What's Cool In Road Cycling
Tours - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Matteo TRENTIN (Italy / Team Quick Step - Floors) - Soren Kragh ANDERSEN (Danmark / Team Sunweb) pictured during the 111th edition of the Paris-Tours cycling race with start in Brou and finish in Tours on October 08, 2017 in Tours, France, 8/10/201 - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

The Italians dominated the weekend’s racing with wins for Vincenzo Nibali and Matteo Trentin. All the results and video from Lombardia and Paris-Tours, plus Milano-Torino. Can you stop riders crashing? – Top Story. In other news: New contracts at Movistar, Astana, Sunweb, Lotto Soudal, Baby-Dump and Cérvelo-Bigla. We finish with a preview of the Tour de France Shanghai and Saitama Criteriums in China and Japan.

TOP STORY: Ban Dangerous Descents?
The descent of the Muro di Sormano in Il Lombardia has been described by Quick-Step Floor’s Dan Martin as the most dangerous in a one-day race, and that ‘dodgyness’ was proven by his team mate Laurens De Plus and AG2R-La Mondiale’s Jan Bakelants. De Plus hit the roadside barrier and flew over a fence and was lucky that trees and bushes broke his fall, he walked away fairly unscathed. Bakelants wasn’t quite as lucky, he sustained seven rib fractures and fracture-compaction of the first lumbar vertebra and the third lumbar vertebra and spent the night in Como hospital. The ‘crash count’ for Saturday’s race also included Simone Petilli (UAE Team Emirates), Winner Anacona (Movistar) and Daniel Martinez (Wilier Triestina).

The question is: Should dangerous roads be removed form cycle racing?

You can’t really do that or we would loose Paris-Roubaix immediately. Plus some of the best climbs have ‘tricky’ descents. Vincenzo Nibali managed the drop from Sormano and probably faster than anyone else. Riders will push the envelope to the limit in any circumstance and sometimes it can all go wrong. No one can stop a rider from taking chances when the race is on.

Laurens De Plus – Don’t try this at home:

Giro di Lombardia 2017
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) showed how to win a hilly one-day Classic on Saturday with a perfectly timed attack in the finalé of the Giro di Lombardia. Behind him; Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) took second place at 28 seconds with Gianni Moscon (Sky) winning the sprint from the chase group at 38 seconds.

The early break of the day: Davide Ballerini (Androni-Giocattoli), Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (Dimension Data), Lorenzo Rota (Bardiani-CSF), Matthias Le Turnier (Cofidis), Pier Paolo De Negri (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb) went from the gun and built up a maximum lead of 12 minutes. By 70 kilometers to go they were nearly caught.

The next group to chase was Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Andriy Grivko (Astana), Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), Laurens De Plus (Quick-Step Floors), Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), Rodolfo Torres (Androni-Giocattoli), Mikael Cherel (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Alessandro De Marchi (BMC). Eventually there was only Ballerini and Le Turnier out front as they hit the climb of the Ghisallo. Riders were being dropped and Cherel joined the two up front to go solo on the steep climb of the Sormano. He had 30 seconds on De Plus at the summit, with the peloton at 1 minute.

The descent of the Sanroma saw many crashes, including De Plus, Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) and De Marchi (BMC) attacked the chasers to eventually catch Cherel with 24km to go. Behind the chasers; Gianni Moscon (Sky), Sam Oomen (Sunweb), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida), amongst others, set up the chase. Pinot headed off on his own to catch and pass everyone ahead of him, to eventually be joined by Nibali. The Italian dropped Pinot on the descent and tackled the final climb with 17 seconds in hand. By the summit he had 38 seconds on Pinot and 45 seconds on Uran, Moscon, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), Diego Rosa (Sky), Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R-La Mondiale), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Fabio Aru (Astana).

Nibali held his lead to the finish, Alaphilippe attacked the group to finish seconds and Moscon won the sprint for third from the chase group.

Full PEZ race report HERE.

Lombardia 2017 winner Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “I was in a better condition today than I was two years ago; I knew the downhill better. I had more confidence too. A win in a Monument has a higher value than a stage in a Grand Tour, as I got this year at the Giro with the Stelvio and at Andorra in the Vuelta. The most difficult thing for me was to maintain my condition after the Vuelta – Il Lombardia kept me focused.

