EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

No Tour de France for Philippe Gilbert this year, but we have all the latest news from the French behemoth. The National championships have started, Dutch TT champs and team news before the road races. Plus race report from the Halle Ingooigem. Other news: 2020 WorldTour calendar, Guillaume Martin to Groupama-FDJ or Cofidis, Nacer Bouhanni to Arkéa-Samsic, AG2R-La Mondiale extend contract and… more Tour de France.

TOP STORY: No Philippe Gilbert at the Tour
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step team will line up at the start of the 2019 Tour de France in Brussels next Saturday without Paris-Roubaix winner, Philippe Gilbert. Also the Classics specialist has not yet extended his contract with Deceuninck – Quick-Step team.

The biggest winning team on the WorldTour will be built around sprinter Elia Viviani and classification rider Enric Mas. Gilbert has ridden the last two Tours, but not in 2019. The 36-year-old Belgian crashed on the descent of the Col de Portet-d’Aspet last year and had to abandon after finishing the stage with a broken kneecap. The former World champion managed to recover quickly to make his comeback and immediately win the Grand Prix d’Isbergues.

This year Gilbert added Paris-Roubaix to his collection of Classic wins. He also made a good impression in the Critérium du Dauphiné, by finishing in second place in the opening stage to Aurillac. He said then that he had still not signed a new contract. “As soon as a decision has been made, you will know. I’m not going to talk to Patrick (Lefevere, team manager ed.) In the media about a new contract. That is something between us,” he said before the start of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Is PhilGil on the move from Lefevere?

The ex-World champions Tweeted: “It’s with great disappointment I have to announce that I won’t be participating in this year’s @LeTour . After my crash and early exit last year I was very motivated to return this year. It would have been my 10th Tour, but unfortunately I will have to postpone those plans. In the next few weeks I will be the team’s number one supporter. I wish all my teammates the best of luck and I am confident that the guys will bring home some nice results.”

Halle Ingooigem 2019
Dries De Bondt (Corendon-Circus) won the 72nd edition of Halle Ingooigem on Wednesday. He crossed the line first in Ingooigem after a crash in the build-up for the sprint split the pack. Piotr Havik (BEAT) finished in second place, Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) was third.

The Halle Ingooigem is the 5th round of the Bingoal Cycling Cup. A group of five riders escaped right at the start of the 200 kilometer race. Teammates Elias Van Breussegem and Thomas Joseph were joined by Adam Lewis, Gianni Marchand and Cormac McGeough to ride away from the peloton, but they were always kept within catching distance. The sprinters teams didn’t want to be surprised and at around half distance, the lead to the brake was being held at 2:30.

With 50 kilometers to go, the peloton could see the break, and some riders tried to jump across. Mikkel Frølich Honoré, Jonas Koch and Damien Touze managed to reach the leading group, but they could not stay away. New attacks followed, but nobody could make their moves stick. Deceuninck – QuickStep were very keen to keep things together for their sprinters.

The trains formed in the finalé and the pace was high. Corendon-Circus and Wallonie-Bruxelles were also involved in the lead-out for the bunch sprint. In the last kilometer everything went wrong. The trains of Corendon-Circus and Deceuninck – Quick-Step became tangled, causing several riders to crash. Dries De Bondt kept out of the chaos to jump away and solo to victory. This is De Bondt’s second victory in Halle Ingooigem, after winning in 2016.

Niki Terpstra was not at the start of Halle Ingooigem, but the Dutchman remains in the lead of the Bingoal Cycling Cup. Second placed Baptiste Planckaert had to retire early and the other riders did not get enough points to get near Terpstra.

Race winner, Dries De Bondt (Corendon-Circus): “It was a lot easier today than in 2016. This is perhaps my strangest win ever, but I still think that I have partly forced it by sitting at the front. Of course it was the intention to launch Tim Merlier. It was agreed to gather with the teammates two kilometers from the finish. But that didn’t go exactly as we wanted. Lasse [Norman Hansen], Myself and Tim luckily called to each other quickly and drove to the head in a corner on the left. That way we were perfectly positioned to start the final kilometer. Lasse was in the lead very early, but he drove the soul out of his body to the last kilometer. From there I would take over and make a long sprint with Tim on the wheel. Until I suddenly heard a clatter behind me. I looked back to see if Tim was still in the wheel. Not so. There was just no one on the wheel… Then of course I could no longer doubt. I still had a surplus, because I was just starting my lead for Tim. So I went on full. Piotr Havik hung at fifteen meters, but I could hold him off. After that it was a matter of sustaining my effort until the finish. Due to the circumstances the strangest and easiest win ever, but I don’t think we stole it. It was to our credit that we were at the front.”

