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EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Strade Bianche… What a race! Report, result and video – Top Story. A busy weekend; all the news from stage 1 of Paris-Nice, plus the GP Industria e Artigianato di Larciano and the Dwars door West-Vlaanderen. Filippo Ganna wins Worlds pursuit, BMC for Tirreno, rider and sponsor news from LottoNL-Jumbo, race news from the Deutschland Tour, the Tour of the Alps and the Hammer Series. Ride the Ports challenge Guadarrama. A big Monday morning coffee time.

TOP STORY: Strade Bianche – Why We Love Cycling!
Saturday’s Strade Bianche was one of the best races we have seen for a long time, why? Was it the hard weather and road conditions, cold wet and muddy? Or the toughness of the riders, bringing back memories of a time gone by, when riders finished in such a state that they were unrecognizable? Yes, all those reasons, but maybe because Saturday’s race on the Tuscan white roads had nothing to do with power meters, race radios and set tactics – it was raw racing the way we love to see it.

Let’s hope for wet and muddy cobbles in Paris-Roubaix and De Ronde van Vlaanderen.

Wout Van Aert suffered from cramp and hunger on the final climb:

Strade Bianche 2018
Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) won the 2018 Strade Bianche after an impressive effort! The first pro victory ever for the near 24-year-old Belgian rider. The twelfth edition of Strade Bianche (WorldTour) became an epic race because of the cold and the rain that made the gravel sectors of the Tuscan roads into a quagmire.

There was an early breakaway of eight riders took a six minute advantage over the bunch that split early on in the race. With sixty kilometers to go the escapees were reeled in by a large chasing group including Benoot. Next, about ten riders jumped away. Among those riders were Mikal Kwiatkowski (Sky), World cyclocross champion Wout Van Aert (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). A strong group, no doubt. Lotto soudal’s Campenaerts, who had been part of the early break, pulled at the head of the chasing group to keep the gap as small as possible and Tiesj Benoot made the jump to the front on the eighth gravel sector, towards Monte Sante Marie.

Not long after that move, Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Van Aert attacked at the front. They created a gap of one minute. The pace in the chasing group slowed and that was the sign for Tiesj Benoot, along with Pieter Serry (Quick-Step Floors), to take initiative at thirty kilometers from the finish. They reduced the gap to 35 seconds, but when the gap started growing again Benoot decided to leave Serry behind. Benoot closed the gap quickly and joined Bardet and Van Aert with fifteen kilometers remaining. Benoot attacked on the last gravel sector and entered the last ten kilometers solo. He kept on increasing his lead and could enjoy the last moments of the race before triumphing in Il Campo in Siena Romain Bardet finished second, ahead of Wout Van Aert who had cramp on the final climb to the finish.

Earlier in the week, Benoot had said he wanted to do better than his two eighth places in the previous two editions of Strade Bianche. Mission accomplished!

More photos from the Strade Bianche in PeloPics.

Siena - Italy - Cycling - Cyclisme - Radsport - Wielrennen - Tiesj Benoot (BEL - Lotto Soudal) pictured during Strade Bianche 2018 from Siena to Siena 184 km - 03/03/2018 - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos ©2018

2018 Strade Bianche winner, Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal): “After the break with Victor Campenaerts had been caught, Victor did a lot of pulling. When there was no cooperation in the group anymore, both sports director Bart Leysen and I thought it would be best to attack. That turned out to be the right decision. The same scenario got repeated when Bardet and Van Aert rode together at the front. I felt my legs were good and that I had to try something, because there was no team left that would close the gap. Serry was the perfect companion, he immediately helped chasing. I noticed that I was better than him though and that’s why I decided to leave him behind. I knew the part where I accelerated from the past two years and I knew that it would be possible to still close the gap. I succeeded in closing the gap pretty smoothly and then I realized I was the strongest at the front. I attacked on the last gravel sector and immediately had a nice lead. Then it was a matter of not crashing and having no flat tyre. When the team car rode behind me, I was less worried. I didn’t want to let my first pro victory slip through my fingers!”

“I had a super day. It was cold and it rained, but I never had problems with that kind of weather. The Strade Bianche is one of my favorite races and one of the races that suits me best. Only strong riders have won this race and it’s wonderful to see my name among them! The altitude training camp at Sierra Nevada clearly was the perfect preparation. If this first pro victory adds any pressure? The expectations have always been high since I got fifth at Ronde van Vlaanderen 2015 as a neo-pro. I can cope with that really well. I always kept believing in myself and I knew this victory would come one day.”

2nd, Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale): “This was a real race, and I love those. The strongest riders were all at the front. I was perfectly supported by the team, and for a first effort, I had a very good time. For a moment, I was thinking of the victory, but it is also a good result to be on the podium. Tiesj Benoot was the strongest, and I did my best. It didn’t need 10 more kilometers. Strade Bianche is pure cycling. A day of warriors, and I love that. I was excited to race a course where you flirt with your limits. And I am very happy to be on the podium. It was a different effort, racing through the gorgeous Tuscan villages and grandiose landscapes… even if today, there was mostly mud.”

