EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett is having a great Tour of Turkey with two stage wins in a row. All the news and videos from Turkey, the Famenne Ardenne Classic and cyclo-cross in Ronse. Are we getting ahead of ourselves? – Top Story. In other cycling news: Peter Sagan for the 2018 Tour Down Under, contract news from Cannondale-Drapac, Rally, Movistar, Astana, Lotto Soudal. Plus medical up-dates on Laurens De Plus and John Degenkolb. Coffee Thursday time!
TOP STORY: 2018/2019 Already?
The 2017 road season is not even over and the talk is already about the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under, and that triple World champion, Peter Sagan, will be on the start line in Australia. OK, It’s only three months till the Australian World Tour race, but the Tour de France is not for 9 months and the route is being leaked like a cullender to the press. The French Grand Tour official route announcement is next Tuesday, October the 17th, but already the talk is of a Roubaix stage and a summit finish on l’Alpe d’Huez and a section of gravel on the Plateau des Glières climb on an earlier stage.
If all that isn’t a bit premature; the word on the street is that Trek-Segafredo want to sign Geraint Thomas for…. 2019! It’s no secret that the Trek team will be short of a Grand Tour leader after the decision of Alberto Contador to retire, but looking to sign a top rider for the season after next is far sighted, or foolhardy. A lot of things can happen in a season.
L’Alpe d’Huez makes a comeback in 2018?
Presidential Tour of Turkey 2017
Already a winner of the Münsterland Giro in Germany last week, Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) became the first Irish stage winner of the Presidential Tour of Turkey as he out-sprinted Italy’s Marco Benfatto (Androni-Sidermec) and Belgium’s Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) at the end of Stage 1 in Kemer.
The peloton, 104 riders strong, left Alanya at 12.25pm. From the gun, four men attempted the first breakaway of the race: two were Turkish national team riders, Onur Balkan and Batuhan zgür, in the company of representatives from Wilier Triestina and Soul Brasil Pro Cycling Team, Alex Turrin and Flavio Santos respectively.
They were joined soon afterwards by two Bardiani-CSF team-mates: Vincenzo Albanese and Simone Sterbini. With a long, flat stage ahead, and plenty of sprinters here to ensure cooperation in the chase, the peloton let them go and after 20 km those six led by 4m08s. By km 83, a variety of teams at the front of the peloton had the breakaway pinned at 2 minutes. Albanese claimed the first intermediate sprint at km 90.5 and Balkan ensured that the home team would appear at least on the podium once after the stage as he won the sprint of the Beauties of Turkey competition at km 110.
With seconds of Balkan’s successful sprint, zgür dropped out of the leading group. Just inside 55km to go, the lead had come down to 1 minute 15 seconds. GazProm–Rusvelo led the peloton, with Trek-Segafredo riders Fumiyuku Beppu and Eugenio Alafaci taking turns to contribute to the chase, as did Bora-Hansgrohe’s Michael Schwarzmann and Leopold Køonig. With 35.5 km to go and the second intermediate sprint almost in sight, Trek-Segafredo, led by Greg Daniel then Marco Coledan, hit the front of the peloton with an abrupt acceleration. The gap, which had dropped inside one minute with 38 km to go, instantly collapsed, and the breakaway was caught.
The second intermediate sprint saw Francesco Gavazzi (Androni – Sidermec) take the points, ahead, interestingly of Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates). More good work from the Turkish national team allowed Muhammed Atalay to take third place there. Ulissi had uncovered his cards: the 3-second time bonus could come in very useful indeed to the recent GP Montreal winner.
On the category 4 climb, the peloton, temporarily intact, split again. A mass move by Bardiani-CSF proved successful, allowing Enrico Barbin to take the two points and, post-stage, the red jersey. With 15 km to go, Pavel Brutt (GazProm-RusVelo) led the peloton. Inside the final 3km, a group of riders went down in the same incident, including sprinter Aleksandr Porsev (GazProm–RusVelo). Bennett timed his sprint perfectly to take the win ahead of Marco Benfatto (Androni-Sidermec), with Edward Theuns (Trek–Segafredo) third. The Irishman, now in the Turquoise jersey, is set to target a second stage win in stage 2 from Kumluca to Fethiye (206km).
