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Paris - France - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - sfeer - illustratie Primoz ROGLIC (Slovenia / Team Lotto NL - Jumbo) - Simon GESCHKE (Germany / Team Sunweb) pictured during the 104th Tour de France 2017 - stage 21 from Montgeron to Paris, 103.00 km - foto Dion Kerckhoffs / Cor Vos © 2017

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

TOUR TIME BABY! Only a couple of days till the biggest race in the cycling calendar departs from the Vendée-Pays de la Loire region on the French west coast. In a full EUROTRASH we have more Tour team line-ups, plus news from the Russian and Irish National championships. The Chris Froome case has to be the Top Story. Other cycling news: Bahrain-Merida to the Tour of Austria, BORA-hansgrohe becomes shareholding member of Velon, Roberto Damiani to stay with Cofidis and Max Kanter turns pro for Sunweb. Bring on the Tour.

TOP STORY: Chris Froome – Case Closed!
As I’m sure you all know; on Monday morning the UCI announced that they were closing the case against the Team Sky rider, Chris Froome, after a urine test conducted on September 7th 2017, following Stage 18 of the Vuelta a España, revealed a urine concentration of Salbutamol which exceeded a specific decision limit.

In the statement, the UCI said:
“The UCI has considered all the relevant evidence in detail (in consultation with its own experts and experts from WADA). On 28 June 2018, WADA informed the UCI that it would accept, based on the specific facts of the case, that Mr Froome’s sample results do not constitute an AAF. In light of WADA’s unparalleled access to information and authorship of the salbutamol regime, the UCI has decided, based on WADA’s position, to close the proceedings against Mr Froome.”

This was followed up by WADA backing up the UCI decision:
“The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announces that it will not be appealing the Union Cycliste Internationale’s (UCI’s) decision not to assert an Anti-Doping Rule Violation (ADRV) in the case involving British rider Christopher Froome.”

The decision may have cleared the way for Froome to be on the start line of the Tour de France on Saturday, but it has not stopped the list of questions and opinions from the cycling World.

French sports paper, L’Equipe printed on Tuesday: “An official from a Swiss anti-doping lab told us that in 20 years of career, he has never seen a case with such a high level of salbutamol being closed without a ban.”

Italian paper, La Gazzetta dello Sport, reported that the Froome defense dossier ran to 8,000 pages at a cost of around 10 million Euros. Adding that: “In 2007 Petacchi had a value of 1352 with the threshold at 1000, and got a year from the CAS. In 2014 Ulissi had 1920, suspended himself, made the famous drug-kinetic tests without reaching the value and recognized his negligence: CAS gave him nine months, but stated that the dose was not going to alter his performance.”

There has been no comment on the use of dogs in experiments for the Leiden Report to cast the salbutamol test into question and suggests that it is “fundamentally flawed” as part of the Froome defense package.

Ex-World Pursuit champion, Tony Doyle, was speechless on Monday morning, but did say: “One rule for Sky and one rule for everyone else. Team Sky bullied the UCI and ASO into submission with their money and power, other riders have been penalized and banned for less salbutamol found in a AAF.”

Team Sky stated in their press release that: “Chris’s reading was 19% over the decision limit once corrected for specific gravity (to take account of dehydration).” Marco Pantani was only 2% over the Hematocrit level when he was thrown out of the Giro d’Italia in 1999. I wonder if that would stand up in court if you get a speeding fine for doing 83mph in a 70 zone?

“The UCI hopes that the cycling world can now turn its focus to, and enjoy, the upcoming races on the cycling calendar.” Amen to that, but will the roadside fans at the Tour de France be quite as forgiving?

Read the PEZ Tour Route Preview HERE and the PEZ Rider Choice HERE.

5th Tour de France on the way?

Gazprom — RusVelo wins Russian National Championship
Last weekend 29 June — 1 July the Russian Road Cycling Championship took place in Kursk. Riders of Gazprom — RusVelo prevailed in the road race: Ivan Rovny became the new champion, Alexander Porsev won the silver medal and Alexander Vlasov was the strongest among U23 riders.

The route featured a total distance of 180 kilometers divided into 15 laps in the city center of Kursk, which was hosting the Russian Championship for the first time. The fierce competition began just after the teams had crossed the starting line and four riders of Gazprom — RusVelo made it to the leading group, which in the end was not chased by the peloton.

