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Melbourne - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Owain DOULL (GBR / Team Sky) and Nathan EARLE (Australia / Team Israel Cycling Academy) pictured during the Towards Zero Race for men in Melbourne, at the Australian Formula 1" Grand Prix track, Albert Park on January 25, 2018, Australia - photo Con Chronis/Cor Vos © 2018

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Rumor has it that the Israel Academy team will take over at Sky – Top Story. Loads of other cycling news in today’s EUROTRASH: Luke Durbridge takes the Australian time trial championships, Tour Down Under team line-ups, Paris-Nice climbs the Turini Pass, Tour of Utah route, Mattias Skjelmose banned, Deceuninck – Quick-Step presentation, Geraint Thomas Giro/Tour, Niki Terpstra looking forward to the Tour, Wout van Aert’s road schedule, Brabantse Pijl course, compensation for Christophe Bassons, Nippo Vini Fantini Faizanè training camp, new Bigla kit, Team Novo Nordisk and Kinomap, new cars for Bahrain-Merida and Wanty wear BBB. Plus cyclocross GoPro video.

TOP STORY: Sky Team Saved – Israel Connection?
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the future of Team Sky seems to be guaranteed. The Italian sportspaper reports that Comcast – the new owner of the Sky company – has given team manager Sir Dave Brailsford a guarantee that they will pay 70% of the budget for 2020 and 2021, allowing Brailsford more time to find a new main sponsor. The team has on-going contracts with Egan Bernal, Chris Froome, Michał Kwiatkowski, Gianni Moscon and Geraint Thomas, which they would have to honor. It seems that Comcast would pay a large part of the budget without their name on the jersey. Whether the 70% is of the entire budget or of the Sky companies contribution is not clear.

La Gazzetta also says that an ‘American’ billionaire – a cycling fan – would be interested in taking over the team. This is more likely to be the Israeli/Canadian Sylvan Adams, who recently told VeloNews that intends to take the step to the WorldTour. He is the man behind the Israel Cycling Academy. The ProContinental team wants to race in the 2020 Tour de France and a merger with a WorldTour team would make the plan possible.

Adams does not that he is talking with Sky, but he also does not deny it. “We have several discussions with several WorldTour teams. I am aware of the market. We keep our eyes open and we are opportunistic. Israel Cycling Academy is growing steadily. But if an opportunity arrises, we will consider it. Sometimes you have to create your own happiness.”

According to VeloNews, Adams is putting $8 million into the Israel Cycling Academy team this year, which will have the maximum of 30 riders in 2019. This makes Israel team the largest selection of all professional teams in the peloton. Eight million dollars is only a fraction of Sky’s budget, which is estimated at around $43 million according to La Gazzetta and VeloNews.

At the moment this is only a rumor and we have heard similar before, but it would answer the problems of both sides… The only problem might be the cash.

Israeli colors on the Sky jersey? Already blue and white:

Australian Men’s National Time Trial Championships 2019
Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott) claimed a third career time trial crown with a determined ride to beat a world-class field at the 2019 FedUni Road National Championships.

Perth’s Durbridge completed the 40.9-kilometre in a time of 51mins 01secs to edge three-time national and reigning world champion Bahrain Merida’s Rohan Dennis who was sporting his rainbow jersey (51:22.65) by twenty-one seconds.

Two-time former champion Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott) clocked 51mins 44secs to complete the podium.

Australian TT champion 2019: Luke Durbridge (Mitchelton-Scott): “It’s been a long time, to be honest, 2013 was the last national championship I think I won. Both races are special to me, I’m such a passionate Aussie and I still just don’t really believe it at the moment because Rohan Dennis is a world champion and he showed he’s the best and full credit to Rohan because I think he’s made us lift, he’s made us lift our game. Hard work and persistence pays off, it’s been a hell of a week, I’m pretty happy.”

2nd, Rohan Dennis: “Whoever wins is the best [in time trials]. Look, the legs are there. The power was good. As good as any other year, if not just a little bit better. So it’s just about finding out why I didn’t go as quick now and fixing it for the next race. It’s all about trying to figure out how to go a little bit quicker with the equipment that I’ve got. It definitely helps to be beaten by a guy like Durbridge. He’s a good guy. If I can’t wear the jersey, it’s nice that it’s still going to be shown in Europe as well.”

3rd, Cameron Meyer (Mitchelton-Scott): “You stand anywhere near Rohan Dennis and you stand anywhere near Luke Durbridge on a time trial podium you’re doing well. I’m pretty happy to walk away from Buninyong with two medals.”

Thanks to Cycling Australia for the report.

Australian Men’s National Time Trial Championship Result:
1. Luke Durbridge (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott in 51:01
2. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Bahrain Merida at 0:21
3. Cameron Meyer (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 0:43.

Impey Want’s Tour Down Under Double
Daryl Impey wants to become the first rider to win the Tour Down Under for two years in a row and, obviously, the first WorldTour race of the year is very important for his Mitchelton-Scott team. “We definitely want to win again and we are also going to do that”, said Impey.

“Personally, it would be very nice to win again this year. Nobody has done that yet,” the South African leader said. “I will look at it day by day and then I’ll see where I stand. My preparation was good. I followed the same plan as last season and hopefully it will pay off.”

