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EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The 2018 WorldTour is about to start in Australia with the Tour Down Under. Can Richie Porte repeat? – Top Story. Video and result from the Australian women’s road race. In other cycling news: More from the Tour Down Under, plus race news from the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, Criterium du Dauphine, Arctic Race of Norway and the Tour of Utah. Wanty-Groupe Goubert happy to be in the Tour, 20 years of Quick-Step, UAE Team Emirates back in Sicily, Clément Venturini to defend title, new kit for Team Novo Nordisk, Dave Rayner Fund riders, SEG Racing squad and Mia Manganello is now an Olympian!

TOP STORY: The Santos Tour Down Under 2018
The 2018 WorldTour starts on Tuesday the 16th of January in Adelaide with the Santos Tour Down Under, although there is the People’s Choice Classic on Sunday the 14th as a warm up. The six stages are all based in the Adelaide area of South Australia.

Always a hard fought season opener which has a stronger field every year. Look out for World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) and the BMC pair of Richie Porte and Rohan Dennis. Porte is always dangerous on the Willunga Hill stage 5, where he has won four years on the trot. Others to look for at the stage finishes will be Caleb Ewan, Elia Viviani, Simon Gerrans, Andre Greipel, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Luis Leon Sanchez.

For the GC there are a few possibles, as well as Porte the home grown competition should come from: Brendan Canty, Jay McCarthy, Lachlan Morton, Nathan Haas plus from New Zealand, George Bennett. Of the non-antipodeans; Gorka and Ion Izagirre, Pierre Latour, Sam Oomen and Diego Ulissi will want to show their early season form.

See the first photos from Adelaide in ‘PELOPICS’.

2018 Tour Down Under stages:
Sunday 14 January, 2018: People’s Choice Classic, Wakefield Road Circuit, 50.6km
Tuesday 16 January 2018, Stage 1: Port Adelaide to Lyndoch, 145km
Wednesday 17 January 2018, Stage 2: Unley to Stirling, 148.6km
Thursday 18 January 2018, Stage 3: Glenelg to Victor Harbor, 146.5km
Friday 19 January 2018, Stage 4: Norwood to Uraidla, 128.2km
Saturday 20 January 2018, Stage 5: McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill, 151.5km
Sunday 21 January 2018,Stage 6: Adelaide Street Circuit, 90km.

World champion Peter Sagan arrives in Adelaide for the TDU:

Australian Women’s National Championship 2018
The Australian women’s championship was won by Shannon Malseed (TIBCO-SVB) from a fast group of finishers.

Jessica Allen (Mitchelton-Scott), Lauren Kitchen (FDJ), and Kate Perry (Specialized Racing) escaped on the first lap and soon built up a lead of 4 minutes by the 3rd lap. On the next lap the Mitchelton-Scott team pulled the lead back to 3 minutes on the smooth working break. With 35km to go the three leaders were down to 2 minutes on the peloton.

On the climb, Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) made her move and was joined by Malseed and Katrin Garfoot. The peloton pulled them back for Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott) to attack on the Buninyong climb. Spratt, Garfoot, Gillow, Malseed, Brodie Chapman and Grace Brown managed to join her.

With just over a lap to go the lead was only 30 seconds. Kennedy, Garfoot and Spratt were again on the attack and by the start of the final lap the leaders were caught and a group of ten riders formed. On the last climb, with 10 kilometers to go, Spratt made her move pulling Garfoot, Malseed, Kitchen, Brown, Brodie Chapman and Gillow away.

Into the final stretch and Garfoot attacked and looked to have the win, but Malseed had the speed to pass her with Kitchen and Brown taking second and third places.

Australian Women’s National Championship Result:
1. Shannon Malseed (Aus) TIBCO-SVB in 3:05:03
2. Lauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
3. Grace Brown (Aus) Holden Team Gusto
4. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Katrin Garfoot (Aus)
6. Brodie Chapman (Aus) Canberra Cycling Club
7. Shara Gillow (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at 0:04
8. Lauretta Hanson (Aus) UnitedHealthcare at 1:01
9. Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:15
10. Kate Perry (Aus) at 2:08.

Australian champs’18:

Santos Tour Down Under
Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts (AUS): “Stage one of the Tour Down Under features the same finish as last year, and once again we can expect a bunch sprint. We can also expect that the third stage down at Victor Harbour will end in a mass sprint; we have Phil [Bauhaus] as our sprinter for the fast stages with Nikias [Arndt] and Mike [Teunissen] as the last men with him into the finish. Phil is in really good shape after a good period of rest and training and we can expect some good results from him. Stage 2 is a key climbing stage, one that’s a little bit too difficult for the sprinters. We will explore possibilities with Sam during the race, so this will be a key stage for him. Stage 4 features a new finish that is quite difficult, here we will also need to deliver Sam in a good position. The fifth and final stage at Willunga Hill will be the ultimate decider for the overall standings.”

Nikias Arndt (GER), Phil Bauhaus (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Sam Oomen (NED), Michael Storer (AUS), Mike Teunissen (NED).
Coach: Luke Roberts (AUS).

