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Peoples Choice Classic 2018 - Adelaide - Adelaide 50,6 km - 14/01/2018 - Peter Sagan (SVK - Bora - Hansgrohe) - photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!

First race of 2018, first win for Peter Sagan. 106 year-old retires from competition – Top Story. Results and video from the People’s Choice Classic and the Belgian and Dutch cyclocross championships. In other cycling news: Tour Down Under up-dates, but no Bjorg Lambrecht. Sepúlveda debuts in San Juan, 2018 Vuelta a España and Tirreno-Adriatico routes, Tour of Oman teams, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA rosters and more video from Willie Smit.

TOP STORY: Record Holder Robert Marchand Retires at 106 Years of Age
Hour record holder in the 100+ age category, Robert Marchand, has decided to hang up his wheels and retire from competitive riding. The multi-record holder has been advised by his doctor not to take on any more records.

Alain Gautheron, president of Marchand’s cycling club, the Cyclos Mytriens Club de Mitry-Mory, said that any more record attempts “would mean lots of pressure and lots of demands. If he pedals, he has to do it in relaxation, for pure pleasure. It’s more reasonable.”

In 2012 Marchand rode 24.250 kilometers setting a new Hour Record for the 100-104 age group, and added 2 more kilometers in 2014. Then in 2017 he rode 22.547 kilometers for the 105+ age category.

Read about ‘Breaking The Centenarian Hour Record’ in PEZ Toolbox.

People’s Choice Classic 2018
The break of the day in the People’s Choice Classic – prologue to the Tour Down Under – was a three-man group of Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Segafredo), Tom Bohli (BMC) and Zak Dempster (Uni-S-Ausrtralia), which grew to seven with Timothy Roe (Uni-S-Ausrtralia), Jhonatan Restrepo (Katusha-Alpecin), Lachlan Morton (Dimension Data) and Manuele Boara (Bahrain-Merida). The intermediate sprints came and went, with the peloton watching closely to make sure they didn’t build up too much of an advantage. The BORA-hansgrohe riders controlling the pace as the break splintered in the final laps and it was only a matter of time until they were swept up, and on lap 18 of 22, it was all back together. Bora-Hansgrohe’s Jay McCarthy took the intermediate sprint on lap 20, setting the tone for the finish.

Waiting in the peloton was World champion, Peter Sagan, wearing the rainbow stripes for the third season in a row. While a crash in the final meters caused some confusion in the bunch, Peter Sagan was too far ahead to notice, taking the victory with a textbook sprint, claiming his first win in his first race in the 2018 season. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) took second place ahead of young Australian sprinter Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) with Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) in fourth.

More photos from the People’s Choice Classic in PeloPic.

Peoples Choice Classic 2018 - Adelaide - Adelaide 50,6 km - 14/01/2018 - Peter Sagan (SVK - Bora - Hansgrohe) - photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2017

Race winner, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The People’s Choice Classic was a fast race with a fast sprint finish. The team worked very well, following the plan the sport directors had set. When the final sprint started, I found myself a bit closed but I then took Greipel’s wheel and managed to beat the others on the line. I’m very happy with this result for me and the team. Thanks to BORA-hansgrohe, Specialized and all the sponsors and partners of the team for their support.”

Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe): “The 2018 season for BORA-hansgrohe got under way with a very good race. Everybody came together really well for the sprint finish. The boys rode perfectly to bring Peter Sagan into a good position and make a good lead-out for him. It certainly is a good start to the week.” – Jay McCarthy

Manuel Boaro (Bahrain-Merida): “We tried to go in the breakaway. We went for showing the new jersey, and also for the publicity because the race was just 50 km. It goes fast, maximum 1 hour. We tried, we won’t know if we don’t try.”

People’s Choice Classic Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe in 1:04:25
2. Andre Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
3. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
4. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Chris Lawless (GB) Sky
7. Sam Welsford (Aus) UniSA-Australia
8. Enrico Battaglin (Ita) LottoNL-Jumbo
9. Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar
10. Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data.

