within a few weeks, he was out on the road in Europe, starting a block with few breaks from racing that would last all the way through June.
It did not take long for Bennett to put his talents on display. The spring saw him deliver top-10s in the Istrian Spring Trophy (a stage race in Croatia), the under-23 Gent-Wevelgem, the under-23 Tour of Flanders, and the Tour of the Gila before a promising Amgen Tour of California.
window.iad_1 = googletag.defineSlot('/21732621108/velonews', [300, 250], 'ad-iad-1').defineSizeMapping(szmp_3x2).addService(googletag.pubads());googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('ad-iad-1'); });None of those strong rides actually put him atop the podium, however. He had proven that he was the sort of all-around talent that could be in the mix on a variety of terrains, but a win could put him on the map as an up-and-comer to watch on the American racing scene.
Consistency is a crucial selling point for a young rider looking to impress WorldTour directors, but so too is a winning edge.THE UNDER-23 GIRO D’ITALIA is not a WorldTour race — but WorldTour teams were certainly watching as Bennett showed off his legs and his racing acumen this past June. The event has been an important showcase for young talents over the years, with the likes of Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First-Drapac), and Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) turning in strong performances there early in their careers.
For Bennett, it was an opportunity to use the form he’d built into during a busy spring. Axeon’s biggest season target, the Tour of California, had finished only a few weeks prior.
“It was just kind of race after race, and that was the last race in a big block of stage racing,” he says. “I think really the target during that time for most of the guys was California. I held form up until then.”
Bennett’s form was on full display on a sunny day along California’s Central Coast in May. A lumpy third stage of the Tour of California race saw multiple attacks and regroupings in the closing kilometers, with Toms Skujins jumping into a break on a late climb and then soloing clear. Bennett used his big engine to bridge up to the Latvian WorldTour rider.
The pair was together with a healthy gap to the pack as the Laguna Seca Raceway finishing circuit came into view, but then Skujins shot off the front. Bennett could not follow. Skujins snatched the stage win. Bennett slammed his bars in frustration at the near miss.
Sean Bennett settles for second behind Toms Skujins in stage 3 of the Amgen Tour of California. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for AEGThe stage may not have gone his way, but the form was there. A few weeks later in Italy, Bennett still had something left in the tank, and the drive to turn that into a result. That meant staying alert to breakaway opportunities in Italy.
A versatile rider, Bennett thrives on the attack, battling it out in a small group. He came up through the developmental ranks initially as a mountain biker before transitioning to the road, and he still retains those bike handling skills. He is a strong time trialist who can also climb and packs some punch too.
That whole package came in handy in stage 6 of the Baby Giro.
After rolling out from Dimaro Folgarida for a short, 120.7-kilometer day, Bennett stayed safe on an early, wet descent and then he and Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) jumped clear on the day’s first real climb. They were joined by Alejandro Osorio (GW-Shimano) and Mark Donovan (Team Wiggins), both of whom were in the mix for the general classification. Stannard was in that conversation as well — he ultimately finished third overall at the Baby Giro.
The presence of GC hopefuls in the dangerous move set off alarm bells in the peloton behind, but the firepower off the front proved too much for the pack to match.
“When we hit it, we hit it,” Bennett says. “We put like two minutes on the field with a team chasing us.”
Bennett and Stannard had been off the front together on an earlier stage of the Baby Giro. That move hadn’t quite worked out, but with the peloton two minutes behind in stage 6, Bennett knew that this one would and that the 20-year-old Australian, set to ride with the WorldTour’s Mitchelton-Scott next year, would be the rider to beat in the final moments of the day.
That gap held into the waning kilometers of the stage, when it became clear that the group would stay away. Rain-slicked, narrow roads and an undulating parcours were not a serious problem for Bennett, who started looking to conserve energy as the escape edged closer to the finish line. With teammates Will Barta and João Almeida back in the peloton, he had an excuse to be all in for the stage win.
He found himself on the front of the group heading into the finale, not always the best place to be for a sprint, but his tactics paid off. He wound up to speed with a half kilometer still to go, and just as he’d expected, it was Stannard who mounted the biggest challenge. But Bennett proved to have just enough, eking out the victory ahead of his fellow up-and-comer.
A one-handed air punch at the finish line was the only celebration Bennett dared to risk.
“Stannard was quite close to me. I had like a half bike length on him,” he says. “You don’t know till you know.”
Photo: Chad ChildersA win in one of the world’s top under-23 events proved to any WorldTour outfits keeping an eye on the racing in Italy that Sean Bennett was the real deal. It also proved to Bennett himself that, every now and then, breakaways work out.
“[It proved that] my riding style can pay off. It’s not just all going to fail. That’s something that this year has taught me,” he says.
“If you try as much as you can if you have legs at all, there’s always a possibility. You might as well do it, rather than doing nothing.”BENNETT FINISHED THE BABY GIRO 11th overall after landing in the top 10 in each of the final three stages. He would later finish top-10 at the Grand Prix de Wallonie, a bona fide pro race categorized at the UCI 1.1 level.
His collection of solid results, capped off with a big victory against some of the top up-and-comers in the sport, was just the sort of season Bennett needed. After just one year at the Pro Continental level, he is ready to continue climbing pro cycling’s ladder.
The 2018 season has been tough for domestic racers as it is, and Bennett, while young, is nearing the end of his time as an under-23 rider. His Baby Giro success, as well as his consistency, gave him more than a few reasons to be positive about his own future despite the challenges so many North American-based teams are facing right now.
“This year for the sport, it was just fighting the whole year, really hard, for everyone,” he says. “You can’t get comfortable.”
The way he approached this season, diving in head-first after the last minute call-up to Axeon, Bennett does not seem like the kind of rider in danger of “getting comfortable” any time soon.
This season was merely a stepping stone, one he calls his “biggest growth year.” He won’t content himself with a few solid rides in under-23 and lower-ranked pro events. He will, however, have plenty to build on moving forward, and a Wednesday afternoon in scenic northern Italy — even with a bit of rain — is one of those building blocks he won’t forget.
Read the full article at Sean Bennett’s ‘biggest growth year’ hinged on Baby Giro win on VeloNews.com.