What's Cool In Road Cycling
Cycling: 1st Colombia Oro y Paz 2018 / Stage 2 Arrival / Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL) Pink Leader Jersey Celebration / Juan Sebastinn Molano Benavides (COL) Gold Points Jersey Disappointment / Palmira - Palmira (183,4km)/ Estadio Palmira / © Maximiliano Blanco

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Four wins in 24 hours for the Quick-Step Floors team, two of them by Fernando Gaviria. News, views and video from Colombia and Dubai. Chris Froome will start his 2018 season next week – Top Story. Sunweb for Oman, AG2R-La Mondiale and Nippo-Vini Fantini ride La Provence and Amstel Gold ‘Wild Card’ for Nippo, The Tour of Utah Summer of Cycling, Polartec-Kometa team presentation and John Degenkolb’s new bike – All in a packed EUROTRASH cycling news Thursday.

TOP STORY: Froome will carry on regardless
The Sky team have released Chris Froome’s early season schedule starting with the Ruta del Sol on St. Valentine’s Day, Wednesday the 14th of February. The Spanish race organizer, Joaquin Cuevas is of the opinion that Froome should compete in the Andalusia race due to the “UCI not taking a position on the case”.

Chris Froome commented on his participation in the Ruta del Sol: “It’s been a couple of years since I was at the Ruta del Sol. It’s a race I’ve enjoyed in the past and so I’m looking forward to going back there.”

After the Spanish race Froome will line up in the Tirreno-Adriatico (March 7th to 13th) before the Tour of the Alps (April 16th to 20th) and then Giro d’Italia kicking off on Friday, May the 4th in Israel. Giro organizer, Mauro Vegni, has pointed out that he cannot stop Froome from riding his race as there is no ban in place and added that if Froome wins and is then found guilty of doping, then he would not remove his name from the winners list, as he had to do with Alberto Contador.

Cyrille Guimard and Richard Virenque have both had their say on the subject in the French sports paper, L’Équipe. Guimard, the French National coach and ex-sports director to riders Bernard Hinault, Laurent Fignon and Greg Lemond said to the paper that “Sky are taking the liberty of playing with the rules that authorize them to let their rider take part in competition. It’s nothing more or less than a provocation. It’s even worse than that, it’s cynicism. Froome and his team are putting one over on us. The act of riding the Ruta del Sol is an act of self-importance, because they absolutely don’t care about the disastrous image that they are presenting of cycling. They’re going to draw things out because the longer they take, the more chance they have of finding some technicality in the case that, in the end, will clear Froome. Sky are in the process of putting a well-oiled communications system in place, but nobody should be fooled.” Guimard added that the Ruta del Sol will receive so much more publicity due to ‘FroomeGate’ saying: “The organizer is going to have all of the cameras of the world there, he’ll never have had so much publicity. This is the aspect of it that shocks me the most: making Froome a star on the roads of the Ruta del Sol is scandalous.” What is his answer to the problem? “Perhaps the other riders have the key to the problem, they could refuse to ride alongside him or refuse anti-doping controls until the affair is resolved.”

Richard Virenque you will remember was one of the riders at the center of the ‘Festina Affair’ and at the time denied everything and left the 1998 Tour de France in tears to write a book and carry on denying the charges until eventually confessing in 2000 and receiving a two year suspension.

The French ex-rider, now Euro Sport pundit, thinks that Froome should say he will not ride the 2018 Tour de France, but carry on riding lesser races like the Ruta del Sol. “Not being welcome on the Tour is too heavy a weight to carry and persisting was an error that I made. If I were in his place today, I’d announce that I would not be at the start of the Tour. That would allow him to relieve all of the pressure that he’s going to experience from here to the month of July. He should take a very clear position while he waits to be cleared. He would then have the front doors open to him on the Tour after having a normal race program in the first part of the season, where he wouldn’t have had to discuss his participation in the Tour.”

Guimard has the knowledge and experience behind his words and should be listened too, but Virenque? Well, you could say he has personal experience of trying to dodge a suspension. Like racing; speed is of the essence when it comes to getting the whole thing sorted out, for the good of cycling.

Sky team manager, David Brailsford, is in Colombia at the moment at the Oro y Paz stage race and when asked for his thoughts said: “For me, there’s no question, he’s done nothing wrong. No question, no question, no question. He added: “My role is to look after the team and the individual, but also I’ve got to think about the sport in general. But I believe he’s innocent. The UCI have the rules and we’re abiding by the rules. They’ve decided how these situations should be managed, but on balance I think it’s the right thing to do, for Chris to continue, and us to work in the background to support him and demonstrate there’s been no wrongdoing.”