3rd, Wout Van Aert (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan): “I was a lot closer to the win than I thought but I suffered in the last part of the race. I guess I made a good move with Romain Bardet – it was far from the finish line – but in the last 50km I ran out of sugar. I was completely dead. I had only the podium on my mind so I’m happy that I succeeded in that. Especially for the coming years, this is a great start to my Spring classics career. I didn’t expect to achieve such good performances on the road and I first have to enjoy this podium at the highest level of cycling. My goal is already achieved with this third place. It’s already super. Anything else in the coming classics this year will be something extra and I’ll come back to the Strade Bianche for more in the future.”

5th, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): “I had been thinking about Strade Bianche for a long time and this morning I started to do the best I can. It was a special day for me. Near Montalcino, even, I thought about abandon because it was too cold, but then I took confidence and went ahead with determination. Only regret when the winner the Belgian Tiesj Benoot attacked and I did not follow him right away. I thought someone else would close the gap and so I lost the moment. But it does not do anything, entering the Top Five is undoubtedly a significant result.”

8th, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “There is no doubt that the Strade Bianche lived up to its reputation this year with a very hard day under difficult weather conditions. It was my first race after spending nearly a month at the high-altitude training camp and the sensations were good. We showed we had a strong squad with Daniel Oss, Marcus Burghardt and Gregor Mühlberger doing great work at the front. I’m happy with today’s result, although, obviously, we could have wished for more. However, it’s just the beginning of my European races and there is a long way ahead of us.”

Strade Bianche Result:
1. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 5:03:33
2. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:39
3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan at 0:58
4. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 1:25
5. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 1:27
6. Robert Power (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:29
7. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Quick-Step Floors at 1:42
8. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:08
9. Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors at 2:11
10. Gregor Mühlberger (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:18.

Strade Bianche’18 final 12 kilometers:

Paris-Nice 2018
Already winner and first leader of Paris-Nice a year ago, French champion Arnaud Démare repeated the feat in Meudon but in a rather different finale. The Groupama-FDJ team leader, who held the Race to the sun’s Yellow Jersey for several days in 2017, was not among the real favorites before the start of Stage 1 in Chatou, 135 km down the road, as the finale was steep and cobbled, but he upstaged Spain’s Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) and compatriot Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) in a nail-biting final sprint. Belgium’s Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) was a close fourth.

Just 3k into the race, a group of 3 riders went up to road. At first their gap grew fast, but as soon as the first teams started to take control in the bunch, the breakaway was held on a leash at around three minutes. While most of the work in the bunch was done from Quick-Step Floors and Groupama-FDJ, on the last 30k the gap came done very fast. Some crashes happened in the bunch and Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) had to abandon the race. The break was caught going into the last 10k and everything was set for a thrilling uphill sprint. A late attack from Vuillermoz didn’t lead to success and Démare took a very close sprint victory.

Meudon - France  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Arnaud DEMARE (France / Team FDJ) - Gorka IZAGUIRRE INSAUSTI (Spain / Team Bahrain - Merida)  pictured during Parijs - Nice stage 1 from Chatou to Meudon (135KM)  4-3-2018 - foto: Cor Vos ©2018

Stage winner and overall leader, Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ): “I thought I was second. I wasn’t expecting it so when they told me I’d won it was an explosion of joy. I was sure I was second. I threw my bike more in despair than anything. At the end you’re not lucid at all, so when they told me I’d won it was extraordinary. It’s my first win, and to do it like that. It burned, it burned, but I never gave up. I’m super happy to win in front of my fan club and my family who are here. It’s perfect.”

4th on the stage and overall, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “Yesterday, we did a recon of the last 25 kilometers of this stage. I liked the finish when I saw it. We had seen there was a lot of street furniture in the last kilometers, so the team kept me safe at the front of the peloton. As expected, it was very hectic in the finale. The team did an excellent job for me today! I was riding at the front of the peloton when we started the climb. It was a high pace, but once Vuillermoz had attacked the pace dropped. For a moment it looked like Vuillermoz would make it, but the last 800 meters were very hard. We did catch Vuillermoz before the finish, despite the nice gap he had created. I chose the wheel of Démare, but was pushed away. When we passed by Vuillermoz, I had to hold back for a moment. Maybe I could have set an even better result if I had started my sprint earlier, but it’s always easy to analyze a sprint afterwards. We were all dead beat at the finish. Our team started Paris-Nice very well, we were the only complete team at the front in the finale. Tomorrow we aim for a sprint with André Greipel!”

Happy to finish, Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain-Merida): “The weather was a challenge today, it was very cold and wet the whole day. It was raining for the first 100 km and when it finally cleared up a bit the road was wet, slippery and it felt like 2°C. When your body is soaked, and it is so cold your body can’t warm up at all. That is why the sprint was also so tough.”