Nikias Arndt in Geelong:
Geelong - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Nikias ARNDT (Germany / Team Sunweb) pictured during Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race 2017 - photo Con Chronis/Cor Vos © 2017***Australia out***

People’s Choice Classic
Team Sunweb coach Luke Roberts (AUS): “Kicking off the season we have the People’s Choice Classic in Australia. It’s a 50 kilometer criterium that’s always really high speed. The first race of the year, there will be a lot of people testing their legs and wanting to show what form they’re in after the winter period. We will aim for a result with German sprinter Phil [Bauhaus] and have a strong lead-out in guys like Nikias [Arndt] and Mike [Teunissen] to help position him into the finale.”

Nikias Arndt (GER), Phil Bauhaus (GER), Chad Haga (USA), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Sam Oomen (NED), Michael Storer (AUS), Mike Teunissen (NED).
Coach: Luke Roberts (AUS).

Sam Oomen:

Dimension Data for the Santos Tour Down Under
The 2018 season kicks off proper for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka at the UCI World Tour opener, The Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide, Australia. Now in it’s 20th year, the Santos Tour Down Under gets underway with the traditional People’s Choice Classic Criterium on Sunday 14th January. The six stage World Tour race then gets underway on Tuesday 16 January, ending Sunday 21 January.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka are motivated to get the season underway in sunny South Australia, more so with a former winner of the Tour Down now in our squad. After winning in 2013, our new recruit for 2018, Tom-Jelte Slagter returns to the Tour Down Under to lead our African Team over the coming week of racing.

Joining Slagter on our TDU roster will be a good mix of experience and youth as Mark Renshaw, Jaco Venter, Lachlan Morton, Ben O’Connor, Scott Davies and Nic Dlamini all take the start for Team Dimension Data too. For Davies and Dlamini, the Tour Down Under will be a special event as it marks the start of their pro careers for the two neo-pro’s.

For the race itself, our African Team will obviously have one eye on the overall classification with Slagter being suited to the Queen stage of the race. Morton and O’Connor will also be good options for the tougher stages and when it’s a sprint, Renshaw has proven in the past he is able to finish on the stage podium.

Tom-Jelte Slagter – Rider
The Tour Down Under is great way to start the season with my new team. So far I am really happy with the team since we met in South Africa last year, everything has been great here as well with everyone working well together. Training has been going well too and it’s really nice to start the season here, in good weather. We have a motivated team, with some Australian’s who are normally in good shape for their home race. We are here to race for the victory or at least the best possible result we can achieve. I have good memories from 2013 and I was here last year as well, so I think with this team we can do a really good and I am ready for it too.

Team Roster for the Santos Tour Down Under 2018:
Tom-Jelte Slagter, Mark Renshaw, Jaco Venter, Lachlan Morton , Ben O’Connor, Nic Dlamini, Scott Davies.

AG2R-La Mondiale to Santos Tour Down Under and Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race
Pierre Latour: “I am happy to have the chance to race these Australian events for the first time. I have been a professional since 2015, but I have never had the opportunity to start a race so far away. My winter has been productive, I have not been hobbled by any health glitches, and I feel good on the bike. This trip to Australia holds many interests for me. It will allow me to make my first efforts in a competition for the year, and will also present a good early test with the finish at the top of Willunga Hill (5th stage). I don’t know what to expect at the Santos Tour Down Under, but we have a great team. We will be 25 days on site in Australia, which will also give us the chance to do some training sessions in excellent weather conditions. After that, I will start my European campaign at the Faun Environment – Classic of the Ardèche Rhône Crussol.”

The Number 3:
Pierre Latour, Nico Denz and Nans Peters will all race the Santos Down Under Tour for the first time.

The News
Mikaël Cherel and Ben Gastauer chose to finalize their winter preparation in Australia. These two riders of ours have already been training in the Adelaide area since mid-December.

Teams Selection for the Tour de France, Paris-Nice and the Criterium du Dauphine 2018
The organizers of the Tour de France have chosen the teams that will take part in the 76th edition of Paris-Nice (March 4-11), the 70th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné (June 3-10) and the 105th edition of the Tour de France (July 7-29).

In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following eighteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:

AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
Bahrain – Merida (Brn)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Bora – Hansgrohe (All)
FDJ (Fra)
Lotto Soudal (Bel)
Mitchelton- Scott (Aus)
Movistar Team (Esp)
Quick-Step Floors (Bel)
Team Dimension Data (Afs)
Team EF Education First – Drapac P/B Cannondale (USA)
Team Katusha – Alpecin (Sui)
Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (P-B)
Team Sky (GBR)
Team Sunweb (All)
Trek – Segafredo (USA)
UAE Team Emirates (UAE).

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

Tour de France 2018
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra)
Direct Energie (Fra)
Team Fortuneo – Samsic (Fra)
Wanty – Groupe Gobert (Bel).

Paris-Nice 2018
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra)
Delko Marseille Provence KTM (Fra)
Direct Energie (Fra)
Team Fortuneo – Samsic (Fra).

Criterium du Dauphine 2018
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (Fra)
Team Fortuneo – Samsic (Fra)
Vital Concept Cycling Club (Fra)
Wanty – Groupe Gobert (Bel).

