Rapid Vitesse

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Laurens88
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Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Fri Dec 23, 2016 12:51 pm

Hi all,

Welcome to the press section of Rapid Vitesse. With being prejudiced, we really think that this team is "one of the nicest teams around". And with that we don't mean that they have a nice manager (which they do, but that's not the point here), but rather that it's a team where every rider gets a fair chance to win races. Our philosophy is to race without true leaders and so far we are quite successful with that. Currently there are 16 riders in the team and all riders above 22 years old (other than our loyal helper Otabek Bakhromov) have already won something.

The current squad

As mentioned before, the team philosophy is that every rider in the team should get a chance to win races. To achieve this goal, we prefer to not be top favo too often and try to go in breakaways. The team does have some clear leaders for different kind of races, several adventurers who like to go into early breakaways, a few classics, a sprinter, a time trialist and two pure helpers. The team is based in the Netherlands, but also hires riders from Central Asia and some Eastern European countries.

Leaders
Nurlan Kazhgaliev (25, Kazakhstan): a true allrounder with a decent time trial, which makes him a perfect leader for hilly tours with a time trial. So far the focus of the team was on winning stages rather than tours, but with Nurlan this might change in 2017.
Andrius Varabauskas (30, Lithuania): our leader for hilly stages with a relatively flat ending. He thinks it's very dangerous to attack in steep downhill parts and will start swearing in Lithuanian towards riders who do this.
Marco Oldenhof (31, Netherlands): a pure climber, nothing more, nothing less. Marco dreams about taking over his father's farm in the eastern part of the Netherlands when his cycling career is over.
Jason van Poelgeest (22, Netherlands): not really a leader yet, but Jason appears to have a huge potential. He can be our leader in the spring classics and with his sprint he might be able to win some mountain stages with a flat ending too.

Adventurers
Tomas Miknevicius (32, Lithuania) : Tomas was supposed to be a simple helper for hilly stages, but he turned out to be a real training beast and seems to have a good feeling for choosing the right attack. So far he collected the unlikely amount of 6 wins. Whenever Tomas is in a group, no matter how unlikely it seems at first, the group usually WILL make it to the finish line. And there is a big chance that this Lucky Lithuanian will win the sprint too.
Dauren Kozhabekov (27, Kazakhstan): a very useful and exciting rider. We expect a lot more from him than the 3 wins he already has.
Romas Polujanovas (34, Lithuania): former adventurer who has so much flat power now that he often looks to attack in the final kilometers of a race. Romas has Russian roots but was born in Lithuania, which explains his complicated last name.
Timur Tursunov (24, Uzbekistan): a truly Uzbek name for a truly Uzbek rider. From a young age Timur has been racing a lot on the crappy roads near his home town Shahrisabz. There were difficult moments and lots of punctures, but this experience brought him to what he is today: a true cobbles specialist.
Marat Bukaev (25, Kazakhstan): he was hired as a helper because he recovers so well from working hard during a race, but he gets his chances in breakaways too. Marat is the least popular roommate among other riders in the team because of his loud snoring during the night.

Classics
Hugo Woudenberg (29, Netherlands): seemed to be off to a flying career when he won his first stage at the age of 21 and became national champion at the age of 23, but has been waiting for a win ever since. This is partly due to the fact that he often had to sacrifice his own chances to help a teammate win.
Rustam Bayzhanov (28, Uzbekistan): Rustam has always been a low-profile rider, but since he became the Uzbek national champion we start to see him a bit more often. Maybe this jersey will give him wings and he will finally fulfill his potential in the coming months.
Maksat Zarlykhanov (21, Kazakhstan): the youngster of the team. At this stage it's still unclear what will become his true specialty, but the manager believes he can become a useful rider for classics and a good helper for Nurlan during tours.

Sprinter
Danny Nijhof (32, Netherlands): our sprinter and leader for the flat stages. Danny loves to eat fries with mayonaise and hates foreign food.

Time trialist
Wilco Zuidema (28, Netherlands): a pure specialist in time trials. Not good enough to become a world champion, but certainly good enough to win some races.

Helpers
Otabek Bakhromov (32, Uzbekistan): our loyal helper. He rides every race and never complains when he needs to work way too hard. He loves to cook Uzbek food for the whole team, which is not appreciated by all team members.
Christiaan van Gils (22, Netherlands): this tall friendly giant probably lacks the skills to ever win a race, but he is proud to ride for the team and always happy to help out his teammates.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know the team and its riders a bit better. In the coming days I will post a review of the year 2016. If you have any comments or questions about the team before that, feel free to leave a reply!

Laurens88
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Review of 2016

Post by Laurens88 » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:14 pm

2016 has been a good year for Rapid Vitesse. As the team considers category 1-races just as important as classics, there were not a lot of big successes in 2016 and lots of small successes. In total the team won 51 races in 2016, of which 7 national championships. With 44 wins out of 208 regular races the team had a win rate of 21%. This is an excellent score if you consider that our riders are usually not top favo at the beginning of the race.

List of honour
The following riders deserve a special mention for their performances in 2016. Criteria for a special mention are 4 or more stage wins or a jersey win during a tour.

