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Superga - Italia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - crash val sturz fall Miguel Angel Lopez (COL - Astana Pro Team) and David Gaudu (FRA - Groupama - FDJ) - behind TV motorbike Thibaut Pinot (FRA - Groupama - FDJ pictured during Milano Torino 2018 - 99th Edition - Magenta - Superga 199 km - photo DB/LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

Milano-Torino ended with a crash that might have affected the final outcome, but Thibout Pinot was a worthy winner. Video, reports and results from Torino, Tre Valli Varesine and the Tour of Turkey. Tough course for the Japan Olympic’s time trial – Top Story. Other cycling news: Teams for Il Lombardia, UAE Tour news, Deceuninck – Quick-Step, new General Manager at Lotto Soudal, contract news, EF Education First with Rapha and Jimmy Duquennoy tribute at the Tour of Turkey.

TOP STORY: UCI Announce Olympic TT Course: One for the Climbers
The UCI has announced the 22.1 kilometer circuit for the 2020 Japan Olympic individual time trial and it should suit the climbers. The start/finish is in the Fuji International Speedway circuit, where the road races will take place. There are two climbs included in the course with a combined distance of seven kilometers.

The women ride one lap of the Japanese circuit, 22.1 kilometers with 423 meters of climbing. The men will cover the course twice for 44.2 kilometers and 846 meters of ascent. The course should be perfect for men like Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome, while the heavier built power specialists like Tony Martin will struggle on the inclines.

Milano-Torino 2018
Four and half months after pneumonia ruined his chances of finishing on the Giro d’Italia podium, France’s Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ claimed the first Italian classic of his career. He rode away 1.2km before the finish on the Basilica at Superga, looking down on the city of Turin, as his teammate David Gaudu crashed with Miguel Angel “Superman” Lopez (Astana). Lopez managed to take second place ahead of newly crowned World Champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who rounded out the podium in third place.

In the 200 kilometer run to the finish in Turin, four riders take their chance early in the race. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Umberto Orsini (Bardiani-CSF), Latvian champion Krists Neilands (Israel Cycling Academy) and Willie Smit (Katusha-Alpecin) built up a nice lead of more than five and a half minutes.

In the finalé the riders had to climb the Superga twice. At the base for the first time, the three front runners – Smit had been dropped – still had a bit over a minute of a lead. On the steepest part of the climb, it was World Champion Valverde who shook the peloton with Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) not far behind him. At the start of the last climb of the Superga; Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Daniel Felipe Martínez (EF Education First-Drapac) were just ahead of the chasers. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) was the first to cross to the leaders, followed by Pinot. Teammate Gaudu immediately gave it full gas, which meant that only Valverde and López were able to come from behind. Fuglsang, Martínez and Yates had by this time been dropped.

Gaudu kept pushing hard in the break for Pinot, this caused Valverde to lose contact 1.5km from the finish line. Three hundred meters later, López was looking back at Valverde and about to make an attack just as Gaudu was swinging off the front and they crashed into each other. Pinot saw the fall and gave it everything he had to the finish. Valverde managed to hold on for third as López caught and passed him for second place.

The excitement builds for Saturday, see the Il Lombardia PEZ Preview HERE:

Race winner, Thibaut Pinot (AG2R-La Mondiale): “To finally win an Italian Classic is important for me. I love this race. If it wasn’t for this crash with 1km to go, it would have been a harder fight with Miguel Angel Lopez who was the man to beat today as much as Valverde. To beat the World Champion here means a lot to me. Our tactic was to control all the breakaways in the finale. David [Gaudu] caught a good group on the flat, then I asked him to climb as fast as possible. When he gave me the way, Lopez was looking behind. Their crash cut my legs for a little while but I couldn’t wait so I gave it all till the finish. I said after La Vuelta that I wanted to have the best possible of the season. I don’t calculate which races I want to win. I actually want to win all the races in Italy because they’re all very nice in my mind. It’s hard to choose between the stage races and the one-day races, but in my mind, Milano-Torino is the nicest Italian semi-classic. I remain hungry for winning until Saturday’s Il Lombardia but that will be another story.”

2nd, Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana): “The truth is that I was feeling very well but the crash happened and I have to be content with the second place. It happened in an instant while I looked behind because Alejandro Valverde was in a bit of a crisis. At the same moment, Pinot’s team-mate [David Gaudu] made a move to right and took me down. After that, I missed the win by very little. I really wanted to win Milano-Torino for the second time, but that’s how it happened… This was my last race of the season. It’s nice to finish on a good note.”

3rd, World champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar): “I’m happy to be on the podium of Milano-Torino. I knew it would have been very difficult to win. Above all, I felt great in the first hill so I’ve wanted to break the race and enjoy the racing but for winning it, it would have been better to stay covered a bit more. However, I had fun! Thibaut Pinot was very strong, so was Miguel Angel Lopez. Without his crash, it would have been a more competitive battle between those two. My result today gives me confidence for Il Lombardia on Saturday. To win it? I don’t know. But I’ve got good legs.”

6th, Wilco Kelderman (Sunweb): “We were always in control with the team in front and the guys did a good lead out into the second-last climb. I was able to take another solid result and I finally feel that I’m getting into a good rhythm after a difficult season. I’m happy with the result after a hard day yesterday and now looking forward to Lombardia.”

Milano-Torino Result:
1. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ in 4:43:36
2. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana at 0:10
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 0:28
4. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec at 0:36
5. Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) Groupama-FDJ at 0:38
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
7. Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:41
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
9. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:43
10. Egan Bernal (Col) Sky at 0:45.


Tre Valli Varesine 2018
Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) won the Italian classic Tre Valli Varesine on Tuesday, out-sprinting a select group of seven riders at the finish to take one of the biggest wins of his career. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) led out the sprint, but Skujins played it perfectly, waiting until the final 150 meters to kick into high gear. He had enough to come around the Frenchman and took the win by over a bike length. Peter Kennaugh (Bora-Hansgrohe) rounded out the podium.

Skujins, who is showing fantastic late-season form and was instrumental in Bauke Mollema’s win in GP Beghelli on Sunday, was again present in all the key moves late in the race – a highly aggressive and tactical finale, an ending tailored to his strengths.

With just over 25 kilometers remaining, Trek-Segafredo had Nicola Conci, Gianluca Brambilla and Toms Skujins in the vastly reduced bunch. Conci was the first to accelerate on a climb and soon after Skujiins followed the counterattack by Matthias Frank (AG2R-La Mondiale) that also drew out Rob Power of Mitchelton-Scott. Gianluca Brambilla finished off the stellar teamwork for Trek-Segafredo, arriving with the second group 13 seconds later and sprinting to 10th place.