Tour de France 3D route:

Paris-Nice 2018: Attack!
Paris-Nice can be won by a mere matter of seconds. This thrilling scenario occurred last year, with a last gasp 2 second victory by Sergio Henao over Alberto Contador, as well as in 2016 when Geraint Thomas finished the race 4 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador once again. For the 76th edition, the program concocted offers potential for surprises and gives priority to attacking riders. The Race to the Sun will start for the 9th consecutive time from the Yvelines department, with a format that could once again give rise to a variety of scenarios. The first stage between Chatou and Meudon will be rounded off with an uphill finish on which the runners of Paris-Versailles are used to suffering, though this time it is likely to smile on Ardennes Classics specialists thanks to the 1.9-km climb (with a 6% average gradient) terminating at the Observatory. Afterwards, the roads leading to Vierzon (on stage 2) and then to Chatel-Guyon (stage 3) should be well-suited to the sprinters’ teams, though a decisive stage in the race will take place in Saint-Etienne, with an 18.4-km individual time trial on which the pretenders for the title will have to show their power.

Fortune will favor the brave as the race tackles the fortifications of Sisteron (on stage 5), whilst a high-intensity final trio of stages that has again been retained on the menu, for one hell of a final battle. This time, the first act that will put the climbers to the fore will take place on the stage finishing in Vence, where the pack will arrive in scattered formation, after having ascended the Côte de la Colle-sur-Loup slope 10 km from the finish. The following day, a genuine climbing challenge will face the favorites, who will do battle on the race’s unprecedented final 16-km ascent leading to the La Colmiane resort. Anything could still be possible on the last stage looping around Nice, especially due to the changes made this year for the finish: the climb up the Col d’Eze pass by a different side which will be followed by a short distance of 9 km between the final difficulty, the Col des Quatre Chemins pass, and the finishing line, where every second will count.

Key points:
Taking place between 4th and 11th March, the first major European stage race in 2018 will start from Chatou in the Yvelines department and will present opportunities to all types of riders.
Ø Punchers will have pride of place on the very first day, before the turn of the sprinters, followed by riders strong on the flat during an individual time-trial halfway through the race, in Saint-Etienne. The battle for the title could be fought by the climbers on the La Colmiane stage, but the last day and its re-arranged route will provide plenty of opportunities for attacking riders before the final verdict on the shores of the Mediterranean in Nice.

Paris-Nice 2018
Sunday, March 4th, stage 1: Chatou > Meudon, 135 km
Monday, March 5th, stage 2: Orsonville> Vierzon, 187 km
Tuesday, March 6th, stage 3: Bourges > Châtel-Guyon, 210 km
Wednesday, March 7th, stage 4: La Fouillouse > Saint-Étienne, 18,4 km (clm individuel)
Thursday, March 8th, stage 5: Salon-de-Provence > Sisteron, 163,5 km
Friday, March 9th, stage 6: Sisteron > Vence, 188 km
Saturday, March 10th, stage 7: Nice > Valdeblore La Colmiane, 175 km
Sunday, March 11th, stage 8: Nice > Nice, 110 km.

2018 Arctic Race of Norway Heads North
The Arctic Race of Norway is a thrilling competition that provides a launch pad for young stars year after year. In 2017, Belgian Dylan Teuns capped a spectacular August by winning two of the four stages of the Arctic Race as well as the general classification. This year’s race is likely to go down to the wire, with punchers again taking centre stage.

For only the second time in its six-year history, the Arctic Race of Norway will stay entirely within a single county. Finnmark, located in the far north of Norway, is home to the indigenous Sami people, who are known for their traditional culture and, especially, reindeer herding. The four-stage route of the sixth edition crosses the county from east to west. As a result, the peloton will get to explore the roads of East Finnmark, a part of the county yet to be explored by the race, which has been pushing the limits of cycling since its inception. The race will start with a 190.5 km stage from Vadsø, the administrative centre of Finnmark, to Kirkenes, the last town before the Russian border. Mountain points counting towards the salmon jersey will be on offer on four different climbs. Riders should watch out for a demanding stage finish, with an 8% gradient in the last 500 m.

Will the riders have enough time to feast their eyes on the jaw-dropping landscapes of stage 2? The peloton will roll out of Tana for a 195 km romp to Kjøllefjord —the queen stage of this edition. Stage 2 is likely to be the toughest one in the history of the race, with a total elevation gain of 2,700 m. The final climb comes with just 4 km to go, right before a hurtling descent to the finish.

Honningsvåg, the last town before the North Cape, will host the start of stage 3. The peloton will travel 201 km to the northernmost city in the world, Hammerfest, famous for being home to the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society. The first climb on the course lies just 2 m above sea level. As in 2014, the peloton will ride through a tunnel below sea level in a nod to the salmon-coloured mountains jersey. This stage features yet another explosive finish, with a 1.7 km climb averaging 5%.

The sixth edition of the Arctic Race of Norway will come to a close with a 145 km stage from Kvalsund to Alta. The rollercoaster-like finale has the potential to turn the general classification on its head, leaving the race undecided until the very end. Norwegian fans, known for their enthusiasm, will certainly enjoy the show.