People’s Choice finish:

Belgian Cyclocross Championship 2018
Unsurprisingly, World cyclocross champion Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) won the Belgian cross champs in Koksijde on Sunday. Laurens Sweeck (Era-Circus) was the protagonist of the day, sparking the action on the first lap. Van Aert was on his wheel and the two pulled away from the others. Sweeck tried his hardest, but the World champion was obviously the stronger man and took the win by 40 seconds. Daan Soete was third.

Koksijde - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -   Van Aert Wout (BEL) of Crelan - Charles team pictured during the 2018 Belgian National Championships Cyclocross  Elite Men race 2018 on January 14, 2018 in Koksijde, Belgium   - photo JB/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Belgian Cyclocross Championship Result:
1. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Charles
2. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus at 0:40
3. Daan Soete (Bel)
4. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions
5. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice.

Belgian champs:

Dutch Cyclocross Championship 2018
There was no surprise in Holland as European champion, Mathieu van der Poel won the Dutch National cyclocross championships in Surhuisterveen. His brother, David, was third with Lars van der Haar (Telenet-Fidea) second.

Dutch champion, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus): “It was not the intention to ride away, I wanted to stay together with the rest as long as possible to try and get David on the podium. But in a mud lane he had to get off the bike while I could stay on the bike. This created a hole and I decided not to wait. I have not taken any risks today. For example, the barriers were not very easy and I did not think it was worth trying to jump them.”

Dutch Cyclocross Championship Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
2. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Lions
3. David van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus
4. Corné van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea Lions
5. Stan Godrie (Ned) Crelan-Charles.

Another jersey for Mathieu:
Surhuisterveen - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Mathieu van de Poel pictured during  Dutch National Championships cyclocross Elite in Surhuisterveen, the Netherlands  - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2018

New jerseys on! Izagirre Brothers and Pozzovivo Leading the Dream Team in TDU!
From 16 to 21 January, BAHRAIN MERIDA Team is ready for our first challenge in Adelaide, Australia. Started from Port Adelaide, one of the original commerce centers and shipping gateways to South Australia, we are striving for glory in 860 kilometers race in 6 days.

“We have a really strong lineup, it’s more of a team for GC, so the main focus will be on GC,” commented by our sports director Tristan Hoffman. “Domenico and Izagirre brothers will share the leadership. Ion has been recovering well after Tour de France. Gorka finished 8th in GC in 2015. Domenico joined both of the training camps and showed his great personality. I look forward to seeing him again on the road. We hope all 3 riders finish in top 10.”

From Domenico Pozzovivo, one of our leaders: “I’m just working to be in a good shape at the start of TDU 2018. My objective will be to reach the top 10 in GC, doing some good performance in the two hilly stages (4th and 5th). I think we have a very good roster at the start of this race and for me it’s always a pleasure to start the season in South Australia because of the good weather, the beautiful roads to race and a very competent public following every stage.”

Ion Izagirre also showed great expectation in TDU: “First of all my main goal is recover the feeling that I had before the crash, take confidence back in the peloton with stress in downhill. I already done 2 times this race and I know which kind of stages are there. It’s a good race to start the season, it’s summer, short stages, not too much transfers. We go with Pozzovivo and my brother, which is very important to me. So in my opinion, we are going to have a very strong team there.”

Meanwhile, after a successful operation, Ramūnas Navardauskas will be in our lineup again, the new season for him could be nervous but exciting as well: “For me, 2018 is very important as my comeback from last year’s problems. So Tour Down Under is super important for me. I know I will not be at my best, but I can’t wait to see where my form is at. I am looking forward to helping my teammates. I miss to ride Merida bike in a race with Bahrain-Merida jersey!”

BAHRAIN MERIDA Team’s lineup for Tour Down Under:
Manuele Boaro, Valerio Agnoli, Yukiya Arashiro, Ramūnas Navardauskas, Ion Izagirre, Gorka Izagirre and Domenico Pozzovivo.

Tour Down Under video preview with André Greipel
Lotto Soudal rider André Greipel looks ahead to Tour Down Under 2018 (16 – 21 January).

UAE Team Emirates Announce Line-Up for Opening Race of 2018 UCI WorldTour Season
UAE Team Emirates will embark on their second UCI World Tour season this week, heading to Australia as the team tackle the Santos Tour Down Under from 16th – 21st January.

