EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The 2019 Tour de France is in Brussels and ready to hit the road on Saturday. We have more Tour team news in this full EUROTRASH Thursday, plus ‘can Chris Froome get back to the top of pro cycling?’ – Top Story. In other news: Giro Rosa team previews, CCC for the Tour of Austria, new contract for Tim Declercq, Tobias Foss turns pro, Bahrain Cycling Academy, Fragata olives for La Vuelta and Tour de France security video. Café au lait?

TOP STORY: Can Chris Froome Return to the Top?
Froome’s injuries could end his sporting career due to the serious consequences of his crash in the Duaphiné. Physiotherapist Eric Monasterio has expressed his opinion in that “from what we have been able to read, the debate opens on the conditions in which he can return and as his injuries are not small and makes many people’s hair stand on end.”

According to the medical reports, Froome has a fracture of the femur, elbow and ribs, plus a fracture to the sternum and another in the last cervical vertebra, the C7. Froome’s return to high performance sport will depend on the success of the surgery and many hours of rehabilitation, plus nutritional changes that help the body to “accelerate” the regeneration of injuries, and the desire and patience of the Giro/Tour/Vuelta winner to reach his objectives.

Psychology will also be the key in the recovery of Chris Froome. He will be asking questions of himself, the desire of the athlete is fundamental in this period:

The long-term losses, sow many doubts.
Will the deadlines be met?
Will I recover 100%?
How long will it take me to compete again?

This is why, as far as possible, he must try to maintain the daily routines, with their inevitable changes, and establish short, medium and long-term objectives to keep the patient always active and encouraged.

Six months is the deadline for his return. The early start of rehabilitation will reduce the chances of complications. He must minimize the negative effects of immobilization, if necessary, promote metabolism and bone callus formation to ensure good healing of fractures. The bones need to repair for load baring and finally and very importantly, to obtain the total functional recovery. If this is not achieved, it would lead the rider to adapt to new ranges of joint mobility, in order to seek, despite the modifications, the same performance that it he had before the fall. If so, they will have to work hard with the biomechanics of Team Ineos.

Let’s not forget that athletes are made of something different, or so they say. We have many examples to believe that this is the case. Who does not remember the return of Johan Museeuw after breaking his knee in the Foret d’Arenberg? Or forget the return to the rainbow jersey of Alejandro Valverde after his crash in the Tour.

Froome has a very long road to recovery ahead, and the cases of Museeuw and Valverde show that you can get away with very complex situations, so there are reasons to be optimistic and think that we will see the best of Froome again.

Tour de France 2019
You might have noticed that there is a bike race starting on Saturday? Yes, it’s that time again… The Tour de France. To some it’s the best race of the year, to others; three weeks of over hyped drudgery without the passion of the Giro d’Italia or the excitement of the Vuelta a España. Whatever you think; the French Grand Tour is a magnet that draws you in and when that final sprint crosses the line on the Champs-Élysées it leaves a life vacuum. This year’s race is quite open and there is a feeling of a ‘changing of the guard’ to keep us on the edge of our seats.

Keep it PEZ for daily stage reports, rest day rant from Ed Hood and the best photos from Cor Vos.

The ‘PEZ Le TOUR 2019: The Full PEZ Route Guide!’ HERE.
The ‘Le TOUR’19: The PEZ Rider Preview – Who’s HOT!’ HERE

2019 Tour de France Teaser:

Movistar Team Unveils 2019 Tour de France Squad
Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa lead Telefónica-backed squad, also featuring World and Spanish Champion Alejandro Valverde.

The Movistar Team confirmed Monday their eight-man lineup for the 106th Tour de France, to be raced on July 6-28. The squad managed by Eusebio Unzué will head into Brussels’ Grand Départ with a group formed by Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa, Alejandro Valverde, Marc Soler, Andrey Amador, Carlos Verona, Imanol Erviti and Nelson Oliveira.

2019 will mark the 37th consecutive appearance – always present at the ‘Grande Boucle’ since 1983 – of the Telefónica-backed squad in France, one of the most successful teams in the history of the race with its seven overall wins, 14 podiums, 33 stage victories and five team prizes. The Blues will fly to Belgium on Wednesday.

Lotto Soudal Riders Ready for the Tour de France!
On Saturday 6 July, the 106th edition of the Tour de France will kick off in Brussels with a sprint stage. After three weeks full of spectacle, the Tour will traditionally end on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. The Lotto Soudal line-up already looks ahead.

Tiesj Benoot: “Despite the injury after Paris-Roubaix, I have reached – by working really hard – a very good shape for the Tour de France and I feel completely ready for the start. I don’t have any feelings of revenge after my crash last year, when I was forced to abandon the Tour early in the race. I rather want to make things right after the spring Classics. I was riding quite well but I do not feel like I obtained that big result, something I do aim for in this Tour. During the presentation of the course last year, I already noticed that there would be a fair amount of chances for the escapees. However, I did not target any specific stages just yet but I will try to seize any opportunity I get. The fact that I climb really well is of course an additional advantage. The young rider classification definitely appeals to me and I would really like to wear the white jersey once, but a stage victory will always prevail. I’m hoping for a Tour like two years ago but with one real highlight.”

Jasper De Buyst: “The cliché says that on the one hand you have cycling and that on the other hand the Tour de France is above that. This will be my second participation and I can only confirm that the cliché is right. I’m in better shape than last year, when I still had to go through a period of rehab after my crash in the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque. I had the perfect preparation with the Giro and the ZLM Tour this year. In both races, I got, together with my teammates, the chance to fine-tune the sprint train for Caleb. The advantage is that Caleb can handle the fast finishes as well as the harder ones. In the meantime we have found each other and the motivation to start that first stage is gigantic. The Tour de France always entails big pressure, but you have to deal with that. We will do anything to win and to conquer the yellow jersey this Saturday. I grew up near Brussels, so the start is like racing in my backyard.”

