What's Cool In Road Cycling

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The first race of the season has been won and 2018 is under way. Trouble in Murcia – Top Story. Australian Men’s Crit Champs and the GP Sven Nys; Ewan and Van der Poel take the honors. Other cycling news: Tour Down Under and Ruta del Sol up dates, more medals for BEAT, Sam Brand to the Commonwealth Games, EF Education First-Drapac and Aqua Blue Sport for 2018, Wanty-Groupe Gobert jersey, De Clercq injury, new bike and jersey for Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Patrick Lefevere looks forward and a Happy New Year from Lotto Soudal with a video of their mechanic at work.

TOP STORY: Vuelta a Murcia in Trouble Again
Just when it looked like things were getting easier for European races to find the money to run their events, especially with competition from new races in Asia and the Arab countries, news has come from Spain that the Vuelta a Murcia is facing problems. The Murcia local government has cut their subsidy by €20,000.

The race organizers had hoped to receive €35,000 so they could include a time trial and extend the UCI 1.1 race to two days. The organization had been promised the money by the government “by unanimous agreement” and had been working with that in mind, now with only seven weeks to go before this year’s event, it is all up in the air.

At one time the Vuelta a Murcia was a popular early season five day race following on from the Vuelta a Valencia the week before. The Murcian race shrunk to one day, whereas the Tour of Valencia disappeared from the calendar in 2009 and didn’t return until 2016, but with five stages including a 30 kilometer team time trial. Will the Vuelta a Murcia ever return?

Local man, Alejandro Valverde, has won his home race five times, including 2017:

Australian Men’s Criterium Championship 2018
Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) took his first win of the season in the Australian National criterium championships, out-sprinting Steele von Hoff (Bennelong SwissWellness) and Brenton Jones (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM) at the end of the one hour race.

The Mitchelton-Scott team held the race together for the sprint and Lucas Hamilton, Cam Meyer and Alex Edmondson did a perfect lead-out to launch Ewan over the line.

Race winner, Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott): “It feels good. The feeling of winning never gets old so it is good to get the year off to a good start again. It is not the biggest race I do for the year but it’s just really good to get the confidence boost at the start of the season going forward. It is really important as I need that confidence boost going into the season. I think my form is good again and hopefully I can take it on into the season in Europe. I think this is the strongest team we’ve had since I turned pro and I have been racing the elite crit. I was confident in them and it was always going to be harder to beat some of the bigger number teams. They do it so well and they were so strong.”

Australian Men’s Criterium Championship Result:
1. Caleb Ewan (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 1:00:43
2. Steele von Hoff (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness
3. Brenton Jones (Aus) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
4. Nicholas Yallouris (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team
5. Jay McCarthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Ryan Thomas (Aus) Brisbane Continental Cycling Team
7. Theodore Yates (Aus) Drapac EF p/b Cannondale Holistic Development at 0:02
8. Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Bennelong SwissWellness
9. Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel-Cycling Academy at 0:03
10. Shannon Johnson (Aus).

2018 FedUni RoadNats Criterium Championships – will you be there?

DVV verzekeringen trofee-GP Sven Nys-Baal 2018
First cross of the year, the GP Sven Nys, in Baal on Monday was a muddy day for the riders and again it was European champion, Mathieu van der Poel (Corendon-Circus) who came out on top beating World champion, Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) by nearly a minute. Corne Van Kessel (Telenet Fidea) finished third at 1:36.

Laurens Sweeck (Era Circus) was the early leader, but Wout van Aert (Crelan-Charles), Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea) and Van der Poel were close on his heels. Van Aert hit the front at the end of lap 2, this pushed Van der Poel, Aerts and Sweeck to chase. The four got together on the third lap and it was Sweeck who was in trouble. In the end; Van Aert and Van der Poel were together off the front. At the halfway point Van Aert was off the front and going solo.

Michael Vanthourenhout (Marlux-Bingoal) didn’t manage to make one of the jumps and ended the day in hospital. Van Aert also crashed and finished with his left hand off the bars. Nothing broken and he finished second at 58 seconds. Van Kessel out-sprinted teammate Aerts for third. With one race remaining, Van der Poel is unbeatable in the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee.

More photos from Baal HERE.