Representing the UAE colors and making his Santos Tour Down Under debut, is former World Champion, Rui Costa, alongside teammates Matteo Bono, Simone Consonni, Roberto Ferrari, Marco Marcato, Manuele Mori and Diego Ulissi, the latter producing some of the strongest displays for UAE Team Emirates in the team’s 2017 debut season.

The Santos Tour Down Under was first staged in 1999 and became a prestigious UCI World Tour event in 2008 becoming the first race to be staged outside of cycling’s traditional European home. This year marks the 20th anniversary for the race, now synonymous with riders looking to get their campaign off to a winning start and pick up the seasons’ first honors.

Spectators can expect to see competitive rides, especially from sprint specialists who may look to make an early season statement and take advantage of the flatter roads across the opening two stages. Stage One’s 145km route begins in the historic Port Adelaide before riders head north on the Port River Expressway to the finish in Lyndoch. Stage Two, a 148.6km race through the Adelaide Hills will see the peloton navigate three laps of the leafy suburb of Stirling before what could be a bunched sprint finish. Stages Three (146.5km), Four (128.2km) and Five (151.5km) will draw out the climb specialists, who will contest each stages’ Category One climb in a bid to be crowned the Subaru King of the Mountain. The final stage will see riders compete in a short 90km route through the streets of Adelaide before finishing in front of a packed crowd opposite the iconic Adelaide Oval Cricket Ground.

Speaking ahead of the opening race of the 2018 UCI World Tour season, UAE Team Emirates’ Rui Costa said: “For the first time in my career I’ll be participating in the Tour Down Under. I’m well aware that I will end up next to riders who will already be in great shape, especially the Australians. It will be interesting to see the impact of our winter training and hopefully we will have a good pedaling rhythm. This will be the beginning of a long season for me.”

UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi commented: “Once again the 2018 season starts for me in Australia in a race where I have always experienced perfect riding conditions. The calibre of competition is going to be high, especially on the two stages with climb finishes and will serve as a good testing ground for the season ahead.”

Team Sky’s young guns are excited to tackle the Tour Down Under
The average age of the seven-man team is just 23 and will be led by 21 year old Egan Bernal, who will target the general classification at the six-day WorldTour event.

Sprinter Kristoffer Halvorsen, 21, will have strong leadout support from fellow Team Sky debutant Chris Lawless, 22, Owain Doull, Jon Dibben and Lukasz Wisniowski. Salvatore Puccio is the most experienced member of the seven-man lineup at 28 and will act as road captain.

Lawless can’t wait to start racing and believes the month-long block of racing and training Down Under will stand him in good stead. He said: “I’m really looking forward to starting the season at the Tour Down Under. It will be the fourth time I’ve been out to Australia to race. Last winter was the only one I’ve missed out on since I turned under-23 and I seemed to miss it quite a lot.

“It’s always good to get out there and do a training block around the races – you get guaranteed good weather nearly every day. It’s a nice place to start the season. The roads are quick, rolling, and it makes it easy to get a lot of work done.”

Dibben hopes the group can hit the ground running in Adelaide and build some momentum to take through the season. He said: “The average age of the team will be really young. There is a real young group and it should be good to build together, taking that momentum forward. You progress as a group and hopefully keep going higher.”

Sport Director Brett Lancaster has been tasked with marshaling the team in his native Australia and is excited about working with the youthful crop. “It’s a really young and exciting team and we’re keen to see how these guys develop,” he said.

“We’ll be gunning to try and take a stage win. We’ve got Kristoffer as our lead sprinter. His form is a bit unknown coming straight from Norway and stepping off the plane into temperatures of close to 40 degrees.” He said: “I’ve never been in Australia before so I think it will be really nice. The weather is really good and the stages are not too long, so it suits me well as a first ever World Tour race. Hopefully it will be really good.”

And Lancaster is looking forward to seeing how team leader Bernal performs in his first race for the team. “Egan has already raced in a lot of big races,” he continued. “He’s no longer a neo-pro but he’s very young still. It’s going to be a really good chance to see where he is at, especially against the Australian riders who are in a home race and adapted already. We’ll see what happens come Willunga Hill and we’ll look to put him in a good position.”

