We are in the lull between the battle of the Giro d’Italia and the fight for yellow in the Tour de France, but not to worry there is still lots of cycling news for EuroTrash Thursday. Top Story: Eddy Merckx might be in trouble. Race action from Luxembourg and Belgium with results and video, plus up-dates from the Giro, Criterium du Dauphiné, Tour de Suisse, Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team and medical news from David De La Cruz and Stig Broeckx. In case you missed it – the final Giro podium.
TOP STORY: Merckx in Trouble
The Belgian press are reporting that Eddy Merckx could be facing prosecution for corruption. It is alleged that Merckx gave bikes to a Brussels police chief to win the bike contract for the police force. According to the public prosecutor, Merckx gave the chief expensive bikes in 2006 in return for a contract worth approximately €15,000. If the best ever cyclist is found guilty he could face time in prison for bribery. The multi-race winner told the newspaper La Derniere Heure: “I have nothing to say. We’ll see what happens.”
Tour de Luxembourg 2016
BMC’s Jean-Pierre Drucker won the 2.9 kilometer Prologue individual time trial of the 2016 Skoda-Tour de Luxembourg on Wednesday in 4:20. He beat Maurits Lammertink (Roompot-Oranje Peloton) by 3 seconds his BMC teammate Tom Bohli by 4 seconds. Home town rider, Druker, was an early starter and had a long wait for the last riders to finish.
Prologue winner, Jempy Drucker (BMC):
How does it feel to win the opening stage in Luxembourg?
“It’s nice! I have’t won many races yet so I feel really happy to win today. It’s even better to win in Luxembourg as don’t get a lot of chances to race here so to do a good prologue and go into the leader’s jersey is great.”
What does it mean to go into tomorrow’s stage wearing the leader’s jersey?
“It definitely gives me an extra boost going into tomorrow’s stage as well as looking forward to the rest of the week knowing that I will be wearing the leader’s jersey. It’s a late night tonight but it’s the same for everyone so there is no disadvantage. We just have to rest up and prepare as best we can for tomorrow.”
The conditions were challenging out on the road, did that affect you at all?
“For me, it wasn’t too bad that it was raining and wet as I am come from a cyclo-cross background. I know how to turn fast, keep up good speed and handle the bike well which was really important for me today. I left it all out there on the road and thankfully it paid of with the win.”
BMC DS, Jackson Stewart said: “We were a bit worried about the weather but as it turned out every rider had to ride in the rain so it made everyone a little bit nervous. Jempy took some good lines and he really knew his maximum effort on the cobbled climb. I think he timed everything really well and it was same with [Tom] Bohli, and the rest of the guys really.”
“When it’s wet you have to have another level of good bike handling skills and that’s one of Jempy’s strengths he is just an amazing bike handler. This prologue met exactly what he could do physically and combined with his knowledge of the roads and turns, he had everything he needed to do well. There is definitely a good morale amongst the team and now we have a jersey to try and defend so we will see how it goes from here.”
Tour de Luxembourg Prologue Result:
1. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC in 4:20
2. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton at 0:03
3. Tom Bohli (SUI) BMC at 0:04
4. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:05
5. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:06
6. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:07
7. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Leopard Pro Cycling
8. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:09
9. Matthias Brändle (Aut) IAM Cycling
10. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Stölting Service Group at 0:10.
Tour of Luxembourg Overall After The Prologue:
1. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC at 4:20
2. Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Roompot-Oranje Peloton at 0:03
3. Tom Bohli (SUI) BMC at 0:04
4. Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:05
5. Marco Marcato (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:06
6. Alexander Edmondson (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:07
7. Alexander Krieger (Ger) Leopard Pro Cycling
8. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 0:09
9. Matthias Brändle (Aut) IAM Cycling
10. Alex Kirsch (Lux) Stölting Service Group at 0:10.
Gullegem Koerse, Belgium 2016
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) won the 72nd edition of Gullegem Koerse in Belgium on Tuesday. He out-sprinted his fellow escapees Yves Lampaert (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) on the line. The three had ridden nearly 160 kilometers on the attack. Lampaert, Van Avermaet and Van der Sande escaped early, getting away from the peloton on the second lap of eighteen.
The peloton – including Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) – allowed the three riders to take a maximum two and a half minute lead, but in the final laps, the pursuers had them back to under a minute, but Lampaert, Van Avermaet and Van der Sande rode well together.
After a good 160 kilometers off the front they fought it out on the Schuttershoflaan in Gullegem for the victory. Van Avermaet beat home rider Lampaert to the line. Van der Sande fluffed third inside. Edward Theuns won the bunch sprint for Oliver Naesen. This was Van Avermaet’s first race on home soil since his crash, early April in the Tour of Flanders and Cancellara rode his last race in Flanders.
Race winner, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “Even though it’s a hard price, winning is always nice. I started here a few times, but never winning… until today then. Early on we went with three men in the attack. It was not much, but it was with Lampaert and Van der Sande, two serious riders who went along in the adventure. We have done everything to animate the public. My little daughter Fleur was here too. It is the third time that she accompanied me to a race. The first time was at the Omloop, then in the Tour of Flanders and now here in Gullegem. Today I wanted to do a thorough workout. Well, that did it. Now the Dauphiné is next on my program.”
Gullegem Koerse Result:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC in 3:42:16
2. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
3. Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo at 0:24
5. Oliver Naesen (Bel) IAM Cycling
6. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Cofidis
7. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Verandas Willems
8. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) LottoNl-Jumbo
9. Enzo Wouters (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BeoBank-Corendon.
The 99th Giro d’Italia From “A” to “X”
· A for Apeldoorn, where the 99th Corsa Rosa started.