The new Russian Champion Ivan Rovny is happy with his victory, however he is already thinking about the next races: “I think that the Championship went quite enjoyable for the local audience and cycling fans, as the route was quite tough, weather was changing several times during the contest adding additional difficulties and riders also demonstrated a great performance. Frankly speaking, I am glad to win here, but at the moment I am already thinking about the upcoming races, Tour of Austria, which starts this week, in particular.”

The young rider of Gazprom — RusVelo Alexander Vlasov also shared his thoughts: “The road race went quite good for our team, already on the second lap we went to a breakaway group consisting of eight riders. Gradually, as we were actively increasing the tempo and working in front, our contenders started to drop out from the group. This is an important victory for me and I am happy that my last year in U23 is going quite victoriously.”

Ivan Rovny:

“It’s a massive, massive boost” – Dunne reacts to Irish title win
Aqua Blue Sport’s breakaway specialist Conor Dunne fulfilled a long-held career ambition today with a commanding victory in the Irish Elite Road Race Championships held in Sligo, earning the 26-year-old the honor of riding in national colors for the next 12 months.

An attack from Dunne on the last of 10 tough, 17.5km laps saw him take the win in Coolaney ahead of second-placed Darnell Moore (Team Caldwell Cycles), with Mark Downey (Team Wiggins) in third.

The 6’8” rider, who battled to third place in last year’s championships in Wexford, said winning the national title had long been on his cycling wishlist, and he was “over the moon” to have achieved it.

“The national championships has always been a race that I have really wanted to win,” Dunne commented. “Every year I have just gone into the race with the mindset of just trying to do my best, and one year it would be my race. It turned out to be my race this year. I just managed to play it right, and I had the legs when I needed the legs.”

Dunne rode a tactically astute race, effectively combining forces with teammate Eddie Dunbar to maximise their advantage on an unforgiving parcours.

“It was a tough race – there was one steep climb on the course and then the rest of it was kind of flat, which meant that the race would split and come together again making it quite tactical,” Dunne explained. “The makeup of the groups were changing on every lap, some riders would get caught out and some wouldn’t. I managed to be on the right side of the split on every lap and Eddie and I played the team card well – every time I was away Eddie could sit on, and vice-versa.”

Sensing that he was on a good day, Dunne made his move on the seventh lap after a coming together of the main chasing groups, launching a huge effort to bridge across to a trio of escapees made up of Moore, Jamie Blanchfield (Team Viner Carepack Pactimo) and Robert Jon McCarthy (JLT Condor).

“Once I got to them I still felt good so I knew I was on a good day, and we just went all in from that point and worked well together,” Dunne added. “For the last lap it was down to just Darnell and I. He did his fair pull and I attacked with half a lap to the finish and just drove it home. I just wanted it. I wasn’t going to give it up without a fight.”

Dunne’s victory continues the Aqua Blue Sport tradition of having a current national champion in its ranks, with the rider following in the footsteps of Adam Blythe (British national road race champion 2016/2017) and Larry Warbasse (US national champion 2017/2018).

Dunne said that the honor of racing in his national colors meant a lot to him. “It’s a massive, massive boost. Winning the nationals has been really high on my list of career ambitions so I am over the moon. I’m proud to be able to wear the tricolor for a year, and my aim is to represent this jersey to the best of my ability, to have fun while wearing it and to enjoy the next 12 months. Now I’m just motivated to get back racing again and get in every breakaway that I can!”

Elsewhere, Blythe came close to recapturing his British national title, coming second behind Connor Swift of Madison Genesis in the HSBC UK | National Road Championships.The Aqua Blue Sport fast man was among an elite group of leaders that escaped on the first lap in the race held in Northumberland and came closest to chasing down Swift but the 22-year-old held on to win with Team Sky’s Owain Doull in third.

Finally, also notching a top 10 finish in national championships held today was Lasse Norman Hansen, seventh in the Danish edition raced over 219km from Stubbekøbing to Nysted.

Commenting on Dunne’s win, Aqua Blue Sport owner Rick Delaney said it was a proud day for the team. “There is no rider more deserving of the privilege of wearing his national colors than Conor Dunne. He has always been a selfless and tireless worker for the team and it thrills me to see him achieve due recognition with the Irish title that has long been in his sights. Congratulations to Conor and to all riders who competed in their respective national championships this week and last. Now to the business of designing a jersey fit for the Irish national champion!”

