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EUROTRASH Cross Monday!

We do like a bit of cyclo-cross on a Monday to get things going for the week. We look at two races: Valkenburg and Androoie. Don’t worry we also have road action from Japan and the Chrono des Nations time trial from France. Video, photos, reports and rider quotes from the racing, plus more contract news and year end report cards from Lotto Soudal and Orica-GreenEDGE. Get the coffee!

TOP STORY: Good-Bye Saxo
After a very long time in the sport, Saxo has bowed out of the WorldTour as it has been announced that the Danish bank will not co-sponsor the Tinkoff-Saxo team next season. With World champion, Peter Sagan, on the roster you would think this would be a good time to stay, Sagan gets a lot of press coverage even when he doesn’t win. Also with Grand Tour winner Alberto Contador riding what will probably be his final year, must be worth some investment?

Of course we don’t know what has gone on behind the scenes at the (now) Russian team, although there has been different versions. Saxo gentlemanly announced they were stepping down, whereas Oleg Tinkov said the bank didn’t have the money. Recently Bjarne Riis, ex owner of the team, has been trying to get back into the sport saying he had the backing of Saxo, but no one seems to want to know. Add to that that there has been a change at board level at the top of the bank and you have to think that Mr. Riis has been left in the wilderness. Further rumors last week was that Riis was trying to buy back the team, this time Tinkov said Riis didn’t have the money.

It looks like Mr. Tinkov has his team to himself now and he rules the roost, let’s hope he doesn’t throw all the toys out of the pram again like last time he had a team.

What will Oleg do next?
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Japan Cup 2015
Bauke Mollema capitalized on strong teamwork by Trek Factory Racing to end his 2015 season with a victory in the Japan Cup road race Sunday, outkicking Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida) and Yukiya Arashiro (Japan National Team).

The 144.2-kilometer race in Utsunomiya, based on the 1990 World Championships route, included 14 laps of a 10.3-kilometer tough circuit with the Kogashi Forest climb taking its toll and whittling the peloton to nine riders by the final lap.

The final time up the Kogashi climb pared the select group to three with Mollema, Ulissi and Sky’s Sebastian Henao cresting the climb with a few seconds lead. Arashiro bridged on the descent, and a few other stragglers caught the leaders, but the final uphill to the finish left the four strongest to fight out the sprint.

Race winner, Bauke Mollema (Trek): “I was just following attacks until the last time up the climb, and then I saved all my energy for the finish. I knew it would most likely come to a sprint with a small group and it was better to save all my energy for this, but I still was not sure to win because the others were faster than me. But in the end I was strong enough to do it. The race was hard, but the team did such a great job; the guys pulled hard all race to bring back the breakaway, I am happy that I could pay them back with a win, and also for all the fans. This is my first time in Japan, and I have to say that the fans are just unbelievable, just crazy for cycling, it was really nice to see. I have enjoyed being here a lot, and now with this win, and also yesterday with Fumy’s (Beppu) win, it has been just a really great experience.”

Japan Cup Result:
1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek in 3:53:40
2. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
3. Yukiya Arashiro (Jap) Japan Nat Team
4. Floris Gerts (Ned) BMC
5. Jan Polanc (Slo) Lampre-Merida at 0:11
6. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale-Garmin at 0:16
7. Sebastian Henao (Col) Sky at 0:22
8. Benjamin Prades (Spa) Matrix Powertag at 0:44
9. Ben Swift (GB) Sky at 1:22
10. Yusuke Hatanaka (Jap) Team UKYO at 1:54.

Bauke Mollema:
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UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Valkenburg 2015
Lars van der Haar (Giant-Alpecin) brought the winning streak of Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace) to an end in the 2nd round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Valkenburg. this is the third year in a row that Van der Haar has won. Van Aert was still 2nd and held his lead in the UCI World Cup with 150 points, 10 ahead of Van der Haar and 15 on Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink).

Van Aert took the lead on the first lap, but Van der Haar put in a test of strength as they started the second which put everyone in trouble. Van Aert tried to hold on, but in the end Van den Haar was away for a solo ride to the finish. Behind him: Van Aert, Nys and Kevin Pauwels (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) were to fight it out for second place. Pauwels looked strong, but it must have been a bluff and he was dropped. Van Aert and Nys worked together until the last lap when Nys couldn’t hold the World Cup leader. Pauwels held on for 4th, Swiss champion Julien Taramarcaz (Era Real Estate-Murprotec) took 5th ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) was 6th.

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Race winner, Lars Van Der Haar (Giant-Alpecin): “I felt good today, and I’m happy with the good week of training that I’ve had. I wanted to ride my own race on this parcours, rather than sitting on others’ wheels, as it suits me really well. Wout [van Aert] went first and I was able to close the gap, which felt good. When he asked me to take over I immediately went full gas and didn’t look back. Until the final lap I gave my all, and I recovered a bit so that I could go fast on the hard sections. Taking the victory here is a great feeling.”

