EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
Mathieu van der Poel won the first big cross in Europe on Sunday, but is looking at the Olympics – Top Story. Results, reports and video from all the weekends races: Eurométropole, GP Bruno Beghelli, Eurométropool, Giro dell’Emilia and the Coppa Sabatini. In other cycling news: Milano-Torino preview, Tour de Yorkshire towns and all the contract news. Another full one!
TOP STORY: MTB Olympics for Van der Poel
Top cyclo-cross champion and promising road rider, Mathieu van der Poel, told Dutch media at the weekend that he will concentrate on winning a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in the off-road discipline.
“I’ve already proven in mountain biking that I can compete for the podium in a world championship. To say whether that will be the same in the Olympics would be difficult. But I was not super professionally prepared for that World Cup. So I think it will be better if I take another step in the right direction and with the proper guidance.”
He also suggested that he would follow in his father (Adri van der Poel) and grandfather’s (Raymond Poulidor) footsteps into a career on the road after Tokyo. “My father would prefer me to focus on the road and I haven’t heard much about the opinion of my grandfather, but I’m behind my own decisions. If I go to Tokyo, I’ll be 25 when I start focusing on road racing.”
Van der Poel had another successful weekend, winning the first Superprestige of the 2017/18 season in Gieten. He beat all his usual adversaries: Wout Van Aert, Laurens Sweeck and Lars Van Der Haar.
The Superprestige in Gieten:
Tour de l’Eurométropole 2017
Dan McLay (Fortuneo-Oscaro) won the sprint from a reduced bunch in the Tour de l’Eurométropole (formerly Circuit Franco-Belge) on Sunday. Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) had his arms in the air for the victory as McLay and Kenny Dehaes (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) passed the Frenchman.
The break of the day had a maximum lead of 6 minutes, but they were caught 20 kilometers out from the finish. the leaders were: Jenthe Biermans (Katusha-Alpecin), Martijn Budding (Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij), Kevin Deltombe (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Kenny Molly (AGO Aqua Service), Paul Ourselin (Direct Energie), Alan Riou (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Timothy Stevens (Pauwels Sauzen) and Stephen Tronet (Armee de Terre).
On the six local laps the riders had to climb the Col de la Croix Jubaru. In the last lap the attacks kept coming and the peloton was strung out. Wanty-Groupe Gobert believed in the chances of Kenny Dehaes and so his teammates kept the pace high for a group of about 20 riders to slip clear. In the final kilometer Anthony Turgis jumped away, the Frenchman seemed to be on his way to victory but was overhauled in the last 10 meters. Kenny Dehaes had started his sprint next to Jasper De Buyst (Lotto Soudal) and McLay. McLay was slightly faster than Dehaes, who finished a close second.
Dehaes now leads De Buyst by 7 points in the Belgian Cycling Cup. Tuesday’s Binche-Chimay-Binche is the final race in the series.
Winner, Dan McLay (Fortuneo-Oscaro): “Remembered how to win today! Chuffed to bits! Think would have got it without the early celebration just but not 100%! Thanks to the team for the help especially our stagiaire Thibault Guernalec for keeping me out of the wind.”
2nd, Kenny Dehaes (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “A double feeling prevails. On the one hand I am disappointed because I was so close to the victory, but on the other hand I am happy because my lead in the Belgian Cycling Cup grows. Seven points on De Buyst is better than four. I was a bit scared of the race because it was my first participation. The wind made it difficult, but Van Keirsbulck kept me in front all day. On the local lap luckily the wind was more in my advantage. In the last lap I was ideally placed at the foot of the climb. On the climb itself, it broke without I realized. We came up with fifteen riders with De Buyst, but McLay and some others returned in the descent. Because Turgis had a good lead in the final kilometer, we had to go from far. At the end I just fell short of victory. Now the main goal is to win the final classification in Binche-Chimay-Binche. De Buyst is the only one that can beat me, so I’ll have to stay close to him. My performance today certainly gives confidence for the tough race on Tuesday.”
Tour de l’Eurométropole Result:
1. Daniel McLay (GB) Fortuneo-Oscaro in 4:20:20
2. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
3. Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis
4. Jasper De Buyst (Bel) Lotto Soudal
5. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
6. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Wb Veranclassic Aquality Protect
8. Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin
10. Amund Grøndahl Jansen (Nor) LottoNL-Jumbo.
Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli 2017
Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) won the Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli on Sunday with an attack in the last 5 kilometers. Sanchez was part of the final break that went away on the last climb of the day and when the Astana rider made his move the others were slow to react and he took a 10 second lead. At the finish he still had 6 seconds in hand over sprinters; Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) and Elia Viviani (Sky).