Tomas Miknevicius - 6 stage wins, plus a third place in Tour of Belgium and Marmaru Tour.
Ruslan Ergaliev - 3 stage wins, plus a green jersey in the tours of Catalunya (cat 4) and Cuba. Ruslan also wore the yellow jersey in both tours.
Luuk Bakker - 4 stage wins, a third place in La Doyenne and a green jersey in the tour of Castilla.
Andrius Varabauskas - 4 stage wins
Hidde Postma - 4 stage wins
Eldor Yuldashev - 4 stage wins
Wilco Zuidema - 4 stage wins
Nurlan Kazhgaliev - white jersey + second place in Tour of Alberta

It has been decided that this year's rider of the year will be Tomas Miknevicius. 6 stage wins is really impressive for a rider without a real specialty and limited sprint skills.

Goals for 2017
Probably 2017 will be a similar year to 2016. The manager just wants to have fun, go into breakaways and try to win some races. However, it would be nice to win one or more tours in the coming year and possibly even a classic. The team will most likely remain absent in the grand tours and hopes to win several national championships again.

Laurens88
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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 8:10 pm

The first 1.5 month of 2017 have been very successful for Rapid Vitesse. In January Nurlan failed to win the Cuba Tour (which was his goal for the month), but he did win the green jersey and Dauren won a stage, so in the end it was an ok result. The rest of the month we focused on one day races.

The month of February started with a spontaneous decision to ride Herald Sun Tour. Our leaders were not prepared to ride this tour and couldn't play a big role in the GC, so we had to focus on stage wins. And that went very well: Wilco Zuidema won the prologue, Romas Polujanovas won the third stage in one of his last escapes ever and Andrius Varabauskas won the final stage in the sprint of a small group. Seems like I should join tours spontaneously more often!

February is also a month of national championships again. And they were the most successful NC's ever for Rapid Vitesse: we won 4 out of 4 opportunities!
Timur Tursunov won in Uzbekistan, after cleverly countering an attack from Freudenfeuer together with his loyal helper Otabek Bakhromov. Timur crossed the finish line solo after leaving his last remaining opponents behind on the final mountain.
Andrius Varabauskas took an unexpected victory in Lithuania. He won in a sprint after being unable to get rid of the only serious opponent Domantas Sabonis on the final hill.
Dauren Kozhabekov finished off good teamwork with Nurlan Kazhgaliev in Kazakhstan against reigning champion Talgat Loschkin.
In the Netherlands, quite unexpectedly, the competition was not very intense. Youngster Jason van Poelgeest could take his first victory ever. Let's hope that riding in the national jersey will give him wings and that this victory will be the first of many! :D

The rest of the month we will focus on riding some tours. Which tours exactly is still to be decided.

Laurens88
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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:23 pm

WE WON A TOUR!

It's about a week ago already, but the fact that Nurlan Kazhgaliev won the Tour of Algarve deserves a special mention here. The allrounder managed to gain a big advantage over time trial specialist Teklinski with an early sieb in stage 2, did very well in the time trial and kept the damage limited in the final stage against the climbers. By doing so, Nurlan gained the second ever tour win for Rapid Vitesse, after our sprinter Wouter Witteveen accidentally won the World Ports classic in May 2015. So congrats Nurlan!

For March we have no big goals. We may ride Paris-Nice and try to win a stage, but on the other hand it's not much fun to ride an 8 day tour hoping for a lucky win. Or maybe Nurlan can try to win the time trial with an ending on Mont Brouilly. We will see.

Laurens88
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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:01 pm

Since the last time I posted about my riders (last December), there have been some changes in the team. Danny Nijhof, Romas Polujanovas and Marco Oldenhof have retired while Tomas Miknevicius will also retire in a couple of days.

Let me introduce you to our newest youngsters:
Ravshan Faizullaev (Uzbekistan): joined the team per the beginning of January. He is expected to become a great helper for Jason and if he trains well enough he may get his own chances to win too on some occassions.
Alex Istomin (Uzbekistan): our newest sprinter. He is not only sprinting faster than the speed of light but also training that way. He was supposed to be an average sprinter with some sideskills, but now it feels like a waste of talent to not make a super-sprinter out of him. Let's see how things develop in the coming months.
Guido Stoof (Netherlands): our newest attacker. He already surprised friend and foe with a third place in a Tirreno-stage this month while being Marat's helper, so it seems like Guido has a big future ahead of him. Now we just need to hope that in the near future the cooperation in pelotons will be less good, because recently way too many escape groups are caught...
Anthony Navarro (Belize): this is an interesting story. Last year the manager was on holiday in San Ignacio, Belize when he saw a skinny young cyclist sprinting up the steep hill next to his hostel. This was a very impressive sprint by Anthony Navarro - who was still a teenager back then - and he signed a pre-contract immediately. As of 1 April he will join the team. In the coming months some of his training buddies may also join the team, if they turn out to be just as talented as Anthony.

Starting next week the entire team will enjoy a 3 week training camp/holiday in Thailand and Cambodia. We hope to come back stronger after this! We should be, because it's been more than a month since we last won a race. :D

Laurens88
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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:05 am

So we are back from our training camp in Asia and the tide has turned: we started winning again. Jason van Poelgeest even managed to win the team's first classic (La Doyenne) ever! He needed a bit of luck, but of course the win is mostly due to his incredible skills.