Thomas De Gendt: “On the one hand we have a sprinter who has a good chance of winning a stage, so in the first place I will ride at the service of Caleb Ewan. On the other hand, wherever I start, my goal is to win a stage and that will be no different in the Tour de France. I will wait for the Vosges to make my move. It is an advantage that we have several riders with a free role within our line-up. If there is a breakaway group of 30 riders and you are in it with one or even two teammates, you will have more chance than being on your own. Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens will also often go on the attack and if we manage to be in the right breakaway together, that could be in my favor. As a Belgian, it’s great to experience the start of this Tour de France in Brussels. The hotel where we will be staying is only 55 kilometers from my house, I don’t think you can start a Grand Tour any closer than that.”

Caleb Ewan: “Starting in Brussels will be a great way to kick off my first Tour. There are going to be good sprinters and everybody is in their best form but already having six wins this season definitely means that I am going to the Tour with confidence. The opening stage is for sure going to be dangerous. All the general classification riders will want to stay out of trouble and all the sprinters want to be at the front as it is not only a chance to take the stage win but also to earn the first yellow jersey. Depending on how well I will be climbing, I think there are six to eight sprint chances. The rather difficult finales can really benefit my chances but at the Tour, there are some real specialists in the uphill finishes and at the end of the day, I am more of a sprinter for the flats. If I complete the Tour with one stage win, I will be satisfied but I am of course always aiming for as many wins as possible.”

Jens Keukeleire: “With Caleb Ewan, we have a very good chance of winning one or multiple stages. Personally I will already be happy if I can fulfill my role to help Caleb. We only rode Milan – San Remo together this year, so I don’t know yet what my specific role in the sprint train will be. Anyway, I will be very happy if we could win a stage, because winning in the Tour de France remains something really special. Besides, there are lots of transition stages this year. We will see when I will get the freedom of the team to try to break away. This is not my first Tour de France, so I know how hard it is to be in the right breakaway! Because of the start in Belgium, I think there will be a lot of people. Especially because the peloton will face the Muur van Geraardsbergen and the Bosberg already in the first stage. But the more people next to the road, the more nervous the peloton will be.”

Roger Kluge: “The opening stage is a big opportunity for Caleb and Lotto Soudal as a team. We aim for the win and it would be the icing on the cake of what we have achieved so far this season. We have a really strong team and if everything falls into place, we can do it. Like the past races, Jasper De Buyst will be the final guy in the lead-out for Caleb. I will be the penultimate rider and with Jens Keukeleire, we have another strong rider who can be there during the sprint preparation. Of course, it is a dream – after earlier stage success in the Giro – to win a stage in the Tour, but I don’t think about that at all. In the first place, I am there to fully support Caleb. Compared to the Giro, the run-up to the sprints may be a little less chaotic as some pure sprinters like Démare and Ackermann won’t be there.”

Maxime Monfort: “With an altitude training camp and nine days of racing at a really high level in the Tour de Suisse, the preparation for the Tour went perfect. Of course, the start of the Tour in my hometown Liège in 2012 was really emotional but Le Grand Départ in Brussels will be something special as well. Especially during the first ten days, I will fully ride at the service of the team and, if necessary, lead the peloton. In the last week, I can try to go in the break myself or support riders like Benoot, De Gendt or Wellens. The serving role is not really new to me as I have been teammates with riders like Cavendish or the Schleck brothers in the past. I still feel very strong but I can’t obtain a top ten result in a Grand Tour or another stage race anymore. During four years, I could do my own thing within Lotto Soudal but after internal dialogue, I have been working for the team the past few months. When my Tour will be successful? That fully depends on what we perform as a team.”

Tim Wellens: “We go to the Tour de France with a strong team. Caleb Ewan is our leader and we all believe in his abilities. This is my third Tour de France and I have learned from the past. My last two performances in France haven’t been the most successful ones. I will never be a fan of the extreme temperatures, but I’m prepared. I went to Dubai for some tests and hopefully they will pay off. I don’t want to attack impulsively anymore like I did in the past, but I want to be more efficient with my energy. With the Tour of Belgium and a lot of training blocks, I had a different preparation. I also think that I will be at the start with better legs this year. As a Belgian rider, it’s very special to start a Grand Tour in your own country.”

Sunweb Team for the Tour de France
Aike Visbeek – Team Sunweb coach: “This year our focus at the Tour de France will be to go for stage success throughout the race. We have been in this situation before when we have had to change from a GC goal to focusing on stage results and I am confident we can do well again. We’ll have opportunities for good results with Michael in the sprint stages and reduced bunch sprints. Nikias will be our captain and with Giro stage winner Chad, we bring extra power for the both the TTT and TT. With Wilco, Nicholas and Søren we aim for opportunities in the more difficult hilly and mountain stages. We are also happy and proud that we bring two talented debutants to this year’s Tour with Lennard and Cees. Lennard has shown both in lead-out work and in the mountains that he is very strong and with him we are aiming to make the next step in his development. Cees has made big steps this spring with several victories, but maybe even more impressive has been his dedication to working in a support role on different occasions. Cees will get the opportunity to gain more experience and develop at what is the highest level.”

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Nikias Arndt (GER), Cees Bol (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Lennard Kämna (GER), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Michael Matthews (AUS), Nicholas Roche (IRL).

Team Sunweb presented their 2019 Tour de France squad on Wednesday, at the Shimano Experience Center in Limburg. Ahead of the grand départ in Brussels this coming Saturday, the eight riders who will wear the team’s two distinct Keep Challenging stripes throughout the month of July at the Tour were presented, discussing their goals and ambitions for stage success at this year’s race.

