EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Michal Kwiatkowski is the man on form with his Tirreno-Adriatico win – Can he do a Sanremo double? Race news from Tirreno and the Nokere Koerse with video and La Primavera is the Top Story. Other cycling news: Tour 2020 Grand Départ from Nice, injury up-dates from Dimension Data and Quick-Step, Giro del Belvedere teams line-up, OVO Energy Tour Series, Paris-Nice in numbers and we meet Dylan Groenewegen. A full EUROTRASH Thursday!


Milan-Sanremo 2018
Saturday sees the first ‘Monument’ of the 2018 season kick off from the via della Chiesa Rossa, Milano at 10:10am for a 291 kilometer ride to the Mediterranean coastal town of Sanremo. As always there will be an early break, but the main action of the day will come on the final ‘capi’ on the run in to the finish. The Cipressa and the Poggio will be where the race is decided and if they don’t split the race then the crazy last kilometer will.

Ed Hood’s Milan-Sanremo preview HERE.

Race website:

The Milano-Sanremo, brought to you by NamedSport, follows the classic route that has connected Milan to the Riviera di Ponente for the past 109 years, namely via Pavia, Ovada and Passo del Turchino, before descending towards Genoa Voltri. From here, the route heads west, passing through Varazze, Savona, Albenga, Imperia and San Lorenzo al Mare where after the classic sequence of the “Capi” – Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta – the peloton negotiates two climbs that have become part of the route in recent decades: the Cipressa (1982) and Poggio di Sanremo (1961). The Cipressa is just over 5.6km long with a gradient of 4.1%. The descent leading back down to the SS 1 Aurelia road is highly technical.

Final Kilometers:
The ascent of Poggio di Sanremo starts 9km before the finish line. The climb is 3.7km long with an average gradient of less than 4% and a maximum of 8% in the segment shortly before the crest of the climb. The road is slightly narrower, with four hairpin turns in the first 2km. The descent is extremely technical, on asphalt roads, narrow at points and with a succession of hairpins, twist and turns as far as the junctions with the SS 1 Aurelia. The final part of the descent enters urban Sanremo and the last 2km are on long, straight urban roads. 850m from the finish line there is a left-hand bend on a roundabout. The last bend, leading into the home straight, is 750m from the finish line.

UCI WORLDTEAMS – 18 (eligible) – total of 25 teams of 7 riders each:

UCI Professional Continental Teams – 7 Wild Cards:

Tirreno-Adriatico 2018
Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) claimed his second stage win of Tirreno-Adriatico in Fano as he out-sprinted World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) who was hampered by a crash that took the other stage favorite, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors), out of contention with 7.5km to go. Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) retained the Maglia Azzurra ahead of the conclusive 10 kilometer Individual Time Trial in San Benedetto del Tronto with a slim advantage of three seconds over Damiano Caruso (BMC).

More photos from stage 6 HERE and HERE.

Stage winner, Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin): “This second stage victory isn’t necessarily better than the first one, which was my first pro win in Italy, so it was special. Today’s win is also special because it’s the birthday of [teammate] Nathan Haas and it wasn’t an easy stage at all. I’m proud of the team. Katusha-Alpecin has a big potential in lead-out with Rick Zabel and Marco Haller. With rouleurs like Alex Dowsett and Tony Martin, we can combine things really well. Today’s victory will keep everyone in the team motivated.”

Race leader, Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky): “Today’s race was more nervous with the rain. It’s very nice to have technical circuits for the fans but, as riders, we find them tricky. We have to be careful where to be positioned in the bunch ahead of the corners. It’s part of cycling – we have to deal with it. Now I’ll have to deal with Damiano Caruso being a great time triallist. I have a good opportunity to win but it would have been easier if I had a bigger advantage. It’s gonna be a great spectacle for people watching the race – they won’t know the final result until we cross the line.”

2nd on the stage, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The team did a great job all day and we were well positioned in the last kilometers but, unfortunately, in order to avoid hitting the road, I had to brake hard. The riders behind me piled up and my back wheel was damaged, so we had to change it. I was able to come back for the final sprint but I had spent a lot of energy. That’s cycling, there are things you can’t control in a race.”

Break rider, Marcus Burghardt (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I went to the break to try my chances at making it all the way to the finish and the win. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible and I just made the race hard so that the other sprinters got a bit more tired at the finish. It’s a pity Peter was caught up in the pileup in the finale but that’s part of the race. At least, we tried.”

Crash victim, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors): “I’m devastated to miss Milano-Sanremo! I was in very good form and was looking forward to Saturday’s race. I’m also sorry for my teammates, because they did a great job today and I wanted to repay them with a victory. But I must take things as they are now and just hope to have a fast recovery.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 6 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin in 3:49:54
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
4. Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors
6. Jens Debusschere (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
8. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
9. Eduard Grosu (Rom) Nippo Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
10. Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin.

Tirreno-Adriatico Overall After Stage 6:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky in 25:21:22
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:03
3. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 0:23
4. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:29
5. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:34
6. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:36
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:37
8. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:39
9. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:41
10. Jaime Roson (Spa) Movistar at 0:47.

Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) held his nerve in tricky conditions to secure overall victory in Tirreno-Adriatico in the Final Stage 7 time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. The Pole clocked a competitive time across the 10-kilometer course in San Benedetto del Tronto, staying out of trouble despite a late downpour creating tricky conditions. Kwiatkowski comfortably extended his lead to 24 seconds over second placed Damiano Caruso (BMC), and was joined on the podium by Sky teammate Geraint Thomas. Thomas jumped up a place to third overall, 32 seconds down on Kwiatkowski.

Rohan Dennis (BMC) proved once again that he was the man to beat, winning his second consecutive Tirreno-Adriatico time trial. Dennis flew off the ramp and settled into his rhythm quickly to post the provisional best time at the intermediate checkpoint before powering over the second half of the 10.05km out and back course, with an average speed of 53.412km/h. The current Australian national time trial champion posted a strong early benchmark of 11:14, and after a long wait in the hot seat, this was more than enough to take the win. Dutchman Jos van Emden (LottoNL-Jumbo) was 2nd at 4 seconds with Spanish TT champion, Jonathan Castroviejo (Sky) was 3rd at 8 seconds.

More photos from stage 7 in PeloPics.

Stage winner, Rohan Dennis (BMC): “I’m really happy. I woke up today and wasn’t feeling so good so to be going faster [than last year] today is a positive thing. I’m happy with my ride. It hasn’t been the best week for me. I couldn’t repeat what I did last year or improve in the climbs and on the General Classification, but I think today was quite good. It gave me a bit more confidence in what I am doing. Pacing was the most important thing. It’s shorter on the way back but it’s harder.”

