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Oudenaarde - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - GOOLAERTS Michael (BEL) of Veranda’s Willems - Crelan n the Muur of Geraardsbergen during the Flanders Classics UCI WorldTour 102nd Ronde van Vlaanderen cycling race with start in Antwerpen and finish in Oudenaarde on April 01, 2018 in Oudenaarde, Belgium - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

EUROTRASH News Round Up Thursday!

The passing of young rider Michael Goolaerts is our sad TOP STORY. Report and video from the Brabantse Pijl and team announcements for Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race (more to come). In other cycling news: La Vuelta a España 2018 teams, Porte to ride the Tour du Finistère, Tours of Yorkshire and Alps news, Astana DS, Küng undergoes Surgery, Movistar recon TDF Cobbles, Bahrain-Merida fan club and a video tribute to Michael Goolaerts. EUROTRASH Thursday.

The full Veranda’s Willems-Crelan team, including riders who were not competing, was at the start of Brabantse Pijl in Stad Leuven on Wednesday to pay tribute to Michael ‘Goolie’ Goolaerts who died after a heart attack during Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.

23 year old Goolaerts was riding his first Roubaix and after 110 kilometers, on the second section of cobbles, he crashed and looked to be unconscious, but it was much worse. The race medical staff treated him at the side of the road using a defibrillator, he was then transferred to a Lille hospital by helicopter. Later on Sunday evening the team announced: “It is with great unimaginable sadness that we have to communicate the passing of our rider and friend Michael Goolaerts. He passed away Sunday evening at 22:40 in Lille hospital in the presence of his family members and loves ones, who we keep in our thoughts. He died of cardiac arrest, all medical assistance was to no avail.”

Michael had been riding for the Veranda’s Willems-Crelan team for four years, with a short time as a stagieire with Lotto Soudal. In 2017 he was in the break of the day, out front for over 200 kilometers and this season he had finished in 9th place in the Dwars door Vlaanderen and 20th in the Driedaagse De Panne and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

Everyone at PEZ sends their condolences to the Goolaerts family, friends and team.

Team manager, Nick Nuyens, with one of the riders:
OVERIJSE, BELGIUM - APRIL 11 : Team Verandas Willems - Crelan silence in memory of the death of teammate Michael Goolaerts - NUYENS Nick  (BEL) General Manager of Veranda’s Willems - Crelan pictured before the start of the Flanders Classics UCI Europe Tour 58nd Brabantse Pijl cycling race with start in Leuven and finish in Overijse on April 11, 2018 in Overijse, Belgium, 11-04-18 photo JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Wout Van Aert:
Overijse - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport -  1 minute of silence in memory of the death of Michael Goolaerts -  Wout VAN AERT (Belgium / Team Verandas Willems - Crelan) pictured before the start of the Flanders Classics UCI Europe Tour 58nd Brabantse Pijl cycling race with start in Leuven and finish in Overijse on April 11, 2018 in Overijse, Belgium, 11-04-18 - photo JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Very emotional scenes at the start of Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl:
OVERIJSE, BELGIUM - APRIL 11 : Team Verandas Willems - Crelan silence in memory of the death of teammate Michael Goolaerts pictured before the start of the Flanders Classics UCI Europe Tour 58nd Brabantse Pijl cycling race with start in Leuven and finish in Overijse on April 11, 2018 in Overijse, Belgium, 11-04-18 photo JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

De Brabantse Pijl – Flèche Brabanconne 2018
Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) successfully restarted competition by winning the Brabantse Pijl after a strong solo in the final kilometers Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) took second ahead of Wellens teammate Tiesj Benoot in third.

Almost immediately after the start in Leuven a breakaway of seven riders was established. Before starting the first of three local laps of 23.4 kilometers several Lotto Soudal riders came to the front and the peloton split. Tosh Van der Sande (Lotto Soudal) and Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott) created a gap. The duo succeeded in bridging to the leaders. At the beginning of the second lap, Van der Sande and Haig got rid of all others. It was only with twelve kilometers to go they were caught. Again Lotto Soudal was positioned at the front of the bunch. After an acceleration of Jelle Vanendert a small group, including Tim Wellens, got a gap. With 7.5 kilometers to go Wellens attacked and that turned out to be the decisive move. Wellens arrived solo at the finish in Overijse, paying tribute to Michael Goolaerts. Colbrelli was second at 9 seconds ahead of Benoot in third.

More photos from De Brabantse Pijl in PeloPics.

