A German EuroTrash Thursday!

All the teams and races are getting rev’d up for the coming season and so we have all the latest news from: German TV, the Tour, Vuelta and Trentino, Giant-Alpecin, Bora, FDJ.fr, Cannondale-Garmin and rider announcements from Petacchi, Wiggins, Kreuziger, Bulgac and Dumoulin. EuroTrash catch-up time!

TOP STORY: Tough Start to the 2015 Vuelta
Most of the 2015 Vuelta a España route has been either presented or leaked before the official presentation on the 10th January. As has become the recent fashion for Grand Tour, there are going to be a lot of summit finishes. The surprise is that there will be four in the first week, yes all very exciting, but what about the sprinters?

The Tour de France tends to follow a certain formula, where the first week gives the sprinters their chance. It may lead to some dull stages with team tactics making the racing a little predictable, but it does give the fast guy’s a chance to show what they are paid for. If the sprinters have to wait for the second week, the pure sprinters will not be on the start line in Puerto Banus or will not be in the race by the time they reach the flat lands. This all plays into the hands of riders like John Deggenkolb who will love the hard finishes and can get over the other hills without too much of a problem. But will riders like him be at la Vuelta this year? Philippe Gilbert has already said the Spanish race is not the best preparation for the Worlds this year, riding in Canada makes more sense as a warm up for Richmond.

Good or bad move it should be an exiting race with the GC riders needing to be at top level from the first day. Stay tuned to PEZ for our Vuelta Preview.

German TV company ARD to broadcast the Tour de France live in 2015 and 2016
The German public broadcasting group ARD and Amaury Sport Organisation have signed an agreement concerning the broadcast of the Tour de France in 2015 and 2016. ARD will broadcast daily each stage of the Tour de France live on its channels over the next two years.

Tour de France Director Christian Prudhomme said: “Germany is a major country in the world of cycling. I remember the wonderful popular success we met with in 2005 when the Tour de France last visited the country. Today, German cycling boasts two first-rate teams and a generation of consummate and talented riders, such as Marcel Kittel, André Greipel and Tony Martin. Indeed, these three riders have won 18 stages over the last 4 editions of Le Tour. Thanks to ARD’s channels, I am delighted that the German public will be able to follow the Tour de France on German public TV, unencrypted, daily and live the race for the next two years”.

BORA – Argon 18 welcomes ARD’s live coverage of the Tour de France
After a break of several years, ARD will again broadcast the Tour de France live, starting in 2015. The only German wildcard candidate for the Tour de France, the BORA – Argon 18 team based in Raubling in Bavaria, welcomes this decision.

Ralph Denk, Team Manager for BORA – Argon 18: “ARD’s decision shows that German cycling has accomplished a successful turnaround over the past few years. A new generation of riders is blazing a trail for a cleaner sport. We have contributed our small part in this and have shown that in a few years top riders can be developed out of up-and-coming talent – and in a completely clean way.”

Ralph Denk adds: “ARD’s return will have a very special impact on our team. With BORA, a German company is once again the main name sponsor of a professional team after five years. Now, BORA, our German co-sponsors and our German riders will have a great opportunity to present themselves to a larger audience. Our goal is to take part in the 2015 Tour de France. And today we can say: Now more than ever!”

The team managed by Ralph Denk competed in the Tour de France last year for the first time, making an impressive showing by taking seventh place overall and third place in the time trial. In light of this success, BORA – Argon 18 also applied for a wildcard to participate in this year’s Tour de France.

Marcel Kittel: German riders have been quite successful in the Tour de France recently:

Team Giant-Alpecin Launched in Berlin
Berlin, Germany: Team Giant-Alpecin and Team Liv-Plantur have today been presented to the media, key sponsors and partners, as well as special guests from various important stakeholders within the sport of cycling. The presentation was held at the French Embassy in Berlin, the capital to the nationality of Team Giant-Alpecin WorldTour team’s license.

As well as announcing both teams, the new look and feel was presented, as both race kit designs were revealed. The full line-up of sponsors and partners was also confirmed, with title partners Giant and Alpecin being joined by the international tour operator, Sunweb as a key partner.

Team Giant-Alpecin general manager, Iwan Spekenbrink said ahead of the launch: “Today is an important day for cycling with the first WorldTour team registered in Germany in five years. This team continues to work with a young group of riders and can continue to grow within our elite sporting environment based on the Keep Challenging approach and principles. Alongside this we will also have a focus on helping the development of German talent in the sport, and with it aiding the regrowth of cycling in Germany.