“The first one was harder to win because there was the fear that I hadn’t won a Monument yet. Today everyone was controlling me, Quintana and Uran in particular, so I had to redistribute the cards. When Pinot attacked, I let him go and I went after him 1km before the summit. Then I thought of nothing. I just went straight on and flat out. When I turned pro, [sport director Stefano] Zanatta told me I had downhill skills that I could use either for attacking or defending. It’s still the case now. I’m 32, not 33 yet, but I feel young and strong.”

2nd, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors): “It’s incredible. I didn’t expect to finish on the podium today. I had a strange feeling after the World Championships, but I kept focused and my team did a really good job. I did my best but I couldn’t follow Nibali when he attacked. I’m not disappointed, it’s already something special to finish on the podium of a Monument. My thoughts also go to my team-mate who crashed during the race while he was at the front. I heard he’s OK, I strongly hope so. I want to thank my team for their work in my favor today, and I will return to the Italian monuments with the aim of doing even better than third in Milan-Sanremo and second at Il Lombardia.”

3rd, Gianni Moscon (Sky): “A Monument is so special, so to make the podium today is amazing. Even if I didn’t win a race this year, a podium here in Como is fantastic and worth a victory – it’s the best way to close my season. Nibali was the strongest on the last climb. I tried to attack Civiglio but everybody was tired after 200km or more of racing pretty hard. After the Sormano wall, your legs feel stiff. Even if I went with Nibali I’d have been dropped in the next climb like Pinot was. I’m happy with third place. After this, I can take more responsibilities in the team. My condition is on the up after the Vuelta. This increases my ambitions for next season – I want to be at the top of my condition for the Spring Classics.”

4th, Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale): “The Tour of Lombardy is a renowned monument, and taking 4th place is a great result. Throughout the day, I felt very good, and I think I maybe had a podium place in my legs. A sprint is always pretty random, and I should have gone to the right. Moscon closed the door a little, as often happens in this kind of situation. The season is over now, and I am satisfied with what I have accomplished since July. I’ve had four full months with the Tour de France (13th), the win at Tour du Limousin, and two fourth places in UCI WorldTour events. I am really satisfied.”

Giro di Lombardia Result:
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida in 6:15:29
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors at 0:28
3. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky at 0:38
4. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
6. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
8. Mikel Nieve (Spa) Sky at 0:40
9. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:42
10. Sergei Chernetski (Rus) Astana at 0:47.


Paris-Tours 2017
The 111th edition of Paris-Tours turned into a Quick-Step Floors exhibition, with Matteo Trentin and Niki Terpstra taking over the role of main protagonists after defending champion Fernando Gaviria crashed on the wet roads on a corner, 20 kilometers from the finish. The race was brought to life by the 28-year-old Italian inside the last ten kilometers, on Côte de Beau Soleil, where his devastating attack blew the peloton apart and sparked a response from only a handful of riders.

On Côte de l’Epan, the day’s last climb, Trentin got out of the saddle again and his fierce acceleration led to another important selection, only teammate Niki Terpstra and Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) making the cut this time. As the road flattened out and the chasers began pulling behind, the trio enjoyed a 12-second advantage, which they maintained thanks to the fantastic work laid down by Niki, who put in some strong turns at the front, ensuring the three wouldn’t get caught by the chasers.

Having enjoyed a superb second part of the season, with six wins – including four stages at the Vuelta a España – Matteo Trentin was the favorite to take the victory and the Italian didn’t disappoint, opening his sprint with 250 meters to go and powering to his second success in three years at the French classic, which Quick-Step Floors have now won for the third consecutive season, a record. André Greipel (Lotto Soudal) brought in the peloton 7 seconds later.

Race winner, Matteo Trentin (Quick-Step Floors): “The light rain and wet roads made for a strung out bunch, so on the first hill I said to myself it won’t hurt to give it a go. A first group formed, but then I went again and Niki came across. We played perfect tactics and Niki did an incredible work and a provided a superb lead-out in the last kilometer. It’s fantastic to end the season in such a manner. I want to thank to Quick-Step Floors for these seven years, it was an honor to ride with them and I’m proud of bringing down the curtain over my time here with a second victory in Paris-Tours.”