EF Education First Names Tour de France Team
The EF Education First Tour de France team is set and ready to roll this weekend in Belgium, with eight riders from eight different countries. The Tour is the sport’s biggest race and one of its most beautiful. Millions of people stand on the roads in July, and millions and millions more turn on their TVs and watch back at home. It’s the race people grow up watching.

“Our specific ambitions we will leave to ourselves. As giving it away wouldn’t be any fun,” says team CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “And we’re all about having a bit of fun.”

Read on about the EF Education First 2019 Tour team HERE.

Rigoberto Urán: “The route is going to be a good one for me this year. There are some hard stages, like always, with a lot of stages that finish over 2000 meters. Fans can expect a beautiful, challenging route. In the last week, that’s when the gaps will form between the leaders. This year is a good year for Colombians who are from high altitude, the born climbers.”

Tejay van Garderen: “The Tour is the one race that transcends cycling. Without the Tour de France, cycling would be an obscure sport. The Tour puts cycling in front of the world. The everyday person knows about this race. As a kid, it was the only race in the US that was ever on TV. […] Naturally then, we all want to perform at the highest level on the biggest stage, and I think I’m well-positioned to do that, and so is the team.”

Mike Woods: “I have been more consistent this season, and I have been consistently present on the attack. That’s something I want to do at this Tour. I want to be visible. I want the fans, particularly the Canadian fans, to turn on the TV and see a Canadian at the front of the best race in the world. I’m not here to be a passenger. I’m here to be active and influence the outcome, so that some Canadian kid back home can watch and say: ‘That’s Mike Woods. I want to grow up and race like Mike Woods.’ That’s what motivates me.”

Tom Scully: “The group has been coming together really well. Our build-up has been low on stress and high on motivation. Within the team, we’re all satisfied and happy with how we’re progressing on the bike, and that attitude has created a real relaxed and light-hearted environment.”

Sebastian Langeveld: “I’m one of the key riders for the team time trial, and I’m here to protect our leaders, especially in the first week when things are the most hectic. Depending on how hard that job is, I’d love to have a crack at the individual time trial, but I’m going to the Tour absolutely as a domestique.”

2017 Tour runner-up Rigoberto Uran headlines a united, motivated team:
Alberto Bettiol, Simon Clarke, Tejay van Garderen, Tanel Kangert, Sebastian Langeveld, Tom Scully, Rigoberto Uran, Mike Woods.

Can Uran do better that second at the Tour?

Niki Terpstra – Looking for stage wins:

Mitchelton-SCOTT Name Team to support Adam Yates at Tour de France
Mitchelton-SCOTT has named its eight-man squad for the upcoming Tour de France, calling on a mix of climbing specialists and ‘big’ men to support leader Adam Yates at the second Grand Tour of the season.

The 26-year-old finished just shy of the podium to take fourth and the white jersey in 2016 but his reappearance in 2018 didn’t go as planned. This year he will return again with three wins already to his name this season, plus overall podiums at Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta Catalunya.

Mitchelton-SCOTT at the Tour de France (6 – 28 July):
Luke Durbridge (AUS, 28) – 6th TDF appearance
Jack Haig (AUS, 25) – TDF debut
Michael Hepburn (AUS, 27) – 2nd TDF appearance
Daryl Impey (RSA, 34) – 7th TDF appearance
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 29) – 2nd TDF appearance
Matteo Trentin (ITA, 29) – 5th TDF appearance
Adam Yates (GBR, 26) – 4th TDF appearance
Simon Yates (GBR, 26) – 4th TDF appearance

Yates will be supported in the mountains by twin Simon Yates, who will return the favor to his brother after he successfully and crucially guided him to his first Grand Tour victory at the Vuelta a Espana last year.

Joining them will be Australian and Tour de France debutant Jack Haig, who also proved crucial support in the team’s successes at the 2018 Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana as well as finishing fourth overall himself at this year’s Paris-Nice.

Fellow Australian duo Luke Durbridge, Michael Hepburn and Dane Chris Juul-Jensen, all part of Mitchelton-SCOTT’s team time trial victory at Tirreno-Adriatico in March, will guide Yates through the flat stages and bolster the second stage TTT, whilst puncheurs Daryl Impey and Matteo Trentin will prove crucial in hectic finishes.

The Race: The 2019 Tour de France will cover 3460km across its 21 stages, with five altitude finishes, 30 cat-2 or harder climbs and just 54km of time trialling across two stages, of which one will be a team time trial. The Grand Depart this year will be starting in Brussels and finish with the traditional stage on the Champs Elysees.

When the course was revealed, the major talking point was the heights in which the Tour de France would tackle in 2019. There will be three finishes above 2000m – Col du Tourmalet, Tignes and Val Thorens – which is a first in history for the Tour de France. Alongside the three altitude finishes, the route will pass six other peaks above 2000m.

History: A disappointing race in 2018 saw Mitchelton-SCOTT leave the Tour de France without a top general classification result or stage victory. The two years prior the team finished in the top ten overall (4th in 2016 and 7th in 2017), both times claiming the best young rider’s white jersey.

Earlier in its existence Mitchelton-SCOTT’s emphasis was on stage victories and in its seven appearances at the French Grand Tour the Australian outfit has claimed three – two in 2013 and one in 2016.

2013 was a major highlight in the team’s history – the two stage victories (Simon Gerrans and Team Time Trial) resulted in four days in the race leader’s yellow jersey – two days for Gerrans before he famously passed it onto teammate Impey.