· B for Bobridge, the “Maglia Nera” of the Giro who finished the race in 156th position, at 5h08’51” behind the winner.
· C for Chaves, second place in the GC; he’s the third Colombian rider on a Giro podium.
· D for Digital media of the Giro. Facebook: 19 million unique users; Twitter: 50 million views; Web: 50 million pages viewed.
· E for Europe, the Corsa Rosa went through four countries: the Netherlands, Italy, France and Germany.
· F for Fans, who took to the streets of the Giro every day in great numbers.
· G for Germany, the country with the most stage victories (7).
· H for Hotel: 17,500 rooms booked by the Giro organisations.
· J for Jungels, the 99th Giro’s Maglia Bianca.
· K for the 3.463,1km ridden by the Corsa Rosa.
· L for Lombarda, the Colle which decided the GC.
· M for the Maglia Rosa, which has been worn by 235 riders since 1931.
· N for the Number of official accreditations at the Giro: 39,000.
· O for Oss, the most aggressive rider of the Corsa Rosa, who spent 557km in the break.
· P for (Grande) Partenza from Geldeland, the region of the Netherlands where the Giro started and the first three stages took place.
· Q for Quantity: 198 riders started the Giro, 27.4% (53) were Italians and 72.6% (145) from other countries.
· R for Ride Green, the environmentally sustainable project, which has already recycled 84% of the 56,734kg of separated waste collected during the race.
· S for Shark, the “Squalo dello Stretto” – the shark of the Messina Strait – is the nickname of Vincenzo Nibali, the winner of the Corsa Rosa.
· T for TV: 184 connected countries worldwide. In Italy, Rai’s live broadcast of stage 20 recorded a peak of 4,200,000 viewers, with a 36% share.
· U for Ulissi, the only Italian rider who won two stages. In total six stages were won by Italian riders.
· V for Valverde, the Spanish rider who took third in the GC.
· W for Lupo Wolfie, the Giro mascot.
· Y for Young, 100,000 youngsters involved in the Biciscuola and Cycling Cup projects.
· Z for Zhupa, the only Albanian rider who rode and finished the Giro d’Italia (in 2015 and 2016).
· X … for the city of departure of the 100th edition of the Giro.
Giro d’Italia-2016: Gazprom-RusVelo – A Wildcard That Was Worth It
For the first time Gazprom-RusVelo took part in Giro d’Italia and it was a great success to The team! The Giro that ended on Sunday, May 29th in Turin lasted for 3463 km. it was extremely challenging as well as full of excitement and great emotions.
Fantastic victory of Alexandr Foliforov in the time trial 15 stage made up for the honor of being invited to this amazing race. “For us Giro d’Italia undoubtedly was a success. We reached top ten in several stages and pushed it hard to stay competitive through the whole race,” Alexander Foliforov shares his emotions. “It really was a lifetime experience and I— will never forget the day when I brought this victory to my team in the individual time trial. It was a fantastic Giro for me, it changed my self perception — now I know I can do better. I am looking forward for the next races.”
“Undoubtedly it was a very important experience,” Sergey Firsanov says. “It was always my dream. And when I got the opportunity, I felt great. I tried to be at my best shape, but still suffered some difficulties during the race. However I managed to overcome the crisis, and I can say that three weeks of very tough race, both physically and mentally was a real challenge. I managed to get through — and I am proud of the guys who did the same trough all those stages.”
Not only the climbers attracted attention to the team. Gazprom-RusVelo sprinter Ivan Savitsky also made a bang. Young but very talented rider struggled in the sprints with the top names in the world of cycling, nevertheless he finished twice in top ten. “Certainly it was a competition of a completely different level, with the best sprinters in the world. It was the first Grand Tour in my career and I know now what it means — to face a three-week race — how the body acts from week to week, the importance of the recovery phase, rest and nutrition. All this was very important and essential. I wish I could have performed better, but overall I can be satisfied. It is an unforgettable experience.”
“Many people ask me if we are happy with our first Tour of Italy. And the answer is yes, we are very pleased,” said the general manager of Gazprom-RusVelo, Renat Khamidulin. “We have reached a new level, a new stage in our development. And this is the most important aspect. We were able to demonstrate that we are strong to compete in the sprints, in the mountains and in all conditions with a high result. Now the Giro is over, but our work continues. We set up new goals, with a full calendar of events on the horizon.”
The Critérium du Dauphiné takes place in the heart of the Alps, but it has also got something for sprinters gearing up for the Tour de France. John Degenkolb will be facing Nacer Bouhanni and Alexander Kristoff.
All information about the 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné at: www.letour.fr
Prologue Sunday 5 June: Les Gets – Les Gets (4 km)
Stage 1 Monday 6 June: Cluses – Saint-Vulbas (186 km)
Stage 2 Tuesday 7 June: Crêches-sur-Saône – Chalmazel-Jeansagnière (168 km)
Stage 3 Wednesday 8 June : Boën-sur-Lignon – Tournon-sur-Rhône (187.5 km)
Stage 4 Thursday 9 June : Tain-l’Hermitage – Belley (176 km)
Stage 5 Friday 10 June: La Ravoire – Vaujany (140 km)
Stage 6 Saturday 11 June : La Rochette – Méribel (141 km)
Stage 7 Sunday 12 June: Le Pont-de-Claix – Superdévoluy (151 km)
Porte and van Garderen to Headline Upcoming UCI WorldTour Races
BMC Racing Team is set to target the General Classification at the two upcoming UCI WorldTour races, which will see Richie Porte headline the Critérium du Dauphiné roster and Tejay van Garderen lead the Tour de Suisse team.