2nd, Søren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb): “Today was a great day for the team. We had a plan which we completely followed and executed to perfection. I am really happy for the amazing support the boys gave me and they definitely made it possible for me to fight for the win. It’s a great feeling to end my season like this, and for the whole team. I’m already looking forward to coming back next year for a new season!”

Paris-Tours Result:
1. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Quick-Step Floors in 5:22:51
2. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb
3. Niki Terpstra (Ned) Quick-Step Floors at 0:01
4. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal at 0:07
5. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
6. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Yves Lampaert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
8. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
9. Mike Teunissen (Ned) Sunweb
10. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC.


Milano-Torino 2017
One year after Colombian Miguel Ángel López won Milano-Torino NamedSport, the world’s oldest one-day classic, another Colombian, the Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale-Drapac), rode away on a big gear with 3km to go to take the win, resisting the efforts of Briton Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) and Italian champion Fabio Aru (Astana) who rounded out the podium.

Rigoberto Uran was the first rider to pass the Basilica di Superga just meters before reaching the Milano-Torino finish line. The Colombian held off Orica-Scott’s Adam Yates, who had jumped out of the bunch, passed all chasers and crossed the finish line 10 seconds behind Uran. Italian road champion Fabio Aru (Astana) was third.

The main difficulty in the 186-kilometer race from Milan to Turin was located at the end of the race, with a double ascent of the Superga climb and a technical descent plus only 15 kilometers in between to recover. The finalé began on the first climb. A four-rider breakaway, that had formed quickly after the start, had only 20 seconds left at the foot of the climb, and the end of their reign was in sight.

With the leaders reeled back in, it quickly became a race of attrition with a selective group arriving at the top of the climb. Uran handily followed wheels up the climb, keeping a low profile in the wheels of his competitors. On the second climb, Uran made his move and was never seen again until the podium presentation.

Race winner, Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac): “I’m very happy about this win. I possibly attacked a bit too early but I wanted to try from that far out because I feel I’m in very good shape, and I know this climb very well. Il Lombardia is coming and it’s great to see that I am in a good condition to push a big gear in the hills. Winning is great, but for me the most important thing is to enjoy racing as much as I did at the Tour de France.”

2nd, Adam Yates (Orica-Scott): “Finishing on the podium is always a good result. I thought with 600 meters to go it was possible to win but in the end Uran had a little bit more. I had a bit of a bad luck in the Giro dell’Emilia with a small crash, so I couldn’t contest the final; this was my next race, and I got to contest the final. We have a big one on Saturday and I hope the legs will still feel good for Il Lombardia, everyone knows how hard it is. It’s the same course as two years ago, and I was up there two years ago – it’s a much longer race than today and there’s much more climbing. My confidence is a bit increased by what I achieved today. It’s been a long time since I contested a final. In the Vuelta, I wasn’t super – it’s good to be back.”

3rd, Fabio Aru (Astana): “This is for sure a good result. We’re at the end of the season and it’s been a demanding season. I really wanted to do well this week to thank my team-mates for the work they’ve been doing for me all year long. Since Uran was so strong today, I’m happy with my third place. Il Lombardia is for sure a very nice race and I’m focused for delivering another good result on Saturday.”

Milano-Torino Result:
1. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac in 4:24:51
2. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-Scott at 0:10
3. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana at 0:20
4. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 0:28
5. David Gaudu (Fra) FDJ at 0:31
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Sky
7. Daniel Martinez (Col) Wilier Triestina at 0:33
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ at 0:35
9. Pierre Roger Latour (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:43
10. Peter Stetina (USA) Trek-Segafredo at 0:53.


Lotto Soudal: Sander Armée three years longer @ Lotto Soudal!
Sander Armée (31) has extended his contract with Lotto Soudal until the end of 2020. The Belgian rider, who claimed his first WorldTour win in the Vuelta last month, has been part of the team since 2014 and he was happy to sign for three more years.