2nd, Wout Van Aert (Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace): “I’m still the World Cup leader. It’s good to be riding in Koksijde with the white jersey, I’m glad I don’t have to be asked about it anymore. I have to be honest about today. I played my cards in the opening lap and was immediately countered by Lars. Then it’s clear. I was good but not strong enough to fight up against Lars.”

3rd, Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink): “I worked with Wout to try and keep Lars under pressure. I wanted a podium result and Kevin Pauwels was clearly on the limit. I didn’t have something left to fight up against Wout in the final lap. What surprised me today was how much time Lars was able to gain in the descent. Each time he took 2-3 seconds. It was a matter of confidence.”

UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup – Valkenburg Result:
1. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Giant-Alpecin in 1:05:58
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 0:24
3. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink at 0:34
4. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 0:59
5. Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) ERA Real Estate-Murprotec at 1:40
6. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:59
7. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea at 2:05
8. Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis at 2:06
9. Diether Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate-Murprotec at 2:13
10. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era Real Estate-Murprotec at 2:18.

World Cup from Valkenburg:

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Chrono des Nations 2015
The newly crowned World time trial champion, Vasil Kiryienka (Sky), won the Chrono de Nations time trial on Sunday, beating Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling) by 1:12 and Johan le Bon (FDJ.fr) by 1:37.

Kiryienka was the fastest at all the time checks of the 51.3 kilometer course around Les Herbiers in the Vendée department of the Pays de la Loire region in western France. The course may have been similar to the Worlds course in Richmond, but the field was not of such a high caliber, although Italian Adriano Malori of Movistar who was second in the Worlds TT, could only manage seventh in the Chrono des Nations.

Chrono des Nations Result:
1. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky in 1:04:36
2. Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) One Pro Cycling at 1:12
3. Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr at 1:37
4. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis at 2:02
5. Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida at 2:18
6. Reidar Bohlin Borgersen (Nor) Team Joker at 2:31
7. Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar at 2:47
8. Daniel Westmattelmann (Ger) Kuota-Lotto at 2:48
9. Olivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems at 3:04
10. James Mclaughlin (GB) Madison Genesis at 3:26.

Chrono des Nations:

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Kermiscross Androoie 2015
The cold and rain did not discouraged Tom Meeusen. In Ardooie the Telenet-Fidea rider took his second cross of the season. Sven Nys was second. Meeusen was the best last Saturday in Meulebeke.

Vincent Bastaens was the early leader, but when the heavens opened, it changed the usually fast track into muddy paste. Tom Meeusen took his chance after three laps. Nys tried to close the gap and was joined by Aerts, Merlier, Baestaens and Taramarcaz. The latter tried after four laps on his own to make an escape, but Meeusen had the strongest legs and lengthened his gap even more. Only the fight for second place was still on and after a fierce battle Nys did eventually beat Taramarcaz off for second place.

Race winner, Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea): “The real winter starts coming, that’s in my favor, I am happy with this kind of weather. Before the start we already knew about it being very cold and then it started to rain… I was one of the first to change (tyres), so I had an advantage. Everyone else had to restrain themselves on other tyres, I could go full on.”

2nd, Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink): “Tom Meeusen had changed his tires where I made a mistake, I should have changed much earlier. Then after I took a new bike, I went full on the counter attack…. I even took time back until I was suddenly down. Immediately it was over. For that this Kermis Cross is not on my palmares unfortunate. It is not a classic, but I would like to have my name on it. I ride here though for five years and can live with it, Meeusen wins here.”

Kermiscross Androoie Result:
1. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea in 1:01:36
2. Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink at 0:19
3. Julien Taramarcaz (Sui) ERA Real Estate-Murprotec at 0:25
4. Tim Merlier (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 0:32
5. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:35
6. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 0:40
7. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) BKCP-Corendon at 0:44
8. Vincent Baestaens (Bel) BKCP-Corendon at 1:05
9. Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace at 1:12
10. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games at 1:22.

Tom Meeusen in Androoie:
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2015 Tour de France Saitama Criterium: Ready to Roll
The 2015 edition of the Tour de France Saitama Critérium will offer a few innovations, with a program that will now feature an individual time-trial. In addition to the riders from the Tour de France and Japan’s best, the time-trial will be open to para-cycling riders and female cyclists…

Saitama also Welcomes the Ladies…
Cycling is enjoyed by everyone in Japan. An extra opportunity to compete has been offered to female riders, who will have the privilege to take part in the individual time-trial, with seven of the top national level riders. The uninitiated, for example, will discover that Japan has its own Pauline Ferrand-Prévot in Ero Yonamine, who is both the Japanese female time-trial and mountain bike cross-country champion. But the local all-rounder will face stiff competition from long-term rival Hiromi Kaneko, who won the 2013 Japan Cup and the 2014 Tour of Okinawa. However, the Saitama public will be throwing their collective support behind local rider and high school student Yumena Hosoya, who is a rising star on the international level in the discipline.