Overijse - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Tim WELLENS (Belgium / Team Lotto Soudal) pictured during the Flanders Classics UCI Europe Tour 58nd Brabantse Pijl cycling race with start in Leuven and finish in Overijse on April 11, 2018 in Overijse, Belgium, 11-04-18 - photo JdM/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Race winner, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal): “It was the plan to let the race explode as early as possible, because we had such a strong line-up. That’s what we did with over seventy kilometers to go. Rémy Mertz had first controlled the gap on his own for sixty kilometers, until he got help from a rider of BMC and one of Bahrain. Maxime Monfort raised the pace on the local circuit and that caused the peloton to split. It was our plan to send a rider in the break afterwards and that was the case with Tosh Van der Sande. I thought for a while that they would remain ahead as there was not immediately a team that took control of the chase. When they got caught, Jelle Vanendert accelerated as I had asked. He did that perfectly. I attacked on a section with a slight headwind. I had to fight at first to get a gap, but when Pauwels and Serry came off the front my lead grew up to 25 seconds.”

“The past years I learned to choose the best moment to attack. Today that was with 7.8 kilometers to go and that meant that I needed to go full for about ten minutes. That went really well, I had super legs. This gives me confidence for the upcoming races, even though they are of a higher level. With the team we had today, we are more than ready.”

“Of course we talk about what happened with Michael Goolaerts, in the peloton and in the team. It was a very serene atmosphere at the start. There are teammates of mine that have raced with Michael. I know his teammates Sean De Bie and Zico Waeytens very well. They go through a difficult time and I try to support them.”

2nd, Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida): “I’m satisfied for the second place and my team worked very well.”

4th, Peter Serry (Quick-Step Floors): “Fourth today is a good result, but I’m a bit disappointed for not finishing on the podium. My legs were very strong and on the last two laps I attacked a lot, as I felt I could make the difference. When Wellens took off, I worked really hard behind to shut down the gap, but it was difficult to bring him back. Today’s race makes me even more confident for the Ardennes, where we hope to score some more nice results and continue what’s been a brilliant spring for Quick-Step Floors.”

6th, Andrea Pasqualon (Wanty-Groupe Gobert): “It was a very hard and nervous race, but the course suited my characteristics perfectly. This is a good result for me and the team. We always had a rider in front. Meurisse was in front in the final and it was according to the plan for me to wait for the sprint with the fast riders. The condition is good and now we head with confidence to Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne. This 1 kilometer uphill finish seems a lot like Coppa Sabatini, where I took the victory last year. But of course the competition and nervousness made the race a lot tougher here. Already the first passage in the local laps was very tough! The team’s performance today gives me hope for the next races since we were with four riders present in the final group of around 40 riders. Looking forward to Sunday!”

De Brabantse Pijl – Flèche Brabanconne Result:
1. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 4:42:48
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida at 0:09
3. Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal
4. Pieter Serry (Bel) Quick-Step Floors
5. Jan Tratnik (Slo) CCC Sprandi Polkowice
6. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
7. Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC
8. Huub Duijn (Ned) Veranda’s Willems Crelan at 0:12
9. Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise at 0:14
10. Daryl Impey (RSA) Mitchelton-Scott.


Quick-Step Floors Cycling Team to Amstel Gold Race
Julian Alaphilippe, Philippe Gilbert and Niki Terpstra are lining up on Sunday for Netherlands’ only World Tour race.

The Ardennes Week is here, and as usual, Amstel Gold Race will lift the curtain. The 263km-long race starts from Maastricht, in the province of Limburg, and comes to a conclusion in Berg en Terblijt, taking the riders over a course which includes 35 short and punchy climbs (some with double-digit gradients), narrow and twisty roads and shifting winds which could very well spice up the day and wreak havoc long before the race hits its climax.

This year, the last part of the course has been again revamped by the organizers and could have a significant impact on the final. After avoiding the iconic Cauberg in the last kilometers of last season’s edition, they now decided to take the peloton over a new descent from the Geulhemmerberg (1000m, 6.2%), the day’s penultimate climb, which could give an advantage to the attackers, who later in the race will have also the undulating roads from the top of the Bemelerberg (900m, 4.6%) to try and foil the plans of those hoping to keep everything together.

Known also as “The King of the Cauberg”, Philippe Gilbert is a rider for whom Amstel Gold Race has no more secrets; a four-time winner of the prestigious Dutch classic (2010, 2011, 2014, 2017), he also won the World Championships over a course more or less similar, six years ago, all results that make him the living symbol of the 900m-long climb which appears three times on the parcours. This year, the experienced Belgian will be again one of the contenders, as he’ll be making his 13th outing in the Dutch Classic.

Quick-Step Floors’ strength in numbers has been put on display on several occasions in this season’s one-day races, where the team picked up nine victories and six other podiums, and our outfit will once again line up a roster comprising several riders who can play an important role in the closing stages of Amstel Gold Race.

