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Peniscola - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Danny van POPPEL (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) pictured during stage 1 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana from Oropesa del Mar to Peniscola - photo Cor Vos © 2018

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Danny van Poppel gives his new team a win. Results and video from Valencia, Bessèges and Hoogerheide. Plea bargain for Chris Froome? – Top Story. Other cycling news: Race news from Flanders, Dubai and Strade Bianche. Team news from BEAT, Sky, Sunweb, Gazprom-Rusvelo, Team Novo Nordisk, Laurens De Plus update and Groupama-FDJ show off their new kit. Time for a coffee.

TOP STORY: Five or Six Month Ban for Froome?
Italian newspaper, the Corriere della Sera reported on Tuesday that Chris Froome would be willing to accept a sanction of five or six months for his positive salbutamol test during the 2017 Vuelta a España. The article reports that Froome has decided to plead guilty, as did the Italian Diego Ulissi in 2014, whose suspension was nine months instead of two years. Following the advice of his wife and manager, Michelle Cound, Froome has taken the decision to accept that he committed an act of negligence to avoid a long process that could result in an even longer penalty.

If he makes this decision, Froome would lose the Vuelta a España victory, as well as the bronze in the World Championships time trial. It is unknown if the Vuelta win would be given to Vincenzo Nibali and the Worlds time trial bronze medal to Nelson Oliveira, or left blank.

The article suggests that if a deal was done, the suspension would start from the failed test, which would allow Froome to ride the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France if he was banned for six months.

Of course the report maybe total speculation on the part of the newspapers as Froome has denied any deal and wrote on Twitter that “it’s completely untrue.”

There are some problems in the article in that Froome has not been provisionally suspended and so any ban would start from when the suspension is announced. Also a six month bad would be very short, considering the nine months that Ulissi was handed. It would be in the interest of the UCI, ASO (Tour de France organizers) and RCS (Giro d’Italia organizers) to end the case, but would WADA feel the same way?

To have his bad run through the winter would not be any form of punishment. Although the French fans at the Tour might be throwing more than urine.

Talking to two ProConti riders from different teams recently, they both pointed out that if it had happened to them or any ‘lesser known’ rider, they would have been sacked, banned for two or possibly three tears and the career would have been finished.

Dysfunctional kidneys, deals or whatever, ‘FroomeGate’ is set to rumble on.


Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2018
Danny van Poppel immediately showed his prowess during his first race for Team LottoNL-Jumbo. The 24-year-old Dutchman was victorious in Stage 1 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Van Poppel’s lead-out consisted of his regular train; Jos van Emden and Gijs Van Hoecke, with help from Robert Wagner.

With only the Cat 2 climb of La Bandereta to tackle, the stage was always going to a bunch sprint. That said, a break went up the road early. In the group was the ‘old man’ of the peloton, Paco Mancebo (Inteja Dominican), Jose Manuel Diaz (Israel Cycling Academy), Ibai Salas (Burgos-BH) and Paul Ourselin (Direct Energie). They took a maximum lead of 5 minutes after 60 kilometers, but by the climb of La Bandereta they were down to 3 minutes as Salas took the KOM points.

As the race headed towards the finis, LottoNL-Jumbo, Movistar, EF-Drapac and Euskadi-Murias worked to pull in the leaders and the race was together with just over 25 kilometers remaining from the 190 kilometers. Sky came to the front and when a crash split the field, Gianni Moscon was left out front. A strong headwind coming off the sea saw the Italian pulled in for LottoNL-Jumbo to lead Van Poppel out for the sprint win and the overall lead.

Peniscola - Spain - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Danny van POPPEL (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo)  pictured during     stage 1 of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana from Oropesa del Mar to Peniscola - photo Cor Vos © 2018

Stage 1 winner, Danny van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo): “I was very nervous at the start of the race, because everything is new; the team, the teammates, but everything immediately fell into place. The lead-out was perfect. I am very happy with this victory. Before, I had put my mind to this stage and to the last one of this stage race.”

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Stage 1 Result:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 4:34:13
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC
4. Daniel McLay (GB) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
8. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
10. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie.

Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Overall After Stage 1:
1. Danny van Poppel (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 4:34:03
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:04
3. Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) BMC at 0:06
4. Daniel McLay (GB) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:10
5. Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis
7. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Sky
8. Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R-La Mondiale
9. Marco Canola (Ita) Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini
10. Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct Energie.

Valenciana stage 1:


Etoile de Bessèges 2018
Marc Sarreau (FDJ) won Stage 1 of the Étoile de Bessèges on Thursday, out-sprinting Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) and Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) in Beaucaire. FDJ and Vital Concept had worked hard for the bunch sprint, but Coquard had a to chase back to the peloton after a mechanical which blunted his finishing effort.

The break of the day escaped in the first kilometers, it included: Michel Dieleman (Cibel-Cebon), Artiz Bagües (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias) and Milan Menten (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), they were never allowed a lead of more than four minutes. 50K out the leaders were down to 2 minutes and with 25 kilometers to go on the finishing circuit they had less than a minute.

