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LUINTRA, Spain, September 6, 2018 (News Wires) - Italy's Alessandro De Marchi held off the challenge of Colombian Jhonatan Restrepo to win the 11th stage of the Tour of Spain, as Britain's Simon Yates held onto the overall lead.

Yates, of Mitchelton-Scott, withstood a series of late attacks, in particular from Movistar's Nairo Quintana.

BMC's De Marchi and Katusha-Alpecin rider Restrepo both pulled clear of a large breakaway group, which had been spearheaded by France's Thibaut Pinot with around 80 kilometres to go.

De Marchi then outlasted Restrepo on the final ascent to finish on his own for a third stage victory in this event, following up those he won in 2013 and 2014.

"If I waited for the sprint, I think for sure I would have been second," De Marchi said.

"The only option I had was to try everything on the last climb and honestly I didn't feel the best (in my) legs, it was just about the mind."

De Marchi crossed the line, with his arms outstretched, 28 seconds ahead of Restrepo.

Italy's Franco Pellizotti was 59 seconds back in third at the end of the longest stage of the race at 207.8 kilometres.

Yates had to dig deep to stay clear of Movistar pair Quintana and Alejandro Valverde heading into Thursday's 12th stage between Mondonedo and Manon.

The 26-year-old, who led this year's Giro d'Italia for long periods before a dramatic late collapse, holds a one-second lead over 38-year-old veteran Valverde, with 2016 champion Quintana only 13 seconds further adrift.

"It was a really crazy race today and the boys rode great again, they're going to be tired now," Yates told his team's website.

"It was ok for me, I was in the peloton just trying to save energy. We worked hard over the first 100km marking and closing the moves, trying to control it, but there comes a point when you can only control it for so long."

Both Movistar leaders, who so often have produced Grand Tour podium finishes but struggled for wins, suggested that Mitchelton had been riding too defensively in the peloton as they tried to reel in Pinot and the other escapees.

"Some other teams might not be racing for victory, but it's not our case," said the 2009 winner Valverde.

"Mitchelton? It's their philosophy. They never push to defend a result, they push when they think they can inflict harm on their rivals."

Colombian Quintana added: "Mitchelton not pushing with us? Well, they just chose to ride that way. It was their way of acting today –- staying on the others' wheels, profiting from their work.

"We thought we had a responsibility here; maybe the others don't care, but we felt we had to work."

The 12th stage is another hilly affair, before the riders head back into the mountains for three straight days from Friday.

SPAIN, August 30, 2018 (News Wires) - Australia's Simon Clarke sprinted to victory on stage five of the Vuelta a Espana as Frenchman Rudy Molard surprisingly moved into the race leader’s red jersey.

The breakaway during the 188.7km stage from Granada to Roquetas de Mar saw 25 riders leave the main peloton behind after an hour of racing.

Splits then started to form in the break, with Italian Alessandro de Marchi distancing himself from the rest of the course with 65km remaining.

Clarke and Dutchman Bauke Mollema bridged the gap with just over 50km left and the trio stayed out in front, the Australian making his move in the final 100 metres to secure victory.

Molard, 26, who finished eight seconds behind Clarke in the chasing group, moved into the overall race lead, making up over three and a half minutes on Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski, who finished with the peloton 4:55 adrift of Clarke.

“It's just amazing. I worked so hard since I last won a stage here, and I just couldn't repeat it. It's taken me so long to get back there and have my stars aligned,” said Clarke, whose only previous grand stour stage win was at the 2012 Vuelta.

“Even today I wasn't sure it was possible. I knew I had good legs, but when you have a breakaway with so many riders, the cooperation is never very good.

"As we saw, the winning move went on the descent. It was a tricky one to pick. I knew I had good legs and I just had to pray that the moves I was doing were the right ones.

“It's such a long stage. It's so hard to sprint after that. I was cramping when Mollema attacked and I just rode through it. I backed myself.

"I was so worried they would catch us from behind, but in that situation you just have to be as cold as ice. You've got to be willing to lose to win; I was, and I came out on top.”

Poland's Kwiatkowski dropped to second overall, 1:01 behind Molard with the other main contenders further back including Mitchelton-Scott rider Simon Yates at 1:11 down plus Alejandro Valverde of Movistar (1:13) and team mate Nairo Quintana (1:34).

Thursday will likely see a sprint stage, with no climbs of note across 155.7km of the Mediterranean coast from Huercal-Overa to San Javier. Mar Menor.

BELGIUM, August 16, 2018 (News Wires) - Taco van der Hoorn launched a late break to burst free of his fellow escapees and win the third stage of the BinckBank Tour in Antwerp.

The Dutch rider hit the accelerator a kilometre from the end of the 174.9km ride from Aalter to distance Maxime Vantomme, Sean De Bie and Matej Mohoric.

Slovenia's Mohoric took over the leader's jersey from Swiss Stefan Kung, who was the victor in Tuesday's time trial.

The seven-day race, won last year by 2017 Giro d'Italia and world time trial champion Tom Dumoulin, concludes on Sunday.

IPOH, July 30, 2018 (News Wires) - The restoration work on Velodrome Rakyat has been finally completed and receives a positive feedback from the International Cycling Union (UCI)

The refurbished track was inspected by UCI Track Manager Gilles Peruzzi upon the completion of all renovation works for the process of homologation.

Malaysian National Cycling Federation vice-president Datuk Amarjit Singh Gill, who was present during the inspection, said that Gilles had given favourable remarks on the standard of the track, venue and the facilities.

“I will be travelling to the UCI Headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland on Wednesday and with the positive and favourable comments by Gilles on the overall facility, I look forward to getting the Certificate of Homologation for Velodrome Rakyat,” he said.