Richard Virenque and his fan club:
Bourg en Bresse - France  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Tour de France 6e etappe  - Semur en Auxois - Bourg en Bresse - sfeer illustratie  Richard Virenque op bezoek in het village Depart- foto Marketa Navratilova/Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos ©2007

Dubai Tour 2018
The Dutch rider Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) won the opening Stage 1 of the 2018 Dubai Tour, from Skydive Dubai to Palm Jumeirah (167km), in a bunch sprint and took the lead in the overall General Classification. On the podium he was rewarded with the race’s first leader’s Blue Jersey, sponsored by the Commercial Bank of Dubai, and also the points leader’s Red Jersey, sponsored by Emirates and the Best Young Rider’s White Jersey, sponsored by RTA – Roads and Transport Authority.

The 24-year-old Dutchman was the fastest of the sprint elite in the bunch sprint on Palm Jumeirah. It marked Team LottoNL-Jumbo’s second win of 2018. With his win in Dubai, Groenewegen added number twenty to his tally of victories in the Team LottoNL-Jumbo jersey.

Just like his new teammate Danny van Poppel in Valencia, Groenewegen was the best in his first race of this season. And like Van Poppel in January, the Team LottoNL Jumbo rider came from far to push the wheel of his Bianchi over the finish line first. This was preceded by a hectic phase, but Groenewegen was strongly supported by his team.

Palm Jumeirah - Dubai - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  Dylan Groenewegen (NED - Team LottoNL - Jumbo) pictured during the 2018 Dubai Tour stage 1 - from Skydive Dubai to Palm Jumeirah (167KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and race leader, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo): “It was really hard to win. There was a crash and we moved at the right time. Amund Grondahl Jansen and Timo Roosen were my lead out men: they delivered me with perfect timing. It was close with Magnus Cort Nielsen but I beat him. It feels great because the best sprinters are here. Last year I got my first win in Yorkshire at the end of April. It brings a completely different feeling to win my very first race of the year. The last stage of the Tour de France remains my biggest win but it’s cool that I can beat the best.”

4th and 5th overall, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m happy to have the support of the team in what is my UAE Team Emirates debut. It was a pretty chaotic sprint finish because the race was easy for the majority of the course and it’s always more difficult in the final kilometers when everybody’s fresh. My teammates led me out well and I managed to avoid the crash, but unfortunately, I had to break in the final hundred meters, when I was focused on pushing forward. But, despite this, I am satisfied with the performance for my first race of 2018.”

7th on the stage and 8th overall, Eric Young (Rally Cycling): “There was a lot of movement in the field and it made for a hectic finish,” said Young. “I definitely made a few mistakes looking back, but was able to stay in the top ten for the finish. The guys are in good spirits, albeit definitely bummed for Jesse. Excited to give it another go tomorrow!”

UAE Flag Jersey leader, Daniel Teklehaimanot (Cofidis): “It was a big announcement last week that I have a new team. I’m lucky that Cofidis gave me the opportunity to race so quickly at the Dubai Tour so I was very motivated for breaking away as early as today on Stage 1. It was hard to make the right move. I’m glad I did. I wanted to thank my new teammates with the jersey of the intermediate sprints. It’s a big boost for my morale.”

Dubai Tour Stage 1 Result:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 3:51:35
2. Magnus Cort (Den) Astana
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors
4. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
6. Jacob Hennessy (GB) Mitchelton-Bikeexchange
7. Eric Young (USA) Rally Cycling
8. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9. Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk
10. Loïc Vliegen (Bel) BMC.

Dubai Tour Overall After Stage 1:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 3:51:25
2. Magnus Cort (Den) Astana at 0:04
3. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
4. Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC at 0:07
5. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10
6. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
7. Jacob Hennessy (GB) Mitchelton-Bikeexchange
8. Eric Young (USA) Rally Cycling
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10. Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk.

Dubai stage 1:

Elia Viviani couldn’t have asked for a better present on the day he turned 29, as the Quick-Step Floors rider combined physical presence, positioning, timing and speed – after a flawless display of his teammates – and sailed to his second victory of the season in Ras al Khaimah, holding off the late surge of race leader Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo) and countryman Riccardo Minali (Astana) at the end of Stage 2 of the Dubai Tour.