Menten was the first of the break to be dropped and with one lap to go Dieleman attacked Bagües. Behind the leaders, Coquard was having his mechanical problem and FDJ, Cofidis and AG2R-La Mondiale were pushing the speed up. With 5 kilometers to race the peloton was all together as the break had been caught and Coquard had rejoined at the back. Vital Concept controlled the sprint, but Coquard had left his sprint out on the road. Sarreau came out on top ahead of Boudat and Coquard to take the first leaders jersey.

FDJ team's French cyclist Marc Sarreau celebrates his victory as he crosses the finish line at the end of the 162 km first stage of the 48th edition of the Etoile de Besseges cycling race, between Bellegarde and Beaucaire, on January 31, 2018 in Beaucaire, southern France. / AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOT

Etoile de Bessèges Stage 1 Result:
1. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ in 3:46:10
2. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept
4. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
5. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan
6. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Kenny Dehaes (Bel) WB Aqua Protect-Veranclassic
10. Romain Feillu (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93.

Etoile de Bessèges Overall After Stage 1:
1. Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ in 3:46:00
2. Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie at 0:04
3. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept at 0:06
4. Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:07
5. Michiel Dieleman (Bel) Cibel-Cebon at 0:08
6. Aritz Bagues Kalparsoro (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 0:09
7. Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis at 0:10
8. Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems-Crelan
9. Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani-CSF.

Bessèges stage 1:


Telenet UCI World Cup Cyclocross – Hoogerheide 2018
Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) made sure of his overall win the Telenet UCI World Cup in Hoogerheide on Sunday by taking yet another solo win. Second (again) was World champion, Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) and Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) took the bottom step of the podium in third.

Van der Poel had a fast start and was not seen again by the other competitors until the TV interviews. Van Aert had a slow start, but fought back to finish at 8 seconds, while Vanthourenhout had a race long battle with Laurens Sweeck (ERA-Circus) for 3rd place finish at 1:41 down on Van der Poel.

Next week the World championships take place in Valkenburg – Limburg, The Netherlands. It would be a brave man who bet against Mathieu van der Poel.

Hoogerheide - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Mathieu van der Poel pictured during the Telenet UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Hoogerheide, Netherlands - elite - photo Anton Vos/Cor Vos © 2018

Hoogerheide winner, Mathieu van de Poel (Corendon-Circus): “It’s good to win here but it took a lot of effort. My start was good but I had to shift back and from there the gap remained at about 15 seconds. I was unable to go faster but the same counted for Wout. It was important to avoid mistakes.”

2nd, Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles): “During the opening lap I was really bad. I was unable to follow straight at the start but luckily I had a front-row start position, otherwise I would’ve been further back when coming off the asphalt. Luckily, I started going better and I was able to keep the pressure high on Mathieu. Halfway, the race it was hard to keep up the effort but in the final laps I felt much better. I’m satisfied about today. The world championships are the only thing on my mind so this good results comes unexpectedly. The focus is on Valkenburg so I’m satisfied with this result at short distance from Mathieu.”

3rd, Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal): “It’s better to head off to the world championships with a good feeling. I’m satisfied with third place. I’m longing for the course in Valkenburg. I’ve seen it this week and it suits me. I’ve been third over there in the past. I think he made a mistake in the forest and I got ten meters. From there it was about going flat out until the finish.”

Telenet UCI World Cup Cyclocross – Hoogerheide Result:
1. Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 1:05:54
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Charles at 0:08
3. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal at 1:41
4. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) ERA-Circus at 1:58
5. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal at 2:22
6. Tim Merlier (Bel) Crelan-Charles at 2:24
7. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 2:27
8. David Van Der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus at 2:50
9. Lars Van Der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 3:02
10. Michael Boroš (Cze) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 3:14.

Hoogerheide’18:


Wildcards 2018: Seven Teams will Start in this Year’s Tour of Flanders
The Tour of Flanders is a race nobody wants to miss out on. That’s no different in 2018. All WorldTour teams will be present for the 102nd Ronde, the second one between Antwerp and Oudenaarde, and will send their strongest teams without a doubt. Earlier this week we were rejoiced by the news of Kwiatkowski (Sky) and Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) coming to the Ronde.

The remaining 7 ‘seats’ were very expensive. A lot of teams presented themselves as candidates to participate, which made the choice even more difficult. The lucky teams are coming from three different countries in the end: Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

The Belgian teams that have acquired the privilege to start are: Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Wanty Group-Gobert, Veranda’s Willems-Crelan and WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic. Also the French teams Cofidis and Vital Concept will be there. Finally the remaining spot goes to the orange shirts of Team Roompot, making the list of 24 participating teams complete.

Wild card invitations for De Ronde van Vlaanderen:
Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise, Wanty Group-Gobert, Veranda’s Willems-Crelan, WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic, Cofidis, Vital Concept, Team Roompot-NL Loterij.

How the VIP’s see De Ronde:


Henao to Lead Team Sky’s Colombian Debut
Sergio Henao will head Team Sky’s charge in his homeland at the inaugural Colombia Oro y Paz (6-11 February).

