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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday

The first two stages of the 2017 Tour de France are behind us and crashes have played a large part in the proceedings. Stage 1 had a surprise winner in Geraint Thomas, while stage 2 was a bit more predictable as Marcel Kittel showed his speed. Jan Ullrich unwelcome at the Tour – Top Story. In other cycling news: Jakob Fuglsang, Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Coryn Rivera, Thomas Degand and Dario Cataldo all re-contract, Max Kanter and Leon Rohde stagiaire, two more years for Santos TDU and Sunweb Tour prep video. Monday coffee time.

TOP STORY: Is Lance Right?
I didn’t think I would ever agree with Lance Armstrong about anything, but the disgraced non-Tour winner made a very valid point last week, just before the start of the 2017 Tour de France in Düsseldorf. The more skeptical of you will point out that Armstrong always has to be in the press during the build-up to the French Grand Tour, but on this occasion the American might be right. In a ‘Tweet’ Armstrong wrote: “Rolling out the red carpet for the likes of Jalabert, Virenque, Hinault (and many others) yet not inviting Jan? Pfft. F**k ASO!”

The decision not to invite the last and only German winner of the Tour de France, Jan Ullrich, has annoyed Armstrong and rightly so on this occasion. Jan Ullrich was found guilty of doping in 2012 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and he was banned for two years. The German was stripped of his results from May 2005 to July 2006, but his 1997 Tour de France victory remains in the record books. Ullrich admitted his wrongs and took the punishment. Richard Virenque, on the other hand, burst into tears while claiming his innocence in 1998 and even wrote a book ‘My Truth’ while he was racing before his ban. In reality the Frenchman was one of the worst implicated riders in the Festina affair. Virenque has never fell out of favor with the Tour organizers or the French public and works for EuroSport. There seems to be a very strong smell of hypocrisy.

Quite a selection: The Devil, Jimenez, Riis, Pantani, Escartin and Ullrich:

Tour de France 2017
Geraint Thomas (Sky) powered to victory in the second half of the Stage 1 time trial to claim his first yellow jersey at the age of 32, ten years after his Tour debut in London. Four Team Sky riders made the top 8 including Chris Froome who was the fastest of the GC favorite on the 14km course in Düsseldorf. Alejandro Valverde abandoned after crashing on the wet road.

First man on the road and youngest rider of the 104th Tour de France, Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Oscaro) who celebrated his 22nd birthday had the best time for less than two minutes before Italian sprinter Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrein-Merida) took the first position. Third man in the lead was Andrei Grivko (Astana) at the average speed of 51.376km/h. But Nikias Arndt (Sunweb) pleased the German fans as he rode one second faster than him in 16:20. Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors) was next in first position with the time of 16:14. The joy of the Italian was short lived as former world champion Vassil Kiryienka (Sky) took three seconds less to cover the 14 kilometers at 51.905km/h.

Team Sky continued to perform as Geraint Thomas bettered the time of his team-mate in 16:04. The road remained slippery and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) crashed in a bend. Nicolas Roche (BMC), Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin), Dylan Groenewegen and George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo) all crashed but managed to finish.

Informed of Roche’s accident, Richie Porte (BMC) didn’t take any risks. He rode 35 seconds slower than his mail GC rival, three time Tour winner Chris Froome (Sky), while Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) finished 36, 39 and 42 seconds down on the defending champion respectively. The whole Team Sky could celebrate as Thomas remained in the lead and took his first yellow jersey ever. Stefan Küng (BMC) was 2nd on the stage and took the best young rider jersey in his first Tour de France.

Full stage 1 race report HERE.