“To be honest I was nervous about it. I was looking at the best times on this course and thinking ‘ok what do I need to aim for?’ I knew I needed to try and go faster than last year to win and I was right because Jos Van Emden (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) did the same time that I did last year. So, if I hadn’t beaten my time he would have won. I’m just happy I won today. It is a good confidence boost going forward. It has been a great week. We won the first stage with the team time trial and that was a hard one as well, it was very close. Then it was all teamwork and really working around Damiano Caruso and trying to make sure he had the best possible chance to win the race. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win but he was exceptional this week making sure he didn’t lose too much time on the big mountain stage and those two long stages were super hard so hats off to him for second overall.”

Final overall winner, Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky): “It’s been wonderful racing together with the boys from Team Sky. I’m happy me and G could finish on the podium. I know he had some back luck but at the end of the day we played it tactically really well. It was a really good race, straight from the start in the team time trial. I had really good feelings on the final time trial which was important. It was nervy from my point of view and when I was warming up on the KICKR it started raining. It was scary as anything could happen. In the end it was a good day. I’m getting older so let’s hope I can keep on progressing. I’m working a lot on my time trialling and climbing and that allows me to make better results at stage races. I signed for Team Sky which is built around riders who can go for overall GC victories. I’m managing to keep up and that’s great. My motivation will be even bigger as I had some great feelings here. I just need to recover. I will spend three days at home and I will be ready to ride on from Milano to San Remo for 300 kilometers.”

2nd overall, Damiano Caruso (BMC): “I think this was a really good result for me. Everyone knows my story of this week and how the race went. I am really happy because it is a good result for me and a good result for the team. Now we can see for the next races but I am more confident. I know that Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) is a really strong guy. This morning I knew it would be difficult to beat him today but I tried to do my best and at the end, it is still a nice result. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) is a really good rider so I am happy to keep the second place overall after the time trial.”

Points Winner, Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia): “It’s incredible for me to beat Peter Sagan in the points classification that he usually wins here. I looked at his race hoping that he wouldn’t go full gas. When I saw his time split, I understood he wouldn’t make the top 7 today and I’d win. I made a big effort this week. It’s a very nice result.”

King of the Mountains, Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini): “At the start of Tirreno-Adriatico, I didn’t expect to make the final ceremony. But I went for the first KOM price on stage 2 and I took it from there to bring this jersey home. I hope to keep improving my cycling and reach the level of the strongest riders.”

Best Young Rider, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal): “I gave it a 50-50 chance to keep the white jersey against Jaime Roson. With the wet conditions, it was a tricky time trial. I had to go fast but I didn’t take too many risks. I had a greater chance of winning the white jersey than moving up four places on GC. Fourth at Tirreno-Adriatico is, for me, a bigger surprise than winning Strade Bianche, especially because I lost fifty-eight seconds in the opening team time trial and the last time trial wasn’t to my advantage, so I’m really happy with my week of racing.”

Most Aggressive Rider, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I have no stage win but I’m happy with how the week went. I did a good job. Every day I felt better and better. My shape is ok for this time of the year. Everything is going according to the plan. It’s nice for Kwiatkowski to win Tirreno-Adriatico. We’ll have another interesting match at Milan-Sanremo.”

Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m leaving this Tirreno-Adriatico on the way up, with a good show in the queen stage. In the Sassotetto finish, I showed to be there. I was also unlucky in some moments, but this is part of the game. Anyway, with an eye on the next goals, it’s been a good outing.”

Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 7 Result:
1. Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC at 11:14
2. Jos van Emden (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:04
3. Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa) Sky at 0:08
4. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
5. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky at 0:12
6. Michael Hepburn (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:13
7. Jack Bauer (NZ) Mitchelton-Scott
8. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:17
9. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:18
10. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky.

Tirreno-Adriatico Final Overall Result:
1. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky in 25:32:56
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC at 0:24
3. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky at 0:32
4. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 1:06
5. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:10
6. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 1:13
7. Davide Formolo (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:15
8. Jaime Roson (Spa) Movistar
9. George Bennett (NZ) LottoNL-Jumbo at 1:16
10. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 1:22.

Danilith Nokere Koerse 2018
Fabio Jakobsen – a rider who made a name for himself in the U23 ranks thanks to back-to-back national titles and a stage win at the Tour de l’Avenir – needed only 14 days of racing to claim his maiden victory, and when he did it, it was in spectacular fashion, at the Nokere Koerse semi-classic (191.1 kilometers), a race which this year put on the table a revamped course, much harder than in the past, with a total of 22 cobbled sectors and eight ascents of the Nokereberg climb.

After taking the victory in the previous two races of the Belgian Cup, Le Samyn and Dwars door West-Vlaanderen, Quick-Step Floors was again in the spotlight, first by controlling the eight-man break which opened a ten-minute lead and then by infiltrating two riders – Florian Sénéchal and Pieter Serry – in a dangerous group that went clear with 30 kilometers to go.

As that move didn’t stick, the race came back together for the final ten kilometers, when the same incredible Sénéchal, together with a strong and attentive Davide Martinelli, covered every single attack, ensuring it all came down to a bunch sprint, which Fabio Jakobsen won with a perfectly-timed acceleration, after putting in a fantastic turn of speed that couldn’t be matched by any of his opponents, who were all left trailing on the uphill finish in Nokere. Amaury Capiot (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) was second with Hugo Hofstetter (Cofidis) in third place.

Race winner Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Floors): “Our goal from the start of the race was to win, because we had many guys in the team capable of taking the victory. The course was harder this year, but that didn’t stop up from shaping and controlling the race. When Florian and Pieter went in the final hour of racing, I was in the peloton and decided to save energy in case they got caught, as I was feeling good. The entire team did an amazing job today, Davide and Florian kept a high speed in the end, reeling in the late attackers, and I took the last corner on the inside, knowing this would increase my chances. On the last straight, I just gave everything and when I saw there wasn’t anyone near me, I began celebrating. It’s one of the best days of my life so far! I can’t tell you how happy I am to get my first pro win and how much confidence it gives me for the next races.”

Danilith Nokere Koerse Result:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Floors in 4:32:56
2. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis
4. Roy Jans (Bel) Cibel-Cebon
5. Andrew Fenn (GB) Aqua Blue Sport
6. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy
8. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan
9. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Wb Aqua Protect Veranclassic
10. Kamil Gradek (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Milano-Sanremo
Julian Alaphilippe, Philippe Gilbert and Elia Viviani will give our squad several cards to play on Saturday.

