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Valkenburg - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Van Aert Wout (BEL) cheers with Van Der Poel Mathieu (NED) pictured during the World Championships Cyclocross for elite men in Valkenburg, Netherlands - photo PN/Cor Vos © 2018

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

After a season of second places, Wout Van Aert took the big one. JJ Lobato apologizes – Top Story. Loads of race news with results and video from the cyclocross World championships, Valencia and Bessèges. In other EUROTRASH cycling news: Bardet out for two weeks, race news from Oman, Dubai, Ruta del Sol and the Tour of the Alps, Greg LeMond joins Velodrome Development Foundation, a year for Bahrain-Merida and the Best of Both race. Monday coffee time.

TOP STORY: Lobato Apologizes
In an open letter on his Facebook page, Juan José Lobato has apologized for his actions that caused his sacking from the LottoNL-Jumbo team after an incident at their December training camp.

  1. “Through this open letter, I want to explain everything that has happened in recent months and, especially, I want to announce my intention to continue competing at the highest level. Cycling is my passion and I feel stronger than ever. I would like to start by explaining what happened on December 14, 2017, at the LottoNL-Jumbo training camp. Although I will no longer represent their colours, I must apologise to the team for having breached part of its regulations. Finally, they decided to fire me and we reached an agreement to rescind the contract.

    However, I do want to deny some information published at the time. There is no doubt that there was no party or the presence of alcoholic beverages. The only thing that is certain is that I took a medication to be able to sleep, a substance that in no case is for doping. I would also like to express that I do not have any type of addiction to these substances. I have already done several medical examinations, with exhaustive tests. And the result is clear: there are no traces of these sleep medications in my urine. Moreover, I am totally open to submit to more tests to prove that I am not addicted to any type of medication.

    It is true that I have needed this medication at certain times during 2017, due to personal problems. In my case, in 2017, I lived the hardest year of my life. I had to face a difficult separation and mourned the death of my uncle due to an accident at work, a family member who was key in my development as a cyclist and as a person and who left us at only 43 years of age. Due to all these problems of a personal nature, falling asleep was not easy and I had to resort, wrongly, to this medication to rest well.

    I find myself without a team and I also need to publicly express my desire to continue competing at the highest level. These are very hard times and I would like to thank you for all the support you have shown me during this month and a half. In life, you have to never give up and I hope to have the opportunity to compete again as soon as possible. The only thing I ask for: an opportunity to race. I have been training very hard these months to be able to find a team again and enjoy this sport again. The sensations are excellent and thanks to cycling I have recovered my smile and I have managed to overcome all the difficulties in 2017. On this path of recovery, I only need one last step: the return to putting a jersey and shorts on and being able to compete.”

Lobato admitted that last year had been a difficult one for the Spaniard as he had separated from his wife and an uncle had died, which was causing him sleep problems and so had resorted to the medication.

The two other riders involved, Eenkhoorn and Tolhoek, were given two-month suspensions by the team, considering that Lobato was obviously having problems, would it not have been more compassionate to have suspended Lobato for six months and reduced his wages, but kept an eye on him and given him hope for the future.

Happier times for JJ winning stage 3 of the 2016 Dubai Tour:

World Elite Men’s Cyclocross Championships 2018 – Valkenburg, Netherlands
After watching Mathieu van der Poel win most races in the 2017/18 season, Wout Van Aert turned the tables on the Dutchman in his home country on Sunday. Van der Poel was even beaten into 3rd place by Michael Vanthourenhout. The Belgian has won the Rainbow jersey three years in a row.

Mathieu van der Poel didn’t wait long to make his move and with in sight of the start line moved to the front of the race, jumping past Stephen Hyde (USA), and Belgians Michael Vanthourenhout, Laurens Sweeck, and Wout van Aert. The Dutchman was soon going for a solo move with Tim Merlier working hard to hold his wheel and tow Van Aert back to Van der Poel.

Van der Poel’s power dropped Marlier, but Van Aert held on and the pair were away together at the end of lap 1. Van Aert was riding and running through the muddy Dutch course with confidence while Van der Poel had problems and made quite a few mistakes.

Behind; Michael Vanthourenhout leading the Belgian and Dutch chase just 6 seconds back with Toon Aerts at 21 seconds, with France’s Steve Chainel and Italy’s Gioele Bertolini making up the top 10. On lap two, on a left-hand turn on the descent Van der Poel hit the fence and then soon after he had to put a foot down where Van Aert rode cleanly through and dropped the Dutchman and by the end of lap two he had 25 seconds on Van der Poel and Vanthourenhout, by the end of lap three the lead was 1:06. A lap more and he had 1:46 and was lapping many riders.

Vanthourenhout cracked Van der Poel on lap 5 and rode away from him when the Dutchman had to run and the silver medal was as good as his. Van der Poel was being chased by Toon Aerts, but his bronze medal was safe by 46 seconds.

The biggest race of the season was not won by the best rider of the season, but the best man on the day took the 2018 World championship.

More photos from the Worlds HERE.

Valkenburg - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Wout van Aert (BEL) pictured during the World Championships Cyclocross for elite men in Valkenburg, Netherlands - photo Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2018

World champion, Wout Van Aert (Belgium): “I didn’t expect this, I think it was one of the best races in my life on a bike. The running went so good. I can’t believe it that a race went like that. I expected a big battle but this was nice of course. It’s the third consecutive world title for me. I think it’s pretty historical to do that in cyclo-cross. The names who did that before me were icons of this sport. It means a lot to come in this select group of people. I worked really hard for this. Now it’s time to enjoy it. In the second lap I felt strong, in the beginning it was a big challenge to follow Mathieu. I knew that the most difficult part for me was following him in the first lap. After that I knew I had a chance in the second lap. Immediately I had a nice gap. I was in a rhythm I could hold on for the rest of the race. I can go over the limit for one hour. That happens. It’s the World Championships. You don’t want to take the risk to slow down the pace. I just gave everything until I was on the bridge in the last lap. I was completely dead. I made a mistake in the lowest part of the course. Afterwards I was a little bit out of my rhythm for half a lap. It was difficult because I knew it was more than two laps, still more than 20 minutes in the race. I tried to focus again and I came back in a good pace. I think on this course it was impossible to stay without mistakes. Also for me it happens.”

2nd, Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium): “I didn’t expect the second place. It was a surprise to be up there with the firsts in the opening lap. It was important to follow those two. When I bridged up with Mathieu I knew that he wasn’t super and something was possible.”

3rd, Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands): “I didn’t make many mistakes. Wout was far above the others today. Mentally it’s very difficult to come here with the goal of becoming world champion and in the second lap you already realize that it’s not going to happen. It was mentally hard. The crowd – which was a real good crowd – pulled me through the difficult moments today.”

World Elite Men’s Cyclocross Championships Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Belgium) in 1:09:00
2. Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) at 2:13
3. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands) at 2:30
4. Toon Aerts (Belgium) at 3:16
5. Lars Van Der Haar (Netherlands) at 4:29
6. Gioele Bertolini (Italy) at 4:42
7. Tim Merlier (Belgium) at 4:56
8. Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) at 5:21
9. Daan Soete (Belgium) at 5:30
10. Steve Chainel (France) at 5:51.

Men’s Worlds’18:

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2018
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) won Stage 2 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana ahead of Team Astana duo, Luis Leon Sanchez and Jakob Fuglsang. Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) brought in the chasers at 19 seconds.

Stage 2 took riders into the mountains with 5 categorized climbs during today’s 154km route. The final climb peaked 30 kilometers before the finish and so a small group arriving at the line did seem like the most obvious outcome.

The early 5-rider break of the day was caught on the final climb by a Sky led peloton. The British team was hoping to keep control of proceedings on the climb, but Fuglsang had other ideas. The Dane attacked around 4km from the top of the climb and was followed by Valverde. The pair led over the top with the peloton just 15 seconds behind, with a mostly downhill 30 kilometers to go to the finish.

Sanchez was able to bridge across to the leaders on the descent and the trio started their 3-man time trial effort to the line. After the peloton blew to pieces on the climb, the first chase group comprised of just 21 riders. With 4 Sky riders in the chase group, it was up to them to do the bulk of the work but they were no match for the 3 up the road. The gap slowly grew to 30 seconds as they reached the final 3 kilometers of the stage.