Also making the squad headlined by the defending champion are Julian Alaphilippe, a double stage victor earlier this month at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Bob Jungels, Davide Martinelli, Enric Mas – who last week celebrated the first win of his career – Pieter Serry and Ronde van Vlaanderen champion Niki Terpstra.

“We are lining up with a strong squad, hoping that we can be in the mix when the race is decided and perhaps repeat last year’s success. The final has changed again, so we will have narrower roads in the last kilometers, which can play in favor of the breakaway. Staying in front will be important as the roads make it hard to organize a chase”, said sports director Wilfried Peeters. “However, it is not the race nor the route, but the riders who make the difference. Amstel is one of those races where you have to be awake at all times and there will be a lot of fighting for positions. Being in the right place at the right time makes the difference but to be there, you need not only to be smart but also to have the legs.”

15.04 Amstel Gold Race (NED) 1.UWT

Julian Alaphilippe (FRA), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Davide Martinelli (ITA), Enric Mas (ESP), Pieter Serry (BEL), Niki Terpstra (NED).
Sports Director: Wilfried Peeters (BEL) and Tom Steels (BEL).

Sunweb to Amstel Gold Race
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek (NED): “This year Amstel Gold Race offers a new final which will make for a more open race where the opportunists will have better chances. With the changes, the final will start with the Kruisberg, but because of the changed final the Keuteberg will possibly now become the breaking point for the final. Our focus will be to protect our riders for the final during the first 200 kilometers, and from then on good positioning will be crucial. Our goal is to bring several riders into the final and with Søren, Michael and Simon, who is back in action after recovering from a fractured collarbone, we have cards to play. We bring a lot of experience with Johannes and Laurens who know every road in Limburg which will also be of benefit to us during the race.”

Amstel Gold Race (WT)

Søren Kragh Andersen (DEN), Laurens ten Dam (NED), Johannes Fröhlinger (GER), Simon Geschke (GER), Lennard Kämna (GER), Michael Matthews (AUS), Edward Theuns (BEL).
Coach: Aike Visbeek.

Michael Matthews:
Sanremo - Italy - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - illustration - scenery - carte postal scenic shot - postcard sfeerfoto - sfeer - illustratie start in Milano - Michael Matthews (AUS - Team Sunweb) pictured during Milano-Sanremo (1.UWT) a one day race from Milano to Sanremo (291KM) - photo LB/RB/Cor Vos © 2018

AG2R-La Mondiale team for Amstel
Axel Domont: “I have been suffering from a bad case of sinusitis, which has bothered me since the end of Paris-Nice and continued though the Tour of Catalonia. For three weeks I was not doing very well. But I took time to recuperate, I rested well, and now everything is fine. I have been able to train well too. For my return to racing at Paris-Camembert, the sensations were pretty good and I’m confident for the future. I am very happy to be racing the three Ardennes classics. The Amstel Gold Race is a fun course where you have to be careful because it is very urbanized and can be quite dangerous. You have to be vigilant all day because crashing is the greatest enemy. The peloton is a mix between those who raced the cobbled classics and are at the end of a segment of their season, and then those who will be coming into the Ardennes with a lot of energy, ready to attack. My favorite race of the triptych is Liège. It is the hardest, and the one where I feel most comfortable, even if last year, I crashed in my first time racing it.”

By finishing second in Paris-Roubaix last Sunday, Silvan Dillier gained 156 places in the UCI WorldTour standings. He is now in 28th place. The AG2R LA MONDIALE team has moved up three places, and is now eighth.

Team Sky for the Amstel Gold Race
No sooner have the Cobbled Classics finished than the Ardennes Classics begin. The first in a trio of races, the biggest one-day race on Dutch soil is one for the power climbers.

Team Sky line-up:
Tao Geoghegan Hart, Michal Golas, Sergio Henao, Vasil Kiryienka, Michal Kwiatkowski, Wout Poels, Lukasz Wisniowski.

Michal Kwiatkowski 2nd in 2017:
Valkenburg - Netherlands - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Philippe GILBERT (Belgium / Team Quick Step - Floors) - Michal KWIATKOWSKI (Poland / Team Sky) pictured during the Amstel Gold Race 2017 - foto Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2017

Van Avermaet to Round Out Classics Season at Amstel Gold Race
Greg Van Avermaet will line up at Amstel Gold Race this Sunday, 15 April, for his final race of the classics season.

Van Avermaet will be backed by a strong team of riders who are also capable of a good result, Sports Director Valerio Piva said.

“Of course, we are lining up to win the race. Greg Van Avermaet is our leader but we also have Dylan Teuns who is in great shape and riders like Damiano Caruso, Simon Gerrans, and Alessandro De Marchi coming out of Vuelta al Pais Vasco in good shape. Gerrans has been on the podium on three occasions and we have riders who have lined up many times, so we have a lot of experience at Amstel Gold Race,” Piva explained.