Race winner, Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo): “It’s definitely one of the bigger wins of my career, for sure. I do love racing in Italy, and it’s a nice race to get on my palmarès. I definitely knew it was going to be aggressive, and that’s why we had three guys saved for the final to make the race exciting. The only reason I attacked in the first place was because Gianluca (Brambilla) got on the radio and said ‘Toms you should go for it.’ At first we were three, and then more guys came up, and at the finish, we were 7 or 8 or something, and luckily I won the sprint. The team was really strong again; this was another result for the team, same as Sunday when Bauke (Mollema) won. Today as well we had guys represented in every move, and we had guys earlier really taking care of us. Me, Gianluca (Brambilla) and Nicola (Conci) were ready to make the final exciting.”

Bora-Hansgrohe DS, Jens Zemke: “A quality field of riders took to the start today. The team rode offensively and tried to position itself at the front of the race. Emanuel [Buchmann] worked hard, so that Peter [Kennaugh] could launch an attack on the final climb. Today the team worked very well together, and in the end Peter was able to finish with a podium result. Unfortunately Pawel Poljanski was involved in a crash earlier on, but fortunately did not break anything as a result.”

Tre Valli Varesine Result:
1. Toms Skujins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo in 4:55:41
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3. Peter Kennaugh (GB) Bora-Hansgrohe
4. Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
5. Mathias Frank (Swi) AG2R-La Mondiale
6. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Sunweb
7. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale at 0:04
8. Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis at 0:13
9. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
10. Gianluca Brambilla (Ita) Trek-Segafredo.

Tre Valli Varesine’18:

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey 2018
Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors) won the Stage 1 of the 54th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey on Tuesday after his sprinter Fernando Gaviria suffered a crash in the finale. The Argentinian veteran, already winner in Turkey 10 years ago, dominated the bunch gallop ahead of Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC) after 148.4 fast-paced kilometers of racing around Konya to also claim the turquoise jersey as first leader of the race. A group of five attackers animated the race and Beñat Txoperena (Euskadi-Murias) made the most of his day at the front claiming the red jersey as leader of the KOM standings while local champions offered fireworks.

The 54th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey kicked off from the center of Konya, with 138 riders lining up right in front of the iconic Mevlana square. Local rider and former national champion of Turkey Feritcan Şamlı (Turkish National Team) went for the breakaway from the gun. Four more riders joined him at the front of the race: Nicolas Sessler (Burgos-BH), Ander Barrenetxea and Beñat Txorepena (Euskadi-Muria) and Kenneth Van Rooy (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise). They quickly opened a 2-minute gap before sprinters’ teams reacted to control the race on lumpy roads around Konya.

Kenneth Van Rooy went first through the intermediate sprint set at km 35.2. After one hour of racing, the attackers had already covered more than 45 km but only enjoyed a 1:34 lead to the peloton. Sam Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe and Fernando Gaviria’s Quick-Step Floors were the most active teams to pace the pack. The gap was up to 2:30 atop the first climb of the day (cat. 2) where Beñat Txoperena took the big KOM points ahead of Feritcan Şamlı.

Txoperena also summited first the second climb of the day (cat. 3), this time ahead of Van Rooy, to make sure he would be the first wearer of the red jersey as leader of the KOM standings. The gap was then down to 1:20 with 40km to go. It was down under 1 minute when Muhammed Atalay (Turkish National Team) attacked from the bunch with 29km to go. He couldn’t bridge the gap and all the attackers were reeled in with 13km to go.

Turkish National champion Onur Balkan (Turkish National Team) then dominated the Beauties of Turkey Sprint and Diego Rubio (Burgos-BH) attacked with 10km to go, only to be caught three kilometers later. The lead out to the sprint was mostly derailed by a crash involving Fernando Gaviria. But Quick-Step Floors still finished on top, with Maximiliano Richeze anticipating the sprint to offer his team a 70th victory in 2018 ahead of Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Jean-Pierre Drucker (BMC).

Stage winner and overall leader, Maximiliano Richeze (Quick-Step Floors): “The plan was to go for the sprint with Fernando, but unfortunately he crashed and we had to quickly change our tactics so Alvaro would be the last man of our sprint train. In the last corner, Alvaro lost my wheel as he had to straighten his line in order not to crash, which meant I took a gap of 30 meters and went with all I had without looking back. I am very happy for this victory, it’s my last race of the season and on World Tour level, so it means a lot to me, but it’s a real pity Fernando crashed and broke his collarbone. I know how disappointed he is to end his season like that and I wish him to heal fast. I came here to work for Fernando, and if not him, Alvaro, so this win comes as a nice surprise. There will be other sprint opportunities this week and with Alvaro being the fastest on the team now, I will be there to help him.”

2nd on the stage and overall, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I was in a good position but I knew we have still five more stages, therefore I didn’t want to take any more risks in this tricky finale. The last corner was tough, some riders slipped away, therefore we kept attention, especially in the final kilometers. The guys did a great job the whole day and, in the finale, I did the best I could but Quick-Step Floors had the faster legs today but there are still five stages left and I will try my best.”

3rd on the stage and overall, Jempy Drucker (BMC): “I wanted to be in a good position pretty early going into the final of the stage because the race itself wasn’t too hard so a lot of guys were fresh and trying to do the sprint. I was able to do that, which was good, and on the last turn, I knew I had to be in front. I was there but I probably took the wrong line as I went on the outside. When I saw that Quick-Step Floors had made a gap for Richeze, I came from behind and decided to put all my cards on the table and try to catch him. I knew that it was either do that or wait to sprint for second place so, I decided to try to win and if that didn’t happen then I would see what I could do but at least I wouldn’t regret not trying. This is a good start to the race for me. I’m here to go for the sprints and I showed today that I can be up there. Of course, this technical final suited me but we will continue to take the race day by day and take the opportunities that become available to us and play our cards well.”

After finishing the stage, Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) was immediately taken to the local hospital where an X-ray revealed a clavicle fracture. On Wednesday, the 24-year-old Colombian flew to Belgium where he will undergo further examination at the AZ Herentals Hospital, which will determine if an operation is required, but what’s certain at this point is that he is forced to call it a season a few days earlier than planned.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 1 Result:
1. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors in 3:29:14
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
4. Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Quick-Step Floors
5. Brenton Jones (Aus) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM
6. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
7. Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
8. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9. Edward Theuns (Bel) Sunweb
10.Luca Pacioni (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 1:
1. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors in 3:29:04
2. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe at 0:04
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC at 0:06
4. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:07
5. Beñat Txoperena Matxikote (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 0:09
6. Brenton Jones (Aus) Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM at 0:10
7. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
9. Christophe Noppe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
10. Edward Theuns (Bel) Sunweb.

Turkey stage 1:

Already winner of four stages in 2017, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) dominated the bunch gallop in Antalya on Wednesday. His win on Stage 2 of the 54th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey, ahead of Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors) and Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates), also grants the Irish sprinter the Turquoise jersey as overall leader of the race. Local riders animated the race again, with the National champion Onur Balkan (Turkish National Team) retaining the white jersey after spending the day at the front with three companions.

With Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) leaving the race after completing stage 1 with a broken collarbone, 137 riders took the start in front of the iconic Red Tower of Alanya, built in the 13th century on the Mediterranean coast. After a dozen of hard battled kilometers, Josu Zabala (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Fernando Orjuela (Manzana Postobon) and Thomas Sprengers (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) managed to get ahead of the bunch. They were joined by National champion and white jersey Onur Balkan (Turkish National Team) and the quartet enjoyed a 2:20 lead after 36km, when Maximiliano Richeze’s Quick-Step Floors got into action to control the breakaway.

The gap stabilized under 2 minutes but that was enough for Onur Balkan to come first at the Beauties of Turkey sprint (km 59.7) and tighten his grip on the white jersey. Bora-Hansgrohe and Katusha Alepcin Team also worked along Quick-Step Floors and the attackers’ lead was already down to 45 seconds as the race entered the final 50 km leading to the finish, set at the Atatürk Park of Antalya after passing by the spectacular venues of the EXPO2016.

Thomas Sprengers dominated the intermediate sprint (km 102.7) and the gap stabilized again between 40 seconds and 1 minute. Balkan was dropped from the breakaway with 16 km to go. The pack was then only 35’’ behind the leaders. Sprengers went for a final solo push 11 km away from the finish but the sprinters’ teams got back only 2km later.

Lead-out trains jostled for the front positions in the final straights to the finish on the seaside. Maximialiano Richeze surged with his Turquoise jersey in the last kilometer to set Alvaro Hodeg for the win but Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) followed their wheel before edging them in the final meters. With his stage win and the bonifications on the line, the Irish sprinter will wear the Turquoise jersey en route to Marmaris on Thursday.

Stage winner and overall leader, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe): “I’m happy. It’s a bit of a relief. I came here after a quiet mid-season. I won’t say I can relax now but some of the pressure has gone. There are still some opportunities to come and the guys did a fantastic job today, as well. I really want to thank them. In the finale, I didn’t really know if we’d caught the breakaway or not because with around 10km to go it was so dangerous that I just had to concentrate on what I was doing. There was talking on the earpiece, and I would have liked to have put my hands up, but Quick-Step Floors came with about 500-600m to go and it was perfect positioning. It’s always good to get a victory going into the off-season. It keeps the morale high when you don’t have much racing.”

2nd on the stage, Alvaro Hodeg (Quick-Step Floors): “I think the team worked very well for the whole day. They pulled to control the breakaway. At the end I was behind Max (Richeze). I think I perfectly timed my sprint but Bennett was stronger than me. Hopefully I will get another opportunity in the next few days. Tomorrow there is a climb before the finish so let’s see what happens because we also have strong climbers in the team. Fernando (Gaviria) is home now and it was a real shame to lose him. I’m just doing my best as always. I think I showed today I’m in good condition and I have to keep trying.”

3rd on the stage and 4th overall, Simone Consonni (UAE Team Emirates): “I’m quite satisfied with my sprint, I finished on the podium thanks to the good work of my team-mates, they guided me perfectly. Ulissi took me to the last 20km, I then managed to find a perfect position and had sufficiently fresh legs for the sprint. The sprint was also complicated today, on such wide roads it is not easy to find a super position and defend it, it takes smarts and a bit of luck. After the two third places obtained in the last edition, it’s the third podium that I have in Turkey. I like the race, it offers interesting opportunities to the sprinters. I hope to repay the confidence of the team with a win, even if the competition here is higher compared to the 2017 edition.”

Ivan Garcia Cortina (Bahrain-Merida): “It was a very tough sprint and somehow dangerous too. A hectic final where fortunately I didn’t crash, but I’m a little bit afraid because maybe I could even take third place. I’m satisfied with my result anyway.”

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Stage 2 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:24:37
2. Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Quick-Step Floors
3. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
4. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC
5. Ivan Garcia (Spa) Bahrain-Merida
6. Edward Theuns (Bel) Sunweb
7. John Degenkolb (Ger) Trek-Segafredo
8. Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias
9. Luca Pacioni (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
10. Alexander Porsev (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo.

Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 2:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 6:53:35
2. Maximiliano Richeze (Arg) Quick-Step Floors at 0:06
3. Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) BMC at 0:12
4. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:13
6. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Josu Zabala Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA at 0:14
8. Beñat Txoperena Matxikote (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country-Murias at 0:15
9. Fernando Orjuela Gutierrez (Col) Manzana Postobon
10. Edward Theuns (Bel) Sunweb at 0:16.

Turkey stage 2:

Sunweb for Il Lombardia
Team Sunweb coach Arthur van Dongen (NED): “The final Monument of the season; our goal here is to go for a top result with Sam. It’s his favorite race so it will be a special day for him to be our leader, especially with such a solid team around him. We’ll aim to bring him into as fresh as possible condition to the two climbs in the middle, as well as when the race heads towards Como before the finish. Our goal is on Sam’s development as a leader and with Wilco and Michael we have two experienced riders who can help support this goal.”

Il Lombardia (WT)

Chris Hamilton (AUS), Jai Hindley (AUS), Lennard Kämna (GER), Wilco Kelderman (NED), Michael Matthews (AUS), Sam Oomen (NED), Michael Storer (AUS).
Coach: Arthur van Dongen (NED).

Michael Matthews:

GranPiemonte and Il Lombardia
GranPiemonte, a race that’s on the calendar for the 102nd time, is only 191 kilometers long and therefore the shortest of the week. The course, with a home straight of one kilometer, is perfect for a bunch sprint. It’s the 112th edition of Il Lombardia this year. The riders start in Bergamo and will finish in Como after 241 kilometers and 4000 elevation meters. In the last seventy kilometers the Madonna del Ghisallo and Muro di Sormano await the riders, before hitting the Civiglio. At the end of the race the riders need to climb one last hill of 1700 meters, with an average gradient of 5%. Afterwards three kilometers are left till the finish.

Bart Leysen, sports director Lotto Soudal: “GranPiemonte is a flat race where the peloton could sprint for victory. Although there are no pure sprinters at the start and that’s why no team will want to control the race. So there is a chance that a large breakaway, in which many teams are represented, stays ahead till the finish. We need to make sure we have a guy in a break that has potential. There’s a change of course in the finale of Il Lombardia due to a road closure, but that finale is mainly the same as previous years and this small adaptation won’t influence the race. At Milan-Turin we’ll already see who we can expect to battle for the win on Saturday.”

Tiesj Benoot and Tim Wellens are the leaders at Lotto Soudal for Il Lombardia. They would have had Jelle Vanendert at their side, but unfortunately the flu prevents him from racing this week. He is replaced by James Shaw.

