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Lesaka - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data) pictured during Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2016 (2.UWT) stage 3 from Vitoria Gasteiz to Lesaka 194.5 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

EUROTRASH Cummings Thursday!

The Tour de France is only a week away, but we have the National championships first and the time trial results are in. The British Olympic squad selection has come under criticism as selection criteria has been thrown out along with Dani King and Steve Cummings. Other cycling news: National TT champs, Tour de France, Halle-Ingooigem, Route du Sud and the Tour of Slovenia, plus Michael Schär, Andrew Talansky, Emma Pooley and Danilo Wyss. A full EuroTrash Thursday.

TOP STORY: The GB Olympic Squad
It wasn’t that long ago that British Cycling was in the middle of scandal over sexism and discrimination, now it appears that they are getting stick over the Olympic team selection.

According to a leak in British newspaper The Daily Mail, Mark Cavendish will be going to Rio to ride the Omnium and be 5th rider in the team pursuit. Cavendish did win the 2016 World Madison championships (with Wiggins), but the Madison is not an Olympic event, he only managed 6th in the Worlds Omnium. Many have also voiced their opinion that Cavendish is not capable of riding the team pursuit at Olympic speed. Cavendish is also on the Dimension Data short list for the Tour de France, is that the best preparation for the track?

Then on the road it has been suggested that Dani King will not be part of the Olympic women’s road team even though she claims that the team has been chosen “based on potential rather than qualification criteria.” The other rider to be left at home is Steve Cummings, he has had good wins this year in big races and is well known for his strength, work rate and race smarts. The course is perfect for Cummings’ ability, not for the win (although you never know), but to work for a Chris Froome win.

The official rider list will be announced on Friday, time to change your mind, British Cycling?

Should Cummings go to Rio?
Lesaka - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Stephen Cummings (Dimension Data)  pictured during  Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco 2016 (2.UWT) stage 3  from Vitoria Gasteiz to Lesaka 194.5 km  - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

Italian National Time Trial Championships 2016
Manuel Quinziato (BMC) has smashed the Individual Time Trial field at the Italian National Championships, crossing the line to win by 38 seconds. Quinziato completed the two-lap 41.3 kilometer course in 49 minutes flat, 38 seconds faster than Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff) and one minute faster than Moreno Moser (Cannondale Pro Cycling). It is the first time in Quinziato’s career that he has held the National Champion’s jersey.

Finish line Quotes from Manuel Quinziato (BMC): “I was on the podium three times before and I hadn’t raced the championships the past six years. I’m really happy that I finally got the jersey because I had never won it. On the first lap I went through the check point down on Boaro but then on the last lap I kept it really steady and really came home hard. In the end I had a really good gap. The level was pretty high with riders like Boaro and Moser so to have won by a lot is really nice. I’ll have my first chance to wear the national champion’s jersey at the Tour of Poland in July as there is a time trial there so I can’t wait! I feel confident ahead of the road race on Sunday. I haven’t had a really good look at the parcours yet but I know that it is a good parcours for me because it should be pretty fast with a small climb every loop. It’s not like a 4000m climb like there has been the last couple of years. My mood is good and my shape is good so I’m definitely going to try.”

Fabio Baldato, BMC Sports Director: “There were some really good riders here racing. Manuel was just amazing. He rode 50.5km an hour, just really, really strong. At the 20km check point he was seven seconds behind Boaro and then he stayed really consistent with his speed on the second lap and never lost a second, instead he gained them. It’s really special for Manuel and for BMC Racing Team so it’s a great day. I hope we can do something similar at the road race on Sunday.”

Pleased with his effort but disappointed to be in second, Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff) said afterwards: “It was a very flat circuit, raced twice, and in the first half I had the fastest intermediate with 11″ advantage. In the end though I finished with around 40″ deficit. There’s not much more to say – I was really fast in the first part but in the second half I couldn’t match his speed. In the final part of the second lap there was a strong headwind and I lacked power here over Manuel, and this is where it counted.”

Italian National Championships Time Trial Result:
1. Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC in 49:00
2. Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff at 00:38
3. Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale at 1:29.

Italian TT Podium:
Campionato Italiano cronometro 2016 - Romanengo - cronometro elitè - 22/06/2016 - Manuele Boaro (Tinkoff) - Manuel Quinziato (BMC) - Moreno Moser (Cannondale) - foto Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2016

Polish National Time Trial Championships 2016
Maciej Bodnar has raced to his fourth senior national time trial title today in Swidnica, Poland, completing a hard-fought return from injury. Over the long 52km course Maciej rode a perfect pacing strategy to finish 28″ quicker than his closest rival, and 1’29” ahead of bronze. Meanwhile, over in Italy, Tinkoff recorded its second medal of the day as Manuele Boaro raced to a silver medal at his national time trial.

Having already won the senior national ITT championships in 2009, 2012 and 2013, Maciej knew what it would take to finish on the top spot of the podium, and he delivered in style. Back in early April, Maciej suffered a heavy crash in training, resulting in a long period of recovery and rehabilitation before starting to build for the rest of the season. He only returned to racing at the start of June, at the Tour of Luxembourg before heading to the Tour de Suisse where he was able to fine tune his time trial form ahead of the championships.

After the race, Maciej was really pleased with his performance and what the win means for himself. “I’m so happy – it was a difficult period for me after the crash, so today’s win is very special. I was calm with the team before the race and had my family and girlfriend here too which was really nice. Everything went really well, we never lost concentration, even when I was 30 seconds down at the first check. Also as its Olympic year the win gives me a big chance to race there for Poland.

“I came here from the Tour de Suisse which was a really hard race with tough conditions, but I recovered well. Today was 53km and over 30 degrees so it was tough but the numbers were good. Last year I came back after a crash to win at the Tour of Poland and I’ve come back again to win here.”

Looking at Sunday’s road race, Maciej said: “We have a really strong team – the parcours is difficult, but I feel good and we have Rafal and Pawel who are going well. I think we are in a good position to make the race but it is always difficult against the Polish teams with up to 15 riders so we will have to be clever.”

“It’s a really nice win for Bodi, especially after all his injuries, coming back to win the national championships is a great achievement,” said Patxi Vila, a very pleased Sport Director after the race. “We knew Bialoblocki would be a real close contender, he won last year and was close behind Bodi in the worlds too.

The race was based on a circuit which was covered four times, with 456m of climbing overall, rolling but nothing too testing. “We made a good pacing strategy and stuck to that all race,” continued Vila. “After the first lap he was 30″ down but didn’t panic and brought it back to just 8 seconds by the end of the second. Then after the third lap he was 11 seconds in front and it was just a case of finishing strongly. I’m really happy for him – it was a long, hard effort and he was committed to what he needed to do. It’s always nice to win a national championships for the team too so everyone’s happy.”

Polish National TT Championships Result:
1. Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Tinkoff in 1:07:28
2. Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) One Pro Cycling at 0:28
3. Mateusz Taciak (Pol) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 1:29.

Polish TT Podium:

Dutch National Time Trial Championships 2016 Result:
Tom Dumoulin (NED) has won the Dutch National Time Trial Championships, taking the second red, white and blue national stripes of his career.

Dumoulin started at the National Championships after spending nearly three weeks at the team’s altitude training camp in Sierra Nevada. He raced around the 50km time trial in a time of 59’05” finishing 34″ ahead of his nearest rival.

Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin): “I am really happy with this performance as everything went perfectly during the time trial. It is great to be the Dutch national champion as it was my best ride ever during the Nationals. After a long period without racing, you are never sure how it is going to go and how you will perform. However, I prepared well and generally if I feel good in training then I know it’s going to be okay during the race. It is a really nice feeling to have won the red, white and blue jersey. It is a great honor to have won it in such a great event.”

2nd, Jos Van Emden (LottoNl-Jumbo): “I’m satisfied with that, I’ve delivered a good time trial. I only struggled during the final five kilometers, but I’m not disappointed about it.”

3rd, Wilco Kelderman (LottoNl-Jumbo): “It went well, but not superb. Yesterday, I felt that I wasn’t completely recovered from the Tour de Suisse. I still delivered a good time trial and I’m happy to finish third.”

Dutch National Time Trial Championships Result:
1. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Giant-Alpecin in 59:04
2. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:34
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 1:18.