Halle Ingooigem Result:
1. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Corendon-Circus in 4:34:01
2. Piotr Havik (Ned) BEAT Cycling Club
3. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck – Quick Step at 0:03
4. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis
5. Boris Vallée (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
6. Lionel Taminiaux (Bel) Wallonie-Bruxelles
7. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC
8. Piet Allegaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Michael Freiberg (Aus) Pro Racing Sunshine Coast
10. Kelland O’Brien (Aus) Pro Racing Sunshine Coast.

Dutch National Time Trial Championships 2019
Jos van Emden has conquered the Dutch time trial title for the second time in his career. The 34-year-old rider of Team Jumbo-Visma was eight seconds faster than number two Langeveld. It is his second season win for Van Emden, after he won the prologue in the ZLM Tour last week. It is the 32nd victory of this season for Team Jumbo-Visma.

“I think this is one of the nicest jerseys there is”, a happy Van Emden said. “It almost became an obsession for me to win here again. If it wouldn’t have worked out, I would have found it a loss. I did not anticipate this victory though. Yesterday, I did not feel too good due to the heat, so my confidence dropped. I am not satisfied with my time trial, but I kept fighting until the end and that resulted in this jersey. I partly owe this victory to Mathieu Heijboer. He puts a lot of time and energy in me and this discipline and he knows how much I wanted to win. I trust him blindly.”

Head of performance Heijboer called it an emotional victory. “Jos often gets beaten by a small margin. The fact that we succeeded today is one of the highlights of the year. We have invested a lot of time in this discipline. We went to the wind tunnel and tested new material from our partners. As a result, Jos’s position was adjusted somewhat and this resulted in a faster time trial. He is an essential link in the team, also for the victories of Primoz in the past six months. But in addition, the fire for time trialing continues to burn within him. It will never go away and we will continue to improve.”

Heijboer will assist Wout van Aert in the Belgian championship on Thursday. “After the spring, we trained a lot on the time trial with Wout. This resulted in a great victory in the Dauphiné. Hopefully he can take the Belgian jersey tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow we also have a good chance with Tony Martin in Germany. One of the reasons that Tony came to ride for this team is that he brings a lot of knowledge about the time trial. In that respect, Jos’s title may also be due to him. Tony has given the time trial a new impulse in our team.”

Dutch National Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Jos van Emden (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 46:59
2. Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education First at 0:08
3. Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Ineos at 0:27.

Deceuninck – Quick-Step to Tour de France
Riders who between them have won close to twenty races this season for the Wolfpack will be at the start in Brussels.

For the fifth time in history, the Tour de France kicks off from Belgium, which gets to host two full stages – both starting and finishing in Brussels – before moving across the border, where a mix of flat, hilly and mountainous stages (in the Vosges, Alps, and Pyrenees) will shape up the general classification before the iconic finish on Champs-Élysées.

Over the years, Deceuninck – Quick-Step have won an astonishing 36 stages, six distinctive jerseys and enjoyed 11 days in the prestigious yellow jersey at the Grande Boucle, and our team will look to add to that success in July, when it will tackle the race with an eight-man outfit capable of being prominent on every kind of terrain.

Reigning KOM champion Julian Alaphilippe and most successful sprinter of the past 18 months Elia Viviani will headline Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s squad for the 106th Tour de France. UCI World Individual Ranking leader Julian was one of main protagonists at last year’s edition, picking up two stage wins en route to sealing a memorable triumph in the polka-dot jersey. He returns to the start buoyed by his spectacular first part of the season, which witnessed ten successes, including Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche and Flèche Wallonne.

“Julian is a little bit of a one-man army, a winner who last year took the climber’s jersey in spectacular fashion. With him you are sure to be surprised. There are some stages, even in the first week, that really suit him, and when the course does suit him, he is one of the best in the world, so we will look for stage wins on those days”, sports director Tom Steels said.

Victorious in 24 races since joining the Wolfpack, Elia is back at the Tour de France for the first time since making his debut here, in 2014. The Italian fast man will look to complete his set of Grand Tour stage victories, which so far comprises a total of eight wins at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

“We need to remember that it is his first time in years at the Tour. He has proved himself as a Grand Tour stage winner, but this is the Tour and with a full team behind him, he will need to stay calm and can hopefully take his opportunity with both hands. Maybe it will be difficult to go for the green jersey, but we will see that by day, as he’ll target stage wins.”

Just like in the Tour de Suisse, where he powered to a brace of stage wins, Viviani will be backed by a strong and experienced lead-out train consisting of Tour de France debutant Kasper Asgreen, Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv and Argentinean Champion Maximiliano Richeze.

“It’s Kasper’s first Tour de France and he’ll go there as a domestique even though we know he has the capacity to do more. But for his first time in the race he needs to experience it and understand what it is about. He will be a worker and we think that this is the best way for him to gain experience, as well as adding a lot to the team in the TTT. Speaking of the TTT, also Yves will be invaluable there, just as in the lead-out. We know he is reliable, always does his job and will be important for controlling the race and being part of Elia’s train.”