Bart Leysen: “The ascent of the Civiglio will be crucial; you need to cross that with the first riders to be able to battle for victory in Como. It’s important to save as much energy as possible before reaching the Civiglio. There is a slight chance of rain on Saturday and that could be an advantage for us. Tim already got fourth once in Lombardia (in 2014, LTS) and is now a few years older and more experienced, so he is definitely capable of setting a top result. The same goes for Tiesj. He had a bad day at the Worlds, but rode a strong Eurométropole Tour the week before and that condition can’t have vanished. He proved that at Paris-Tours last Sunday.”

“We got the chance this season to participate in Milan-Turin and GranPiemonte and we grabbed that chance with both hands. In the past, a run-up along these two races seemed to be helping to perform well at Il Lombardia. A race is often better than training as a preparation. But we don’t see these races as mere preparation though. Lombardia is the main goal, but of course we also want to animate the other two races.”

“And we have a strong team for it. Thomas De Gendt can definitely join breakaways this week, also in Lombardia. Thomas hasn’t raced since the Vuelta, so maybe he needs the first two races to get back in the race rhythm, on the other hand he might immediately set a great performance. You never know with Thomas. Jens Keukeleire had to skip Paris-Tours last weekend, but he’s sufficiently recovered to race this week. After his crash at the Tour, he was out of competition for several weeks and therefore he still feels fresh. Jens will support his teammates and on Thursday he’s our man for the possible bunch sprint. James Shaw was strong at the Worlds (He got 10th at the U23 road race), which proves he’s still in a good condition at the end of the season. That made him the perfect replacement for Jelle Vanendert. Bjorg Lambrecht knows a large part of the course of Il Lombardia from the U23 edition (He got 3rd in 2016). He can gain experience this week and support the team where possible. Maxime Monfort on the other hand has lots of experience. He will be our team captain this week.”

Line-up Lotto Soudal:
Tiesj Benoot, Thomas De Gendt, Jens Keukeleire, Bjorg Lambrecht, Maxime Monfort, James Shaw and Tim Wellens.
Sports director: Bart Leysen.

Tiesj Benoot:
Alto de Colorado - Argentina- wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Tiesj Benoot (BEL - Lotto Soudal) pictured during Vuelta a San Juan 2017 - 36th Edition - stage 5 - from San Martín : Alto de Colorado (169.5KM) - photo ilario Biondi/LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Il Lombardia
The 112th edition of the prestigious Italian Monument awaits the riders with an elevation gain of over 4,000 meters.

Colle Gallo, Colle Brianza, the iconic Madonna del Ghisallo – which made its debut in the race in 1919 – Colma di Sormano (and its brutal 27% gradients near the top), Civiglio and Monte Olimpino are the six climbs peppering the highly selective 241km-long course of Il Lombardia, the season’s fifth Monument, which will take the peloton from Bergamo to Como, finish venue for the 34th time since 1961, the year it was first introduced on the route.

Twice victorious in the “Classic of the Falling Leaves” (2005, 2006) – an event first held more than a century ago – Quick-Step Floors will look to be again a protagonist in the last major one-day race of what has been a truly remarkable season that at this point finds our outfit with 70 UCI wins in the bag and close to clinching the World Tour team classification.

Three of the Quick-Step Floors riders lining out for Il Lombardia were also part of the squad that won the World Team Time Trial Championships in Innsbruck last month, for a record fourth time: neo-pro Kasper Asgreen, Laurens De Plus and Bob Jungels, a stage winner at the 2017 Giro d’Italia in Bergamo. They will be joined by Eros Capecchi, Enric Mas, Gran Piemonte runner-up Florian Sénéchal and Pieter Serry, a top 10 finisher at the Italian Monument in 2013.

“Il Lombardia delivers once again a tough course, with the race very likely to come to life in the last 70 kilometers, when Madonna del Ghisallo and Muro di Sormano will be tackled in quick succession. Later, Civiglio and the punchy Olimpino, which comes close to the finish on Lungo Lario Trento e Trieste, should also play an important role, especially if there will still be a sizeable group inside those last 20 kilometers”, said sports director Davide Bramati. “We have had quite the Classics campaign this year and we are keen to show one more time the unique Wolfpack spirit and hopefully come out of this race with a nice result to bring down the curtain on our European season.”

Il Lombardia (ITA) 1.UWT

Kasper Asgreen (DEN), Eros Capecchi (ITA), Laurens De Plus (BEL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Enric Mas (ESP), Florian Sénéchal (FRA), Pieter Serry (BEL).
Sports Director: Davide Bramati (ITA).

Eric Mas:

AG2R-La Mondiale for Il Lombardia
Romain Bardet: “Close the season in beautiful surroundings. I like the Tour of Lombardy. It is a magnificent classic, selective and intense, which contains all the charm of the Italian races. 
I finished fourth in 2016 and I hope to be able to influence the race even if the course has changed.
 In the wake of my second place at the World Championships, I feel that my physical condition is good. To keep fresh, I preferred not to race the GP Beghelli, which initially wasn’t even part of my race program. 
I hope to end my season in style, to have a strong finish to a year that has been the most consistent since the beginning of my career.”

Romain Bardet finished all 21 events in which he competed in 2018. He has placed 26 times in the top 10. This represents 62 days of racing.
 Since his professional debut in 2012, he has abandoned only two races.

Il Lombardia
Without a doubt the most prestigious event of the week-end will be the World Tour race and great Italian classic that will close the European team season. 7 riders at the start, with the climber Ivan Santaromita as team leader. Filippo Zaccanti and Nicola Bagioli the young Italian climbers at his side, with Marco Tizza, Simone Ponzi, Juan Jose Lobato and Joan Bou ready to ride the over 4,000 meters of overall difference in altitude.

On the team-car there will be the DS Mario Manzoni who comments with these words: “We will certainly aim to make an attack to center the day’s breakaway with quality riders like Nicola Bagioli and Simone Ponzi, while Ivan Santaromita will be our leader and with him Marco Tizza will work in a group to keep the pace of the best. Filippo Zaccanti and Joan Bou will compete for the first time in their careers and will be a great personal challenge for them. It will be a beautiful and tough race as always, and for this reason the role of all team men will be important also for those like Juan José Lobato who is less led to this kind of roads and with some difficulties after the bad fallen Gran Piemonte, he will work for teammates.”

The complete line-up:
Ivan Santaromita, Nicola Bagioli, Filippo Zaccanti, Marco Tizza, Simone Ponzi, Joan Bou, Juan Josè Lobato.

BMC Racing Team Back De Marchi and Teuns at Il Lombardia
Alessandro De Marchi and Dylan Teuns will line up as BMC Racing Team’s leaders at the final Monument of the season, Il Lombardia, this Saturday, 13 October.

Sports Director Fabio Baldato said although the team isn’t lining up with a race favorite, De Marchi and Teuns can achieve a good result and will have the support of the team.