Düsseldorf - Germany - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Geraint THOMAS (GBR / Team Sky) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 1 - Düsseldorf ITT, 14.00 km - Time Trial - individual - foto VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner and overall leader, Geraint Thomas (Sky): “It’s an amazing feeling. I hadn’t even thought about it to be honest I was super relaxed coming in. I felt like somebody was going to beat me. I’ve had my fair share of bad luck this year and back home the last month hasn’t been great – my wife and mum have both had a bit of a rough time. It’s amazing to get this win and thanks to everyone who has supported me. It’s a great day. I was just thinking about the rugby – about the Lions! And now I’ve got my own little lion! The Tour is what got me into cycling in the first place. When I was 10 I remember convincing my dad to get Eurosport so we could watch the Tour and running home from school so I could watch the last 10km. To be the other side of that camera now and taking the jersey is an amazing feeling and I’m still shocked to be honest. I’ve had my fair share of bad luck this year and to just not get any was good. I’ve had a tendency to go out a bit too fast sometimes and be a bit too keen. But I think I paced it well and it couldn’t have gone any better. I just want to enjoy tomorrow. Any extra day in the jersey is a massive bonus and it doesn’t change the goal of the team. We’ll still ride 100 percent for Froomey and do what we have to do – as if we didn’t have the jersey in the way.”

2nd, Stefan Küng (BMC): “I would have loved to be in yellow but congratulations to Geraint Thomas. It was a really amazing time. I was down one second on Tony Martin at the intermediate check point and I really tried to pull off a good finish. I put into some time on Tony but Geraint Thomas must have been flying at the end. I did everything I could and second place it is. In a time trial you always have to take risks but there is always a line and you don’t want to cross it and lie on the floor. It happened to me already so I really tried to stay upright but also go as fast as possible. I think I managed it ok, maybe not the best, but in the end I tried to make a difference on the long straight.”

4th, Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin): “I am totally on the limit. The TT was difficult for me with all the rain and corners. It disrupted my rhythm a bit, but for everyone it was the same. I will have to analyze my race. I was on the limit the last 4km and lacked a little power in the last two, but that’s a TT, that’s racing. It was absolutely amazing to ride through the streets of Düsseldorf. There was so much motivation for me. I couldn’t hear my radio because everyone was shouting for me. That’s the big thing I take away from here. I still have a few goals to reach for this year.”

5th, Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors): “I’m surprised of today’s performance. My goal was just to go full gas and make sure I don’t blow up, because there’s still three weeks ahead. I felt good, but I definitely wasn’t expecting such a result. It’s my maiden top 10 in a time trial in the pro ranks, and what better place to get it than the biggest scene in cycling? It’s really nice and it gives me more confidence for the next days.”

7th, Jos Van Emden (LottoNl-Jumbo): “The last days, I noticed that my legs were good. Normally I can ride in a really high performance peak, get back a bit and continue riding at that level. Today, I was never able to get in that peak. That was the few percentage points I missed today. I hoped for more, but gave it my all and then you have to live with it.”

9th, Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors): “I can’t tell you how happy I am to start the Tour de France in front of my countrymen. It’s incredible how many people came here today and it makes me proud that my country is celebrating the sport again. The time trial is a painful discipline, but I enjoyed it. With all these fantastic fans cheering for me from the start, I was riding in a tunnel of noise and it was really cool. That motivated me even more do get a good result today.”

10th, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data): “It was really nice to finally get the race started. Personally, I’m happy about my performance. I was feeling all-right but I didn’t risk anything through the slippery corners. Still, I managed to finish in an okay time and I’m quite happy about that. Of course, you always want to go faster but I still think I should be satisfied with today’s result.”

World road champion, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I pushed it to the maximum and the sensations were good. It was difficult because of the rain, but I didn’t crash, which was the most important thing today. Now we’ll see where we end up with today’s result, but I’m feeling confident for the coming three weeks.”

After only 7 kilometers, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) suffered a serious crash during which forced him to abandon. Transferred by ambulance to the University Hospital in Düsseldorf, examinations confirmed two fractures to his left leg: one in his kneecap and another one in the talus bone. Valverde also suffered a deep wound to his tibia, without any muscle tissue affected by that cut. The doctors taking care of Valverde’s condition have decided to operate him on his kneecap fracture tonight, which means that Valverde will remain in Germany for the next few hours and the schedule for his return home is still unconfirmed. The recovery time expected by the Movistar Team’s doctors makes it unlikely for the Spaniard to return racing during the current season.