In the end, Valverde was the fastest from the front group, taking the stage win and the overall lead. The chase group came charging in 19 seconds down on the leaders.

Albuixech - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar) - Luis Leon SANCHEZ GIL (Spain / Team Astana) - Jakob FUGLSANG (Danmark / Team Astana) pictured during stage 2 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana from Bétera to Albuixech (153.9KM) - photo Luis Gomez/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and overall leader, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “At the Garbí climb I was feeling like I had good legs and decided to attack, profiting from the fact that Fuglsang had moved meters before. Luisle bridged back into the downhill and we really got on well with each other afterwards. That good cooperation and the fact that we three were all strong riders made it possible to reach the finish, even if Sky and other squads pushed with all they had. Surprised? Well, I was feeling great training before the first races, and last week in Mallorca I saw I was on the pace of the strongest ones and knew that it’d be possible to try and win a stage here. I got this chance and didn’t want to wait for another one – the sooner the better. It makes me so, so happy to get this victory after everything I had to go through during the last few months. The seconds we put on the rest today might become decisive, too. It’s not a bad TTT for us tomorrow, but it’s a dangerous one, so we must stay focused as well as cautious, trying to lost not too much time so we can stand a chance on Saturday. Let’s see what we can do after today’s win and tomorrow’s result.”

4th on the stage, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): “I am very happy. It was first hard stage for us and we had to try our legs after a good training camp. The team was great and 4th place today is a good position for the rest of Volta a la Comunitad Valenciana.”

6th on the stage and best young rider, Merhawi Kudus (Dimension Data): “It was a tough day, always up and down. The final climb was important to start with a good position. The team helped me all day to be in a good position for the start of the climb. Sky set a high pace but I was able to follow their rhythm. The descent was a little tricky at first, so 3 guys could get a gap. I remained calm in the chase group and just had to wait for the final. I followed Van Avermaet in the sprint and could take 6th. I am happy with this start to my season, also because it is my first race back after my big crash at the Vuelta a España last year.”

Valencia stage 2 photos.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 2 Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 3:53:55
2. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
4. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:19
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
6. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
8. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy
10. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Overall After Stage 2:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 5:27:58
2. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:04
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:06
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:29
5. Diego Rosa (Ita) Sky
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
8. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
9. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC
10. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Sprandi Polkowice.

Valencia stage 2:

BMC Racing Team continued their dominance in the team time trial at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana by smashing the 23km course to claim the win for the second consecutive year on Stage 3.

Heavy rain and strong winds early in the day put the race in doubt but eventually the race organizers and UCI commissaires decided to proceed but neutralize the result from the General Classification. Fortunately, the rain had cleared and the roads had mostly dried by the time the first team rolled out at 14:32.

As the fourth to last team to roll down the ramp, BMC Racing Team was chasing the fastest provisional time of 29:01 set by Gazprom-RusVelo, which was later bettered by AG2R La Mondiale. The team’s prowess in the discipline was immediately evident with the riders turning regularly, a perfect line in formation, and at the intermediate time check, BMC Racing Team clocked the fastest time by 25 seconds.

The three final teams to start couldn’t match BMC Racing Team’s speed and as the remaining teams navigated the technical course, the advantage increased. With the time taken from the fourth rider to finish, Greg Van Avermaet led Brent Bookwalter, Stefan Küng, and Jürgen Roelandts across the line and stopped the clock at 27:25 which was an impressive 50.77km/hour average speed. Astana Pro Team and AG2R La Mondiale completed the podium, 1:08 and 1:12 behind respectively.

Stage 3 TTT photos.

Calpe - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Team BMC pictured during stage 3 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana from Benitatxell to Calpe (23KM) TTT - team time trial - photo Luis Gomez/Cor Vos © 2018

Stefan Küng (BMC): “It was a pretty demanding TTT but in the end, we are the best bike riders in the world, and I think we are able to handle this type of situation. This is also what makes a good bike rider. I am proud of the team. We did a good job, and we showed once again that we really know how to perform in this discipline and we know how to approach it no matter what the conditions are. We said that we didn’t want to take inappropriate risks but that we wanted to go fast and I think that’s what we did. It worked out well, so we are happy.”

Greg Van Avermaet (BMC): “We prepared for the time trial as good as possible, and we came here with the main objective to win today. It was hard to make a good decision this morning because it was raining a lot but when it dried up, I think everyone wanted to keep it safe but still go as fast as possible to the line to take this victory. We are not here for the GC, and the most important thing for us was the stage win, and we now have it here with the team so, overall I’m pretty happy. It was a really technical course. It was not only about power it was also about technique, and with our team, we have a lot of experience, and that helped a lot to keep everyone together. Everyone put a stone in this victory, and it was really nice to see that we could still win today.”

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 3 Result:
1. BMC in 27:24
2. Astana at 1:08
3. AG2R-La Mondiale at 1:12
4. CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 1:36
5. Gazprom–Rusvelo
6. Katusha-Alpecin at 1:43
7. Euskadi-Murias at 1:46
8. Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 1:54
9. Cofidis at 2:14
10. Direct Energie at 2:15.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Overall After Stage 3:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 8:27:58
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:04
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:06
4. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky at 0:29
5. Diego Rosa (Ita) Sky
6. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
8. David De La Cruz (Spa) Sky
9. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo
10. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC.

Stage 3:

Movistar’s Alejandro Valverde defended his yellow leader’s jersey with comfort and brilliance to conquer the Queen Stage 4 on Cocentaina’s Alto de Las Canteras, increasing his lead before heading into Sunday’s final stage to the City of Valencia.

Alejandro Valverde’s sensational return into racing after his accident in the 2017 Tour de France seems to be complete from his showing in this Tour of Valencia. Following his exhibition on the Alto del Garbí to win in Albuixech on Thursday, taking the leader’s jersey in the process, the Spanish rider from the Movistar Team reasserted his dominant position in the Queen stage, a tough 184km ride from Orihuela to the Alto de las Canteras in Cocentaina.

Valverde was the strongest on the decisive stretch of the final climb, staying calm against all attacks from his rivals to finish off with one of his signature sprints in the closing 150 meters, where he left his group of companions behind and passed Briton Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), who had jumped away seconds before. The win, Alejandro’s 110th as a professional rider, strengthens his lead in the standings, now with 14 seconds over 2nd placed Luis León Sánchez and 26 seconds on Jakob Fuglsang (both Astana).

Stage 4 photo gallery.

Cocentaina - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE (Spain / Team Movistar) pictured during stage 4 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana from Orihuela : Cocentaina (181KM) - photo Luis Gomez/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and overall leader, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “The first thing I want to do is thank my whole team, because their work all day was impressive. The start was really, really fast, with attacks everywhere and not many teams wanting to keep things calm. Sky even tried to go all-in into the first ascent towards Cocentaina, after the Benillup climbs. When Kwiatkowski attacked, we tried to keep him at short distance first, but later on realized that we had to let him go, because we would be wasting some precious weapons if we tried to keep him on a leash. They then tried to get a third man at the front, and that’s where I went myself to chase him. The good thing was that my team-mates were able to stay strong and keep things a little bit more controlled in the following phase, so I could stay calm until the end. There’s no way I couldn’t finish things off for them, I had to pay them back. This win really feels great. I keep this yellow jersey and obtaining a second win in just seven days of racing… I honestly don’t know if I’m stronger than before the injury (laughs).”

9th on the stage and overall, best young rider, Kilian Frankiny (BMC): “The team worked the whole day for me, keeping me out of the wind, going for bottles, all of the things that I did last year. I was very thankful that they helped me the whole day and it was nice to see because I’m still young. I was very happy that I could finish well at the end and pay them back for helping me today. I started the final climb a bit too far behind and then I worked my way back to the front guys. I knew the climb from our recon and I knew that there would be a flat part so I wanted to be there in the wheels. In the last part I just suffered and held on. I gave it everything I had. I’m very proud and very happy that I have this white jersey. I hope that I can hold it to the end tomorrow. My next race is the Abu Dhabi Tour. I can go in with a lot of confidence and I think the team has now seen what I am able to do. I still have two weeks to prepare more and maybe I can show even better form.”

