EUROTRASH News Round Up Monday!
Peter Sagan closed the doors on his 2016 season with a win in Japan and gave the now defunct Tinkoff team its last victory. Joaquim Rodriguez has signed with Bahrain-Merida, but will he turn a pedal in anger – TOP STORY. Results, reports and video from Saitama and the European cyclocross championships. In other cycling news: First training camp for Bahrain-Merida, Dimension Data resign Boasson Hagen, Farrar, and Anton, Gazprom to sponsor RusVelo for four more years and finalize the 2017 roster, Turek stays with Cycling Academy, Pablo Lastras to be DS with Movistar, new sponsor for Roompot, Canada Gala and Valerio Conti Injured. We finish with Sagan’s small sword!
TOP STORY: Has Joaquim Rodriguez Retired?
The question is ‘will Joaquim Rodriguez Race in 2017?’ And why should he not take the money and run out his final year on a WorldTour team. Rodriguez signed a contract with the new Bahrain-Merida team as a rider for 2017 and for a technical position for the following two years. The team need as many WorldTour points as it can get to achieve a place in the top league of cycling and ‘Purito’ has 211 points in 16th place on the UCI WorldTour Individual Ranking at the end of 2016, which is only four places below the Bahrain team leader, Vincenzo Nibali.
Originally Rodriguez announced that his retirement would start at the end of the Olympic Games in Rio, but the Katusha team needed him to ride some end of season races, which he wasn’t too keen on and didn’t finish any of them. Canyon also gave him a special retirement bike. Then the Bahrain-Merida team made him an offer he could not refuse and contracts were signed.
Since then he has been criticized for taking the money for his WorldTour points. Why should he not? The diminutive Catalan has worked hard for those points, so why should he not reap the rewards? He could just take the money, turn up at the races and ride round or even climb off at the first feed. But Purito isn’t that kind of rider or man, for that matter. At the recent Bahrain-Merida team get together, Rodriguez said: “If I do return to racing again, it will be with 100 per cent commitment, and fighting for victories.” So if he comes back it wont be for ‘just the money.’ Although he also has reservations on prolonging his career: “There are moments where I say to myself ‘let’s get back into it, full gas, super focused, at the highest level’. But on the other hand there are moments when I say to myself, ‘steady on, you’re leaving cycling’.”
They say a great champion should go out at the top, but why should you throw good money away? Points mean prizes.
Tour de France Saitama Critérium 2016
On his first outing since the World Championships, Peter Sagan was not able to wear his rainbow jersey but did total justice to the green jersey he has won five times at the Tour de France. The Slovak waited for the penultimate of 19 laps of the Saitama circuit to launch an attack before powering away from an elite lead group featuring Chris Froome, Adam Yates and the Japanese national champion, Sho Hatsuyuma. After a season full of highs including wins in the Tour of Flanders and Tour de France stage victories, Sagan carved a new entry in his palmarès in Japan. On the Tour de France honors board, his green jersey was claimed by Marcel Kittel, while Romain Bardet snared the mountains jersey.
An era of cycling history drew to a close this morning in Saitama! With no drums or fanfare, merely a carefully calibrated solemnity, Bernard Hinault ended his career as Tour de France ambassador, saluted by a guard of honor formed by the crème de la crème of world cycling. “It would just be a dream to achieve what he achieved,” admitted Chris Froome, in the knowledge that that particular summit was inaccessible. “He’s a living legend – images of his wins were everywhere as I was growing up,” said an admiring Romain Bardet, who nonetheless didn’t ride his first bike until a decade after Hinault’s last Tour win in 1985. With the same aplomb as when he hung up his wheels in 1986, the tough Breton left the stage on a waspish note after a last lap of the Saitama circuit: “The old geezers are back in the hutch, now it’s time for the young guns.”
