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Overijse - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Van Der Poel Mathieu (NED) of Beobank - Corendon pictured during the druivencross in Overijse on December 10, 2017 in Overijse, - photo TS/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

Two cross races and two wins for Mathieu van der Poel at the weekend. What is going on with Gianni Moscon? – Top Story. Lots of team news from Katusha-Alpecin, Astana and Bora-hansgrohe presentations, plus Quick-Step Floors show their kit for 2018. Sunweb’s Albert Timmer ends his career, Fernando Gaviria to start 2018 in South America, training camps for Nippo-Vini Fantini and Quick-Step floors, operation for Alberto Contador, electric MTB Channel, Haute Route host cities and video of Peter Sagan’s best moments form 2017.

TOP STORY: Gianni Moscon – What’s his Problem?
Team Sky’s Gianni Moscon seems to be on a destruction course and now UCI President, David Lappartient, has said: “I am watching the Moscon affair very carefully”.

Moscon first hit the headlines with: “Moscon Racially Abuses Reza.” Then it was: “Moscon disqualified From Worlds Road Race.” Which was followed by: “Sky’s Gianni Moscon Accused of Causing Reichenbach Crash.” In his favor he was voted Team Sky “Young Rider of the Year.

The abuse case saw Moscon admit that he abused FDJ’s Kevin Reza at the Tour de Romandie for which he was handed a six-week ban from competition by his team after he apologized, but nothing from the UCI. The Worlds incident was due to a long water bottle hand up, at speed. National manager, Davide Cassani, took the blame, but it takes two to tango. Moscon could have let go the bottle at any time.

A very sticky bottle:

The most recent case against Moscon is that he “intensionally” caused FDJ’s Sebastian Reichenbach to crash in the Tre Valli Varesine in October. Reichenbach was hospitalized with a fractured pelvis and a broken elbow. Afterwards Reichenbach filed a complaint with the Italian police and the UCI saying that Moscon deliberately caused him to crash on a descent as “settling scores” for the Reza case. Reichenbach told the Swiss newspaper Le Nouvelliste: “I’m filing a complaint against Gianni Moscon because he intentionally put me on the ground. It was intentional. Several riders saw the action and are ready to provide testimony on my behalf. He deliberately threw himself against me. On a descent, the accident could have had even more serious consequences. My team, FDJ, has encouraged me to file a complaint. They will support me. It’s a question of settling scores after the business with the tweet during the Tour de Romandie. That’s what sealed his internal suspension. But I hadn’t even mentioned his name.”

Moscon said he had nothing to do with the crash and that Reichenbach had lost his grip on the handlebars and fell. Moscon has stated that he will protect his reputation from any accusations. “It’s not true. It’s nothing to do with me. We were on a section of rough road and Reichenbach’s hands slipped from his handlebars. I’ve never spoken to him in my life,” Moscon told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

David Lappartient, UCI President told The Times newspaper: “We need to be strong on this, I am watching the Moscon affair very carefully. If, after racially abusing one rider, he later pushed one of his teammates off his bike, then he has nothing to do with cycling if he behaves like this.”

Will the UCI investigate and do something, or are they more interested in finding motors in bikes?

How it all started in Romandie:

Vlaamse Druivencross – Overijse 2017
On Sunday Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) won his third Druivencross in a row and so went home with an extra €12,500 for winning three times in five years in Overijse. Previously Sven Nys is the only other rider to win the special prize after he won four times from 2010 to 2013. With World champion, Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles), still in Spain, Van der Poel lined up as the favorite, as has been usual this winter season.

Van der Poel took the lead on the first lap, once he attacked and gained a gap he rode to the finish without any competition. His only problem was the muddy, technical course that was made treacherous by the snow, but the European champion took yet another solo victory.

Van der Poel, Quinten Hermans (Telenet Fidea Lions) and US champion Stephen Hyde’s (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) were the fastest starters, but as Hermans took the lead, he crashed. Van der Poel and Hyde got round Hermans, and then the Dutchman attacked and no one was able to follow. As the others ran parts of the course, Van der Poel rode through the slippery conditions.

With one lap to go the chase group was down to five: Eli Iserbyt (Marlux-Napoleon Games), Tom Meeusen (Beobank-Corendon), Corne van Kessel (Telenet Fidea Lions), Jens Adams (Pauwels Sauzen Vastgoedservice) and Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games).

Meeusen’s attack was covered by Iserbyt, then half-way through the final lap, but it was Van Kessel who charged past them both on a short climb. Van Kessel was the first down the short drop to the finish with Meeusen trying to hold his wheel. Meeusen jumped past on the final turn, but it was the Telenet-Fidea man who had the stronger sprint for second place.

Overijse - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Van Der Poel Mathieu (NED) of Beobank - Corendon  pictured during the druivencross in Overijse on December 10, 2017 in Overijse, - photo TS/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Vlaamse Druivencross Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon in 58:49
2. Corne van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea at 0:36
3. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Beobank-Corendon at 0:37
4. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 0:38
5. Eli Iserbyt (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 0:45
6. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux Napoleon Games at 0:49
7. Daan Soete (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 1:36
8. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 1:41
9. Quinten Hermans (Bel) Telenet-Fidea at 2:16
10. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts-Betfirst at 2:30.