Wilco Zuidema won both time trials in the Tour of Romandie by taking risks for the first time of his life. In the second time trial he was 18 seconds behind at the end of the hill, but in the downhill and flat section after a few km he made up some of his time loss and after a very risky last 3 km he managed to finish just 1 second in front of tour winner William Shakespeare. Our own Nurlan Kazhgaliev took second place in the final classification and won the green jersey in this tour. So despite the fact that we lost our two changes to win a regular stage, it was still a successful tour.

Last month also a new Belizean rider joined the team: Elroy West. The coming month there will most likely be no new riders. The training camp/holiday cost us more money than expected so there was no funds to buy a new rider. :D But the Tour of Romandie earned us a lot, so we hope to be able to sign a new rider again before the beginning of June.

Laurens88
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And the winning streak continues...

Post by Laurens88 » Sun May 07, 2017 1:13 pm

The month of May has been very successful so far: 5 out of 6 races were won. Especially our Central Asian riders seem to be in excellent shape these days.

On the first day of the month youngster Alex Istomin surprised everybody in Rund um den Finanzplatz by grabbing his first victory in a mass sprint. Just like Jason van Poelgeest last month he secured a classic as his first win, not bad.

After that, we decided to join the Vuelta Ciclista Comunidad de Madrid, mostly because we didn't like the one-day races in the upcoming three days. It was a tour with only 4 teams, so chances to win something here seemed good. Since we expected to be unable to win any stages under normal circumstances, Dauren Kozhabekov went in an escape in the first stage to at least secure the red jersey. The escape proved to be difficult to catch and in the final it was Maksat Zarlykhanov who saw a chance to attack downhill, caught the group on his own and beat them in the sprint. For Maksat this was also his first win.
His second win came the next day: after a passive stage the three best climbers in the tour (Maksat, our own Rustam Bayzhanov and Antti Koskinen from Liberty Sartene) attacked on the final hill. Koskinen was unable to sprint and Maksat could easily win the sprint.
The third stage it didn't seem like we could win, because our flat power was not enough to attack and we didn't bring a good sprinter. However, Timur Tursunov saw a chance to escape in the final at a moment stage favo Team Kazi Blocks failed to put his strongest flat rider in tempo. He was followed by Kazi's helper Vasil Kiryenka and Marat Bukaev, who had both attacked earlier already so it was easy for Timur to win the sprint.
The general classification was pretty much decided in stage 2, so Maksat and Rustam got place 1 and 2 in the tour. Maksat also took home the green jersey and Dauren the red jersey. So the only thing we didn't win was the white jersey, but that was only because we didn't have a young rider in our team for this tour. :D

The day after the tour we were looking forward to getting some stronger competition again in the GP Lugano. We did get opponents with some good hilly sprinters. Our sprint leader was Maksat Zarlykhanov, but since he was only the 4th hilly sprinter we went for a plan B and chose Rustam Bayzhanov as our main leader. Rustam was very well-protected during the entire stage and attacked at a moment when Idéfix decided to not block a +4 around 5 km from the end with his strongest classic. This proved to be a mistake, because Rustam together with Xavier Costa (who is always sprinting like a flatiron) stayed away and easily won in a sprint.

So after being without wins for around 20 races between 19 February and 23 April we now suddenly seem to be winning everything. Let's see what the rest of the month has in store for us.

Team Kazi Blocks
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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Team Kazi Blocks » Sun May 07, 2017 6:19 pm

it was nice to be with you in that tour. Keep going!
"Only two things are infinite, universe and human stupidity."
~ Albert Einstein ~

Laurens88
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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:07 pm

The month of May is over and it has been our most successful month ever. After the team dominated the tour around Madrid in the beginning of the month, we rode the Tour of California and Baloise Belgium Tour. Nurlan Kazhgaliev managed to win a stage in both tours plus the final classification, while Wilco Zuidema managed to take home the time trial victory in Belgium plus a 3rd place in the general classification. It felt a bit strange to ride to win a tour every day, but apparently the team is more than capable at winning tours.

Next up is June. As usual the national championships are the main goal of the month. We will probably not ride any tours and focus on one day races. Yesterday La Serenissima was the first one day race of the month and quite unexpectedly Timur Tursunov came up victorious on the cobbles in the final kilometers. That was a nice start of the month!

There is also transfer news. Aziz Saipov from Tashkent, Uzbekistan and Sven Buijs from Volendam, Netherlands have joined the team. Aziz will most likely remain a helper his entire career while Sven will become a rider with an interesting combination of flat power and sprint. We wish them lots of luck in their cycling career!

Laurens88
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Looking for the 100th win!

Post by Laurens88 » Sun Jul 02, 2017 6:28 pm

Here we are again for a monthly update.

The month of June has been a successful month. The team is riding less races than before, but when we ride, we always have a chance to win. In June the team collected 9 wins in 20 races: 4 national championships, 2 one-day races and 3 stages in the Tour de Suisse. Jason van Poelgeest also won the points classification there. Altogether Rapid Vitesse has now won 99 races so we are obviously looking for number 100. Sprinter Alex Istomin has been very close the past 2 days and finished 2 times as number 2. The goal was to reach 100 wins before reaching the landmark of 500 races. With 484 races on our name so far, that seems doable. Let's see which rider will be the lucky one to get win number 100 for us!