The departure of Sprinter Caleb Ewan is a relief for Impey. “The biggest change for me and the team is that we do not have to worry about his lead out anymore. That’s why I can put more energy into my own plans,” said the 2018 winner. One of the riders who will be racing with Impey is Mathew Hayman, who will retire after the Tour Down Under and become a DS with Mitchelton-Scott.

Team manager Matt White knows that there is pressure on the shoulders of Impey. “We are ready for the challenge. This years edition is the hardest in history, three key stages with climbs. We have not had that before.”

Mitchelton-Scott for the 2019 Tour Down Under:
Daryl Impey (SA), Luke Durbridge (Aus), Alex Edmondson (Aus), Lucas Hamilton (Aus), Mathew Hayman (Aus), Michael Hepburn (Aus), Cameron Meyer (Aus).

The 2018 winning team:
Adelaide - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Daryl IMPEY (South Africa / Team Mitchelton - Scott) and teammates pictured during 20th Santos Tour Down Under (2.UWT) stage -6 from Adelaide to Adelaide (90KM) - photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2018

Sunweb Team in Australia
Down Under Classic.
Luke Roberts – Team Sunweb coach: “We kick off the season with Down Under Classic this coming Sunday, a fast criterium in the centre of Adelaide. Our big, fast man Max Walscheid will be looking to start his season on the same strong note as he finished the 2018 season. He will be well-supported by a strong team with Cees and Max [Kanter] in the lead out. The rest of the team will focus to support Max throughout the race before we head to their more suited terrain later in the week at the Tour Down Under.”

Down Under Classic (CRT) Jan 13th – Line-up:
Cees Bol (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Jai Hindley (AUS), Max Kanter (GER), Michael Storer (AUS), Max Walscheid (GER).

Santos Tour Down Under.
Luke Roberts – Team Sunweb coach: “Next Tuesday we start stage one of the 2019 Santos Tour Down Under. This year’s edition has been spiced up a bit with Willunga hill moving to the final day, the corkscrew final has also returned to the race as well as a new lap for stage three over some very difficult terrain. There will be a few opportunities for Max Walscheid in the sprints, with young Max Kanter and Cees Bol in support, both looking to show the themselves in their WorldTour debuts. Johannes Fröhlinger will bring plenty of experience as road captain and then we have multiple cards to play for the GC with our three Aussies Chris Hamilton, Michael Storer and Jai Hindley. All three are looking to be in very good shape at the start of the season.”

Santos Tour Down Under (WT) Jan 15th to 20th – Line-up:
Cees Bol (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Jai Hindley (AUS), Max Kanter (GER), Michael Storer (AUS), Max Walscheid (GER).

Kaemna and Arndt with Max Walscheid and Max Kanter who ride in Australia:

UAE Team Emirates Season Debut in Australia
Ulissi captains the team with the three youngsters.

UAE Team Emirates is mixing tradition with fresh ingredients for its first outing of the 2019 season.

The Australian race kicks off the cycling season for the WorldTour teams, starting with the usual Down Under Classic criterium two days before on January 13.

The tour begins on January 15 and ends with something new. Instead of a flat sprinters’ stage, the Willunga Hill stage now concludes the Tour Down Under on January 20. The uphill finale will ensure suspense throughout the final meters of the 2019 event.

For UAE Team Emirates’s first 2019 race, Neil Stephens (Australia) will guide the seven-man team:
– Sven Erik Bystrøm (Norway)
– Ivo Oliveira (Portugal)
– Jasper Philipsen (Belgium)
– Tadej Pogacar (Slovenia)
– Jan Polanc (Slovenia)
– Rory Sutherland (Australia)
– Diego Ulissi (Italy)

The Australian race marks the debut in the team for Ivo Oliveira (22 years old), Jasper Philipsen and Tadej Pogacar (both 20).

Diego Ulissi has the richest palmarès of the team in the Tour Down Under with one stage win and two second places, and three times top five in the overall classification. “I’m motivated to start the season again in Australia, it’s a beautiful race given the course and the high level of participants,” Ulissi said “Given the competitors, it’s a must to arrive in Australia with good training if you want to be up in the classification battle and in the tough stages. I had a good winter and I worked to be competitive in this first race.
It will be very interesting to see how the new arrangement of stages, with the final Willunga Hill stage, will affect the race.“

Wout Poels is Hoping to Start His 2019 Season with a Bang at the Tour Down Under
Poels will lead the Team Sky charge in the first race of the campaign and the Dutchman has been working hard over the winter to be ready for 2019’s curtain raiser. Currently training in Brisbane with teammates Dylan van Baarle and Pavel Sivakov – who will join Poels on the TDU start line in Adelaide – Wout has been enjoying acclimatizing to the Australian summer.

“Normally we would arrive two days before a race but of course with the time difference, plus the fact it’s full summer over here, it made sense to come out here for two weeks before the race starts. It’s good, especially with the weather – it’s important to acclimatize. Today it was 30, 32 degrees, and it’s humid – so we’re sweating a lot!

“I’ve never done the Tour Down Under and I’ve always thought it’s an interesting race to do. I started to think about it last year, spoke to Tim [Kerrison], and I think it’s a nice goal to start the season with.”

Wout, Pavel and Dylan will travel to Adelaide on the 10th of January to meet up with the rest of the team’s Tour Down Under squad.