Sander Armée: “It’s nice that I can keep working in this pleasant environment. It’s now my fourth year with the team and I immediately felt good at Lotto Soudal. I think that I’m the kind of rider who can help the team in a lot of different races but who can also get good results if the race profile suits my abilities. If our leaders are present, my role will be to help them as much as I can. But if there are no real leaders in the team, I can have a shot at winning. I’m glad with this situation and I think it can remain as such for the years to come. I still want to win another race, of course. I knew that I had a victory in my legs but it also depends a lot on the situation. I maybe have a little more confidence after my Vuelta stage win, and I hope I can repeat that in the future. It might be a race at another level though, but I will keep trying.”

Sander Armée:

Neylan to add experience to new Movistar Team
35-year-old Australian -vice World RR champion in Valkenburg 2012- to help the Blues’ youngest riders with her invaluable skills.

Following Monday’s confirmation of eight riders signing contracts with the Movistar Team’s first ever women’s roster, the squad managed by Eusebio Unzué now announces Rachel Neylan (Sydney, AUS; 1982) as their latest addition for 2018.

With only ten years in cycling after previous experiences in athletics, triathlon and rowing, as well as a degree in physiotherapy in her home Australia, Neylan nevertheless holds plenty of experience in the pro peloton after making part of some of the best squads in the World (Diadora, Hitec or her latest contract with Orica, from the 2015 season to this date).

A silver medalist in the Valkenburg World Champs road race (2012) and a big protagonist into the breakaway at the Ponferrada race (2014), Neylan has prestigious wins to her account with the GP Plumelec (2016), the Cadel Evans Road Race (2015) and the Trophée d’Or GC in 2015. As well as her four Worlds appearances, Rachel has also been an Olympian in Rio 2016 (22nd).

Neylan says: “The opportunity to begin a new journey with Movistar supports my curiosity to embrace new challenges, and be the best athlete I can be moving forward. The Movistar Team has a sound philosophy to develop young riders, a role where I can give back, share my experience mentoring young women is a pivotal part of being an athlete and incredibly rewarding. I’m so happy to join the Movistar Team for 2018 and looking forward to pouring my passion and enthusiasm into a new and exciting project!”

Rachel Neylan:

Yevgeniy Gidich – new rider of Astana ProTeam
Yevgeniy Gidich, a young Kazakh rider, in the upcoming season of 2018 will join the WorldTour Astana ProTeam. This year, Yevgeniy already did a few races with the team as a trainee (Brussels Cycling Classic, GP de Fourmies, Tour of Denmark).

“I am very happy to sign my first professional contract with Astana Team. I was dreaming about it, I was aspiring to this and now my dream comes true! I am so happy! I will do my best to help the team to reach the highest possible results and to justify team’s hopes,” – explained Yevgeniy Gidich.

Yevgeniy Gidich (21) spends a very solid 2017 season. In March, he won a stage and the final classification of the Tour of Thailand as well as took the silver medal in the road race of the U23 Asian Cycling Championships. In June, Gidich was third in the GC of the Tour of Korea, while later, in July, he won the final stage of the Tour of Qinghai Lake.

A few weeks ago, as Astana trainee, Yevgeniy provided a strong support to Michael Valgren on his way to the final podium of the Tour of Denmark. Recently, Gidich showed his great potential at the Tour of Almaty, where he finished 7th in the overall classification.

“Yevgeniy is a young and ambitious rider with a huge potential. This year he scored a number of really strong results, proving he is ready for the next step into a higher level. Despite he is a sprinter, Yevgeniy feels quite good on the climbs and he showed it a few days ago at the Tour of Almaty, where he entered the final Top-10. Besides, he left some great impressions after his races as a trainee in our team. His first contract with Astana will be for the next two seasons. We hope, in a few years he will be able to compete with the strongest sprinters around the world,” – said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Yevgeniy Gidich:

Sunweb add Marc Hirschi and Jens Vanoverberghe to Development Program
Team Sunweb are pleased to announce two promising signings to their Development Program as Marc Hirschi (SUI) and Jens Vanoverberghe (BEL) join the team. Vanoverberghe signs for one year and Hirschi signs for two years, until the end of 2019.

At just 19 years old, the up-and-coming Swiss talent Hirschi has already taken a bundle of impressive results. During the 2017 racing season he claimed the U23 Swiss time trial title and podiumed at the U23 European road race championships. Alongside these results he also took the win at the Tour du Jura, the mountains classification victory at Le Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux and last weekend a strong 6th at Piccolo Giro di Lombardia.