Dutch TT podium:
Middelharnis - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Kelderman Wilco (Netherlands / Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo) - Dumoulin Tom (Netherlands / Team Giant - Alpecin) - Kelderman Wilco (Netherlands / Team Lotto Nl - Jumbo) pictured during NK Tijdrijden - Dutch National Championships Tim Trial individual  elite men - photoAnton Vos/Davy Rietbergen/ Cor Vos © 2016

Swiss National Time Trial Championships 2016
Fabian Cancellara claimed his 10th Swiss national time trial title today on a technical course in Martigny, taking home his final crown in a discipline he has reigned over a span of 15 years.

Cancellara completed the two 20.5-kilometer laps in 53 minutes and 12 seconds for an average speed of 46.24km/h to win convincingly over IAM Cycling’s Reto Hollenstein in second (+1:20) and Thery Schir (EKZ Racing) in third (+1:23).

“It’s the last, and even though I will only wear this one for half a year, a title is a title,” said Cancellara. “I have to say it was one of the hardest ones. The parcours was technical, a lot of changing of rhythm, wind, and the heat – it was around 30 degrees (Celsius) – all made it pretty hard, especially after coming from the Tour de Suisse where it was cold and rainy. Today it was so warm, and your body reacts differently.

“When a time trial is almost an hour it’s never an easy effort. I feel sad for Stefan Küng because he crashed pretty hard. But I knew that on a hard course like this, you have to be really careful. It was the toughest course that I have ever done, I think. A corner, left then right, just a lot of things to take care of. But you go full gas regardless; you focus on yourself, and that is how you time trial always.”

Cancellara’s performance in his national time trial championships is remarkable: He placed second in his first elite championship in 2001 and never looked back, amassing nine victories in nine attempts before ending with a 10th and final title Wednesday.

Cancellara has etched his name firmly into Switzerland’s cycling history books, completing a feat that may never be equaled in the Swiss National Championship’s race against the clock.

Cancellara: “The Swiss championships have always been a part of my story, and I wanted to end it nicely this way. I wanted to participate in my last year as respect toward the championships I did always. Last year I wasn’t at the championships and this year to stand on the podium again, and hear your national anthem is really nice. Unlike other sports, we don’t have so many possibilities to hear the national hymns in cycling, so it is special; the only other time it’s possible is the Worlds or Classics.”

2nd, Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling): “My legs weren’t on fire, but a second place is a second place on this pretty technical course, especially with that dangerous descent. I felt comfortable on the first lap of the circuit, after which I suffered a serious slump.”

Stefan Küng suffered a fractured left iliac bone and left collarbone in a nasty crash sustained at the Swiss National Time Trial Championships on Tuesday evening. Küng crashed in the first ten kilometers of the 41 kilometer race and was immediately transferred to hospital for observation and X-Rays.

BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa provided the following update. “Stefan has fractured his left collarbone and left iliac bone. Tomorrow he will be transferred to the Swiss Olympic Team specialist in St. Gallen where a decision will be made as to whether surgery is necessary. For both fractures to properly heal, Stefan will likely need to take 4-6 weeks off the bike. We will know more about the necessary recovery period in the coming days,” Dr. Testa said.

Küng’s injuries will rule him out of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio where he was set to compete on the track. “I know that I’m in the best possible hands here. I’ve come back from injury before and I’ll come back again,” Küng confirmed.

Swiss National Time Trial Championships 2016 Result:
1. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Trek-Segafredo in 53:12
2. Reto Hollenstein (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:20
3. Simon Pellaud (Swi) IAM Cycling at 1:23.

Swiss TT Podium:

Halle-Ingooigem 2016
There was a bot of a surprise win in the Halle-Ingooigem in Belgium on Wednesday. Veranda’s Willems Dries De Bont out-sprinted Orica-GreenEDGE’s Jens Keukeleire (riding for the Belgian National team) at the end of a hard fought race. Keukeleire played a waiting game in the finalé, but De Bont had the better of him on the downhill sprint. Edward Theuns of Trek-Segafredo (also riding for Belgium) brought in the chase group 13 seconds later.

Halle-Ingooigem Result:
1. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Verandas Willems in 4:45:22
2. Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Belgium Nat Team
3. Edward Theuns (Bel) Belgium Nat Team at 0:13
4. Nikolas Maes (Bel) Etixx – Quick-Step
5. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
6. Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:17
8. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
9. Tim Merliert (Bel) Crelan-Vastgoedservice
10. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Verandas Willems.

Route du Sud 2016
Movistar Team wraps up magnificent Route du Sud as Nairo Quintana -winner of his third stage race in 2016- and Marc Soler -runner-up, in his most brilliant week as pro- finish one-two overall.

Nairo Quintana won his first Route du Sud overall in 2012 at the age of 22, when he was ‘only’ one of cycling’s best young talents. Four years later, the Movistar Team leader took again the final ‘corail’ jersey in the Pyrenees after a fantastic season: five stage race podiums out of five appearances, three wins including WorldTour Catalunya and Romandie, and excellent legs from what is arguably one of the biggest candidates to win the Tour de France in five weeks’ time.

The work from the whole Movistar Team to take care of the Colombian into the 155km stage five -eight laps of a circuit in the Astarac countryside, in and around the village of Clermont-Pouyguillès, with as many climbs of the Côte de Moncassin (Cat-3)- was flawless thanks to the experience from Erviti, Sutherland, Herrada, Dayer and Rojas. It was José Joaquín’s task to try a late move, once the day’s breakaway was caught, in pursuit of Julien Loubet (FVC) and Vaugrenard (FDJ); unfortunately, his move won’t stick and was caught by the sprinters with two kilometers to go. Arnaud Démare (FDJ) prevailed across the line, with Rojas in 7th spot.

Sunday’s success in France marks Nairo’s 29th triumph in the pro scene -twenty-six within the ranks of Eusebio Unzué’s squad, which takes him to fourth in the team’s historical rankings, joint with ‘Chava’ Jiménez and Laguía- and the 26th victory for the Movistar Team in 2016, rounding off its final stage race before the ‘Grande Boucle’ with second overall, and best Young rider, for Marc Soler. A beautiful way to set things straight before the #SueñoAmarillo comes at stake next month.

Nairo Quintana: “It’s a very important victory. I was coming into this event following long weeks of training in attitude at home in Colombia, and I could confirm I’m in good form. Legs have gone as usual for me in the mountains and it seems obvious that I’ve improved quite a bit into the time trial. Friday, I rode the 2016 Canyon Speedmax TT bike for the first time – it’s really great, and this technological progress makes your efforts worth.

“The team did really well: great job from them from the beginning to the end of the race, crowning it today after a mountain stage where they rode fantastically, including Marc’s win. Both victories in the race -this overall win I confirmed today and my first success in 2012- have been really significant into my sporting career and for my preparations for the Tour. Reaching the ‘Grande Boucle’ this way feels really good.”

Route du Sud Final Overall Result:
1. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar in 16:34:57
2. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 0:36
3. Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis at 1:06
4. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Direct Energie at 1:15
5. Sergio Pardilla Bellon (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 1:55
6. Ricardo Vilela (Por) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 2:01
7. Mikel Bizkarra (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 2:12
8. Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis at 2:20
9. Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis at 2:36
10. Artem Nych (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo at 2:38.

Route du Sud winner, Nairo Quintana:

Tour of Slovenia 2016
It was a day for Team Katusha to take charge and reap the benefits of hard work on Sunday in the fourth and final stage of the 2016 Tour of Slovenia. Team rider Aleksandr Porsev earned stage honors in Novo Mesto and Rein Taaramäe heads home with the overall win on the general classification, making for four days of successful racing in Slovenia.

– This is so nice and important too. I was already good in last month’s Giro d’Italia, finishing six times in the top ten, but to win is important. It makes the difference for a fast rider. It was not our plan at all to play my cards in the final. My goal was to work for Alexey Tsatevich, but Alexey crashed at 6 km from the finish so we had to go to plan B and that ended up working out very well. We had three local laps in Novo Mesto, so I knew the last kilometer. I knew I had to take that last corner as the first rider. I did it with some risk. The last kilometer was very tricky with the rain, the corners and with the wet cobblestones. At 300 meter from the finish, at the last corner, I went full gas and nobody could pass me again. What a nice day for us – the stage win and Overall victory for Rein, – said 30 year old Aleksandr Porsev.