BMC Racing Team is lining up with multiple objectives at both races said Sports Directors Valerio Piva and Fabio Baldato. “Of course you go into any race to win, but the main goal of the Critérium du Dauphiné is for Richie to really test his legs and see where his form is at, as it’s one of the biggest tests before the Tour de France. It’s a great opportunity to race together as a team, especially for the riders who will be there to support Richie and are hoping to be selected for the Tour de France roster,” Piva said.
“It’s great to have a rider like Tejay for the General Classification at the Tour de Suisse, where he’ll have some very strong support on the climbs with Darwin Atapuma and Samuel Sánchez. Riders like Philippe Gilbert and Silvan Dillier are well-suited to breakaways and stage wins, so we are looking forward to seeing what we can do there,” Baldato explained.
Porte is looking forward to returning to racing after illness forced him to withdraw from the Tour de Romandie. “Since the Tour de Romandie I’ve put in some really good training blocks at home and with the team at training camp, so I’m ready to put that training to the test at the Critérium du Dauphiné. It’s always a tough race and knowing that it will be my last race before the Tour de France, I want to show what I can do.”
Lining up in Switzerland is always extra motivation, van Garderen said. “With BMC Switzerland as our title sponsor, it’s always motivating when we race in Switzerland as we want to do Andy Rihs proud. It will be my third Tour de Suisse and a really good opportunity to test myself and after some solid training recently, I’ll be able to get those final race days in the legs before the Tour de France.”
Critérium du Dauphiné (5-12 June)
Rider roster: Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Ben Hermans (BEL), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Richie Porte (AUS), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Yvon Ledanois (FRA).
Tour de Suisse (11-19 June)
Rider roster: Darwin Atapuma (COL), Silvan Dillier (SUI), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Samuel Sánchez (ESP), Michael Schär (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI).
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Max Sciandri (ITA).
The French race will start in Les Gets with a 4 km time trial prologue and it will continue with seven stages. Two stages will be perfect of the sprinters, one will be suitable for the fast wheels who can be competitive on hilly a course, the other four stages will be for the climbers and general classification contenders.
The sports directors Mauduit and Marzano will direct Mattia Cattaneo, Valerio Conti, Tsgabu Grmay, Ilia Koshevoy, Louis Meintjes, Manuele Mori, Luka Pibernik and Federico Zurlo.
Criterium du Dauphiné will be the first race for Meintjes and Grmay after they dedicated a period to the altitude training. For the African duo, the Criterium could be a foretaste of the Tour de France, which could set a historical event for the Ethiopian cycling movement, if he is selected in the team’s line-up, Grmay could be the first Ethiopian athlete to ride the Grande Boucle.
Pibernik too will be back to races after his last appearance in the Paris-Roubaix. For Mori, Conti and Koshevoy the French race will be the prolongation of the Giro d’Italia. Cattaneo and Zurlo recovered from injuries and it will be important for them to check their conditions on the French roads.
Chances for Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s youngsters in Dauphiné
Team LottoNL-Jumbo will race the Criterium du Dauphiné next week in France with a young team. Their goal is to gain experience, get stronger and ride aggressively. Moreno Hofland will lead the sprints.
“I think that Moreno Hofland might have a chance to sprint in two of the stages,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman said. “Besides that, we are taking two aggressive riders Mike Teunissen and Martijn Keizer. We will analyze their chances each day. The organizer programmed hard final days, when the big guns should show off.”
In those Dauphiné stages, Team LottoNL-Jumbo will experience something new. “The race passes very tough climbs, which are new to some of the riders,” Zeeman continued. “They have to make sure that they survive them. The TV-spectators won’t see that fight, but in those moments, young professionals take important steps in their careers. Our riders will have their chances.
“They must ride aggressively to become stronger. They can do that by being part of the breakaway or by working well in the final part of a stage.”
George Bennett, Victor Campenaerts, Moreno Hofland, Martijn Keizer, Alexey Vermeulen, Steven Lammertink, Mike Teunissen and Dennis van Winden.
Sports Directors: Addy Engels and Merijn Zeeman.
Tour de Suisse
The 80th edition of the Tour of Suisse is a tough nine-day race which offers different opportunities for Team Giant-Alpecin. It features around 19,622 meters of climbing with a total distance of 1220.1km to cover, the Swiss route is made for the climbers. From the city of Baar to Davos, the course crosses all four language regions of Switzerland and will offer spectacular views of the Alps.
After a prologue in the city of Baar, the first stage will also take place in Baar and should benefit the puncheurs. The peloton will then head towards Rheinfelden on a long stage of 192.6km. The third stage will end in the French-speaking part of the country, in Champagne. Then they will be a tough day between Brig-Glis and Carì, with three categorize climbs including the steep uphill finish in Carì. The next two days should also be suitable for climbers with uphill finishes in Amden and in Sölden. The Tour de Suisse will end in Davos, after a time trial of 16.8km on Saturday, the final stage offers the last chance for the main contenders to fight out for the overall victory.
“The race profiles are varied and tough and it will be a great race for the team,” explained coach Morten Bennekou (DEN). “We have two main goals for the Tour de Suisse; to aim for a good result in the general classification with Warren and to focus on stage results.
“Warren is currently at the team’s altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada to prepare himself for the upcoming races. He has already shown this season that he can compete well on the toughest of climbs and we have a strong team to support him. For stage results, there are no real flat stages and there are opportunities for the breakaways to stay until the finish so we will look to take our chances where we can with Simon and Laurens.”