Finally, there is also transfer news: youngster Gints Priekulis joined the team as of the first of July and Otabek Bakhromov and Wilco Zuidema have retired. Wilco Zuidema deserves a special mention, as he is one of the most successful riders ever in the team with his team record of 9 stage wins. He truly was one of the best time trialists in the world. Goodbye Wilco and thanks for... the boring wins.

Laurens88
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100 wins!

Post by Laurens88 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:39 pm

We did it! Yesterday Jason van Poelgeest grabbed the win in a beautiful one-day-race with a finish at Alpe d'Huez. This made the team's 100th win reality in our 486th race. We are quite happy with this accomplishment, considering that the team only got its first victory after more than 50 races. So today, the Rapid Vitesse press department publishes a press release in which we look back at those 100 wins. So today's 101st win was not included in these statistics.

Most wins
First, of course, we look at the statistics. Below you can find the top 5 of Rapid Vitesse-riders who collected the most wins. In case of a tie, jersey wins (+) and national championship wins (-) are used as a tie breaker.

1. Wilco Zuidema (Netherlands) 9
2. Ruslan Ergaliev (Kazakhstan) 8
3. Andrius Varabauskas (Lithuania) 7
4. Hidde Postma (Netherlands) 7
5. Dauren Kozhabekov (Kazakhstan) 6

Wins per category:
Cat 6: 1
Cat 5: 0 (although Maksat Zarlykhanov should have won Deinze-Wevelgem this year, if it wasn't for a sprinting mistake by me...)
Cat 4: 9
Cat 3: 8
Cat 2: 23
Cat 1: 41
National championships: 18

Wins per genre:
Classics: 2
One-day-races: 50
Stages in a tour: 30
National championships: 18

Most beautiful wins
As a true statistics freak, I keep a list of all top 5's from the races I've won. I just checked this list to find the most memorable victories. Below you can find a description of the 3 most beautiful wins.

3. Jason van Poelgeest - La Doyenne (23.4.2017)
Mostly in this list because it's by far the team's biggest win. Jason started as co-favo in this Belgian classic behind Okumura Koushuu. On the second-to-last hill Okumura got a big gap. It seemed the winning attack, but then on the downhill Jason van Poelgeest was able to follow an attack by AEROAD's Fausto Galvan together with Vlad Blazic and Ewald Leitner. The coop was good and in the final kilometer nobody was able to follow Jason in top form. He overtook leader Koushuu and won La Doyenne by 1 second.

2. Bekhzod Khakimov - Dubai Tour stage 3 (5.2.2016)
A very cool win. Our loyal helper Bekhzod "good old Khaki" Khakimov was already a veteran at this point. If I remember correctly, there was a huge escape group with our rider Davron Ashirmatov in front with a gap of more than 10 minutes when High Flyer's Manuel Goncalves attacked together with a puller. Having nothing to lose, Bekhzod Khakimov followed this attack together with FlashBack's Agrament Baron. It seemed like an attack just for the statistics, but the cooperation in front was very, very bad. The 4 riders made it to the front and just before they reached the group Goncalves attacked. Baron and Khakimov followed and suddenly they were alone in front. With 44 hill and 43 sprint, the experienced Khakimov knew he had no chance in the uphill sprint, so he didn't ride. Goncalves was riding to win the yellow jersey (which he won in the end) and Baron was riding with him for some reason. Even after sucking for about 10 km, Khakimov was not the strongest rider in the sprint, but he was the most clever one and grabbed the win! A beautiful crown on the otherwise very mediocre career of Bekhzod Khakimov.

1. Andrius Varabauskas - Tour durch den Ruhrpott (18.7.2016)
A totally unimportant race, but in this race with a relatively flat ending my tactics played out wonderfully and it led to my first "doppelsieg". In this boring race the early escape (just two riders from Schappy) was caught long before the finish. Hunsrueck's Max Verstappen was top favo in the peloton, but his teammates could not prevent an attack by Romas Polujanovas 5 km from the end. The manager instructed Andrius Varabauskas to follow Luna's Eddy Carazas who countered Romas' attack and suddenly Rapid Vitesse was in front with 2 riders including our fast man Andrius. The group made it to the finish with a gap of 4 seconds. Romas sprinted from the front, Andrius was in his wheel but let a gap so other riders would have to make a move. Andrius followed this move and in the end he was the only rider who was strong enough to overtake the tired Romas and the two Lithuanians finished number 1 and 2 in this race. A clear example of team tactics working out and therefore this was certainly one of my most beautiful wins so far.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. For those of you who enjoyed it, I will write another post with some more statistics as soon as the team reaches 500 races.

VeloClubDouchy
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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by VeloClubDouchy » Fri Jul 07, 2017 1:06 pm

La Doyenne...

Bad remember for Koushuu ..
GT won: Giro 2017 // Le Tour 2017
Classics won: Rum um den Turm 2018 // Paris-Roubaix 2018 // Vlaanderen Mooiste 2018 // Dwars Door Vlaanderen 2018 // Omloop 2018 // La Wallonne 2017 // GP de Quebec 2016

Laurens88
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A magical month for Jason

Post by Laurens88 » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:34 pm

The month of July has been truly magnificient for our leader Jason van Poelgeest. Up until today he already accumulated the incredible amount of 7 wins in one month and the month is not even over yet. The most notable wins were two one-day-races with a finish on Alpe d'Huez and two stages in the Tour de Wallonie. Talking about this tour: Jason won it too and was kind enough to help Ravshan Faizullaev get the teams third stage win and a second place in the general classification by making a surprise move in stage 3. Sadly he missed the green jersey by 1 point, but that was ok because Freudenfeuer's Timur Kabadze deserved to win this jersey too.