18-year-old Vanoverberghe has already demonstrated his talent on the bike. The young Belgian, an all-rounder with sprint capabilities, took the stage three victory at Niedersachsen Rundfarht earlier this year, as well as finishing 7th in the points classification. Alongside these results he also took two top 15 finishes at OberÖsterreich Juniorenrundfahrt.

Hirschi said: “This is a great step for me to make the move to Team Sunweb. Their development structure is brilliant and has already proven itself when looking at riders such as Sam [Oomen] and Lennard [Kämna] from their WorldTour Program. They have one of the best development teams for young riders as they work so close to their WorldTour men’s and women’s program’s sharing all of their expertise. For young riders it’s important to learn these things at a young age and already understand their way of working. I am really looking forward to joining the team and want to make the next step in my career and hope to specifically progress in long stage races.”

Vanoverberghe said: “I am very pleased with the chance to join one of the world’s best teams. With a great support environment, Team Sunweb focuses the right things needed to develop their riders with a good race program, expertise and equipment. I already have a good impression of the structure which is very professional. I am very motivated for 2018 and am looking forward to showing my capabilities and adding value to the team.”

Team Sunweb’s Development coach Sebastian Deckert (GER) explained: “We are confident that these talented riders will strengthen our Development Program and we will work hard to fulfill our common goal of long-term development towards the highest level of cycling.

“Marc is a hugely talented all-rounder with experience across a variety of terrains. We are sure that he will strengthen our team, not only as a rider but also as a person. Jens is a young Belgian talent who has had several good results on a national level, as well as a stage victory at the Niedersachsen Rundfarht. He will strengthen our team, especially during the classics races.”

Marc Hirschi and Jens Vanoverberghe:

Marjolein van ‘t Geloof about her transfer to Lotto Soudal Ladies
21-year-old Marjolein van ’t Geloof, who raced for Jan van Arckel this season, will join the Lotto Soudal Ladies team in 2018. The past years Marjolein van ‘t Geloof made a lot of progress. This season she got eighth at Dwars door de Westhoek and Omloop van de IJsseldelta. At the Dutch national championships van ‘t Geloof finished tenth, claiming the national title in the elite without contract category. In January she will complete her studies of physiotherapy.

Marjolein van ‘t Geloof: “I set some nice results this year, both in national and international races. That’s how I got in contact with Lotto Soudal. I have always had the ambition to set the step to a UCI team and that moments has come now.”

“I have been racing since I was ten. My parents were cyclists and my brothers raced too. When I was seven I got a bike and three years later I started competing. That’s how it all started. I have always been good at sprinting. The past years I did develop other strong points too. I am getting better uphill and in time trials. I also love to race aggressively. I am glad that I not only have to rely on my sprint, but that I’ve become more of an all-rounder. Although it’s nice to be fast, that’s always an advantage.”

“I love the spring races with cobbles. Echelons, wind and rain; that’s all I need. Next year I hope to set another step forward, that doesn’t necessary have to be showing in my results. I am curious to see how I perform in bigger races. I am looking forward to racing for the team, by attacking or by pulling the sprint for a teammate. I will also support Lotte Kopecky as well as I can. I hope to get my own chance sometimes too. There’s a good atmosphere at Lotto Soudal, you see that. Let the new season begin!”

Marjolein van ‘t Geloof:

Ann-Sophie Duyck joins Cervélo Bigla in 2018
Ann-Sophie Duyck is the latest signing to the Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team for 2018. The Belgian national time trial champion is the second national title holder to the join following the signing of British gold medalist Claire Rose.

Duyck is prolific in the time trial and has won the Belgian national title for the last four years. She boats four victories in 2017 along with the silver medal in the European Continental Championships.
“Cervélo Bigla is a world-class team with a huge respect for time trailing,” Duyck said. “I believe the team makes it possible for a cyclist to reach their highest level. It’s a very balanced and well-structured team with a highly professional atmosphere. Another big role in my decision to join is that I will be teammates with Ashleigh [Moolman-Pasio] again and I will be back on a Cervélo.”