Amarjit, who is also the President of the Perak Cycling Association, said that the venue had fulfilled all conditions required and is now ready for use.

With this, all the cycling events could be back on schedule for the Malaysian Games (Sukma) 2018, pending the official homologation certificate.

On June 7, in a report carried by Malay Mail, the State Youth, Sports and Human Capital Development committee chairman Howard Lee Chuan How said that the decision whether to continue the six out of 12 Sukma cycling events would onle be known in August after the homologation testing.

FRANCE, July 27, 2018 (News Wires) - Yellow jersey holder Geraint Thomas is "expecting the worst", but warned ambitious rivals that going too deep on the final day in the mountains could end their Tour de France podium chances.

Thomas moved a step closer to becoming Wales's first Tour champion when he came through the 18th stage to Pau unhindered and with his lead of 1min 59sec on Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) intact.

Thomas had been lucky to escape being hauled off his bike by an "overexuberant" fan as he raced to third place at Saint-Lary-Soulan on Wednesday.

After avoiding such mishaps Thursday, the 32-year-old now only has to keep focus over a hilly 19th stage that features Pyrenean classics like the Col d'Aspin, the Col du Tourmalet and the Col d'Aubisque. And hope Team Sky do the rest.

"I think we're expecting the worst, hoping for the best," said Thomas.

"It will be a big test. I think it's one more for the team to control most of the day."

Yet Thomas has the race route in his favour as he bids to bring home Team Sky's sixth yellow jersey from the last seven editions, four of which have been won by teammate Chris Froome.

The finish line is 20km from the summit of the Col d'Aubisque, meaning any time his rivals may have gleaned over the stage's final, rolling 16.6 km ascent could, theoretically, be lost on the descent.

And efforts rivals spend trying to loosen his grip on a yellow jersey gained following back-to-back stage wins in the Alps could, he believes, be paid for in the penultimate-stage time trial over 31 km.

"It's the last mountain stage and I think guys are going to take any opportunity they can. But at the same time, in the back of their minds they still have to do the time trial," added Thomas.

"They could do a big, big move tomorrow (Friday) and maybe gain two, three minutes or whatever, and then quite easily lose a chuunk of time in the time trial.

"It's interesting, but we've been riding really well all race, and hopefully we can keep that going for one more day."

The biggest threat to Thomas comes from Dumoulin, who said: "If I see an opportunity, I'll take it."

But at nearly two minutes down, the Dutchman conceded: "My victory chances are slim... I would have to take something like two minutes off him, so it's complicated."

Former Sky rider Mikel Landa, now a rival with Movistar and hoping to lift teammate Nairo Quintana from fifth, warned: "Friday will be our day. It will be difficult, but tomorrow we hope to turn the race around."

Making Friday's stage more intriguing is the fact that Froome, who had been aiming for his fourth consecutive Grand Tour win, is now fighting for a podium place.

Third overall at 2:31 after losing second place to Dumoulin on Wednesday, the Kenyan-born Briton is in danger of losing his Paris podium place to those in his wake.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic, an ex-ski jumper who rides for Lotto-Jumbo, is 16secs behind him while Colombian climbing specialist Quintana is at 3:30.

"Having Froomey at my disposal, so to speak, is just, like, phenomenal," said Thomas.

"But hopefully, he won't have to do much anyway. I think the last final (climb) will be down to the legs.

"It would be good to just keep on doing what we've been doing."

FRANCE, July 26, 2018 (News Wires) - Geraint Thomas strengthened his grip on the yellow jersey after Sky team-mate Chris Froome struggled on the Tour’s first ever ascent of the unforgiving Col du Portet, where Colombian Nairo Quintana marked a return to form by soloing clear to secure his first stage victory in five years.

At just 65 kilometres long and boasting three climbs and 48 kilometres of ascent, the shortest but sharpest stage in modern Tour history always promised to pack a punch – and it delivered in buckets, including perhaps a knock-out blow for Froome’s hopes of a record-equalling fifth Tour win.

If Movistar climber Quintana bounced back with a welcome return to form and an impressive Stage 17 win ahead of a chasing Dan Martin of Ireland, it was Thomas who stole the show by responding to all the attacks levelled against him – and then riding clear of his rivals in the closing moments.

Welshman Thomas took third place on the stage ahead of Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) and Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) after Froome was distanced inside the final couple of kilometres following a medley of attacks from the Dutch and Slovenian time trial specialists.

Froome, who had started the final climb bullishly with an attack which momentarily distanced his rivals, suffered the ignominy of being distanced by his 21-year-old team-mate Egan Bernal – the youngest rider in the race – after the Colombian pulled his leader towards the line some 48 seconds behind Thomas.

To add insult to temporal injury, the boos rained down on the four-time Tour champion as he struggled to limit his losses on the highest peak of this year’s Tour, which was being used for the first time in the race’s history. On this showing, it won't be the last appearance.

Froome, the reigning Giro d’Italia champion and winner of the previous three Grand Tours, dropped to third place in the general classification and now trails team-mate Thomas by 2’31” as Dumoulin emerged as the major obstacle to what would be an unlikely maiden Tour win for Thomas.

Team Sunweb’s Dumoulin is 1’59” down on the yellow jersey with one final mountain stage and the decisive penultimate day time trial the two major remaining tests ahead of the Tour finale in Paris on Sunday.

Froome may now find himself carrying out a domestique role for Team Sky for the first time since begrudgingly guiding Bradley Wiggins to yellow in 2012. While doing so, he will have to defend his place on the final podium from the impressive Roglic, who lies just 16 seconds behind in fourth place.

After his second win of the season – and his first on the Tour since his Stage 20 triumph at Le Semnoz in 2013 – Quintana rises into the top five at 3’30” at the expense of Frenchman Romain Bardet, who cracked with 6km remaining.

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