EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The Northern Classics are here and Yves Lampaert took the win in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen for the Quick-Step Floors team – Result, quotes and video. Top Story has to be De Ronde van Vlaanderen. Lots of other cycling news: Teams for Flanders (more to come), US National championships, teams for the 2018 Tour of Utah, Tour of the Alps on TV, the talent factory of the Giro del Belvedere, young riders for Trek-Segafredo and Quick-Step floors, Yousif Mirza makes history, LCL stay with the Tour, successful SEG Racing, Sky Roubaix competition and behind the scenes with Quick-Step Floors at Gent-Wevelgem. EUROTRASH coffee time.


TOP STORY: Ronde van Vlaanderen!
This Sunday sees the best one-day Classic hit the climbs and cobbles of Flanders for a 267 kilometer battle against the elements and between the top riders. ‘Wait a minute’ I hear you say, ‘but Paris-Roubaix is the best race of the season.’ Yes, some years it is, but it can be a lottery and the best guys can be taken out by a puncture or a mechanical and the team car can’t always be at hand. You can say the same for Flanders and, for sure, a nobody wins either of the race, but in Flanders the best riders are usually there for the final show down.

Then you have to throw in the passion of the Flemish people. De Ronde van Vlaanderen is more important than the World championships, if a Belgian wins, even a Walloon like Philippe Gilbert, it’s a very big day for the population, and if a non Belgian wins he’ll be made an honorary ‘Flandrien’.

Bring on De Ronde!

See Ed Hood’s PEZ Flanders Preview HERE.


Dwars door Vlaanderen 2018
The peloton of 173 riders made its way from Roeselare to Waregem with the rain beating down upon them and temperatures hovering around 7 degrees. It proved no easy feat for a breakaway to form amidst these difficult conditions, with the first serious attack of the day being launched after 80km, when Luke Rowe (Sky) managed to break free from the peloton and carve out an advantage of around 1 minute. However, he was ultimately reeled back in just before the second ascent of the Kluisberg.

As the peloton approached the Kortekeer, the peloton strung out and several splits began to appear, as more riders tested their luck and tried to escape. With around 50km remaining, the business end of the race had arrived, and a select group containing several favorites worked to gain a slight advantage over the chasing group behind, yet they were caught due to the tempo that was being hammered out by LottoNL-Jumbo. Two Belgian riders, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Tijs Benoot (Lotto Soudal), managed to stay adrift of the chasers, yet were caught by a 12-man chasing group. Shortly afterwards, in the pouring rain, a five rider group managed to escape under the impetus of Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) and worked well together to create a gap of around 40 seconds. It was from this group that the defending champion, Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors), sprinted away from his escape companions in the finishing straight to take the victory. Mike Teunissen (Sunweb) got the better of Vanmarcke for second.

Race winner, Yves Lampaert (Quick-Step Floors): “We knew the weather could influence the race, so we had two plans. Go for a sprint with Elia or make it really hard for the others in case he wasn’t there in the final part of the race. When Viviani got caught behind, together with Niki and Styby we decided to ride hard and see what happens, especially as the rain and cold took their toll on the riders and many were on their limit. When the hostilities began and Vanmarcke attacked, Niki told me to go, so I jumped and joined the front group. We worked together there and rode full gas, making sure we had a nice advantage for the final. Then, when Pedersen attacked, I responded and seeing I had got a gap, I sprinted to increase my margin and gave everything I had in the tank, knowing many of my rivals were faster. I am super happy to get another win in this race, with such a high-level field and so close to my home. To resume our winning run in Belgium feels great and gives us an extra boost of confidence ahead of Sunday’s De Ronde.”

2nd, Mike Teunissen (Sunweb): “It was cold, with rain all day, when the final started there was a group of 40 guys left and we still had three guys thanks to the good work of the other guys who kept us in a good position all day. When Eddy said he wasn’t feeling super, me and Søren tried to move with the best guys. From then I just tried to anticipate and move with the best guys. I knew I was feeling good but I wasn’t completely sure and in the end I gambled a bit too much and should’ve reacted more. In the end I can be happy with the result and the work of the team today.”

3rd, Sep Vanmarcke (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale): “For me, mentally, it doesn’t change a lot, I knew last weekend I was good, but of course having a podium is always nice, always important for the team. Even though I didn’t have the best legs, it’s nice to be on the podium. I was very cold during the race, I suffered quite a bit with that, but I always seemed to be in the right move. We had to work really well to stay off the front, once we had 45 seconds with five kilometers, we knew we were going to make it. Then it was gambling – attacking, waiting a little bit. If you doubt for one second, he’s gone, and that’s what happened, he made the right move. Five guys. I’m only third. I wasn’t feeling on my top level today, the podium is good. When Yves jumped, I didn’t have much left. The guys that were at the front today will also be on the front on Sunday, today I didn’t feel great. I had the worst feeling of the whole Classics period. I did some extra training on Sunday after Gent Wevelgem, I really emptied the tank. I’m not fully recovered from that. I think in the end, next weekend, everybody will be ready, and I will also be fully recovered. It’s 70 kilometers longer, and it will be a different race.”

4th, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data): “I am happy but also disappointed with today’s race. It was a hard race which made it good for me. I was always in a good position near the front, and I felt good enough to be part of all the definitive moves. It became tricky in the final when it was more about the tactics than strength. I was stupid not to follow Lampaert’s last move initially, and then missed out on the podium because nobody wanted to chase so I led from too far out. So, I am pleased to have been part of the final and can take confidence from the positive signs of my form coming, but obviously I would have liked more from today’s race after coming so close.”

7th, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal): “Before the race we had decided that I would try to make a selection during the third ascent of Côte de Trieu and so I did. I was joined by Greg Van Avermaet. Unfortunately no Quick-Step rider followed, because they were yet again the strongest team. If a guy from Quick-Step would have joined us, we would have remained ahead of the chasing group I think. Greg and I only got fifteen seconds advantage. We hoped the pace would drop in the chasing group, but that didn’t happen. At the end of the cobbled section of the Varent, the chasers closed the gap. Immediately Vanmarcke attacked and he got four others with him, including Lampaert. I needed a moment to catch my breath. I hoped they would think it was a too big risk to go to the finish with Teunissen and Boasson Hagen, but they decided to go through with their move. Hats off to Lampaert. Maybe I missed a teammate by my side today, but André Greipel and Jens Keukeleire are out of the running for a while and we need to accept the situation as it is. I am in a very good condition. That’s no guarantee for a top result on Sunday, but without any bad luck I will ride the finale.”

Dwars door Vlaanderen Result:
1. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors in 4:09:40
2. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Sunweb at 0:02
3. Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
4. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data
5. Mads Pedersen (Den) Trek-Segafredo
6. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors at 0:29
7. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:30
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC at 0:59
9. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors
10. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo.


Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Ronde van Vlaanderen
The 102nd edition of the race will see the riders tackle 18 hellingen between Antwerp and Oudenaarde

The pinnacle of the Flemish Week and a tremendous cultural phenomenon, the Ronde van Vlaanderen is one of the most revered races of the year by riders and fans alike, despite being the youngest of the calendar’s five Monuments. Created in 1913, the Ronde has grown in stature over time with the inclusion of the now famous Flemish Ardennes and the emergence of huge champions, who left their mark over the race in the past century. Four of these riders took home the trophy in the Quick-Step Floors jersey, for a total of six wins, between 2005 and 2017.

On Sunday, for the 102nd episode of De Ronde, 175 riders will line up at the start in Antwerp, ready to take on the 267 kilometers that separate them from the finish in Oudenaarde. On the menu, five cobblestone sectors and 18 leg-sapping hills, including the iconic Tenbosse, Muur-Kapelmuur, Koppenberg, Taaienberg and the Oude Kwaremont – Paterberg combo, which will feature twice, last time inside the final 20 kilometers.

At the previous edition, Philippe Gilbert created a masterpiece after attacking 55 kilometers from the finish and holding off his chasers for a maiden Ronde van Vlaanderen title. The 35-year-old Belgian – who’ll make his 46th Monument apperance – will be at the start as defending champion, part of a very strong Quick-Step Floors team which has several cards to play, including E3 Harelbeke winner Niki Terpstra, Yves Lampaert, who just two days ago successfully defended his Dwars door Vlaanderen crown, and Zdenek Stybar, a top 10 finisher in the last three cobblestone races.

Tim Declercq, Iljo Keisse and Florian Sénéchal – whose commitment and selfless work have played a major role in the seven races won by Quick-Step Floors in Belgium this season – will round up the team for Sunday’s appointment.

Sports director Tom Steels made a preview of the season’s second Monument: “All the favourites are so close these days, none of them afraid to attack each other, so we will have a big battle. Few guys might feel the pressure from missing results so far, a factor which can often influence the race. If you are confident then you pick your own moment and go, but if you are uncertain, you start to think if it is too early or too late, which can be in favour of the confident riders.”

“With seven riders it’s very difficult to control a race like De Ronde, you could see that also in other races, like Gent-Wevelgem, where the breakaway opened a 10-minute gap. Fewer teams are willing to take responsibility, but on the other hand you have a natural pressure on the peloton due to all the small, narrow roads keeping it going fast at all times, especially before the cobbled sections. However, the new team size leaves you with a second problem, which is that you have one guy less to protect the leaders. Usually, you would have one guy to protect each leader the whole day, now that is also more difficult, which is why the strength of the team has become even more important.”

“After picking up seven victories with six different riders in Belgium, and more importantly, after displaying that fantastic team spirit and ambition, the morale is high and we look forward to the race. We know it’s going to be hard – after all, it’s one of the toughest races of the year – but we are more than ready and determined to be there in the key moments of the race and leave our mark over it”, concluded Steels.

01.04 Ronde van Vlaanderen – Tour des Flandres (BEL) 1.UWT
Riders:

Tim Declercq (BEL), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Iljo Keisse (BEL), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Florian Sénéchal (FRA), Zdenek Stybar (CZE), Niki Terpstra (NED).
Sports Director Wilfried Peeters (BEL) and Tom Steels (BEL).

Philippe Gilbert in 2017:


Van der Schueren Wants to See Fighting Spirit in Flanders
Wanty-Groupe Gobert has finished his homework for the Tour of Flanders (1.WT, 01/04). For Vlaanderens Mooiste sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren counts on Frederik Backaert, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Yoann Offredo, Andrea Pasqualon, Dion Smith, Tom Devriendt and Mark McNally. Between starting city Antwerp and the arrival spot in Oudenaarde the riders have to overcome many feared slopes in the Flemish Ardennes such as De Muur, Koppenberg, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. Van der Schueren and Offredo, who last year gave colour to the race and finished 14th, look ahead.

Yoann Offredo: “As Hilaire always says, after rain comes sunshine But I am desperately waiting for that sunshine! I was involved in the massive crash in the E3 Harelbeke, but I could not click out of my pedals. I thus sprained the inner ligament of my left ankle. In Gent-Wevelgem I was the victim of mechanical problems and I was hit by a rider just before Baneberg.”

“I chose to ride Dwars door Vlaanderen to get more race kilometers in the legs. I knew it would be bad weather, but I thought the pain would be less, I finished the race, but I could not push the pedals for 100%. I hope I can recuperate in the three days to de Ronde. I will certainly not be at 100%, but I expect to be able to play a role on Sunday. ”

“The pain remains but I have a special bond with the Tour of Flanders. This is an appointment that I have prepared for five months, that is too much work to give in. In this context I can ignore pain and negative feelings to perform on D -Day. So I am definitely going to start. The simplest solution would have been to not start and say that I was injured, but my love for de Ronde is too big to give up. ”

“I take a step into the unknown on Sunday which is not my habit. Usually I focus on my goals and I can present myself in the best possible condition at the start of de Ronde. Last year I anticipated the Taaienberg and I was therefore between the strongest of the race. This time my motivation is intact, but I do not know what to expect.”

Hilaire Van der Schueren: “At the beginning of the classics season I made the decision not to join the early breakaway anymore, except maybe in the WorldTour races. Firstly because we now have one rider less in the race and secondly because I was convinced that at least two or three of our riders would ne present in the final. The fact that this did not happen is a disappointment for me. ”

“That is why I want to take a different approach on Sunday. I’d like to race offensively again, send someone in the early breakaway and anticipate in the final. I will be satisfied of the race when we show ourselves in the final. Showing our team Wanty-Groupe Gobert colors and finding the drive is a priority for me.”

“I want my riders to find the fighting spirit again. They have to be willing and dare to position themselves at the front of the peloton on the crucial points. If they do that, Backaert, Van Keirsbulck and Offredo can and will play a role in the final. In the past races and last year they showed that they are capable.”


Tiesj Benoot looks ahead to Ronde van Vlaanderen
Only two more nights till the 102nd edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. This WorldTour race starts in Antwerp for the second consecutive year and finishes after nearly 265 kilometres in Oudenaarde.

Tiesj Benoot is the leader of the Lotto Soudal team. It’s the fourth time the 24-year-old rider will participate in the Ronde. As a neo-pro he immediately finished fifth. The past two editions he abandoned the race; two years ago after he had crashed. Benoot has already had a strong season so far. At Strade Bianche he claimed his first pro victory and at Tirreno-Adriatico he finished fourth overall, taking home the best young rider jersey. Also in the previous Flemish races he showed himself. Both at E3 Harelbeke and Dwars door Vlaanderen he chose for an aggressive style of racing, which resulted in the fifth and seventh place.