One of the top contenders at the start of the 190km-long stage, Viviani spent a quiet day in the bunch, except for a rear wheel change inside the last 25 kilometers. Despite losing around 40 seconds to the peloton, the 29-year-old kept his composure, and helped by three Quick-Step Floors teammates, returned to the main group, which soon after reeled in the last three breakaway riders from the original break of Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Fuwen Xue (Mitchelton-BikeExchange), Charles Planet (Team Novo Nordisk), Mohamed Al Mansouri (United Arab Emirates) and Yousif Mirza (UAE Team Emirates). Xue, Planet and Edet were the final three riders to be caught.

Unlike Tuesday, the final kilometers of the stage were easier, but the pack was again very nervous, with the sprinters’ teams beginning to jostle for position with ten kilometers to go. Piloted by a strong Niki Terpstra, the Quick-Step Floors train took the left side of the road and navigated through the field to the front, with Elia Viviani – fourth wheel under the flamme rouge – relying once again before the sprint on an amazing Fabio Sabatini.

Cycling: 5th Tour Dubai 2018 / Stage 2 Arrival / Elia Viviani of Italy Celebration / Dylan Groenewegen of The Netherlands Blue Leader Jersey /  Skydive Dubai - Al Khaimah (190km)/  Ras Al Khaimah Stage / Dubai Tour  / © Tim De Waele

Stage winner and 2nd overall, Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors): “I was very motivated after yesterday’s disappointment. In Palm Jumeirah I felt that I lost a chance and was very frustrated, also because my teammates put in a huge amount of work and I let them down. I’m a pro since 2010 and people know that a defeat motivates me more than a victory, and this was the case also today. The feeling with the guys is incredible, it’s very special to be part of this team and I’m happy to get the victory here, which makes my birthday even more beautiful. The last kilometer was chaotic, but it’s always like that when you have the best sprinters in the world fighting for victory. The team made their presence felt, and with 500 meters left, Saba closed the gap to the riders in the front. Then, I got into the wheel of Kristoff and decided to sprint earlier than yesterday. It’s my best start of the season and I hope I won’t stop here. I know that I am second overall now, but I am not thinking of the general classification yet. The plan is to take it day by day and see what happens.”

Race leader and 2nd on the stage, Dylan Groenewegen (LottoNL-Jumbo): “It’s very hard to come only second today after winning yesterday. I had mechanical problems with my first bike, and also with the second 1.5km before the finish. That’s how I lost my sprint train and I came very late to the front for sprinting. The only good point for today is that I’m still in the lead of the overall classification but I wanted to win the stage.”

UAE Flag Jersey leader and 3rd overall, Nathan Van Hooydonck (BMC): “Yesterday I was feeling good and the pace of the breakaway wasn’t too high. So I decided that if I felt good in the neutral zone, I’d give it another try. Tomorrow I’ll probably take it easier because breaking away three days in a row might be a bit too much. The jersey is a bonus as we’re here to prepare for further goals. If I see a chance to win the intermediate sprints classification I’ll go for it.”

Break rider, Yousif Mirza (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m happy I succeeded in fulfilling the teams expectations for today. The Sports Directors were keen for me to join the breakaway and I focused all my attention on that target. It was great to ride in the front group and see everyone on the route supporting me and cheering on the team. It was always going to be difficult for the breakaway to reach the finish line first, as we always expected a sprint finale. Whilst it felt good to win the first intermediate sprint, I’m a little disappointed to have missed the second one, which would have given me the sprint jersey.”

Dubai Tour Stage 2 Result:
1. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors in 4:34:31
2. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
3. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana
4. Mark Cavendish (GB) Dimension Data
5. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
6. Magnus Cort (Den) Astana
7. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
8. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
9. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10. Adam Blythe (GB) Aqua Blue Sport.

Dubai Tour Overall After Stage 2:
1. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo in 8:25:50
2. Elia Viviani (Ita) Quick-Step Floors at 0:02
3. Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) BMC at 0:09
4. Magnus Cort (Den) Astana at 0:10
5. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana at 0:12
6. Alexander Kristoff (Nor) UAE Team Emirates at 0:16
7. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis
8. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
9. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
10. Jacob Hennessy (GB) Mitchelton-Bikeexchange.

Dubai stage 2:

Colombia Oro y Paz 2018
Fernando Gaviria’s hot streak in stage races continued Tuesday afternoon on Stage 1 in Palmira, where the prodigious sprinter of Quick-Step Floors capitalized on the excellent work of his teammates and sprinted to his 25th career victory since joining the squad as a stagiaire, in the summer of 2015, thus making of the inaugural Colombia Oro y Paz the ninth consecutive stage race in which he clocked up a win.