Baal - Belgium- wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Van Der Poel Mathieu (NED) of Corendon - Circus celebrates as he wins pictured during DVV Trofee of Baal (GP Sven Nys) - in Baal, Belgium - photo GvG/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

2nd, Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) Tweeted: “Puh, that was a rough start of 2018. So cold and tricky. Luckily nothing wrong with my shoulder. Got the same at Worlds in Tabor ‘15 and still finished 2nd. No worries! Thanks for your anxiety everyone. We keep on fighting.”

DVV verzekeringen trofee-GP Sven Nys-Baal Result:
1. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Corendon-Circus in 58:59
2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Charles at 0:58
3. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:36
4. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:37
5. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus at 1:52
6. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Bingoal at 2:59
7. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Corendon-Circus at 3:04
8. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 3:22
9. Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Steylaerts-Betfirst at 4:31
10. Wietse Bosmans (Bel) Era-Circus at 4:51.

GP Sven Nys-Baal’18:

2018 Tour Down Under News

Team Lotto NL-Jumbo Confirms Team Line Up
The Team Lotto NL-Jumbo seven man roster for the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under has been confirmed. The Australian UCI WorldTour season opening race will be Dutchman, Robert Gesink’s first race since fracturing vertebra at last year’s Tour de France.

Race Director, Mike Turtur is happy to see Gesnik back racing and of course at the Santos Tour Down Under. “Gesink has had two top ten general classification results at the TDU, eighth in 2017 and sixth in 2014 so it will be interesting to see what his return to racing will deliver in terms of GC aspirations and results,” said Mike Turtur.

Gesink’s record is substantial with top 10 finishes at UCI WorldTour events globally. Most recently he finished seventh at Giro di Lombardia (2016), sixth overall at Tour de France and fifth at the Tour of California (both in 2015). He has previously won overall the Tour of California (2012) and Tour of Oman (2011).

New Zealander George Bennett is set to race after he was forced out of the TDU race in 2017 due to glandular fever.

The Team Lotto NL-Jumbo will be led by Team Director Addy Engels with the line up taking to the start line at the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under being made up of the following riders:
Maarten Wynants (Belgium), Robert Wagner (Germany), Enrico Battaglin (Italy), Daan Oliver (Netherlands), George Bennett (New Zealand), Tom Leezer (Netherlands), Robert Gesink (Netherlands).

George Bennett and Daan Oliver training in December’17:
Sant Feliu de Guixois - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - George BENNETT (New Sealand / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) - Daan Olivier (Netherlands / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) pictured during trainingscamp Team LottoNL-Jumbo in Spain on december 21-2017 - foto: Carla Vos/Cor Vos © 2017

Pozzovivo and Izagirre Brothers to Share TDU Leadership
The Bahrain Merida team is ready for their first challenge of the cycling season at the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under, striving for glory over the six days of racing.

Race Director, Mike Turtur is looking forward to welcoming back to the race Domenico Pozzovivo who will make his debut with the team (previously riding with Ag2r-La Mondiale) at the race as well as the Izagirre brothers. “We expect the team to be very competitive and Pozzovivo is no stranger to the race, finishing seventh in the General Classification in 2016,” said Mike Turtur.

Sports Director, Tristan Hoffman said the team has a really strong line up, as more of a team for General Classification with GC being the main focus for the race. “Domenico and the Izagirre brothers will share the leadership. Ion has been recovering well after Tour de France. Gorka finished 8th in GC in 2015. Domenico joined both of the training camps and showed his great personality. I look forward to seeing him again on the road. We hope all 3 riders finish at top 10,” said Tristan Hoffman.

Domenico Pozzovivo has ridden the TDU multiple times and is always happy to start his season at the race. “I’m just working to be in a good shape at the start of TDU 2018. My objective will be to reach the top 10 in GC, with a good performance in the two hilly stages (stages four and five),” said Pozzovivo. “I think we have a very good roster at the start of this race and for me it’s always a pleasure to start the season in South Australia because of the good weather, the beautiful roads to race and a very competent public (crowds) following every stage.”

Ion Izagirre has great expectations at the Santos Tour Down Under with his main goal being able to recover the feeling he has prior to his crash at the Tour de France, taking confidence back in the peloton. “I have already raced the TDU two times and I know which kind of stages are there. It’s a good race to start the season, it’s summer, short stages, not too many transfers. We go with Pozzovivo and my brother, which is very important to me. So in my opinion, we are going to have a very strong team there.”