Meet the heroes of tomorrow
Just a few hours before the pro riders reach Alta, 16- and 17-year-old talents from all over Norway and five European countries will get their opportunity to shine in the Arctic Heroes of Tomorrow Race, a junior race organized by Statoil, a major sponsor of the Arctic Race of Norway, and the Norwegian Cycling Federation. Year after year, it consolidates its reputation as the event that sees the rise of the future stars of men and women’s cycling in a country where cycling fever is spreading at an unprecedented rate.

A full-on week of cycling in Norway
The Arctic Race of Norway will take place in the third week of August (16–19), a week later than usual. The northernmost race in the world has been pushed back to avoid a scheduling conflict with the European Championships. Arctic Race broadcaster TV2 Norge will also show the Ladies Tour of Norway, which is part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour. A whole week of cycling for the Scandinavian country.

Knut-Eirik Dybdal, director of Arctic Race of Norway: “The Arctic Race of Norway has become a unique opportunity to visit or to revisit Northern Norway, with the positive effect of promoting Norway in general. This year’s edition will truly give spectators and TV viewers all around the world a taste of the Arctic.”

Thor Hushovd, World Champion and ambassador of the event: “This 6th edition of the Actic Race will be spectacular and indecisive until the last day in Alta. It will dedicate a complete runner, able to sprint in hill while perfectly negotiating the average mountain as on the stage of Kjøllefjord. I can’t wait to see the runners on these unprecedented routes in Eastern Finnmark.”

Key points :
The sixth edition of the Arctic Race of Norway is scheduled for 16–19 August.
· The northernmost race in the world will visit East Finnmark, the only part of Northern Norway it had yet to explore.
· Just like last year, the course of the Arctic Race of Norway is tailored to punchers. The second stage, which boasts an elevation gain of 2,700 m, will be tougher than any other one in the history of this stage race.

Route of the 2018 Arctic Race of Norway:
Thursday August 16th, stage 1: Vadsø – Kirkenes, 190,5 km
Friday August 17th, stage 2: Tana – Kjøllefjord, 195 km
Saturday August 18th, stage 3: Honningsvåg – Hammerfest, 201 km
Sunday August 19th, stage 4: Kvalsund – Alta, 145 km.

Host Venues Announced for 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
​Four WorldTour Teams among early commitments for cycling stage race on Aug. 6-12.

Organizers of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah announced today the dates, host venues and early inclusion of four Top 10 UCI WorldTour teams for the 2018 edition of the week-long men’s professional cycling race known as “America’s Toughest Stage Race.”

The 14th edition of the Tour of Utah will be held on Monday, Aug. 6 through Sunday, Aug. 12 – a week later on the international cycling calendar than the previous four years. 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.

“The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah will break new ground with its southernmost start amid the red rocks of St. George before traveling north to the ultimate finish line in Park City,” said John Kimball, managing director of the Tour of Utah. “The 2018 race will captivate fans across the state, showcase the beauty of Utah and demonstrate the diversity of our communities and terrain. With an initial commitment from four WorldTour teams, we look forward to hosting a world-class peloton in Utah.”

Here is the lineup of host cities and venue 2018 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah:
Prologue: Monday, Aug. 6 – St. George
Stage 1: Tuesday, Aug. 7 – Cedar City
Stage 2: Wednesday, Aug. 8 – Payson City
Stage 3: Thursday, Aug. 9 – Antelope Island State Park to Layton City
Stage 4: Friday, Aug. 10 – Salt Lake City
Stage 5: Saturday, Aug. 11 – Canyons Village to Snowbird Resort
Stage 6: Sunday, Aug. 12 – Park City.

For the 2018 Tour of Utah stage video and additional information on the venues, visit www.tourofutah.com.

The Tour of Utah remains a 2.HC-rated stage race on the UCI America Tour, making it one of the premier events for North America. The new dates provide a full week for WorldTeams to travel to the United States following the Tour de France, which takes place July 7-29, 2018. The Tour of Utah expects a field of more than 120 riders representing 16+ teams for seven grueling days of racing.

The Tour of Utah has early WorldTour team commitments from the third-ranked BMC Racing Team (USA), fifth-ranked Trek-Segafredo (USA), seventh-ranked Mitchelton-Scott (Australia) and 10th-ranked EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale (USA).

Competing for the 10th time in Utah, BMC Racing Team has had many successes, winning the overall team classification at the 2008, 2016 and 2017 Tour of Utah. Trek-Segafredo returns to Utah for its fourth appearance. Mitchelton-Scott is back for a second time after previously racing as ORICA GreenEDGE in 2013. This is the eighth year for a Slipstream Sports-owned team to race in Utah, returning after a one-year absence as EP Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale.

The Tour of Utah changes each year to introduce the sport of cycling to new places and present challenging courses to the riders. St. George makes its host debut as a Tour of Utah newcomer for the prologue on Monday, Aug. 6. St. George is located in the southwestern corner near the tri-state junction of Utah, Arizona and Nevada for the opening segment of race week.

A four-time Tour of Utah host city, Cedar City will host Stage 1 on Aug. 7 and serve as the race headquarters for the overall start festivities around Southern Utah University. Cedar City offers the challenging combination of high-elevation riding in Dixie National Forest and Cedar Breaks National Monument along with the fast-paced circuits around downtown “Festival City USA.”