Tiesj Benoot: “It’s normal that I am one of the favourites for Sunday after my performances of the past weeks. I am not the main favourite though. Sagan and the Quick-Step team as a whole are one step higher than riders like Van Avermaet, Vanmarcke and me.”

“It would surprise me if the race would explode on the Muur van Geraadsbergen like it did last year. Although it is a moment were all teams will need to be alert a first time. There can always occur a selection at that point in the race, but I expect the race will really explode later. I prefer a long and extensive finale because then it becomes an exhausting race that ends with a fight man against man.”

“We miss André Greipel, Jens Keukeleire and Nikolas Maes from our original line-up. Greipel and Keukeleire could have been by my side in the finale. That’s why it’s in my interest that others get isolated. Although that is not quite realistic for Quick-Step, as they have such a strong block.”

“I’ll probably need to finish solo if I want to win, because most of the favourites are faster than me. I feel really good. The situation is a bit different now I have won Strade Bianche, because that has taken away the pressure. Of course that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to set a top result in the Ronde. At E3 Harelbeke and Dwars door Vlaanderen I proved that the condition is good and that will still be the case this Sunday. The Ronde van Vlaanderen is the race of my dreams. I already want to win it since I was a child. We ride on my training course and as a neo-pro I immediately finished fifth. I am ready to go full on Sunday!”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Lars Bak, Tiesj Benoot, Jasper De Buyst, Jens Debusschere, Frederik Frison, Marcel Sieberg and Jelle Wallays.
Sports directors: Herman Frison and Frederik Willems.

Tiesj Benoot:


Van Avermaet Targets Elusive Tour of Flanders Victory
Having stood on the Tour of Flanders podium on three occasions in his career, Greg Van Avermaet is determined to stand on the top step this Sunday when he lines up for the 12th time in his career.

As a born and bred Flandrien, Van Avermaet has made no secret of his desire to win the Tour of Flanders, a victory that would add a second Monument title to his palmares.

After testing his shape in the early classics, Van Avermaet is confident in his form ahead of ‘De Ronde’.

“I’m happy that the Tour of Flanders is finally here. I’m in the shape that I wanted to be in, but it’s going to be a difficult race. The Tour of Flanders is hard to win, as I know, but we are ready to try again this year. I think the team is good and I’m where I need to be,” Van Avermaet said,

“Out of all of the classics, the Tour of Flanders is the one that fits me best so I hope that everything can go right on Sunday. The classics are 90% about the legs and 10% luck. You can be as good as you want but everything has to go right on the day. I hope this year is my year.”

Sports Director Fabio Baldato believes Van Avermaet and the team are ready.

“The Tour of Flanders is one of the most important races of the year for Greg and the team and I am confident that we have done everything possible to put Greg in a good position for Sunday. Although we have one of the biggest favourites in Greg, I don’t think the pressure is on us to control the race. We have seen many strong riders and teams during the classics and it is important that we focus on doing our own race and supporting Greg as much as possible,” Baldato explained.

“I think we will see a very aggressive race on Sunday but we are ready for a big battle. The team is good and all seven riders have raced together on three occasions with E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem and Dwars door Vlaanderen, which is important.”

Tour of Flanders (1 April, 2018)
Rider roster:

Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Stefan Küng (SUI), Jürgen Roelandts (BEL), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP).
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Klaas Lodewyck (BEL).

Greg Van Avermaet:


Preview: Ronde van Vlaanderen
The 2nd monument of the year is upon us, with the Belgian De Ronde van Vlaanderen taking place this Sunday. Starting in Antwerp once again, riders will complete 266km before the victor is crowned in Oudenaarde.

De Ronde van Vlaanderen, the most prized event in the beautifully mad Belgian cycling culture is set for its 102nd edition. This year 18 hellingen – short, sharp and often cobbled climbs – will characterize the 266km route. The route remains relatively unchanged from last year and so particular focus will be placed on the final 30 kilometers, were the climbs of Kruisberg, Hotond, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg are expected to decide the victor.

For Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and South African cycling, it will be a unique day as we start with no less than 5 South African riders. As injury has ruled out a number of our classic specialists in recent weeks, Jaco Venter and Johann van Zyl got the late call up to join their countrymen, Ryan Gibbons, Nic Dougall and Jay Thomson for this historic race. Only once previously has South Africa had more starters in a cycling monument, with 6 riders at the 2014 Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

Our South African quintent will be rallying around Julien Vermote and Edvald Boasson Hagen, to provide a result on the day for our African Team. Vermote, who has shown impressive form during the classics thus far this season, will have the honour to lead the team around his home roads and in front of many friends and family members. Already this year, Vermote came to within meters of winning Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne and he also had a solid ride to finish 15th at Gent-Wevelgem last weekend.

Boasson Hagen has gradually been building up his form after an early season gallbladder surgery. Our Norwegian showed on Wednesday though, he is close to getting back to his best with a 4th place finish at Dwars Door Vlaanderen. The Norwegian could very well be a force to be reckoned with on Sunday.

JP Heynderickx – Sport Director
On Sunday we have one of the five big monuments in cycling, Tour of Flanders. The team is really looking forward to it. Unfortunately we cant count on the full strength of our classics squad with all the injuries to our riders who crashed in the last few weeks. I know that the 7 riders at the start will fight like a team though, and fight to get a good result with our key riders, Julien and Edvald. I am pretty sure we can keep the momentum going, after some positive results in the last classics, and fight for a top 10 on Sunday.

Lineup:
Julien Vermote, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Ryan Gibbons, Nic Dougall, Jay Thomson, Jaco Venter, Johann van Zyl.


Why we love Tour of Flanders (and you should, too)
To say we’re amped up for Sunday’s showdown would be an understatement. Tour of Flanders, the second of cycling five’s Monuments, is widely considered the pinnacle of one-day racing. The course, the crowds, the atmosphere, the awareness that anything can (and will) happen – it’s distinctly De Ronde. And when a team lines up with a contender for the podium, dreaming of the top step, that belief in possibilities heightens the special feelings.

We’ll treat it like any other day on the race calendar although it’s anything but. Below the seven EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale riders who will pin on a number in Antwerp on Sunday explain why.

MATTI BRESCHEL
“You feel the tension in a good way. Something big is coming up, but if anyone can finish it off, it’s Sep. That gives everyone a lot of confidence.”

MITCH DOCKER
“It’s the build-up to Flanders that makes Flanders what it is. We have a few weeks building up to Sunday, and then Sunday is every other race all rolled into one. It’s the cream of the crop. Everything around that replicates that dynamic – the crowds, the hype, even down to the way people get nervous about it, the sense of achievement of getting through it, the feeling about getting a result. It’s an epic battle, and one of I live for every year.”

SEBASTIAN LANGEVELD
“I grew up as a child in Holland watching this race, never knowing I would four times be top 10. Along with Roubaix, Flanders is my world championships. It’s the biggest one-day race of the year. As a rider, only Roubaix has the same vibe as this. For me Sunday is a big, big day.”