7th on the stage and overall, Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The final was frantic as expected. Our team did a stellar job, especially Schwarzi (Schwarzmann) was still with me at the foot of the climb. Everything worked out as planned. But then I was blocked on the left side on the last 500m. I already started my sprint, but had to hit the brakes again, I lost all momentum and it was really painful to accelerate again. With this 7th placed I can be satisfied, my legs are good and I didn’t lose any time like some other GC riders. That’s most important.”

15th and Best Young Rider, Felix Großschartner (Bora-Hansgrohe): “Unbelievable! My first leader’s jersey at a WorldTour race, I still can’t believe it. During the stage I didn’t feel really good. After the last training block, I took some time off and it took a while to get the engine going again today. In the end the team did a great job, Juraj (Sagan) and Pawel (Poljanski) hit the front with us early enough, but unfortunately, I lost their wheel then. I just could avoid a crash and closed on the first group on the foot of the last climb. Then I managed to stay there until the end. This is a moment to remember for me. I am in good shape and we’ll see how long I can keep the jersey now.”

Paris-Nice Stage 1 Result:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 3:07:39
2. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
3. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
4. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Sunweb
6. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:02
8. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida.

Paris-Nice Overall After Stage 1:
1. Arnaud Demare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 3:07:29
2. Gorka Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida at 0:04
3. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:06
4. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:10
5. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Sunweb
6. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors
7. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:12
8. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
9. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
10. Ion Izagirre (Spa) Bahrain-Merida.

Nice’18 stage 1:

GP Industria e Artigianato di Larciano 2018
The 41st edition of the GP Industria & Artigianato was decided in the last 5km with Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida) soloing in for the win ahead of Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini) with Davide Ballerini (Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec) in third.

The race exploded from the first kilometers, with a group of seven riders earning a substantial advantage over the rest of the group in the first laps of the Luciano City circuit. The chasing teams reduced the lead margin until it was completely annulled at the entrance of the last climb of San Baronto, 20 km to the finish line.

On the final descent, Mohoric surprised everyone, with an attack that allowed him to gain precious seconds. Marco Canola jumped after Mohoric and got within 4 seconds of the Bahrain-Merida rider as Ballerini brought in the peloton 11 seconds after the winner.

Race winner, Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida): “I have to thank all my teammates for the great work they have done throughout the day. I knew that the climb was long and that I could get back on the first group without spending too much energy. I wanted to help Giovanni Visconti in the final and when Majka left I went after him. I found myself in front and so I decided to insist. I have been studying studied the climb in the first three laps and I knew that if I had taken the last descent first I could have played my chances. Before the end of the descent, I turned around and saw that nobody was there, then I did not turn around until the finish line! It’s a very important success because it’s my first victory with the Team Bahrain Merida’s jersey. After Abu Dhabi Tour, I trained well and I had good feelings. Yesterday I did a good Strade Bianche (11th) and today it went even better! Now I will start to concentrate on the Giro d’Italia.”

2nd, Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini): “A podium that could be a victory playing in a different way the very final part of the race. Probably if I had start to chase Matej Mohoric some hundreds meters before without hesitate I could play for victory. I almost caught him that was very few meters in from of me. They also play well so congrats to the winner of the race. It is a very important podium for me and for my team in Italy, with all the team we have been working very well, with Santaromita and Bagioli making a great final also, we made a good team work. Now I can look forward to Tirreno-Adriatico and most of all to Milano-Sanremo and Amstel Gold Race, that are very important race for me and for the team.”

6th, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): “I was fine even if the effort of the Strade Bianche made itself felt in the final. I tried to surprise the favorites but the group of the best took me back. I’m happy for Matej who also made a great race yesterday.”

GP Industria e Artigianato Result:
1. Matej Mohoric (Slo) Bahrain-Merida in 4:39:23
2. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini at 0:03
3. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:11
4. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan
5. Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
6. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
7. Krists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
8. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott
9. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli-Sidermec
10. German Nicolas Tivani Perez (Arg) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896.


Dwars door West-Vlaanderen 2018
Rémi Cavagna turned frustration into aggressiveness and disappointment into huge joy as he stormed to victory at the 72nd edition of Dwars door West-Vlaanderen (189.3 kilometers), making the most out of Quick-Step Floors numerical advantage and tactical acumen to land the team’s second win in just four days, after the one in Le Samyn, where Niki Terpstra and Philippe Gilbert took first and second, respectively.

This time, the main protagonists were 22-year-old Cavagna and his countryman Florian Sénéchal, part of a very young Quick-Step Floors squad who compensated the lack of experience with enthusiasm, ambition and some brilliant racing, blowing the peloton apart and infiltrating four men into a nine-man escape, which got clear after the original break of the day was brought to heel. Fabio Jakobsen and Maximiliano Richeze were the other two riders of the team who booked a place in the group before entering the local laps, where the peloton’s surge of pace reeled in all but three of the attackers.

Only survivors of that break were Cavagna, Sénéchal and Frederik Frison (Lotto-Soudal), and the trio worked well together, building a margin of 50 seconds and digging deep to hold off the peloton in the final 30 kilometers of the event which had all the main ingredients of a Flemish race: cobbles, hills, strong winds and lashing rain, which split the pack without any mercy.