“You’re never too sure what to expect from the first race of the season,” explained Poels, “but I’ve been training well. The whole winter went to plan. Hopefully we can do something nice at TDU – that’s the goal. We will see.”

After the Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race Poels will head back to Europe and is likely to tackle the Volta ao Algarve and Tirreno-Adriatico, before attacking the Ardennes.

Since winning Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2016 – Team Sky’s first Monument victory – Poels has not been able to hit the Ardennes at 100%. After being forced to skip them due to a knee injury in 2017, 2018 was only a little better – Amstel Gold was his first race back after breaking his collarbone at Paris-Nice.

“I love racing the Ardennes,” continued Poels, “although it wasn’t the easiest first block back after a broken collarbone last year!

“I always have a few key goals for the season. I’d like to really do well in the Ardennes Classics – that’s important to me – but I always like to do well in all of the races I start.

“Of course I would like to get selected for the Tour again, to support the boys there, but I’ll try to be good everywhere I start.

“People like to have one clear target but I never look at it like that. New year, new season – I have to smash it everywhere!”

AG2R-La Mondiale in Australia
Team Manager Vincent Lavenu: “There is always a lot of impatience and excitement when starting a new season. We have a quality team; solid, experienced, with leaders able to excel on many terrains. After weeks of work for the riders and the staff, it’s time to get back on the road and that’s a good thing. The Santos Tour Down Under is a very beautiful race. It’s perfectly organized and we have won it four times. The weather conditions are great, the stages are short and nervous, and you have to be in good shape to shine, especially against the racers from Australia and New Zealand, since they are in the heart of their season. We kick off right a way with a UCI WorldTour race, and it is necessary to be in great shape to do well there. It’s always important to win the first race of the year to put the team on track. Winning there would be a morale boost for the entire team and staff. We are coming with a good leader in Pierre Latour, even if he has suffered from back problems, and then notably we also have Benoît Cosnefroy. Our seven riders are extremely motivated.”

13th overall last year, Pierre Latour will be the leader of the AG2R-La Mondiale team at the Tour Down Under: “In spite of the back problems I had over the winter, I am satisfied with my form. Last year was the first time I took part in this race, and I had a quite successful rest of the season. It’s an ideal way to start the year.”

Like Latour, Nico Denz, Nans Peters and Clément Chevrier will participate in the event for the second time. The most experienced of the group is Gediminas Bagdonas who will line up for this the first UCI WorldTour stage race of the season for the third time. Two of our riders will be novices at the event, and are getting ready for the Australian heat: Hubert Dupont (15th season as a professional) and Benoît Cosnefroy.

AG2R-La Mondiale in Australia:

Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu)
Down Under Classic (January 13th)
Santos Tour Down Under (January 15th-20th)
Towards Zero Race F1 (January 24th)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race (January 27th).

Clément Chevrier
Down Under Classic (January 13th)
Santos Tour Down Under (January 15th-20th)
Towards Zero Race F1 (January 24th)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race (January 27th).

Benoît Cosnefroy
Down Under Classic (January 13th)
Santos Tour Down Under (January 15th-20th)
Towards Zero Race F1 (January 24th)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race (January 27th).

Nico Denz (All)
Down Under Classic (January 13th)
Santos Tour Down Under (January 15th-20th)
Towards Zero Race F1 (January 24th)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race (January 27th).

Hubert Dupont
Down Under Classic (January 13th)
Santos Tour Down Under (January 15th-20th)
Towards Zero Race F1 (January 24th)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race (January 27th).

Pierre Latour
Down Under Classic (January 13th)
Santos Tour Down Under (January 15th-20th)
Towards Zero Race F1 (January 24th)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race (January 27th).

Nans Peters
Down Under Classic (January 13th)
Santos Tour Down Under (January 15th-20th)
Towards Zero Race F1 (January 24th)
Cadel Evans Great Ocean Race (January 27th).

Elisa Longo Borghini at Santos Women’s Tour Down Under Press Conference
Adelaide, Australia – Elisa Longo Borghini is excited to kick off the inaugural season of Trek-Segafredo women’s team and spoke earlier today to the gathered journalists about her goals and the team’s ambitions for the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under: “I am very excited to finally start the season with my new team, Trek-Segafredo, and that gives me really a great boost.”

On her shape: “I feel fine, I am probably not in top shape yet but I will be there. I’ve been training very well at home, but obviously the conditions in Northern Italy are very different from what we find here. It’s my first time in Australia and the change of temperature is right now the biggest issue. But as long as I make sure to stay hydrated, I am sure I will be okay.”

On her new team and the process to get the team dynamics right: “We already had a training camp together so we know each other and we’ve been riding together here as well, that definitely helps. Once we start racing together, I am sure we will be even more homogenous. I am confident all will turn out well. I feel very well surrounded by my teammates, we have a good atmosphere and that’s the most important thing to race well together, as a team.”

On her personal ambitions and the ones of the team: “We brought a great team to the start of this race. We are three climbers, Tayler (Wiles), Ruth (Winder) and myself and we will have three strong sprinters at the start as well, with Lauretta (Hanson), Lotta (Lepistö) and Letizia (Paternoster). Together we can make this a great race. Taking a victory would be awesome, and I strongly believe that’s possible.”