“Il Lombardia is one of the toughest one-day races of the season and, of course, it is the final Monument of the season so that gives extra motivation. We know Alessandro De Marchi is in great shape after his win at Giro dell’Emilia and Dylan Teuns is riding well so these two will be our protected riders on Saturday. Damiano Caruso can also be up there and he will provide good support for our leaders. We are not the favorites going into the race so we will watch what happens and see how the race unfolds,” Baldato explained.

“The course is basically the same as last year’s with the exception of the final climb due to a landslide, so I think the finale will be slightly easier. It is the second-to-last climb, the Civiglio, where the race should be decided.”

De Marchi is looking to team up again with Teuns to repeat the success of Giro dell’Emilia.

“I’m coming to Il Lombardia with motivation and good shape. It is a race I have always enjoyed, even if it is usually my last race of the season. This year, I am perhaps more confident and motivated than previous editions. They key moments of the race will be, like always, the finish into Como with the Muro di Sormano and then the Civiglio. I think, with Dylan, we can try to repeat the success of Emilia and maybe this can be the occasion where I can also help him to go for a result. It will be important to save energy and be ready from the Sormano to the finish, as it is a really long and hard race.”

Teuns is hoping to end his season well at Il Lombardia.

“Il Lombardia is the last big classic of the season so it is always nice to race there. It is a classic that suits me well. Last weekend, I did a good result at Giro dell’Emilia and this gives me the confidence that the shape is still there. Yesterday, Milano-Torino was not such a good day for me but I am focused on the race this Saturday and will try to make the best result possible.”

Il Lombardia (13 October)
Rider roster:

Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Simon Gerrans (AUS), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Loïc Vliegen (BEL)
Sports Directors: Fabio Baldato (ITA), Valerio Piva (ITA).

Alessandro De Marchi – Vuelta’18 stage 11 win:

UAE Team Emirates for Italian monument Il Lombardia
Seven riders making the Emirates roster for the race on October 13

UAE Team Emirates will send a strong seven-man roster to the big autumn classic, Il Lombardia, this Saturday, October 13 in Northern Italy. The formation will be as follows:
– Fabio Aru (Italia)
– Rui Costa (Portugal)
– Marco Marcato (Italia)
– Daniel Martin (Ireland)
– Manuele Mori (Italia)
– Edward Ravasi (Italia)
– Rory Sutherland (Australia)
Sports director: Mario Scirea (Italy).

The Race of the Falling Leaves will start in Bergamo and take the riders to Como, covering 241km with the climbs Colle Gallo, Colle Brianza, Madonna del Ghisallo, Muro di Sormano and Civiglio.

The results pulled in over the last years by our current 2018 riders are impressive: Dan Martin won the race in 2014, placed second in 2011 and fourth in 2013; Rui Costa stepped up to third place in 2014, and Fabio Aru pulled in two top 10s.

“Il Lombardia is a race of high-importance, one of the monuments, an important appointment for our team,” Team Manager Matxin said.”We have selected a high-level group for such a prestigious race. Our seven riders have talent and quality to be protagonists and to pull in results. We have faith in our riders, also knowing that it’s going to be hard battle given the high-level of competition.”

A very strong team for the Classic of the Dead Leaves
Last year, it was our Vincenzo Nibali to arrived solo on the shores of Como Lake and win, for his second time, the “Classic of the Dead Leaves”. The last Classic Monument race of the season will start from Bergamo and finish in Como after 241km. “Il Lombardia” will run on the same itinerary with the only modification being in the final. Six climbs – including Ghisallo and the Muro of Sormano – before tackling the last part of the race on the climbs around Como. The novelty of this year will be the ascent of Monte Olimpino – 1,700m long with 5% average gradient and a maximum of 9% – which ends up just 3km to the finish line.

Vincenzo Nibali is ready for the challenge: “After a good Tre Valli last Tuesday, in these last days I have tried again the Il Lombardia’s finale. The condition is growing even if, compared to last year, something is still missing. We will see how the race will go, certainly as usual I will give everything I can.”

Domenico Pozzovivo: “I arrived at this race after a good 7th place at Milan-Turin last Wednesday. I still have a good leg even though the season has been long and I can not be so bright. I know the route very well and I think the race will be decided after the combination of Ghisallo and Muro of Sormano has selected the group. I expect an attack on Civiglio, while the last climb I do not think I can do a lot of selection.”

Sport Director Alberto Volpi: “We will be at the start in Bergamo with a very good team with a very high level riders. In addition to the brothers Ion and Gorka Izagirre, in fact, there will be Pozzovivo, Antonio Nibali, Franco Pellizotti and Matej Mohoric. I expect that in the last part there may be more men together with our captain Vincenzo. This year’s route is less demanding and I believe that those who want to win will try to make the difference by climbing the Civiglio.”

TBM’s line-up for Il Lombardia:
Vincenzo Nibali, Antonio Nibali, Ion Izagirre, Gorka Izagirre, Franco Pellizotti, Domenico Pozzovivo and Matej Mohoric.

UAE Tour Debut Edition – Logo and Trophy Unveiled in Dubai
The new UAE Tour’s event identity and winner’s prize are presented in style. The Middle East’s only WorldTour race is scheduled from 24 February to 2 March 2019. Audi Al Nabooda is confirmed as the official car of the race.

In the Audi Dubai Showroom, home of Al Nabooda Automobiles, the Supreme Organizing Committee of the UAE Tour have unveiled the event’s new logo and the new winner’s trophy. Both heptagonal – seven sided – shapes to reference the seven United Arab Emirates involved: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Quwain. The merger between the Dubai Tour and Abu Dhabi Tour created a new seven-stage race that, in 2019, will start from Abu Dhabi and end in Dubai, while the 2020 race will reverse the route. The race, organized by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) and the Dubai Sports Council (DSC) in collaboration with RCS Sport, is slated for February 24 to March 2 and covers all seven Emirates.

The Trophy
Designed by the famous Italian manufacturer GDE Bertoni, who is well known for the production of the FIFA World Cup, this heptagonal trophy is 24kt gold plated, and weighs 5.5kg. On the back It bears all the names of the nine winners of both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tours: Taylor Phinney, Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel (twice a winner) and Elia Viviani for Dubai; and Esteban Chavez, Tanel Kangert, Rui Costa and Alejandro Valverde for Abu Dhabi – a top class honor roll that includes three World Champions and an Olympic Gold Medallist. The trophy will be awarded to the winner of the UAE Tour’s General Classification

The Logo
The logo consists of the ‘UAE Tour’ name written in red and green, surmounted by a partially-black stylized bike at the top of the heptagon to reference the UAE flag. The edge of the heptagonal logo, together with a stylized bike details, is in beige, a classic color ever-present in the event’s design identity.