The Colombian heads a lineup including fellow countrymen Sebastian Henao and Egan Bernal for the new six-day stage race, which will see Team Sky race in Colombia for the first time ever. Debutant Jonathan Castroviejo, Tao Geoghegan Hart and David Lopez complete the six-man squad. Oro y Paz comes hot on the heels of the Colombian national road championships, where Sergio will be hoping to defend his road race jersey on 4 February in Medellin.

It’s a new venture for Team Sky and Sport Director Nicolas Portal, who will lead the team in Colombia, explained how the plan came together: “Everything combined really well. The Colombian national championships are just before the race and obviously we have three Colombians now, so we want to support them. We are out in Colombia early for a Camp. Then we’ll all go and support the Colombians for their national championships before we fly to Cali for the race.” Sergio believes it will be ‘something special’ to race in Team Sky colors on home turf. He said: “It’s such a good thing to have Team Sky here and for us it’s something special to come back home. It allows people to get closer and better know the three Colombian riders in the team. It means a lot for Colombia to have a 2.1 level stage race with the presence of a team such as Sky and I think the race will grow in the future.”

Sebastian echoed his cousin’s comments: “I’m very happy that Team Sky will be racing in Colombia for the first time. People will love it because the team has lots of fans in Colombia. I’m so happy that we will be racing in our country. Cycling is one of the biggest sports in Colombia and Portal is expecting the atmosphere around the race to be memorable. It will be an all new experience,” he continued. “We are all excited. It is one of the heartlands of cycling. With this generation of Colombian riders like Sergio, Egan, Rigoberto [Uran], [Nairo] Quintana, there is a massive amount of fans. They love cycling. It is going to be something special. When we are at the Tour de France you see all the Colombian fans every day. It’s nuts! They are smiling, they enjoy it – they are pure fans. We expect something special in their country.”

Introducing the team for Oro y Paz, Portal added: “Sergio is looking good. He wants to defend his national jersey, and he will be our number one. Then there is Egan, who has the Tour Down Under in his legs and is already going well. So we’ve got two leaders, really. We will support Sergio and Egan will be able to back him up. We also have Sebastian, who is always good on the climbs, along with David, Jonathan and Tao – we have a really good group. I expect it’s not going to be like a race in Europe where you can control all day. We need to be clever – we only have six guys, so it’s pretty interesting. This is where Tao, David, Sebastian and Jonathan can maybe take some time on an early stage or halfway through a stage where there’s an attack, they can tactically mark some other big teams. We need to be smart, and only try to control the bunch when it’s needed.”

The race itself kicks off with three sprint days, before the climbing action begins.

“There’s a little bit of everything – it’s a good way to start the season,” explained Portal. “The first three days are flat and then the last three days all finish in the mountains. They are not super hard, but all of them are proper summit finishes. The race starts at 1,000m then there are some really long climbs – 20 or 30 kilometers. It’s not crazy, but they really are long, long climbs. The riders are all really excited about it and we’re looking forward to getting started.”

Sergio Henao:


2018 Dubai Tour Provisional Entry List Unveiled
Many of the world’s best sprinters are ready to race: previous Dubai Tour winners Marcel Kittel and Mark Cavendish, plus Dylan Groenewegen, Alexander Kristoff, Elia Viviani, Giacomo Nizzolo and Nacer Bouhanni; along with John Degenkolb for the overall and – Stop Press – the multiple Grand Tour winner, the Italian Vincenzo Nibali.

Less than a week to the fifth edition of the Dubai Tour, the five-stage race starting Tuesday 6 February from Skydive Dubai with, as usual, many of the world’s sprinters and some great champions. The entry list features top class sprinters including back-to-back Dubai winner with a record eight stage wins in three editions, the German Marcel Kittel; the Manxman Mark Cavendish (Dubai Tour winner in 2015), the Italians Elia Viviani and Giacomo Nizzolo, the Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni, the Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (who stood on the Dubai Tour podium every day last year and finished third in the General Classification) and the Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (2017 European Road Champion). Then comes the puncheur John Degenkolb (Germany) and the all-rounders Nicolas Roche (Ireland) and Vincenzo Nibali (Italy).

Marcel Kittel of Quick-Step Floors maglia blu alla partenza of the Dubai Silicon Oasis stage, the Third stage of the Dubai Tour 2017, 200 km from Dubai International Marine Club to Al Aqah. Dubai, 2 February 2017. ANSA/CLAUDIO PERI

Marcel Kittel (GER – Katusha Alpecin)
Born on 11 May 1988 in Arnstadt, Germany, and a professional rider since 2011, Kittel’s palmarès includes 86 victories, with eight stages at the Dubai Tour and the last two years’ general classification (Blue Jersey) and point classification (Red Jersey) along with 19 Grand Tour stage wins (four at the Giro d’Italia, 14 at the Tour de France – five of them being in the 2017 edition – and one at the Vuelta a España).