Two weeks after crashing out of Vuelta a San Juan stage 4, Fernando showed he’s made a full recovery after the injuries he picked up in Argentina, on a fast and hectic day, which had everything – from a five-men breakaway that stayed at the front for the most part of the stage to a late crash which occurred before the final three kilometers.

In Ecuadorian Champion Jhonatan Narvaez and a relentless Iljo Keisse, Quick-Step Floors had two formidable riders who controlled the stage from the very outset and tenaciously led the chase behind the five escapees, before Maximiliano Richeze and Alvaro Hodeg split the bunch thanks to a fierce tempo with one kilometer to go, riding almost everyone off their wheel and leaving Gaviria in a perfect position.

The Colombian took a comfortable win in Palmira, beating fellow countryman Sebastian Molano (Manzana-Postobon), with teammate Maximiliano Richeze coming across the line in third. So dominant and ruthless was the Quick-Step Floors train, that neo-pro Alvaro Hodeg finished fifth on the stage, despite easing up to celebrate Fernando’s victory.

Palmira  - Colombia  - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -Fernando GAVIRIA RENDON (Columbia / Team Quick - Step Floors)  pictured during the 2018 1st Colombia Oro y Paz stage 1 - from Palmira to Palmira (99.9KM) - photo Brian Hodes/Cor Vos © 2018

Stage winner and overall leader, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors): “It’s special to be here, in my home country. The public was so warm and gave us an amazing welcome, not only today, but ever since the team has arrived here. I am happy that such a race is organized in Colombia, and even happier that I won, because taking a victory here is completely different from taking one in Europe. The guys did a great job once again and all I had to do was finish it off. I really liked today’s circuit, it was the perfect way to start this race, getting the rhythm in the legs and being surrounded by all these fantastic fans. I am also very glad to lead the race, and even though I know that I won’t keep the jersey until the end, I still want to enjoy and sport it with pride over the next days.”

Colombia Oro y Paz Stage 1 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors in 2:07:05
2. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) Manzana-Postobon
3. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
4. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
5. Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Quick-Step Floors
6. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
7. Pawel Franczak (Pol) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
8. Davide Vigano (Ita) Italy
9. Manuel Peñalver Aniorte (Spa) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896
10. Miguel Bryon (USA) Holowesko-Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources.

Colombia Oro y Paz Overall After Stage 1:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors in 2:06:55
2. Miguel Angel Rubiano Chavez (Col) Coldeportes-Zenu Sello Rojo at 0:01
3. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) Manzana-Postobon at 0:04
4. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
5. Rafael Aniba Montiel (Col) Orgullo Paisa at 0:07
6. Simon Pellaud (Swi) Team Illuminate
7. Jetse Bol (Ned) Manzana-Postobon at 0:08
8. Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 0:09
9. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:10
10. Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Quick-Step Floors.

Oro y Paz stage 1:

Quick-Step Floors is on fire this week and doesn’t waste any opportunity in taking advantage of the superb form and momentum that it is currently enjoying. After Fernando Gaviria opened his Colombia Oro y Paz campaign with a convincing win and Michael Mørkøv landed his seventh career victory at the Six Days of Copenhagen on Tuesday, Elia Viviani added to the remarkable haul of victories in the Dubai Tour, before the same Gaviria capped off an incredible 24 hours with another strong sprint in Stage 2 of his home race, extending his lead in the general classification.

Once again, Iljo Keisse and Jhonatan Narvaez had the task of controlling the six-man breakaway who got green light from the peloton after the day’s first intermediate sprint, nabbed by Fernando. The Quick-Step Floors duo, helped by a couple of teams in the last 20 kilometers, cut back the deficit to a minute and made sure of mopping them up inside the last ten kilometers of the stage to Palmira, the finishing venue for the second straight day.

With two kilometers left, Alvaro Hodeg stretched out the peloton, before Maximiliano Richeze took over in the final and launched Fernando Gaviria as he approached the last corner of the stage. From there, the pink jersey wearer got out of the saddle, unleashed an impressive burst of speed and eased over the line arms aloft, celebrating his third win of the season.