Sorry no video, but more photos HERE.

DVV verzekeringen trofee – IKO cyclocross – Essen 2017
Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) made sure of his win in Essen on Saturday with his usual strong performance. His job was made easier by three-time winner Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles) off training in Spain.

Van der Poel’s teammate Tom Meeusen dragged the European champion clear of the others on the first lap with Toon Aerts (Telenet-Fidea) holding their wheels. Van der Poel put the pressure on and blew the triplet apart as Meeusen sat on Aerts’ wheel, Van der Poel pulled away.

Laurens Sweeck (ERA Circus) jumped past Meeusen and Aerts to try to chase Van der Poel down on the muddy course. Van der Poel was the stronger rider on the climbs, but Sweeck managed to chase back on the straights to hold the European champion. At halfway point in the race; Van der Poel’s technical skill on the barriers section saw him ride away from Sweeck who had to run.

At the front Van der Poel was in to trouble all the way to the finish. Behind Sweeck the Telenet Fidea pair of Aerts and Corne van Kessel were in top gear and were making up ground on the Belgian, but Sweeck held them off by around 20 seconds at the line. Aerts out-sprinted Van Kessel for third, with Van der Haar (Telenet-Fidea) in 4th ahead of Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Napoleon Games).

Essen - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Mathieu van der Poel celebrates as he wins the men’s elite ’DVV verzekeringen’ trophy cyclocross race on December 09, 2017 in Essen, Belgium, 09/12/2017, - photo PN/Cor Vos © 2017

DVV verzekeringen trofee – IKO cyclocross – Essen Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon in 1:00:28
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus at 0:23
3. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:42
4. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 0:49
5. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:04
6. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 1:05
7. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 1:13
8. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Beobank-Corendon at 1:28
9. Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Charles at 1:37
10. Jim Aernouts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 2:04.

Essen’17 highlights:

Marcel Kittel and Solid Team KATUSHA ALPECIN Eye Future Successes
Celebrating the start of the tenth season for WorldTour KATUSHA ALPECIN, the international Suisse team welcomed sponsors, journalists, friends and family to Robinson Club Cala Serena (Mallorca, Spain) on Saturday with a multi-media team presentation and private dinner to kick off the 2018 season. A full roster of 26 riders from sixteen countries was presented via a clever ‘inside the team’ experience that featured riders on the bus, in the KATUSHA Café as well as the showers at Paris-Roubaix, answering questions and sharing their goals and ambitions for the upcoming year.

“2017 was a big step ahead for me after a difficult prior year,” said Marcel Kittel. “I won five stages at the Tour that I am very proud of and feel highly motivated to be at the top again. It really satisfies me. I was so happy to be able to come back to a level I had seen in the past. My next big target will be getting used to my new teammates and see how we work together – that’s not even thinking about winning yet. Having a great lead out team on this international Team KATUSHA ALPECIN is a good motivator for me. I think this is a good fit and I feel we can achieve something together. I feel very comfortable here.”

With almost a week of training already behind them, the 2018 squad, including leaders Ilnur Zakarin, Kittel and Tony Martin, look ready to take on the new season and continue to improve on past results. So far, General Manager José Azevedo likes what he’s seen on the roads of Mallorca. Last year there was a large turn-over in both staff and riders, but the core group stayed together this year with only seven new riders joining the group. For Azevedo, this provides desired stability for the team: “The ambiance of our group is good. Our staff continue to work well together and they spend so much time communicating with our riders and making sure they have what they need. This area of communication is very important to me, especially as we bring new riders into our cycling family and desire to integrate them as quickly as possible. In the last 5-6 days I think we have seen that everything is going in the direction we want,” said GMAzevedo.

Reflecting back on a season that saw 17 wins coming from six different riders, as well as 150 top ten placings from sixteen more riders, Azevedo sees a bright future for the upcoming season, most notably the addition of top sprinter German Marcel Kittel: “We have a core team that will be stronger than last year and with the exception of Alexander Kristoff, they have all continued with us. We need to thank Alex for the six years he raced with Katusha and all of the victories he brought to us. Now we move forward with another big sprinter in Marcel Kittel and I see him currently as the best sprinter in the world, as evidenced by his five stage wins in this year’s Tour de France. We have riders to work for him and prepare the lead out. I think this group of riders will support Marcel in the best way. We also have a good rider who is useful in the preparation for the sprint, Alex Dowsett. We need to see improvement in our time trials, as well as our team time trials and I think we will see this help come from him.”

The big presence of Kittel does not overshadow other riders or team ambitions, however, and Azevedo is quick to point out that the potential for success goes deep in KATUSHA ALPECIN. Ilnur Zakarin, third in the Vuelta a España this year, will ride the Tour de France in 2018 for the first time. “I have goals for the Tour even though it is a race that will be new for me. I hope to see myself make the top five. I had some doubts the middle week of the Vuelta, but I kept getting stronger and realized how good I was feeling. It is good to know this happens in the big tours and I will come with more experience to my next three-week race. My condition was very good at the end,” said Ilnur Zakarin.