“We must thank all of the persons present here today in Berlin for helping make this a special day in a perfect location, the French embassy in Berlin. It is a great way to kick off our 2015 campaign and we are once again hugely excited about the coming racing season.”

The first race for the men’s team is the Tour Down Under this January, while the women’s program will get their 2015 campaign underway in February at the Ladies Tour of Qatar. Lars van der Haar will line-up for his first cyclo-cross race in the new team colors on January 11, at the Dutch National Championships – the first outing for the new team colors.

Find the complete line-up for the 2015 Team Giant-Alpecin WorldTour team and Team Liv-Plantur here on our new website.

Cannondale-Garmin Pro Ccycling Unveils 2015 Team Kit
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today unveiled its much-anticipated 2015 team kit from technical clothing supplier, Castelli.

The kit was introduced to much acclaim to dealers, fans, celebrities and media at tonight’s team launch event in New York City. Featuring a new color scheme of green and black to reflect new partner, Cannondale, the kit retains its signature argyle – a staple of owner, Slipstream Sports.

“2015 represents the biggest step forward in Castelli’s pro equipment since we started with Slipstream in 2011,” said Andrea Peron, Castelli’s race performance director. “We’ve concentrated our efforts on improving comfort and aerodynamics with a new short, and making sure the team has a competitive advantage in any adverse weather conditions. There are 11 new garments in the team’s equipment line-up, each one the result of development with the riders and staff as well as Castelli’s internal research.”

For 2015 Castelli has made some significant new improvements in crucial race equipment. First, Cannondale-Garmin riders will shift into a new short, the Free Aero Race Bib Short. After 3 years in development, Castelli’s new top-of-the-line race short represents a significant increase in muscle support and comfort to go along with the wind tunnel tests that show a 10 watt savings at 50 km/h. The short has been tested with selected riders since last June. The Free Aero Race Bib Short will be the general race short and the team has an updated Inferno short for hot weather.

The second key race performance piece sees the team’s hot weather Climber’s jersey being updated with the fit and cut of the team’s Aero Race Jersey. This will give an aero edge every time the road goes upward or the mercury soars.

2015 will see the team even better equipped for cold and wet racing with the expansion of the Gabba concept into products specific for colder and milder conditions than the classic Gabba, which has fundamentally changed the way the pro peloton dresses for rain. For milder conditions there is the new Gabba Light with a higher breathability back, and the Fawesome Vest that uses the Gabba construction front with a Nano Flex water repellent back in a vest construction for high intensity racing in moderate rain or cool weather. For colder weather there is now the long sleeve Gabba that gives aero protection in the most extreme conditions, and a fully waterproof Gabba-style rain jacket called the Tempesta jacket.

Finally, the team will be doing their winter training in Castelli’s top cool weather gear: the Sorpasso Bib Tight and Trasparente Wind Jersey. These two pieces provide exceptional protection in the cold with excellent breathability for intense sessions in cool conditions.

“We’re excited about bringing our most significant performance improvements in years to help keep Cannondale-Garmin ahead of the pack. Working with partners like Cannondale, Mavic and POC, we’re dedicated to giving the riders every possible advantage on the road,” said Steve Smith, Castelli’s brand manager.

“We pride ourselves on working with the best partners in the world, and that is exactly what Castelli is,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO, Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling. “2015 is going to be an exciting season for us, our look is new and our technical clothing is the best yet, but the ethos of the team remains the same and we will animate racing around the world.”

2015 team replica kit will be available in early March at Castelli dealers and is also available now for pre-order at www.shopslipstreamsports.com.

Alessandro Petacchi: One More Year?
Alessandro Petacchi has signed for the Neri Sottoli-YellowFluo team for the 2015 season and his 20th year as a professional at 41 years of age.

Petacchi had hoped to stay on with Omega Pharma (now Etixx) – Quick-Step as Mark Cavendish’s lead-out man, he explained to la Gazzetta dello Sport: “Up until the last Giro d’Italia I thought I’d renew with Omega but then things changed,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to do, even if I kept training. Now I’m very motivated for this new adventure, but I’m living by the day.” He added, “I still want to race and I’m happy with this signing. The team’s project convinces me, the team is competitive and I think that I can lend a good hand, maybe especially to a youngster like Jakub Mareczko, who I don’t know but they tell me is very fast.”