Super Arena: An Even Bigger Show!
Last year, the cyclists racing in the Tour de France Saitama Critérium had the rare opportunity to compete in both an indoor and outdoor event, with a 180 meter run through the Super Arena incorporated into the route. This time, the concept has been brought back with passages that will be run in the opposite direction. The grandstands will accommodate more spectators and create a real proximity to the riders. In an arena that has played host to Madonna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and U2 in the past, the likes of Froome, Purito and the others are in for plenty of thrills…

Para-Cyclists are also Part of the Action
Among the innovations of the Tour de France Saitama Critérium, the time-trial has created an opportunity for para-cyclists to take part in the event. Before the riders of the Tour take center stage on the 3.1 km circuit in the city center, three world champions in different categories will be in action. Germany’s Hans Peter Durst, who won the Tricycle-MT2 world title last spring will be riding, while there will be a reunion of sorts in the MC3 category between Ireland’s Eoghan Clifford, who won the gold medal on the Apeldoorn track (Netherlands) and Japan’s Masaki Fujita, winner of the road race at the World Championships at Notwill (Switzerland).

Etixx – Quick-Step Will be There
A seventh European team of riders has just completed the field for the third edition of the Tour de France Saitama Critérium. The Etixx-Quick Step formation, winner of three stages on this year’s Tour de France, will head to Japan with Maxime Bouet as their team leader, accompanied by three very young world cycling hopefuls. Julien Vermote will represent the Belgian contingent with the very promising Yves Lampaert, who finished 7th on Paris-Roubaix and 6th on Paris-Tours this year. And Japanese fans will have another distinctive jersey to follow in the peloton with the participation of Petr Vakoc, who became the Czech Republic national champion this past June.

The Main Riders:
Team Sky: Froome (GB), Team Giant-Alpecin: Degenkolb, Geschke (Ger), Team Katusha: Rodriguez (Spa), AG2R-La Mondiale: Bardet, Vuillermoz (Fra), Team Europcar: Arashiro (Jap), Trek Factory Racing: Beppu (Jap), Popovych (Ukr), Etixx – Quick-Step: Bouet (Fra).

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Ben King Re-Ups with Cannondale-Garmin, Team Welcomes Phil Gaimon back to the Argyle Family
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling today announced that Ben King has re-upped with the team, and that it has added Phil Gaimon to the 2016 line-up.

Jonathan Vaughers, CEO of Slipstream Sports and Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling said: “Ben is a very talented rider and he is still developing his skills. In 2015 he showed glimpses of what he will be capable of in the coming years, and a highlight was his performance at World Championships, which was absolutely amazing to watch. Plus, he loves bass fishing, which is something more professional riders should love.”

King, 26-years old, has raced with the team since 2014. He raced his first Tour de France that year and in 2015 he won Stage 1 of Criterium International and netted a Silver medal at the U.S. National Time Trial Championships.

King said: “I’m really excited and proud to keep living the dream with the team in 2016. When you battle through the most difficult days, celebrate victories, and support each other as teammates, you become really good friends. That’s the most rewarding part of the sport for me. Plus, the entire staff has been so supportive and given me every opportunity to get the best out of myself. I’ve improved every year and feel like I still have a lot of potential to realize. I hope to have a consistent 2016 and build on another Grand Tour and year of experience.”

Gaimon rode for Slipstream Sports in the 2014 season, where he won his first race – Stage 1 of the 2014 Tour de San Luis, finishing second overall. He re-joins the team in 2016 and is excited to don argyle again: “I had a great experience and the opportunity of a lifetime when I raced for the team back in 2014. I learned a lot about how to race in Europe, how to navigate the pack, control breakaways and better help leaders,” said Gaimon. “I’m thrilled to come back in 2016 with another year of racing experience under my belt and apply everything I have learned along the way. It will be good to be back in argyle.”

Vaughters added: “Phil is an intelligent rider and a good person. Both are attributes needed in any team, and we are very happy to have him back in our ranks.”

Ben King:
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Fabian Wegmann signs contract with CULT Energy-Stölting Group
CULT Energy-Stölting Group continues their build-up for 2016 with announcing the signing of the experienced German all-rounder, Fabian Wegmann. The 35 year-old Wegmann has agreed on a 1 year contract and then takes on his 15th season as a professional. With three national road race championships, numerous wins in one-day races and stages races, the Giro d’Italia mountain classification and several spring classic top-10 results under his belt, Wegmann has been and will continue to be a key figure at CULT Energy-Stölting Group in 2016.

Fabian Wegmann says: “I’m happy to sign one more year with the team and to be a part of this new project. I’m really proud of how the team performed in the first year at Pro Continental level. From the very first race, we continuously had at least one rider who did a top result, especially in the stage races. With the new signings for 2016, we even have a stronger roster so I’m sure that we will have a lot more victories than this year. With my experience over the last 14 years as a pro rider, I hope to be able to play an important role in the team.”