There had been many breaks during the race, but with 50 kilometers to go it was all together for the five laps of the finish circuit. 30K out a group escaped including riders from Orica-Scott, Dimension Data and Trek-Segafredo. The sprinter’s teams of Sky, Astana and Bahrain-Merida pulled them back before the last climb of the Zappolino.
Cannondale-Drapac’s Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale Drapac) led the peloton on the last climb which set-up the final break including; Sanchez, Colbrelli, Viviani, Bettiol, Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott) and Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) in a group of ten. 5K to go and Sanchez made his move for his first win of the season.
Winner, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana): “Today, the whole team spend a great day! Sergei Chernetckii was in the break during three laps. Later, at the final lap Michael Valgren attacked on the climb, and after it I saw my chance in attack with 5 km to go. Yes, I am very happy with the win, a good result for me, but also for the team. I want to dedicate this victory to Michele Scarponi, I am happy to do it for him. In general, it was a nice day for our team, because Jakob Fuglsang and Alexey Lutsenko also won in Kazakhstan. We all are confident and happy!”
2nd, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida): “The condition is always good and I’m doing a good end of the season. Another placement that encourages me to do better.”
Manuel Boaro (Bahrain-Merida): “We did the race for Sonny, but in the end we have harvested less than we hoped for. The second place is, however, another good result that closes a week in which we have been protagonists. I went on the break with two laps to go to force the other teams to work. They got us back at the beginning of the last climb, but Sanchez surprised us by attacking 5km from the finish line.”
Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli Result:
1. Luis León Sanchez (Spa) Astana in 4:27:39
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:06
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
4. Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-Scott
5. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-Drapac
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
8. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis
9. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
10. Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.
Omloop Eurométropool van de Westhoek 2017
The first edition of the Omloop Eurométropool van de Westhoek started in Nieuwpoort on Saturday. The 177 kilometer course ended with three local laps in the region of Poperinge, where the finish line was situated. The race profile was relatively flat and suited the sprinters. The peloton left Nieuwpoort at twelve o’clock and then headed towards Poperinge. There were a lot of attacks in the peloton after the start, but a very high pace made it difficult to go clear. Thirteen riders, including Tosh Van der Sande, finally established a first breakaway, but their advantage never exceeded 30 seconds and therefore this breakaway was reeled in with 90 kilometers to go. Gougeard and Van Goethem accelerated 25 kilometers further and the duo quickly opened a 1 minute gap but Lotto Soudal led the chase in the peloton and the two attackers were reeled in thirty kilometers from the finish. Seven riders tried to go clear in the finale but a bunch sprint was unavoidable today. Jasper De Buyst worked hard to bring André Greipel to the front in the last two kilometers and the German rider ultimately claimed Lotto Soudal’s 21st victory of the season.
Race winner, André Greipel (Lotto Soudal): “It was a really fast race, the average speed was around 48 kilometers per hour. It was also very uncontrolled, as we expected it to be and we sent Tosh Van der Sande up front in the main breakaway. We took the control of the peloton with thirty kilometers to go, and we made sure the race would end in a bunch sprint. Tosh, Moreno, Jens and Jasper led me out perfectly. We stayed calm and we rode strongly in the finale. This victory is a relief for me. Although I won my two previous sprints, these were not for the win. I always tried to keep calm, but that’s not easy when you don’t win. I felt that the confidence between the team and me was still intact and I was sure that I would eventually get back to winning. I’m really happy with our performance today. There is another opportunity tomorrow, and we have riders, like Jasper De Buyst, who can do well in races like this.”
Omloop Eurométropool Result:
1. André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal in 3:43:10
2. Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
3. Tom Devriendt (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4. Rudy Barbier (Fra) Ag2R-La Mondiale
5. Kristoffer Halvorsen (Nor) Joker Icopal
6. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Katusha Alpecin
7. Andre Looij (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
8. Twan Castelijns (Ned) Lotto Nl-Jumbo
9. Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan
10. Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Roubaix-Lille Metropole.
Video when/if available.
Giro dell’Emilia 2017
The Bahrain-Merda team took a one-two on Saturday in the Giro dell’Emilia in Italy. Giovanni Visconti attacked on the finishing circuit with 16 kilometers to go, teammate Vincenzo Nibali jumped the chase group for second, with Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) in third and Nicolas Roche (BMC) fourth.
The break of the day included: Davide Ballerini (Androni-Sidermec), Redi Halilaj (Amore e Vita-Selle SMP), Francois Bidard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Fabien Doubey (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Jacopo Mosca (Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia), Lorenzo Rota (Bardiani-CSF) and Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini), they built up a maximum lead of 7 minutes. With all the big team chasing the lead was down to 1 minute with the finish circuits still to race.