Mark Cavendish of Dimension Data on the podium signatures of the Ras Al Khaimah stage, the Second stage of the Dubai Tour 2017, 186 km from Dubai International Marine Club to Ras Al Khaimah. Dubai, 1 February 2017. ANSA/CLAUDIO PERI

Mark Cavendish (British Isles – Team Dimension Data)
Cavendish was born on 21 May 1985 in Douglas, Isle of Man (British Isles). “Cav” has won 15 stages at the Giro d’Italia, a mighty 30 at the Tour de France, and three at the Vuelta a España. In 2011, in Copenhagen (Denmark), he became UCI Road World Champion, and boasts one-day-race successes such as Milano-Sanremo (2009) and the National Road Race Championships. In 2016 Mark won the gold medal with Bradley Wiggins in the Madison at the Track World Championships; he took the opening stage of the Tour de France in a sprint finish at Utah Beach and put on the maillot jaune for the first time; then he won the silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games in the Omnium. Cavendish won two stages and the overall victory at the 2015 Dubai Tour.

UAE Team Emirates 2018 - 09/01/2018 - Alexander Kristoff (NOR - UAE Team Emirates) - photo Lorenzo Fizza Verdinelli/BettiniPhoto©2017

Alexander Kristoff (NOR – UAE Team Emirates)
Kristoff, born 5 July 1987, is current UEC European Road Champion and his biggest victories are the 2014 Milan-Sanremo and the 2015 Tour of Flanders. His palmarès includes two stage at the 2014 Tour de France and two national Road Race Championships (2007 and 2011). At the last year’s UCI World Road Championship in Bergen, the Norwegian finished second behind Peter Sagan.

Tour Down Under 2018 - 20th Edition - Team Presentation - 13/01/2018 - Elia Viviani (ITA - QuickStep - Floors) - photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2018

Elia Viviani (ITA – Quick-Step Floors)
Viviani, born 7 February 1989, is one of the most accomplished sprinters in the peloton, having claimed 50 victories since turning pro in 2010. As well as being a talented road rider, Elia also has an admirable record on the track: five gold medals in the European Track Championships (Points Race in 2012 and 2013, Madison in 2014, Omnium in 2014 and 2015) and, in 2016, the gold medal at the Rio Olympic Games in the Omnium. In 2015 and in 2016 he won the Dubai Tour second stage and wore the Blue Jersey as leader of the GC. Last year’s wins include the Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France, the Cyclassics Hamburg. Elia has already claimed a victory in 2018; stage three at the Santos Tour Down Under.

Challenge Maiorca 2018 - Trofeo Palma - 28/01/2018 - John Degenkolb (GER - Trek - Segafredo) - photo Luis Angel Gomez/BettiniPhoto©2018

John Degenkolb (GER – Trek-Segafredo)
Degenkolb, a puncheur from Gera, Germany (born on 7 January 1989), has won the Milano-Sanremo (2015), Paris-Roubaix (2015), Paris-Tours (2013), Gent-Wevelgem (2014) one-day races and a stage at the Giro d’Italia (2013), along with 10 stage victories at the Vuelta a España. “Dege” won the Hatta Stage of the 2015 edition of the Dubai Tour, wearing the Blue Jersey, and the third stage at last year’s Dubai Tour, finishing second overall on GC.

Team LottoNL - Jumbo 2018 - Dylan Groenewegen (NED - Team LottoNL - Jumbo) - photo Cor Vos/BettiniPhoto©2018

Dylan Groenewegen (NED – Team Lotto NL-Jumbo)
Groenewegen is a sprinter from Amsterdam, Netherlands, born on 21 June 1993. His 21 pro wins palmarès includes two stages at the Tour of Norway, two at the Tour of Britain and the final stage at the 2017 Tour de France. Last year in Dubai the Dutch sprinter featured on the podium every stage and finished third in the General Classification behind Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.

Cofidis 2018 Team Presentation - 19/01/2018 - Nacer Bouhanni (FRA - Cofidis) - photo Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto©2018

Nacer Bouhanni (FRA – Cofidis, Solutions Credits)
Bouhanni, born 25 July 1990 in Épinal, France, has 59 victories since he turned pro in 2010, including three stages and the Point Classification Jersey at the 2014 Giro d’Italia, two at the Vuelta a España and three at Paris-Nice.

Vuelta a San Juan 2018 - 36th Edition - Team Presentation - 20/01/2018 - Vincenzo Nibali (ITA - Bahrain - Merida) - photo Ilario Biondi/BettiniPhoto©2017

Vincenzo Nibali (ITA – Bahrain-Merida)
Nibali, born in Messina, Italy, 14 November 1984, is one of the greatest ever all rounders, being one of only six cyclists who have won all three Grand Tours: the Vuelta a España in 2010, the Giro d’Italia in both 2013 and 2016 and the Tour de France in 2014. Lo Squalo – the Shark’s – other achievements include two editions of the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, the 2016 Tour of Oman, and two editions of the Giro di Lombardia. Last year saw two prestigious podiums for Nibali, third at the Giro d’Italia (behind Tom Dumoulin and Nairo Quintana) and second at the Vuelta a España (behind Chris Froome).

2018 Dubai Tour promo:


Strade Bianche 2018 and its Gran Fondo – A New Challenge is Ready in Terre di Siena
On Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 March the Strade Bianche and Gran Fondo Strade Bianche get the Italian cycling season officially underway. Starting on the Saturday with the men’s and then the women’s UCI WorldTour pro races, with 24 teams announced for the women’s, followed on the Sunday by the sportive Gran Fondo Strade Bianche race, which has hit a record number of 5,000 entries – with just the last few entries still available at www.gfstradebianche.it.