Stage winner, Sam Bennett (BORA-Hansgrohe): “We came with big ambitions to win stages and go for GC. We had a clear plan at the start of the stage, although it was very hard to pull it off. Trek, UAE and the other big teams fought hard so it was very difficult for us, but I have to thank my team mates – we’ve delivered on one of our first goals in stage 1. Our GC man is Gregor Mühlberger, who has been riding really, really strong, and has progressed so much this year. He has a good chance for this race. We’ll ride for him to the best of our abilities later in the week.”
“We wanted to hold back a little bit. We didn’t expect Trek to come at us so strong. We really felt their presence. My team kept their cool and kept their timing right. Some guys went left at 200m to go and that was where I started my sprint. It was hard in the headwind and at 50m to go, I was tiring, but I looked around, saw I had a gap and I held my hands up on the line, which was really nice. You don’t often get that chance.”
Third placed Edward Theuns: “I’m not 100% happy because I finished third whereas I was going for the win. But the team did a super great job. We tried to split the field when there was a bit of wind but it didn’t work. In the end, they put me in the front. The last guy before me maybe let me go a bit too early. There was a head wind and the other guys could gain some more speed from the back. I think Bennett was the fastest today anyway. He’s on a good form and his sprint is really good at the moment. As for myself, after the Vuelta I feel that my climbing has improved but I lack a bit of acceleration for sprinting at my best. That’s also why we tried to make the race hard in the wind. We did the maximum we could and we’ll try again tomorrow.”
Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 1 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:57:26
2. Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni-Sidermec
3. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
4. Federico Zurlo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
5. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana
7. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8. Jonas Koch (Ger) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
9. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
10. Jordi Simon Casulleras (Spa) Soul Brasil Pro Cycling Team.
Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 1:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 3:57:16
2. Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni-Sidermec at 0:04
3. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo at 0:06
4. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani-CSF at 0:07
5. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni-Sidermec
6. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirate at 0:08
7. Flavio Cardoso Santos (Bra) Soul Brasil Pro Cycling Team
8. Alex Turrin (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia at 0:09
9. Muhammet Atalay (Tur) Torku Sekerspor
10. Federico Zurlo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:10.
Turkey stage 1:
Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) made it two in a row at the Presidential Tour of Turkey as he used his great speed of the moment to out-sprint Edward Theuns who got a very good lead out from Trek-Segafredo. Riccardo Minali (Astana) rounded out the podium of Stage 2.
101 riders started stage 2 as Russian sprinter Alexander Porsev of Gazprom-RusVelo was forced to abandon following his crash the day before. After 15 km of racing, Onur Balkan (Turkish national team) and Mirco Maestri (Bardiani-CSF) escaped the clutches of the peloton. For the second straight day, Balkan won the Turkish beauties sprint and increased his lead in the white jersey competition while Maestri focused on the two KOM’s of the day to take the red jersey over from his team-mate Enrico Barbin.
After two and a half hours of racing, the leaders had an advantage of 4 minutes. Then Murilo Affonso (Soul Brasil) attacked out of the peloton, hoping to make it across to the leaders. With 95 km to go, he reached the two leaders. The enlarged three-man breakaway led by 3 minutes at km 117, with 89 km to go. With 82 km to go, Maestri attacked alone. Affonso then countered and rode across to him, leaving Balkan to await the peloton. Behind them, Eugenio Alafaci (Trek-Segafredo), Michael Schwarzmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and his team-mate Leopold König led the main group. Inside the final 80km, the lead of the two escapees hovered around the 2 minutes 10 seconds mark.