“Traditionally, the race is decided in the last 50km and this year the parcours has changed and the final has a different, more narrow approach. We have a strong and motivated team around Greg and our main goal will be to put him on the podium, but we have multiple cards to play on Sunday which gives us confidence going into the race.”

Van Avermaet is determined ahead of his final classics race of the 2018 season.

“Amstel Gold Race will be the last spring classic for me this year. I am always motivated to do well at the race because I like the parcours with the short climbs. We have a strong line up and I’m looking forward to racing on Sunday,” Van Avermaet said.

Teuns is looking forward to the Ardennes Classics after a strong showing at Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

“I am feeling excited. I have been preparing for this block of racing for a long time and I am looking forward to the next ten days or so. It all starts with Amstel Gold Race and like the others, this is a race which should suit me and my strengths well. I think I can go into Sunday’s race feeling confident in my shape and I am definitely motivated to do a good job for myself and for the team,” Teuns said.

Amstel Gold Race (15 April)
Rider Roster:

Alberto Bettiol (ITA), Damiano Caruso (ITA), Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Simon Gerrans (AUS), Michael Schär (SUI), Dylan Teuns (BEL), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL).
Sports Directors: Valerio Piva (ITA), Jackson Stewart (USA).

Greg Van Avermaet:
Harelbeke - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - VAN AVERMAET Greg (BEL) of BMC Racing Team pictured during Record Bank E3 Harelbeke 2018 (1UWT) a one day men’s elite race from Harelbeke to Harelbeke (206.5KM) 23-03-2018 - photo VK/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Martin Hoping for Amstel Gold as Irishman Leads team to Ardennes Classics
UAE Team Emirates Dan Martin will be looking to secure his first win for the team as the Irishman leads a strong line up to tackle the Amstel Gold Race this Sunday (15th April). Martin, who joined the UAE outfit for the 2018 season, will be hoping to prove his fitness ahead of the upcoming Liège – Bastogne – Liège, a race he knows well having taken home the victory in 2013.

Joining Martin in the Netherlands is an experienced team of riders including former World Champion Rui Costa, Diego Ulissi, Matteo Bono, Rory Sutherland and Manuele Mori. Capping off the seven-rider line-up will be youngster Alexandr Riabushenko who impressed recently at the Tour of the Basque Country.

Commenting on Sunday’s race, Martin said: “Training has gone well since the Volta a Catalunya, despite the heavy crash on the last stage. I’ve been in good condition all season, but bad luck has prevented me from showing it in the final results. I feel ready and I’m looking forward to what are some of my favourite races of the season.”

The 2018 Amstel Gold Race starts in the southern Dutch province of Limburg. The race marks the start of the Ardennes Classics which will be contested over the course of the next seven days. This Sunday’s race will see riders tackle a 263km route through the hills as they navigate four circuits and a total of 35 short, steep climbs. Whilst not terribly demanding, the sheer number of climbs could play a vital role in the general classification standings – not least when it comes to the final climb of the day, The Bemlerberg. The race certainly favours the all-rounders; fast-finishers with good climbing ability and with perfect conditions forecast, spectators can expect a thrilling day of cycling.

UAE Team Emirates’ participation on the UCI World Tour gives the local community the opportunity to come together and support world-class athletes as they aim to become one of the top cycling teams on the tour. To find out more about UAE Team Emirates, visit UAETeamEmirates.com.

Nippo Vini Fantini Europa Ovini: #ORANGEBLUE are Ready to Ride the Amstel Gold Race 2018
The only Italian team invited, in this World Tour race, is ready to honor the great competition, with his 7 top riders, on a road that fits with the skills of his leaders. Marco Canola will be the captain of the team, Damiano Cunego will ride his last Amstel Gold Race as a Pro, 10 years later his victory. The last Amstel Gold Race of Damiano Cunego, 10 years later his victory of 2008. The first Amstel as leader of the #OrangeBlue of Marco Canola.

But to honor in the best way this wonderful classic of the World Tour calendar, all the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team must be at the top. The only team in race representing Italy, wants to make a great race as a team, with all his 7 riders selected by Sports Director Mario Manzoni.

The Line-Up
7 riders representing the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team will start the Amstel Gold Race 2018. Damiano Cunego is one of them, riding for the last time as a Pro rider the race he won in 2008. Marco Canola will ride as #OrangeBlue leader the race, together with Juan Josè Lobato and Simone Ponzi a strong duo with international experience. In support to the captain also Marco Tizza, that made brilliant performances in his last races, such as the second place in Volta Limburg, another classic of The Netherlands. To complete the line-up the young Japanese talent Marino Kobayashi and Eduard Grosu. Both of them will be ready both for an offensive race and also ready to help their teammates during this important competition.