The classic western town of Payson City, sitting at the foot of Mount Nebo as the highest mountain in the Wasatch Range of Utah, hosts a stage for a third time with Stage 2 on Aug. 8. Stage 3 features a start at Antelope Island State Park, which is located on the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. Layton City, which hosted a start line at the 2017 Tour of Utah, will now be the finish line in Davis County on Aug. 9.

Salt Lake City, the state capital and largest city in Utah, takes center stage for an 11th time with Stage 4 on Aug. 10. The “Queen Stage” is Aug. 11 featuring a route from the Canyons Village in Park City to the traditional Saturday finish at Snowbird Resort. Park City will host the Tour of Utah for a ninth time with Stage 6. The Sunday finale on Aug. 12 will determine the overall winner of the yellow jersey for the Tour of Utah.

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.

In 2017, Canadian Rob Britton of Rally Cycling captured the overall general classification victory at the Tour of Utah which featured 605 miles of racing and 35,525 vertical feet of climbing.

Tour organizers note the event’s growth since 2011, when the race was first elevated as a UCI-sanctioned event. Television viewership has expanded with international broadcast partners providing coverage in 193 markets, and FOX Sports Network providing coverage nationally. A full week of webcasting with Tour Tracker presented by Adobe engaged 136,000 fans across 109 countries through consumption on mobile devices and the Tour’s website. The Tour of Utah is the only North American stage race that offers start-to-finish online coverage. In addition, the earned media coverage for the Tour of Utah generated $18 million in publicity value for the cycling event, as well as host communities and corporate partners.

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 is sanctioned by the UCI and part of the USA Cycling Professional Road Tour. 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).

Tour of Utah 2017 Helicopter Footage Highlights:

Tour de France 2018: “Selection brings peace and satisfaction”
In July 2018 Wanty-Groupe Gobert will be participating in Tour de France for the second time in the team’s history. On Monday our team was awarded one of the four precious wildcards by Tour organization ASO. Thus the team can send eight of their riders to the Grand Départ of the 105th edition of Le Tour in Vendée on Saturday July 7. Also in Criterium du Dauphiné our team will be at the start.

In the 2017 summer Wanty-Groupe Gobert participated for the first time in La Grande Boucle. The nine Tour debutants showed an offensive spirit by slipping into a significant number of breakaways. Because of that Yoann Offredo and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck received a combativity award. Our French rider Guillaume Martin was able to finish 23rd in the final GC in his first ever grand tour. Twice the team was able to win the team’s day classification.

Guillaume Martin: “I did not feel uncertain about the Tour selection. The whole team was optimistic, but the confirmation still brings satisfaction and rest with an eye on the future and the work that has to be done. That work begins with the training camp that kicks off today. In Benidorm we will also draw up a race program, so it is perfect to know our selection at this time.”

“The organization saw that the teams have to be prevailed in time. Now it is up to us to strengthen certain points, as for example the time trial and cobblestones. Regarding to that the participation in Criterium du Dauphiné is important. It is a small Tour de France, so it is crucial to be present. Even if there is one month between the two races in 2018. In Dauphiné I won’t hit my top form, but is a good point of reference. An interesting general repetition to get to know certain climbs and get stronger with an eye on Le Tour.”

“After I finished 23rd in 2017 I have the ambition to do better in 2018. But I am not yet sure If I will focus for 100% on the general classification. I might search some more freedom and thus try to chase a stage victory. In this way I also can achieve something big.”

Jean-François Bourlart (general manager): “I had good expectations after winning the Europe Tour and our more than successful debut in the Tour of 2017. We were a bit disappointed after our non-selection for Volta Catalunya. But this way we can offer our riders fantastic welcome news at the team training camp in Benidorm.”

“Our TDF team will be stronger than in 2017. We have strengthened in the winter. In Dauphiné we will be able to make a first comparison.”

“For our project and future ambitions this wildcard is very important. Yearly we have improved our results and quality of victories. In addition to the sportive aspect we have made progress in terms of support and communication. So I am extremely happy that Christian Prudhomme and ASO reward our project and vision on the sport with this wildcard.”

Hilaire Van der Schueren (sports director): “I have never doubted the selection, but it is still fantastic news. Participating for the second time in a row in Le Tour is a reward. ASO could not neglect is. With our offensive debut in the Tour and final victory in the Europe Tour we did everything we could. I was less sure about participating in Dauphiné. Participating is important because the type team for the Tour is formed in Dauphine. In 2017 our performance over there reassured me.”

“I hope we can do better than 2017. Showing our team colors as much as possible and arriving in Paris with eight riders are our main goals. And why not a top-15 final ranking with Guillaume Martin or mixing in the bunch sprint with Timothy Dupont? The nine riders who reached Paris in 2017 have a good chance. But we also have a lot of other candidates, including our new rider Odd Eiking. I hope that Bart De Clercq will be there, although I fear that his rehabilitation will take a long time.”