Connor Dunne takes the Irish road race title:

The Achievement of a Lifetime: Vincent Barteau
Far behind riders of the stature of Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Mark Cavendish, in the history of the Tour de France there have been almost three hundred men who only got a fleeting taste of glory. As the countdown to the start of the race on 7 July continues, letour.fr is retracing the steps of 10 champions who clinched a single stage win. In 1989, a good five years after a 12-day stint in yellow, Vincent Barteau came back with a bang to win the stage to Marseille on the bicentennial of the storming of the Bastille.

The Tour de France and Marseille had finally buried the hatchet. It had been 18 years since the peloton last barreled into the Old Port, arriving well ahead of schedule and prompting a feud with mayor Gaston Deferre. However, the Grande Boucle chose Marcel Pagnol’s city for the stage of 14 July that marked the bicentennial of the French Revolution. At this point in the race (stage 13), the big battle of the year was already in full swing, with Laurent Fignon and Greg LeMond alternating in the yellow jersey and trading blows in time trials and the mountains. The course between Montpellier and Marseille was far from ideal for an ambush, but Fignon blew the peloton apart together with third-placed Charly Mottet in a bid to expand his meagre seven-second lead. Riding alone at the front for more than 40 kilometers, the duo sowed panic in what remained of the peloton and put LeMond and Delgado against the ropes. Their attempt finally came to an end with 26 kilometers to go and, roughly 10 kilometers later, Vincent Barteau followed an acceleration by Jean-Claude Colotti on the Côte de Saint-Antoine.

A revenge
Fignon and his teammate Barteau had run a two-man show in the 1984 Tour, spending a combined 19 days in yellow. The Norman had since had a stint riding for LeMond, who gave him a chance at a time when many had written him off as a failed promise. Barteau, who had returned to the side of his former captain at Système U, was back with a vengeance, riding solo for 14 kilometers under the blazing sun. The “big engine” was back, getting a hero’s welcome at the Old Port and crossing the finish line 45″ ahead of Colotti and 1′16″ ahead of Martial Gayant, who completed a French 1-2-3 fit for the occasion. The brand-new director of the Tour de France, Jean-Marie Leblanc, hailed Barteau’s performance in Provence on this festive day in his daily piece in L’Équipe. “Ignore how welcome, heart-warming and patriotic this win was and focus on its deepest meaning. It simply proves that Vincent Barteau is back in the game, even though many of us thought it was no longer possible.”

More information on https://www.letour.fr/en/

Team Sky Announce Tour de France 2018 Line-Up
Team Sky has announced its lineup for the 2018 Tour de France, with Chris Froome set to target a record-equalling fifth Tour de France title and a fourth consecutive Grand Tour victory.

Froome will be supported on the roads of France by Egan Bernal, Jonathan Castroviejo, Michal Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon, Wout Poels, Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas.

The team will be showing their support for Sky Ocean Rescue throughout the Tour, with a new kit featuring orcas on the back of the jersey to highlight the campaign.

Froome, the reigning Tour de France, Vuelta a España and Giro d’Italia champion, is aiming to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as a five-time Tour France winner, while also attempting to complete the Giro-Tour double.

He said: “The last twelve months have been the hardest but also the most incredible of my career. I’ve never started the Tour de France after riding the Giro d’Italia and it has meant a completely different approach to my season. But I learnt a lot from riding the Vuelta straight after the Tour de France last year which has given me confidence coming into this race.

“I want to make history with a fifth Tour de France win and fourth consecutive Grand Tour. I am under no illusion about the challenge, but I am feeling ready and I couldn’t ask for a better team to support me.

“This is the biggest race in the year, in front of the most passionate cycling fans, and I can’t wait to get racing.”

Team Principal Sir Dave Brailsford said: “We go into the Tour with a lot of confidence. Chris is in great shape after the Giro – mentally and physically – and the whole team want to build on the success we had in Italy. Chris is already one of the greats of the sport. This is a chance for him to cement that reputation even further.

“We have chosen the Team to support him that we believe is best equipped to meet the demands of this year’s race. It is a team of real versatility and one that balances youth with experience. We are really proud that Gianni Moscon and Egan Bernal will be making their Tour de France debuts with us. They are both very talented bike riders and will have a lot to offer. It is also fantastic that Luke Rowe will be riding the Tour again as our road captain after his serious accident last summer. It is testament to his ability and determination that he has come back so strongly.

“These are very special weeks every year. We love riding in France and we are all looking forward to starting racing.”