And so it proved, because it was the two-time Japanese junior time trial champion who lit things up as the race program got under way. A solid rouleur, Kento Omachi not only got one over on his Japanese elders, but also kept the Tour de France riders at arm’s length, including the very best of them. With his yellow jersey looking a little tighter on him than in July, Froome had to settle for 7th fastest, 6 seconds slower than Omachi, while Petr Vakoc set the best time by a “pro”, 2 seconds behind the 18 year old. The peloton then got down to business in the points race, giving the bigger Japanese names the chance to shine in front of their home crowd. Thanks to a breakaway initiated on the very first lap, Yukiya Arashiro started racking up the points in the first two intermediate sprints. Even when he was swallowed up by the peloton, the rider from Okinawa had enough in the bank to sit back a bit in the last few kilometers. On the line, despite a charge from Marcel Kittel, his mission was accomplished: “It’s great, it worked,” said a delighted “Yuki” after his success. “And that’s the second time this year that I’ve won on home roads, after my stage win at the Tour of Japan in May.”
The battle for points also animated the early stages of the main race. And for once, Peter Sagan refrained from contesting the intermediate sprints, granting this little privilege first to Samuel Dumoulin, and then Marcel Kittel. At the same time, Romain Bardet was settling down to the task of amassing mountain points to claim a polka dot tunnel climber’s jersey! At this point, the World Champion was still keeping his powder dry, even allowing Fumiyuki Beppu to scent victory in a solitary raid that gave him a 15-second advantage on the pack with 5 kilometers to go. Then the five-time Green Jersey pulled rank. Adopting a similar tactic to the one that served him so well in Montpellier in the summer, Chris Froome, this time accompanied by Adam Yates, got into Peter Sagan’s slipstream for a four-way finale that also featured Sho Hatsuyuma. Even sporting his jersey with the red rising sun, the Japanese champion stood little chance against the power unleashed by “Peto” in the last 350 meters. The Slovak ended his year displaying the strength and class that have set him apart all season.
Thanks to ASO for the race report.
Tour de France Saitama Critérium Result:
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff in 1:22:02
2. Sho Hatsuyuma (Jpn) Bridgestone Anchor Cycling Team
3. Christopher Froome (GB) Sky
4. Adam Yates (GB) Orica-BikeExchange at 0:05
5. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Etixx – Quick-Step at 0:12
6. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
7. Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek-Segafredo
8. Shimpei Fukuda (Jpn) Aisan Racing Team
9. Zico Waeytens (Bel) Giant-Alpecin
10. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale.
2016 Saitama Critérium:
European Cyclocross Elite Men Championships 2016
Toon Aerts (Belgium) was surprise winner of the European cyclo-cross championships in Pont-Château, France. Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands) came in second with Wout Van Aert (Belgium) third at 45 seconds. Previous European champion, Lars van der Haar (Netherlands) finished seventh.
Mathieu van der Poel was first to make a serious move at the end of the third lap, but Van Aert, Michael Vanthourenhout (Belgium) and Clément Venturini (France) were on his wheel. Their gap never got more than 10 seconds and defending champion, Van der Haar, pulled them back after a lap of chasing. Laurens Sweeck (Belgium) was next to try his luck, Van der Poel pulled him back with Van Aert and Michael Boros (Czech) in tow.
Michael Vanthourenhout was next to go with Venturini and were joined by Van Aert and Van der Haar on the 7th lap. Again the race came together and the speed dropped for Mathieu Boulo (France) to jump away. Aerts pulled the race back together, but the top men were not at the front and so the Belgian put the pressure on and took a solo lead. Behind; Belgian teammate Van Aert disrupted the chase by the group of eight chasers.
Aerts hung onto his lead as Van der Poel won the sprint for 2nd place at 45 seconds ahead of Aerts. Venturini (France) only just lost out on third as Jens Adams (Belgium) took 5th ahead of Kevin Pauwels (Belgium) with Van der Haar 7th.