SACHA MODOLO
“When you are in Belgium for Flanders, it’s as if you’re breathing a different air. It’s the most beautiful race in the world. Also tactically it is different. The race can be open at any time.”

TAYLOR PHINNEY
“The crowds make Flanders the pinnacle. There are certain races on the calendar where there is an energy you receive as an athlete, which is the energy that sustains you or at least sustains me. It really inspires me and motivates me to be a part of these races.”

TOM SCULLY
“Coming from New Zealand, I’d compare it to the Rugby World Cup final in New Zealand with All-Blacks in the final. That atmosphere there, that’s what we see on Sunday. Tour of Flanders is world’s apart from where I came from, but it’s the world I live in, and it’s a pretty special thing.”

SEP VANMARCKE
“It’s the biggest race in Flanders in the year. As a Belgian, this is, of course, very important. The history, the cobbles and the atmosphere combine to make this race special for riders and fans alike.”

EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale for 2018 Ronde van Vlaanderen
Riders:

Matti Breschel (DEN), Mitch Docker (AUS), Sebastan Langeveld (NLD), Sacha Modolo (ITA), Taylor Phinney (USA), Tom Scully (NZL), Sep Vanmarcke (BEL).
Sport Directors: Andreas Klier (DEU) and Ken Vanmarcke (BEL).

Sep Vanmarcke:


Vincenzo Nibali leads TBM at the Belgium “Queen” of Cobblestone Classics
Ronde Van Vlaanderen – The Belgium “Queen” of cobblestone classics is ahead of us.

BAHRAIN MERIDA Team comes to this famous race lead by Vincenzo Nibali, and our experienced and strong riders that will protect our leader. Our lineup is highly motivated to achieve good result and get into a fight with this demanding and unique race.

Our riders who will not be in a breakaway or on a specific job will stay around Vincenzo. The crucial point is to be up front, well positioned when we enter the “Oude Kwaremont” 2nd time (km 210) in order to make the cut.

From the km ZERO and during the first 100 km – untill we pass Oude Kwaremont (115 km) the 1st time – it will be Luka Pibernik, Borut Božič and Ivan Cortina who have the job to cover any breakaway attacks more than 10 riders.

Joining in just before Oude Kwaremont the 1st time – from km 100 and till km 210 (Oude Kwaremont) – it is the time for Kristijan Koren and Sonny Corbrelli to try to go into the moves. Saving the legs for the final 55 km to go – is Vincenzo Nibali (Oude Kwaremont and onwards) and Heinrich Haussler to stay around Vincenzo in the final and to do all we can to have two riders in the final says Tristan Hoffman , TBM sports director.Vincenzo NIbali, after a victory at Milano – Sanremo, with all his outstanding quality and all of his TBM teammates, sports directors Tristan Hoffman and RIk Verbrugghe, the management and staff are highly focused for the Belgium “Queen” of cobblestone classics.


Sunweb for de Ronde Van Vlaanderen
Team Sunweb coach Marc Reef (NED): “Flanders is one of the most special and toughest one-day races. The race started on the Muur last year and we have to be sharp there, and now we expect that the race will explode from the second time up the Kwaremont and onwards. Søren and Edward are both in good form and we will ride in support of them at the race. We expect that Mike and Nikias will go deep into the final with them, with the full support of a strong team around them.”

Ronde van Vlaanderen Line-Up:
Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Nikias Arndt (GER), Roy Curvers (NED), Lennard Hofstede (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Mike Teunissen (NED), Edward Theuns (BEL).
Coach: Marc Reef (NED).

Edward Theuns:


AG2R La Mondiale for Flanders
Oliver Naesen: “The doctors have reassured me about the condition of my knee. Normally, I will start the Ronde Van Vlaanderen on Sunday. Of course, having a crash before a big event is never ideal. Nevertheless, I am very motivated ahead of this event, which is THE race of the spring. Besides that, I really don’t want to miss the Ronde while I am wearing the jersey as the champion of Belgium. We had a hard time at the Dwars door Vlaanderen, but I know the whole team wants to come back strong on Sunday. From the very beginning of this classics season, we have proved our collective strength in the peloton. I have a lot of confidence.”

No bruising for Oliver Naesen
Having crashed during the Dwars door Vlaanderen, Oliver Naesen suffered from pain in his the left knee. Further tests on Thursday at the Ghent Hospital did not show any bone contusion. Oliver was told to rest Thursday, and a final decision will be made on Friday after pre-riding the route for the Tour of Flanders. “If his recovery progresses in the right direction, all should be operational and in good condition,” explained Dr. Grégory Ornon, doctor for the AG2R LA MONDIALE team.

Four riders from the team have taken part in all the Flandrian classics on the UCI WorldTour calendar (Omloop Het Nieuwsblad – Record Bank E3 Harelbeke – Gent Wevelgem – Dwars door Vlaanderen), in addition to Oliver Naesen, the other riders are Stijn Vandenbergh, Nico Denz and Gediminas Bagdonas.


UAE Team Emirates for Tour of Flanders
The team will be completely built around the European champion, Alexander Kristoff, for the Tour of Flanders on Sunday.

The only Norwegian to win the Belgian monument in Flanders, taking the trophy in 2015 when he topped Niki Terpstra in a two-up sprint.

“I won’t be the favourite for Flanders, but the recent classics here in the north pushed my level higher, so I hope to be one of the protagonists,” said Alexander Kristoff. “It doesn’t matter if I arrive at Flanders without any ‘big’ win because this is ‘the race’ and anything and everything can happen.”

Roster:
Alexander Kristoff (Nor), Filippo Ganna (Ita), Ben Swift (GB), Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor), Marco Marcato (Ita), Oliviero Troia (Ita), Simone Consonni (Ita).
Sports Directors: Mario Scirea (Ita), Philippe Mauduit (Fra).


Knoxville Awarded Third Event to June Lineup for USA Cycling Professional National Championships
National Criterium Championships added as Gay Street will spotlight new pro criterium under the lights

For the very first time, all U.S. national champions in professional road cycling will be crowned the same week under the organizational umbrella of one host community. The 2018 USA Cycling Professional Road, Individual Time Trial and Criterium National Championships will be held in Knoxville, Tenn. from June 21-24.

This is the second year for Knoxville to host the U.S. Pro Road and Individual Time Trial (ITT) championships. The U.S. Pro Criterium championships, held in Louisville, Ky., in 2017, were staged in conjunction with the U.S. Amateur Road National Championships in previous years.

In partnership with Visit Knoxville and USA Cycling, event management agency Medalist Sports has designed new courses for the championships this summer. The ITT will be held Thursday, June 21 on a 7-mile section of roadway that traverse the banks of Melton Lake and the internationally-acclaimed Oak Ridge Rowing venue in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Friday will add the criterium events to the mix of popular night-time activities in downtown Knoxville, with the start and finish on Gay Street. Championship races will conclude Sunday with the signature road races on a similar 8-mile course that was used in 2017. This year the women’s and men’s road races will feature the Gay Street corridor for the start/finish line, expo activities and award ceremonies.