“Michael – whose experience as road captain and capacity to organize things are vital – is ready to support Viviani, and together with Max, will be his last two men in the train. When it comes to lead-outs, Max is also one of the best in the business and will expertly guide Elia during the stage finale, when things turn really hectic.”

Asgreen won’t be the only Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider making his first outing in cycling’s biggest race. Following a breakthrough ride at last season’s Vuelta a España, which netted him second in the overall standings, Enric Mas will now be at the start in Brussels, eager to discover the Tour de France, and will have the experienced Dries Devenyns by his side to guide him on the mountain stages.

“He’s our GC guy, but at the same time, this is his Tour de France debut and while he proved in the Vuelta that he can maintain his condition for three weeks, this is the Tour and it’s about learning. It is hard to explain what this race is until you have been part of it. Everything is harder in the Tour and he needs to understand that. He will need to be in a good position, even on the flatter stages, which are faster and more chaotic than in other races. Fortunately, we have Dries on whom we can rely, as he’ll be Mas’ right hand and will support him for as long as possible. With the experience and the preparation he has had, he is really ready to help Enric.”

Tom Steels, who will lead the team from the car together with Davide Bramati and Geert Van Bondt, concluded: “With such a strong roster available, it was really difficult to pick just eight riders and it is a shame that people like Philippe Gilbert have to miss out, but we feel that this is a really balanced team. We have three leaders looking for a mix of stage wins and making an impact on the GC, which isn’t easy to mix, but with this line-up and the experience we have we can go far on a lot of stages. With the TTT being in Belgium and us being a Belgian team with Belgian sponsors, it is a big target and we have a squad that can do well there. We feel this team gives us a great balance and a chance on a lot of stages.”

06.07–28.07 Tour de France (FRA) 2.UWT

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Kasper Asgreen (DEN), Dries Devenyns (BEL), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Enric Mas (ESP), Michael Mørkøv (DEN), Maximiliano Richeze (ARG), Elia Viviani (ITA).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA), Tom Steels (BEL) and Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Mas and Alaphilippe:

Sports manager Marc Sergeant About the Tour de France Selection
On Saturday 6 July, the 106th edition of the Tour de France will start in Brussels. Lotto Soudal will go to the Tour with these eight riders: Tiesj Benoot (25), Jasper De Buyst (25), Thomas De Gendt (32), Caleb Ewan (24, turns 25 on 11 July), Jens Keukeleire (30), Roger Kluge (33), Maxime Monfort (36) and Tim Wellens (28). Sports manager Marc Sergeant talks about the Tour de France line-up of Lotto Soudal.

Marc Sergeant: “It was not that difficult to get our Tour de France selection on paper. I think we chose the strongest possible team. The Tour is about three topics: sprint stages, days for escapees and mountain stages. Only during the days in the mountains, it won’t be easy for us to take a stage win and attacking will be the mindset of Lotto Soudal during those stages. Even though some riders already announced they won’t participate, we don’t have any real ambitions for the general classification. We are fully aiming for a stage victory.”

“Caleb Ewan will be at the start of the Tour for the first time in his career, but he will put the necessary pressure on himself. With already three stage wins in the Giro and one in the Vuelta, I think the ambition to also win a Tour stage, will come automatically. During the sprint preparation, Caleb will be perfectly supported by amongst others Jasper De Buyst and Roger Kluge but by the other Lotto Soudal riders as well.”

“At a certain moment in the race, the sprint teams need to take responsibility and that is why we selected Maxime Monfort. He will need to lead the peloton during the sprint stages. Of course, Maxime is also free to do his own thing in the other stages, but he will have to spend some more energy during the sprint stages, contrary to our other riders with a free role.”

“Jens Keukeleire can – just like Benoot and Wellens – contribute to the sprint preparation. It is clear to me that during a sprint stage, the other seven Lotto Soudal riders will support Ewan. But in the other stages, Caleb can also help our attackers like Benoot, De Gendt and Wellens. In that sense, everybody works for everyone during the Tour de France.”

“Let us begin to say that it is our ambition to win one stage. However, my experience has taught me that once the first stage victory arrives, a second one follows a bit easier. So, the faster we could win a first one, the better for us. The opening stage immediately is an opportunity to do so and we will try to use it. And if not, we will shift focus towards the following stages.”

Tour de France line-up Lotto Soudal:
Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Thomas De Gendt, Caleb Ewan, Jens Keukeleire, Roger Kluge, Maxime Monfort and Tim Wellens.