With 74 km still to ride, an incident in the peloton left two Astana Pro Team riders on the ground. Sergei Chernetckii was the second Russian rider forced to pull out of the TUR. At the intermediate sprint, Affonso went early, but Maestri coolly took his wheel, then accelerated past to take maximum points and bonus seconds. Behind them, UAE Team Emirates and Bardiani-CSF formed trains, and it was Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) who collected the final point and bonus second. Ulissi started the day 6th on GC by virtue of the 2 bonus seconds he took in the second intermediate sprint in stage 1.
With 20 km to go, the advantage of the leaders dropped within 1 minute. With Michael Schwarzmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) leading the peloton, the two leaders were doomed. The catch took place with 11.8 km to go, and the race speed, set by Schwarzmann and Greg Daniel (Trek-Segafredo), was immediately searing. Astana Pro Team showed themselves at the front for the first time, with Dmitriy Gruzdev leading the train for Riccardo Minali. Trek-Segafredo led the sprint out for Theuns but Bennett proved once again to be the most explosive sprinter of the 53rd Presidential Tour of Turkey. It enabled him take his eighth victory of the year, a career record so far for the Irishman.
Stage winner and overall leader, Sam Bennett (BORA-Hansgrohe): “It was a longer day that we expected. It was hard to control at the beginning, TFS was trying to get in the b/a. We didn’t want it to get to big, as no one was going to help us today. 2 guys got away. It made the day a lot slower. We wanted them to stay away as long as possible so we gaged our pace on them. It was hard on the legs to go at endurance pace all day ore even easier. It was hard in the final. TFS took responsibility for the sprint. We tried to get organized, but it was hard to have the manpower. In general, the guys did a fantastic job, in a hot day. Schwarzy and Leo did long turns. I want to thank them especially. We couldn’t be 1-2-3 into the last corner like we wanted to, but we got onto Trek’s wheel which was a good position. A gap opened in the final. I didn’t know if he was going to let the wheel go, or take a run at him. But I decided to go early, and he decided to take a run at his last man. And then, when he hit the front, I tried to hit the front also. I wanted to go pretty early again today. It is another good day for the team. I’m happy, it’s my 8th win this season. I’m really happy about this. Every year I aim for 10 wins. It’ll be very hard to do this. The heat really got to me today. I’ll take it day by day. There are just 4 more stages. 10 wins is a big ask, but we’ll give it a go. I’m satisfied with 8 wins. I’ve never done it before in my career. I can see my development. It gives me good morale for the off season.”
2nd on the stage and overall, Edward Theuns (Trek Segafredo): “I’m really disappointed because the team did a really good job for me. They couldn’t have done it better. I saw in the last straight that Sam [Bennett] was in my wheel. He could come over me. Maybe I went a bit early but I know I’m not super explosive so I had to try something. At the end, I’m one spot closer to the win than yesterday. That’s positive but I feel very disappointed and sad for my team-mates. We stayed very well organized. Pantano came with an acceleration like 1.5km to go. He took the team to the front. Coledan could go into the last straight. Boy [van Poppel] was on his wheel and I was on Boy’s wheel. It was amazing. I left a little gap in between Boy and me to get the slipstream but then Sam was just more explosive. Maybe in the more selective stages I can grab a victory but today he was faster. Pantano has had a very long season, starting in Australia in January. He’s done the Tour and the Vuelta. For sure he’s really tired but hopefully he can reload one more time. The hardest part is the mental. Let’s hope he can win the overall here and I appreciate his help although he should save his legs but he put me in a great position. His team work was really good.”
Presidential Tour of Turkey Stage 2 Result:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 6:02:06
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Tre-Segafredo
3. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana
4. Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni-Sidermec
5. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
6. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia
7. Davide Ballerini (Ita) Androni-Sidermec
8. Ahmet Orken (Tur) Turkish national team
9. Paolo Simion (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
10. Frantisek Sisr (Cze) CCC Sprandi Polkowice at 0:02.
Presidential Tour of Turkey Overall After Stage 2:
1. Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe in 9:59:12
2. Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo at 0:10
3. Marco Benfatto (Ita) Androni-Sidermec at 0:14
4. Riccardo Minali (Ita) Astana at 0:16
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:19
6. Vincenzo Albanese (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
7. Mirco Maestri (Ita) Bardiani-CSF
8. Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Androni-Sidermec
9. Simone Consonni (Ita) UAE Team Emirates at 0:20
10. Manuel Belletti (Ita) Wilier Triestina-Selle Italia.
Turkey stage 2:
Famenne Ardenne Classic 2017
Moreno Hofland won the first edition of the Famenne Ardenne Classic on Wednesday, which started and ended in Marche-en-Famenne. The course was 195 kilometers long and included no less than nine KOM prizes. As soon as the flag dropped, the battle to get into the breakaway was very intense but six riders were ultimately allowed to go clear. Boucher, Kooistra, Maynard, Molly, Rusnac and Seynaeve were granted a maximum advantage of 3:30. A few kilometers from the first passage on the line, Molly accelerated and the front group was consequently reduced to four riders. After a second acceleration, only Maynard and Molly were left at the front. Their stunt at the front didn’t last long, and the peloton caught them with 49 kilometers to go. Wanty-Groupe Gobert set a very hard pace on the penultimate ascent of the Côte de Charneux, which allowed Martin and Meurisse, and a bit further Budding, to go clear. Lotto Soudal didn’t panic as Sander Armée and Maxime Monfort led the chase at the front of the peloton. The three escapees were reeled in with six kilometers to go and Tosh Van der Sande then made sure Moreno Hofland was in an ideal position for the sprint. The Dutchman crossed the line in first place, ahead of Emiel Vermeulen and Maxime Vantomme.
Race winner, Moreno Hofland (Lotto Soudal): “I am very happy with this victory, I had to wait for almost two years for it so it makes the win a little bit more special. We knew this morning that the race would be difficult to control and that everyone would look at us. After the start a small group went clear and we began to control the pace. Sean De Bie worked for almost hundred kilometers all by himself. We then decided to wait a little bit to see what the other teams would do. We expected Wanty to try something because they had a strong team today. When Martin, Meurisse and Budding went away on the penultimate lap, the team kept the situation under control and Sander Armée and Maxime Monfort closed the gap. We had settled that if I was still part of the front group at the top of the last climb, I would do the sprint. Attacks were flying in the finale but our team was strong and a sprint was inevitable. Tosh Van der Sande led me out perfectly and I launched my sprint 200 meters from the line. The finish was a little bit uphill and I’m glad I could finish it off after all that my team mates had done. It’s definitely a team victory today.”
6th, Xandro Meurisse (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “We accelerated on the penultimate climb with three riders. We quickly gained 30 seconds, but we did not have an extra power. Budding did not work, so we had to pull with only two riders. The wind made it tough. At first Monfort was the only one chasing, but later he also got assistance from Armée. Then it became difficult. In the sprint I missed freshness to finish on the podium. If I see Hofland and Vermeulen 1-2, I can say that I finish the season with a nice result. I came to Marche for more, but I have to be satisfied with this 6th place. Thus we grab important points for the UCI Europe Tour. I hope my teammates can defend the lead. I’m happy with my first season at the team. I finish the year with seven or eight podiums. I got a lot of support in the team and in the last few weeks we were able to turn our collective mind into results. Next year I want to work on this dynamic. From my side I hope to turn the close spots into victories.”
Famenne Ardenne Classic Result:
1. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal in 4:51:15
2. Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
3. Maxime Vantomme (Bel) WB Veranclassic-Aqua Protect
4. Colin Chris Stüssi (Swi) Roth-Akros
5. Jordan Levasseur (Fra) Armee de Terre
6. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Marvin Tasset (Bel) AGO-Aqua Service
8. Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) WB Veranclassic-Aqua Protect
9. Taco Van Der Hoorn (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
10. Dries De Bondt (Bel) Veranda’s WillemsCrelan.
Famenne Ardenne Classic’17:
DVV Verzekeringen Trofee Hotondcross – Ronse 2017
Sunday’s round 1 of the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee in Ronse was on a fast and technical course which kept the race together. At halfway point Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles) put in a big attack, and it was only Mathieu van der Poel (Beobank-Corendon) who could hold the World champion. Van der Poel made his move, but Van Aert and Van der Haar pulled him back with three laps to go.