European champion, Toon Aerts (Belgium): “After the reconnaissance on Saturday I knew it would be a fast course, a tactical game where it was possible. Of course, I had not thought about the title because I know too well that there is a group of riders that are stronger. On a course like this you never know what to expect, but I did not have the title on my mind. I just wanted to close the gap, but when I reached him (Boulo), I saw that there were a few bike lengths between me and the peloton. I accelerated and suddenly I was alone. Behind me, it was apparently quiet and I just went full gas. I thought that I could maybe win by 15 or 20 seconds but it was only in the last lap that I really started to realize that I would become European champion. I took no risks anymore and soloed to victory. It is unbelievable that I can wear that jersey. Maybe I partly got this victory as a gift, but mind you, you have to be strong enough to ride away, to create a gap. But I must admit that I am obviously very grateful to Wout and I will definitely give him something back in the future. I am very grateful to my Belgian team mates. My victory in Leuven was already a good step forward but this is a step higher. The general public now knows who I am. Now I’m European champion, but I’ll stay with the feet on the ground. I’m still not Wout or Mathieu, they are still the big boys and favorites in the other races. Let me enjoy this jersey. I look forward to the Koppenbergcross on Tuesday.”
2nd, Mathieu van der Poel (Netherlands): “At the halfway point, I moved to the back of the group because I understood that it did not make much sense, I simply focused on the final. I was not going to bring everybody back. I didn’t think that Toon would steal the win. He also had to ride. I tried a few times to make a difference, but it was very difficult. I got the best possible result. I would have loved to have the jersey but in the end it was the second place and I think we saw a beautiful race.”
3rd, Wout Van Aert (Belgium): “I traveled here to get that jersey, but I think Toon got a beautiful and deserved title and I can live with bronze. Toon attacked at the perfect time. We were behind him, everyone looked at each other and he quickly got a big advantage. It was not up to me or the other Belgians to close that gap. I knew beforehand that it would be a tactical game and that’s how it was. This is a smart and beautiful win for Toon and a good thing for the Belgians. Even though I wanted the jersey, I can live with that. With a third place I cannot be super satisfied, but the title is in the Belgian camp. I can now still ride in the rainbow jersey and that means a lot to me.”
7th, 2015 European champion Lars Van der Haar (Netherlands): “I made one mistake and that cost me a good result. I should have moved up in the descent before the technical zone, but decided to stay behind Van der Poel. After the tech zone I couldn’t follow and that was a mistake. The whole race went really fast but I made good calls and was in front a lot. But in the end was not good enough to make the race, just to follow. When Toon went I looked at the others. He stayed away as nobody went. Then I focused on second which was still possible. And then I made a mistake in the prep for the sprint which was stupid and only my own mistake. Now it’s on to Koppenberg.”
European Cyclocross Elite Men Championships Result:
1. Toon Aerts (Belgium) in 1:04:16
2. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Netherlands) at 0:45
3. Wout Van Aert (Belgium)
4. Clément Venturini (France)
5. Jens Adams (Belgium)
6. Kevin Pauwels (Belgium)
7. Lars Van Der Haar (Netherlands) at 0:49
8. Marcel Wildhaber (Switzerland) at 0:55
9. Steve Chainel (France) at 1:05
10. Corne Van Kessel (Netherlands) at 1:09.
Euro cross champs:
BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team successfully finished their first Training Camp
BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team left Poreč, Croatia and Valamar Diamant Hotel 4* in which all of our team members had successfully conducted its first training camp and the first official presentation.
More than seventy people, including cyclists, management, coaches, technicians, nutritionists, doctors, sports directors and other team professionals stayed in Valamar Diamant Hotel for four days, during which we had the first team meeting among ourselves, a series of organizational meetings and meeting with equipment manufacturers and representatives of the sponsors and suppliers.
The first press conference was held on Wednesday. The premiere team presentation to the world in public with attendance of numerous international press, sports and cycling journalists like Eurosport, RTV Slovenia, HTV – Croatian national TV, journalists from Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Nederlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Great Britain.