Foto LaPresse/Fabio Ferrari  04/03/2017 Siena (Italia)  Sport Ciclismo Gara ciclistica Strade Bianche 2017. Nella foto: Durante la gara.  Photo LaPresse/Fabio Ferrari  March 04, 2017 Siena (Italy) Sport  Strade Bianche Race 2017 In the pic: during the race.

Siena institutions and RCS Sport / RCS Active Team have worked tirelessly to ensure that this first great weekend of Italian cycling goes ahead in its traditional racing calendar slot despite the weekend’s clash with the Italian general election. Thanks to a huge collective effort, on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 March, the men and women of “Europe’s most Southern Northern Classic” and its Gran Fondo – a record edition with 5,000 starters – will be held on the Terre di Siena. All the races, as per last year, will each start from the Medici Fortress and end amidst the unique scenery of Piazza del Campo.

12th STRADE BIANCHE NAMEDSPORT – 184km, 11 sectors and 63km on gravel roads (34.2% of the course)

The men’s race, which was officially elevated to the top tier of elite of professional racing last year, is now a key race of the UCI WorldTour calendar. Last year’s winner Michał Kwiatkowski arrived solo in Piazza del Campo before, going on to win Milano-Sanremo two weeks later.

Stats:
A race for northern athletes – all the Strade Bianche winners were born north of Tuscany, the Italian Region where the race is held
No consecutive victories – in the previous 11 editions no one was able two win two years in a row. The same country hasn’t won two years in a row too
30 – Fabian Cancellara is the only rider who was able to win Strade Bianche after his 30th birthday, in 2012 and 2016

4th STRADE BIANCHE WOMEN ELITE NAMEDSPORT – 136km, 8 sectors and 31.4km on gravel roads (23.1% of the course)

2017 sees the third edition of the women’s race which, for the second year, is again part of the UCI WorldTour calendar.

The inaugural 2015 race was won by the American Megan Guarnier while the 2016 edition was won by the then Road World Champion Lizzie Deignan (nee Armitstead), finishing solo in Piazza del Campo. Elisa Longo Borghini flew the Italian flag under the Torre del Mangia, to win the 2017 edition – the first time the race was part of the UCI Women WorldTour calendar. Now in its 4th edition, the Strade Bianche Women Elite is a firmly established classic race where all the best riders in the world challenge each other to take the prestigious victory.

Today, the 24 starting teams – each made up of 6 riders – who will participate in the 2018 edition were announced:
ALÉ CIPOLLINI, AROMITALIA VAIANO, ASTANA WOMEN’S TEAM, BEPINK, BOELS DOLMANS CYCLINGTEAM, BTC CITY LJUBLJANA, CANYON // SRAM RACING, CERVELO – BIGLA PRO CYCLING TEAM, CYLANCE PRO CYCLING, EUROTARGET – BIANCHI – VITASANA, FDJ NOUVELLE – AQUITAINE FUTUROSCOPE, HITEC PRODUCTS – BIRK SPORT, LOTTO SOUDAL LADIES, MITCHELTON SCOTT, MOVISTAR TEAM WOMEN, S.C. MICHELA FANINI, SERVETTO – STRADALLI CYCLE – ALURECYCLING, TEAM SUNWEB, TEAM VIRTU CYCLING, TOP GIRLS FASSA BORTOLO, TREK – DROPS, VALCAR PBM, WAOWDEALS PRO CYCLING TEAM, WIGGLE HIGH5

Stats:
Elisa Longo Borghini
– the best Italian in each of the three previous editions of the race (3rd in 2015, 4th in 2016, winner in 2017)
Lizzie Deignan – always on the podium (2nd in 2015, winner in 2016 and 3rd in 2017)
Katarzyna Niewiadoma – 2nd in the last two editions, 2016 and 2017

Foto  LaPresse/  Gian Mattia D'Alberto 04-02-2017, Siena sport Strade Bianche gara donne nella foto:   la vincitrice Elisa Longo Borghini  Photo LaPresse/ Gian Mattia D'Alberto 04-02-2017, Siena Strade Bianche women's race In the picture:   Elisa Longo Borghini, the winner

GRAN FONDO STRADE BIANCHE BY TREK – “Long course” of 139km, eight gravel road sectors and 31.4km on “Strade Bianche” (22.5% of the course); “Short Course” of 86.6km, six gravel road sectors and 21.6km on “Strade Bianche” (24.9% of the course)


After the great success of the 2016 edition – where over 2,000 sportive riders participated at the Gran Fondo Strade Bianche by Trek – and of 2017 with 3,500 cyclists signed up to participate, 2018 edition marked a new record with over 5,000 sportive riders challenging themselves on the gravel roads around Siena. The course will be identical to that of the Strade Bianche Women Elite (the extra 3km are what the pro’s ride ride to hit km 0 in the race). All these numbers show how this event is growing thanks to its incredible appeal, raced in the unique scenery of Siena and the Crete Senesi. Entries are still open on www.gfstradebianche.it. The official jersey, made by Sportful, is also unveiled at today’s official presentation.

