Plus: Lotto Soudal re-signs the Gorilla and Sieberg, #PlanetOGE - Giro Highlights Show, Geraint Thomas re-signs with Sky and an interview with The Green Bullet
Tuesday 24 May 2016

Julian Alaphilippe lost last year's edition of the Amgen Tour of California to Peter Sagan by a mere three seconds. This year he conquered disappointment and the race by 21 seconds over Australia's Rohan Dennis (BMC) and became its youngest and only French winner. 

The 23-year-old's impressive performance in California builds on his runner-up finishes in Fleche Wallone in 2016 and 2015 and Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2015. Alaphilippe also helped team-mate Michal Kwiatkowski to his 2015 Amstel Gold Race victory. 

With an impressive attack on the Gibraltar Road in stage three, the Frenchman forged into the yellow jersey. 

“It’s really incredible. I took the yellow jersey at the end of stage 3 and that acted as a morale booster; then, after the individual time trial, I was more and more confident," he said. 

But even with a 16 second buffer to Dennis, the last stage was not without its worries. 

“Everyone wanted to stay at the front and fought for a better position. Usually, I’m not nervous, but today things were different, as the victory was closer and closer.

"Thankfully, I had a powerful team around me, which was always in charge, and as soon as Tom Boonen hit the front with me safely tucked behind him, it was like being on a holiday.

"It’s the most beautiful day of my career and I must thank my teammates for this special moment and for believing in me.” 

 

 

Lotto Soudal have announced the contract extension of Andre Greipel and Marcel Sieberg until the end of 2018. 

Part of the team since 2011, the pair feel it's more a home than a workplace. 

“This team is a real family. As a rider you spend many days away from home, together with the team. It’s really important to feel good within that team," Sieberg said. 

"It’s my job to support other riders and when you get along really well that only makes you perform even better. These are all important reasons for staying with Lotto Soudal."

Greipel added "At this moment I can’t imagine riding for another team. Sibi (Sieberg) and I are inseparable, we want to keep riding together. He’s in general an important member for the entire team."

"The next years I want to stay one of the best sprinters in the world and keep conquering victories for Lotto Soudal.”

Team manager Marc Sergeant praised his new re-signings. 

"When you look at what André has performed for our team you can only conclude that he is an absolute top rider. After a difficult time he always fights his way back, he’s a classy person and everyone is always prepared to give his all to take André to the sprint in the best possible position. He is also prepared to help out his teammates. I haven’t seen much top riders doing that.”

“Sieberg is a perfect pilot, a pillar in the team and especially a very strong rider who performs well in every race he starts.”

 

 

Team Sky have announced the Welshman has extended his contract who said it was an easy decision. 

"Team Sky feels like home. From the other riders to the staff, I love it here.

"I've only really just started when it comes to trying to win stage races. I'm learning all the time about how to get in the best shape for them and how to lead a team.  It's about keeping that progression going, and Team Sky is the best place to do that. 

"For me, this year started with winning Paris-Nice and is now about going to the Tour in the best shape possible to support Froomey. After the Tour we can start looking to next year and keep setting bigger and better goals," the 29 year old said. 

"I still believe the best is yet to come from Geraint and we will enjoy supporting him to see just how far he can go," Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said.