Azevedo added, “We see his third-place finish in the Vuelta a España as a huge step for him. The group we have around him is strong. Ian Boswell is a rider who can provide good support for Ilnur. Simon Špilak has also stepped up with the one-week races and of course we have Tony Martin, 4-time world time trial champion and Olympic silver medalist who still has more to give to the sport of cycling. We also have some young riders who are displaying promising talent. Of course, we have a plan for them that looks to the future, and we plan to help them continue to improve and be on a good level,” said José Azevedo.

Tony Martin was new to the team last year, but has settled in nicely and welcomes his old friend, Marcel Kittel: “It’s very nice to have Marcel in the team. He’s my good friend and he gives me so much motivation for my own riding. He’s also super nice and a good person. I feel more confident now in the team and very comfortable. It’s not my first year anymore – now the pressure is on him,” Martin said with a laugh.

Maxim Belkov (RUS), Jenthe Biermans (BEL), Ian Boswell (USA), Steff Cras (BEL), Alex Dowsett (GB), Matteo Fabbro (ITA), José Gonçalves (POR), Nathan Haas (AUS), Marco Haller (AUT), Reto Hollenstein (SUI), Robert Kišerlovski (CRO), Marcel Kittel (GER), Pavel Kochetkov (RUS), Viacheslav Kuznetsov (RUS), Maurits Lammertink (NED), Tiago Machado (POR), Tony Martin (GER), Marco Mathis (GER), Baptiste Planckaert (BEL), Nils Politt (GER), Jhonatan Restrepo (COL), Simon Špilak (SLO), Mads Würtz Schmidt (DEN), Willie Smit (SA), Rick Zabel (GER), Ilnur Zakarin (RUS).

Marcel Kittel in his new kit:

Quick-Step Floors Unveil 2018 Jersey
Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels and Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra modeled the kit that the team will proudly wear in 2018.

Just like the wolf changes its hair but not its nature, so will the “Wolfpack” have a new kit to sport in 2018 while continuing to be driven by the same fierce winning mentality which has made Quick-Step Floors the most successful team of the past 15 years, with over 600 UCI victories.

For next season’s jersey, Quick-Step Floors opted for royal blue and a smooth and elegant design which remains true to the team’s heritage, but is also as sleek as possible and easily recognizable in a 200-man peloton.

Not only the design and the color are different, also a few elements have made their way on the back of the jersey, such as the name of the rider wearing the kit and the “Wolfpack” theme, which has become Quick-Step Floors’ mantra ever since sports director Brian Holm coined it a couple of years ago.

“It’s a really beautiful jersey, elegant and a bit more vintage than in the last years. I love it! I also like how ‘The Wolfpack’ has become a visual thing now and is part of the jersey. It’s already a sign, a symbol of our team, it’s unity and I think that it represents the squad really well. I’m super excited about the new kit and I can’t wait to show it in my first race of next year”, said Luxembourg Champion Bob Jungels.

The clothing is produced by technical sponsor Vermarc Sport, who has been with the team since 2003 and will continue at the side of Quick-Step Floors in this new and exciting chapter that will soon unfold, after signing a two-year contract extension, to the delight of both Marc Verbeeck and Patrick Lefevere.

“Straight from the start of the team, my father, Frans Verbeeck, was convinced that the collaboration would be a big opportunity for Vermarc Sport. From that day until now, the partnership became a fruitful win-win situation for both parties with a big emotional value”, said Marc Verbeeck.

“Because of the long-term relationship, the alliance does not feel like a pure business deal. The contacts with the team became more and more familiar, there’s direct feedback from the staff and the riders towards Vermarc Sport and this helps us to optimize the current products and to develop new cycling apparel. Another big advantage is that the name Vermarc Sport is exposed everywhere in the cycling world. As partner of one of the biggest cycling squads, our brand grew combined with the image of the team”, concluded Vermarc Sport’s CEO.

“We feel fortunate to be able to present our 2018 outfit together with Vermarc Sport, who once again makes sure our riders will be clothed with state of the art cycling apparel. Wearing blue is how we are recognized in the bunch, just as we want it to be. We are an aggressive team, a winning team, and we don’t want to hide in the bunch”, said Patrick Lefevere referring to the new agreement and team kit. “Vermarc Sport has been part of the team since its inception. It is a story of mutual benefits in which we help them in developing and optimizing their products through continued feedback and they help us going faster on the roads. And with the team’s success Vermarc Sport has of course enjoyed great exposure worldwide along with our other sponsors.”

BORA – hansgrohe presents new design for 2018
At the teams’ presentation in Schiltach (Ger), besides the roster for 2018, also the new race kit was presented.

“It was a tough season with lots of ups and downs. The crash in Flanders, the punctures in Roubaix, then the Tour – a lot of times we had to fight back. But taking over 30 wins in our first WorldTour season, and being one of just three teams that could win at least one stage in every Grand Tour, makes me proud. I think we achieved a lot.