The complete line-up: Marco Canola, Damiano Cunego, Juan Josè Lobato, Simone Ponzi, Eduard Grosu, Marco Tizza, Marino Kobayashi.

The Declaration
Mario Manzoni is the Sports Directors of the team in this World Tour race: “The Amstel Gold Race will be a long ride, will be a competitive challenge, will be wonderful for the public. It is a race that fits with our skills. Marco Canola is highly motivated, Damiano Cunego knows it very well and will ride it for the last time in his career. Lobato and Ponzi will be important riders up to the final with their international experience, while Marco Tizza can be a good alternative with a very good condition. Marino Kobayashi and Eduard Grosu can give us the chance to attack, to honor in the best way this race, from the begin until the end.”

The Race
260km of race, 35 climbs, a race to ride at high rhythm, with official start located as usual in “Markt” – Maastricht and finish-line in Vilt-Valkenburg. The official starting time is 10.30, on Sunday 15th of April, with estimated time of arrival at 5.00 pm. In this important race of the World Tour calendar has been invited also 7 Professional teams, among them only an Italian team the NIPPO Vini Fantini Europa Ovini team.

The race will be broadcasted live worldwide. In Italy the live on Eurosport 1 will start at 2.45 pm and on Rai2 from 3.30pm (with a first part on Raisport at 2.50 pm).

La Vuelta 2018: Teams Selection
The organizers of La Vuelta have chosen the teams that will take part in the 73rd edition of the Spanish Grand Tour. La Vuelta 2018 will start on Saturday the 25th of August and finish on Sunday the 16th of September, from Málaga to Madrid.

In accordance with Union Cycliste Internationale rules, the following eighteen UCI WorldTeams are automatically invited to the race:
AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
Bahrain – Merida (BRN)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Bora – Hansgrohe (GER)
Groupama – FDJ (FRA)
Lotto Soudal (BEL)
Mitchelton – Scott (AUS)
Movistar Team (ESP)
Quick-Step Floors (BEL)
Team Dimension Data (RSA)
Team EF Education First – Drapac (USA)
Team Katusha – Alpecin (SUI)
Team Lotto NL – Jumbo (NED)
Team Sky (GBR)
Team Sunweb (GER)
Trek – Segafredo (USA)
UAE Abu Dhabi (UAE).

In addition to these eighteen teams, the organizers have awarded the following wildcards:
Burgos – BH (ESP)
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (FRA)
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (ESP)
Euskadi Basque Country – Murias (ESP).

Caja Rural-Seguros RGA is Participating in the Vuelta Once Again
For the seventh consecutive season, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA will take part in the Vuelta a España, one of the most important competitions on the international calendar and the main target of the squad since its first participation in 2012. Unipublic, the organizer of the Spanish round, confirmed on Tuesday the four wild cards places that join the 18 World Tour teams and among them is the Navarrese one.

For Caja Rural-Seguros RGA it is an honor and a pride to compete one more year in a race of such high level. It is also a responsibility to demonstrate on the road the courage and the guts that have characterized the green squad since its creation.

Juan Manuel Hernández (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA manager): “For the seventh consecutive year we will be back at the start of the Vuelta a España and we would like to thank Unipublic for its confidence once again in Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. For us it is very important that they value the philosophy of the team, perhaps even more after the season 2017, when the results did not arrive as the two previous years, although we trust that they will arrive again. We will keep the same character as always, as in the last edition of the race, when the team was in 14 breaks from the 19 route stages that were held.

Being back to La Vuelta allows us to focus the season with a great goal and at the same time to continue with our work with the projection and the development of our youth riders. We will try to reach August with cyclists who dispute the race at their best shape. Once there, we will look for that stage victory that we don’t get since 2012. This is our main target: to leave a good image and try to win a stage.”

The 73rd edition of the Vuelta starts on Saturday, August 25, from Malaga and ends on Sunday, September 16, in Madrid. It’s going to be a spectacular route with 5 mountain stages, 6 hill stages and other 2 flat stages that finish on a mountain top. In addition, it has 2 individual time trials with 40,7 km. La Covatilla, Lagos de Covadonga, Balcón of Bizkaia (Monte Oiz) or La Gallina seem the most outstanding days of a rout full of surprises and novelties.

Porte Continues Racing Comeback at Tour du Finistère
Richie Porte will be back on the start line this weekend headlining BMC Racing Team’s six-rider roster at the Tour du Finistère on Saturday (14 April).

The Tour du Finistère offers the opportunity to race the final kilometers of stage 5 of this year’s Tour de France, Sports Director Fabio Baldato said.