Within four days in Poreč our team had a grueling program of lectures, equipment, introductions and testings. The program of the Training Camp was intensive, but all team members definitely enjoyed the exquisite hotel services, hospitality, great food adjusted to our athletes that Valamar Diamant Hotel offers. The hotel offers professional sports services and facilities, a beautiful SPA area with pool and modern hotel gym. Complete service for cyclists was enabled to our and MERIDAs mechanics. That area was adjusted for a peaceful work and focus to each of the BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team riders. In hotel they kept in mind to enable us also safe bike storage.
Outdoor and indoor tennis courts were suitable for few interesting tennis matches between some of our riders. There were even outstanding football and basketball matches too between overall talented team members.
It was just a great get together Training Camp held on the very right place. For the reason of such tremendous, postseason activities, the team members made several photo sessions at this great hotel. All our activities were based on positive energy with a view forward to an upcoming, and exciting season 2017.
At the first Training Camp in Poreč, BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team cyclists have shown their cycling skills on a short bike route with journalist, press crews, sponsors and suppliers on a beautiful, mild and sunny Thursday. It was a route to the to close so called ” Istrian Agritourism Jadruhi” property of the local family Simonovic, with a long tradition of family farms and catering business. They offered us various, authentic and traditional dishes, prepared according to traditional recipes, produced at their own agritourism.
Cyclists left Poreč full of enthusiasm of the fact that the team is prepared. And all of them hardly wait to come back to Istria for the first real training on the roads of Istria.
Boasson Hagen, Farrar, and Anton renew with Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka is happy to confirm the contract renewals of Edvald Boasson Hagen, Tyler Farrar, and Igor Anton.
29-year-old Norwegian Boasson Hagen has an extensive palmarès to his name and looks back on a largely successful season. Besides retaining his National titles in both the road race and time trial he also crossed the line first at two World Tour events; stage 4 of the Criterium du Dauphine and stage 7 of the Eneco Tour.
“I’m really happy in this team,” says Boasson Hagen. “It’s a special team and I have good teammates. Going to race for Team Dimension Data and the Qhubeka charity for another two years is really great.”
Also staying will be Tyler Farrar, who served as road captain at many of the team’s races over the last two seasons. At 32 years of age the experienced American will continue to be a vital member of our African team and is likely to built on his mentoring role.
While both Boasson Hagen and Farrar are among the team’s classics riders, Igor Anton is one of the climbers. The 33-year-old Basque rider comes into form once the road gradients go up. This year he was one of the key support riders for the success the team enjoyed in the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.
Rolf Aldag, Head of Performance of Team Dimension Data, is full of praise for the trio: “Edvald, Tyler and Igor have proved themselves as great ambassadors for Qhubeka and as leaders on and off the bike for our team. We are happy to continue working with them to achieve our future goals. All three are great characters who act like role models for our young talents, contribute by scoring results in the races and hold key positions in our structures. The experiences and respect they have earned in the peloton over the years, in combination with the values they stand for, makes them very special to us and our partners.”
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka – 2017 Team
Igor Anton, Natnael Berhane, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Mark Cavendish, Stephen Cummings, Mekseb Debesay, Nicolas Dougall, Bernhard Eisel, Tyler Farrar, Omar Fraile, Ryan Gibbons, Nathan Haas, Reinardt Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Janse van Rensburg, Ben King, Merhawi Kudus, Lachlan Morton, Adrien Niyonsuti, Ben O’Connor, Serge Pauwels, Youcef Reguigui, Mark Renshaw, Kristian Sbaragli, Daniel Teklehaimanot, Jay Robert Thomson, Scott Thwaites, Johann van Zyl, Jaco Venter
Gazprom and Gazprom-RusVelo Professional Cycling Team Signed a Long-Term Cooperation Agreement
Gazprom and Gazprom – RusVelo cycling team have renewed the current sponsorship contract for 4 years onwards till 2020 inclusive.
Sergei Kupriyanov, Press Secretary of Gazprom’s Management Committee Chairman, underlined: “Support and development of Russian sports is one of the most important social tasks of Gazprom. This agreement provides an impetus to further professional progress of young and talented Russian cyclists. I am confident that they will represent our country on the international sports arena with due dignity.”