Now it’s more about the details. Last year was a big step up for us and it’s almost impossible to make everything right from the beginning. During the winter, we will work on a lot of performance projects, aerodynamics, training, nutrition. I feel we can do better than we did this season and everybody in the team is focused on improvements. Therefore, our goals for 2018 are quite ambitious: We want to win one of the Monuments, take a top five result in one of the Grand Tours, take the green jersey in the Tour and secure a top five spot in the WorldTour team ranking at the end of the season.”Ralph Denk, Team Manager.

Peter Sagan, the triple UCI World Champion, was in good mood, talking first about his new role as a father: “Becoming a father is a natural and important part of a man’s life and there is no doubt that the birth of Marlon was one of the happiest moments in my life. Both, Kate and him are doing great and I’m sure I will cherish every moment I spend with them.” Then being asked if he wants to ask a question to somebody on the stage instead of being the one to answer like always, Sagan asked Denk that he heard rumors about the fact that the team manager lost a bet and had to do a tattoo. Of course, he knew already that Ralph Denk had to tattoo the Peter Sagan logo on his left ankle, after Sagan took his third world title in a row.

“To be honest, I was a little surprised how important team work is at WorldTour level. Of course, we also worked together in the U-23, but it is impressive how organized the big teams are. Especially in Belgium, with the typical small roads and crosswind sections, you have to be in front as a whole team. It will help to be already more used to this next year. And it is important that I know some of tricky parts now in advance, that will help as well coming back next year.”Pascal Ackermann.

“The wins at the end of the season gave me a lot of confidence. Entering the off season like this, also means a big boost in motivation to do all the hard work during the winter. So, for sure my goal is also to have a strong start to the next season.”Sam Bennett.

“My season was quite good. But I want to take another step towards the top next year. My goal for 2018 is to target one of the Grand Tours as a leader of the team. Of course, to make that happen my preparations need to be perfect, it’s also not decided yet which one of the three it could be, but that’s my big goal for next season.”Emanuel Buchmann.

“I think everybody could see at this year’s Grand Depart in Düsseldorf that cycling is really popular again in Germany. Some years ago, the situation was maybe different, but now it is really fun again to ride in front of German crowds. The German national Championships in Chemnitz was for sure also one of that great moments. Also seeing all the people and their passion for cycling here today, makes me feel we are almost back where we have been already in the 90ies with the popularity of cycling in Germany.”Marcus Burghardt.

“For sure the Giro will be a big goal for me. But because the first week of the Giro, after the start in Jerusalem, will be already pretty tough, you need to be in good condition straight away. Therefore, I think I also will be ready to perform well in Liège which is just ahead of the Giro.”Davide Formolo.

“Well, it’s a new challenge for me, and after being with BMC for 5 years it was time for something new. When you change teams it’s also a new approach on how you prepare a season, and a change also means new motivation. Regarding racing I think my role won’t change a lot. In the past I worked for Greg, now I will help Peter in the Classics.”Daniel Oss.

“My decision to change team was not only based on the aspect to get more freedom. After spending several years at Team Sky, I felt it was time to change scenery, work with new people, finding new inspiration. But for sure it is also great being able to target races like the Dauphiné, were I am normally in good shape. Besides that, Paris-Nice, or the Ardenes are races I want to perform well in.”Peter Kennaugh.

“I had a season every athlete is afraid of. But what can you do, that’s sport. I never stopped fighting, or believing that I will come back to my best level, and in the end of the year it already started to pay off. I was back racing in Turkey and China and had no problems at all. We changed a lot of my training off the bike and I think everything is fine now. For next season, I am quite optimistic that I can fight again with the best GC riders.”Leopold König.

“It was the first time I tried to go for the GC in the Tour de France this year. Obviously, it didn’t work out as planned for us. The Tour showed why it’s the hardest race in the world to be won. But I want to try again next season, I never surrendered in my career, cycling is always about getting up on your feet again. So I want to prepare as good as possible for the Tour again and then we’ll see. About Innsbruck, we have to see how the season goes. My main focus is the Tour de France as I said. But the profile of the course there should suit me, and I already showed in Rio, that I can do also well in one day races, so why not giving it a go.”Rafal Majka.

“One of our main objectives is building brand awareness, it is now 11 times higher than it was when we started the main sponsorship 3 years ago. In order to increase the visibility of our brand we have modified the BORA logo on the jersey. We skip the steam symbol, but the core, our identity remains: We are BORA. And in TV spots that are presented around the races we explain who we are and what we do: Extracting vapour without a cooker hood – a revolution in the kitchen.”Willi Bruckbauer, owner BORA.

“Our sponsorship of the cycling team is based on a rational decision and fits in seamlessly with our global marketing strategy for hansgrohe. Already in the first season, awareness of our premium brand hansgrohe rose sharply. Our sponsorship engagement is already paying off, especially in important markets such as Germany and France, as well as in Belgium where professional cycling enjoys great popularity.”Philippe Harinck, Sponsoring Projektleiter der Hansgrohe Group.

“We are proud to be a sponsor of Bora-Hansgrohe, which means being a sponsor of a team at the very highest level, with the strongest rider in the world. For Sportful, it’s gratifying to see professionals come back and choose us again because of the quality and the attention that we devote to every garment. It’s a responsibility that we intend to honor to the best of our ability,”Giuseppe Bovo, brand manager Sportful.