After the unveiling of the logo and trophy, the Supreme Organizing Committee has also revealed some details about the UAE Tour’s connected activities, such as the UAE Tour Challenge, formerly known as Abu Dhabi Challenge, and the successful Educational project.

H.E. Eisa Hilal Al Hezami, H.E. Saeed Hareb, H.E. Dr. Mugheer Al Khaili, Mr. Osama Al Shafar, Mr. Ali Al Nabooda, H.E. Aref Al Awani

UAE Tour Challenge
The first two editions of the Challenge, in 2017 and 2018, consisted of three race days in Abu Dhabi. The format will be updated to include four stages; two of them in Dubai, and two in Abu Dhabi. This multidisciplinary amateurs-only event will be scheduled in November, January and February across four iconic locations. For Dubai, the challenge will be held at the Al Qudra cycle path and around Hatta and the surroundings mountains of Hajar. For Abu Dhabi the Jebel Hafeet stage is confirmed, while the second location, Al Hudayriat Island is new to the Challenge. All the details of the UAE Tour Challenge will be published on the official website soon.

UAE Tour Educational Project
The new Educational project will consist in an hour-long workshop created exclusively for UAE schools focusing on familiarizing students with the history of the bicycle, the benefits of cycling and road safety. In the last three years, almost 4,000 children between 8 and 12 years old, and from 30 different schools in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Al Dhafra attended the Educational project. Thanks to the new UAE Tour, in 2019 the project will also be extended to several schools from the other Emirates.

“Sharing the know-how, the resources and the effort with the other Emirates is very important to build up the race and to have new targets. We always talk about discovering the territory with the riders but it’s just part of the big picture, that include activities such as the Educational program or the Challenge, which are now available to more even students and fans. This is the way: to increase the audience whether locally or internationally,” said H.E. Saeed Hareb, Dubai Sports Council Secretary General.

H.E. Aref Al Awani, Abu Dhabi Sports Council General Secretary, said: “The logo represents well the unity between the seven Emirates and the Trophy is reminiscent of the same concept. The new race is a big opportunity for cycling here, we know it and we’re working to be ready to be under the world’s spotlights at the end of February.”

“Every edition of the Dubai Tour involved our territory but this is the first time we’ve worked together for the same purpose. Being here today to represent Sharjah is a big honor and I’m sure we’re working in the right way to assure a big future to the UAE Tour and the sport of cycling in general,” said H.E. Eisa Hilal Al Hezami, Sharjah Sports Council General Secretary.

Mr. Osama Al Shafar, President of the UAE Cycling Federation, said: “Since the very first edition both the Dubai and the Abu Dhabi Tour got positive feedback from the global cycling community. Great riders attended the tours, with amazing coverage from television and other media. Also locally, the feedback was great: thanks to the two races, many facilities for amateurs have been developed across the UAE and the global exposure has made everybody more ambitious. The decision to join forces was agreed in a very special year for the UAE – 2018 is the Year of Zayed – and guaranteed two more stages. We can’t wait to see a week-long competition among all the Emirates.”

Enrico Fili, RCS Sport DMCC CEO, said: “As RCS Sport we have a centennial heritage in organizing cycling races in Europe. Here in the Middle East in the last five years we have worked very well with both the Dubai and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, proposing successful projects and race formats already well established in Europe. Let me say, the feedback has been excellent. The merger represents only a big chance to step up our game.”

Ali Al Nabooda, General Manager Al Nabooda Automobiles Audi, said: “We are very proud to be the automotive partner of the first UAE Tour. We partnered with Dubai Tour from the very first edition and witnessed an incredible success story. The Dubai Tour and later the Abu Dhabi Tour gained great international recognition. We are honored to be able to support this major international UAE event.”

UAE Tour Trophy:

Deceuninck to Sponsor the World’s Number One Cycling Team
The company’s name and logo will feature prominently on the kit as of next year.

We are proud to announce that Deceuninck, leading designer and manufacturer of window profiles, will be the title sponsor of the team managed by Patrick Lefevere, which from 2019 will be called Deceuninck – Quick-Step, after a multi-year deal has been signed by the two parties.

Deceuninck, a company founded in 1937 and headquartered in Hooglede-Gits Belgium, will have its logo prominently present on the jersey of the current World Tour team classification leader – home to some of the sports’ biggest names – who has racked up an astounding 69 UCI victories so far this season.

Francis Van Eeckhout, CEO Deceuninck: ‘We are delighted with this powerful partnership in international cycling, one of the most popular sports in Europe and emerging worldwide. This high valued sponsorship offers plenty of commercial opportunities for Deceuninck and all our customers. I’m confident this is a new milestone for the company.”

Jérôme De Bruycker, Marketing Manager Europe, added: “This will be a real game changer leading to a series of marketing campaigns that will exemplify our passion for innovation, ecology and design. The continuous media attention throughout the whole year will strengthen our Deceuninck brand and will support us and our partners to be the preferred choice of the customer.”

Patrick Lefevere, Team CEO: “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Deceuninck on board for the next seasons. Thanks to their commitment and that of the other partners, the team can think of the future and build on what we have achieved during this outstanding season. Over the years, we’ve shown that we are one of the major players in the sport and our results guarantee both exposure and international visibility. Last but not least, the structure and services we provide to our partners help them create a strong marketing platform so they can give their customers a complete and exclusive experience. I’m delighted to have such an international company, with whom we share so many values, by our side and I am sure that together we will achieve our goals.”

Lotto Soudal and Paul De Geyter Part Ways
The Lotto Soudal WorldTour team and Paul De Geyter, the team’s General Manager, have decided, following consultation, to put an end to their collaboration.

By mutual agreement the two parties came to the conclusion that the perspective on the future strategy of the team differed too much from each other to continue the partnership.

The Lotto Soudal WorldTour team wants to thank Paul De Geyter for the cooperation of the past cycling season.

The Lotto Soudal WorldTour team wishes him all the best in his further career. Paul De Geyter wishes the team every success.

Paul De Geyter at the Lotto Soudal training camp:


The Lotto Soudal WorldTour Team is Pleased to Introduce John Lelangue as General Manager
He has lots of experience in cycling as team manager of BMC Racing Team, as organizer of the World Championships in Doha Qatar 2016, as assistant competition director at ASO Tour de France and as Senior and Technical Advisor at the UCI.

In 2019 his team will be reinforced by Performance Manager Kevin De Weert and the Australian rider Caleb Ewan with whom we hope to write a beautiful new chapter. Other plans of the Lotto Soudal WorldTour team, U23 team and Ladies team will be announced during a press briefing in the presence of John Lelangue in the second half of October.

John Lelangue with Eddy Merckx at the Qatar Worlds’16:

Luke Rowe Agrees Contract Extension
Luke Rowe will spend the next three seasons with Team Sky after extending his contract through to the end of 2021.

Rowe, who turned professional with the team in 2012, defied the odds in 2018, returning to top form following a serious leg break in late 2017.