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

Bahrain Merida’s team line up for the Santos Tour Down Under will be led by Team Manager, Tristan Hoffman and riders Domenico Pozzovivo (Italy), Jon Izagurre (Spain), Gorka Izagurre (Spain), Manuele Boaro (Italy), Ramūnas Navardauskas (Lithuania), Yukiya Arashiro (Japan) and Valerio Agnoli (Italy).

Bahrain-Merida photoshoot HERE.

Bahrain-Merida TDU’18 line-up::

BMC Racing Team Looking to Defend the Green and Gold
2017 Australian time trial and road race champions Rohan Dennis and Miles Scotson return to the start line this week to defend their titles, joined by Richie Porte, and Simon Gerrans who will make his BMC Racing Team debut.

The race returns to Buninyong and while the time trial course remains unchanged, the road race will feature a slight variation with one lap less and the introduction of a technical section running through Federation University.

Race Against the Clock
Having won the past two time trial titles and four in his career, Dennis will aim to make it three in a row when he tackles the 40.9km course on Friday, 5 January.

“It will be interesting because I have only just returned back to Australia after spending winter in Europe, so it will depend on how my body copes in the heat. My form is as good as any other year. It’s all about not going out too hard especially on the final climb on the way back as there are still ten kilometers to go. Those last ten kilometers take longer than you think they should and it’s always mentally tough,” Dennis said.

After taking the win in 2015 and coming second to Dennis in 2016, Porte will return after a year off looking to repeat his podium result in what will be his first individual time trial since stage 1 of the 2017 Tour de France.

“To be honest it’s hard to know how my form is when I haven’t raced properly in so long. For both the time trial and the road race, my goal is to get some good racing kilometers in my legs in the lead up to the Santos Tour Down Under. Anything more than that is a bonus at this stage. I hope to produce a decent time trial result and in the road race, I think we have a strong team to give it a good shot,” Porte explained.

Scotson rounds out the BMC Racing Team field for the time trial and is hoping to improve on his fifth place in 2017.

“I haven’t done an individual time trial since August so it has been a while. I’m looking forward to giving it another go and improving on my result last year,” Scotson said.

Keeping the Green and Gold
Scotson, the defending road race champion, won his first race as a professional when he claimed the title in 2017 with a surprise attack.

“This year there is probably more expectation on me as last year there was no pressure. It was my first race as a professional and I was the only rider from BMC Racing Team competing. That being said, I don’t feel a lot of pressure this year as I have already won an Australian title. The road race is always a lottery and you can’t predict who will win. But, we have a really strong team and we’d love to have the jersey again,” Scotson admitted.

Scotson will be joined on the start line by 2017 runner up and two-time road race champion Simon Gerrans who is set to make his debut in BMC Racing Team colors.

“Being an Australian national champion is something I am really proud of. I see it as one of the big achievements in my career and it was a huge honor to wear the green and gold jersey in the year to follow. I think we have a team to keep a lot of the bases covered for the road race. We have strong guys who can win the race from a long way out and I’ll be confident going into a small group finish. I’d like to think that between Rohan, Richie, Miles and myself, we have riders for all scenarios come Sunday,” Gerrans said.

Dennis and Porte round out the quartet for Sunday’s 185.6km road race.
“Initially I wasn’t planning on doing the road race but when I thought about doing the Nationals after a European winter, I figured it was a good idea to have a long hit out before the Santos Tour Down Under so I decided to sign up. We have a strong team with Miles and Simon as past winners, and Richie and myself, but we do only have four riders. It’s hard for people to say that we have to do all of the work when we have half the riders of other teams. We have the quality but not the quantity so anything can happen on Sunday,” Dennis explained.

Australian National Road Race Championships (5 + 7 January):
Rider roster:

Rohan Dennis, Simon Gerrans (road race only), Richie Porte, Miles Scotson.
Sports Director: Klaas Lodewyck (BEL)

Miles Scotson:

Astana Pro Team Returns to the Ruta del Sol
Jakob Fuglsang will lead a strong team in Andalucia.

Astana Pro Team, team top flight UCI, will compete for the third time in the Ruta del Sol. Astana was born in 2007 being his eleventh season as a professional team which has been implicated in many vicissitudes. We recall that the sponsor is the government of Kazakhstan and the Manager-Manager team is the world champion Alexander Vinokourov Road also competed in Andalusia in 2000. The team has 224 individual victories. The seven runners who will participate in the 64th Ruta del Sol have already achieved a total of 89 individual wins.