Despite being dropped some 20-odd kilometers from the finish in Ichtegem, Cavagna channeled his inner Flandrien spirit and threw in a valiant effort which saw him return to the front inside the last ten kilometers. The second-year pro didn’t stop there and kept on going, quickly putting a handful of seconds between him and the chasing duo, from which Sénéchal attacked with two kilometers remaining, leaving his opponent in the wake.

Rémi – the sixth Quick-Step Floors rider to put his name on the winners’ list this season – had enough time to celebrate his special victory, which came under the heavy rain that had accompanied the riders throughout the day, since the start in Nieuwpoort. A rider with panache and a huge appetite for attacking and shaping the race, the Frenchman was over the moon at the finish line, where he had just signed off the team’s 13th UCI win of the season.

ICHTEGEM, BELGIUM - MARCH 4 : CAVAGNA Remi  (FRA)  of Quick - Step Floors celebrates the win of the 2nd Dwars door West-Vlaanderen elite men cycling race with start in Nieuwpoort and finish in Ichtegem on March 04, 2018 in Ichtegem, Belgium, 4/03/2018 ( Photo by Nico Vereecken / Photonews

Race winner, Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Floors): “It was super hard and cold today, but I felt good since the start of the race. Actually, I have been feeling good since last season and have waited for this victory for a long time. I wanted this win so badly, I can’t tell you how important it’s for me to finally get it. I have made mistakes in the past, attacking too early, so today I said to myself ‘Don’t attack, wait, wait, wait!’ and it worked out perfectly in the end. The race was full gas from the start, and in the end, after catching the breakaway, I got a gap together with Florian and Frison. We had the upper hand in that group, but Frison was really strong and at one point I even got dropped on the cobbles, but kept calm, knowing I had enough left in the tank. My legs were really hurting, but I ignored the pain and managed to come back, and then I launched a now-or-never attack, powering ahead with all I had. I needed this win and it gives me a huge boost of confidence and even more motivation for the next races, where I’ll continue to give my best and help my teammates.”

3rd, Frederik Frison (Lotto Soudal): “I am definitely happy with this third place, although I think more was possible with the legs I had but unfortunately I had two Quick-Step riders with me. They were not stronger, but it’s hard to beat two teammates. Just before entering the local circuit a front group of ten was formed without a Lotto Soudal rider in it. We chased the leaders to keep the gap as small as possible and at the beginning of the first lap I made the jump to the front. The front group had split by that time, which meant I had to catch two groups. I joined Cavagna and Sénéchal when they attacked. That was a difficult moment after the effort I had just done, but we immediately cooperated well. I knew the situation was far from ideal. I wanted to get rid of at least one of them on the cobbles and Cavagna did drop, but Sénéchal didn’t pull and that way Cavagna could return to the front. Then I knew they would attack one after another. When Cavagna had gone solo, it was impossible to close the gap on my own. This third place feels good. After all bad luck from last year I could show that I’m back. I had a good winter and last month I went on an altitude training camp at Sierra Nevada, together with Tiesj Benoot. That turned out well for us both. I am very grateful to the team for keeping their faith in me and for extending my contract by two years despite the difficult times I had in 2017. I wanted to thank the team by doing well this season and this is definitely a good start.”

Dwars door West-Vlaanderen Result:
1. Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Quick-Step Floors in 4:28:29
2. Florian Senechal (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:03
3. Frederik Frison (Bel) Lotto Soudal at 0:10
4. Fabio Jakobsen (Ned) Quick-Step Floors at 0:55
5. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis
6. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Jhonatan Narvaez (Ecu) Quick-Step Floors
8. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:59
9. Michael Goolaerts (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan
10. Jimmy Duquennoy (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic.


Ganna Wins Worlds Individual Pursuit Title
Filippo Ganna was waiting for the big ride today after yesterday helping Italy to the team pursuit bronze medal in the Alpeldoorn world championships and he didn’t let down. He won the individual pursuit gold medal in the Dutch track, setting two Italian records: 4-13.622 in qualifying and 4-13.607 in the final against Portuguese Ivo Oliveira. Oliveira recorded 4-15.428 and 4-12.365 in qualifying.

The Verbanese repeated the title he won at the 2016 London worlds. Third place went to Russian Alexander Evtushenko, 4-13.786.

“I wanted to finish as soon as possible because I was suffering so much,” said Ganna. “He started so strongly but I relied on my coach and on the plan that we had. When did I realize I passed him? When I did it. In those moments you don’t have much time to make important reasoning. You are going all out from start to finish and the only thing you can do is just keep yourself on the track. I’m happy but I am tired. It was a long week now I want to rest for a few days before I am back on the road, and that will be next week in Tirreno-Adriatico.”