Stats:
611 – the number of non-Italian riders registered so far
First 3 provinces in Italy – are Milan, Rome and Florence – with Siena 4th; people are coming from all over Italy to ride the Strade Bianche
83% – the riders coming from outside Tuscany

Foto  LaPresse/  Gian Mattia D'Alberto 05-02-2017, Siena sport Strade Bianche Gran Fondo nella foto:  la gara  Photo LaPresse/ Gian Mattia D'Alberto 04-02-2017, Siena Strade Bianche Gran Fondo In the picture: the race

Courses
Men’s Course:

The main differences with last year’s course are in the first kilometers, where the Bagnaia climb on gravel roads will be ridden in full, unlike in 2017, in order to avoid completely the major ss.223 Siena-Grosseto road. This means riding the first part of it, named “Vidritta”, in the opposite direction compared to 2017.

It’s a twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but featuring punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved parts. There are roughly 63km of gravel roads, appearing in 11 sectors (eight of those shared with the Women Elite course).

Starting from Siena (Stadium/Medicean Fortress area), the first undulating kilometers are on tarmac before reaching the 2.1km gravel Sector 1 at km 11, which is perfectly straight and always slightly downhill.

After few kilometers the riders will face Sector 2 (5.8km), the course’s first real challenge with a short descent and a long climb with sections at over 10% gradient.

The course will then go through Radi, where Sector 3 starts (4.4km, the second part of the original Sector 1 of the first editions) and immediately after Sector 4 named “La Piana”, one of its classic gravel sectors (5.5km, featured in the course since its first edition) with no significant gradient and leading to Buonconvento.

After few kilometers the second climb of the day starts: the Montalcino (4km at 5%). After Torrenieri the riders will face Sectors 5 (11.9km) and 6 (8km) with only 1km of tarmac in between them. Both are hard, hilly, very punchy and with many bends, climbs and descents.

After the second passage through Buonconvento the feed station will be positioned in the area of Ponte d’Arbia. Soon the route reaches Monteroni d’Arbia, which marks the beginning of Sector 7 of San Martino in Grania (9.5km) in the middle of the Crete Senesi. It’s a long sector with continuous up and downs in the first part, ending up with a twisting climb before meeting the tarmac again.

In Ponte del Garbo (Asciano) gravel Sector 8 begins. At 11.5km it’s the hardest of the race, mostly uphill and characterized by tough hills, the most important being those close to Monte Sante Marie, which face steep gradients on both climbs and descents over short distances. After Castelnuovo Berardenga there’s a very short, flat section of gravel (300m), before facing, after Monteaperti, Sector 9 which is only 800m long, but with a double digit gradient ramp before rejoining the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and going to paved road through Pieve a Bozzone.

Next comes the penultimate section of gravel (Sector 10, 2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto (with gradients up to 15%). After a few kilometers the riders will face the last gravel section (Sector 11, 1.1km) which features a sequence of a demanding descent followed by a very punchy climb (max 18%) that ends up at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.

Final Kilometers
The demanding final kilometers, with gradients up to 16%, approach the city of Siena along broad, straight sections of road, connected by sweeping curves, first descending, and then climbing slightly. 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda, where the gradient touches 9%.

900m from the finish line, the race route passes beneath Fontebranda Gate where the road surface becomes paving slabs. The gradient exceeds 10% until 500m from the finish line, reaching its highpoint of 16% in Via Santa Caterina. A sharp right hand turn leads to Via delle Terme, and then Via Banchi di Sotto. With 300m to go, the road continues to climb slightly then, 150m from the line, a right turn leads into Via Rinaldini. The route enters the Piazza del Campo just 70m from the finish line. The final 30m descends at a gradient of 7% and the finish line itself is flat.

Elite Women’s Course:
A twisty and undulating course, with no long climbs but with punchy hills, most significantly on the unpaved parts. There are roughly more than 30km of gravel roads, appearing in eight sectors (all shared with the Men’s course).

Starting from Siena (Stadium/Medicean Fortress area), the first undulating kilometers are on tarmac before reaching the 2.1km gravel Sector 1 at km 18, which is perfectly straight and always slightly downhill.

After few kilometers the riders will face Sector 2 (5.8km), first real challenge on the course with a short part on descent and a long climb with parts at over 10%.

The course will then go through Radi, where Sector 3 starts (4.4km, second part of the original Sector 1 of the first editions) and immediately after Sector 4 named “La Piana”, one of its classic gravel sectors (5.5km, featuring in the course since its first edition) with no significant gradient and leading to Buonconvento.

After the passage through Buonconvento the feed station will be positioned in the area of Ponte d’Arbia. Soon the route reaches Monteroni d’Arbia, which marks the beginning of Sector 5 of San Martino in Grania (9.5km) in the middle of the Crete Senesi. It’s a long sector with continuous up and downs in the first part, ending up with a twisting climb before meeting the tarmac again.