Race Website: www.tourdesuisse.ch
Warren Barguil (FRA), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Cheng Ji (CHN), Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE), Sam Oomen (NED), Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR).
Coach: Morten Bennekou (DEN).
Critérium du Dauphiné
The WorldTour stage race action continues this Sunday with the Critérium du Dauphiné in France. The 68th edition kicks off with an explosive 3.95km prologue which will decide who wears the yellow jersey first. The focus will then shift to sprinters, punchers and climbers. The first chances for the sprinters follows on stage one before the team confronts a variety of opportunities including four uphill finishes over the following week.
Coach Aike Visbeek (NED) said: “Our initial focus will be to work on our lead-out train and stages one and four should suit the sprinters. John starts here in France and showed in California that he is now regaining confidence and fitness. He is making progress in the right direction as he continues to rediscover his past level. Besides that, with our more opportunistic riders, we will try and take our chances in the breakaways on the hillier stages with Chad and Carter and aim to fight for a stage result.”
Race website: www.letour.fr
Roy Curvers (NED), John Degenkolb (GER), Lars van der Haar (NED), Chad Haga (USA), Carter Jones (USA), Koen de Kort (NED), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Zico Waeytens (BEL).
Coach: Aike Visbeek (NED).
Zuidkemense Ladies Classic
This Sunday will see Team Liv-Plantur in action with the Zuidkempense Ladies Classic. The Belgian one-day race in Herselt consists of two large circuits of 29km and six local laps of 9.7km each – a total of 116.2km. The grand finale of the race will take place on a short but steep hill, the Molenberg, which will decide the winner.
Looking ahead to Sunday’s race, coach Hans Timmermans (NED) said: “For the team it is the first time we will compete in this race but the course doesn’t have a lot of surprises. I am expecting an aggressive race, so it is hard to predict how it will develop and to know which riders will be in the leader’s group in the finale.
“With the team we want to be ready when the race explodes. We will try and be in front with some riders at the moment of truth, that way we can respond to different attacks. Our focus will be on Sara and we aim for a podium finish either in the break or in a bunch sprint.”
Race websile: www.lottocyclingcup.be
Floortje Mackaij (NED), Riejanne Markus (NED), Sara Mustonen (SWE), Rozanne Slik (NED), Julia Soek (NED), Carlee Taylor (AUS), Molly Weaver (GBR).
Coach: Hans Timmermans (NED).
One of the biggest and most prestigious races in the World Tour calendar, the Critérium du Dauphiné will start on Sunday with a short and steep prologue, which will see the riders go to Les Gets on the punishing Montée du Mont Chéry (3.9 kilometers and a 9.7% average gradient). On the second day, the sprinters will have their chance, before the peloton hits Chalmazel-Jeansagnière, where the spotlight is going to be again on the overall contenders. If on Wednesday the terrain will be one suited to the attackers, on stage four the course will smile to the fast men of the bunch once more.
In the final three days of the French race, it’s going to be all about the climbers, as no less than 18 categorized ascents and three altitude finishes (Vaujany, Méribel and Superdévoluy) will make up the menu. Of these, stage six – which includes the mythical Col de la Madeleine (19.2 kilometers, 7.9% average gradient) – should be the toughest and have the biggest impact on the general classification.
Fresh off the Tour of California, where he scored an emphatic mountain stage win on his way to conquering the overall, Julian Alaphilippe will return at the Dauphiné, a race which saw him get a top 10 last year, in Sisteron. Here, he’ll team up with Daniel Martin, who’s coming back to racing after taking a break following his strong Ardennes campaign, in April. Also riding the 16th World Tour event of the season will be Maxime Bouet, neo-pro Laurens De Plus, Niki Terpstra, Stijn Vandenbergh, Martin Velits and Tony Martin, the only rider in the past 11 years to have won two individual time trial stages in the French race.
“A tough prologue awaits on Sunday, but otherwise is a balanced course, more or less the same to what we’ve seen in the past years. It’s a race that brings us closer to the Tour de France, having some of its flavor, so the guys are very motivated. Will be important to see where we stand and to tune up the condition. We come here with a team focused more on stage wins, and less on the GC, with Julian and Dan being two of the ones who can notch a victory. Still, if the right circumstances will be there, then Dan, who has a lot of experience, could leave his mark on the overall”, said sport director Brian Holm ahead of the Critérium du Dauphiné’s 68th edition.
05.06–12.06 Critérium du Dauphiné (FRA) 2.UWT
Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Maxime Bouet (FRA), Laurens De Plus (BEL), Daniel Martin (IRL), Tony Martin (GER), Niki Terpstra (NED), Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL), Martin Velits (SVK).
Sports Director Brian Holm (DEN), Wilfried Peeters (BEL) & Jan Schaffrath (GER).
Cofidis Team to the Dauphiné
Sunday, Cofidis will start the Critérium du Dauphiné headed by Nacer Bouhanni, stage winner in March in Paris-Nice. The protected rider for the mountains is Daniel Navarro, 5th in the race in 2013. The primary objective will be to win a stage.
The team composition:
Nacer Bouhanni (France), Borut Bozic (Slovénie), Christophe Laporte (France), Cyril Lemoine (France), Rudy Molard (France), Daniel Navarro (Espagne), Geoffrey Soupe (France), Kenneth Vanbilsen (Belgique).
Manager Général : Yvon Sanquer
Directeurs sportifs : Jean-Luc Jonrond, Didier Rous.
Criterium du Dauphine
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka look for stage wins and Le Tour prep at Dauphine
The Criterium du Dauphine gets underway on Sunday, June 5th, and Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will start this 8 stage UCI World Tour event with a strong and motivated team.