Cycling: 1st Colombia Oro y Paz 2018 / Stage 2 Arrival / Fernando Gaviria Rendon (COL) Pink Leader Jersey Celebration / Juan Sebastinn Molano Benavides (COL) Gold Points Jersey Disappointment /  Palmira - Palmira (183,4km)/ Estadio Palmira / © Maximiliano Blanco

Stage winner, overall leader and best young rider, Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors): “Of course I am very happy, because it was another perfect day for Quick-Step Floors: Elia won in the morning and a few hours later I took another victory in front of my family and supporters, who were again unbelievable. It was a long day with high temperatures, but we controlled it – also with the help of other teams – and the win is for my fantastic teammates. Tomorrow we will have a different stage, with a long, straight finish. It would be a dream to complete a hat-trick of victories, but I’m not thinking of this now. All I want is to enjoy this beautiful moment together with my teammates and countrymen.”

Colombia Oro y Paz Stage 2 Result:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors in 3:49:30
2. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) Manzana-Postobon
3. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec
4. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
5. Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy
6. Davide Vigano (Ita) Italy
7. Martin Laas (Est) Team Illuminate
8. John Murphy (USA) Holowesko-Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources
9. Jairo Alonso Cano (Col) EPM
10. Manuel Peñalver (Spa) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896.

Colombia Oro y Paz Overall After Stage 2:
1. Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors in 5:56:12
2. Juan Sebastian Molano Benavides (Col) Manzana-Postobon at 0:11
3. Matteo Malucelli (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:19
4. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors
5. Andrea Guardini (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:21
6. Davide Vigano (Ita) Italy at 0:23
7. Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy
8. Pawel Franczak (Pol) CCC Sprandi-Polkowice
9. Manuel Peñalver Aniorte (Spa) Trevigiani Phonix-Hemus 1896
10. Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) UnitedHealthcare.

Oro y Paz stage 2:

Tour of Oman
Team Sunweb coach Tom Veelers (NED) said: “The WorldTour continues next week at the Tour of Oman where we will aim for stage results with Max and Søren, as well as explore GC possibilities with Søren. The first and final stages are most suited to Max with fast finishes, whereas stage two and three have really tough finals which could be opportunities for Søren. As a winner of the third stage in 2017 we will support him to go for another good result here. Stage four is constantly up and down with stage five ending atop the Green Mountain which will see riders put in a huge effort for around 25 minutes right until the finish; this will be an important stage for the GC riders. We have a strong team lining up in Oman eager to perform in their first race of the season. Edward makes his debut with the team here and will be crucial in both the lead-out and helping Søren in the tougher finals. Martijn also makes his debut and will play a key supportive role, alongside Johannes, Roy and Tom.”

Race: Tour of Oman (WT)
Date: 13-18/02/2018

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Roy Curvers (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Tom Stamsnijder (NED), Edward Theuns (BEL), Martijn Tusveld (NED), Max Walscheid (GER).
Coach: Tom Veelers (NED).

Tom Stamsnijder:
Canazei - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Tom STAMSNIJDER (Netherlands / Team Sunweb) - pictured during team stage 17 of the Giro D’Italia 2017 from Tirano to Canazei, 219.00 km - photo Miwa iijima/Cor Vos © 2017

Le Tour Cycliste International La Provence will be the First Race of the Last Season of Damiano Cunego – Three Riders Ready for the #OrangeBlue Debut
Le Tour Cycliste International la Provence will be the first race of the last season of the “Little Prince” Damiano Cunego. From one Damiano to another one. The Italian NEO-Pro Damiano Cima will race the first race as a PRO. With him first race with the #OrangeBlue jersey for Hiroki Nishimura and Sho Hatsuyama. For the sprints arrivals and the time trial space for the Rumanian rider Eduard Grosu. To complete the line-up the young Japanese rider Marino Kobayashi and the experienced Italian rider Alan Marangoni.

Le Tour Cycliste International la Provence – 8-11/02/2018
Damiano Cunego is preparing the last “season debut” of his incredible career, in France at Le Tour Cycliste International la Provence. The race will take place from 8 to 11 of February. Not only Damiano Cunego, 7 #OrangeBlue riders will start, composing a balanced line-up considering also the other important Italian race, the Trofeo Laigueglia, the first important race of the Ciclismo Cup.

The Line-Up
Damiano Cunego will be the leader of the team for the hardest stage, with the sprinter Eduard Grosu ready to battle in the sprint, but also in the first time trial. For the climbing stages the two Japanese riders will be important. Sho Hatsuyama was the best climber of the Tour of Japan 2017, while the young talent Marino Kobayashi is in a good condition looking forward to this race. Alan Marangoni is the experienced rider of this line-up, ready to lead the young riders, such as Hiroki Nishimura and Damiano Cima, for a roster ready to be competitive.