The race will hit Willunga on stage five and, as in previous years, Lancaster expects it to decide the latest Tour Down Under champion. He continued: “It’s Willunga again where the race should be decided. Stage four has a good climb too but it’s similar to what we’ve seen in recent years. That Willunga day will be interesting for sure.”

No Bjorg Lambrecht at Tour Down Under
The UCI has informed Lotto Soudal that neo-pro Bjorg Lambrecht can’t take part in the Tour Down Under. The young Belgian would make his début in the first WorldTour stage race of the season, but the international cycling union prevents that now.
What’s going on exactly?

1. Until last year, neo-pros in WorldTour teams needed to undergo three doping controls for their biological passport ahead of the start of their first WorldTour race. From now on this is no longer the case and the rule is applied that those riders need to have filled in their whereabouts at least six weeks (42 days) before the start of their first WorldTour race.

2. In December the UCI organized three webinars (one in French, English and Spanish) to teach the neo-pros how to use the ADAMS whereabouts system. One day later Bjorg Lambrecht received his login for the ADAMS whereabouts system. However, the English webinar only took place on December 14 (only 33 days before the start of Tour Down Under) and Bjorg received his login on December 15 with the message that he needed to fill in his whereabouts as of December 17 (30 days before the start of Tour Down Under) to be able to start at Tour Down Under. Conflicting with the regulations.

Lotto Soudal informed the UCI not to agree with the decision, explained with an extensive argumentation, but without a written confirmation of the UCI that Bjorg can start, neither the rider nor the team can take any risk. Bjorg Lambrecht won’t be replaced, which means Lotto Soudal will start with six riders on Tuesday instead of seven. On 28 January Bjorg can ride the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, because then the period of six weeks will be passed.

Bjorg Lambrecht: “This is a huge disappointment. We came to Australia a week ago, I felt good in the group, was looking forward to my first pro season and then it’s a huge disappointment when you hear you can’t start. But of course we can’t take any risk. I will stay here to train for a week and then I will head to Melbourne with the team.”

Bjorg Lambrecht with Jens Debusschere and Thomas de Gendt Down Under:
Adelaide - Australie - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Bjorg Lambrecht (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) - Jens Debusschere (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) - Thomas de Gendt (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) training - recon Tour Down Under 2018 in Adelaide, Australie -photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos© 2018

Sepúlveda debuts at home in San Juan
Argentinian rider to make his first competitive outing with the Movistar Team in the UCI 2.1, seven-stage event.

After racing six times in the Tour de San Luis – with two overall victories to their palmarès, Movistar Team returns to Argentina in 2018 to race the 36th edition of the Vuelta a San Juan (UCI (2.1) from Sunday 21st to 28th this month. For their maiden appearance in this event, the Blues will bring a six-man lineup that includes one of the country’s biggest talents, Chubut’s Eduardo Sepúlveda.

The Rawson native, one of five signings from the Movistar Team for 2018, will make his debut in Blue colours as part of a roster which also features Colombians Dayer Quintana and Winner Anacona; Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz; and Spaniards Antonio Pedrero and Víctor de la Parte.

The Vuelta a San Juan is a seven-stage event (with a rest day on Thursday 25th) whose decisive stages will be covered on days three (a 14km individual time trial) and five, over the slopes of the Alto Colorado.

Eduardo Sepúlveda:

The Official Route of La Vuelta 2018 Revealed in Estepona
This Saturday, 13th of January, Unipublic revealed the official route of La Vuelta 2018, that will take place between the 25th of August and the 16th of September. The Spanish tour will depart from the Pompidou Centre in Malaga, in another clear example of the organization’s aim to combine sports, culture and innovative departures.

The inaugural prologue will consist of an 8-kilometre individual time-trial that will draw the first outline of a Vuelta with a very distinct Andalusian flavor during its first week. After Malaga, the peloton will travel to Granada, Almería and Jaén, briefly passing through Murcia before finally heading North. Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria – that will host a second individual time-trial spanning over 33 kilometers – the Basque Country, Aragon and Catalonia, will be the subsequent stops before facing the edition’s final challenges, with an extremely tough finale in two of the most demanding peaks located in the Principality of Andorra (the Coll de La Rabassa and La Gallina). The route will conclude in the city of Madrid, with a departure from Alcorcón and a finish-line at the Plaza de Cibeles, after passing through the Paseo del Prado, whose museum celebrates its second centenary this year.