Wanty-Groupe Gobert at the Tour:

Two decades of challenging the standards: Quick-Step celebrates 20 years in the peloton
2018 will mark Quick-Step’s 20th consecutive year in pro cycling. This makes the global hardwood, laminate and luxury vinyl flooring brand a steady partner in an ever-changing World Tour peloton. Firmly rooted in Belgium, both the brand and the cycling team have made a lasting impression worldwide by staying true to their ambitions and by upholding an unwavering dedication to a common set of values. In collaboration with the Belgian pro cycling team managed by Patrick Lefevere, who celebrates his 40th year in cycling, Quick-Step won’t let this remarkable year go by unnoticed.

The love affair between Quick-Step and cycling started in 1999, when the flooring division of the UNILIN group began its co-sponsorship of the Mapei-Quick-Step Cycling Team. In 2002, team manager Patrick Lefevere and Frans De Cock, former CEO of UNILIN, joined forces to make Quick-Step title sponsor of the Quick-Step-Davitamon team.

“We quickly found common ground”, Frans De Cock says. “Cycling is all about performance, which is exactly what our floors have to offer. Our brand is firmly rooted in Belgium, so the global cycling scene – which has an average interest rate of 30% in many countries – was an excellent way to raise international awareness.”

More than just a fling, Quick-Step continued to reaffirm its trust in the team, yielding various names, including Quick-Step-Innergetic, Omega Pharma-Quick-Step, Etixx-Quick-Step, and most recently Quick-Step Floors.

“From the very beginning, there was an excellent understanding”, Patrick Lefevere remembers. “Frans De Cock and I were both determined to stay ahead of the competition by not compromising when it comes to quality. Whether it’s cycling or flooring: we wanted to delight and captivate our audiences by offering them the very best. We were ambitious from day one, but I have to admit: 20 years down the road, my expectations have been exceeded in many ways.”

An Impressive Track Record
With an all-time tally of more than 600 successes, Quick-Step has become one of the most established teams in the world of cycling. No other outfit has been able to provide such an impressive track record – both in Grand Tours and in classics. With the same passion and dedication, Quick-Step continues to challenge the standard in the world of flooring solutions. Thanks to its revolutionary click system, water resistant flooring and other breakthrough innovations, the Quick-Step brand has become a synonym for continuous performance.

20 Years of Challenging the Standards
Like in any strong partnership, a common set of values has been crucial to the shared success of the Quick-Step brand and the cycling team.“Excellence, passion, respect and entrepreneurship: those qualities have kept us at the front of the pack for so long”, confirms Sophie Hautekeete, Sponsoring & PR Manager at UNILIN.

20 years of sponsorship have flown by, but the heroic stories that underpin these four values are here to stay. “There are too many unforgettable memories to choose from”, says Patrick Lefevere. “Tom Boonen’s grand cru year of 2005 for example, in which he won the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and the World Championship, is a great example of how unique our team is. We start where others stop and we always have each other’s backs. Our team time trial world championship victories in 2012, 2013 and 2016 have made this abundantly clear as well. Or take Philippe Gilbert’s amazing solo in the 2017 Tour of Flanders: a truly exceptional feat that shows heroism and our entrepreneurial spirit. We have never been afraid of failing and that’s precisely what has made us one of the most established teams in cycling.”

“Every day, the cycling team takes it to the road to do better than they did the day before and to inspire people with their example”, Sophie Hautekeete confirms. “I am convinced that this ‘way to ride’ is also in the hearts of our staff. Like the cycling team, we excel by being different in the competitive world of flooring. With dedication to design and performance, we show our passion, and through innovations such as our click system or the V-groove, we prove that we are not afraid of failing either. Being part of this winning team is what drives our staff.”

Ambition for Years to Come
“In this respect, our deep-rooted commitment to the team is only logical”, concludes Sophie Hautekeete, “Our flooring team and the cycling team might give different meanings to the word ‘performance’, but both continuously innovate to be winners in their respective fields. In our own ways, we are leading the pack. This will be the cornerstone of our success for the years to come.”

Cycling : 97e Milan - Sanremo / Pro TourArrival / POZZATO Filippo ( Ita ) Celebration Joie Vreugde / BOONEN Tom ( Bel ) / PETACCHI Alessandro ( Ita ) Deception Teleurstelling / PAOLINI Luca ( Ita )Milaan - Sanremo ( 294 Km )UCI Pro Tour

UAE Team Emirates gets back to work in Sicily
A group of riders from the Emirati formation trains in Syracuse.

While seven riders from UAE Team Emirates have headed to Australia for the Tour Down Under season premiere, twelve athletes from the Emirati formation will begin training in Syracuse on 8 January. The riders will be staying at the Hotel Eureka, which previously hosted a team camp in mid-December.

Kristoff and Martin, along with team mates Ait El Abdia, Bystrøm, Durasek, Ganna, Niemiec, Ravasi, Riabushenko, Sutherland and Troia, will try to make the most of the mild climate to get into good shape for the first events of the season.

It is also expected that Petilli will be joining his team mates so he can continue working with the team’s physiotherapists to recover from an injury sustained in the Il Lombardia 2017. The Emirati riders will be leaving Syracuse on different schedules, between 12 and 24 January.

The workouts were organized by coach Giacomo Notari with the supervision of Doctor Corsetti, and are being supervised by Sports Directors Marco Marzano and Simone Pedrazzini, with help from assistant SD Paolo Tiralongo.

