The Tour de Eurometropole got underway today with a 7.8km prologue made tougher by some windy conditions and a tough final climbing kilometer. Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale) would pull on the leaders jersey after besting Martijn Keizer (Lotto Jumbo) and Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) today. With the Tour de Eurometropol typically suiting the sprinters, it will take some attacking riding to really shake up the GC after today’s tougher than expected prologue. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s Serge Pauwels was our highest placed finisher on the day, riding home +59″ down on Gougeard. The time gap should allow our Belgian star to go on the attack.
The Tre Valli Varesine saw another tough attacking showdown on Italian roads and it was the Italian national champion, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) who reigned supreme with a solo win. Sergey Firsanov (Rusvelo) took 2nd and Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) was 3rd. As has been the case in the last few Italian one day events, the standard break of the day was not really allowed to form as continuous attacks saw the dynamic of the race change regularly. Initially Jaco Venter was part of a big group of 17 riders who got up to 50 seconds ahead of the peloton but they were quickly shut.
Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, which is set to race as Team Dimension Data next season, is happy to announce the addition of two new riders; Nathan Haas and Omar Fraile. Moreover, the team will keep its core line-up. Norwegian national road race champion Edvald Boasson Hagen will remain with the South African team, as will Steve Cummings, Tyler Farrar, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus, and Serge Pauwels. The eight have been part of the successful Tour de France team in July. They will be joined by the likes of La Vuelta stage winner Kristian Sbaragli and Eritrean national.