Adam Yates – Team Leader: “After Dauphine I’ve managed to come back around pretty quick, back into full training and feeling good so hopefully it was just a minor bump. The Tour this year is a tough one, especially towards the end of the race. I checked out stages 18, 19, 20 just before Dauphine and three stages like that back-to-back at the very end of the race will be sure to have some fireworks. Not only that, but there’s some real tricky stages like stage six to Planche des Belles Filles, which I know quite well from when I raced for CC Etupes and lived in France. So overall a very tough route with some challenging terrain. A couple years ago I was fourth and not far from the podium, I don’t really want to put a marker on what I want to achieve, I just know I’ll like to go better than previously and with the condition and consistency I’ve had this year I don’t see why not. We’re bringing a super strong team for pretty much all terrain. Imps and Trentin will be able to have a go at some of the lumpy sprint stages and then I’ll have the big guys like Durbo, Heppy and Chris to keep me out of trouble and out of the wind on the nervous flat stages. Once we hit the mountains Jack and Simon will be there to push the pace if we need to, so I feel we’ve got a really nice balanced team that will help us challenge for the win.”

Matt White – Head Sport Director: “Our primary goal is to give Adam Yates every chance possible to arrive on the podium come Paris, but our secondary goal is also to win a stage. We have a good combination of riders who can help achieve those goals, and to get a result as a key GC rider, you are very much reliant on the strength of the team. If we can continue to support Adam as we did Simon at the Giro then this will only enhance Adam’s chances of a solid result. On a climbing front we will have Simon Yates in a super domestic role. His primary goal is to be there for his brother Adam and to return the favor from the Vuelta last year. We also have Jack Haig in the same role, one which he has excelled in over the last two seasons. His climbing talents will become even more valuable in the crucial backend of the race. He has done a few Grand Tours with the team but this will be his first Tour de France and it will be a great opportunity for him to gain experience on the biggest stage there is in our sport. Daryl will be our captain on the road. He is the oldest and most experienced, and he is no stranger to the Tour de France and how we operate and I have a lot of faith in him and his decision making. Besides being a super teammate, and one that has been part of many of our successes over the years, he is a guy that can be looking for opportunities throughout the month for a stage win. Matteo joined the team to win stages at Grand Tours. He is a very versatile character – in mountains, team time trial, and sprints – and he will certainly be getting his chances during the Tour. The trio of Chris, Durbo and Heppy are our engine room. They are guys we’ve used across different Grand Tours with a lot of success. They might not have the most glamorous role, but for our team they are a very valuable asset. They have been key across many of our biggest wins and a lot of the workload does fall on the shoulders of those three, especially on the flatter roads of France.”

Tour de France: Line Up
8 riders “capped” for the 2019 Tour de France

Team Dimension Data is delighted to announce our eight riders for the 106th edition of the Tour de France which gets underway in Brussels on 6 July.

It’s a squad that carries a huge amount of experience and will look to challenge by way of aggressive racing, while at the same time staying true to our team’s goal of changing lives through bicycles.

Among a host of fast men in our line up Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen is one of a handful who has represented us at every one of our appearances at the race since 2015. He’s won three stages of the Tour and comes into the race in good form with three wins under his belt this year, looking to again peak on the biggest stage.

There’s a Tour de France debut for sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo who is full of confidence having won the final stage at the recent Tour of Slovenia. The Italian, who has raced seven Giro d’Italia’s, brings a huge amount of experience into our line-up.

South Africa’s Reinardt Janse van Rensburg will be eyeing a series of stages for the fast men who are keen on tackling the hills as he competes in the race for a fifth time. He made his debut for us in 2015 and has seven top-10 finishes to his name this season.

Stephen Cummings will be looking at repeating his heroics on Mandela Day in 2015 as this year’s parcours is well suited to his style of racing. The former British champion has won two stages and will be looking for more in his sixth appearance at the race.

There are two very exciting “new caps” in Roman Kreuziger and Michael Valgren. The former has four top-10 finishes at Le Grande Boucle and will relish the challenge that this very tough route poses.

While for Valgren, one of the most exciting riders in the world in recent years, he’ll be looking forward to making his debut for the team, targeting a podium spot on a number of stages and going one better than his 4th place on stage 15 in 2018.

Lars Bak joins countryman Valgren in a crucial support role in the team. This will be his eighth time taking on Le Grande Boucle and his versatility over varied terrain will make him a key asset to our team throughout the race.

Concluding our selection is Ben King who joined our team in 2017 and rides the Tour de France for a second time having first ridden it in 2014. Last year was in some ways a breakout year for the American, as he impressed with two stage victories at the Vuelta a España.

In an exciting innovation for our team in 2019 each of the selected riders has been assigned a unique Tour de France cap, chronologically referencing the number for which they have been “capped” for our team at the race since 2015. These are revealed for the first time in our team announcement video which was filmed on location in Khayelitsha, Cape Town at the Velokhaya Life Cycle Academy by young members who dream of competing in the future on the biggest stage. Our team visited Velokhaya on our annual training camp in November last year and it proved to be a source of great inspiration to our riders and staff who were present.

In the last five editions of the Tour de France, 18 riders have represented our team and so this year sees a number of new riders being “capped”. [See attached table]

Cap Number Rider TDD TdF Debut Best Result
1 Edvald Boasson Hagen 2015 3 x stage wins
2 Stephen Cummings 2015 2 x stage wins
5 Reinardt Janse van Rensburg 2015 8th on stage
19 Michael Valgren 2019 4th on stage
20 Roman Kreuziger 2019 4 x GC top 10
21 Giacomo Nizzolo 2019 n/a
22 Ben King 2019 n/a
23 Lars Bak 2019 4th on stage

Edvald Boasson Hagen, Stephen Cummings and Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, are our only riders from our Tour de France debut in 2015 and so are assigned as numbers one, two and five respectively. While Valgren, Kreuziger, Nizzolo, Bak and King are all new additions.