Stage wins for Ewan:

Tour de France: The Eight Wanty-Gobert Riders
Wanty-Gobert concluded its selection which will be at the start of the 106th Tour de France (2.WT, 6-28/07) on the 6th of July. The Belgian team will present itself in Brussels with riders of four nationalities. Three representatives: Frederik Backaert, Yoann Offredo and Kévin Van Melsen, will be added to the five names, already known: Xandro Meurisse, Aimé De Gendt, Guillaume Martin, Andrea Pasqualon and Odd Eiking. The Belgian rider Backaert, 29 years old, will participate in his second Tour de France after discovering the race in 2017. The French man Yoann Offredo, 32 years of age, made it just in time to recover from two hard crashes in the spring and show good form ahead of his third Tour de France. Finally, Kévin Van Melsen, 32, historical element from the team since 2009, will discover the Tour de France.

Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “The three last names are always the most difficult ones to decide on. We took our time to reflect, and analyze the collective performances in order to build a homogeneous and polyvalent group for this Tour de France. Kévin Van Melsen is a loyal team-player, who showed perseverance after his hard crash in the Ruta del Sol and deserves this selection. He can protect Guillaume Martin during the flat stages and go for breakaways.”

Yoann Offredo has a true experience in the Tour de France, especially for guiding leaders. The last rider was not easy to choose, in between Loïc Vliegen and Frederik Backaert. Finally we made the choice for the regularity of Frederik Backaert during the start of the season. He was not part of the selection last year, he got the message, and is now compensated for his continuing work.”

Hilaire Van der Schueren (sportive direction): “We participate with a balanced team in the Tour de France, which can perform well with leader Guillaume Martin. One by one our riders are ready for this hard four week race. With this team we can set many different goals, prioritizing a good final classification and a stage win.”

“Together with the management we decided on the three last names. Kévin Van Melsen deserves this selection, because he is always ready to work for the team. I learned from the past that it is important to protect our team leader more during the flat stages in the beginning of the Tour de France, Kévin will play an important role here. Frederik Backaert is very popular since his offensive work in the Tour in 2017 and he gets a chance to keep this statute. I doubted for a long time about Yoann Offredo, because it was a long way to recover from his two bad crashed is the Denain GP and the Dunkirk Four Day. But he has proven during his last races that he is ready for it, he is a pro athlete for 200%.”

The selection:
Frederik Backaert (Bel, 29), Aimé De Gendt (Bel, 24), Odd Eiking (Nor, 24), Guillaume Martin (Fra, 26), Xandro Meurisse (Bel, 27), Yoann Offredo (Fra, 32), Andrea Pasqualon (Ita, 31), Kevin Van Melsen (Bel, 32).

Arkéa-Samsic with Barguil, Gesbert and Greipel at the Tour
Arkéa-Samsic has announced the first six riders with whom the team will be at the start of the 2019 Tour de France. Warren Barguil, Élie Gesbert and André Greipel, among others, are certain of a starting ticket. The remaining places will be filled after the national championships.

Before the start of the Tour in Brussels, the Arkéa-Samsic team leaders announced the first six riders. The leaders in the French formation are climber Warren Barguil and sprinter André Greipel. Both riders have been successful several times: Barguil won two stages and the mountain classification in 2017, while the victories for Greipel is eleven in eight Tours. His last success was 3 years ago. It will be the third Tour participation for Élie Gesbert. The young Frenchman was fairly successful last week in the French stage race La Route d’Occitanie. The Tour selection also includes Maxime Bouet, Anthony Delaplace and Florian Vachon.

Arkéa-Samsic team for the Tour de France 2019:
Warren Barguil, Maxime Bouet, Anthony Delaplace, Elie Gesbert, André Greipel, Florian Vachon.
Final places announced after the National championships.

André Greipel will be looking for sprint success:

Astana Pro Team presents Tour de France roster
At the Grand Départ of the 2019 Tour de France next week, Astana Pro Team will start with Jakob Fuglsang as its leader. He will be supported by Alexey Lutsenko, Gorka Izagirre, Pello Bilbao, Magnus Cort, Luis Leon Sanchez, Omar Fraile, and Hugo Houle. “With this strong and experienced team, we are ready to fight for the best possible result”, says sports director Dmitriy Fofonov, who will be accompanied by sports directors Bruno Cenghialta and Lars Michaelsen.

With a combined 13 Grand Tour stage wins and Jakob Fuglsang winning this year’s Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Critérium du Dauphiné, this team knows how to perform says Dmitriy Fofonov: “It’s a strong and experienced team. Only Hugo Houle and Pello Bilbao will ride their first Tour de France. With Hugo Houle, we have someone who knows how to work for the team and he works well together with Jakob Fuglsang. Pello Bilbao is a very strong climber, as we could see in the Giro d’Italia where he won two stages, we definitely need him in this Tour de France as there will be a lot of climbing.”

Combined, the riders of this team have 22 Tour de France starts, of which Jakob Fuglsang (8) and Luis Leon Sanchez (8) are the most experienced riders of the team in ‘La Grande Boucle’. “In the end, only one can win the Tour de France, we will see where this team will be capable of. We are ready to fight for the best possible result, that’s for sure”, said sports director Dmitriy Fofonov.