Ion Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) crashed badly on the corner close to the point where Alejandro Valverde had crashed. His collision into the fence was very hard. Izagirre was immediately transported to the hospital by an ambulance in company with the team doctor Luca Pollastri. The first diagnosis said that Ion Izagirre has an unstable lumbar fracture and he needs a surgical treatment.

Tour de France Stage 1 Result:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 16:04
2. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC in 0:05
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:07
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:08
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 0:10
6. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:12
7. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:15
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
9. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:16
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 1:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 16:04
2. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC in 0:05
3. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:07
4. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin at 0:08
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 0:10
6. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:12
7. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:15
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
9. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:16
10. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data.

Stage 1:

Summary – Stage 1 – Tour de France 2017 por tourdefrance_en

Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) made history on Sunday, by becoming the first rider to win a Tour de France stage on a disc brake-equipped bike after coming from behind in the final kilometer of Stage 2 and storming past all his rivals on the way to his tenth career victory at the Grande Boucle.

The pressure of the first road stage and the pouring rain which accompanied the peloton as they left Düsseldorf made for a very hectic day on the bike, despite the predominantly flat parcours which pointed to a bunch gallop in Liège, the most visited foreign city in the race’s history, which welcomed the Tour de France for the 11th time, nearly seven decades after the first stop here.

Four riders made it into the breakaway – Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie), Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac) and Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) – and despite having a maximum advantage of only three minutes, it was no easy task for the bunch to reel them in, mainly due to a crash which occurred in the final 30 kilometers and disrupted the chase.

Quick-Step’s Julien Vermote, who took the front of the pack soon after the flag was dropped, moved again to the head of the pack and his strong and selfless efforts saw the gap to the split drop rapidly. In the closing kilometers, the entire Quick-Step Floors team was amassed at the front and reabsorbed the final two escapees just before the flamme rouge arch, but the frantic chase of the peloton meant the bunch sprint was a disorganized one, without any team controlling the affair.

Fabio Sabatini and Matteo Trentin guided Marcel Kittel through the final kilometer, and the 29-year-old patiently bided his time before his huge acceleration and sheer power carried him to victory in a pulsating sprint, ahead of Arnaud Démare (FDJ) and Andreé Greipel (Lotto Soudal).

Stage 2 race report HERE.

Liège - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Marcel KITTEL (Germanu / Team Quick Step - Floors) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 2 - from Düsseldorf to Liège, 203.50 km - foto Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2017

Stage winner, 3rd overall and Points leader, Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors): “Starting from Germany and having such good legs on the first day gave me a lot of confidence. I’m glad to give the fans a first German win here at the Tour de France. It was a great experience to ride through Düsseldorf and Germany, the fans were outstanding and I’m proud to see these huge crowds supporting us. It’s a memory I will never forget. Matteo and Fabio brought me there with 500 meters to go and from that point I jumped from wheel to wheel; it was an advantage to come relatively late, as I knew that having headwind will make things difficult, so that’s why I waited before opening my sprint. I want to thank the guys, they showed once again a great mentality and an incredible team spirit! I wasn’t thinking about this record before the stage, but I must admit it makes me proud to be the first rider who wins a stage here in these conditions. I sincerely believe the disc brakes are a major improvement and give you better control, especially on rainy days as today.”

2nd on the stage,Arnaud Demare (FDJ): “It was not the perfect day, there was damage with the big fall 30 kilometers from the finish, in which Mika was hurt. His morale was affected. He is a master for the sprint, I hoped he would recover. After that, I took a very good second place, but in the sprint, my team’s glitches were important. Yet with Cimo and Giacopo we adapted. We waited. There was a big dead time 300 meters from the finish line. That was the time to start again, but it was fucked for the win. Kittel comes from a distance with a bit of luck and won well but it gives me confidence for the future.”