The Criterium du Dauphine, as one may know already, is used as the final dress rehearsal for the Tour de France. As the Dauphine takes in many of the same roads and has much of the same organisational structures as the Tour, it attracts the majority of the peloton which will start the Grande Boucle just 4 weeks later.
The timing of the event also makes it the perfect race to complete your final Tour preparation. Daniel Teklehaimanot proved this when he won the King of the Mountains jersey at the Dauphine last year and then went on to wear the Polka Dot jersey at the Tour de France a few weeks later as well. This year, Teklehaimanot returns to the Dauphine as do a number of our 2015 Tour de France stars.
Steve Cummings, Serge Pauwels and Edvald Boasson Hagen will all line-up for the start in Les-Gets on Sunday. Youcef Reguigui, Nathan Haas, Omar Fraile and Igor Anton will complete our team that competes in this French World Tour event. As it will certainly be a high quality field, another extremely tough race is expected particularly when you factor in the Dauphine route this year.
Starting with a mountain climb prologue we then have 5 medium mountain stages (stages 1,2,3,4 & 7) and 2 big mountain stages (stage 5 & 6), both of which are summit finishes. With the team of climbers and punchy riders we have assembled for the Dauphine, stage wins will be the priority for our African Team.
Serge Pauwels – Rider
The Dauphine is the last big preparation race for the Tour de France. However, it is already a beautiful race by itself with lots of climbing, especially this year. I want to use the race to dig deep for the Tour but there are some stages in this Dauphine that suit my capabilities, so I will try to obtain a good result on these stages. We have riders that can do well on each stage, so our team will be strong.
Learn more about the team at www.africasteam.com.
Critérium du Dauphiné – A stage victory the goal for IAM Cycling
THE OBJECTIVE: A stage victory. With this last great test ahead of the Tour de France fast approaching, Eddy Seigneur, directeur sportif for IAM Cycling at the Dauphiné along with Lionel Marie, clearly announced the team’s intentions at the race: “Jérôme Coppel will return to racing, and he will come motivated and competitive at the start for the prologue. Then we will have Jonas Van Genechten to turn to for the sprint finishes, but we will also have Sondre Holst Enger. In view of the recent results our young Norwegian rider has had, we will definitely give him a chance at the World Tour level.”
THE RETURN: Of Stef Clement. Having suffered a broken collarbone when he crashed at the Amstel Gold Race, the Dutch rider will be resuming competition. “I’m still in the recovery phase,” Clement explained. “I’m not in top form yet. Initially, I would have loved to have been back in time for the Tour of Luxembourg. But when talking with the medical team at HUG (Geneva University Hospital), we felt it would be better that I wait until the Dauphiné to resume racing. If I had a new crash on the collarbone, it could be much more serious.”
THE PREPARATION: “I went to train at altitude for three weeks,” Stef Clement continued. “I spent the first ten days as part of the team of IAM Cycling riders who were also at camp. We were under the direction of Marcello Albasini. It was difficult. My condition was far from optimal, and the rest of the group was really preparing for their upcoming racing goals. I remained at altitude alone for another week. That gave me the opportunity to ride at my own pace. I could not do much intensity work. But I still gained a good base. I don’t think I will be able to win a stage. But finishing well on a stage would be tantamount to a victory for me.”
THE SURPRISE: The big surprise of the race could come as early as the prologue. On Sunday the peloton will face the Mont Chéry: a 3.9 kilometer climb that averages 9.7% gradient. It will require a violent effort, which could already dig significant differences in the overall. “This is an excellent test for the favorites,” Seigneur explained. “This will also be an opportunity for the winner of the stage to ensure he can keep the yellow jersey for a few stages. The stages that follow immediately after the prologue should not upset the general classification.”
THE NUMBER: 4000. In meters, is the total elevation gain that the riders will be forced to tackle for the queen stage of the Dauphiné. Between La Rochette and Meribel, there will be five categorized climbs to punctuate the 141 kilometer long stage six. On the program for the day will be the cols de Champ-Laurent, du Grand Crucheron, de la Madeleine, and the climbs of Frasses and Méribel.
Clément Chevrier (F), Stef Clement (Ned), Jérôme Coppel (F), Jonathan Fumeaux (S), Sondre Holst Enger (Nor), Oliver Naesen (Bel), Aleksejs Saramotins (Let), Jonas Van Genechten (Bel).
Manager sportif: Rik Verbrugghe.
Directeurs sportifs: Eddy Seigneur & Lionel Marie.
Trainer: Hendrik Werner.
Contador continues build for Le Tour with Tinkoff at the Criterium du Dauphiné
A race that will give an excellent insight into who is on form for the Tour de France next month, the Criterium du Dauphiné is an exciting and beautiful race in its own right. Taking place over eight days, the 68th edition starts with a prologue in Les Gets on Sunday. The race in recent years has seen strong showings by the riders who eventually went on to win the Tour, and having come close in 2014, with a second place GC finish, Alberto Contador will return to the Dauphiné, having had a successful start to the season with a GC win in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and podium finishes at the Volta a Catalunya and Paris-Nice stage races.
Taking place on some of the terrain the Tour de France will cover in July, the Dauphiné is an excellent opportunity to test form – both within the team, but also of the rivals for the Tour GC. Set in the Rhone-Alpes region in the south east of France, the terrain suits climbers, with each stage taking in at least two categorised ascents, including some of the most challenging and stunning climbs of the region, with the toughest undoubtedly being the ascent and descent of the Col de la Madeleine on stage 6.