“For my GC ambitions, we will wait for stage 2 (the stage to Mengler Hill) to decide. I will see how I feel, where I stand in the GC and I will of course discuss this with my team too.”

Trek-Segafredo in Australia:

Paris-Nice 2019 Tackles the Turini Pass
Paris-Nice will tackle a terrain more familiar to Monte Carlo rally drivers than to climbers when the race goes up to the Turini pass on the penultimate day of the 77th edition. While it is a first for the Race to the Sun, it is not for the peloton, since the Tour de France took riders up the 1,607 meters of the climb three times in 1948, 1950 and 1973. The names of the men coming first at the top (Louison Bobet, Jean Robic, Vicente Lopez Carril) speak for the calibre of the riders who should shine in this stage finishing with a 15 km ascent at 7.3 pc. The Pelasque climb, training ground for the many pro cyclists who live in the area, could be a launch-pad for the main contenders in that last stage before the finale around Nice.

The other key moment of this year’s race could be the 25.5-km individual time trial held on day 5 around Barbentane, in the heart of the lovely massif of La Montagnette. In spite of a climb leading to the picturesque St Michel de Frigolet abbey at mid-course, it’s a stage for specialists, which should sort the men from the boys two days before the Turini.

The rest of the course designed by Francois Lemarchand and who will start from the department of Yvelines for the 10th consecutive year is a clear return to classicism in which every type of rider should find suitable ground for success. Three or even four stages look set for bunch sprints. Australian Caleb Ewan is among the sprinters already announced, as well as Arnaud Démare, Dylan Groenewegen, Alexander Kristoff and Mark Cavendish, who will remember once in Brignoles his stage victory of the Tour de France 2009. Aggressive riders could find an even more suitable terrain in stage 4, going from the waters of Vichy to the vineyards of Condrieu and the bumpy roads leading to Pelussin. The small town is famous in French cycling circles since the local club dominated amateur competitions in the country in the 1980s, even taking a small pro team to Paris-Nice in 1983.

The day after the Turini stage, the finale is identical to the stage that allowed Spain’s Marc Soler to clinch victory a year ago at Promenade des Anglais. Movistar look intent on retaining their crown with a strong team including Soler and Nairo Quintana. The competition should be fierce with the return of last year’s runner-up Simon Yates, since crowned in the Vuelta, and the participation –– already confirmed –– of Romain Bardet, Tony Gallopin, Miguel Angel Lopez and Tim Wellens.

Key points:
Paris-Nice has started from the Yvelines department for the past ten years. Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which hosted a stage start in 2013 is the 10th town in the department to kick off the Race to the Sun after Chatou last year.
Ø While the Race to the Sun never went up the Turini pass, the Tour did in 1948, 1950 and 1973. Louison Bobet, Jean Robic and Vicente Lopez-Carril were the men in the front at the top.
Ø 23 teams have been chosen to take part in Paris-Nice 2019: the 18 WorldTour-teams and 5 wildcard teams.

Ø Paris-Nice 2019 stages
Sunday, March 10th, stage 1: Saint-Germain-en-Laye > Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 138,5 km
Monday, March 11th, stage 2: Les Bréviaires > Bellegarde, 163,5 km
Tuesday, March 12th, stage 3: Cepoy > Moulins/Yzeure, 200 km
Wednesday, March 13th, stage 4: Vichy > Pélussin, 210,5 km
Thursday, March 14th, stage 5: Barbentane > Barbentane, 25,5 km (Time trial)
Friday, March 15th, stage 6: Peynier > Brignoles, 176,5 km
Saturday, March 16th, stage 7: Nice > Col de Turini La Bollène-Vésubie, 181,5 km
Sunday, March 17th, stage 8: Nice > Nice, 110 km

Ø The 23 selected teams
In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following eighteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:

In addition to these eighteen teams, the organizers have awarded the following wildcards:

Nine Host Venues Selected for 2019 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
“America’s Toughest Stage Race” for Pro Cycling Teams Features Overall Start at Snowbird Resort and Finish in Park City.

Nine host venues across the northern mountains and valleys of Utah will comprise the 15th edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, the men’s professional cycling stage race. The Tour of Utah, known as “America’s Toughest Stage Race,” will feature seven days of racing from Monday, Aug. 12 to Sunday, Aug. 18.

Four ski resorts will host the Tour of Utah, starting the week-long festivities with an opening Prologue at Snowbird Resort. A mountaintop finish at Powder Mountain Resort will return to the mix for the first time since 2014. The final weekend of racing will culminate in two areas of Park City, including a start-finish combination on the penultimate day at Canyons Village at Park City Mountain.

Two venues will make their Tour of Utah debuts with North Logan City and North Salt Lake. The world-class cycling event also returns to Salt Lake City, Brigham City and Antelope Island State Park as part of the stage race.

“We are excited to have these nine host communities for the 2019 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Each community is a key player in showcasing the diverse beauty of our state,” said John Kimball, managing director of the Tour of Utah. “We are shaking up the traditional northern route with an overall start at Snowbird Resort. This provides an intriguing launch pad for the entire week, from a great setting for the Team Presentation to an uphill battle on the first day of racing for the leader’s jersey.”

Here is the lineup of host venues for the seven days of racing:

The 2019 Tour of Utah host venue video and additional information on the race is available at tourofutah.com. Details regarding each stage route, such as race mileage and formats, elevation gain, and start/finish times as well as spectator festivities, will be announced in the late spring.