3rd on the stage, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “The stage started perfectly for us. There was a front group of four with a small lead. Thomas De Gendt immediately started pulling in the peloton and got help from Julien Vermote of Quick-Step. Soon, other teams followed. We didn’t have to do all the work. At the end we had to do a major effort, as Offredo and Phinney still had energy left. As a team we could line up, we were well positioned. There was a headwind in the last kilometer and the last 200 meters were slightly uphill. No rider had a teammate ahead of him anymore. Peter Sagan was in the lead too early and held back, and so everyone did. Start the sprint with 250 meters to go was still too soon, so I had to wait. Kittel was very strong and deserved the win. It is very promising that I was in the mix for the stage win.”

2nd overall and Best Young rider, Stefan Küng (BMC): “I think it was more of a grey jersey by the end of the stage rather than a white jersey. It was the first real road stage of my Tour de France career so it was quite special. There were a lot of people on the side of the road which was amazing. It was also pretty hectic. With all of the people and the rain, it was difficult for everyone. So, everyone wanted to be up there. We tried to get through as safe as possible. The crash happened but this is something that happens and it was good that no one was too hurt. If we had keep going like that without the crash, it would have been a perfect day for us.”

8th on the stage, Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis): “I’m a little disappointed because we did not get too confident with Christophe Laporte in the last kilometer. It is Peter Sagan who is in his wheel, and I behind. In fact, Sagan comes to stack pile at the moment when Christophe launched his effort. Christophe could not know. It was a stormy sprint, with this head wind that explains why Sagan has temporized. The other wave then took over and it was too late. In any case I know with this sprint that the condition is there.”

10th on the stage, World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Today’s second stage of the Tour went well for the team. The guys worked really hard under difficult conditions to bring me safely to the front for the final sprint. Unfortunately I started too early and then got closed by Colbrelli. There isn’t much more to say – my sprint wasn’t very good. I feel in good form though, and we’ll try again tomorrow.”

Overall leader, Geraint Thomas (Sky) on TeamSky.com: “It was great. It was a really special feeling, to walk off the bus in it [yellow jersey] and start the stage. The weather wasn’t great, but the morale from having the jersey made that a lot easier. We were all in a decent position, top 10, top 15, coming into a roundabout and a couple of guys crashed. When it’s like that you’ve got nowhere to go really but we were all OK, all back up pretty quickly. I take every day as a bonus. Obviously without three pure bunch sprints it gives me a chance to keep the jersey a little longer. Tomorrow is another day and like we saw today with the crash, anything can happen. I’ll take nothing for granted and we’ll keep doing our job for Froomey. Hopefully that will keep me in yellow as well.”

Crash victim and 6th overall, Chris Froome (Sky) said on the team website: “I have no injuries thankfully – I’ve just lost a little bit of skin on my backside. That’s the nature of the race. We knew it was slippery conditions and every time you put the race numbers on there’s a big risk something could happen. Someone slid just a few wheels ahead of me and at those speeds you just can’t avoid it. A few of us went down but thankfully everyone is okay and we got to the finish all right without losing any time to our rivals. That’s the main thing.”