Coming into his first race since winning in Pais Vasco, Alberto is happy with how he has worked in the build up to this period. “It has been a busy past few weeks, trying to build a good base, always thinking about the Tour de France,” he said. “I primarily worked on building my strength and I hope everything goes well. The Dauphiné will be important to build speed in the legs, which is what will still be missing the most, but the most important thing is that there haven’t been any setbacks and that’s always good news.
“Similar to other years, my approach will be a bit different to the early-season races, because the goal is to fine-tune my body for the Tour de France. Of course, a lot of work has already been done and that will be seen, but there will be tough days in which I will be able to see where I stand compared to the rivals. After the Dauphiné is over, I will know whether I have to give more intensity to my training or if we have to be a little more cautious. I feel much better than last year. At this point I was destroyed, very tired because of the demands of the Giro d’Italia. I feel much better now.”
Having ridden at the Giro d’Italia in 2015 instead of the Criterium du Dauphiné, Alberto returns to the race after his second place on the GC in the 2014 edition and tenth in 2013. Alberto will face many of his Tour de France rivals and will be presented with an excellent opportunity to assess their form over a challenging and testing course.
Sport Director, Steven De Jongh, knew that with such a strong showing for the GC race, this was going to be an edition to watch and was eager to see how Alberto would perform in race conditions after a training camp. “It’s going to be a big race of course, with a lot of contenders for Tour de France there – it’s always interesting to see how the field is looking. For us as a team we have Alberto as our leader – he’s just came back from camp so it will be a good test to see how he will go. For sure he needs some more race rhythm to be ready for the Tour, so it’s the perfect race for this.”
Joining Alberto at the start in Les Gets for a steep and challenging uphill prologue will be Robert Kiserlovski, who finished 14th in last year’s edition, Sergio Paulinho, Roman Kreuziger, Michael Gogl, Jesper Hansen, Yuri Trofimov and Michael Valgren. Having proved themselves both individually and riding in support of their team leader, this strong team will be able to provide support to Alberto where he needs it the most. Most of the team has spent time at a training camp in Tenerife, where the altitude training on Mount Teide will set them up well for the latter stages of the race, where endurance and stamina will play a huge role.
With a testing profile, where one of the stages sees riders climbing seven categorised climbs before an uphill finish, and another with five categorised climbs – four of them being either first category or ‘Hors Categorie’ – the highest category climb in the race, the Dauphiné is one for the climbers.
De Jongh’s intention for the race is to perform well in the GC and to take a stage win where possible, but fully aware that the other teams would be sending their best riders to the race, he would be taking each stage as it comes and the opening prologue would be crucial in his strategy for the rest of the week. “We’re aiming for a stage win and a good result on GC, but I think a lot of teams will be aiming for the same as us here so we will take it day by day to see how the tactics are. The race starts with a tough 3.9km uphill prologue – this first day will give a good view on how the strength in each of the teams is looking.”
After some poor weather in the early season, with the racing calendar entering the summer months, good weather should see riders performing well as we go into a key build up for the biggest races of the season.
“There’s the first uphill finish on stage 2 already which will be interesting and then also stages 5, 6 and 7 will be tough. We have a good line-up, most of the guys coming from training camp in Teide, and Gogl coming from California where he was going well. The first days will be hard for them to re-find their rhythm but they will grow in the race.”
Looking at the race parcours, Alberto said: “It’s very, very hard and demanding. Perhaps it is noteworthy that most of the summit finishes are not very hard, but on the other hand they are preceded by other very demanding climbs. They are finishes of 5% or 5.5%, but you will reach them with just enough strength left. And because it is a very demanding parcours, it alters a bit the ‘obligation’ to contest the race, because you cannot wear yourself nor the team. We will have to take it day by day.”
He continued: “After The Dauphiné, I will have to recover and depending on how I feel, we will apply more or less intensity to my training. I will concentrate on keeping working, but the difference will be that I will take part at the Spanish Road Championship, thinking about the Tour as well as about participating in a one-day race, such as the Olympics, even if they aren’t comparable.”
The Team Goes to the Dauphiné with Lots of Fighting Spirit
Sunday 5 June Lotto Soudal will stand at the start of the 68th Critérium du Dauphiné, which lasts until Sunday 12 June. It all begins with an uphill prologue of four kilometres in Les Gets, in the east of France in the region Rhône-Alpes. One by one the riders need to climb the Montée du Mont Chéry, with an average gradient of 9.7%. Not an easy start!
A day later more than likely a sprinter will triumph. Then the fast guys will have to wait until the fourth stage for a new chance. The last twenty kilometres of the second stage will be tough, with first a climb of the second category and then one of the third category. Also the third stage is rather one for escapees. With 21 kilometres to go the riders will reach the top of a second category climb, afterwards it doesn’t immediately go downhill though.
The fifth stage is only 140 kilometres long, with seven climbs on the route. The past Giro proved that this type of stages can be spectacular, but now the peloton doesn’t head into the high mountains, there is a mix of climbs from the fourth till the first category. The stage on Saturday will be the hardest. It’s again a short stage, of 141 kilometres, with five climbs this time. After a few kilometres the riders get to the bottom of the Col de Champ-Laurent (1st category), after a short descent they will start climbing the Col du Grand Cucheron (2nd category). Halfway the stage the riders will hit the summit of the Col de la Madeleine, the only climb hors catégorie: 19.2 kilometres long, with an average gradient of 7.9%. A long descent will launch the riders into the finale, with two more first category climbs, among them the climb of 12.3 kilometres leading to the finish line. On Sunday the organisation has chosen for the same recipe: a rather short stage with several climbs. Two of the six climbs on the route that day are of the first category. After those two climbs only a third category climb gets in between the riders and the end of the Dauphiné.