Aleksandr Porsev will now head to his Russian national championships and later to the Tour de Wallonie. Porsev was joined on the stage podium by Rüdiger Selig (Bora-Argon 18) and Kristian Sbaragli of Dimension Data, all on the same time of 4:27.46 (40.132 km/h) for the 179,1km stage from Rogaška Slatina to Novo Mesto.

Overall leader Rein Taaramäe wears the yellow jersey home, one month after winning an exciting mountain stage in the Giro d’Italia. More and more he appears to be a rider for the short stage races. In 2015 he won the Overall in the Tour of Murcia, the Tour of Burgos and the Arctic Race of Norway.

– But this is the first time I was riding in the yellow jersey. In Murcia, Burgos and Norway, but also earlier in Tour de l’Ain, I won the Overall by taking the yellow jersey on the last day. What we did here is definitely nicer. I have to say that it was not difficult today. The stage was flat but our team was so amazingly good. When they started chasing they immediately took back two minutes in less than 10 km. It was a pleasure to have these teammates. Now I will take some rest and will go for three weeks to an altitude training camp for my second part of the season with the Tour of Poland, the Olympic Games in Rio and the Tour of Spain as my next goals. I am still ambitious for Grand Tours too. I am not too old for that, – said 29-year old Estonian Rein Taaramäe.

Rein won by a wide margin of 1:42 to Jack Haig (Orica-GreenEDGE) and 2:38 to Jan Bárta of Bora-Argon 18.
– Our guys were amazing. I can only congratulate them. They did exactly what we planned to do today and in the end they were flexible enough to change the plan with a good outcome. I am a happy team director. It is also nice that Rein Taaramäe brings home our first 2016 Overall victory in a stage race. Rein will bring us more luck this year, – said team director Claudio Cozzi.

Tour of Slovenia Final Overall Result:
1. Rein Taaramae (Est) Katusha in 15:10:29
2. Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-GreenEDGE at 1:42
3. Jan Barta (Cze) Bora-Argon 18 at 2:38
4. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 2:47
5. Jure Golcer (Slo) Adria Mobil at 2:48
6. Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 2:57
7. José Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Por) Bora-Argon 18 at 3:00
8. Pavel Kochetkov (Rus) Katusha at 3:14
9. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Slovenia at 3:15
10. Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 3:27.

Rein Taaramäe:
Giro d'Italia 2016

Swiss Championships – IAM Cycling aims to win laurels in the home region of its founder Michel Thétaz
THE QUOTE: “The sensations are good, and I hope to continue the momentum I have through to Martigny at the Swiss Championships,” said Reto Hollenstein, the silver medalists at the 2015 Swiss time trial championships, who has just completed the Tour de Suisse raced under appalling conditions.

THE EXPLANATION: IAM Cycling will field three riders in the time trial that is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22nd, with an early evening departure and finish line on the Place Central in Martigny. Reto Hollenstein with talented teammates Jonathan Fumeaux and Simon Pellaud will start between 7 and 7:20 pm in order to do two loops around a 20.5 kilometer course. And then the 195 kilometer road race on Sunday, June 26th, will start around 12:40 in the afternoon, when the Swiss IAM Cycling team will attempt to win its second national road title following Martin Elmiger’s success in 2014.

THE ANALYSIS: Marcello Albasini talked about the Swiss championships, which has been designate as a major objective by Michel Thétaz, founder of IAM Cycling. “We are certainly racing for the win, since if you go to the Swiss championships with no ambitions, it is better you just stay home. We have a competitive team with motivated riders. We are not alone because BMC certainly has points in its favor. The course is a bit special with steep climbs, technical descents, and an unpaved portion just before the finish. It will also be important not to forget that the wind will play a part as well. All possible scenarios must be considered beforehand so that we can react immediately.”

THE RETURN: Of Marcel Aregger after six weeks of recovery due to a fracture to his left ankle, which he suffered in a training ride crash.

THE INFO: Since this is the home region of Michel Thétaz, founder of IAM Cycling, IAM has planned many events and activities in the Place Central in Martigny. The team’s HQ will be held in the bar/café section of the store Lévitation.

Time Trial Riders:
Jonathan Fumeaux, Reto Hollenstein, Simon Pellaud.

Road Race Riders:
Marcel Aregger, Martin Elmiger, Reto Hollenstein, Mathias Frank, Pirmin Lang, Simon Pellaud, Marcel Wyss, Oliver Zaugg.
Directeur sportif: Marcello Albasini.

Mathias Frank:
FlËche Wallonne Elite 2014

Strong BMC Racing Team Representation at National Championships
The large majority of BMC Racing Team’s European riders are set to line up at their respective National Championships this week.

Individual rider participation is specified below:

Belgian National Championships:
Philippe Gilbert, Ben Hermans, Dylan Teuns, Greg Van Avermaet, Loïc Vliegen
Sports Director: Valerio Piva (ITA)

Dutch National Championships:
Floris Gerts

German National Championships:
Marcus Burghardt, Rick Zabel

Italian National Championships:
Damiano Caruso, Alessandro De Marchi, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato
Sports Director: Max Sciandri (ITA)

Luxembourg National Championships:
Jempy Drucker

Swiss National Championships:
Stefan Küng, Silvan Dillier, Michael Schär, Danilo Wyss
Sports Director: Jackson Stewart (USA).

Belgian Champs for Greg Van Avermaet:
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad men elite 2016

Tinkoff riders prepare for respective national championships across Europe
Once a year each rider has the opportunity to race for the title of national champion, the chance to proudly show off their national stripes for the next 12 months – it’s the week of the National Championships.

A brief pause away from WorldTour racing comes after another busy period with back to back Criterium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse races. After conceding the top spot in the individual UCI WorldTour rankings to teammate Alberto Contador, Peter Sagan regained the lead after his stage wins in Switzerland. Overall, the team also extended its lead at the top of the team rankings.

After each nation’s time trial champions have been crowned, the attention turns towards the road racing, with Erik Baška in action first as he lines up at the Slovakian U23 national road race. The first of the senior races comes from Spain, on Thursday, where Alberto Contador will also continue his final preparations for the Tour de France with participation at the Spanish road race, alongside teammate Jesús Hernández.

With the rest of the men’s titles disputed on Sunday, the majority of the team will be contesting their respective nationals, with Peter looking to defend his Slovakian title won in 2015. The team’s largest presence is in Russia, with four starting on Sunday. While there will be three riders a piece in Italy, Poland and Slovakia. The full list of who’s racing where is as follows:

Michael Gogl

Robert Kiserlovski

Czech Republic:
Roman Kreuziger

Jesper Hansen
Michael Valgren

Great Britain:
Adam Blythe

Manuele Boaro
Oscar Gatto
Matteo Tosatto

Maciej Bodnar
Rafal Majka
Pawel Poljanski

Pavel Brutt
Evgeny Petrov
Ivan Rovny
Nikolay Trusov

Erik Baška – U23
Michael Kolar
Juraj Sagan
Peter Sagan.

Alberto Contador
Jesús Hernández.

Alberto Contador:

Giant-Alpecin for the National Road Race Championships
This weekend’s national road race championships should offer several exciting battles with Team Giant-Alpecin strongly represented in both Germany and the Netherlands.

Team Giant-Alpecin has five riders in the German championships. With John Degenkolb, Nikias Arndt and Simon Geschke, the team will be looking for a strong result in the home championships.

Over at the Dutch nationals, the team has nine representatives. Ramon Sinkeldam finished second last year and he will be the team’s sprint option. In case of a tough finale, Roy Curvers and Koen de Kort are riders that can make the select front group.

Elsewhere in Europe, Team Giant-Alpecin riders are racing in Austria with Georg Preidler, Belgium with Zico Waeytens, Denmark with Søren Kragh Andersen, France with Warren Barguil, Norway with Sindre Skjøstad Lunke, and Sweden with Tobias Ludvigsson.

The Team Liv-Plantur women are also in road race action. The team is best represented at the Dutch nationals, with five riders starting, including Floortje Mackaij. The team is also sending riders to the championships of Canada with Leah Kirchmann, Great Britain with Molly Weaver and Sweden with Sara Mustonen.