Team Sky Tour de France 2018 line-up:

Chris Froome – British – age 33
Arriving at the Tour holding all three Grand Tour titles, Froome will look to create yet more history as he seeks to win a fifth Tour de France, and a fourth Grand Tour in a row. Victory at the Giro d’Italia in May saw Froome further cement his standing as one of the greatest stage racers in the history of the sport. With a strong team supporting him once again, the Brit will be hoping to add to the 59 days he has already spent in Tour de France yellow.

Egan Bernal – Colombian – age 21
Making his Tour de France debut in his first season as a professional, the young Colombian has wasted little time in marking himself out as one of the hottest prospects in the sport. Bernal has claimed overall victories at both the Tour of California and Colombia Oro y Paz, in addition to second place at the Tour de Romandie and a national time trial title. A prodigious climbing talent, he will provide key backup in the high mountains.

Jonathan Castroviejo – Spanish – age 31
A strong all-round presence, Castroviejo starts his first Tour de France for Team Sky fresh from claiming a fourth Spanish time trial title. With his TT expertise likely to prove invaluable on the stage three team time trial, Castroviejo is also a strong climber, comfortable setting a tempo on the front in the mountains. Having raced all three Grand Tours, he adds plenty of experience to the line-up.

Michal Kwiatkowski – Polish – age 28
One of the strongest and classiest bike riders on the planet, Kwiatkowski arrives at the Tour fresh from claiming a national title on the road. The Pole was a revelation at the 2017 Tour de France, as he worked tirelessly to set up Chris Froome for victory. A strong presence both on the flat, in time trials, and on the climbs, the 2014 world road race champion is an incredible asset to the team, having also won the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico earlier this year.

Gianni Moscon – Italian – age 24
A Tour de France debut for Gianni Moscon represents the next step in the Italian’s burgeoning career. After helping Froome to victory at the Vuelta a España last season, Moscon now gets his chance at the Tour. The Italian time trial champion also has a top-five finish at Paris-Roubaix to his name and, coupled with impressive climbing skills, he is a superb all-round bike rider.

Luke Rowe – British – age 28
An ever-present in Chris Froome’s last three Tour de France victories, Luke Rowe has carved out a reputation as one of the best wingmen in the sport. The Welshman lives for the rough and tumble of the Classics and crosswind racing, but is equally at home setting a tempo on the front of the race in the mountains. A decorated road captain, Rowe has grown up with Team Sky and last year battled back from multiple leg fractures, showing his determination on and off the bike.

Wout Poels – Dutch – age 30
The Dutchman has proved to be Chris Froome’s rock time and again in the high mountains, playing a pivotal role in no less than four of the Brit’s Grand Tour victories. Most recently in action together at the Giro d’Italia, Poels is a climber of the highest order and has claimed victory at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Volta a la Valenciana in his own right since joining Team Sky in 2015.

Geraint Thomas – Great Britain – age 32
One of the most versatile riders in the pro peloton, Geraint Thomas has transformed himself from track Gold medallist, to Classics star, to stage racer extraordinaire. The Welshman first rode the Tour in 2007 and is climbing better than ever, as witnessed by his recent victory at the Criterium du Dauphine. After a spell in the yellow jersey last year, Thomas will start the 2018 race as a protected rider alongside Chris Froome.

Team Sky Ocean Rescue – Tour de France 2018 kit:

Sunweb Present 2018 Tour de France Line-Up
Tour de France coach Tom Veelers (NED) said: “With the ambitions we have at the Tour we’ve selected the strongest possible configuration of qualities and riders. Losing Wilco to a re-injured shoulder will be a big loss for us in the team time trial and the mountain stages, but we have Laurens ten Dam to replace him, who’s Grand Tour experience is extremely extensive and will be very valuable. Whilst taking the first careful steps towards our future Tour de France GC ambitions, with the importance of learning and gaining experience this year, we’ll also go for day results on the uphill sprints.

“Primarily everyone’s responsibility is to keep Tom safe during each stage. Alongside Laurens, we have Chad, Søren, Michael and Simon as the guys to help out on the medium to difficult stages and Edward and Nikias on the flat stages. We’ve never been to the Tour de France with a GC focus and it will be a completely new experience for us and a long-term challenge that we are looking forward to. We want to get through that process with Tom this year without any pressure on results, creating the foundations to build on in the years to come. The parcours provide the perfect platform for an exciting race, and after achieving this year’s GC goal of a podium at the Giro, we’re very motivated to head to France and look forward to seeing what it brings this year.”