Four types of VIP Hospitality Access Passes will be available for purchase, including VIP Access for Individual Time Trial, Criterium, and Pro Road, as well as a 3-Day VIP Fan Experience Package to encompass the entire event.

“We are very pleased that USA Cycling has expanded this National Championship event to include the Criterium here in Knoxville. We have worked hard to confirm great courses in and around our community. We expect the professional athletes, as well as the passionate fans, will find this year’s event even better than 2017,” said Visit Knoxville Sports Commission Sr. Director Chad Culver.

“We are thrilled to have USA Cycling return to Knoxville. We look forward to welcoming athletes and spectators alike to experience the well-designed courses, the hospitality of our community, and the all-around vibrant atmosphere of downtown Knoxville,” said Visit Knoxville President Kim Bumpas.

“Our objective in bringing professional road and individual time trial national championships to Knoxville last year was to increase the stature of these marquee events. Knoxville exceeded our high expectations, so we are thrilled to add the criterium to the line-up this year. We are so excited that America’s best cyclists will have such great courses and fans again this year, and we are very grateful to Visit Knoxville for what they have helped us create in this remarkable city,” said USA Cycling CEO Derek Bouchard-Hall.

The championships get rolling on June 21 with the new ITT course in Oak Ridge, Tenn., located 30 minutes west of downtown Knoxville. The professional and elite women will complete two laps of the ITT course for a total distance of 14.1 miles. The professional and elite men will complete three laps for a total distance of 21.25 miles. The course is relatively flat with three technical u-turns, allowing spectators to see athletes pass multiple times from one location.

As the “race of truth,” the ITT is distinct in its format for participants to race against the clock rather than in a big group against each other. Both women and men will compete in waves, with each individual rider being separated at the start by a one-minute gap. In the women’s event, the top U23 women (under the age of 23) will be awarded a separate championship.

On June 22, the Criterium Championships will be held under the lights of downtown Knoxville, with races beginning at 6:15 p.m. The 1.1-mile circuit is fast, with an uphill and technical final section before the finish. The pro women will race for a maximum of 75 minutes, followed by the men racing for 90 minutes.

“I am excited for Crit nationals to move to downtown Knoxville,” said Rally Cycling’s Erica Allar of Demorest, Ga., who won last year’s criterium title for pro women. “It will be great for spectators, but also moving our road nationals so that they’re all in the same place will make it easier for other teams to justify (the travel). Winning the U.S. Pro Crit Championship (in 2017) was a highlight for me and my cycling career.”

After a rest day for the athletes on Saturday, racing returns to downtown Knoxville on June 24. The Road Race course will use the same start/finish line in downtown Knoxville as the Criterium. The route will cover familiar territory used in 2017, crossing the Tennessee River via the iconic Gay Street Bridge, traversing the signature climb up Sherrod Street, and using the James White Parkway to return downtown through Knoxville’s historic Old City.

A new challenge for the athletes will be a punchy climb at the end of each circuit on Clinch Avenue to reach the start/finish on Gay Street. The women will race nine laps, for a total distance of 72 miles, and the men will complete 15 laps for a total distance of 120 miles.

Amber Neben (Lake Forest, Calif./Team Velo Concept) made it two for two at the 2017 Pro Road & Time Trial National Championships in Knoxville by winning both the ITT and the road race. Joey Rosskopf (Decatur, Ga./BMC Racing Team) scored the men’s title in the ITT and Larry Warbasse (Traverse City, Mich./Aqua Blue Sport) won the Stars-and-Stripes jersey in the men’s road race.

“Wearing the Stars and Stripes for the last nine months has been an incredible honor,” said Warbasse, who rides for a Pro Continental team based in Ireland. “I’m excited to race at the 2018 edition of the USPro Nationals and looking forward to the proposed course changes this season. The new finish line location in downtown Knoxville on Gay Street will provide an awesome backdrop for the finale. I’m glad the climb of Sherrod Road will remain in the race, as the atmosphere there was incredible in 2017, lined with lively fans the whole way.”

While Allar (Demorest, Ga./Rally Cycling) earned the Women’s Pro title in the Criterium, Travis McCabe (Tucson, Ariz./UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) captured the Men’s Pro title. The Women’s U23 criterium championship was taken by 19-year-old Skylar Schneider (West Allis, Wisc.), who now rides for Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team.

“Coming away with the national criterium championship last year was a big target that I had, and this year’s goal is to focus on road nationals,” said McCabe. “Combining the races makes things more convenient for the staff and the teams to come just spend the weekend in Knoxville. I also think it will be more exciting for the fans.”

This will be the 33rd year for the men’s professional road race national champion, first won by Eric Heiden in Philadelphia, Penn. in 1985. The USA Cycling Professional Criterium Championships began for men in 1986, held for many years in Illinois. The USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championship was introduced for men in 2006. In 2013, USA Cycling added professional women’s titles for all road championship events, with events for elite women going back to 1985.

For a full schedule of events and course maps, click here (usacycling.org/2018/pro-road-crit-time-trial-nationals). The Visit Knoxville Sports Commission will coordinate and oversee local sponsorships, expo booth space and live broadcasts of Sunday races. For information on hotels, VIP Hospitality Access Passes, local activities, and volunteer opportunities, click here (www.visitknoxville.com/usa-cycle-knox/).


Seven Countries Represented by Nine Teams Accepting Early Invitations to Race at Tour of Utah
Five WorldTour Teams to Compete at “America’s Toughest Stage Race”

A prominent collection of nine men’s professional cycling teams representing seven countries have accepted invitations to compete at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. A total of 16 teams will compete on Aug. 6-12 in the invitation-only road cycling stage race, with additional teams confirmed later this spring for “America’s Toughest Stage Race.”

Five WorldTour teams will travel from the Tour de France to compete in Utah. Joining the four teams named in January — BMC Racing Team (USA), Mitchelton-Scott (Australia), Team EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale (USA), and Trek-Segafredo (USA) — will be Team LottoNL-Jumbo, which is based in The Netherlands.

In May, these same WorldTour teams will be joined by Israel Cycling Academy (Israel) and Bardiani CSF (Italy) to compete in the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia. With the addition of Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini of Italy and Silber Pro Cycling of Canada, the early field of teams for the Tour of Utah will have a significant international flair. Rosters for each team are expected to total 120 riders, and will be announced in late July.

Teams Accepting Invitations (as of 3/27/18):
Bardiani CSF (Italy)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale (USA)
Israel Cycling Academy (Israel)
Mitchelton-Scott (Australia)
Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini (Italy)
Silber Pro Cycling (Canada)
Trek-Segafredo (USA)
Team LottoNL-Jumbo (Netherlands).