Almost 300 kilometers on the agenda, seven hours in the saddle and one of the most electrifying finishes in cycling, that’s Milano-Sanremo in a nutshell. The Classic dubbed by many as “the easiest in the world, but the most difficult to win” will run this weekend its 109th edition, a wet one from start to finish, according to the latest forecast, and Quick-Step Floors will look to be again one of the protagonists.

As usual, the race will kick off early in the morning in Milan, but it will take several hours before the peloton will face the day’s first difficulty, Passo del Turchino, the climb used as launch pad to victory by Fausto Coppi, more than seven decades ago. Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta will soften the bunch before the Cipressa (5.6 km, 4.1%) and the iconic Poggio. The latter was introduced on the course at the 1960 edition and averages only 3.7% over 3.7 kilometers, but despite that, it will weigh heavily in the outcome as it features just nine kilometers from the finish.

Last year, Julian Alaphilippe impressed everyone at his debut in the race, when he counterattacked on the Poggio before putting in a daredevil descent and sprinting to third. The Frenchman will once again line up at the start, as will Philippe Gilbert, who’ll tick off the 45th Monument start of his career in a classic in which he podiumed twice (2008, 2011), and Elia Viviani, another contender for a strong result on the famed Via Roma, who comes into the race following a storming start to his season, which saw the Italian score five victories in the first two months.

Supporting them in the first Monument of 2018 will be Tim Declercq, Iljo Keisse, Maximiliano Richeze and Fabio Sabatini, all seasoned riders who can control the race and whose experience can be instrumental coming into the business end of Milano-Sanremo.

“It’s always difficult to understand this race and predict what will happen, because a win depends on a number of factors and can come after a multitude of scenarios, but one thing that’s certain is we are going there with a strong team and several cards to play”, said Philippe Gilbert when asked about Saturday’s appointment. “I was a bit sick in Tirreno-Adriatico, but I’m happy for finishing the race and adding some valuable kilometers under the belt before Sanremo. It’s one of the biggest classics of the year and we are ready for it, despite not having Fernando in the team. The confidence is there, the squad, as I said, is a solid one and doesn’t lack options, and we’ll just see what the race will bring.”

17.03 Milano-Sanremo (ITA) 1.UWT

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Tim Declercq (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Elia Viviani (ITA).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA) and Wilfried Peeters (BEL).

Philippe Gilbert:

Sunweb for Milano-Sanremo
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED): “The longest race of the spring classics, the 291 kilometer route is traditionally one for the sprinters with climbing capacities. We go into the first Monument of the season with Michael as our team leader. We’re happy he’s back after fracturing his shoulder at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. His fracture has been healing well and he has been able to do some high quality training over the past week. Despite losing Simon as a key support rider with a fractured collarbone sustained during Tirreno Adriatico and Søren who’s still struggling with sickness, we line up with a very strong team ready to tackle a tough final on Saturday. Also back in action after crashing out of Tirreno Adriatico is Tom, and he will be one of the key support riders for the final. Roy is our road captain and starts his seventh Milano-Sanremo, so we have an experienced guy to lead the team. After a really tough week, we remain positive and look forward to the first Monument of the season.”

Milano-Sanremo (WT)

Nikias Arndt (GER), Roy Curvers (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Lennard Kämna (GER), Michael Matthews (AUS), Sam Oomen (NED), Edward Theuns (BEL).
Coach: Marc Reef (NED).

Michael Matthews, a possible?

AG2R-La Mondiale for Sanremo
Four of the seven riders who will line up at Milano-Sanremo will be racing it for the first time. They are Cyril Gautier, Oliver Naesen, Clement Venturini and Alexis Vuillermoz. Originally scheduled to race
Milano-Sanremo, Matteo Montaguti crashed in the second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, and was subsequently forced to retire in the fourth stage. A tear in his right quadricep ultimately forced him out of the race, and will require a few days rest to heal. He will be replaced at Milano-Sanremo by Clement Venturini.

Didier Jannel: “With 300 km, Milano-Sanremo is a race of attrition, and often follows a repetitive scenario. A breakaway forms from far out, but it is reeled in on the Poggio. We must save as much energy as possible in order to make the big effort at the right time. We will have three protected riders: Oliver Naesen, Alexis Vuillermoz and Tony Gallopin. The first two will be discovering the Primavera. Tony already knows the race well. Oliver is in good form before the start of the Flandrian races. Alexis proved his excellent condition racing at Paris-Nice (8th), and though Tony was sick in early part of Paris-Nice, showed in the last stages that he had recovered well, and he has solid references for performing well in the classics. The whole group is motivated, and everyone will be ready to fight for the best team performance.”

We’re happy to announce TKA’s lineup for “La Primavera” 2018!

Van Avermaet Set for First Monument of the Season
After racing at Tirreno-Adriatico, Greg Van Avermaet will remain on Italian soil and return to the start line of Milan-San Remo this Saturday, 17 March.

With ten editions behind him, including two top ten finishes in 2011 and 2016, Van Avermaet is motivated to stand on the podium at the first Monument of the 2018 season.

BMC Racing Team Sports Director Maximilian Sciandri said Van Avermaet will be backed by an experienced team, including 2012 winner Simon Gerrans. “Although we have Greg Van Avermaet as our leader, Milan-San Remo is not a race where we go in as the outright favorite team. However, some sprinters are out of the race so that could change the dynamics a little bit and as usual, we will be going there with the whole team around Greg. Greg has tested himself on a couple of occasions at Tirreno-Adriatico and his condition looks good. I think he is on a good and healthy build-up to Milan-San Remo.”

“We are going in with a really experienced team with riders like Simon Gerrans, a former winner here, and Jürgen Roelandts. I think it is maybe one of the strongest teams we have ever had around Greg and we will just have to play our cards in the right way on Saturday.”

Greg Van Avermaet is confident in his form coming out of Tirreno-Adriatico. “I feel pretty good after Tirreno-Adriatico. My shape is good and I’m looking forward to starting the one-day races which are my specialty. I think Milan-San Remo is a lottery but I am always motivated for a nice result there. It’s a hard race but I am always there in the right moves and in the final so I hope I can achieve a good result this Saturday,” Van Avermaet said.

Milan – San Remo (17 March)
Rider Roster:

Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Simon Gerrans (AUS), Jürgen Roelandts (BEL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).
Sports Directors: Maximilian Sciandri (ITA), Fabio Baldato (ITA).