Van der Haar put in his winning move with two laps to go and soon had 7 seconds. Van der Poel and Van Aert didn’t give the chase 100% and were caught by Wout Van Aert (Crelan-Charles), Kevin Pauwels (Marlux-Napoleon Games) and Toon Aerts (Telenet Fidea Lions), but Van der Haar’s lead was never in danger. The win was his first since the Hoogerheide World Cup earlier this year.
Van der Poel, Van Aert, Pauwels and Aerts sprinted it out for the podium and Van der Poel and Van Aert took second and third with Pauwels finishing fourth and Aerts fifth.
DVV Verzekeringen Trofee Hotondcross- Ronse Result:
1. Lars van der Haar (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions in 58:55
2. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Beobank-Corendon at 0:20
3. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Crelan-Charles at 0:21
4. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 0:22
5. Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet Fidea Lions 0:00:24
6. Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 0:47
7. Jens Adams (Bel) Pauwels Sauzen-Vastgoedservice at 1:01
8. Dieter Vanthourenhout (Bel) Marlux-Napoleon Games at 1:23
9. Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Era-Circus at 1:31
10. Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet Fidea Lions at 1:38.
‘Three-Pete’ returns to the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under
Off the back of his unprecedented UCI World Road Championship hat-trick, Peter Sagan has confirmed he will race in next year’s 20th edition of the Santos Tour Down Under (TDU).
The talented Slovakian will show off his rainbow jersey on the streets of South Australia for the second consecutive year, alongside his BORA-hansgrohe teammates.
Peter Sagan is looking forward to returning to the Santos Tour Down Under. “I am excited to be starting the 2018 season with the rainbow stripes across my back again in Australia at the Santos Tour Down Under,” said Peter Sagan. “This iconic Australian race is the perfect start to the UCI World Tour season each year. It has it all, a challenging and tough course, warm weather and the passionate fans that cheer for us day in day out no matter what. We are always thankful for the fans.”
Peter drew huge crowds to last year’s People’s Choice Classic as he battled it out with his Aussie sprint rival Caleb Ewan. The TDU is Peter’s only Australian race this summer and he is sure to be a hit once again with local and international spectators. This will mark the fifth occasion that a reigning World Champion has competed at the Santos Tour Down Under, cementing the event’s place on the international cycling calendar.
“It is important to get the season off to a good start with BORA-hansgrohe, and there is no better place to do this than South Australia at the TDU,” said Peter Sagan.
Minister for Tourism, Hon Leon Bignell said that the Santos Tour Down Under has become the biggest cycling event outside Europe, attracting elite athletes from all over the world and pumping millions of dollars into the local economy.
“Securing a big name such as Peter Sagan for the second year in a row is a massive vote of confidence in the event’s global reputation because he is such an entertainer as well being one of the best cyclists of all time,” said the Minister.
“I know the fans will be thrilled to cheer Peter on in Adelaide. This year we had 840,000 spectators line the routes for the race.
“Next year when we celebrate the 20th edition of the TDU we want to see a million spectators at the race. So cycling fans, spread the word and start organizing your friends and family to come with you to watch the best riders in the world do battle in and around Adelaide.”
Race Director, Mike Turtur thinks Peter Sagan is truly something special, both on and off the bike. “The fans loved seeing him race again in Australia this year and we are thrilled to welcome him and his team back to the race in 2018,” said Mike Turtur. “I can’t wait to see how next year’s race will unfold, with Peter in the peloton. He took second place across three stages last year and we know he will try to go one better in January.
“For any race organizer to have the rainbow jersey on the start line is a huge honor and to have Peter Sagan and BORA-hansgrohe back to the race is amazing. We expect a massive response from the fans now this news is confirmed.”
In September Peter Sagan became the first rider to win three consecutive UCI World Road Championships, after taking out the World Road Race Championship in Norway.