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Nikias Arndt (GER), Tom Dumoulin (NED), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Simon Geschke (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Michael Matthews (AUS), Edward Theuns (BEL).

Direct Energie Team for the Tour

Cofidis Solutions Credits ambitious on the Tour de France
Cofidis Solutions Crédits is ready and ambitious before starting its 22nd Tour de France, on Saturday, July 7th, in Noirmoutier-en-l’Ile (Vendée). With 17 victories and 40 podiums achieved since the beginning of the season, the northern formation has accumulated a maximum of confidence and serenity to hear the best teams of the World Tour during a Great Loop comprising no less than 3329 km to go before finishing on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Victorious ten times on the most prestigious race in the world thanks to Laurent Desbiens, David Millar, Stuart O’Grady, David Moncoutié, Jimmy Casper, Samuel Dumoulin and Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis Solutions Credits has set, at least, a success as a goal for the traditional summer cycling event.
General manager, Cédric Vasseur, while not hiding the difficulty of the task awaiting his riders, insisted on the priority objective of a team eager to prove the validity of his invitation to the organizers. “Cofidis Solutions Crédits does not have in its ranks a rider likely to be in the overall rankings. We must remain realistic. Our goal is above all a stage victory. President of Cofidis Competition, Thierry Vittu has set it as one of his priorities for the season during our official presentation of the team. Ten years have passed since the last success and we have made every effort to stop the series. Nevertheless, selecting eight riders who could form a united and united group to achieve this was not a sinecure given the condition displayed by our workforce. In modern cycling, one must make delicate but judicious choices to achieve one’s ends. So much so that it seems to us impossible for us to align two great sprinters as leaders on the Tour de France. Under these conditions, the sports management has decided to bet on Christophe Laporte for the Tour de France while Nacer Bouhanni will have the same status on La Vuelta.”

Tour de France Cofidis Team:
Christophe Laporte (French), Dimitri Claeys (Bel), Nicolas Edet (Fra), Jesus Herrada (Spain), Daniel Navarro (Sp), Anthony Perez (Fra), Julien Simon (Fra), Anthony Turgis (Fra).
Replacements: Geoffrey Soup (Fra), Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel).

Tour preview with André Greipel, Jasper De Buyst, Marcel Sieberg and Jens Keukeleire
This Saturday the 105th Tour de France begins with a sprint stage from Noirmoutier-en-l’-Île to Fontenay-le-Comte, the first of eight opportunities for the sprinters in La Grande Boucle. Today André Greipel and his lead-out Jasper De Buyst look ahead to the upcoming Tour, together with Marcel Sieberg and Jens Keukeleire who are also part of the Lotto Soudal sprint train.

André Greipel: “I had a different kind of season than other years as I wasn’t able to ride the Classics after my crash in Milan-Sanremo. But I did well in the races right after my comeback, with stage wins at Quatre Jours de Dunkerque and the Belgium Tour. I didn’t win recently, but the numbers tell me that I will be in top shape in July.”

“There will be plenty of sprint opportunities and we need to be ready for each one. Starting with the first day. The yellow jersey is at stake that day, but I’m not thinking about yellow; I’m thinking about stage wins and the sooner the better. I don’t think that in the first stages teams will want to create echelons because the Tour is still long at that point and it will already be nervous enough as it always is in the beginning of the Tour. But if echelons would be formed in one of the later stages that doesn’t scare us, we have a good team for it and we are always well organized.”

“Jasper De Buyst will be my lead-out man for the first time in the Tour. Jasper has a really good eye for positioning and he has the power to do a good lead-out. Thanks to his track history he has the skills to go a long way at a fast pace. The Tour will be a big step forward for him, and for sure he will learn a lot during those three weeks. I hope we can work well together and achieve success. The cooperation with Jasper and Marcel Sieberg has already worked out quite well. Jens Keukeleire will also be helping us in the sprint stages. The team around me is very well prepared. We can dictate a sprint on our own and don’t need to look to other teams.”

Jasper De Buyst: “A first Tour de France is definitely something to look forward to. Each pro rider wants to ride the Tour, no matter how many times he has already participated, but I think your first Tour is the most special one. I am looking forward to every stage because the Tour will be one big adventure. The sprint stages will of course be important because I am the lead-out of André Greipel, but I am also eager to ride the stage to Alpe d’Huez to experience the unique atmosphere. My main goal is to make it to Paris. And of course I want to achieve as many beautiful results as possible with the team.”