Herman Frison, sports director Lotto Soudal: “We are going to the Dauphiné with lots of fighting spirit, also for Stig. We are planning on racing aggressively the entire week. We won’t put pressure on any of the riders what the GC is concerned. We will tackle the stages day by day. The race starts with an uphill prologue. Louis Vervaeke did well in the prologue of the Tour de Romandie. He set the eighth time and was the fastest at the intermediate time check at the top of a climb. Louis could perform well again.”
“There are two opportunities for the sprinters, Jens Debusschere is our man for those stages. The other stages are tougher and then we can rely on Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Tony Gallopin and again Louis Vervaeke. If we do have someone high on GC after five days we can always change our mind set and do defend that position, but as I said that isn’t a must.”
Part of the riders in the Lotto Soudal team for the Dauphiné went to the Sierra Nevada for an altitude training camp, Thomas De Gendt is one of them. These are the advantages according to the Belgian.
Thomas De Gendt: “It’s important for me to do an altitude training camp so I can do long training rides in the mountains. The centre were we stayed (Centro de Alto Rendimiento, LTS) is made for professional sportsmen and –women. They only serve healthy food, even the desserts don’t contain much sugar. You can’t get temped there. It is remote, but to kill the time on rest days I had my Playstation. Also films were a welcome distraction, just like the Giro; it was even more fun to watch our teammates do so well. Most of the time I go on a training camp all by myself, but now there were three teammates with me, a mechanic and a soigneur. At home or during an individual training camp I clean my bike myself, but now the mechanic Jeanick Verstraete made sure my bike was ready in the morning. Vincent Monserez, our soigneur, bought fresh fruit and prepared our shakes for after training. It’s beneficial for the recovery that you don’t have to take care of it all after a long endurance training.”
What does Thomas expect of the Dauphiné?
Thomas: “I already notice that the training camp did me well. I didn’t specifically focus on the Dauphiné, though. In this race I want to set a step forward in my preparation for the Tour, just like I intended with the training camp. You can’t stage race circumstances while training, you need a race to get in top condition. If the team asks me to join a breakaway I will try to do that and then I always aim for the victory. If the shorter stages affect the chances of the breakaway riders? I think it gives them more chance to survive. If the stage is shorter, riders get tired less quickly. Although the course and the riders themselves are the most important. I prefer short stages anyway, then there happens more in the peloton as well.”
Also Tony Gallopin went to the Sierra Nevada for a training camp and also for him this Dauphiné leads to the Tour.
Tony Gallopin: “The Dauphiné will be the first race for me after the training camp. This race isn’t a goal itself, it’s mainly the next step in my Tour preparation. That doesn’t mean that I won’t have a go when there is an opportunity, but I’ll see day by day. The Tour de France is my main goal and all I do is with that race in mind.”
Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Kris Boeckmans, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Jens Debusschere, Gert Dockx, Tony Gallopin, Tomasz Marczynski and Louis Vervaeke.
Sports directors: Herman Frison and Marc Wauters.
Critérium du Dauphiné
The team Wanty-Groupe Gobert will participate for the first time in its history in the Critérium du Dauphiné from 5 to 12 June. Our line-up: Frederik Backaert, Dimitri Claeys, Thomas Degand, Enrico Gasparotto, Marco Minnaard, Björn Thurau, Guillaume Martin and Frederik Veuchelen. The Belgian pro-continental team would like to shine among all the GC contenders for the next Tour de France.
“I want to hear the name of Wanty-Groupe Gobert at least once a day on Radio Tour,” sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren said.
The fight for the general classification starts directly on the first day with a mountain prologue of 3.9 km on the steep climb of Mont Chéry in Les Gets (average gradient: 9,7%). The sprinters hope to their chance in stage 1 and 4. The punchy classics riders will make their mark in the punchers finish on stage 2. On stage 3 the sprinters will try to survive the last climb of category 2 whose top is located at 20 kilometres before the finish. The GC will be decided with three consecutive summit finishes at the end of the race. What can we expect from the Wanty-Groupe Gobert’s riders?
“We can’t compete with guys like Chris Froome and Alberto Contador for the general classification. We focus on stage wins. The stage 2 suits Enrico Gasparotto. Björn Thurau is in form and has many chances to be part of the breakaway. For the high mountain we rely on Thomas Degand and Guillaume Martin. Thomas Degand got an elbow fracture and came back in de Grand Prix de La Somme. He is not 100% yet but he should play a key role in the mountains. I expect a surprise from our French rider Guillaume Martin. He just had two training camps in the Alps. He recognized many climbs of the Dauphiné,” sports director Hilaire Van der Schueren concluded.
General manager Jean-François Bourlart also expects a great race of his team in this 68th edition: “It is a huge honour for the team. It is a recognition from ASO for the work we do. We showed that we can compete at the WorldTour-level. We also want to perform in stage races in order to get an invitation for the Tour de France 2017.”
‘Thank you for Making this Dream a Reality’
Greg Daniel is still re-living the greatest moment of his young career, two days after soloing to win the USA Cycling Volkswagen Professional Road National Championship in his home state of North Carolina.
“Thank you to everyone for making this dream a reality,” Daniel wrote on his Facebook page. “I still cannot believe it. #blessed”
On Sunday, the 21-year-old flew back to his training base in Englewood, Colorado. There, he had time to reflect on Saturday’s accomplishment.