After Castelnuovo Berardenga there’s a very short, flat section of gravel (300m), before facing, after Monteaperti, Sector 6 which is only 800m long, but with a double digit gradient ramp before rejoining the tarmac in Vico d’Arbia and going to paved road through Pieve a Bozzone.

Next comes the penultimate gravel section (Sector 7, 2.4km) on the climb toward Colle Pinzuto (with inclination up to 15%). After a few kilometers the riders will face the last section of gravel (Sector 8, 1.1km) which features a sequence of a demanding descent followed by a very punchy climb (max 18%) that ends up at the Tolfe. From here only 12km separate the riders from the finish in Piazza del Campo, Siena.
Final kilometers are the same as the men’s course.

Gran Fondo Courses: The long course – Gran Fondo course – will be almost identical to the Women Elite’s route (3km longer, before reaching km 0), while the short course – Medio Fondo course – will be 86.6km with six gravel roads sectors, for a total of 21.6km on Strade Bianche.

Strade Bianche’17:


Bos, Büchli and Van Den Berg Selected for Track Cycling World Championships
All BEAT Cycling Club riders included in Dutch selection for Apeldoorn 2018.

Theo Bos, Matthijs Büchli and Roy van den Berg have been selected by KNWU head coach Bill Huck to participate in the track cycling world championships that will take place from February 28 to March 4, 2018, in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands.

Büchli has been included in the selection for the keirin and the team sprint. He has already tasted success at the world championships, with a silver medal in the team sprint in 2017 and bronze medals in the keirin in 2013 and 2014. He also won a silver medal in the keirin last season at the Rio Olympics and was a three-time World Cup keirin winner this past season racing for BEAT. “Selection for the team sprint means a great deal to me and I am really looking forward to helping the national team,” said Büchli. “And I’m very excited to be selected for the keirin. I also race keirins in Japan for a few months every year, which makes it even more special to participate in this event at the world championships in my home country.”

Bos has been selected for the kilometer time trial. The former Dutch and European champion has already won silver (2016) and bronze (2004) at the world championships in this discipline. “I have gotten better over the season through the program we were able to ride with BEAT,” said Bos. “That ended up with me feeling very good at the World Cup in Minsk and resulted in a gold medal in the team sprint and a bronze medal in the sprint. For now, I’m first going to Portugal for three weeks to start building up my fitness after a week of rest. After that, I’ll head to the world championships with full confidence and fight for a medal there.”

Van den Berg has been selected for the team sprint, where he will be competing together with Büchli, Jeffrey Hoogland, Harrie Lavreysen and Nils van ‘t Hoenderdaal for the Netherlands. Van den Berg has been focusing on his position as starter in the team sprint. He was very successful in this position during the season, helping the BEAT team take the Dutch title, silver at the World Cup in Manchester and gold in Minsk. Van den Berg said: “This is beautiful. Looking back at the results at the World Cups and the Dutch championships, everything went according to plan this season. This has now resulted in a selection for the worlds at our home base of Apeldoorn, and I hope to be able to contribute to a great result there.”

BEAT Track Team on the podium in Minsk:


Team Sunweb Present National Champion Jerseys
At the turn of the year, Team Sunweb switched to their slightly updated 2018 team kit design and are pleased to present their 2018 national champion looks for the upcoming racing season. The team’s 2018 roster includes an impressive total of ten champions; these include Max Kanter (German U23 road), Tom Dumoulin (Dutch Elite TT), Lucinda Brand (Dutch Elite CX), Joris Nieuwenhuis (Dutch U23 CX), and Marc Hirschi (Swiss U23 TT) who honour their national champion titles, as well as Joris Nieuwenhuis (World U23 CX), Ellen van Dijk (European Elite TT), Pernille Mathiesen (European U23 road and TT) and Tom Dumoulin (World Elite TT) honoring European and world titles.

For the 2018 designs the team listened to the fans, recognizing that evolution needs a gradual approach, taking their opinion onboard when renewing the national looks. At the same time Team Sunweb calls for progression, as it is committed to creating a healthy and fair position for riders and their teams. As those who bring the sport alive for fans, the riders and their teams deserve a fair and genuine voice in decision-making within the sport and future economical perspective. Alongside that, the team attributes a lot of value to their team identity, keeping it consistent to be able to represent a true collective.

Team Sunweb CEO, Iwan Spekenbrink, explained: “We want to strengthen the position of riders and their teams, and progression is necessary. We are committed in our efforts to give riders and their teams a stronger voice when it comes to decision-making. The look and feel of the team’s identity (e.g. jersey designs), rider’s safety, and stability for riders and teams are examples, alongside many more important decisions potentially impacting the future of teams and their riders.

“From all the reactions we’ve seen since July we’ve recognized that progression can be achieved more effectively when using a step-by-step approach. That’s the reason the voice of the fans, an important stakeholder in our sport, has been taken into account when creating the new designs.”

U23 German road champion, Max Kanter added: “Every time I ride in my German Team Sunweb jersey I am very proud. The design for 2018 looks really cool and it will definitely give me a boost when racing in it.”

Freshly crowned Dutch CX elite champion, Lucinda Brand said: “The team is eager to improve our position as riders and I fully support that, obviously. Our champion’s jersey looks really nice and is a recognition of my title. It is also well balanced visually as being a member of Team Sunweb, too.”