UCI Extends WorldTour Status for Gent-Wevelgem
The Belgian classic Gent-Wevelgem will continue to be part of the WorldTour in the coming years, the International Cycling Union announced in a press release. The UCI has extended the WorldTour license until 2022.

Gent-Wevelgem has been part of the WorldTour since 2011, the year the competition was founded. The UCI also had good news for the organizers of the Dwars door Vlaanderen. The semi-classic will also retain its WorldTour status for the next three seasons. In 2017, the spring race achieved this status for the first time. Since then, Yves Lampaert and Mathieu van der Poel have taken the victory.

This season the victory went to Alexander Kristoff. The Norwegian from UAE Team Emirates defeated John Degenkolb and Oliver Naesen in the sprint.

No Tour of Turkey on WorldTour 2020 Calendar, Tour de France a Week Early
The UCI have announced the WorldTour calendar for next season. The most striking change is that the Tour of Turkey is no longer part of the series. The Turkish stage race has been canceled because it was not able to bring the minimum number of ten WorldTour teams to the start in the last two years.

The WorldTour will start in Australia next year with the Tour Down Under on January 21st, a week later than this season. The Tour de France starts on Saturday 27th June and runs until 19th July. This moves it forward for the Olympic Games, which start on July 24. The Tour of Poland is held in July instead of August. Just like this year, the season ends with the Gree Tour or Guangxi in China.

Calendar UCI WorldTour 2020:
January 21 – 26: Santos Tour Down Under
February 2: Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
23 – 29 February: UAE Tour
February 29: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
March 7: Strade Bianche
8-15 March: Paris-Nice
11 – 17 March: Tirreno-Adriatico
March 21: Milano-Sanremo
23 – 29 March: Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
March 25: AG Three Days Bruges-De Panne
March 27: E3 BinckBank Classic
March 29: Gent-Wevelgem
April 1: Dwars door Vlaanderen
April 5: Tour of Flanders
April 6 – 11: Tour of the Basque Country
April 12: Paris-Roubaix
April 19: Amstel Gold Race
April 22: La Flèche Wallonne
April 26: Liège-Bastogne-Liège
April 28 – May 3: Tour de Romandie
May 1: Eschborn-Frankfurt
9 – 31 May: Giro d’Italia
10 – 16 May: Amgen Tour of California
May 31 – June 7: Critérium du Dauphiné
June 6 – 14: Tour de Suisse
June 27 to July 19: Tour de France
5 – 11 July: Tour de Pologne
July 25: Donostia San Sebastian Klasikoa
August 14 – September 6: La Vuelta Ciclista a España
August 16: EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg
August 16: Prudential RideLondon-Surrey Classic
August 23: Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France
August 31 – September 6: BinckBank Tour
September 11: GP de Québec
September 13: GP de Montréal
October 10: Il Lombardia
October 15 – 20: Gree – Tour of Guangxi.

Guillaume Martin to Groupama-FDJ or Cofidis?
Wanty-Gobert may lose their leader and classification rider Guillaume Martin. The Cofidis team has been showing interest in the Frenchman, Groupama-FDJ has also been sniffing around. Martin has a contract with Wanty-Gobert, but it is said that the Frenchman can get out of it.

Wanty-Gobert team manager, Bourlart, hopes that Martin will not terminate his current contract – until the end of 2020. But keeping him is not the easiest job as Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ are very keen. The French climber can cancel his current contract if two conditions are met. One: The team that takes him must be a WorldTour team. Two: In the event that Wanty-Gobert can offer the same amount of money, he must stick to his contract. According to the rules.

Cofidis has a strong interest, but manager Vasseur will first have to be sure that his team will be in the WorldTour. Wanty-Gobert wants a decision before the start of the Tour de France. The Frenchman also has a link with Groupama-FdJ. In 2014 Martin was a stagiaire for the final months. He has been with the Belgian team since 2016. At Groupama-FDJ, Martin could be an important rider for Thibaut Pinot.

Guillaume Martin:

Nacer Bouhanni to Arkéa-Samsic?
After five years with FDJ and five years with Cofidis, Nacer Bouhanni will move to Arkéa-Samsic at the end of this season, according to Dutch website, WielerFlits. Team manager Emmanuel Hubert had previously indicated that the French sprinter was on his wish list.

This season Nacer Bouhanni hasn’t added much to his palmarès. He finished second in stage 2 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana in February. At the end of last month he finished second in the Grand Prix Marcel Kint. His third and last podium place, third, was in the opening stage of the Tour of Oman, but no wins yet in 2019. The 28-year-old Frenchman does have three stages in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España in his wins list, but nothing in the Tour de France. The Cofidis team have not picked him for this year, so that won’t change. A good performance in the Dauphiné could have brought him a place in his home Grand Tour, but Bouhanni had to abandon during the second stage.