The Tour of Utah changes its geographical configuration each year to introduce the sport of cycling to new communities across the state, as well as present diverse courses for the professional athletes. It is only the fifth time since the Tour began in 2004 that a Prologue, a short individual time trial, will be held on the opening day of competition. Snowbird Resort will see the return of the Tour for a 12th time, this year hosting the Team Presentation and the overall start for the first time. The venue has traditionally been used for its grueling six-mile climb in Little Cottonwood Canyon on the final weekend of the event.

The Tour makes its inaugural appearance at North Logan City for Stage 1 on Tuesday of race week. Located just 26 miles from the border of Idaho, North Logan City rests in the Cache Valley of northern Utah hugged by high-elevation terrain in the Bear River Mountains.

Nearby Brigham City will host a stage start for a second time on Aug. 14. The finish line for Stage 2 will culminate over one of the steepest roads in Utah, taking riders to the top of Powder Mountain Resort on seven miles of pavement that push upwards of 16 percent in gradient. The only other time the Tour made this ascent was five years ago.

Stage 3 takes place in Davis County on Aug. 15. The day will begin on the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, which will be a fourth visit to Antelope Island State Park. The day will conclude for the first time in North Salt Lake, tucked into the western slopes of the Wasatch Range.

Salt Lake City takes center stage for a 12th time with Stage 4 on Friday, Aug. 16. Along with Snowbird Resort, Salt Lake City joins the short list of venues which have hosted the Tour of Utah most often.

Racing will conclude with two days in Park City. Canyons Village at Park City Mountain, a four-season resort, returns for a second consecutive year for a Stage 5 start and adds the finish line as well on Aug. 17. The start/finish for the grand finale returns to Park City on Aug. 18. It is the 10th year Park City has served as a host city, and the seventh time it has hosted the overall finish of the Tour of Utah.

The mid-August dates provide flexibility for WorldTeams to travel to the U.S. following the Tour de France, which takes place on July 6-28, 2019. The Tour of Utah will begin extending invitations to UCI WorldTeams, UCI Pro Continental and UCI Continental squads in January and will announce a field of 16 men’s teams in early spring.

In 2018, American Sepp Kuss of Team LottoNL-Jumbo captured the overall title at the Tour of Utah, which featured 548 miles of racing and 43,780 vertical feet of climbing. The event was broadcast to an international audience in 193 markets, including live coverage in the U.S. with FOX Sports Network. A full week of webcasting with Tour Tracker presented by Adobe engaged thousands of fans across 129 countries through consumption on mobile devices and the Tour’s website. The Tour of Utah is the only North American stage race that offers live start-to-finish online coverage via Tour Tracker.

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. The Tour of Utah remains a 2.HC-rated stage race on the UCI America Tour, making it one of the premier events for professional cycling teams in North America. It is also one of the prominent road cycling events that is featured on USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour. For Tour of Utah video highlights and additional information on the venues, visit www.tourofutah.com.

Tour of Utah 2018 stage 6:

Skjelmose Blames “Banned Substance in Supplements”
Mattias Skjelmose blames his positive doping test on the use of contaminated food supplements. The Dane is convinced of his innocence, he told the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. It was reported yesterday that he tested positive for Methylhexanamine.

“I have never used illegal doping in my life. I also drink almost no alcohol,” Skjelmose stated. “We still do not know exactly where the doping came from, but we are convinced it was in one of the supplements I used, although I always read the ingredients of everything I eat and drink.”

The young rider thinks the suspension that the UCI gave his was a bit harsh, but at the same time he accepts his punishment because he was found guilty after banned substances were found in his body. He wants to warn other riders about taking supplements and apologizes to everyone who is involved in Danish cycling.

“I found out that you cannot rely on the product descriptions, which show the ingredients of food supplements,” says Skjelmose. He tested positive on May 26, during the Tour du Pays de Vaud, a race he won overall. As the suspension started on July the 7th, 2018, he is not eligible to race until May 6th.

Mattias Skjelmose on the podium of the Tour du Pays de Vaud:

Deceuninck – Quick-Step Launch New Season in Calpe
Team CEO Patrick Lefevere talked of the squad’s goals for this year, which our team will kick off in just a couple of days.

2019 will mark the 17th season in the history of Deceuninck – Quick-Step, which under the guidance of Patrick Lefevere became one of the most successful teams in the history of the sport, amassing an astonishing 675 UCI victories over the years, including 88 Grand Tour stages, 17 Monuments, 55 stage races and 4 World Team Time Trial Championships.

Patrick Lefevere

Sponsors, partners and dozens of journalists and photographs attended the team presentation Tuesday afternoon at the Suitopia – Sol y Mar Suites Hotel in Calpe, where CEO Patrick Lefevere began by talking of the squad’s unforgettable 2018 season, which we concluded with 77 wins and the World Tour Team Classification in the bag, before sharing his expectations for the upcoming campaign.

“We can look back with pride on what we achieved last year, it was a tremendous season with a lot of satisfactions. We hope 2019 will be another great year, which we start with the same enthusiasm and motivation. I want to thank all our sponsors and partners, who believe in us and stand by our side. I am confident that together we will bring fireworks in the races and create many other brilliant moments with our group of experienced riders and young wolves, all motivated to make an impact”, Patrick Lefevere said at the team presentation.