The 2017 Santos Tour Down Under generated more than $56.5 million for the visitor economy with more than 840,000 spectators turning out in force to catch a glimpse of cycling superstars.
The 2018 Santos Tour Down Under will be held from Saturday 13 January until Sunday 21 January, with even more spectators expected to line the streets of South Australia.
For further event information visit tourdownunder.com.au @tourdownunder #TDU.
Peter Sagan at the 2016 TDU:
Docker Brings Experience to Slipstream Sports’ Classics Campaign and Sprint Train
Mitch Docker will join Slipstream Sports on a one-year contract in 2018. The Australian has spent the last seven years racing for the GreenEDGE outfit, currently called ORICA-SCOTT. Docker brings experience and expertise to the cobbled classics season and the closing kilometers of fast finishes.
“The spring is the heart of the season where I have the most focus each year,” said Docker. “Being able to ride with and support Sep Vanmarcke and Sebastian Langeveld next year is a real privilege. Sep is a rider I have admired over the last few years as he moved through the ranks and onto the podium. I believe I can be a great asset to him, but at the same time, I’m really excited to work with a rider like Logan Owen, who I can help guide through the cobweb of Belgium racing during his first WorldTour season.”
“With our expanded focus on sprinting and our continued commitment to the classics season, a sound head like Mitch’s made sense,” said Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters. “Plus, as an alumnus of the Drapac program, we know he’s good people.”
While Docker has only two professional victories to his name, he’s lent his legs to countless teammate’s victories. He calls the opening stage of the 2014 Giro d’Italia one of his most memorable professional moments.
“I’m most proud of being part of the team to win the 2014 team time trial at the Giro in Belfast,” said Docker. “We were just a group of mates trying to do our best, and we came off with the win. It was fantastic.”
The 31-year-old embraces the new challenges that come with change and transition as he moves from Australia’s first WorldTour set-up to an American-registered squad.
“As fantastic as an outfit as ORICA was and has become, I’m ready for something new,” said Docker. “I’m an experienced rider with a lot to offer, and I’m ready to pass on my experience to a new group. The opportunity Slipstream Sports presented seems perfect.
“As always, I’m very keen to have a big classics campaign with my new colleagues,” Docker added. “I’m also eager to find my feet in this new squad and let everyone at Slipstream Sports find out who I am and what I can do.”
Robin Carpenter Signs Two-Year Deal with Rally Cycling
Rally Cycling announces its first major signing for 2018 today in American Robin Carpenter. The Philadelphia native burst onto the pro circuit in 2014 with a solo victory on stage 2 of the USA Pro Challenge and has never looked back, developing into one of the top young talents in North America. Carpenter signs a two-year contract with the team.
The 25 year old has spent the last five seasons racing for Holowesko-Citadel, where he won a stage of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and the overall title at the Tour of Alberta in 2016.
“I’m always trying to push myself as a rider and never settling for a result,” said Carpenter. “Rally is one of the most professionally run programs in America, and their two year commitment to me was a huge draw. I had some great years on Holowesko-Citadel and I am thankful for their support. Right now I am looking forward to this next step in my career.”
This season, Carpenter has won in a multitude of ways. At the Joe Martin Stage Race in April, he dropped his breakaway companions in the pouring rain to claim the final stage and the overall title. In May, he almost single-handedly wore the field down in the UCI ranked Winston-Salem Classic before separating himself from his breakaway companions on the final hill. At the Cascade Cycling Classic in July, he finished inside the top ten on all five stages en route to claiming another impressive general classification victory.
“When Robin shows up to a race you immediately have to account for him in your race strategy,” said Performance Director Jonas Carney. “He’s that dynamic. Signing him was at the top of our list as we thought about the areas of our program that we wanted to strengthen.”
Carpenter considers himself a true all-around type of rider whose strengths extend beyond any one discipline of cycling. He has had success in time trials, breakaways and small sprint finishes and can be a serious general classification threat at any major stage race.
“The road season gets longer every year,” said Carney. “We used to start racing in March and now we are planning a Europe trip for the beginning of February. This extended season gives riders like Robin the time to find their place within the team and plenty of opportunity to start big races and aim for success.”