After 48 Grand Tour stage wins he might just be looking for one more in the Giro: “I hope to be at the start of the Giro d’Italia, which is the race that made my name and it could be a nice way to end my career,” Petacchi said. “But that’s not a limit I want to impose on myself right now, even if I will certainly start to attend the training course for directeurs sportifs.”

Neri Sottoli is cutting back on their sponsorship of the team, but it is rumored that the Chinese steel company Southeast will be the new main sponsor.

Petacchi won the GP Pino Cerami in 2014:

FDJ.fr team for the Tour Down Under
The French FDJ.fr team have announced the seven rider that will be riding the 2015 Tour Down Under. Top 10 finisher Jussi Veikkanen will lead a mixed team of youth and experience. Race director Mike Turton said in a press release: “FDJ.fr always brings a competitive team to the Santos Tour Down Under and this year is no different. Having finished tenth at the 2013 Tour Down Under, Veikkanen may well be a strong contender for the Ochre Jersey in 2015, making him a rider to watch.”

FDJ.fr Tour Down Under team:
Jérémy Roy, Arnold Jeannesson, Olivier Le Gac, Lorrenzo Manzin, Cédric Pineau, Sébastien Chavanel and Jussi Veikkanen.

Which gears?

Kreuziger to Ride the Tour of Oman
It’s probable that Roman Kreuziger will start his 2015 season in the Tour of Oman, according to his Tinkoff-Saxo team. Kreuziger has been cleared to race by the Czech Olympic Committee last September after he had been suspended by the UCI for a biological passport violation in 2012 when he was an Astana rider. The case is to go to CAS, but all parties are still waiting for a date to be set for the case to be heard. Tinkoff-Saxo team general manager Stefano Feltrin has said that he thinks it is the UCI who are dragging their heels and causing the delay. The team is contractually obliged to race Kreuziger as he is under no suspension at the present time, but are not in a position to make any future plans concerning Kreuziger’s 2015 season.

Roman Kreuziger in the 2014 Tour de Suisse:

Sir Bradley Wiggins Signs New Deal with Team Sky
Sir Bradley Wiggins has signed a contract extension that will see him ride with Team Sky up to and including Paris-Roubaix 2015.

Wiggins joined Team Sky for its inaugural season in 2010 and created history with the team in 2012 when he became the first British rider to win the Tour de France.

During his time with Team Sky he has claimed 23 victories and has amassed one of the most impressive records in the sport. In 2013 he was knighted for his services to cycling.

The new deal extends his contract with Team Sky until the end of April 2015, taking him into his sixth season with the team. He will then focus on preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

On signing a contract extension with Team Sky, Sir Bradley Wiggins said: “Everyone knows what this team means to me so I’m really pleased to extend my contract until the end of April 2015. I’ve been with Team Sky from the start. I’ve had some amazing experiences during that time and I hope there are a few more to come. Sky’s investment in cycling, and this team in particular, has helped change the cycling landscape in the UK and I’m proud to have played a part in that story.

“Paris-Roubaix is a special race for me and I’m determined to give it another go in Team Sky colors. It’s one of the toughest races in the calendar and my aim is to improve on my ninth-place finish last year. After that I can focus fully on preparing for the Rio Olympics in 2016.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “We’re delighted that Bradley’s extended his contract with Team Sky into 2015. He’s been with Team Sky since the beginning and during that time he¹s been an incredible ambassador for cycling and an inspiration to millions of people around the world.

“Rightly he still has big ambitions for the future and everyone at Team Sky will work their hardest to make his final chapter with us a successful one over the next few months.”

Bradley Wiggins teases a French TV reporter:

Tax Avoidance Case in Belgium
Patrick Lefevere, Tom Boonen and Stijn Devolder and other unnamed riders could face court cases over unpaid tax in Belgium, according to Het Nieuwsblad. After an investigation that started in 2009, the prosecutors in Kortrijk have recommended that the case go to court. It is suggested that the suspects have hidden revenues from the tax authorities via complex schemes through foreign companies. If the tax bill is paid out of court the case will go no farther.

LottoNL-Jumbo completes 2015 roster with Bulgac
Team LottoNL-Jumbo strengthened its squad with Brian Bulgac. The 26-year-old Dutchman has signed a one-year contract.

“Our team consisted of 24 riders and we found that amount too small for the program we race,” said Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “We started looking for a rider who’s strong on difficult terrain and found Brian. He fit right into the profile and already has three years of experience at WorldTour level under his belt.”