Jakob Fuglsang: 32 cyclist, born in Geneva, but has Danish nationality. It will be his sixth season in the team. He previously raced for RadioShack, Leopard and the Saxo Bank. It has 13 individual wins. Last year he won four individual victories, one in the queen stage of the Criterium of Dauphine, beating none other than Richie Porte, Chris Froome, Fabio Aru and Alejandro Valverde, who came after him. It won a second stage and won the final overall win giving a real display. He previously won the Tour of Luxembourg, and General stage in the Tour of Austria and Denmark Championship time trial. Also in the same year he won the championship in Road plus two stages and three final victories in the Tour of Denmark and also a stage and overall in the Tour of Slovenia. We recall his second place in the stage of the Tour of Spain 2009 ended in Pandera after Damiano Cunego. It is the current Olympic runner – up and will be his fourth participation in the Ruta del Sol. In 2013 he was sixth overall with three “top ten” in stages ending in Ubrique, Montilla and Rincon de la Victoria. He has participated in five Tour, Giro and two Vuelta Spain.

Sergey Chernetskiy: 27 Russian cyclist who will be his second year on the team that reached the Katusha where he was for five years and above in the Russian team. As Sub 23 it won in the Vuelta General Palencia, as well as stages in the Ronde d’Isard and Valle d’Aosta and the title of European champion in team pursuit track. It also obtained the final victory in the Tour of Norway also gaining two stages, and a stage of Volta Catalunya. It has also been Champion of Russia against the clock . He has participated in Giro and Vuelta in Spain. It will be his first participation in Andalucía.

Oscar Gatto: Italian cyclist of 32 years joined the team last season, from the Tinkoff, having previously participated in several Italian clubs and the German Gerolsteiner with which made the jump to professional. It will be his twelfth season as a professional, which has achieved 16 individual victories than his 20 years as Sub 23 provides a nice record. We emphasize his stage victory in the Vuelta a Andalucía 2016, in the stage that started from Monachil and ended in Padul a cerradísimo sprint. That same year he won two stages in the Tour of Austria and the Belgian Classic Across Flanders. We must also emphasize his stage win in the Giro d’Italia in Tropea, Calabria, in front of Alberto Contador. That same year he also won the Trofeo Matteotti and the Tour of Romagna. He has participated in seven laps two Vuelta and Tour Spain. It will be his second Vuelta Andalucía.

Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev: Kazakh rider 25 who has always fought in Astana. It will be his fifth year as a pro who spent his second year in the Continental team. It’s a team man pulling cart. With the team has two wins, both in team time trials in the Tour of Burgos and the Giro del Trentino. It will premiere in Andalusia.

Moreno Moser: Italian rider of Trento of 27 years militate for the second year on the team. Previously it did four years in Liquigas-Cannondale and one, having won a total of 12 victories as a professional. His first win was in the Laigueglia Trophy and several stages in the Tour of Poland. He has made the podium in important tests such as Miguel Indurain, Giro d’Italia three times and two in the Tour of Spain in stages ending in Alto del Naranco and the Ermita de Alba. It has also been bronze medal at the European Championships individual time trial. He has participated in two Giros and three Vuelta Spain and will premiere in Andalusia.

Luis León Sanchez: Spanish Murcia Corridor 32 , one of the most combative of the professional peloton. Looking at his history we have counted 35 individual victories and no less than 82 podiums. It will be his twelfth season as a professional. The last four years in Astana and formerly one Caja Rural, three Rabobank and Caisse d’Epargne four. It will be his second participation in the Vuelta Andalucía. He did it in 2014 and his participation was last minute to replace an injured teammate. Nevertheless he made Valverde and Roche podium after having been in the second stage from La Guardia Jaen arrival to Goat. He has been champion of Spain time trial three times. He has participated in six Tour victories getting four individual. He has also made two Giro and nine times in the Tour of Spain. It has also achieved the final victory in the Challenge de Mallorca, Tour of the Mediterranean, Paris-Nice, Tour Down Under and Tour of Gabon, as well as stages in Vuelta Asturias, Alcobendas, Paris-Nice, Vuelta Pais Vasco, Algarve and Castilla Leon, in addition to his victory in the Clasica San Sebastian.