Doug Ryder – Team Principal
“Really excited to announce this great group of riders who we feel will be the best suited to meet the team’s objectives we have set out for this years Tour de France. It’s a tough course but one that we’d like to be competitive in every stage, while at the same time continuing with our goal of changing lives through bicycles.”

Ben King
“I finally got the call that I’ve been waiting for! I have been selected for the Tour de France with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka. For many Americans the Tour is the only race that they know so it’s a huge deal. I can finally tell everyone who asks every year “Yes, I’ll be there”. It’s a massive honor but also a huge responsibility, there’s really nothing like it.”

Michael Valgren
“I’m super excited to be part of the Team Dimension Data Tour de France team. We are aiming for some wins and I can’t wait to go there and help a teammate get a stage win or perhaps even myself – that would be quite cool. So, I’ll see that I’ll be having another holiday in France – three weeks! It’s going to be perfect.”

Giacomo Nizzolo
“I’m very excited to be at the Grand Depart for the very first time. So at the moment I’m really looking forward to that opportunity and to enjoy the experience as it will be without a doubt one of my career highlights.”

Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
“I’m really looking forward to starting another Tour de France, it will be my fifth Tour this year. I think that we’ve got a good team to target for stage wins and there are some good stages that suit me. So I’m really looking forward to this year’s tour again, three weeks of racing in the heat so I’m just completing my final preparations for that at the moment.”

Steve Cummings
“I was pleasantly surprised about the Tour selection, I wasn’t expecting that. I’m very grateful to the team again for the opportunity to go to the Tour and I’m looking forward to the challenge. I think it’s a pretty open Tour, there are a lot of chances to be aggressive and I think it suits the team that we have very well and I hope that we can have a great July and every one can be proud of us.”

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will complete the 2019 season under the Dimension Data brand. In July this year, Dimension Data joined 28 remarkable companies, to become NTT (NTT Ltd.). The Team will rebrand to wear the colors of NTT in the 2020 season. We’re excited about the journey ahead of us as we work together to continue to innovate and reshape the sport of professional cycling.

Grab Your Gamepads for the Fantasy Tour de France!
Who has never wanted to sit behind the wheel of a team car, hand out water bottles to the riders and send out instructions over the radio right before the final climb of a grueling mountain stage? Participants in the 2019 Fantasy Tour de France will live an even more thrilling experience while they watch the race on the edge of their seats. Some decisions have a great deal of influence on the result before the Tour even gets going, such as putting together a well-rounded team capable of fighting on all fronts or one built to excel in a certain scenario. Every team will start on equal terms and with the exact same budget, so strategic choices will make all the difference.

Players will get to unleash their creativity naming their Fantasy teams at the same time as they fill out their rosters. Starting with the Grand Départ in Brussels, players will earn points according to the places of their riders in each stage, following a scale that serious players will know by heart. On that day and every morning until 28 July, just like teams do their briefings in their buses, every player will have to come up with a race plan, including picking a road captain who they believe will do well in the upcoming stage. Double points are awarded to captains, so it is not a trivial choice. Likewise, each team can draft up to eight substitutes to avoid losing due to withdrawals or a leader who is out of shape.

The lively debates among supporters will now extend, perhaps with the same passion and vehemence, to this parallel competition. After 60,000 players signed up for the first edition of the Fantasy Tour last year, the community is poised to continue growing at breakneck speed, promising exciting duels in the classification, but even more so in all the leagues that will be set up. Friends, colleagues or training buddies —everyone will be aiming to beat their peers. This time round, there will be thousands of winners after the stage on the Champs-Élysées.

Key points:
For the second year running, you can now play the Fantasy Tour de France to experience the Grande Boucle from the perspective of a director sportif.
# Every place will count this time round, with the top 100 riders (versus 25 last year) earning points.
# Sign up online:

Play Year-Round
Fans who want to channel their inner directeur sportif can keep playing these must-have games the whole season:
– Tour de France 2019 (PS4 / XBOX ONE). Players are transported to the roads of the Tour de France, launching attacks and choosing their own trajectories in the descents. Depending on the mode, players can control a single rider or an entire team.
– Pro Cycling Manager 2019 (PC). Players can tackle the entire season, including over 200 races and 500 stages all over the world. Apart from controlling their teams during races, managers also negotiate sponsor contracts and transfers, design training programs and much more.
– Tour de France 2019 The Game (iOS / Android). Live the emotion of the Tour in this unique management and simulation game. Gather the best team, train your riders, improve your equipment and recruit talented staff to get the yellow jersey!

More information about Tour de France on

Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile
Nicolas Marche – Team Sunweb coach: “The Giro is the longest and one of the most beautiful stages races in the women’s calendar. It is always difficult but this year looks set to be a really hard Giro and we’ll see the best climbers in the world head to the race. We arrive at the Giro with six motivated riders, all with different roles within the team. Lucinda will be our card to play in the GC: she’s just back from altitude camp and motivated to repeat her performance that saw her come fifth last year. Juliette starts her third Giro and this year she will try to stay as long as possible with Lucinda and potentially fight for the young rider classification. Floortje and Leah will be there to support the GC riders in the mountains but also to fight for stage wins for the team. Julia will be our road captain and use her experience to guide the team, and Pfeiffer arrives at the race to support the team but to also gain valuable experience because it is her first time racing the Giro.”

Lucinda Brand (NED), Pfeiffer Georgi (GBR), Leah Kirchmann (CAN), Juliette Labous (FRA), Floortje Mackaij (NED), Julia Soek (NED).

Lucinda Brand:

Movistar Team Embarks on Giro Rosa Adventure
Telefónica-backed squad into longest stage-race of the calendar for second consecutive year; ten-day event (July 5-14) includes the legendary Passo Gavia climb on stage five.