Men’s National Road Race Championships

Austria: Georg Preidler (AUT).
Belgium: Zico Waeytens (BEL).
Denmark: Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN).
France: Warren Barguil (FRA).
Germany: Nikias Arndt (GER), John Degenkolb (GER), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Max Walscheid (GER).
The Netherlands: Roy Curvers (NED), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Lars van der Haar (NED), Koen de Kort (NED), Sam Oomen (NED), Ramon Sinkeldam (NED), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Albert Timmer (NED).
Norway: Sindre Skjøstad Lunke (NOR).
Sweden: Tobias Ludvigsson (SWE).

Women’s National Road Race Championships

Cananda: Leah Kirchmann (CAN).
Great-Britain: Molly Weaver (GBR).
The Netherlands: Floortje Mackaij (NED), Riejanne Markus (NED), Rozanne Slik (NED), Julia Soek (NED), Kyara Stijns (NED).
Sweden: Sara Mustonen (SWE).

John Degenkolb leads a strong team in Germany:
John Degenkolb of Germany / Team Giant - Alpecin

Preview: National Championships
15 riders to represent Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka at 9 separate National Championships
National pride is something which is held in high regard at Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, with winning as many national champions jersey’s as possible being one of our African Team’s main goals this season. We are delighted that 15 of our riders will be represented in 9 separate national championships over the coming week.

After already securing the South African national jersey earlier in the year, our African Team are hoping to defend the Eritrean national titles won last year by Natnael Berhane (Road Race) and Daniel Teklehaimanot (Time Trial), the Norwegian national titles won by Edvald Boasson Hagen (Road & Time Trial) and challenging for new titles in 7 other nations.

Here is our list our riders set to compete in their national championships this week, the majority of the time trial events take place on Thursday 23rd and all the road race events are being held on Sunday 26th.

Daniel Teklehaimanot, Merhawi Kudus, Mekseb Debesay, Metkel Eyob and Amanuel Gebreigzabhier

Adrien Niyonshuti, Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, Valens Ndayisenga

Great Britain
Mark Cavendish

Edvald Boasson Hagen

Serge Pauwels

Kristian Sbaragli

Bernhard Eisel

Matt Brammeier

Kanstantsin Siutsou.

Double national champions with Dimension Data:

Gaëtan Bille ready for the Belgian Championship
The Belgian Championship takes place this week with the individual time trial on Thursday and the road race on Sunday. These races are one of Gaëtan Bille’s big goals.

“I’m looking forward to this race. I really want to do a great race on Sunday”, Gaetan Bille says.

Gaëtan Bille rode last week the Ster ZLM Toer, a five days race. He took the 20th place in the general classification. “I didn’t feel so good. I was a little tired. I didn’t take any risks for Thursday and Sunday. I will recover now to be ready for the Belgian Championship.”

On the time trial in Mol-Postel the Walloon rider hopes to get a spot in the top five. “This is a race for powerful riders. A time trial in the Lacs de l’Eau d’Heure suits me better. If I have a good day, a top 5 is possible. If I have a super day, I can think about the podium. I will do my best and then I have two days to recover for the Sunday’s race.”

The Sunday’s race is going to be very difficult with 35 climbs. The best riders won’t be able to hide themselves. “This race looks like Liège-Bastogne-Liège with more than 4,000 vertical meters. The favorite is Greg Van Avermaet. This remains a special race. Tactics will be very important. I expect a great result”, Gaëtan Bille concludes.

Gaëtan Bille:

Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
16 Lampre-Merida riders will race their National Championships
Two riders from the blue-fuchsia-green team competed in the past week, obtaining the 2nd place by Mohoric in the Slovenian time trial championship and the 6th position by Grmay in the Ethiopian road race.

The first Lampre-Merida’s athlete to race will be Mattia Cattaneo, who’ll participate on Wednesday 22nd June in the Italian time trial race, which will take place in Romanengo on the distance of 41 km (two laps of a circuit of 20,5 km of distance).

Lampre-Merida will race on familiar roads in the Italian road championship: ten riders will race in Darfo Boario Terme, where the blue-fuchsia-green team traditionally organize the team’s training camps.
The sports director Marco Marzano will supervise Matteo Bono, Mattia Cattaneo, Davide Cimolai, Valerio Conti, Roberto Ferrari, Sacha Modolo, Manuele Mori, Simone Petilli, Diego Ulissi and Federico Zurlo.

Four riders will participate in the Slovenian road championship, which will take place in Domzale.
In addition to the current champion Luka Pibernik, Lampre-Merida will count on Marko Kump, Matej Mohoric and Jan Polanc.

Ilia Koshevoy will take part in the Byelorussian road championship in Navahrudak and Przemyslaw Niemiec will be at the start of the Polish road championship in Swidnica.

Valerio Conti and Diego Ulissi:
Praia a Mare - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Valerio Conti (Lampre - Merida) - Diego Ulissi (Lampre - Merida) - Georg Preidler (Austria / Team Giant - Alpecin) pictured during stage 4 of the 99th Giro d'Italia 2016 from Catanzaro - Praia a Mare 200 km - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

Porte and van Garderen Headline Tour de France Team
BMC Racing Team today announced the seven riders who will support Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen at the upcoming Tour de France.

Sports Director Yvon Ledanois said it was a difficult decision to make considering the calibre of riders who were on the long list.

“If we could have selected 11 riders we would have done so, but in the end I think we have chosen a fantastic group of riders who will provide the best support possible for Richie and Tejay,” Ledanois said.

“We have a diverse group of riders, from seven different nationalities, all of whom will play their role, whether it’s our strong domestiques like Marcus Burghardt and Michael Schär, or riders like Greg Van Avermaet and Rohan Dennis who can go for stage wins. Then of course we have Brent Bookwalter, Damiano Caruso, and Amaël Moinard for support on the climbs and getting Richie and Tejay where they need to be.”

BMC Racing Team is in a strong position going in with two General Classification riders, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

“Richie and Tejay will both receive equal support from the staff and riders within the team structure during the race itself. Throughout the race Richie will act as BMC Racing Team’s road captain, and as such will represent the riders’ interests both on and off the bike,” Ochowicz explained.

Porte and van Garderen are excited to work together with the support of the selected riders.

“To know that Tejay and I will be supported by such a strong group of guys is really motivating. I’ve already raced with these seven riders a lot this season and I’m confident that we are going into the Tour de France in a really good position. My form is good, my legs are good and after another week of fine-tuning, I’m definitely ready to race. It’s an exciting time,” Porte admitted.

“I’m taking confidence out of the Tour de Suisse heading into the Tour de France, especially with the team that we are taking. I’ve already raced the Tour de France a couple of times with most of these guys, so I couldn’t be happier to line up with them once again. I’m in great shape, I’m really motivated, and I’m looking forward to rolling out in a little over a week,” van Garderen said.

Rider Roster:
Brent Bookwalter (USA), Marcus Burghardt (GER), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Amaël Moinard (FRA), Richie Porte (AUS), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), Tejay van Garderen (USA).
Sports Directors: Yvon Ledanois (FRA), Valerio Piva (BEL), Fabio Baldato (ITA).

Tejay van Garderen:
stage 5 - Criterium du Dauphine Libere 2015

Team Sky Announce Line Up for 2016 Tour de France
Team Sky has announced its line up for the 2016 Tour de France. The 103rd edition of the Tour starts at Mont-Saint-Michel on Saturday 2nd July and concludes on Sunday 24th July in Paris.

Defending champion Chris Froome will be joined by: Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve, Wout Poels, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas. Team Sky will be aiming to win a fourth Tour de France, with Froome chasing a hat trick of victories after previous wins in 2013 and 2015.

Chris Froome said: “The Tour de France will always be the pinnacle of our sport. I feel in good shape coming into the race this year and am fortunate to have a strong team around me – both on and off the bike. Every rider obviously starts every new Tour equal and what has gone before counts for nothing. This year I am hungrier than ever for success. We know how hard this race will be and how much we will have to give if we want to win it again. But we have trained hard. We’re ready for the challenge and can’t wait to get back racing in front of the millions of people in France who make the race so special.”