“In December we encountered perfect conditions in Syracuse to hold winter training; we hope that our athletes can work as profitably during this January retreat as well,” explained Carlo Saronni. “Many athletes are fast approaching their season debuts, so it will be important to be able to execute as best as possible the program laid out by the staff in charge of preparation.”

UAE Team Emirates back in Sicily:

French Cyclo-cross Championship in Quelneuc on January 14th
Clément Venturini: “I’m really looking forward to that race.”

“For the first time since I turned professional, I have reduced my cyclocross racing with the goal of being more on target for the first races on the road. After a few regional cross events, I was able to gauge my fitness by winning the final of the Coupe de France at Flamanville in late December after what was a great battle. That race was an important bellwether for knowing what I had to do ahead of nationals in Quelneuc.

This is the first time that I am preparing to defend a national title in the Elites. It’s an event that I am really looking forward to. I know Quelneuc (having won the Coupe de France race there in 2015), and I am confident. It nevertheless is a one day race where anything can happen, and I will not be underestimating anyone. I definitely want to keep the jersey. I am really happy with the first few weeks with AG2R LA MONDIALE, and my integrating into the team has gone perfectly. Winning a new national champion’s jersey would be a great way to thank the team for their confidence!”

Clément Venturini:
Bieles - Luxembourg - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Venturini Clement (FRA)  pictured during  World Championships Cyclocross - Elite men - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2017

Team Novo Nordisk and Giessegi Srl Announce Partnership
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, and Giessegi Srl (GSG), a global leader in sportswear announced a new partnership naming GSG as the official on-bike apparel supplier for Team Novo Nordisk. GSG will provide a complete line of technical apparel for the men’s professional and development squads.

“Everyone at Team Novo Nordisk is thrilled to join forces with GSG,” said Team Novo Nordisk co-founder and CEO Phil Southerland. “GSG’s dedication to creating high-end custom cycling clothing that blends aerodynamics with comfort gives our athletes the best support in their apparel as they race around the world to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes.”

All GSG apparel is created in-house at their facilities in northeastern Italy. For Team Novo Nordisk, the ability to customize apparel provides an advantage when it comes to supporting the unique needs of an athlete with diabetes. This includes access to GSG’s innovative and experienced R&D team, quick timeline on product delivery and flexibility on quantities.

“The partnership with Team Novo Nordisk is a unique opportunity for GSG because it not only lets us continue supporting the professional peloton but it also allows us to be a part of Team Novo Nordisk unique mission,” said GSG Marketing Manager Alessandro Costa. “At GSG, our broader vision is to encourage everyone to tackle whatever challenges life throws at them, and by working together with Team Novo Nordisk, we can showcase the technical innovations behind our products and help athletes achieve their best during competition.”

The 2018 season will see Team Novo Nordisk racing in a navy blue GSG-designed jersey that features a light blue circle and the words Changing Diabetes across the front. The blue circle is the symbol of the diabetes community and it reflects unity. In addition to featuring nanotechnology that wicks perspiration while maximizing aerodynamics, comfort is a key element behind all GSG apparel, including flat seams, soft fleece fabric and a mix of padding foams.

Dave Rayner Fund 2018 Riders
The Dave Rayner Fund is extremely pleased to announce the names of those riders who will be supported during the season of 2018. A total of 36 riders will live and race abroad in 2018 for various Teams in Europe. We are particularly pleased to be able to offer funding to a greatly increased number of female riders. (9 female/27 male) Of the 36 riders, 20 are funded for the first time*. Huge thanks, as always, to our numerous supporters who have contributed to the Fund over the past 23 years.