40 Years of Unipublic
Unipublic celebrates 40 years as organizer of La Vuelta. “We are discovering new high-altitude finales and we want the mountain to again be a determining factor for La Vuelta. These are the distinguishing marks that have allowed us to breathe new life into the race and which we will continue to defend”, explained La Vuelta’s General Director, Javier Guillén. The Principality of Asturias and the Basque Country will host two of this year’s unprecedented finish-lines. Those two stages will be synonymous with epic spectacle and will really test the peloton’s leaders. “After 2018, Les Praeres, in Nava, and the Balcón de Bizkaia, will become truly unforgettable for viewers”, added Guillén.

These novelties will combine with some of the “classics”. The Asturias-León triptych consisting of La Camperona, Les Praeres de Nava and Lagos de Covadonga, will test the strength of those hoping to win “La Roja” with three consecutive high-altitude finales – A trio with two well-known finales and one newcomer that will mark a turning point in La Vuelta 2018: a combination of tradition and modernity, in every aspect.

More Vuelta’18 news in PEZ up soon.

Tirreno-Adriatico 2018: The 53rd Edition Presented in Memory of Michele Scarponi
The race starts on 7 March 2018 with the Team Time Trial in Lido di Camaiore and ends with the classic Individual Time Trial in San Benedetto. On Sunday 11 March, the 5th stage will end in Filottrano (from Castelraimondo), the city of the unforgettable Italian rider. The uphill finish of stage 4 is on the 1,345m Sassotetto. Total vertical elevation of the race is 11,000m.

The 53rd edition of the Tirreno-Adriatico, organized by RCS Sport / La Gazzetta dello Sport and scheduled from 7 to 13 March 2018 is launched this morning. As a fitting tribute to Michele Scarponi’s memory the 5th stage will finish in his city, Filottrano. The route of the Corsa dei Due Mari (The Race of the Two Seas) has been unveiled in the splendid setting of the Sala Macchi, inside the Sanctuary of Loreto.

Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director, with Michele Scarponi’s sister and brother, Silvia and Marco, who attended today’s presentation

It’s a classic route with the opening Team Time Trial on the Versilia seafront at Lido di Camaiore (21.5km); two stages for sprinters (stages 2, Camaiore-Follonica, and 6, Numana-Fano), two suitable for the finisseurs (stages 3, Follonica-Trevi, and 5, Castelraimondo-Filottrano “Tappa dei Muri”), an uphill finish – Saturday 10 March (stage 4) – which will bring the group from Foligno to Sarnano (Sassotetto) with over 14km of final ascent. The race ends with the traditionally exciting Individual Time Trial of San Benedetto del Tronto, 10km long.

2017, the Colombian edition: with two stage wins (Nairo Quintana atop the Terminillo and Fernando Gaviria at Civitanova Marche) and the final classification (Quintana), the 2017 edition was the one with the most successes for Colombia. It was also the first time two Colombian riders won a stage at the Tirreno-Adriatico. The first Colombian rider to win a stage at the Race of the Two Seas was Quintana, whose breakthrough victory was on the Terminillo finish, in 2015.

Scarponi: this year stage 5 brings professional cycling to Filottrano. Scarponi climbed up onto the final podium of the Tirreno-Adriatico three times, winning the 2009 edition, and was second (tied on time with the winner, Stefano Garzelli) in 2010 then third, behind Cadel Evans and Robert Gesink, in 2011.

Sagan hunts for record: the UCI World Champion Peter Sagan, who has started at every Tirreno-Adriatico since 2012, and won a total of seven stages. He is just one success away from joining Alessandro Petacchi, Moreno Argentin and Giuseppe Saronni, who occupy the third position of all time (both with eight stage victories), behind Roger de Vlaeminck (15) and Oscar Freire (11).

Quintana and Nibali: two successes in the General Classification each. Both Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana have won the Tirreno-Adriatico twice: only one athlete has won more editions of the Race of the Two Seas, Roger de Vlaeminck (six).