The Movistar Team confirmed on Tuesday its roster for the 30th Giro Rosa, the longest race of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, which starts on Friday 5th with a tough team time trial towards Castellania and will end, after ten exhausting stages, in Udine on Sunday 14th. Coordinated by Sebastián Unzué (manager), Jorge Sanz and Pablo Lastras (sports directors), the Blues will be lining up in Italy with Eider Merino, Sheyla Gutiérrez, Gloria Rodríguez, Aude Biannic, Malgorzata Jasinska and Paula Patiño.

A couple of lumpy stages in the opening weekend will proceed the tough two mountain-top finishes of the race: the Passo Gavia (2652m above sea level), on Tuesday 9th, and the Malga Montasio (12km at 9%), on Saturday 13th. Between them, a demanding ITT from Chiuro and Teglio, on Wednesday 10th, will also help shape the overall result of a race with enormous competitive level, stress and exigence.

Movistar Team at the 2019 Giro Rosa
2nd appearance. 2018: 8th and 11th in the individual overall classification with Eider Merino y Mavi García; second at the team GC.
· Six-woman teams; one less rider than in 2018 by regulation.
· All info on the event – 2019 Giro Rosa x Movistar Team

– Eider Merino (Balmaseda, ESP; 1994)
Comes into her favorite terrain, the big mountains, after a 9th place overall in last May’s Emakumeen Bira and some good legs in the Spanish Championships, 4th at both the road race and the time trial. A feather light climber at just 40kg, she will be the Telefónica-backed squad’s main threat for the toughest stages in the Giro Rosa – she already finished 4th last year atop the Monte Zoncolan and a team-best 8th overall.

– Sheyla Gutiérrez (Varea, ESP; 1994)
The newly crowned Spanish individual time trial champion in Yecla last Friday, she’s also the last Spanish stage winner to date in the Giro Rosa – notched it up in 2017. Will take the start in optimal form, as shown in Plumelec (3rd) and the Emakumeen Bira (4th at two stages) as well as the Nationals. No matter if it’s a break, a bunch sprint, even some mid mountains – there’s plenty of terrain where this intelligent, combative Spaniard can shine.

– Gloria Rodríguez (Torre Pacheco, ESP; 1992)
A powerhouse for flat courses who is steadily improving her performance in all other terrains. A catalyst of stability for the group, both in and out of the race. Bronze-medal finisher in the recent ITT Nationals, as well as remarkable in teamwork duties at the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour, where she contributed decisively to a world-class GC podium for current Spanish champion Lourdes Oyarbide. It’s the Murcian’s third Giro Rosa appearance.

– Aude Biannic (Rennes, FRA; 1991)
High morale and great form for the ‘Brétonne’ at the moment, having fought really hard, and nearly succeeded, to retain her French road race champion jersey last Saturday, coming in 3rd place after facing huge opposition from the strongest local squads. An allrounder who is taking huge steps forward at the toughest races. Fourth consecutive appearance in Italy, the fifth of her career.

– Malgorzata Jasinska (Barczewo, POL; 1984)
The most veteran rider the Movistar Team will bring to Italia, and the most expert competitor in the Giro Rosa with eight consecutive appearances since her debut in 2011. Following a rough start to her 2019 season, she’s finally got to shine at a similar level from her fantastic 2018 season during the month of June, by claiming a coveted GC top-ten result in The Women’s Tour and a silver medal at the ITT Nationals. Courageous, consistent, committed.

– Paula Patiño (La Ceja, COL; 1997)
The Antioquia native debuts in the Giro Rosa at 22 years of age. She’s been making big headlines for the Movistar Team for most of the 2019 season, a progression which leads to optimism about her chances in this race. Shone in Thüringen and the Emakumeen Bira, and also came close to victory several times in Spanish national races this year, including a 3rd place at the recent Estella round of the Copa de España. She’s not your usual Colombian-style climber: she can do well at almost every terrain.

Giro Rosa Preview with Dany Schoonbaert
Only two days left till the start of the Giro Rosa on Friday 5 July! This ten-day stage race gets kicked off in Cassano Spinola with a team time trial of 18 kilometers and finishes with a stage to Udine on Sunday 14 July.

There are four Belgians in the Lotto Soudal Ladies team for the Giro: Annelies Dom (33), Lotte Kopecky (23), Julie Van De Velde (26) and Kelly Van den Steen (23). The other two team members are Dutch rider Danique Braam (23) and the British rider Dani Christmas (31). They all arrived in Italy today and did a recon of the team time trial course.

Dany Schoonbaert, sports manager Lotto Soudal Ladies: “We already prepared well for the team time trial in Belgium. The riders went to the Ardennes for a training. We chose to ride the team time trial with a road bike because there are two climbs and one descent on the course. There are almost no flat parts. There are some sharp turns on the descent as well and then it’s better to ride with a road bike than with a time trial bike. You can steer better with a road bike. The team already came to Italy today, so we could do a recon of the team time trial.”

“It’s very important that we can participate in the Giro. This is the most beautiful stage race on the calendar. We’re happy to be back after a few years of absence. And we can’t wait to start. The riders are all in shape, they showed that among other at the Belgian Time Trial Championship.”

“The Giro route is very hard. The least tough stages in this race can still be compared to an Ardennes race. On a few occasions a larger group could ride to the finish and then we hope that Lotte Kopecky survives the selection and can sprint too. She’s also taking part in the Giro to further develop as a rider. Julie Van De Velde had a very strong spring season and has set a step forward this year. We’ll see how this Giro goes for her. It’s an advantage for her that there are no finishes at the end of a descent. Uphill it’s just a matter of being the strongest. The teammates can help Julie on the way to the climbs or join an early break and then help Julie further down the stage. We’ll also look for opportunities to attack. We want to have a nice Giro.”