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 4 Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 4:48:35
2. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:04
3. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana
4. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:09
5. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:10
6. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:15
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:18
9. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC at 0:24
10. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy at 0:30.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Overall After Stage 4:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 13:16:23
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:14
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:26
4. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:37
5. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:48
6. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:49
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:54
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:57
9. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC at 1:03
10. Amaro Manuel Antunes (Por) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 1:09.

Valencia stage 4:

Jürgen Roelandts (BMC) sprinted to victory on the Final Stage 5 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Alejandro Valverde held his lead for the overall win.

Despite the wet weather, it was a fast start to the final day of racing with a strong six-rider group jumping off the front of the peloton early and opening up an advantage over the opening 10km, of the 135.2km course. Behind the breakaway, the main bunch was keen to keep control of proceedings, and consequently, after peaking at 1:23 after 32km of racing, the gap to the leaders was pulled back to around the one-minute mark.

Heading into the second half of the stage, and with a potential bunch sprint up for grabs, the peloton picked up the pace and the gap to the breakaway began to fall with 40km to go, just 30 seconds separated the two groups. On the descent of the day’s only categorized climb, BMC’s Stefan Küng attacked to begin an impressive solo effort at the front of the race, which saw him head into the final 20km still holding onto an advantage of around 20 seconds.

While Küng continued to dig deep up ahead, the peloton began a frantic chase with riders stretched out along the road as the race was eventually pulled back together and the stage was set for a fast and furious finalé.

With four sharp turns to navigate before the final run into the line, it was a battle for position in the bunch but, after being protected by his BMC Racing Team teammates, Roelandts was in a perfect position when the finish line came into view. As the sprint was launched, Roelandts’ impressive turn of speed saw him power towards the line before punching the air with delight after sealing victory in Valencia.

The Movistar team flawlessly protected overall leader, Alejandro Valverde, during the final stage to Valencia, all the GC contenders remained together in the main bunch. Valverde confirmed his overall win with Astana duo Luis León Sánchez and Jakob Fuglsang joining the Spaniard on the podium.
It’s Alejandro’s 111st success as a professional cyclist, as well as his first stage race victory of the 2018 season, ten months since the last one, the 2017 Vuelta al País Vasco, and seven months after his horrible crash in the Tour de France, one that very nearly put an end to his career.

Valencia - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Jurgen ROELANDTS (Belgium / BMC Racing Team) - Danny van POPPEL (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) pictured during stage 5 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana from Paterna to Valencia (135KM) - photo Luis Gomez/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner, Jürgen Roelandts (BMC): “It’s been a while since I have had a victory. I’ve moved teams, and I had an operation in the past six months, and this is my first race back. I proved today that I have worked hard and I was even able to take this victory. It’s amazing for me. I think I made all the right choices over the last six months and it all came together today. My main goals will be the Classics with Greg Van Avermaet. I know he is the number one there. I knew I would get to have opportunities with the team at races like this to go for the sprints. It’s a lot of fun to win for myself again. It’s been three years, so I am super happy.”

Final overall winner, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “This victory is a reward to the great, hard work we did during the last few months with my recovery. That’s why I’m so happy, because I know where I come from and everything I had to go through in order to bounce back from such a serious crash and injuries I sustained. It’s quite different, this feeling, from the one when I won the race for the first time, 14 years ago. This time I’m coming back from a very serious injury, a seven-month period without any racing, and it’s really comforting to see I’m doing as well as I did or even better. I had many things to show yet in 2004. Now I’ve done everything I could in cycling, even though I keep the same love and excitement towards this sport. This victory goes to all of my team-mates. I want to thank them because they were phenomenal all week. Also to all the people who has helped and supported me during the seven months before this comeback. Seeing how I was doing in Mallorca, I knew I could contest the overall win, and my attack on stage two really made me realize I was on the right path to chase that win. I held some doubts before Mallorca about how my knee would keep up after several days of racing, but in those hard, rainy conditions we had last week, it reacted well. Even more so here. We’ve had rain at all five days in Valencia, as well as cold temperatures, tough climbs – happily, everything went great. My next races? Next weekend, at my home race in the Vuelta a Murcia and the Clásica de Almería, followed by the Abu Dhabi Tour later this month.”

3rd on the stage, Clement Venturini (AG2R-La Mondiale): “Everything was fine up to 250 meters from the line. Olivier (Naesen) lead me out me perfectly, but in the last corner, he fell! He did not hurt himself, thankfully. Of course, there is a little disappointment, I think the victory was definitely possible today. Nevertheless, for my first race of the year, I am satisfied with my sensations, and with taking a 5th place and a podium. Now, I will follow up with La Ruta Del Sol (14-18 February), I hope that next time I can really smile.”

9th overall and best young rider, Kilian Frankiny (BMC): “With the rain today, it was not easy. Then, on the climb, Astana Pro Team tried something, so it was pretty hectic coming into the final. Stefan was still out in front and behind we were hoping that he could do it. Behind him, the team looked after me really well and kept me on the wheel so I could cross safely. I am very proud to win the white jersey. There were a lot of talented riders here like Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) and other big names, so I am pretty happy. Also ninth on the GC here was my first overall top ten result with BMC Racing Team, so I am very happy.”

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 5 Result:
1. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC in 2:58:26
2. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
3. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:01
4. Nelson Andres Soto Martinez (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
5. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
6. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
8. Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana
9. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
10. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Final Overall Result:
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar in 16:14:53
2. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana at 0:14
3. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 0:26
4. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:37
5. Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis at 0:48
6. Primoz Roglic (Slo) LottoNL-Jumbo at 0:49
7. Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana at 0:54
8. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:57
9. Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC at 1:03
10. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 1:09.

Stage 5:

Etoile de Bessèges 2018
Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) surprised Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) right on the finish line of Stage 2 of the Etoile de Besseges on Thursday. Coquard thought he had the win and had his arms in the air when Laporte passed him before the line. Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) took third place. Laporte also took the overall lead.

On the first of the day’s two climbs Romain Combaud (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM), Michael Van Staeyen (Cofidis) and Jérémy Cabot (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) broke away, but Van Staeyen and Cabot were dropped, leaving Combaud out on his own. After the climb he was joined by Jimmy Turgis (Cofidis), Pierre Idjouadiene (Roubaix-Lille Metropole), Davide Gabburo (Amore e Vita-Prodir) and eventually Dries van Gestel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Kevin Le Cunff (St-Michel-Auber 93). They built up a lead of 4:40 and by start of the finish circuit in Générac they were down to 2:30 and with one 10km lap to go they only had 15 seconds.

The group managed to add 5 seconds to their lead, but with attacks from the peloton they were caught in the final kilometer. Vital Concept took up the lead of the peloton working for Coquard in the sprint and it looked like it would give the new team a welcome win. Coquard hit the front on the slight uphill finish and started to celebrate a little too early allowing Laporte to swoop under his arm for the victory.

Generac - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Christophe Laporte (FRA - Cofidis) - Bryan Coquard (FRA - Vital Concept)  pictured during  Etoile de Bessèges 2018 2018 -  stage 1 - photo LB/RB/DS/Cor Vos © 2018

3rd on the stage and 5th overall, Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “Fortunately the damage from the crash wasn’t too bad for me, although I had some problems with my back. It was a fast and nervous stage today. The peloton had to hunt firmly on the six attackers. In the final, Sean de Bie accelerated with teammate Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, which was ideal for us. First I was in the wheel of the riders of Veranclassic. But they were in front too early. Then Vital Concept took over and Wesley Kreder could put me perfectly in Coquard’s wheel. Amaury Capiot came between Coquard and me just before the sprint, so I first had to pass him and could almost equal Coquard. I stayed there and winner Laporte passed on the inside. This third place shows that I am in good shape. Tomorrow will be a fairly difficult stage. We will see how we survive that day. On Saturday there will certainly be another chance of a bunch sprint, where I want to strike.”

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 2 Result:
1. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis in 3:22:05
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept
3. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5. Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
6. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ
7. Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Vital Concept
8. Romain Feillu (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
9. Kevyn Ista (Bel) WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic
10. Marco Maronese (Ita) Bardiani-CSF.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 2:
1. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis in 7:08:05
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept
3. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ
4. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:04
5. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert at 0:06
6. Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:07
7. Pierre Idjouadiene (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
8. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:08
9. Michiel Dieleman (Bel) Cibel-Cebon
10. Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 0:09.