Carpenter joins a deep and diverse program which includes some of North America’s top veteran riders to learn from, including road captain Danny Pate, who returns for his third season with the team.
“Having riders like team captain Danny Pate to learn from will be invaluable,” said Carpenter. “Good positioning, tactics and instincts on the road are vital when racing in Europe. The racing rewards aggressiveness and keeps you on your toes. In the U.S. the roads are bigger and you have more time to make a decision while in Europe it is the opposite.”
With their eyes on Europe and a planned step up to the Professional Continental ranks, having a deep and versatile roster, bolstered by the signing of Carpenter, will place the team in its strongest position ever to start a new season.
Laurens De Plus Update
The Belgian, who crashed heavily last Saturday, will return to the bike next month.
Il Lombardia, the final Monument of the season, was also Laurens De Plus’ last outing of 2017, but unfortunately for the 22-year-old, he didn’t bow out as he had wanted, after crashing into a ravine off Muro di Sormano while chasing lone leader Mikael Cherel, some 45 kilometers from the finish.
The Belgian was immediately attended by the race doctors and taken to the Cantù hospital, where he was kept under observation for 24 hours before traveling to Herentals for further medical examinations, which revealed a small avulsion fracture of the lateral part of the tibial plateau on the right knee.
“I was afraid that my knee was severely damaged, but fortunately it isn’t that bad. The doctors even told me that I’ve been really lucky with the outcome, as it could have been much worse. My thoughts are also with the other riders who’ve crashed there, I wish them all the best. It’s not the best way to end the season, but I’m looking on the positive side, which is that we’re in the off season now and I have time to recover before joining the team for the December training camp”, said Laurens De Plus, who’ll have to walk with crutches in the next two weeks, before observing four weeks of relative rest.
Laurens De Plus Lombardia crash:
John Degenkolb to start preparing for the 2018 season
On September 22, 2017 Trek-Segafredo announced that John Degenkolb had been hospitalized for further examinations after he had to abandon in the 5th stage of PostNord Danmark Rundt – Tour of Denmark due to respiratory problems.
Team head doctor, Nino Daniele: “John’s condition was not improving enough after his DNF in de Tour of Denmark, so we decided he had to go to the hospital for additional tests for his respiratory issues. Fortunately, John quickly started to feel better and could leave the hospital after a few days. He will start training again in two weeks, but of course we will follow-up on him during the coming months.”
John Degenkolb: “After I came out of the hospital, there was no time enough to get back into shape to still race this season, so we decided that I would take my break a bit earlier this year. In two weeks, I will start training again and I am really looking forward to that. 2017 didn’t exactly go like I wanted and expected, so I am ready for 2018. Bring it on!”
Betancur, Anacona Extend Contracts with Movistar Team
Anacona, Betancur extend their contracts with the Spanish outfit for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
As well as Nairo Quintana, the Movistar Team’s 2018 roster will also rely on other Colombian riders who were part of its ranks during the current season. The squad managed by Eusebio Unzué has signed two-year extensions with Winner Anacona and Carlos Betancur, and now has 24 men under contract for 2018, after the signings of Mikel Landa, Jaime Rosón, Eduardo Sepúlveda, Rafa Valls and neo-pro Jaime Castrillo.
Anacona (29), usual training partner of Nairo Quintana in the duo’s hometown Tunja, will fulfill his fourth season in Blue colors after a notable 2017, where he worked hard for Quintana in the Giro d’Italia and still managed to reach 25th place in the individual overall classification. A notable climber and a decent time trialist, he’s got one Grand Tour stage win to his account from the 2014 Vuelta a España.
Betancur (27), now in an advanced state of recovery following his ankle fracture during the recent Vuelta a España – while racing into an elite GC group at early hilly stages in Valenciana – will seek a place into the very best of the international peloton in his third season as a Movistar Team member. Already in 2017, he shone bright at the opening stage of the Hammer Series, cementing the Blues’ convincing win in Vaals, and confirmed his three-week stage race potential at the Tour de France (18th) and the Vuelta a España, before the crashed out of the race.