Speaking about the Tour de France line-up Team Principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, said: “Every Tour is different, so that means choosing the team we believe is best equipped to deal with the many different challenges of this race. We have selected a talented group of riders with Chris as the leader once again. I know they will do everything they can to help him try to win yellow. We can take a lot of confidence as a Team from what we have achieved already this year, but we know how much it takes to win the Tour. Of course there are a number of riders in other teams capable of putting in a challenge for overall victory. That’s great news for cycling fans, who can look forward to seeing some really competitive racing. We are as excited as the fans about what’s to come and we’re looking forward to getting started next Saturday”.

The Team Sky squad for the 2016 Tour de France is:

Chris Froome – age 31 – Great Britain
Heading into the 2016 event as a two-time winner and defending champion, Froome will be going all out to secure a third Tour de France victory this July. Fresh from recent overall success at the Criterium du Dauphine, he heads into his 12th career Grand Tour in promising form and backed up by a strong Team Sky lineup. One of the best climbers of his generation, Froome holds explosive power in the mountains which, coupled with his world-renowned time trial ability, makes him an accomplished all-round talent.

Sergio Henao – age 28 – Colombia
A supreme climbing force, Henao has supported winning efforts at Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine already this season, most recently linking up with Chris Froome to great effect. Along with Mikel Landa, Henao is one of two Team Sky riders to make his Tour de France debut this year. With five Grand Tour appearances to his name, the Colombian has shown he can play the super domestique role, as well as having the ability to win big races in his own right.

Vasil Kiryienka – age 34 – Belarus
One of the most loyal, powerful and respected riders in the peloton. The Belarusian is the reigning world time trial champion and will don the rainbow jersey during the Tour’s two tests against the clock. Equally at home setting the tempo on the front of the bunch or up the road on a solo breakaway, ‘Kiry’ was part of the team for Chris Froome’s first Tour success back in 2013. With 15 Grand Tours (and four stage wins) to his name he’s no stranger to success.

Mikel Landa – age 26 – Spain
Adding huge strength to the team’s climbing roster, Landa was forced to depart the Giro d’Italia in May due to illness, but bounced back with a superb attacking performance at the Dauphine. In his first race alongside Chris Froome the pair spearheaded a dynamic, attacking showing in the mountains. Mikel earned his reputation as one of the world’s top Grand Tour riders in 2015 when he won two stages and finished third overall at the Giro. 2016 has already brought a stage win at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, overall victory at Giro del Trentino and now his Tour debut.

Mikel Nieve – age 32 – Spain
Now into his third season with the team, Mikel is no stranger to competing at the sharp end of three-week stage races. With top-10 overall finishes at the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España already under his belt he is one of the best pure climbers around, winning the Mountains Classification at this year’s Giro. The Basque native is one of two riders in the Tour de France line up to have also competed at the Giro this season, pulling off a rousing solo stage victory during the second week. Tackling his second Tour de France in the colors of Team Sky, ‘Frosty’ will be hoping to play a pivotal role in the mountains.

Wout Poels – age 28 – Holland
The Dutchman wrote a new chapter in Team Sky history this year when he took the team’s first Monument Classic victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege. With five wins to his name already in 2016, Poels will be hoping to continue that momentum into his fifth Tour de France. He played a key role in Chris Froome’s success 12 months ago, notably stepping up in the final pair of mountain stages to help protect the yellow jersey. Poels adds further strength to the team in the high mountains.

Luke Rowe – age 26 – Great Britain
One of the brightest young British talents in the sport, Rowe has gone from strength to strength since turning pro with Team Sky in 2012. An old head on young shoulders, the Welshman is establishing himself as one of the team’s in-race road captains and, in his Tour debut last season, helped support Chris Froome all the way to victory in Paris. A powerful presence on the flat and in the cross-winds, Rowe’s penchant for the Classics has already seen him place fifth at the Tour of Flanders and eighth at Paris-Roubaix.

Ian Stannard – age 29 – Great Britain
A key part of the team’s success since its inception, Stannard is one of the team’s most hard-working and respected riders. When he isn’t winning tough Belgian one-day Classics in his own right the Brit can be found contributing to stage race success. Having ridden into Paris alongside Chris Froome for both of his Tour victories, Stannard provides an assured presence and selfless shelter in the peloton for his team leader. He is also an adept climber, setting a tough tempo for others to follow on the way into the high mountains.

Geraint Thomas – age 30 – Great Britain
One of the most versatile riders in the sport, Thomas has shown he can excel no matter the terrain. Whether battling over cobbles or climbs, the Welshman is consistently in the mix, often fighting for victory. After securing the biggest win of his career earlier this season at Paris-Nice, ‘G’ now heads into his seventh Tour de France off the back of a superb performance last year. Playing an invaluable supporting role and improving in the mountains with each season, he has already been part of two Tour victories and will be looking to make it three in 2016.

Tour No.3 for Chris Froome?
Superdévoluy - France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Christopher Froome (Team Sky)    pictured during stage 7 of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2016  from Le Pont-de-Claix to Superdévoluy (151 KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2016

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka Name Squad for Tour de France
Fans can support the team through the Qhubeka 5000 initiative

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will return to the Tour de France after a successful premiere 12 months ago, setting another massive milestone for African cycling. Once again the team will take to the start of the La Grand Boucle with clear objectives. Steve Cummings’ stage win on Mandela Day, Daniel Teklehaimanot’s days in the Polka Dot jersey and a fifth place in the overall team classification were the key results last year and are the signposts for our African Team’s goals for the 2016 edition of the race.

With less than two weeks left to the Grand Depart it is with great pleasure and excitement that we officially announce the 13 rider list from which the final 9 riders will be decided.

Natnael Berhane, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Cavendish, Steve Cummings, Bernhard Eisel, Tyler Farrar, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Serge Pauwels, Youcef Reguigui, Mark Renshaw, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Jaco Venter.

As an African team racing to raise awareness for the Qhubeka charity, we head to the Tour de France with the goal of putting 5.000 African children on bicycles through our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign. We are extremely pleased to give the cycling community a chance to support us in this effort through the Qhubeka 5000 initiative.

Having won both the Points as well as the King of the Mountains classifications at the recent Criterium du Dauphiné,Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka has underlined its ambitions for the coming weeks and will send a well rounded team to the Tour de France. 6 of the 13 riders on our squad come from Africa.


Eritrean Daniel Teklehaimanot (pictured above) is certainly the most famous one among them. He’ll be accompanied by fellow countryman Natnael Berhane, reigning South African road race champion Jaco Venter, Reinhardt Janse van Rensburg and Jacques Janse van Rensburg, who both have been part of the team that competed in the 2015 Tour de France, as well as Algerian Youcef Reguigui.

Our 6 African men will be complemented by Edvard Boasson Hagen (pictured below), Mark Cavendish, Steve Cummings, Bernhard Eisel, Tyler Farrar, Serge Pauwels and Mark Renshaw who will help to champion our #BicyclesChangeLives campaign cause and the Qhubeka 5000 initiative at the Tour de France.

Most of our team riders will head to their respective National championships later this week, and it is only after these events that the decision will be made as to who the final 9 Tour de France riders will be.

Edvald Boasson Hagen:

Douglas Ryder – Team Owner
We have an incredible squad of riders with lofty goals and big dreams like a year ago. We have new partners and a new look but the same purpose. It is a privilege to be a part of the Tour de France and to be able to leverage the global power of the event to make an impact that matters across the African continent by mobilising people on bicycles through the Qhubeka #BicyclesChangeLives campaign. This year there is an opportunity for you to join us to achieve the Qhubeka5000.

Rolf Aldag – Head of Performance
The team achieved remarkable success so far and we are confident that the group of 13 selected riders will represent our team values and team spirit throughout the 21 days of racing. The Tour de France gives us the opportunity to showcase our team, to raise awareness for Qhubeka and to fight on every single day for the best possible result. We are highly motivated and believe that the race holds chances for all of our riders to make a difference, right from day one.

Steve Cummings:

Etixx – Quick-Step to Tour de France
The second Grand Tour of the season will take place between 2-24 July

Bookended by flat stages, the 103rd edition of the Tour de France will kick off at the foot of the superb Mont-Saint-Michel, an island located in Normandy and included on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. From there, the peloton will travel to Utah Beach, where the sprinters will battle for the win and for the first yellow jersey of the competition. The following stages will give opportunities to the fast men and the attackers, with the fight for the general classification set to start on the second week-end, when the climbs will be relentless and the riders will tackle such ascents as Col d’Aspin, Col du Tourmalet, Col de Val Louron and Andorre-Arcalis, the stage of the Tour’s first summit finish.