“My long-term preparation didn’t run smoothly. I crashed pretty hard after the finish of the fifth stage of Quatre Jours de Dunkerque. And it took a while before I was fully recovered. More than a week later I competed in the Belgium Tour, but I was still in pain and I often had to undergo treatments from the physio. Afterwards I rode the Tour de Suisse and now I am at the level I had hoped to be ahead of the Tour. Since last year’s Giro I have become more and more the lead-out of André Greipel. The mutual trust has grown ever since. There’s often talked about the chaos in the Tour sprints, but for me it’s hard to judge that at the moment. Every sprint is hectic. Although it can always be more hectic and I also think the chaos starts earlier in the Tour, but that doesn’t scare me at all. I really hope we can take a sprint victory with André Greipel. In the other stages I will help the team too. And if I see a chance to join a breakaway in one of the stages I will gladly do so.”

Marcel Sieberg: “I’m satisfied with the preparation I had. It was different from other years, with the Tour de Suisse instead of the Ster ZLM Toer. The course in Switzerland is of course much tougher than in the Netherlands, but it was good to already ride through the high mountains a few weeks before the Tour. Last week we did a recon of the ninth stage, the cobbled stage to Roubaix. I’m very much looking forward to that stage, because Paris-Roubaix is one of my favorite races. Of course it’s completely different to ride over the cobbles with a Tour peloton and it’s a much shorter distance than during the Spring Classic. Nonetheless, I hope I have good legs that day.”

“It will have been a good Tour for me when we have won at least one sprint stage with André Greipel and perhaps have claimed another stage win with one of the other teammates. And when everyone arrives safe and sound in Paris. Last year I got ill with five stages to go, I now want to make it to Paris again. When there’s a sprint stage I’m in charge of making sure no big breakaway is established, or that no dangerous riders or riders from sprint teams get away. The past years positioning has become more and more important at the Tour, instead of having a lined-up sprint train. Our sprint train has changed compared to previous years. But I have already ridden several races together with André Greipel and Jasper De Buyst and by now we know each other quite good. I’m confident that we can ride a good sprint as a team.”

Jens Keukeleire: “I can look back positively on my Tour preparation. Due to illness my spring season didn’t become what I had hoped it would, but afterwards it all went better. After the Tour de Romandie I went on altitude training camp to Andorra, together with Jelle Wallays. From then on I continuously got confirmation that I was on the right track. The hard work was rewarded with among other the overall victory of the Belgium Tour. The closer the Tour came, the more I felt my progression.”

“In the sprint stages I want to help André Greipel take the victory. It will be my job to bring Marcel Sieberg, Jasper De Buyst and André into the best possible position for the sprint. I also want to support the team in general, where and when necessary. And I will try to aim for a victory myself in a few stages. Of course I have marked the cobbled stage on day nine. I’m also interested in some transitional stages like the eighteenth stage for example. I’m very much looking forward to the Roubaix stage, but also to the team time trial next Monday. It would be wonderful to confirm our good performance of the Dauphiné (where the team finished third, LTS).”

André Greipel:
Buggenhout - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Andre GREIPEL (Germany / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during 88th Baloise Belgium Tour 2018 - stage 1 from Buggenhout to Buggenhout (179 KM)- photo PdV/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Mathias Frank Replaces Alexandre Geniez
Vincent Lavenu: “The general management of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team has decided, in consultation and in full agreement with the rider, to replace Alexandre Geniez with Mathias Frank for the Tour de France. Following the end of the camp at Chambon sur Lignon (June 18-22), Alexandre didn’t seem to have the fitness and recovery after having finished the Giro d’Italia in 11th, that would guarantee the sort of condition he would need to have in order to assume an important role within the team for the Tour de France. With a few more days of training and the French Championship under his belt have confirmed this decision, which is not an easy decision for a top athlete. He will be replaced by Mathias Frank whose experience and talent will be valuable especially with respect to the mountain stages in order to support Romain Bardet.”

Mathias Frank: “I had good sensations during the Swiss Championship (taking 4th), but that race is still basically a lottery. Even after the announcement of the selection for the Tour de France team, I continued to prepare seriously for the race. Even though I’m sorry for Alexandre, I feel lucky to be at the start of the biggest race in the world again with the AG2R LA MONDIALE team. I hope to help and accompany Romain for as long as possible in the mountains.”