Lotte Kopecky:

Bigla Ready to Take on the Giro Rosa
On Friday, Bigla will take to the start of the 30th edition of the Giro Rosa. The race commences with a 18 km long team time trial, followed by some hilly stages, and a stage for the sprinters, before heading into the mountains. Stage 5, the first mountainous stage, is the 100 km long queen stage, with the riders taking on the famed Gavia. The following day will see a 12 km long individual race against the clock, which features a tough uphill route that will provide for further gaps in the general classification. The following stages are hilly, however, the penultimate stage features the finishing climb of the Malga Montasio, with an average gradient of over 8 per cent, which ramps up to 20 percent in some sections. The tenth and final 120 km long stage concludes with a cobbled climb to the Udine castle.

Representing Bigla at the prestigious Italian stage race will be:
– Elizabeth Banks
– Elise Chabbey
– Mikayla Harvey
– Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig
– Nikola Noskova
– Leah Thomas

Hear from the riders:
“I’m excited to be heading into the Giro Rosa as the designated team leader. I’ll do my best to achieve the objectives of the team and feel that I have the full support of all my teammates, which is in itself extra motivation. We’re bringing a team with some young riders to the race, many of whom have not taken part in the Giro Rosa before, so in that sense we’ll face some challenges, but I’m looking forward to sharing my experience with them and taking on the race together.”Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.

“I’m hugely looking forward to racing my first Giro Rosa this year. As the longest stage race on the women’s calendar, it’s a slightly daunting prospect but I’m feeling good after The Women’s Tour and I am looking forward to going in to this race with full fitness and in full support of the team.”Elizabeth Banks.

“The Giro Rosa is a race that I always wanted to compete in. It’s one of the most prestigious and famous events on the calendar, and I hope I’ll be able to be of help to our leader in the mountains. I’m going to give it everything.”Elise Chabbey.

“I’m beyond excited to be racing in my first Giro Rosa. It is such an iconic and beautiful race to be part of. Of course it will be a very strenuous ten days, probably some of the hardest in my life. However, this just excites me even more, and I’m looking forward to pushing my limits and supporting my teammates.”Mikayla Harvey.

“I am very happy to be selected for the Giro Rosa with this amazing team. This year will be a hard race, but I’ll do my best and will ride as hard as possible. I’m very motivated, and would also like to try to see how I can go in the competition for the best young rider’s jersey.”Nikola Noskova.

“The Giro Rosa is amongst the hardest and most prestigious races in women’s cycling and it is a real privilege to take part in such an iconic event. As this is my first Giro, I am keeping my mind open to the experience and looking to support the team with solid teamwork and aggressive racing.”Leah Thomas.

CCC Team Lining Up at Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria with Two Former Winners
CCC Team will be lining up with two former winners of the Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria, Riccardo Zoidl and Víctor de la Parte, when racing gets underway with a 2.5-kilometer long prologue on Saturday (6 July).

Sports Director Gabriele Missaglia said that Zoidl, who took the overall title in 2013, will lead CCC Team’s General Classification ambitions at the 2019 edition of the race.

“Zoidl will be our leader for the General Classification in Austria and I think we have a good team behind him. This is his home race and, after a solid block of altitude training following the Critérium du Dauphiné, I think his condition is good heading into it. De la Parte has also won this race in the past but, after taking some time off to recover following the Giro d’Italia, the Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria will be about getting back into the swing of racing for him. However, saying that, I think if his condition is there, which I think it will be, he will be an important teammate for Zoidl. Overall, I think that we can try to be competitive and race aggressively with the riders we have lining up and then, if Zoidl is strong, I hope we can do something nice at the end of the week,” Missaglia explained.

Zoidl is looking forward to leading CCC Team on home soil and is motivated about racing for a place on the final podium.

“My feelings ahead of the Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria are good. I spent the two weeks before the National Championships at altitude in Austria to prepare and I hope that I feel the benefits and effects of that during the race. This race is special to me, and I am really looking forward to it. My professional career really started with my overall victory here and so, I am always motivated to do well. My overall goal is to finish on the podium and, if possible, to win. I have proved that I race well here, finishing in the top five three times, and this year’s parcours looks good for me so I hope I can do well,” Zoidl said.

De la Parte, who took the overall title in 2015, will make a return to racing after the Giro d’Italia at the seven-day stage race.

“For me, this race will be about finding my form after a period of rest and recovery post-Giro d’Italia. While I think it will be difficult for me, it will also be good to be back in action and to find my race rhythm again. Of course, this is a special race for me as I have won it in the past but, it is also a race that I like a lot especially as it has nice long climbs which suit me. I am happy to be heading back this year and for me, the goal when I get there will be to help Zoidl, who is from Austria and who is motivated, so I think he can do something, and I will try to help him as much as possible,” de la Parte added.

Int. Österreich-Rundfahrt-Tour of Austria (6 – 12 July)
Rider Roster:

Will Barta (USA), Josef Černý (CZE), Víctor de la Parte (ESP), Jonas Koch (GER), Łukasz Owsian (POL), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Riccardo Zoidl (AUT).
Sports Directors: Gabriele Missaglia (ITA), Jackson Stewart (USA).

Laurens ten Dam:

Tim Declercq Continues with Deceuninck – Quick-Step
A member of the Wolfpack since 2017, Tim Declercq has signed a new contract with the UCI World Team Ranking leader.

Now in his third season with Deceuninck – Quick-Step, “El Tractor” Tim Declercq has proved in these past years that he’s a world class domestique, one of the most hard-working guys in the peloton, capable of riding dozens and dozens of kilometers at the head of the bunch and chewing into the breakaway’s advantage, always impervious to the weather conditions or the difficulty of the parcours.