“We value our cooperation with Gazprom and are pleased that it will continue,” said Gazprom – RusVelo’s general manager Renat Khamidulin, “The new sponsorship contract extends for 4 years, and this means that our team enjoys the opportunity to train for the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 in the systematic and efficient way. With the support of Gazprom we could strengthen our team with the leading Russian riders. This allows us to target the most ambitious goals.”
Gazprom – RusVelo is the only cycling team to represent Russia on the top-level international contests in 2017, as well as the only team in professional cycling that is composed entirely of Russian riders.
Gazprom – RusVelo Announce Final Roster for 2017
Cycling team Gazprom – RusVelo has finished squad formation for the next season. Agreement with Pavel Brutt is closing transfer campaign for our team. Pavel has signed a contract for one year.
General manager of Gazprom – RusVelo Renat Khamidulin: “We’ve known Pavel for a long time, so agreement was discussed in a friendly and warm atmosphere. Pavel is a great time trial specialist with very solid personal power, which could be very useful in our sprint train. Brutt will have his own chances on the races that fit him. I am very happy that he is a part of our team, I believe that it’s a win-win situation.”
Gazprom – RusVelo is a new chapter in my career. I am very happy that I’ll be a part of this team, they spent a great season and it looks like Gazprom – RusVelo is on the right track. I hope that I will have a chance to bring the team to victory and it’s going to be a successful season,” said Pavel Brutt.
In 2017 Gazprom – RusVelo will be represented by twenty two riders. The team consists only of Russian riders, so Gazprom – RusVelo successfully continue to develop the idea of single nation squad. Structure of the team was built with the previous experience and it is more balanced than ever before: six GC riders, four sprint specialists and twelve all-rounders. New squad opens great opportunities within a wide range of races.
“We’ve finished our transfer campaign for 2017. This time we tried to reach balance between young and experienced riders. Professional cycling has changed dramatically and there is no place for mistake today, every small thing could have an impact on the final result. In this situation we want to set up the system of knowledge transfer from experienced guys to young riders. I believe that it will help us to reach our goals for the next season,” commented Renat Khamidulin.
Full Gazprom – RusVelo roster for 2017:
Ildar Arslanov, Igor Boev, Pavel Brutt, Artur Ershov, Aydar Zakarin, Dmitry Kozonchuk, Sergey Lagutin, Roman Maikin, Sergey Nikolaev, Artem Nych, Artem Ovechkin, Alexander Porsev, Ivan Rovny, Alexey Rybalkin, Ivan Savitskiy, Kirill Sveshnikov, Andrey Solomennikov, Nikolay Trusov, Sergey Firsanov, Alexander Foliforov, Alexey Tsatevich, Evgeny Shalunov.
Russian rider Alexander Serov who’s spent last five seasons in Gazprom – RusVelo is finishing his career as a rider and will hold a position of Gazprom – Rusvelo’s sports director for the next season.
Czech rider Dan Turek will become Israel Cycling Academies lone original rider, as he survives the cruel but necessary cuts as the team moves to compete at the Pro continental level next season.
In a clear indication of the difficulties facing cyclists to fulfill their dream of advancing to the top level in pro cycling, none of the Academies core of 12 riders except Turek who raced in the teams inaugural season will wear its uniform in 2017.
“We owe so much to the riders who started our journey. They gave it their all” said Team owner and founder Ron Baron. “But it was absolutely necessary to up the level as we move to a much tougher racing schedule in our first season as Pro Continental team”.
The team has already announced the signing of 5 New riders, all top young Talents or veterans with Pro continental Pro Tour experience, in addition to a few successful riders from its 2016 season that will officially end next month with the Tour of Rwanda.
But the Czech 24 year old who won his teams first ever race in 2015, will now be the only original rider to make it. And no wonder, “We are extremely proud of Turek” said team manager Ran Margaliot. “From our very first days as a team, he showed his courage & aggressiveness, taking huge risks in breakaways when the odds were totally against him. In a way, Turek symbolizes our DNA. He races in the way we want our team to approach racing: To risk it all in a daring way, when finishing a race means nothing if you do not have the guts to go for the jugular. Turek exemplifies all that. Which is why he was rewarded with our trust to be part of our Pro Continental team.”