Bessèges stage 2:

Marc Sarreau took FDJ’s second victory in the Etoile de Besseges in Friday’s Stage 3. Sarreau out-sprinted Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) and Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-La Mondiale) and take the overall lead over Boudat by 8 seconds and 10 seconds over Christophe Laporte (Cofidis).

The stage consisted of three laps with the Cat 1 Col de Trelis and the Col des Brousses coming 25 kilometers before the finish. Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R-La Mondiale), Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM), Gianni Marchand (Cibel-Cebon) and Remy di Gregorio (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM) made the early break. Their lead hovered between 1:20 and 2:30 to be pulled back just under 60 kilometers to go.

From there to the final climb there were many attacks and in the end Romain Combaud (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM) went solo and had lead of over 30 seconds with 30 kilometers to go. Combaud was joined by Droes Van Gestel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Backaert and the lead went to 40 seconds with 15 kilometers remaining as FDJ started a serious chase. At the start of the final 7K lap the three still had 28 seconds and with 3Ks; only 12. With 500 meters to go the FDJ led peloton swept past the three to put Marc Sarreau over the line first for stage and overall.

Bessèges - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Marc Sarreau (FRA - Groupama - FDJ) pictured during  Etoile de Bessèges 2018 2018 -  stage 3 - photo LB/RB/DS/Cor Vos © 2018

3rd on the stage and 6th overall, Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R-La Mondiale): “I have had the opportunity on many occasions to sprint here, and it’s a race that suits me. I knew I had to go out at the last moment considering the headwind. It hurt a lot in the end, but I did not give up. I think it was possible to win, but I had to cut my effort with still 150 meters to go to the line. It’s a small disappointment but the team showed its collective strength as soon as the road turned upward today, and I think we can be ambitious for the coming weekend. Tomorrow the finish is at the top of the Mur de Laudun and Tony (Gallopin) has already won there (2015).”

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 3 Result:
1. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ in 3:56:29
2. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
3. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems Crelan
5. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6. Brenton Jones (Aus) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
7. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
8. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Damien Touze (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
10. Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 3:
1. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ in 11:04:24
2. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:08
3. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:10
4. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept
5. Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:14
6. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:16
7. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
9. Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:17
10. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Bessèges stage 3:

Sean De Bie (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan) won the sprint at the end of Stage 4 on the Mur de Laudun on Saturday, only just getting the better of Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Rudy Barbier (AG2R-La Mondiale). Overall leader, Marc Sarreau (FDJ) was 8th on the stage and takes an 8 second overall lead into the final time trial over Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) and 10 seconds on Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept), Christophe Laporte (Cofidis), De Bie and Dupont.

After some early attacks, the break of the day formed with Remy Di Gregorio (Delko Marseille-Provence KTM), Tom Devriendt (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Julien Antomarchi (Roubaix- Metropole) and Gianni Marchand (Cibel-Cebon). By the first climb they had 3 minutes lead as Di Gregorio crossed the line, Marchand was first over the second climb.

At the start of the four finishing laps of 15.6 kilometers the lead was under 2 minutes and by the start of the second circuit it was 1:20 and with 35km to go they had under a minute. Devriendt attacked from the leaders to take a 30 second lead into the last lap, but was caught with 3K remaining. On the last climb of the Mur de Laudun FDJ tried to control the sprint, but De Bie and Dupont fought it out for the stage win.

2nd on the stage and 6th overall, Timothy Dupont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “This is a tough nut to crack. I started my sprint with 300 meters to go and felt that I gapped the others. Unfortunately Sean De Bie was ideally placed in my wheel. He could only pass me in the final meters. If he wasn’t on my wheel, I win today. But hey, that is cycling. It was an uphill sprint, but that suits me. I can handle such an explosive effort. Teammate Tom Devriendt was extremely strong today. In the beginning of the stage I was already part of a big breakaway. Then he attacked a few more times and he was caught solo at four kilometers from the line. Tomorrow is a battle against the clock, unfortunately my time-trial skills are not that good, but I will give everything I have. After Bessèges, my competition program consists of the Vuelta Murcia, Clasica Almeria and Volta Algarve.”

3rd on the stage, Rudy Barbier (AG2R-La Mondiale): “The stage was nervous all day. The first goal was to keep Tony (Gallopin) and Alexis (Gougeard) in touch with the best riders. From the moment we had fulfilled that mission, I was able to concentrate on my sprint. Since the beginning of the Bessèges race, luck did not want to smile for me. So today, I’m happy with this third place, my first podium of the season. In addition to that, I was able to stay ahead of my brother Pierre who finished fourth! If he had beaten me, I think he would have razzed me all week. More seriously, I’m happy to see him succeed at this level. Now, it’s time for the final time trial where our two leaders can expect a good performance. For me, I will be continuing on to the Tour de Provence (8-11 February) next week. “

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 4 Result:
1. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan in 3:43:14
2. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Rudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
4. Pierre Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
5. Damien Touze (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
6. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis
7. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept
8. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ
9. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
10. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 4:
1. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ in 14:47:38
2. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:08
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept at 0:10
4. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
5. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems Crelan
6. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:16
8. Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:17
9. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie.

Stage 4:

AG2R-La Mondiale’s Tony Gallopin won the Stage 5 time trial and took the final overall win at Etoile de Besseges in Ales on Sunday. Gallopin finished with a time of 15:21 for the 10 kilometers, Yoann Paillot (St.Michel-Auber 93) was second at 20 seconds and Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) was third at 22.

Gallopin started the day in 15th place overall and in the end he beat Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) by 15 seconds with Yoann Paillot (St Michel-Auber 93) in third at 20 seconds. 4th place went to Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) at 22 seconds.

Stage and final overall winner, Tony Gallopin (AG2R-La Mondiale): “It was a great battle all week. The time trial was to my advantage and I am relieved to do the double and win the overall classification! After a great week for the team, it was important that I follow-through today. Everyday my teammates have sacrificed themselves so that I could stay in touch with the leaders. There have been a lot of changes for me this winter, but I integrated perfectly with the AG2R-La Mondiale group. I also quickly made my mark on the Factor Slick, an efficient bike against the clock. The last three years I had continually come across riders who were stronger than me at this race. I’m happy that this series second place finishes at Bessèges stops here. I wanted to hang this race on my record. After La Marseillaise, the team proved that it is on the right track. My number one goal remains Paris-Nice for the early part of the season, so it’s reassuring to start the season this way.”

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 5 Result:
1. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 15:21
2. Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 at 0:20
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energe at 0:22
4. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:25
5. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:29
6. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie
7. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:34
8. Léo Vincent (Fra) FDJ at 0:39
9. Johan Le Bon (Fra) Vital Concept at 0:44
10. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan at 0:45.

Etoile de Bessèges Final Overall Result:
1. Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale in 15:03:19
2. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:15
3. Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93 at 0:20
4. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:22
5. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:26
6. Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:29
7. Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:34
8. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan at 0:35
9. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ
10. Johan Le Bon (Fra) Vital Concept at 0:44.

Stage 5:

Romain Bardet Out for Two Weeks
Romain Bardet was the victim of an accident at his home on Sunday, February 4 in Vence (Alpes Maritimes / French Riviera). He suffered a cut, and a small muscle injury on his left forearm that required stitches, and for which he must wear a splint for two weeks, according to Dr. Eric Bouvat, medical manager of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team.

As a result, he will have to adjust his training schedule to allow time to heal.
His participation in Ruta del Sol (February 14-18) has been compromised. In the coming days, we will be announcing his racing schedule for the coming weeks.

Romain Bardet: “It’s never nice to get hurt, especially at home. It’s annoying, but it’s just a small setback. We are only at the beginning of February, I have trained very well since my break in November, and I have clocked up 6,000 kilometers since then. The GP La Marseillaise (8th) confirmed my good feelings. It’s just a shame; when the team, like Tony Gallopin in Béssèges, is very successful, to have to slow down my own preparation a little is annoying. My injury is more embarrassing than serious, and I will continue to keep up my training before returning to competition very quickly.”

Romain Bardet:

2018 Tour of Oman: Ready for Battle
February, right in the middle of the Omani winter, sees the mercury rise to almost 30 degrees both on the coast and further inland. It is an ideal dry run for the European summer, when several of the major races of the season take place. The varied terrain gives riders of all sorts the opportunity to test their legs ahead of their objectives —some closer, some still far away—, with classics riders focused on early spring.