Laurens De Plus Update
The 22-year-old Belgian will have to postpone his season debut.

On January 29th, Laurens De Plus underwent further tests at the Mediclinic hospital in Nelspruit, where he was admitted after he and Quick-Step Floors teammate Petr Vakoč were both clipped by a truck during their training camp in South Africa, last week.

The exams revealed a non-displaced fracture to the acetabulum on the right side of his pelvis and a microfracture to his sacrum. De Plus – who will fly home tomorrow evening – will have to undergo conservative therapy and he will need at least three weeks of recovery before resuming training.

Laurens De Plus:


Annual team presentation of Gazprom – RusVelo for 2018
On Saturday 27th of January the Russian cycling team Gazprom – RusVelo held an annual team presentation in Rezzato, Italy. New team roster, sports directors, technical partners and the unique documentary about team’s participation in the 100th edition of Giro d’Italia were presented during the event.

Among the special guests were Russian General Council in Milan Alexander Nurizade, Vice President of Russian Cycling Federation Yuriy Kucheryavyi, Ernesto Colnago, Head coach of the Italian national team Davide Cassani and representatives of Russian and Italian cycling federations.

General manager of Gazprom – RusVelo Renat Khamidulin spoke about team’s partners for 2018: “In cooperation with such reliable and important partners as Gazprom, Colnago and X-Bionic we can be confident in the future of our project.

This season we also started the cooperation with ALBA Optics and DMT. These are two fast-growing brands, both are rapidly gaining popularity in the world of cycling. In 2018, riders of the team be proudly competing in ALBA Optics sunglasses and DMT cycling shoes.”

General manager also commented on changes in team’s roster: “During this off-season we conducted a significant rejuvenation of the team, the best Russian young riders were joined our squad. All of them can become riders of Gazprom – RusVelo and Russian national team in the nearest future. The new generation of athletes has excelled during the pre-season trainings and is ready to start the professional career. Everyone is ready for the new challenges in 2018 and our racing calendar starts next week in Spain.”


Team Novo Nordisk and SRM Announce Two-Year Partnership
Team Novo Nordisk to race on the SRM Origin during the 2018 season.

Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, and SRM, the global industry leader in power measurement, announced a new partnership naming SRM as the exclusive power meter supplier to Team Novo Nordisk through 2019.

“Over 30 years ago, SRM redefined bike racing and Uli is a legend in this sport. It gives me great pride to partner with SRM so we can redefine how athletes with diabetes race and train with the condition,” said Team Novo Nordisk CEO and co-founder Phil Southerland. “We are eager to work together with SRM’s remarkable engineering team to integrate diabetes data into the most advanced and accurate on-bike performance data system.”

“We are thrilled to be the official PowerMeter for Team Novo Nordisk. The team’s mission to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes is inspiring, and we believe that working together, we will open new doors in innovation around diabetes technology and cycling,” said SRM Founder Uli Schoberer. “By combining SRM’s consistent, accurate performance data with real-time blood glucose monitoring will bring a higher level of understanding and more precise diabetes management for cyclists at all levels of the sport. Team Novo Nordisk will be a key partner in discovering the next steps in training and racing with diabetes and SRM looks forward to improving the lives and cycling experience for those affected by the condition.”

Team Novo Nordisk’s men’s professional team will kick off the 2018 season racing with SRM’s newest PowerMeter, the SRM Origin. Named for having all components designed by SRM-the original PowerMeter, it is the first modular-concept PowerMeter by SRM and offers limitless compatibility. Interchangeable axles, adjustable crank arm length, multiple chainring combinations and rechargeable battery options are all crafted around cutting-edge carbon crank arms that offer superior stiffness to weight ratio for unparalleled performance.

About Team Novo Nordisk
Team Novo Nordisk is a global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists spearheaded by the world’s first all-diabetes UCI Professional Continental cycling team. In 2012, Phil Southerland, co-founder and CEO of the team, and global healthcare company Novo Nordisk, came together to create Team Novo Nordisk, based on a shared vision to inspire, educate and empower people around the world affected by diabetes. For more information, go to www.teamnovonordisk.com.

About SRM
German engineer Ulrich Schoberer founded SRM -Schoberer Rad Messtechnik – in 1986 following his invention of the mobile ergometer, now known as a PowerMeter. The SRM PowerMeter measures and transmits real-time torque data to the SRM PowerControl head unit, allowing a cyclist to monitor accurate power output along with numerous other performance metrics including speed, cadence, and heart rate. With offices in the United States, Germany, Italy, and Australia, the SRM Training System is hand-built based on the principles of precision, innovation, durability, and reliability.


Groupama-FDJ New Kit
The Groupama-FDJ team have previewed their new race clothing that will be seen for the first time in action in Paris-Nice in March. The new design by Alé is mostly white with blue, white and red stripes of the French flag on the on the rib area and the Groupama and FDJ logos on the chest and back. One sleeve is blue, the other red and the shorts are mostly blue, with white and red panels.

At the special presentation in Paris, the team confirmed that Thibaut Pinot will ride the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.


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