KOM, Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac): “This was the plan this morning, to go out and get the KOM jersey. To have a plan work out on the first day of the race is great for the team. It impacts the general flow of things when we start off on a good note. This is my first year with the team, and I’m happy to be the guy that can remix the ignition as R. Kelley would say. We got out there on the road today and we were running in the breakaway, and it felt like a dream. You’re racing a bike race but there are so many people out there. And you’re like – what is this? This is unreal. This is the Tour de France. The peloton never really gave us more than three minutes, I think they were a little afraid of what might happen at the end. I had no reason to think we would make it as far as we did. Sprinting up these little climbs to try to get the polka dot jersey, I was just flashing back to all these times that I’ve seen people wearing this jersey, I never ever thought I’d wear this jersey. Climbing isn’t exactly my specialty, but I’ll take advantage of any opportunities I have. I had to fight really hard to win that second KOM. Knowing I was going to potentially pull on this jersey was just blowing my mind. I was really focused, really wanted to make it happen. And as it all unfolded, it just kept getting more ridiculous. I thought they would catch us before the second climb. They didn’t, and then there were just the two of us, cruising. I didn’t start believing until like 10 kilometers to go. Of course once you start believing, you get your heart broken. Yohan [Offredo] is a guy that I’ve race with for a while, we’ve always been friendly with each other. When we crossed the line, I grabbed him and said: ‘Dude, we’re friends for life now.’ It’s his first Tour, too. We went through something special together today. It feels pretty sweet, I was not expecting this at all. I’m a little curious about if we brought some polka dot shorts with us for tomorrow. With that said, if it rains and I’m wearing white polka dot shorts, that might not be great.”

Crash victim, Richie Porte (BMC): “I came out of the crash ok but there were a few guys that went down a lot harder. It was a stressful day. It was the first real stage of the Tour and then you get the rain, then it dries up, and then starts raining again. It was a nice one to come through and it’s nice to get the first crash out of the way and get on with it. Hopefully my knee is ok, I have a little bit of a bang on that, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Crash victim, Rüdiger Selig (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I am not satisfied today, because I know I can do better. However, I went down in the crash and afterwards my legs felt a little blocked. The crowds in Germany were awesome – I have never seen so many people on the road and that made me really proud today.”

Most combative rider, Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “I had a few days to analyze the road-book in Düsseldorf on my room. I immediately saw that an escape would leave early. When the break was formed I wondered why I was in front. It was raining the whole day, but the feeling was good. Then I realized I was there for the public, along the side of the road. I knew that if we could get over the last climb in front we had a chance. I could fight for the stage together with Taylor Phinney. Some talked about a breakaway for publicity, but that was not my main goal. In my mind there was something else. The stage victory. In a stage like today I am not sprinting for victory, and I am not the best in the mountain stages. So I do it with my means in stages like today. I certainly want to try again, but not tomorrow.”

Tour de France Stage 2 Result:
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors in 4:37:06
2. Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
3. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
4. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data
5. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo
6. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Ben Swift (GB) UAE Team Emirates
8. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
9. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb
10. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe.

Tour de France Overall After Stage 2:
1. Geraint Thomas (GB) Sky in 4:53:10
2. Stefan Küng (Swi) BMC at 0:05
3. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
4. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Sky at 0:07
5. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 0:10
6. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky at 0:12
7. Jos Van Emden (Ned) LottoNl-Jumbo at 0:15
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
9. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data at 0:16
10. Nikias Arndt (Ger) Sunweb.

Stage 2:

Summary – Stage 2 – Tour de France 2017 por tourdefrance_en

Jakob Fuglsang extended with Astana Proteam
Two more seasons for Jakob Fuglsang (32), 2018 and 2019 in Astana Proteam. The corresponding agreement between the rider and the team was signed recently.

“Of course, I am happy to extend the contract with Astana Team. I’ve spent already five years here and it has been some really good years. I had the possibility to develop with Astana and hope to continue to do it in the future. After five years I feel here like in a family. I feel really good in the team, so in the end it was not difficult at all to decide to remain here for a few seasons more,” said Jakob Fuglsang.

Indeed, this is the fifth season of Jakob together with Astana Proteam and this year became a turning point for the rider after his solid victory in the final classification of the Critérium du Dauphiné with two more stage wins.

“Jakob is one of key riders in Astana Proteam. In five years, he proved himself as a strong Grand Tour rider. He was the one, who could support the leader in the crucial moments of the race, and now he is showing his qualities as a team’s leader too. His Critérium du Dauphiné win brought a lot of motivation to the team and after it we start the Tour de France with ambitions and hopes. I am really happy to have Jakob in Astana Proteam for the next two years,” said Astana general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

The silver medalist of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Jakob Fuglsang is getting ready to start in his 7th Tour de France. Once, he was 7th in general classification and now he will try to reach something more.