Filippo Ganna:
Apeldoorn - Netherlands  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Filippo GANNA (Italy / UAE Team Emirates)  pictured during World Championships track - baan - bahn - piste - foto: Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos ©2018

BMC Racing Team with Multiple Objectives at Tirreno-Adriatico After Porte Ruled Out
BMC Racing Team will line up at Tirreno-Adriatico next week (7 – 13 March) with a strong team with multiple objectives, after Richie Porte was ruled out of racing due to illness.

“Richie Porte developed an upper respiratory infection after Volta ao Algarve which forced him to miss the best part of a week’s training. Given Tirreno-Adriatico was one of Richie’s goal races this season, it did not make sense to line up when his preparation was far from ideal. Richie and the BMC Racing Team management and medical team agreed that it was in his best interests to miss Tirreno-Adriatico and adjust his race program, in order to recover properly.” BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa explained

Sports Director Maximilian Sciandri said BMC Racing Team will be targeting both stage wins and the General Classification at the seven-day UCI WorldTour stage race.

“We are going to Tirreno-Adriatico with various ambitions, and it all starts with defending our team time trial victory from 2016 and 2017. There are then a couple of stages that should suit Greg Van Avermaet, who we know is in good shape and is always motivated to do well. Looking at the General Classification, Damiano Caruso will take on a leadership role, and we are confident that he can step up and show the form we know he has. We will also see what Rohan Dennis can do, and I’m sure he will be motivated for the final time trial again,” Sciandri explained.

Damiano Caruso is looking to challenge himself on home soil. “It is always nice to race Tirreno-Adriatico, and I always like racing in Italy. This year will be a hard race because there are a lot of really hard days including one stage with almost 5000 meters of elevation. We have a strong team lining up with different goals. We start with the TTT which is really important for us and then we also have Greg Van Avermaet who can go for a few stages. A new scenario has opened up for me at this year’s race, and hopefully, I can try to fight for the GC but with a day by day philosophy and with no pressure. There are many champions in this race, so it is very difficult to get a result but I have nothing to lose, and so I will give it a try,” Caruso said.

Rohan Dennis, who finished second in 2017, has his sights set on the final individual time trial. “I’m looking forward to going back to Tirreno-Adriatico next week. One main goal of the team will be to win the opening team time trial again, and we are motivated to do that. For me, the individual time trial will, of course, be another target and I hope to repeat my success from last year. In between the two, we will see what happens,” Dennis added.

Tirreno-Adriatico (7 – 13 March)
Rider Roster:

Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Patrick Bevin (NZL), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Rohan Dennis (AUS), Stefan Küng (SUI), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).
Sports Directors: Maximilian Sciandri (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA).

Damiano Caruso:
Sanremo - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - CARUSO Damiano (ITA) Rider of BMC Racing Team in action pictured during Milano - Sanremo 2017 - photo NV/PN//Cor Vos © 2017

Roosen and Kruijswijk Remain Loyal to Team LottoNL-Jumbo for Several Years
Timo Roosen (25) and Steven Kruijswijk (30) will represent their current team also in the next few years. Their contracts with Team LottoNL-Jumbo were due to expire at the end of this year but have been extended to 2020 and 2021 respectively. The contract news follows Jumbo’s announcement yesterday that the Dutch supermarket chain will continue for a minimum of five years as the main sponsor of the squad of manager Richard Plugge.

Both riders have joined the Dutch team as youngsters and may be considered as role models for the structure of Team LottoNL-Jumbo, which is built on talent development. Kruijswijk didn’t feel the need to leave the team at all, now he’s enjoying the benefits of his development. “The team has hugely improved in terms of ​​professionalism, guidance, innovation and collaboration in recent years. We really are a team together and I’m happy to be part of it”, said the intended Tour de France captain in a comment. “Jumbo’s commitment gives confidence and peace and that stability is reflected in our team.”

Although Roosen triumphed twice last season, his best years reasonably are yet to come. “Those victories proved that I am getting stronger, which is the most important. My focus is on being successful with Dylan Groenewegen, as his lead-out, but also on the classics, which are the goals we are working on at Team LottoNL-Jumbo. I like it a lot here: the coaching, the technical equipment, everything is organized well. The team is improving every year, we have just implemented a new nutrition system, the team is innovative and runs smoothly. That are reasons to renew my contract.”

Steven Kruijswijk:

Deutschland Tour 2018: One For The Punchers!
Ten years after the last edition of the Tour of Germany, the pack will again come together on the most photographed site in Koblenz, the “German Corner”, at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. Emperor William I overlooks the site, in the form of a statue of the monarch on horseback, reinforcing the venue’s sense of majesty. However, the riders will soon forget about the tourist attractions on the route, because they will have to focus on preparing for a probable sprint finish in the historic heart of Bonn. It should give rise to a solid show of force, but the leader who will be present at the start the following day will not be likely to keep his jersey on the way to Trier, which the pack will reach after having tackled 3,000 meters of positive gradient, including, on the final circuit, a double climb of the Petrisberg hill (2 km, with some sections of the slope at a 10% gradient). A puncher is almost certain to take control of the race here and will have to battle to maintain his position between Trier and Merzig, where another hill will be climbed twice, offering opportunities of revenge to those who did not taste victory the previous day. The riders will have to keep a cool head until the finish in Stuttgart: the last difficulty, 6.4 km from the finish, will again sort out who are the toughest and most agile sprinters before an ultimate high-speed battle on Theodor-Heuss Strasse.