Greg Van Avermaet:

The seven riders from UAE Team Emirates going to the Milano-Sanremo
Kristoff will lead the Emirati formation in the Classicissima.

For the Milano-Sanremo (Saturday 17th March), UAE Team Emirates will rely on a captain who has already clinched the Classicissima in his career: Alexander Kristoff.

The European Champion won in Sanremo in 2014 and has claimed this Springtime Classic as one of his main goals for 2018: “I’ve always really liked the Milano-Sanremo and this appeal only increased once I’d won it. I’ve set up the first part of 2018 so that I can be in top form for the Classicissima and for the Belgian races; unfortunately, I’ve been set back by a few health issues. At the beginning of the Paris Nice I had some days where I didn’t feel very well, but I think I’m better now and I’ve been working hard to concentrate on the Italian event. The objective is to figure as a major player. I have the right team to put me in the position to express myself to the fullest.”

These are the 7 riders who will participate in the Milano-Sanremo for the Emirati formation, under the guidance of Sports Director Mario Scirea (Italy), who will be supported by his colleague Marco Marzano (Italy):
– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway)
– Simone Consonni (Italy)
– Alexander Kristoff (Norway)
– Marco Marcato (Italy)
– Ben Swift (United Kingdom)
– Oliviero Troia (Italy)
– Diego Ulissi (Italy).

Because of the flu, Marco Marcato and Oliviero Troia won’t be able to participate in the Milano-Sanremo, as previously announced.

Their places in UAE Team Emirates line-up will be taken by Matteo Bono and Filippo Ganna.

This is the amended line-up:
– Matteo Bono (Italy)
– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway)
– Simone Consonni (Italy)
– Filippo Ganna (Italy)
– Alexander Kristoff (Norway)
– Ben Swift (United Kingdom)
– Diego Ulissi (Italy).

Degenkolb, Nizzolo to Miss Milan-Sanremo
John Degenkolb and Giacomo Nizzolo will not be taking the start of Milan-Sanremo on March 17 and will be replaced by Kiel Reijnen and Boy van Poppel.

John Degenkolb, a former winner of Milan-Sanremo in 2015, abandoned Paris-Nice with bronchitis after stage five with the hope he would recover in time for the first monument this weekend.

However, Degenkolb still suffers from the illness and today announced he would not be well enough to race Saturday: “It is with a heavy heart I have to cancel my start at Milan-Sanremo as I am still fighting this sickness and wouldn’t be fit for the Primavera. I am feeling already better in the last days and will be back on my bike soon. So, no worries for the rest of the classics season. I wish my team the best for Saturday.”

Giacomo Nizzolo pulled out of Tirreno-Adriatico during stage four suffering from anterior knee pain. The team decided to take brisk action and treatment on the knee in the likelihood it would have Nizzolo ready for Milano-Sanremo, but with the knee still not at one hundred percent, the tough decision was made not to jeopardize the rest of the season.

Nizzolo: “I am very, very disappointed that I cannot start Milan-Sanremo, it was the biggest goal for me for the first part of the season. So not to start is really sad for me. We decided not to start because the knee pain has improved but not enough, and we don’t want to take any risk for the rest of the season. It’s a long race, and it can make more damage. Now we will do everything we can to fix the problem as soon as possible and look forward. I wish all the best to my teammates, and I will be supporting them from in front of the TV.”

Trek-Segafredo lineup for Milan-Sanremo:
Jasper Stuyven (BEL), Fabio Felline (ITA), Koen de Kort (NED), Boy van Poppel (NED), Kiel Reijnen (USA) Ryan Mullen (IRL), Gregory Rast (SUI).

Modolo captains #PinkArgyle squad for Milano-Sanremo
#PinkArgyle heads into the season’s first Monument with a squad capable of competing in a sprint or in a more attacking, isolated finish.

Matti Breschel, Simon Clarke, Mitch Docker, Sebastian Langeveld, Dan McLay, Sacha Modolo, and Taylor Phinney will all toe the Milano-Sanremo start line for EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale.

The so-called “Sprinters’ Classic” is truly one of the season’s most difficult races to predict. Its extraordinary length (300km) coupled with its short climbs near the finish and a harrowing descent that whittles the final group combine to produce a special race with varied winners. The symphony of La Primavera builds for hours across the Italian countryside before scattering loudly in the races final kilometers.

“It’s special because it’s uncertain,” said sport director Fabrizio Guidi. “Every year we’re asking what’s going to happen on the uphill, the downhill of the Cipressa, how to manage the Poggio. Who will attack and when? There are all these questions. Nobody is really able to say what will happen. Until we see the final, then everything seems easy to predict.”

Sacha Modolo has recovered from his crash at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and is ready to captain the team at MSR. “I feel tense, but it is a good tension. Being a leader give me responsibility, a sense of duty and a desire to repay trust,” Modolo said. “It is the first Monument race of the year, and being an Italian race, for us Italians, it’s everything.”

In a seven-hour race, staying efficient is key, Modolo notes. “Wasting as little as possible throughout the race and get on the Poggio fresh. Then the sprint itself is a different sprint from the others, as it comes after 300 kilometers. The rider who wins has retained that little bit more energy throughout the race,” said Modolo. “I feel good. I’m pedaling well. I’m very confident of doing a good performance on Saturday and also the week after in Belgium.”

Taylor Phinney is currently in Milan waiting for the rest of the team to join him. “Sacha is going really well. And I think we’re all motivated as a group to help him out,” Phinney said. “It’s nice to get some fresh blood in with Dan McLay, and I’m looking forward to racing with Mitch Docker for the first time this year. We have a stout squad. Personally, Milan-San Remo is one of my favorite races. Top two in my Monuments list. So I’m always just ready to race it. It’s long but it goes by pretty fast. It’s a special race. The last time I got beat up by Tirreno was in 2012, and I got seventh in Milan San Remo that year.”

Jonathan Vaughters’ Take:
“The unique demand of that race is the length. The Poggio is just this intense five-minute period. So it’s funny – it’s this seven-hour race that’s decided in five minutes. It’s a weird combination. It’s not like any of the other classics.”

EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale for 2018 Milan-San Remo:

Matti Breschel (DEN), Simon Clarke (AUS), Mitch Docker (AUS), Sebastian Langeveld (NLD), Taylor Phinney (USA), Dan McLay (GBR), Sacha Modolo (ITA).
Sport Director​s: Fabrizio Guidi (ITA) and Ken Vanmarcke (BEL).