Naturally, DS, André Steensen is looking forward to continuing working with Wegmann: “I’m very happy that we have Fabian on board next year. His many years as a top level professional provide us with crucial experience in a fairly young team. And in addition, it also provides the opportunity for a rematch in the spring campaign as Fabian was held back by accidents and illness this year. I believe that Fabian still has the ability to compete with the best in a race like Amstel Gold Race thanks to his punch and ability to predict the races. Besides, he will take an important role on the team next year as a mentor for our young riders who will be able to receive a lot of knowledge from Fabian as one of the most experienced riders in the peloton when it comes to the undulating spring classics,” concludes DS, André Steensen.

Fabian Wegmann:
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Carlos Betancur signs with Movistar Team
Colombian seeking for career relaunch in strengthened telephone squad after winning 2014 Paris-Nice, Young riders’ jersey in 2013 Giro d’Italia.

Movistar Team announces on Friday that Carlos Betancur (Ciudad Bolívar, Antioquia, COL; 1989) will be part of its roster for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Betancur, a remarkable climber throughout his whole amateur career – silver medalist in the mountainous, U23 road World Championships in Mendrisio (SUI), in 2009; winner of the 2010 GiroBio, the now-defunct, prestigious Italian stagerace for under-27 riders -, started his pro adventure at Italian outfit Acqua e Sapone, where he conquered demanding races like the Giro dell’Emilia (2011) and the Trofeo Melinda (2012) before going WorldTour with the AG2R-La Mondiale squad.

At the French team, Betancur made his breakthrough as an athlete, jumping onto the podium of the Flèche Wallonne (3rd) in 2013; completing a great Giro d’Italia later that year, fifth overall, winning the Young riders’ jersey in the process and coming close to a stage win several times; and most importantly, in 2014, claiming overall success in the Tour du Haut Var and Paris-Nice, the latter conquered brilliantly with two consecutive stage victories. This season, he was close again to a maiden Grand Tour win in Italy, finishing 2nd on stage 11 in Imola.

The 2015 season did not bring him back to the impressive results obtained in the past, Betancur is seeking for a relaunch to his career in the Movistar Team. His signing is the telephone squad’s third so far for 2016, after Spaniard Jorge Arcas and Portugal’s Nelson Oliveira joined during the summer.

Carlos Betancur:
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Thurau joins Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Björn Thurau joins Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 2016. The 27-year old German rode for Bora-Argon18 this season and previously was part of French team Europcar for three years.

“To me Wanty-Groupe Gobert means a new start. I was looking for a team where I can show my aggressive and attacking style of riding. Belgium is the ultimate cycling country so I am particularly looking forward to being part of a Belgian team in 2016,” Thurau explained.

Sports director Hilaire Van Der Schueren and Thurau have been in touch for years. “In the past seasons we spoke to each other once in a while and Björn indicated several times that he would really like to be part of our team some time. That moment has now come. He is a very strong rider and rides on WorldTour level. Björn is able to do a Grand Tour and the Giro d’Italia is still a big ambition for Wanty-Groupe Gobert. He also will be of great value in the classics.”

Thurau still waits for his first pro victory but came close on a few occasions. He is a rider who always attacks and by racing like this he won the mountain jerseys in both the Tour de Suisse and Tour of Luxembourg.

“His style of racing matches our team philosophy. He can ride at the front of the bunch when we need to close a gap as well. The fact he chose to sign with us shows the appreciation for Wanty-Groupe Gobert, our way of racing and the race program we can offer,” Van Der Schueren adds.

“I want to give the people a show and make the race interesting. In that respect I am a bit like Jens Voigt. He told me that he likes my style of racing and that a victory will come if I continue to ride aggressively like this. This is the next step I would like to make at Wanty-Groupe Gobert. I want to show my best racing again and make the races exciting and interesting. I want to race smart as well and bring something home for the team and its supporters,” Thurau concludes.

Björn Thurau is the seventh new signing for 2016 and the first German rider in the history of the team. Dimitri Claeys, Kenny Dehaes, Thomas Degand, Robin Stenuit, Gaëtan Bille and Antoine Demoitié already signed a contract for next season with Jean-François Bourlart’s team.

Marco Marcato, Roy Jans, Jérôme Baugnies, Kévin Van Melsen, Lander Seynaeve, Simone Antonini, Frederik Backaert and Tom Devriendt were already on the 2016 roster.

Björn Thurau:
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Arashiro to Lampre-Merida: The first Japanese rider in the team’s history
The rising sun will shine on Lampre-Merida in 2016, thanks to the transfer of Yukia Arashiro, who, after having signed an agreement with the team manager Brent Copeland, will became the first Japanese cyclist ever in the history of the blue-fuchsia-green team.