Be it Classics or Grand Tours, the 30-year-old Belgian from Leuven has always put his strength, experience and determination into the team’s service, helping it become one of the best and most successful in the world, and for this he has been rewarded with a new deal, running until the end of 2021.

“It was a dream come true when I signed with this great team three years ago, and I continue to live this dream every single day. Patrick and me found an agreement very quickly and I’m very happy to let everyone know that I’ll remain a member of the Wolfpack, where I feel at home. Being part of this amazing group of riders and staff makes me extremely proud and I hope that the next two years will bring more satisfactions and success”, said Tim Declercq, a winner of the best climber jersey earlier this season at the Volta ao Algarve.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere expressed his satisfaction at having secured the Belgian’s services for the next two seasons: “Since joining us three years ago, Tim has added power to our squad and proved he is a truly selfless team player, who gives absolutely everything for his leaders, a guy on whom you can always rely to get the job done. Considering this, but also the fact that we share the same values and mentality, it was logical to continue our solid partnership.”

‘El Tractor’ Tim Declercq

Team Jumbo-Visma signs Foss for two years
Team Jumbo-Visma has signed the Norwegian Tobias Foss for the coming two years. The 22-year-old talent is next season’s first new asset to the Dutch WorldTour team of manager Richard Plugge. Foss comes from development team Uno-X from Norway. Team Jumbo-Visma considers Foss an all-round reinforcement who can stand his ground both uphill and in time trials.

“We scouted Tobias extensively. He also went on a training camp with us twice. Subsequently, we kept in touch, even when he was going through a difficult period as a rider. He has shown that he can overcome difficulties”, sportive director Merijn Zeeman explains the transfer of the young Norwegian.

Foss is eager to make the switch next season. “I’m really looking forward to joining the team. For my kind of rider, Team Jumbo-Visma is the perfect team to develop further. Of all the World Tour teams, this team has the best talent development”, he says. “My ambition for the coming years is to help the team and the leaders to get good results and for myself to grow and take steps as a rider and as a person. I know the way of working at Team Jumbo-Visma and I feel privileged and happy to be part of it.”

Tobias Foss:

Building Bahrain’s Next Generation of Champions
Team Bahrain Merida, the breakthrough UCI World Tour pro cycling team, in conjunction with the Bahrain Cycling Association and McLaren, takes great pleasure in announcing the formation of the Bahrain Cycling Academy (BCA).

At Bahrain Cycling Academy our mission is to create a clear development path for promising Bahraini and regional cyclists. Riders will be developed by experienced professionals and taught not only how to be better cyclists, but also how to deal with the many off-bike challenges of becoming a successful professional rider.

In 2020 the BCA will comprise a Continental team that will race the UCI Asia Tour program. The Kingdom of Bahrain will be the team’s hub. The long-term aim of the Academy is to establish Bahrain as a regional talent pool for elite cyclists, and ultimately to have a Bahraini cyclist join Bahrain’s UCI World Tour team.

Bringing cycling to Bahrain means more than just having a top-level team in the Kingdom, it means developing a community that supports the team, and a team that supports the local community. We will work on improving Bahrain’s cycling infrastructure, educating motorists to safely share our roads with cyclists, and be a driving force for growing cycling as both a competitive sport and a contributor to a healthy lifestyle.

The popularity of women’s cycling is also on the rise, and the Academy will proudly support female riders in Bahrain, promoting organized cycling and women’s coaching clinics. The goal is, by 2025, to achieve equal participation in cycling between men and women in Bahrain, and to create an elite UCI Women’s WorldTour team.

The home of the Academy will be the imposing McLaren building at Sakhir’s Bahrain International Circuit complex – the perfect location for inspiring speed and performance.

Fragata Olives and La Vuelta Extend Their Sponsorship Agreement Until 2021
Fragata Olives and Unipublic, organizer of La Vuelta, have extended the sponsorship agreement that binds them since 2012. By signing this contract, Fragata remains an official sponsor of La Vuelta until at least 2021.

In its seven years as a La Vuelta sponsor, the Spanish brand, a leader in the sale of olives worldwide, has implemented several activations with the aim of bringing its products closer to the public. Besides having two cars in the advertising caravan, Fragata Olives has also held promotional activities at both the starting and finish lines. Having covered almost 20,000 km distributing olives among all the fans that wait by the side of the road, the brand is already an emblem within the race’s advertising peloton.

Juan Carlos Sánchez, Director of Marketing and Communications for Ángel Camacho Alimentación, explains the two aspects that make this sponsorship so attractive to Fragata: “We love being linked to La Vuelta for its popular and friendly character. With this race, we are able to take our brand to every part of Spain’s geography. Also, the fact that La Vuelta is becoming increasingly more international, as is its media coverage, is something that really appeals to us. Our brand Fragata and our olives have a global character, as they are sold in over 90 countries”.

On his part, Javier Guillén, General Director of Unipublic, expressed his satisfaction with the contract’s renewal. “With this extension, Fragata and La Vuelta guarantee to work together for – at least – a decade. Both brands share similar values. We both aim to become benchmarks in our respective sectors, we have the vocation to continue growing and we look to expand beyond our borders”, he explained.

About Fragata
Fragata Olives is close to celebrating its first centenary. The brand was registered in 1925. Over 90 years later, it continues to be a flagship of the food company Ángel Camacho Alimentación. The 100% family-run company, based in Morón de la Frontera (Seville) but with a wide international network, has various well-known brands under its belt, including La Vieja Fábrica, Susarón and Fragata. Currently, Fragata is present in over 90 countries. Its product portfolio, including its extensive variety of olives, consists of pickled goods, oils and other Mediterranean specialties. Under the Fragata brand, the word “olive” has already been translated into 40 languages.

More information on La Vuelta at

Tour de France – Security
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