A big win for Modolo?

Cavendish and Renshaw return for Milan-Sanremo
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka has named its team for the 2018 edition of Milan-Sanremo with both Mark Cavendish and Mark Renshaw included.

Cavendish fractured a rib in a big crash on day one of Tirreno-Adriatico but managed to complete the stage. He was cleared by our medical team to continue racing but he was ruled to have finished outside of the time limit.

While Renshaw, who abandoned on stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico after feeling unwell, has since traveled to see a specialist in an effort to find a solution to a chronic sinusitis problem.

Cavendish has been training in Italy and rejoined his teammates on Wednesday.

“After crashing in Tirreno I’m obviously not in any sort of condition to win Milan-Sanremo but having been able to train enough through the pain over the last few days I feel like I can go in support of my teammates.

“Milan-Sanremo is a race close to my heart and it’s a particular style of race that reminding my body of the rhythm of it this year, will help me to compete for the win in future years,” he said.

Also included in a strong line-up are Edvald Boasson Hagen, Scott Thwaites and Julien Vermote (who all recently completed Tirreno-Adriatico), Jay Thomson (Paris-Nice) and Stephen Cummings (who rode the Abu Dhabi Tour).

Tom-Jelte Slagter was not considered for selection as he has an upper respiratory tract infection. The Dutchman was forced to withdraw during Paris-Nice and will return to racing in due course.

Sports director Roger Hammond is looking forward to one of the biggest days on the calendar.

“As a team we’re really excited ahead of one of the sport’s iconic races. It’s great to have Mark (Cavendish) return to an event that’s obviously very special to him. He’s had a run of bad luck, crashing in both Abu Dhabi and Tirreno-Adriatico, but despite fracturing a rib, and weather permitting, has managed to train.

“It’s not been an easy selection process having both Bernie Eisel and Tom-Jelte Slagter unavailable but for now it looks like the weather could play a big part on the day and we look forward to taking opportunities that present themselves for a good result.”

High Quaulity Team for Milan-Sanremo
The Milano-Sanremo, scheduled for next Saturday, is raced on the classic route which has connected Milan to the Riviera di Ponente over the last 105 years, via Pavia, Ovada, Passo del Turchino, and then descending to the sea. From there, the route strikes many small towns on the coast reaching after two short climbs: Cipressa (5,6 long with a gradient of 4,1%) and Poggio di Sanremo (3,7 long, gradient 8% maximum). From the beginning of the climb there only 9km to go.

It’s a race, as sport director Alberto Volpi explains, “very fascinating because it would seem very easy but it can become very difficult. We have high quality riders like our leader Sonny Colbrelli, captain Vincenzo Nibali and the young Matej Mohoric, who won in Larciano 20 days ago”.

“Together with them” Volpi added, “athletes who come from Paris-Nice or Tirreno as Pibernik, Haussler, Pellizotti and Koren that will give a great help along almost all 300 kilometers of the Sanremo”.

Determined our Sonny Colbrelli: “It ‘one of the races that I like best and I still have the memory of last year when I could take an important result. At the “Tirreno” I was a bit braked by a light bronchitis but now it is much better.”

He does not feel the pressure, Vincenzo Nibali: “I’ll be happy to return to Sanremo where in 2012 I finished third. It’s not a proper route for me, but it’s a race that you need to know how to interpret meter by meter. The unknown factor is the weather, the rain would affect a long and tiring race like the ‘Classicissima'”.

TBM line-un for Milano-Sanremo:
Sonny Colbrelli, Kristijan Koren, Heinrich Haussler, Matej Mohoric, Vincenzo Nibali, Luka Pibernik and Franco Pellizotti.

Preview Milan-Sanremo with DS Herman Frison
Saturday it’s time for the first of five cycling monuments, that day the 109th edition of Milan-Sanremo is scheduled!

La Primavera is the longest of the Spring Classics. It takes 291 kilometres to ride from the start in Milan to the finish on the Via Roma in Sanremo. The course of this WorldTour race is known. After ninety flat kilometres the peloton starts the long, but steady ascent of Il Turchino, with summit almost halfway the race. The descent of Turchino is twelve kilometres long. From then on the route takes the riders along the winding roads of the Ligurian coast.

With less than sixty kilometres to go the riders arrive at the Capi: Capo Mele, Capo Cervo and Capo Berta. From the top of Capo Berta it’s only eleven kilometres till the foot of Cipressa. This hill of 5.6 kilometres has an average gradient of 4.1%. Nine kilometres from the finish, the Poggio awaits the riders. This 3.7 kilometres long climb has been part of the course since 1961. The Poggio has an average gradient of 4%, with peaks of 8%. It’s the moment for punchers for a decisive attack and the moment to get rid of some sprinters. After a short, technical descent it’s only two kilometres towards the finish. The last straight line is 750 metres long.

André Greipel is the leader of the Lotto Soudal team. The triple German champion returns to Milan-Sanremo after two years of absence. This will be his sixth participation. As usual, there’s a long list of top riders at the start. With Kwiatkowski, Sagan and Alaphilippe, last year’s top three is present. Cavendish, Démare, Gerrans, Kristoff and Pozzato are five other former winners on the start list. Other big names are Ewan, Kittel, Van Avermaet and Viviani.

Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Soudal: “We can win Milan-Sanremo with André Greipel, he’s our leader for La Primavera. With Jens Debusschere and Jasper De Buyst we have two more fast riders in our line-up. Jens Keukeleire can respond to attacks on Cipressa or lead our fast riders across the top.”

“Like every year, the ascent of Cipressa will be a crucial phase, that’s the moment of truth. Then it will become clear who has good legs and who hasn’t. The sprinters will need to hang on when riders attack. If a group takes off on Cipressa or Poggio we need to make sure we have someone in it. André Greipel is in a good condition, he rode very well at Paris-Nice.”

“According to the weather forecasts it will rain on Saturday. In a race of almost three hundred kilometres the rain and cold will no doubt have their effect. Of course there are riders who like the rain, like Tim Wellens who won’t be participating, but in the end it’s the same for everybody.”

“I expect a traditional scenario with a small breakaway that will be controlled by the teams of the many sprinters and punchers. When we reach the Capi it will be a matter of riding attentively at the front.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Lars Bak, Jasper De Buyst, Jens Debusschere, André Greipel, Jens Keukeleire, Nikolas Maes and Marcel Sieberg.
Sports director: Herman Frison.