Cofidis team manager, Cédric Vasseur, has not been making a secret that he wants to get rid of Bouhanni, who receives an annual salary of almost one and a half million euros. In the meantime, Bouhanni is also looking forward to his future. At Arkéa-Samsic he would become a teammate of André Greipel and Warren Barguil. Bouhanni did not ride in Wednesday’s Halle-Ingooigem, a race that he has won twice.

Arkéa-Samsic has not yet confirmed the news of Bouhanni’s transfer as this cannot be done before the 1st of August.

New team for Nacer Bouhanni:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step to the National Championships
This week will see 19 Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders compete for their national RR and ITT title, across seven nations.

Since 2003, Deceuninck – Quick-Step has won a total of 49 National Championships with 26 different riders across 18 countries from four continents, most recent title on this impressive list coming last month, in Argentina, courtesy of Maximiliano Richeze.

Besides the South American, our team has in its ranks four other defending National Champions – Bob Jungels, Yves Lampaert, Michael Mørkøv and Elia Viviani – who over the next couple of days will line up, together with many of their teammates, for the National Championships, which more or less kick off the second part of the season.

Sports director Tom Steels, himself a four-time National Champion in the Belgian Road Race, made a preview of the upcoming events: “Several of our riders, like Rémi, Fabio or Bob, will be racing on their own, while others, and I’m thinking here of Elia, will rely on a few teammates, but unfortunately there’s a hard course this year in Italy, not really suited to him. In Belgium, even though we’ll have a couple of riders, we can’t control the race, so we have to be smart and take risks. The Nationals are never a race that we expect anyone to win, because it’s unpredictable and difficult to control, but we are confident and hope for the best.”

ITT (June 27): Middelkerke – Middelkerke (38.4km)
Riders: Remco Evenepoel, Yves Lampaert.
Road Race (June 30): Gent – Gent (228.5km)
Riders: Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Remco Evenepoel, Philippe Gilbert, Iljo Keisse, Yves Lampaert, Pieter Serry.

Czech Republic
ITT (June 27): Voderady – Voderady (41km)
Riders: Petr Vakoc.
Road Race (June 30): Trnava – Trnava (186.5km)
Riders: Zdenek Stybar, Petr Vakoc.

ITT (June 27): Esbjerg – Esbjerg (39.8km)
Riders: Kasper Asgreen.
Road Race (June 30): Ribe – Esbjerg (226km)
Riders: Kasper Asgreen, Mikkel Honoré, Michael Mørkøv.

ITT (June 27): Clisson – La Haye-Fouassière (46.4km)
Riders: Rémi Cavagna.
Road Race (July 1): La Haye-Fouassière – La Haye-Fouassière (252.9km)
Riders: Rémi Cavagna.

ITT (June 28): Bedonia – Bedonia (38km)
Riders: Davide Martinelli.
Road Race (June 30): Borgo Val di Taro – Compiano (232.4km)
Riders: Eros Capecchi, Davide Martinelli, Fabio Sabatini, Elia Viviani.

ITT (June 27): Differdange – Differdange (23km)
Riders: Bob Jungels.
Road Race (June 30): Soleuvre – Soulevre (175.1km)
Riders: Bob Jungels.

The Netherlands
Road Race (June 30): Ede – Ede (226.8km)
Riders: Fabio Jakobsen.

How many National champs jerseys will Deceuninck – Quick-Step take in 2019

French Championships – La Haye Fouassière (June 27 – 30)
Pierre Latour: “Unlike last year, I’m going to start the French Championships without any real certainty. I have only started two time trials so far this year. And I am just coming out of a difficult Tour of Switzerland where I had to drop out during the last stage in the mountains. I just didn’t have any power. Of course, that sort of thing is not an ideal way to build up the confidence. Still, I’m not all that surprised. After my crash on February 22nd (fractured left wrist among other injuries), I stayed off the bike for four months, so I certainly expected that my return to competition would be difficult. Despite everything, after two years wearing the jersey as the national time trial champion of France, I intend to give my best in this race. And anyway, after this sort of start to the season, I really have nothing to lose.”

Nans Peters and Alexis Gougeard will also line up to race the French time trial on June 27.

Road Race team roster (June 30):
François Bidard, Geoffrey Bouchard, Mikaël Cherel, Clément Chevrier, Benoît Cosnefroy, Samuel Dumoulin, Hubert Dupont, Julien Duval, Tony Gallopin, Alexandre Geniez, Dorian Godon, Alexis Gougeard, Quentin Jaurégui, Pierre Latour, Aurélien Paret Peintre, Nans Peters, Clément Venturini, Alexis Vuillermoz.