Dauphiné winner, Jakob Fuglsang:
Criterium du Dauphine 2017 - 69th Edition - 8th stage Albertville - Plateau de Solaison 115 km - 11/06/2017 - Jakob Fuglsang (DEN - Astana Pro Team) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2017

Chris Froome Confirms Ne Contract with Team Sky
Three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome has signed a new contract with Team Sky, extending his stay until the end of the 2020 season. Confirming the new contract, Froome said that it had been “an easy decision” to extend his stay with Team Sky.

Chris Froome said: “I’ve been at Team Sky since we began back in 2010 and for me it’s home. I’m really happy here and excited that I’ll be with Team Sky for at least the next three years. It’s been a really successful partnership and I think one of the big reasons for that is the stability of the team. As a rider that is really important as it means you can just get on with your job and focus on winning bike races. The Tour de France wins we have achieved together have been a big part of the team’s history. Now I’m looking forward to being a big part of Team Sky’s future.”

Froome will take to the start line in Dusseldorf on Saturday (1st July) seeking a landmark fourth Tour de France victory and a third consecutive Tour win.

Chris Froome:

Richie Porte Extends Contract with BMC Racing Team Beyond 2017
Richie Porte will remain with BMC Racing Team beyond the 2017 season, General Manager Jim Ochowicz announced today at the team’s Tour de France press conference. Porte, 32, joined BMC Racing Team in 2016 and has recorded two UCI WorldTour stage race wins, five stage wins, and fifth overall at the 2016 Tour de France, during that time.

Ochowicz said it was an easy decision to re-sign Porte ahead of the 2017 Tour de France. “Since joining BMC Racing Team last year, Richie Porte has developed into our outright General Classification leader. Richie’s skill set and results speak for themselves and are in line with the team’s goals and objectives throughout the season. In just over a year, Richie has become an integral part of this organization and it a pleasure to extend his contract,” Ochowicz explained.

“In 2017 alone, Richie has delivered the overall win at the Santos Tour Down Under and Tour de Romandie, second place at the Critérium du Dauphiné and four stage wins, so I think any team would be thrilled to have a rider of Richie’s calibre in their ranks. We have the most important race of the year ahead of us and we felt it was the right moment to re-sign Richie so that his full concentration can be on the Tour de France. We already have full confidence in Richie and I think we are further demonstrating that with this announcement. We are excited to see what Richie does at the Tour de France and beyond with BMC Racing Team.”

Porte attributed his success and decision to re-sign to the team environment at BMC Racing Team. “I have really enjoyed my first two years with BMC Racing Team so it was a natural decision to extend my contract. We are on the eve of the biggest race of the year, and my biggest goal of the season, and I feel at home with my teammates and the management and staff. I have raced with a few teams throughout the years and I definitely think BMC Racing Team is the right fit at this point in my career as I try to win the Tour de France. I like the atmosphere and the way BMC Racing Team operates, so I am sure this is where I want to be,” Porte said.

“I’ve had a great first half of the season and I think my results are a reflection of the way the team has created a really good training and racing environment for me. Things like having training camps at home in Monaco and building a core group of teammates around me from the first race of the year in Australia have really helped me. Whatever happens over the next three weeks, I’m looking forward to keeping the BMC Racing Team jersey on my back beyond the end of the season.”

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

Richie Porte:
Col de la Couillole - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - PORTE Richie (AUS) Rider of BMC Racing Team pictured during stage 7 of Paris - Nice UCI World Tour from Nice - Col de la Couillole, 177.00 km - foto POOLPHOTO BP/Cor Vos © 2017

Team Sunweb Extend Contract with Coryn Rivera
Following a successful debut with the team and a spring campaign filled with excellent results, Team Sunweb and Coryn Rivera (USA) have extended their contract until 2021.