Andre Greipel:

All Eyes on Milan-San Remo and the First Monument of the Season
Mitchelton-SCOTT return to Milan-San Remo on Saturday for the 109th edition of the race with Giro d’Italia stage winner Caleb Ewan looking to improve on last year’s top ten finish in what will be his second appearance in La Classicissima.

The first monument of the season covers 291kilometres over an iconic route that has hardly altered for over a century. Known as the only one of the five monuments that a sprinter can win, albeit a sprinter that can make it over the ‘tre capi’ followed by the Cipressa and Poggio climbs before the finish on Via Roma in downtown San Remo.

Mitchelton-SCOTT tasted victory here in 2012 and have been looking to repeat the feat ever since, Ewan will have strong support at the weekend with his full lead-out train in attendance including Tour Down Under winner Daryl Impey and Roger Kluge.

Multiple grand tour winner and classics specialist Matteo Trentin lines up alongside the engines of Canadian Svein Tuft and Kiwi Sam Bewley as the Australian outfit go into the race with a squad packed with strength and versatility.

Sam Bewley (NZL, 30)
Caleb Ewan (AUS, 23)
Daryl Impey (RSA, 32)
Chris Juul-Jensen (DEN, 28)
Roger Kluge (GER, 31)
Matteo Trentin (ITA, 28)
Svein Tuft (CAN, 40).

Objectives – Key Points:
The key moments in the race have traditionally been the last two climbs with the Cipressa (5.6km, 4.1% average) coming first followed by the iconic Poggio (3.7km 4-8%) and fast descent into the final nine kilometres and a flat finish.

Positioning for both climbs will be vitally important and the main objective will be to be present in the front group on the descent to have a chance of contesting the final.

Race History:
2012 – Victory
2015 – Third

Caleb Ewan: “Last year I managed to get over the Cipressa and the Poggio in the front group and I was feeling good on the climbs and happy to finish in the top ten on my first appearance and if you’re to stand any chance of winning you have to be in a good position over those two last climbs.”

“It’s a long race, at nearly 300kilometres and most of my training lately has been geared towards getting through a race of that length and having enough left to be competitive at the end.

“Having done the race last year I know what to expect. I’m another year older, I’ve got another season in my legs and in 2017 I had to abandon Tirreno-Adriatico early on with sickness and didn’t get the benefit of going deeper into the race.

“We have a really strong team for the race, it’s the only monument that a sprinter can win and ever since I turned professional it’s a race that I wanted to take part in and to try and win.”

Head Sport director Matt White: “Milan-San Remo will always be a special race for us, it was the first monument we won back in 2012 and a race that really put the team on the map.

“We have a really versatile and experienced group of riders lining up on Saturday and I am quietly confident that regardless of the way the race pans out we can achieve a great result.”

Caleb Ewan:

Gazprom — RusVelo is ready for the main one-day race of the season Milan-San Remo
This Saturday 17th of March Gazprom — RusVelo will compete in Milan-San Remo.

Also known as “The Spring Classic”, Milan-San Remo is one of the most prestigious cycling races and the total distance of 291 kilometres makes it also the longest one-day race in the calendar. Traditionally, after rolling out in Milan riders will head to the south direction crossing picturesque landscapes of Ligurian coast to reach the finish line in San Remo.

Gazprom — RusVelo will compete in Milan-San Remo second year in a row. Main hopes of the Russian team are on Sergey Firsanov, young Artem Nych and Alexander Vlasov. That’s what Alexander said about the upcoming start: “The season has started not so long ago, but for me it will be already the third WT race. I am more than happy about it. Probably all the professional riders strive to compete in this monumental race, to win it — is a true dream of most of them, and the same applies to me. Of course, I understand that it is my first year in professionals and it’s all about getting valuable experience, continuous development and being valuable for the team. Competing with the best cyclists in the world certainly makes me stronger, so I look forward to crossing the start line in Milan and will do everything possible for the result.”

Line-up for Milan-San Remo:
Igor Boev, Nikolay Cherkasov, Sergey Firsanov, Artem Nych, Evgeny Kobernyak, Stepan Kurianov, Alexander Vlasov.

Nippo Vini Fantini Europa Ovini: The #OrangeBlue Line-Up for the Spring Classic
A complete line-up is ready to be protagonist at the Spring Classic. Marco Canola guide the #OrangeBlue at Milano-Sanremo, the first Major Classic race of the season. Supporting the leader the experts Juan José Lobato, Simone Ponzi and Ivan Santaromita and the young Damiano Cima and Marco Tizza. Complete the roster the japanese rider Sho Hatsuyama, already one of the protagonist at Tirreno-Adriatico.

Milano-Sanremo 17th of March 2018.
After the success of the Green Jersey in the prestigious Tirreno-Adriatico, the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team is ready for the “Classicissima”, scheduled for Saturday 17 of March. A fascinating and historic race of 291km connecting Milan to Sanremo, for the first Major Classic race of the season and always one of the most awaited races in the cycling World Tour. The #OrangeBlue team will be in a race with a line-up in a good condition and motivation.

Complete, motivated and looking for a great result. Based on these characteristics, the Sports Director Mario Manzoni has selected the riders that will be at the start of the edition number 109 of Milano-Sanremo. Leading the team in the race will be the #OrangeBlue leader Marco Canola, in a really good physical condition after a Tirreno-Adriatico race as a great captain. Alongside the leader there will be the experts Simone Ponzi and Ivan Santaromita and the Spanish Juan José Lobato, already protagonist of this race in 2014. Ready to help the team and debutants at Milan-Sanremo the young Damiano Cima, Marco Tizza and the Japanese Sho Hatsuyama.

The Sport Director Mario Manzoni will lead the #OrangeBlue from the team car. These his words looking looking forward to the race: “The Leader for the Spring Classic will undoubtedly Marco Canola, in excellent physical condition demonstrated at the Tirreno-Adriatico. The whole team will work to bring it in the best possible position at the start of the Poggio di Sanremo. Juan Josè Lobato, in his second WT race with #OrangeBlue jersey, Simone Ponzi and Ivan Santaromita will be fundamental team rider for the captain and to be able to aim for the maximum result. We will try to become protagonists of the Milano-Sanremo also with the young Damiano Cima and Marco Tizza and with Sho Hatsuyama, already author of a great action in a stage of the Tirreno-Adriatico. We want to best honor this fascinating race”.

The complete NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini line-up: Marco Canola, Juan José Lobato, Simone Ponzi, Ivan Santaromita, Damiano Cima, Marco Tizza e Sho Hatsuyama.