Sponsors and riders

Deceuninck, a leading designer and manufacturer of window profile systems based in Hooglede-Gits, has joined Patrick Lefevere’s team as main title sponsors for the next couple of years, and Francis Van Eeckhout – the company’s CEO – is looking forward to this partnership.

“We are new in this sport, but have received an extraordinary welcome from this fantastic and very professional team. Cycling is expanding all over the world, as we are doing with our products, which we are selling in a large number of countries. We like the spirit we have found here, very similar to ours. This squad is a family, a really great group of friends who give everything and fight until the very last kilometer for the victory. This gives us a lot of confidence for the upcoming season, which we hope will present us with many beautiful and indelible moments.”

The team, who will race on Specialized bikes equipped with disc brakes during the entire 2019 season, comprises 25 riders representing 11 nationalities: Julian Alaphilippe, Kasper Asgreen, Eros Capecchi, Rémi Cavagna, Tim Declercq, Dries Devenyns, Remco Evenepoel, Philippe Gilbert, Alvaro Hodeg, Mikkel Honoré, Fabio Jakobsen, Bob Jungels, Iljo Keisse, James Knox, Yves Lampaert, Davide Martinelli, Enric Mas, Michael Mørkøv, Maximiliano Richeze, Fabio Sabatini, Florian Sénéchal, Pieter Serry, Zdenek Stybar, Petr Vakoc, Elia Viviani.

Most of the 2019 Deceuninck – Quick-Step Team:

Thomas Considers Giro/Tour Double
Geraint Thomas recently announced that he will defend his title in the Tour de France and has now suggested that he will possibly also add the Giro d’Italia to his schedule.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport the Tour’18 winner has not excluded the possibility of participating in the Italian Grand Tour. The Sky rider would Tom Dumoulin and Vincenzo Nibali, both of whom will also combine Giro and Tour. According to the generally well-informed Italian sports newspaper, Thomas and Sky are making the decision in the coming days. With what ambition the Briton goes to Italy is still unclear.

Welsh winner in Italy?

Niki Terpstra Looking Forward to Attacking in the Tour de France
Niki Terpstra will start as a free rider in the Tour de France, the newcomer to the Direct Energie team told De Telegraaf during the ‘6 Days’ of Rotterdam. “We will attack every day and if we do not succeed, then we just try again the next day.”

For many fans, Terpstra’s transfer to the French ProContinental team came as a surprise. “At first I was also surprised by the offer. It became more and more interesting,” Terpstra recalls. “I’m happy with my choice and I’m excited about the adventure. It’s something new.”

Over the past eight years Terpstra has raced for the Quick-Step Floors teams, giving them some great victories; Paris-Roubaix in 2014, the Tour of Flanders and E3 Harelbeke in 2018, plus Le Samyn and the Dwars door Vlaanderen, both twice. “Quick-Step Floors was a warm nest with a familiar atmosphere, but of course it also became a bit of the same.”

The former Dutch champion expects to start in the Tour, although ASO has not yet announced which teams will receive a wildcard. Direct Energie has not yet ridden a Tour de France. “We do not have a man for the overall standings or a top sprinter, so we will all be racing free. I will do well out of that,” said Terpstra.

First win for Terpstra in 2019 – Rotterdam ‘6Day’

Van Aert Looks Forward to the Road Season
Wout van Aert has released some more details about his road program in an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws last weekend during his trip to the French cyclocross; La Mézière. “A new step in my development process,” the World cyclocross champion said.

“After the Amstel Gold Race I’ll take a rest to get over the spring Classics,” he said about his plans with his new Jumbo-Visma team. “Then I go altitude training and I race in the Dauphiné in the service of the team and especially to learn a lot. I’m look forward to the French stage race, it is a new step in my development process as a road race rider.”

Van Aert also sees the Dauphiné as preparation for the Belgian championships – road and time trial. “The goals at the end of June. After that I have some rest again and during the Tour I build up to the autumn and the start of the new cyclocross season. Without competitions, purely with training. I will only return in August, including the BinckBank Tour and the EuroEyes Cyclassics in Hamburg.”

Wout van Aert 2019 Road Schedule:
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (March 2)
Strade Bianche (9 March)
Milan-San Remo (March 23)
E3 BinckBank Classic (March 29)
Gent-Wevelgem (March 31)
Tour of Flanders (7 April)
Paris-Roubaix (April 14)
Amstel Gold Race (April 21)
Criterium du Dauphiné (9-16 June)
Belgian time trial championship (June 27)
Belgian championship on the road (30 June)
BinckBank Tour (12-18 August)
EuroEyes Cyclassics (25 August).

Wout van Aert – On the road with Jumbo-Visma:

New Climbs for Brabantse Pijl in 2019
The Brabantse Pijl has made some changes to the course for the 2019 edition. Two local laps of 16.3 kilometers around Beersel have been added and will tackle climbs of the Bruine Put, Menisberg and Lotsestraat. The last two slopes are new in the parcourse. The finish in Overijse is the same.

The 59th edition of the one-day race, which is known as the traditional transition between the cobblestone classics and the hill classics, starts in Leuven for a 200 kilometer race with 32 climbs, two more than in 2018. After a flat approach through Overijse and Braine-l’Alleud, the peloton heads Beersel, where they hit Alsemberg after 50 kilometers.