Michael Valgren Andersen: Danish rider 25 who joined the team last season from Tinkoff disappeared in which he played for three years. It’s the classic rider leader you need a team that knows how to work when needed. Not likely in victories but has participated in three Tour de France and Vuelta in Spain. It has been Danish champion twice in the individual time trial mode. His greatest success achieved as under 23 two years ago to get win Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Flèche South stage in the Tour de l’Avenir. As a professional he has won stages and final overall in the Tour of Denmark. It will premiere in Andalusia.

Luis Leon Sanchez:

Büchli Dutch Champion Keirin
A Third Medal for BEAT Cycling Club at the Dutch national Track Championships in Alkmaar.

Matthijs Büchli has won the gold medal at the keirin. Büchli, who earlier this week earned the Dutch sprint title, was very strong in the keirin final and finished in front of Jeffrey Hoogland and Carlo Cesar. BEAT rider Roy van den Berg just missed the podium and finished in fourth place.

After two World Cup victories in England and Poland, Büchli was the favorite to take the national title in Alkmaar today. Matthijs Büchli: “This was a great victory. I mainly kept my eye on Van den Berg and Hoogland. With one and a half laps to go I decided to accelerate. It was the perfect moment and nobody was able to follow. I’m feeling strong and ready to ride the Six Days of Rotterdam and the World Cup in Minsk.”

Teammate Roy van den Berg finished in fourth place and was satisfied with the result. “After my holiday in Lanzarote and having been sick for a few days, this was the best possible result. I made the wrong tactical decision during the final, but I’m happy that Matthijs won the race.”

Tim Veldt: “Matthijs was the favorite today and has completely fulfilled this role. Both his races today were very dominant. He took two titles this week in a very convincing way. Van den Berg is not completely fit, but did a great job. His tactical decision during the keirin final was not the best, but you can see this discipline is not his main priority. After this week, we are heading to the World Cup in Minsk with a lot of confidence.”

The BEAT track team started the tournament off well with a gold and bronze medal at the individual sprint on Wednesday, which respectively went to Matthijs Büchli and Theo Bos.

In total, BEAT Cycling Club won three medals at the 2017 Dutch national championships.

Theo left the tournament yesterday, because of a back injury which forced him out of the KM time trial. He couldn’t compete today either. Next week, we will decide on his participation in de Six Day of Rotterdam​.

Jeffrey Hoogland, Matthijs Büchli, Carlo Cesar on the podium:

Brand Selected for 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games
The Isle of Man Commonwealth Games Association announced Wednesday that Team Novo Nordisk’s Sam Brand would represent Team Isle of Man at the 2018 Commonwealth Games when it kicks off in April in Australia’s Gold Coast.

The Manx native will compete as part of the six-man cycling road team. This serves as his first Commonwealth Games appearance.

“Sam is an outstanding athlete and we’ve seen a tremendous growth in his endurance and abilities over the past year,” said Team Novo Nordisk CEO and co-founder Phil Southerland. “Since moving up to Team Novo Nordisk’s professional squad as a stagiaire, he’s put together some strong performances at the top level of the sport. We are proud to have one of our athletes compete at the Commonwealth Games and show the world what is possible with diabetes.”

Brand was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10. In 2013 and after qualifying to race at the International Triathlon Union’s World Championships, he gained the attention of Team Novo Nordisk and joined the program’s elite triathlon team the following season.

In 2015, he finished second in his age group at the British Triathlon Championships, a World Championship qualifier. Following this event and graduating university, Brand decided to focus exclusively on cycling and moved over to Team Novo Nordisk’s development squad for the 2016 season. During the 2017 season, he earned three top 10 finishes, including two podium finishes before finishing the season as a stagiaire with the men’s professional team. The 2018 season will serve as his first full season in the professional peloton.

“Being selected is a true honor and a standout moment in my career. I feel like I’ve been aiming for this for some time,” said Brand. “Yet I realize that being named to the team is just the start of all the hard work. I’m looking forward to representing the Isle of Man and giving my all for our team at the Commonwealth Games.”

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held April 4-15, 2018.

PEZ interview with Sam Brand HERE.

Sam training for 2018:

Returning riders anchor EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale in 2018
The #ArgyleArmada is 25 men strong in the 2018 season. Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran headlines a team that sees 15 riders return from 2017 with 10 new faces amongst the familiar.

“This is a totally different team but with the same anchor points,” said Slipstream Sports founder and CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “It’s a very different team than the one we had last season. It will be a different look and feel in many ways given the turnover we had with our sponsorship situation. We’re lucky that most of our staff stuck with us, which will provide a lot of stability.”