In the meantime our friendly helper Christiaan van Gils won his first race too in a race with only one opponent. The team decided to do everything they could to make non-sprinter and non-climber win the stage and our plan worked out perfectly. As said in the first post: we really are one of the nicest teams around and a team where all riders get a chance to win!

There is also some transfer news. Our classic helpers Hugo Woudenberg and Rustam Bayzhanov have left the team. They have already been replaced by Ravshan and Anthony (and as we saw in Wallonie they are fully capable of doing the job!), but the team decided to sign two new youngsters for next month. As of the first of August we will welcome Sergejs Panovs and Martijn Langerak to the team. We wish them all the best in their career!

Laurens88
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500 races!

Post by Laurens88 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:07 pm

Today Rapid Vitesse raced its 500th race. In Circuito de Getxo the team could celebrate this joyful day with a well-deserved win: Jason van Poelgeest was the strongest in a sprint-a-deux with Louis Lepieux.
Now it's time to look back on those 500 races with some interesting facts and - of course - statistics!

Fun facts:
- The team won 109 races so far. If you exclude the 18 national championships, this comes down to a win quote of 18.2%. Not bad, considering that it took just over 50 races before the team got its first win. Yeah, I was a big newbie once, but at least I learned fast. :D
- The rider with the highest win quote in these 500 races is Jason van Poelgeest. In 59 races he collected 11 wins, which means he won 18.64% of the races he started in. Like many opponents already said to me in the race chat: Jason really is a beast.
- The team won races on all days of the month except for the 15th.
- 30 out of our 49 riders have won at least one stage or a jersey. This number of 49 riders includes 6 riders who only rode less than 15 races before the team did a reset one month after our first race.
- And last but not least: in these 500 races the team NEVER received a negative fairplay rating. That's in fact something I am a bit proud of.

Statistics:

Most points:
1. Ruslan Ergaliev - 7187 in 203 races
2. Jason van Poelgeest* - 5796 in 59 races
3. Nurlan Kazhgaliev* - 5242 in 49 races
4. Luuk Bakker - 3995 in 79 races
5. Wouter Witteveen - 3358 in 136 races
6. Andrius Varabauskas - 3176 in 134 races
7. Eldor Yuldashev - 3036 in 137 races
8. Wilco Zuidema - 2660 in 57 races
9. Tomas Miknevicius - 2460 in 169 races
10. Hugo Woudenberg - 2322 in 121 races

Most race wins:
1. Jason van Poelgeest* 11
2. Wilco Zuidema 9
3. Ruslan Ergaliev 8
4. Andrius Varabauskas and Hidde Postma 7

Most tour wins:
1. Nurlan Kazhgaliev* 3
2. Wouter Witteveen, Maksat Zarlykhanov* and Jason van Poelgeest* 1

Most jersey wins: (excluding yellow jerseys)
1. Nurlan Kazhgaliev* 4 jerseys (3 green, 1 white)
2. Ruslan Ergaliev 3 jerseys (3 green)
2. Luuk Bakker 3 jerseys (1 green, 2 white)

Most races for the team:
1. Hidde Postma - 270 races
2. Otabek Bakhromov - 265 races
3. Bekhzod Khakimov - 249 races
4. Romas Polujanovas - 234 races
5. Ruslan Ergaliev - 203 races

A summary of our results:
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Laurens88
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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:25 pm

The Rapid Vitesse press team has been a bit invisible on the forum the past few months, but today's race inspired the press team to write something again.

Today there was a race from Aurillac to Saint-Flour. The team had won two similar races in Saint-Flour already the past months, one time with Ravshan Faizullaev and one time with Jason van Poelgeest. We wanted to win this one as well, so we brought a strong lineup. The peloton was relatively big and an escape group of more than 10 riders was created despite efforts to block the beginning. We were hoping to get some help from other teams as the profile gave chances to early attackers, but other teams seemed unwilling to help. With a powerful performance, the team managed to control the entire race on its own. In the final Anthony Navarro was able to ensure that attackers wouldn't gain too much time on the mountains, while Maksat Zarlykhanov dominated the flat and downhill parts between the hills. With an impressive team performance we gave our opponents no chance and Jason finished it of in the final 4 km of the race by first siebing almost everybody on the first steep hill and then attacking on the final hill 2 km before the finish. We have been dominant in other races with an easier profile before, but this must have been the teams best performance ever. So it deserves a press release.

Other than that, there is not much news about the past few months. We keep on winning our races. Mostly with Jason, but also other guys like youngster Gints Priekulis got their chances to win. Because even though the team has a very clear leader these days, we still want to give all riders a chance to win a race for themselves!