A feat that has been missing for 10 years: the last rider to win three stages in a single edition at the Tirreno-Adriatico was Oscar Freire, in 2008.

Fasting Italy: Italian riders are experiencing the longest fast of victories in the history of Tirreno-Adriatico. In 2017, the sequence of consecutive stages without an Italian rider winning has reached 17 stages. The last Italian success at the Tirreno-Adriatico was by Adriano Malori in the opening Time Trial of the 2015 edition.

Foto LaPresse/ Gian Mattia D'Alberto 14/03/2017 San Benedetto del Tronto (Italia)  Sport Ciclismo Gara Ciclistica Tirreno Adriatico 2017 - Settima tappa - San Benedetto del Tronto km 10. Nella foto: QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo(COL)MOVISTAR TEAM(ESP), vincitore della Tirreno Adriatico  Photo LaPresse/ Gian Mattia D'Alberto March 14, 2017 Seventh stage - San Benedetto del Tronto  (Italy) Sport  Cycling Race Tirreno Adriatico 2017 -  step 7 San Benedetto del Tronto km 10. In the pic: QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo(COL)MOVISTAR TEAM(ESP), the winner
The final podium of the 2017 Tirreno-Adriatico: the winner Nairo Quintana with Rohan Dennis and Thibaut Pinot, second and third overall

Moreno Pieroni, Counselor for Tourism at Regione Marche, said: “We are happy to continue this important collaboration with the Tirreno-Adriatico, we are convinced that sport – and cycling in particular – are important for the image of a region where the lifestyle corresponds to the well-being and quality of the environment. We are sure that the Marche Region will be able to welcome this important race at the beginning of the professional cycling season.”

Alessandro Del Dotto, Mayor of Camaiore, said: “The Tirreno-Adriatico is an incomparable international showcase to promote Camaiore and the Versilia, as proved by results in previous years. It has now become an unmissable event for our citizens and for the many fans who crowd the Lido promenade and the historic center of Camaiore on the race days.”

Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director, said: “This year we have decided to announce the route of the 2018 edition from the Marche Region. This year’s edition will see three stages finish and two stages start in this region, in addition to the final Individual Time Trial at San Benedetto del Tronto. With the stage ending in Filottrano, we wanted to commemorate a friend, the unforgettable Michele Scarponi. The Tirreno-Adriatico is always one of the most fascinating races on the international scene; scrolling through the list of starters and the roll of honor of 52 editions, all the great champions are there. Broadcasted to 184 countries across the five continents, and with more than 250 Italian and international media present at the event, the signals are that this race has an audience that only a few races in the world can match.”

Stefano Allocchio, RCS Sport Race Director, said: “The route follows the one proposed in recent years with the initial and final Time Trials, two sprint stages, two stages for finisseurs and an uphill finish, this year on the Sassotetto. The formula we have proposed has been successful and gives the opportunity to all riders to better express their characteristics and, at the end of the seven stages, to crown a complete athlete at the highest level.”

From left to right, seated at the table, Moreno Pieroni, Counselor for Tourism at Regione Marche, Mauro Vegni, RCS Sport Cycling Director and Stefano Allocchio, RCS Sport Race Director:

Tour of Oman 2018: Teams Selection
The following teams have been chosen to take part in the 9th edition of the Tour of Oman:


More information about the 2018 Tour of Oman on www.tour-of-oman.com

Tour of Oman 2017 stage 6:

Caja Rural-Seguros RGA presents its project for 2018
The Baluarte Palace has served one more season to present the new project of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, a cycling team that in 2018 has 45 cyclists divided between its professional roster and an elite and under 23 feeder. The act has started with a surprise. After a brief introduction video, the guests have discovered the De Rosa Protos bike customized in green that our riders will use to compete throughout the year. The black model exposed days ago is reserved for training.

Deepening in the formative character of the structure, another video has shown the path of a cyclist from kid to professional. After that, Juan Mari Guajardo has presented one by one the 24 names of a feeder full of young guns seeking to reach the professional level.