By the first of five climbs of the San Luca, the lead group was down to Edet, Doubey and Mosca. Visconti made his attack on the penultimate lap and soon had a lead of 30 seconds on the final lap. Back in the chase group, Nibali was marking every move and when Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) crashed on the descent, the others eased off. Visconti had no problem hold off the chase on the final climb and Nibali attacked to take second place ahead of a fractured peloton.
Race winner, Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida): “It was a whirlwind of emotion, also because I have been waiting for this victory for a long time. A perfect day, there are no other words. I attacked during the penultimate lap and made an almost perfect downhill. Then I managed to climb up and told myself that everything was going for the best! It was a sort of liberation – the Italian rider concludes – many seconds and third places but victory did not want to come. The team was perfect and thanks also to the work of my teammates who managed to win.”
Second, Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida): “I’m very happy for Giovanni because I know what to overcome success without ever catching him.”
Giro dell’Emilia Result:
1. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida in 5:31:22
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:11
3. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Cannondale-Drapac at 0:14
4. Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC at 0:17
5. Gianni Moscon (Ita) Sky at 0:22
6. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:25
7. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
9. Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-Scott at 0:31
10. Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC.
Coppa Sabatini 2017
On Thursday Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) sprinted to his first season victory in the Coppa Sabatini (UCI 1.1) on Thursday. Seven riders formed an early breakaway and rode to a maximum advantage of 6 minutes. With 10 kilometers to go they were caught by the chasing pack. Wanty-Groupe Gobert and Bahrain-Merida both worked hard for Pasqualon and second placed Sonny Colbrelli on the final short climb, who finished 2nd here last year.
Pasqualon, second last year, was brought to the sprint in an ideal position by his teammates to beat Colbrelli, Francesco Gavazzi (Androni-Giocattoli) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) to take his first 2017 victory, his first one in Wanty-Groupe Gobert colors. With this win Pasqualon extends the impressive victory series of the team, which has taken 7 wins in the last 9 days. His teammate Guillaume Martin finished 7th and raised his arms when he crossed the finish line.
Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “Today was just fantastic. This morning I woke up with a good feeling and strong legs. In the team meeting sports director Steven De Neef gave me the leader’s role and my teammates wanted to commit to this job. The team worked 100% perfect for me all day long. They chased the breakaway and put me in a good position for the sprint. In the final uphill kilometer I was ideally placed in the wheel of Colbrelli. I launched my sprint with 250 meters to go and Colbrelli wasn’t able to pass me anymore. I worked very hard and it was important to bring home today’s victory after a lot of top 5 sprints. It was fantastic to bring my young kid on the podium. I also win the Challenge Alfredo Martini (classification of the three past Italian race days) before Martin. On Saturday I will work for Martin in Giro dell’Emilia. I think he will be one of the best climbers at the start. I myself want to take a good result on Sunday in GP Beghelli. But first we will celebrate this victory with the team and staff. The team spirit is great here, that is very important for me!”
2nd, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida): “I’ve lost a lot of speed due to my opponent’s change of direction. After was to late to try to overcome him. It’s a shame, I’m demonstrating that I’m really in a good shape but I have to settle for just placement at the moment. I want to thank all my teammates for the great work they did today; Sunday I will run the GP Beghelli and I will try to win also to repay them of their commitment.”
5th, Edu Prades (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA): “I felt really good coming into the sprint. When I won here two years ago I broke out very early and I thought today that the wind would have more of an affect. That’s why I waited a little bit longer to open up the sprint. Unfortunately I judged it a little wrong and it didn’t work out how I hoped.”
Coppa Sabatini Result:
1. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 4:44:04
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
3. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni-Giocattoli
4. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Eduard Prades (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
6. Elia Viviani (Ita) Sky
7. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
8. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini
9. Nicola Gaffurini (Ita) Sangemini-Mg. K Vis
10. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli.
A Cast of Stars for the Milano-Torino
The world’s oldest Classics race, with its first edition in 1876, will feature many of the world’s best pro riders. Challenging last year’s winner Miguel Angel Lopez will be many top names including Dumoulin, Barguil, Quintana, Aru, Uran, Pinot, Zakarin Landa, Kwiatkowski, Kruijswijk, Roglic, Dan Martin and Alaphilippe.
Many of the top names in professional cycling will be at the start of the 98th edition of Milano-Torino – the oldest Classic bicycle race, having been first run in 1876. Organized by RCS Sport/La Gazzetta dello Sport, its last edition was won by Miguel Angel Lopez, who will be challenged by, among others, his teammate Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team), Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin and Tour de France mountains classification winner Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb), Giro runner-up Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team), Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale Drapac Professional Cycling Team), Milano-Sanremo winner Michal Kwiatkowski and his teammate Mikel Landa (Team Sky) and others including Steven Kruijswijk and Primoz Roglic (Team Lotto NL – Jumbo), Daniel Martin and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick – Step Floors), Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha Alpecin) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ).