The highlights of the second week will be Mont Ventoux (15.7 kilometers, 8.8% average gradient) – the infamous “Giant of the Provence” – which the race will visit on Bastille Day, just as it did three years ago, the 37.5-km rolling individual time trial between Bourg-Saint-Andéol and La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc and the Bourg-en-Bresse – Culoz stage, which will be peppered with arduous climbs (including the 12.8-km long Grand Colombier) and sketchy descents.

After the last rest day, the peloton will make a trip to Switzerland for an arrival in Bern and a mountain top finish on Finhaut Émosson, followed by the second ITT of this edition, a very tough one, which includes the Côte du Domancy climb, used 36 years ago at the World Championships. Over the next two days, the GC battle will continue on the stages going to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc and Morzine, before the final rendezvous of the sprinters on the most famous boulevard in the world, Champs-Élysées, where the Tour de France traditionally concludes since 1975.

Etixx – Quick-Step’s line-up for the Tour de France:
Julian Alaphilippe
– Confidence buoyed after his solid and consistent Criterium du Dauphiné, where not only that he finished inside the top 10, but he also won the white jersey, 24-year-old Julian is now ready to race the Tour de France for the first time in his career. This moment will be even more significant for him, as it will mark his Grand Tour debut, following a first part of the season during which he displayed again that fascinating combination of fast sprint and solid climbing skills which saw him win the Tour of California and be a protagonist in both one-day events and stage races.

Iljo Keisse – They say good things come to those who wait, and Iljo won’t be a stranger to this, as he’ll make his Grande Boucle debut this summer, bringing his vast experience and input to the Etixx – Quick-Step squad that will tackle the French roads. One of the most hard-working riders in the peloton, the 33-year-old powerhouse will be prepared to give it his all in order to protect his teammates, while at the same time controlling the breakaway in the flat stages.

Marcel Kittel – Ten victories, two of which came at the Giro d’Italia, where he also spent one day in the maglia rosa, showed that Marcel is back to his very best and he’ll now look to put his power on display and take center stage on the flat days of the 2016 Tour de France. After getting racing speed into his legs at Ster ZLM Toer, last week, the 28-year-old – one of the most decorated sprinters of the peloton, with 13 Grand Tours wins to his name – will want to prove that he’s up for the challenge in cycling’s biggest stage race.

Dan Martin – Third in Volta a Catalunya and third in the Criterium du Dauphiné – Ireland’s best result since the race was created – Dan is keen to keep the momentum going and leave his mark on the Tour de France, an event he attended three times since turning pro. A rider who proved more than once that he knows to read a race well and outplay his opponents, the 29-year-old will be one to watch on the French climbs he discovered nearly two decades ago, while vacationing with his family and becoming fascinated with this sport.

Tony Martin – A specialist of the race against the clock, the three-time ITT World Champion has shown that he can also time trial his way to victory, so he’ll not be short of options to make himself noticed, just as he did last year, when he won stage 4 after a daring attack, while also seizing the yellow jersey. Besides that, Tony will also be a valuable component of Marcel Kittel’s lead-out train, especially in the closing kilometers of a stage, when the battle for positioning will become fierce.

Maximiliano Richeze – The Argentinian comes at the start after basking in his first victory in nearly four years, at the Tour de Suisse (where he also won the points jersey), writing history in the process. In sparkling form, Max returns to the Grande Boucle after two years and will be by Marcel’s side on the flat, just as he was earlier this season, when he helped him win a record fourth Scheldeprijs.

Fabio Sabatini – On numerous occasions this year, including last month’s Giro d’Italia, the experienced Fabio played his part to perfection, catapulting teammate Marcel Kittel to victory. In July, he’ll rejoin the fast German for the second Grand Tour of the calendar, hoping to rekindle the winning formula which has helped Marcel become again the dominant force in sprint finishes.

Petr Vakoc – A man of all seasons, no shortage of ambition and sure to continue improving over the years, the Czech road race champion will taste the Tour de France for the first time in his career, an opportunity which comes just one year after completing the Giro d’Italia. As was the case back then, Petr – victorious in Brabantse Pijl and two other races this season – will use the three-week event as a learning curve, while at the same time making sure he’ll be there to help the team when it matters.

Julien Vermote – A pan flat or hilly terrain, it really doesn’t matter, Julien showed in the past he is always up there for the team and will continue to be and to pull hard at the Tour France, as he comes back to the race after being part of the outfit which scored three victories at the previous edition. Capable of setting a relentless pace, the Belgian is prepared to bring his contribution to what he hopes will be another successful campaign of the team.

Since being created in 2003, Etixx – Quick-Step notched 26 victories and three distinctive jerseys in the Tour de France, managing to come into the spotlight at every edition, not only by winning stages, but also with an aggressive and spectacular approach, which turned the team into one of the fans’ favorites. That’s why Etixx – Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere is confident the team will replicate the success of the past seasons with this well-rounded squad, which mixes youth and experience.

“It wasn’t easy to choose nine riders for the Tour de France, because many deserve a spot in the team, but together with the sport directors we selected the strongest collective we have at this moment, capable of achieving the goals we have outlined. The team is built around Marcel, and that comes as no surprise, because when you have a guy capable of winning stages in Grand Tours, it’s normal to do this. We also have Daniel Martin, another rider who was proved himself at the Tour de France in the past, and who we believe can do even better now, as he has the instinct and the form for this. Tony will also be there, bringing his huge experience and knowledge; in the past weeks, he worked hard to be in top shape for this race and can make something great again, while at the same time being a valuable rider for the strategy we built around Kittel, together with Fabio, Max and Julien, all experienced riders who can support the team in the crucial moments”, said Patrick Lefevere, before moving on and talking of the riders who’ll make their debut at the Tour de France.

“We are bringing a French rider to the Tour for the first time in years, and everybody knows how talented Julian Alaphilippe is. He won the Tour of California and had a great Dauphiné, fighting hard to book a place in our team for Le Tour. Now the moment has come to give him the opportunity to discover the race and see how far he can go, without putting any pressure on him. The other two riders to make their debut are Iljo and Petr, the engines of the team together with Julien Vermote, all being riders in which we put our trust to get the job done. Bottom line, we are ready for the Tour de France, we are ready for the three intense weeks that lie ahead and we are ready to fight every day and adapt to any kind of scenario, as we have already showed we can do in the past”, Patrick Lefevere concluded.

Katusha team for the Tour
Team Katusha’s Tour de France line-up:
Jacopo Guarnieri, Marco Haller, Alexander Kristoff, Alberto Losada, Michael Mørkøv, Joaquim Rodríguez, Angel Vicioso, Jurgen Van den Broeck & Ilnur Zakarin.
Sports directors are José Azevedo, Dmitry Konyshev and Torsten Schmidt.

Alexander Kristoff:
atoc16 stage 7 kristoff

IAM Cycling for the 2016 Tour de France
Tour de France – Rik Verbrugghe “Mathias Frank for the general classification, but priority will go to a stage win”

THE EXCLAMATION: “IAM Cycling has confidence in Mathias Frank to perform well in the general, but the team will prioritize to get a stage win in the Tour de France,” commented Rik Verbrugghe, sports manager for the only Swiss professional team racing at the World Tour level, when discussing the Tour de France.

THE EXPLANATION: Rik Verbrugghe continued: “The sports management at IAM Cycling has attempted to bring together the best team possible for the most important race of the season. Considering our experience, we tried to balance our strengths for three weeks of truth.”

THE NUMBER: 6. That’s how many different nationalities will be represented in the Swiss team for La Grande Boucle. Three Swiss, two Belgians, one Colombian, one Dutch, one Norwegian and one French will be on the start line in Mont Saint-Michel on Saturday, July 2nd.

THE ANECDOTE: IAM Cycling has devised a fairly original travel plan for its riders when they are on their way to the team hotel in the department of La Manche. After arriving via airplane in Paris, they will transfer by bus to Caen. There the nine riders on the Swiss team will mount their bicycles and have a training ride the rest of the way to Saint-Lô.