Before announcing the 21 riders of the professional squad, we have known the agreement with De Rosa, the prestigious Italian brand that provides the team’s bicycles since this season. Also important companies such as Named Sport (sports supplementation), Miche (wheels), Selle Italia (saddles) or Deda (power and handlebars) have arrived to the project.

An Even Younger Pro Team
Talking about the professional group, the main feature of the roster directed one more year by Eugenio Goikoetxea and José Miguel Fernández is the youth. Only five of the twenty-one riders are over 25 years and more than a half have ridden for the feeder before wearing the first team’s jersey. Eight signings and eight nationalities compose a balanced group, which hopes to stand out.

Furthermore, relevant personalities of this sport have discussed about current issues such as the reduction of cyclists by team in every race, the safety of the cyclist in competition or the current situation of the national youth system The guests have been José Luis López Cerrón; president of the RFEC, Javier Mínguez; manager of the Spanish team, Javier Guillén; general director of Unipublic, the former cyclist Txomin Perurena and Juan Manuel Hernández; manager of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA.

To conclude, Ricardo Goñi; Director of Institutional Relations of Caja Rural and Pablo Gónzalez de Castejón; general manager of Seguros RGA, took part in the stage representing the two main supporters of the structure, the companies that give stability to a project that starts its ninth campaign since its return to the professional level.

Ricardo Goñi: “We keep believing in cycling as the best sport to strengthen a brand. There are many similarities between cycling and Caja Rural, because it is a sport for everyone and Caja Rural aims to be the saving bank of all. To become a cyclist is essential to have some qualities as a person: perseverance, enthusiasm, honesty or hard-working. These are the same qualities that the Caja Rural employees we try to keep in mind every day. When we talk with the riders we ask them to be honest and humble but at the same time demanding and ambitious. We all like to win and we fight for it. In essence, at Caja Rural we share those values. The team is also a mix of veteran and youth that manages to combine the illusion, the desire to grow and evolve of the young riders with the long-term vision and the knowledge to wait for their moment of the veterans”.

Pablo González de Castejón: “I emphasize the enthusiasm which all of us who are part of Seguros RGA have lived these five years with the team. This team has made us to grow and has made us bigger. We know that the sponsorship is much more than taking the logo in the athlete’s jersey. It is a much more important bet and we know that the values ​​that are associated with the team are the values ​​that will be transmitted to our brands. For us, solidarity is a fundamental value and for this reason we launched in 2013 the ‘Bicicleta Solidaria’ and in 2014 the ‘Iniciativa Solidaria’ together with Caja Rural, two actions that, thanks to the cycling team, have enabled us to raise more than 400,000 euros for the most disadvantaged people”.

The whole team travel to Benidorm for a training camp from where part of the professional roster will depart to the Vuelta a San Juan (Argentina) (21st – 28th) and the other to the Challenge of Mallorca. The main novelty of this first part of the season is the invitation to ride the Tour of Oman, a race organized by ASO in mid-February.

Professional Roster:
Julen Amezqueta, Álex Aranburu, Miguel Ángel Benito, Danilo Celano, Álvaro Cuadros, Fabricio Ferrari, Jon Irisarri, Jonathan Lastra, Lluis Mas, Antonio Molina, Mauricio Moreira, Justin Oien, Sergio Pardilla, Rafael Reis, Cristian Rodríguez, Nick Schultz, Gonzalo Serrano, Joaquim Silva, Nelson Soto, Yannis Yssaad, Josu Zabala.

Elite and U23 Roster:
Iñigo Altuna, Eneko Aramendia, Pablo Benito, Jorge Bueno, Xavi Cañellas, Álex Caro, Carlos Cobos, Víctor Etxeberria, Javier Fuentes, Luis Mari Garikano, Sergio Ginés, Antonio Gómez, David González, Arturo Grávalos, Hailu Hailemelekot, Pol Hervás, Oier Lazkano, Andoni López de Abetxuko, Sergio Martín, Joel Nicolau, Joseba Otaola, Aitor Rodríguez, Jaume Sureda y Daniel Viejo.

More from Willie
In this episode of Katusha-Alpecin’s Willie Smit leaves home in South Africa and goes back to Spain for his next training camp… well that’s the plan and he eventually gets there.

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