The comeback was complete when the 28 year old was selected to ride his fourth straight Tour de France in July. He was pivotal as compatriot Geraint Thomas rode to his maiden Tour title.

“I’ve been with Sky since the start of my career and I really feel a part of the furniture here,” said Rowe.

“It’s been seven years and this deal will take me through to 10 years with Team Sky, so it was an easy decision. This is home.

“The team backed me straight away after my injury, whereas some teams would have turned their back. They helped me tackle the injury head on and looked after me every step of the way.

“If I’d have been out of contract one year earlier I’d have been in a mess. I had a year to prove myself again and come back – to show that it hadn’t affected me and that I could reach the level I was at before.

“I was so fortunate to be in this team when I suffered such a bad injury. Sometimes the stars just align and everything works out.”

With top-10’s at both the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix on his palmares, Rowe will continue to focus on the Classics in 2019, before switching to a support role at the Grand Tours.

“I’ll continue to keep knocking on the door at the Classics and see what I can do there, and after that it will hopefully be the Tour, or any of the Grand Tours. I really don’t mind,” he said.

Life has changed for Rowe over the past month following the birth of his first son, Oliver. The Welshman is relishing fatherhood off the bike, while hoping to act as a father figure to Team Sky’s next generation on the bike over the coming years.

He continued: “It gives me that extra bit of motivation and inspiration to go out training and go racing – to be the best I can be. I want to make him proud.

“And hopefully with the younger guys that’s the type of thing that will be part of my role going forward – going to a race with a bunch of young lads, rallying the troops, and doing the business.

“It’s a role I enjoy. We went over to the Tour of California with a really young squad this year – Egan [Bernal], Tao [Geoghegan Hart], Pavel [Sivakov], Sebastian [Henao] and we rode like 10 men. Egan had been incredible before but that was his breakthrough ride, so to be a part of that was pretty special.

“We’ve got Froomey and G who are Grand Tour winners and will be looking to do that for the next few years, but then you look to the likes of Egan – he’s signed a long contract and within that time he could win a Grand Tour. I’m excited to work alongside him.”

Luke Rowe at the Nokerekoerse’18:
Nokere - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Luke ROWE (GBR / Team Sky) pictured during Danilith Nokere Koerse - 2018 (1.HC) a one day race from Deinze to Nokere (191.1KM) on 14-03-2018 - photo Tim van Wichelen/Cor Vos © 2018

Max Sciandri signs with Movistar Team as sports director
Anglo-Italian set to add his experience and skills – more than ten years as DS for WorldTour and development squads – to Eusebio Unzué’s group, starting in 2019
The Movistar Team announces Maximilian Sciandri (1967) will join the Eusebio Unzué-led WorldTour outfit as sports director, starting in the upcoming 2019 season.

Sciandri, a Briton born in Derby who has lived for many decades in Tuscany, Italy -he holds dual citizenship- has spent more than ten years as part of coaching staff in two different structures since he retired from pro racing in 2004 with stage victories in the Giro and the Tour + bronze medalist in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Following a long tenure as under-23 director of the British Cycling Academy, Max joined the BMC Racing Team in 2011, where he has directed many legends of the sport for the past eight years.

Sciandri’s arrival will reinforce the technical strength of the Telefónica-backed team, which currently has José Luis Arrieta, Chente García Acosta, José Luis Jaimerena as Pablo Lastras as sports directors of the men’s squad, plus Jorge Sanz at the helm of the women’s roster.

Max Sciandri at a BMC training camp:

Fabio Felline Extends Contract with Trek-Segafredo
Fabio Felline and Trek-Segafredo have agreed on a one-year contract extension through the end of 2019.

The 28-year-old Italian encountered physical problems over the past year which impeded him to perform at his top level. He is very happy that in despite of these issues, the team confirmed their confidence in him by offering him an extension of his contract.

Fabio Felline: “I am extremely happy about this extension. I signed for one more year and for me it’s very important that the team wants to prolong our relationship and keeps believing in me. Experiencing this confidence and knowing that the team believes in me was crucial for my decision. After the really bad year I had, the things that are important are the basic things: the confidence, the amazing group of riders and staff, and the Trek-Segafredo family. Speaking with Luca (Guercilena, General Manager), I completely understand the position of the team and we came to an agreement fairly easily. I am grateful for the team’s confidence and I will give it my all to prove them right for their trust. I am truly very, very happy.”

General Manager Luca Guercilena: “Fabio has always been a hard-working professional, and we trust he can return at his best level. It’s true that in the past year, due to some physical issues he has not been able to obtain the results we were expecting, but we are confident that it’s just a matter of time before the old Fabio is back.

Fabio has been with the team since the very beginning and we still believe in his capacities, so even though he didn’t perform at his best in the last year, we wanted to give him an extra chance and keep him on board for the 2019 season.”

Fabio Felline:

UAE Team Emirates Faster and Faster with New Hire Molano
Young Colombian, 13 wins in 2018, signed two-year contract.

With a great second half of the year, pulling in numerous wins and placings, the Colombian Juan Sebastián Molano Benavides is shedding light on his staying power and capacity to reach high speeds. These qualities convinced the UAE Team Emirates staff to offer a two-year deal to Molano for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

The 23-year-old born in Paipa won 13 times in 2018, including his recent victory in stage one of the Tour of Taihu Lake.

He also won the Pan-American championship road race, two stages and the classification in the Tour of China II, two stages in the Tour of Xingtai, two in the Vuelta al Valle, and three in the Vuelta a Colombia and the Clásica del Zarzal. He also pulled in several podium finishes riding with the Manzana Postobon team.

“To be part of a team like UAE Team Emirates is a dream come true in my career” Molano said “To get to this point means that my hard work is paying off, and for that reason I feel calm and motivated, ready to give my best possible in the team. The year was intense. A crash in the Tour de Langkawi stopped me for two months, but I was able to recover well. Thanks to UAE Team Emirates for this opportunity, I know Matxin well and I’m sure that I’ll fit right in the team.”

Juan Sebastián Molano Benavides:

Taco van der Hoorn Continues Career at Team LottoNL-Jumbo
Team LottoNL-Jumbo confirms the arrival of Taco van der Hoorn. The 24-year-old rider from Wageningen has signed a two-year contract with the Dutch World Tour team of manager Richard Plugge. “We consider Taco a good classic rider and we’ll develop him into an even better classic specialist”, sportive director Merijn Zeeman of Team LottoNL-Jumbo said.

Van der Hoorn has been part of Team Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij for two years. He has high expectations of his transfer. “Young riders really get better at Team LottoNL-Jumbo. I’m proud to become part of the team. In their early years, many riders were not considered very talented, but they have developed into good pros anyway. I never was a big talent as a youngster, but I still make progress every year”, Van der Hoorn explains.