She continued: “The team has very high-quality partners which are very important for time trailing. Team manager, Thomas Campana is an expert in both road racing and time trailing, I truly believe this is the next big step in my cycling career. I’m looking forward to meeting the whole team. I want to help the team win races. I want to help in the sprint lead-out, being in a breakaway, help to protect the leader’s jersey, be part of the TTT squad…The main key is that we win as a team.”

“We’ve been talking to Ann-Sophie for a while as she is another part of the equation,” Campana said. “She will be playing a key role by adding value to our ambitious group while we support her to reach her potential. The time trial is a passion of ours and our partners. Ann-Sophie is a great rider in this discipline but she is not to be underestimated in road races. We believe she has a lot of to offer and we can’t wait to get the work underway.”

The signings of Rose, Duyck and Emma Norsgaard have already been made public while Daria Pikulik joined the team on 1 August 2017.

Ann-Sophie Duyck:

Van de Duin and Celi Renew Contracts, Jasper Schouten Enforces the team!

Patrick van der Duin and Abe Celi renew contract
With a mighty sprint Patrick secured a stage at Olympia’s Tour where he beat some global U23-big shots. Right there he showed competition has to be at top level when they meet again next year! Abe Celi was new and learned a lot this season, next year hopefully he can harvest after some hard work!

Jasper Schouten takes his chance!
In his third year on a racebike 23y old Jasper Schouten made serious business of cycling and did immediately turn heads of our management. By winning Wim Hendriks Trofee and a stage in Oderrundfahrthe showed himself ready to step up a level. Jasper is made for Dutch and Belgium races and his way of riding of course we are happy to Jasper with us next year!

Get to know Jasper.

Jasper Schouten:

Froome on an Asian Tour!
Alberto Contador’s official farewell was celebrated in Madrid this past 10 September, at the conclusion of the Vuelta in which he won one of the most prestigious stages, at Angliru, the day before the end of the race. And yet, the newly retired rider will be back in action in the star-studded peloton of the first edition of the Tour de France Shanghai Criterium. The Spaniard will go up against his old nemesis, the winner of the Vuelta, Chris Froome, who became the 3rd rider in history to accomplish the Tour de France-Vuelta double. The Froome-Contador duels left their mark on a generation of cycling fans: the final go-round in will take place in Shanghai on the site of the 2010 Shanghai Expo. But the two most expected protagonists will be up against some serious contenders. This year’s Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Urán will also make the trip to China’s most populated city, as will Polka Dot Jersey winner, Warren Barguil and Marcel Kittel who won the highest number of stages in the 2017 edition.

A regular of the Japanese end of the season race, the German sprinter could cross swords in Saitama with one of his most of frequent Tour adversaries. Mark Cavendish will race for the first time in the Tour de France Saitama Criterium, after having won 30 Tour stages in ten years. The Briton, who is second on the all-time record list behind Eddy Merckx with 34, dropped out early due to injury on this year’s Tour. Particularly attentive to statistics, the tens of thousands of Japanese spectators will certainly be on the lookout for the “Cav”, who will certainly battle in terms of popularity with the Olympic champion Greg van Avermaet. The Belgian rider and winner of the 2017 Paris-Roubaix will also race in Saitama for the first time before returning to Japan to defend his title in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Key points:
· The winner of this year’s Tour de France and Vuelta a España will participate in the first Tour of France Skoda China Criterium this coming 29 October in Shanghai, where he will meet up with Alberto Contador who will come out of retirement, as well as Rigoberto Urán, Warren Barguil and Marcel Kittel.
· For most of top Tour de France riders, this is a genuine Asian swing that will continue with the 5th edition of the Tour de France Saitama Criterium in Japan on 4 November that, for the first time, will welcome the active rider with the most Tour stage wins, Marc Cavendish.

The main contenders
Team Sky: Froome (Gbr), Kwiatkowski (Pol)
Quick-Step Floors: Kittel (Ger), Vakoc (Cze)
Team Sunweb: Barguil (Fra), Geschke (Ger)
Dimension Data: Cavendish (Gbr / only at Saitama), Eisel (Aut)
Cannondale-Drapac: Urán (Col), Clarke (Aus)
Trek (only at Shangai): Contador (Esp), De Kort (Ned)
Tour de France Japan Team (only at Saitama): Beppu, Arashiro (Jap).

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