The Spring Classic race will be broadcast in 185 different countries of the world with a total coverage in the five continents. In Italy the fan can follow the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini live on Rai Sport from 1.00 pm and on Rai 2 from 2.00 pm, or on Eurosport 1 from 2.15 pm. Japanese cycling fans will be follow the first Major Classic race of the season on DAZN.

Tour de France 2020: Grand Départ in Nice
With Paris-Nice or the Tour de France, the pages of cycling history have often been written in Nice and its surrounding area. The best riders in the world will again have the opportunity to express their power and talent at the Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2020, which will be organized in Nice and the towns that make up its urban community.

This return to Nice, seven years after the last visit which immediately followed a stay in Corsica on the 100th Tour de France, is part of a rich and varied sporting heritage, because the administrative centre of the Alpes-Maritimes department has already welcomed the event 36 times. From 1906, marked by victory for the future winner of the race René Pottier, until the Grand Départ in 1981, when Bernard Hinault, starting in the world champion’s jersey, immediately grabbed the Yellow Jersey, the stages in and around Nice on Le Tour have often had a decisive impact on the race. On the Riviera, anything is possible

Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice: “It is a source of immense pride to welcome the Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2020 to Nice for a second time following 1981. Le Tour is the third biggest international sporting event and consequently ensures considerable economic benefits for our entire area. Seven years after welcoming the 100th edition in 2013 which attracted almost 100,000 spectators, this is a further step which strengthens my desire to make Nice an essential city for hosting major sporting events.

As a result, we will have our heart set on offering optimal conditions to the organizers and teams. Nice boasts an exceptional playground for cyclists, from the Promenade des Anglais up to the high passes of the Mercantour national park. This rich relief will make it possible to launch the 107th edition of the Tour de France in the finest way possible.”

Christian Prudhomme, director of Tour de France: “The most recent editions of Paris-Nice (including the one that just finished yesterday) have shown us that the variety of landscapes and relief in this region are conducive to suspense, attacking and a thrilling spectacle! This is exactly what we want in order to give the Tour de France 2020 a dynamic tone. In Nice, we know that the pack and its support staff will be immersed for almost a week in a friendly atmosphere brimming with enthusiasm for cycling.”

Key points:
The day after the finish of Paris-Nice, Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice and Chairman of the Nice-Côte d’Azur urban community, alongside Christian Prudhomme, Director the Tour de France, announced the organization of the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in 2020.
Ø On Saturday 27th of June, Nice will kick off proceedings on the Tour de France for the second time, following 1981. The city’s roads and surrounding countryside will provide the organizers with opportunities to draw up a variety of scenarios in the first days of the 107th edition.

Medical Update: Eisel to Undergo Further Scans on Injured Wrist
Bernhard Eisel will undergo further scans on an injury to his right wrist following a heavy crash on stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico, which finished in Filottrano.

The 37-year-old, who also sustained facial trauma in the incident, went down at the 145km mark and was attended to immediately by team doctor, Jarrad van Zuydam, after which he was transported to a local hospital in Ancona.

“Bernie had a bad crash and I spent some time with him at the hospital. The RCS (organizers) released a statement saying that he had fractured his wrist but that was premature as the X-rays don’t show any clear fracture. We need to get a CT scan done, which will happen this afternoon (Monday) and will ascertain as to whether he has any significant wrist injury.

“His facial injuries are okay and were sutured very carefully by a plastic surgeon, those will heal well. He’s quite lucky and he’ll be back on the bike as soon as possible,” said van Zuydam.

A heavily-bandaged Eisel returned to the team hotel in good spirits, despite his injuries, and spent time with his teammates at breakfast on Tuesday.

“I’m not great at the moment; I’ve got a few stitches in my nose, lips and my face. It was a massive crash – it seems like my nose is broken – and I have quite a lot of pain in my right wrist. I’m actually happy that I got out of it like this, it doesn’t look great at the moment and my face has seen better days but to be honest I’m super happy to have got out alive,” he said.

“I also want to clarify that I touched a team car, from another team. It was absolutely not the driver’s fault, it was my fault, so there’s no speculation (in that regard). I pretty much rode into him and went down from there. He couldn’t do anything but after the crash he supported me as much as he could.

“(For) Now we will see, it all depends on the injury as to when I can come back. Yesterday I reflected a lot on Michele Scarponi; my dad passed away two weeks ago and Michele passed away a year ago in a road accident and I think we have to be aware to say it’s not always the fault of car drivers. I made a big mistake yesterday and I nearly paid for it. To drivers please be careful as we share the roads, but that plea also goes to the riders to ensure that we respect each other.”

Mark Renshaw was also forced to abandon the race during stage five and will be monitored by our medical staff.

“Mark had a bit of a rough day yesterday; he’s been suffering with chronic sinusitis and has an appointment soon with a specialist to try and offer a long-term solution. With his symptoms yesterday he was really quite tired and couldn’t handle the difficulty of the stage but he’s okay and he’ll be receiving treatment very soon,” said van Zuydam.

Meanwhile Mark Cavendish continues to make a good recovery following his crash in the opening stage of Tirreno—Adriatico. He’s managed to resume training after fracturing a rib and sustaining lacerations to his face. A decision on his return to racing will be made in due course.

Bernhard Eisel:

Dries Devenyns Update
The Belgian will be out of competition for several months after having surgery
13-Mar-2018: Forced to pull out from Paris-Nice before the final stage due to lower back pain radiating to the right leg, Dries Devenyns returned to Belgium where on Monday morning he had an MRI revealing a disc herniation with compression, requiring an operation.

Dries underwent surgery yesterday, March 13, at the AZ Herentals Hospital, where the hernia was removed with success. One month off the bike and a rehabilitation program will be needed, but the 34-year-old Belgian is happy to get rid of the pain which kept nagging him last week.

“I am sad to miss the races I was down to start in the following months because the form was there, but I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to be pain-free and on the right track to make a full recovery. I am grateful to the team for their support and to the doctors of the AZ Herentals Hospital. From here, I hope it’s going to be only onwards and upwards for me this season.”

Devenyns has been one of the most consistent riders in the peloton in the first part of the season, notching up several top 10 placings, most notable securing a top 5 in the Tour Down Under, a 4th place in Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and sixth in the Tour of Oman, results that made him the highest-ranked Quick-Step Floors rider in the World Tour individual classification.

Dries Devenyns:

Giro del Belvedere Revealed Full Team Line-Up and Rising Stars
35 teams to ride the 80th edition of the Easter Monday Classic on April 2nd, 2018. The list of 16 Italian and 19 foreign squads includes two prospects such as Pogacar and Stannard.