The other championship races:
Gediminas Bagdonas (Lithuania) will line up to defend both his titles in the time trial and road race on the 28th and 30th of June in Šilale.
Mathias Frank (Switzerland) will be taking part in the road race on Sunday at Fischingen.
Oliver Naesen and Stijn Vandenbergh (Belgium) will participate in the Belgian road race in Gent (June 30).
Ben Gastauer (Luxembourg) will participate in the road race at Soleuvre (June 30).
Nico Denz (Germany) will participate in the German road race at Oberlungwitz (June 30).
Having won the event in 2017, Larry Warbasse will again line up to race the US National Championships on June 30th in Knoxville, Tennessee.

French 2018 champ, Geoffrey Bouchard:

Seven Riders for the Italian Road Championship
Next Sunday Compiano, a small town in the Emilian Apennines, will host the Italian road cycling championships. The route is 227km with the final circuit of 12.5km to be repeated ten times. Probably the climb to Strela – over 5km with maximum slopes of 10% – will be decisive for the final win.

Seven TBM’s riders will at the start including Vincenzo Nibali and Sonny Colbrelli. “The route is not easy at all and also very selective,” explains SD Franco Pellizotti. “In the final circuit there is so much uphill and downhill with only 3km entirely flat where you can try to recover time. Vincenzo will be our leader with Damiano Caruso and Domenico Pozzovivo who will be close to him uphill and also able to try to do their race if the conditions allow it. Sonny Colbrelli will be our outsider.”

Vincenzo Nibali and Caruso will arrive directly from the training camp held in the mountains in Livigno. “We worked well for two weeks to recover from the Tour of Italy and prepare for the Tour de France,” says Damiano Caruso. “I saw that the route is very particular with almost 4000 meters of elevation gain and therefore I expect a lot of selection. I am ready to give my contribution as well as, if there is the possibility, to try to win.”

TBM’s line-up for the national championship: Vincenzo Nibali, Antonio Nibali, Damiano Caruso, Domenico Pozzovivo, Valerio Agnoli, Andrea Garosio and Sonny Colbrelli

Defending champion Campenaerts about the Belgian time trial championship
On Thursday 27 June the Belgian time trial championship will take place in Middelkerke. Defending champion Victor Campenaerts will do everything possible to prolong his title, but there are various contenders who are ready to make it difficult for him to do so. The Hour Record holder previews the race against the clock.

Victor Campenaerts: “I didn’t recon the course yet, but performance manager Kevin De Weert already did. The stage profile is flat and it’s not very technical. The championship will take place at the seaside in Middelkerke so the wind will play a decisive role. Last year, the profile was more hilly and the road surface was poor. This year, the conditions are better and that will make the race a lot more enjoyable to ride.”

“I’m aware of the fact that I’m the man to beat and that puts pressure on me. If I don’t win the Belgian time trial championship, I will be disappointed. If I win, I would only confirm and it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise. But if you can break the world Hour Record for the eyes of 650,000 Flemish people, I think you can say that I perform well under pressure.”

“Wout van Aert might be my biggest competitor if you look at his performances in the Critérium du Dauphiné. Besides, Evenepoel is also in great shape. But our team also has some riders who are able to beat me in the time trial. Thomas De Gendt set great times in the time trials of the Giro and Tim Wellens won the time trial in the Belgium Tour.”

“I will be at the start of the championship with the ambition to win. If I will be beaten by someone of the team, I will be disappointed, but I prefer being beaten by a teammate than by another rider. I hope the jersey stays in our team, however, I will be disappointed if it wouldn’t be on my shoulders.”

“I have had an intensive schedule the last months. I already rode Tirreno-Adriatico, the Giro d’Italia and recently the Tour of Belgium so I do not have to train that much anymore. Of course I will still be having some hard training days, because I am someone who likes to be fully prepared for the day of truth.”

Participants Lotto Soudal:
Victor Campenaerts, Thomas De Gendt, Stan Dewulf, Frederik Frison, Brent Van Moer and Tim Wellens.

Victor Campenaerts:

National Time Trial Championships
JUN 26-28

Line-up Men:
Denmark – 27/06

Casper Pedersen, Asbjørn Kragh Andersen.

Germany – 28/06
Florian Stork, Max Walscheid.

Line-up Women:
Canada – 28/06

Leah Kirchmann.

Denmark – 27/06
Pernille Mathiesen.

France – 27/06
Juliette Labous.

Great Britain – 27/06
Pfeiffer Georgi.

Line-up Development:
Canada – 28/06

Ben Katerberg.

Germany – 28/06
Leon Heinschke, Niklas Märkl, Martin Salmon.

National Road Race Championships
JUN 29-30

Line-up Men:
Belgium – 30/06

Jan Bakelants

Denmark – 30/06
Asbjørn Kragh Andersen, Søren Kragh Andersen, Casper Pedersen, Ludvig Anton Wacker.

Germany – 30/06
Johannes Fröhlinger, Leon Heinschke, Lennard Kämna, Niklas Märkl, Martin Salmon, Florian Stork, Max Walscheid.