“We have an impressive lineup of international teams for the 2018 Tour of Utah at this early date. It is a tribute to the great support provided by host communities, Tour partners and staff that professional cycling teams around the world now ask to be invited to compete. The Tour of Utah has a solid reputation worldwide as one of the premier sporting events on the professional cycling calendar,” said John Kimball, managing director of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

All nine teams have made at least one appearance at the Tour of Utah in the previous 13 years of the event. From the WorldTour ranks, Team LottoNL-Jumbo first raced in the Tour of Utah in 2012 as Rabobank, and made its last appearance in 2014 as Belkin Pro Cycling. This Dutch-based squad has been on the racing circuit since 1984. The 26-rider roster includes two young American riders, Neilson Powless and Sepp Kuss. Both raced in Utah last year for other teams, the 21-year-old Powless was recognized as the Best Young Rider and Kuss finished second last year on the mountaintop finish of Stage 2.

As Australia’s only UCI WorldTour squad, Mitchelton-Scott returns to Utah for a second time. It has been five years since the Australian squad has competed in Utah. At that 2013 appearance as Orica-GreenEDGE, the team captured two stage victories by rider Michael Matthews (Australia).

Three of the World Tour teams are based in the U.S. with the BMC Racing Team, EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale and Trek-Segafredo. BMC Racing Team has competed 10 times at the Tour of Utah and has won the overall team classification in Utah three times (2008, 2016, 2017). EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale returns for an eighth year, and Trek Factory Racing returns for a fourth year. Both of these squads last competed in 2016, when Trek Factory Racing secured the overall Sprint classification title with American Kiel Reijnen. EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale finished 2016 with a stage win and third-place overall by American rider Andrew Talansky.

Among the international field are three UCI Pro Continental teams. Israel Cycling Academy makes its second consecutive appearance at the Tour of Utah. The first professional cycling team from Israel, this team has accepted one of four wildcard invitations to compete in the upcoming Giro d’Italia, its first World Tour event.

Also competing in Italy with a special invitation will be Bardiani-CSF. The all-Italian team makes its third appearance at the Tour of Utah, finishing third in the overall team standings last year. The second all-Italian team returning to Utah is Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini, returning for a third consecutive year. This Pro Continental team had two podiums from sprinter Marco Canola, including a victory on Stage 7 in Salt Lake City.

The lone UCI Continental team at this time is Silber Pro Cycling from Canada, making its third consecutive trip to Utah. The Canadian-based team finished the 2017 season with 29 victories and 58 total podiums. The team won a stage at the 2016 Tour of Utah with Canadian Kris Dahl, the last time the Tour finished in Cedar City.

The Tour of Utah remains a 2.HC-rated stage race on the UCI America Tour, making it one of the premier events for professional cycling teams in North America. It is also one of the prominent road cycling events that is part of USA Cycling’s Professional Road Tour. The Tour of Utah will start on Aug. 6 in St. George for the first time with a prologue, and conclude seven days later in Park City. Additional host venues are Cedar City, Payson City, Antelope Island State Park, Layton City, Salt Lake City, Canyons Village, and Snowbird Resort.

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. The Tour of Utah is sanctioned by the UCI and part of the USA Cycling Professional Road Tour. More information about the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (tourofutah), Instagram (thetourofutah) and YouTube (Tour of Utah).

tourofutah.com

Tour of Utah 2017:


Tour of the Alps goes Worldwide: Live Broadcast in 100 Countries
The Euroregional stage race (April 16th-20th) announces an extensive TV coverage with a 1h30 daily live broadcast. The race will also be aired on the web thanks to PMG Sport

Froome, Aru, Pinot, Meintjes, Pozzovivo, Miguel Angel Lopez: the top names of the World cycling are at home at the Tour of the Alps, the euroregional stage race to be held from April 16th to 20th surrounded by the beautiful scenarios of Trentino, Südtirol and Tyrol.

It will be a great show for the cycling fans: on the Euroregional roads and worldwide as well, since the stage race will be aired on TV and online streaming (pc and mobile) thanks to the production cured by PMG Sport, rights holder of the “Ciclismo Cup”. In fact, the Tour of the Alps is part of the Italian circuit organized by Lega Ciclismo Professionistico.

The euroregional event confirms its extensive media coverage with a 1h30 daily live broadcast, and about 20 hours overall on screen, on Eurosport 1 – that will broadcast in Europe, Asia and Oceania – RaiSport (Italia), ORF (Austria), Eleven (North America), Econet (Africa) and more TV and web broadcasters. The images of the Tour of the Alps will be distributed out to 100 Countries, either live, on delay and on demand.

In simulcast with the TV broadcasters, the live coverage of the Tour of the Alps will be streamed on Facebook on the PMG Sport page.

“The Tour of the Alps is one of the most important races in the Ciclismo Cup – said the PMG Sport Founder Roberto Ruiniwhere wonderful landscapes are matched the top riders on the international scene. Therefore, we are looking forward to bring this amazing spectacle to the cycling fans all over the World, through TV and web, by producing a 1h30 live coverage each day, enhancing the prestige of the event and these beautiful territories”.

Tour of the Alps’ Broadcasters List:
Eurosport 1 (Europe, Asia, Oceania)
RaiSport (Italy)
ORF (Austria)
TV 2 (Denmark)
L’Equipe (France)
Eleven (North America)
FloBikes (North America, Central America, South America)
SkySport (New Zealand)
Econet (Africa).

Great champions and beautiful landscapes: the Tour of the Alps confirms its extensive media coverage with 20 hours overall on screen:


The Talent Factory of Giro del Belvedere
Gotti, Martinello, Fondriest are just a few of the big names who won the “Easter Monday Classic” on the road to a prominent career. On April 2nd, 2018, will the 80th edition add another one to this list?

The run to reigning champion Aleksandr Riabushenko’s throne has started. On Monday April 2nd in Villa di Cordignano (Treviso, Northern Italy) the best prospects in World cycling will take in the 80th edition of the Giro del Belvedere, a standout fixture of the International Under 23 calendar, as well as a traditional springboard to professional cycling.

Belarussian Riabushenko won the 2017 edition, donning the European U23 Champion’s jersey, and eventually made the jump to the professional ranks with UAE Team Emirates, and he was not alone. Seven out of the top-10 placed in 2018 have found a professional contract too.

A number of significant names in the history of cycling show up in the golden book of the Giro del Belvedere. Examples to that are Mario Zanin (gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics) and Silvio Martinello, five-time World Champion and gold medal in the men’s points race at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. After the Giro del Belvedere, Maurizio Fondriest won the UCI Road World Championship in 1988 in Renaix and the Milan-San Remo in 1993, while Ivan Gotti conquered the 1997 and 1999 Giro d’Italia.