Teams and Top Riders
The 19 teams (14 UCI WorldTeams and 5 UCI Professional Continental Teams) of eight riders who will participate in the 98th Milano-Torino are:
AG2R LA MONDIALE (FRA) – Pozzovivo, Geniez
ASTANA PRO TEAM (KAZ) – Aru, Lopez
BAHRAIN – MERIDA (BRN) – Visconti, Gasparotto
CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM (USA) – Uran, Villella
FDJ (FRA) – Pinot, Roux
MOVISTAR TEAM (ESP) – Nairo Quintana, Amador
ORICA – SCOTT (AUS) – Yates
QUICK – STEP FLOORS (BEL) – Daniel Martin, Alaphilippe
TEAM KATUSHA ALPECIN (SUI) – Zakarin, Goncalves
TEAM LOTTO NL – JUMBO (NED) – Kruijswijk, Roglic
TEAM SKY (GBR) – Landa, Kwiatkowski
TEAM SUNWEB (GER) – Dumoulin, Barguil
TREK – SEGAFREDO (USA) – Mollema, Felline
UAE TEAM EMIRATES (UAE) – Atapuma, Polanc
ANDRONI GIOCATTOLI – SIDERMEC (ITA) – Bernal, Cattaneo
BARDIANI CSF (ITA) – Zardini, Ciccone
COFIDIS, SOLUTIONS CREDITS (FRA) – Bonnafond, Mate
NIPPO – VINI FANTINI (ITA) – Cunego, Filosi
WILIER TRIESTINA – SELLE ITALIA (ITA) – Koshevoy, Busato
The route starts in San Giuliano Milanese (Sesto Ulteriano) and rolls across the Po Valley along flat roads, all the way through the Vigevano and Lomellina plains, up to Casale Monferrato, where the race profile becomes wavier, with gentle climbs and descents that lead to the final circuit.
The route rolls past San Mauro Torinese and all along the Po River in Corso Casale, where it takes in the first climb to the Basilica of Superga. The road then drops down into Rivodora on a technical descent (diverting 600 meters before the finish) that leads back to San Mauro. Here the route goes up again, all the way to the finish, with gradients exceeding 10%. The fixed feed zone is in Casale Monferrato (km 91-94)
The last 5km (to be covered twice, with the exception of the final 600m) start in Torino, in Corso Casale, at the foot of the climb that leads to the Basilica of Superga. The average gradient is 9.1%, with a mid-climb peak of 14% and long stretches with 10% gradients. There is a left-hand U-turn 600m before the finish that leads to a short 8.2% climb, with one last bend 50m before the finish, on 7m wide asphalt road.
2016 winner Miguel Angel Lopez:
Start and Finish Locations for 2018 Tour de Yorkshire Announced
The eight host locations for 2018 Tour de Yorkshire have been unveiled today. The stages for the newly expanded fourth edition will begin or end in:
Barnsley (South Yorkshire)
Beverley (East Yorkshire)
Doncaster (South Yorkshire)
Leeds (West Yorkshire)
Richmond (North Yorkshire)
Scarborough (North Yorkshire)
Organizers Welcome to Yorkshire and the Amaury Sport Organization (A.S.O.) revealed the locations for the newly expanded four-day men’s race which will take place between 3-6 May. The Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire – which is doubling in size from one to two days – will be held over 3-4 May.
The third edition took place in April and saw the race go from strength to strength once again. A record 2.2 million spectators lined the route and generated £64 million for the Yorkshire economy. The action was also beamed live in 180 countries and attracted 9.7 million global TV viewers on Eurosport and ITV alone.
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire is a true success story and in just three years it has grown to become one of the best attended and most dramatic races on the cycling calendar.”
“Of course, with the men’s race being extended to four days and the women’s race now being held over two, it means we can visit more parts of the county and I know our eight start and finish locations will put on a real show.”
Christian Prudhomme, Director of the Tour de France at the A.S.O, said: “The Tour de Yorkshire has gone from strength to strength over the last three years and we are delighted to be working in partnership with such a great team at Welcome to Yorkshire.”
“The way people get behind the race in Yorkshire is incredible and we are looking forward to another fantastic edition in 2018.”
Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of British Cycling, said: “Next year’s Tour de Yorkshire is shaping up to be the best yet with more stages for the men’s and women’s races and, at British Cycling, we’re looking forward to working with colleagues and partners across the county to use the inspiration of the world’s best riders to get even more people on bikes.”
Next year’s Tour will once again see the return of the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride sportive and give the chance for Tour Makers to volunteer on the race route and help welcome the millions of spectators.
Many of the host towns announced today are also home to Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries, a direct legacy of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire, which aim to offer every child in Yorkshire access to a bike. So far 46 libraries have opened across the county and over 5,000 bikes have been donated.