Astana ProTeam renews with Dmitriy Gruzdev
Astana ProTeam is happy to announce 2018 contract renewal with Kazakh rider, the Asian ITT champion Dmitriy Gruzdev.
“This is my sixth season with Astana, and I am very happy to continue my career in this team in the next year. In the beginning of the season, once again I won the individual time trial at the Asian Cycling Championships as well as together with our National Team won the gold medal in team time trial. However, I still have some ambitions in European races, I want to get some notable results there as well. Anyway, one of my main goals – to support team leaders and in the upcoming season, as it was before, I will be ready to give my best for team success,” said Dmitriy Gruzdev.
Besides his own results at the Asian Championships, this year Dmitriy Gruzdev (31) has spent a very strong spring classic season, supporting Alexey Lutsenko and Michael Valgren at the Dwars door Vlaanderen, the E3 Harelbeke and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. Also, Gruzdev made part of Astana roster at the Tour de France, where he helped team’s leader Fabio Aru.
“Dmitriy is a rider, on whom you can always rely on. He feels good both, at the cobbled classics and at the Grand tours, where he always stays next to the leader. Furthermore, he worthy represents Kazakhstan at the international competitions of the highest level. The Asian Road Championships successes prove it very well. I am happy with the fact that Dmitriy is continuing his career in Astana ProTeam,” said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.
Two Belgian reinforcements: Demey and Van den Steen
Next season the Lotto Soudal Ladies can welcome two riders from Sport Vlaanderen – Guil D’or: Valerie Demey (23) and Kelly Van den Steen (22). Demey rode two years for that team, Van den Steen four years.
Valerie Demey loves Flemish races. This season she was fourth in Dwars door de Westhoek, after an echelon race. In the Flanders Diamond Tour, which ended with a bunch sprint, Demey got eighth.
Valerie Demey: “Lotto Soudal seems the perfect team to further develop myself. It’s a team where young riders get the chance to grow, that was the case with Jolien D’hoore and still is with Lotte Kopecky. The team rides a nice program in the spring and that’s very important to me. I am sure I will be able to learn a lot in this team.”
“I am at my best in the Flemish races, that was shown by my performances the past seasons. I want to become even better on that front. Riding a good Ronde van Vlaanderen is of course the ultimate goal, but first of all I have ambitions for races like the Lotto Belgium Tour, Dwars door Vlaanderen and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. I first want to grow in that type of races before I think about the WorldTour races. I like the fact that more and more Flemish races are added to the calendar.”
“At the moment I am the fourth Belgian rider on the UCI ranking and that means that my points count to make up the total for Belgium, because that’s the sum of the five best Belgian riders. Also next year I want to collect as many points as possible. In the big races I want to support Lotte as much as I can. And a selection for the European and World Championships is always on my list.”
Kelly Van den Steen hopes to further develop her climbing skills in the future. This year Van den Steen was selected for the Worlds, the first time as women elite, but unfortunately she had to abandon after two crashes. The past season she rode a strong Setmana Ciclista Valenciana and last year she claimed two top ten places at Trophée d’Or.
Kelly Van den Steen: “Until two years ago Lotte Kopecky and I rode in the same team and I am looking forward to working with her again. Valerie Demey is coming to the team too, so I will have familiar faces around me.”
“I love climbing, but I still need to make a lot of progress to be able to follow the top riders. I hope to be better by the end of next year. I like the fact that with Julie Van De Velde, there’s another Belgian climber in the team.”
“I rode Setmana Ciclista Valenciana this season and I love that race. I wore the best young rider jersey a few days and eventually I finished second in the best young rider classification and tenth overall. In the future I hope to perform well in one-day races and stage races. In stage races there’s often a time trial and I need to work on that to be able to aim for a high place on GC.”
“In 2018 I want to help Lotte and aim for victories with the team. I’m also looking forward to the World Championships in Innsbruck, I hope to be part of the Belgian line-up.”
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