Laurens88
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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:33 pm

Yesterday were the national championship. As always, Rapid Vitesse was very successful on this day. In total we won 5 out of our 6 opportunities to win a jersey. The most beautiful win was in Belize, where Elroy West and Anthony Navarro showed that numbers do not always mean everything in a NC. Together they kept away 4 riders from Dreizehn (who also attacked in km 1 and 2) and Elroy got to win his first NC. The other national champions are Jason van Poelgeest (Netherlands), Ravshan Faizullaev (Uzbekistan), Gints Priekulis (Latvia) and Kevin Vermeulen (South Africa). Fun fact: with the wins of Jason, Kevin and Wookie's Slater Koekkoek there are currently 3 national champions carrying Dutch last names. It's sad that RC Cost's Mitch Langerak just finished second in Australia, otherwise it would have been 4.

The rest of the month October was uneventful for us. There were no tours in which we wanted to participate, Jason won a couple of races, so nothing special to mention. In the transfer section there is more news. As mentioned among the national champions already, Kevin Vermeulen joined the team. He's going to be a pure climber for one day races and stage wins in tours. Next month Joost Drost will join the team. He's going to be a very allround rider and will be mentored by Maksat Zarlykhanov. There are also some departures: Dauren Kozhabekov, Nurlan Kazhgaliev and Timur Tursunov - all three of them together have 15 stage wins and 8 jersey wins - have retired. In the coming weeks Marat Bukaev will retire and top sprinter Alex Istomin may leave the team as well, as his great skills don't fit in the strategy of the team. So if you are interested in signing this great sprinter, keep an eye on the transfer market the coming days.

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The winning streak goes on...

Post by Laurens88 » Sat Nov 11, 2017 4:24 pm

These are crazy times for Rapid Vitesse. The team strategy has shifted in the past months and now we just keep on winning everything. If we include the national championships, we have now won 13 of our last 15 races. And if we exclude them, it's 8 out of the last 9 races. And even though the team strategy has shifted, the team policy of giving all riders a chance to win has not changed. So our Dutchies Martijn Langerak and Sven Buijs were able to collect their first wins this month. Congratulations guys!

Now the whole team will get a well-deserved rest, as their manager is going on an even more deserved holiday. See you in December!

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Year overview 2017

Post by Laurens88 » Sun Dec 31, 2017 12:33 pm

It's the last day of the year, so it's time to look back at the previous year. 2017 was an excellent year for Rapid Vitesse. We achieved all of our goals and have a really strong team at the moment. Here are some statistics about Rapid Vitesse in 2017:
Total number of races: 194
Races won: 69 (excluding national championships)
Win quote: 35.6%
National championships won: 13 (out of 14 opportunities)
Tours won: 6
Classics won: 2

Rider of the year

As usual, there is an award for rider of the year. This year there is no doubt who should get this award. Even though there were many riders who would have deserved to win it this year, there is one rider that stands out: Jason van Poelgeest. After a slow start with a lot of second places, Jason proved himself to be a real winner and a true leader. In 2017 he managed to win 27 stages plus 2 tours and 3 green jerseys. His highlights of the year were mainly in Belgium: a win in La Doyenne and a tour win plus 2 stage wins in the Tour de Wallonie. He became the most successful Rapid Vitesse rider ever and I doubt there will ever be a rider as successful as Jason in the team. So Jason deserves to get this award more than anyone.

Other candidates for this award were:
- Nurlan Kazhgaliev (3 tour wins including California, 2 stage wins and 3 jersey wins in 2017)
- Maksat Zarlykhanov (7 stage wins, 1 tour win and 1 jersey win)
- Ravshan Faizullaev (5 stage wins)
- Wilco Zuidema (5 stage wins in 2017)
- Timur Tursunov (5 stage wins in 2017)

In any other year Nurlan or Maksat would have won this award without a doubt, but as many of my opponents can confirm: it's tough luck when you run into a guy like Jason... :mrgreen:

Goals for 2018

Since we won't have a good team for the classics or bigger tours and it will be difficult to surpass the achievements of 2017, we decided to set no goals for 2018. Let's just continue to enjoy the game! For as long as that's possible without leaders of the same quality as Jason, Ravshan and Maksat in the team. At least the escape riders will get a chance again to win something. ;)

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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:27 pm

It's been a while since the last press release. The team is riding less races, which means less money, so also less budget for spokesmen. The old spokesman was fired and has been replaced by an enthusiastic freelancer.

Since the last press release a lot has changed. The team's big leader Jason van Poelgeest has retired and started to work for his father's company. It's a bit weird to see Jason as a BMW-salesman in a suit, but the photo on the wall of his victory in La Doyenne, the fancy cars around him and the sunglasses he is often wearing makes people remember about the star he once was. Also Jason's loyal lieutenant Ravshan Faizullaev retired. He hasn't been heard of ever since he stopped cycling. We hope everything is ok with him.

Racewise things are going well, without a clear leader. Gints Priekulis and Justynas Jatulevičius are the most successful riders in 2018 with 3 wins each so far, but the most beautiful win was GP Harelbeke by Joost Drost. An unexpected win and a great way to take revenge for Maksat Zarlykhanov who lost Deinze-Wevelgem last year because he was blocked by a selfish teammate. In that race Pokemon's rider should have lost but won, and in this race another Pokemon-rider lost where it should have been a win (have to write gender-neutral here, because I refuse to call a rider "she"), so I guess we can call it even now.