Stage 1 will see pure sprinters go head-to-head for victory in a dash for the line in front of Sultan Qaboos University. Mark Cavendish, back in the Tour of Oman, is a major contender for the win, but he will face competition from Nacer Bouhanni, who has already tasted victory on the roads of Oman (2013), as well as race newcomer Bryan Coquard. Alexander Kristoff, no stranger to victory in Oman with seven stage wins under his belt, is likely to be in the mix as well. However, the jagged terrain of the next few stages is an even better fit for the Norwegian, who will face Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet in a clash of titans.

The penultimate stage finishes on Green Mountain, a 5.7 km climb that has traditionally decided the overall win and boasts an average gradient of 10.5%. Victory is all but certain to fall to climbers such as Vincenzo Nibali, who has already tamed this mountain twice (2012 and 2016), and the new Colombian star, Miguel Ángel “Superman” López, as well as former world champion Rui Costa, who never fails to show good form on the testing climb in Oman.

Key points
· The Sultanate of Oman will set the scene for the first major clashes of the 2018 season with the ninth edition of the Tour of Oman, running from 13 to 18 February.
· The preliminary start list promises a battle on all fronts: Cavendish vs Bouhanni in the sprints, Kristoff vs Van Avermaet in explosive jumps from afar, and Nibali vs “Superman” López on the Jebel Akhdar climb!

18 teams and main contenders:

South Africa
Team Dimension: Data Cavendish (GBR) and Kudus (ERI)

Team Sunweb: Kragh Andersen (DEN) and Theuns (BEL)

Bahrain-Merida: V. Nibali (ITA) and G. Izagirre (ESP)

Quick-Step Floors: Capecchi (ITA) and Terpstra (NED)
Wanty-Groupe Gobert: Eiking (NOR)
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise: De Gendt (BEL)

United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: Kristoff (NOR) and Costa (POR)

United States
BMC Racing Team: Van Avermaet (BEL), Bettiol (ITA) and Roche (IRL)
Trek–Segafredo: Felline (ITA)
Rally Cycling: Pate (USA)

Caja Rural-Seguros RGA: Yssaad (FRA) and Schultz (AUS)

Cofidis, Solutions Crédits: Bouhanni (FRA), Navarro and Herrada (ESP)
Team Fortuneo-Samsic: B. Feillu, Périchon and Vachon (FRA)
Vital Concept Cycling Club: Coquard and Morice (FRA)

Aqua Blue Sport: Blythe and Fenn (GBR)

Astana Pro Team: López (COL), Kangert (EST) and Lutsenko (KAZ)

Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij: Ligthart and Weening (NED)

Team Katusha Alpecin: Haas (AUS).

2018 Tour of Oman ProMo:

The race is on in the United Arab Emirates: UAE Team Emirates all set for the Dubai Tour
Kristoff ready for his debut with his new team in the race from 6 -10 February.

UAE Team Emirates is preparing meticulously for their first “at home” race, the 2018 Dubai Tour from 6 to 10 February.

The Emirati race is an important event in light of the basic premise behind the UAE Team Emirates cycling project, which is to promote the sport in the UAE; it will also mark Alexander Kristoff’s professional debut riding for President Matar’s formation.

Sport Directors Matxin (Spain) and Marzano (Italy) will call on the following seven athletes:
– Anass Ait El Abdia (Morocco)
– Matteo Bono (Italy)
– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway)
– Simone Consonni (Italy)
– Filippo Ganna (Italy)
– Alexander Kristoff (Norway)
– Yousif Mirza (United Arab Emirates)

Kristoff is enthusiastic about the idea of starting the season in Dubai. “I can’t wait to start my season with the new team. This will be my first time racing in the Dubai Tour. I really like the idea, because when I went to the United Arab Emirates for holidays I discovered that it’s a wonderful place. It’s going to be a very competitive race; there will be a lot of top notch sprinters. It will be fantastic if we manage to win a stage. It’s always nice to start off a season on a positive note”.

Mirza is also highly motivated. “I’m as excited as I was for the 2017 edition, when the Dubai Tour marked my first race with the team. I am very motivated and I really want to give it my all for the team. Last year I made a break in the second stage; we’ll see if I will be able to make the most of my skills as an attacker in this edition as well”.

BMC Racing Team Ready to Tackle the Dubai Tour
BMC Racing Team is heading back to the Dubai Tour, the first of three races in the Middle East this month, with a strong and balanced team ready to tackle the five-day stage race.

Sports Director Maximilian Sciandri said that the team will take the race day by day and look for opportunities as they arise.

“For most of our riders, this will be their first race of the season. We will have to see how their form develops but we know that Jempy Drucker will be our go-to rider for the sprints and we will have Francisco Ventoso there to provide him with key support going into the fast finishes. Then, for the uphill finish to the Hatta Dam, I think Dylan Teuns will be a protected rider as we know he can climb well. However, we will also have other cards to play with riders like Loïc Vliegen and Nicolas Roche. Over the past few years, this race has been won by sprinters, but we are going to Dubai with the aim of getting the most out of every day” Sciandri explained.

Jempy Drucker and Dylan Teuns will both test their early season form in Dubai.

“I’m feeling good ahead of the Dubai Tour. We have had two good training camps in January leading up to the race, and the winter was good for me, so I am looking forward to starting to race again. Of course, as it’s my first race of the season, it will be good to get that race feeling in my legs again, but also, there are a lot of sprint stages so I will try to be up there. There will be strong sprinters in Dubai, and it is good to battle against them and see where I stand,” Drucker said.

“I am happy to start racing again after working hard over the winter. The main thing going into this race for me will be to get back into the rhythm of racing again. The parcours is not really suited to me, it is more of a sprinter’s race, but it will be good to get the kilometers and speed in my legs again. Hopefully, I will be able to test myself properly on the stage to the Hatta Dam, but we will see how it goes. I am not putting too much pressure on myself going into the race,” Teuns added.

Dubai Tour (6 – 10 February)

Rider Roster:
Tom Bohli (SUI), Jempy Drucker (LUX), Nicolas Roche (IRL), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Nathan Van Hooydonck (BEL), Francisco Ventoso (ESP), Loïc Vliegen (BEL).
Sport Directors: Maximilian Sciandri (ITA), Steve Bauer (CAN).

Jempy Drucker:
Middelkerke - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Drucker Jean-Pierre (BMC Racing Team) Jempie Jempy pictured during Stage - 1 -proloog - Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen 2015 - ITT - Time trial individual - Middelkerke - Middelkerke (7,0 km) - photo PN/Cor Vos ©

Vincenzo and Sonny head Dubai Tour Line up
The 4th edition of Dubai Tour will start on February 6th. 5 stages of Dubai (and bordering emirates) desert roads will see battle of sprinters, since 4 of those stages are mostly flat. Stage 4 is a queen stage of the race and it finishes on the steep ramp of Hatta Dam. This stage will give a chance to puncheurs to upset sprinter and make few seconds difference that could decide the overall winner.

Team Bahrain Merida is sending a strong team led by our sprinter Sonny Colbrelli. Vincenzo Nibali will also race, making up for missing Argentinian race due to illness. Borut Bozic, Grega Bole, Ivan Cortina, Kristijan Koren and David Per will round up our start list.

Alberto Volpi (sports director): “This is the first Middle Eastern race of our team for 2018. We have an excellent line-up with high quality athletes. Everyone in the team will have an important role for this race. We expect that the race will be decided with the bonus seconds and Hatta Dam climb in the stage 4. We will start with Sonny as leader, while the presence of Vincenzo is an additional value for our team.”

Apart for Nibali, Nicolas Roach (BMC) is the only other Grand Tour rider in this race, but there are plenty of sprinters contending in Dubai. Sonny will have a lot of rivals, last year winner Marcel Kittel is favorite again this time in the colors of Katusha Alpecin, while Alexander Kristoff will be under preasure to deliver for the home team UEA Team Emirates. Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) round up the other main sprint contenders.

Preview: Dubai Tour
The Dubai Tour will be the first of three Middle-East events Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka competes in during the month of February, with the UCI 2.HC 5-stage race set to get underway on Tuesday, 6 February.
The Dubai Tour is set to be the first big sprint showdown race of the year, as nearly all the big name fast men will make their way to the United Arab Emirates this week. The Dubai Tour is also where Mark Cavendish will start his season for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, a race our Manxman enjoys, having won two stages and the overall title in 2015.