Stuart BALFOUR* from Heriot in Scotland will race for Cotes d’Armor Cyclisme Marie Morin in France @stuart_balfour
Alex BRAYBROOKE from Wilmslow goes back to Aix en Provence in France to race for AVC Aix @AlexBraybrooke
Lewis BULLEY from Shenfield in Essex, moves to France and joins Cotes d’Armor Cyclisme Marie Morin @lewisbulley123
Megan CHARD from Cwmbran in Wales will live in Belgium and race for new UCI team HealthMate CycleLive @meganchard98
Henrietta COLBOURNE from Penrith in Cumbria moves to Spain and joins UCI Team Bizkaia Durango @henriettacolbo1
Zak COLEMAN* from Great Yarmouth in Norfolk will live in Belgium and race for VP Consulting Zanatta @zak_coleman_
Conor DAVIES* from the Isle of Man and will ride for Baguet MIBA CT in Belgium @conordavies6
Stephen DENT* from Fort William in Scotland will also ride in Belgium for Baguet MIBA CT @Dent__Stephen
Jack ENGLISH from Guernsey will live in Belgium and remains with the Asfra Flanders Cycling Team @EnglishJack
Holly FLANNERY* from Richmond, North Yorks will move to the Netherlands and ride for Swabo Ladies @flannery_holly
Ben FOAMES from Gillingham in Kent returns to Belgium with Goma Dakwerken @benfoames17
George GREENHALGH* from Bury, Lancs will ride for Hand in Hand Baal in Belgium @GeorgeGreenhal3
Harry HARDCASTLE* from Roberttown in West Yorks will ride for AC Bisontine in France @HardcastleHarry
Theo HARTLEY* from Bolton, Lancs will ride for Illi Bikes CT in Belgium @theo_f_hartley
Jane HELLEWELL* from Altrincham in Cheshire will join Autoglass Wetteren in Belgium @Janehellewell1
Jacob HENNESSY* from St Neots will join Mitchelton-Scott Continental Team and live in Italy @jacob_hennessy1
Sam HENNING* from Chalfont St Peter in Bucks will join Asfra Flanders in Belgium @shenning98
Amy HILL* from Newport in Wales will join Maaslandster Ladies in the Netherlands @amyhilly95
Owen JAMES from Carmarthen in Wales returns to Cotes d’Armor Cyclisme Marie Morin CT in France @Owen_Jame5
George JARY from London stays in Spain, but moves to Eiser Hirumet in the Basque Country @GeorgeJary
Ross LAMB from Mansfield, Notts stays in Belgium and joins UCI Continental Team T Palm Pole @ross__lamb
Keira MCVITTY* from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire goes to Belgium to ride for Isorex Ladies CT @ginger_biskwit
Louis MODELL from London returns to France with Hennebont Cyclisme @louismodell1
Olly MOORS from Scaynes Hill in Sussex is returning to MIBA Baguet Cycling Team in Belgium @ollymoors51
Hetty NIBLETT* from Shrewsbury, Shropshire will ride for Keukens Redant CT @hettyniblett
Tomos OWENS* from Llanymynech in Wales will ride for Goma Dakwerken in Belgium @TomosOwens
Adam PINDER* from Northallerton in North Yorks will ride for Hand in Hand Baal in Belgium @AdamPinder4
Elliot REDFERN from Taunton in Somerset returns to Spain to rejoin Eiser Hirumet @Redfernelliot
Jamie RIDEHALGH* from Keighley, West Yorks will go to France to ride for AC Bisontine @JamieRidehalgh
Amy SMITH* from Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex will ride for Isorex Ladies CT in Belgium @smithlouise_amy
Max SPEDDING from Heswall, Wirral joins Asfra Flanders in Belgium @MaxSpedding1
Isabella STONE* from Crawley in East Sussex will ride for Isorex Ladies CT in Belgium @isabellastone51
Joe SUTTON from Rochester in Kent will ride again for the Goma Dakwerken Team in Belgium @joesutton890
Jacob VAUGHAN* from Dorking in Surrey will ride for Lotto-Soudal U23 in Belgium @JacobVaughan14
James WILKINSON from Chester is going to join AC Bisontine in France @Jameswilki97
Max WILLIAMSON from Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire returns to Spain for Eiser Hirumet @MaxWilliamson98

We had a huge number of applicants and unfortunately not everyone could receive support. We hope that those riders who were unsuccessful nevertheless manage to fulfil their ambition to race abroad and we wish them the best of luck.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @DaveRaynerFund and www.daveraynerfund.co.uk

Chapter One: Loutraki Training Camp
This is already a tradition for us. Early in the year we head to Loutraki, Greece, for the first training camp of the season. We have done this in the past three years and everyone in the team is definitely excited about this once again. The sunny weather and the amazing routes make it the perfect location for the first gathering of 2018.

For 12 days, starting today, the team will be led by our Performance Manager Vasilis Anastopoulos. Between January 10 and 22, the cycling-friendly roads around Loutraki will allow our riders to combine a wide variety of training sessions, from hilly rides to TTT training. All in all, they will build a solid foundation for the racing season and log many kilometers together on the bike.

The main goal of the camp will be to work on the aerobic endurance of the riders as they build a strong base of kilometers that will help them to perform later in the season. “The plan is to complete around 45 hours of training in those 12 days. The main goal will be to improve the ability of the body to use fat so they can use glycogen stores later in the race. In other words, we will try to make each rider’s system more economic so they have enough energy left at the end of the races to attack or sprint for the win” points out Anastopoulos.

However, it is not just about the work on the saddle. These camps have a vital importance in terms of building strong relationships among riders and staff. “On the physiological side we want to create a good atmosphere in the team and build trust between the riders. At the end of the day they are going to be competing together more than 80 days during the season” highlights our Performance Manager.

Our road to the upcoming season started back November, in Eindhoven, with the first team-building camp bringing together the 2018 roster. Now we are taking the next steps. Besides this month’s program in Loutraki, the team will go back to Greece for a second training camp in February. And you can join us through the unique experience of the Loutraki Challenge!

The combination of riders already experienced in the U23 ranks with talented and promising newcomers will be the perfect mix for a very successful season.

We couldn’t be any happier and excited with the challenges ahead in this new season. And we are ready to take them on!

Mia Manganello is now an Olympian
After five years racing on the road, Mia Manganello has now qualified for the Olympic games as a speed-skater.

Now the 28-year-old speed-skater-turned-cyclist-turned-speed-skater can finally call herself an Olympic team member. At the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Long Track Speed-skating, she finished third in the women’s 1,500-meter and secured her place on the team.

“I was pretty much tearing up going to the line knowing that if I just go out and skated the best I could, to my potential, that I would make it. Luckily the day came that I can finally be an Olympian.”

You can read our interview with Mia HERE.

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