After two laps of Beersel, the peloton continues via Sint-Genesius-Rode towards Overijse for the finalé. There the riders ride three local laps with the climbs of the Hagaard, Hertstraat, Holstheide, Ijskelderlaan and Schavei. The Brabantse Pijl or Flèche Brabant is on Wednesday 17th April.

2018 winner Tim Wellens:

Damages for Ex-Rider Bassons
Retired French rider Christophe Bassons must receive compensation from the French Cycling Federation FFC, after a French court ruled against the federation for improperly suspended him for one year for missing a doping test.

The 44-year-old Bassons had been riding a mountain bike race in 2012, but he missed the doping control and was suspend for one year. Bassons appealed against the judgment, because he had abandoned the race with 20 kilometers to go. “Two and a half hours later I was told that I had to go to the doping control, but I was almost home already and it was too late to go back,” explained Bassons.

The French judge agreed with Bassons, but the FFC made a counter-appealed. The court didn’t agree with the Federation and so Bassons must receive compensation of more than €31,000.

The Frenchman has always been outspoken against the use of doping and always called himself ‘Mister Proper’. In 2001 he stopped racing because he was no longer a welcome in the peloton.

Christophe Bassons – 2000 Paris-Nice prologue in Vincennes:

Nippo Vini Fantini Faizanè: First 2019 Training Camp in Calpe from 12 to 20 January
The 2019 of the #OrangeBlue will start from Calpe, in Spain, to finalize the athletic preparation in view of the first appointments of the season. Ten days entirely dedicated to trainings and athletic test.

The 2019 of the #OrangeBlue will start again from Spain, to be precise from the warm Valencian coast in Calpe. Meeting scheduled for this Saturday, January 12 at the Hotel Diamante Beach where the athletes of the NIPPO Vini Fantini Faizanè team will meet to train with ideal temperatures to finalize the athletic preparation in view of the first seasonal appointments.

Sport Directors and athletic trainers have prepared a training calendar with some days focused on tests and athletic tests. Together with the team there are also some amateurs riders and fans who can ride and fully live these days of training together with the team.

The team’s competitive season will then start in South America, in Argentina at the Vuelta San Juan, in the following week after the conclusion of the training camp, while the first European competition will be in February, in Spain with the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana.

Nippo training:

Endura Presents a New-Look for Bigla in the 2019 Season
Bigla and Endura look forward to continuing their successful partnership into 2019, and are pleased to present the new jersey, the design of which visualizes the team’s new identity.

The new look is the biggest change in the team’s four years of partnership with Endura. The new colors also incorporate the identity of the team’s new bicycle partner CHAPTER2.

In addition to performance, the team aims to be a lifestyle brand that will hopefully inspire others to ride and lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

As Pamela Barclay, Endura’s Brand Director, explains: “We are really inspired to again be connected to such a spirited team which has consistently punched above its weight and budget. The design of the Bigla kit for 2019 reflects the fact that we start with a clean sheet and no restrictions; none of the sponsors demanded the usual space they might expect, so in that respect it is the visual representation of selflessness for the greater good, and that is a cornerstone of the team’s ethos. The simplicity and streamlined effect is modern and progressive and the linear pattern reflects the sense of speed on the road when you are all out on an effort; it gives the sense of the lines on the road as you swallow them on a solo attempt with your head down. It’s all about commitment, focus and concentration on getting the job done and that’s very much the DNA of this team and everybody in it.”

Bigla kit for 2019:

Team Novo Nordisk and Kinomap Announce Partnership
Kinomap will allow fans to ride alongside Team Novo Nordisk athletes in a variety of training situations from the comforts of their home trainers

Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, and Kinomap, cycling’s largest geo-located video sharing platform, announced a new partnership that will allow fans to train and compete alongside Team Novo Nordisk athletes in various team rides through simulation.

“Since we launched in December 2012, Team Novo Nordisk has always stood for more than a professional cycling team. Exercise is the billion-dollar drug that never gets prescribed, and we want to continue providing hope and inspiration to the more than 425 million people affected by diabetes on a daily basis,” Team Novo Nordisk CEO and Co-Founder Phil Southerland said. “There is a global health epidemic in regards to physical inactivity, and we believe this partnership can serve as a motivating factor for everyone to exercise. Through Kinomap’s technology, fans can virtually join our athletes on rides and together we can continue to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes and help change the health of the world.”​

Through home trainers, fans will be able to practice and ride alongside Team Novo Nordisk athletes in countries like Rwanda, Japan, United States, Denmark, and many more locations as they race globally to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes. Team Novo Nordisk athletes will record original training footage from various UCI events and training camps, and through Kinomap’s technology, participants will be able to experience lifelike conditions such as road variations and elevation changes through the resistance of their home trainer.

“Kinomap is delighted to offer this unique workout experience to ride year-round with Team Novo Nordisk riders in real life videos. Whether you’re an elite athlete or just trying to keep in good shape, you’ll find the content and level that suits your needs,” Kinomap President Philippe Moity said. “Our users have discovered that they stick with their fitness routines an average of thirty percent longer when they workout with Kinomap, so whether you are at home or in the gym, you can ride along with Team Novo Nordisk.”