Of the 5 stages, 3 certainly are tailor made for the sprinters (Stages 1, 2 & 5) with stage 3 also being another chance for the sprinters, if they can negotiate the 3 small climbs around 30km from the finish. Stage 4 will be the main GC day, with the short steep climb up to Hatta Dam once again going to be a deciding factor. Although, the 10 bonus seconds on offer each stage has meant, in the past, some sprinters have tried to hang tough on the Hatta Dam stage to limit their losses and secure the overall victory. Both Mark Cavendish and Marcel Kittel have accomplished this in the past.

As Cavendish once again leads our sprint hopes at the Dubai Tour, he will be supported by his trusted leadout duo of Mark Renshaw and Bernie Eisel with Julien Vermote now also added to the train. Jay Thomson’s diesel engine will complete a very strong sprint combination for us in Dubai. Our African Team will also have our punchy Eritrean climbers, Mekseb Debesay and Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier waiting to pounce should the sprinters falter on the climb to Hatta Dam.

Roger Hammond – Sport Director
“It is great to be in the UAE for the Dubai Tour. I think there is a lot of excitement around the event, particularly with the number of top sprinters at the race. It’s early days in the season though, and for Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Alexander Kristoff it’s their first race of the year too. It usually takes some time for a team to find their leadout rhythm again, but all teams will be in the same boat here so it should be an exciting spectacle for the fans.”

Mark Cavendish, Mark Renshaw, Bernie Eisel, Julien Vermote, Jay Thomson, Mekseb Debesay, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier.

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Dubai Tour
Elia Viviani will headline our squad for the five-day race, which will run between 6-10 February.

Three overall wins, three secondary classifications and seven stage victories have made the Dubai Tour a happy hunting ground for Quick-Step Floors since the inception of the Middle East race, which this year celebrates its fifth edition, one that in the first two days will give the peloton’s speedsters as many opportunities to test their legs and go for victory.

On paper, also stage three could end up in a bunch gallop, but it will all depend on what will happen on an unclassified climb topping 47 kilometers from the finish, whose gradients range from 2.3% to 7.2%. A stern test will come on the penultimate day, when the peloton will travel to the now traditional uphill finish of Hatta Dam (17% maximum gradient), before a return to the center of Dubai, on Saturday, for another stage suited to the sprinters.

Elia Viviani – the first Quick-Step Floors rider to grab a win this season – will be at the start of the race, which will mark Maximilian Schachmann’s first outing for the team since crashing out of the Tour de Pologne last year and injuring his foot. Also making the squad for the Dubai Tour will be Belgian powerhouse Tim Declercq, neo-pro Fabio Jakobsen (a rider who impressed with his string of successes in the U23 ranks), Yves Lampaert, Fabio Sabatini and Niki Terpstra.

“We like a lot the Dubai Tour. Not only it’s a very well-organised race, with good weather, but there’s also the fact that we came out on top of the GC in the last three years and enjoyed many beautiful wins. This time we are arriving here with Elia Viviani as our leader, and I must say that I’m super excited to work with him. He took a stage victory in Australia, at the Tour Down Under, and our goal will be to repeat that result in Dubai”, said sports director Brian Holm. “I am also thrilled about the return of Max Schachmann after that long injury lay-off and the debut of Fabio Jakobsen; he’s young but talented, and it will be exciting to see him race for the first time with the big boys.”

06.02–10.02 Dubai Tour (UAE) 2.HC

Tim Declercq (BEL), Fabio Jakobsen (NED), Yves Lampaert (BEL), Fabio Sabatini (ITA), Maximilian Schachmann (GER), Niki Terpstra (NED), Elia Viviani (ITA).
Sports Director: Brian Holm (DEN) and Geert Van Bondt (BEL).

Elia Viviani:
Victor Harbor - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Elia VIVIANI (Italy / Team Quick - Step Floors) - Phil BAUHAUS (Germany / Team Sunweb) pictured during 20th Santos Tour Down Under (2.UWT) stage -3 from Glenelg to Victor Harbor (120KM) - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2018

2018 Dubai Tour TV Coverage and Schedule
The fifth edition of the Dubai Tour will have a ground-breaking TV distribution, reaching a peak for this race with 192 countries covered all over the world, across all continents. Eleven TV networks will broadcast the race, nine of them live.

As every year, the host broadcaster Dubai Sports will produce the full coverage of each stage, integrating architectural and landscape insights into the overall storytelling of the racing action, enabling its audience in all the Middle East and North Africa region to enjoy every single moment of the race – from the riders’ alignment at the start village to the finish line – with both Arabic and English commentary. Special studio shows before and after each stage, with an international cycling expert, will enrich the domestic coverage.

For the International Feed, two hours live per stage will be produced, from 10:30 to 12:30 CET.

With 69 territories reached, a major contribution to the international TV coverage of the Dubai Tour comes from Eurosport platforms, that will broadcast Stages 1 and 2 live on Eurosport 2, before switching to Eurosport 1 for the delayed Stages 3 and 4 (18:00-20:00 CET) and returning to Eurosport 2 for the delayed Stage 5 (19:00-20:00 CET). On Eurosport Asia Pacific, all stages will be live.

Free to air coverage in Europe will be guaranteed by Rai Sport, that in Italy will broadcast Stages 1 to 4 live and Stage 5 delayed (from 22:30 CET) together with interviews on-site, and by La chaîne L’Équipe that will show all stages live in France.

North American cycling fans in the USA and Canada will be able to watch every stage of the Dubai Tour live on fuboTV from 4:30 EST, while in Mexico and Central America the official live footage from the race will be broadcast on TDN screens.
ESPN will distribute highlights of the race in 40 territories thanks to its channels in Brazil, South America and the Caribbeans, with commentary in Portuguese, Spanish and English respectively.

Live coverage will be available also in New Zealand thanks to Sky Sports NZ (every day from 22:30 NZST: Stages 1 and 2 on Sky Sport 2, and Stages 3 to 5 on Sky Sport 3), while in Japan every stage will be on air live from 18:30 JST on the streaming platform DAZN, enriched by detailed on-site reports.

Special insights direct from Dubai will also be part of the boosted coverage by Kwese Sports 1, live for every stage from 11:30 CAT in the whole Sub Saharan Africa, except for South Africa, where the race will be broadcast on SuperSport in the same time slots.

Tuesday 6 February – Stage 1 – NAKHEEL STAGE: Skydive Dubai-Palm Jumeirah (167km)

Dubai Sports Channel 1 (Arabic) 11:10-15:15 GST (Live)
Dubai Sports Channel 2 (English) 11:10-15:15 GST (Live)
Eurosport 2 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Eurosport Asia Pacific 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Rai Sport / Rai Sport +HD 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
La chaîne L’Équipe 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Kwesé Sports 1 11:30-13:30 CAT (Live)
fuboTV 04:30-06:30 EST (Live)
SuperSport SS6 11:30-13:30 SAST (Live)
SKY Sport NZ 2 22:30-24:30 NZST (Live)
DAZN 18:30-20:30 JST (Live)

Wednesday 7 February – Stage 2 – RAS AL KHAIMAH STAGE / Skydive Dubai – Ras Al Khaimah (190km)

Dubai Sports Channel 1 (Arabic) 10:30-15:15 GST (Live)
Dubai Sports Channel 2 (English) 10:30-15:15 GST (Live)
Eurosport 2 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Eurosport Asia Pacific 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Rai Sport / Rai Sport +HD 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
La chaîne L’Équipe 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Kwesé Sports 1 11:30-13:30 CAT (Live)
fuboTV 04:30-06:30 EST (Live)
SuperSport SS6 11:30-13:30 SAST (Live)
SKY Sport NZ 2 22:30-24:30 NZST (Live)
DAZN 18:30-20:30 JST (Live)

Thursday 8 February – Stage 3 – DUBAI SILICON OASIS STAGE / Skydive Dubai – Fujairah (180km)