Astana Pro Team-2018 presented in Kazakhstan
On December 8th, in the capital of Kazakhstan Astana has been held the official presentation of the 2018 Astana Pro Team. The upcoming season will be the 13th cycling season in the team’s history.

This year the team’s presentation was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Astana City, the capital of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In addition, today’s event was one of the first, dedicated to the celebration of Day of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The official presentation of Astana Pro Team was attended by the Minister of Culture and Sport of Kazakhstan Arystanbek Muhamediuly, the Mayor of Astana Asset Isekeshev and the President of Kazakhstan Cycling Federation Darkhan Kaletaev.

The presentation has been opened with a special video, dedicated the memory of Michele Scarponi.

During the official part of the event, a renewed Astana Pro Team was presented to the guests. It is not only about changes in the team roster, but also about the rebranding. Since 2018, Astana is a single national sports brand, which brings together the best professional clubs of the country, including the cycling team Astana: the renewed logo and the new 2018 jersey cycling kit were presented officially.

The general manager of the team Alexandr Vinokurov summed up the expiring year and announced the main goals for the upcoming season.

“There is no a secret for anyone, that the last season was a tough one for our team. Not only because of big changes at the start of 2017, injuries and bad luck, but, first of all, because of a huge loss. We lost Michele Scarponi and he will always be in our hearts. Anyway, together, we were able to pass through all hard moments and in the second part of the year we proved that Astana still holds its place as one of the best teams around the world. In 2017 we scored a number of nice victories and big achievements at the highest level, both in the UCI WorldTour races and Grand tours. It is a pleasure to mark some attention on the successes of our Kazakh riders: the wins of the best Kazakhstan athlete Alexey Lutsenko and a serious progress of our young guys allow us to look optimistic into the future. So, with today’s presentation we officially open our new season. We step up in the new year with a renewed, well balanced and ready for some big things roster. With a roster, which allows us to follow our goals not only at the Grand tours, but at the week races and the classics as well,” said Alexandr Vinokurov.

At the event were presented six new riders of the team: Yevgeniy Gidich (Kazakhstan), Omar Fraile (Spain), Jan Hirt (Czech Republic), Hugo Houle (Canada), Davide Villella (Italy) and Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark), who, unfortunately could not come to Astana. A few days ago, during a road training, Magnus crashed out and broke his collarbone. On December 7th in Girona, he underwent a successful surgery. The rider will join the team at the training camp in Altea, Spain.

Also, was presented the full roster of 2018 Astana Pro Team, which includes 30 riders from 12 countries:
Pello Bilbao (Spain), Zhandos Bizhigitov (Kazakhstan), Dario Cataldo (Italy), Sergei Chernetckii (Russia), Magnus Cort Nielsen (Denmark), Laurens De Vreese (Belgium), Daniil Fominykh (Kazakhstan), Omar Fraile (Spain), Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark), Oscar Gatto (Italy), Yevgeniy Gidich (Kazakhstan), Andriy Grivko (Ukraine), Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kazakhstan), Jesper Hansen (Denmark), Jan Hirt (Czech Republic), Hugo Houle (Canada), Tanel Kangert (Estonia), Truls Korsaeth (Norway), Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kazakhstan), Miguel Ángel López (Colombia), Alexey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan), Riccardo Minali (Italy), Moreno Moser (Italy), Luis Leon Sanchez (Spain), Nikita Stalnov (Kazakhstan), Ruslan Tleubayev (Kazakhstan), Michael Valgren (Denmark), Davide Villella (Italy), Artyom Zakharov (Kazakhstan) and Andrey Zeits (Kazakhstan).

At the races the team will be managed by sports directors: Dmitriy Fofonov (sports manager), Alexandr Shefer, Dmitri Sedoun, Stefano Zanini, Lars Michaelsen, Sergey Yakovlev, Bruno Cenghialta and Giuseppe Martinelli.

Astana 2018 team:

Team Sunweb’s Albert Timmer Ends Career as a Professional Cyclist
From the beginning of 2018 Team Sunweb’s Albert Timmer (NED) will retire as a professional cyclist, in order to focus on family life. The 32-year-old will use the upcoming period to explore the possibilities for a new career, inside or outside of cycling.

A highly valued, core member of Team Sunweb since 2007, Timmer has been a part of numerous team successes. With an impressive 11 Grand Tour starts throughout his 11 years with the team, the 32-year-old Dutchman was this year a part of the squad that secured four Tour de France stage wins, as well as both the polka-dot and green jersey. After extensive talks with the team, Timmer has decided to end his career as a rider on a high note and fully focus on his family life and young daughter, a decision that Team Sunweb fully supports. The team has made arrangements to celebrate Timmer’s 11-year career to thank him for his dedication and commitment throughout.

Speaking of his retirement, Albert Timmer said: “I’ve had a brilliant career during my 11 years with the team and learned an incredible amount from those around me in the broadest way possible. I feel that I’ve taken the maximum out of my capabilities as an athlete and I look back hugely proud of what we have achieved together. I am grateful to have been part of many successes (with Marcel [Kittel], John [Degenkolb] and Tom [Dumoulin]), a lot of which I didn’t expect to be possible. In 2015 I suffered with an irregular heart rate, which I underwent successful minor surgery for. Since then I have struggled to regain full confidence on the bike and feel that now is a good time to call it a day with my career to completely focus on my friends, family and young daughter, who I spend much time away from.”