Alexandre Geniez: “I was honored to be part of the selection for the next Tour de France, which was announced recently, but unfortunately, during the training camp at Chambon-sur-Lignon, I realized that the necessary sensations were not there, and that it would be impossible for me to do my job in the squad in July. So I decided to give up my spot to a rider who could. The Giro, where I took the 11th place, was long and even though I have been trying, I have not yet managed to regain the full extent of my fitness. I hope to recover quickly and to find the right rhythm for competition! Watching from home, I will be giving my full support to the team at the Tour.”

Tony Gallopin crashes at the French Championship:
Following his crash at the French Championship, Tony Gallopin suffered bruises and road rash on the left buttock and knee. He also had a right thoracic injury resulting in an undisplaced fracture of the anterior portion of the 9th rib on the right side. This injury will not affect his participation in the Tour de France. The progress and level of pain will be closely monitored by the team’s medical staff.

Sunweb’s Wilco Kelderman Out of Tour de France
Team Sunweb are sad to announce that Wilco Kelderman (NED) will be unable to start the Tour de France following a shoulder injury sustained from a crash during yesterday’s national championships. This morning Kelderman underwent additional CT scans which showed that the current plate on his collarbone has bent, and with the pain this is causing, starting La Grand Boucle is no longer an option. Kelderman’s replacer will be announced alongside Team Sunweb’s full line-up confirmation.

Team Sunweb physician Anko Boelens (NED): “CT scans indicate that the plate mounted on his right collarbone is bent, which reduces functionality of the shoulder joint and a lot of pain. To start the Tour de France is no option. Additional check ups will follow with international experts in this field, to determine the next steps and to decide if surgery is required. It’s a complex injury with the history of injuries to the same shoulder and collarbone.”

Plagued with bad luck, an extremely disappointed Wilco Kelderman said: “I am gutted. At the moment the pain is really intense, making a Tour start simply impossible. It can’t get much worse after the injuries I already faced in my recent career. I have to get over it once again and I will need time.”

Wilco Kelderman:

Tour de France Launches its Fantasy Game!
For the first time in the history of Le Tour, sign up to the official 2018 Fantasy Tour de France at
https://fantasy.letour.fr and put yourself in the shoes of the directeur sportif!
Choose your favorite riders and build your dream team of eight cyclists. Collect points each stage depending on the actual results of your riders and their performances in the overall jersey classifications. Be careful, select your Captain wisely for each stage as his points will count double!
On each of the rest days (after Stage 9 and Stage 15), you will have the possibility to make two transfers and adapt your game strategy for the coming week.

Create your own league with your friends, colleagues and family, and challenge them to beat you on the
roads of Le Tour de France!

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Young Pernsteiner leads a strong TBM at Tour of Austria 2018
Team BAHRAIN MERIDA will come strong to Tour of Austria (from July 7th to July 14th) with a highly motivated team that is a mix of high experienced riders and young riders with a huge potential. All riders that had great results this season and riders that have been a strong support for such a season of TBM.

The 70th edition of the Tour of Austria starts on the 7th of July in Feldkirch on the very west of Austria. A tour with 7 various stages and big challenges for BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team.

Harald Morscher, TBM sports director, a director that knows each corner and climb of his homeland expressed his optimistic thoughts for the upcoming week in Austria: “We have given the opportunity to Hermann Pernsteiner, our young rider to be our leader for the GC as Austrians see him as a “local hero” here. Mark Padun, another young rider of our team will be his “follower” and our back up to be save in some and possible unconfutable situations. The parcour is very hard, so we are also ready for new situations and possible surprises on each stage.

Matej Mohorič might have his big chances, Giovanni Visconti and Enrico Gasparotto are keeping a great form and are always hungry for big results, but they also share their enormous experience to the young riders in our team. Kanstantin Siutsou, will hopefully have a good comeback after his injury before the first stage of Giro. Antonio Nibali is there as a great support with Kosta for all stages and the demanding Kitzbühler Horn. Our goals and targets are high and we have right to be optimistic for each stage and for the overall”

TBM lineup for Tour of Austria 2018:
Mark Padun / Antonio Nibali / Giovanni Visconti / Matej Mohorič / Kanstantin Siutsou / Enrico Gasparotto / Hermann Pernsteiner

BORA – hansgrohe Becomes 11th Shareholding Member of Velon
After a period of collaboration which began at the Giro d’Italia in 2017, BORA – Hansgrohe decided to join Velon as a full member. The elevation from a partner team to a shareholder gives them a seat on the Velon Board and a voice in the continuing expansion of the company.