Team Novo Nordisk’s men’s professional team will kick off the 2019 season with a training ride from our November 2018 camp in Mojácar, Spain. Follow Team Novo Nordisk on Kinomap throughout the season for more videos from our training sessions, camps, and races as we inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes.

Kinomap turns a bike trainer, spinning or exercise bike into a powerful and fun training device. With more than 140,000 kilometers of video content, the Kinomap app transforms an indoor ride into an engaging live-action experience in places around the globe. In addition to cycling, Kinomap also offers videos for runners and rowers.

Throughout 2019, Team Novo Nordisk and Kinomap will be giving away free trials and discounts for Kinomap memberships. Follow Team Novo Nordisk on social media to find out more.

Gruppo Autotorino and Rent2go Mobility Partners of Team Bahrain Merida
BAHRAIN MERIDA Pro Cycling Team are delighted to announce the launch of a new collaboration with Gruppo Autotorino and Rent2go, for the delivery of the official team vehicle in 2019.

Established in 1965 Autotorino became the Italian top car dealer group in 2015 and a few years later it was the first Italian brand to be included into the group of the top 50 European Dealers. And now, for the first time, Autotorino enters the world of cycling, by the signing of a one-year partnership agreement with Team BAHRAIN MERIDA in collaboration with Rent2go, the long-term car rental newco, which it co-founded in 2018.

Thanks to this partnership they will supply a total of 14 cars, selecting top of the line models as the new Kia Ceed and the Kia Optima.

“We’re happy to use again KIA team vehicles in 2019 and we hope that we will repeat the great successes achieved together last year”Alex Carera, Team BAHRAIN MERIDA Business & Marketing Manager says “This partnership brings together four leading companies as Team BAHRAIN MERIDA, Gruppo Autotorino, Rent2go and KIA Italia. We all share passion, dedication, but above all team spirit, that is at the basis of this agreement too.”

Passion, knowledge, dedication and determination are in fact some of the typical values in sports, shared by Autotorino too – as shown in its more than 50 years history – and by its numerous staff members, which are sports lovers and sportsmen as well. For this reason Autotorino Group had always supported top athletes, teams and events of various disciplines (volleyball, basketball, football, skiing, mountain runner, to name a few of them).

Plinio Vanini, Gruppo Autotorino President comments “Our commitment is to assure full freedom of movement to people. For this reason, we’re not just car dealers, but we perform our role more actively. We’re happy to provide our services – developed through our company Rent2go – to Team BAHRAIN MERIDA and we hope to share lots of wins with them.”

Gruppo Autotorino started 2019 with power and dedication to take on a new season with big aims. After a constantly growing in 2018 (+5% sales; 10% turnover) the best Italian Dealer is already thinking about new challenges, as moving BAHRAIN MERIDA riders and staff members on the roads worldwide, at the renowned cycling events like the fascinating Classics and the Grand Tours.

“It is a huge pleasure for us to be here at Autotorino to announce this partnership agreement” Brent Copeland Team BAHRAIN MERIDA General Manager says at the press conference “Vehicles represent a fundamental contribution for the team. Our staff and our athletes move around the world, covering thousands of kilometers. Having safe and reliable cars is something we care about.”

The new team vehicles are ready to get in on the action, with a part of the team that will move to Cambrils in Spain for the next training camp, attended among the athletes by Sonny Colbrelli, back from a successful 2018 and who is expected to take prestigious results in 2019 as well: “We will enjoy the Spain’s warm climate to be able to train better ahead of the racing debut. My season will start with the Vuelta Valenciana on 6th February and continue in Oman. Then my aim will be the Classics, starting from Milano-Sanremo.”

BBB Reintegrates Joins the Wanty-Gobert Family
Wanty-Gobert Cycling Team, the new official name of our team in 2019, is pleased to announce the return of BBB as technical partner for this new season. The Dutch cycling brand in cycling parts and accessories will once again supply the glasses and helmets to the Belgian ProContinental team in 2019. Wanty-Gobert riders will wear the BBB Icarus and BBB Tithon helmets on the road and the BBB Aerotop in the time trials. The BBB Avenger glasses provide ideal visibility in competition and the BBB Town next to the bike.

Xandro Meurisse (rider): “The new helmets and eyeglasses from BBB fit perfectly into the spirit of our 2019 outfit. Our outfit is harmonious from head to toe, and the color of our BBB helmets will allow us to stand out in the peloton.”

Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “I am very happy to work with BBB again. We have always maintained excellent relations with the Dutch brand in cycling parts and accessories that provided us with helmets and glasses from 2014 to 2016. I am convinced that we will continue to make progress in developing excellent products that combine elegance, safety and performance for our riders.”

Rick de Jong (Marketing Manager BBB Cycling): “BBB has been the proud sponsor of Team Wanty-Gobert from 2014 til 2016 and is looking forward working with Team Wanty-Gobert again. We’ve always had a special connection with the team and the cooperation has always been very relaxed. In the past the team has contributed to our in-house product development, as we always use the input and feedback from professional rides into our product development. This is a great opportunity to rebuild our cooperation and a wonderful way to work together in the biggest cycling events in the world.”

Ride Cross with the Stars
Ever wanted to try cyclocross? Well, you can come close to it with this GoPro video taken from Tim Merlier’s bike at the Valkenburg world championships course recon. Wout van Aert also takes a fall.

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