“This wasn’t a decision that I have taken lightly, but I am certain that it is the right next step for me as a person. After a really successful year in the team, I’m really grateful to be able to end my career on a high note and look forward to taking all experiences from cycling into my next adventures. I am thankful to all support the team offered throughout my career and I will follow the team’s many more successes in the future.”

Rudi Kemna (NED), head of coaching at Team Sunweb said: “We’ve spoken with Albert at length and completely understand his situation. It’s now time for him to focus on family and life outside of professional cycling. Albert has been a core member of our team and was part of most of our successes throughout the years. We could always count on him; he’s not only a culture carrier, a great professional and an example, but also a great person off the bike. On behalf of all at Team Sunweb I’d like to thank Albert for his dedication and contribution to the team over the years and we wish him all the best for the future.”

Albert Timmer in the Giro’16:
Pinerolo - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Albert Timmer (Netherlands / Team Giant - Alpecin) pictured during stage 18 of the 99th Giro d’Italia 2016 from Muggio to Pinerolo 244 km - foto Miwa IIjima/Cor Vos © 2016

Fernando Gaviria to open 2018 season in South America
The 23-year-old will race the Vuelta a San Juan in January, before lining up for the inaugural edition of Colombia Oro y Paz.

Fernando Gaviria was a fresh face on the cycling landscape, but that changed once he took the Tour de San Luis by storm, winning two stages in spectacular fashion. Three years on, the Colombian is one of the peloton’s stars, earning acclaim for his powerful sprint and unmatchable speed, traits who’ve landed him no less than 23 victories – including four Giro d’Italia stages and the cyclamen jersey – since joining Quick-Step Floors.

One of the most successful riders of 2017, a year which he started in South America and ended in Asia, with 14 wins in the bag, Fernando Gaviria resumed training after a well-deserved rest at home, as he is preparing for the upcoming season, which will see him debut at the Vuelta a San Juan (21-28 January).

“Racing in Argentina is something very special for me, because it was here that the door to a pro contract opened, back in 2015. I won five times in my previous outings here, I like everything – from the race to the fantastic support and warm welcome we are always getting from the fans – and I can’t wait to return there in January and hopefully kick off the year on the right foot again”, said Fernando when questioned about his presence at the start of the 36th Vuelta a San Juan.

From there, the Quick-Step Floors rider will fly to Colombia, where he’ll line out for the Colombia Oro y Paz, a new entry on the UCI calendar. The 2.1 race will take place between 6 and 11 February and the sprinters will have several chances to shine during the week, but for Fernando it will be about more than fighting for victories there.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am to race in front of my family, my friends and countrymen as a pro in a stage race, especially one which is at its debut. I rode here once in the past, at last season’s National Championships, but this time it will be a completely different story and just thinking about it gives me huge joy; it’s something I’ve dreamt about when I was younger and just picked up cycling. There’s still some weeks to go until the start of the season, but I’m already counting the days left until I’ll race in my country”, concluded Fernando, who on January 9th will attend the team’s presentation in Calpe, before flying to South America to commence his third season in the Quick-Step Floors kit.

Fernando Gaviria had good form at the end of the season in Guangxi:
Tour of Guangxi 2017 - 1st Edition - 6th stage Guilin - Guilin 168,1 km - 24/10/2017 - Fernando Gaviria (COL - QuickStep - Floors) - Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA - Bahrain - Merida) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2017

Training Camp: From 10 to 20 of December the Team will be Training in La Spezia
The #OrangeBlue riders are ready to be back on the roads for training for the 2018 season. From 10 to 20th of December the team will be training on the 5 Terre roads, starting from his headquarter in La Spezia. Athletic test, trainings, official video shooting and fun moments with many local fans. To host the team will be the Hotel il Gabbiano where a dinner with fans will take place on Saturday 16th and a convivial ride will start on Sunday 17th of December.

The NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team is ready to ride, road to 2018, official start in team headquarter in La Spezia. After the first short-training camp in Abruzzo, the team will start the strong trainings on 5 Terre roads. Meeting scheduled for 10th of December at the, Hotel Il Gabbiano, the place that until the 20th of December will host all riders and staff.

10 Days of Training, Athletic Test and Video-Foto Shooting
10 days of trainings in which all the intense trainings, co-ordinated by the Sports Trainers and the Sports Directors, will be the focus of the activity. With the occasion of the second training camp, preparing the 2018 season the team will be doing important sports trainings and Osteopathic visits with the support of FK Team. The training camp of December will host also the official video & photo shooting of the team 2018, with the landscapes of the Liguria region as backgrounds.

Technical Partners, The Know-how Easytech for the Nippo
Starting with this training camp, at disposal of the team the important working tools of Easytech, new technical partner of the team for the physiotherapy. Already important partners of top football teams as Barcelona and Juventus, this very important cycling know-how will be imported also in the cycling world with the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team from the 2018 season.