Arashiro, who was born in Ishigaki in 1984 is accustomed with records, being a rider who wrote the history of the Japanese professional cycling movement: He was the first Japanese cyclist to complete a Tour de France (2009), to be in the top 5 of a Grande Boucle’s stage (5th in the 2nd stage of the Tour de France 2009, Monaco-Brignoles) and to be in the top 3 of a Giro d’Italia stage (3rd in the Novara-Novi Ligure, 5th stage of the Giro 2010); moreover, he’s the only Japanese rider who obtained a place in the top 10 of a Classic race (10th in the Amstel Gold Race 2014). Pro since 2006, he obtained 7 victories, participating in 5 Tour de France, 2 Giro d’Italia and 1 Vuelta a España.

“Lampre-Merida signed a cyclist who’s an icon of Asian cycling, one of the most important athlete of the whole of Japanese cycling history, a Country in which cycling is very popular,” Brent Copeland explained. “Arashiro extend towards high quality level the frontiers of the Asian cycling, obtaining important results and collecting experience. Those are the reasons why he’s very appreciated in Europe and he’s loved in Japan. Also thanks to Merida, we succeeded in signing the agreement which allow Yukiya to race in Lampre-Merida in 2016. Relying on his experience and his skills, which helped him to obtain the 17th place in the World Championship in Richmond, he’ll be for sure a quality additional rider for the blue-fuchsia-green group. Our team always receive a warm support by the Japanese fans and it has a good tradition of participation, with 9 victories, in the Japanese races. We’re happy that in 2016 we’ll have for the first time a Japanese cyclist.”

Yukia Arashiro said: “I’ll become a member of a team with a great tradition and I’ll be the team mate of great riders: this is a great pleasure for me. In the Team Lampre-Merida I’ll have the opportunity for continuing to demonstrate that the Japanese cyclists and Asian cyclists have the potentiality for achieving top results, so I’m looking forward to the future in the blue-fuchsia-green team with many expectation. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot in this team with such a long tradition and I’d like to inspire many young Asian riders. I’m grateful to the team and to the sponsor who supported me and I thank my new team and my new sponsors for having decided to start a co-operation with me. This is an important step for me, the future is full of hope in Lampre-Merida!”

Yukia Arashiro:
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Evgeny Petrov renews with Tinkoff Team for 2016
Tinkoff-Saxo is pleased to announce that the team has extended the contract with Evgeny Petrov. The 37-year old experienced Russian has inked a one-year deal keeping him on the team ahead of the 2016 season.

Evgeny Petrov notes that he’s pleased to continue riding for team owner Oleg Tinkov and looks forward to a new season supporting the team leaders.

“I’m very pleased to renew with Tinkoff Team for 2016. I have a long relation with Oleg Tinkov and it’s always a pleasure for me to ride for his teams. I started back in 2007 and since 2013 I’ve been part of Tinkoff-Saxo. I look forward to supporting our leaders next season in all the races the team will need me. If I am given the chance to have a leading role in a smaller race, I would also be delighted. However, if I were to choose my key strength as a rider that would be my team spirit. I am proud to help in whatever role the team considers the most appropriate”, comments Evgeny Petrov after renewing his contract.

“The Giro is a special race for me and I consider it to be probably the most exciting of the season. I finished seventh in 2007 and won a stage in 2010 and I would definitely give it a go again in 2016 if the team thinks I have a place in the squad,” adds Petrov.

Evgeny Petrov turned professional in 2001 for Mapei and had two seasons on Oleg Tinkov’s Tinkoff Credit Systems in 2007 and 2008. Petrov has been a part of Tinkoff-Saxo since 2013 and has offered great support to the captains in several Grand Tours as well as achieved personal results including a solo win on the queen stage of the 2014 Tour of Austria.

Commenting on the decision to offer Evgeny Petrov another stint on Tinkoff-Saxo, Head Sports Director Steven de Jongh notes that experience plays an important role on a team.

“Evgeny is set for his 16th season as a pro rider and he’s one of the grounded and seasoned guys on our squad that can pass on experience to the younger riders. His approach to training and preparation is serious – that’s important at this later stage of a rider’s career and during this season it has meant that Evgeny has played an important role in supporting our team leaders in especially the hillier or more mountainous one-week stage races. We are very confident in Evgeny’s level of motivation and the fact that he expressed a strong desire to stay on the team is also something of great importance,” explains Steven de Jongh.

Evgeny Petrov:
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CULT Energy-Stölting Group signs Michael Carbel
CULT Energy-Stölting Group has signed a one-year contract with the Danish talent, Michael Carbel who was riding for CULT Energy Pro Cycling this season. As a rookie in the professional peloton, Carbel has gained crucial experience and put a handful of top results in his pocket wearing the Danish u23 national colors. The 20 year-old was a natural pick for CULT Energy-Stölting Group 2016 roster according to DS, André Steensen.