Dubai Sports Channel 1 (Arabic) 11:05-15:15 GST (Live)
Dubai Sports Channel 2 (English) 11:05-15:15 GST (Live)
Eurosport 1 18:00-20:00 CET (Delayed)
Eurosport Asia Pacific 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Rai Sport / Rai Sport +HD 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
La chaîne L’Équipe 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Kwesé Sports 1 11:30-13:30 CAT (Live)
fuboTV 04:30-06:30 EST (Live)
SuperSport SS6 11:30-13:30 SAST (Live)
SKY Sport NZ 3 22:30-24:30 NZST (Live)
DAZN 18:30-20:30 JST (Live)

Friday 9 February – Stage 4 – DUBAI MUNICIPALITY STAGE / Skydive Dubai – Hatta Dam (172km)

Dubai Sports Channel 1 (Arabic) 10:45-15:15 GST (Live)
Dubai Sports Channel 2 (English) 10:45-15:15 GST (Live)
Eurosport 1 18:00-20:00 CET (Delayed)
Eurosport Asia Pacific 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Rai Sport / Rai Sport +HD 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
La chaîne L’Équipe 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Kwesé Sports 1 11:30-13:30 CAT (Live)
fuboTV 04:30-06:30 EST (Live)
SuperSport SS6 11:30-13:30 SAST (Live)
SKY Sport NZ 3 22:30-24:30 NZST (Live)
DAZN 18:30-20:30 JST (Live)

Saturday 10 February – Stage 5 – MERAAS STAGE / Skydive Dubai – Dubai City Walk (132km)

Dubai Sports Channel 1 (Arabic) 12:10-15:15 GST (Live)
Dubai Sports Channel 2 (English) 12:10-15:15 GST (Live)
Eurosport 2 19:00-20:00 CET (Delayed)
Eurosport Asia Pacific 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Rai Sport / Rai Sport +HD 22:30-24:30 CET (Delayed)
La chaîne L’Équipe 10:30-12:30 CET (Live)
Kwesé Sports 1 11:30-13:30 CAT (Live)
fuboTV 04:30-06:30 EST (Live)
SuperSport SS8 11:30-13:30 SAST (Live)
SKY Sport NZ 3 22:30-24:30 NZST (Live)
DAZN 18:30-20:30 JST (Live).

Chris Froome to Line Up at Ruta del Sol
Chris Froome will begin his 2018 season at the Ruta del Sol.

Froome will be part of Team Sky’s lineup for the five-day stage race in Andalucia, which runs from February 14th – 18th. He last raced the Ruta del Sol in 2015, when he took overall victory and picked up a stage win along the way. Froome will line up in Spain after spending the early part of the year training in South Africa.

Froome said: “I have put in a hard training block in January. It’s been good to be out on my bike and to get the miles under my belt. It’s been a couple of years now since I was last at Ruta del Sol. It’s a race I’ve enjoyed in the past and so I’m looking forward to going back there.”

Team Sky confirmed in December that Chris and the team were providing information to the UCI regarding Chris’s use of his asthma medication at last year’s Vuelta a Espana. The UCI process is ongoing.

Froome said: “I’m confident that we will be able to get to the bottom of what has happened and I’m working hard with the team to do that. Obviously I understand that this situation has created a lot of uncertainty. I completely get why there has been so much interest and speculation. I hope that people will appreciate there are limits to what I can say whilst the process is still ongoing but no one is keener than me to move things forward as quickly as possible.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford added: “We all recognise that these are difficult circumstances but it’s important for all sides that this process is conducted fairly before a final conclusion is reached. It is a complex situation but we’re working as hard as we can with Chris to resolve things as soon as possible.”

Chris Froome:

For History and for Scarponi: Miguel Ángel López Aims Big at Tour of the Alps
The 23-year-old climber will lead the Astana Team at the Giro d’Italia, and hopes to become the first Colombian to win the Tour of the Alps. “I like this race, the route is very tough and we hope to dedicate Michele a success”. Sports Director Martinelli: “The podium is within his reach”.

Climbs and mountains is where the Colombian riders rose to prominence in the cycling world, as much as they are the defining elements of the Tour of the Alps (April 16th-20th, 2018), the international cycling event that has taken over from the Giro del Trentino. Miguel Ángel López will be one of the men to watch at the start of the Euro-regional stage race in Arco (Trentino), on Monday April 16th. The new Colombian “golden boy” will try to earn a spot among the superstars of the sport, and the Tour of the Alps represents his final testing ground in view of his Giro d’Italia bid.

Overall winner of the 2014 Tour de l’Avenir and 2016 Tour de Suisse, and two-time stage winner in the last Vuelta a España, the 23-year-old hailing from the Boyacá region, the same of Nairo Quintana, earned the role as GT leader at Team Astana after the transfer of Italian Fabio Aru (another top rider of the 2018 Tour of the Alps) to UAE Team Emirates. “I like the Tour of the Alps, a beautiful race that represents an ideal springboard for the Giro d’Italia – Miguel Ángel López said. – All the stages are very demanding, suited to climbers like me: I should find ideal ground to give my best.”

A Colombian winner is still missing in Tour of the Alps’ roll of honor, and Miguel Ángel López hopes to become the first in 2018. For the Astana leader there is an additional motivating factor: “The Tour of the Alps was the last race of Michele Scarponi. Michele was a great person, we miss him a lot and the team will always remember him” – the Astana’s Colombian explained. – “Michele was a great friend and a special mentor in cycling: I learned a lot from him, I would like to dedicate a Tour of the Alps stage win to him, in the race where he raised his arms one last time.”

Astana’s Sports Director Giuseppe Martinelli supported the ambitions of the Colombian. In his career in the team car, Martinelli sealed the Giro del Trentino-Giro d’Italia in three occasions – with Gilberto Simoni (2003), Damiano Cunego (2004) and Vincenzo Nibali (2013). “As usual for us, we have chosen the Tour of the Alps as final test for the line-up that will race the Giro d’Italia with the goal to contest the overall success: after all, the strongest riders at the Tour of the Alps always prove to be highly competitive at the Giro d’Italia.”

“The race’s route is very tough and a climb like Alpe di Pampeago represents a decisive test”, – Martinelli continued. – “We will be up to the challenge. We will take part in the race with a line-up mainly made by climbers, with athletes like Kangert and Zeits in support of the leader. This race is suited to Miguel’s skills, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up on the overall podium in Innsbruck. On which step, we will see on the way.”

Miguel Angel Lopez celebrates the win in Calar Alto in Vuelta a España’s stage 11:

Greg LeMond Joins Velodrome Development Foundation
American Cycling Icon Named Honorary Chairman and Project Advisor.

Three-time Tour de France winner and cycling industry innovator, Greg LeMond, adds his name and unique perspective to the growing list of supporters of the National Velodrome at Albright College, Greater Reading’s new $25 million multi-purpose cycling and events center and headquarters of the new World Cycling League.

LeMond has agreed to serve as Honorary Chairman of the Velodrome Development Foundation (VDF) Board of Directors. VDF is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit foundation run by community and sports leaders to support velodrome development and drive public and collegiate programming initiatives.

LeMond will also serve as special advisor to the World Cycling League, principal developers of the velodrome and architects of TeamTrak, a new track racing format designed to modernize the sport.

“I am very excited to play an active role in this project,” LeMond said. “I’ve always understood how important track racing and indoor velodromes are to developing world-class cyclists. Plus WCL’s TeamTrak format is a much needed and exciting way to showcase top male and female track racers and create new interest in the sport.”

LeMond also stressed the importance of the velodrome’s connection to Albright College. “Albright is smart to recognize the value of this facility, not only to develop a nationally ranked collegiate team but also for the unique curriculum opportunities for product development, sports medicine, and sports event management, to name a few. I look forward to exploring these ideas with the college,” he said.

The initial connection to LeMond came through VDF board member, Steve Whisnant, former managing director of the United States Olympic Committee and a long-time friend and associate of Greg’s. “This is so right for Greg,” Whisnant said. “He and his wife, Kathy, have supported a number of philanthropic and business endeavors over the years but none that so neatly combines his desire to give back to the sport through athlete development and product innovation.”

Whisnant founded and ran World T.E.A.M. Sports, an international sports nonprofit committed to offering rich and dynamic programs through sports and cycling events to all levels of athletes, especially persons with disabilities. LeMond became a board member and his family participated in the project in the nineteen nineties. The two have been close associates ever since.