The Declaration
The Sports Directors on the #OrangeBlue team car will be Valerio Tebaldi and Shinichi Fukushima. The Japanese DS comments with the following words the French competition and the Roster: “For someone of our riders will be the first race of the season and the first opportunity to see how is going their athletic preparation comparing to other competitors. Eduard Grosu will have important chances both in the sprint arrivals and in the time trial, while Alan Marangoni will be an important supporting rider, but also with some individual chance in the first prologue. Damiano Cima will be an important supporting rider for our sprinter, while Damiano Cunego is very motivated for his last season. With him the Japanese riders, as the young talent Marino Kobayashi that has a very good condition, while Sho Hatsuyama and Hiroki Nishimura can have some breakaway chance during the race.”

The race
Le Tour Cycliste International la Provence is composed by 4 stages. After a first short prologue, that will take place inside the Motorsport circuit of Paul Ricard, 3 stages will compose the race. The hardest one will be the third fr2action with 2.600 meters of difference in altitude, while the second and the fourth stage can be perfect for the sprinters. 4 World Tour teams on the start-line, together with 9 Professional teams, with the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team. Rohan Dennis is the previous edition winner. In few days we will discover who will be the 2018 edition winner.

The full line-up:
Damiano Cunego, Eduard Grosu, Sho Hatsuyama, Alan Marangoni, Hiroki Nishimura, Marino Kobayashi, Damiano Cima.

Tour de Provence (February 8-11)
To date, the team has three victories with Alexandre Geniez’s success at the Grand Prix de la Marseillaise and Tony Gallopin’s win in the time trial and overall victory for the Etoile de Bessèges.
The last time we had such a successful start to the season was in 2004. That year, Jan Kirsipuu had chalked up the third victory for the team by winning the 5th stage of the Etoile de Bessèges on February 8th, while Laurent Brochard won the general classification the same day.

Mathias Frank: “I’m happy to start racing again. I’m coming out of a good training period. With the team, we had a good camp in January, and currently I’m training on Gran Canaria where I can enjoy riding in mild weather at the beginning of the year. I cannot wait to see how my form is in the race, and I think the Tour de Provence will offer an excellent start to the season. The team showed that it was fit and motivated with Alexandre Geniez’s victory at La Marseillaise, so I think we can do some beautiful things. After the Tour de Provence, I will head to the Tour of Abu Dhabi, and then Tirreno Adriatico followed by the Tour of Catalonia.”

Amstel Gold Race: Nippo Vini Fantini Europa Ovini will be the Only Italian Team in the Competition
The NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini will be the only Italian team to start the monument race in The Netherlands. It will be the last Amstel Gold Race of the Little Prince Damiano Cunego, winner of the 2008 edition. It will be also the first Amstel Gold Race with the #OrangeBlue jersey and the second of the career, for Marco Canola that in The Netherlands in 2017 already won the Volta Limburg, showing his feeling with the country road and fans.

Amstel Gold Race 2018 – Wild Card
The NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team will be the only Italian team to start the great monument of the North on 15th of April 2018, thanks to the Wild Card received from the organizers. It will be the last Amstel Gold Race of Damiano Cunego, winner of the 2008 edition of the race, and the first one as #OrangeBlue leader for Marco Canola, at his second Amstel Gold Race in career.

The team will find competitors of very high level, but also a course that fits perfectly with the characteristic of #OrangeBlue leaders and riders. The team will have the honor to be the only Italian team in front of the Dutch public, there where cycling is like a religion and the first sport of the country for fans on the roads.

The General Manager of the team Francesco Pelosi is very satisfied for the Wild Card received: “It is a big honor for us to be back in this great race, a monument of cycling in the North of Europe. We will try to do our best as a team. We want to glorify a champion like Damiano Cunego that is going to close his career during this season and so he will ride his last Amstel Gold Race after winning the race of 2008. We will be competitive from a sportive point of view with our leader Marco Canola. The road fits his characteristic and with the ones of our best riders. For this reason we really want to thanks the organizers of the race that decided to give this important opportunity to the team and to our riders. We will race with big motivation and determination.”

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Introduces Summer of Cycling
Cycling enthusiasts to participate in four organized rides plus training, support and swag

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah announced today a new public program that invites cycling enthusiasts to participate in a series of group training sessions, organized rides and special activities to create an all-inclusive summer experience that includes the marquee events along the Wasatch Front.