Turek’s style of being ultra aggressive earned him the nickname “Mr. Breakaway”. He earned his 2 wins for Cycling Academy in 2015 through breakaways, and although this season he was used more as a domestique to the team’s sprinters, he never abandoned his signature style. “I had a different role on the team this season, as I was more of a support guy, but I was happy to do it. I am very proud to be with this team from day 1 and to have the chance to continue with it to the next level” he said. “I am sure that I can keep progressing next year, although the challenges will be much more difficult. I am sure I can show that I belong”.
Cycling Academy was founded in December 2014 in Jerusalem, as Israel’s first Professional cycling team with the clear vision to help Israeli Cycling and bring young cyclists, especially Israelis, to the top levels of cycling.
The team recorded wins in races over 3 continents in the last 20 months and backed by sponsors like Cannondale, Lazer, Hertz Israel, and Verge, as well as the Israeli Canadian Philanthropist Sylvan Adams – Israel Cycling Academy is now set to go Pro Continental for the 2017 season.
He never stopped being part of the Movistar Team’s soul. Almost two years after the serious accident which put an end to his racing career in the 2015 Volta a Catalunya, Pablo Lastras (Madrid, ESP; 1976) will be back to the team he’s always belonged to, as an important part of the Spanish outfit’s staff. One of the symbols of the Abarca Sports organization, Lastras will be sharing sporting challenges with his beloved family in 2017.
Lastras’s palmarès includes 13 pro victories, with stage success in all three Grand Tours as well as wins at big races like the Tour de Suisse, the Vueltas a Burgos, Andalucía or the Eneco Tour. Nevertheless, the best attribute of ‘Penkas’ (called these way because of his long legs since a young child – ‘penkas’ is a Madrid area-synonym for ‘legs’) has always been his invaluable teamwork and refined sense of strategy. Those values have been, and will remain, key to a group that will find in Lastras a big boost of experience useful for both old team-mates and youngsters he’ll try to keep on nurturing.
“I’ve already spent two months without any pain,” explains a happy Lastras. “The surgeon that operated me told me that my recovery would be really slow, 20-24 months before all injuries healed, and in the end, it was 19. It might have been because of the efforts I took to stay healthy but also due to the people that surrounded me throughout the process – either way, I’m so happy that everything I went through is almost gone. As the recovery process ended, Eusebio called me here. I decided to come, listen to what they’d tell me, put my ideas into order and take this choice. I want to do things here that really excite me, and return everything that cycling gave me during my whole life. I’ve spent 21 years at this team that I really love, and it’s a challenge to fulfill that role.”
“I’ve always felt closer to younger people than those riders of my age. Because it’s not about the age, rather than the attitude. And in these 19 months of recovery, staying away from cycling yet remaining a loyal fan of everything that happened in the races and especially the team, I kept in mind that I had to stay away from the spotlight. Learning, observing, staying curious, realizing what I had drone wrong and improving wherever possible. I’ve got to keep offering everything that I have in store, to repay the team for their support.”
“The biggest recognition for me is the applause you receive from those close to you, not medals or trophies,” sums up Lastras after the warm reception from his team-mates, from the very first minute, as he joined the meeting in the Castillo de Gorráiz. “It’s been a rough period, yet a very beautiful one. I’m ready to take on this challenge.”
Team manager, Michael Zijlaard, was pleased with the new development for the team: “That’s a great partner and the Nederlandse Loterij name wanting to be directly connected with our team indicates that we are on the right track. We thus maintain the purely Dutch character that we have and, of course, remains our orange color. Personalizing the jersey with the name of the riders on the collar was also very well received at the show.”