Giro del Belvedere also remembers the late Vito Favero – second placed in 1958 Tour de France – and Ezio “Stecca” Piccoli, once a home rider from Villa di Cordignano, GS Caneva Sports Director and a significant support to the Giro del Belvedere organization, who passed away recently.

Villa di Cordignano also applauded to the wins of Gianni Giacomini, Biagio Conte, Pietro Caucchioli, Giampaolo Caruso, Yaroslav Popovych, Davide Malacarne, Sacha Modolo and many others, until Aleksandr Riabushenko. The next chapter of this story will be written on Monday: who’ll be the next one to take off towards a golden future?

Ivan Gotti celebrates the success in 1990 Giro del Belvedere:


Trek-Segafredo recruits young Italian talent Matteo Moschetti
Trek-Segafredo has come to terms with Matteo Moschetti for the 2019 and 2020 seasons as the UCI WorldTour team continues to invest in its future with promising young riders.

Moschetti, 21, currently rides with Polartec-Kometa – the continental development team supported by Trek-Segafredo – and is enjoying a successful start to the season. Moschetti has accumulated six victories already this year, showing he is ready to make the move to the WorldTour level since joining Trek-Segafredo as a stagiaire last year.

Matteo Moschetti: “I can say I’m really looking forward to be part of this great team for the next years. After being a stagiaire with the team last August in Colorado, I had the chance to get to know them and ever since I have worked a lot to improve. I’m really excited to join Trek-Segafredo in 2019, but first I would like to continue and finish well this season with Polartec-Kometa.”

Luca Guercilena, General Manager, Trek-Segafredo: “Matteo is the first recruit from our continental development team and we are obviously very eager to have him join us. We had Matteo as a stagiaire in Colorado and were already convinced of his qualities then. However, we thought it was wiser to let him mature one year more in the continental team. With 2 stage wins in the Tour of Antalya, one stage win in the International Tour of Rhodes, a victory in the International Rhodes Grand Prix and 2 stage wins in the Tour de Normandie, so early on in the season, I think he has proved he’s ready to step up to the WorldTour.”

Francisco Contador, Operations Manager, Polartec-Kometa: “For our team, this is of course very good news. Matteo is the first rider who passes to the WorldTour team and that is after all our objective. We are a very young team and our riders don’t stay with us for a long time because our main goal is to prepare them to step up to the WorldTour level. Being able to realize this first transfer so soon makes us very proud and happy. It motivates us to keep working in the same line and to prepare more riders to be ready to move to the highest level of professional cycling.”

Matteo Moschetti:


Kasper Asgreen Joins Quick-Step Floors
The U23 European ITT Champion will debut for the team next week, at Scheldeprijs

Quick-Step Floors has signed Danish talent Kasper Asgreen until the end of 2020, making the 23-year-old the first rider to join the team this season and the 28th member of the squad. Coming across from Continental outfit Virtu Cycling, Kasper has enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2017, when in the space of just two weeks he claimed the gold medal in the time trial race at the U23 European Championships on home soil and scored an astounding solo win from a day-long break on the opening stage of the prestigious Tour de l’Avenir.

“To sign a contract with this team, the winningest for six years in a row and one of the most established on the World Tour, is a major thing, hard to believe it is actually happening. Like every young rider who is passionate about cycling, I started dreaming about becoming a pro when I raced my first race in 2009. I was 14 years old back then and having made it into the pro scene, on this team, is really unbelievable”, an emotional Kasper said after putting pen to paper.

Last winter, the Dane joined Quick-Step Floors for the second reunion in Calpe, where he trained with the pros and underwent several tests which made an impression on the team’s staff, as did the sixth place he took earlier this season at the demanding Trofeo Laigueglia, ahead of more experienced riders.

“I had my first meeting with Quick-Step Floors on their training camp in January, when I got to know many of the riders and staff behind the team, which left me with a really nice experience and impression, but I didn’t dare to dream it could lead to a contract. I have worked hard to get here, but now the real job starts and I can’t wait to get going, meet the whole team again and prove my worth.”

Asgreen will make his debut for Quick-Step Floors at Scheldeprijs (April 4th), Flanders’ oldest race, and he is already looking forward to the moment he’ll pin a number for his first pro race: “It was like a dream when a Quick-Step Floors mechanic called me to ask about my bike measurements as they were preparing three new Specialized bikes for me that needed to be ready for Scheldeprijs, because I hadn’t even realized how soon it will be before I am in the Quick-Step Floors jersey.”

“No doubt it will be a big challenge to enter the World Tour but I am fortunate that I will join a team with some very experienced riders, who are used to winning a lot of cycling races, riders that can help me navigate and grow in the sport, so I one day hopefully will win many cycling races too. If I am allowed to fantasize about races I would like to win the most, it would be, without any doubt, Paris-Roubaix and the World ITT Championships. Those are my two greatest dreams, but for now my goal is to develop as much as possible and see where that will take me. But I know I wouldn’t be here today, talking about this, without Virtu Cycling, that’s why I want to say a big thank you to the entire team and staff for helping me develop and for the opportunities they gave me in all these years.”

“Kasper came into our attention a long time ago and we followed him ever since. Not only his results and talent caught our attention, but also the mentality and professionalism that he displayed every time, be it in training, U23 races or even against the pros. All these traits point to a rider with a huge motivation and ambition to succeed on the big scene, and to have him as part of our young and successful team makes us very glad”, said Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step Floors’ CEO, of the promising Dane.

“With this transfer, we show again just how committed we are on investing in young riders. Kasper is our 12th neo-pro since 2016, and ten of these riders who have made their pro debut in the Quick-Step Floors jersey are still racing for us, more than half of them having won at least a race so far. Why is that? Because here they find the perfect environment to develop and thrive and because everyone gets his chances in the Quick-Step Floors team”, Lefevere concluded.

Kasper Asgreen:


Mirza Makes History as UAE Team Emirates’ Emirati Maestro Secures Record-Breaking Eighth National Road Race Title
UAE Team Emirates’ Yousif Mirza entered the record books this weekend as the Emirati cyclist secured his eighth UAE National Road Race title. The win continues the blistering form of the UAE Team Emirates rider, who has already completed a momentous hat-trick of medal wins after capturing the continental title in the points race at the Asian Track Cycling Championships in Malaysia, as well as the Asian Road Cycling Championship and the Omnium Track Cycling silver medal earlier this year.

Commenting on his National Championship win, an ecstatic Mirza said; “I’m so happy I secured the title of National Road Race champion. It’s never easy to achieve a victory, but today everything was perfect and my legs were very strong. It makes me very proud to be the Emirati champion in the Year of Zayed and I look forward to competing next Saturday, where I’ll try to win a third consecutive National Time Trial title.”

UAE Team Emirates’ participation on the UCI World Tour gives the local community the opportunity to come together and support world-class athletes as they aim to become one of the top cycling teams on the tour. To find out more about UAE Team Emirates, visit UAETeamEmirates.com.