Week-End with the Fans in La Spezia
During the training camp, open meetings with the fans have been scheduled. On Saturday 16th of December the first “save the date”, with a special reward to Damiano Cunego organized by the “Museo del Ciclismo” of Ameglia – in Monte Marcello. The meeting is scheduled at 3.30 pm of Saturday. The “fan time” will continue in the evening of Saturday 16th with a dinner with all the team open to all the fans, in collaboration with Hotel il Gabbiano. On Sunday 17th of December a special fan ride, will start from the Hotel il Gabbiano at 9.30 in the morning. The event is open to all the amateur riders.

Quick-Step Floors to Meet in Spain for First Training Camp
Calpe – venue of several Vuelta a España stages in the past – will see the entire team reunite before the start of a new season.

The riders and staff of Quick-Step Floors will be heading to the Costa Blanca next week for the first training camp ahead of the 2018 season. After spending the past two Decembers in Denia, our team has now opted for Calpe, where between the 11th and 21st, the 27 riders making up the roster for next year will convene.

“Calpe usually provides perfect weather conditions for December training camps, and that’s why so many teams are coming here. The training camp in December is an important step in the preparation for next season. Since November, the riders have gradually built up the training rides to 4-5 hours and now have reached a point where they have to put in more workload”, said Koen Pelgrim, Quick-Step Floors’ trainer.

“We have one group with riders who’ll kick off the season early at the Tour Down Under, in January, another one for the classics riders, and the last one consisting of the climbers or GC guys. For the group starting at Down Under we do a bit more specific training with more intensity. Generally, the training is not too specific and intensity is not too high but we do train some sprints and lead-outs for the riders who are important for that. The group of climbers will of course do uphill training, but still low medium intensity, while some riders will focus also on time trial training.”

The Calpe training camp will serve also as an excellent occasion for all the riders to spend some time together and bond ahead of next year, creating a strong group cohesion and working towards a new season they all wish to be successful.

Koen Pelgrim explained: “For 2018, we have several new and young riders in the group as well, however, we know them quite well and already did some testing earlier this year at the Bakala Academy. But the camp is a nice way for the new riders to become part of the group and socialize. The first days are usually quite busy with events off the bike, but we will do two blocks of three days, summing up to around 25-27 hours of training in the saddle. Should be a good foundation ahead of the start of the season.”

Quick-Step Floors training in Spain:
Calpe - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -  Team QUICK STEP - FLOORS  pictured during a training session of the Quick Step Floors cycling team around Calpe in Spain  - photo PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Alberto Contador, Successfully Operated of a Tendon of the Right Wrist
Alberto Contador underwent an operation today to reconstruct a tendon in his right wrist, an injury that he had been suffering for more than a year and that had just being decompensated in the past Criterium of Shanghai (China), which caused continuous pain and discomfort.

The medical doctor Pedro Delgado, head of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology at the ‘Hospital Universitario HM Montepríncipe’, was in charge of carrying out the intervention, in which he reconstructed the right scapholunate tendon with an arthroscopic technique, which will allow a faster recovery.

Alberto Contador stayed for about two hours in the operating room and, according to the medical team that attended him, the intervention was a success and very soon he will be fully recovered for daily life.

Alberto on the mend:

Play Sports Network Announces New Electric Mountain Bike Channel
Launching in early 2018 with former Dirt Magazine Editor Steve Jones announced as Presenter, & Matt Skinner promoted to new group role as Content Director.

Play Sports Network (PSN) is pleased to announce the launch of new Electric Mountain Bike Network (EMBN) channel which will be presented by Steve Jones, the distinguished mountain biking journalist and former Dirt magazine Editor. Jones joins in December, ahead of the channel’s full launch early next year, with Specialized and Haibike confirmed as bike partners.

Jones is a highly respected bike tester with an encyclopaedic knowledge of bikes, mountain biking and downhill racing. Over the years he’s discovered several iconic bikes and this natural curiosity has led him to become an authority on the growing trend of eMTBs.

EMBN is the fourth in a series of cycling and tri-sports specific channels from PSN, which comprise of Global Cycling Network (GCN), Global Mountain Bike Network (GMBN) and Global Triathlon Network (GTN). The addition of Jones to the new channel bolsters the roster of mountain biking talent PSN enjoys, alongside Martyn Ashton, Neil Donoghue, Blake Samson, and Andrew Dodd.

Those familiar with PSN’s current channels know the excitement, energy and diversity of content that is produced; and with Jones’s knowledge and notoriously honest views, EMBN looks to be a must-watch.

Matt Skinner has been promoted to the newly created role of Content Director across the Play Sports Group, working across both PSN – and its roster of market leading cycling, mountain bike and triathlon channels – and SHIFT Active Media (SHIFT), the award-winning cycling marketing and communications agency. With a primary remit to drive the long term editorial strategy and direction for the network and channels, including growing and developing both existing and new audiences, Skinner will also continue to work across SHIFT’s key content and creative relationships. Prior to joining SHIFT in early 2012, Skinner spent nearly a decade as a mountain bike journalist and magazine Editor working across the UK’s Mountain Biking UK (MBUK) and What Mountain Bike magazines.