Sports director, André Steensen says about Michael Carbel: “Carbel is another great talent we get to work with next year. He is still only 20 years old and you have to consider his age when deciding what to expect from him. But looking at Michael’s first professional season, he has been putting top-5 results in his pocket and he has been at his best in the races where we expected most from him. This gives us hope that Michael will be even stronger in 2016, a year older and more experienced. Michael has the talent to go far in his career and with more experience, he will be able to get more results for us next year, I’m sure,” concludes Steensen.

Michael Carbel states: “This season has been a rollercoaster ride considering my own results but looking in the rearview mirror, I have gained a lot of experience and I had some good moments here and there. I’m glad I decided to take the next step up after only one year as a Continental rider and I’m happy to be able to continue my development at least one more year with CULT Energy-Stölting Group. In 2016, I hope to be achieving more top results and hopefully net a few wins along the way,” says Carbel.

Michael Carbel:
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Martin signs with Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Frenchman Guillaume Martin will join Wanty-Groupe Gobert for the next two seasons. The 22-year old rider comes from the French team CC Etupes.

“Wanty-Groupe Gobert contacted me in August. I spoke with general manager Jean-François Bourlart and was impressed by their race program,” Guillaume Martin explains.

Martin had a stellar season in the U23 category in 2015. The highlight of his season was winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège for U23-riders. He also won a mountain stage in de Tour de l’Avenir, the most important stage race in this category, and finished 10th in the overall.

He feels at ease on hilly and mountainous terrain which he proved by coming in fourth in the Tour de l’Isard. The young Frenchman already experienced the pro cyclist’s life in his trainee period with FDJ in 2014. He showed this season with a twelfth place in de Tour de l’Ain he holds his own well in the current pro peloton.

This season Wanty-Groupe Gobert took part in WorldTour stage races like Volta a Catalunya and Tour de Suisse. These races fit the rider profile of Martin well.

“Their race programme is great for young climbers like myself. Catalunya and Switzerland are very interesting races for me,” Martin explains. “But of course I would also love to discover Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the pro category after I won the U23 version this season.”

“This new generation of French riders of 21-22 years old has done very well in recent years. For the image of our team it’s great to have such a rider onboard,” sports director Sébastien Demarbaix says.

“If you have the option to sign a rider with a palmares in the U23-category like Guillaume’s you must not let a chance like that go by. He will be part of the group of puncheurs/climbers for the Ardennes Classics and the harder stage races. We will not put any pressure on him to get results and monitor his progress and acclimatization in the pro category closely,” Demarbaix concludes.

After signing Björn Thurau, Dimitri Claeys, Kenny Dehaes, Thomas Degand, Robin Stenuit, Gaëtan Bille and Antoine Demoitié, Martin is the eighth new rider for the Belgian Pro Continental team.

With Marco Marcato, Roy Jans, Jérôme Baugnies, Kévin Van Melsen, Lander Seynaeve, Simone Antonini, Frederik Backaert and Tom Devriendt the team now has 16 confirmed names for 2016.

Guillaume Martin:
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Lotto Soudal: Record Year 2015 in Numbers
Now that the season has come to an end, it’s time to draw up the balance. For Lotto Soudal, it was a record year. With forty wins and the ninth place in the UCI WorldTour ranking, the team can be satisfied with this beautiful season. Only during the wonder year of Philippe Gilbert in 2011, the team ended higher in the WorldTour ranking.

The numbers:
Lotto Soudal became ninth in the UCI WorldTour ranking, where they quadrupled their points total in the second half of the season. From 206 at the end of May, when they stood eleventh in the ranking, to 832 at the end of the year. In the second half of the season, Lotto Soudal was the third team to collect the most WorldTour points, after Movistar and Katusha.

Second half of the season 2015 (31/05 – end of the season):
1. 1.Movistar: 876
2. 2.Katusha: 770
3. 3.Lotto Soudal: 626

Together, the five best riders of the Lotto Soudal team collected 832 WorldTour points in 2015: 203 by André Greipel, 195 by Tim Wellens, 127 by Tony Gallopin, 106 by Bart De Clercq, 101 by Tiesj Benoot and Lotto Soudal gained 100 points thanks to the seventh place in the team time trial at the World Championships.

First Lotto Soudal rider in the individual UCI WorldTour ranking is André Greipel on the 24th place, followed by Tim Wellens on the 25th place. Both are the second best rider of their country in this classification (Greipel after Degenkolb and Wellens after Van Avermaet). Tony Gallopin finished 40th (127 points), Bart De Clercq 43rd (106 points), Tiesj Benoot 47th (101 points), Jürgen Roelandts 52nd (82 points), Jens Debusschere 80th (48 points), Maxime Monfort 96th (36 points), Jurgen Van den Broeck 108th (28 points), Tosh Van der Sande 154th (8 points), Boris Vallée 193rd (2 points) and Kris Boeckmans 208th (1 point).