The full 2018 race route will be unveiled at The Piece Hall in Halifax on Tuesday 5 December 2017 – this announcement will include exact start and finish locations and the distance and profile of each stage.
Slipstream Sports re-signs road captain Simon Clarke through 2020
Slipstream Sports is proud to confirm the contract renewal of road captain Simon Clarke. The Australian has been a key player in the team’s biggest successes during his sophomore season in #GreenArgyle. Most notably, Clarke served as road captain at the 2017 Tour de France, where Rigobero Uran finished second overall, and at the 2017 Vuelta a España where Mike Woods managed seventh overall and Davide Villella won the mountains classification.
“I re-signed with this team because I’ve really found my niche here in Slipstream,” said Clarke. “I think it’s really important to find your spot in a WorldTour team, and knowing that I’ve carved out a place for myself here, there was always motivation to stay.”
Clarke’s newly inked deal spans the next three seasons, through 2020.
“With a great new sponsor in EF Education First coming in and offering a long-term commitment to Slipstream, I really wanted to lock-in a longer contract that showed my dedication to the team and its vision for the future alongside my own,” said Clarke. “A longer-term agreement allows me to put a real effort into helping the younger guys that are coming into this team next year.”
“Simon is tactically astute with a well-developed ability to share his experience and knowledge with his teammates,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “This makes him a very valuable member of this team. I’m happy we could secure his services for another three years, and I expect Simon to continue to play a part in our most important results.”
The 31-year-old has won four professional races, including stage four of the 2012 Vuelta a España. He won the Vuelta’s mountain classification that same season. He has worn the Giro’s maglia rosa and been a part of several team time trial victories with his former squads. While he continues to harbor personal ambitions, Clarke is equally motivated by captaining his teammates to success out on the road.
“When I look at this team, I see so much potential,” said Clarke. “I truly believe that if I can make the guys more united, if I can help the group ride more cohesively as a team, I can help us all fulfill our potential. I’m really motivated when I see young guys going well or guys like Mike Woods, with huge talent and little experience, make massive improvements.
“This is a group that is extremely responsive out on the road,” Clarke added. “That has converted into some great results. With the right guidance, this group can do great things, and I’m really excited to be a part of that for another three years.”
Jens Keukeleire Reinforces the Team as of 2018
Jens Keukeleire (28) will be racing for Lotto Soudal the next two years! It’s the first time in his pro career that he will ride for a Belgian team, after he rode two seasons for the French Cofidis team and six seasons for the Australian Orica – Scott team.
The past years Keukeleire set some beautiful results in different types of races. In 2015, he got sixth in Paris-Roubaix and ninth in E3 Harelbeke. Last year he won a stage at La Vuelta after a group sprint and he sprinted to fifth place in Dwars door Vlaanderen. This year Keukeleire became the overall winner of the Baloise Belgium Tour, a race he rode with the Belgian national team, and he finished second in Gent-Wevelgem behind Greg Van Avermaet.
Jens Keukeleire: “I wasn’t looking for a new team, but half-way the season I had a chat with Marc Sergeant and so the ball started rolling. I was still happy at Orica – Scott, but the fact that Lotto Soudal is a Belgian team made me decide to change team. The past seasons I often rode with the national team and being surrounded with fellow Belgians, both riders and staff, creates a specific atmosphere. I already have a bond with several riders and staff members of Lotto Soudal, so I am very much looking forward to be part of this team. Especially to be working together for the spring races. The past seasons, Orica – Scott focussed more and more on the Spring Classics too, but you can’t compare it to how a Belgian team deals with it.”
“It’s also a nice point in my career to move to another team. I have been making progress every year and now I’m approaching my top. At Orica – Scott there are many GC riders, for whom I had to work in stage races, at Lotto Soudal I will get more freedom in those races.”
“I am looking forward to riding the finales in the spring together with my Lotto Soudal teammates. Together we can make something nice of it, I’m sure. Next season I want to set a new step forward. I want to be even stronger in the one-day races so I am fresh in the finale and can battle for victory. Last year, I won a stage at La Vuelta and it is definitely my ambition to win another stage in a Grand Tour. I will also gladly help the team in bunch sprints. This year I won the Baloise Belgium Tour and that victory proves that I’m an all-rounder. I won that race thanks to a good time trial, a third place in the Ardennes stage and by picking up bonus seconds in the last stage. That’s a performance I would like to repeat.”
Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: “Jens set some very good performances the past years at Orica – Scott, but in a Belgian team he will even feel better. He is looking forward to setting a next step in his career. I see Jens growing every year. This year he was rewarded with a second place in Gent-Wevelgem and the overall victory at the Baloise Belgium Tour; last year with a stage victory at La Vuelta. He turns 29 later this year, but is still making progress. At Orica he always was a team player and never the main leader. He was at peace with that role, but that will be different at our team.”