The Tour of Utah Summer of Cycling is partnering with the Salt Lake City Marathon Bike Tour on April 21, the Huntsman 140 on June 16 and the Snowbird Hill Climb on July 28 to create a series of rides that culminate in taking on the Ultimate Challenge presented by University of Utah Health citizens ride on Aug. 11 during the Tour of Utah.

Registration is now available directly at www.usacycling.org/register/2018-847 or through www.tourofutah.com with a singular entry fee for all the rides and activities. To register, participants need to have free USA Cycling account.

“The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is actively engaging the cycling community with a six-month program that encourages people at all levels to be participants in this great sport,” said John Kimball, managing director of the Tour of Utah. “The Summer of Cycling is designed to provide the support, motivation and opportunities for recreational cyclists to have their best year of riding thanks to a partnership with these classic rides.”

The Summer of Cycling begins in March with group training and nutrition sessions designed by University of Utah Health and rides hosted by the Huntsman 140 coaches. Participants will have access to neutral support, call-up and starting line preference and a designated Summer of Cycling tent at finish line areas for all events.

The Salt Lake City Marathon Bike Tour follows the same 26.2-mile running course as the Salt Lake City Marathon in a first of its kind ride in Utah. The non-competitive, family-friendly ride starts at the Olympic Legacy Bridge at the University of Utah and finishes at Library Square with a one hour, 45-minute time limit.

The Huntsman 140 is a fundraising road cycling event finishing at Fort Douglas on University of Utah campus. It is a ride of all distances for survivors and supporters and a fundraiser in honor of all cancer patients. Proceeds raised through this one-day, non-competitive ride go to Huntsman Cancer Foundation to support cancer research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Participants will also have access to all Huntsman 140 VIP events.

The Snowbird Hill Climb, a 10-mile ride up Little Cottonwood Canyon, adds a new challenge with 3,500 vertical feet of climbing as a final preparation for the Ultimate Challenge. The 40th edition of this ride starts at 9400 South near Highland Drive before summiting at Snowbird Resort. Participants will also receive discounted activity passes at Snowbird Resort.

The fourth and final ride of the Summer of Cycling is the Ultimate Challenge, the non-competitive, gran fondo-style bicycle ride that mirrors the Tour of Utah’s Queen Stage as the precursor to Stage 5. Cyclists can experience the same demanding mountain course as the professionals from the Canyons Resort to Snowbird Resort. Entry in the Ultimate Challenge presented by University of Utah Health also includes accommodations at the Canyons Resort on Aug. 10 and passes to the pre-ride Pasta Party and meet and greet with pro cyclists.

Throughout the Summer of Cycling, group riding opportunities will be scheduled with professional cyclists. Four exclusive “Rides with the Pros” will occur in Davis and Utah counties in May, Salt Lake City in June and Park City in July. Another benefit of the package is cycling swag, including a Tour of Utah/Summer of Cycling kit from DNA Cycling, T-shirt and participation medal.

The 14th edition of the Tour of Utah will be held on Monday, Aug. 6 through Sunday, Aug. 12. The Tour of Utah will start in St. George for the first time with a prologue and conclude in Park City after six days of stage racing. Additional host cities or venues are Cedar City, Payson City, Antelope Island State Park, Layton City, Salt Lake City, Canyons Village, and Snowbird Resort.

More information about the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (tourofutah), Instagram (thetourofutah) and YouTube (Tour of Utah).

Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling) on the Larry H.Miller Tour of Utah 2017 podium:
Snowbasin Resort - USA - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling) pictured during stage - 2 of  The Larry H.Miller Tour of Utah 2017 from Brigham City to Snowbasin Resort (151 km) - photo Brian Hodes/Cor Vos © 2017

Polartec-Kometa 2018, three teams for the dream of the Alberto Contador Foundation
The Alberto Contador Foundation presented today in Pinto (Madrid) its fifth cyclist project with three teams under the same name, Polartec-Kometa, name shared by the Continental, U23 and Junior teams, with a total of 38 cyclists.

Alberto Contador also adds this year a friend and former teammate, Ivan Basso, at the head of the professional team, while Kometa joins Polartec to give financial support to this whole project that grows a little more each year, always with the aim to offer young cyclists the chance to realize their dream of running in a professional team at the highest level.

Alberto Contador said today that his ambition is “not only to help our riders to be professionals, but also to help them to grow as person, transmitting our principles of honesty, teamwork and sacrifice, an ideal that we also share with our sponsors”.