“The final 35km of the Tour du Finistère are the same as stage 5 of the Tour and this is an important reason why we are heading there. It won’t be the priority to have Richie Porte going in as the leader, instead with Tejay van Garderen also racing it will be a good chance for both riders to race the final of stage 5. From what we can see on the plan, there are small roads with a steep, narrow climb where positioning is important and it is best for this kind of race to have the opportunity to see it in advance and it’s even better to recon it in a race environment. I think it will be a great advantage ahead of July.”

“For the others, I think they can all try to take the opportunity to go for their own result. With Tom Bohli, Joey Rosskopf and Danilo Wyss, we have a few different cards to play and I hope they are motivated not just to race next to the leaders but also to race for a result and try to do something,” Baldato explained.

For Porte, the one-day race is an important part of the build-up towards the Tour de France.

“Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco was my first race in a while and it was an opportunity to get some good training in and put some solid racing kilometers in my legs. Tour du Finistère will be another chance to get back into the swing of things ahead of the Tour de Romandie but it also gives us the opportunity to recon the finale of stage 5 of this year’s Tour de France. There are not many opportunities when you get to do that in a race environment so I think it will be helpful and a good building block as we look ahead to July,” Porte said.

Tour du Finistère (14 April)
Rider Roster:

Tom Bohli (SUI), Kilian Frankiny (SUI), Richie Porte (AUS), Joey Rosskopf (USA), Tejay van Garderen (USA), Danilo Wyss (SUI)
Sports Director: Fabio Baldato (ITA).

Richie Porte:
Willunga Hill - Australia - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Richie Porte (AUS - BMC) pictured during 20th Santos Tour Down Under (2.UWT) stage -5 from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill (151.5KM) - photo LB/RB//Cor Vos © 2018

Two Tour de Yorkshire Champions Back For The Fourth Edition!
Not one but two former Tour de Yorkshire winners have announced they will be jetting in for the fourth edition which runs between 3-6 May.

Reigning champion Serge Pauwels has confirmed he will be back to defend his title, while retired 2016 victor Thomas Voeckler will also be present in an ambassadorial role.

Pauwels wowed the crowd in 2017 with a successful attack on the concluding loop into Fox Valley and took the victory by a six-second advantage over his Team Dimension Data team-mate Omar Fraile.

The 34-year-old is the latest star cyclist to announce his intention to ride. Pauwels has just completed the Tour of the Basque Country and will hope to have a strong Ardennes Classics campaign in Belgium and Holland before arriving in Yorkshire for the fourth edition which runs from 3-6 May.

The Belgian said: “I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve ridden the race twice before and the atmosphere and size of the crowds are always unbelievable. Winning the race last year was one of the highlights of my career and I’ll certainly be hoping to do it again.

“The Tour de Yorkshire is my first major goal of the season and the route looks like it could suit me. That summit finish on the Cow and Calf [on stage two] is sure to be selective and the final stage into Leeds will be a really tough one.”

Voeckler – who triumphed in Scarborough two years ago – is also visiting Yorkshire in the run up to the race and will be on hand to see the peloton roll out of Beverley on the opening stage.

Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive Sir Gary Verity said: “We’re delighted that both Serge and Thomas will be back in Yorkshire for the 2018 edition.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing Serge in action out there on the road. Last year he proved a more-than worthy winner and I have no doubt he will animate the racing once again.

“As for Thomas, he is true cycling hero and his Tour de Yorkshire triumph sits among glittering palmarès featuring no-less than four Tour de France stage wins.

“We’ll look to announce more high-profile names in the weeks to come and are working hard to ensure the 2018 race is the biggest and best one yet.”

Full details on the 2018 Tour de Yorkshire and Asda Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race can be found at http://letouryorkshire.com

Feeling fit? Then why not tackle parts of the 2018 route for yourself by taking part in the Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride. The three routes on offer are suitable for all abilities and culminate on the same finish line as the pros. Find out more at https://letouryorkshire.com/maserati-tour-de-yorkshire-ride

And last but not least, the Tour de Yorkshire Land Art and Best Dressed Competitions have also been launched. Full details on how to enter those can be found at http://letouryorkshire.com/landart and https://letouryorkshire.com/bestdressed respectively.

Assan Bazayev Joins Astana Pro Team as Sports Director
Ex-professional rider and the coach of the Kazakhstan National Team Assan Bazayev joins Astana Pro Team as a sports director. Together with Astana, which is a part of the Presidential club Astana, Bazayev already did Le Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia, where our team won two stages.