There are also some new riders in the team. We have very high expectations of Lithuanian youngster Donatas Kriščiūnas. It's a pity the game doesn't allow all these evil-looking accents on the characters of his name. If anybody who reads this has the powers to adjust it, please do it and make me happy. :D Anyway, what I was saying: Kriščiūnas appears to be just as talented as our former stars Ruslan Ergaliev and Andrius Varabauskas, so we expect many wins from him this year. Among his helpers will be our other new youngsters Andriy Yakovenko, Tom Groenendijk and Jonas Budreika. Groenendijk appears to be quite talented at time-trials as well, let's see when he will get a chance to show his talents for the first time. Maybe next week, in the tour of Pais Vasco.

That's all folks, I have to go clean some toilets now. Because with the payment this spokesman is getting for one press release after the Rapid Vitesse budget-cuts it's necessary to have a second job on the side...

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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:00 pm

It has been very quiet around Rapid Vitesse recently. The team continues to ride races and continues winning, but there are no press releases any more. The sponsor had initially decided to cut down the budget for press releases to zero. However, recently the team had some negative publicity coming from a different Dutch team. Our sponsors quickly raised enough funds to hire a professional reporter to write a press release to counter the messages of that unreliable reporter that "the other team" has. When writing about the beautiful classic called "Championship of Issyk-Kul and Naryn" it seems that this guy thinks Issyk-Kul is an ancient ruin in Tunisia, while literally everybody knows that it is a lake in Kyrgyzstan. The Rapid Vitesse manager has been there and even though some of the houses there could use some maintenance, it would be unfair to call them "ruins". And apparently the Tommy Teleshopping-reporter also cannot read the cyrillic alphabet properly, because he cannot recognize that Karakol is not the same as Carthage. What a koekwous.

Anyway, Rapid Vitesse management would like to stress that the rumours spread by this non-journalist about a former Tommy Teleshopping-rider joining our team are not true and that there are absolutely no official ties with the criminal gang called Rapid Velocité. All of this is clearly fake news.

With all this side-business we would almost forget to write about cycling. The first day of the month October was an eventful day. The team secretary made an error and booked only 6 flight tickets to Uzbekistan for the GP Ermash race. As a consequence, the team was forced to recruit two local riders in Kokand, where the race started. Jasur Khushbakov and Sanzhar Tuychiev were very eager to prove their value to the team. With their help, our climber Kevin Vermeulen won this beautiful race. Jasur Khushbakov finished 19th, not bad for a 21 years old rider in a peloton full of respectable climbers. He seems to be a real hot prospect. Let's see what he can do in 2019.

Notable wins in the past 6 months without a press release were:
- Martijn Langerak in our home classic Amstel Gold Race
- Leonid Palamarchuk in Hamburg Cyclassics
- Gints Priekulis in the Brabantse Pijl
- Jonas Budreika won the yellow ánd the red jersey in the Tour des Fjords (yes you are reading that correctly, this is no fake news: Jonas really managed to win this stage race somehow)
- Donatas Kriščiūnas stepped into the footsteps of Jason van Poelgeest by winning two stages and the yellow jersey in the Tour de Wallonie, which meant our first prolongation of a tour win

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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:56 pm

Again it has been a while since we last posted. In the meantime the team got its 200th win (in less than 700 races, currently we are the team with the least races in the top 50 teams with the most race wins). Joost Drost, who suddenly started winning races after he became the only Dutch rider in the team, got the honors to win both the 199th and 200th win. All of this happened right before the team manager went on his two-month round-the-world-trip to scout new riders in faraway countries, like Fiji and Vanuatu. While the manager was asleep in Fiji (with 12 hours time difference 5pm is a very evil race time), Jonas Budreika won his first race ever: the Lithuanian championship. It seems like Jonas just performs best when nobody is watching him. The manager woke up just in time to help Zhenya Lushnikov take the Ukrainian title. All other riders failed in their missions, but being on a tropical island the manager didn't care much about that the rest of the day. Extra hard punishment trainings for all non-Lithuanian and non-Ukrainian riders may follow when the manager returns from his trip in January though.

There has been transfer news as well. Several older riders have left the team and we recently signed a youngster named Ivan Burkhanov. The Kazakh is expected to be the team's sprint leader, although in most mass sprints he will most likely never have a chance. Furthermore, several media have linked our Yegor Zadorozhny to a transfer to Tommy Teleshopping. Yegor himself responds to these rumours:
"This is totally not true. I have heard from my dear friend Timo Reimann that the team spirit in that team - I can't even say the name - is terrible. The Latvian riders do not get along well with the non-Latvian riders, the team's leader behaves like a Roman emperor and treats his teammates as his slaves and recently the manager even started bullying some of his riders. Besides that, I want to be part of a team that actually wins races sometimes. So even if the team spirit were perfect, for that reason I would never join that team anyway."

So Yegor will stay with us. In the coming months we hope to attract lots of riders and build a new team. More information on that subject will be announced later.