Women and children in the loop…
Associated with drawing up the Tour of Germany via a community platform that has enabled them to have their say in the design of the route, cycling enthusiasts will be invited to be a part of the celebrations during the four stages on the program:
· Each day, the “Kids Tour” organizes a race for children at the site of the finish.
· An “Expo Tour” will welcome inquisitive passers-by and enthusiasts to a free admission village, involving many activities and exhibitors.
· A “Ride Tour” will be open to the public for people who want to take a bike ride on a 2 to 3 km circuit closed to traffic.
· On 25th August, an official international women’s race, called the “Newcomer Tour” will be organized and is open to young women aged less than 17 years, on a route measuring approximately 70 km.
· On 26th August, a major cyclo-sportive race will be ridden over two distances (65 km and 111 km), with the final part incorporating the route that the professionals will take several hours later. 3,500 participants are expected.

Key points
Organized for the first time by A.S.O. and the German Cycling Federation, the Tour of Germany will take place between 23rd and 26th August over four stages, with a total distance of 740 kilometers to be covered between Koblenz and Stuttgart.

Ø The stages are designed for sprinters and punchers, who will have to keep their wits about them on circuit finishes, with a number of tough bumps.

The program for the 2018 Tour of Germany:
· Thursday 23rd August, stage 1: Koblenz > Bonn, 154 km
· Friday 24th August, stage 2: Bonn > Trier, 210 km
· Saturday 25th August, stage 3: Trier > Merzig, 176 km
· Sunday 26th August, stage 4: Lorsch > Stuttgart, 200 km

Jumbo New Title Sponsor of Combined Speed Skating & Cycling Team for at Least Five Years
Team Oranje, the umbrella entity of the speed skating & cycling Team LottoNL-Jumbo, has closed a deal with Jumbo as its new title sponsor for at least five years, starting January 1st 2019. On behalf of the Dutch family business, CCO Colette Cloosterman-Van Eerd and CFO Ton van Veen signed an agreement with Team Oranje directors Jac Orie and Richard Plugge.

Jumbo takes over the position of Lotto. Lotto’s contract ends at the 31st of December 2018 after having sponsored the team for four years.

“We are extremely proud of the fact that we commit our company to Team Oranje and thus the Dutch top tier sports for the next few years”, Jumbo’s Colette Cloosterman-Van Eerd says. “Jumbo has supported the speed skating & cycling team for many years now and we want to offer possibilities for sports talents to excel. In the meantime, this partnership gives us the possibility to inspire millions of customers to live more healthily. By combining forces between the two teams and our company we can actively carry out our expertise in regard to healthy food and encourage our customers to have a more active lifestyle.”

Good Season
“The cycling team already had a good season in 2017; the winning of two stages in the Tour de France were the highlights”, Cloosterman-Van Eerd proceeds. “This trend seems to be continuing as the team has already secured five wins in the early season. The speed skating team experienced the most successful World Single Distance Championships by winning six world titles last year and the Olympic Games went extremely well by winning four golden medals. We started our sponsorship four years ago and we are noticing an upward trend in many fields. We have a lot of confidence in both teams. As with Jumbo, the will to win and wanting to be the best is in the DNA of this team.”

Jumbo had been negotiating with Team Oranje about a more prominent role for a while already. During these negotiations, they spoke about a new and improved set-up of this unique team. Unquestionably, the teams will be surrounded by top notch sports staff in the future. In the coming period, new steps will be taken to create one ecosystem. This was one of the reasons for Jumbo to extend its commitment to Team Oranje.

“It’s nice that we can go full speed ahead”, responds Orie, director of the speed skaters. “I really appreciate the fact that Jumbo wants to invest in the team so we can elaborate on our Olympic successes.”

Plugge is looking forward to the coming years: “It’s fantastic that Jumbo is backing this team and is creating something really nice with us. We like to compete with athletes who have been developed in our team. Jumbo grants us the opportunity to improve on our solid base with a long term vision and to retain talents for a longer period of time.”

With Eurotours, the Tour of the Alps sleeps in peace
The Euro-regional stage race announces an important partnership with Eurotours International, one of the largest tourist buying group and tour operators in Europe. Special offers to dive into the next edition are scheduled from 16th to 20th April

The increasing relevance and prestige of the Tour of the Alps, the Euro-regional stage race for professionals scheduled from Monday, April 16th to Friday, April 20th 2018 across Trentino, South Tyrol and Tyrol, is confirmed by the important partnership which the GS Alto Garda’s organizers have signed with Eurotours International – one of the most famous tourism buying groups and tour operators in Europe.