“All the time since the moment I ended my rider’s career, I continued to remain in cycling, I was engaged in the organization of races, worked with the national team of Kazakhstan. But, I always wanted to try myself in the role of a sports director, and now, I’m very happy that it happened. For me, this is a big step ahead. I’m very motivated for a fruitful work in the team, ready to learn and to gain experience in the role of a sports director. Alongside, inside the team I would like to share my experience with young Kazakh riders and as the head coach of the national team I will have the opportunity to observe and to work with them in direct contact. I am sure that in the future, this will help the development of the riders and to improve our results at the world and continental championships. I started my professional career in Astana, and it is very important for me to return to this team as a sports director. It is a great honor and responsibility to become a part of such a big Kazakh project,” said Assan Bazayev.

As a professional rider, Assan Bazayev rode for Astana Team in the period from 2006 to 2013. Among his best results could be mentioned a stage victory at the Tour of Germany (2006), the title of the Kazakhstan road race champion (2012), a third place at the Kampioenschap Van Vlaanderen (2005), a few podium places at the stages of the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España as well as 8th place in the road race of the UCI Road World Championships in 2010.

Since 2017 Assan Bazayev holds the post of the head coach in the Kazakhstan National Team.

The next race for Assan Bazayev with Astana Pro Team will be the Tour of Croatia.

Fabio Aru at the Tour of the Alps to Dream Big
After the accident at Volta a Catalunya, the Sardinian climber is getting ready to face the Euroregional stage race (16-20th April), fundamental crossroads in view of the great seasonal goals: Giro d’Italia and World Championship. “Challenging route – I like it – and I want to analyze the circuit in Innsbruck”

When it comes to climbs and mountains, the name of Fabio Aru is one of the first to draw staff and bike enthusiasts’ attention. After all, the Sardinian climber, aged 27, managed to win at least one stage and wear the leading jersey in the three major Tours in his career, with one victory: the Vuelta a España in 2015.

After a couple of years with ups and downs, sickness and accidents, satisfaction was felt – both winning the Italian Championship and his first stage success at the Tour de France, and conquering the yellow jersey in the Pyrenees – the new acquisition of UAE Team Emirates placed a few bets on Giro d’Italia and World Championship. From this point of view, the Tour of the Alps (16-20th April) represents one of the key races for the season of the Italian Champion, who on the roads of Euregio will look for the best pedal stroke in view of the “Corsa Rosa”, also taking the opportunity to see the UCI Road World Championships of Innsbruck track.

“As usual, I will find very challenging routes at the Tour of the Alps, where I want to do well and get ready to do my best in view of the Giro d’Italia,” explains Aru. “Moreover, I’ve got two motivating goals: being the World Championship one of my seasonal target, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to run on the Innsbruck circuit. I have not been able to see it yet, but it seems very challenging: competing in a race on those roads in such advance is a chance to be grasped. Eventually, as usual, legs will make the difference.”

The 27-year-old climber from Villacidro, is in training camp at Teide where he is carrying out a targeted training plan in view of the forthcoming races at the Tour of the Alps. He will try to follow his former teammate Vincenzo Nibali’s footsteps, the one that in 2013 triumph for the first time in the Giro d’Italia after winning Giro del Trentino, the latest runner to earn the difficult double win.

“Preparation is going as planned,” continued the Italian rider. “I have completely recovered from the accident in Volta a Catalunya and I am training without any particular problem. In the past, I took part on two occasions in the Giro del Trentino (2013 and 2014) but it will be my first time at the Tour of the Alps. The climbs to be faced won’t lack: the Alpe di Pampeago is a prestigious target but we will see that day how feelings will show. The aim is being at the start with good legs, it is impossible to foresee what will happen during the race.”

Exactly one week to the start from Arco (Trento), the winner of the Vuelta 2015 doesn’t want to give any forecast away. “Make a prediction right now is very difficult. I know the rivals I will challenge during the Tour of the Alps: in addition to Froome there is Pinot, I have been a team mate of Miguel Angel Lopez for years, while I share the training trails in Lugano with Pozzovivo. I am going to keep a watchful eye on them all!”

The 2018 Tour of the Alps Route:

Stage 1 – Monday April 16th
Arco – Folgaria, km 134,6
Altitude: 2530m. Difficulty: ***

Stage 2 – Tuesday April 17th
Lavarone – Fiemme/Alpe di Pampeago km 145,5
Altitude: 2900m. Difficulty: ****

Stage 3 – Wednesday April 18th
Ora/Auer – Merano/Meran km 138,3
Altitude: 2600m. Difficulty: **

Stage 4 – Thursday April 19th
Chiusa/Klausen – Lienz km 134,3
Altitude: 2300m. Difficulty: ***

Stage 5 – Friday April 20th
Rattenberg – Innsbruck km 164,2
Altitude: 2770m. Difficulty: ***

After Tirreno-Adriatico and Volta a Catalunya, Fabio Aru will take part in the 2018 Tour of the Alps:

Stefan Küng Undergoes Surgery on Fractured Jaw
Stefan Küng has undergone successful surgery on a fractured jaw sustained in a crash at Paris-Roubaix on Sunday.