It’s been Team Sunweb’s ambition to close the gap to the top teams in the world, both developing its talented riders and adding top class riders to the team. On the morning of the biggest women’s stage race, the Giro Rosa the team can look back on the first successful steps in this process. Rivera, the American pocket-rocket made the jump up to WorldTour level with the team in January 2017 and has already secured a number of prestigious wins; including a victory at Trofeo Alfredo Binda, a stage of the Amgen Tour of California and a historic victory at the Tour of Flanders. The new agreement commits Rivera and Team Sunweb to continue building on these results for an additional three years.

Of extending her time with the team Coryn Rivera said: “My transition into the team was really smooth and I’ve really enjoyed the past few months. It didn’t take me long to gel with the riders and staff from the team and it quickly became clear that we are a perfect fit. The team and I both have the same vision and our values and goals are exactly the same. We have an incredible atmosphere and I’m honored to be surrounded by inspiring people and strong team mates. I’m excited to become one of the core riders on the team and continue to progress with them. We have already achieved so much in a short time and I feel like we still have so much more to achieve together. I’m really looking forward to spending the next years with the team.”

Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans added: “We’re very happy with the extension of our cooperation. At such a young age Coryn is a real leader and that shows both in and outside of the race, this is a real special quality that every team needs and something that we particularly value. She fits really well in our structure and our core values and this has already brought us some impressive results during the short time she has been with the team. On top of this she’s really open for feedback and always looking at how we can improve and optimize things, which is essential to us. In the coming years we will look to develop and strengthen the qualities that she already naturally possesses; her sprint and skills in the classics. I am confident that we will take the maximum out of our potential and people will see a lot more from us.”

Coryn Rivera:
Oudenaarde - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Coryn Rivera (USA / Sunweb) - Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands / Orica Scott) pictured during the of Flanders Classics UCI WorldTour 101st Ronde van Vlaanderen cycling race women with start in Antwerpen and finish in Oudenaarde on April 02, 2017 - foto Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2017

Thomas Degand Extends for Two Years
Thomas Degand has renewed his contract with Wanty-Groupe Gobert for two years. The new contract of the Belgian climber now ends in 2019. The news filled the Walloon, who will dispute his first Tour de France on Saturday, with joy.

Thomas Degand: “During the Dauphiné I already talked with Jean-François Bourlart. We have an agreement to extend for two years, which is important before the start of the Tour de France. I thank the team and am glad I will stay here. We ride a wonderful program and the structure optimizes every year. I wanted to stay in team Wanty-Groupe Gobert.”

“This is a moral boost and if I feel good I will perform better on the bike. This does not change my ambitions for the Tour. I haven’t reached my goals yet. I want to focus on the next three weeks .”

Thomas Degand:

Dario Cataldo Stays with Astana
Italian rider Dario Cataldo (32) will stay with Astana Proteam for the next two years. The agreement between the team and the rider was extended for 2018 and 2019.

“I am really happy to renew my contract with Astana Proteam. This is a great team, which is developing year by year, always setting the highest goals at the Grand Tours. I like this so much, because I find a good motivation in moving ahead in my progress as a rider and staying in the successful team with big ambitions,” said Dario Cataldo.

Cataldo is riding his 3rd season with Astana Proteam, since 2015, when he was one of the riders, who helped Fabio Aru in his way to the red jersey of the Vuelta a España winner. Recently, Dario did a very brave and strong race at the Giro d’Italia, taking 14th place in final general classification.

“I like the style and sports character of Dario. He is a real fighter on the road, who can be a super domestique for the leader, but in the same time he can take a responsibility in the race on himself. We saw it in the Giro just a few weeks ago. I am happy to provide Dario a new contract for the next two seasons. We see his progress and in the nearest future he can reach some nice results”, explained Astana general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Dario Cataldo:

Sunweb Add German Duo Max Kanter and Leon Rohde to WorldTour Team as Stagiaires
After a successful opening to the season, Development Team Sunweb’s Max Kanter (GER) and Leon Rohde (GER) make the step up to Team Sunweb’s WorldTour team as stagiaires from August, 1.