Giro del Belvedere rides at full speed towards its “D-Day”, on Monday April 2nd, in Villa di Cordignano (Treviso, Northern Italy), where the best cycling prospects will face one of the most important races of the U23 international calendar, celebrating its 80th edition.

With around three weeks to go, Pro Belvedere’s organizers unveiled the teams’ list, including 19 non-Italian outfits and absolute premiere like Team Wiggins (Great Britain), IAM Excelsior (Switzerland) and Bicicletas Strongman Colombia Coldeportes (Colombia). Zalf Euromobil Désirée Fior and Team Colpack lead the 16-squad Italian contingent.

Teams from 17 different countries will take part at the 2018 Easter Monday Classic: Italy, France, Denmark, Colombia, Russia, Great Britain, Spain, Switzerland, Slovenia, Australia, Austria, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Principality of Monaco, Norway, United States and Netherlands. Alongside the announcement of the teams, the line-up shaped up further with two rising stars at the start, Slovenian Tadej Pogacar (Ljubljana Gusto Xaurum) and Aussie Robert Stannard (Mitchelton Bike Exchange).

The riders will face a 166,6 Km classic route, characterized by two different circuits: the first (12 Km to be repeated 11 times) including the Conche hill, whilst the final circuit (17,3 Km to be repeated twice) includes by the classic Montaner climb in Borgo Canalet and Via delle Longhe hill, ideal springboard in view of the finish line.

80th Giro del Belvedere’s Team’s List
A.S.D. Cycling Team Valcavasia, Biesse Carrera Gavardo, Cipollini Iseo Serrature Rime, Cycling Team Friuli, D’Amico Utensilnord, Dimension Data For Qhubeka, Futura Team-Rosini, Gaiaplast-Maglificio L.B-Bibanese, GS Maltinti Lampadari-Banca Cambiano, Northwave-Cofiloc, Petroli Firenze Hopplà Maserati, Sangemini MG. K VIS. Vega, Team Colpack, Team Palazzago Soligo, Work Service Videa Coppi Gazzera, Zalf Euromobil Désirée Fior.

International: AVC Aix En Provence (France), BHS-Almeborg Bornholm (Denmark), Bicicletas Strongman Colombia Coldeportes (Colombia), Gazprom RusVelo U23 (Russia), Great Britain National Team (Great Britain), Guerciotti Kiwi Atlantico (Spain), IAM Excelsior (Switzerland), KK Kranj (Slovenia), Ljubljana Gusto Xaurum (Slovenia), Lokosphinx U23 (Russia), Mitchelton Bike Exchange (Australia), Team Wiggins (Great Britain), Tirol Cycling Team (Austria), Topforex Lapierre (Czech Republic), Trevigiani Phonix Hemus 1896 (Bulgaria), UC Monaco (Principality of Monaco), Uno-X Norwegian Dev. Team (Norway), USA National Team (USA), Wielerploeg Groot Amsterdam (Netherlands).

Tadej Pogacar in action in the U23 road race at the 2017 UCI World Championships in Bergen:

Stevenage to Welcome Bank Holiday Return of OVO Energy Tour Series
Britain’s leading male and female cyclists will race on one of the country’s fastest town centre circuits this May Bank Holiday, as the OVO Energy Tour Series returns to Stevenage on Monday 28 May.

It will mark the third successive year that Stevenage has hosted the ITV4-televised event, with elite men and women’s races coming at the end of a full day of cycling events on the one-kilometer Old Town circuit.

Rory Townsend from the Canyon Eisberg team and Team OnForm’s Ione Johnson joined dignitaries from Stevenage Borough Council, and Hertfordshire County Council, who are supporting the event, at the Finish line to officially launch the event for 2018.

Councillor Richard Henry, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Leisure said: “I’m thrilled that the OVO Energy Tour Series is coming back to the Old Town on Whitsun Bank Holiday Monday. Over the last two years, Stevenage people and visitors of all ages have been captivated by the exhilarating races and I’m looking forward to more of the same this year.

“The arrival of the OVO Energy Tour Series in Stevenage signals the start of this year’s Stevenage Cycling Festival, which celebrates our 25 miles of cycle track and promotes the benefits of fresh air and exercise to people of all ages and abilities. At this year’s Tour we’ll have even more community events taking place so if you’re coming along then bring your bike and warm up the circuit before the professional riders take to the track.”

The OVO Energy Tour Series is unique, with the focus in both the men and women’s competition on the teams, who battle for overall title based on the performance of all five of their riders in each event.

Commenting on the return of the Series to Stevenage, Race Director Mick Bennett said, “Stevenage’s Old Town provides a beautiful setting for an OVO Energy Tour Series round, so we’re looking to returning once again on 28 May. We’ve always had great support from local residents and we’re hoping that they come out in force to support the event once again this year. With a men’s and women’s race forming part of the night’s schedule, it promises to be a fantastic evening of sporting action!”

Last year’s men’s race was won by Madison Genesis, whose rider Connor Swift claimed a memorable solo individual victory. Meanwhile, Drops demonstrated their series-long dominance in the women’s event, as Rebecca Durrell and Lucy Shaw finished one-two to help them win the night’s team prize.

“It will be great to head back and race again in Stevenage,” said Connor Swift. “Obviously the town has some very good memories for me; not just for the result, but also because of the support I received on the night. The course was lined with fans and the reception I got coming down the finishing straight was unreal! The local organization also took special care of me; on the night I was presented with a special jersey from the town. It’s that kind of personal touch that makes these events all the more memorable for the riders and it’s excellent news that we’re going to be returning.”

Rebecca Durrell, who now rides for Storey Racing, added: “It’s great to hear that Stevenage is once again hosting a round of the OVO Energy Tour Series in 2018. The circuit is flat and fast, which makes it really exciting for both us riders and the spectators!”

Further details of the Stevenage event, including the full timetable for Monday 28 May will be published in the coming weeks.

Highlights of every round of the OVO Energy Tour Series will be shown on ITV4, with programs also be available on demand via the ITV Hub. Full details of the 2018 OVO Energy Tour Series calendar will be announced during March, including the list of teams that will battle for the overall crown in the 10th season of the unique competition.

Official website at

Groenewegen: Podium of Jodium
Meet Dylan Groenewegen, our young sprinter from Amsterdam who is riding Le Tour de France​ for the second time. What motivates him, who is his family and what about the Zillerman frames? Check out the video to get to know him better.

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