Netherlands – 30/06
Cees Bol, Roy Curvers, Wilco Kelderman, Joris Nieuwenhuis, Martijn Tusveld.

Switzerland – 30/06
Marc Hirschi.

Line-up Women:
Canada – 29/06

Leah Kirchmann.

Denmark – 29/06
Pernille Mathiesen.

France – 29/06
Juliette Labous.

Germany – 30/06
Liane Lippert.

Great Britain – 30/06
Pfeiffer Georgi.

Netherlands – 29/06
Lucinda Brand, Floortje Mackaij, Julia Soek.

Norway – 30/06
Susanne Andersen.

USA – 30/06
Coryn Rivera.

Line-up Development:
Austria – 30/06

Felix Gall.

Canada – 30/06
Ben Katerberg.

Netherlands – 29/06
Nils Eekhoff, Edo Maas, Tim Naberman, Nils Sinschek.

Sunweb’s US champ, Coryn Rivera:

AG2R-La Mondiale Reaffirms Commitment to Vincent Lavenu and his Cycling Team
AG2R-La Mondiale extends its sponsorship, which began in 1997, with the eponymous cycling team led by Vincent Lavenu until 2023.

“A few days before the start of the Tour de France 2019, we once again testify to our unwavering support for Vincent Lavenu and his cycling team. Our riders and their sports directors perfectly embody the values of solidarity and performance that animate AG2R-La Mondiale every day. And just like with the cycling team, it is the strength of the collective that makes us better. Now we meet in Brussels for the start of this year’s Grande Boucle to continue this wonderful adventure together. We are of course hoping that their success in this legendary race is commensurate with their commitment and determination!” André Renaudin, Chief Executive Officer, says.

“We are proud and very touched by the confidence shown by AG2R-La Mondiale in extending our contract from 2021 to 2023. This endeavor that has united us since 1997 around our favorite sport is both beautiful and intense. It has brought us a lot of joy, success, and has also strengthened us in the most difficult times. The quality of our relationship is irrefutable, and I warmly thank the AG2R-La Mondiale General Management, the directors and employees for always believing in our team. This fidelity will allow us to write new pages of our history, with new challenges, and a pool of ambitious young riders who are our trademark,” Vincent Lavenu, General Manager of the AG2R-La Mondiale cycling team, explains.

About AG2R-La Mondiale
As a specialist in social and asset protection in France, AG2R-La Mondiale provides private clients, businesses and associated subsidiaries, with health insurance, asset and income protection, as well as life insurance, and solutions to prepare for retirement. As a joint and mutual partnership, AG2R-La Mondiale cultivates a unique social protection model that closely combines profitability and solidarity, performance and social commitment. The Group spends millions of euros every year to help economically vulnerable people and support individual and collective initiatives.

Follow the news: / Twitter: @AG2RLAMONDIALE

Tour de France 2019
The Tour de France kicks off a week on Saturday. The biggest bike race on the planet. Keep it PEZ for all the news from France. Tour previews up next week, but here are the stages and 3D course profile:

06.07.19 – Stage 1 Brussel – Brussel 194.5 km
07.07.19 – Stage 2 Brussel – Brussel 27.6 km (TTT)
08.07.19 – Stage 3 Binche – Épernay 215.0 km
09.07.19 – Stage 4 Reims – Nancy 213.5 km
10.07.19 – Stage 5 Saint-Dié-des-Vosges – Colmar 175.5 km
11.07.19 – Stage 6 Mulhouse – La Planche des Belles Filles 160.5 km
12.07.19 – Stage 7 Belfort – Chalon-sur-Saône 230.0 km
13.07.19 – Stage 8 Mâcon – Saint-Étienne 200.0 km
14.07.19 – Stage 9 Saint-Étienne – Brioude 170.5 km
15.07.19 – Stage 10 Saint-Flour – Albi 217.5 km
16.07.19 – Rest Day
17.07.19 – Stage 11 Albi – Toulouse 167.0 km
18.07.19 – Stage 12 Toulouse – Bagnères-de-Bigorre 209.5 km
19.07.19 – Stage 13 Pau – Pau 27.2 km (ITT)
20.07.19 – Stage 14 Tarbes – Tourmalet 117.5 km
21.07.19 – Stage 15 Limoux – Foix 185.0 km
22.07.19 – Rest Day
23.07.19 – Stage 16 Nîmes – Nîmes 177.0 km
24.07.19 – Stage 17 Pont du Gard – Gap 200.0 km
25.07.19 – Stage 18 Embrun – Valloire 208.0 km
26.07.19 – Stage 19 Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne – Tignes 126.5 km
27.07.19 – Stage 20 Albertville – Val Thorens 130.0 km
28.07.19 – Stage 21 Rambouillet – Paris 128.0 km

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