Lex McMillan, President of the Velodrome Development Foundation and President Emeritus of Albright College said, “Greg LeMond is a huge asset to our Foundation, both for his innovative ideas and for his connections to many more donors and investors in the velodrome project from the greater cycling community. We are delighted and deeply grateful that he has agreed to join us.”

About Greg LeMond
Greg LeMond’s professional cycling career includes three Tour de France victories, multiple world championships and a track record of innovative ideas for the sport and leading edge products. He was the first racer to win the Tour de France on a carbon fiber bicycle and his branded bicycles and exercise equipment have been recognized for their quality and innovation. LeMond is founder and principal of LeMond Composites in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the world’s newest carbon fiber manufacturing company that is expected to revolutionize the lightweight composites industry throughout the world. LeMond remains active in cycling as an anti-doping advocate and Tour de France commentator for Eurosport.

About the Velodrome Development Foundation
The Foundation’s mission is to ensure the success of the National Velodrome at Albright College and to promote the advancement of cycling for all ages and abilities. Its Board of Directors includes fourteen Reading and Berks County community leaders and prominent members of the cycling community.

World Cycling League is the first independently owned and funded indoor track cycling league. World Cycling League, LLC has developed TeamTrak, an innovative and proprietary format designed to bring the best elements of modern sports and business to track cycling. WCL is the principal developer of the National Velodrome and Events Center at Albright College. The company is privately owned, and is in the midst of a capital raise under the exclusive direction of Park Lane (www.prkln.com), an investment bank with expertise in the financing of sports properties.

Greg Lemond:

BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team – A Year Older, Wiser and Stronger, Looking Forward to the Challenges of 2018
The Management and the riders of Team BAHRAIN MERIDA, as well as the sponsors representatives, supporters and members of Bahraini and International media gathered in Bahrain in the last few days to review the 2017 season and to forecast the expectations and goals for the season ahead. The highlight of these last few days was today’s annual gathering in the Royal Court.

Almost exactly a year ago, Team BAHRAIN MERIDA’s representatives and riders met in His Highness Sheik Nasser’s Royal Majilis for the first official presentation of the team to the world, to the fans and sponsors and last but not least to the Team’s number one supporter, Sheikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa without whom this whole venture would have not been possible.

Today the Team is one year older, has overcome some tough trials and learning curves just to become stronger, more victorious and able to show what motivates the team, namely a great deal of cohesion, laughter and fun, blended with infinite hours of hard work, struggle and determination. What we have today is a Team that became a second family to all our members and as a family wants to prove its greatness.

Brian Smith from Eurosport, the moderator of today’s event, walked the audience through the best moments of pride for Team Bahrain Merida in 2017. He then went on to a panel discussion with Andreas Rottler, General Manager of Merida Europe, Brent Copeland, General Manager of Team Bahrain Merida and Vincenzo Nibali – The Shark – the Captain of the Team. The CEO Merida Europe, Mr. Wolfgang Renner, shared with the audience the proud moment when Vincenzo Nibali won the last race of the season, the Giro di Lombardia, which traditionally is a good omen for a great season to come in the next year. A short video with the highlights of the previous season was shown.

Brent Copeland recalled the words of Sheikh Nasser in 2017’s presentation that the goal of Team Bahrain Merida was to promote well-being and a healthy lifestyle through cycling and to put Bahrain on the international map. Goal that was well achieved by the brilliant results of the young team. He presented the targets for 2018, first of which is to fulfil the GOLD ONLY Year 2018 that Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al Khalifa has announced in January. The Bahrain Cycling Association is helping the team find a Bahraini rider to be part of the Team in the near future.

Vincenzo Nibali, when asked about whether he is satisfied with the 2017 results said he is very proud. He acknowledged the merit of the entire team to support his success. His main goal for 2018 is to win the Tour de France and the World Championship in Innsbruck (Austria).

Andreas Rottler praised the two podiums in the Grand Tour that the team achieved and spoke briefly about the new improved bikes that are the necessary tool for the team to win. The team racers and technical staff are highly involved in the R&D of the new bikes.

Another short video about the training camp in Hvar (Croatia) at the end of 2017 was shown.

One of the highlights of today’s event was also the presentation of a new addition to the Team – the official FAN CLUB by the Team’s brand director, Kolja Koračak, and we are all very excited about this news and happy to hear very positive first comments from our loyal fans. The slogan will be I AM BahraIN, hinting to I am IN, being trendy and being part of the international fan community that reaches out to the whole world. The membership in the Fan club will grant members benefits in several outlets in and outside of Bahrain. Events will be created to bring members together and increase the awareness towards Team Bahrain Merida. The official launch for the public will be held on March 1st.

Before the conclusion, His Excellency Sheikh Khaled bin Humood Al-Khalifa, the CEO of Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority, was invited on the stage to present their involvement with the team and the promotional plans for the upcoming season 2018. He thanked Sheikh Nasser for initiating this great team that created a lot of content for Bahrain as a destination. The Germany, France and UK offices of the Bahrain Tourism Authority witnessed how Team Bahrain Merida has drawn a lot of awareness to Bahrain and contributed to a great deal to attract traffic towards Bahrain. Team Bahrain Merida and the Bahrain Tourism Authority have developed a 360 degrees video with the riders that will be shown in the hospitality booths during the European races in 2018.

The gathering was concluded by the team’s main supporter and founder, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa, a passionate sportsman himself who just got back from Dubai where he took part in the Ironman, who stressed on the fact that time, efforts, strength and dedication are needed in order to succeed in any sport. And cycling is no exception to that rule. The conveyed the greetings and support of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa who is the biggest fan of team. He himself was extremely positively surprised to see the amazing results that the team achieved in 2017 and is looking forward to an even better season in 2018. We have stepped up way further than expected bringing cycling close to the general public. Sheikh Nasser invited the drivers of Bahrain to pay attention to the cycling riders on Bahrain’s roads. He mentioned also that a dedicated cycling track is being planned.

“The Best of Both” is a unique bicycle race to be staged in the beautiful mountain town of Bend, Oregon, on June 16th, 2018. The event combines road cycling and mountain bike riding within a conclusive race distance, bringing a cross-section of competitive bike racers together for the first time to compete head-to-head. With multiple category options, including an Open – Pro Men and Women’s solo race, a Team Relay (one on the road, one on the dirt), an amateur solo race, and “The Heavy Metal Ride” an amateur category for steel and aluminum framed bikes, riders of all skill and fitness levels are encouraged to sign-up and compete.

The full course distance, both on and off the road, is a little over 85 miles. The event staging area, including the start, finish, and the transition area, is within the event village at the Wanoga Snow Park on the Cascade Lakes Highway. Wanoga exists at 5,500 feet above sea level and provides stunning panoramic views and incredible bike riding terrain. But this isn’t just a race. For those who prefer to sit back and enjoy the view, a non-competitive “Challenge Ride” category invites recreational riders and their groups to embrace a unique fondo-style, supported ride.

Race Promoter; Dom Phipps had this to say – “This is an idea I have had for years. It started out as an exercise in playfully settling the debate that on and off road riders enjoy – Who’s the fitter, more technically skilled, and generally more accomplished bike rider. Those elements and the cultural differences were the seed of the idea and the concept has evolved to focus on ensuring the event creates a fun and unique experience for bike riders and racers of all abilities. Bend is an ideal venue for the event, with great riding and resources and as most people know, the PNW racing community has a depth of talent right across the core racing disciplines. Our charity partner is the Bend Endurace Academy, an organisation committed to introducing kids to bike racing and nordic sports, our sponsors recognized the originality of the format and jumped in to support it. Now we have an event with several categories, some excellent prizes, and equal purse values for the Men and Womens solo pro race. As a bike racing fan, I cant wait to see how these guys approach it and how the on and off road format will dictate tactics, and the outcome.”

In the evening, the action heads down the mountain and into the town of Bend to the HQ of the events Brewery sponsor; 10 Barrel Brewing. An after party and awards ceremony, with King and Queen of the Mountains and Trails, awards, with dedicated jerseys made by UCI Partner Santini SMS in italy.

All relevant details can be found at the event website – www.racethebestofboth.com We welcome you to compete in the ultimate dual-discipline bike race in the stunning town of Bend, Oregon on June 16th, 2018.

Bike Reg sign up page – race-the-best-of-both Instagram – @racethebestofboth
facebook – race the best of both
E-Mail us – [email protected].

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