Bulgac, born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is pleased to join Team LottoNL-Jumbo after stints with Lotto-Belisol and Giant-Shimano. “This is just great. This team is a solid unit and has a very professional approach. The framework and guidance are excellent. As a rider, you can really improve at this team.” Logically, that is one of Bulgac’s goals. “I want to help the team as much as possible and where possible, I would like to prove myself and improve towards the future. I hope to show myself especially on the hilly courses.”

New Giro del Trentino-Melinda generates from Giro del Trentino and Trofeo Melinda
Giro del Trentino-Melinda to be the new title of Italian 4-day stage race taking place from 21 to 24 of April, 2015. Giro del Trentino and Melinda Consortium join forces to keep on running together the big cycling event, rooted in a 40-year tradition, in the future. Under the new agreement, the Giro del Trentino – after 38 years of success – and the Trofeo Melinda, after 23 editions, the last two of them assigning the Italian Road Championships titles, eventually awarding Vincenzo Nibali the “Tricolore” shirt a few weeks before his Tour de France triumph last summer, take the next step together, becoming “Giro del Trentino-Melinda”, taking place from April 21st to 24th, 2015.

After the confirmation of Provincia di Trento’s support, the Trentino stage race welcomes the landing of another big partner to look ahead with greater confidence and ambitions. Melinda is an organization made up by around 4.000 fruit-farmers families who live and grow apple trees in the Noce River Valleys (Val di Non and Val di Sole). Every year, the members deliver their harvest to Melinda Consortium, to which they delegate organization and management of all the harvest downstream procedures (storage, refrigerated storage, selection, packaging, dispatch, promotion, sales, administration, purchases, HR management, etc.). All the apples on market displaying Melinda brand are grown in compliance with the Integrated Production Guidelines, according to the strictest Italian and European control standards, (ISO 9001, BRC, IFS certifications).

At upcoming Giro del Trentino, Melinda brand will appear on the overall leader jersey, in the start and finish areas as well as on the key points of the route and all the key occasions related to the race. In addition, the final stage 4 will finish in the Valle di Non (where Melinda Consortium is based), possibly passing through the near Val di Sole, in continuity with Trofeo Melinda’s tradition.

Michele Odorizzi, Melinda Consortium’s President: “For over 20 years Melinda has tied its brand to cycling sport with a prestigious one-day race that late Marco Brentari, Guido Ghirardini and their staff grew up and improved with unbelievable enthusiasm. The new agreement with GS Alto Garda gives us the chance to remain into cycling in our Territory, merging our energies with another great event held in the same Province, and I believe this will prove the a very good choice for everyone”.

Giacomo Santini, President of GS Alto Garda (Giro del Trentino-Melinda organizer): “This agreement brings an incredible added value to the event, keeping Melinda linked to cycling through an outstanding and well-established four-day race, whose reputation is widely renowned worldwide. With regard to the Giro del Trentino, the cooperation with Melinda will enforce the race identity considering the strong human, cultural and economic values behind the brand”.

Bradley Wiggins parking his Pinarello Dogma in the 2013 Giro del Trentino:

Tom Dumoulin Extends Contract with the Team until End of 2016
Following on from his most successful season to date, Team Giant-Alpecin are pleased to confirm that Tom Dumoulin (NED) has extended his contract with the team for a further two years, taking him to at least the end of 2016. This contract extension is another step towards helping Dumoulin reach his full potential at the highest level of the sport.

The 24 year-old Dutch time trial specialist had a breakthrough year in 2014, confirming his stature as one of the fastest riders against the clock in the professional peloton. His results included a win at the Dutch time trial championships, a stage win at the Eneco Tour and then a bronze medal at the World Championships time trial in September.

Of the new contract, Dumoulin said: “I am really happy for the mutual confidence and trust with the team that allowed us to open up my contact and extend it. I feel at home in this team as I can develop myself together with the team to my full potential. I have ambitions to work with this team for a longer period and to keep challenging ourselves together.”

Team Giant-Alpecin general manager, Iwan Spekenbrink (NED) added: “We are in the process of building a performance project around Tom. It was obvious for us to keep him on board and to keep developing him to a great rider in the WorldTour, and to allow him to reach his full potential not just in time trials but also as a general classification contender.”

Dumoulin will start his season for the first time at the Tour Down Under this January, before continuing to build up for his season objectives which include a place at the Tour de France where he hopes to line-up as a contender for the opening time trial stage on home soil in The Netherlands.

This was 2014
Lotto-Belisol round up of the 2014 season:

Astana say ‘Happy New Year’
It’s never too late for New Year wishes and here are loads of them from the Astana team:

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