For his part, Ivan Basso said that the Polartec-Kometa project “has a promising future that needs all of you, riders, technicians and sponsors to move forward. We are like a family that work together to make this dream possible”.

Gary Smith, president of Polartec, congratulated himself today for fulfilling “the third year within this project. The mission of the Contador Foundation is incredible, both for cycling and the fight against stroke and, of course, the people in charge of it, Alberto and Fran Contador, Ivan Basso and Giacomo Pedranzini. We are still manufacturers of fabrics, in a business that never ends and in which there is always something to learn to keep improving. These three years have gone by very quickly, but I hope that we will continue in at least another three more years”.

The president of Kometa, Giacomo Pedranzini, made an intervention in which he said that his commitment to the project of the Contador Foundation and cycling “is due to the commitment to the health of a company dedicated to make food and to offer healthy, good tasting and affordable products. We are responsible to the new generations and, together with food, we know that sport is the activity that most influences the health. We want to promote a healthy diet and an active lifestyle”. Pedranzini added that he especially likes “the uniqueness of this project, the inspiration of Alberto and Ivan and also to support the other activities of the Foundation, such as Bikes for Life. We want to do something good for the society”.

At the Francisco Rabal Municipal Theater, in Pinto, 37 of the 38 riders that make up the Polartec-Kometa teams (Continental, U23 and Junior) were presented today. Only missed, due to bureaucratic problems with his visa, the Eritrean Awet Habtom, which will be incorporated throughout this month of February. At the head of them were its directors, Guillermo Gutiérrez (Junior), Rafa Díaz Justo (Under 23), Dario Andriotto and Jesús Hernández (Continental), as well as Félix García Casas as technical coordinator of all categories, including the Plaza Éboli Cycling School.

The Continental team, which yesterday finished its debut race in the Vuelta a Valencia, will travel tomorrow to France to continue its calendar in the Tour of Provence and Haut Var. The U-23 will soon make their debut at the San Roma Memorial and the juniors will make it at the end of the month at the Guadiana Circuit (Don Benito-Extremadura).

Polartec-Kometa Continental
Michele Gazzoli and Matteo Moschetti (Italy), Patrick Gamper (Austria), Michel Ries (Luxembourg), Awet Habtom (Eritrea), Kevin Inkelaar (Holland), Wilson Peña (Colombia), Diego Pablo Sevilla, Juan Camacho, Isaac Cantón and Miguel Ángel Ballesteros (Spain).
Sport directors: Jesús Hernández and Dario Andriotto (Italy).

Polartec-Kometa Under 23
Tomeu Gelabert, Alejandro Ropero, Jorge Pastor, Daniel Viegas (Portugal), Sergio Hernández, Juan Pedro López, Daniele Cantoni (Italy), Hugo Sampedro, Sergio García, Joan Martí Bennassar, Carlos García, José Antonio García, Alejandro Regueiro and Wesley Mol (Holland).
Sport director: Rafael Díaz Justo.

Polartec-Kometa Junior
Luis Miguel Mendoza, Javier Serrano, Miguel Patiño, Alex Martín, Joan Marc Campos, Juan José Rosal, Manuel Garrido, Carlos Rodríguez, Manuel Jesús Carrellán, Iván Oliver, Alejandro Piquero and Daniel Lopes (Portugal).
Sport director: Guillermo Gutiérrez.


John Degenkolb “Chasin’ Aces” on his customized Trek Madone
Dubai – Trek-Segafredo rider John Degenkolb has been riding and racing with success his new Project One Madone – he has won two stages at the Challenge Mallorca – and is proud to introduce it now officially to the public while racing at the Dubai Tour.

The new “Chasin’ Aces” theme features a Black Moss base color, with subtle pin-striping inspired by John’s beloved Café Racer motorcycle outlining the frame. Red fades inside the fork and chain stays pair with hints of silver to complete this limited-edition design.

“For me, my new Madone is one of the most beautiful bikes I have ever ridden. I like this perfect combination between a great color and all the nice details that give me a lot of motivation to keep chasing the aces and adding more of those to my palmarès. I have got already two of them and I want to collect some more,” said a motivated John Degenkolb.

The bike is similar to the Café Racer Domane offered previously, but with updated design details that complement Madone’s unique look. Fans will see John racing the bike this spring, and can make it their own with multiple spec options in Project One. The Chasin’ Aces is available on Madone via the Project One customization program. Riders can build their own at projectone.trekbikes.com and order through their local Trek retailer.

More info to be found at www.trekbikes.com degenkolb chasin aces.

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.