Tour of the Alps has entrusted the accommodation – its event’s caravan consists of over 550 people – to the experience and professionalism of the new partner, which has been working in this field for almost 40 years. A high-quality stay in the wonderful destinations along the race stages is designed – especially to the teams and champions that ennoble the race with their own participation.

On this occasion, Eurotours International also offers two different travel schedules for race enthusiasts. The former is a four-day package (April, 13rd-16th), focused on Garda Trentino, to visit the territory that will host the start of the Tour of the Alps 2018. While the latter is a three-day package (April, 19th-21st) for cycling enthusiasts to discover Innsbruck, home of the finish line of the Euro-regional race and of the upcoming Road World Championships at the end of September.

The price of the holiday in Trentino is €159 (double room) and €239 (single room), while the price of the Tyrolean package is €124 (double room) and €179 (single room). The offer – reserved to groups of participants starting from 20 people – includes excursions, guided tours and the possibility to dive into the atmosphere of the Tour of the Alps. Further solutions can be developed for those who wish to extend their stay on weekdays and visit the South Tyrol.

Eurotours International (based in Kitzbühel, Austria) is the main incoming agency of Central Europe, as well the main tour operator in Austria. Verkehrsbüro, the largest tourism company in Austria, is the group to which the company belongs. With a team of 350 skilled professionals organizing holidays for 1.3 million users per year, Eurotours is the first operator in direct sales, offering holiday packages to the final customer through large retailers and other channels. Eurotours has also gained experience in events and has often been partner of important sporting events among which – in addition to the Tour of the Alps – the 2018 Road World Championships in Innsbruck.

The Alto Garda Sporting Group is established in Arco, Trentino at the beginning of the 1960s aiming at organizing cycling races. It has been managing the Giro del Trentino for professionals for 40 years, a stage race which dates back to February 27th, 1979. After the 40th edition’s finish line being crossed successfully, in 2017 the Giro del Trentino turned into the Tour of the Alps, extending its borders to South Tyrol and Tyrol and developing a great Euro-regional project.

More information on Eurotours HERE.

Cycling superstars and wonderful landscapes characterize the Tour of the Alps, one of the most appealing races of the international calendar:

Santini designed a unique jersey for participants – Ports challenge Guadarrama by Movistar 2018
Santini has designed a special jersey, valued at 65 euros, for cicloturista test ‘Challenge Ports de Guadarrama by Movistar 2018’. All riders who choose to participate in this day dedicated to amateur cycling, will receive the garment with which traverse the mountains of Madrid. The Italian company, specializing in apparel and accessories cyclists, runners will wear the colors of the march.

Santini is official sponsor of the Vuelta and official supplier of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and its products are synonymous with quality and technology applied to sport. For the ‘Challenge Ports de Guadarrama by Movistar 2018’ the Italian company has applied its design in its blend model, incorporating thermoregulatory Energy fabric on the front and rear. The collar and sleeves are made of lycra Bodyfit with hot cutting. The garment also includes a binary elastic silicone at the end of the jersey to keep it in position and three back pockets, side zipper long network.

Participants in the race can choose from seven sizes, ranging from S to 4XL, all the colors of the march. Those who take the exit in Colmenar Viejo next June 17 must wear this garment. This decision was taken as a measure of control and security, since the race has registered busiest year after year.

Maillot addition, the Italian company has created other supplements on the occasion of the celebration of the Madrid cicloturista. Fans can purchase accessories such as gloves summer to prevent slipping and sweat; Very light windbreaker vest, and fits in a pocket; the short culotte, maximum comfort and ideal for long distances; the, warm and soft, sleeves to prevent slipping; and socks, breathable and aerodynamic.

More information about the test www.desafiopuertosdeguadarrama.com

Hammer: The Revolutionary Cycling Race Series Returns for 2018
Hammer Series returns to cycling heartland, Limburg in The Netherlands, along with adding second weekend in Stavanger, Norway.

Revolutionary event last year saw 16 top international teams, including 12 World Tour Teams and 4 of the best Pro Continental Teams compete in Limburg, Holland. Series kicks off in Stavanger, Norway on 25-27 May, before returning to Limburg, 1-3 June.

Hammer Series, a ground-breaking three-day pro cycling series today officially announces its return to cycling’s heartland, Limburg in the Netherlands on 1-3 June 2018 and the addition of a second race in the series, Hammer Stavanger, taking place on 25-27 May. Joining the other best teams in the world, German UCI WorldTour team Bora-Hansgrohe will also be in the challenge to determine who the best team [of 2018] is.

Following an exciting inaugural event in 2017, which was watched by more than three million cycling fans on social media channels alone, the Hammer Series now kicks off the 2018 season with two back to back races.

Each race sees three days of intense competition, providing close-up thrills for cycling fans in an innovative team-v-team format designed for digital and broadcast viewing. Unlike traditional stage-based races in which individual riders take to the podium, the Hammer Series pits teams of five riders against each other over extremely testing courses to determine the best team.