Van der Hoorn wishes to play a significant role in the final of the main spring classics. “It’s cool that I can pursue that goal at Team LottoNL-Jumbo”, he says. Due to a concussion, he wasn’t able to race for six months this season. Straight after his comeback, he won a stage in the BinckBankTour. He also won the Primus Classic. “The way he returned in the peloton after that concussion proves his exceptional capabilities”, Zeeman concludes.

Taco van der Hoorn:

Merhawi Kudus Joins Astana Pro Team
The Eritrean rider Merhawi Kudus will join Astana Pro Team in the upcoming season of 2019.

“I am so exited with my arrival to Astana Pro Team in the season of 2019. This is a big opportunity for me, because Astana is one of the biggest cycling teams in the world. I hope to have a chance to improve a lot and in the same time to learn a lot and my expectations from this move are really high. I am looking forward to the upcoming season and really happy to join this great project,” said Merhawi Kudus.

Merhawi Kudus (24), the National Champion of Eritrea, is a pure climber and despite his young age, he already has a number of good results in the palmarès. Thus, in 2017 Kudus won the jersey of the best young rider at the Tour of Oman, taking 4th place in the general classification. Also, he was 9th in the overall of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and took a nice 2nd place at a stage of the Vuelta a España. In 2018 Merhawi was 7th in the GC of the Vuelta a Burgos and became one of the most active riders at La Vuelta.

“Kudus is a very young and ambitious rider and I am curious how far he can reach in professional cycling. He is a climber, but in the same time have some skills in the time trial races. This rider will strengthen our Grand tour group. In the same time, Merhawi still has to find his way in the peloton and I think in Astana Team he will have a chance to grow and to show himself,” said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.

Merhawi Kudus:

Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen Extends with Cervélo Bigla
Highly regarded as one of the most talented young sprinters in the world, Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen has extended her future with the Cervélo Bigla Pro Cycling Team.

The 19-year-old turned professional this season and has been progressing steadily as she made the jump from the junior to elite ranks. Standout results this season include the silver medal in the Danish national road race and second in the prologue in Giro della Toscana. Last weekend she placed fourth in GP Bruno Beghelli.

“I extended with the team because I feel so great here with the people who are surrounding me at the team. They’ve given me the opportunity to develop myself as a rider. This is the place I want to be. I feel trust here and have the full support. I don’t see myself anywhere else except Cervélo Bigla,” Norsgaard Jørgensen said.

“This season was a tough start for me. It’s hard to go from junior to the elite level but I can see the progress I’ve made. My form and race results are improving, and I hope for something great next year. The team has had such success in developing athletes and I hope to be one of the new fast sprinters as I’m learning so much all the time.”

Norsgaard Jørgensen announced herself as a major talent when she won the Danish elite road title as a 16-year-old.

“When we scouted Emma, we knew about the potential she has,” team manager, Thomas Campana said. “This season was all about adapting to this level of racing with no pressure on her shoulders. Already we can see in the second part of the season that she’s getting comfortable in the final and getting a feel for the sprints at this level. Our team is all about sustainable step by step development and we think 2019 will be a great year for Emma.”

Emma Norsgaard Jørgensen:

EF Education First and Rapha Announce Groundbreaking Partnership
New approach to sponsorship aims to create best content and kit in professional cycling.

EF Education First and Rapha announce a major new partnership to revolutionize the way professional cycling is presented, with the aim of taking a disruptive approach to the sport throughout the 2019 season and beyond. The move marks Rapha’s return to men’s WorldTour professional cycling after a two-year hiatus.

Rapha will bring their creative credentials to EF Pro Cycling, and together they will focus on profiling inspirational and charismatic riders and showcasing their stories. Coverage will include regular shows from inside the team, with some developed and presented by the riders themselves. Cameras will follow the racers on a year-long journey through the most interesting events in cycling, offering a new window into all aspects of the sport.

This new partnership follows a two-year study conducted by Rapha into the future of professional cycling. Led by four academic experts around the world and based on interviews with more than 50 of the most experienced stakeholders in the sport, the project examined in detail the opportunities and challenges facing road cycling at large. The project found that there is vast opportunity to grow the sport and increase its overall value by converting more cyclists into fans and connecting more meaningfully with a modern audience.

It is this foundation that Rapha and the EF team will build upon. Storytelling and creative content has been part of Rapha’s business since its launch in 2004, resulting in over 300 films created in its 15-year history, and several EF riders and staff are already known as some of the sport’s most colorful.

Together, Rapha and EF will celebrate the team’s characters and heroes, and will explore not only the traditional heart of cycling in the Grand Tours and Classics but also bring new formats and disciplines into focus. A number of EF racers will ride a mixed calendar of events in the 2019 season, including the WorldTour schedule and also criteriums, ultra-endurance races and renowned mixed-terrain events. This coverage will be coupled with live events in Rapha Clubhouses and other venues around the world, building on the local cycling communities that the brand has been developing since the company’s inception.

Building on Rapha’s previous success in the WorldTour and race-proven range of Pro Team kit, the team will wear the most technically advanced and visually striking clothing in the professional peloton. The new designs will be released soon.

Simon Mottram said: “Rapha started in 2004 because of my own love for road racing. Racing has always been something that inspires us and our customers – it’s our common ground. Through our sponsorships with Rapha-Condor, Rapha Focus, Team Sky, Team WIGGINS and CANYON//SRAM, we’ve had great success, but are still frustrated that the sport can only grow if it fundamentally reforms. For this reason, we are excited to play a role in moving the sport forwards through the new venture with EF. We are passionate about making it reach more fans and be a better spectacle so that more people come to appreciate how great it is. As a fan, I’m so excited about us being back in the men’s WorldTour.”

Jonathan Vaughters said: “Rapha is a great partner for us, from their world-class kit to the cycling culture we both want to help grow. We aim to open up cycling to a wider group of people; we’re interested in exploring all aspects of the community, from racing and its core fans to the people who just got on bikes. By bringing some of our athletes to grassroots and mainstream races across the world, we’re hoping to deepen the relationship between our team and other riders, and have some fun while we’re at it. We’re also going to give people more insight into the sport than before, showing a rare, unvarnished perspective of these athletes’ lives. The human element of cycling is very, very powerful. And as for the kit… we look forward to building on the strong visual identity forged by POC and bringing our style into a new chapter. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

By showing a true portrait of the riders and engaging at both the sport’s pinnacle and outskirts, Rapha and EF Pro Cycling will give fans plenty of reasons to cheer in 2019 and beyond.

Jimmy Duquennoy, In Memoriam
At the Presidential Tour of Turkey team presentation on Tuesday in Konya, Central Anatolia, the WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic team dedicated a moment to their friend Jimmy Duquennoy, who sadly passed away on Friday at the age of 23.

Jimmy Duquennoy tribute at the Tour of Turkey presentation:

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