Team Sunweb’s Development Program is specifically designed to bring young up-and-coming German and international talents through the ranks of professional cycling, giving riders the opportunity to develop and excel with the support of a professional structure around them. After joining the team’s Development Program at the beginning of the year, the duo have already taken some impressive results. Rohde took the win at Bundesliga Düren and most recently Kanter was crowned the U23 German national road race champion.

Speaking of joining Team Sunweb’s WorldTour Program team Kanter said: “I’m really pleased that the team have given me the chance to become a stagiaire. It’s going to be a brilliant experience and I’m proud that the team are giving me the chance. I’m really looking forward to racing on a WorldTour level and I hope that I can learn a lot and make another step in my development as a rider.”

Rohde added: “This is a real honor and a great opportunity for me to show my strengths. We’ve worked together to achieve some good results in the Development Program so far this season and it’s a really good signal that the hard work really does get rewarded.”

Development Team Sunweb’s coach Sebastian Deckert (GER) said: “We’re satisfied with the progression we’ve made so far with our Development Program. Both Max and Leon have had a great season and we see this as the best next step in their development to potentially becoming a professional rider. They have demonstrated that they work according to the team’s philosophy and this is now being rewarded by a chance to prove themselves amongst the world’s best. It’s a brilliant opportunity for both of them and I am certain that they will make the most of it and continue to thrive.”

Max Kanter and Leon Rohde:

Santos to power Tour Down Under for another two years
Santos today announced it will continue its support for the Tour Down Under (TDU), re-signing as the naming rights partner for the next two years.

Santos Managing Director and CEO Kevin Gallagher, said the company had a long history with the TDU as naming rights sponsor since the 2010 event and was pleased it would continue its partnership for the upcoming 20th Anniversary celebrations.

“Santos is excited to extend its long term partnership with the Santos Tour Down Under for another two years. Much like our company does, the Santos Tour Down Under provides substantial economic and community benefits to South Australia and showcases this great state to the world,” Mr Gallagher said.

“While Santos has been delivering energy to Australian homes and businesses for more than 50 years, we are also committed to supporting our community by sponsoring important events like the Santos Tour Down Under.

“Since becoming the naming rights sponsor in 2010, we have been delighted to watch this event transform into the world renowned festival of cycling that it is today. In that time, the event has grown to a record 839,784 spectators in 2017 and the Santos Women’s Tour has developed into a UCI ranked event.”

Mr Gallagher said the agreement was reached following discussions with the South Australian Government which commenced at the time of the 2017 Santos Tour Down Under.

South Australian Minister for Tourism Leon Bignell said, “Santos has been a long-standing and valuable partner for the Santos Tour Down Under and the State Government is delighted to see their sponsorship continue until 2019.”

“Our continued partnership is testament to the success of the Santos Tour Down Under and the results it consistently delivers as the biggest cycling event outside of Europe,” he said.

“I would like to thank Santos and Kevin Gallagher for their ongoing support of the Santos Tour Down Under and their contributions to the development of cycling.

“We really value the wonderful partnership we have with Santos because their whole team get involved. They have an amazing ride to work ratio among their workforce and their staff volunteer in many roles during the Santos Tour Down Under.

“The Santos Tour Down Under and its associated events are critical to our tourism industry – last year’s race injected a massive $56.5 million into our State’s economy and created hundreds of jobs.

“The 2018 Santos Tour Down Under aims to deliver even bigger results as we aim for record crowds hitting the one million mark to celebrate the 20th edition of the race.”

The 2018 Santos Tour Down Under will be held 13 – 21 January 2018 and race routes (for the men’s race) will be announced on Wednesday 5 July 2017.

For further information visit www.tourdownunder.com.au @tourdownunder #TDU

Sunweb Tour Videos
Hear from Nikias Arndt, Roy Curvers and Michael Matthews ahead of the Tour de France.

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