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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:12 pm

Here is the annual overview of 2018 for Rapid Vitesse. It was a very successful year for us again. We rode 125 races last year and won 49 of them (excluding 7 national championships). That means we have won 39.2% of our races last year, which has to be one of the highest win quotes ever in the history of RSF. But ok, we ride mostly smaller races, so I won't brag about it too much. :D

The rider of the year 2018 has to be Gints Priekulis without a doubt. He managed to win 11 races (7 of which in 2018) in his career and a green jersey in last year's Tour Down Under, which is quite special for a rider without a clear specialty. We hope to one day have a rider like this in our team again. Gints was not only a true winner but also a very good teammate in many cases, and therefore he deserves the prize of Rider of the Year.

Hall of fame:
2018: Gints Priekulis
2017: Jason van Poelgeest
2016: Tomas Miknevicius (yeah I know, that year we had nothing better over the whole year...)
2015: Ruslan Ergaliev

Notable wins in 2018 were the Amstel Gold Race (Martijn Langerak, first time we could ride this classic and immediately we won!), E3 Prijs Harelbeke (Joost Drost), GP Hamburg (Leonid Palamarchuk) and Brabantse Pijl (Gints Priekulis).

The goal for next year is to have fun with a new kind of team and perhaps set some ambitious goals. But more about that later, when we have finally found a leader for the next season.

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Rapid Vitesse goes Down Under!

Post by Laurens88 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:40 am

Rapid Vitesse goes Down Under! This title has nothing to do with the races Down Under (in fact, the Tour Down Under had to be skipped this year) or the manager doing some “special business” with his girlfriend. No, this title has to do with the adjusted policy of signing new riders. Instead of always scouting in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the team now sent some scouts to Oceania. The first two riders from this continent have already been signed: Duncan Cleverley and Isaiah Fainga’anuku. Isaiah also immediately won the national championship of New Zealand in his third race! There was a bit of a fuss about that when evil tongues said that Isaiah could never be from New Zealand with such a last name. Indeed, his last name is not from New Zealand. Isaiah was born in a village near Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga, to a Tongan father and a mother from New Zealand. When Isaiah was 4 years old, he wanted to do nothing other than cycle. But on Tonga that was difficult. Little Isaiah got stuck in the sand with his little bicycle often and this led to anger management issues for the little boy. His parents tried everything to convince him to forget about the bicycle and play rugby, like a normal Tongan boy, but the stubborn kid refused. He loved his bicycle and didn’t want to do anything else. After two years of terrorizing his family, his parents saw no other option than to move to New Zealand where the roads would be better. Because of his mother's nationality, Isaiah could get a passport from there easily, so now he can officially call himself a Kiwi and represent the country in RSF. Everybody around him is thankful for that, because otherwise Isaiah could have ended up like Kamisese Bainimarama: the extremely talented climber from Fiji who signed for Big Donkey one year ago, but committed suicide after finding out that he could never join the game because of his nationality.
 
Other news: the team has won quite a few races in 2019 already. The most memorable one was the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. Justynas Jatulevičius won this race last year and this year he managed to win it again. One rider winning the same race twice is unique in the history of Rapid Vitesse and quite rare in RSF as well.
Another honourable mention goes to Botir Riskiyev who managed to get his first victory on his 22nd birthday. In the team’s history only Hugo Woudenberg managed to win a real race (so no National Championship) at a younger age. Talking about National Championships: we won 5 of them this season. In Kazakhstan, Erasyl Ergaliev followed in the footsteps of his father Ruslan by winning the title. In Uzbekistan it was Botir Riskiyev with a surprising victory, after a long attack together with Sherzodjon Yusupov from Motor Trachenberge. The only other rider in the team’s history at the age of 22 was… Hugo Woudenberg again. Sadly Hugo won only one race in the rest of his career and with the lack of mentality that Botir is showing during trainings he may end up like that as well. Let’s hope that this press release is a wake-up call for him and that he will in the end have a great career.

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Re: Rapid Vitesse

Post by Laurens88 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:45 am

The season is well underway and the press section of Rapid Vitesse has been silent for a while now. The team has been quite successful though this early spring, with two classic wins. Jasur Khushbakov got a well-deserved win in Monte Paschi, after a very strong team performance that reminded me of the “good old days” when we had an extremely strong team to ride for our leader Jason van Poelgeest. Sadly the team could not participate in Paris-Nice, Tirreno or Milan-San Remo and also we were unlucky in breakaways in the early Belgian classics in March. April started off good though, as Justynas Jatulevičius won Dwars door Vlaanderen after a very long breakaway with just 3 riders. By doing so, he became the third Rapid Vitesse-rider to achieve 10 stage wins and also the oldest rider ever to win a race. Joost Drost had set the record at 36 years and 13 days in February by winning his last race, but Justynas set the record at 37 years and 3 days.

After Vlaanderen we moved to Pais Vasco to ride the tour. In an incredibly strong peloton the team managed to win two stages and the green jersey. Jasur was aiming to win stage 2 with a decisive attack, but was not as strong as Romain Gaudu in the final km. He took revenge in stage 3 though by winning a sprint of the leading group. In stage 4, Justynas Jatulevičius sharpened the abovementioned record to 37 years and 11 days. Like a true “sly old fox” he proved to be the most tactical rider out of a 4 man-group and got his 11th stage win.

Now let’s see how the hilly spring classics will go. Usually the team likes these races best, but Jasur seemed to have top-form already in Pais Vasco, so it’s unclear whether he will still be strong enough in the classics.

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