The record of forty UCI wins was established this year thanks to ten different Lotto Soudal riders. This resulted in a shared third place in the ranking of team wins, after Etixx-Quick Step (54), Team Sky (43) and Katusha (40). Last year, the team won 29 times with eight different riders. Next to that, a Lotto Soudal rider was able to finish 47 times on the podium. Both André Greipel and Kris Boeckmans became the rider with the most victories in their country.

The 40 wins:
• André Greipel 16
• Kris Boeckmans 8
• Jens Debusschere 4
• Tim Wellens 3
• Pim Ligthart 2
• Sean De Bie 2
• Tony Gallopin 2
• Kenny Dehaes 1
• Jurgen Van den Broeck 1
• Bart De Clercq 1

The Lotto Soudal rider with the most race days and race kilometres of 2015 is Jens Debusschere. The West-Flemish rider has 95 race days, that’s a total of 15,875 race kilometres. Because of this, he’s also the rider with the most race kilometres of all WorldTour riders (only races of the category .1 or above and races where the rider reached the finish). Thomas De Gendt and Maxime Monfort joined him on the Lotto Soudal podium concerning the most race days, with respectively 90 (= 13,547 km) and 88 race days (= 13,512 km). Regarding kilometres, Debusschere wins ahead of Greipel (14,678 km) and Hansen (13,875 km).

This makes up a total of 210 910 kilometres for all the Lotto Soudal riders together. To outline this, we could make the comparison of a team training where the riders cover five laps around the earth.

GC record holder Adam Hansen finished the three Grand Tours this year. Due to this, he’s holding the record of completing thirteen Grand Tours in a row.

16 wins for André Greipel in 2015:
Hamburg Vattenfall-Cyclassics 2015

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Orica-greenEDGE: 2015 Season In Review
2015 OGE WRAP: Arrival on the GC stage, 22 of 28 victories from riders 25 and under.

ORICA-GreenEDGE closed the door on the 2015 season, its fourth as Australia’s first ever professional cycling team, in the best possible fashion on Sunday, taking out the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour with Esteban Chaves.

The win, which was the 25-year-old Colombian’s first multi-stage Tour title, marked the 28th professional victory for the Australian outfit on a 2015 race calendar that featured 228 race days for 52 races.

Amongst the victories were five Grand Tour stages, 11 WorldTour victories and four wins on Australian soil. Eight separate riders contributed to the team’s individual successes, with a further six involved in the team time trial victory at the Giro d’Italia.

And in one of the most promising signs for ORICA-GreenEDGE, 22 of the 28 victories came from riders aged 25years or younger.

“To be able to sit back after another successful season and note that so many of our victories came from our younger bunch of riders is extremely satisfying,” general manager Shayne Bannan said. “Not only does it say something about our recruitment and direction, but also about how we are developing these young athletes on the world’s biggest stage.”

“We have Caleb Ewan, at just 21-year’s old, who has recorded an incredible 11 professional victories, including a Grand Tour stage on debut. And people also forget that Michael Matthews, who has been a winner for us for a number of years now, has only just turned 25.”

2015 also saw ORICA-GreenEDGE branch out to general classification objectives. After positive results, for the first time in the team’s history, it will start the 2016 season as a serious contender for overall victories – in stage races and at Grand Tour level.

“This season has been a changing of the guard in a number of ways,” Bannan continued. “As the statistics suggest, our young riders are getting results on the board but we have also extended our focus to consider general classification opportunities with our young climbers too.”

“Just as important as the recorded victories were results such as fifth place overall to Esteban Chaves at the Vuelta a España, Simon Yates winning the best young rider at the Criterium du Dauphine and he and twin brother Adam Yates showing they can climb with the best at the Tour de France.

“These young climbers are developing probably faster than even we imagined, but it is a great sign for the team going forward and it really adds another string to our bow. We are excited that our fans now have riders to cheer for well into the third week of racing at Grand Tours.”

The team will now take a well-earned short break before preparing for an even bigger 2016, beginning with a jammed packed summer of cycling in Australia. Groups will reunite in Australia and Europe in November for the first training camps.

Some (of the many) highlights of ORICA-GreenEDGE’s 2015 season:

Arrival on the General Classification Stage
Victory of the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour and performances such as fifth overall at the Vuelta a España and the white best young rider’s jersey at the Criterium du Dauphine, a key Tour de France lead-up event, announce the arrival of ORICA-GreenEDGE and its young band of climbers on the international general classification stage.

With talents such as Esteban Chaves (25) and Adam and Simon Yates (23), the team’s direction and focus for the future extends beyond the previous stage result targets to full week-long Tours and three-week Grand Tours.

11 Professional Neo-Pro Victories
Spending much of the season as a 20-year-old, Caleb Ewan’s neo-pro year will be one not easily forgotten.

The pint-sized sprinter recorded 11 professional victories at the Herald Sun Tour, Tour de Langkawi, Vuelta Ciclista a La Rioja, Tour de Korea and Vuelta a España.