BORA – hansrgrohe participated in the Hammer Series for the first time in Limburg, the Netherlands, earlier this month and its riders – including three-time UCI World Champion Peter Sagan – have featured in Velon’s live rider data and race media coverage at the Tour de Suisse, seen by millions around the world.

“It is important for our sport to think about future developments. I think there is a big overlap in the vision of Velon and my vision of future cycling. They launched a lot of great projects, some may need small adjustments, but you need to be part, to be able to influence those adjustments. That’s why we decided to join Velon”, said Ralph Denk, BORA – hansgrohe’s Team Manager.

Peter Sagan adds: “There have been a lot of nice videos at the Tour de Suisse and content from other races. It’s good that fans get some more insights of what racing at the highest level is about. There will be a lot more to check out in the future.”

Graham Bartlett, Chief Executive, Velon, said: “We’re delighted that BORA – hansgrohe share Velon’s vision for the sport and have chosen to invest in what we’re doing. Everyone’s looking forward to working with the team because we know how good they are, it’s great to have them fully on board.”

Cofidis Solutions Credits and Roberto Damiani are linked until 2021 at least…
The first attempt was a master stroke. Arrived in December 2017 at Cofidis Solutions Credits as sports director, Roberto Damiani quickly found his marks and left his mark on the daily life of the northern team from the beginning of the 2018 season with his new manager Cédric Vasseur. It’s so true that the duo has agreed to extend this great adventure until 2021 at least… even before a Tour de France called to demonstrate the veracity of the 3 letters (TPG = Toujours pour Gagner (Always to Win)) used by the transalpine Mister ending his tweets and other publications.

As passionate as competent, Roberto Damiani (59) has all the qualities that can enhance an ambitious team. It is that the former president of the US Legnanese, the cycling club of his home town of Legnano (located in the north of Milan) has a solid experience in prestigious courses such as Mapei Quick Step, Fassa Bortolo, Lampre, Liquigas and other Lotto Omega Pharma. When commenting on his extension of the contract, the Italian sports director says he is ambitious. “I will not hide it from you. I am excited and proud to continue to be able to work for this team. Cédric has set up a project at Cofidis Solutions Crédits which I am very happy to participate. In my opinion, the formation from the Northeast can reasonably hope to become the 1st team of France in the years to come.”

Manager of Cofidis Solutions Crédits, Cédric Vasseur, for his part, emphasized the qualities and assets of its sports director. “I am delighted with this new contract extension. The entire team will continue to benefit from Roberto’s services, experience and expertise in the coming seasons.”

Roberto Damiani:

Development Team Sunweb’s Max Kanter Joins WorldTour Roster
Team Sunweb are delighted to announce that the U23 German national road race champion Max Kanter will join their WorldTour program from the 2019 racing season, after completing the remainder of the year as a stagiaire for the team.

Two-time winner of the German U23 road race and runner-up of the U23 time trial championships, Kanter joined Team Sunweb in 2016 as a stagiaire after which he entered the team’s Development program in the beginning of 2017. The 20-year-old from Cottbus, Germany signs his first pro contract for a period of two years, until the end of 2020.

Alongside Kanter is the freshly crowned women’s road race champion of Germany, young Liane Lippert (GER), who also recently saw her contract with Team Sunweb extended until the end of 2020.

Since 2015 Team Sunweb has had a specific focus on Germany, with their goal of developing cycling from its grassroots to grow young talents towards the professional ranks. Both the signing of Kanter and the extension of Lippert are recognized as significant milestones and the team will continue investing and committing itself to this goal.

Max Kanter said: “My time in the Development program has been really good and I was able to grow both on and off the bike. I learned a lot about racing and I’m really looking forward to my move to the WorldTour after completing the season as a stagiaire. It’s been my dream since I was a little boy and to finally reach this goal is incredible. Now I have the chance to set new goals and I’m in one of the best teams in the world to develop myself gradually towards these goals.”

Team Sunweb coach Sebastian Deckert (GER) said: “We’re really proud of delivering the first rider to the professional level. Over the last few years we have seen a very good build up of Max’s performances both on and off the bike. Max is a talented rider who works really hard for his development. After great success over the last years and also gaining experience as stagiaire in the past with our WorldTour team, we believe this is the next logical step in his career. We are really happy about this and are looking forward to the new challenges with Max at the highest level of cycling.”

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