Simon Wear, Founder and CEO of the Play Sports Group, says: “The mountain biking landscape is changing and we want to pioneer that change. Bringing in a huge industry talent like Steve with his knowledge and experience will help propel this expansion into the eMTB market with EMBN. He’s an exuberant addition to an already incredible mix here at PSN and we can’t wait to see that first episode.”

Talking about Matt Skinner’s promotion to a new Group-wide role, Simon Wear says: “Matt has been with the business since the early days and having been a successful marketing and content specialist for many years, his unique experience of editorial and commercial positions him perfectly to take up this newly created pivotal position.”

Steve Jones, Presenter of EMBN, says: “PSN is highly ambitious and I’m excited to be a part of the mission to catapult the eMTB market. Like all forms of cycling, eMTB requires the rider to decide on the intensity of the ride. But more than this, eMTB seems to foster a more sharing attitude; it also brings freedom, uniting downhill and trail riding. Like most people in the bike industry I’ve watched GMBN and GCN cut their groove. They’ve brought a width of content and a unique style and seem to be having a lot of fun with what they’re doing. I cannot wait to get stuck in with EMBN.”

Steve Jones will present the new Electric Mountain Bike Network channel:

Haute Route Announces Host Cities for 2018 Mavic Haute Route Rockies
7-Day Event Features 14,000 Foot Ascent of Majestic Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain

Haute Route, the world’s most prestigious multi-day event series for amateur cyclists, today announced five host cities for the second edition of Mavic Haute Route Rockies, taking place from June 23 – 29, 2018. Boulder will serve as the official start city of the seven-day event, which includes visits to Winter Park, Avon, Breckenridge and Colorado Springs, Olympic City USA, before taking riders up an epic climb over 14,000 feet to the summit of Pikes Peak-America’s Mountain, one of the most famous summits in the United States.

“The climb of Pikes Peak will bring riders to the highest point ever reached by the Haute Route and is one of only two paved roads above 14,000 feet in the United States,” said Micah Rice, Head of Operations for Haute Route North America. “The 2018 edition of the Mavic Haute Route Rockies will also contain significantly less unpaved sections than the 2017 edition. We will ensure any unpaved sections represent less than ten percent of the overall route and include only a few hard-packed dirt roads easily ridden on a road bike, which will lead riders to some of Colorado’s most breathtaking scenery.”

Riders will experience an all-new route at the 2018 Mavic Haute Route Rockies, covering approximately 500 miles through high altitude passes with abundant views of the beautiful panoramas that make Colorado the heartland of American cycling.

“Haute Route continues to innovate to ensure riders get the most premium cycling experience possible, both on and off the bike,” added Micah Rice. “To that end, the 2018 edition of Mavic Haute Route Rockies is offering three different levels of accommodations: Premium (3 and 4 star hotels), Classic Plus (3 star hotels) and Classic (2 and 3 star hotels). We want riders to enjoy their experience and focus on the event, not on logistics.”

Accommodations packages are available for all Mavic Haute Route Rockies participants, including hotel selections located as close as possible to the start and finish area as well as early breakfast and daily transportation of travel bags. For each level of accommodations riders can choose from three different room options, including individual (single room), couple (double room) or individual to share a room with another rider (twin room). Friends and family of Haute Route riders also have the opportunity to purchase any one of the accommodation packages. Click HERE for more details and prices on these packages.

2018 Mavic Haute Route Rockies Schedule
Saturday, June 23 – Stage 1: Boulder to Boulder
Sunday, June 24 – Stage 2: Boulder to Winter Park
Monday, June 25 – Stage 3: Winter Park to Avon
Tuesday, June 26 – Stage 4: Avon Time Trial
Wednesday, June 27 – Stage 5: Avon to Breckenridge
Thursday, June 28 – Stage 6: Breckenridge to Breckenridge
Friday, June 29 – Stage 7: Colorado Springs to Pikes Peak

Staying true to the hallmarks of every Haute Route, Mavic Haute Route Rockies provides amateur riders with the authentic pro experience on and off the bike. Athletes will experience the best roads in Colorado and are fully supported with premium services typically reserved for the pro peloton.

To register for the 2018 Mavic Haute Route Rockies, go to https://www.hauteroute.org/events/how-to-enter/mavic-rockies-2018.

Haute Route was created in 2010 by global sports marketing and event company OC Sport to deliver an unparalleled professional experience both on and off the bike for amateur riders. Taking place in the world’s most iconic cycling destinations, the events are timed, ranked and fully supported with premium services typically reserved for the pro’s. Haute Route launched its first North American event in June of 2017 with the Mavic Haute Route Rockies. For more information and to access the full 2018 Haute Route calendar of events, including new three-day U.S. events, Haute Route San Francisco (April 20-22), Haute Route Asheville (May 18-20) and Haute Route Utah (September 14-16), please visit www.hauteroute.org.

Mavic Haute Route Rockies 2017:

Peter Sagan – Ready for 2018
Peter Sagan is Ready For Next Season! Watch Best Peter Sagan’s Moments of this year!

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