Ewan’s stage five victory at the Vuelta a Espana, his most significant win to date, came on Grand Tour debut and ahead of the likes of John Degenkolb and since-crowned world champion Peter Sagan.

Italian Delight
After success in 2014, ORICA-GreenEDGE again hit the first Grand Tour of the season – the Giro d’Italia – with high ambitions.

For the second consecutive season the Australian outfit claimed first honors in the pink Maglia Rosa courtesy of a team time trial victory. They would go on to hold it for four days on the shoulders of three Australian riders – Simon Gerrans, Michael Matthews and Simon Clarke – whilst also claiming a second stage win during Matthews’ reign as race leader.

Spanish Spectacular
When ORICA-GreenEDGE went into the final Grand Tour of the season with an ambitious top ten overall aim, 38th (Pieter Weening, 2013 Giro d’Italia) was their previous best effort.

In another dream opening week for the team, they wrapped up three stage wins (Chaves – stage 2 and 6, Ewan – stage 5) and spent six days in the red leader’s jersey.

This time, the focus continued for the entire three-week Tour, eventually leading Chaves and ORICA-GreenEDGE to a breakthrough top five overall.

The Rise of the British Twins
British twins Adam and Simon Yates began to make their mark in 2014, but have well and truly arrived this season.

Adam took his first WorldTour win at the Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian whilst Simon had a standout performance to win the white best young rider’s jersey at Tour de France lead-in race – Criterium du Dauphine.

The pair also continued to build their strength and battle with some of the world’s best climbers across multiple mountain stages at the Tour de France.

Classic Case
It wasn’t quite a victory, but a strong Classics campaign gave ORICA-GreenEDGE some top results early in the season.

The outfit finished with three podiums – third places to Michael Matthews at Milan-SanRemo and Amstel Gold Race and Michael Albasini at La Fleche Wallonne – and their best ever result at a cobbled Classic – sixth at Paris-Roubaix to Jens Keukeleire.

Silver Lining
Michael Matthews capped off 2015 claiming the silver medal at the UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Richmond.

The 25-year-old won the bunch sprint for second behind world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) who proved too good for the rest, escaping in the final kilometres.

Team Force
What started as a hopeful and promising Tour de France quickly turned to a disaster, as ORICA-GreenEDGE was the worst hit by a mass high-speed crash on stage three. Injuries resulted in three experienced, high-quality withdrawals and left a depleted, damaged and relatively young group of riders.

Riding through pain and disappointment but with the admiration of those around them, the six remaining carried on to show the true ORICA-GreenEDGE family spirit by forming together and bravely fighting for results in the remainder of the year’s biggest race.

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Cannondale Brand Ambassador Ted King Rides Into Retirement With New Custom Cannondale After A Ten-Year Professional Racing Career
Cannondale, a premium brand of Dorel Industries, Inc. (TSX: DII.B, DII.A), presented Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cyclist and Cannondale Brand Ambassador Ted King with a custom-painted Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD to commemorate his long-time commitment to the sport of cycling and years of racing on a Cannondale. The bike was unveiled at the start of today’s Krempels King of the Road Challenge, the charity ride that Ted and his family organize in support of the Krempels Center of Portsmouth, NH.

Ted’s passion for cycling and the sport of racing was ignited by his brother Robbie King, who passed down his own Cannondale to Ted as his first race bike.

“I remember when Ted first started riding. I gave him my Cannondale CAAD3 R500 for his first race bike. The first summer he trained on that bike he had to ride on rollers because riding on roads on Squirrel Island wasn’t allowed back then,” said Robbie King.

The custom SuperSix EVO Hi-presented to Ted features a paint scheme that helps tell this story along with other highlights from Ted’s career, including: A blue metallic flake paint job inspired by the original Cannondale R500 that Ted rode at the start of his racing career.

“I Am Not Ted King” and “11/15” written on the seat tube as a nod to Ted’s social persona and the years he raced Cannondale (2011-2015) on the World Tour.

Traditional retirement gold, which adorns the front end of the bike.

Slipstream Sports, who managed Ted’s final year racing, was an integral partner in the development of the custom Cannondale by providing all the components from team sponsors to complete the custom build. The components include Mavic CC40 wheels, Fizik Airone saddle, FSA bar, stem and seatpost and a Shimano Dura Ace Di2 drivetrain.

“Ted has always been a very special and loyal member of the Cannondale family, beginning with his first bike – a CAAD3. It’s only fitting that he continues on to his next adventure with a bike that is just as unique as he is,” said Brian Immel, VP Global Marketing, Cannondale.

The Krempels King of the Road Challenge is a fundraising event to benefit the Portsmouth, NH-based non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people living with brain injury from trauma, tumor or stroke, a cause close to Ted King and his family. The event, which is in its fifth year, provides cyclists with a fun, family-friendly experience that celebrates the best of fall in New England.

Ted King’s retirement custom Cannondale:
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The Thoughts of Peter Sagan
The philosophy of Peter Sagan, he hates modern technology:


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