Küng crashed before the first cobbled sector and was given six stitches in the race ambulance to close a wound on his chin, however X-rays taken at the Roubaix Centre Hospitalier that evening revealed a mandibular fracture (fractured jaw).

Upon return to Switzerland, Küng was examined at the Kanton Spital Hospital in St. Gallen where surgery was decided as the best course of treatment.

BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Max Testa provided the following update.

“After consulting the specialists at Kanton Spital Hospital, the surgical option was deemed the best treatment method to optimize the recovery of his injuries. The surgery was performed last night and went well and Stefan will probably go home today. He will now have a couple of easy weeks before rebuilding his training load. Stefan will be restricted to liquids and soft food for a while to minimize the movement of the jaw but he is able to speak,” Dr. Testa explained.

“Stefan should be able to train on his home trainer in a few days and from there slowly build up and return to the road. We expect him to return to racing in five to six weeks but we will continue to monitor his recovery and alter his program accordingly.”

Küng is motivated to get back on the bike as soon as possible.

“I’m feeling good and I’m fortunate that these injuries are treatable and I’ll be back on my bike soon. I want to thank Dr. Max Testa and the BMC Racing Team medical team, as well as the specialists here in St. Gallen for taking good care of me. I hope to be back racing as soon as possible,” Küng said.

BMC Racing Team will continue to provide updates on Küng’s recovery.

Stefan Küng:
Wevelgem - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - cyclisme - radsport - Stefan KUNG (Swiss / BMC Racing Team) pictured during Gent-Wevelgem In Flanders Fields (1.WWT) a one day men’s elite race from Gent to Wevelgem 25-03-2018 - photo NV/PN/Cor Vos © 2018

Movistar Team Leaders Recon TDF Cobbled Stage
Landa, Quintana, Valverde test their legs on the cobblestone sectors on stage nine of the 2018 ‘Grande Boucle’, finishing in Roubaix.

After completing their respective early April racing appointments at the Vuelta al País Vasco and the Klasika Primavera in Amorebieta, Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde joined some of their Movistar Team-mates on a recon of stage nine of the 2018 Tour de France, Arras to Roubaix, just under three months before leading the Blue outfit at the ‘Grande Boucle’.

Together with three riders from the Movistar Team’s Paris-Roubaix roster – Imanol Erviti, Marc Soler and Jasha Sütterlin – as well as sports directors José Luis Arrieta and Chente García Acosta, the Spanish squad’s leaders covered the fifteen cobbled sections of this feared stage. At the end of the recon, Arrieta commented the following: “What we wanted here was to get a real feeling about the terrain: how you enter and tackle every sector, which ones of them could be key – it’s obvious that it will all be a different story when you’re racing and into a furious peloton, but I’m sure this recon will really help us a lot. We were also lucky, since we had two days of dry weather, which allowed us covering the entire group of sectors with no setbacks. Taking advantage of all materials we already had here in northern France for Roubaix, we also tested different wheelsets, tyre pressures – it’s also about having everyone going into this stage, come July, with absolute confidence about what’s best for them. All three leaders had already ridden on cobblestones this spring, and even if we know that the hardness of those sections is nowhere near the Roubaix pavé, it’s significant for us to have them feeling what it’s like to go on a cobbled race.”

Arrieta considers this stage could become decisive: “As we always saw, you can lose the Tour de France at every stage, and days like these are even more dangerous. You’ll need to be in perfect form, know what you’re facing, and also some extra bit of luck, because a puncture, a mechanical, can all cost you lots of time. It’s pretty likely that one of the race contenders will leave this stage with his chances ruined.”

Launching TBM Fan Club
We are really pleased that in our second year of existence we find ourselves in the proud situation of having many fans and therefore we are launching our own fan club, simply called TBM Fan Club. Fans are an integral part of every team, and for us we really appreciate how many fans we already have, therefore we want to give back to everyone who believes in us through our TBM Fan Club. The membership will give you access to exclusive content only available to members, a platform to talk to each other, to be in touch with the team and seeing the events we are putting together. There are several membership packages which have been tailored to suit the needs of all our fans. We also have special packages for Bahraini fans, with some local discounts.

So we ask you – Are you in? Are you BAHRAin?

Sign up at our web site and become TBM Inaugural Fan.

On Sunday Michael Goolaerts started his very first Paris-Roubaix, for him it had all start well in the professional peloton. Cyclists saw him as a great rider for the future. He fell and died of the consequences of a cardiac arrest.

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