“Jens is a rider who can cope with a lot of race days, has a big engine and is rarely injured. He races all year long and performs very consistently, with the necessary outstanding performances. In the spring we can definitely use the reinforcement from Jens. A wide range of one-day races suits him. I saw him performing strongly at Clásica San Sebastián, working for his teammates. Jens is fast when he gets to the finish with a small group and he can play a role in our sprint train. Jens will be an asset to our team in many ways. He is a team player, but at Lotto Soudal he will also get the chance to further develop himself and to achieve personal goals.”
Bart De Clercq Joins Wanty-Groupe Gobert
Team Wanty-Groupe Gobert strengthens its team with Bart De Clercq in 2018. The 31-year-old Belgian signs a contract for two seasons. De Clercq has seven years of WorldTour experience at Lotto Soudal. Over there he rode 11 Grand Tours, of which he completed eight successfully. In 2011 he won a stage in the Giro on Montevergine de Mercogliano and in 2015 he finished 14th in La Vuelta. Also in 2015 he won a stage in Tour de Pologne and finished second in the final GC. For Wanty-Groupe Gobert it is the fourth strengthening for next season after Odd Eiking, Boris Vallée and Timothy Dupont.
Bart De Clercq: “It will be special to join a new team after seven years. I was charmed by the interest of Wanty-Groupe Gobert. I felt that they wanted to have me in the team and that gave me confidence. I thought over it and now want to focus on this challenge. The first meetings and team training camp in a completely new environment will be exciting for me.”
“I look forward to working with young talent like Guillaume Martin. In the coming two years I will make a combination of going for my own chances and on the other hand assisting riders like Martin in the mountains. Since my studies sports science and teacher physical education I am very interested in training and nutrition. I often read about it and would like to pass on such things to younger riders.”
“The past year was a disappointment for me, because of problems with my right thighs. I could never reach the level I wanted. But physically I am still at a descent level. I am definitely not worn out. Especially in hard stage races I want to show me next year.”
Hilaire Van der Schueren (sports director): “Bart is a rider with a wealth of experience in Grand Tours. Over there we want to play him out as a big help for Guillaume Martin in the mountains of the Tour. In addition he is able to attack in the third week of a Grand Tour, a type of rider we missed in the past Tour. He can certainly fulfill that role. But I am also convinced that we can make more of him in a lot of other races, including in the final of the Ardennes classics.”
Bart De Clercq:
Igor Anton renews and Scott Davies steps up to World Tour
Anton’s renewal key to African Team’s general classification ambitions.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are happy to announce Igor Anton has renewed his contract, keeping the Basque climber at our African Team for the 2018 season. Scott Davies will also form part of our 2018 roster as the young Brit joins us from Team Wiggins.
Having started the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana the past two seasons in succession with our African Team, we are happy to confirm Igor Anton will begin his 3rd season with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in 2018. Before illness got hold of Anton at the 2017 Vuelta a Espana, the 34-year old was riding to a top 20 placing overall.
With 19 grand tours now under his belt, a rider of Anton’s calibre gives our African team the depth to be competitive on general classification throughout the season, be that as the protected rider or in a support role to the likes of Louis Meintjes.
Scott Davies, the 22-year-old Welshman, will make the step up to the World Tour as a neo-pro with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in 2018. After 2 seasons racing at the u23 level with Team Wiggins, Davies time trialling ability was confirmed with the u23 national title and a top 10 at the Bergen World Champs in 2017. By also riding to 4th overall at the u23 Giro d’Italia this year, it is evident that Davies is a real talent for the future.
Igor Anton: “I am really happy and feel very fortunate to stay in the professional peloton for another year. I want to thank the team for this opportunity to stay in the sport I love so much. At the Vuelta this year I could see I was not so far off the top level and it convinced me I still have more to give. Whether I ride for a result or support the young guys like Louis Meintjes or Ben O’Connor, I am motivated to give my all for this very unique and special team. I think we have a very nice bond in the team and I am happy I will be able to remain in this environment.”
Scott Davies: “I’m delighted to be joining Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka next season. It’s a dream come true for me to be joining a World Tour team with such a great cause. I’m grateful to Team Wiggins for their support over the last couple of seasons, and for giving me so many opportunities to develop myself. I’m now ready to continue my development, and start a new and exciting chapter with Dimension Data for Qhubeka.”
Slipstream Sports Bolsters Sprint Options with Sacha Modolo Signing
Slipstream Sports announced the signing of Sacha Modolo on Friday. The Italian joins the American-registered squad on a two-year contract after one season with Team UAE Emirates. Modolo has raced exclusively for Italian-registered or Italian-staffed squads during his eight-year career.