Brendan Canty

EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale will again focus on the Classics, with a spring squad built around Sep Vanmarcke while Uran will aim one step higher on the Tour de France podium.

“Those are the obvious areas of excitement,” said Vaughters. “Sep wasn’t healthy last year, and I’m eager to see what he can do at full strength in the spring. Rigo is uniquely suited to this Tour. It’s a dynamic parcours with so many different elements. Rigo is an adaptable, Darwinian rider, and we hope he can be very competitive.”

“There’s something new for us in Dan McLay and Sacha Modolo and the support crew we’ve built up around them,” Vaughters added. “For the first time, in a long time, we’ll be competitive in the sprints. I’m excited about that. Then there’s seeing what Mike Woods can do at the Giro. Those are the four things I’m most looking forward to with this group of riders.”

The team’s smaller size is part of an overall trend amongst WorldTour teams and in direct response to recent rule changes.

“Grand Tours are only eight riders and other races are only seven, so we reduced our roster size accordingly,” said Vaughters. “It’s nothing other than that.”

Joe Dombrowski

Vaughters’ squad lives to ride another day in part due to the #SaveArgyle movement that saw nearly 5,000 fans contribute more than $500,000 during an Indiegogo campaign last September. While the funds raised did not cover the budget shortfall, EF Education First caught wind of the movement before eventually signing on as both naming partner and majority owner.

“We have the best fans in cycling and maybe the best fans in all of sport,” said Vaughters. “They showed us that through their support. It’s incredibly flattering and humbling. We’re looking forward to making it a special season for them and for all our fans.”

Newcomer Mitch Docker will be the first to race in the new EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale colors. He’ll line-up for the criterium at the Australian National Road Championships on Wednesday evening in Ballarat, Victoria. His 44km/40 lap race begins at 20:00 AEDT (10AM CET, 2AM MST). Follow via live stream on SBS Cycling Central’s website and Facebook page.

2018 EF Education First – Drapac p/b Cannondale team:
Matti Breschel (Denmark), Nate Brown (USA), Brendan Canty (Australia), Julian Cardona (Colombia), Hugh Carthy (Great Britain), Simon Clarke (Australia), Will Clarke (Australia), Lawson Craddock (USA), Joe Dombrowski (USA), Alex Howes (USA), Sebastian Langeveld (Netherlands), Kim Magnusson (Sweden), Daniel Martinez (Colombia), Dan McLay (Great Britain), Sacha Modolo (Italy), Daniel Moreno (Spain), Logan Owen (USA), Taylor Phinney (USA), Pierre Rolland (France), Tom Scully (New Zealand), Rigoberto Uran (Colombia), Tom Van Asbroeck (Belgium), Sep Vanmarcke (Belgium), Mike Woods (Canada).

Big hopes for Rigoberto Uran:

Wanty-Groupe Gobert Presents Jersey for 2018
The transition to 2018 is the perfect time to unveil our outfit for the new season 2018. Wanty-Groupe Gobert has entered into a partnership with the Chinese clothing manufacturer Santic. The idea and the dominant colors remain unchanged and match the new Cube C:68 Litening frame. The navy blue and fluorescent colors will make our jersey inevitable again in the peloton in 2018. Thomas Degand and Xandro Meurisse present our new outfit, that will enter competition for the first time around the shoulders of Dion Smith at the national championship in New Zealand on January 7th.

Santic is a Chinese sports textile manufacturer based in Jinjiang, at the east coast of China. Founded in 2005, Santic is the leader of the textile market for cycling in Asia, both in terms of design and production of technical clothing. With his oriental roots, Santic now also wants to conquer the western market. By working together with the ambitious Wanty-Gobert team, the Asian textile manufacturer hopes to increase its visibility to secure a solid base in Europe.

The new Wanty-Groupe Gobert kit for 2018:

Bart De Clercq out for months after heavy crash on training
The new year started badly for our new rider Bart De Clercq. Our 31-year-old climber crashed heavily on training on Tuesday. He suffers from a subcapital fracture of the left femur. Bart De Clercq was operated on Tuesday by dr. Toon Claes in AZ Herentals in Belgium.

Dr. Joost De Maeseneer (team doctor): “The fracture is heavy and required the placement of screws in the femur. It is difficult to estimate a return in competition. Normally Bart can only resume light training in about six weeks. Returning to competition is a matter of months.”