Cycling: 1st Velon-Best Team 2017 / Day 3 Arrival / Tao GEOGHEGAN HART (GBR)/ Elia VIVIANI (ITA)/  Danny VAN POPPEL (NED)/  Jonathan DIBBEN (GBR)/ Owain DOULL (GBR)/ Team SKY (GBR)/  Max WALSCHEID (GER)/ Team SUNWEB (GER)/  Sittard-Geleen - SportZone Limburg (44,7km) / Team Time Trial / TTT / Hammer Series / Hammer Chase / (Photo by LC/Tim De Waele/Corbis via Getty Images)

Each Hammer race is made up of three Hammer race days – the Hammer Climb, the Hammer Sprint and the Hammer Chase. Teams select five riders for each race from a pool of seven so they can field their strongest sprinters, climbers and time trialists for the respective race days.

Day 1 – Hammer Climb
The Hammer Climb is a points race, aimed to test the teams over 7-12 laps of a climbing course. Points are awarded to the first 10 riders across the line at the end of each lap, with double points on offer on three laps including the final.

Day 2 – Hammer Sprint
The Hammer Sprint is another points race, this time taking place over laps of a fast, flat circuit. Once again, points are awarded to the first 10 teams to get a rider over the line at the end of each lap, with double points available on three laps including the final. The race winners are the team that have accumulated the most points, with the top 10 riders receiving bonus points in descending order, that contribute to their starting position in the Hammer Chase on Day 3.

Day 3 – Hammer Chase
Day Three is the decider: the Hammer Chase, a team time trial with a twist. The team in pole position on the leaderboard following the previous two days of racing are first off, and following a fixed time period, they’re pursued by the second placed team and so on. In this thrilling fox and hound type format, the first team over the line will win the Hammer Chase and claim overall victory, earning the title of Hammer Champions.

In 2017 Hammer Limburg was won by Team Sky, who clinched the event in a nail-biting Hammer Chase, battling elbow to elbow with home favorites Team Sunweb. Despite starting 32 seconds behind the British team, Team Sunweb caught Team Sky with 3.5km to go, providing a fierce finale. Team Sky’s combined coherence on both the Hammer Climb and Hammer Sprint meant they were in pole position for the final Hammer Chase, fielding more or less a full team time trial squad.

Servais Knaven, Team Sky Directeur Sportif explains how the race was won. “Last year’s Hammer Series was a great event and I’m sure it’s only going to get better in 2018. I really enjoyed my view of the racing from the team car in Limburg – it was so exciting, and it was full gas from the gun every day. The format is great and from the look of the spectators at the start and finish it certainly went down well. I think young fans will love this type of racing and that is so important for the sport.”

It wasn’t just those inside the team car enjoying the race, as Tao Geoghegan-Hart, the young Team Sky Rider who was part of the winning squad enthuses, “It was a real pleasure to race in the inaugural Hammer Series last year and obviously it was made all the more special because we won. The racing was intense – with groups coming and going all the time. The format definitely suits aggressive racing. It’s great that so many cycling fans around the world were able to watch it live. I know a lot of people who don’t often watch racing tuned in because it was live on Facebook. I hope I get to race in one of the events this year and look forward to trying to retain our title we won in 2017”.

Ralph Denk, the manager of Bora-Hansgrohe, explains why his team are participating in Hammer Limburg this year: “I watched the inaugural Hammer race last year with big interest to see how it turns out. Now it is time for us to take part in this series to get also some insights, then we can maybe also contribute to the development of the series in the future.”

Tom Dumoulin, Team Sunweb rider and current world time trial champion reflects on last year’s race. “We had a great first Hammer race in Limburg last year. We were there with a strong team and nearly won. This year we will be there with a strong line-up once again, to try to go for a good result. The Hammer Series is an ideal platform for modern cycling and very exciting for new generations of fans. I really like that all riders contribute to the team result and perform as one unit”

Joining the series this year is Hammer Stavanger, a race set in the city and municipality of the same name in Norway and the third-largest urban area in the country. As the energy capital of Europe, 50 years as the headquarters for oil and gas activities in Norway have shaped Stavanger into a truly international region. In fact, Hammer Stavanger will be supported by Veidekke and Repsol, two of the world’s largest energy and civil engineering companies, with operations based in Norway.

Sven Erik Bystrøm, Norwegian rider for UAE Team Emirates explains “I’m really looking forward to Hammer Stavanger because it adds something new to my race calendar. It also takes place in my home city, and it gives me extra motivation to ride in front of my family and friends along the road. I’m also happy to show my team mates what a beautiful place the Stavanger region is”

Hammer Stavanger will follow the Tour des Fjords 2018, which takes place May 22-24 – guaranteeing some of the highest-calibre of racing this year in Scandinavia.

The revolutionary three-day pro cycle race returns to Limburg in The Netherlands on 1-3 June and adds a second weekend in Stavanger, Norway on 25-27 May. The events will be streamlined live, for more info visit: www.hammerseries.com

Sittard, Hammer series , 03-06-2017. Sprint stage

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