LCL and the Tour de France Renew Their Partnership
LCL and the Tour de France are especially pleased to announce the renewal of their partnership for the next four years.

This collaboration, which started in 1981, rapidly developed after the winner of Le Tour in 1987, Stephen Roche, stood on the Champs-Elysées to inaugurate the Yellow Jersey partnership, to which the bank has remained unswervingly loyal since the Irish rider’s triumph.

After the celebration of this partnership’s thirtieth anniversary last year, LCL and the Tour de France will together be celebrating the centenary of the Yellow Jersey in 2019, as LCL concurrently enters into its fourth decade alongside one of the most famous symbols in world sport.

Unfailing over time, the dynamics of this association, between an event of international heritage in close contact with its audience and the proximity to its customers asserted by LCL, make this partnership a genuine Yellow Jersey of loyalty.

From the 1980’s to the digital era, LCL and the Tour de France have not ceased to develop their relations and complicity. They will also continue to do so on Paris-Roubaix, Paris-Nice, the Criterium du Dauphiné and Paris-Tours.

Michel Mathieu, Managing Director of LCL: “Commitment, loyalty and performance are among LCL’s values and are at the heart of our partnership with the Yellow Jersey, which has for a long time occupied a place of core importance among our employees but also with our customers. The guidance we provide for them is based on these very same values.”

Yann Le Moënner, Managing Director of Amaury Sport Organization: “Over time, alongside LCL we have written a long and beautiful story about one of our most striking symbols. In the digital era and the days of social media, we are going to further develop proximity with the audiences for our events and the customers of our partner. LCL has made these developments the strength of its development strategy, which perfectly suits the impulsion which we wish to provide to our fans in this domain.”

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France: “LCL is a historical partner and has always accompanied the Tour de France and other A.S.O. events, in sporting terms with the Yellow Jersey and in a celebratory tone with the publicity caravan in particular. Consequently, it is the ideal partner, which has known for a long time that cycling is both a sporting concern as well as a popular celebration.”


Successful Start of the Season
The 2018 season is underway, and what a way to start. After a successful Loutraki Challenge, where three of our riders filled the podium spots, we made all the hard work during the training camp pay off really quickly. We are proud to have already nine wins in our counter after only one month of racing. All the efforts and sacrifices made by everyone in the team are helping the riders to show themselves in a superb way. We could not have asked for a better start, but this is just the beginning and we are still hungry for more.


Julius Van Den Berg Finishes Fourth Overall in Normandie
We entered our first stage race of the season with high confidence and knowing that our riders could play an important role in the final outcome of the race. Being one of the most prestigious races in the calendar, the Tour of Normandie presented an exciting yet challenging route that tested the skills of our riders.

We were off to a great start with Cees Bol sprinting to second in the first stage after breaking away with three other riders in the closing part of the day. The good positioning on GC allowed the team to play different cards, and in the queen stage of the race Julius van den Berg sprinted to victory after beating his two breakaway companions. That strong effort saw the current U23 Dutch National champion climb up to third in the overall classification. In the last two stages the team gave it all and tried multiple strategies with Cees Bol and Julius van den Berg to jump into the race lead. The last day, Bol was the virtual leader for most of the day but the break was caught shortly before the last kilometer.

The team wrapped up the first stage race of the season in a high note as Van den Berg finished fourth overall and as the Best Young Rider. The strong team effort had its reward in the form of winning the Best Team classification.


Bol Powers to a Solo Win in Wanzeel Koerse
Belgium’s Wanzeel Koerse marked the first pro Kermesse of the season, and we couldn’t have a better start. The race was off to a fast start with three riders breaking away at the beginning of the course. Julius van den Berg represented the Academy colors in the initial move, but they were caught halfway through the race. Our riders did a great job and represented the team in most of the attacks as the course was getting close the its ending.

With 15 kilometers to go, Cees Bol tried his luck for the first time but the lack of cooperation made that move a short-lived one. Two kilometers later our strong Dutchman attacked again and nobody could follow his wheel, riding solo all the way to the finish line taking his first win of the season. After a difficult and challenging 2017 season, where the 23-year Dutchman had to sit out for most of the year, it is great to see him back on top.


One Day, Two Races and Two Wins
It was great day for the Academy as we seized a total of two wins in the very same day. In Netherland’s Ronde van Zuid-Holland, Marten Kooistra beat the elements and rode to the win ahead of this teammate Ide Schelling. The great level that the team offered during the race was shown in the final classification as five Academy riders filled the Top 10 of the day.

Meanwhile in Greece, George Stavrakakis took the win in the prestigious Nea Phyladelphia Criterium, as part of his final preparations before riding with the team for the first time in the season. The Greek rider proved himself as the strongest on the field and rode solo to the victory without giving any chance to the chaser to come close to him.

Preview for Tryptique des Monts et Châteux
Coming Saturday our riders will kick off the three-day long, Triptyque des Mônts et Chateaux, one of the most prestigious races in the U23 racing calendar. The races features a total of four stages, with an individual time trial and a road race stage in the final day. These six talents will represent the Academy on Belgian roads.

Edoardo Affini (fourth in the last U23 European TT championships and eighth in the U23 TT Worlds) and Julius van den Berg (current U23 Dutch National Champion) will have a great opportunity to show themselves in the time trial sector. Moreover the great results that the Dutch rider seized in Tour de Normandie show his great condition and make him a contender for a high placement in the overall classification.

Stage 3a will feature our first time trial of the season and our riders will race for the first time in the brand new Koga TeeTee. A superfast model that will give our riders some aerodynamic advantage in all the races against the clock!


Team Sky Paris-Roubaix Competition
Your chance to experience the ‘Queen of Classics’ with Team Sky

To celebrate the launch of the Team Sky Store, we’re offering one lucky winner and a guest the chance to join our ‘Zone Hopper’ team for Paris-Roubaix and experience the race like never before!

You’ll be driven around the course supporting the team, meaning you will get to see the ‘Hell of the North’ in several key areas, with your own Henri Lloyd team kit to keep the elements at bay.

In addition to Team Sky kit courtesy of Henri Lloyd, the winner will also receive a £100 voucher to spend in the Team Sky Store.


Behind the Scenes at Gent-Wevelgem
One week from the Ronde van Vlaanderen, the Quick-Step Floors riders were in action at the 80th edition of Gent-Wevelgem, where they lined up after winning six one-day races in a row in Belgium. At the end of a long and demanding race which came to life on the iconic Kemmelberg, Elia Viviani concluded runner-up, his best ever result in a cobbled Classic.

Experience the pure emotion of the breathtaking last kilometer, see how our team lived the finale and what were Elia’s thoughts after coming second in Wevelgem, where he notched up his tenth top-3 finish of the season.


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The PEZ NEWSWIRE!
Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.

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