Bart De Clercq:
Brussels - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme -   Official Team photoshoot of Lotto - Soudal cycling team - Bart De Clercq (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during Lotto - Soudal team photoshoot 2017- photo NV/VK/PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2016

Aqua Blue Sport 2018 Rider Roster and First Races Confirmed
Cork, 2nd January 2018: Aqua Blue Sport has confirmed its final, 16-strong rider roster for 2018 and for the second successive year will kick off its racing season in Australia and the Middle East.

As previously announced, three new signings join the squad this year: Irishman Eddie Dunbar (2017 winner of the U23 Tour of Flanders); Dane Casper Pedersen (current U23 European Road Champion) and New Zealander Shane Archbold.

New signings (l-r) Eddie Dunbar, Casper Pedersen and Shane Archbold

The three join Larry Warbasse, current US national road champion and 2017 Tour de Suisse stage winner; Austrian Stefan Denifl, Vuelta a España 2017 stage winner, former British national road race champion Adam Blythe and five-time former Irish national champion Matt Brammeier.

Aaron Gate (NZ), Andrew Fenn (UK), Calvin Watson (AUS), Conor Dunne (IRL), Dan Pearson (UK), Michel Kreder (NL), Lasse Norman Hansen (DK), Mark Christian (UK) and Peter Koning (NL) complete the 16-strong Aqua Blue Sport team that will continue to compete at the highest level of professional cycling.

Behind the scenes, Dane Nicki Sørensen will continue in the role of key Directeur Sportif while the team welcomes the experience of Belgian Bob de Cnodder as a new member of the performance team. Former rider Martyn Irvine will also join the backroom staff as a Director Sportif with Aqua Blue Sport in 2018. Stephen Barrett stays on as Head of Performance, optimizing rider development and training with the added support of Kevin Poulton, who comes on board as Performance Director. Stephen Moore will continue to spearhead the Aqua Blue Sport team as General Manager.

For the second year in a row Aqua Blue Sport will make its official racing debut in Australia, specifically in the Towards Zero Race Melbourne criterium (January 25th) and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (January 28th), followed by the Jayco Herald Sun Tour (January 31st-February 4th). The Irish squad will then tackle the challenges of desert racing with the Dubai Tour (February 6th-10th) and Tour of Oman (February 13th-18th).

“Aqua Blue Sport is excited to return to Australia to make its 2018 racing debut, a country that celebrates cycling with great passion and a new market for our e-Commerce site this year with key Australian retailers coming on board. We are ready to embrace the challenge of our second season with a talented group of 16 riders who share our values and ambition to be competitive at the elite level of road racing. We hold fast in our vision to push the boundaries of professional cycling and look forward to build on an incredibly successful maiden season,” said Stephen Moore, General Manager at Aqua Blue Sport.

The team with owner Rick Delaney, coaching and high performance staff

Caja Rural – Seguros RGA to ride De Rosa for 2018
The Caja Rural – Seguros RGA team will ride De Rosa bikes for 2018. The Italian bike manufacturer founded in 1953 will sponsor both the Pro and under-23 development team of the Spanish outfit.

The Pro team will use the top-of-the-range Protos for racing and training and the TT-03 for time-trialing. The under-23 team, who won over 30 races on the amateur calendar in 2017, will use the De Rosa King model.

The Italian flavor trickles down through the new components with wheel sponsor MICHE coming on-board to provide the deep-section Supertype wheelset for competition and the Syntium for training.

The saddles will be provided by SELLE ITALIA and the stem and handlebars by DEDA. VITTORIA will continue as the teams tyre producer as will KMC with their distinctive gold chains.

Cristiano De Rosa: “For De Rosa it very important to work with a top Spanish team like Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. It is a project that will not only see us partner both the Pro and under-23 teams but will also see us start a new project in terms of our expansion in the Spanish market. We hope to achieve both great sporting victories as well as boosting our profile in a country with a rich cycling tradition such as Spain.“

Juan Manuel Hernandez (Manager): “De Rosa is a prestigious brand and we are very pleased and excited to begin a partnership with them. The bikes are of the highest quality and our riders have responded very positively to their new equipment. The aim now is to add a few memorable lines to the great tradition of the De Rosa story.”

Further announcements regarding the partnership with De Rosa will be revealed at the team presentation to be held on the 11th January.