Jérôme Coppel (Fr), Stef Clement (Ned), Dries Devenyns (Bel), Martin Elmiger (S), Mathias Frank (S), Reto Hollenstein (S), Sondre Holst Enger (Nor), Oliver Naesen (Bel), Jarlinson Pantano (Col).

Jarlinson Pantano:
Davos - Switserland - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Pantano Gomez Jarlinson (Columbia / Iam Cycling) - Sergei Chernetckii (Team Katusha)  pictured during stage 9 of the Tour de Suisse 2016 from  Davos to Davos (117,7 km) - photo Rene Vigneron/Cor Vos © 2016

Team LottoNL-Jumbo aims for stage victory in Tour de France
Team LottoNL-Jumbo goes to the Tour de France without Robert Gesink. The team’s leader still struggles too much with the damage he faced after his crash in the Tour de Suisse. With Wilco Kelderman and sprinter Dylan Groenewegen, the Dutch team still has enough guns to aim for stage victory in France.

“We want to win a stage,” Sports Director Nico Verhoeven says. “Wilco Kelderman is able to show off in the mountains and we have some men who have to be able to finish it off from the breakaway on the days that are too hard for the sprinters.”

“Besides that, we’re going to sprint with Dylan Groenewegen,” Verhoeven continues. “He participates in the Tour de France earlier than expected, but that’s not a choice we made only based on his good results. We are expecting him to be ready for the Tour de France already since a while. That he won already quite a lot races, is something extra. That might be a reason for higher expectations, but we send him to the Tour from a process of learning. He gets the chance to experience the biggest cycling race of the year, already and from that point of view, we’re going to aim for the best results possible.”

Groenewegen approaches his selection for the Tour de France as a reward for his strong season, but keeps the long term in mind. “We’re in a process in which we aim for a stage win in the Tour de France of 2018,” the sprinter explains. “It went quite fast with the development of the sprint lead-out, this season. Of course we want to deliver something beautiful in the Tour and when it’s up to me, it’s going to be something very beautiful, but I shouldn’t expect myself to be able to win a stage, immediately. There are going to come a lot of chances for the sprinters in the first week, so I will focus on that part of the race. I have to see how it goes, afterwards. It would be nice if I’m able to finish the Tour so I can bring that experience to the upcoming seasons.”


Robert Gesink
Team LottoNL-Jumbo has to do it in the Tour de France without Robert Gesink, who should have been the team’s leader. Gesink crashed in the Tour de Suisse and the medical staff doesn’t think he’s recovered enough from it. “I’ve put a lot of energy in my preparations for the Tour de France and I felt strong on Tenerife. It’s a big disappointment that I have to miss the Tour because of this setback,” Robert Gesink tells from his address in Spain.

George Bennett, he proved that he improved a lot this season in the Tour of California and the Criterium du Dauphiné replaces Gesink.

“The absence of Gesink doesn’t change the role Wilco Kelderman’s going to play,” Verhoeven tells. “Wilco goes to the Tour de France in a free role. Now Gesink falls away, he holds the position we planned with him.”

“I’m going to the Tour de France with a lot of confidence,” Kelderman adds. “I’ve had a good period of training and most of the days in the Tour de Suisse went well. I’m looking forward to the Tour and we’re going to aim for good results. My free role gives me the chance to choose some stages to aim for. My chances are in the mountains. It’s a good thing that the sprint train goes to the Tour as well. They are in a flow and are very motivated. We’re going to the Tour with that flow, together!”

George Bennett, Dylan Groenewegen, Wilco Kelderman, Bert-Jan Lindemen, Paul Martens, Timo Roosen, Sep Vanmarcke, Robert Wagner and Maarten Wynants.
Sports Directors: Frans Maassen, Nico Verhoeven and Merijn Zeeman.

Stage wins for Dylan Groenewegen:
Buchten - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Dylan Groenewegen (Netherlands / Team LottoNL - Jumbo) - Sean De Bie (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal)    pictured during stage 3of the Ster ZLM Toer - GP Jan van Heeswijk 2016 in Buchten, Netherlands - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2016

Lampre Merida Team f_chiari
Lampre-Merida for the Tour de France
Lampre-Merida’s technical staff, after having consulted the team’s management, selected the nine riders of the line-up for the Tour de France, which will take place from July 2nd to July 24th (official website here).

Sports directors Philippe Mauduit and Mario Scirea, who’ll be supported by Daniele Righi, will counts on:
– Arashiro Yukiya: 31 years old, Japanese, 5 caps in the Tour
– Bono Matteo, 32 years old, Italian, 4 caps in the Tour
– Cimolai Davide: 26 years old, Italian, 3 caps in the Tour
– Costa Rui: 29 years old, Portuguese, 7 caps in the Tour and 3 stage victories
– Durasek Kristijan: 28 years old, Croatian, 2 caps in the Tour
– Grmay Tsgabu Gebremaryam: 24 years old, Ethiopian, rookie
– Meintjes Louis: 24 years old, South African, 1 caps in the Tour
– Pibernik Luka: 22 years old, Slovenian, rookie
– Polanc Jan: 24 years old, Slovenian, rookie
Substitutes: Mattia Cattaneo and Mario Costa.

Seven nations and three continents will be represented in the selection of LAMPRE-MERIDA: Croatia, Ethiopia, Japan, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia and South Africa; Africa, Asia and Europe. The average age of the selection is 26,6 years old. Three riders will debut in the Grand Boucle: the two Slovenian young guns Pibernik and Polanc and the Ethiopian Grmay, whose participation will be historic because he’ll be the first cyclist from Ethiopia to participate in the Tour de France. Arashiro has already marked two records in 2009, when he was the first Japanese cyclist ever to enter in a top 5 of a stage in the Tour de France and to complete the Grande Boucle.

The operative staff’s members will be the mechanics Bacchion, Romanò and Pengo, the masseurs Capelli, Chiodini, Lima, Napolitano, Redaelli, the driver Bozzolo, the physicians Dr Guardascione and DR Pollastri, the press officers Appiani and Carlo Saroni and the chef De Sarro.


Denmark Awaits its Chance to Host the Tour
A new international candidate has added its name to the list of cities wanting to host the start of the Tour de France, underlining the drawing power of the race. An eventual visit to Copenhagen would lead the peloton towards the northernmost destination in the Tour’s history.

The view of the final finish of the Tour de France (traditionally held on the Champs Elysées) from the balcony of the Danish House in Paris is breath-taking. It is in this naturally predestined setting that the Mayor of Copenhagen and the Danish Minister of Trade also carried a message from their Prime Minister, to invite Christian Prudhomme to hand over the city’s application to host the start of the Tour. European capital cities like Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Luxembourg, London and of course Paris have already served as the backdrop for the start of the race. Copenhagen has formally expressed its wish to join this club by 2019-2021, by preparing a program of three-days of racing that include an opening 10km time trial, followed by two flat stages associating the neighboring islands with finishes at Odense and Sonderborg. The sporting content characterized by the crossing of the many bridges that allow traffic onto the archipelago that promises exposure to wind will infinitely vary the scenarios provided that the proposal be accepted! All options are now being considered…

Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France: “We are proud to receive Copenhagen’s official candidature, which underlines the attraction that the Tour can have outside of France. Showcasing the Tour abroad is to also showcase France. Of course, it would be a huge challenge because it would be the northernmost start in the Tour’s history.”

Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen: “Copenhagen is known around the world as a cycling city and the Tour is one of the most liked sporting events among Danes. This would be a unique opportunity to show off our country and to encourage the rest of the world to take up cycling.

Troels Lund Poulsen, Minister for Business and Growth: “Denmark has a lot to offer the Tour de France. This is a cycling nation and we could show how cycling plays a major role in our daily lives. The stages we have planned will also offer a sumptuous backdrop for the peloton and television viewers, between historic cities and emblematic landmarks.”

More details on www.letour.fr.

Troels Lund Poulsen, Minister for Business and Growth, Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France and Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of Copenhagen:
Tour de France - Conference de Presse - Candidature de Copenhague au Grand Depart - Paris - France - POULSEN Troels Lund; Ministre danois du Commerce et de la Croissance - PRUDHOMME Christian; Directeur du Cyclisme chez ASO - JENSEN Frank; Maire de Copenhague

Schär to Remain with BMC Racing Team
BMC Racing Team today announced the re-signing of Swiss rider Michael Schär beyond the 2016 season.