“I want to say thank you to Axeon Hagens Berman staff and riders for the support, to USA Cycling for the opportunity to develop and to race in Europe over the years, and to all of my friends and family back home for believing in me. I also want to thank my coach, Jim Lehman out of Carmichael Training Systems. I cannot do it without all of you and I am truly blessed to have you all in my life. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”
Teammate Logan Owen, who finished eighth himself in the national championship race, also posted to his Facebook page: “Beyond stoked for newly-crowned national champ Greg Daniel!! We started the race with only two guys and we both finished in the top 10! Just an amazing day all around!”
Waking up to the News
When Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team General Manager Axel Merckx woke up to dozens of messages on his phone Sunday morning, he knew either something very good – or very bad – had happened.
Merckx was in France, getting ready to direct the riders who would be competing in Paris-Roubaix Espoirs. With an early start to Sunday’s race and a six-hour time difference to the race in the U.S., he went to bed before the finish of the USA Cycling Volkswagen Professional Road National Championship.
“My phone was off so when I woke up and switched it on, I had more than 60 emails show up,” Merckx said.
“We all know how strong Greg is and we all know the potential he has to do some great things,” Merckx said. “At the same time, the fact that he was able to pull it off like that is unbelievable. He has been with us for four years now. Who would have through that four years ago he would end up like this? It is amazing.”
The entire replay of the race is available HERE. Skip to 8:59:45 to watch the start of the final lap.
‘Gnarly’ version of Paris-Roubaix Espoirs
Justin Oien is certainly no stranger to the smaller version of the world’s most famous cobblestone race.
Two years ago, he finished 75th in his first appearance in Paris-Roubaix Espoirs. Last year, he did not finish the more than 180-kilometer race. In the junior edition in 2013, he was 10th.
Not long after the start to Saturday’s race, Oien and teammate Phil O’Donnell were part of a 15-man breakaway. Like the peloton behind them, they had to skirt their way across more than 20 sections of cobblestones – most of them slickened by rain and mud.
“There was standing water in some spots and lots of mud,” Oien said.
Oien and O’Donnell’s escape group began to shrink as the finish neared. But just then, a third Axeon Hagens Berman teammate, Latvian Under 23 national road champion Krists Neilands, bridged up to join them.
“It was really good we had the numbers and strength,” Oien said. “Immediately as Krists made contact, he was attacking and putting pressure on people. It was great situation. But great situations can turn not-so-great pretty fast.”
“We hit the last gnarly pavé section, Carrefour de l’Arbre, with three guys. Somewhere along there in one of the muddy sections, some riders fell in front of Phil. He couldn’t stop because wet, muddy cobbles are like ice. So he fell. Then a few kilometers later, Krists’s front wheel fell off the road where the pavement had started to crumble. I did my best to just follow before the eventual winner went with about five kilometers to go.
“My group got organized and we rolled into the velodrome and completed one lap and we were going into our second. But the group that was behind us came in and I got pushed off the track into the gravel infield. I had to bunny hop back onto the velodrome and sprint. I lost a few spots but I didn’t go down, so that was great.”
What a Month it has Been
The Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team definitely made the most of the month of May.
Adrien Costa got it started when he became the first American to win Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste in its 50-year history while racing for USA Cycling’s Under 23 squad. The 18-year-old from Bend, Oregon, impressively soloed to win the race’s queen stage, then nursed an eight-second lead the next three days.
A week later, Tao Geoghegan Hart finished third in the Gila Monster Road Race and sixth overall at the Tour of the Gila to claim “best young rider” honors. The 21-year-old from Great Britain matched his best overall finish in a stage race this year and bettered his eighth-place result at the race a year ago.
In the team’s primary goal race of the year, the Amgen Tour of California, Axeon Hagens Berman turned heads throughout the eight-day race. Neilson Powless won “best young rider” honors for his ninth-place finish overall, Will Barta and Greg Daniel each wore the “most courageous rider” jersey for one day and the team compiled four top 10 finishes while placing runner-up in the team classification.
The final weekend of the month was equally as remarkable. Greg Daniel won the national road title (helped by Logan Owen, who finished eighth himself). Eddie Dunbar made an impressive return to racing after breaking his collarbone last month by winning the penultimate stage of An Post Rás (while competing for the Irish national team). And in France, Justin Oien scored a sixth-place finish in the prestigious one-day cobbled classic, Paris-Roubaix Espoirs.
David De La Cruz – who previously this month took part in the 99th Giro d’Italia – will be sidelined in the next period after undergoing appendectomy on Monday, at the Hospital de Palamos, in Girona. The 27-year-old was due to come back at the Critérium du Dauphiné, this Sunday, but he’ll now take a break and stay off the bike for three weeks before starting training again. As a consequence, his calendar for the second part of the season will be reshuffled.
“I’m upset, because the condition was there, despite having to abandon the Giro d’Italia, and I was eager to race Dauphiné, especially as last year I came 13th in the GC. But things are as they are, so I will now take a rest. Once I’ll return to training I will talk to the team about my program and goals for the remaining of the season, because now I’m even more motivated to show what I can do”, said David, who so far this year has raced 39 days, his strongest display coming at Paris-Nice, where he finished in the top 20.
Up-Date on Stig Broeckx
Because of the increased intracranial pressure Stig Broeckx had to undergo two operations on Tuesday, which stabilized the intracranial pressure again. Stig will need to stay in an induced coma for a while to let his body recover from the injuries and surgery. At the moment no prognosis can be made.
As requested by the family and as agreed with the hospital, there will be no further comments. An update will follow when there are any new developments. Thanks for your understanding.
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