“The move to Slipstream is a big change, but it’s exactly what I need,” said Modolo. “After four years with Giuseppe Saronni, who I want to thank, and at 30-years-old, I was looking for new motivation, and I found it in this team,” said Modolo. “Everyone I’ve spoken to at Slipstream has expressed belief in me. For a rider, this is important to find confidence and feel responsibility.”
Modolo has won 45 races since turning professional in 2010. His first victory came on stage five of the Tour of Quinghai Lake in his second season as a professional. His most recent victory was two months ago at the Tour de Pologne.
“I’m proud of all of my victories, but I’m most proud of the two stages at the Giro d’Italia and the win at Tour de Suisse in front of Peter Sagan,” said Modolo. “This year, I was sixth at Tour of Flanders, and that was also very special.”
Modolo has proven a consistent winner. Since his first victory, he has won no less than three races in any given year. While the results remain consistent, the type of races Modolo is winning has changed as he his career has progressed.
“In the last few years, I’ve done good results in hard races,” said Modolo. “I hope to find a good environment with my new teammates to achieve more victories in bigger races.”
“I’m very much looking forward to starting this adventure with new staff, new teammates and new equipment,” Modolo added. “My biggest goal will be to create a good team for a lead-out in the sprint, and I’m also eager to work for the team when needed. I want to thank Slipstream Sports for giving me this opportunity. I hope to pay back my new team with some nice victories.”
Rafa Valls fifth Movistar Team signing for 2018
Spanish climber to strengthen home WorldTour outfit, looking forward to show own quality and leave behind long streak of injuries.
The Movistar Team continues to build a strong roster for 2018, and after confirmed signings of Mikel Landa, Eduardo Sepúlveda, Jaime Rosón and neo-pro Jaime Castrillo, the Blues are adding Rafa Valls (Lotto-Soudal) to their lineup for next season.
The climber from Cocentaina in Alicante (1987) will fulfill his tenth professional season in 2017, and comes back into a Spanish outfit after covering the last six years in Dutch (Vacansoleil), Italian (Lampre) and Belgian (Lotto) squads. Long hampered by injuries, Valls has still been able to ride two Giro d’Italia, two Vueltas a España and four Tours de France. At the ‘Grande Boucle’, Valls was close to a stage win in his debut (2010), only beaten by Sylvain Chavanel at the mountain-top finish of Les Rousses.
Victor of a stage in the 2010 Tour de San Luis and winner of the Queen stage and the overall classification of the 2015 Tour of Oman, ahead of Tejay van Garderen and future team-mate Alejandro Valverde, the last two seasons by Valls were completely overshadowed by misfortune. A hip fracture in August prevented the Spaniard from starting the 2017 Vuelta a España, his main goal for a season where he took 7th in the Tour Down Under and 10th in the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Toms Skujiņš to Join Trek-Segafredo
Trek-Segafredo is proud to confirm 26-year-old Latvian Toms Skujiņš will be joining the pinstriped team in 2018. Skujiņš is a multiple stage winner in the Amgen Tour of California and the Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali. He has penned a two-year deal with the team and joins Trek-Segafredo from the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team.
Toms Skujiņš: “I am thrilled to join Trek-Segafredo because it’s such a great team. Right after my first conversations with Luca (Guercilena, General Manager) and the team’s directors, I immediately felt this would be the right team for me. It’s great to hear what the plans are for the team as a whole and I will do my very best to be a part of that. It’s just like I have been doing in the previous years: making the races exciting, and who knows? Springing a surprise here and there.”
General Manager Luca Guercilena: “We have been following Skujiņš for a while now because we like the way he races – he is not afraid to dig deep and race hard. Toms is a very ambitious guy and I am pretty confident that with that attitude, on top of his talents as a rider, he can get quite far. He is a very complete rider and a strong all-rounder who can help the team in various circumstances. Toms will be a great asset to our team.”
Davide Martinelli Signs New Contract with Quick-Step Floors
The young Italian – who turned pro in 2016 – will continue riding for our team in the next two years.
Davide Martinelli is the latest rider to commit his future to Quick-Step Floors, after inking an agreement through the end of 2019. One of the most talented Italian riders of his generation, the 24-year-old showed his potential and qualities from the first season spent in the Quick-Step Floors colors; in just his second race of 2016, Davide took a stage victory at Tour de la Provence, followed a few months later by an emphatic success and a stint in the leader’s jersey at the Tour de Pologne, a remarkable result considering it came in a World Tour event.
This year, the Italian continued to build on his impressive neo-pro season and make other solid steps in his development, which led to a Grand Tour debut at the 100th Giro d’Italia, where he played an important role in the sprint train that helped Fernando Gaviria capture four stage wins.