Caja Rural-Seguros RGA De Rosa Protos:

Nalini reveals new design for Caja Rural – Seguros RGA for 2018
The Caja Rural – Segros RGA team have today released the first images of their colors for 2018.

The new strip will be used for both the Pro and under-23 development team ahead of the new season and will be supplied once again by Nalini, the Italian clothing manufacturer. The new kit retains much of the design from 2017 with an added yellow stripe along the back to incorporate the colors of co-sponsor Seguros RGA, the Spanish insurance broker.

Patrick Lefevere: “Let’s make of our 16th season another thing of absolute beauty”
Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team’s CEO shared his thoughts and hopes ahead of the new season, which is due to start in a few weeks.

As we have just kicked off a new year and find ourselves on the ramp to the new season, I want to thank everybody who has been involved in and part of Quick-Step Floors’ amazing 2017 journey, from riders to staff, and from sponsors to fans. The 2017 season was exceptional, not only in terms of the quantity of our victories but also in the quality.

A total of 59 victories, 30 on World Tour level, one Monument, 16 Grand Tour stages and I could go on. On top of that, we also notched up 60 additional podiums last season, which means we were there even in the races we didn’t win.

I am proud that we were able to win from the very first race to the last, from January to October, with 14 different riders. It tells a unique story about the team we have here. As I have liked to say before, should we put a wine label on this season it would say Grand Cru Classé Exceptionnel – a truly extraordinary season.

At the end of the 2017 season we said goodbye to riders who have played important roles in the success of the team over the years, but as we have seen, the next generation of leaders, die-hard kilometer zero pullers, domestiques, sprinters and punchers is flourishing. I have the greatest confidence that we have the right combination of experienced riders who can take on the responsibility and live up to the very high expectations and pressure, and young talents who will be ready to take a few steps up the ladder.

Nothing will, however, be possible without a strong fundament. I have always seen, or, treated my team as a construction of a house. A house needs a strong fundament to be a strong house, and for me, the fundament of the team is the staff; the soigneurs, mechanics, bus drivers, doctors, physiotherapists – everybody around the team. They make the difference.

Riders usually sign for 1-2-3 years, they are coming and going, that is the life of a rider, but I have people around me who I have been working with for 20-25 years. I feel very fortunate for having around me these people that I can trust and rely on.

Something I feel very proud of is to see all the fans we have around the world. No matter where we go, our buses are surrounded by fans who come to see the riders and cheer for them. Last year, we opened the door to them with the movie “One Year In Blue”, and I think a lot of people saw something they didn’t expect; how the squad works and is run, how riders can be stressed before and after the races, how much dedication everybody around the team puts into their work.

This year, we are launching several new exciting projects with the goal of bringing our fans even closer to the team. One of them is the Quick-Step Floors Bike Experience, where we offer fans and cycling enthusiasts an amazing opportunity to spend a few days close to the team – with on and off bike experiences – at some of the biggest races in the world.

2018 will be the team’s 16th year in the peloton, which is a performance as remarkable as the plethora of victories we have achieved since Quick-Step Floors’ inception. What are my hopes and thoughts for this year? Of course, to continue at the top, to win races and show why we are one of the best teams in the history of this sport.

But we also hope to entertain, deliver fireworks on the road and beautiful cycling moments and engage with all our fans around the world in the upcoming season. We want to make of this season a thing of absolute beauty, just as we did in the past years, with the same enthusiasm, ambition and hard work.

On behalf of the Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team, I want to wish you a Happy New Year and all the best to you and your families! We are looking forward to seeing you on the roads for some spectacular cycling races.

Patrick Lefevere:

Happy New Year from Lotto Soudal

And The magic hands of Lotto Soudal – Mechanic Steven Van Olmen:

The PEZ INSTAGRAM Take a look at our Instagram page for a live feed of #PeloPics, #DailyDistractions, and giveaways straight from your phone: https://www.instagram.com/pezcyclingnews

Don’t forget to check the “NEWSWIRE” section, you can find it on the homepage, just above the EuroTrash section. The bits of news that missed the EuroTrash deadline are in there, plus any news as-it-happens will be added there too.

Any comments drop me a line, email address: [email protected] or Twitter. And check the PezCyclingNews Twitter and Facebook Page.

Like PEZ? Why not subscribe to our weekly newsletter to receive updates and reminders on what's cool in road cycling?

Comments are closed.