Schär, who came to BMC Racing Team in 2010, will line up for his eighth season with the team in 2017.
“We’ll be announcing a number of contract extensions over the coming days and weeks and I’m very happy to announce that Michael Schär is staying within the BMC Racing Team family. Michael is one of the essential riders in the team. Whether it’s in a one-day classic or a grand tour, he is always there to support our leaders, and when he gets the opportunity, ride for the victory himself,” Ochowicz said.

“Every team needs a Michael Schär in their roster so it’s a pleasure to announce the extension of his contract.”

For Schär the decision to stay with BMC Racing Team came down to the sense of family. “I feel at home in BMC Racing Team. I have some really good friends in the team and after seven years now, I’m happy to continue this tradition. The loyalty and support is really special,” Schär said.

In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Michael Schär:
Torrey - USA -  wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Michael Schar (Switzerland / BMC Racing Team)  pictured during  The Larry H.Miller Tour of Utah 2014 (2.1) stage-2 - from  Panguitch to Torrey - photo Brian Hodes/Cor Vos © 2014 *****USA OUT*****

Talansky re-signs with Cannondale Pro Cycling Team, will lead team’s GC efforts at Vuelta a España
American Andrew Talansky has re-signed with the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team and will lead the team’s general classification push at the Vuelta a España later this season.

Talansky is fresh off a fifth-place finish at the Tour de Suisse and showing a return to form after a tough spring, which included a long regiment of antibiotics to clear up a chronic sinus infection that hampered his performances.

He will skip the Tour de France.

“It was not always the plan to skip the Tour,” Talansky said. “However, a bit of background is necessary to explain how we arrived to that decision. I had a very personal issue — you could call it a family crisis — in February, shortly after arriving to Europe. It was a very traumatic and difficult few weeks, and it basically meant that for three weeks the bike was the last thing I was thinking about. Family always comes first.”

He then raced Paris-Nice where he crashed near the end of a mountain stage and quickly fell ill afterward.

“While thankfully everything was improving family wise by that point, it was still weighing heavily on me and being sick on top of it was difficult,” he said. “I have had quite a few episodes of getting sick over the past couple years, so the medical staff decided to help me dive into looking for a possible reason. We ended up doing sinus scans that showed significant blockage and chronic inflammation, which indicated that I was very susceptible to repeated upper respiratory tract infections that could then progress into a more severe illness. That is exactly what I had been experiencing.”

Talansky underwent antibiotic treatment for the month of April, and while he was able to train and race, he wasn’t at his best. It was then that he and team CEO Jonathan Vaughters began looking at the Vuelta as a Tour alternative.

“I finished the antibiotics the day after Romandie and day by day could feel my strength coming back towards Tour of California,” said Talansky. “For the first time in a long time, I felt like myself during that race. I had a great time supporting Lawson [Craddock], put in a strong TT, and came out of it better than I started. From there the momentum continued to build in training toward Tour de Suisse, and I was able to put in a good nine days there. However, we still decided to stick to the original plan of focusing on the Vuelta. While I was able to race well in Suisse, I was still not at my best – I was lacking the foundation that a solid spring of racing and training provide.”

“He had a tough spring, and that’s no secret,” Vaughters said. “The Vuelta was the plan for a while, and his result at Suisse, while promising, isn’t indicative of the form he’s capable of achieving. Rather than rush him into the Tour based on the Suisse result, it’s best to allow him to target the Vuelta and ride for the podium there now that his sinus issues have cleared up. It’s a long way away, the Vuelta always gets a few extra contenders from the Tour de France fallout, but we know Andrew can do well in Spain. I’m looking forward to it.”

On re-signing with the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team, Talansky described his feeling as being “thankful”.

“If there was one word to describe how I feel, it would have to be thankful,” Talansky expressed. “As I said before, I think a lot of people began to doubt what I can do in this sport. It surprised me a little bit. It’s during the tougher times that you really figure out who the people are that believe in you. It’s easy to back someone when they are winning, when they are good. It’s much tougher and takes commitment to support someone when they are down and seemingly out.”

“This is exactly what JV and Cannondale have done for me. They believed in me during the worst of times and they showed their commitment to helping me get back to my best by re-signing me. That is not the thinking of someone who just wants results in the immediate, but rather the thinking of a team, and management, that really want to help a rider get the most out of himself. I believe that there is a lot more I can accomplish in this sport.”

Talansky signed with the Slipstream Sports franchise in 2010 with Garmin-Transitions, and his first professional season was in 2011, where he finished in the top 10 at the Tour of Romandie. Talansky, 27, finished seventh in the 2012 Vuelta, 10th in the 2013 Tour de France (his first) and 11th in the 2015 edition of the Tour. He won the 2014 Critérium du Dauphiné in daring fashion.

“I believe in his potential, long term,” Vaughters said. “He’s hit a bump in his career, Swiss shows he’s back on track, but we re-signed him before that result anyways. I believe in the kid. It’s that simple.”

For Talansky, the focus now moves to the roads of Spain.

“I’m motivated and excited,” he said. “While the Tour de France is a very important race, the Vuelta is still a difficult and respected Grand Tour. I really like the Vuelta. It was my first Grand Tour. In 2012 I finished seventh there. That was kind of a breakout result for me, showing that I could potentially hold up to three weeks of racing. I feel like I have a lot more to give now. I will be honest when I say we really want to be in the fight for the top five and with a little luck the podium.”

“I am committed to that goal and I really want to put up a good fight in the Vuelta as a thank you for all of the support the team has given me through some very trying times. I enjoy the heat, I enjoy the fans and the atmosphere as a whole is always great. While I will obviously miss being a part of the Tour de France team, I have no doubt that all the guys will have a great race. I’ll be cheering for them every day!”

Andrew Talansky:

“We can welcome Emma Pooley back to the team”
The Lotto Soudal Ladies are really happy to announce the return of Emma Pooley to the team. The British rider was already part of the Lotto Belisol team in 2014. Now she has signed a contract for the second half of the 2016 season.

Emma Pooley: “I’m looking forward to being reunited with great teammates from the Lotto Belisol team in 2014 and Claudia Lichtenberg from Cervélo Test Team days. And I’m grateful that team directors Dany Schoonbaert and Liesbet de Vocht are giving me this opportunity to race with the team again – they supported and encouraged me so well in 2014. The Giro Rosa will be my main target with the Lotto Soudal team, riding in support of Claudia in one of the toughest 10 days of racing the women’s Giro has ever seen. It will be hard, and it will be the perfect preparation for the Rio Olympics if I’m selected for Team GB – and if not, it will be great training for the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon!”

Emma Pooley:
San Fior - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Emma Pooley (Lotto Belisol Ladies)  pictured during stage - 6 of the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile 2014 (2.1) - Giro Rosa - for women from Gaiarine to San Fiori - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2014

Wyss Signs for Tenth Season with BMC Racing Team
Current Swiss National Road Race champion Danilo Wyss has extended his contract with BMC Racing Team. 2017 will mark Wyss’ tenth season with BMC Racing Team, which is a testament to both his career and capabilities as a rider, General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

“Danilo is one of the originals of BMC Racing Team. He came to us in 2008 when the team was at the Pro Continental level, and as BMC Racing Team has developed, so too has Danilo,” Ochowicz said. “He’s a fantastic rider and a real asset to the team, so it was an easy mutual decision to continue the partnership beyond the current season. With our ties to Switzerland through our title sponsor BMC Switzerland, it’s always nice to have Swiss riders in our roster.”

Wyss echoed Ochowicz’ sentiments. “I am really happy to be staying with BMC Racing Team, particularly as it’s my tenth year and a really nice, long story and partnership. I was there at the beginning and I really like the way the team has grown. It’s nice to see BMC Racing Team continuing on and I’m very happy to be part of it,” Wyss explained.

In keeping with BMC Racing Team policy, no other details of the contract were released.

Danilo Wyss:
Amgen Tour of California 2015 - ATOC-5

Tour de Suisse 2016: Behind the Scenes
Always good to see a different view of things. Behind the scenes by Velon:

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