Nederlandse Loterij director of corporate affairs Arjan van ‘t Veer said: “Through the combination of Lottery and Lotto is a powerful new gaming organization, arise dedicated to Dutch sport and to make sport accessible to a wider audience. At present we are working on increasing the awareness of the Dutch Lottery, and the cooperation with the team is an excellent opportunity for us. The riders of Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij know, after all, how to race well in the spotlight. We know our players appreciate that.”
It was also announced that the team will be riding Isaac bikes for the next two years.
Guillaume Martin Looks Back Upon his First Pro Season
Guillaume Martin joined Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 2016. The young French neo-pro got to ride no less than four WorldTour-races in his first season including the Spring Classics and the Critérium du Dauphiné. He got good results with a second place in the GC of the Tour of Austria and a fourth place in the Tour de l’Ain. Straight from the start of the season he underwent a knee surgery and started his season in the Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de Loire.
“I missed the first part of the season. I had only trained a month when I rode my first race. This is not ideal for a neo-pro to start the season this way. Luckily I could rely on the support of my teammates and the staff. Given the circumstances I’m happy with my first season as a pro.”
In May the former winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège U23 felt better. “I think my season really started in the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour. The Critérium du Dauphiné was a success. I continued my momentum in the Tour of Austria and the Tour de l’Ain.”
The French rider obviously learned a lot in his first professional season and is already looking forward to the next season. “I see my first season as the foundation for next year. Everything is optimized for the performance. Next year I hope to ride a full season without injury. I want to be good in the Ardennes Classics and I dream, like the entire team, of participating in a Grand Tour,” he concluded.
Valerio Conti Injured During Training
On Thursday, while pedaling on a mountain bike during the winter training, the winner of the Urdax stage in the Vuelta a España 2016 crashed, suffering a displaced fracture of the radius and ulna of the right arm. Conti will undergo an ostheosynthesis surgery.
Olympic and Paralympic Celebration & Fundraising Gala Honours Team Canada
A capacity crowd came out for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Celebration & Fundraising Gala on Friday evening, at the Lord Elgin Hotel in Ottawa. The occasion was to celebrate and honour the cycling athletes, coaches and staff who represented Canada at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio. Organized in partnership with members of the Ottawa cycling community, the evening also recognized athletes, coaches and builders from the National Capital Region.
Over 25 athletes were in attendance, including gold, silver and bronze Paralympic medalist Tristen Chernove, Paralympic double silver medal winner Ross Wilson, Paralympic double bronze medalist Charles Moreau, bronze medal winning Paralympian Shelley Gautier, Olympic bronze medalist Catharine Pendrel and the Olympic bronze medal winning Women’s Team Pursuit squad.
John Tolkamp, President of Cycling Canada, said “The Olympic/Paralympic celebration is a fantastic and unique opportunity to bring all the athletes and coaches together and honour the accomplishments of a team which no doubt inspired the nation over this past summer Rio Olympics. We also wish to thank the Ottawa Cycling community in supporting this event and making the evening a fitting tribute to a team of talented athletes and coaches.”
The Silent Auction featured spirited bidding for autographed jerseys, Olympic prints, paintings and donated items, with over $10,000 raised. The funds raised will be shared between Cycling Canada national team programs and the National Capital Region Cycling Bursary program.
In addition to honouring the Olympians and Paralympians, special recognition was given to Cycling Canada CEO and Secretary General Greg Mathieu, who will be retiring at the end of this year, after four decades of service to Canadian sport. Under Greg’s leadership at Cycling Canada, cycling has grown to become one of Canada’s top medal-producing sports.
Tolkamp stated, “It is fitting that as part of our Olympic Celebration we could also recognize the upcoming retirement of Greg Mathieu, who has a long career in sport, both as a COC employee and National Sport CEO, attending 9 Olympics and dozens of other major Games. Greg has been a significant contributor to advancing the Olympic movement in Canada and is respected across many sports, the COC [Canadian Olympic Committee] and Sports Canada. Greg has been instrumental in the growth of Cycling Canada, and it was a privilege to honour him and his family along with the Olympians.”
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