His progress, contribution to the team’s success and loyalty didn’t go unnoticed, leading to an extension with Quick-Step Floors, a decision which came as something natural for Davide: “This is the best team in the world, so I am really happy to have added two more years to my contract. It’s the perfect place to be for a rider with my characteristics and ambitions. I was always hoping to continue here and I am grateful to Patrick for the trust he put in me.”
Martinelli detailed his ambitions and hopes of becoming a key player for the most victorious squad of the past six years: “I have a long affection for the Spring Classics, which is why I am dreaming about doing well in these races, and Quick-Step Floors have so much experience and success with developing classics riders. I can learn a lot from champions like Gilbert and Stybar, who both have so much experience to offer, and even from young and talented riders, like Alaphilippe or Gaviria. Besides continuing my development and helping the team, I’m also keen on winning again and I’m ready to work hard in order to achieve all these things.”
“Davide has gradually settled into the team and put in some good results, but most importantly, he showed that he shares the values, ambitions and mentality which make Quick-Step Floors one of the best squads in the worlds. He has the capability and capacity to learn and develop with us and that’s why I’m looking with confidence and excitement to the next two years and the input he’ll bring to the team”, said Patrick Lefevere, Quick-Step Floors’ CEO.
Baby Dump Contract News
Jaap de Jong Enforces the Team for 2018!
For three years Jaap gave his best in Chambery, south of France, to turn pro with the help of AG2R’s satellite team. Not an easy task, but far from home the tall rider from Lunteren developed himself to an allround rider of an above-average level. With his years as an U23 rider behind him, he is ready for a new adventure with the green team he will pursue his dream to turn professional.
Do you want to follow Jaap? A look at his website is for sure worth it: www.jaaapdejong.com.
Daan van Sintmaartensdijk Turns his Traineeship into a Contract!
As sportsdirector Paul Lacroix stated: “it’s a pleasure working with Daan”. Only 19y of age Daan completed a more than satisfying traineeship, with alert and aggressive riding. His former club De Jonge renner delivered a fine job there! Maarten is a classic rider, not afraid of an escape, exactly the reason he fits so well in our team!
Marco Doets Renews Contract
We are delighted to report the extension of our contract with Marco Doets. For the third year in a row he will compete in the green jersey. This year he took home the flowers in Honselersdijk and he was a reliable sprocket in the green machine, which shows he is still developing. Next season Marco still has to turn 23y and we are confident he will keep on developing as rider and teammate!
Jaap de Jong:
Logan Owen steps up to WorldTour with Slipstream Sports
Slipstream Sports announced the signing of American Logan Owen on Wednesday. The 22-year-old has spent the last four seasons racing for Axel Merckx’s U23 program, Axeon-Hagens Berman, where he became the first American to win Liège-Bastogne-Liége and delivered the team’s first Tour of Utah stage win. A ten-time cyclocross national champion, Owen gave up ‘cross in 2016 in pursuit of a WorldTour contract.
“Regardless of if I got that contract or not, it was the right decision,” said Owen. “I needed to put all my eggs into one basket to see what I could do. I’m beyond stoked that it all worked out and that I can make this next step up to the WorldTour with Slipstream Sports.”
“Logan’s a really cool kid,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “He shows a knack for how to win races creatively and has demonstrated incredible tactical intelligence.”
Owen considers himself a Classics specialist although he’s yet to determine if his talents are best leveraged over the cobbles or up the Ardennes’ hills. The opportunity to ride alongside and learn from Slipstream Sports’ Classics captain Sep Vanmarcke is an exciting prospect for Owen.
“I tend to be better at Classics-type races,” said Owen. “Getting to learn from Sep is one of the biggest reasons that I’m looking forward to the spring. I’m excited about all my new teammates actually. Uran is a legend. I already know Alex Howes, so it will be cool to race with him.”
His focus on teammates makes sense given his goals for his first WorldTour season. Owen wants to be “the best teammate possible” in 2018.
“That’s the goal every year, of course, but especially during this year, which I consider a learning year,” said Owen. “I want to help my teammates win races. Any personal ambitions will take a back seat as I learn the ropes of being in the WorldTour and help my teammates as much as I possibly can.”
“Vaughters seems to have a really good plan to develop me,” Owen added. “I’ve seen this team support the development of young riders over the last couple years, which has been really cool, and it gives me confidence in the team’s ability to help me develop as the top level of the sport.”
As Owen looks forward, he also looks back.
“I can’t thank Axel enough for the last four years and all the opportunities he’s given me,” said Owen. “I feel like I made it because of his support. I also want to thank my coach Joe Holmes, who got me into the road cycling side of things. He’s really helped me grow as a person and an athlete over the last eight years. A lot of getting this contract has to do with both of them.”
Logan Owen wins stage three of 2015 Tour of Utah in Bountiful:
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